Every month, Aai would spend a day amidst the ‘tear-jerker’ genre.
She would head to a movie or drama that was critically acclaimed to ’cause tears’, prepare lots of novels and picture books with taglines like ‘tear-inducing’ and ‘millions have shed tears over this’, and would spend an entire night reading them.
During the weekend, she went early to a cinema with the intent to watch a foreign movie, the theme being ‘friendship between man and dog, kinship, a riveting work!’
As it was the holiday, there were parents carrying their children along, high school students, and many couples.
The child sitting beside her was yelping away, and there was a couple seated in front. The woman said ‘I heard that it’s really touching~I brought 3 handkerchiefs~ If Yuu cries too much, I’ll wipe them off for you’.
Amidst this buzzing, Asai leaned her back on the chair quietly.
(Why is it that couples get noisier the more unattractive they are?)
She grumbled, and awaited the commencement of the movie with a stoic attitude.
The movie finally began, and the opening scene was an abandoned dog trotting through the snowy ground. Sobbing could be heard everywhere.
The boy in front was bawling shrilling, and the girl was hard at work, wiping his tears away.
Asai did not bat an eye at all.
(That’s artificial snow, right? It’s snowing unnaturally.)
She was picking at the background.
As the story progressed, there were snivels echoing in the theater, sobbings to a point of choking, and whimpers.
But Asai kept her cool persona as she continued to watch.
(The father’s restaurant was going to close down the next day, and they had time to build a doghouse? They are talking about how dogs are important friends, but are they not filthy mongrels? They are not friends. The most important thing is that they have to think of how to revive the restaurant. This family will not have a future if they cannot do so.)
And so, an hour passed, and the riveting movie ended in the mix of emotions and praise.
As the credits rolled, the image of the harmonious family and dog appeared again. Some even bawled their hearts out, wiping each other’s tears and snot off.
(This ending is made to be too popular with the common audience. ‘I love you most in this world, my friend’. This old-fashioned line has been used in B-movies so many times.)
She was watching on with silent fury vented within her.
The most vexing aspect to her was the dog. Though it was reasonable that the dog died due to his injuries, the lamentations and anguish they showed was too exaggerated.
Asai wondered as she got ready to leave.
“What a coincidence, president.”
Seated behind Asai was a smiling Hiina Oumi, her eyes completely red as she snivelled.
♢ ♢ ♢
“It really is unexpected of you to watch such movies, President Saiga. I feel that we’re a lot closer now~”
Somehow, Saiga ended up heading to a curry shop with Hiina.
Hiina said that ‘there’s a great restaurant’ as she continued to pester per usual. Asai was too lazy to refuse, and simply followed her.
“A movie about kinship is really great~ the doggie’s really cute too. I ended up crying so hard when he died in the end though~”
“Miss Oumi, were you stalking me?”
“Nope~ Just a coincidence~”
“I do not like to beat around the bush. I have something on later, so be snappy.”
Asai spoke coldly, and Hiina, upon hearing this, showed a boyish expression,
“Is that so? I’ll get straight to the point then. The reason why the police started investigations on Mr Kuze was because of you, right?”
Asai frowned slightly.
“In Kuze’s Corporation, Mr Soichiro, acting as advisor, is in a power struggle with the chairman. If you informed the chairman’s side of such news, surely one can expect matters to end up like this.”
“Are you saying that I leaked the news?”
Asai continued to maintain that poker face as she coldly answered,
“I am a high school student. What benefit will I get if I interfere with a major enterprise’s affairs.”
“President, didn’t you abhor the notion of Mr Soichiro taking little Shiiko away?”
“You really raised your voice at Mr Akagi back then. It really isn’t like what you would normally do.”
“Shiiko is someone Lord Hikaru really reached out to help and nurture. As Her Highness Aoi had said, her circumstances were too similar to Lord Hikaru’s. You felt unbearable when you saw that Mr Akagi handed her over to Mr Soichiro, right?”
Hiina tilted her head, observing the response from Asai.
Asai remained stoic, but coldly stated out of disinterest,
“…He was willing to kneel down in front of me even though he really despised me, and yet gave up that easily in the end. I did not want such a half-hearted man to be Hikaru’s representative.”
“It sounds like you have acknowledged Mr Akagi to be Lord Hikaru’s representative. That’s why you’re angry, right?”
Asai impatiently stated, and Hiina suddenly dropped a bombshell.
“President, why don’t you just go out with Mr Akagi?”
For an instance, Asai was practically unable to comprehend what she said.
Dating? You want me to go dating with that wretched mongrel?
In an instant, Asai was giving Hiina her most condescending look.
“Miss Oumi, I will advise you to head to the hospital to do a CT scan. Maybe there is a cerebral illness.”
“Isn’t it a classic storyline for two opposing people to fall in love with each other?”
“Humans cannot possibly fall in love with mongrels.”
“Don’t people fall in love with dogs on first sight?”
“He is not of a superior breed like those in the pet shop.”
“Then what about a noisy alley on a rainy day?”
“I will never head to filthy places like bustling alleys, and surely I will never fall in love with them.”
Asai said decisively.
“Are you done with what you had to say? I shall be leaving for I have business to attend to.”
After saying that, Asai slapped a 1000 Yen note onto the table before going off.
“President, your mutton curry hasn’t arrived yet.”
“You can have it.”
“Eh? But I ordered spinach and eggplant curry and some tandoori chicken! I’ll grow fat if I eat two people’s share~! The Naan they sell here is really big~”
Hiina continued to squabble, but Asai ignored her.
(Right. Time to buy some tear-inducing books at the bookshop.)
She wanted to read these and build a firm will that would never cry in any situations.
For the sake of her childhood promise.
♢ ♢ ♢
(This is bad. I haven’t asked her about some things.)
Hiina watched Asai leave the restaurant, and shrugged her shoulder slightly.
(For example, whether the power struggle on Kuze’s side is like a certain megacorp, what she’s trying to protect by plotting and building influences. Also, it does seem a coincidence that Lord Hikaru died at such a time…)
“Well, it’s fine.”
She could continue to pester Asai the next day, the day after and so on despite the latter’s annoyance.
And it was delightful to talk to her.
Hiina really admired Asai.
Her sharp icy stare and long flowing black hair were really great. The rational yet adamant narrow long eyes, firm nose bridge, thin lips were all very pretty.
Hiina too was envious of Asai’s eternally straightened back and slender figure. Though Hiina’s overly large breasts were assets when it came to information gathering, she had mixed feelings about them.
Certainly, she really liked Asai’s appearance.
But she really loved the intense emotions and determination hidden within Asai.
(The president is like me)
Asai was definitely like her, definitely willing to risk everything, even their lives, for a certain ‘special’ person that remained in their hearts.
And if that ‘special’ person said that he was struggling with life, and begged others to kill him…
“I’ll definitely do that.”
She said with ecstasy on her face.
Her eyes were filled with happiness as she watched the movie pamphlet on the table.
(Movies about kinship are really great~)
And then, she opened her cellphone, summoned the photo of her most important kin, and blushed, saying something she would never say to his face.
“You’re the one I love most, Big Brother.”