Spring Blooms When I'm with You Chapter 210: The Answers Might Be In There
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At Ren's persuasion, Tsubaki let herself took a slow and relaxing bath after dinner. The small tub in the bathroom was filled with thick bubbles, the smell of strawberry and yogurt bath bomb lingered in the air. Tsubaki just quietly submerged herself in the tub while Ren sat on a stool behind her, separating by the tub. He gently massaged her head and lather her favorite shampoo through her hair.
"You're sure you're okay, sweetheart?" Ren exerted light pressure on the lower part of her head, rubbing circles with his thumbs.
Tsubaki smiled, feeling relaxed with the massage. Her tone was quiet and carried a faint hint of determination. "I'm okay. I'm afraid if I delay this matter any longer, I'd retreat further from it."
"Okay," Ren nodded. "We'll go to their house after this."
Tsubaki smiled quietly. She was still down-hearted after discovered her late Mom's diaries but she refused to wallow in sorrow. What did the old couple would tell her, she hadn't had a clue but at least with the help of the diaries and postcards, she knew they couldn't continue hiding the truth from her.
After finished bathing, Tsubaki went to dry her hair while Ren took a shower. He didn't take a long time to refresh his body. By 9 PM, both of them had already headed to the Kurokis. Tsubaki brought along the diaries and postcards, placed inside a tote bag.
After Ren knocked on the door twice, he saw a shadow moving toward the door from the windows. In a second, Uncle Kiyonaga greeted them with a sullen smile.
"Good evening, Uncle Kiyonaga," Tsubaki bowed her head slightly.
"Good evening, you two." The old man opened the door wide, inviting the husband and wife to step inside. He smiled faintly when he met Tsubaki's dimmed eyes. "Come. Your aunt is already waiting in the living room."
After the couple safely got inside the house, Uncle Kiyonaga closed the door. Tsubaki immediately searched for Aunt Touko. The woman was sitting on the couch in the living room, her head hung low as she was flipping over an old album. Sensing their presence, she raised her head and met Tsubaki's eyes.
"You're here." Aunt Touko closed the album. She looked like if possible she didn't want to face Tsubaki tonight.
Tsubaki gave a light nod. "Yes, Aunt."
It was the first time Tsubaki saw Aunt Touko looked so sad. In her memory, this older woman was a bubbly person who liked to bicker with her husband. She and Satsuki would always join the fun whenever it happened.
The two women continued to stare at each other in silence. Tsubaki's grip on the tote bag holder was almost loosened when her heart pang in guilt. Ren who stood behind her saw the shivering of her shoulders. He placed one hand at the small of her back. The warmth brought comfort to her warring heart.
"Please take a seat, you two," Aunt Touko quickly regained her composure. She shook her head slightly, chasing the tears that were brimming over her eyes.
Tsubaki answered again with a quiet nod. She took a seat at the long couch, followed by Ren at her side.
Uncle Kiyonaga went to the kitchen and silently preparing drinks for them. His movements weren't as energetic as usual.
"Tsubaki..." Aunt Touko called out her name, the older woman trained her eyes on her face. "May I know... how did you know that... you weren't your late mother's daughter?"
Tsubaki's mother, Yagi Ayaka had sworn to let the secrets died with her because she didn't want to make Tsubaki sad once she found out. But, under Touko's reasonings, she relented to tell Tsubaki if it was necessary. It seemed like she had brought the secrets to her grave the day she died but who knew after more than a decade of her death, Tsubaki would come to her door and ask about her origin?
Tsubaki took a deep breath. Her eyelashes fluttered as she tried to control the turmoil in her heart. Ren just silently became her support, his hand never left her back, offering comfort to her.
"I accidentally met someone who looked like me," Tsubaki blurted out the words in a hurry, as if she would keep herself quiet if she didn't say it in this moment.
"Looked like?" Aunt Touko frowned. "What do you mean?"
Tsubaki recounted her meeting with Little Kouichi which led to her discovery of Hinata's birth. Aunt Touko and Uncle Kiyonaga didn't interrupt her story, the expressions on their faces worsened as moments passed by. Especially when they knew that Hinata had long dead due to sickness.
She found her twin sister only to discover they could only meet in photographs and memories of the people around them.
"Earlier, I found these in Mom's bedroom."
Tsubaki reached out for the tote bag, she placed it on the coffee table. She took out all the diaries and postcards. Aunt Touko and Uncle Kiyonaga's interest piqued when they saw the items brought out by Tsubaki. Seeing Tsubaki had silently given her permission, Aunt Touko stretched her long hand to take one of the diaries.
"This is..." Aunt Touko gasped, she recognized whose writing was it. "Your Mom?"
Tsubaki nodded. "If I didn't try to find them, I'd never knew Mom hid them under a board below the bed. I haven't read all of them but... it's true that Mom adopted me."
The Kuroki couple took their time to read the contents of the diaries briefly. They even looked at the postcards. After some time, they exchanged a glance before Aunt Touko sighed heavily. Her eyes landed on the familiar handwriting on one of the diaries opened on her lap.
"Since... you haven't read all of this, I'd tell you what happened right from the start," The older woman finally reached her decision. She lifted her head to meet Tsubaki's eyes. "At the very least, I hope you won't blame your Mom."
Tsubaki smiled but her the shine in her eyes dulled. "I have never blamed Mom, Aunt. I know that if Mom didn't bring me up, I might not be here."
Aunt Touko nodded in understanding. Since young, Tsubaki was a wise child.
"I think... it was two months before you came here," Aunt Touko began her story. There was a faint longing in her eyes as she recounted the events happening more than two decades ago. "Your Mom, Ayaka, came home from the hospital with a piece of good news. She was expecting."
Tsubaki's brows instinctually knitted together, confusion was apparent in her eyes but she didn't ask anything. She had a bad feeling about this.
Aunt Touko recognized the look on Tsubaki's face. She looked so worn out as she added, "She miscarried a few days later."
Tsubaki's shoulders jolted up slightly.
Don't tell me...
Her hands unconsciously gripped the hem of her skirt, her fingers trembling.
"Ayaka was hospitalized for quite a long time," Aunt Touko continued. "She was quite depressed. When she returned, she brought you along with her."
Tsubaki took a sharp breath. Ren was startled when she suddenly reached out for his hands. He immediately enveloped them in his hold while the other hand gently rubbing her shoulders.
"Tsubaki... I... should I continue?" Aunt Touko was slightly frightened when she saw how hard Tsubaki was enduring her pain right now. The young lady was on the verge crying yet she refused to so.
It was heartbreaking seeing her like this.
"No, Aunt..." After much difficulty, Tsubaki managed to answer. "Please, continue."
Aunt Touko nodded. Uncle Kiyonaga handed Ren a cup of tea, urging him to help Tsubaki drink in order to calm her nerves. Tsubaki reluctantly took a sip, she stole at glance at her husband's worried face.
In the second their eyes met, she felt like she wanted to cry.
But, this was not the right time.
After Tsubaki drank, Aunt Touko continued.
"Ayaka was too depressed and... when I saw her brought you home I thought she wanted..." Aunt Touko couldn't have the heart to speak the truth. After a moment of thinking, she changed her words, "She wanted to ease her pain by adopting you but I never thought another reason accompanied her action."
Tsubaki lowered her gaze. She knew what Aunt Touko wanted to say at first.
"Do you know the reason?" Tsubaki's voice was weak when she asked. Her eyes landed on her fingers gripping the knees. "About why Mom adopted me? If not for... to ease her pain?"
Even she herself didn't dare to use the word.
She was supposed to be the substitute for the lost baby.
Even though she said she won't blame her Mom, but she couldn't deny her heart hurt for a bit. But, if Mom didn't bring her home, where could she be right now?
A heavy sigh escaped the older woman's lips.
"Tsubaki..." There was a pleading in her eyes as Aunt Touko looked at her. "Your Mom said... your biological mother couldn't take care of you. Your life might be in danger if you continued be by her side. That was why... Ayaka adopted you."
Her pupils dilated slightly as she heard the last sentence. Tsubaki lifted up her head, her brows knitted together. It was clear that she didn't understand the older woman's words.
"I could be in danger?" Tsubaki raised one of her hands, pointing at herself. "Me?"
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Aunt Touko reluctantly nodded. A look of guilt crossed her eyes, as if she was regretting of saying the words.
"Ayaka didn't say why but she said if your real mother couldn't take care of you, she would take you in. She even said that... whatever happened you were her daughter."
Tsubaki went in a daze. Her eyes blankly stared at the diaries and postcards scattered on the coffee table.
The answers might be in there.
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