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One, two, three, four!” Sayanee screamed, banging her drumsticks wildly on the drums, and thrashing around violently. Mayu joined in, shredding on her electric guitar, horribly pairing with the already displeasing noise.
“Stop! Stop it!” Jurina yelled, standing up from the couch angrily and unplugging the amp, “If you don’t stop my neighbors are going to call the police for noise disruption.”
“Hell, I might even call them myself,” Sakura commented from the couch, sipping on the lemonade Jurina’s mom had made.
Three days had passed since Mayu and Jurina had their rare heart to heart, and Jurina took Mayu’ advice with full security. Sakura was tagging along to every practice and band meeting, and slowly but surely she was becoming more comfortable around the group. She stopped hiding behind Sayanee’s presence, and starting attaching herself to Jurina as time went on. Of course, Jurina had no problem with Sakura wanting to hang out more. Currently, Yuki, Jurina and Sakura were all jam packed on the ugly, beat up floral couch in the garage, listening to Mayu and Sayanee continue to fuck around with their extremely expensive instruments.
Jurina kind of wanted to punch them in the face.
“Hey, Sakura,” Jurina said, trying to start some conversation over the atrocious banging of drums and guitar strums, “Has Sayanee taken you anywhere else besides my garage and the Bagel Bites drive through?”
Sakura shrugged, “She mentioned going to some beach, but we never got around to it.”
“How about I take you there?” Jurina suggested, taking the opportunity while she had it, “I can pick you up sometime, and we can spend the day out in the sand.”
“Sounds great,” Sakura smiled, “Give me a call first, and we can plan it out.”
Sakura gave Jurina her number, and Jurina could feel Mayu’ eyes on her, even though she was still playing the guitar like a maniac. She had done it.
“I hope the water isn’t as hot as the temperature because I’m on fucking fire!” Sakura complained, throwing her tote bag over her shoulder, “Do you come down here often?”
Jurina nodded, locking the car, “Me and the guys have an annual bonfire before school starts. Mayu brings her ukelele and we all jam around the fire and roast marshmallows and swim. It’s always a great time. If you’re still here, you should join us. It’s really fun.”
“Singing isn’t really my thing,” Sakura admitted, “I’m more into art. You have songwriting, well my canvas is literally a canvas.”
“Ah, so painting is your thing,” Jurina said as they approached the shore front, “Would it be cool if I checked out your art sometime? I’m sure it’s really beautiful,” Jurina wanted to add on, ‘like you’, but she decided she would probably come off sleazy.
Sakura grinned, looking at the sea intently, “Of course, I’m going to start something new tonight,” She looked over at Jurina and blushed, “I think you would like it. Now let’s go for a swim.” Sakura finished, stripping off her t shirt and throwing it off to the side. Jurina giggled as Sakura ran into the water, and shouted, “Juju! The water’s great!”
Jurina peered out at the glittering ocean, watching the water envelop Sakura’s milky legs, wetting her skin with tiny water droplets. The sun was shining brightly that day, or maybe it was just the way Sakura gave everything around her an illuminating glow. Whichever, Jurina took off in a full sprint toward the beach, taking off her clothes as she kicked up the warm sand. Her hair was flying in the wind, and she felt free, and happy, and high on life as she ran toward the beautiful girl in the ocean. Jurina felt like she was Prince Eric and Sakura was Ariel, coming together for the first time under the sun. Then, something really embarrassing happen, and Jurina slipped on the wet sand.
“Oof!” Jurina exclaimed, the peaceful waters suddenly rushing closer to her face, and then, Sakura caught her right under her armpits.
“Jesus, Jurina, are you alright?” Sakura asked, stifling a laugh as she straightened Jurina back upright.
Jurina was about to respond, but when she looked up, she realized her and Sakura’s faces were only a few inches apart, and she was so beautiful up close. Sakura could see the bow in her lips, the golden flecks in her dark eyes, and beauty marks decorating her skin. Oh, shit, Jurina was so gone for Sakura.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” Jurina said, her cheeks immediately flaring red, and it wasn’t because of the blazing sun either,“Thanks for catching me, I would have had a mouth full of sea water if you hadn’t.”
“Anytime, and if you had gotten all wet,” Sakura bends down, and scoops a handful of water in her hands, “I wouldn’t be able to do this!” Sakura explains, splashing Jurina with the water.
“You’re going to get it, Sakura!” Jurina yelled excitedly, tripping over the currents of the water as she chased Sakura, and they splashed each other every chance they got.
They chased each other around for a while, playing tag with salt water under the summer sun. As time passed they calmed down, wading in the water and talking about the band and Sakura’s artwork (which she clearly insisted that Jurina had to ‘see for herself’). Jurina felt her crush growing stronger with every word, every second, and every time the sun dimmed its way into a sunset.
“I think we should head back,” Jurina suggested, laying on her bad in the water, letting the orange sun dance across her skin.
“Promise we can watch the sun set from your garage?” Sakura asked, dragging her hand across the still waters.
Jurina smiled, “Promise.”
From the drive home, to getting into clean clothes (Sakura borrowed a pair of shorts and a hoodie from Jurina), and sitting on lawn chairs inside an open garage: Jurina kept her promise. Sakura was clutching a glass on lemonade, and her feet were folded into her chair, and Jurina couldn’t stop staring at her.
“The sun is so beautiful as it goes down, it’s the only light that never goes out,” Sakura said, glancing over to Jurina, who was already looking at her.
Jurina wanted to say ‘you’re a light that never goes out’, but swallowed down her words, and simply nodded.
As soon as Sakura made her way back to the Matsui residence, Jurina ran up to her room and called Mayu.
“Mayu, we’re doing ‘There’s a Light That Never Goes Out’ by The Smiths. Trust me on this one.” Jurina insisted. Mayu obliged without even asking why, by the tone of Jurina’s voice,s he just knew.
“Set list check,” Yuki said, walking into Jurina’s garage with a napkin inked with pen, “’Let’s Kill Tonight’, then ‘There’s a Light That Never Goes Out’, ‘Use Somebody’, ‘There She Goes’. Everything right so far?” Yuki asked, and the three other members nodded in agreement.
Yuki mimicked wiping her brow, and then plopped down on the garage floor, “Sayanee, where’s Sakura?” She asked, noticing the new member of their entourage was missing.
“Home. She said she was painting something and it was pretty urgent she finished it,” Sayanee replied, side eying Jurina while she spoke.
Jurina rolled her eyes, snatching the set list from Yuki’s hand. She grabbed a nearby pen, and scribbled, ‘give the crowd time to boo Sayanee’, and then placed it neatly on the table.
“Ha, very funny,” Sayanee responded sarcastically, “You better not hurt my cousin, Juju, she really likes you.”
Jurina’s heart sped up, because this was confirmed information. Of course, she had been hoping the crush was mutual, but she never brought it up to anyone beside Mayu. Was it that obvious?
“I didn’t know she…liked me,” Jurina said, and by the change in Sayanee’s expression, she knew she fucked up.
“Please don’t tell her I said anything,” Sayanee begged, “She didn’t want me to tell you, because you know, she’s leaving in a couple weeks, and she thought things would be better left unsaid.”
Jurina knew that eventually Sakura would have to go home, but she tried to push it to the back of her mind, wanting to keep Sakura by her side as long as possible. But now it seemed so close to being over, because Battle of the Bands was only a week away, and that meant the summer was almost over. But Jurina was thriving on going to the beach with Sakura, riding on a bicycle built for two, indulging themselves with ice creams and cool drinks while in Jurina’s garage, practicing with the band or just talking. It didn’t seem like it was ready to be over yet. Jurina would do anything to prevent it, she wasn’t going to let Sakura become just another summer love.
“Where are you taking me?” Jurina asked, Sakura’s hand warm around her own as she led her across hardwood floors. Jurina was blindfolded, and kept Sakura laughing as she fell over her own feet. Sakura stopped, then let go of Jurina’s hand, and said, “You can take the blindfold off now.”
Jurina suspiciously removed the blindfold. She blinked a few times to adjust to the bright light, and when she did, her eyes met a painting of the beach. The sun was setting in the horizon, and the waters glowed blue and pink under the sun, and the sand looked soft enough to lay in. But most importantly, two silhouettes stood overlooking the ocean, hand in hand.
“Oh my god, Sakura, this is beautiful!” Jurina exclaimed, not being able to take her eyes off of the painting, “Is this what you started working on the first time we went to the beach?” “
Of course it is,” Sakura blushed, “I want you to have it.”
“No, I couldn’t take this, it’s too beautiful,” Jurina said, biting her lip.
“Well, I think you’re beautiful, and I want you to have it,” Sakura smiled, taking the painting off of the easel, “It’s yours.”
Jurina smiled, taking the canvas from Sakura. She wrapped her arms around her tightly, and didn’t let go for a while. She didn’t know how much longer she had to hold on to her.
Faster than she could blink, the big day arrived. Jurina had been anxious all day, biting her nails down to the core and shaking her leg wildly. Battle of the Bands had been going on for an hour now, and Baby Blossom had a spot smack dab in the middle of the show.
“Juju, you almost ready?” Mayu asked, her reflection popping up in the show mirror Jurina was sitting in front of. Jurina exhaled heavily, and answered, “Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Jurina’s legs felt like gelatin as she approached the rest of her band, deck out in coordinating outfits and smiling brightly. They had their hands out in a semi circle, and Jurina ran over to join them.
“To a great show!” Mayu announced.
“Make this our big chance, because it is,” Sayanee reminded.
“Let’s fucking do this!” Yuki exclaimed, obviously being the most energetic.
All of the guys turned to Jurina, and she said was, “Let’s kill tonight.”
The four of them quietly squealed backstage, and as soon as they did, their names were being announced from the stage. They all shared an assuring look, and out they went. Baby Blossom were greeted with cheers and an overwhelmingly large demographic compared to the coffee shops they played on Saturday nights. Jurina immediately began panicking again, but she hid it with a smile, and remembered that if she screwed this up, she would be the one getting killed tonight. Literally. Jurina reached her microphone center stage, the lights flashing into her eyes so brightly she could barely see passed the first few rows. But one thing she did notice was pink flowers in a girls hair, and her heart starting pounding wildly. Her Sakura was here to applaud her.
“How you guys feeling tonight?” Jurina asked, keeping her eyes on Sakura the whole time. When Jurina spoke, Sakura immediately fixated her eyes on Jurina, and gave a small wave.
The crowd responded in cheers, holding up red solo cups filled with god knows what. Jurina replied by nodding, and then yelling, “Let’s do this!” into her microphone, and then her band started playing. After the first three songs successfully, Jurina took a break and brought her microphone up closely to her lips and said, “I want to dedicate this song to someone very special to me.”
Sakura smiled in the audience, and then leaned over to someone next to her, and Jurina noticed the person made a very disturbed face. Jurina reminded herself to ask Sakura what the hell she said to that girl.
Mayu started up on the guitar, and Jurina began to sing.
‘There she goes
There she goes again
Racing through my brain
And I just can’t contain
This feeling that remains’
Jurina didn’t break eye contact with Sakura for the whole song, and she could see her skin flaring pink in the small light that shone on her. The crowd swayed, singing along to the classic, and some even sang along. Out of all of the moments Juina had on stage, this one was spiritual and unforgettable.The crowd roared when the song was over, and Jurina bowed to the audience along with her fellow band members. She thanked them for their support, and they all walked off the stage. The band exploded as soon as they were hidden behind the curtains.
“We fucking nailed it! We’re going to win!” Sayanee exclaimed, her smile so wide that Jurina swore her face was going to crack any second. Yuki and Mayu shared a celebratory kiss while Sayanee and Jurina freaked out together.
“Jurina!” A sweet voice called, and Jurina turned her head to see Sakura.
“Hey, you,” Jurina grinned, walking over to the girl with flowers in her hair and glitter in her veins.
“You just had to dedicate a song to me, didn’t you?” Sakura teased, “I give you a painting, you give me a song. I’m afraid I’ll have to outdo this one.”
Jurina laughed, snaking her arms around Sakura’s waist, “I know one way you could outdo me.”
“Mm, and what’s that?” Sakura asked.
“Kiss me” Jurina replied, turning her head to the right and planting a kiss right on Sakura’s lips. They moved together in sync, their lips warm against each other and they fit together like puzzle pieces. They broke apart, suddenly embarrassed to be making out in front of several people.
“What did you say to that girl in the crowd?”Jurina asked.
Sakura laughed, and then answered, “She said she thought you were hot, and I said, well I’m going to kiss her later, so tough luck. It was pretty funny.”
“How did you know I wanted to kiss you?” Jurina caressed Sakura’s cheek, then graced her hand up to her hair to adjust the pink petal that was about to fall out of her hair.
“Just luck, I guess,” Sakura said, and they kissed again, and again.
They even kissed publicly when Baby Blossom won first place at the end of Battle of the Bands, and then again when Sakura went home for the summer, and then, years later, they kissed every time they watched the sunset together, and whenever Jurina came home from tours. Jurina was right, Sakura wouldn’t just be another summer love, she would be her only love.
Summer or not.