Wind rustled the sakura trees into a swaying serenade, depositing petals of cherry that drifted down ever so softly to take their place floating delicately in the softly bedded fountain beside me. I pressed my back gingerly into the coarse stone beside the fountain, my left hand slumping down into the fountain and tenderly swirling the liquid around. Watching the sakura blossoms swirl around in the bed of liquid, floating in unison all about in the fluidity - I can only describe this feeling as raw and unfiltered serenity. The soft whistling of a cool, mid-day breeze filled my ears once again and summoned a seemingly endless line of drifting blossoms, sailing down from the sky in a leisurely hovering state. One particular blossom glided down beside my pale, polished toes, slipped loosely inside those splintered oak sandals, just beside my small tea pot and the edge of the fountain. My fingers floated over to the blossom, carefully fluttering along each individual velveteen, plushy blossom. The moment seemed infinite, boundless, limitless - it seemed to extend measurelessly, in a state I can only describe as cosmic and endless bliss. Pure bliss.
Suddenly, soft clicked crashed on through my universe, destroying my lonesome moment, my endless serenity, seemingly the only peace in my life. Snapping my vision upward only brought the morose expression of my master to my attention, her sharp eyebrows creased closely along her eyelids, followed by the wrinkles of her forehead just above, and the evidence of a forming jeer furrowed at the bridge of her nose. To my surprise, my reflexes got the best of my own abilities. I released a squeaky gasp, jolting my leg forward and knocking my cup into the fountain bed. I watched regretfully as my pot glugged downward to the bottom of the fountain, presumably to never again come back to my palms.
"You stupid girl!"
It was only then that my glance was brought forth to the muttering of insane profanities I do not wish to list here, emitting from my master. There I was, once again, caught lacking on my shift. My abilities as a maid were purchased to clean this estate, top to bottom, on the daily, and of course, to serve the inhabitants. It seemed as though I was even incapable at performing such simple tasks asked of me - but perhaps it was due to my developing hatred of the slave work I had caught myself into. I only have myself to blame for my current situation, but then again I cannot blame myself at all. I was merely a young, stupid girl before the whole ordeal even began. But I was lively, and maybe I had something to live for. Getting in rough with the wrong men was my ultimate wrongdoing, and of course they required some form of payment for my debts. That wasn’t my mistake, anyhow, it was my father’s. His weakness seemed to be his failures, in the end. Unable to pay his debts in any other form, they simply took his daughter and called it even. Being a working maid on a large estate of wealthy yakuza was not ‘the big dream’ for me; it wasn’t what I pictured to say the least.
Gripped at the wrist with fingernails digging their way deep into my skin, I was yanked forth and up to my feet, only to be faced with the sheer strength of the matriarch of the estate. It seemed the only fit punishment for me was lashings of some sort, which my master was no stranger to performing on us maids. After all, we are not people. We are mere slaves.
My splintered sandals skidded along the cut cobbled stone beneath my feet, etching shards of oak into my toes and heel as I staggered about. Practically hauled into the estate, I was merely tossed to the floor, almost as if I was some sort of toy she could just use at her leisure - which, now that I think of it, is essentially what I was - kicked down to the fine, speckless wooden forth beneath her feet. But little did I know, I am not alone in this room. The cluttering of opening and shutting sliding bamboo shutters cascaded to my senses, perking my head back to the direction of the sounds. Cue the entry of the patriarch of a powerful yakuza in the area, ultimately my boss of which I had never met. And beside him stood another man, noticeably striking and young, waltzing along the stainless floors to greet her. It seemed as though both of my masters jeered at me in disgust, before attempting at what I can only presume as an attempt to play off the situation to our guest. Dumbfounded, my ankles rested on the floor as I coaxed a strand of hair to my left ear, not even thinking to bring myself back to my feet. My elderly boss sauntered over to his wife, both masters now greeting formally with a bow as an introduction to the guest. The matriarch, otherwise known as the estate manager, eagerly nodded and gathered up a cheery yet phony smirk, but her frustrations were not at all subtle; in fact, bursting veins and layered wrinkles at her forehead of thinning hair resided as a tell to her true exasperations. The rather attractive young man promptly finished formalities with the estate manager and instead turned to greet me, whereas the elderly man simply wandered about as he wished to begin blustering and boasting about his massive estate. He offered a smooth palm with a cognizant smirk rising up to his visage, nodding gently from side to side, indicating such a mistake I had made. Scatterbrained and indecisive, I brought my trembling fingers up to his palm, taking soft grasp as I was carefully lifted to my feet with a slight swaying motion to my hips. I do admit I am guilty of perhaps holding his hand for a painfully long moment without a word in the awkward silence, before the calls of the elderly man began to clearly irritate the young one, and thus released my hand with a shake. His charming complexion was simply too much for my naive eyes to handle. Everything about him - a soft whirling eyebrow to indicate a perplexed manner, subtle movements at the lips, speaking something in soft tones that I could not even comprehend from within my daze, and that piercing gaze of his… With nothing other than a simple nod to me, I all too obviously sunk my teeth down sharply into my quivering lip as he turned away. Quite literally fragile at that moment, I began to feel my knees buckle at the bases down to my feet below me. Catching myself on the bamboo framing, I pressed myself up against the walls and huffed ceaselessly. My master simply shrugged my off with an acute exhale, waving a hand and ambling off at the peak of her raging vex.
Slumping down to the flooring below, I rested my sweaty palms along my knees shakily as I panted softly. I, Sakurai Rei, am in love.