I was young and ignorant thinking back about it now, but between my second and third year of middle school, I had something called a boyfriend.
He had a face that’s never going to stand out, he didn’t really care about fashion, always hunched his back, talked about boring stuff. He’s not charming as a guy at all; he’s basically a scumhead, but he’s a little on the smarter side.
But I was in middle school back then, the flawless time of my youth, and I was a peerless plain looking girl. I ended up on cloud nine just because someone treated me kindly, chatted with me, and enjoyed being with me.
I was careless. I was absolutely ignorant.
I wrote the love letter with such agitated emotions in the middle of the night, and handed it to him in the spur of the moment. My ship of destiny began to embark.
The final destination of my middle school romance could only be described as a ‘catastrophe’.
It was not a shoujo manga that’s meant to bluff kids. It was only taking a matter of time before we woke up and realized what reality is, and afterwards, we just broke up as though nothing had happened. That man and I couldn’t avoid such a fate.
Our parents then remarried, and we became stepsiblings living under the same roof.
They say life isn’t always smooth sailing, but such a disaster wasn’t something common to begin with. It was definitely the mischievous God pulling a trap on us, definitely.
The trap laid by God. In other words, fate.
The days of me getting along with that man had been discarded from my mind into the trash, but I have to admit that my mind still has some memories that couldn’t be erased, like mold that couldn’t be scrubbed away in the bathhouse.
I think it happened between our second and third years—it was spring break.
I was called to that man’s house.
My dad isn’t home now.
And just like that, he went straight to the point with an embarrassed voice. I was foolish back then, and the first thing I thought was.
It’s finally here.
We dated, we kissed, so what next is naturally…that’s what every single girl in middle school would have thought. I wasn’t being really lewd here. I was serious.
It seemed this was mentioned more frequently between girls, which I occasionally eavesdropped. After all, we’ve only just started our battle against the dreaded menstruation.T here’s some distance between us and the bastards who were just gawking at internet photos and yapping away.
I prepared myself. I was finally about to experience what I only knew in books. My anticipation and uneasiness was about 3:7 ratio. It was the first time I entered my boyfriend’s room, marching on to the capital.
To the capital I went.
It was a stupid way to express how I felt when I went to my boyfriend’s place, and also explained the determination I had—the night before, I went online to research on ‘things to know before the first experience’, and basically searched everywhere, leaving no stones unturned. I even practiced how to make the voices.
I made sure I was thoroughly prepared, entered that man’s room, and first sought a place to be comfortable at. The room was messy with books all over the place, and the only place to actually sit on is the bed. Is it there? Is it going to be there? My mind was a mess, I was at a loss, and then that man just said.
Don’t worry. Have a seat.
So I sat on his bed, but what happened next was really shocking. That man just sat next to me naturally.
I thought. Ehhhhh…!? He-he’s more aggressive than I thought…! Even though he’s usually a reserved guy! Seriously, how short-sighted was this girl? Go get hit by a truck and get isekai’d!
That’s what I think in hindsight but unfortunately, I was stuck on Earth, and started chit-chatting with that man.
I’d no recollection of what we talked about. My mind was just completely preoccupied with stuff like, when is he going to knock me over, do we start off with a kiss, is this underwear okay?
Whenever that man adjusted himself, my shoulders were shaking; whenever his little finger twitches, I just let out weird sounds. The sad time of the naive girl lasted 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. And then from then on, an hour passed, two hours passed, three hours passed…
Huh? We’re not done talking yet? I was starting to think so, and finally, that man said,
Well, it’s about that time. I guess…
It’s finally here.
Please don’t hurt too much, please don’t be scared, please make sure everything goes well…!
you should be heading back. I’ll send you back.
It’s a pity, but if it gets any later, your family will be worried.
And so I was escorted by that man back to my apartment.
Wait, an escorting wolf!? Is that it!?
I was thinking of such stuff until we were just about to reach home, but thinking about it, mom’s at home. It was definitely more appropriate to do such stuff at his house no matter how I looked at it.
He just waved at me normally before the entrance, and just said normally,
I enjoyed myself today. That’s it then, bye.
I just watched him leave, while still spaced out, and then I realized. That man didn’t invite me to his house just to do such things. He just wanted to use his room to talk to me.
I was the only one who wanted to graduate into an adult!
Huh? Yume, your face is really red, you know? Did you catch a cold~?
I returned home, and mom was worried about me.
I couldn’t give her a proper reply, and just laid down on my bed, completely, bitterly crushed by the shame I felt.
About a year later since, that man and I never managed to take the next step until we broke up.
“Dad and Yuni-san said they’ll be late today.”
“…Hmm, and then?”
I had just finished packing my belongings into my room, elegantly reading a detective novel, when my little step brother, yes, little, no matter what anyone else says. He dropped by to inform me.
My little stepbrother, Mizuto Irido, looked like he had just swallowed a bitter pill…Ahh, I guess even a formal conversation with me is painful for you? Hmph.
“What are we doing for dinner?”
“Don’t make it sound like I have to be responsible for this. I’m not your mother.”
“Right. I’m just discussing things with you since you’re going to be at the same table as me. Ah damn it, I can’t continue like this.”
…You’re making it sound like I’m the dumb one. I’ve improved, you know? Compared to when I first met you.
This little step brother of mine was as thin as a bean sprout growing in the shade. He had never been one to show kind looking eyes, but they were getting more heinous as he anxiously tapped his toes onto the floor.
His hair was really messy, and he looked as though he didn’t care about his attire. In fact, this man’s facial features were as generic as an illustration. My affection for him was already in the negatives, and he’s just so irritating, but it feels like, if he really tried, he could look decent, and knowing that did nothing but increase my annoyance towards him.
“I’ll prepare dinner by myself then. I decide the menu, is that fine?”
“Prepare…you know how to cook?”
“Pfft.” So Mizuto chuckled, looking at me like I was a little idiot. This man knew I couldn’t cook. He once ate the bento I made that was basically industrial waste, “Yep, really delicious.” and made such a bold faced lie.
“Well, we’re family now. I can cook some for you. Be grateful and eat my cooking like a pig.”
One of these days, I’ll slaughter this man.
I tried to smile as much as I could, while concealing this murderous intent inside me.
“No, Mizuto-kun, I’ll feel sorry leaving everything to you. I’ll help out too.”
“No need for that. It’ll be really troublesome if those hands are full of band-aids.”
“I mean I’d hate to receive your graciousness wholeheartedly, you cold-blooded man.”
“I don’t want to hear you say that, you cold-blooded woman. Goodness.”
Mizuto looked gleeful, before suddenly sighing. Did he think that pretentious sigh of his shows that he’s concerned about me? If that was the case, just hurry up and die.
“Let’s go then.”
To where? I tilted my head.
“We need to buy ingredients for dinner. You think food’s going to come out of nowhere?”
What is this situation? Why am I at a supermarket with the ex-boyfriend I just broke up with a month ago? Isn’t this, like newlyweds? Or a couple living together now!?
“Erm…ohh, this is cheap.”
And while I was letting my thoughts run, the ex-boyfriend began to just put one shopping item after another into the shopping cart.
Does this man not know the situation we’re both in right now? How dense can he be—or does he not think of me as a woman? …no, well, I’m not a woman to him, and he’s not a man. I’m the older sister, and he’s the little brother…Wait, isn’t this just a repeat of what happened that time? I’m the only one letting my thoughts run wild, I’m the only one unhappy about this. Got to remain calm.
“…It feels like you’re just chucking stuff randomly. Have you thought of what you want to cook?”
“Hm? Well, nope.”
“Ehh…you don’t know? These are to be used for dinner right?’
“I say, we should buy the cheaper stuff first before thinking of what we can cook. If we planned what to cook, that means we’ll have to buy the expensive stuff too, right?”
I got it. So it’s a little nugget of life, huh…he actually had a parameter called life skills. What’s with this guy? Why’s he so capable at this useless stat?
“Worst case scenario, if we can’t figure out how to use these stuff, throw them into the pot, add curry powder, and you can somehow make curry. Understand the difference between ‘cooking’ and ‘making food’, little sister.”
“Who’s your little sister? I said I’m the older sister, right?”
…The more I listen to him, the more despondent I feel about giving him the lousy bento I made. Arggghhhhh…
“Well, it’s cute to make some bad food once in a while, but not for every day. Go level up.”
Mizuto’s careless voice caused my body and thoughts to freeze…C-cute?
This guy’s just prattling off again—no, but just now, it felt like he just blurted it out without thinking. The chances of him actually saying what he really thought was.
“…What? I’m leaving, you know.”
I was left standing in the middle of the walkway. I hurried after Mizuto, shaking my head as I tried to chase the thoughts aside.
Seriously, it’s going to end up as deja vu. I was the only one thinking weird things, and he was just being so casual about it. It was really unfair.
…I’ll make you realize it. I’ll make sure that this repulsive face of yours will be bloody red.
And then, I’ll make sure this man’s going to call me ‘onee-chan’!
We stood side by side in the kitchen reluctantly, finished making the curry, and finished dinner. Fortunately, no mishap occurred as we cooked, except when Mizuto saw me wield the chopper and went all “hey wait a sec. You’re scaring me! This is where you put the fingers, here!” and just touched my hand accidentally. Since our parents weren’t around, there wasn’t any need for us to act as good siblings. It was easier for me.
“The hot water’s ready. Now what?”
“I’ll bathe first.”
“I knew you’d say that.”
“I don’t want to bathe in your leftover bathwater.”
“So you’re fine with me bathing in your leftover bathwater?”
“…I’ll bathe after you then!”
I didn’t really notice because of mom and my new stepdad, but I had been bathing in the same bathwater as this man every day.
And then…and then, it feels…that…!
…Calm down. Thank goodness. Let’s sort out my mind while Mizuto’s in the bath. And plan the counterattack later.
I tried to calm down while planning this locked room murder mystery game (one I basically thought up. I assumed Mizuto’s murdered in the room, and thought of all kinds of tricks to make it possible). Not even 10 minutes in, Mizuto returned with his hair dripping wet.
…Well anyway, anyone with their hair wet would look a little cooler. Basically, it’s a common sight. Nothing special about it at all. Nothing at all.
“…Aren’t you too fast? Did you even wash properly? You’re probably still dirty.”
“Don’t decide before I answer. I washed already. I’m just fast because I think it’s a waste of time.”
Always in a hurry…that’s what I hate about you. You’d pace yourself along with me when we started dating. But whatever, the time has come.
I erased the thoughts of Mizuto’s corpse in the locked room, and stood up.
“I’ll go bathe then…I’ll kill you if you peek.”
“If I see you like that, I’ll die without you killing me. My eyes will rot.”
…Say that while you can.
I kept my eyes on the door as I stripped myself and entered the bath.
I didn’t really notice because of mom and my stepdad, but if I think hard about it…I’m in his house, naked…if that man suddenly barged into the bathroom, nobody could save me…
…In hindsight, there’s no way that bean sprout man will do that. If it really happened, I’d make sure to bite him off in various places.
I carefully washed my body, kept it warm, and left the bathroom. I put the dry bath towel over my naked body, and use the dryer on my hair.
…This is where it started.
I tightened the knot on my bath towel.
—I didn’t bring my clothes into the changing room.
It’s for me to cast the die, because I decided to crush that man’s aloof face with my back against the wall.
Yes. I can do this without bringing a change of clothes. I’ll just appear before that man while dressed in only a bath towel!
The mirror reflected my body, which had grown a lot more feminine compared to when I was getting along well with that man. The chest had changed completely over the past year—so much that my mom and my classmates were getting envious.
There’s still some steam coming from my bare chest, having just left the bath. I shouldn’t be saying this, but it was one alluring sight…do-do I show this to that man?
I was a little bitter, thinking that I should have at least prepared my underwear. But if I don’t go this far, it’s not going to be effective on that blockhead.
I made up my mind, and left the changing room.
My bare feet made sounds along the floor, and I returned to the living room.
The moment he saw me, Mizuto spat out the tea he was drinking, and started coughing. That’s a way bigger reaction than I expected!
I turned my face aside, hiding my relieved look.
“You idi…wh-what are you doing?”
“It’s my house. That’s normal, right?”
I tried to answer calmly, and sat diagonally before Mizuto, who was sitting on the L-shaped sofa.
Mizuto turned his face aside, but from time to time, he would take glances at me.
“No, but…well, I’m here…”
“We’re siblings, so? …are you—”
I force a smile, piling onto Mizuto’s troubled face.
“—Mizuto-kun, are you a bad kid looking at your stepsister with such lewd eyes?”
He’s blushing!! He’s blushing!! He’s blushing!!
Mizuto’s been trying to look away from me, but he’s definitely looking; I can sense his stare. He’s glancing at the chest and thighs that the bath towel can’t cover.
Hu hu, too spicy for you there? So how about it, I know you’re a kid! Ahh, it’s a pity. You dated a woman in her kid body form, so you can’t handle an adult woman like me! Who has a kid body now?
So now, let me cross my legs.
Ahh, he’s looking. He’s definitely looking. It’s so easy.
This man’s usually trying to look cool, but now, with him actually losing his cool like this…fufufu! I was really enjoying myself. I reached my hand for the TV remote, trying to show off my chest.
Ahh, he’s looking, he’s looking, he’s looking. He’s definitely, definitely looking.
I continued to try and maintain the poker face. I felt I was taking revenge for today, and also that day a year ago. This man never noticed this about me back then, and now he’s so captivated by me.
Is this what they call the pride of a woman? I felt a certain something in my heart being fulfilled…r so it seemed.
It’s about, well…I was a little embarrassed.
He was looking a lot more often than I expected…and I feel that if my bath towel tilts, if my legs aren’t careful, I might accidentally show him something that shouldn’t be seen.
…Or rather, what was I doing anyway?
There was no need to be doubtful about this. Isn’t what I’m doing now completely erotic…?
I guess I didn’t have any right to complain if this man pushed me down?
Suddenly, I calmed down. I wanted to pull the bath towel up to cover my chest a little more, but the defenses below would drop. A single movement could cause an irreversible outcome, and I was unable to move at all.
…I-I got too cocky…Why was I always like this whenever I get cocky…
Mizuto let out a deep sigh, suddenly stood up, and walked towards me.
Eh, eh, eh? I-is he, really…?
Mizuto approached me while I sat petrified like a rock, still grabbing my bath towel. He removed the coat on him.
My heart began to pound. Eh, for real? No, wait, I-I didn’t plan to go that far—!
I unwittingly closed my eyes, and then,
—I felt cloth draped over my shoulders.
“You’re probably trying to tease me or something…didn’t think you were going to regret it, you idiot?”
I opened my eyes with much fear…and saw the coat Mizuto just removed on my shoulders.
Mizuto himself was looking down at me with a dumbfounded look.
“You’re usually so obedient, but sometimes you just go with the flow to do something very out of character. You…better change that habit. I’m not going to keep cleaning up your mess.”
His tone was rigid, and his words sounded so condescending to me. But then, these words sounded the same as back then during middle school, when he had saved me countless times.
I fondled the shirt on my chest that still had his warmth. His words, his warmth…caused me to remember what happened a year ago.
“…A year ago.”
“When I came to this house…why, didn’t you do anything?”
The sudden change in our relationship was soon after that day—just as we entered the third year of middle school.
I once thought that I might have done something weird that day, which destroyed his illusion of me.
But then, that was just my misunderstanding. The reason for his change in attitude was something else—
“Why…are you mentioning that now!?”
Eh!? Mizuto showed an unexpected look.
“Ha! Just laugh all you want!”
He went straight to the point.
“Just laugh at the useless bum who prepared everything, called his girlfriend to his house, and just dithered over there and did nothing, alright!?”
It took me about five seconds.
I stopped thinking.
And once my brain started to think again, I stood up and yelled with all my mind.
“P-prepare!? Dither!? Wh-what…what do you mean!? I-I really prepared myself on that day, but nothing happened. I thought I was the one who wanted it…!?”
“Huh!? N-no. I saw you being so tense and wary, so I just had second thoughts…”
“That! Was! Because! I! Was! Really! Nervous!!!??????”
Mizuto too yells with his eyes wide open.
“You’re kidding right!? Were you also planning to do it that night!?”
“I really was! I wanted to make that room become a memory of my life! Absolutely!!”
“Y-you serious…? Then, the regrets I had about that day because I ruined it was…”
“I’m the one regretting it!! Give back all my worries for thinking I lacked charm!”
“Like I care!!? It’s your fault for being so nervous that day!!”
“It’s definitely your fault!! You sleazebag!”
What ensued was an endless volley of insults that can’t be written in words easily.
We started trading barbs, and then it got physical as we took it to the sofa.
After using up all the insults we had, we were left just panting away hard, our shoulders huffing as we glared at each other.
We were panting at each other, with Mizuto pressing me down onto the sofa.
I really…can’t take this.
We look like we get along well because we like books, but we couldn’t get along, and just this little thing ended up as a big misunderstanding, and we somehow ended up as siblings…
For some reason, I wanted to cry. Why couldn’t things go as I want them to? If I wasn’t so nervous that day, maybe now—
“…Crying while arguing is forbidden.”
“Shut up…! I know that…!”
I wiped my tears with my arm.
The weak me a year ago who already relied on this man didn’t exist anymore.
It became the reason why these feelings ended up this way, but I didn’t feel regret about my own growth.
So it wasn’t my fault. It’s all this man’s fault! All of it!
Hearing that, my heart jolted.
Ayai. That was my old family name, and also the name he would use to address me.
I rubbed my thighs uneasily. The coat he put on me was long gone while we were arguing. I was wrapped in a towel, practically naked. Even the towel was a mess, and it could fall apart anytime soon.
I remained on the sofa with Irido-kun on top of me, his pale hand reaching for me. His fingers were rather soft and thin for a guy, and he brushed my bangs past my forehead.
It was the first step…before we did something.
He would always move my bangs aside before he did that, so that he could see me clearly, when I was lacking confidence, being so shy, and had my bangs long enough to cover my face.
Irido-kun stared into my unfiltered eyes. I felt that everything and anything, from my chest to my belly, was being laid bare in front of him, and I covered my face with my right hand.
My hand was gently grabbed by Irido-kun, and was gently nudged aside.
His honest eyes were clearly saying that he had no intentions of letting me go. All I could do was give a weak excuse through my mouth—my lips.
This was completely out of line. Stepsiblings should never do such things…But my words just sounded so weak…
I knew this alone wasn’t going to stop him…I knew that from experience. Irido-kun’s soft voice echoed in my chest.
“…It’s my loss today.”
Our eyes met.
His face was blushing because he had used up all his strength during our quarrel. No, that’s not why.
I felt my consciousness being sucked into Irido-kun’s eyes. I had a feeling I sensed everything about him. His warmth, his breath, his heartbeat.
And before I knew it, I had closed my eyes. I felt the calm breathing gently reaching my lips.
…Ah. It’s been a while since we kissed.
The moment we heard the voices from the entrance, we jolted up like springs.
“Mizuto~! Yume-chan~!? Are you in the living room~!?”
M-mom…!? They’re back!?
“Ack…! It’s this time already!?”
Mizuto hastily pulled his distance from me, and checked the time.
Woah…! It got so late before we realized it. How much time did we even spend bickering…
“Hey! Put your clothes on, quick! This situation’s bad!”
I was almost naked, Mizuto’s clothes in a mess, and we were together on the sofa. We needed to maintain the good siblings act before mom and stepdad, but there was a limit to that. It would be really bad if they think we were on such good terms with each other!
“B-but, my clothes…”
“Ah right, you walked out without getting your clothes…ahh shit! Hide somewhere! Erm erm—yeah, here!”
Mizuto shoved me onto the floor, and removed the sofa cushion. It seems like it’s meant to store stuff.
“Wa-wait! I can do this without you pushing me…! Ow!? You just kicked me! You just kicked me, didn’t you!?”
“Don’t talk, get it!?”
Mizuto shoved me into the sofa space before closing the lid. My sights were completely dark.
“—Hm? You’re alone, Mizuto!?”
“I thought I heard Yume’s voice though…”
“Welcome back, dad, Yuni-san. Yume-san went to sleep first—”
As I listened to the conversation with Mizuto trying to misdirect them, I recalled what just happened.
If…mom and stepdad didn’t return. What…would I have done…?
It’s weird. It’s really weird!!
We broke up. We hated each other. He was now just an annoying little step brother no matter what he does. He’s not my boyfriend! But, but…!
I held onto my pounding heart. Why do things never go as planned?
We managed to end these feelings for good. We were supposed to be happy with that.
But we became siblings, and I was just tempting him, only now did I learn that we both felt the same!
I hate this!!!
The next day, I exercised my right as the winner.
“You said you lost yesterday, didn’t you, Mizuto-kun?”
“…Well, I did, sorta. But to be forced by you to say this—”
“Anyway, little brother, this is your sister’s order. Leave the room.”
I chased Mizuto out of his room, and began searching.
Mizuto testified yesterday that he ‘called me over a year ago, and prepared various stuff…if that’s the case, that thing was definitely still here. I didn’t mind if I couldn’t find it, but I had to destroy it if it’s still there.
I was completely prepared to rummage everywhere from under the bed to the bookshelf, but I was a little disappointed to find the target item in the drawer I first checked…though it’s just like that man to not hide such things in weird places.
I brought out the target item and left Mizuto’s room.
He, waiting in the corridor, stared at me like a dead, rotting fish.
“What did you look for?”
“Where’s the ‘onee-chan’?”
“Something unnecessary for stepsiblings.”
I said as I brought the box of a dozen behind my back, playing dumb…a dozen’s unexpectedly many. Eh, erm…he just so happened to buy 12, right? There’s no rule saying that we have to use them all, right? I guess.
I cautiously made sure Mizuto’s eyes wouldn’t see the thing, passed him by, and headed towards the stairs leading to the first floor.
The sudden rude voice behind me suddenly strikes, and I turned around.
“What, my little brother Mizuto-kun?”
“Step siblings are—”
As he said that, Mizuto looked to the side, trying to pass it off.
I snorted as I went down the stairs. I made my way towards the trash bag by the corridor, dropped that little box in, and tied it up firmly.
I just needed to throw it away on the garbage collection day. Afterwards, no matter what, there was no way we were ever going to be able to do anything inappropriate as stepsiblings.
I heaved a sigh of relief…and looked up the stairs.
I know my words couldn’t possibly reach him, but I answered.
“…I know this at least.”
But there was no point in mentioning that trivia. Right? There’s no point remembering it, or knowing it…let alone, mentioning it at all. That’s why he didn’t mention it. That’s why I didn’t mention it.
The useless trivia—that step siblings can get married.