Abbey at night
A Night Out
Chapter information

The Haunting Burden



Written by




Release date

May 14, 2014

Last chapter

Chapter 4 - New Home

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Chapter 6 - Surprises

Day 202,

It's officially been a week since Wakato and I have began living with the Shimabukuro family. I've really enjoyed myself here so far. It's been really great helping Mrs. Shimabukuro out with cooking and cleaning. Wakato has been doing his fair share of work too. It feels really nice to help others out. Who knew that even rich people had it hard? And by rich people, I mean the richest people in Gaoling. Maybe even the whole world. A few days ago, Ryoma told me that not all rich people are mean, and I've never felt this safe and happy in a long time. I still feel upset about leaving mom behind, but it's what I had to do. All I can hope is that she's doing alright. I never want to leave this place.
- Naomi

I jump at the sound of a knock at my door. I quickly grab a hold of my book and pen, and stuff them into my bag on the shelf. When I open the door, Ryoma is standing right in front of me with the biggest grin across his face. It's always nice to have him around the house. He seems to make everyday so much brighter. He looks pretty tired from work; he hasn't even taken off his apron yet. Not only that, but what was once a blinding white apron is now full of tea and grease stains. Sweat is running down his face. And yet, here he is face to face with me, happier than ever. Could Ryoma be any more mysterious?

"Nice apron," I comment smugly.

Ryoma lets out a small laugh through his nostrils. "Thanks. It wasn't the most easy going day at work, but I've had worse. Anyway, I was wondering if I could ask you something?"

Ask me something? What on Earth could he want to ask?

"Would you and Wakato like to hang out tonight? Ya know, outside of my house and further into town?"

"I'd love to and I'm sure Wakato would love to join in."

"That's great. I just figured since you've been here a week and have been helping out a lot, maybe I could treat you two to a night out in Gaoling."

On the outside, I'm smiling. I can't wait to finally know my way around town more. On the inside, I'm scared. Everyone in this city is rich. They look fancy, feel fancy, and I....don't. I don't know what being rich is like. Maybe I'm living in a house with a rich family, but they're regular people just like Wakato and I. Going out there the way I look would be public suicide. I want to go out and face the world as myself, but Gaoling has always been a place where I've feared to be in. Now that I'm here, I'm afraid of being judged. Why did I come here? How come I dragged not just myself, but my brother into this town?

"Oh, that reminds me!" Ryoma exclaims, breaking my train of thought. "My mom said that you could borrow one of her dresses."

My eyes widen. It's like he was reading my thoughts. This family truly understands that Wakato and I are on the edge of poverty.

"Great," I reply.

A few hours go by, and sunset is starting to occur. Mrs. Shimabukuro took the time to lay out three fancy dresses across my bed. All of them are so elegant that it's hard to pick one to wear. The first one is a dark, forest green with some golden edgings around the bottom and collar. The second is more of a regular green with black splots as the texture. The texture reminds me of what happens when a drop of blood hits a puddle; it spreads out. The final dress is a green-yellow color with a huge, bright green bowtie for a belt. I'd say out of all the dresses, the third one is the most casual, but Ryoma won't tell me where he's taking Wakato and I, so I don't know if my outfit should be more classy. If only I had brought the dress mother bought for me; I'd wear it tonight in a heartbeat.

Oh mother. It seems like an eternity since I've last seen her. I wonder how she's been coping with the fact that her children have left her behind without a single goodbye. We should've left her a note. Just something as simple as that would've shown her that we still love her. I can only promise myself to go back to Chin Village someday.

The three dresses continue to be in front of my face as if they are pressuring me to choose them and not the other. When it comes to decisions that should be so easy to make, I for some reason can't make up my mind. I just have to narrow it down to the one that I'll regret not choosing. The first one is much too fancy and I'd hate myself if I got even the smallest drop of mud on it. The second one is nice, but it just seems a little out of character even for me. The third one...the third one seems like an attire I could wear and not feel the most socially awkward in.

I quickly get myself undressed from my regular clothing and into the silkiest feeling dress I've ever felt. The bow has a rougher feel to it; a thicker material than I would've guessed, but it compliments the dress nonetheless. Before I exit my room, I take the comb out of my bag and start to make my hair look fairly decent. Despite the numerous times I comb through my long, black hair, it still seems like it would take a miracle to make it look manageable.

When I walk out of the room, I take a deep breath, feeling good that no one is looking at me right now. Not because I think I look absolutely terrible, but more because it's just nice not having someone at my feet the second I slip into a more sophisticated looking outfit. All I need are my shoes and I'll be rea--

"My my, don't you look nice this evening," Mrs. Shimabukuro boomed down the hall, making me lose my train of thought.

"Thank you. I'm just gonna grab my boots. Tell Ryoma I'll be right out."

"Oh, don't bother, I just found these old pairs of sandals under my bed. I thought maybe they'd be perfect for you tonight."

I'm a little skeptic about the shoes. I like them, but they look a little small for me. I was shocked enough to know that the dress was a perfect fit. But how could I turn down Mrs. Shimabukuro's offer? She's the sweetest lady in all of Gaoling. She hands the sandals to me, and all I can do is sit myself down on the floor and slip them on. What do you know: another perfect fit. Mrs. Shimabukuro offers her hands to help me up, and I grab onto to her wrists for support. As we make eye contact, tears start to fill Mrs. Shimabukuro's eyes.

"You remind me of myself at your age," she says holding back tears. "You know, I wore that same dress when I first met Hayao."

"Mr. Shimabukuro, I assume."

"Yes. I decided to go out for a bite alone when I was approached by this boy. He told me that he didn't like seeing people by themselves and well, the rest is history from there."

Before I can even say something back, Wakato steps out of his room with his normal clothing on. He takes note of my appearance and looks rather startled by the presence of Mrs. Shimabukuro.

"My husband left out a couple pieces of his clothing for you," she says somewhat strictly.

"I tried them on, but they were too big. I'll just roam around in this."

If only I could have the courage to the same myself.

Out of nowhere, Ryoma appears from around the corner, staring at me. He looks me up and down, unable to focus on anything else. I think I can see a little pink forming onto to cheeks as he tries to hold his jaw into place from falling. He walks closer to me and slowly lifts his arms into the air, but drops them, unable to speak. I hear a little gulp go down his mouth and travel through his throat.

" look...very nice tonight," Ryoma finally spits out, clearing his throat.

"Thank you. You too," I answer back. I didn't really take much time to notice due to waiting for him to say something, but he actually looks charming tonight. He's wearing a white shirt with a green overcoat and dark green pants with brown shoes. His hair is also pulled back. He really knows how to clean up considering the first time I saw him today he was wearing a dirty apron.

"You three have fun tonight. I want all of you back home before it gets too late," Mrs. Shimabukuro instructs.

"Don't worry, mom. I just want to show them around town and grab a quick bite," Ryoma replies as we all head for the door.

I couldn't feel more free leaving the house. It's nice to get a break from Ryoma's parents, even if they are nice people. Plus, it feels good getting to know Ryoma alone. Okay, alone with Wakato, but more in his element

"So, where are we headed first?" Wakato asks, breaking the silence between all of us.

Ryoma smiles. "You'll just have to wait and find out. Tonight is going to be full of surprises."

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