Wednesday, May 5
Utena stood out in the meadow, chin thoughfully in hand, and regarded the rising structure by the lakeshore with a critical eye. The main body of the house was fully framed now. Part of the crew was at work on the two-story section's roof, while another, out at the end of the single-story section, was in the process of putting up the structure for the tower. It was still a long way from finished, but the final shape of it could just about be made out if you knew what to look for.
"It's really starting to look like a house," Utena mused aloud.
Next to her, Wakaba Shinohara nodded in sage agreement. "Sure is," she said.
"Won't be long now before we can... " Utena said, then trailed off, her face becoming still more thoughtful, as she mulled over present developments. She slowly turned her head to regard Wakaba, who was standing there still looking at the house.
After a few seconds, Wakaba seemed to feel Utena's gaze on her; turning, she met her old friend's azure eyes and replied artlessly, "What?"
Utena considered playing it just as cool for a second, then lunged and embraced Wakaba with a girlish squeal that would have struck many of her more recent acquaintances as unlikely. (Wakaba's similar cry in return, not as much.) They even jumped up and down a little bit while they were at it, as if striving to hit as many of the checkboxes as possible.
"It's so good to see you!" Utena declared when they'd finished. "When did you get here?"
"Just now," Wakaba replied with a grin. "Came in on the 10:45 from Saikyo. This is quite a place you've got here."
"How did you get up here from town?" Utena wondered, looking around. There was just the usual assortment of construction crew vehicles and whatnot parked over by the portable project office; no sign of a rental car or any such.
Wakaba smirked and thwacked Utena gently on the back of the head, holding up her other hand to display the gently glowing green rose seal ring she wore. "Duh, I can fly," she said.
Utena snorted. "That wasn't ostentatious in any way," she observed dryly as the two started making their way toward the house.
"When in Rome," Wakaba replied offhandedly, and Utena wasn't even sure what she meant by that; before she could ask, Wakaba went on, "I see you weren't exaggerating about your spot here. Dang, girl, this is too good for the likes of you."
"What's that supposed to mean, huh?" Utena demanded, hooking an arm around Wakaba's neck and miming a noogie.
"Ow, somebody help, my prince is oppressing me," Wakaba complained.