Written by : ScrambledOmelets#0484 & 🌸Rowan🌸#7195 As I walked through the grove of orange and yellow trees, I felt the crunch of leaves under my boots. The cool, crisp autumn air passed by me, and I set down the wicker picnic basket I had packed under a tree. I brushed my pink hair back, deciding where to place everything. The picnic blanket was stretched across the grass, giving a slight cushion for us to sit on. I chuckled, thinking about the rather cute barista I invited with me, placing the plates of sandwiches and sodas on the blanket, trying to make it look as nice as possible. I adjusted the collar of my white button-up shirt, trying to calm the nerves I had bubbling under my calm exterior.
I checked my watch after sitting on the red and white checkered blanket, feeling content as I realized it was close to the meeting time. Suddenly a shadow covered my watch, blocking the warm rays of the fall sun from hitting my person. I looked up to see the barista that I was waiting for. His black hair shone in the bright, yellow rays, giving a beautiful glow to his person.
"Ah, Jyuu! I'm very glad you made it. I must also say you look amazing as well!" My voice almost shook as I stood up quickly to meet him.
“Hi Niko,” he said. Jyuu stared at me for a moment, almost seeming to zone out. “You look nice too,” he finally mumbled.
Fully taking in his appearance, I noted his monochromatic turtleneck sweater and pants before finally stopping at his eyes. I tried not to focus on those glittering dark gems as I offered a spot on the picnic blanket to him. He seemed unfocused, and I wanted to get him out of the sun into a shaded part.
"You just got here, so have a seat. I made a few different lunch options for us to eat. How was the ride here?" I take a seat in the sunny area, sliding my sunglasses farther up.
He obediently sat across from me, crossing his legs. “I walked here. It helped to get my legs moving after standing around for a couple of hours. It’s such a nice day out too…” Jyuu smiled to himself before glancing at the picnic basket. “So, umm, what food do we have?”
I clapped my hands once with a grin. "Well first we have sandwiches, but I didn't know which kind you liked so I made a BLT. We have a few sweets, like cupcakes and cookies—I even brought a few drinks of water to keep us hydrated. It's not much, and I apologize for it." I scratched my head sheepishly, it finally dawning on me how little I packed.
I handed an empty plate to the taller male. Adding a few portions to my plate, I watched Jyuu choose his own different parts of the picnic meal, but I noticed his stiffness and how zoned out he was.
"I do want to ask if there is anything you'd like to do after we eat to relax more. I love a pleasant stroll through the park because the leaves change to such beautiful colors," I noted, grabbing a water bottle.
“Oh, um,” he started. “I did a little research on this park yesterday, and I uncovered that it’s quite famous for its large lake. A common activity is skipping stones across tranquil waters. I’d like to try that.”
While I took a small bite of my sandwich, I nodded with an enormous smile. ”I know that area! As a kid, I went there a lot. I can definitely take you there and teach you how to skip rocks,” I offered, glad to show something that I can do easily.
He smiled back at me, finally seeming to relax. “Okay!”
I chuckled, finding his smile adorable sliding him a plate that held a small cupcake as I put my empty one in the basket. I couldn’t help but stop to admire him a bit more, taking in his smile and noting how kind and soft he looked.
“Once you feel up to it I’ll pack everything up and we can head over there. It’s a beautiful area, but it doesn’t compare to your eyes.” I attempted smooth talk, but it came out a shaky flirt.
Jyuu seemed to ignore me, busying himself with the cupcake wrapper. After a moment he said, “I’d beg to differ, for your hair is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on.” He looked up at me as he took a bite of the pastry.
I froze, feeling my cheeks turn a deep, rosy pink at the small comment; simultaneously, my breath caught in my throat, forcing me to cough into my elbow. I started to put away the food and plates, trying to think of a comeback that would be just as impressive. Finally, I felt as if a lightbulb turned on above my head, sitting the basket away and turning to face Jyuu again.
“Well, I must say that is impossible if you haven’t looked in a mirror. Your smile is just as beautiful as the shining sun,” I point out, sliding my sunglasses off and giving him a wink.
This time, Jyuu was the one who froze, pausing mid-chew. His ears turned an interesting shade of red as he looked anywhere but at me. “I was smiling?” he muttered. “No one has ever complimented me on this feature before…”
I internally fist-pumped seeing his ears change color. I stood up confidently, holding my hand out to him with a warm-hearted laugh. “Let’s get going to the lake then, yeah?”
He finished up his cupcake and brushed off any crumbs before taking my hand. As I pull him to his feet, I gave him a gentle kiss on his knuckles. I pulled away, grabbed the blanket, folded it into a small square, and placed it in the basket. I stood back up, holding the basket in one hand and holding my elbow out, nodding gently.
“Shall we?” I inquire to the ravenette watching his reaction.
Jyuu had zoned out again, lightly tracing his knuckles. He jumped slightly as my words woke him up. “Lead the way,” he said, slipping his arm into mine.
My lips pulled into the widest grin, causing my cheeks to hurt. As I led the way to the lake I took in all the bright, beautiful scenery that lay before the two of us. I looked over to see his reaction while we walked down a small unused path, leading to a shaded area by the lake. My heart swelled at the sight of his eyes growing in awe at the lake, giving me time to sit the basket down and join him.
I questioned him with a curious tone, “What do you think? It’s beautiful, right? I haven’t shown anyone this spot since I was a young child, but I do love it. It’s like my own little safe place to escape to.” I felt my body relax as the wind swept past us.
"It's perfect," Jyuu sighed. "I wish I knew of such a place when I was, umm, researching the laboratory that experimented on me." He looks down at his hands. "Someplace like this would have helped me destress majorly."
I stared at him with a worried expression, but I formed it into a smile as I slid my hand into his with a reassuring squeeze. I took the chance to pick up a flat rock for him to use, placing it in his other hand.
“Thanks,” he mumbled. He takes a deep breath, and soon enough, another smile tugged at his lips. “Okay! So, uhh, stone skipping. I’ve watched a few videos, but it’s a lot different actually doing it.” He repeatedly flipped the rock around in his hand. “Didn’t know that stones could get so smooth either…”
I chuckled lightly as I stood behind him. My hand snaked around his that held the smooth rock, resting my chin on his shoulder as I guided his hand in the wrist-flicking motion to get the perfect skip. I wrapped my arm around his waist, just wanting to cheer him up and teach him something new. Hopefully, he doesn't mind.
“It can be a bit difficult to understand, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it for life,” I replied, smiling at him.
I felt Jyuu go stock still under my touch. A quick glance reveals that his entire face is a deep crimson. "Uhm! C-could we, uhh," he started. "Could we throw the first stone like this? Together?"
I nodded as I gave his hand a reassuring squeeze, replying softly, ”Of course, we can. I’m ready for when you are.”
I gently kissed his cheek on instinct, but I tried to play it off like I was more confident than I was. The truth was I was nervous. I had no clue why I kissed him, but I didn’t regret the decision at all. I was very happy with it if I was, to be honest with myself. I continued to sway his hand back and forth.
In the middle of one of the swings, Jyuuichi abruptly let go of the rock. It skipped once before sinking into the water with a plunk.
"Sorry," he stuttered. "I'm just really… distracted."
"No, no! You did great for your first time." I give him an encouraging cuddle. "Want to try again?"
"Could you kiss me again?" Jyuu asked, his voice nearly inaudible.
My breath was caught away by his directness, but I covered it up with a laugh. “Asking questions like that on our first date? If I knew you were that type of guy, I would have worn something different,” I said. Yikes. Not my smoothest line.
He glanced at me before focusing back on the water. “I just need one more reference action to replicate it properly one day. Not to mention, it felt kind of nice,” he trailed off.
A mixture of relief and excitement quickly drowned out my uneasiness. I'm so glad he asked. “Well, I will give you two more ‘reference actions’ for a grand total of three,” I said, smirking.
“Okay,” Jyuu replied, smiling slightly.
I think I might have gotten a little too out of hand as I gave him two more pecks on the cheek. But I couldn't blame myself for how cute he was.
“How was that?” I asked, staring up at him.
“Really, really nice,” he beamed.
It felt like my heart was doing summersaults as I matched his smile. “Well, shall we continue skipping stones or…?”
“The former,” he replied, squatting down to look for another rock from the riverbank. “This time.”
I adjusted my sunglasses with a shaky hand as if that would improve my hearing. “This time?”
“Mhm!” Jyuu nodded. He looked up at me, appearing completely at ease with his small smile. “I would like to do this again sometime if that’s okay with you.”
I was about to start doing a victory dance right then and there. But I managed to condense it down into a light chuckle. “Of course, it’s alright with me! After I finish my upcoming case, you’ll be the first person I contact.”
“Thanks.” He stood and showed me another rock, looking a little puzzled. “Also, this one should be good, right?”
I nodded and Jyuu smiled. I silently take his hand again as we both face the lake. The scene couldn’t get any more perfect. The breeze pulled reddish-orange leaves through the air. The golden sun peeked past the tree trunks on the opposite bank.
And then there were the two of us in the midst of it all, together.