I took a deep breath when I saw Souta kun go out.

I close my eyes once……and a few seconds later, I open it.


I turn around and walk down the hallway. …..In the living room, they were waiting for me.

“Mother-in-law. Father-in-law. I have something to tell you.”

The two of them looked at me with a puzzled look,…… but they seemed to realize my intention and became serious.

“I love Souta kun. I love him more than anyone else in this world. …..I want the two of us to be happy together, that’s what I think.”

“Yeah. I can feel it when I look at the two of you.”

“However. I have committed a very serious sin.”

“……Anyway, please sit down. You must be tired from standing.”

“Thank you very much.”

I sat down on the opposite side of the table where the two of them were sitting and looked at them again.

“I’m sure the two of you love Souta kun from the bottom of your hearts. …..Although I only met Father-in-law for the first time today. In this short time, I could strongly feel that. And that Souta kun also loves you both. That’s why I felt I had to tell you. I thought so.”

My voice almost trembled. But this is a sin I committed. It may be just for self-satisfaction…..not even atonement for it.

But, however. I can’t stay silent.

I took a deep, deep breath. I–

“I betrayed Souta kun once. …..In a very, very cruel way.”

I said that.


“……It hasn’t changed, huh.”

Well, half a year has passed since then, so it’s natural.

It’s not far to the convenience store. But if I went home too early, I would disturb Nagi.

I started walking to the convenience store a little further away.

I can’t call it countryside or city. It was more countryside-like, but the townscape is a little odd.

I liked this town. Maybe it’s natural because it’s my hometown.

“……I wish I could have walked with Nagi.”

I think I’m a bit cowardly myself. But it’s true. I’ve decided to walk with Nagi tomorrow, but for a moment. I wondered if Nagi would be alright.

“No. Nagi will be fine.”

Though worry passed through my mind, I know Nagi will be fine now. I’m sure.

Both my father and mother are parental idiots, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t talk to each other. I talked about Nagi on a regular basis. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

……But. I didn’t tell them about it.

Sometimes I miss the timing. I was very busy at that time.

Besides, I didn’t want to give a bad impression of Nagi……and I didn’t think it would be good for me to intervene if Nagi had decided to talk about it. So I couldn’t say.

“Maybe it would be better if I just talked about it.”

Now I wonder if I should have talked about it slightly. Well, it’s too late now.

Thinking about that, I soon arrived at the convenience store. …..It’s located about 15 minutes away from my house, so I can’t say that it’s far away.

There I bought a soda. I also bought a cup of coffee because I still had some time left.

After buying them, I walked a little further and came to the park. It was cold at the end of the year, so there were no children playing there.

“No. I guess this is the reason.”

I saw a sign posted at the entrance of the park.

{No ball playing and no loud noises ! It’s a nuisance to neighbors !}

“I guess this is why kids can’t play outside.”

I felt a little sad, probably because I used to play catch with my father when I was little.

I went inside and sat on a bench.

“……It’s cold.”

Of course, it was the end of the year. It was cold and snowing.

I opened the coffee I had just bought and took a sip. The bitter and sour taste that spreads in my mouth is nostalgic.

It was around the time when I was in sixth grade that I tried to imitate my father, who drank coffee on this bench.

I remember I gave up at first because it was too bitter. My father laughed and drank the rest.

But I really wanted to drink it. I started with café au lait.

Also, I started making café au lait and drinking it at home. Little by little, I reduced the amount of milk and sugar I put in and by the time I reached the age of……ninth grade, I was able to drink black coffee.

It’s bad for my body if I drink it too much, so I drank it only a few times a month.

“…….I’d like to come here with Nagi. Here, too.”

I suddenly let out such a mumble and chuckle.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while……but I can’t stand it anymore without Nagi.

“I’ve been spending most of my time with Nagi.”

Aside from the time I’m at school, these days, when Nagi comes to my house, it’s almost guaranteed to be a sleepover. When that happens, we’re basically in the same room.

When Nagi is with me, we’re basically close to each other. When I sit on the sofa, she comes next to me, and when I sit on the carpet with the sofa as a backrest, she sits next to me.

She leans on my shoulder and–

“As expected, it’s weird to think about this alone. Let’s think about something else.”

I think to myself, and drink a cup of coffee that’s still warm.

The sky is cloudy. As I gazed around in a daze, I saw a group of what looked like high school boys walking by.

“I have a bad feeling about this.”

I saw a face that looked both vaguely familiar somehow. I looked down.

If it was just my imagination, that’s fine. If it wasn’t—I hoped they wouldn’t notice.

“…….Hm? Is it you, Minori?”

I heard the voice. I let out a sigh.


I explained what had happened.

There were a lot of things I needed to tell them first.

That I was adopted and that my father was the head of a kimono company. One day, I received an offer of an arranged marriage.

I told Souta kun about it and told him that I could no longer see him.

“I betrayed Souta kun. ……In the worst way.”

Even now, when I recall it, I feel my heart squeezing. I really, really think I did something stupid.

He could have given up on me. …….But.

“And yet, Souta kun didn’t give up on me. The next morning, Souta kun came to see me. He talked to my father. So he was able to clear up the misunderstanding between me, my father, and my mother……It was all thanks to Souta kun. Thanks to Souta kun, we became a “family” again.”

If it was just a story, it might end as a happy ending. However,

This should not be the end. I must not forget that I had hurt Souta kun in the past.

“This is how far I betrayed Souta kun…..and hurt him deeply. Has Souta kun told this—“

“No. He hasn’t.”

“I see……”

I knew he didn’t tell them. Souta kun. No. He may have lost the timing to tell them. There were many things that happened after that.

“…Even after that, Souta-kun cared a lot about me. As if he didn’t care about himself.”

He encouraged me when I couldn’t believe in myself. He told me that he would always be next to me no matter what.

That’s why–

“I will never betray Souta kun again. I want the two of us to be happy together. I strongly hope from the bottom of my heart.”

It is not about [making Souta kun happy]. It’s about [the two of us being happy together].

This is what Souta kun wants—what I also sincerely want.

Once again, I have an apology and a favor to ask of both of you at …….”

I looked at the two of them, who had been quiet the whole time and listened without interrupting me.

I lowered myself a little. I put my hands on the floor.

“I am sorry for hurting Souta kun so deeply.”

“Wait, Nagi chan !?”

I bowed my head while receiving bewildered voices.

I got down on my knees….with the utmost apology.

“And if it’s okay with you. Once again, I would like you to approve my engagement to Souta kun.”

“N-Nagi chan. Look up. I’m glad you know how much we care about Souta—but I’m not going to get mad at you in the first place.”

“Y-yeah. Lift your face, Nagi chan.”

I looked up when the two of them told me to do so.

The two of them–after looking a little flustered, they gave me a small smile.

“Um, I’m sorry for not telling you, but…..I actually heard it.”

“…..Heard it. From Souta kun?”

“No? …..Nagi chan. From your father.”


“Actually, he came yesterday. He came to apologize, just like you, Nagi chan.”

“Yes. ……Even if I told you, I’m sure you would still apologize, Nagi chan. I wanted to ask you what you really thought, so I kept quiet. I’m sorry, okay?”

I was taken aback by those words.

I remembered that my mother and father had gone out yesterday, saying they had something to do.

“Erm,that’s. Did you mean to say that he stayed over…..”

“Yeah. We got a little carried away. It was late at night, so I asked him to use my guest room.”

So that’s what happened. Hm? But.

“……Here. I don’t think he knew the address of Souta kun’s parents’ house.”

“Ah. Actually, I have an acquaintance who’s an ex-police officer with a very wide circle of acquaintances. It just so happens that one of his acquaintances is Nagi chan’s father.”

Such a coincidence….it reminded me that a long time ago, a friend of my father’s used to come to our house.

It was unusual for my father to introduce him as a ‘friend’ and we had talked a bit. He seemed to have a lot of connections and was very helpful to him. Maybe that’s him.

“But that’s not all. ……We never get angry with Nagi chan. On the contrary, we’re happy for you, you know?”

My mother-in-law smiled softly as she said this.

“If Souta hadn’t gone to Nagi chan’s house, there might have been some things he would have thought about, but…….it means that Souta went to such lengths to make Nagi chan his bride.

“……Yeah, I agree with you. I’m glad to know that Souta has become so strong. To be able to say what he thinks properly. And that he has grown up.

Then, my father-in-law muttered quietly. Both of them looked at me.

“Nagi chan.”


I got a little nervous. I straightened my back.

“It’s already been decided long ago. …..Nagi chan is Souta’s lovely wife and already our lovely daughter.”

“Yeah. It may be difficult to say. You don’t have to be so hard on yourself. And we, your father and mother, can only tell you one thing.”

And then they both smiled at the same time.

“Be happy.”

“There will be a lot of hardship, and there may be times when you argue with each other. …..But. I believe you two will be happy.”

At those words, I felt very happy–

“Yes ! Father-in-law, Mother-in-law !”

I felt a warm drop of water run down my cheek.


“….Thank god.”

We talked for a bit, and then my mother-in-law asked me if I wanted to stay here or go back to my room to prepare dinner. I hesitated for a bit, but I went back to my room.

Partly because I wanted to be alone. Because my nerves were suddenly released.

Just a little bit. I wanted to stretch out a bit, so I lay down on the bed.

At that moment–I felt my face get hot.

“…..It really smells like Souta kun.”

It gave me a sense of security, just like when I was sleeping with Souta kun.

Since it’s about mother-in-law and father-in-law, they probably wash it and dry it properly.

……But. It smells very much like Souta kun. It’s a reassuring smell.

“……W-what am I doing?”

Before I knew it, I was about to lie down on my stomach. It’s not good. …..It’s not good.

B-but. Just a little bit.

I buried my face in that pillow. ……Covered in a blanket.


I almost made a funny noise and closed my mouth.

……This. It’s amazing. It really is like being hugged by Souta kun.

At the same time, the feelings that had been sealed up until now overflowed.

“……I want to see Souta kun.”

I want him to pat my head and praise me for doing my best. …..But. It might be a little bad. This time it was me who caused it. It’s only natural for me to apologize.

But–once I think about it, I can’t stop.

I want to be squeezed. I want to bury my face in Souta kun and hug him.

“……Souta kun.”

I pressed my face into the pillow. I want to wrap the blanket tightly around my body.

“…I wonder if he’ll come back soon.”

Contrary to such thoughts, I felt my cheeks naturally loosen as I buried my face in the pillow like this.

I know it’s not good, but as I roll around and enjoy myself, time naturally passes by.

At that moment, I heard footsteps coming closer to me. I had a very, very bad feeling. I stood up with a jump.

Listening carefully, I hear a faint voice.

“Oh? Souta, did you leave your luggage here?”

……Have I’ve been seen?

My face gets so hot that I don’t like it. Because now. If I were seen–

“N-no ! Souta kun !”

In Souta kun’s room….u-um. Because Souta kun is not here, she would think that I’m a pervert !

I unintentionally shouted.

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