The Happiness Written on Her Palm ＊3
The sun has submerged into the horizon, and here I am, walking alone in the night street.
“Maybe she’s already home.”
I talked with Saki for quite a long time, so it’s gotten late by the time I left. I had run all the way here, I didn’t see her on the way, even though her house is already nearby.
“…I guess I just have to deliver it to her house.”
To tell the truth, I’ve been avoiding that place. If I come to visit at this hour, Dad and Mom are bound to be home. It’s not that I don’t want to go, but there’s this complex feeling in my chest. It’s like something is telling me to stop. I thought I had sorted out my feelings, but I guess it’s a matter that can’t be solved so simply. It’s frustrating how I can’t control my own emotions. It’s really bothersome to deal with.
Even so, I can’t just pull back here. After all, I have to return her wallet.
I clench my hands to encourage myself, and I resume walking towards the familiar house where I once lived. It’s already close by, yet it feels so far away. Time seems to be moving slowly as I walk. What should I say if Mom answers the intercom when I ring the bell… What kind of face should I make? All these questions fill my head.
It should’ve been only a few minutes, but it feels as if an hour has already passed. My heart is pounding like crazy, and I feel a scraping pain in my stomach… There’s no way I can manage to speak properly like this.
However, my former house is getting closer and closer. In fact, it’s just around the corner. I clench my hands again, which are sweaty due to my nervousness. I swallow the spit that is collecting in my mouth as I walk onward.
I just have to turn around the next corner, and I will arrive. But, suddenly…
I can hear a muffled voice. It’s like someone is trying to shout, only to result in a small yelp. It sounds as though someone is in trouble and is asking for help, and it alarms me greatly. But, I can’t see anyone around. I wonder if it’s just my anxious mind playing tricks on me, so I decide to pay it no mind. However…
This time, I’m sure I heard it. It’s not just my imagination. Someone’s really asking for help.
I immediately head to the direction where I heard the voice, but my feet abruptly stop in their tracks.
[Although it makes me happy that you were there to protect me, you can’t be putting yourself in harm’s way. Please.]
What Rumi said to me, as well as her desperate face, flashes in my mind. At that time, she must have been thinking about her sister, about [me] who died because I acted recklessly.
I have to go, but my body isn’t moving, as if shackled by the past. If my careless actions wind up like ‘that time’——my legs freeze upon the fear that I might repeat what can’t be undone. I’m scared that I might lose everything again, I’m afraid that I might make everyone sad again.
But, it doesn’t mean that I can just ignore someone in need.
(It seems that I’ve grown timid……)
The past me would have jumped in without thinking. After losing my life once, it seems that I’ve grown more collected and prudent in these 16 years. As if in exchange, I’ve lost some of my recklessness. I wonder if this is what becoming an adult means.
If I steer away from trouble, no harm will befall me… But, doesn’t it mean that I’m sacrificing someone else for my own safety? It agonizes me. I know, I’m stupid like that. I understand that my decision isn’t commendable in any way. In the end, even though I’m aware that the past may repeat itself, I…
(I guess it’s in my nature not to look the other way when someone is in trouble.)
I don’t want to regret not doing anything. If I don’t make it in time just because I’m hesitating over it… I’d be anguished.
I focus on what I should be doing, and I make a run towards where I heard the voice from. After retracing my steps for a few meters, I enter a narrow path that I passed by earlier. I can see some silhouette. What comes into view is a muscular man who is seizing a petite girl’s hand. I dash towards them without hesitation.
When I see the man waving something in his other hand towards the girl, without thinking, I jump in and catch it with my hand. I manage to stop him before it reaches her body. I’ve arrived in the nick of time.
Drip, drip. Red droplets fall from my hand to the ground. Before they can grasp the present situation, I use my other hand to snatch the folding knife away from the man. Then, I pull the girl and draw some distance from him while he’s still stupefied. I didn’t draw any plans back there, but I guess it went out well.
“Hah… I think… I did it?”
I breathe a sigh to expel my tension. But when I take a look at the girl next to me, my eyes open wide as I hear her say…
“W-what… are you… doing here…?”
“That’s my line, Ms. Stalker.”
Right, I’ve met her before. The person I just saved is the girl who had been stalking Rumi-san.
What is she doing here when it’s already evening? …Well, it’s easy to deduce that she’s stalking Rumi again. This girl… Even though Rumi had clearly rejected her, it seems that she hasn’t given up. Err, what was her name again? Something-something Shima-san?
“Ah!! He’s running away!”
The man took off in a hurry while we’re having our conversation. I might be able to catch him if I chase after him right away, but…
“Y-you’re letting him go?”
There’s no way I can leave a girl alone when she’s looking so pale and pitiful. Her body is still trembling in fear. As long as she’s safe, it’s enough. I should leave the rest to the police. After I hand over this knife and describe the pervert’s traits, I think their investigation will proceed more smoothly.
“Are you okay?”
“Y-yes… Wait, I’m supposed to be the one asking! Your right hand is dripping blood!!”
“Eh? Aah— you’re right.”
I didn’t notice, my hand only starts to hurt after she points it out. I’ve completely forgotten about the cut that I received when I was protecting her. I take a good look at my hand that has been dyed red with my own blood. The area that was pierced by the knife looks gruesome, I think I don’t want to look at it too much. It seems that the cut is quite deep, since blood is still flowing from it. I think it’s quite bad.
“A-anyway, the hospital! Aah, the first aid… W-we need to contact the police, too!”
“Now, now, calm down.”
“Actually, how can you be so calm?!”
She takes out a handkerchief from her pocket and bind it tightly around my hand. Absorbing my blood, her handkerchief immediately turns red. I feel that one piece of cloth isn’t enough, so I take my own handkerchief and wrap it around hers just to be doubly sure.
“Why did you go to such length for me… You even got yourself injured… I can’t remember ever doing any good things to you.”
“But I couldn’t just ignore you.”
“Y-you and I barely know each other! Actually, we’re enemies, you know?! Enemies! It’s strange that you would put yourself in harm’s way just to save me!”
“Hmm— I guess I don’t really have a good impression of you.”
“Right?! Why did you help me, then?! Are you stupid?!”
Well, she’s been troubling Rumi because of her stalking, not to mention that she did nothing but insult me the other day. I think it’s safe to say that I had the worst first impression of her. It’d be difficult for me to act buddy buddy with her if someone asks me to.
“W-why… why would you protect with your own body? You must have a screw loose somewhere.”
What a heartless thing to say to the person who just rescued her. I even got hurt in the process. But I didn’t save her to make her feel grateful to me or anything. In the first place, I don’t really care about her opinion of me.
“If you got hurt, Rumi will be sad.”
“………What’s with that reasoning?”
Although, Rumi will be sad if I got hurt, too.
That’s why, I saved her for nothing but my self-satisfaction. I didn’t do it for her sake, but for my own. I just didn’t want to see Rumi sad.
“Do you think that man is the pervert that was seen loitering around here recently?”
“He probably is. That man… he just hugged me from behind… I was really startled.”
Maybe I’m making her recall that awful experience, she shudders while hugging herself.
“Since I was making a ruckus, apparently he wanted to quiet me down by taking out that knife…”
“Anyway, thank goodness you’re alright.”
“Yes, indeed… or not!! You’re not alright at all! We’re going to the hospital!”
“Gyaa! Don’t pull my right hand! It huuuuuuuurts—!!”
She lets go right away, looking apologetic… She may have a foul tongue, but could she actually be a good girl? She’s a stalker, though.
“Oh yeah, I want you to keep the fact that I got hurt a secret from Rumi.”
She warned me to stop doing dangerous things the other day. I think she’ll get angry if she knows about this.
“So, what is your relationship with Sensei?”
She’s giving me an intense glare.
“I think I already told you the other day, though… Let’s see, Ms. Stalker, at least it isn’t a relationship that you need to worry about. I only think of Rumi as my little sister.”
“H-haah? Your little… sister? Eh? Are you doing that kind of fetish play? Are you a pervert?”
“A stalker just called me a pervert!!”
You’re the pervert here! You’re a stalker, too! Why are you looking at me like I’m making you feel disgusted?!
“I knew it. You’re my enemy, and Sensei’s, too… In fact, you’re the enemy of the whole mankind.”
“What did I even do?!”
Why is she acting like I’m guilty of felony?! I never did anything bad!
“Aah, I forgot to mention something.”
She’s looking behind me.
“Sensei is right behind you.”
When I timidly turn around, I can see Rumi, who’s on the verge of crying while standing imposingly right behind me. W-what’s this pressure that I’m feeling…?
The atmosphere around us feels heavy, as though I’m going to be sent to the gallows in a moment’s notice. I really didn’t expect that Rumi would be here, since I thought that she’d already reached home. Ms. Stalker! Why didn’t you tell me earlier?!
I nonchalantly hide my right hand behind my back. But judging from her sharp glare, I guess Rumi already noticed.
“Err, you know, I fell down over nothing earlier! There was a nail sticking out, and I was so unlucky to have my right hand pierced like that!”
“I was attacked by a pervert. Then, this person decided to save me on her own, and got herself injured, also on her own.”
She told her the truth so easily, with a straight face even! Hey… I thought you promised to keep it to yourself. Rumi is casting her eyes downward, so I can’t see her expression. I prepare my heart for some scolding. Although, Rumi turns to look at Ms. Stalker instead of me.
“Are you okay? Did he hurt you anywhere?”
“I-I’m all okay.”
“…Thank goodness, you’re safe.”
“Thank you very much… for your concern.”
Although she showed a cold attitude towards me earlier, she’s now answering meekly while blushing.
“I’ll listen to the details tomorrow, but for now, let me send you home. I’m worried about you, and I have to bring this up to your parents, too… And Hinata… -chan, come with us. There’s a hospital along the way.”
The way Rumi talks so indifferently feels anti-climatic. You know, I was expecting her to act more worried, or angry. It feels as though she just pulled the wool over my eyes.
The two have started walking while I’m in a daze. They’ve already put some distance from me. Ms. Stalker walks up to me and stares at my injured hand.
“Is your hand hurting?”
“It’s not that. I’m okay, I was just thinking about something.”
It seems she thought that I can’t walk because my hand hurts. When I smile to her to show that I’m okay, she looks relieved somewhat.
“Alright then, let’s go, Ms. Stalker!”
“Hey, stop calling me that. I have a proper name, which is Shimazaki Yuka.”
“Okay, okay. Then, Shimazaki-san, call me ‘Hinata’ instead of using ‘hey’ or something like that.”
“Haah? Why do I have to follow what you say?”
“…Come on, you two, hurry up.”
Shimazaki-san and I keep glaring at each other as we walk up to Rumi.
“Thank you very much for your help.”
I thank the doctor before leaving the examination room. I look at my right hand, which is now swathed in bandages. It looks comical, which makes me chuckle a bit. No, this isn’t a laughing matter. The doctor told me that it’s going to take two weeks to heal completely. Since I can’t use my dominant hand, many tasks will become a hassle to do. I’ll have to eat, take a bath, change clothes, and do many other things with just one hand.
(What a bother.)
On the other hand, I’m glad this is all that I have to bear. Going through these two weeks will be troublesome, but everything will turn back to normal afterwards. How could I face everyone if I contracted some serious illness… Or if I lost my life?
I head to the lobby after finishing up with the receptionist. There, I find Rumi waiting for me on one of the seats. She went to escort Shimazaki-san home while I was receiving my treatment. It seems that she’s waiting by herself.
She gets up as soon as she notices me and rushes over.
“The doctor said two weeks until it completely heals. It’s not a big deal, and it won’t leave a scar, either.”
“I see… Thank goodness.”
She smiles weakly as she hears my report. Although she’s being oddly quiet, I keep recounting everything that the doctor told me earlier.
“Let’s go home, then.”
I told Saki by phone that I would be late. But, I should hurry home before she starts to get worried.
The two of us leave the hospital and walk in the quiet residential area. It doesn’t seem to be the mood to talk about cheerful things. I can’t get a good timing to start a topic, either. The awkward silence goes on. It makes me feel depressed when I think that no one’s going to say anything until I reach home. I glance at Rumi’s face. It’s dim, so I can’t really see her expression. Although, I can tell that she’s facing the front. I wonder what she’s thinking about.
Perhaps noticing my gaze, Rumi looks at me without turning her head.
I search my pocket for her wallet.
“I totally forgot about this. I was on my way to your house to return your wallet.”
She takes her wallet in her hand and stares at it. Then suddenly, her beautiful face goes into a frown.
“So… this happened… because I forgot my wallet. If only I didn’t forget, Hinata-chan wouldn’t…”
“? Rumi-san… why are you making that kind of face? I’m the one who wanted to return it to you right away. You have nothing to do with what happened to me.”
“But if I had properly checked for my belongings, there would be no reason for Hinata-chan to be in that area. There’s no doubt I was the root of the cause.”
Why are people around me always blaming themselves for everything? Well… I guess it’s because they’re too earnest and kind.
“But Rumi-san, it’s because you forgot your wallet, and I went to return it that I could save Shimazaki-san, you know.”
If I wasn’t there, who knows what would happen to Shimazaki-san. Perhaps she could have escaped on her own, but the contrary also holds true. The worst case might have happened.
But, she’s safe and well. In the end, isn’t that fine?
“Yup, everything turned out alright.”
“No, it didn’t!”
Rumi’s agonizing scream reverberates around the area. Sorrow, anger, various emotions are showing clearly in her expression. I feel hurt just by watching her lash out.
“It’s… not alright! You’re hurt pretty bad, aren’t you…”
“No, it’s not as awful as it looks. It’s just a light cut, nothing you need to be worried sick about…”
I talk in a light tone, while wearing a vague smile. However, Rumi draws closer to me with a demon-like face. She looks so scary that I gulp my saliva without thinking.
“Of course I’d be worried about you! Nee-san, you never care about yourself!! Why do you always put someone else… before your own safety?!”
“Eh, ah, sorry.”
I’m taken aback by her coercive attitude.
“Fortunately, you only got injured this time! But what if your actions killed you ‘again’?!”
“Well, you don’t need to remind me, I already know the risks that I’m taking. But still, I couldn’t just ignore her…”
“I know all that! But, I just have to say it to you clearly!!”
“I-I’m sorry, okay? …Huh?”
I notice something was odd, and my thought stops entirely.
“Um, Rumi-san? Could it be that… you noticed?”
“……About what? [Nee-san].”
It’s not at the level where she’s doubting herself anymore. Rumi made herself clear.
She knows that I was once Sekiguchi Tsubaki.
How did she know?
I’m completely at a loss of words. I can only open and close my mouth like an idiot. Rumi frowns at me and heaves a sigh.
“Your personalities, the things you like, the things you hate, your habits…… Hinata-chan, everything about you is terrifyingly identical to Nee-san. Although, I thought it was just a coincidence. I mean, you have different names, and you totally look different. Besides, Nee-san died 16 years ago, so there’s no way that she could still be here in this world. But… the more I think about it, it’s weird how Hinata-chan knows about things that only Nee-san would know.”
“Even so, I didn’t understand. After all, there’s no way Hinata-chan could be Nee-san. But, how else can I explain the striking similarity between you two? I kept thinking about it, until today… until Hinata-chan came to fetch me as my [Nee-san]… You came… as the Nee-san that I always… know…”
Tears gather around her eyes, and sobs start to mix in her sentences.
“I thought I was just seeing things because I was drunk… I thought I was seeing a dream. But…”
She completes her sentence with, ‘I was awake, and I remembered everything, even though I was drunk at the time.’ I wait for her to calm down, and she continues.
“You told me that you would watch over me. You told me that you might have reincarnated… but you would always be my elder sister.”
“Of course I would notice from that. Even though it’s unbelievable, I can’t help but wanting to believe that it’s true.”
Rumi smiles bashfully.
I didn’t think that she would remember everything that happened when she was drunk. Not to mention that she was actually awake when I thought she had fallen asleep. Well, I guess anyone would notice if they heard that kind of confession from the person herself.
“Anyway, I’ve got to know that Hinata-chan is Nee-chan. But because of it, I had no idea how to face you. I was confused.”
So that’s why she was acting weird when she waked up in my room. She already knew the truth, but she hasn’t sorted out her feelings yet. And so, she left in a fluster.
“I didn’t go home right away… I took a detour to clear my head. When I was close to home, I found both of you, but you were hurt.”
“I’m sorry… for keeping it from you.”
I don’t know what I should be saying to Rumi, and what comes out of my mouth is a somewhat cliched apology.
“…I heard that Nee-san didn’t want us to know the truth.”
“Um, when I was on my way home, I called Hiori-san and consulted about you.”
“Then, Hiori-san said that she already knew. Although, when I think about it, Hiori-san must have gained her smile thanks to Nee-san’s help.”
“What did Hiori say to you?”
“She said, ‘That girl thinks that you’d be happier not knowing about her, but Rumi-chan, I believe that you have the right to know.’ She told me about many things.”
She looks a bit lonely, and she wipes her tears with her finger.
“You’re Nee-san, right?”
“…Biologically speaking, I’m not your sister anymore. But to me… Rumi will always be my precious little sister.”
“Mm… I see. That’s… fine. If Nee-san is alive and well, everything’s just fine.”
“…Thanks. And, I’m really sorry.”
I’m sorry for keeping quiet about it, for making you sad. I may have broken your heart again. I don’t regret what I did, but when I think about the people who are worried about me, it agon izes me.
“Nee-san… be more selfish, will you?”
“I think I’ve been living pretty selfishly, you know?”
“……Your personality never changed.”
She squints her eyes as though she’s looking at something bright, and she gives me a gentle smile. I look at Rumi, doing the same as her.
“Rumi has grown big. It’s not just your outer appearance, you’ve grown mature in character, too.”
I look up to my little sister who’s grown taller than me. Then, I reach my hand. It’s a bit difficult with our heights, but I ruffle her hair a few times. After I finish patting her head, she says to me.
“Don’t do dangerous things anymore. I’d hate it if you have to leave me again… I’m sure Tsubaki-chan, your new family, and Hiori-san will be sad, too.”
“…It’s okay. I’m a greedy person, after all. I’ll extend my life for even a second longer so that I can live a long life, this time for sure.”
After all, I’ve got to know first hand that if I die, I’d trouble everyone, too, painfully so.
“‘Onee-chan’, give me your hand.”
I reach out my left hand as she told me. Then, Rumi starts writing some words on my palm. I’m curious to know what she’s writing, but she scolds me, saying not to peek. I have no choice but to wait in patient.
“It’s done. Go ahead, Onee-chan, swallow it.”
Although there’s nothing on my palm, I put the invisible words in my mouth and swallow it. Of course, there’s no taste, nor texture of anything.
After all, this is a charm.
It’s a charm just for the two of us.
“So, what did you write?”
From the sensation that I felt from my palm, she wrote two kanji, but I can’t tell the exact words. Rumi makes a face like she’s playing a trick on me, and she smiles cheerfully. It seems that she has no intention telling me.
“It’s what Nee-san has given me lots.”
I can only tilt my head to the side, which seems to make Rumi chuckle. It feels ticklish for some reason.
I was nervous when she said that she knew. But when I see her looking so happy, maybe I shouldn’t have kept it hidden from her. I was afraid all this time that she would eventually notice. Although, now I’m feeling dumb to see her accepting it as a fact so easily. I guess… I had been thinking too much.
“But really, I still can’t believe that Hinata-chan is the reincarnation of my sister.”
She stares at me from head to toe, like she’s trying to eye me up. I feel awkward. She can look all she wants, but I haven’t changed recently. Is there even any meaning to this?
“Nee-san, you’re shorter than me.”
“…Ugh, well, duh. I’m many years younger than you.”
“It was the other way around in the past.”
I remember that I was taller than Rumi in the past. But now, people are bound to say that Rumi is the elder one, which makes me her little sister. Hrm… it can’t be helped, but I still find it quite vexing.
“Either way, what do our appearances matter? Regardless of what everyone thinks, to me, Hinata-chan is my Nee-san.”
She recognizes me as her sister, and she even calls me so. I feel so happy that tears might start flowing anytime. Even though she has grieved over my death in the past 16 years, she doesn’t condemn me for living my own life. She simply accepts me for who I am… I feel really blessed to live with people who care so much about me.
“Um, you know.”
“What is it?”
“People will look at us strange, so I’ll call you Hinata-chan like usual… but when it’s just the two of us, can I call you Nee-san instead?”
“Well, of course you can.”
“Although you’re my Nee-san, you’re also Hinata-chan… After all, you have Saki-chan, your own sister.”
“I think of both Saki and Rumi as my precious sisters.”
“Mm… Thanks, Nee-san.”
With her cheeks tinged red, she smiles. But I’m sure the same goes to me.
“I-I should be getting you home before Saki-chan gets worried about you.”
“You’re right. We’ve got to hurry, then.”
We start walking again to dispel the awkward air around us.
Now that I think about it… it’s become so late. Despite what Saki had said, I’m sure she’s still awake, waiting for me. Then she’ll throw some abusive words as soon as she sees me, no doubt. She’s selfish, cheeky, and not honest with herself. But deep inside, she’s a really kind girl.
It’s just a few minutes more to home, when Rumi suddenly comes to a stop. And so I stop in my track as well. I wonder what it is about, but Rumi only gazes at me in silence for a while. Then, she slowly takes a deep breath, and I’m astonished by the expression that she shows me next.
She shows me a beaming smile, like she always did in the past, one so dazzling that I can see flowers blooming next to her.
“Nee-san, you know, you’re my Onee-chan that I’m proud of.”
After saying her piece, she looks satisfied and starts walking ahead cheerfully. On the other hand, I can only stay in a daze with my mouth hung open.
…My vision gets blurred, but I’m sure I’m just imagining it. My parched throat, is also my imagination, no doubt.
Rumi is calling for me. In the past, she would call me in a tearful voice. It was troublesome because her mood would worsen the more I made her wait.
Many things have changed since that time. But, there are some that remain the same.
So, I roughly wipe my eyes with my arm.
I have to go. After all, my sister is calling for me.
The next day.
It’s the weekend, so I came to the Kurasaka’s to play, like usual. Although, as soon as I arrive, Hiori catches me and brings me to her room. And now, I’m sitting while facing the expressionless her. While Hiori sits on a chair, I choose to sit with the tops of my feet flat on the floor and my back straight, out of my own initiative. Her face looks the same as always, but I can clearly feel the anger that she’s exuding with my skin.
S-so she already knew about what happened yesterday… Do Hiori and Rumi hold an agreement to share everything they know about me or something? It’s frightening how the news spread so fast.
My body trembles just by hearing her call my name. Her voice is lower than usual, which speaks for the state of her mind. Hiori is looking at me straight in the eye, but I can only avert my eyes. She looks down slightly, and I anxiously wait for her to speak.
“……You already know what I’m going to say, don’t you?”
“One way or another.”
She stares at my bandaged hand. Then, she looks exasperated as she heaves a sigh.
“It’s your own life, so it’s your choice how to live it. It isn’t a matter which I have a say in.”
“Calling you meddlesome would be an understatement… You’re viciously ill. That disease of yours is incurable, and worse, it might just rob your life if you’re unlucky.”
She waves her hand back and forth, as though implying that I’m a hopeless case. Then, she sighs again.
“It appears that Rumi-chan has said pretty much everything that I want to tell you, so I won’t be repeating it again…”
Even though she must have many other things that she want to say to me. She could have blamed me, yelled at me, but she feigns her composure. She’s so ‘kind’ that it feels cruel.
Hiori stands up from her seat and squats down next to me. She matches my gaze, and places her hand gently above my injured hand.
“I beg you, don’t leave me again…… You idiot.”
Her soft, hoarse voice… her desperation reverberates in my chest. It shakes my heart more than I thought it would if she yells at me, curses at me, or even comes to hate me…… I receive the brunt of her words and her sad expression.
Even though I’ve known that she’s afraid of death more than anything in this world.
“Hiori, I’m sorry.”
Seeing her grieve like this hurts so much.
“…You don’t have to apologize, geez.”
When I’m hanging my hand shame, Hiori says it with a gentle voice. Then, she cautiously rubs my bandaged hand.
“…Does it hurt?”
“Nope, not at all.”
Actually, it’s still stinging with pain. But, when I see Hiori’s sorrowful expression, the pain got blown away somewhere. The wound from making her sad feels many times more painful than this injury in my hand.
I hear a somewhat reserved knock, and the door opens just a bit. I can see someone through the gap in the door, it’s Tsubaki.
“Um, are you done talking?”
“What is it?”
“The meals are done, so I’m here to call for you.”
“I see. We’re pretty much done, we’ll be there soon.”
“Oh… um, please hurry, okay?”
“Yup. Thanks, Tsubaki. Sorry for not helping.”
Tsubaki smiles shyly, and softly shuts the door.
“…That girl was worried about you, Hinata.”
“She must have thought that I would be scolding you harshly. That girl goes out of her way to call for us because she wants to cut it short.”
I-I see. she came to save me from Hiori’s endless sermon. Hiori didn’t actually scold me that much, but her token of sympathy alone makes me happy.
“Tsubaki is so kind— Ehehe.”
“Haah… Good grief. Tsubaki spoils you too much. She was really worried about you, you know.”
I have no excuse, I feel so guilty. To my silence, Hiori gets up and approaches the door. She places her hand on the doorknob and turns her face to me.
“I’m sure she’s prepared many of your favorite foods today.”
“Wow, I’m so looking forward to it~”
While I’m thinking about today’s menu, Hiori shows an astonished face, and sighs for the nth time today. She’s intending to leave the room first, so I tell her the words that I’ve forgotten to say earlier. This is quite embarrassing to say face to face.
“I’ll always be with you.”
Her reply is very much like her. Yet, she mutters in a really soft voice before turning around and leaves hurriedly. Her ears were red, so she must have gotten embarrassed. Her reaction is really different from her usual expression. I find it cute, so cute that it burns my heart.
For a while after, I stay by myself in that room, smiling from ear to ear.