Japan x Reader: Barrier 2
The Barrier series is dedicated to
It's been a few months since Kiku had become a student at your school. Senior graduation was just around the corner, and Kiku was showing a little stress over final exams. You had been his English tutor while he tutored you in everything else. He was a great teacher, but you noticed his English grades have not been up to standards lately. An idea formed in your mind. "Hey, Kiku?"
Kiku looked up from his Shakespeare book. "Hai,"
"Let's go get some frozen yogurt!" you offered, closing your study book.
"Frozen... Yogurt...?" he asked, unsure of what that was. You smiled; seeing him practice his English made you happy that he was willing to learn your culture.
"It's really yummy, I promise," you winked. A small blush played on his face.
"__________-san, study," he reminded you.
"We can take a break!" you smiled. "It'll be good for you."
Kiku looked back at his book. Still a bit unsure of the plan, he closed the book and followed you to your favorite frozen yogurt cafe. Kiku was immediately taken aback by how cute everything looked. He sampled a bit of yogurt and his face lit up. He was clearly glad he had gone. "Thank you, __________-san," he beamed.
"You're welcome!" you smiled. "It's good to relax a bit before a test. It helps you concentrate the next day." It was obvious Kiku had never heard of such a thing. The Japanese always strove for perfection, he had mentioned. Taking time off to relax was not an option until you had completed your work. It sounded a bit exhausting. But you were confident that Kiku would pass that final with flying colors if he stopped stressing over it.
There went your pride and joy, your most literate work of art--Kiku walked the stage with grace and mystery, accepting his diploma and walking back off the stage to be seated with the rest of the graduates. You and your mom cheered and clapped for the foreign exchange student who had come such a long way from when you first met him.
"Hey, so when are you gonna tell him?" your mom asked, poking your ribs.
"Tell him what?" you giggled, pushing her hand away.
"You know, tell him
! Tell him that you like him!"
You nearly choked on your own spit. "Mom! I don't! I mean, not like..." Hmm. Mom stumped you, didn't she? Come on, __________, think! Can you really say that you felt anything for Kiku? Well, he was cute beyond reason, and he was always so polite. He liked manga, and he taught you lots of things he had learned in Japan. Oh, who cares about the language barrier--he was perfect for you!
A blush came upon your face and refused to leave the rest of the day. So when Kiku found you after the ceremony, that was the first thing he noticed. "__________-san, are you alright? Do you have a fever?"
You snapped back to reality. "Eh? Oh, no I'm fine, Kiku," you stuttered.
Kiku smiled. "I'm glad. I wanted to ask you if you would like to accompany me and my family to dinner. They want to meet the woman who helped me get through school."
Sudden realization hit you like a falling comet. "Wait, your parents are here?" you exclaimed.
"Hai," Kiku nodded. "They came all the way from Japan to see me walk the stage."
You looked around but you could not see anyone that might have been Kiku's parents. "Uh, yeah, I'll go to dinner with you," you smiled, a blush forming on your face. This isn't a date, you assured yourself. Nope, definitely not a date.
The restaurant the Honda family chose to eat in was expansively fine. You almost felt out of place being in it, what with its fancy dining room and various foods you had never heard of. Kiku held your chair open for you and pushed it in as you sat down. He took a seat across the table from you, smiling slightly as his mother and father took their own respective seats. Mrs. Honda was very small and meek, silent as a decoration. She looked over you once, but her blank expression left you guessing of what she thought of you. You smiled, but she did not return it. Mr. Honda was also a small man, but he had a strong expression on his face. Though his son graduated from a high school in the United States and was suddenly eligible to work and continue his education in a foreign country, he had a hard expression, as if it was not enough. His aura emitted a feeling close to disappointment, and it sort of made you feel uncomfortable.
"It's very nice to meet you, __________-san," Kiku said, speaking for his father, who was whispering things into his son's ear. "I am very grateful that you decided to help my son with his work." Kiku suddenly looked away. "We were very confident he would graduate with honors." You looked at Kiku. He had indeed graduated with the highest honors, placing as one of the top ten of his class. Had you missed something?
"It's very nice to meet you too, Mr. Honda," you smiled. Kiku translated.
Most of the meal was spent in silence. It felt a bit awkward; you were so accustomed to talking with others as you ate (usually with your mother, and the topic was your day in school). The silence was almost unbearable. At last, over dessert, Mr. Honda spoke. "Kiku tells me you are a bright young woman," Kiku translated. his face a little red. "What do you want to study in college?"
You smiled, grateful for the break in silence. "I want to study __________." You elaborated a little on what you loved most about your selected career.
Mr. Honda never broke his small smile as you explained. He whispered something to Kiku. "My father says you a very talkative," he said as he dropped his gaze. "He said you would do well in a career that involved politics."
You froze; was that supposed to encourage you or discourage you? Since when was talking a bad thing? You chanced a glance to your right, where Kiku's mother was silently enjoying her dessert. She had not spoken all day. Were you supposed to be silent, like Kiku's tiny mother?
Before you could protest, however, Mr. Honda stood, and his wife followed suit. He said something in Japanese. You couldn't understand much of what he said, but you heard a name in his sentence. After that, the couple exited the restaurant, leaving you and Kiku to finish dessert alone. "Gomenasai," Kiku whispered. He looked a bit embarrassed.
You tried your best to decode what Mr. Honda had said last. But only the name stayed in your head. "Kiku," you began. He looked up at you. "Who is Mei?"
Kiku held his forehead in his wrists. He finally looked up at you. "Mei is... she is someone who had been living with my parents for a few years now. She's originally from Taiwan. And..." he looked away. "She is also the woman I am to marry."
A sharp knife stabbed you in the chest. "M-marry?" you repeated, as if you had not heard correctly.
Kiku nodded slowly. "Hai. She is the woman my parents had decided would be my wife, and the mother of my children. And nothing will change that."
You stared at Kiku in disbelief. He had never told you about Mei. More importantly, there was nothing you could do about it. "I... I see..." You stood and placed your napkin on the table. "I suppose I should get going then." You held your hand out to him; he took it. "It was very nice to meet you, Kiku." You shook hands, though your grip was a little weaker than you had intended. You turned on your heel, forcing back tears and left Kiku alone, making your way out of the restaurant.
Right outside was Mr. Honda, who was enjoying a cigarette, accompanied by his ever-silent wife. You stopped in front of them; they appeared to not notice. "Shitsureishimashita," you spoke loud enough for them to hear. When they both turned, you had placed your hands in front of your lap and were bowing impressively low. "Shinyu no tame ni, gomenasai."
You didn't even wait for them to answer--you took off running with all your might. You wanted to get away from them, from Kiku, from reality. You heart felt like it would burst; he was getting married... married
! How could you have been so stupid as to fantasize with him holding you and telling you he loved you... You should have known there was someone else in his life. You let your imagination get the best of you, and now no amount of imagination would free your heart from its cage--it was destined to be destroyed from the start.
"Chichi," Kiku started as he met up with his parents outside the restaurant. His expression was empty, and he tried his best to force back tears. "No o kitaku sa seta."