41. Entangling emotions
“Sasaki…..? Why’re you holding your head like that?”
“Whose fault do you think this is…..?”
Between classes, after I returned from the toilet, I spotted a man who seemed to be lost in thought. He held his head in his hands and his upper body bent forward to the desk.
Hold on a second, is he saying that it’s actually my fault? Nah, no way, right? The only trouble that could make him like this must be caused by his bro-con younger sist ── Hm? Sasaki’s younger sister…..?
『Thank you for the photo. I will become a little girl too』
…..that one? When he showed me the picture that he took with Airi-chan, and since he did that with a smug face and full of pride, I told that to his younger sister Yuki-chan, that time, huh? Well, she sure surprised me with that declaration which sounds like she would go through a metamorphosis. But, no way that’s true right?! Hahhahhah!
“…..What happened with Yuki-chan?”
“She started carrying an elementary school ba──No, it’s nothing.”
“I heard most of it, though?”
Yuki Sasaki-chan (14 years old)… what I could imagine from her was a scene where a younger sister clung to her elder brother with a bright smile.
When I visited their place before, I was pretty happy that she asked for my contact information, but I had never expected her to request me to report Sasaki’s behavior in school.
Well, if she was my own little sister, I would still think her behavior as cute….. after all, if you get spoiled by someone, you probably think that person as cute regardless of that person personality, right?
But, as expected, perhaps if I were her actual elder brother, I might see her behavior in a different way.
“That’s because you went cheating on her with Natsukawa’s younger sis, idiotー.”
“No, that’s not true! Rather than Airi-chan, I prefer───Ah…”
Sasaki frantically stopped his own words. Of course, I immediately understood the reason for that. The second I did, as expected, I couldn’t help but to feel a rush of cold feelings filling deep inside my chest. Still, even though, I let it stay there, I didn’t plan to let it out.
“Don’t just ‘I see’ me… you…”
“I’m not going to say this to her. Rather, is there even anybody who wouldn’t fall for her?”
“I mean, not like I know, but….. but, you like…”
“The one to decide will be the person herself. No matter what action you may take, the only person who has the right to judge that is Natsukawa. I don’t have any right to change her opinion. I don’t like it very much and I may give you a cold shoulder after that though.”
“So, you will give me a cold shoulder huh.”
“Of course, what do you expect?”
If suddenly beside your favorite idol that you like very much, you see other guy’s shadow, you will hate that guy, right? And if you were to meet the real person of that shadow, then you would want to say ‘I hate you’ right at his face, right?
I don’t mind if we stopped talking because of that. I mean, even if we keep talking, we will feel awkward towards each other anyway… and perhaps we will stay like that forever.
“Sajou, I’ll seriously go for her.”
“What are you suddenly getting all passionate for?”
Before I could say any further than that, Sasaki stood up, and left the classroom. His confident gaze as he passed me was burned into my chest. I felt annoyed because every little action of his was exactly what a popular and handsome guy would do.
…seriously damn it. Why does it feel like he can do anything just because of his looks? As expected, in the end, being stylish is about ‘who is doing it’ after all…..
But, the things that I didn’t expect was that guy was actually seeing me as a rival. I mean, usually the rival of someone as handsome as him should be someone more handsome than him, right? If he sees me as his enemy and going all-out against me, without a doubt, he’ll beat me to a pulp… could he not doing that please…
Ever since I announced my plan, ‘The Great Production Strategy’, to make Natsukawa more popular, I knew that this day might come eventually. Since I was always around her, I was practically in a position where my role was to protect her from boys, as a place for her to run away from other boys.
But now that I’m gone, every other boy around will become fully aware of Natsukawa’s cuteness, and they definitely won’t leave her alone. Well, I had predicted all of this since I announced that.
I myself, don’t know if I can accept Sasaki or not. Me and Yamazaki are close enough to insult him as a ‘handsome bastard’. And the girls around us tell us to shut up. That’s what usually happen between us… Huh? Do I even stand a chance against him? And also, why Yamazaki, who is in the basketball club, fairly handsome and tall, is on my side?
Well, I already stopped hoping to be with the girl who is out of my league like Natsukawa. So, at the very least, I want her to be together with a guy that would make me say ‘Hah, of course right’. That’s why, if Sasaki is going for her, I’ll confirm it for myself. whether he is a guy who is not only handsome on the outside, but also on the inside. Since his younger sister likes him very much like that, he can’t be a bad guy, right? But, at best what I can do is to ascertain that myself.
Well, who cares about that… Sasaki? Who’s that?
I already forgot about all of that, seeing Natsukawa fidgeting in front of my eyes. As I stood in front of the shoe lockers at the entrance, someone suddenly pulled on my sleeve, and when I turned around, Goddess or something like that….. a very cute existence that I couldn’t put into words was there.
…Sorry, more than someone who is called Sasaki, what are you?
My determination is the same as minced meat. Before I realize it, it crumbled easily. Who cares about Sasaki… Anyway, Sorry about this, Natsukawa, but this attack won’t work against me. I’m made out of rubber… Nah, I lied. Tehe.
“So…..what’s up, cutie?”
“I, I’m not cute!”
Natsukawa averting her face mid-sentence with a cute pout had my heart skip two beats. Her expression she made in the short conversation we had was cute enough for me to threw away my glove and run to the middle of the baseball stadium right after I caught the ball, and then screamed how cute she was as if I planned to do that from the start….Seriously, my self-control, where are you?
…. Anyway, I could see flower blooming in the part that she hit while sulking. And Thus, I was taken captive by the fairy of the forest ─── Huh, wait! I’m not some mandrake.
Natsukawa held onto my sleeve, not showing any signs of moving away.
…This is bad. All of my nerve is focused on it. My head is frozen, I can’t think of anything.
Natsukawa had her face cast down, so I couldn’t see her expression.
…Wait a moment, was Natsukawa always this small? She and Ashida didn’t look like so much of an odd couple when they stood next to each other…
I lowered my hip to take a look at her face, and asked at the same time.
“…..So? Is this about your younger sister…..?”
“H-her name is Airi…. remember that…”
I’ve received an endless amount of attacks from Sis. And the me who stood all of her attack is here. Yet, what is this? Even though killing intent and impact is barely non-existent in her attack, I feel like I’m about to die right here. As if I’m about to disappear after being purified. Even though what she did was just looking up at me with a beet red face, Why I’m being purified? Because she’s a goddess? Eh, that means, I’m an undead?
Well, she changed her mind after said that she would never let me meet Airi-chan, of course she would feel awkward, right? Anyway, would she get angry if I touched her cheeks?…. She probably would….. I might probably get reported…..and beaten to a pulp…..
“Um… is this about when you’ll bring me?”
Natsukawa awkwardly nodded along, and just when she let go of my arm, she grabbed it again at the same spot. Yet she let it go again, but she hesitantly grabbed it again, and then, she slowly lowered her hand… Let’s get married, okay?…
…….Well, maybe I should just give her a bit of space. If what Ashida said wasn’t a lie, then Natsukawa put me in the same group as her. However, that is only Ashida’s subjective observation, and by what I can see from Natsukawa actions towards me, I feel like nor I or her can’t accept that statement.
The reason for this is because Natsukawa and I see each other as a member of the opposite sex. I have romantic feelings for Natsukawa, and she hates me as a man. However, Ashida doesn’t put the focus on that. That girl, she probably sees the relationship between me and Natsukawa as friends.
Friendship between a boy and a girl is possible. After all, my relationship with Ashida feel more like a friend than anything. And if I were to deny that, then all the various groups with boys and girls around me must have very complicated relationships. Well, these guys might just be trying hard to not be conscious of each other. But, if their relationship is not called friendship, then what else? Aren’t the society has too many dark secrets? It’s friendship, alright.
Ashida kept saying over and over that I’m part of the group around Natsukawa. So, there’s a part of Natsukawa that keep denying to see me as the ‘opposite sex’, even so she want me to meet Airi-chan, and there’s a part of her that couldn’t accept this, that’s why she’s being conflicted. But, this actions that Natsukawa showed to me, is a proof that I can take as what Ashida said wasn’t exactly wrong.
If so, what I can do to make the choice easier for Natsukawa ── is to be neither a man, nor someone from the opposite sex, but simple ‘Sajou Wataru’, where she can easily talk with.
“…..Hey, I don’t really mind.”
“You’re concerned about you having been strictly against me meeting Airi-chan up until this point, right?”
When I get carried away like this, she become relaxed. If so, what I need to do now is to be like that time when the aura around me was ‘I know everything about you (say while smiling)’. I’m sure if I let her feel annoyed to me like that time, she can be honest with herself more easily.
“I-I’m not really conce───”
“Yeah, right, it’s impossible. I mean, everyone could tell that, Natsukawa.”
It’s not that I understand it because it’s me. Everybody else who would see her right now could tell that she’s been acting strange. That’s just how cute she is now. To be honest, I don’t want anybody else to see the current Natsukawa. Hmm? My desires are leaking…..?
“If I could meet her, then I’d be delighted to. I want to meet her after all. Anytime is fine, so it’s okay take it slow, Natsukawa.”
In reality, I wanted to meet her ever since I first saw that picture of hers… wait what did I just thought about a young girl like her….. I’m not some single guy in his thirties excited for his first matchmaking dating. Well, at the point I call someone else’s younger sister a ‘young girl’ is out (not good), I guess. Well, since I could get along with Yamazaki, perhaps I’m that kind of man.
“── Ca, Can’t be helped then! If, if you’re that desperate, I’ll introduce you!”
That’s it, that’s how things are supposed to be, Natsukawa. Now you can pull through this without needing to blame yourself, right? And you can be honest with your honest feelings too, right? Then, you don’t have to worry about my feeling either. As a man who loves Natsukawa ── No, as her fan, I want her to keep smiling. Because that is my own happiness. For that, I’ll swallow whatever unreasonable complaint or frustration she might throw at me. That’s why, I must throw away all wicked thoughts now, and—
“u.. um… u…”
See, now Natsukawa doesn’t need to think about this so mu ─── hmm? Why is she holding her mouth and shaking her lips wildly like that? Eh, is she smiling? Is my face that weird? I guess not even a Goddess could stay quiet if I seriously made a weird face. But, just now, I said it in a straight face though…..Wait, why would you get so red ── So cute. Why the fuck, are you so cute. Ahh, my wicked thoughts──