As soon as they arrived at the festival grounds, Yukiko took Sakura’s arm and led her past the first trees and toward the stalls set up.
Nabiki looked to her mother and father, but neither said anything or called the other girls back. Nabiki took a few steps to follow, but Mother grabbed her hand and stopped her.
“Let them have their own time,” Mother urged. “You can walk with us, or join your friends.” She nodded to the group of girls around one of the booths. Nabiki recognized every one of them from her school, though only three were in her class.
“Yes, Mother,” she agreed, trotting up to the group and joining in the fair games.
When they returned home and Sakura removed her makeup and let her hair down, Nabiki hugged her tightly. “I missed you,” she said, even though it sounded stupid. It had been one day, and she hadn’t really been gone at all.
Sakura smiled and kissed her sister’s cheek. “I am not going anywhere. I will be your sister still.”
Nabiki nodded; glad to see herself again in the woman next to her. She was different, that unnamable change still affected her. She was definitely a woman, not a girl. What was it? Nabiki spent the whole night trying to pin down the difference, but had no luck.