When we had gotten through the security check, I made my way to the map over the zoo so I could find out where the pandas were located but Riko stopped me. She had grabbed my hand and told me to watch the lions who would get fed at this hour. I, of course, accepted the offer and went along. The pandas could wait a little more.
A lot of the students went to watch the lion too. Riko and I found us a place to sit. Luckily no one who was really tall sat in front of me.
A zookeeper came out from the door in the cage and he turned around and looked at the opened door. We all could hear a loud roar in the room. Everyone went 'oh' and were thrilled to see the lion. The lion then lurked out. His steps were heavy, yet he looked gracefully and elegant. He kept his eyes on the zookeeper. The Zookeeper grabbed the big metal bucket and his lapel microphone.
He then welcomed us and told us about the lion and some facts about lions in general. I was just curious about how the lion was so calm and relaxed at how the zookeeper was so close to him with a bucket full of fresh meat.
"Let's give him some food." he pulled up a big meat piece and threw it to the lion who jumped gracefully up and caught it with his front legs before he dug in.
The Zookeeper told us that he was born in captivity and never met his parents which made me sad. Poor Ari (lion's name), born in a cage and not had gotten to experience the wild.
The man then informed us that Ari was taken well cared off and he got lots of love from everyone. I guess he saw how the audience reacted.
He laughed nervously and changed the topic. The rest of the show was to show off Ari's skills and the last trick they had for us was that they had attached a big meat piece on a small looking crane. When the zookeeper blew the whistle, Ari the lion took off and bounced up and with one attempt he grabbed the meat and the meat flew off with him. The meat fell on the ground and Ari the lion threw himself over onto the meat with no hesitation.
Everyone, included Riko and I all stood up and applauded for his amazing skills.
We could hear someone from behind whistling and cheering and Riko seemed to roll her eyes.
"It's Tomoya and Ryota-kun," she muttered before she looked behind and the whole one ok rock sat only a few seats behind us.
Riko waved at Ryota and he waved happily back. Focusing on Ryota, I didn't see Taka who sat beside him and glared at me but when I noticed he quickly looked away, pretending he didn't see me and focused on the show.
I looked puzzled at him but turned around to watch the lion instead.
When the show ended, Riko dragged me to other animals, but all I could think of was the pandas... I really wanted to see them.
Riko grew tired and wanted to go and eat. I agreed with her when I heard my tummy started making a dying whale's noise.
Riko, of course, heard it and started to chuckle saying,
"You must be hungry too."
The cafe was in the middle of the zoo so it wasn't difficult to find. Riko and I ordered fries to share and ice tea each.
"Yum~" she sang and I nodded, agreeing with her. It was really nice to get something to eat after all the walking.
My thoughts wandered off and I began wondering if the zoo really had pandas since we hadn't run into them yet. The zoo couldn't be that big.
I didn't notice Riko waving her hand in front of my face, yelling 'earth to Aoi' several times, before I responded. I blinked and looked at her confused asking 'what?' and she just shook her head while she tsk'ed.
"You sure love to daydream a lot," she mumbled before throwing a fry in .
"Yeah, sorry." I apologized and she just laughed it off.
"It's okay, I envy you with that." Riko gave me a soft smile. I was about to comment when I got interrupted by Yuu who sat down beside us, giving us a welcoming smile.
"How has your day been so far?"
I could see Yuu secretly asking Riko personally, looking at her more while giving her a sweeter look than he usually gives to others.
Riko cleared and she went from cute to cold in only 0.05 seconds.
"Good before you sat down."
Yuu's smile faded and he shot her a pout before turning towards me and asked me the same question again.
I couldn't help but laugh at how Riko rolled her eyes and folded her arms, muttering 'stop being charming' under her breath, but I guess I was the only one who heard. I replied with a simple 'good' and he gave me a thumbs up before looking back at Riko who avoided his gaze, looking at others instead.
"Why are you ignoring me, Riko?" his voice went softer, but he had this playful tone hiding in the sentence.
Riko then looked at him and stuttered angrily.
"I'm not ignoring you..."
I immediately recognized the same expression I always do when I thought I had said something wrong.
Yuu then placed his hand on top of her head, patting her gently while saying,
"If you say so."
Riko's cheeks got red and she dodged her head so he would stop.
He pulledaway his hand and grinned before standing up.
"Got to go. See you guys later." he waved goodbye and walked back to his friends.
Riko breathed out, holding her hand in front of her chest as she asked quietly to herself.,
"Why are my heart racing?"
I decided to answer her question for her.
"Maybe you're starting to like him?"
Riko seemed to be taken back with surprised and looked at me before laughing.
"No way." waving her hand.
"I probably just have eaten a wrong fry or something." she denied and I shrugged.
When we were finished eating, we sadly had to go to the aquarium section not far from the zoo and here I was excited about watching the pandas.
The tour guide showed us all kinds of different fishes and species that lived underwater and I was not really impressed.
The one animal I wanted to see and I didn't get time to.
I looked beside me to find 3 students whispering about the animals at the zoo.
Overhearing them being enthusiastic.
"I thought the panda was so cute~" one of the girls giggled and they all agreed.
My heart sunk.
Why didn't we have more time..?
We wandered off further into the room. I told Riko to keep going, telling her I had to take a trip to the bathroom.
The walk to the bathroom was like being a lab rat trying to find the cheese in the maze. I looked at the signs, but couldn't find bathroom sign.
I started to get annoyed with all that had happened. It was small problems that had poked me with irritation all day, and I felt myself become a volcano, ready to explode. First, my memories haunting me early in the morning, then not got to see my favorite animal in the whole world and now I can't even find the bathrooms. I sighed to myself.
I'm pathetic and now getting dramatic of nothing...
"Lost?" the honeyed voice said in front of me. My eyes followed the voice and saw no other than Taka standing there with his hands in his pockets, looking like he was bored with his life.
"Kind of," I muttered, honestly.
He walked up to me, not breaking the eye contact.
"I need to find the bathroom," I noted and he only nodded and looked around to see if the were any signs, but he didn't succeed in finding any either.
He scratched the back of his head and muttered under his breath, but I could hear what he was saying.
He then turned to me and grabbed my wrist and dragged me further in.
I looked up at him, seeing him searching for the signs and I felt my heart racing of how he grabbed my wrist and how he wanted to help.
I didn't notice myself smiling when he turned around and he found a sign. My smile faded when I saw him staring at me with a blank expression.
It started to get awkward, but somehow I didn't want to look away and he didn't either.
"I found the bathroom." he let go of my wrist and stepped back before clearing his throat.
I saw the bathroom door and nodded, bowed my head and whispered thank you and walked in.
As soon as the door closed I breathed out.
"I really need to control myself..." I said before slapping lightly on my cheeks, trying to make the blush go away, but it only made it redder. Of course. The way he was dressed nice but comfortably and even his cologne smelled good. I knew it was bad that I thought about. He'd just acting nice anyway. He got a girlfriend too and they looked happy.
I did my business, washed my hands and took one last look in the mirror before stepping out.
"You're done." Taka's voice made me jump back, startled.
Why did he wait?
I nodded and didn't decide to wait for him and started to walk back first.
He jogged up to my side and then there was this awkward silence before he eventually said,
"Did you get to see the animals you wanted?"
I sighed and I guess he caught the hint this time.
I forced a smile before replying him,
"We, unfortunately, didn't get to see the pandas, but we saw Ari the lion get fed."
I didn't want to whine and be ungrateful. At least, I got to see the other animals and I even got to feed the llamas.
"You like pandas?"
He looked interested or was I just imagining it?
"Yeah," I answered.
"Why?" he asked and I immediately replied,
"They're soft, lazy and they sneeze a lot, but they can be really dangerous," I started.
"Did you know panda have lived for over 1 to 2 millions years ago? And their teeth are unbelievably strong, so they can eat bamboos like it's nothing."
I started to blabber and I didn't even notice Taka chuckling at how I adored them.
"Aoi." he interrupted,
I stopped right away and looked at him before laughing awkwardly.
"I'm sorry, I didn't notice I was blabbering."
He looked like he was pondering on something and then grabbed my hand. He gave me a smirk before he said,
"Let's go," He didn't let go of my hand and I was once again dragged with him.
He held tightly and my stupid heart raced again. He wore a plain black t-shirt and I could see his tattoos showing.
I had no idea where he wanted to go and I decided to not to ask but wait and see.
That's when I noticed we entered the zoo section and decided to try and stop him.
"Where are we going?" he didn't respond and continued to lead me wherever he wanted to go.
Riko and I never went here.
He then let go of my hand and went beside me. At first, I didn't realize what he wanted me to see, but when I looked more closely out the window and on top of a tree trunk I looked at the cutes and fluffiest panda ever. I've never seen a panda in real life so this was a big deal for me.
My whole self lit up and I rushed to the window to get a closer look.
"He's sleeping." I said and followed with an 'aww'.
Taka walked up beside me.
"I figured you wanted to see him before we have to go."
That's when it hit me. We weren't allowed since we were supposed to stick with the others and the guide. I turned to Taka and said worried,
"But we can't be here if they knew they wou-" he stopped me by putting his hands on my shoulders and turned me around so I watched the panda again.
"Don't speak, just watch and adore the fluffy panda." He didn't let go of my shoulders which bothered me.
Can he take his hands off me so I don't have to get unnecessary and weird feelings?
He seemed to adore the panda too. He hasn't taken his eyes off him the whole time. Not like I thought about it, just a simple conclusion, that's all.
We stood there in silence for many minutes before he leaned into my ear from behind and whispered,
"We should get going."
Trying to hide the chills I got in my neck I nodded. He started to walk and I followed closely behind.
Aoi, being awkward as always...