The location changed to an Italian bar in the food court on the upper floor of the department store.

I entered the store after being invited by an older sister who was intrigued by Ari san’s private tutoring situation.

It sounds good to say that I was invited, but I had no right to refuse her invitation, as she had a quiet and strong presence that would make any detective would be proud of.

It was Christmas season, but the restaurant was surprisingly empty. The airy atmosphere with no walls between the aisle and the storefront is designed for families, so couples looking for a Christmas date would probably avoid the place.

When we arrived at the table, the older sister ordered a pizza, a few side dishes, and a bottle of white wine.

“What about you, Kobayakawa kun?”

“I-I’m underage, so…….”

I really wanted to try wine, but I was afraid to drink in front of a school teacher. The air was not conducive for boozy drinks, so I refrained.

“Shino will drink, right?”


“You do drink, don’t you?”


I felt a pressure that I absolutely could not resist, even though her voice was gentle, like that of a child being soothed.

This is alcohol harassment–alhara for short?

Thus, glasses and bottles of wine for two are handed out. Sensei pours a glass into his own, followed by a small amount into Senpai’s.

I’ve always wondered why they only pour a little wine.

“Then let’s call it a year-end party and have a toast !”

“Yes, cheers !”


The Misumi sisters raised their wine glasses and I raised my tumbler of ginger ale.

The older sister downed the contents in one gulp, and kept their eye lids down as if enjoying the aftertaste.

“I haven’t had white wine in a while. I drink only red wine at home, so this is fresh.”

“Do you often drink alcohol?”

“Fumino is fine. Alcohol……..I only drink to some extent.”

What’s with that unnatural pause?

“Is that right, Senpai?”


Senpai’s eyebrows twitched when she was suddenly asked to talk.

“Am I right, Shino?”

“Y-yes ! Nee san often enjoys drinking at home !”

The older sister–Fumino san pressured Senpai and she nodded her head like she was a moving toy.

I’ve never seen Senpai like that. 

“Ufufu, you’ve been joining me for drinks a lot since you became an adult, right?”

“(I’m just being forced to drink……)”

“Shino likes to drink too, right?”

“Yes, I do…….”

Are you being forced to say that, Senpai?

Somehow I could see the power relationship between these two people. Well, I don’t say this or that in front of them, but it’s funny to see the usually tough and gentle Senpai flinch.

“Well, let’s see. Let’s cut the preamble short and get down to business, shall we?”

Fumino san’s cheerful voice suddenly became heavy. I was amused by the two of them, the human drama between the two and sympathized with tSenpai, and I was smiling, but the octave drop in Fumino san’s voice made my back tense up.

“Shino, is it true that you are tutoring Azekura san?”

Fumino san’s voice must have dared to lower her voice a little. 

I still don’t know Fumino san’s personality, but I can see that it is very teacher-like.

Senpai stared at the reflection of her face on the surface of the glass and did not open her mouth. But after a couple of breaths, she answered quietly.

“It’s true, Nee san. Since last month, I’ve been tutoring Ari chan and helping her study for her entrance examinations.”

Her mouth was tightly knit in a straight line, and her eyes were filled with a strong will, even though she was a little frightened. 

In contrast, Fumino san sighed heavily through her nose and shook her head.

“Why didn’t you say anything? If you knew that Azekura san was my student, why didn’t you at least say something?”

“I told you and you said no, didn’t you? You said that there’s no way I can be a tutor.”

“I don’t say that ! It’s normal for college students to have a part-time job as a tutor, so I don’t think it’s impossible for you. All I’m saying is, why didn’t you tell me?”

Fumino san is like admonishing a child who is not a good listener. In my eyes, she was a good teacher and a good sister. And anyone with a problem can easily open up to her.

However, Fumino san was very stubborn and closed her mouth to me.

The two seem to get along well, but there is a space between the lines that I can’t read.

An awkward silence fell. At that moment, I caught a glimpse of Senpai’s eyes.

Then a certain doubt comes to my mind.

Was Senpai keeping silent for my sake?

No, I’m sure he was. The reason why she started tutoring was to join me. In addition, she had recommended her to take the entrance exam to Hokusei University.

When Fumino san learned of this, she wondered, if it’s right to entrust a male college student with a girl student. And would have doubt.

Senpai must have been concerned about this. She may have kept it a secret because she did not want her sister to jeopardize my motivation and strength. Instead, Senpai decided to watch over Ari san while tutoring her.

Yes, it was a brilliant deduction on my part.

However, I could not bear to see a crack in the relationship between the sisters because of me. I’m sorry to seem to be insulting your consideration, but I think I should be honest with you.

“Fumino san, please listen to me ! The reason senpai didn’t tell you is for my sake.”

“For Kobayakawa kun?”

I was prepared to do so.

I told the story of what had happened so far. I blurted out that I had been cared for all night and that I had been treated kindly at the park, but I generally told the rest of the story, including the band’s story, without concealment.

Fumino san listened to me sincerely without touching her glass.

“I’m sure Senpai was keeping quiet because he didn’t want to worry Fumino san. She must be worried about your student hanging out with a man she doesn’t know. Isn’t that right, Senpai?”

“Heh…..? Erm……that’s…….”

“Is that right, Shino?”

Once again, Senpai was taken aback by the sudden change in topic.

She stared at me and Fumino san so hard that holes were made between us, and her mouth opened and closed like a goldfish. At the end,

“T-that’s right !”

She affirmed with a nervous look on her face.

So it was as I thought. She was taking care of Ari san and looking after me. What a good senior…….

“I see……it’s true that I worry about her getting too close to a man she only knew for a short time. Just to make sure, you’re not having any illicit sexual encounters, right?”

“No, I swear !”

“I have no choice but to take your word for it, so I have nothing more to say. I’m concerned…..but if Shino is with you, I guess it’s fine, right?”

She asks Senpai with an expression that leaves a sliver of uneasiness in my heart as I say it.

“Of course. Kobayakawa kun is a sincere and polite person, so I can vouch for his character. He’s not the kind of person who would make Ari chan cry. Me and Ryoko san are also with her.”

“I believe you. The rest is a private tutor. Kobayakawa kun, I thank you as a homeroom teacher for your cooperation as a friend. I was worried when Azekura san raised her school of choice at this time of the year. But she is very motivated, and her academic ability has improved, so I was surprised, but……I see, it was thanks to Kobayakawa kun, wasn’t it?”

“It’s all thanks to Ari san’s potential and Kanda and Senpai’s good teaching methods.”

“I’m sure that’s part of it. Also, as long as you are involved, you have to be responsible until the end. As long as you are doing it freely, the responsibility argument may be out of line, but you yourself know that the entrance exam is a turning point in her life. It is an event that will shake not only her family’s finances and career, but also her own psyche. If you throw it away halfway and do something to hurt Azekura san’s feelings,……I, myself, will not approve of it, okay?”

Today’s most terrifying voice and look. When I was in junior high school, I got yelled at by my physical education teacher, but in some ways it’s scarier than that.

“Of course. We are going to be responsible for taking care of her until the end. So, Miss, please approve of us !”

I bowed my head to her in desperation. Next to her, Senpai was stunned, but she bowed her head in the same way.

“Sister, please do this for my sake as well.”

Then she quieted us down and made us raise our heads.

“I understand. Please take care of her until the end. You too, Shino.”

“Nee san……. Can I continue?”

“I’m not going to meddle in your personal relationship, even though it’s a complicated position to be honest. Instead, you are responsible for it until the very end.”

Fumino san approved it and recognized us. 

Senpai and I were so happy that we exchanged smiles.

“(Those two look so young, are they getting married?)”

“(Well, the guy said something about responsibility, so I guess they’re getting married)”

“(What can a kid protect if he can’t even protect his  virginity? Don’t underestimate society.)”

“(Fertilized….you said !?)”

On the other hand, the surroundings were a bit noisy. I think I made a little too much noise. But for us, there is no such thing as too much trouble. That’s how important Ari san’s examination is.

Afterwards, we finished the main course of pizza, and the petit year-end party came to an end.

“Fumino san, thank you for the food.”

“It’s fine, I’m the one who invited you. It was fun to have you join us for drinks.”

“You drink too much, Nee san. You opened two bottles by yourself.”

“Oh, you drank too, didn’t you?”

“You were practically drinking by yourself, weren’t you?”

“Geez. You’re holding back just because it’s in front of Kobayakawa kun. Don’t you want people to think you’re a woman who likes drinking?”

“That’s not what I meant !”

The two were still talking about their love as usual, and it was very embarrassing. The tense mood between the two disappeared and they were back to their original friendly siblings.

“Okay, Kobayakawa kun, we’ll stay here. When you come of age, let’s have a drink with Shino too.”

“I’ll take your offer.”

I don’t mind if we go back to the bar afterwards. It’s a bonus to be able to accompany these beautiful sisters for dinner. However, I knew that a school teacher could not approve of underage drinking, so I would have to be careful.

We exchange parting greetings and walk off in different directions. Walking down the Christmas road alone was a little lonely, but the lingering afterglow of the party wiped that away.

“Kobayakawa kun !”

I heard a voice call out to me.

I turned around to see Misumi senpai standing behind me, having left with Fumino san.

“Kobayakawa kun. If you like, why don’t the two of us have a drink together again?”

Senpai invited me while tucking her hair over her ear. She looked a bit embarrassed, perhaps because her face was dyed red from the alcohol?

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