Cover Design: Lindsay York

Photographer: Wisky

This book is dedicated to everyone who ever believed in me and my writing.

And to those who didn’t.

Tokyo; December 17th, 2011

She knew Reina loved her.

Ask anyone who knew them for who they were, and they would say, “Yes, they are so in love! I’ve never met a couple like them before. They inspire me!” It made Aiko blush as if she were a shy teenager again. It made her blush like the day Reina first asked her out on a date.

“Do you remember?” Aiko asked her girlfriend, as they sat in a fancy restaurant and dined in celebration of their anniversary. “You came to me after your rehearsal, and told me you wanted to get ice cream with me.”

Reina put down her wine glass and considered the floral centerpiece on their table. She rarely made eye contact with Aiko in public, even after so many years. “I guess so. It was a long time ago.”

“Nineteen years.” Aiko smiled, the corners of her mouth bashing away her blushing. “Can you believe it’s been nineteen years since our first date?”

“I suppose. You’re the one who keeps track.”

Aiko cleared her throat and pushed aside her empty plate of chicken alfredo. Reina fidgeted with her utensils and her glass, as if convinced everyone waited for them to do something non-platonic. Aiko searched the room: other Japanese couples, all of them heterosexual; an upper-middle class family with two teenagers; a small group of female friends toasting to good times. She and Reina were the sole same-sex couple in there. Doubtless anyone stealing a glance at them would assume they were good friends, or sisters, maybe cousins. The fact they were lovers would never cross anyone’s mind, except for maybe a perverted foreigner.

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