Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Common ❯ Part III: Call to Innocence: Chapter Four: A Strange Beauty ( Chapter 30 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Four: A Strange Beauty:
Atticus couldn't sleep last night. He seemed distracted at home.
“What's wrong, dear?” Aoi asked. Her husband looked up.
“Huh?” Atticus asked. Aoi and the kids stared at him. The man nervously laughed.
“Oh,” he said.
“Are you feeling okay?” Aoi asked.
“Uh… yeah, yeah,” Atticus said.
“Long day?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “Excuse me. Thanks for dinner.” Atticus bowed his head and set down his chopsticks.
“Honey?” Aoi asked. Atticus stood up and walked out of the dining room. He disappeared down the hall and closed the door of his room. Meanwhile Aoi sat at the table with a worried look on her face.
The next morning put Atticus in a weird place. His body went through the motions. Got up, showered, brushed his teeth, got dressed, and ate breakfast. He looked so out of it. Aoi wished that she could help him.
“Honey, what's wrong? Talk to me,” she pleaded. Atticus gave her a tired look. He didn't speak. The man barely ate.
“I'm leaving now,” Atticus said as he walked to the front door.
“Have a good day,” Aoi said. Atticus walked out the door. He could already guess how this day would play out.
The trading company looked more active than it always had in years. Atticus looked at the people walking around. He seemed to come to life if only for a second. So far, she wasn't in sight. But what would she even look like? He only had a name. Sonohara Hiroka. Why did she reach out to him?
“Obuchi!” Atticus heard. He turned his head. Murakami flagged him down.
“Can we get a little help here?” he asked.
“Uh… sure,” Atticus said. He dashed over to the supply closet. Murakami and two more men were carrying out boxes.
“What are we doing?” Atticus asked.
“We're getting this place ready for the Osakan branch coming today,” Murakami said. Atticus stood with a blank stare for a moment. His colleague raised an eyebrow.
“Obuchi?” he asked. “Hello? Hello?” The man waved his hand in front of Atticus' face.
“You still here? Hello? Hello? Murakami asked. Atticus jumped back with a gasp.
“Huh?” he asked. His colleague gave him a strange look.
“Are you okay?” Murakami asked. Atticus blinked.
“Huh? Oh. Yeah, yeah,” he said. “I'm fine.” His colleague gave him an odd look.
“Get it together man,” Murakami said. “Today is really important.” Atticus slowly nodded.
“Yeah,” he said. His coworker handed him a stuffed box.
“Here,” he said. “Take this to the conference room.”
“Okay,” Atticus said. He turned and walked down the hall. The man shook his head. What is going on with me?
By ten, the Osakan company car pulled up in the parking lot. The staff stood outside, waiting. An old man in a kimono stepped out of the car. Two men and a woman stepped out. The boss bowed.
“Welcome to Tokyo, manager,” he said. The company men all bowed. Atticus' eyes stayed on that woman. She didn't seem to notice him. Something about her looked so familiar. The shape of her face stirred something in his memories. Everyone went inside.
Lunchtime rolled around. Atticus headed out the door like he always did. What did Aoi pack for him today?
“Atticus-kun?” a woman asked. He turned as he walked out the door. The woman stood inches from him. She smiled and waved. Atticus stood, blinking.
“Do I know you?” he asked. The sun seemed to dance around this woman.
“It's me, Hiroka,” she said. “We were in homeroom in junior high together. You always looked so lonely. How have you been?”
“Fine, I guess…” His eyes shifted back and forth. “You?”
“I'm doing great,” Hiroka said. She ran over and hugged him.
“I missed you so much,” she said. Atticus gave off an uncomfortable titter. He looked around for help. Just his luck no one was in sight. Maybe he should push her off…
But then, he paused. What was that smell? Atticus' eyes trailed downwards.
“Is that… perfume?” he asked.
“Uh-huh,” she said. Hiroka looked up at him. That light criticus and cinnamon scent woke up all of his memories. Atticus' jaw dropped.
“Hiroka… -chan?” he asked.
“That's me,” the woman said. Atticus couldn't move anymore.
Meanwhile, the phone rang at the Obuchi apartment.