Ever since she had been little, moving to the states with her parents, she'd been raised to see the silver lining in every dark cloud on the figurative horizon. Although those earliest childhood memories were rather vague, as one would expect, she does remember that things hadn't always been easy for her parents. After all, they'd lived the entirety of their lives up until Ren's birth and two years after in that were-village hidden in the far mountains of Japan thousands and thousands of miles from here. To say that moving to the world beyond the guarded community had been a shock for them was surely a gross understatement. Despite having taken the time to learn English, those schools far from lacking back in the were woman's birthplace she can hardly remember, it was only one small obstacle in a vast ocean of others that the family would need to learn to adapt to if they wished to do more than simply survive. They'd had a modest living those first few years, Ren only vaguely remembering the small one-bedroom apartment they'd first occupied. Her father had been working two jobs to make ends meet while her mother had stayed at home to look after and teach Ren, her parents being entirely wary of the idea to send their only child to public school for fear that somehow, they would discover that the bright, curious little girl wasn't human at all.
She'd watched her father come home during the late hours of the night, his feet dragging and eyes like rich dark chocolate glazed from tiredness. And, each night, the little were girl would throw herself into his arms so that she could throw her arms around him and hug her with all the strength her slight frame would allow. To this day, she remembers how even when he was at his most exhausted, the man would smile as bright as the full moon and wrap her up in his own arms, a smile upon his face and love in his eyes as he would greet her. In those moments, she would watch as the weariness melted away like morning dew under the dawn's first light. One day, she'd asked him why it was he had to work so hard every day, and her father had simply smiled affectionately at the girl he held in his arms."I work hard every day because it means that things will be easier after. If you think only of how steep the mountain is, it will be harder to climb to the other side", he'd answered her that night as he tucked her into bed and placed a kiss upon her forehead. The petite woman would never forget those words and the wisdom within them. And, every night after, when her father would come home bone-weary and sluggish, little Ren would hug her father as tightly as she could, knowing that it would lift his spirits.
It had taken her mother and father several long, tiring years of making ends meet before things began to look up. Her father had gotten a job that allowed for him to quit his other two, one that provided for their small family and then some. He would no longer come home looking so exhausted, greeting the growing girl with laughter as he would scoop her up into his embrace. Soon after this change, they moved into a larger home, the one that her parents resided in to this day. She'd gotten to watch her mother become comfortable in the new world, saw the worry which once clouded her face when the woman thought that Ren wasn't looking fade away into the familiar warmth and serenity from the were girl's earliest childhood memories. Of course, this did not end all their troubles. There's been moments where something in the home would need repaired, or perhaps their only car would break down and need to be taken in for repairs. But, even in those everyday obstacles, she watched her parents take everything in stride, determined, patient, and hopeful."Nana korobi ya oki", her mother had said to her on the many occasions, some being when the were girl might stumble and fall, scrape up her knees, and feel tears stinging her eyes or others where she would somehow tear one of her favorite kimonos.
The man beside her chuckles, and in a way, the sound reminded the were woman of her father. It was warm and genuine, coming from his heart and soul instead of a simple sound somewhat forced out of politeness. She can hardly help the silvery laughter falling from her own lips as he seems to join in the conversation regarding his attire."Although, I suppose if you're a lifeguard, you'd be wearing just the right outfit", she says cheerfully. Ocean-blue eyes watch the kind man as his face seems to grow pink with bashfulness, his demeanor shifting into something almost shy yet altogether endearing...'He's so modest! I can't say I've made any other man blush before aside from Bo'... She beams a radiant smile at Ashton, find that she was already becoming rather fond of him. And yet, to those who knew the were would, it would be far from surprising that she was already curious in every sense about her companion this morning. "I've met a few people with that accent, but for some reason, it really seems to suit you", she adds, beaming another smile at him, although out of simple kindness and perhaps a note of thoughtfulness as though she were genuinely considering if his voice fit him, hardly trying to embarrass the man further than he may already be. Yes, the petite woman certainly had her cheeky moments, but she didn't intend on unsettling Ashton.
As would seem only natural, their conversation shifts to the ocean, a topic that the were woman could never grow tired talking about. Ashton gives her a knowing smile, like he understood exactly what she meant when she described one of her favorite things, and it was in that moment of common ground and affinity that her yearning to know more about the man deepens. Somehow, she feels as though Fate brought her here to meet him, as though it had been decided long ago that the two might be friends."Oh, I bet. Although, I'd probably have a hard time containing my excitement for the next wave", she admits, giggling as she tries to imagine herself in Ashton's world, waiting for the saltwater to rise and sweep towards the shore. She is pulled away from her imaginings, though, when he almost empathically explains that he'd had a hard time learning to surf at first, too. And yet, as he reveals that he now taught others the talent, ocean-blue eyes widen in awe and amazement."That's amazing! Maybe someday, you could try teaching me. I wouldn't mind giving it another try", she says brightly in reply. It had been a couple years since she'd tried, but now that she knows someone who not only loved it, but made his career teaching it, she would certainly try it again without question.
As she asks after how long he'd been surfing, the were woman is aware of approaching footsteps from behind the coffee bar, a fleeting inward tinge of regret flickers to life before fading away as quickly as it had come. Soon, almost all too soon, she and Ashton would be parting ways... Just as he answers her curious question, his gaze glances past the petite woman and likely to the barista setting down the two cups and pastry bags on the counter. She expected him to say something like 'it was nice to meet you but I have to go' or 'thank you for the company but I'm meeting someone shortly so this is goodbye', but when Ashton extends and invitation for her to join him at one of the booths, she can hardly help the radiant smile and how ocean-blue eyes widen in surprise and delight."I would love to!", she replies eagerly, retrieving her hazelnut latte and her lemon slice, following Ashton to the booth in the corner of the café. Settling herself, the were woman lifts the cup to her lips, sighing in utter bliss at the taste of the coffee, steamed milk, and sweetener."Oh my goodness, that's delicious!", she says to both herself and her companion. Waiting patiently for Ashton to settle himself, she can't help but take another sip of her latte before placing the cup on the table between them and next to the pastry bag, wondering if he might have the same reaction to his own coffee.
~. Ren Nomura .~
... i don't ask for more than i need because i love what i've got ...