"I don’t," he stated, as if it weren’t obvious enough. He knew that Aiko from time to time was uncomfortable in RIrishiyo’s house, but he didn’t really care. He knew that if Aiko left one day, even if he said he was going to be gone forever, he’d come back. It’s like a loop.
He noticed from the beginning that Aiko didn’t want Ririshiyo to start talking to him, distracting him from the book, but it couldn’t really be helped because if Ririshiyo wanted some attention he would get it, and that’s just how it was. In Ririshiyo’s mind, that was a rule. If he’s going to be given the cold shoulder than you might as well just dig your own grave. “I don’t want anything,” he answered simply, with a shrug of his shoulders.
"But it is boring in here because you’ve had your eyes on that book for a lot of hours," he sat with his legs spread apart, then noticed he was wearing a skirt, and sat neatly again. Ririshiyo didn’t exactly know how long Aiko was reading but he did know that he was reading it when Ririshiyo woke up, which was no less than an hour ago. An hour too long. "Do you read those kind of novels to fill up some sort of empty void inside your heart?"
He scoffed at Aiko, obviously not really giving a damn whether or not that question was too personal or not, it didn’t matter anyway. Those kind of questions weren’t uncomfortable for Riri, so why should it be uncomfortable for Aiko? He played it off as if what he just said was some kind of funny joke, but still expected an answer.
…An empty void inside your heart? The words echoed uncomfortably through his ears, a ringing sound shooting through his brain. Aiko couldn’t help but feel a stab of pain target him as Ririshiyo smirked at him. Whether it was a joke or not, Aiko couldn’t tell. It was always hard distinguishing between Ririshiyo’s cruel words and his meaningless jokes. The look on his face suddenly made him feel worse.
"There’s something about romance novels," Aiko stated, shrugging his shoulders. "Love is difficult to describe… I think if anybody can write a good book about it, they must be an incredible author." The seventeen-year-old boy stood up from the ground, placing the book onto a wooden shelf of others, ones that he most likely already read.
Ririshiyo always made Aiko feel so insecure. It almost reminded him of the crude memories he shared with his parents.
But something made Aiko stay with Ririshiyo. There was like a tether between them, and Aiko kept on swinging back to him, no matter what the case was. He expected the couple life to be different… Ririshiyo was the first person he did have a serious relationship with. Then again, Ririshiyo was never really the one he actually desired.
"What kind of books do you like to read?" he asked, giving him a small smile as he turned the attention towards Ririshiyo.
It was so quiet today, almost unbearably quiet. Probably because it was Saturday, and on Saturdays everyone is tired because of school and so they either lounge around or they have some sort of party. With Aiko, he would lounge around, obviously. Ririshiyo didn’t want to go out and party (or whatever teenagers did on Saturday) but he also didn’t want to be ignored, either.
And so he plopped right down next to Aiko, invading his personal space, aware of it. “What are you reading?” he asked. His tone of voice made it obvious he wasn’t very interested at all and could really care less about what Aiko was doing. The first thing he noticed about the novel was that it was in the romance genre, not exactly Ririshiyo’s favorite kind of book but whatever floats Aiko’s boat, he supposed.
"Why are you reading romance?" Is Aiko maybe pathetic enough to resort to reading lovey dovey things because Ririshiyo doesn’t give anything to him? Perhaps. Aiko is kind of, well, dumb. Whether he’s dumb because he’s so oblivious to a lot of things or dumb because he can be very mean for not really any reason at all, Aiko is dumb. And in Ririshiyo’s opinion, romance is unnecessary and not needed.
Saturdays were always Aiko’s least favorite day of the week. He didn’t particularly enjoy going to school, but he did like the fact that he was able to socialize with his friends, have fun, and be able to spend time with other people. It gave him a sense of meaningfulness. As the five days of school would roll by, Aiko would usually find himself sitting near his bedroom window, dully staring through the hardened glass that separated him from the reality of the world.
He didn’t have to stay here. He had the option to get up from the cold, clench of the wooden seat, walk out of the cookie-cutter house, and explore the urban city for a bit. He never knew why he ever enjoyed staying at Ririshiyo’s house—he didn’t. It was weird, living there with Ririshiyo. His lifestyle was so different and so absurd from everyone else’s that it almost made Aiko feel isolated from the rest of humanity. A part of him always felt trapped in their deserted, dark, and desolate home, the reason being clouded by a small feeling of hopefulness and desperation.
"I like reading romance novels," Aiko responded, interrupting the silence that the room once harbored, not taking his eyes from the hard-covered book that lay in his lap. "A lot of people do." He slowly flipped to the next page, feeling Ririshiyo stare at him with ridicule, making him feel alienated and upset. Had he not done this, Aiko wouldn’t have felt self-conscious of himself at the moment. He trailed his expectant eyes towards Ririshiyo’s cool, grey ones, and shut his book.
"What do you want?" he asked, his voice monotone. He wasn’t angered by Ririshiyo in any way, but Aiko didn’t feel the need to act sweet at the moment.
His serene Saturday morning was quickly slipping away from him, and the book he was reading was the only thing that allowed him to stay focused until Monday arrived. Obviously Ririshiyo didn’t really care about disturbing him, so as long as he took his eyes off the novel he was reading.
Aiko couldn’t wait for Monday.
"Um," he stared up at the menu and the delicious smell of food was all around him. The idea of having noodles or fried rice immediately captured his attention, he wasn’t paying attention to the prices of anything and only to what seemed the most delicious. There were also all kinds of deserts, too, which was even greater. This festival seemed to have everything, from clothing and accessories to any kind of food you could think of. It was great.
Ririshiyo’s first time at a festival was certainly a good one so far— there were booths filled with many things, almost endless things, and it still somewhat amazed him that something like this actually happened and it was so much fun. He would definitely go again, and he wondered why he hasn’t before.
”..Noodles?” he finally replied. It was hard for him to choose between rice and noodles, since they were both so delicious. He bet the noodles here would be the most delicious than any other, because this was a festival and all the food smelled so good. After all of this, it was hard to believe that festivals were even real. They were just so neat.
Aiko glimpsed up at the booth’s menu, his cognac eyes surveying the list of foods and prices. If you got a soup bowl of noodles, some meat and vegetables, it only costed the measly price of five dollars. He smiled at Ririshiyo and nodded his head. “Alright. I’ll get you that, then,” he said, rather relieved that he didn’t choose anything that was expensive.
When it was their turn to order, Aiko decided to speak up, stating what the both of them wanted to eat. Within just a few minutes, the two of them had their designated dishes in their hands and walked towards one of the tables in the festival. All of the tables were outside; any form of protection that sheltered them from the weather or animals were nonexistent.
"Let’s sit here," he suggested, already seating himself down on the benches. Aiko placed his dish down, staring at the fish and noodles he’d ordered. So far, he’d only spent around twenty dollars. Knowing fully well that soon, the festival would end within an hour, he was positive that there wouldn’t be much wasted.
With that happy thought in his mind, Aiko began to dig in.
"Thanks," Ririshiyo smiled at Aiko. His guilt somewhat faded away about Aiko buying him things, as he realized that most couples would buy each other things. Or it was always the boyfriend who did— but then, Ririshiyo was also Aiko’s boyfriend, so he thought that he should by Aiko something, too. Except he didn’t have a job and he had no money and it was Aiko or Dae who would always buy him things.
He supposed it wasn’t anything he himself could help, though. But, yeah, he could find a job and earn some money, it was just that he didn’t really want to and he wasn’t sure what kind of job he’d even be very good at. From time to time he felt a little bad and thought maybe he was a lousy boyfriend, he never seemed to energetic or participating and never exactly initiated conversations very well (he wasn’t much good at talking either), and was a little awful at showing his feelings.
It seemed like that was something that somewhat irritated Aiko sometimes, but he never left Ririshiyo for it, and thank god for that. He wished that he was more outgoing, but he was just sort of an introvert and he never really had many friends growing up. It was fine, though.
As soon as Aiko mentioned eating, his stomach growled. “Sure,” he agreed, wondering what kind of food there was. There seemed to be a lot of meat and then ice cream and things like that. He could smell food everywhere.
Lightly nudging Ririshiyo in the direction of a food booth, Aiko’s hunger for food only turned ravenous. There were many kinds of eateries, those of which included of deserts, such as brownies, ice creams, crepes, fruit tarts, breads, and cakes; supper, which consisted of foods from all over the world, and drinks, including water, juice, and soda. Taking Ririshiyo by the hand, Aiko led him towards the one that sold dinner, seeing as that was the one with least people in the line.
"What would you like to eat?" he asked, looking up at the menu. They had food he’d never even heard of before— the names he couldn’t pronounce probably came from faraway, foreign lands— and many different varieties as well. He was almost surprised to see all of them at once. "Wow."
Was Ririshiyo going to get something expensive? Aiko hoped not; it was selfish to wish that, but knowing that he wasn’t so high on money at the moment, it was difficult not to. Perhaps he could get an inexpensive dish for himself?
Aiko silently sighed through his nostrils. He was being crazy. Stupid, even. The only fair thing to do was to have fun with his boyfriend— considering the fact that Ririshiyo and him almost never went out, this day was supposed to be perfect. It had to be perfect.
Ririshiyo scrunched up his nose at Aiko’s bad joke, but he decided not to say anything about it and just looked away from him and back to all the accessories and such. It was meaningless talking about how awful his jokes were because you’d just hurt his feelings and it would really lead you know where, anyway.
Like always, he would slightly flinch anytime Aiko would do something like put his arm around Ririshiyo or hug him or any physical contact that was more than holding hands. But he certainly didn’t mind it, he just wasn’t used to it. He inhaled and his eyes continued to wander about the booth full of cute things that were very pleasing to Ririshiyo’s eyes. He noticed he was in a tough situation when he realized he liked lip gloss just as much as he liked the little hair bows and had no idea what he should get.
But he had at least fifty things of lip gloss, it was probably time to switch it up. “I suppose a little pink hair bow would be fine,” he decided, finally. He decided not to get any thing else, he didn’t want to make Aiko buy so many things for him. He felt greedy, but he appreciated the thought.
Aiko nodded his head and smiled at Ririshiyo. It was good that he got the hair bow; he didn’t have many accessories anyway. “Alright,” he answered, some sort of a cheerful feeling enveloping his mood. He never thought he was able to experience this sort of happiness with somebody, especially Ririshiyo of all people.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t love him; if anything, it was the total opposite. Aiko thought that Ririshiyo was magnificent, and practically everything someone would ask for in a boyfriend. Truth be told, he hadn’t felt this way towards anybody in a while… In spite of his feelings for Ririshiyo, it had occurred to him many times before that he was somewhat socially inept and a lot more introverted than others.
Although this never really bothered Aiko before, he always wished that he would become more outgoing. It wasn’t exactly fun hanging out with someone who kept to themselves and wasn’t as expressive as others; sometimes it could be a bit boring.
"Alright," Aiko said, grinning down at him. "I’ll get you it." After he purchased the pink hair bow for Ririshiyo, he looked around the rest of the festival, noticing that around this time, the food booths were emptying up. "Would you like to eat?"
Ririshiyo wasn’t really sure what Aiko was talking about, but he just shrugged it off, deciding to ignore it. He stared at all of the booths with accessories— and there were even some with clothes and things like that. He continued walking with Aiko, looking around some more at all the different kinds of things that he could buy. “I don’t know where to shop at,” he said. “Accessories will be fine, though,”
Of course, even while looking at everything he didn’t know what kind of stuff he should buy. There were bracelets and hair accessories and all kinds of cute little things. There were even some bags, too. He looked up at Aiko for a while, wondering what he was going to do. After a minute, his eyes wandered back to the booths and he looked through them before making any decisions.
"There’s so much things," he spoke, in almost a whisper, gazing at everything there was. There were little glow sticks, too, and balloons and basically anything fun things you could think of buying at the booths. Clothes, toys, anything. Even food. Anything, almost like a convenience store.
"What do you buy here?” he asked, not taking his eyes off of anything neat he’d seen. “There’s a lot of things,” he said. His eyes were widening more and more and he didn’t know if he was ever going to reach a decision of what to buy.
A small smile spread itself on Aiko’s lips as he noticed the interest Ririshiyo had for the accessories booth. It looked as if he had nothing to worry about; the sixteen-year-old had been nothing but a joy in the festival, and if anything, he seemed more than happy to be there with him. Aiko relaxed and placed an arm around Ririshiyo.
"I wouldn’t know; there’s only girl stuff here," he responded. "And I’m most definitely not a girl!" It was a joke, but not at all jokes were funny— especially ones that came from Aiko. He bent down, staring at all of the stuff there was in the booth. There were bracelets, necklaces, ornaments, hair clips, lip gloss, head bands, and so much more. Even Aiko was surprised by this large assortment.
"W-Wow," Aiko muttered, his chocolate brown eyes taking in the view before him. "That’s… a lot.” He stared down at his boyfriend, a part of him hoping that he wouldn’t ask him to buy a lot. Alas, it was Ririshiyo, and Ririshiyo was definitely not one of those high-maintenance people.
And then, with a hesitant sigh, Aiko said, “You can buy whatever you want here. It will be my treat.” He smiled at him, knowing that July 4th only came once a year, and that it was a treat within itself knowing that Ririshiyo was here with him to celebrate the holidays.
Ririshiyo could smell food, but he didn’t know that there would actually be food. He was excited for that, and for buying stuff too, of course. “Sure,” he agreed, trying to make his tone of voice sound lighter. He was happy, but he knew his tone never really sounded happy.
Festivals were such a weird idea— there’s booths with games, food, and things you can buy. You could basically live at one if you had enough money, and if there was a booth for jobs. You could live in a booth. Not that he wanted to, but it seemed like a pretty good idea if you were homeless. Perhaps there are festivals that go on forever and there are homeless people who live there? As much as he wanted to know the answer to that, he decided not to ask anything that went that far.
"I wonder if there’s other festivals," he spoke. He stared at everyone wandering around eating and setting off little fireworks a little further away, and wondered if this is something people do at every single festival, or if it’s different for each one. Maybe there’s a Halloween festival or a Christmas festival, or a Valentine’s festival? There could be so many festivals with so much to do.
"Weird," he mumbled to himself. But the idea was exciting and this wasn’t something he ever did before. The word “festival" though sounded familiar, so maybe he went to one much more when he was a child. He did a lot more things when he was a child than now. And then he started to wonder if Aiko went to festivals all the time, and what kind of festivals. It’d be silly if there were only one festival, Aiko must have went to a lot of them. And he was probably a professional with them, too.
Aiko wondered what Ririshiyo was thinking inside his mind. He knew that he could be kind of strange at times, but lately, he was beginning to realize a change in his attention span, as if he was in a weird daze. Aiko paused for a long while, unable to say anything else to him, as he, too, began to stare at the festival. The place looked very lovely; every where they looked, they would be greeted with bright lights, some Fourth of July-themed fireworks, and colors of every kind.
He viewed the area with a watchful eye, noticing that a few of the food booths were being set up. Although they weren’t entirely ready, a lot of people already lined up to them, eager to see what was going to be in store for them. Aiko sighed. It looked as if Ririshiyo and him wouldn’t be able to get in line now; the only available booths now had games or accessories.
"Don’t worry," he said, in spite of Ririshiyo never saying anything about the food stalls. "Now, we can just look at a bunch of toys and jewelry—or whatever you want. I don’t really mind. Where would you like to shop at?" Aiko smiled at him, feeling much better than before. He’d always felt happy at the festival, but now that he was there with him, he began to feel better.
Was Aiko still trying to force Ririshiyo into being here? As their time at the festival began to progress, he seemed to be more joyful and cheerful. Hopefully, Ririshiyo was here on his own time, and not just because Aiko was pressuring him into doing anything.