A brightly lit chandelier hung above on the high ceiling, basking its light on the people dining in the exquisite restaurant. All of them were enjoying their time together, either with friends, families or lovers.
The sound of amicable laughter occasionally rang in the air, intertwining with the melody played by the pianist on the stage.
In one corner, a young lady in a pastel blue dress was eagerly waiting for her companion to arrive. From time to time, her eyes wandered from the entrance of the restaurant to the plates of food served on the table.
Glimmers of excitement and anxiousness flitted in her eyes.
"Where is he?" She sighed softly.
She tried making a few calls but none of them went through. She could only wait for now.
As the time continued ticking, more and more patrons were leaving the restaurant..
As time continued passing, the young lady's anticipation got dampened.
It seemed like... She had to make her decision today, even though she really didn't want to.
Either to continue to hold on or... to let go.
"Excuse me, miss?"
She lifted up her eyes to meet the face of the waiter who served her earlier.
The young man flashed an apologetic smile, "I'm sorry ma'am, but our restaurant is about to close. Are you waiting for someone?"
She blinked her eyes. When she looked around her, it was already close to empty.
"Ah, sorry," She unconsciously clenched her fists under the table, "Please pack the food for me."
The waiter once again bowed to express his apology. She quickly waved her hands, saying it was alright. The man carefully picked all of the dishes that had yet to be eaten and brought them back to the kitchen.
The young lady lowered her head. She didn't know how should she deal with her disappointment.
This was not the first time.
After getting the packed food and paying for the meal, she walked out of the restaurant with a straight back. On her way out, she passed by the people who walked back and forth in the lobby of the hotel. Some of them might have just arrived because they got big luggage with them.
She passed through the automatic doors of the entrance and walked to one corner. She was thinking to book a taxi as the night had gotten late.
Her feet stopped at the sound of her name was called out. She didn't realize how stiff she was as she slowly turned around.
The man who she had been waiting all night was standing right in front of her.
A name flowed out of her mouth.
The time stood still between them for a moment before the man broke the silence.
"I'm sorry. I've kept you waiting again..."
Jun didn't find any excuse. He directly admitted to his mistake.
Himari swallowed a bitter smile, "I guess your family went all out celebrating you tonight. After all, you're going abroad tomorrow. I suppose they asked you to rest well and not to come here."
Jun froze. His eyes darted to the right and left. He couldn't refute what the young woman had guessed.
Himari let out a sigh. At this moment, countless memories flashing through her mind. She carefully took in the appearance of the man standing opposite her.
This man had been her first love ever since she entered high school.
An upright and brilliant student. Teachers' favorite. Not to mention his good looks, he hailed from a well-off background. He was the most sought-after male student during the time they were in school.
Himari kept her feelings for herself. She never showed any sign that she liked him. But, never did she expect that he was the one who confessed to her first.
"Himari, I like you. Would you be my girlfriend?"
Those words elevated her to the sky. She happily accepted his confession before the spring break in her second year of high school.
They had been together for almost five years. Even when they were busy with university stuff, they would make time to meet from time to time.
Jun was a brilliant student. While most students sought jobs right after universities ended, he managed to get a spot for post-graduate studies abroad.
His place should be high above her.
She had to look up if she wanted to see him.
Himari suppressed a heavy sigh while closing her eyes. She lightly shook her head. When she opened them again, a resolve gleamed in her eyes.
Time and again, she thought of it but, because she loved him, she was unwilling to do so.
It seemed like it was pointless to keep holding on to her hope.
"Jun," She called. Her eyes were directly looking at him.
"...Yes," Jun was cautious as he answered her.
He understood he had made her waiting again, even though it was not his intention.
Himari smiled sadly. Her smile revealed a dimple on her right cheek, "Let's break up."
The man's eyes widened in surprise. His eyelids twitched, his jaw turned rigid.
"What do you mean?"
His voice was so low as if he was whispering to himself.
"I mean what I said," Himari was calm even though her heart was trembling greatly, "We are not suitable. Let's just end it here."
"No! I don't agree!" Jun shook his head.
How could they break up? They had been together for years?
How could she ask for a break up right before he left?
"Either you agree or not, let's just break up," Himari didn't let her expression waver, "You're destined to be a man with a great future. You'd be gone for years. While you're away, do you think your family would just let me be?"
Jun didn't have anything to say when Himari pointed out the problem that had always loomed over their relationship.
Even though they had been together for years, his family had never accepted Himari. They insisted to engage him to the daughter of a family's friend.
His mother and father loathed Himari's humble background. They looked down on her mother.
Over the years, his mother would often find Himari to force her to leave him. The humiliation Himari had to endure made Jun helpless.
He didn't have power over his family.
"The last two days, your mother came to see me," Himari chuckled softly, "She offered me money again, saying I'm not suitable to be with her promising son. Hehe, it really looked like a scene from a drama."
"I'll tell her off! I promise!"
Himari shook her head, "No. We just have to break up."
"But... how could we break up?" Jun didn't notice his eyes had turned red. His gaze was directed to Himari's calm face, "We love each other. This is not a reason why we should break up..."
Himari lowered her gaze. She looked at the paper bag that carried the packed food. An urge to laugh at herself suddenly came up.
She worked harder on her part-time jobs just for her to be able to save up money to celebrate Jun's going abroad. This was her first time booking a table in a five-star hotel. Since he would be gone soon, Himari wanted to give him a proper celebration but...
She didn't expect it would turn out this way.
Himari lifted up her gaze and once again looking at the man.
"Sometimes, love isn't enough," She smiled.
Before, she thought he was her world, the one who she would depend on her future days.
Yet, from time to time, that kind of thought would always cross her mind.
Was it worth it for her to carry this kind of love?
But, because her feelings would always overweight her thinking, she didn't think much of it.
She didn't dare because she knew the answer.
"It's true that I love you, but, Jun, if this continued I'd grow tired."
With love, it should come with security.
Yet, she didn't feel it whenever she was with him. Or rather, her sense of security gradually faded over the years.
"Himari, don't... Don't break up with me, okay?"
Jun was close to begging her. His tall stature hunched as he tried to hold her hand but Himari was quick to take a step back. Hurt flashed in his eyes.
"Maybe, my heart is too small to bear your love," Himari continued talking. The calmness of her face didn't mirror her heart that was currently breaking into pieces, "You could curse me as heartless. Even so, I want to thank you for all these years. You've given me a pleasant first love."
"Himari..." Jun was too choked up to say anything. His heart ached terribly especially when he saw how peaceful she was.
Himari showed him a sincere smile, "I pray for your success no matter where you go. Jun, farewell."
With the last words, Himari turned around. Jun kept shouting for her but she never stopped. Her small figure left the bright area of the grand hotel, walking into the darkness.
The orange lights coming from the lamp poles fell on her, gleaming her silent tears.
The five years of being together with her first love finally came to the end.
The pain was unbearable. But, she hoped as he was no longer in her sight, the pain would soften and the memories of him were blurred by time.
Himari quietly chose a place to sit down. It was dark around her but she didn't stop to think of her safety. Her finger pressed on a number displayed on the phone. Once the call was connected, she let out a depressing laugh.
"Hey, Nanako, I've set him free."
I'm excited to present my new book! Hope you'd enjoy it as much as I do hehe
For the starting, here are five chapters in one go! Enjoy ;)