Who the hell is that? –I was spitting in my mind as if I was going to throw up.
I’m not sure what to make of it, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find a way to make it work.
Her face turned bright red, she looked restless and her gaze swam …… like she was a borrowed cat. Where is the brazenness that was lying there on the sofa with her belly out, just a little while ago!

As soon as my brother shows up, this is it. In an instant, Honami turns into someone I don’t know.

It’s really too obvious, isn’t it?
It’s so blatant, and I’m just stunned to see it from the other end. It’s as if I’m being confronted with the fact that the difference in attitude between me and him is this or that. I don’t even feel frustrated, jealous, or …… such feelings. I’m so beaten down that I don’t even have the energy to be depressed.
My brother, of course, had no way of knowing how I was feeling, but he just smiled and came into the living room.

“I forgot my report and just came back to get it. I’m sorry, Honami. I’m the one who interrupted you. Just when you are with Kouki….”
“What……What are you talking about?!”

Turning back to my brother as if in a panic, Honami shouted in a frantic manner.

“You are not interrupting……or anything like that! I …… just came to see Hiroyuki san, …… so I’m leaving because I got to see him!”
“Ah, I see. here to see me,” my brother muttered vaguely as soon as he faced Honami across the sofa, and her expression surely tightened up. “It’s all right, Honami chan”.
“What’s all right?! I have no idea! –I’m going home”

At a loss – for some reason, as she became speechless – dismayed to see it, Honami turned herself around to face away from me, …… and I thought she was going to I thought, “Ah,” and she stopped moving.

“Ah yes. Hanpenman…” Suddenly losing momentum, she muttered a few words, turned her head back to my brother, and said, “It’s Hiroyuki san’s ……, isn’t it? I have to return it. ……”

Then my brother huffed behind his glasses and squinted.

“It’s fine. I was only joking. My mom would be happy if you took it.”

Squeezing the hanpenman in a hug, Honami smiled slightly at his profile as she looked at my brother in a friendly way, “Thanks.”
“Huh!?” And not with a defiant glare. It is not that she is miffed and her lips are pouting in disapproval. I was a little hesitant, but I still felt like I had never seen that smile, and I felt like I had never seen it head on…..
“Why am I here now?” comes the pathetically tossed-around question that cannot be called philosophy.

Whenever I saw Honami’s attitude change drastically as soon as my brother showed up, or when I saw Honami’s backside as if she was running away as soon as my brother came back, I felt something inside me was being crushed. I felt as if something inside me was being crushed.
always, always …… feel like I’m about to be sucked into a tremendous sense of emptiness when I’m alone with my brother in the living room after the sailboat has left. It’s as if a black hole has opened up at my feet and I’m about to disappear.
How long do I have to keep doing this?
A voice echoes in my chest, screaming—Just get on with it already.
Why doesn’t Honami do anything? She comes to see my brother, and when he comes back, she runs away without even having a good conversation with him, and sometimes she leaves without waiting for him even when she says, “I’ll be back in a little while.” What do you want to do? Are you going to tell him?
He is my brother……” I began to feel frustrated, as if I were taking it out on him.

“You should listen to Honami more carefully.”

As soon as I heard the front door slam shut, I was on my way to the dining room, my brother’s back to me, his voice accusatory and biting.

“You’re talking about Honnami chan?” Stopping abruptly, my brother turned around and said, “But I already listen properly……”
“[Come here to see me huh] what’s that? You’re always teasing and dodging like that, aren’t you?”
“Did it sound like I’m teasing …… ?” After rolling his eyes in surprise behind his glasses, the brother crossed his arms and looked thoughtful. “Well that’s not good, I’ll be careful”

Honami had left, and my angry voice echoed through the completely quiet living room.
–I was surprised at the sound of my voice.
I’ve had my fair share of fights with Honami, but he’s six years older than me, and he’s always had a very easy-going personality, so he’s never had a fight with me or my parents, and I don’t remember ever having a sibling fight. I had never yelled at my brother like this before.
Naturally, my brother was also amused, and looked blank for a while, but after a few moments ……, he looked at me with deep curiosity and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“What? What do you mean by ambiguous attitude ……? No,…… it’s more like, Honami chan’s feelings–I mean, Kouki, did you notice!”
“What do you mean…… I noticed it? Well of course I notice, It’s so blatant,…….”
“Well, yes. Yes, but …… I see, Kouki knew that.”

He mumbled something to himself, and suddenly, My brother gave me a dubious look.
If you know what I’m talking about,……,” he said, turning his body toward me and tilting his head.

“What are you waiting for Kouki? You’re not old enough to worry about your marital status. Hurry up and confess your feelings.”

What….What? Why…? Wait? Confess? !

“W-What are you talking about, all of a sudden?
He waved his hand and said, “I know you like Honami chan, don’t you? Kouki is also very obvious. I’ll know it when I see it.”

My face got hot as if I was on fire.
Was I blatant too? Did my brother know – I mean, wait a minute!
Why? Why are you talking about me? You’re wrong. It’s not about me….. Honami likes my brother. That’s why you can’t ……. It’s not good to talk about me liking Honami with my brother!
Ah …… and at that moment, a shiver ran down my spine.

What flashed through my mind was Honami’s smile that I had seen earlier.
She smiled at my brother, her cheeks flushed, and her smile seemed to come back to life before my eyes.
I feel a pang of guilt.

Yeah, I know. I always wondered.
Whenever I saw Honami and my brother together, I wondered why I was standing there. I always thought I was just an intruder.

My brother is right, I like Honami.
I like her, but I don’t want to get in the way because I like …… her. I don’t want to get in Honami’s way.
I was going to throw these feelings away anyway. I was ready to go back to being just a childhood friend at that time when I was convinced that I was ‘out of love’ for Honami.
So …… there should be nothing to hesitate about.
Before I knew it, my heart, which had been raging with turmoil, had quieted down.
I even felt a sense of exhilaration, as if a knot had been lifted from my chest. I took a deep breath and looked directly at my brother.

“That’s, Aniki’s wrong. Honami is just a childhood friend, and I never thought of her as liking …… or anything like that.”

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