Time had passed, and things were relatively back to normal, save for a few details. Saito's friends Romeo and Juliet had moved in with the Shirayukis, much to Michiru's glee, as she had missed them dearly; and this left Keiko and Saito with the apartment to themselves again. With no competitions to train for, club activities were suspended, allowing for everyone to prepare for second term finals before winter break. However, Keiko and Saito weren't spending as much time together as they would've liked, and for a reason. Since it was their first Christmas as a couple, and with no club or Nadeshiko Japan Games to worry about for a while, Keiko was spending after school working a part-time job to afford a Christmas present for Saito.
Saturday December 18th
"Welcome back, Master!" Keiko said, along with a couple of other employees, at the Maid Café she was working at. Yes, Keiko was working at a Maid Café in Akihabara, Tokyo, the only place that would hire her short term. So no one would recognize her, Keiko was wearing her hairstyle in twin-tails, and going by the pseudonym "Kumiko". "This is so humiliating!" Keiko thought, doing her best to keep a smile "When I get my hands on Akira-kun...."
"You're getting better at this." said the Manager, Motoko Kosukegawa, when Keiko finished taking the customer's order
"Don't forget that I'm not going to be here permanently, Kosukegawa-san." Keiko replied irritably
Later, after the flow of customers settled down;
"Rough shift, Kumiko-chan?" asked Ume, another employee, as Keiko collapsed in a chair in the staff room
"Don't call me that name when there's no one here." Keiko replied
"Must be rough to get a job in another city just to afford a Christmas gift for your boyfriend." said Yurika, another employee
"(sigh) The things I do to please him. And I have to fit studying for finals into this too."
A few minutes later, the three of them went back into the main store, just in time to greet the latest pair of customers, two girls.
"Welcome back, Miladies!" the three of them said
"So the rumors were true." said one of the girls. Keiko got a better look at them and saw that it was Yuki and Suzuka, causing cold sweat to run down her face "Kei-chan is working as a maid." said Yuki
"W-w-w-w-wh-wh-wh-what are you two doing here?!" Keiko exclaimed
"You know them?" Motoko asked
"I'm Yuki Nonomiya, Kei-chan's best friend in the whole world." said Yuki
"Suzuka Akitsuki. Her teammate on Nadeshiko Japan, and her former teammate and former captain of our school team." said Suzuka "Isn't that right, 'Kumiko-chan'?"
"Please refrain from calling me that." Keiko whimpered, her embarrassment rising by the second
Keiko led them to a table and began serving them.
"I was surprised to hear of this." said Suzuka as Keiko served them both tea
"I had hoped you wouldn't hear at all." Keiko replied
"Don't worry, we're not gonna tell anyone." said Yuki, but Keiko gave her a weird look "What's with that look?"
"(sigh) At this point, I don't give a damn, just don't tell Saito! The last thing I need is for him to see me like this"
"He's been too busy to even know anyway." said Suzuka
"For the last week, Saito-kun's been working at a local pizzeria every day for the same reason you're working here."
"Saito didn't tell me that." said Keiko
"Of course he wouldn't." said Yuki
"Excuse me, ladies." said Motoko "Hate to rush you, but we're getting ready to close up for the day."
"Excuse us then." said Suzuka as she and Yuki finished their tea
"And, Keiko-chan, I'll pay you for the last of your work when you quit on Tuesday, but here's this week's pay."
Keiko took the envelope with her pay from Motoko and looked inside. In it, combined with what she already saved up, was just nearly the amount she needed to buy Saito's present.
"Instead of going through all of this, you could've just made him a sweater." said Yuki
"Except for the fact that I can't knit!" Keiko retorted
Tuesday December 21st;
"Here's the last of it." said Motoko as she handed Keiko the last of her pay after her final day at work
"So long, Maids! I won't be coming back!" Keiko said cheerfully as she took her leave
"Shame, I was getting fond of that girl." said Ume after Keiko left
All the money she needed in hand, Keiko raced back to Kamakura. Just minutes before it closed, Keiko found the store she would buy Saito's Christmas present, a local art supplies store.
"Excuse me!" Keiko exclaimed, as he opened the door
"Ah, Aizawa-san." said the Manager "Just in time, I was about to close up shop."
"I have the amount you requested." Keiko told him, holding out the envelope with ¥100,000.
"Well done. Sold. Would you like me to wrap it?"
Minutes later, Keiko walked out of the store carrying Saito's gift under her arm.
Friday December 24th;
The final bell rang to signal the end of the last final.
"Well done, everyone." said 1-C's sub-teacher "Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year."
"At last!" Yuki exclaimed as the class began to file out "What did you get for Saito-kun?" Yuki asked Keiko in a whisper
"I'm not telling you." Keiko whispered back
"C'mon, Keiko, we gotta get our things before we catch the train." Saito called
"The train?" Yuki inquired
"Saito and I are going to Hakone overnight." Keiko told her
"Isn't that on the other side of Kanagawa?" Chloe asked
"Hai. I was surprised when Saito told me last night." Keiko replied
"An overnight trip alone? Is this his Christmas present to you?" Yuki asked
"How would I know?"
"Keiko!" Saito called
"Coming!" Keiko called back
After changing and getting their bags, in Keiko's was her gift to Saito, the young couple boarded the train bound for Hakone. It was evening by the time they arrived.
"It's already evening." said Keiko when they stepped onto the station platform "We won't be able to enjoy much."
"That's alright." said Saito, checking his watch. It was 5:16 "I'd rather just be alone with you tonight. Now let's head to the Inn before we miss our reservation."
Saito took them to a local Hot Springs inn nearby.
"Shirayuki. One-night stay for two." Saito told the desk clerk
"Let me see." said the clerk as she checked the reservation list "Ah, there you are. Room 122. Enjoy your stay."
"Arigato." said Saito as the clerk handed him the key. A minute later, they were in their room, which included an outdoor hot-spring "Finally we can relax." said Saito, sitting down with his arms to support him, after they put their bags down
"I'm amazed you were able to afford this place." said Keiko as he sat down at the table
"All my hard work at my part-time job was rewarded."
"There's no way a pizzeria pays enough to afford a place like this." Keiko told him
"How did you... Yuki-chan?"
"Why can't she let me look cool for you? Alright, Uncle Soji paid for it."
"Be sure to thank him."
"I will, I will."
Keiko got up and hugged Saito "It's the thought that counts." she told him, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek "There's still time before dinner. Want a dip in the hot spring?"
"Already?" Saito inquired as Keiko released him and got up
"Then I'm going in first."
"Wait a min..." Keiko was already out the door "She used to be so guarded around me, now she's like a loyal cat, if that's the right analogy."
Saito stripped and put a towel around his waist before joining Keiko, who was already in the spring with just a towel around herself.
"What kept ya?" Keiko asked gleefully
"J-j-just hold your horses." Saito replied as he got in too "I don't know where to look."
"What's with the weird face? You've seen me naked before."
"Th-this just feels like it's different." said Saito as Keiko got so close to him they were touching skin "Keiko?"
"We haven't really been alone together since I got released from the hospital. The most we've done is sleep in the same bed."
"Sumimasen." said Saito as Keiko rested her head on Saito's shoulder
"What are you apologizing for?" Keiko asked "I'm just as much at fault. I was working too."
"Don't you dare ask!"
"Anyway.... Now that we're finally alone... I can't wait any longer."
"What...?" before Saito could say another word, Keiko, letting her towel drop, kissed him and put one of his hands on her bare breasts. "Keiko... we're not supposed to...."
"I'm wearing a female condom. And, for good measure, I've got pills. Do what you want with me."
"But mom said to...."
"Saito, please! I've had to go without you for almost two months. I can't be patient anymore."
Unable to hold himself back anymore either, Saito yielded to Keiko and began pleasuring her as the snow started to fall. Beyond happy at being able to truly touch each other for the first time in a very long time, the two of them lost awareness of their surroundings. With Keiko laying back at the edge of the spring, Saito was about to enter her, when a noise disrupted them. It was one of the waitresses coming to serve them dinner, having dropped an empty cup when she saw them through the glass.
"OH! Ah! Sumimasen! D-d-d-d-dinner is served!" She exclaimed, putting the meals on the table quickly and taking her leave
"(sigh) That totally ruined the mood." said Keiko
"Agreed." Saito replied as he had gone soft in an instant.
The two of them put their kimonos on and went to eat.
"Worst. Timing. Ever!" said Keiko as they ate
"Give it a rest, will ya?" said Saito as Keiko's phone rang
"It's Hiroki." said Keiko before she answered her phone "Hello?"
"Nee-chan? I'm out with Saki-chan. She just went to the restroom." Hiroki said over the phone
"Too much info, Otouto."
"Sorry. Even though you convinced me to ask her out, I'm completely clueless! What do couples do on a Christmas date?"
"Figure it out!" Keiko replied irritably before hanging up
"What was that about?" Saito asked
"Hiroki's clueless about what to do with Saki now that they're out on a date."
"Should you leave him hanging like that?"
"He needs to learn that he can't rely on me to help his relationship along." Keiko replied as her phone rang again, "Hiroki again; That boy." Keiko answered again "What, Hiroki?!"
"I'm serious! Give me a suggestion, anything!"
"(sigh) There's supposed to be a Christmas parade running shortly. Why don't you start with that?"
"We're right near there. Arigato, Nee-chan."
"Don't call me again. Tonight's my night with Saito." Keiko replied before she hung up again "That boy."
"At times like this, I'm glad I'm the only boy in my family." said Saito as Keiko put her phone away
"At least, your sisters are self-reliant in their own way. But I'm glad I know I can rely on you."
The two of them leaned closer over the table, ready to kiss, when they were interrupted again by the door opening.
"Shall I pour you some hot sa... ke...?" it was the same waitress from earlier "Um... I..."
"Perhaps next time you will KNOCK FIRST!?" Keiko exclaimed, her face just an inch from Saito's
"I'm so sorry!" said another waitress, making the first one bow as low as possible "She's a real novice. Just started the other day."
Keiko and Saito backed off and sat down again
"So... hot sake?" the first waitress asked
"Can't you see we're under-aged?" Saito asked
"Baka!" the second waitress said to the first one
After Keiko and Saito finished eating, the two waitresses laid out a single futon, as per their request, and left the couple alone.
"Alone at last." said Keiko after she put up the "乱さない [Midasanai/Do not disturb]" sign. Keiko looked at the clock: it was near 9:00. "Perfect time to exchange gifts."
"Already?" Saito asked as Keiko got her gift to Saito out of her bag
"Don't want it?" Keiko asked with a smile on her face
Saito returned the smile and let Keiko give him his gift. He unwrapped it to reveal a large black leather case filled with art supplies, from paints and brushes to pencils, colored and normal, and erasers.
"Wow, Keiko. This must've cost a small fortune." said Saito, who couldn't suppress a smile
"You might say that." Keiko replied modestly
"And now for yours." Saito pulled his gift to Keiko out of his bag and gave it to her
Keiko unwrapped it to reveal a box with a new pair of soccer shoes.
"New soccer shoes?" Keiko asked
"I noticed that your current ones have gotten worn, so..."
"Uwaahh! Th-th-this is... not only is it from my favorite brand, it's the latest model! But it hasn't even been released yet, it doesn't hit the shelves until March. How did you...?"
"I had help. Uncle Soji called in a few favors and pulled a few strings, though I had to actually pay for them myself. I knew you loved that brand, so I figured you'd like-"
Before Saito could say another word, Keiko put down the shoes, kissed him twice on both cheeks, and hugged him around the neck.
"Merry Christmas, My Prince." said Keiko
"Merry Christmas, My Princess." Saito replied
After turning out the lights, Keiko and Saito kissed once more, slipped out of the kimonos they were still nude beneath, and got in the futon. Beyond happy with their first Christmas together, the two of them lost themselves as they made love.
"This is the best Christmas ever!" Keiko thought, embracing Saito as he made love to her "Alone together in a hot springs hotel during the best season of the year, nothing could make me happier."
"Spending Christmas alone with the girl I love is what I've always dreamed of." Saito thought as he and Keiko climaxed together
"I hope every Christmas after this, is as wonderful as this one." the two of them thought at the same time as they relaxed and fell asleep together
The following morning, the young couple spent Christmas day exploring Hakone and making more Christmas memories before going back to Kamakura to prepare for New Year's Day. With a wish that they would be together every year, this was a Christmas neither of them would soon forget.