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(continued story) Minato's heart sank as he saw his father's expression. Oh great, Dad was out looking for him. He hoped he hadn't called Mom and gotten the whole family in an uproar. Kamajii Hashimoto glimpsed the two teenagers and recognized his son. Indescribable relief washed over his father's face. "Minato! There you are!" he called. He rushed up to them. "Thank heavens! I wasn't looking forward to telling your mother you were missing." Minato's father panted as he halted in front of them. He stared at Aru. "Oh, Dad, this is Aru." Minato introduced quickly. "I'm really sorry I took off. I ended up getting kinda lost and Aru found me and helped me back. She lives around here." His father looked at his son's savior. "You did?" Aru nodded, smiling shyly. "I owe you a great deal." Minato's father thanked, extending his hand to her. "I'm Dr. Kamajii Hashimoto. And I can't tell you how much of a blessing you were today. You saved me from my wife." he chuckled slightly, but it was forced. Aru shook his hand heartily. "You're very welcome. It’s nice to meet you Mr. Hashimoto." After a moment she remarked. "Well, I guess I should get going now. It’s getting late." Minato's father gazed up at the sky and frowned worryingly. "It’s threatening to snow again. And the snowstorms here are a fierce of evil." he commented. "Miss Aru, I don't think it’s wise for you to go home now. You could get caught up in that storm, and I don't want what Minato was in danger of happening to you. I could never forgive myself if that were to occur. It’s safer if you stay here at the hotel for the night. I could book you a room or you could share ours, unless that bothered you." Aru pursed her lips and thought for a moment. "Well, if you insist, I'll stay until it gets better." her cheeks were a rosy tint, and she glanced at Minato. Minato flinched. Was she staring at him? Maybe he was imagining it. Yeah, that had to be it. Aru followed them into the inn as snow flurries began to fall furiously. (ended)

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