Since you’re here, why don’t you go up for a bit? –I was so Suprised when she said that to me, and things happened very quickly.

Before I could think of an excuse to refuse, I was grabbed by Kohinata’s sister, and as if I had been kidnapped, I was invited to visit her house.

It’s not that I wasn’t interested in Kohinata’s house, but it was just too sudden.
I, of course, was the one involved, but Kohinata also seemed to be terribly shaken up, perhaps because a male student from her class had suddenly entered her territory.

She seems to be the type of person whose actions come before words, and I’m not sure if I’m not comfortable with her or not. I had goosebumps, but I didn’t feel nauseous.

I was led into the living room and sat down on one of the dining chairs without being prompted.

Kohinata seemed to be protesting by tapping her sister, but when the sister muttered something in her ear, she turned red and walked out of the living room. I heard footsteps ascending the stairs, so she probably went to her room.

“You have brown barley tea. I have golden barley tea.”
“No matter how you look at it, sister san’s is beer, not barley tea.”

The lady did not seem at all perturbed by my precise criticism and handed me a cup of barley tea while laughing.

“I told Asuka that I might accidentally show you to her room,and she rushed to her room. I’ve never seen that reaction before, so it’s really interesting.”
“Don’t play with your own sister, ……,and I’m not not going there”
“Oh? You’re not interested?”
“I think there was a huge pause, but I’ll just leave it at that. Because onee san is very kind.”

What kind of mouth are you talking out of? kind woman don’t kidnap their sister’s classmates!
I can’t help but swear in my heart that she’s too free-spirited.

I don’t necessarily dislike her, but just talking to her makes me feel as fatigued as if I were running a marathon.
Haa…… so why am I here?

The name of the woman who came up to me is “Shizuka”.
I was surprised that the name didn’t match the impression I had of her, but I felt like I’d lose if I cared. (Shizuka means quiet)

As Shizuka-san asked me, I told her about how Kohinata was doing at school. As I was doing so, the main topic of conversation returned to the living room. It hasn’t been that long since she went upstairs, and it was probably clean to begin with.

“I won’t go into your room, don’t worry. I’m not used to women, but I’m not lacking in delicacy.”

She stood between me and Shizuka san at the dining table and shook her head awkwardly.

I think I’m reading this wrong,……. Because if Kohinata feels dissatisfied with what I just said, it would mean that she wants me to come to her room. No matter how much cleaning up was already done, that’s not the case.

Shizuka san, who was watching our exchange, folded her arms with a somewhat satisfied expression on her face.

“Asuka rarely speaks, but from Tomoki kun’s point of view, she’s easy to talk to.”

Kohinata, does she ever talk?
I was surprised at that for a moment, but it was no surprise for a family that spends so much time together.

“I guess so. I don’t know how much of what I’m saying is getting through to her, but I’m basically not very good at talking to women — Asuka-san is special, though.”

Of all the women I’ve met, Kohinata is definitely the most easygoing. Even the manager and my aunt, who are relatively easy to talk to, sometimes make me feel suffocated.
Hearing my comment, Shizuka san tapped the table in excitement.

“You heard that, Asuka! Tomoki said Asuka is special! Uhyah, this smells like youth!”
“That’s not what I meant! Don’t make fun of me!”

You drunkard–I can’t help it …… Kohinata! I’m giving up!
I turned my attention to Kohinata, who was also the victim, and found her lying on her face and wriggling her body in some way.

This is not the time to be embarrassed, kohinata! Give her a pat on that head with the flower garden spreading out! I’m relying on you, my relative!

But alas, my wishes were in vain, as I could feel no signs of recovery from Kohinata at all. Currently, she is poking her fingers together around her stomach. I wish she would put that finger tapping into her sister’s temple.

Well, the gesture is so cute that I want to watch it all the time.

The sister’s teasing of me and her sister continued, and I stayed at the Kohinata house for nearly an hour before returning home before the clock struck 9:00.

After saying goodbye to Kohinata at the entrance, I went home.
But for some reason, Shizuka san came out of the house as well as me.

“I was originally going to go to the convenience shop.”

She received my wry look and waved her purse in her hand to show that she had something to do. I thought of that.

“I see. Well, I’m going home. ……”
“Oops! You are going to let a fragile maiden go to a convenience store alone late at night, aren’t you? So please keep me company.”
“……, I understand.”

I had already told her that I didn’t have anything urgent to do, so I decided to go with her. It’s not even nine o’clock yet though.

Well, at most I’ll be home a little less than ten minutes late, and she has an atmosphere somewhat similar to my aunt Ayane and the manager, so I don’t feel too suffocated. It’s not so bad if I consider it as a walk.

So, shopping at the convenience store was over in an instant.

Shizuka-san entered the store and put a can of beer and some snacks in the shopping basket without hesitation. It took me longer than she did because she said, “I’ll buy you a drink, so bring it over.”

“……Asuka was a very shy girl and never talked at all in the past, but she was rather clear about her feelings of joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure. She didn’t have a blank expression like she does now.”

Shizuka-san said with a deep impression as we walked to Kohinata’s house.
I encouraged her to continue her story by maintaining silence.

“We are a single-mother family–I told you, right? It’s only been a little over two years since our dad passed away. Asuka loved her dad very much, so she had to endure a lot–of course I was sad too and cried a lot, but compared to Asuka, I think I recovered faster.”

Two years and a bit …… means that Kohinata and I have just started our third year of junior high school.

I’m a single parent family like Kohinata, but in my case, my mother passed away when I was very young and I don’t even remember her, so the damage to my heart must be completely different.

“Every once in a while—like this. She would rub her head against father’s stomach like a cat. She was a very spoiled child, even though she looked like she was. Maybe since father passed away, Asuka’s feeling of ‘I have to be firm’ is getting stronger.”
“…… I see.”

I can’t imagine much from the current Kohinata.
Neither the non-faceless Kohinata nor the pampered Kohinata.

I tried to picture in my mind the pain Kohinata was feeling, but it was difficult. The pain was so great that she lost her facial expression, so it was not a pain that I could easily imagine. It would be hard to compare it with my trauma.

“But you know, lately she’s been doing well. Her facial expression seems to be coming back. I didn’t expect such a cute reaction from Asuka, so I got carried away and teased her.”

Shizuka san, with one eye closed and her tongue lolling out, is frightened.

“Finally, Kohinata–Asuka-san, you mean she’s healed from the emotional trauma?”

It’s been a little over two years. I don’t know if that’s a long time or a short time.
But if Kohinata’s heart is moving in the right direction, I’m honestly happy.

“No, no, no! Why can’t you understand, it’s you, you!”

Just as we arrived at our destination, the Kohinata house, Shizuka-san pointed a finger at me. I rolled my eyes and froze.

“Like when she asked me for sweets to make up with you, when she asked me for pocket money because she wanted to go to the coffee shop where her friend works, when she fidgeted and said she’d go to her friend’s house tomorrow, when she turned red with embarrassment just now. And when she was so embarrassed and her face turned red just now, it was all thanks to Tomoki kun!”

The culprit was you! Shizuka san says
I was so distracted by what she was saying that my body refused to react.

“Well, I’m sure it was with the help of Nono chan and others, but I definitely think Asuka needs you right now. So, as an older sister–“

Saying this, she moves to the front of me.

“I hope you will continue to be a good friend to Asuka, I would be happy to hear that.”

Saying this, she smiled calmly and gently.
Of course I would like to hear the details of what Shizuka san just said – that Kohinata recognized me as a ‘friend’ and that she went out of her way to buy sweets for me.

But before that, there was something I had to tell Shizuka san.

“Please don’t do that kind of thing.”

When I said that, Shizuka-san said, “Eh?”
She then raised her eyebrows, and her expression gradually changed to a wry smile. Looking straight into Shizuka san’s face, I continued to speak.

“I want to be friends with Asuka-san of my own volition–I want to be close to her. I don’t want to think it’s because someone asked me to.”

I suddenly felt embarrassed after saying that much and unconsciously scratched my cheek with my finger.

“…….I sorry to be such a brat. But, Shizuka san, you don’t need to worry, I want to be friends with Asuka san.”

I want to be friends with Kohinata–that feeling was quickly familiar to me as I said it out loud.

I had given various reasons for this, such as that it was easy to talk to her, or that I didn’t have to worry about provoking her trauma, but maybe I simply wanted to be friends with Kohinata.

I don’t know for sure if this was just friendship, protective feelings, or something else entirely.

It will be a long time before I learn that the front door was thinly open at this point.

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1 year ago

Thanks for the chapter… I really like this one!