Two days later.
After informing Asai that Sora did not have a child, the former narrowed her eyes, and hissed in a rampage, “What is the matter with that woman? I actually arranged for her to live peacefully in a place nobody else will know of, and came up with a list of potential hospitals for the birth!”
After a long spiel of sniding and complaints, Koremitsu retreated with a defeated look.
“I really caused you trouble there, Asa, but I never expected you to find out where Sora was that fast. That’s a great help.”
And after he said that, Asai sealed her lips tight, turning her head sharply to the side as she said.
“Of course. You could have requested me for help right from the beginning. It was entirely your miscue, Mr. Akagi.”
After saying that coldly, she turned her head towards Koremitsu with much pressure, glaring at him sharply,
“You hear? You are to report to me the first thing if you are in trouble because of Hikaru again.”
And she continued with her chiding.
“…But if it is your personal problems, it is not that you cannot look to me for help.”
Muttering that, she turned to leave.
“What’s the matter now? Asa’s becoming very mature here.”
After hearing Koremitsu mutter this, Hikaru smiled wryly,
“Just to you.”
And he said those inexplicable words.
Tsuyako too was devastated when she learned that Hikaru’s child did not exist.
“Mr. Akagi, comfort me.”
It took him a lot of effort just to placate her, and Tōjō, who had assumed the child within Sora to be Koremitsu’s, gave a deathly scowl.
“You were fooled by a woman’s lie because you did something guilty yourself. Even if she does have a child, and you want to admit it, or that you want to compensate her to abort and make her a crying wanderer, you could have rejected her if you did not do anything guilty in the first place. You should reflect on your actions and exercise caution.”
Perhaps it was because he had his own experiences with regards to the matter that he took the entire break to give Koremitsu a long sermon.
And Hiina herself appeared while giving her usual cheerful look.
“Too bad that you can’t be a papa here, Mr. Akagi. If he’s born, I’m prepared to record down a diary of you raising a kid here. Ah, do you want to have a baby with me? You’ll be a dad in another 10 months and 10 days later.
She continued on with her incessant chatter, and Koremitsu asked grimly,
“Oumi, thanks for what you said back then. Also, do I know your brother?”
And Hiina showed an impish face.
“It’s a pity to say it now. That’s a secret.”
She then turned to leave.
Koremitsu was also prepared to apologize to Honoka for toppling her cookies.
“It’s fine…I’m not angry.”
Honoka looked a little forlorn as she smiled.
After informing Honoka that the child was a hoax.
“Is that so. Now then, you’ll be able to sleep well, Akagi.”
Though she sounded optimistic, she averted her eyes from him, looking forlorn. It was a fleeting instance, so Koremitsu wondered if that was just him seeing things, but,
For some reasons, he couldn’t blurt out what he wanted to ask.
Hikaru too did say some strange things before…and ever since then, his periods of silence and pondering became frequent.
Back then, Aoi held Koremitsu’s hand because the latter cried upon seeing his mother. In any case, surely Hikaru did not have to brood with such a serious look…
The sensation of Aoi’s hand still remained on Koremitsu’s hand, and surely, that had to be because it was an overly unique situation.
“Hey, I’m not going to fall in love with my friend’s fiancee. Stop giving me that bitter brooding look.”
On their way back from school.
Koremitsu scowled and complained at Hikaru, who was brooding alone again.
“Eh, was I showing such a bitter face?”
Hikaru answered with ambiguity.
“Well, Koremitsu, you should not judge things too quickly here. Things may happen between man and woman at any given time. Even after being ruined, I still cannot abandon my love for the one I could not love.”
Hikaru stared afar, giving a faint smile.
(Of course, this guy still hasn’t settled his issues with his stepmom.)
The circumstances that led to Hikaru falling into the river was ambiguous, and Hikaru himself seemed to be hiding something—
(Really, did he just slip and fall into the river? Was that all?)
And at that moment, there was a commotion coming from the direction of Koremitsu’s house.
“Stop trying to run away now! You’re the one wandering around my house trying to stalk me, right?”
Koremitsu frantically dashed over, and found Shioriko swinging a broom down in front of the door, smacking the buttocks of a boy who fell onto the floor.
The boy tried his best to escape from Shioriko’s assault as he tried to excuse himself.
“Are you peeking into our house! You want to try running away from here?”
“Big brother Koremitsu! This guy’s a stalker after all! Are you a student at my school? What year and class? What’s your registration number? I’m reporting this to the principal!”
Shioriko swung her twintails as she swung the broom again—
“That’s enough already, Shiiko.”
And there sounded a gruff voice.
Koharu appeared from the door, dressed in a short apron over her jersey.
Koharu and Koremitsu both had faces of a hoodlum, and when the former looked down at the boy, the boy’s face turned beetroot, looking as scared as he was when Koremitsu hollered at him.
“That’s enough already.”
Once Koharu ordered sternly, Shioriko left the boy unwillingly. In the meantime, the boy scampered away, looking like his legs had a missile attached to them.
“Shiiko, don’t chase him.”
And while Shioriko puffed her cheeks in ostensible protest,
Koharu quietly muttered, and in response to that silent voice, Shioriko seemed to realize something as she clicked her tongue, putting down the broom in her hands.
Koremitsu too was dumbfounded by Koharu’s words.
(He’s someone Koharu knows?)
Speaking of which, Koharu’s son, whom her divorced husband claimed, should be of a similar age to Shioriko, about 9 too.
“That child does not look like he is Sora’s brother.”
Hikaru flatly stated.
“Wait, Koharu, was that your…”
The way he had his lips curled into a frown did resemble someone. It was very similar to the sharp of the mouth he would see in the mirror every day, and in other words, should be similar to Koharu’s—
Shioriko and Koremitsu probably had the same thoughts, and they turned to look at Koharu.
However, Koharu coldly stated,
“Who knows. I don’t know that kid, I guess.”
However, there was a rare, fleeting expression she showed behind this tone, she then turned away from Koremitsu and Shioriko to avoid showing them the face.
When Ogina inquired about Koremitsu, his mother replied as such, her eyes fleeting. The image of that overlapped with that fleeting, despondent look on Koharu’s.
Why exactly did Koharu choose to give up on the child? Why did she not see him even after he left her at such a young age? Koremitsu could not comprehend.
However, the aloof words and the drooping face clearly stated the love for the child she gave birth to after 10 months of labor that could not be held back.
So, in that case.
When Koremitsu’s mother answered ‘no’ while showing that fleeting expression, perhaps there was some form of a lingering feeling in there.
Just like how it could not be noticed when up close, but only discovered when afar.
9 years ago, Koremitsu’s mother abandoned her love for him, and the fact remained that she left him. Perhaps it was a meaningless fantasy for him to continue thinking about such matters now…
♢ ♢ ♢
(Maybe I am useless to Akagi already.)
After school, Honoka was updating the blog on her cellphone alone in the empty classroom, realling the events over the prior days as she gave off a gloomy vibe.
Once she learned from Aoi of the coincidence that was Koremitsu’s encounter with his mother, she was so worried about him that she tried approaching him near his house.
Later on, there was a woman with a child standing in front of Koremitsu’s house, with Koremitsu and Aoi standing there as the former kept staring at the woman.
Surely that was Koremitsu’s woman.
From a corner on the street, she watched Koremitsu attempt to smile at the woman with bated breath.
It was the first time Honoka saw that Koremitsu, who usually pouted with his cheeks puffed, who always looked grouchy, show a smile.
That was a forced smile of happiness that griped anyone’s heart, a smile that practically said to the mother who abandoned him ‘I’m fine here’—
There were tears in his eyes, yet he continued to smile, and Honoka, witnessing this, was about to cry. When she saw Aoi hold onto Koremitsu’s hand tightly, and the latter doing the same back, Honoka’s heart was practically ripped out.
After Koremitsu’s mother lowered her head and left, the duo continued to hold hands tightly, never once letting go.
(Why was it that I wasn’t the one beside Akagi, but Her Highness Aoi instead?)
If Honoka had been beside Koremitsu back then, surely she would have done the same thing. However, the one there back then was not Honoka, but Aoi. Surely, this was a confounding of fate.
(I couldn’t help Akagi when he was trying his best to smile.)
Honoka lifted her head after hearing someone call out for her, and standing over there was Michiru.
She flusteredly blinked to avoid Michiru seeing her teary eyes, and closed the cellphone.
“The committee meeting’s over? I’m hungry, Michiru. Let’s get something to eat before we head back; I want some ice cream, the double flavor of caramel and custard kind.”
“Hono, you aren’t the sort of person to like that.”
“I guess it’s fine to eat some sweet things that’ll cause me to vomit once in a while.”
Surely she would break down into tears if she did not show such optimism, and once she answered, Michiru stared back grimly, before breaking into a chuckle.
“You’re lying, Hono. You really like Mr Akagi, don’t you?”
♢ ♢ ♢
The hair, short enough to reach the nape, swayed along with the hem of the skirt as Sora strolled through the school cheerfully.
Thinking about it, how foolish was she before she bid farewell to Hikaru?
(I actually believed that I’m bearing Mr Hikaru’s baby.)
Surely there was no way she could have bore Hikaru’s child.
(On that winter night when I was reunited with Hikaru again, I embraced him tightly as he was rejected by the one he loved, completely worn out and wounded emotionally. When Mr Hikaru fell asleep in my arms however, his face was so pretty when lit by the snowy lights, like God. And I ran away as a result.”
She wrapped Hikaru in the cloth from the altar, and got on her toes, doing her morning prayers while mesmerized.
Yes, on that night, Hikaru and Sora did not so anything that would have caused a child to be born.
♢ ♢ ♢
“How laughable it is, Third Princcess.”
With the black wig on his head, Kazuaki had a red one-piece dress fluttering about, sealing his bright red lips as he said with a sweet, rich voice.
“The ‘beloved’ of thaaaaattt beautiful Hikaru is actually that Sora Semigaya? Surely she is just an ordinary college girl. I knew that right from the beginninnnnggg.”
The chameleon suddenly reached his long tongue out to catch its prey, and Kazuaki narrowed his eyes, looking hopelessly mesmerized, before saying snide words.
“That is a bitch of a non virgin who immediately sexed with Hikaru after meeting him. How can she possibly be Hikaru’s ‘beloeved’. Mr Akagi however panicked like that when I merely said a few words, and he got fooled completely by a lying non-virgin!!”
Surely Hikaru’s ‘beloved’ was far in comparison to Sora Semigaya, for she was the best.
“So basically, she is a bitch who is 10 times worse off compared to Sora, no?”
Feeling peeved by this, his face was ccompletely twisted.
Hikaru’s ‘beloved’ was,
Raising the icy cage, Kazuaki placed his face onto it, and spoke with a sweet, rich voice.
“Hey, Third Princess. I want to have Hikaru’s child. How am I supposed to make it mine? My thing?”
♢ ♢ ♢
Summer is ending, and the orange Forget-me-nots had already wilted, but I definitely cannot forget about you. My eyes are always allured by you, and my body and mind yearns strongly for you, like a burning fire.
So, I decided,
I shall forget all my love and hatred for you, and let them flow with the river.
And that day, please turn back and look at me—