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https://kakuyomu.jp/works/16817330649941556887/episodes/16817330651608192285

As I spent time with Nagi and my wife, I began to realize something.

I began to feel affection for Nagi.

When she won an award in Japanese dance, I was as happy as if it were my own. I was also happy when she reported that she was beginning to enjoy the tea ceremony and flower arrangement, which she had said she did not enjoy much at first.

And I thought to myself, 

I wanted her to live freely.

I want her to do what she loves and enjoy her life. I don’t want to impose my dreams and my work on her.

I don’t want to tie her down. Fortunately, I have plenty of money. I can let her do what she wants to do.

By the time I thought that, it was too late.

Little by little, the smile faded from Nagi’s face. Because of what I said.

I talked to my wife….and she got angry at me. I looked for a way to get back to normal.

–But it was no use.

I remember strongly what my parents said to me when I was a child. And I had told Nagi the same thing over and over again.

“Nagi. Is there anything else you want to do?”

“Not in particular, because I’m enjoying my practice right now.”

She didn’t act like a child even though she is.  ……And the distance between us naturally became empty.

I’m not good enough. I asked Chie to tell her that it was okay to spend time like before.

–However, it was useless.

“But then, I won’t be like you, Father.”

Inside her. My presence had become too big.

Still, I managed to persuade her. But Nagi had gotten into the habit of hiding her emotions.

Before I knew it, she was back to normal.

Ah, we are not good enough. I thought so.

By the time she entered elementary school, her appearance hadn’t changed.

–I don’t know who said it, but Nagi was called [Ice Princess]. It was around this time when she was called that.

I had sent her to a private school where kids from good places went, but I felt it was not a good sign.

She isolate herself from her surroundings. She would be alone.

Then it would be better to send her to a normal school.

If someone else comes along who can entertain Nagi, not us, it might change things.

I talked about it with my wife. When I proposed to change schools, Nagi accepted it easily.

–But. Even there, I became a hindrance.

Her father was a great man, and if she did anything bad, her parents would lose their job.

It wasn’t long before rumors began to circulate. Of course I would not do such a thing.

But, it was no good. ….It all backfired.

Soon, I didn’t know how to deal with my daughter, who’s life was ruined by me. Family conversation was also decreased.

……Because of that.

◆◇◆

“Children learn common sense from their parents. I was unaware of that obvious fact. …… Eventually, Nagi grew up. I heard that when you reach puberty you start to dislike your father and you shouldn’t have conversations with him, that’s what I thought–no. In the end I was just running away.”

Soichiro san’s face was distorted as he said that.

“It will get better someday, it doesn’t have to be solved right now. I ran away to work. Leave Nagi to the people at home.”

……Then, for years, Nagi remained like that.

Soichiro san stared at me.

“Recently, Nagi has been going outside more and more. I felt that it was a good sign. But this time, too, without much conversation. I thought that Nagi’s life would be more enjoyable if there was someone who could be her fiancé and friend. I had pushed my selfish thought that she would be happy. ….I didn’t even notice the changes in my daughter.”

Soichiro san stared at me.

“I’m sorry, Minori kun. I’m sorry for giving my daughter and you a hard time.”

I have my own thoughts after hearing what you just said. But this is not something I should say.

“Please apologize to Nagi san, not to me. And please make up with her. That is my wish.”

My mouth naturally relaxed.

“You can still start over. She loves her parents more than anyone else.”

If she could spend time with her parents again as she did in the past. I’m sure Nagi would be happy too.

“Please make up with her and treat her as you used to. ……Please.”

“I understand. Right away–“

Just when Soichiro san was about to stand up.

“I heard everything. Father.”

The sliding door leading to another room opened.

At that moment, I gulped.

“…….”

There was Nagi, wearing a kimono.

Her skin was a little whiter than usual. It made Nagi’s skin and face more beautiful and attractive.

The hair was pulled back in the same way as when she was dancing.  …It’s tied with a hairpin and blue jade ball on the top.

And the kimono. Nagi’s innocence was emphasized by the luxurious-looking kimono with the white lilies drawn on it.

“–Did you heard that? Nagi. Chie.”

“I’m sorry. I was waiting for the right moment to enter.”

I was taken aback by such an exchange. I regained consciousness.

“No. ……Either way, I was going to tell Nagi the same thing. It saves me a lot of trouble, so it’s fine.”

Soichiro san said so. He looked at them.

“Let’s talk. Nagi, Chie. Please sit down.”

They nodded to Soichiro san’s words. They sat down next to him.

“Ah, that’s right. I have to introduce Minori kun to you, Chie.”

“–Yes. But actually, I already heard from Nagi.”

The one who’s called “Chie” from a while ago is probably Nagi’s mother.

With beautiful black hair in a ponytail, she has a neat appearance.

She’s very beautiful. She’s so beautiful that I can believe her even if she is said to be in her late twenties like Soichiro san.

“Okay, once again. Nice to meet you. My name is Shinonome Chie, Nagi’s mother. ……Thank you so much for taking care of Nagi.”

“N-no. I’m also quite indebted to Nagi san. Ah, I…..am Minori Souta.”

As I said so, Chie san chuckled.

“You don’t have to use honorifics. Let’s get back to the topic.”

Chie san said so. She looked at Soichiro san.

“—Nagi.”

“Yes.”

Soichiro san stared at Nagi.

Then, he put his hand on the floor. He bowed his head.

“I’m really sorry until now. I don’t even know where to start. I have ruined Nagi’s life.”

“……Father.”

Nagi looked at Soichiro san. And smiled softly.

“Father, please lift up your head. I love Father and Mother. Therefore, even if you say that you saw me as a tool. ……I was surprised, but not upset.”

“Nagi.”

Chie san hugged Nagi from behind.

“……I’m sorry I made you into such a child that you can’t even say a single selfish thing.”

Chie san’s expression was so painful.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t notice it. But Soichiro san and I……no. Me and your father are also thinking about you first now, Nagi. ……Because we only think about Nagi’s happiness.”

Chie san’s hands hugged Nagi even tighter. Soichiro san raised his head. He looked at Nagi.

“Yeah. What we want from Nagi.  ….We think that it’s important for Nagi to find happiness. Nagi’s happiness is our happiness. –So, I want to ask you again.”

Soichiro san’s pitch black, straight eyes pierced through Nagi.

“Today’s marriage proposal. Does it really make you happy,  Nagi?”

Nagi stared at him.

She turned her gaze to me.

Finally, she looked at me.

Just like that, Nagi returned her gaze.

“…… Father, this marriage proposal is what I wanted from the bottom of my heart. There is no doubt about that.

She said so. I involuntarily turned my head and clenched my fists.

“–But.”

To the words that follow. I looked at Nagi.

“If it’s possible. I would like to talk with Souta kun again.”

The expression on her face. She was smiling softly but looked somewhat pained.

◆◆◆

Soichiro san and the others went to another room. Now it’s just me and Nagi in this room.

“I have a lot of things to say. But I want to ask you one thing first.”

Nagi looked at me quietly. 

“–Why did you come here?”

“Why?”

I repeated her words. I stared at Nagi.

“To make Nagi happy.”

If I had to put it in one word, it would be this.

Nagi’s eyes widened at my words…..and she turned her head.

“I hurt Souta kun.”

“You did it to make your family happy. You didn’t do it with malice intention.”.

“I betrayed you, Souta kun.”

“It’s true that I was hurt. But I’m back on my feet now. –Nagi.”

I called out for Nagi, and she turned to me.

“……Rather than me. I’m sure a suitable girl for Souta kun will come someday.”

“I’m happier with Nagi rather than with someone whose face I don’t know yet.”

Nagi’s expression was distorted little by little. 

“I-I mean. I might….betray Souta kun again. It’s possible, you know?”

“No, you won’t. There’s no reason for you to betray me again. Nagi’s parents are both good people. They know about me. So, it’ll be fine. Moreover……”

To Nagi. I smiled at her.

“This incident has left a deep scar on Nagi’s heart as well as mine. The guilt and self-loathing of betraying others. Now that you understand that, You won’t betray me anymore, Nagi.”

Nagi is a very kind girl. I think she was attacked by self-hatred terribly.

But that’s why. It’s okay.

Nagi turned her head down and muttered

“….I’m such a stupid girl.”

After that, she looked up.

““It’s not just Souta kun. …In the end, it’s no exaggeration to say that I betrayed my parents.”

“We just crossed paths. We can start all over the place.”

“Besides, I rejected Souta kun.

“It wasn’t from the bottom of your heart. You just had to do so. ……Your face at that time told me so.”

“I’m half-hearted in everything. I might hurt Souta kun again.”

“Then let’s both heal together. No matter how many times Nagi hurts me, I will never leave you. I promise.”

“…..I don’t want to hurt Souta kun.”

“I know. That’s why I can change. Nagi is a girl who can grow up. Even though your English was not good at first, you got a perfect score.”

Nagi’s expression is getting more and more distorted.

“I—I–“

Her cheeks were distorted.

“Is it okay for me to be happy?”

“Of course.”

Straight. I looked into Nagi’s eyes to make sure she understood.

“I will definitely make you happy, even if you don’t ask for it.”

I stood up and went next to Nagi. 

Nagi looked at me with big tears. 

“Nagi.”

“……Yes.”

I put my hand in front of Nagi’s. 

“Will you go out with me with marriage in mind?”

Nagi looked at me, crying.

“–Yes.”

She took my hand.

I pulled her hand, stood her up and hugged her.

“…Sorry, I’m sorry, Souat kun. I hurt you a lot.”

“…Yeah. It’s fine. Right now, I’m very happy.”

The warmth of Nagi’s body heat is felt directly.

“…….And, thank you. For still liking me.”

Nagi smiled at me, though she was still in tears.

“You’re welcome.”

Nagi’s small hand squeezed my back and hugged me tightly. 

“–I love you, Souta kun. I love you more than anyone else.

“Me too. ….I love you.”

Nagi removed her face from my chest. She looked at me.

I moved my face close to hers–

I put my lips on hers.

“……”

“……”

We looked at each other silently. Her beautiful face was right in front of me……

Just like this. I put her lips on top of Nagi’s.

“……Souta kun.”

“What is it?”

Nagi’s eyes, as blue as the ocean floor, looked at me softly.

“Absolutely, absolutely. I will make Souta kun happy too. –I will never betray you again.

“……Yeah.”

I nodded to Nagi’s words. I put my lips on hers again.

“We will be happy together.”

“… I’m already very happy, though.”

“More. I’m going to be happier from now on.”

Saying that, I hugged her as she smiled and left a bit.

Suddenly, there was a pause. I was struck by sleepiness and fell unconscious.

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Hel
Hel
1 year ago

Truly, truly thank you for the quick releases at this very charged part in the story.

AS
AS
1 year ago
Krozam
Krozam
11 months ago

Well, at least it didn’t take long to resolve. I’m glad her parents are reasonable people who want her happiness, saved a lot of trouble.

YameteSenpaii
YameteSenpaii
1 month ago

I love you more than anything else huh.. sounds empty to me.