Yume clapped her hands before a large white tombstone, and prayed quietly.
I didn’t like the cemetery air, because the silence just made me feel weird, and brought out the emptiness in me.
Beneath this grave was, without a doubt, my own mother.
But I have never met that person—I only saw her face in the photo, and knew nothing about her voice, her tone, or anything else.
For someone who supposedly lost his mother—a supposedly pitiful character, I felt no more compassion than anyone else.
That’s why I didn’t like to visit the grave, which reminded me of the fact.
Yume, who was crouched before the gravestone and closed her eyelids quietly, was probably no different from me in this respect.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Yuni-san had some feelings about the ex-wife of her husband, but Yume herself’s just the daughter. She wouldn’t have any feelings for my mother.
But as I looked at her sidelong face, it felt like she’s praying for something—
Naturally, I remembered,
A summer festival in the countryside, a small shrine by the wayside, fireworks lighting up Yume’s face, and—
… What’s with that taunting look in her eyes?
She’s trying to get back together with me? In this environment? It’s not an issue where she could just say: It’s legal though?
What if we break up again?
And if dad and the others find out about it—
… If that’s what she really thought of, why didn’t she just tell me?
If she could tell, I might—would I?
… What would I intend to do anyway?
The incomprehensible emotions swirled in my chest. Damn, I don’t feel so good…
“Let’s go say hello to the priest.”
“Yume, you two stay here ~”
Once we’re done with our grave visit, we stood in front of the temple gate, waiting,
I was about a meter away from Yume, looking up at the clear summer sky,
…This is awkward……
It’s not the same awkwardness as when we first met, or when we started dating, or when we started living together— was I the only one thinking too much about this? Was she just ignoring everything that’s going on, just playing with her phone without a care in the world…?
I slowly turned my gaze aside, as though I was going to touch something hot,
And our eyes met,
Yume stared into my eyes,
I had a refrain of her face illuminated by the fireworks, and the determined eyes of her up close overlapped with this current scene. She looked like she wanted to say something,
Looking at her, it seemed she had something to say.
Her eyes seemed to be telling that she had something to say to me,
Are you sure?
Am I allowed to ask that?
And—can I answer?
At that moment, my body froze, I forgot to blink, and my throat was seemingly parched.
Even with my thoughts all clogged up, I resolved myself—
Yume turned her head away,
She completely ignored me, and started playing with her phone,
It seemed she wasn’t interested in me at all,
—What the hell is going on!!?
“—What the heeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllllllllll!!!!!”
After I returned from the grave visit, I jumped into the bed in my room, pressed my face against the pillow and flailed about.
Why was it that this stupid body just wouldn’t do what I want?
I was finally alone with Mizuto, our eyes met, but I didn’t know what to say. My head was gooey, my throat was stuck, and then I tried to bluff him by looking away,
It’s been like this ever since I returned from the countryside,
I couldn’t even look at him, let alone talk to him, and just being in the same space with him left me really restless. I couldn’t let mom and the others notice anything weird, so I could only try to tighten my facial muscles, keep calm and carry on.
He probably felt like I was giving him the cold shoulder…
But that’s not it. I just didn’t know what to do. I did really try to woo you, really!!! But wait a sec, now that I think about it, I never actually tried to pursue him in middle school! I just wrote a love letter on the spur of the moment and somehow succeeded!
What would I do if I messed up…I was scowling away and insulting him until recently, and there’s no point in trying to be cute now…
Aaaaah~! What was I doing over the past four and a half months!?
… First of all, should I tell him that I changed my mind?
Oh yeah, I should have confessed when I kissed him. We broke up anyway, so it wouldn’t hurt if he rejected me. Couldn’t I have attacked more if things went well instead? I’m not a famous detective in a mystery novel, it’s just an excuse for a coward who wanted to sort everything else before making a decision.
It’s not too late.
If I resolved myself to say that I like him again, and show my feelings through attitude and words, maybe I could muster an apparition of my past self in his mind—
But well, it’s kinda inappropriate now, right? Leaving aside home with mom and uncle around, it might trouble him too much if I confessed right after the grave visit—
“Are you there?”
“You’re inside, right? Can I come in?”
“I’m fine—but… no, no, no! No, no, no! No! No!
“I’ll go in if it’s okay.”
“Wait a sec—!?”
I jumped out of bed and rushed to try and hold the door, but the door opened before I could act.
Mizuto looked at me with a sharp gaze.
“Your hair’s a mess, were you napping?”
I hurriedly looked at the dressing table, quickly combed my messy hair with my hand, and peered at Mizuto’s face through the mirror. He put his weight on one leg, crossed his arms loosely, and looked at my back.
I could keep my composure through the mirror, somehow…
“… What do you want?”
And while trying to keep my composure, I sounded shrill. Argh goodness!
“I thought I’d make something clear with you.”
Mizuto leaned his back against the closed door,
“I’m not going to play games with you now.”
“I’m going straight to the point; what’s with that kiss at the fireworks?”
My body immediately froze up, and I couldn’t turn around.
Wh-what’s going on… there’s only one reason why I would kiss you, right…?
In the mirror, Mizuto left the door, and approached me, step by step.
“Were you caught in the mood or something? Or was there another reason? What’s with the taunting look in your eyes? I don’t understand at all.”
Mizuto grabbed me by the shoulders while I couldn’t turn around, and yanked me forcefully,
My body spun, and Mizuto’s face was right before me.
His intellectual eyes beneath the long eyelashes pierced through my eyes, and caught my vision completely.
“If you have something to say, say it clearly.”
J-just say it clearly…I wouldn’t be suffering this much if I could! A-and what do you mean, mood? You made it sound like I decided in the heat of the moment! Anyway you look dashing! Don’t come close to me with such a handsome face! Now I feel like kissing you! Can I kiss you!? Can I can I!?
Frustration, shame, and horniess stewed together in my mind and ballooned, and finally—
“I lost my balance!”
I shouted without knowing why.
“What are you confused about!? Our lips just touched, and it’s not your first time! Don’t be so self-conscious! You’re making it sound like it’s my fault! That’s what I hated about you!”
I was driven my my spinal cord to let loose these words, and started panting hard,
Haa, haa, and while I inhaled away… I slowly came to my senses.
…Huh? Did I, just…
Mizuto fell silent, and quietly retreated.
Wa-wait a minute, that wasn’t—
“…Ah, I see.”
The voice was emotionless.
“Sorry about that.”
I didn’t have any time to think of an excuse.
That was all Mizuto said, and left my room.
I was left alone in the room, stared at the closed door, and spaced out.
And then—poof, I collapsed weakly onto the bed.
—Yes, I messed up.
I couldn’t help but curse out. I really wanted to release the messy emotions that had been building up in my chest,
She just lost her balance.
I don’t care if it was intentional or accidental, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re siblings or the fact that we broke up because things didn’t work out. It doesn’t matter!I
While overwhelmed with frustration, my phone vibrated,
It’s a call, and the screen stated, “Isana Higashira”,
“Yes, hello hello?”
“Hello, please open the door.”
Yeah. She said she’ll be here today.
I left my room and went downstairs, put on my shoes at the entrance, and opened the door,
At that moment, Higashira, who had been waiting at the door, suddenly hugged me,
I couldn’t brake in time while tumbling a few steps back as I caught her weight and patted her on the back like I was coaxing a kid,
“Don’t hug me right out of the gates. What are you, a pet dog?”
“But~ it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. Do you know how anxious I’ve been over these days? I thought I was going to die alone.”
“That die alone thing isn’t anything like a rabbit dying of loneliness. Anyway, you should learn to use the intercom by now.”
“No, it’s scary if someone other than Mizuto-kun answers.”
“A 60kg object suddenly charging in is scarier.”
“Didn’t you boast smugly about the weight of your breasts the other day? Given what you said, 60kg isn’t a hyperbole.”
“The breasts size has nothing to do with body weight~.”
Higashira said as she rubbed her head against my neck. I gently stroked the back of her head and ran my fingers through her soft, curly hair.
The frantic emotions within me somehow calmed down at that moment,
“… I guess animal therapy isn’t something to be underestimated.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but did you just call me an animal?”
I never thought of having a pet till this point, but if it’s super effective, I might actually consider having one.
I basically dragged Higashira along, and returned to my room.
While I passed by the living room,
“Mizuto, is Higashira-san here?”
“Yes, we’re going to my room.”
“Welcome, Higashira-san! I’ll bring you some snacks later!”
“D-don’t worry about……”
Both Dad and Yuni-san seemed to have accepted Higashira. Anyway, Higashira’s still too shy though, for she muttered softly.
We walked up the stairs, entered into my room, and Higashira just crossed the room with a familiar gait and sat on the edge of the bed in a daze.
“Don’t act like it’s your house. Did you return from a trip or something?”
“I can’t sleep without a Mizuto-kun pillow.”
“Then how do you sleep every night?”
I glanced aside at Higashira who was sprawled out on my bed, and picked up the package on my desk.
I put the package next to her head, and she rolled over to look at it.
“What is it? A bomb?”
“That’s quite the thought process of a terrorist. It’s just a local gift.”
“Oh, a local gift!”
“I bought some sweets from the station. You can eat them with your family.”
Higashira raised her head and held up the box of local gifts with sparkling eyes.
“This is the first time…I received a local gift from a friend…”
“I guessed so. Just be gracious and convert them all to calories.”
“Alright, the whole family’s going to get fat.”
I sat down next to Higashira who happily swung it side by side.
I’d really like to talk about … what I saw when I went back home, but there’s nothing I could talk about. After all, I basically holed up in the study, reading.
And while I was thinking about it, Higashira suddenly said to me,
Higashira put the gift box on her lap, and looked at my bookshelf.
“Why do you say you’re healed through therapy? Did something troublesome happen?”
“… You’re not trying to get me to keep talking and just want to solve my problem or something?”
“No, I’m just curious.”
I didn’t think she could come up with any constructive solution.
“Nothing, nothing much at all. It’s just that Yu—my little stepsister had been very critical of me.”
I unwittingly hesitated to call her by her first name. Anyway, I felt it was something I should pay attention to while being in front of other people.
“It’s just that she would ignore me whenever our eyes met, and when I talked to her, she would flare up. It’s like she’s having a late rebellious phase or something.”
“Hmm, I see.”
“… You’re not interested, are you?”
“Sorry about backing off even though I’m the one who asked.”
“You should at least pretend to put yourself in the character’s shoes…”
“I wouldn’t be so troubled if I could do that.”
“Tell me what you think.”
“Eh~? Hmm, maybe it’s menstruation?”
“That’s the worst answer!”
“Even if it’s not, Yume-san does have a tendency of mood swings. Actually, when you two went to the hometown, I received a call from her. She talked about how your first love was such and such.”
“What? First love? She’s talking about Madoka-san, right…she actually spread this misunderstanding to others.”
“Was it a misunderstanding?”
“That’s a shame…I thought a shota Mizuto-kun in love would be so cute…”
“Don’t say it like you actually saw it. That’s just your delusion, right?”
“Mizuto-kun being so excited to take a bath with his older sister…”
“If I’m a shota, then she’s a loli too. We’re not that far apart in age.”
“That’s ecchi in another sense!”
I ignored the panting Higashira, and went back to the topic at hand.
“Emotionally unstable… well, that does make sense.”
“Am I right? She’s the kind of person to have large mood swings, isn’t she~.”
“I guess anyone’s volatile compared to you.”
“Hmm~ to be honest, I don’t think I’m very calm. I’m just quiet and obedient.”
“Nobody knows themselves well, you know.”
“Is that so? I’m the type to get discouraged easily though.”
“You didn’t look very depressed when you were dumped…”
“It’s just that I recover very quickly. And well, Yume-san does calm down too, right? Let me heal you with my therapy then.”
Saying that, Higashira poked me on the cheek. Yeah, it’s annoying,
My automatic counterattack function was triggered, and I pinched Higashira’s cheeks with both hands, squeezing them.
“Stop~~~! You’ll make me ugly~~!”
“That’s not true. You’re cute. You look like an… octopus.”
“I heard that! Are you playing with a girl’s innocence!?”
“Don’t make it sound so bad. Sorry. We’re friends, right?”
“I can’t be friends with someone who says such things!”
For a while, I used Higashira as a toy to relieve my stress while she flailed away.
“That’s not true. You’re cute—.”
“—playing with a girl’s innocence—”
“—I can’t be friends—”
I was shocked to hear a voice coming from the next room.
Eh? Eh? That was…Higashira-san, right?
He said cute? Mizuto? That Mizuto? What did they mean, play? Why can’t they be friends? No way—
At this moment, I could only imagine a naked Higashira-san and Mizuto gently knocking her down.
Finally—finally, those two…!!
W-what? Why Why Why!? Is it because they haven’t met in a while? Or was it because I messed up, and he went with the flow towards Higashira-san’s embrace—
Calm down me, you’re freaking out, you’re freaking out. Enough delusions, don’t let your thoughts run out. You don’t have any proof, you didn’t hear the voices clearly, it’s very possible you just misunderstood, and misheard.
I’ve grown up.
And I won’t make the same mistake I made when I had a falling out with Mizuto.
It’s not good to judge by the voices through the wall. Let’s see the truth with my own eyes…it’s a little scary…but since it’s just those two, many I was thinking too much. Y-yep, I’m sure the misunderstanding can be resolved…
I crept out of my room quietly, and tiptoed down the corridor. Mizuto’s room was right next door, so actually, I didn’t need to act that cautiously.
I opened the door just a little bit and checked. I wasn’t peeping. As his older sister and Higashira-san’s friend, I should be seeing if they’re doing anything indecent…
I put my hand on the doorknob, and my heart was beating so loudly I couldn’t hear anything, I exerted strength in my hand, but I felt that my body shivered greatly, and there was just that little moment of hesitation.
I saw that Mizuto had knocked Higashira-san onto the floor,
Through the slightly ajar door,
I saw Higashira-san lying on the floor, eyes quietly closed.
And Mizuto was over her her body, gazing lovingly at her face,
I was dizzy and spacing out, and my vision flickered.
The moment I thought I was about to faint, I jolted at the sudden voice behind me.
Mizuto and Higashira-san too jumped and looked over, and I looked back.
There was my mother, holding a tray.
She peered into the room behind me, leering away.
“I brought you some sweets, but I guess it’s a little inconvenient. I’ll be back in a bit. Take your time~”
Mom ignored Mizuto’s protest, “I saw it, I saw it~♪”, and went down the stairs, singing happily.
And I was left alone.
Mizuto’s eyes meet mine.
There was only one thing I needed to say.
“… Take your time~……”
I scampered back to my room in the opposite direction.
Hello, I’m a loser.
It was a very short battle that lasted fewer than two days.
Actually, I didn’t think I would be fighting with Higashira-san in the first place.
I thought they wouldn’t have thought of doing this anymore.
But I didn’t think… I was just a little embarrassed, lashed out a little, and then he…uuuuuu~…!
He’s still that guy after all. After what happened two days ago and the day before, he actually brought another girl into his room and did something sleazy to her… the nerves of him!? He was a coward when he was with me! Why’s he so quick with Higashira-san? You idiot! Muttsurini! Horny dog! Big tits lover!
I couldn’t stand the helplessness that arose within me.
I instinctively picked up my phone.
The one person I called was the friend I spent the most time calling since I entered high school.
“Hello hello!? You’re back, aren’t you, Yume-chan? I missed you so much~~~!”!
“Eh!? What!? Who’s that!? Is this a Zombie!?”
“Well~ we got misunderstood!”
“Don’t sound so happy.”
That’s the highest pitch I’ve heard till this point. You’ve got a voice like that?
Higashira flailed her legs excitedly on my bed.
“People definitely think that we did it~ Tomorrow they’ll go all ‘these two yesterday…’ and give us such looks~!”
“Stop getting so excited while someone else is cupping his head in frustration! You may not think it’s anything much, but I’m living in the same house as those two! Do you have any idea how awkward it is to have them be so considerate towards me!?”
“Well well, why don’t you just explain it to them later? Let’s just enjoy this empty sense of superiority for now.”
“And you know it’s empty to begin with…”
“Well, I don’t mind if it’s true to some extent.”
After saying that, Higashira turned on the bed, and looked up.
Her ample breasts were facing up, but they didn’t change shape due to gravity because because they were supported by her bra,
And then Higashira gave me a pleading look—
“Doesn’t this look erotic? I mean, the way I lie on my back, looking at you, all defenseless.”
“Yes, yes, yes, erotic it is.”
“Mmm~~! Can’t you just satisfy a woman’s pride for once!?”
Do you even have it?
And while I was keeping up with Higashira’s nonsense, my phone started to vibrate
Incoming call? … from Minami-san?
“You’re having fun right now, aren’t you?”
Huh? That’s a new greeting.
“I didn’t think you would pick up the phone this quickly! You’re resting now, right? Right? Are you thinking of hanging up right now and go on with the second round!? Are you itching to enjoy Higashira-san’s huge tits? No wonder you didn’t fall for my approach back then”
“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but calm down for the time being.”
“Mizuto-kun~, how about we do it facing down next time~?”
“From behind this time!?”
“Higashira, don’t talk when I’m on the phone!”
I barely managed to calm down Minami-san by explaining everything from the beginning.
Apparently, Yume misunderstood and asked her for help.
“Hey, do you know why I’m mad at you?
“I’d like you to ask Kawanami that question instead.”
“You see, over these days, after you two went to your hometown. I couldn’t meet Yume-chan at all, and when I heard that you two would return today, I thought she would give me a call? Won’t she? So I waited, and then it came—! And the moment I picked up the call, I heard about all kinds of stupid things like friends and family being all fine and all, and she didn’t care about what I felt at all! Do you know what I was feeling back then!?”
“I’m really sorry.”
It’s quite an accident. She really spread the news so fast like it’s COVID.
“ … So? Did you do it?”
Minami-san asked with a completely dubious voice.
It might have been a good idea to get a third party involved,
“No way. That’s a lie. It’s just that the books on the floor tripped up Higashira, and she almost fell over, I tried to pull her up…”
“So, you couldn’t do it, and when you fell over, she saw you? That’s quite a cliché…
“It’s terrible because it’s a cliché.”
“To be honest, I’m wondering if you’re just making this up as you go along.”
“I guess so.”
If I were her, I’d feel the same way.
“Let me check with Higashira-san too.”
“Okay, I’ll put it on speaker.”
I put my phone on speaker mode and pointed it at Higashira, who was reading a book on the bed.
Higashira looked up from her book,
“Ah, Minami-san, it’s been a while.”
“It’s been a while… So, about that thing where Irido-kun pushed you down…”
“Eh~? Ehehe, it’s embarrassing…”
“Hey, Higashira, stop fooling around.”
What was she acting like she took the flight of stairs to being an adult?
Please, Higashira, don’t wiggle around so much.
“Mizuto-kun’s giving me a scary look, so I’ll fess up. I’m still pure. He hasn’t touched me at all.”
“Are you really a man, Irido-kun? If it were me, I’d have two kids already!?”
“Ehehe, isn’t it hard to pay for childcare?”
“Can’t you two just get straight to the point?”
Why did I have to be lambasted by these two for being so honest and rational?
“Anyway, now that you know it’s a misunderstanding, why don’t you explain it to her, Minami-san?”
“Huh~? You want me to do it~?”
“Is there a problem?”
“It’s logical that Irido-kun should be the one to explain, right?”
I heard a crunching sound from the phone,. She’s eating some candy or something.
“For me, I’d rather keep up this misunderstanding, but if anything, you should know what I mean.”
Higashira tilted her head in confusion, since she didn’t know what’s going on. Minami-san’s obsessed with Yume to the point where she would marry me just to be her little sister, although she seemed to have abandoned that plan because of trouble from Higashira and Kawanami. She’s still very obsessed with Yume though.
So, looking at that, the reason why Minami-san wanted to resolve the misunderstanding between Yume and me—
“But you know,:
BOL! I heard her crunch into some fried sweet.
“I can’t just leave Yume-chan crying like this, and it’s even more unforgivable when the guy asks someone else to deal with it. You know what I’m saying?
For a moment, I couldn’t comprehend what I heard.
“She’s crying? … Her?”
“She is, you know? She was snivelling away when I excitedly picked up the call, and made that voice.”
It’s rude of me, but I didn’t listen to Minami-san’s little rambling.
Did she cry because she saw me push Higashira down?
Wasn’t she like…shocked or something?
She just ignored me, and even lambasted me.
What’s with her… at this point?
I let out one of the biggest sighs of my life and lifted my back.
I handed Higashira the phone while Minami-san continued to grumble away.
“Higashira, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to talk to Minami-san for a while.”
“You’re going over?”
I went for the door.
“I won’t feel good if I don’t say something.”
I…I fell asleep…
After I complained to Akatsuki-san, I suddenly got tired and … just slept……,
But I feel a little refreshed because I slept. Or maybe it’s because I vented my frustrations to Akatsuki-san while she kept me company? I should thank her next time.
…How long did I sleep, Higashira-san’s… still in the room?
There was a sudden knock on the door, and I jolted.
I remember this knock ……, it’s the second one today!
“I’m coming in.”
“No… No no no no! Seriously, wait!”
I whipped my sleepy body into shape and barely held the door to prevent Mizuto from entering.
Don’t enter before I answer, you idiot!
“W-What do you want, ……?”
“I’ll tell you when I get in.”
“No, not now!”
I’m all messed up from crying, my hair’s a mess from falling asleep, and I’m in no condition to be seen in public!
“W-wait a sec… really, just a sec!”
I darted to the makeup table, fixed my messy hair, and somehow managed to cover up my swollen eyes. O-okay, it’s fine. As long as he doesn’t look up close…
“Y- yeah, I’m fine.”
The doorknob turned, and I thought, What? I thought,
No, no, it’s not okay at all.
I groomed my appearance, but not my heart.
What kind of face should I make after seeing Mizuto do that with Higashira-san?
The die was cast though. No point crying over spilled milk though.
The door opened coldly, and Mizuto came into the room with a clear face.
…He’s acting rather calm for one who just had a trip into Higashira-san’s huge boobies…!
I sat on the side of the bed and glared at Mizuto, “Haa” who sighed.
“Not sure how many times I need to enter this room. If possible, let’s just clear everything at once.”
“… What? Didn’t you enter the room on your own…?”
“That’s because you did something that forced me to come in.”
My fault? I didn’t know what’s going on, but wasn’t it because you two were doing such things in the next room…
…No wait, it’s not exactly a bad thing. They could do whatever they liked as long as they liked, and they were in the next room. Of course, such a situation would have…
“I’m terrified of what you’re thinking with that serious face, but my guess is that whatever you’re imagining is probably unfounded.”
Mizuto sat down, cross-legged, in the middle of the carpet and said with a calm face.
“You misunderstand, I wasn’t doing anything suspicious with Higashira.”
Suddenly, I was pissed off.
Trying to excuse yourself? Is there a reason? Isn’t it disrespectful to her and to me for trying to pass off what just happened?
“What misunderstanding? You pushed Higashira-san down!”
“Well actually—we just lost our balance.”
You lied, you cheated, and now you’re copying me!
“Who would believe such an excuse? Can’t you tell a better lie!?”
“Well, ‘We just lost our balance’ isn’t a decent excuse, is it?”
Hoisted by my own petard.
B-but… actually, I did lie too…
“We just lost our balance, Higashira tripped on a book on the floor. I tried to pull her up in the heat of the moment, but I was so weak because I didn’t have enough muscle. I mean, why would I push her down on the hard floor. What’s the bed for?”
The logical argument pierced my heart,
I-it’s true…there wasn’t a need to do it on the floor when the bed’s right next to it….
Then…was I presumptuous…?
“Say, you like mystery novels, but your observation skills are worse than a smartphone’s facial recognition.”
“You can’t even be Watson. The entire series would just be a narrative trick.”
“It’s a hell of a handicap to have a confirmed narrative trick the moment a character appears. That’s as bad as a book that says ‘the last line will change the world’ on the cover, like the Mansion Murder series with clothes on or something. The only one who can write such characters is Yukito Ayatsuji.”
It’s a bit cool to go that far, isn’t it!?
“Wh-what…you really didn’t have any ulterior motives?”
“Even if it’s true that you just lost your balance! She’s so cute! She has big breasts! And… she really likes you, and you pushed her down! Did you really think nothing of it?”
What right did I have to say that?
Even if Mizuto had ulterior motives, I didn’t have the right to accuse him of that.
I knew that, but I just kept rambling on.
“I’m sure you thought you were lucky, or just plain lucky!! You didn’t think of touching them at all!? You thought you could try to misdirect me or something—”
“Never thought of it.”
Mizuto said, his voice faltering.
“I didn’t think anything of it, To be honest, I was more worried about if Higashira hit the back of her head.”
“… Don’t act so cool …”
“Then prove it to me.”
I asked the impossible.
I became the most annoying woman ever.
“Prove to me that you don’t have any thoughts after pushing a girl down, and then I’ll believe you.”
Mizuto stood up, and approached me while I was by the bed.
“You want me to prove it?”
I didn’t have time to resist.
He grabbed my arm, and the next thing I knew, I was pushed down onto the soft bed.
Mizuto’s face was shown beneath a white LED light.
His thin hands pressed my arms against the sheets, and his upraised knees caught my legs,
The warm, moist breath grazed my lips.
I opened my frozen throat, as though I was melted by them.
“… You really don’t have any thoughts?”
“… You’re lying.”
No, no, You’re lying, definitely lying.
My head was already crammed full from the events two nights ago and the night before. Every brain cell was screeching away.
“…Aren’t, your arms tired?”
I said, staring into Mizuto’s eyes.
“You really wouldn’t—lose your balance?”
Either way, If Mizuto really didn’t think anything of it, it’s an accident.
It’s just, force majeure.
There’s no need to apologize to anyone, no need to worry, neither of us—
“… You ……”
I didn’t respond to Mizuto’s murmur.
Instead, I gently touch Mizuto’s arm, which was propped against the bed,
With a bit of force, I could bend his elbow — that’s all it would take to throw him off balance,
This balance wasn’t bad.
But I still—
“Mizuto-kun~? Yume-san~? I heard you two growling~”
Higashira-san opened the door without knocking.
I, Mizuto, and Higashira-san came to a complete stop.
A frozen atmosphere overwhelmed us,
And then—some ten seconds or so later.
Higashira-san began to close the door.
“…D-don’t worry about me~…”
“”We just lost our balance!!!””
We shouted from the bottom of our hearts before the door was completely closed.
“Yaaa, I was so worried.”
I sent Mizuto back to his room (since I didn’t think he could stay calm in the same room any longer), and tried my best to clear up Higashira-san’s misunderstanding,
… Misunderstanding? Well, a misunderstanding …sorta, yeah.
Higashira-san believed me surprisingly easily though.
“As soon as I opened the door, everything became clear to me. Like, I see~, that’s why I got rejected~.”
“Y-yeah…I guess so…”
I looked aside,
“But at the same time, I thought, you had that kind of relationship with him, but you helped me confess, like seriously?”
“Yes, that’s right, that’s impossible…”
I just looked aside
“But still, I thought you would have done that, Yume-san.”
“So it was a misunderstanding! That scared me.”
No, no, hol’ up, it’s not solved at all. I just heard something I couldn’t ignore,
“Say, what if I’m right? And that I like Mizuto?”
“What? I did say before that I wouldn’t mind if Mizuto-kun got another girlfriend, you know?”
“I did remember hearing that…”
“But it depends on the partner, I guess. I don’t want to be a bitch who’s obviously a gold digger.”
“So actually, I think you’ll be an acceptable choice, Yume-san. It’s a little troublesome for stepsiblings to date, but to be honest, it’s got nothing to do with me.
Hehe, Higashira-san giggled. She’s so irresponsible to the point of innocence,
“But doesn’t it bother you that… I was helping you confess…?”
“Well, it depends on the explanation. Yume-san, you’re uncomfortable about the idea of siblings dating, even stepsiblings, so maybe you want Mizuto-kun to have another girlfriend.
That’s quite the understanding she had. I really hoped she would share some of that with me.
“But well, it’s all a misunderstanding, wasn’t it?”
“Y-yeah, that’s right, Mizuto and I aren’t dating, not at all.”
“I see, well, you’re right, it’s not every day that two stepsiblings fall in love.”
Yeah, that’s impossible. Yep yep. It’s impossible, supposedly…
… I see.
Higashira-san wouldn’t feel bad… if we get together.
She’ll allow it.
I hugged Higashira-san’s body from the front,
“I want…you to be happy, Higashira-san.”
“I’m already happy though?”
Nihehe, she giggled.
“If this was a light novel, it would be complete with a happy ending..”
I want to be like you as soon as possible.
I wonder how I can become like you.
I’ll tell Mizuto how I feel and… get him to accept me… and then, we’ll be lovers again.
Are you really fine with that?
Will I surpass my past self?
Higashira returned from Yume’s room, and snorted in satisfaction,
“I’ve been making out with Yume-san!”
“… Oh, good for you.”
She always looks so happy, doesn’t she?
I really felt that—it would be great if I could change moods as easily as Higashira.
But I couldn’t help but wonder, what did that Yume want?
Did she…really lose her balance?
After all that effort, was she fine with just breaking it up like that?
… Well, it’s not like there’s anything wrong. Legally, or on Higashira’s side,
If that’s the case, then there’s nothing to worry about anymore
Except for my personal feelings,
I touched Higashira’s soft hair from beneath her ear, just enough to keep it undisturbed,
Higashira’s eyes squinted like a dog being petted.
“What is it”
As I felt her hair between my fingers and her warm skin in my palm, and thought about my best friend.
“You know, I might have something important to discuss with you someday.”
Higashira blinked her eyes.
“That’s a big role~. I’ll do my best.”
“Ah, … is it time already? I should go home soon ….”
“Well, I’ll send you off.”
“Eh~? You don’t have to.”
“It’s okay once in a while. We haven’t met in a long time anyway.”
“Okay, well, … ehehe~.”
She’s rather happy huh. Well, she’s just being verbally courteous,
I walked down the stairs with Higashira.
Just before we passed by the living room, hm? Something caused my heart to be jittery.
Did I forget something ……?
I tilted my my head, and walked past the living room with the door left open—
“Oh, Higashira-san, are you leaving already?”
Yuni-san came running up to us, beaming.
Behind her, Dad glanced at me,
Yuni-san jostled Higashira,
“Are you okay? Are you able to go home? If you’re having a hard time, you can have dinner with us, okay? You can stay here if you want~”
“I-I’m fine! I’ll be going home……!”
“I see. That’s good…”
Hmm? What’s with the worry?
While I wondered, Yuni-san glanced at me and quickly leaned close to me to ask,
“(Mizuto-kun, Mizuto-kun, from now on, please let me know when Higashira-san is coming!)”
“(We’ll make sure to leave the house empty, and we’ll take Yume out too! Alright?)”
Why leave the house—ah.
Strangely, sweat started to trickle down.
Yume wasn’t the only one who saw me push Higashira down.
Yuni-san squeezed Higashira’s hands, and said with a sincere smile,
“Congratulations! Please take care of Mizuto-kun from now on!”
“Y-yes, thank you very much……?”
There’s a problem, and it’s not about my personal feelings,
As of today, Yuni-san and the others’ perception of Higashira has changed from “my ex-girlfriend” to “my current girlfriend”,
And then, I learned through Yume that Madoka-san messaged her, stating that this was acknowledged by the whole family in mere hours.