38. Where am I belong
The sudden development stunned me for a moment.
That almost sound like she has positive affection towards me. Impossible, that is impossible. After all, everything I’ve done to Natsukawa was persistently forcing myself to her, so it must be annoying for her in every possible way.
“Listen, Sajo-chi, I don’t know the detail myself, but I heard from Ai-chi. Since this very morning, it seems that the plan of ‘Sajo-chi meet Ai-chan’ was already decided by Ai-chi. That’s why she treated you so harshly all day. I mean, Sajo-chi, today you utterly made Ai-chi nervous. Also, lately you didn’t come to talk to her at all.”
I don’t get it. I need to digest the meaning of the words reaching my ears, somehow.
Alright, calm down, right now I need to analyze the situation. Natsukawa wants me to meet Airi-chan. I don’t know the definite reason, but it was something she decided on, which is why she came talk to me all these times in school today.
But, wait… being pulled along during lunch break, and having her strangle me on the rooftop, why was that? Is it because she couldn’t forgive me talking something vulgar with Murata and Koga? But wait… in the first place, why would she care about me to such an extent…?
“Eh? Natsukawa, is this…..”
“I’m going home!!”
“Eh?! Ah! Wait! Natsukawa! Your bag!”
Natsukawa suddenly stand up. With a bright red face, she stormed out of the family restaurant, leaving behind her bag. Well, since she’s heading to school by foot, her family must be home at this point, so I don’t have to worry about being locked out of her house, but….
…I stood up to reach for her arm in an attempt to stop her and froze up as it was.
Isn’t this pretty bad? From an outsider’s perspective, right now, I must seem like a pathetic man who was dumped by his lover, right? No wait, with Ashida here, it will be slightly different…? Maybe they might think, ‘No way, he’s two-timing her? He is the worst!‘.
“……Umm, dear customer?”
“Ah, we’ll be leaving. Sajo-chi, money.”
Shocked by the situation and unable to say anything, Ashida just stole my wallet from me, and with her wallet she went to the cashier to pay. I on the other hand went to grab everyone’s bags like a puppet and followed after her while still being dumbfounded. I tried to comprehend of what just happened, but that failed. It seems, I can only take it for what I experienced. I mean, my head had already spinning.
I only got a hang on my memories by the time we left the family restaurant, walking down a street with no other people around.
“…All I remember is Natsukawa being super cute…”
“Well, you will eventually remember all of it, even if you don’t want too.”
It started to get dark outside, so I offered to send her off, but she replied, ‘Then until the street light’. Well, what I did was something a handsome man would do, it was really not so like ‘me’, but perhaps my body moved by itself to forget my depression and uneasy feeling in my heart.
Ashida on the way back from restaurant
But. Now that I realized this… Excuse me, but do I really have to hold all this? Especially Ashida’s big sports bag. There’s definitely volleyballs in there, right? I mean, for every step I take, it’s hitting my butt and bounce….. still, do you usually take volleyballs home from school?
“───You must have figured it out with that, right? Sajo-chi.”
“That Aichi doesn’t really think of you as disgusting. Being told all these years, even for you Sajo-chi, it started to become something like a greeting, right? Don’t you think so?”
“Being told all these years, I started to think, ‘Ah, so she was serious all this time’. Also, that this is no proof that Natsukawa doesn’t hate me.”
“Rightー, But, Ai-chi must feel the same way, you know. Like ‘Hm? Hmm???’.”
“What’s up with that…..”
“You might be fine with that, Sajo-chi. At least, you said what you wanted to say. But, you really should not forget about this, no matter what.”
“── Well, I said this before, but Sajo-chi, to Ai-chi, you’re already a member of our group.”
I saw the street light. Ashida took her own bag as well as Natsukawa’s. Ashida slammed her sports bag into me, who had just been freed.
“What was that for?”
“It’s not about whether you feel comfortable enough or not, you know. As long as there’s someone who will like you, you’ll definitely be happy. Even if the one who likes you is gross, and annoying, it will still enough to be a support in maintaining your confidence.”
“As expected, in the end, I’m disgusting, right?”
“──Even if that’s true, if someone suddenly lost the place they belong to, they’d be shocked, and anxious.”
Ashida left these words behind, slamming the bag into me again, and run away. She should have been annoyed too, but when we parted way, she was grinning to herself for some reason.
What annoys me the most is that she never once denied when I asked whether I’m disgusting or not. That part of you is annoying you know, Ashida.
“……Guess I’ll buy some steamed buns on the way.”
It was a fresh summer night. The widget on my smartphone screen said it was 27°C. It should have felt hot, and yet my body felt cold with no sweat to be found.
In the entrance, the shoes of my family were lined up. In the midst of these were even my old man’s shoes, not having been cleaned for a while. I took out shoe-cleaning cream from the shoe box, and put it next to his leather shoes….. What? I should clean those? Nah, I don’t even want to touch it.
When I opened the door to the living room, I had the kitchen and dining room to my left, whereas to the right, there was the TV and two sofas. Inside of my head was still blank to a level where I couldn’t remember what I usually did after coming home.
“What are you doing? At least say something like ‘I’m back’ to let us know.”
“Ah, yeah, I’m back…”
Mom was busy doing the dishes, so I headed towards the TV. Yeah, normally I’d just throw around my student bag, fall onto the sofa, and ──
“…….You don’t need to re-enact exactly what you said this afternoon, you know.”
On the sofa that had its back to the entrance, there was already someone inhabiting it. The inhabitant was rolling around on it, while playing smartphone. One sock had already been flung off, whereas the other still somewhat held onto her foot.
If I have to guess, the ‘K4’ would envy my position right now as she is being defenseless… Me? I feel nothing.
Seeing the tyrant like that, I realized that something was missing and so I couldn’t hold back a grin.
“──Sorry about before Sis. I said too much.”
I handed her a plastic bag, and after seeing the steamed buns inside, Sis showed a complicated expression.
What, you’re not going to eat them? You love them, right? Stuff your cheeks full with your favorite steam buns, bought by your younger brother, and play with your phone some more… See here, look, look.
“…..D, don’t want them.”
Thinking about it, she has eaten so many, and if she received this, she would definitely become fatter. I don’t want to see my Sis being angry and scream at the scale. Well, I’ll just eat them myself then♪
“──If anything, it’s you who went too far.”
Oi, why are you giving me that guilty look. You always did what I said to me, didn’t you?! Why are you suddenly acting like ‘I’m not normally like that’? Oi! Don’t throw your sock here!
“So, what’d you do with those girls?”
“Can you not make it sound like something happened?”
“You’re just spacing out. Something definitely happened, right?”
Urgh…! She apologizes, only to interrogating me after that. And you telling me to give the answer just like that? Well, after being worried about my youth like that, it’s really hard to answer, you know…..
“…..No idea. There’s way too many things, it feels like I’m in a trance. Ahh, I want to sleep early.”
“Hmmm, is that so? Not like I care.”
Stop saying nonsense. You’re definitely curious, right? this elder sister of mine huh… I mean, you talk like not how you normally do, it’s suspicious… Still, just by thinking that she’s worried about me, but can’t openly say it, I feel itchy all over. Aren’t you too clumsy Sis…
“…Right, I have something to say myself.”
“W, what is it…”
“Before you worry about others, how about worrying about yourself first? I mean it’s too many, you know? all four of the student council members? Really? As your younger brother, I’m troubled how to react you know.”
“Wha…?! it’s not like that! They don’t really…!”
“…..Well, knowing you, you’ll definitely choose someone at the right time, but I know of a guy who stopped differentiating ‘reality’ and ‘dream’. That’s why you should probably deal with this matter while you’re still in the right mindset.”
I don’t want anything to do something that’s troublesome, but circumstances change if it’s related to my family. I don’t want the air at home to be so tense. I’ll use this chance to say everything I want to.
Sis leaned forward to take a big bite from the steamed bun I was holding. In shock, I let go of the steamed bun, which immediately vanished in her mouth.
You… damn tyrant… Whaaーhow can your mouth fit all of that, Oi…!
“What are you saying, I don’t understand at all!!”
Right as a bit of steamed bun was about to fall out of her mouth, I took a row of pictures with my smartphone. She panicked and hid her face, escaping from the living room… I swore to sell those pictures to the ‘K4’ in the near future.
A bit after that, when I saw Sis returned to the living room while swinging a metal baseball bat slowly, I seriously thought I was going to die.