“It’s okay for you to give compliments…but please find the right mood to do it, Senpai. Even my classmates can do better than you.”(Aira)
“I would have done so if Aira hadn’t arrived so late.”(Ryoma)
“That’s such a foul move, Senpai! You’ve let me off so easily, so you should still praise me!”(Aira)
“If I could do that as a matter of course, I wouldn’t be struggling. So I wanted to praise you while I still could.”(Ryoma)
“You’re acting like such a gentleman. Do you know there’s something different about me today, Senpai? If you can guess, I’ll give you a compliment.”(Aira)
I’m not sure why she’s so happy that I noticed that she changed her hair.
Aira appears to be smiling and excited; you’re too simple, Aira.
“I noticed right away that you dyed your nails black. I’m not so sure, but it seems like you’ve also changed your perfume?”(Ryoma)
“Oh!! Your right on the money!!”(Aira)
“That’s good to hear.”(Ryoma)
“But, usually, if one has nail polish, it would be pretty hard for someone to pick up on the perfume. I don’t mean that you’re constantly looking at me, but how much are you sniffing me, Senpai?”(Aira)
“Excuse me. You kept interrupting me while I’m working, so of course, I’ll notice.”(Ryoma)
“That’s just rude.”(Aira)
It’s typical of Senpai to say hurtful things like that, really. He noticed all of the adjustments I made for the date, I was scoring pretty high, but he deliberately dropped the ball on me.
“Well, if you noticed, you should praise me.”(Aira)
Aira presented her nails to Ryoma.
I know I’m not supposed to be asking for praise, but if you notice something, you should say something to make me feel better, and I want Senpai to praise me a lot. In the first place, he’s playing the role of my big brother, so there’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing. Come on, come on, praise me.
“Yeah. Your hands look so beautiful.”(Ryoma)
“Not that one, mm-mm!”(Aira)
“Your nails look great.”(Ryoma)
“You said the same thing about my hair! Come on, there’s more than that, right?”(Aira)
“…… Aira, it’s about time you gave me back my muffler.”(Ryoma)
“Don’t change the subject! Is that the only compliment you can give me?”(Aira)
“Correct. I’m not used to praising people, and since it looks great on you, the only thing I can say is, ‘It looks great on you.’ “(Ryoma)
“That just sounds like you just don’t have the vocabulary.”(Aira)
“I guess that’s part of it, but when you eat something delicious, all you can say is ‘it’s delicious, right? It’s the same.”(Ryoma)
“You’re good at saying things that sound right, aren’t you, Senpai? (Aira)
“Trust me. I’m honest. Believe me when I say I’m telling the truth. I would never lie like this.”(Ryoma)
“Yeah, I believe you.”(Aira)
I can’t believe you said you’re not used to receiving praises. A guy who isn’t used to receiving praises will never notice a flawless makeover, and if he does, it implies that he can afford to go on a date. I had a feeling this scarf was a gift from another woman. That’s what I’m thinking, and it’s starting to bother me again. I’ll ask him while I still have the chance.
“Hey, Senpai. I know this is a little off-topic, but did you buy this scarf?”(Aira)
“No, I got it as a present.”(Ryoma)
“A present…from a woman?”(Aira)
Aira’s voice became unconsciously cold. Her eyes became highly sharp.
“I got it from my sister during my birthday.”(Ryoma)
“Oh, your sister? -Pfffft.”(Aira)
“Why are you laughing!?”(Ryoma)
“That’s because it’s hilarious……! But that’s right, that’s right! It’s from your sister!”(Aira)
Aira quickly buried her face in Ryoma’s muffler. Now that’s passable! If it was a girl, I didn’t know that would be one thing, but if it’s his sister, that’s perfect! Yuck, I can’t stop grinning…….
“Hey! Why are you burying your face in my muffler!?”(Ryoma)
“Hmm? To smell it, of course.”(Aira)
“No, no, no, why would you do that!?”(Ryoma)
“I thought I’d mark it while I can. I’ll leave my scent on this muffler to keep it in check.”(Aira)
“Unfortunately, there’s no one you can check with, Aira.”(Ryoma)
“If I don’t have anyone to check with, that’s fine. Anyway, you shouldn’t have a girlfriend, right, Senpai? Because you are my older brother, as per written in the contract.”(Aira)
“How does that make any sense?”(Ryoma)
“Because if Senpai gets a girlfriend, he won’t have as much time to spend with me. I don’t want that.”(Aira)
“That’s not true…….”(Ryoma)
“But it doesn’t matter to me since I paid 150,000 for your services after all.”(Aira)
“Don’t worry. I have no desire to have a girlfriend.”(Ryoma)
“What a lie. If you were my age, you’d surely want a girlfriend.”(Aira)
“I have too many things going on in my life even to bother getting a girlfriend.”(Ryoma)
“Too many things?”(Aira)
“Yeah, too many, so don’t worry.”(Ryoma)
Even though Senpai said he had various things going on in his life, nothing came to mind when I thought about it. Perhaps he believes that this is a punishment game and that he is not permitted to have a girlfriend. No, Senpai doesn’t seem like that kind of person.
Aira wondered about it, but she felt that she shouldn’t try to pry into this matter.
“On the contrary, Aira, why don’t you get a boyfriend? That way, you won’t have to pay me any money, and you wouldn’t get lonely. Wait, no, forget what I just said. If you did that, my source of income would plummet.”(Ryoma)
“Huh? Are you treating me like an ATM, Senpai?”(Aira)
“By the way, the official name of an ATM is ‘Automated-teller-machine.’ “(Ryoma)
“I don’t need that kind of information!”(Aira)
Now that you’ve heard what Senpai just said, you probably think he’s a jerk, right? That he only sees me as his private bank, but that’s not true at all.
He said that line on purpose, on purpose, I say.
Saying things like “You don’t have to pay” and “You don’t have to feel lonely” as if they could be solved, and then he stupidly added “my income”.
Always telling me that I need to find another method other than buying an older brother. But he doesn’t need to worry about me so much…
If I change my opinion, Senpai won’t get his precious money, and he’s too stupid to even bother telling me in the first place. He can be frustrating at times because he’s so nasty and treats you like an inconvenience, yet he’s so stupid and kind at the same time. He’s a really dependable Senpai.
“I haven’t told you yet, Senpai, but I don’t like the idea of dating a high school boy.”(Aira)
“What, you don’t like it?! Why not?”(Ryoma)
“Isn’t it obvious? They don’t have any more capability than I do; they’ll create a big deal just because they’re not in the mood, and they don’t have great ‘decision making.’ That’s why, if I ever have a boyfriend, he’d most likely be older than me. As the saying goes, the older you are, the better.”(Aira)
“I think a lot of older guys are like that.”(Ryoma)
“But not you, right?”(Aira)
“That’s not true.”(Ryoma)
“You’re not like that at all. It has to be true if I say so.”(Aira)
What Aira had just conveyed to Ryoma was filled with her true feelings.
Because even though Aira looked flashy, Ryoma never once teased or laughed at her, even after she said that she was lonely.
He was kind to her, dating her selfishly, and signed a contract with her even when he knew he shouldn’t have.
Because Ryoma was in high school, Aira recognized Ryoma’s natural response was way too mature for an average high schooler. The way he thinks and how he cares for others. That’s why, if Aira ever desired a boyfriend, she’d pick someone like Ryoma.
“For now, you should stay as you are, Senpai. Cause your the kind of Senpai I like.”(Aira)
“Well, people don’t change that easily, you know.”(Ryoma)
“It’s okay if you do…… But for now, will you change? If you don’t, you’ll never get your money back.”(Aira)
“150,000 for the contract.”(Aira)
“Oh, but isn’t now supposed to be the scheduled time for our date? We can settle all of that later.”(Ryoma)
“Well, since it’s a date, we should do something more date-like. Senpai, give me your hands.”(Aira)
“Yep, this hand.”(Aira)
Aira grazed the back of Ryoma’s hands with her long fingernails.
“….H-Hey, are you trying to hold my hand!?”(Ryoma)
“Hey, hold on, wait a minute! Isn’t it strange for siblings of this age to hold hands with each other!?”(Ryoma)
“You don’t have to look so surprised. After all, Senpai doesn’t have the right to refuse anything I say.”(Aira)
I wanted to say, “This is what the siblings in the manga do, too,” but I didn’t want to do that because it would make the situation awkward.
Instead, I used my secret weapon. Now Senpai is kept in checkmate.
“Senpai, when you signed that contract with me, it didn’t say anything about your age, did it? It just said, ‘ be my big brother.’ “(Aira)
“In other words, it’s okay to do things together with your older siblings, regardless of their age. Isn’t that similar to how four-year-old sisters ask their older brothers to hold their hands? So this is safe.”(Aira)
“No, you can’t be that cynical…”(Ryoma)
“Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you what happens if you violate the contract, so let me tell you now. If you violate the contract, I’ll ask my dad to sue you.”(Aira)
“What a coward. (Ryoma)
“I’m in the same boat as you when it comes to making money, Senpai. That’s how much I want you to pamper me in order to alleviate my loneliness. I know it’s inconvenient for you, but this is one thing I refuse to give up no matter what.”(Aira)
Even though I’m aware of “restraint,” I would like Senpai to pamper me a little. I’ve already exchanged contact information with him, so I can see him whenever I want, but doing so will be difficult. He’s also in college, so he probably has a lot of schoolwork to complete.
That’s why I’ve decided. I’m going to see Senpai twice a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays when he’s working. In other words, I’ll only see him about eight times a month.
My family is quite wealthy, but that doesn’t imply I’m obsessed with money. I know it’s not my position to say this, but 150,000 for just eight times, plus annoyance costs, isn’t that a lot? Furthermore, I had to take final examinations this time, so I didn’t have to pay for that. You won’t be able to obtain your money’s worth unless you do something sly like quibbling.
I don’t think he’s going to be able to escape once he receives the money. I’m not going to nod my head and say, “I want my money back,” because letting him go is the last thing I want.
“Well, hurry up and get on with it, Sen-pai. You don’t mind spoiling me, right? So go ahead and do it.”(Aira)
I’m pretty fortunate that Senpai is empathetic and helpful. People would think I’m a horrible person if I did this in the middle of the street.
Ryoma sighed and extended his hand. I know you don’t like it, Senpai, but contracts are contracts, and you can’t break them. In addition, I’ve been giving you a false impression about a few things.
“Then I’ll grab it, Senpai.”(Aira)
Senpai shifted his hands closer to me. He’s so sweet. What I want to do with him, though, isn’t as simple as holding hands.
“If so, I won’t hesitate──”(Aira)
“Uh, hey, Aira!?”(Ryoma)
“Shh! I’ve always wanted to do this.～”(Aira)
Aira jumped on Ryoma’s arm instead of holding his hand. She hugged Ryoma’s arm as hard as she could.
“Hey, what the hell is this? That isn’t hand-holding!”(Ryoma)
“I didn’t say anything about holding hands with you, Senpai. All I said was to hold out your hand. To make it easier for me to grab your arm, of course.”(Aira)
“But didn’t you want to hold my hand!?”(Ryoma)
“You just misunderstood, Senpai.”(Aira)
“What are you saying!? This isn’t the kind of thing a brother and sister should do together──”(Ryoma)
“──A sister-in-law who is dating her brother-in-law would do that, right? It’s kind of a brother-sister thing.”(Aira)
“That’s why I said yesterday. Let’s go on a date. Today, I’ll be your sister-in-law, and I’ll be dating you, my brother-in-law.”(Aira)
“No, I didn’t hear you say any of it….does that mean you want me to be your boyfriend…..?”(Ryoma)
“That’s what I meant in the first place. The reason I didn’t say anything to you is cause you never asked.”(Aira)
Oh, that’s funny. Senpai’s getting upset like an idiot. He’s reacting just like that brother in the manga.
What should I do? I’m having so much fun. He’s undoubtedly conscious of me as a woman right now…..! My face is so red!!!
You’ve always treated me like a thorn in your side, but now I have the upper hand.
“Uhm, Aira…..at least relax your arms….”(Ryoma)
“Yadaaaaaaa. Let’s go for lunch.”(Aira)
[TL Notes: ‘Yada’ in Japanese generally means ‘I don’t want to~’ if you don’t know.]
“I don’t like it…I’m hitting it…”(Ryoma)
“Hmm? What do you mean by ‘hitting’. “(Aira)
In a small but powerful voice, Senpai said something about ‘chest.’
I turned to look at Senpai’s face, and I noticed something about his line of sight; it felt as if he was staring at my chest.
I followed his gaze and looked in his direction.
My breasts were pressing against Senpai’s arms. I could even notice from my clothes that my breasts are….touching…his arm…it’s touching….it’s touching…
When I realized what was going on, my mind went blank.
“Stupid! Idiot! Don’t point that out! Pervert! You’re a real pervert, you know that!”(Aira)
“Well, then why don’t you just move away? ……”(Ryoma)
“No, I don’t want to do that!”(Aira)
“Don’t push yourself. You just have to do things differently!”(Ryoma)
“Forget it! It’s a perk, so just enjoy the feeling! That’s what my brother would do!”(Aira)
“I don’t know what you mean!?”(Ryoma)
I panicked and blurted out something weird….This isn’t something I’m used to.
Right now, my face is probably redder than Senpai. So I kept my face turned away from him until we arrived at the all-you-can-eat restaurant. I know, even with the scarf on, it was so obvious…..Still, I couldn’t bear the thought of letting go of his arms. Walking around with our arms intertwined wasn’t all that awful.
They were inside the Viking, the all you can eat restaurant, their first destination.
After finishing his business in the restroom, Ryoma returned to his seat to pick up the food he wanted to eat.
“What’s wrong, Senpai?”(Aira)
“No, it’s not what’s wrong, it’s……”(Ryoma)
“You can eat as much as you want! Just what I’d like!”(Aira)
An unbelievable sight appeared before Ryoma’s eyes.
A large bowl of curry, mushroom rice and a bowl of miso soup. Another platter with six pieces of fried chicken and six pieces of teriyaki chicken.
A plate with half a gratin and half a pizza—a platter of pasta with butter sauce and soy sauce—was also present. Salad heaped high with Japanese dressing on a plate.
“Oh, my God, that’s…….”(Ryoma)
Yes, these are not Ryoma’s. There were six dishes in total, all belonging to Aira.
“Ah, I’m considerate, aren’t I? I didn’t take all of them, but I did take as many as I could so that others might take them as well.”(Aira)
“No, that’s not what I meant……”(Ryoma)
“Just because it’s an all-you-can-eat restaurant, Aira, doesn’t mean you should eat everything… You can pay for your meal, allowing you to eat whatever you want, but the establishment may suffer emotional pain if you leave behind leftovers….” (Ryoma)
Because it was too troublesome to leave the table to take more food after eating, that was why Aira took such a large portion of food in the first place, Ryoma thought to himself. 『Couldn’t you consider a bit more about not leaving food behind?』 Ryoma took a deep breath and turned to face Aira.
In recent years, all-you-can-eat restaurants have been charging extra if you leave a lot of food behind. This restaurant doesn’t follow that rule, but it’s certainly a kind gesture for the restaurant to consider the amount of food you take so that you don’t leave any behind.
“I don’t like wasting food, so don’t worry.”(Aira)
“So, are…you telling me you can eat that much?”(Ryoma)
Gratin with salad may be manageable. Aside from that, the meal is quite heavy. These are all items on the list of things you don’t want to consume on a full stomach.
“Didn’t I tell you? I can eat a lot.”(Aira)
“That’s true, but that’s a lot of food…can you really eat all that!?”(Ryoma)
“Yup. I’m going to have dessert after I finish.”(Aira)
“But, won’t your stomach explode…..?”(Ryoma)
I couldn’t believe Aira’s words, but she doesn’t seem to be lying at all.
The only distinction between us was that I only took one dish.
“Aira, a customer just looked at your plate about four times.”(Ryoma)
“Aren’t you surprised, Senpai? Watching a JK eat like this?”(Aira)
“I’m pretty surprised. It’s incredible how you can eat so much and not gain any weight. I imagine you have a constitution that helps fights in every direction conceivable to prevent you from gaining any weight.”(Ryoma)
“There are certain parts that get fat, though, right? You know how soft it is here?”(Aira)
Aira places her hands on her large breasts and smiles.
“Aira, we’re eating.”(Ryoma)
“You haven’t even eaten yet! I mean, it’s not like it’s dirty!”(Aira)
Ryoma couldn’t be sure that it was soft. That was his obstinacy as an older man.
“Well, I can see why you chose the ‘Vikings’ for our lunch venue since it’s cheaper overall.”(Ryoma)
“That’s one thing, but it’s lunchtime, right? Suppose you were to order six or seven items at once during a period when the restaurant’s bustling, wouldn’t the restaurant be packed, and the people who are individually ordering food have to wait for a much longer time to receive their meals. In that case, that’s why I chose a place where we can both eat by ourselves without bothering the others.”(Aira)
“Are you lying about your actual age, Aira?”(Ryoma)
“No matter how you see me, I’m just your average JK.”(Aira)
Aira was so compassionate that it was hard to believe based on her appearance. Even as an adult, Ryoma couldn’t see this far ahead. People say that you should not judge people based on their appearance, which is what exactly happened.
“Well then, why don’t we just stop talking and get on with eating?”(Aira)
“Shall we do that then?”(Ryoma)
“Yep! Oh, wait, I forgot to get the chopsticks and stuff. I’ll go get them!”(Aira)
It was a rare moment where Aira didn’t attempt to exploit Ryoma but instead went to get the utensils all by herself. It demonstrates her willingness to accomplish what she can on her own.
“I got some for Aira, too. Just the chopsticks.”(Ryoma)
“Oh! That’s great! I would have appreciated it more if you had brought a spoon and fork, though.”(Aira)
“If I had known that Aira was such a picky eater, I would have brought them.”(Ryoma)
“But, thanks for the chopsticks. I think I should be able to eat really well now.”(Aira)
“Did I just hear you express your thanks? Nah, that was probably my imagination.”(Ryoma)
With those last remarks, Aira proceeded to fetch a spoon and fork, with her beautiful smile visible on her face.
Asking your parents to help bring your chopsticks or to prepare whatever you need. If you were a high school student, you would expect your parents to take care of such things. But Aira is different.
Since her parents don’t come home due to work, she always prepares her meals by herself.
Today was the first time in a long while that Aira was able to do so, which is why she looked so happy.
Thirty minutes had passed since the start of the meal.
At this point, Aira had emptied four platters, but her eating pace had not slowed down at all. Ryoma had the impression that he was witnessing a food battle right in front of him.
“You look delighted when your eating, Aira.”(Ryoma)
And yet, I still can’t hide my surprise. Still, it was nice to see Aira happily chewing on her food. It was the first time I had seen this side of her, and it made me smile.
“…… You’re the first person who’s seen me eat like this, aside from my Mom and Dad.”(Aira)
“Yeah. It’s nice not to have to hide things. It makes me feel so much more at ease.”(Aira)
“Now that you mention it, doesn’t that mean you eat a lot during lunchtime at school?”(Ryoma)
“No, according to my friends, I eat ‘moderately’. And I don’t generally eat that much to the point which I’m full so that I won’t get sleepy during afternoon class.”(Aira)
“I don’t think eating a lot is something to hide. I’m sure people will be surprised, but that’s about it.”(Ryoma)
“I knew you would say that.”(Aira)
She stopped eating her salad and wiped her mouth with a tissue. Her eyes softened.
“That’s what you say, Senpai, but most people wouldn’t like it, right? If only I could eat this much at school….”(Aira)
“…… Well, if you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t know you, they might react that way.”(Ryoma)
“Ugh, it hurts me when you agree with me there.”(Aira)
“Wouldn’t it pain you even more if I gave you a fake response? I’m aware of that much.”(Ryoma)
Ryoma isn’t the kind of child who would bully and mistreat others. He’d thought of following up before but decided it wouldn’t be in Aira’s best interests to do so.
“Hey, you’re acting all grown up. Idiot.”(Aira)
“I didn’t intend to act like this, but I am a grown-up in that regard.”(Ryoma)
“Oh, you’re already 20, right?”(Aira)
“Yeah, since I had my birthday in April.”(Ryoma)
“Then you’re old enough to drink alcohol. I envy you.”(Aira)
“If you ever ask me to buy you alcohol, I’ll tell your parents right away.”(Ryoma)
“Trust me. I wouldn’t do that. I may look like a Jk, but I’m smart enough to figure out not to disobey the laws.”(Aira)
“I’m sure Aira will get into trouble at some point. Don’t worry. I’ll be patient.”(Ryoma)
“You worry too much, Senpai, just like my parents.”(Aira)
“I’m your big brother, for now.”(Ryoma)
“But don’t worry, I can say all this to you since you are my ‘cool older brother’. As long as I don’t get pulled in by you, I’ll be fine. Concerning my eating habits.”(Aira)
After bringing the ice-cold water to her mouth, Aira put it back on the table without making a sound and said, “Aren’t you happy? While showing her face to him. But that wasn’t the point Ryoma was referring to.
“Hmm. As long as you don’t get pulled in.”(Ryoma)
“As long as you don’t get attracted by me, am I right?”(Ryoma)
“Ha! It’s so hot in this place! The heat is on too high!”(Aira)
“I don’t know why you’re so embarrassed to say it yourself.”(Ryoma)
“It’s not like I’m embarrassed! Don’t get me wrong.”(Aira)
Aira refutes me, flapping her hands and blowing the wind in my face. Nothing could be said or done more unconvincingly than that.
Ryoma was a little shocked, but he had something to say to Aira.
“Aira, can you listen to me while you eat?”(Ryoma)
I wonder if Aira is trying to hide her embarrassment. She squirmed and shook her head as she shoved the food into her lips.
“I don’t mean to rehash what I said earlier, but I think you need to change your mindset if you wouldn’t want to get attracted to me.”(Ryoma)
With the food still in her mouth, Aira tilted her head and gestured,
“There’s nothing wrong with eating a lot, and I don’t believe it’s anything to be ashamed of. I think I told you that I cook at home, but my sister is a very small eater. I can’t complain about that, but I’d rather have someone who eats a lot since I’m in this environment.”(Ryoma)
The squirming sounds emanating from Aira’s mouth disappeared.
“The people who cook in the cafeteria, and of course my friends, don’t care about such things. In fact, I’m sure some of them would take it as a favour, just like me.”(Ryoma)
Aira silently drank her cup of water as Ryoma was speaking.
“Well, some people may pull away like you said, Aira, which is the same as saying not everyone is going to like you. It’s hard trying to hide your personality, but I’m sure your friends will understand. There are no bad ones among them, is there?”(Ryoma)
“Well…to summarise…what I’m trying to say is… don’t overdo it. If you keep putting up with it and you get a flat tire one day, there’s nothing you can do.”(Ryoma)
It was rather embarrassing for Ryoma to express his thoughts in such a straightforward manner. He scratched the tip of his nose and smiled as he said, ‘haha.’
『Yeah…It’s great not to have to hide stuff from anyone…then I would feel much more at ease.』(Aira)
When Aira spat out those words, her expression brightened. It was a testament to how hard it was to fit in with the people around her. In addition to that, Aira also had to endure her family environment. She’s generally a patient person, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it comes a day where Aira couldn’t stand it anymore.
Now that we are in this relationship, I want to do my part to improve my situation, and that’s what I’m saying right now.
“S-senpai, you meddle far too much. S-seriously.”(Aira)
“Am I really that meddlesome?”(Ryoma)
“Yeah! It’s so stupid.”(Aira)
Aira let out a big sigh, but the corners of her mouth lifted for a moment as if she was trying to hold back her happiness.
“But, it’s true, I’m concerned about you, Aira. That’s why I’m telling you what I think.”(Ryoma)
“So if you have any other problems, please let me know. I’ll do my best to help you.”(Ryoma)
“You’re acting like such a gentleman again, Senpai. But weren’t you enjoying my breasts earlier on?”(Aira)
“Might I remind you who pushed me again?”(Ryoma)
“It’s Senpai~. You were pressing your arm against me just now.”(Aira)
The both of them were suddenly glaring at each other due to a difference in their opinions. It looked like a silly argument during dinner, but from a third person’s point of view, it’s simply an interaction demonstrating how well they get along.
“If you would just be honest here, you’d be cute, Aira.”(Ryoma)
“Eh!? What’s that! I’m cute as hell! You said it before, Senpai.”(Aira)
“Then you’ll get cuter.”(Ryoma)
“…Get…cuter….stop being so annoying…Senpai.”(Aira)
Aira’s face turned bright crimson as she frantically looked around.
“Well, I like you as you are, Aira. It’s easier to interact with you this way.”(Ryoma)
A simple remark was the deciding factor that propelled Aira to unimaginable heights. Her cat’s eyes were whirling in circles when she abruptly stood up. Both of her ears were bright red, and she was panicking, making her voice rather squeaky.
“Stupid! Idiot! Stop lying!”(Aira)
“What? But it’s true. I like the regular Aira better.”(Ryoma)
“That’s why your…Ahhhh! Uh..I-I need to go to the toilet!”(Aira)
Without warning, Aira rushed to the bathroom, her voice husky with frustration. No, she ran away.
I was happy to hear that from Senpai, but I was too embarrassed to face him for such an Otome reason.
However, there was one individual who was perplexed by the situation. Ryoma froze, a troubled expression shown on his face. How many minutes have passed since then? When will she get back? When Aira came back from the bathroom, her ears were still stained red.
Later, when the time limit for all-you-can-eat had expired, they visited the large commercial facility IYON that stood directly in front of the restaurant.
“Hah……. I didn’t get to have dessert because of someone else’s mistake.”(Aira)
“Sorry about that, Aira. I’m really sorry.”(Ryoma)
“I was going to have soft-serve ice cream, apricot jelly, soybean paste and sweet potatoes.”(Aira)
As the story goes on, the main reason Aira was sulking was that she missed her dessert. When Aira returned from the restroom, there were 30 minutes left before the time limit expired. However, soon after Aira finished her first dish, the time limit was up. As a result, Aira was unable to eat her dessert.
Usually, people would blame Aira for taking her time to use the bathroom. However, if Ryoma hadn’t made her embarrassed in the first place, she wouldn’t have raced to the bathroom. Aira’s argument made a certain amount of sense. It was good that she didn’t leave the meal that she was eating and went straight onto dessert. That just goes to show how much Aira embraced her policy of “no-wasting” any food.
“Wow, I still can’t believe you ate that much.”(Ryoma)
“Naturally. So take responsibility for the dessert.”(Aira)
“You want me to buy you …… all of those desserts you just mentioned?”(Ryoma)
“Of course. I had to use the restroom as a result of what you said to me, Senpai. And that’s why we lost so much time.”(Aira)
There was one thing that Ryoma had wanted to pursue, which was what he had said before, which propelled Aira to run to the bathroom to hide. Although he tried to make such a comment, the current situation didn’t allow him to. There was nothing else he could do but honestly nod his head.
“Wow, okay. Will you forgive me if I buy you all of that then?”(Ryoma)
“I’ll forgive you…….”(Aira)
Even though they had these minor disagreements, the distance between them was so close that their shoulders touched. Both of them looked like a couple from the outside, and Ryoma was getting disapproving glances from the men and women passing by. Aira herself didn’t expose any skin, yet she had a distinguished appearance even without it.
Perhaps used to being the centre of attention, Aira spoke to Ryoma without a care in the world.
“I’m sorry for sulking earlier. I’ll switch now.”(Aira)
“Haha, you don’t have to say that. Thank you for taking care of me, Aira.”(Ryoma)
The fact that she altered her mind so fast was beneficial to Ryoma. Ryoma instantly expressed his gratitude, but….he soon realized that something was amiss.
“Then let us do something as a symbol of our reconciliation.”(Ryoma)
“This time, let’s hold our hands for real. Hands please.”(Ryoma)
Aira extended her left hand, free from any scratches, with black nail polish.
Aira, who had her scarf on even when she was indoors, brought it closer to her face and raised it to her nose, covering the bottom half of her face.
It was at this moment that Ryoma had convinced himself that he has been rolling in the pam of Aira’s hand from the very beginning.
“That’s interesting. So you pretended to be sulking and aimed for this development. That’s a very Aira-like thing to do.”(Ryoma)
“What is it?”(Aira)
Aira has a question mark on her face, but she has no intention of hiding it. She responded in her typical way of speaking, smirking amusedly.
『You bastard』, said a frustrated Ryoma, grasping Aira’s hand firmly as requested.
Her hand felt soft and delicate. The tips of her hands felt like they could break if I placed too much pressure on them.
“Hey, I’ve been thinking about this ever since you held my hand late at night in the park, but your hands are really rough. It’s a bit disturbing.”(Aira)
“That would make most men your enemies, wouldn’t it? Since men’s hands are covered in callouses.”(Ryoma)
“I know that, but it feels so weird I get goosebumps.”(Aira)
Aira complains about how she can’t help herself, but her connected hands swing like a pendulum. With a satisfied look on her face, Aira applied more force.
The bright black nail paint brilliantly shone as if to represent her current emotions.
“You’re used to holding hands with women, aren’t you, Senpai? You just grabbed my hand without hesitation.”(Aira)
“I’m not used to it at all.”(Ryoma)
There was no lie in any of his words. Ryoma’s ability to remain calm and collected stems from his experiences as a substitute lover. He’s simply acting in the same manner as when he was holding hands with Himeno.
“I see. If you’re not used to it, give this scarf to me.”(Aira)
“That argument makes no sense whatsoever.”(Ryoma)
“Then can you just give it to me normally?”(Aira)
“I’m afraid I can’t offer you that scarf, even if you were to offer me money.”(Ryoma)
“That’s an absolute lie. Money doesn’t work on you, Senpai?”(Aira)
“What a rude reaction. If it was a present you chose for me, I could understand. If someone provided the gift with my feelings in mind, it would be worth more than any amount of money.”(Ryoma)
A child’s letter of thanks to his parents. The letter has no monetary worth, but it becomes a lifelong treasure you cannot measure for the person who gets it. It’s all the same for me.
“So even if someone offered you 100 million yen, you would still refuse?”(Aira)
“No, I would give it away immediately if someone offered me 100 million yen.”(Ryoma)
“What!? That’s a lie. You just contradicted everything you just said!”(Aira)
“Well, unless something unrealistic like that happens, I’m not giving you this scarf.”(Ryoma)
“It’s not that you can’t give it to me, it’s that you won’t give it to me…if you’re going that far, I’m going to have to back down….”(Aira)
“No, I’m fine. It’s just like how you would phrase it, Senpai.”(Aira)
Aira turned her head away and made a face of her own.
Not a single person would be able to afford to pay a hundred million yen for a single gift, just like this scarf. In the end, Aira realized that Ryoma had no intention of giving it to her.
“….So, can I wrap this around myself till we arrive at my house?”(Aira)
“That’s fine, but make sure you return it.”(Ryoma)
“I know. Thanks.”(Aira)
Aira just wanted this muffler and not the other comparable mufflers available in stores. “I really want this scarf”, Aira whispered to herself, but she held herself back. She was able to endure.
She felt the same way about what Ryoma said, “If you’ve thought about my feelings, it’s worth more than any amount of money.”
“So, Aira. I’ll get right to it, but where do you want to go first?”(Ryoma)
“I want you to pick out some clothes for me, Senpai. There’s a store that has always been kind to me, so I’m thinking of buying it there.”(Aira)
“I’m not very good at matching outfits and such, is that okay?”(Ryoma)
“It shouldn’t be a problem since I look good in almost everything”(Aira)
“Well, if you insist, I’ll find something that doesn’t fit you.”(Ryoma)
“That might be pretty interesting. Maybe Senpai’s has bad fashion sense since I can’t think of anything that would look bad on me.”(Aira)
As we talked, Aira guided me to a particular apparel store.
──Nibble, nibble, nibble.
Aira walked for six minutes, relying on her strength to constantly monitor Ryoma’s hand. Her scarf-hidden mouth slackened at the unexpected touch of his hand.
While this was happening, they arrived at the store that Aira was referring to.
“Hello, Satou-san! I’m here to buy clothes again today.”(Aira)
“Thank you very much for that. Are you on a date with your boyfriend today?”(Satou)
“Something like that. How do you like it? isn’t it cool?”(Aira)
“Fufu, you guys, make a great couple, don’t you?”(Satou)
“Thanks a lot.”(Aira)
They were having fun together, but Ryoma didn’t know that the shopkeeper and Aira knew each other. He was a little put off by the fact that he had been left behind, but he managed to exchange greetings.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you. Aira’s has been taking care of me.”(Ryoma)
“No, no, no, thank you for your help. I’m sorry if this is out of the blue, but if Aira shoplifts any merchandise, please let me know right away.”(Satou)
“I told you, you can’t make jokes out of the blue! My friends are always teasing me as well, you know?”(Aira)
“I’m sorry about that. I was just trying to ease your nerves.”(Satou)
“On the contrary, you’re making me even more nervous! Besides, it’s my job to relieve the tension. So, Satou-san, I’m going to have a look at your clothes now.”(Aira)
“Yes. Take your time now.”(Satou)
“Let’s go, Senpai.”(Aira)
Ryoma was taken aback by the situation, but he returned to his sense when Aira grabbed his hand.
Satou was so considerate that he stepped to the back of the store to make room for us to be alone. It was also a fantastic opportunity for me to ask Aira about the questions I had in mind.
“What kind of relationship do you have with that clerk, Aira? You guys were pretty close.”(Ryoma)
“Satou-san was in the same class as my mom. That’s why I come to this store to buy my clothes.”(Aira)
“…..Classmate!? And you misled him into thinking I was your boyfriend!?”(Ryoma)
“Yeah, that was really terrifying.”(Aira)
“And anyway, I won’t take any responsibility if word ever gets out to your mother that you have a boyfriend, okay?”(Ryoma)
“I didn’t want that to happen…I mean it.”(Aira)
“You got what you deserved.”(Ryoma)
“What did you say?”(Ryoma)
Ryoma shrugged off Aira, who was presumably expecting assistance and began browsing the clothing on the sales floor.
“The store has a lot of cute clothes, by the way.”(Ryoma)
“Right? It’s a top-rated store, and I like it. However, this store is mainly meant for ladies only, so…the clothes may be a little too tight for you.”(Aira)
“I’m sure those people surrounding us will be keeping an eye on me…… I’m just hoping they don’t smoke me out because of who I am.”(Ryoma)
“Only if you were on your own, but you’re accompanying me, so it’s okay. It’s not like they’re staring at you with disgust.”(Aira)
“You don’t know that, do you?”(Ryoma)
“I’m a woman, so I understand. But I won’t tell you why they’re staring at you because you’ll get carried away, Senpai.”(Aira)
“I can’t even find a reason to get carried away…….”(Ryoma)
It was at that moment that Ryoma turned his attention to the clothes again.
Taking advantage of the fact that Ryoma was looking elsewhere, Aira instantly shifted her attention. She glared at the person who was looking at Ryoma with her sharp, blade-like glance, keeping them in check.
『Don’t you look at him because he’s mine』
“Well, for the time being, just keep your eyes on me, Senpai. Since we haven’t done anything wrong.”(Aira)
“Yeah, I know. If something goes wrong, I’m sure the shopkeeper will help us.”(Ryoma)
“Don’t worry, before that happens. I will help you first. I won’t lose to a woman.”(Aira)
“As expected of a gal.”(Ryoma)
“But, you have to choose cute clothes for me, okay?”(Aira)
“I thought I was supposed to find clothes that didn’t fit.”(Ryoma)
“Don’t do that, okay? I’m going to buy whatever you choose.”(Aira)
“Hahaha, I’m just kidding. Then can I ask what kind of clothes Aira usually wears?”(Ryoma)
“In any case, I feel like exposing some skin. I may have to put up with the cold, but eventually, I will get used to it, so I’m okay with it. But I wore warm clothes today, which is pretty uncommon for me.”(Aira)
“…… I see.”(Ryoma)
“What’s the problem?”(Aira)
“The clothes I want to choose are also the ones that don’t show skin…… Are you okay with that?”(Ryoma)
“I’m totally fine with that, but don’t you think men would be happier if they could see some skin?”(Aira)
Let alone strangers. I don’t even want you to show your skins to those you interact with. It might be fine if it were summer, but it’s now winter. I’d rather you not endure the chill by wearing less just for the sake of fashion. Besides, those kinds of clothes would make you more likely to get entangled with bad people. (Ryoma)
Ryoma examined every piece of clothing with a solemn expression on his face, sporting that same atmosphere. Everything that he was doing was for Aira’s sake.
“Well, worst-case scenario, even if you catch a cold, I’ll be there to take care of you, so I think that should make you feel a bit better.”(Ryoma)
“Eh!? If I get a cold, Senpai will take care of me!?”(Aira)
“When I say “take care of you,” I don’t mean going into the house to do so. I’ll bring you something to eat, like jelly or pudding. I’m not going to abuse the contract and force myself in there.”(Ryoma)
“Then if I ask you to do it, will you do it ……?”(Aira)
“Only if your willing to let me in the house.”(Ryoma)
“Really!? Then yes!”(Aira)
Aira nodded her head in succession. The scent of citrus fruits drifted through the air as her wavy hair swayed left and right. Her jade-coloured eyes appeared to sparkle.
“You look surprised, but since you’re Aira, you won’t call your parents even if you have a fever, right? I know you’re planning to fight the fever alone, so I’m hoping I can support you in my own way.”(Ryoma)
“You were just thinking about how you could catch a cold, weren’t you? (Ryoma)
“No, I’m not that stupid! I mean, no one can catch a cold even if they try.”(Aira)
“That’s true, but you’re trying to catch a cold yourself. Furthermore, you’re exposing yourself to the cold atmosphere, so why don’t you change the skirt of your uniform to a longer one? I’d be more comfortable with that.”(Ryoma)
“I don’t like that. I’ll just wear tights when I’m cold, so it’s fine. (Aira)
They chatted while looking at clothes. It was such a mundane use of their time, but both of them were smiling. They knew each other well enough that they didn’t mind lingering at the store. Gradually, they completed their tour of the enormous store.
“So, have you decided what you want me to wear?”(Aira)
“Hmmm. Well, I looked around, but what about this or this?”(Ryoma)
Ryoma took out a grey hoodie and a long white skirt. Because of her blond hair, Ryoma chose a more subdued colour for Aira.
“You’ve taken a pretty royal turn.”(Aira)
“To be honest, I’m not sure how to match clothing for women. I only remember my sister’s clothing and just used them as a reference so far.”(Ryoma)
“But why did you pick this? I’m sorry to say it, but there are cuter dresses and stuff out there.”(Aira)
“Isn’t the hoodie cute enough?”(Ryoma)
“What about me? Am I cute?”(Aira)
“Aira’s cute too.”(Ryoma)
“So, back to my point──”(Ryoma)
“What’s with all the lighthearted talk! We’re on a date!”(Aira)
“You just blew me off, so this is payback. We weren’t exactly on the same wavelength.”(Ryoma)
“Mature men are unattractive, aren’t they? If you’d put your heart and soul into what you’re doing, I’d be in love with you.”(Aira)
“That would’ve been a waste of time.”(Ryoma)
“So put your feelings into it!”(Aira)
Aira strikes Ryoma in the shoulder as if to retaliate against the two barbs, but the amount of force applied is tempered to the point of causing minor discomfort.
Ryoma appeared to have taken a rough approach. However, he took his time and did his best to pick the best clothes for Aira until now. Since Aira understood Ryoma’s true intentions, she didn’t get mad at him.
“I picked this outfit because I felt that it would be preferable for you to wear something casual since you most likely will be shopping out alone. Isn’t it true that you can never have too many of these sorts of clothes?”(Ryoma)
“I see. You were thinking about me, weren’t you?”(Aira)
“It’s only logical considering that I’m the one who chose your outfits. And even if I picked a nice dress for you to wear, I can’t compete with your fashion sense, so I went with this. Which is something that wouldn’t lower your fashion appeal.”(Ryoma)
Before coming to this store, Ryoma used to say that he would choose clothes that didn’t suit Aira, but he isn’t the type of person who would waste money just like that.
“Hey, what’s with that concerned look. Are you finally attracted to me?”(Aira)
“Well, it’s only natural since your, my sister.”(Ryoma)
“Gross! Senpai, you’re embarrassing me!”(Aira)
“Okay, now go on and try your clothes. While you’re at it, I’ll pick out some more outfits for you.”(Ryoma)
“Hey, stop pushing me! You’re too strong!!”(Aira)
Ryoma pushed Aira’s back with his dominant hand and turned her away, forcing her into the fitting room. It was also an act to hide his own embarrassment before Aira pointed it out.
Ryoma thoroughly enjoyed his date, to the extent of digging his own grave.
“You’re doing a great job holding hands as you leave the store, Senpai. Showing Ms Satou how it’s done, aren’t you?”(Aira)
After leaving the clothes stores that have always been kind to her, Aira smirked at Ryoma. However, she already knew the reaction that she was going to receive in return.
“I wonder which one of us held hands first…….”(Ryoma)
“It’s you, isn’t it. You placed your hands close to mine, indicating that you wanted to hold hands with me.”(Aira)
“Wouldn’t our hands be closer than normal because we’re standing right next to one other?”(Ryoma)
“I don’t think so.”(Aira)
“But it’s true.”(Ryoma)
As Ryoma said, Aira was the first one who held hands with him. They had been holding hands for a long time, even before they went to that store, but she felt like something was amiss when she let go.
See, when you’re holding hands, it’s warm, but the moment you let go, it feels cold, right?
Aira didn’t hold hands with Ryoma at that time since he was carefully selecting clothes for her, but she had been enduring for a pretty long time. The moment her patience went out, she immediately grabbed his hand.
“Aira. You’re squeezing my hand really hard…are you okay?”(Ryoma)
“What do you mean? Does it hurt, Senpai?”(Aira)
“No, it doesn’t hurt, but I thought it might be easier for you to loosen up a bit so you wouldn’t get tired.”(Ryoma)
“It’s fine. I feel like we’re more connected this way.”(Aira)
“Well, that’s good.”(Ryoma)
I’m not sure why men’s hands are so lumpy. They’re thick, large, and firm. They’re nothing like my hands. Strangely, I felt uneasy, yet I also felt protected and wanted to reconnect with them simultaneously.
“Hey, Senpai. Do you remember when you promised to buy me dessert before I bought clothes?”(Aira)
“Of course I remember, but instead of that, I got you this dress.”(Ryoma)
“I realize it’s sneaky, but there’s one more thing I’d want you to buy—it’s something you can take with you to school or outside.”(Aira)
Buying something you want with your own money is not the same as buying it with Senpai’s money. The value is different, as is the pleasure. So I’d like you to hand it on to me, Senpai.
“Okay. I’ll pamper you today, but don’t go for something too expensive.”(Ryoma)
“Yay! And don’t worry, I’m not that greedy.”(Aira)
He’s already bought me lunch and some clothing. I’ve already given him 150,000 yen, but we’re still on our date, and I’d feel bad for him if there was no money left at the end of our date, so I’ll be gentle with the price. First and foremost, when it comes to presents, money isn’t everything.
“Then follow me.”(Aira)
It would be nice if Senpai wanted to hold hands with me, but that isn’t how it works. But he doesn’t mind holding hands, so that’s all I need.
The place where Aira wanted to go was really close to the store they just left. Simply ride the escalator to the second floor.
“Pick one of these. It’s a gift for me.”(Aira)
Aira pulled Ryoma’s hand to that place. That place was──
“What’s with that surprised look? Don’t mess with Gachapon.”(Aira)
They were at a capsule toy store called Gachappo no Mori.
The floor is littered with capsule toys, numbering in the hundreds.
There was a specific Gachapon lineup that you could only find here.
Furthermore, this store is pretty popular in Aira’s school.
When Aira looked over at Ryoma, he seemed somewhat surprised.
“Aira, capsule toys cost about 500 yen at most, right? You don’t need to be so reserved around me. It’s somewhat concerning.”(Ryoma)
I still didn’t understand what Senpai meant at that moment since he’s usually so stingy most of the time. He sounded as though he was encouraging me to go with something more pricey. Did my Senpai get hit in the head? Because he appears to be going insane. I don’t mean to be rude.
“I know that it’s crucial to act reserved at times, but you don’t have to do that when you are with me. Are there any other things you would want or like to buy? (Ryoma)
“Ah, I see.”(Aira)
At this point, Aira finally understood what Ryoma was trying to say.
“I’m not holding back at all. I want this, Senpai.”(Aira)
“No, no…The only explanation I can think of why you chose this place is because of my financial situation…of course, I appreciate the sentiment, but…”(Ryoma)
“That’s not true at all, Senpai. In the first place, I signed a contract for 150,000 yen. So why should I hesitate when I’m doing everything I can to get my money back?”(Aira)
“Well, you could say that……but why did you pick something so cheap, such as this capsule toy? Why didn’t you ask me to get you something more pricey when you mentioned the term ‘contract’? You know I’d do it, so why didn’t you? There’s no way someone as smart as you would overlook that.”(Ryoma)
“You should never say something like that, Senpai. Never.”(Aira)
Senpai is a complete moron. He’s far too good-natured. Don’t be surprised if I start teasing you since you’ve said it like that. If you say anything that will cost you money, you’re a moron.
“But you knew, didn’t you, Aira?”(Ryoma)
“Well, to be honest, yes…….”(Aira)
“Then there we have it. So, can you explain to me why you chose something so cheap? I’m not blaming you, but I need to know why you’re acting so reserved.”(Ryoma)
Senpai is the kind of person who dislikes spending money. But when he thinks I’m acting far too reserved, he begins spending more money for my sake.
He once said before that such inconsistent behaviour makes us weak…which also means…that he prioritizes me above everything else.
Ah…I was starting to relax, but now I’m getting all nervous again.
What in the world is this……?
“If you’re not shy, tell me why.”(Ryoma)
“I just sympathized with what you said, Senpai. That’s it.”(Aira)
“And what did I say?”(Ryoma)
“Well, to be exact, ‘ If it’s a gift that someone bought for me while taking my feelings into account, it would be worth more than any amount of money.’ That’s what you said.”(Aira)
“Ah, haha ……yeah..that…..”(Ryoma)
You look embarrassed, Senpai. But you should be more proud of yourself. It implies that you cherish your present without regard for its monetary value, correct? It may seem obvious, but seeing you do it makes me happy as someone who loves gifts, and that’s a plus.
“Senpai, you don’t have to look so embarrassed. I mean, if we were holding hands, you’d be more embarrassed.” (Aira)
“They’re both equally embarrassing.”(Ryoma)
“You’re always so shy when it comes to holding hands. If you were at my school, Senpai, we’d all be laughing at you.”(Aira)
“Seriously…… But you seem so used to it, Aira. so I wonder if that’s the case.”(Ryoma)
Well, I am accustomed to it, but now I’m starting to feel embarrassed.
…I’m glad that I’m covering my face with a muffler. If I hadn’t been able to cover my face, Senpai would have known that I was embarrassed.
But how could you not be embarrassed when you’re touching hands with a guy…plus, my face has been feeling warmer than usual for some time now.
“So, getting back to my point, I agree with you, Senpai, which is why I went with Gachapon. I wonder what kind of thing you would choose for me out of all these Gachapon. See? It’s not as if I’m avoiding it, right?”(Aira)
“Sorry, Aira, it was my misunderstanding.”(Ryoma)
“I don’t mind. Anything I get with your feelings in mind is worth more than any amount of money.”(Aira)
“I prohibit you from using that line any further.”(Ryoma)
“I like the shy Senpai.”(Aira)
Senpai was even more embarrassed when I attacked him. I’m super grateful that I was able to do what I set out to do.
I was afraid that if Senpai kept paying attention to me, he would point out, “Hey, Isn’t your face red?” I can’t let him know that I’m not used to being around men since I look like this.
“All right, now that I’ve finished showing you around, I’ll wait outside until you’ve decided what you want to give me.”(Aira)
When they’ve finally made their decision, they should call you out and show you what they’ve got. It’s pretty exciting to see what they’ve picked for you. With these thoughts in mind, Aira let go of Ryoma’s hand, putting some distance between them, but…
“No, let’s take a look around together.”(Ryoma)
Senpai suddenly grabbed my hand and squeezed it! You actually made me scream!!
“If you brought me here, then I’m sure Aira has some interest in this store.”(Ryoma)
It’s not fair….you suddenly grasped my hand out of nowhere…
“Hmm? Aira. Your face is kind of red……are you okay?”(Ryoma)
“No, because I was sexually harassed!”(Aira)
“Sexually harrassed!? By who!?”(Ryoma)
“By your hands!”(Aira)
“Hands!? Wait, why!?”(Ryoma)
Senpai looked upset. Following that, he let go of my hand.
Hah…hah…my body feels so hot that I’m practically sweating…why am I so nervous? I’m not sure what’s going on.
“Well, I’ll wait here on this chair, and you can call me when you’re done. See you later!”
Aira fled the Gachapon forest, leaving the rest to Ryoma.
It would have been great if I could look around with Senpai, but it would have been a complete disaster if we did. Holding hands and being held are two completely different sensations. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.
I don’t know when Senpai will call me, but I’ll have plenty of time to settle in here for now.
Aira sat in a nearby chair and quickly switched on her phone. For the time being, she tried to distract herself by looking at pictures of animals.
Aira was alone for about 15 minutes. Just as she finally regained her composure, the worst possible thing happened.
“Hey, little girl, are you alone now?”
“If you’re not busy, how about going to karaoke with us?”
I wonder why they’re paying attention to me, of all people. A pair of flirtatious-looking men approached me. They were pick-up artists. I never expected to be approached in a place like this, let alone on the street.
“I don’t have time for this. If you want to pick up girls, do it somewhere else.”(Aira)
“I’m not trying to pick up any girls; I just want to get to know you better. Because you’re cute.”
“Let’s just exchange contact information.”
“Isn’t that called hitting on someone? And why should I exchange my contact information with people such as yourself?”
It isn’t okay to ask someone this question when all you do is just look at their breasts and their legs. It’s weird.
In any case, I was fortunate enough that the location where I became entangled was a place full of people. That meant that if any of them did something to me, I could immediately call for help, which is why I could afford to put up such a tough front.
I should just persuade them to give up before Senpai comes back. This is something I’m used to in the first place.
“Well, then how about coming to the cafe with us?”
“Do you like sweets?”
“I just ate with my boyfriend.”
“That’s not true, is it? I mean, you were having a break here all by yourself, you know? And since you were looking bored, I called out to you.”
“Please stop imagining things. My boyfriend’s in the bathroom. He’ll be right back.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“If you don’t believe me, we’ll never get anywhere.”
I feel sick just knowing that these kinds of people exist. It would have been great if you could figure out what I meant when I declined to provide you with my contact information. And you’re far too persistent. I will not give in, no matter how hard you try.
“Enough. I’ll go get my boyfriend, and you can wait there. What a waste of my time.”
“Whoa, you’re not going to run away like that, are you?”
“Hey, please, let’s just exchange contact information.”
The moment I stood up, two people stood in front of me and blocked my path. I don’t understand a word they’re saying, and I’m not going to let them get away with it. I don’t know how they can do all of this in such a public place. Aren’t you people ashamed of yourself?
I have a date, and my patience is running out.
Unfortunately, I have to use Senpai here, and most importantly, I’m sorry… for attracting attention, but I have no other option but to shout and flee.
Aira breathed in, trying to hold back her embarrassment, and squeezed her stomach.
” ──I’m sorry. She’s my girlfriend, so please don’t get involved with her any further. You’re a nuisance to all those around us.”(Ryoma)
I suddenly felt a grip on my wrist. When I looked up, Senpai was holding my hands and glaring at……that pick-up artist with a frightening expression on his face.
“So, you have a boyfriend.”
“She already told you once to stop bothering her. I heard that entire exchange, so what were you trying to do?”
“I’m not in any position to say this, but you should stop being so persistent. Don’t you see how much she hates it? It makes the people around you feel sick.”
“If you understand, then it’s fine.”
Senpai had never gotten angry before, no matter what I did, yet the usual gentle Senpai in front of me looked so angry, with wrinkles forming in between his eyes. It was the first time Aira had seen Ryoma acting so furious.
The aggressive pick-up artists were no longer present. They were smiling bitterly, looking like they were in a hurry, as if they were a feeble frog getting stared at by a snake. Aira was delighted at the sight of this.
“Here, let’s go, Aira.”(Ryoma)
Aira was the only one who could communicate with Ryoma without getting spikes back in return. It looked like a tug of war when they pulled her in unwillingly. But Ryoma was there to help her. It was like something you would usually see in romantic comedies.
There were times when Aira felt like she should have thought of a different situation, but she took that back.
She’d never thought that she would feel so excited watching all this unfold.
My Senpai, who was always making fun of me, was showing me such a manly side. Isn’t the fact that he can also cook and clean going to make him famous?
While gazing at his back, I almost fell in love with my reliable Senpai.
I was relieved to know that I was safe. After settling myself, that’s when I realized what was going on. Senpai’s hand, which I was holding, was quivering slightly. Because you’re clutching me so firmly, of course, I could tell Senpai.
Eh…? What am I looking at exactly…? You attempted to frighten them with your menacing appearance, yet you appear to be the most frightened. If you think about it logically, that was a really dumb thing to do, Senpai.
Even so, that implies that Senpai stood up for me.
I’m sure Senpai was able to look so confident since he was in a public area, however to everyone else, he seemed pretty lame since he was shaking the entire time, but it was pretty cool to me.
Really…150,000 yen for a person like him isn’t enough at all.
“Thanks for saving me, Senpai.”(Aira)
Aira silently uttered this while no one was looking.
“Why did you get yourself tangled up in all of this, Aira! What was the matter with them? I was terrified!”(Ryoma)
“They were the ones who got involved, not me. There’s no need to get so upset, Senpai. And you should have just stayed calm since they weren’t even chasing you in the first place. That would have been cool.”(Aira)
“There’s no way I could stay calm in such a situation! Aira, you, on the other hand, looked incredible…you simply stood there like any other ordinary individual. You weren’t intimidated by them at all.”(Ryoma)
“I’m not proud of it, but it happened to me before. However, the guy was super clingy this time, so having you around Senpai was a big help. You saved my life.”(Aira)
“But I was scared the entire time…”(Ryoma)
“Wasn’t the other person scared as well? Because you were staring at him with such a terrifying expression. I had no idea people could wrinkle their brows in that way.”(Aira)
“Let’s not make fun of people’s looks now shall we……”(Ryoma)
Ryoma scratched the back of his head and looked down. He pondered whether there was a difference between his scary face from before and his embarrassed expression now. It’s almost impossible for him not to think this way.
“Just one more thing. Senpai, you weren’t so uncool by my standards.”(Aira)
“Thanks for the compliment….”(Aira)
“Okay! Now let’s leave that story for another time, shall we? You’ve come to call me because you’ve settled on one of the Gachapons, right?”(Aira)
“Yeah. I had my doubts, but I feel like I made the right decision.”(Ryoma)
“Which one!? Which one did you choose!?”(Aira)
Yes! This was what I was looking forward to the most! Senpai worked so hard to pick the best clothes for me, so I can only imagine he’s chosen something wonderful for me this time as well. I’m so happy that I want to jump up and down.
“This is it.”(Ryoma)
Senpai pointed to a particular capsule toy. I went to look at it with excitement, but when I saw what he’d pick…
This time, Aira’s brows wrinkled.
Senpai picked a dung beetle model that became famous for its palm-size, ability to coil up, and authenticity. What exactly is this, harassment?
“Let me ask you this, are you kidding me, Senpai?”(Aira)
“No, I’m serious.”(Ryoma)
“You can’t be serious! This is simply a random selection from when it was popular!”(Aira)
“No, it’s not!”(Ryoma)
“So you chose the most costly Gachapon out of all of them! To simply make it look like it’s worth something!?”(Aira)
“The price may be high, but it’s different!”(Ryoma)
“Then why would you pick this one?! I don’t intend to belittle the bug, but there are better ones available! Why would something you pick with me in mind end up becoming a bug!!”(Aira)
Let me repeat myself again, the Gachapon that I chose while considering Aira in mind is a pill bug. I don’t blame Aira for reacting like that.
Aira’s mood had plummeted as a result of what had occurred earlier. To be honest, it’s rather chilling.
“Tell me why, seriously! Because I don’t get it.”(Aira)
“There are two reasons…”(Ryoma)
“First of all, the combination of Aira’s appearance and the dung beetle has quite an impact, right?”(Ryoma)
“Seriously, what are you talking about?”(Aira)
“Well, let’s see, I thought these two compositions were pretty interesting.”(Ryoma)
“You’re kidding, right?”(Aira)
“I’m not kidding!”(Ryoma)
“You’re simply leaving everything up to me. I told you to choose something for me, but what are you going to do for the sake of entertainment and visuals? Don’t you realize there’s something wrong with that?”(Aira)
I could feel the frustration building up from Aira.
Aira isn’t mature enough to express her dissatisfaction at this age, but it doesn’t seem like she’s joking around at all.
『No matter how much money someone offers me, I will never let this gift go if they’ve thought of my feelings.』 You said it yourself, Senpai. I would be outraged if you picked this gift for any other purpose.
“So? What’s the other reason you went with this?”(Aira)
If that’s the first reason he gave me, I don’t think the second one will be any better. The first explanation he provided me already baffles me. Even so, Senpai picked this gift while thinking about me, so it wouldn’t be fair not to ask.
“Come on, don’t just stay silent, say it.”(Aira)
You simply left it up to me, Senpai, so I know you don’t have any more to say to me.
“Well…Aira…you always said that you were lonely being at home all by yourself.”(Ryoma)
“That’s why I went with the one with the greatest presence in the lineup. I’d thought that if it stood out a little, you’d have more chances to remember this day, and it could also distract you a little.”(Ryoma)
“I’d also thought that someone of your calibre Aira wouldn’t have any problems taking this to school, and let’s say if you did, you could even get some tweets from your friends. You would have more topics to talk about, start making new friends and have a little more fun at school, plus it would give your parents something to talk about when they come home.”(Ryoma)
Was that the reason Senpai chose this dung beetle for me? He was doing everything he could to improve my situation.
Ha? Seriously, don’t be ridiculous…why would you say all of this after the fact? I wouldn’t have been so upset if you had stated it the first time.
“I believed that this was necessary as it could have an impact and encourage others to talk to you more. In addition, if it were anything but a pretty strap, your friends would already know the whole story behind it, but since it’s a dung beetle, wouldn’t your friends feel more inclined to learn the entire story behind it?”(Ryoma)
I’m such an idiot. Senpai was not kidding in the least. He was thinking about me the whole time…yet I reacted too fast and lashed out at him.
That’s right; Senpai isn’t the kind of person who would play pranks.
“But please accept my heartfelt apologies, Aira. I didn’t have any delicacy when it came to selecting your gift. What type of moron, no matter how you look at it, gives someone a dung beetle as a present…I deeply regret my choice.”(Ryoma)
Senpai apologized to me, his eyes downcast. Because he was in the public eye, he lowered his head down and exuded remorse. Even though Senpai did nothing wrong, this was how I reacted…He wondered what would bring me the most joy, and I simply lashed out at him. I-I’m…I’m so sorry….it’s all my fault…
“Don’t worry about it. It’s just……”(Aira)
“After all…this is good.”(Aira)
Huh…? My voice is trembling….why is my vision getting so distorted? What’s happening to me? Something wet…is dripping down my cheeks…
“Hey, Aira!? Are you crying!? You don’t have to be so hard on yourself! I’m sorry! If I had known you didn’t like dung beetles, I would have gotten something else! Ah! I got it. I’ll go choose something else!”(Ryoma)
I can’t show my face to Senpai, not like this. Aira reflexively hid her tears with Ryoma’s muffler.
W-What should I do….? I-I can’t stop crying at all…
“What should I do..? Uh…let’s see….yeah….I should bring her over to a corner for the time being. Otherwise…”(Ryoma)
They exited the store, and hundreds of people witnessed Aira sobbing. Ryoma was so concerned about Aira that he took her hand in his and led her to the back of the store. He protected her from the public view to preserve her privacy, offering Aira his chest to cry on.
“When you’ve settled down, we’ll move to a place where we can be alone.”(Ryoma)
I-I’m revealing my embarrassing side to Senpai…
…This was no longer a date or anything of that kind.
…why are you doing all this…for me, Senpai?
──At this rate, I’ll really fall in love with you.
It was 8:40 when the two of them left the enormous commercial facility, also known as IYON.
We were left standing outside in the frigid, chilling air after having dinner at IYON’s Kaisai Tenten Juzushiya restaurant. The date had finally come to an end, and all that remained was to send Aira on her way.
“Thank you for the food, Senpai.”(Aira)
“I didn’t think I’d be stacking 40 plates at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant……It’s four hundred yen without tax.”(Ryoma)
“Good thing I’m a quantity over quality type of person. I ate five desserts, so that’s five hundred yen each. It was really convenient to have someone who did not stare at me oddly while I ate so much.”(Aira)
“Why would you spend more than 500 yen for desserts when you are at a ‘sushi’ restaurant known for its low prices?” Even the clerk was taken aback.”(Ryoma)
We went to a buffet restaurant for lunch today, and for dinner, we went to a sushi restaurant. Aira didn’t pay a single cent. I practically footed the entire bill.
“Hey, Senpai? Why did you have to pay for the sushi? ? Since you paid for lunch, why didn’t you let me pay for dinner then? I can practically pass you the money right now.”(Aira)
“I felt that it would be weird for me to buy you lunch but not dinner.”(Ryoma)
“What’s with the pride? I don’t care about that.”(Aira)
“It’s me who cares.”(Ryoma)
“I thought that maybe your pride is the reason why you can’t save any money, Senpai. If you hadn’t bought me that drink, you could’ve saved some money.”(Aira)
“I know what I’m doing.”(Ryoma)
Even an elementary school student knows that in order to save money, it is better to ask others to pay for your items. Ryoma, on the other hand, dislikes being served by his juniors. That is the one line a man cannot cross no matter what.
“Then why don’t you just throw that away?”(Aira)
“If could throw away my pride that easily, I would have done it long ago.”(Ryoma)
“Hmm. Senpai, I intend to repay you for everything you did today then. Please accept my apologies for investing today.”(Aira)
A big sigh was followed by a white breath that lingered in the air for a few moments. Ryoma shook his head, looking somewhat unhappy.
“What? Did I say something wrong, Senpai?”(Aira)
“I didn’t buy you a drink with the intention of earning any profit at all, Aira. It makes me rather sad for you to view me as such after spending so much of my hard-earned money for you.”(Ryoma)
“Eh~ Are you trying to look cool? If I dangled some money in front of you, won’t you take it right away, Senpai?”
“If you placed bait in front of someone, obviously someone would take it. And if you dangled it instead, you’ll only irritate them even further. But you can’t really blame them if they went for it.”(Ryoma)
Ryoma decided to reply in a mature fashion. However, he quickly changed his mind and chose a childish one instead. He did this to improve the mood around them.
“But what if I’d complain and ask for more after taking it?”(Ryoma)
“Of course, I’ll run away.”(Aira)
『…What a heinous crime. Why did I fall for someone like him?』
That faint voice she let out did not reach Ryoma.
“Well, I bet it’s just a joke, so I don’t care, but…Senpai, could you stoop down a bit?”(Aira)
“Why? Aren’t we outside, and if you did that, won’t I stand out?”(Ryoma)
“Don’t worry. It’s only for ten seconds.”(Aira)
Ryoma crouched down slightly as instructed. It at that moment, he looked up and saw Aira. A soft fabric was suddenly being wrapped around his neck.
“Let’s see, should I wrap it like this? What about this way…yes…it’s perfect!”(Aira)
“…… Aira, what are you doing?”(Ryoma)
-Ten seconds later.
As the two of them walked down the narrow path, Aira had a wide smile on her face. The muffler was now connected between the both of them.
“I just wrapped a muffler over your neck, Senpai. You must be feeling cold as well.”(Aira)
“Wait…are we going to walk around like this?”(Ryoma)
“Yup, that’s the plan. The city gets pretty beautiful at night, doesn’t it, Senpai? And don’t we look more like a couple this way?”(Aira)
“Just spoil me one more time today, Senpai, since this is our last date today.”(Aira)
“I can’t say no if you look at me like that…….”(Ryoma)
“I’m not sad or anything!”(Aira)
“Just be honest with yourself.”(Ryoma)
“I’m not sad!”(Aira)
“…Senpai is a bully. No wonder you aren’t popular with the girls. Baka.”(Aira)
“Ahaha, that’s a shame.”(Ryoma)
Ryoma wanted Aira to be honest with herself, but it backfired. However, Aira didn’t appear to be sad at all.
“Well, it’s probably time for both of us to go home. If you don’t return my scarf, I won’t forgive you.”(Ryoma)
They strolled shoulder to shoulder across the beautiful metropolis generated by the illumination after such a conversation. Ryoma was in a good mood as he walked Aira home.
A two-story steel-framed home was enclosed by a natural stone wall, followed by a shutter gate at the entrance, and security measures such as surveillance cameras were in place. At first sight, you can tell that this is Aira’s affluent family’s house.
“I want to thank you for today. I really do.”(Aira)
Aira unwrapped the scarf around her neck and handed it over to Ryoma.
“But I didn’t do anything worthy of praise. I’ve had quite a lot of fun myself, Aira.”(Ryoma)
“Aren’t you glad that you got to go on a date with such a cute JK?”(Aira)
“Don’t start getting carried away now, Aira.”(Ryoma)
“Since this is my last date, why don’t I take advantage of it?”(Aira)
“I’m not the type of person who would let you take advantage of that ‘last chance’ offer again.”(Ryoma)
“There it is, your tough side. What a waste Senpai, if you had agreed with me, I would have confessed to you.”(Aira)
“You know, you shouldn’t make jokes like that too often, okay? Besides, you’re not the kind of person who would confess to such a stingy and greedy person like me.”(Ryoma)
“If that’s what you say~. But I’ll do whatever you tell me to for today.”(Aira)
“Okay, time to go home.”(Ryoma)
I attempted to send Aira back home, chasing her away with my hand as I spoke. The temperature was now six degrees. My breath was starting to turn white, and I’ve begun to find it difficult to move my fingers due to the sheer cold.
Although Ryoma didn’t say it out loud himself, he wanted to send Aira back home as soon as possible to keep her warm from the freezing cold.
“Hey, Senpai, just to warn you, that muffler has my scent on it, so don’t try to use it for anything weird. Also, it has my tears on it, so wash it as soon as possible.”(Aira)
“I don’t know what kind of weirdness you’re talking about.”(Ryoma)
“Hey! It’s sexual harassment to try to make me say it when you already know the answer, Senpai! Seriously, that’s terrible.”(Aira)
They were able to communicate so openly because they were both aware of the distance between each other. With this in mind, they could afford to make non-harmful jokes to one another.
“Don’t worry. I’m not the one who gets off on people’s smells. Not unless it smells pretty good.”(Ryoma)
“Are you implying that I stink, Senpai!? That’s so rude! I don’t stink at all!!”(Aira)
“Ugh! You’re so annoying! Saying something like that to women is a death sentence, you know!?”(Aira)
“Now I’m really mad. I’m going home. Senpai, please don’t stay out too long. Otherwise, you’ll catch a cold.”(Aira)
Ryoma waved his hands again, yet Aira didn’t look happy at all.
“Oi, remember to take good care of the clothes I bought for you, as well as that dung beetle.”(Ryoma)
“I’ll take good care of it even if you didn’t say so! Of course I will!”(Aira)
“That’s fine then. After all, it’s my precious money at stake.”(Ryoma)
“I thought you said that it depended on your feelings? Why don’t you simply say it without feeling embarrassed, Senpai?”(Aira)
“I’m just not into it. See you next week, Aira. You can text me whenever you’re free.”(Ryoma)
“I’ll call you as soon as I get home.”(Aira)
“Take a bath first. Warm yourself up before calling me.”(Ryoma)
“What exactly are you, a guardian? If that’s what you want, that’s what I’ll do, since it will make me feel better.”(Aira)
“Well then, see you later.”(Ryoma)
“Thank you very much for today.”(Aira)
They exchanged their final words.
A small car passed by, and a chilly breeze swept over the street.
They kept looking at each other and blinking…for 10 seconds.
“No, what are you doing? Come on, get in the house.”(Ryoma)
“Ha? What are you talking about, Senpai? I’m here to send you off.”(Aira)
“I’m not at all happy to be sent off by a little girl.”(Ryoma)
“I know that you’re purposely being nasty to me in order to get me to go home early, Senpai.”(Aira)
“Stop lying to yourself.”(Ryoma)
“Earlier, you let your true feelings slip, saying that ‘it’s cold outside, you’ll catch a cold’, how are you going to explain that, Senpai?”(Aira)
“You were probably hallucinating.”(Ryoma)
“Ugh, you and your words again, Senpai.”(Aira)
In fact, Ryoma was aware that he had slipped up and was inwardly impatient. He felt a little embarrassed, even though there was nothing wrong with being caught.
“But I can’t really lie to myself either. Today was a lot of fun, and I can’t thank you enough. So, Senpai, I’ll see you off here.”(Aira)
“Let me do it.”(Aira)
“Well then…at least today…could you please let me see you off, Senpai?”(Aira)
It was the first time Ryoma had ever heard Aira used polite language. He averted his gaze slightly and fidgeted with his hands. I’m going to see you off. The force of Aura’s determination is apparent.
“Okay. I’m not looking back, though, so just go home, okay?”(Ryoma)
“I know you’re impolite. That’s something I am aware of. I’ll consider your feelings and get into my house as soon as possible. Look, it’s cold outside, so take care of yourself.”(Aira)
“You’re my junior, yet your talking down to me.”(Ryoma)
“What a weird way to laugh.”(Ryoma)
The time for farewells was steadily approaching. Despite knowing where this conversation was heading, Aira grinned brighter than before.
That sight alone made Ryoma glad that he was able to go out with Aira today.
“See you next time, Aira.”(Ryoma)
Ryoma turned his back towards Aira and stepped forward, raising a small hand, wrapping his scarf around himself.
“See you later, Ryoma-senpai.”(Aira)
The only time Ryoma will hear her voice again will be the next time he meets her.
TL notes: What a thicc chapter ngl, I’ll just post the epilogue tomorrow since I reached peaked laziness after completing this. I’m continuing with V2 btw