A/N: *Pokes head out from around corner* *Screams from the murderous readers calling for my blood* *Throws chapter out and runs away!*

Posted: 1/1/2015

Chapter 14

"Hey Touko," I heard my petite soeur whisper to her friend Monday afternoon before the student council meeting. The three of us were the only ones in the Rose Mansion at the current time so I couldn't help but eavesdrop on their conversation. "Does it seem to you that um, what's her name, Kanako-san is stalking Yumi-sama?"

Say what? I gripped my pencil tighter, narrowing my eyes at the paper in front of me as I waited for Touko-chan's response. "Ugh, Hosokawa," Touko-chan grumbled, clanging a few of the tea cups they were washing, "She has been following Onee-sama around actually, and of course, Onee-sama is oblivious as usual. I think I even saw her here a few times cleaning when it was just the two of them…"

Snap… Touko-chan and Noriko glanced over at me worriedly, but I couldn't focus. My right eye was twitching uncontrollably and I continued to clench the broken pencil in my fist.

"Onee-sama?" Noriko asked, setting my tea down in front of me.

"Who is Hosokawa Kanako?" I asked quietly, still staring down at my paper, internally seething, "And why is she stalking my girlfriend?!"

"Calm down Rosa Gigantea," Touko-chan said, rolling her eyes, "I should be the one getting angry, another first year chasing after my Onee-sama. Thinking romantically about Yumi-sama, I think she's harmless, stalking and placing her on a pedestal almost equal to Maria-sama, well, that's her problem."

"What?" Noriko blinked.

"Basically, she idolizes Yumi-sama," Touko-chan explained before turning back to me, "What you should be concerned with is Hosokawa trying to keep you and Yumi-sama apart because she thinks you are a bad influence on her, the nerve…"

"How do you know this?" I asked Touko-chan, looking at her suspiciously.

The younger girl narrowed her eyes, "Hosokawa is my enemy. Everything about her grates on my nerves."

"How does my girlfriend manage to get herself into these situations?" I groaned, setting my head down in my hand with a sigh.

"Get into what?" Yumi asked as she walked into the room, slightly out of breath.

"I heard about your stalker," I answered, eyeing my girlfriend, "Why are you out of breath?"

"Oh, I ran here since I was running a little late," she replied, "And what do you mean stalker?"

"Hosokawa Kanako-san."

"She's not a stalker."

"Why did you run here?" I returned, noticing something behind Yumi's weak protest.

"… Kanako-chan was following me…" Yumi replied weakly. I gave her one of my trademark placid smiles that really said 'I told you so.' The smile disappeared off of my face when I saw the tension in my girlfriend's shoulders.

"Do you want us to take care of her Onee-sama?" Touko-chan asked, which was unusual for her. Yumi's perceptive petite-soeur must've noticed the tension in Yumi as well.

"No Touko, it's fine," Yumi replied, "I've already set a plan in place to test something, that's why I came here, to tell you guys so you wouldn't worry."

Touko eyed Yumi for a moment before nodding her head, "If that is your wish, then I will see you tomorrow. I must get back to the drama club." The actress bid us all adieu and exited, Stage right. I caught Noriko's eye and nodded her out the door as well, silently asking for a moment alone with Yumi.

"I think I left one of my textbooks back in my desk," she supplied, turning to head out the door, "I'll be back in a little while Onee-sama, Yumi-sama." The door shut quietly behind her, and I turned to face my girlfriend who was standing near one of the windows, looking out.

Standing up, I walked over to her and encircled her waist with my arms, pulling her too me. "Are you sure you're going to be okay?" I whispered into her ear.

After a moment, Yumi nodded and turned in my arms, wrapping her own arms around my neck and shoulders. "I think so," she answered, "but can you just hold me for a bit?"

"I'll hold you for as long as you want…"

I was sitting at my desk at home staring at my homework, lost in a daydream of Yumi and I when my cell phone started vibrating on my nightstand. "Onee-sama?" I answered after looking at the caller ID.

"Yo Shimako," Onee-sama's voice came cheerfully over the phone.

"Why did you call?"

"Well, I ran into Yumi-chan this afternoon and she seems like she's going through a hard time. I was going to call Sachiko, but I thought that it would be better if you keep an eye on her."

"She has been going through a hard time," I answered, thinking about Kanako-san, "I'll be sure to watch her. You care about her a lot don't you Onee-sama?"

"Of course I do, she's my beloved petite-soeur's True Love," tears started to fill my eyes but then Onee-sama opened her mouth again, "That and she's just so darn cute, if she wasn't with you and if I wasn't trying to fight off Youko's advances, I might just take the younger of the Red Roses."

I sighed, "Just had to ruin something beautiful, goodnight Onee-sama." I clicked the phone shut to the sound of her laughing. I stared at my books for another few minutes before shutting them with a sigh, "I'm never going to be able to concentrate now." I turned my lights out and shuffled to bed. Picking up the picture of Yumi and I on our first date, I traced the image of my girlfriend under the glass in the faint light. "Oh Yumi," I murmured, placing the picture back down and curling up under the covers, preparing myself for a fitful night's sleep.

"Onee-sama," Noriko hissed at me from the door of my classroom. I glanced over at her and bowed to my classmates in apology before heading over to my petite soeur.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Kanako-san just went to get Yumi-sama for something, I thought you would like to know," she answered, "Well, actually Touko sent me. She's following them."

My eyes widened as I hurried out of the room, "At least you two are putting your stalking skills to good use."

The younger girl's eyes widened and she started to sputter. "We do not stalk Onee-sama, we merely…"

"Spy?" I suggested, urging my petite soeur to continue down the hall.

Noriko didn't say anything in response and I briefly smirked in victory before allowing my expression to shift back into a placid smile. We spotted Touko-chan coming towards us and I hurried towards her, careful not to cause too much disarray with my uniform. "Hurry Rosa Gigantea," Touko-chan hissed. "Hosokawa and Onee-sama are meeting right now in the old greenhouse. I don't think it's going to be a pleasant conversation."

I hastened my pace and left the building, practically sprinting for the old greenhouse that my girlfriend adored so much. I got to the building just as I heard an unfamiliar voice yelling at Yumi. I listened to the tail end of the conversation and bristled when the voice yelled at her to not betray people's expectations. "What a horrible thing to say to a person," I said, bursting into the room. I calmly shut the door behind me and took in the scene in front of me. Yumi stood at the far end of the room with a sad and confused look on her face, and a tall girl with long hair stood in front of me, appearing as if she were about to run out of the room. "You like her, you like being around her, but when you find out that she's a real person, and different from how you think she should be, you have no compunction about hurting her. How do you think that works?"

"Shimako," I heard Yumi whisper, just loud enough for me to hear, but the majority of my attention was focused on this slip of a girl in front of me.

"Enough with your attitude," I hissed at the girl as she took a step back from me. "You don't make the rules here do you?" I stepped away from the door and allowed Hosokawa-san to flee out of the building.

"That was exhausting," Yumi sighed as she collapsed on the ground.

I glared after the tall girl for a moment before turning and kneeling on the ground next to my girlfriend. I put my arm around her waist and tugged her closer to me, her head landing in the crook of my neck. Raising my right arm, I carefully started brushing my fingers through her hair as it floated down around her shoulders, and caressed her face gentle with my fingertips. "Are you all right?" I asked quietly, careful not to disturb the moment.

"I'm not sure," Yumi replied with a befuddled voice. "I never really thought about it, not much anyway, how people view me, how I seem to other people. It's never really mattered that much to me, not unless it was people I cared out…" Her voice trailed off at the end and an odd expression crossed her face.

"What is it?" I asked, trying not to disrupt her thought process.

"I just realized that I've always cared what you thought of me, long before we started dating," the brunette murmured out an answer, pulling back slightly to look at me. "When we first met in class and started being friends, I always wondered how you looked at me, what you thought of me."

"Well, I guess you know now," I murmured, peppering kisses along Yumi's hair and forehead.

I felt Yumi grin against my neck and she turned her head up to meet my lips with hers. "I love how you see me, but more importantly, I love how I see you."

"And how do you see me?"

Yumi smiled and moved her hands from where they had settled around my waist, trailing her fingers up my sides, brushing my shoulders before gliding around my face and into my hair. "I see," she started, carefully looking into me eyes. "A beautiful, smart, kind, amazing woman who can be a little quirky and dorky at times, and who also has a jealous and dirty streak when the situation calls for it. I see a woman, who I am totally in love with, one that I might grow old with one day."

I could feel tears prickling at the corners of my eyes, but blinked them away, choosing instead to focus on the utterly amazing woman in front of me. "I see all of those things in you too," I whispered quietly. "Though I could add to the list. I see a humble, funny, gorgeous woman who has such a kind heart, so beautiful and brave, but also a little quirky at times. Someone that I wouldn't mind growing old with either." I pressed my forehead against Yumi's and we just sat there in each other's embrace.

"Seems like we're on the same page then," Yumi whispered.

I opened my eyes and saw her beautiful chestnut orbs staring back at me. I smiled at her and pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "Seems like it."

"Well that was fun," Yumi said as we left the Handera school festival. A few members of the student council were escorting us off the campus, so it was easy to fall into quiet conversation. Sachiko-sama and Rei-sama were discussing the schedule for the school festival in October having arranged meetings with Yuuki-san leading up to then. Noriko and Touko-chan were walking in front of us just behind Sachiko-sama and Rei-sama, discussing some show or movie Noriko talked Touko-chan into watching. I turned my head slightly to glance behind us and spotted Yoshino-san and Yuuki-san bringing up the rear, quietly talking.

"It was," I replied, turning my attention back to my girlfriend. "I found it especially amusing when Yuuki-san was kidnapped by that one club."

"The Mystery Novel fan club, yeah, I thought it was a brilliant way to advertise their club, 'The disappearing student council president'," Yumi chuckled. "Poor Yuuki though, he was so embarrassed to be caught unaware like that."

"And Yoshino-san, I thought she was going to have a heart attack when we found out that he was missing," I smiled, glancing back again. "Although, one good thing that came out of this is that they finally admitted that they liked each other a little more than friends."

"Fi-na-ly!" Yumi enunciated, giggling. "Yuuki was getting on my nerves there for a while, it was bad. 'So how was Yoshino-san today? What's Yoshino-san going to do over summer vacation?' It was disgusting for a while."

"Thank goodness we aren't like that," I replied, winking conspiratorially at the other girl.

"Excuse me, you guys are sooo like that," Yoshino-san said, coming up behind us. "You two are so ridiculously cute and lovey dovey. Again, cute, but ridiculous."

"Gee thanks Yoshino-san," Yumi muttered, rolling her eyes at the other girl.

Yoshino-san smirked and wormed her way between Yumi and I, linking our arms together. "So what's the next thing we have to do? The athletic festival?"

"Yeah, and don't forget that the school trip and school festival will be coming up in a few months," Yumi added and my eyes glazed over slightly at the thought of the school trip. One week, in Italy, visiting some of the most romantic sites in the world. I nearly squealed in excitement at the thought of viewing some of the places with Yumi. Strolling through the streets of Florence, kissing under the bridges of Venice, I could hardly wait.

"I know where your head just went," Yoshino-san chortled next to me. "Don't get to ahead of yourself, we don't know yet which classes will be following which schedule. You're in a different class from us, so you might be following a completely different route."

And with my darling best friend's words, my delightful dream bubble popped, and I was brought back to reality. "You're cruel Yoshino-san," I spit out at her as both Yumi and Yoshino-san giggled.

"Shimako, I hope that we'll be following the same route during the school trip, but that's still a while away. Why don't we focus on the athletic festival instead?" My girlfriend danced around our friend in the middle, moving around to my right side and linking arms. Yuuki-san, who was chuckling behind us for the entire conversation, moved up and took his sister's place next to Yoshino-san.

Yoshino-san removed herself from my side and sauntered ahead with Yuuki, making plans for a tentative first date. We reached the front entrance of the school and split up. Rei-sama and Yoshino-san veered off to the left to walk home, while the rest of us boarded the bus. Sachiko-sama insisted that Yumi sit next to her, so I took a seat next to Noriko, while my girlfriends settled in between Sachiko-sama and Touko-chan. I tried to control my jealous glaring at the back of the elder red rose's head, but I wasn't doing a very good job as Noriko kept pinching on the way to the main station.

Yumi shot me a look out of the corner of her eye, and I stifled back a smile. I settled down in my seat, and conversed with my petite soeur about her apparent terrible taste in movies that she has been forcing Touko-chan to endure. When we got to the main terminal, Yumi pulled me back as the other three made their way to their buses or trains. "We haven't been able to spend a lot of time with each other since the new semester started have we?" Yumi murmured, tugging me towards a more private part of the terminal.

"It has been a few intense weeks, what with the Hanadera festival and your stalker to deal with," I replied, lacing our fingers together.

"Kanako-chan was a little stalkerish for a while, but I don't think she meant to be and she's stopped now," Yumi protested slightly, though not as staunchly as she would have prior to the confrontation in the greenhouse.

I just hummed and tried to bring the conversation back to the topic at hand. "Hmm, that still doesn't solve our problem of not having any time together," I murmured, squeezing her hand lightly.

Yumi bit her lip and a thoughtful expression crossed her face. I had to fight back the urge to take her lip in my mouth and soothe the bite mark with my tongue. The terminal was too public of a space for the thoughts running rampant through my mind. "Can you come home with me tonight?" Yumi's question broke me out of my thoughts.

"What?" I asked, not sure about her question.

"Well, it's Saturday night, we don't have school tomorrow, and I was thinking that maybe we could have a sleepover…"

"You're parents know that we're dating, both of our parents know that we're dating, I don't think that they'll be okay with a sleepover," I said, my voice trailing off at the end. I would love to have a sleepover with my girlfriend, but I don't think Yumi's parents would be as accommodating; neither would mine for that matter.

"At least come home with me for dinner," Yumi pleaded, grasping my hand. "Yuuki's going to be late since he's cleaning up from his school festival, and it would be nice if you came home for dinner. Can you call your parents and ask them?"

The expression in Yumi's mocha brown eyes was causing all sorts of flutters in my stomach and heart so I instantly caved. I pulled my cell phone out of my bag and dialed the home phone in the house. My mother answered after a few rings. "Shimako-chan, how was the festival?" Her voice filtered through the phone and I cringed slightly at the loud voice.

"I'm fine Mom. Look, Yumi wanted to know if I could go home with her tonight for dinner and maybe a sleepove-" I didn't get to finish my sentence as my mother interrupted me.

"Of course you can go home with Yumi-chan!" She shouted, and I pulled the phone away from my ear at the exclamation. Yumi giggled at me and I returned the phone to my ear to hear the end of the conversation. "I'm going to call Miki-san to make sure she and her husband are alright with you coming for dinner and maybe staying the night. I'm trusting you to not do anything with Yumi-chan, but I don't think you will anyway, you're too polite and still in that slightly bashful stage of relationships. I'll see you tomorrow Shimako-chan, just borrow something of Yumi-chan's to wear, and be home in time for dinner!" With that my mother hung up the phone. I gaped at Yumi for a minute after flipping my phone closed.

The other girl just giggled. "Apparently our mother's are friends now. I hear my mother on the phone with yours every now and then. Now come on, we've got permission, time to go."

I followed Yumi through the turnstiles and onto the bus she normally took to get home. Nearly twenty minutes later we were getting off at Yumi's stop and walking towards her house. "Mom," Yumi yelled upon entering the house. "Shimako and I are here."

"Ah, Shimako-chan," Miki obaa-san greeted as she walked out to meet us. "Your mother called to let me know you were coming, and asked if a sleepover would be alright." The brunette's calm stare had me wanting to squirm in my shoes, but I held still.

"Can she Mom?" Yumi begged. "We haven't had much time together since the semester started, and I just want to spend some time with my girlfriend."

Miki obaa-san assessed us both with her eyes before sighing. "Alright, I'll agree to this sleepover and take care of your father. Now, I'm trusting you both not to be having sex under my roof."

I instantly turned bright red at her words and Yumi sputtered out a protest "Moooommm!"

At that response, the older woman laughed and returned to the kitchen. "With that response, I know we won't have to worry about that anytime soon. I'll have to call Aiko-san and give her the news."

"We're going to go upstairs Mom," Yumi muttered, tugging me up the stairs.

"Keep the door open!" Miki obaa-san called after us, and I turned my eyes to catch a glimpse of her holding the phone, staring up after us as we went.

"Our mothers need to stop being friends," I groaned as Yumi opened the door to her room.

"I know, I can't believe she said that," Yumi replied, moving towards her dresser. "Make yourself at home."

I took the time to look around at the familiar sight of Yumi's room, taking in the pictures on the wall and desk. I moved towards the bed and sat down, allowing my entire body to relax. I spotted the corner of a picture sticking out from under Yumi's pillow and I pulled it out. I smiled at the image of Yumi and mine's first kiss, tenderly brushing my fingertips over the picture. "That's probably my favorite picture," Yumi's voice interrupted my thoughts.

Turning my attention to the other girl, I saw that she had pulled out some clothes to change into and had undone the scarf on her uniform. "Yeah," I stuttered out a little, trying to ignore the glimpse of skin from the other girl's loose scarf. "Yeah, it's one of my favorite's too."

Yumi smiled, a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. "I pulled out a t-shirt and yoga pants for you. The bathroom is down the hall to the left if you want to change, or…"

"Or…?" I repeated, nervous as to what she would say.

"Or you can stay in here and change with me," the brunette said, turning her back to me and pulling her uniform top up over her head.

I let out a squeak, unused to seeing the sight since I never allowed myself to look when we changed out for gym class last year. I grabbed the clothes she left for me and bolted out of the room towards the bathroom, Yumi's giggling following after me. I quickly changed clothes and went back to the room. Peering cautiously into the room, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that Yumi was dressed and sitting on her bed. "Sorry about that," she said, stifling a smile. "I couldn't resist, not after what Mom said, and things that occurred at the summer house."

"You're terrible," I muttered, fluffing my hair out with my fingers.

"Don't deny that you were just a little bit excited."

I decided I had enough with Yumi's teasing and pounced on her, pushing her back on the bed. My fingers danced along my girlfriend's ribs, brushing against every ticklish spot I knew. Yumi wiggled and writhed underneath me, tears streaking down her cheeks as she begged for mercy. I finally relented and allowed her to catch her breath. "One day you'll be begging for mercy underneath me for a different reason," I whispered, brushing my nose along hers.

"One day," she replied, leaning up to capture my lips with hers. I allowed my tongue to briefly slip into Yumi's mouth and entwine with hers before pulling back and moving to sit at the foot of the bed.

"Don't want your mother and father to catch us doing that," I commented as I saw Yumi's questioning look.

"Yeah, that would be bad," Yumi replied, eyes widening and cheeks staining with a red blush. "Did you bring homework with you? We can work on that."

"Yes," I said, looking for the bag that I had almost forgotten I had with me. I pulled out my books, and returned to my seat on the bed, Yumi doing the same. We sat together doing homework until Miki obaa-san called us down for supper shortly after Yumi's father returned home. The two older Fukuzawas questioned me about schoolwork and things that were currently happening in my life since I hadn't seen them in a few weeks, and I answered them as best as I could.

After dinner, Yumi and I headed back upstairs and continued with our homework until it was time for bed. "I can sleep in these can't I?" I asked, pointing to the clothes Yumi had given me.

"Yeah, that's fine. Though you can take off some unmentionables if you rather sleep that way," Yumi winked at me as she crawled into bed. I briefly glanced down at her chest and saw that she had removed said unmentionable in the bathroom. Deciding to up the stakes, I unsnapped my bra and pulled it out from underneath my shirt before crawling in next to Yumi.

"Two can play at this game," I murmured, pressing myself against my girlfriend and attaching our lips together. I wouldn't normally have been this forward with the door open and other people in the house, but everyone else had long since gone to bed which gave Yumi and I some privacy.

"Mhm, I think I like this game," Yumi gasped quietly after I released her lips. I smirked in response and softly kissed along her cheeks and forehead. Yumi's hands settled on my hips, and I moved my lips down to her neck just as her hands moved under my pajama top to stroke at bare skin. "Shi-Shimako," Yumi murmured as I seemed to have found a sensitive spot on her neck. "Shimako we need to stop."

My hazy mind registered her words so I went to move, only to find myself flipped over with Yumi straddling my waist. Our lips came together in a ferocious kiss, our tongues sliding together almost instantly. "This probably isn't a good way to cool off," I gasped out, settling my head back on the pillow.

Yumi smiled sheepishly down at me and removed her hands from underneath my top. "Sorry," she murmured as she moved to settle next to me on the bed.

"Mhm, I guess I did start it," I admitted, turning on my side to look at her. I took in her flushed cheeks, and swollen lips with pride and noted that the area around her lips still seemed slightly wet. "You ever think that we might be going to fast?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, what we just did," I started, my face beat red, "It was very physical, very hot, but very physical. Do you think we're going to fast?"

Yumi was quiet for a few moments, and I almost regretted asking the question but she started answering before I could retract the question. "I don't think we're moving to fast with the kissing, teasing and maybe some light petting. I don't think we're ready, or even old enough for something more though. The other stuff has progressed naturally in our relationship, but I think that might be all that we'll do for a while."

"We're both only 16 after all," I smiled in agreement. I snuggled in next to Yumi and she playfully elbowed me over before giggling and settling in. "Mhm, snuggly," I murmured; sleep filtering into my mind as I slung an arm over Yumi's waist. I firmly snuggled my face into the crook of the other girl's neck and peacefully drifted off to sleep.

A/N: Sooo... Yeah, grad school happened, and then I got stuck with this chapter, then bored so I turned my attention to other stories as a way to try to keep the writing thoughts going. I'm really sorry about the wait and for all those who have stopped reading this story due to the wait. For those who stuck it out, here ya go, and for those who are new readers, welcome aboard. Yumi and Shimako might possibly be my favorite couple now, though I really did enjoy my Yumi/Eriko story.