Beatrice was certain her hands were still shaking. Shaking not because of the cool weather at night, or because of how darn heavy all the books were, but because of that girl.
Her name was Emi.
Wow; just wow. In all her life, Beatrice had never met someone so… distracting. As hard as she tried, she just couldn’t manage to take her mind away from the gorgeous human being who had sat right next to her. As interesting as her books were supposed to be, she barely read a chapter her entire time at the library.
Emi herself seemed incredibly distracted about something too. From the way she hastily left the library, there must have been something important weighing on her mind. She seemed like such a serious person.
She and her Dad entered the apartment and she set down her satchel full of academic religious texts. “I want to meet her again,” she mumbled to herself.
“What was that?” Beatrice’s Mom asked, in the kitchen area baking a shepherd’s pie.
“I said, uh, I want to eat here again,” she corrected. She was standing in the living room, right next to the dining table. “I mean– I like eating with you two. I love you so much.” She went over to give Mom a big hug, but her mom, holding a large meat pie in her hands, did not reciprocate.
“Are you okay?” Mom asked.
Dad gave out a hearty laugh. “She’s been acting like this all evening. We were walking back home, and I swear her face was blushing the whole way. I guess that wasn’t just her schoolbooks she was reading at the library.”
It was true her face had been blushing for a while after she left, though not in the gross way he was saying. She got almost no studying done whatsoever because of Emi.
Not to blame her, exactly, but… It’s hard to study when you’re right next to someone as pretty as Emi.
That handshake, though…
Beatrice couldn’t help but giggle again. How many girls introduced themselves with handshakes? It was one of the silliest things she’d encountered in a while. But even so, it set her heart aflutter, because it was just such a cute move. Emi seemed so prim and proper at first glance, but then just as you’d expect her to do some sort of “How do you do?” little curtsey she went and gave a handshake.
There was just something about her, that Emi.
Besides her marble-cut beauty, the painting-like proportions of perfect womanhood she represented, Emi had some kind of… aura about her. It was difficult to Beatrice to describe, especially without blushing in front of her parents. But she felt drawn to her, like if the two were connected by forces supernatural. Obviously that couldn’t actually be the case, but this feeling, this aura, acted so counter to that pale, stoic rich kid image she tried to convey. Instead, she projected this sort of– huggability?
Huggability sounded wrong, but it was the only word she could think of. Emi had every bit the essence of someone who Beatrice could warp her arms around and squeeze so she could make herself feel better. Feel better about how plain and boring she herself looked, maybe help herself stand out better by being literally connected to someone who was quite possibly a Goddess in human form who had descended into Tsubasa to see how her subjects lived their daily lives. She could hug a Goddess.
This sounded really weird and Beatrice didn’t want to think about it anymore. Luckily, the shepherd’s pie was ready.
The three of them sat down at the supper table together. Beatrice said a quick prayer to the Goddess Phyra and then they began each eating from their plates.
“Beatrice,” Mom said. “You will tell us if anything important happens in your life, won’t you?”
Ah, Beatrice blushed again. That was quick.
Did they suspect something? Well, obviously yes.
This would be the moment when many children of doting parents would rebel and make some growling rejection of their parents’ caring request, but Beatrice, her mouth full with mashed potatoes and fish, simply nodded.
“Good, because we’re always here when you need us,” Dad said. “When I was your age, I had it pretty rough. If I had had someone to talk to back then…”
“Then you wouldn’t have met me,” Mom said.
“Well, I guess that’s right. Oh, you.”
They nuzzled noses together. Beatrice tried really hard to ignore it. She loved them, but sometimes she couldn’t stand them.
Lovey-dovey couples were obnoxious, and Beatrice swore to the Gods she would never end up like that. She fantasized even at this moment about hugging Emi and smelling her sweet perfumed scent again, but she would never do that in front of others. Only in the privacy of… She wasn’t going to think about this anymore.
Beatrice swallowed a chunk of meat pie in one big gulp and then added, “Though… I do have a pretty important question.”
Her parents paused. “Yes, honey?” Dad asked, leaned forward as if she were about to announce a pregnancy.
“Is it normal for girls to introduce themselves with a handshake?”