Author: Korota
Translator: Aoitenshi


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The Young Girl’s Feelings Towards Her *2

 

 

“Sorry for intruding—”
“Welcome.”

 

While I’m taking off my shoes in the entranceway, Hiori appears from the inner room to greet me. Usually, Tsubaki would be the one to welcome me… This is rare.

“Where’s Tsubaki?”
“She went shopping some time ago.”
“I see.”

We chat as we move to the living room. I visit this house quite often, so I’ve memorized the room positions, as well as the arrangement of the furniture. I’ve been frequenting here for more than a year, after all.

“I’ll pour some tea, take a seat.”
“Yup, thanks.”

After watching Hiori leave for the kitchen, I approach one of the chairs. Then, I notice several books piled up messily on the table, which are tugging at my mind for some reason. Even though I know that I’m not supposed to look, I can’t help but reach my hand on one of the book-like things and open it.

“Hinata, what are you… ah.”

I shift my gaze from the book to Hiori. She frowns, as though regretting her carelessness. Um, could this be…

“Photos for marriage interviews?”

“Well… yes.”
“Hiori, y-y-y-y-y-y-you’re going to marriage interviews?!”

Just when I’ve realized my own feelings, a huge obstacle suddenly appears before me…!!

However, Hiori looks annoyed and sighs. She shakes her head sideways.

“…No, I’m not. Aunt Sekiguchi brought those photos. It would be rude of me if I don’t look through them at least.”
“Ah, aah, is that it?”

So it’s not because Hiori wants to attend the marriage interviews herself. That’s a relief. Although now that I think about it, she’s not the type that would attend marriage interviews and the like.

Uh… what are you doing, Mom? Although knowing her, she must be purely thinking about Hiori’s well-being… How complicated. I’m curious about what kind of people that she might meet, so I flip through the pages. There are handsome guys, while the others seem to have respectable careers, and so on. They’re all high-specced in one way or another. It’s really frustrating, but I have to admit that they would suit Hiori more than me.

“What’s wrong?”

Maybe because my feelings are showing in my face, Hiori looks worried as she peers in… Hey, your face is too cloooose!! I would think nothing of that if it was a few days ago. But to me right now, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call her face a bladed weapon! I’ve been aware of her beauty for a long time, but the romantic filter in my vision makes her look a few times more sparkling than usual. If I keep looking at her face like this… I start wanting to hug her… Wait, what am I thinking about! It’s sooo embarrassiiiing!

I’m not a girl going through puberty for god’s sake! …Wait, I actually am!

“I-it’s nothing! A-ahahahaha.”
“Is that so?”

I take a little distance away from her to shake the sugary feeling off my chest. Then, I decide to look at the photos to conceal my blushing face from her. Ah, this guy is handsome, too. He looks kind, and his smiling face earns him quite a score… What am I doing, praising my rivals like this?

“……”

But, maybe they can make Hiori even happier than me. Maybe it’d be better if I encourage her to go on a marriage interview for her sake. Even if she accepts my feelings… I have nothing to offer. Besides, I’m a girl, I’m much younger than her, I’m not dependable, and I’m sure I’ll only bring her hardships.

Tap

“…It hurts.”

She gently taps on my head as my mood turns for the worse. When I raise my head, I find her face right in front of me. It makes me take a step back in reflex.

“There’s not a day when you don’t act weird… but you’re acting even weirder today.”
“S-so cruel.”
“…What happened?”
“Mm-mm, it’s nothing.”

Let’s calm down. My strange behavior is making Hiori worried. Although I’m intending to act like usual, my feelings are running rampant and I can’t seem to rein in my emotions.

I wonder how long does it take to get used to this ticklish feeling. This is my first time falling in love, so I don’t understand pretty much everything about it. It feels so embarrassing to think that I’ve totally become a maiden in love.

Ahem. I make a light cough before taking a seat on the sofa. Hiori looks at me with dubious eyes for a while, until she gives up and continues checking the photos. She said that she isn’t going to the interviews, and I can’t imagine her going either. But, it still makes me anxious.

Even though I understand it in my mind, I can’t help but worry. I steal a glance at Hiori’s side profile—her uninterested expression—as she looks at the photos… No one can tell what she’s thinking from her ever expressionless face, but she’s gotten relatively more approachable now. Well, I guess her meager expressions are due to her inherent personality.

“Hiori.”
“What is it?”
“Do you have someone you like?”

Thud! As the book falls to the table, Hiori looks at me in surprise while trembling all over. Hey, is it something to be that surprised about?

“Hinata… are you running a fever or something?”

She is genuinely worried about my health. It appears that she finds it practically impossible for me to bring up about romance.

“Well, no, I’m not. Actually, Hiori, aren’t you the one running a fever? Your face is flushed.”
“T-that’s because you asked me a strange question out of nowhere… Why are you asking me that… all of a sudden…?”
“Hmm— you said you weren’t going to the interviews, so I thought it’s because you already have someone you like or something.”
“Not really… I just don’t feel like doing these marriage interviews, so……”
“………”
“………”

She cuts off her words there and looks away. Then, she tidies up the photos on the table and puts the stack in a paper bag. Then, she places it in a corner of the room before returning to her seat and sip the black tea that she had poured for herself. She remains silent for a while, and it seems that she has no intention to answer my previous question. She seems to be the type who’s not interested in romance and the like, just like me. Maybe that’s why she’s shy about this sort of topic.

…Even now, this romantic love thing is making me feel self-conscious. Just thinking about it is enough to make me writhe. Although I want to know whether or not she has someone she likes, I’m also relieved because I don’t want to know. How is it even possible wanting to know about something that I don’t want to know? …Really, something’s wrong with me.

“……What?”
“It’s nothing.”

Hiori notices my gaze, then she glares at me, displeased. It seems that being stared like this gets on her nerves. Although she stares at me in protest for a while, she sighs before looking away as if in resignation. Even the little gestures that she makes appear so cute in my eyes, I feel happy just by watching her somehow. I desperately try not to break into a smile.

I never realized… this is how much I’ve been in love with Hiori.

“………”

While gazing at her face from the side, I have a thought. If… if she says that she has someone she loves, what will I do?

(If Hiori has someone she loves, then it’s a given that I’ll support her.)

I don’t even need to think about the alternatives. There’s no point of doing it. I want to prioritize her happiness.

Besides, I’m already happy just to be able to stay by her side like this. After all, I have died 17 years ago, and I shouldn’t be able to see her, talk with her, or touch her anymore. But, I can be with her in the present like the days long past. I still can’t believe how fortunate I am to be able to receive this much happiness.

If Hiori was living her life happily, I thought it would’ve been alright not meeting her. But, after moving here to this town, I ended up meeting her again by coincidence. That’s when I decided to watch over her from the sidelines. I should’ve been content with just that, but I’m still by her side, even now. We’re able to talk to each other, we can also touch each other.

That’s why, I’m not going to wish for more.

I’ve ended up realizing… my own feelings towards her…… but I don’t regret realizing it. After all, it lets me learn that falling in love is something so beautiful, yet painful; it makes me feel happy and warm inside. Also, I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart to know that she’s my first love. Various things happened, but I met Hiori, fell in love with her, and I managed to lead a happy life.

 

I rise to my feet and approach the table where Hiori is sitting at. But, I heel over after tripping over my own feet.

“Eh?”

Suddenly, my vision goes around in circle.

“Hinata?!”

My thought lags behind, and I have no idea what’s occurring. Before I’m aware that I’m falling down after losing my footing, I feel a dull impact on my head, followed by a throbbing pain.

“…hh!!”

Hiori’s shrill voice is the last thing I hear before my consciousness flies away.

 

 

 

 

I’m… dreaming.

I’m dreaming of myself, back when I was still a child.

 

I was really mischievous back then. I acted like a little rascal from a picture book.

I knew no fear, and I always sneaked away on my own to discover new places that came to my interest. For example, a construction site with various materials lying around, or the eerie cave located at the back of the public park. Every time I went out to play where it piqued my interest, my parents would find out about it and scold me when I returned home. Even then, I didn’t stop going on my adventures. I didn’t learn my lesson and I went out in secret when I discovered a new place to explore.

One day.

I went out to play in the park. But not long after I left, I saw a cat entering a small grove near my house. I chose to chase after it instead. Along the way, I lost sight of the cat and I found myself in the middle of the woods. I had never stepped so far in, so I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t hear the rustling sounds of the tree leaves, nor any birds chirping. Even though it was midday, the place was dreary and creepy.

I had lost my way in the woods, but I didn’t feel afraid nor anxious at all. In fact, I was excited. Although I wanted to continue my adventure into the unknown woods, I had to reach home before it got late, because that was how I always earned my parents’ scoldings. I decided to search for my way home first, as I pushed my way through the thick vegetation. I was used to walking on rough paths, so I waded through the overgrown weeds with no problem.

After pushing on randomly with quick steps, I finally reached an open area. A big tree caught my eye when I looked around, and I approached it as if I was drawn in. I sat down with my back leaning against the trunk. Perhaps I was tired after walking through the woods without a break, the warm sunlight and the rustling sounds lulled me to sleep. I’ll rest for a bit——I thought, as I closed my eyes.

 

[Who?]

 

I woke up when I heard a voice. There, I saw a girl standing in front of me. She was a bit smaller than me, but she has a scary look on her face. After rubbing my eyes, I got a clearer view of her—she was really cute… perhaps ‘beautiful’ would be more accurate to describe her. Her long, black hair looked silky and smooth to the touch, and there is a strong impression in her large eyes.

My eyes were naturally drawn to her, as anyone would to an impressive doll decorating a room they were in. Her expression was sour, seemingly in a bad mood. I believed that she would’ve looked prettier if she were smiling. We locked eyes with each other without uttering a single word.

 

That was, our beginning.

 

I wanted to make friends with her. But, she completely rejected the thought. She sent me away whenever I came to visit, telling me to go home. It made me feel down again and again. But even so, I didn’t give up. After I kept going almost every day, her attitude towards me grew lax, little by little. She started listening to my stories, and she also talked to me, even though it was just a word or two. It made me feel really happy.

She was supposed to be younger than me, but she knew everything. She taught many things that I didn’t know before, and I learned a lot from her. Although, what I received from her wasn’t limited to knowledge, I gained many other precious things that couldn’t be expressed in words, too.

Then, by the time I realized it, being by her side became the most enjoyable thing to do. She always treated me coldly, but the more I invited her to play, the more I understood that she was actually a kind girl. Getting to know about the kindness hidden within her personality made me comforted me. I was happy. All the days that we spent together became my irreplaceable treasure.

 

She’s my most precious girl.

Thinking back, I had already been drawn to her since those days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…hm?”

When I open my eyes, her worried face comes to my view. I don’t feel flustered even though our faces are close to each other as the only thing in my mind is the cause behind her anxiety. Maybe because I’ve just come to, my mind isn’t running well. I’m gazing at her beautiful face in a daze for a while. Then, she makes a face that I can’t quite explain as she scowls at me.

“Idiot.”
“Yes.”
“You’re a big fool.”
“It is as you say.”

I can’t say anything back. It’s really embarrassing to stumble over nothing like that. I showed the clumsy side of me, which makes me want to cry. Although by now, she’s seen my clumsiness more times than I can count.

……Hmm— speaking of which, it looks like Hiori is currently giving me a lap pillow on the sofa. I didn’t realize it right away because I wasn’t fully awake. There is a soft sensation at the back of my head, and Hiori’s face is positioned right above me. There’s no doubt that I’m in the so-called lap pillow situation.

The area where I bumped against the table throbs with pain, but this awkward and dangerous position has blown it to the corner of my mind. My heart is thumping dangerously. I intend to get up and break away from this situation, but my body seems to be frozen in place due to my nervousness. It’s definitely not because I want to enjoy the sensation of her soft thighs… I think. Yup, I hope.

To my silence, she rustles my hair. It feels comfortable, and I close my eyes as though to savor the sensation. Her lap pillow makes me feel happy and embarrassed at the same time. Although, it calms me down when she’s gently patting my head like this.

“Where does it hurt?”
“Mm-mm, I’m okay.”

I try to feel around my head with my fingers. There is a slight bump. It hurts a bit when I touch it, but it doesn’t look serious. It’ll heal by tomorrow.

“That was careless of you.”
“It is as you say…”

My loose lip earns me a slap on the forehead. I think she’s telling me not to joke around. After all, I hit my head out of all places. I could have died from it. Hiori must have been worried when I was out cold.

“Sorry for making you worry.”
“It’s not like I was worried about you.”

With how anxious she looked earlier, her reply has no persuasiveness behind it. I let out a small chuckle, and she pouts before looking the other way. Fufu, that part of her never changed.

“By the way, I saw a dream of the past, when we met for the first time.”
“……I see.”

I think of the past as one of my treasures. But, I wonder if Hiori doesn’t want to remember the many painful memories that come with it. She might have forgotten about our first meeting already.

“Our first encounter… it was when you trespassed into my garden to have an afternoon nap, wasn’t it?”
“I’m sorry.”

She remembers it all too well. I sneaked into someone else’s home and slept in an unknown place… I was really reckless back then. Even though it’s been such a long time, I can feel my face burning hot, as though it’s lit on fire.

“You kept coming even though I told you not to, interfered with my studies, went and took a nap when I thought we were going to play something… You also dragged me literally everywhere.”
“Sorry.”

I have no retorts whatsoever. I was frantic back then, and I ended up causing her lots of troubles. I high-handedly went and visited Hiori because I wanted to make friends with her. I tried various things because I wanted to see her smile. She was kind to go along with me despite her harsh remarks, but I must have been a nuisance to her. I’ve always been an egocentric person who only thinks about myself. That’s why————

 

“But, it made me happy.”

“Eh?”

“I had been lonely by myself. I wished for someone to stay by my side, and you did. You never gave up on me no matter how I tried to reject you. You stayed next to me, smiling. You had given me strength to keep going…”

“………”

I can’t believe my ears when she says that with a serious expression. It’s so out of the blue, and she got me speechless. I can only watch her in a daze. Maybe I’m making a funny face, since I can see the corners of Hiori’s mouth raise just a bit.

“Perhaps you didn’t have such intentions… but I’m grateful to you, truly.”
“Ah, yup… you’re welcome?”

Somehow, I’m getting bashful here. Hiori is right, I was only thinking about myself. She doesn’t owe me any thanks. But, it makes me happy to know that I could become her strength, if that’s really true.

“…mm.”

Hiori’s hair is brushing on my face, so I reach my hand without thinking. Her hair feels pleasant to the touch, so I give it a caress, like I’m trying to comb it with my fingers. It looks like she’s feeling ticklish, since she’s squirming her body a bit. I get carried away and keep stroking her hair, but Hiori lets me carry on without saying anything.

What’s this… I’m not feeling sad or anything, but I feel like crying.

 

“In the end, I really love…”

“…eh?”

 

I gasp at the slip of the tongue, and I cover my mouth in a fluster. But it seems that she heard it. She’s acting bewildered.

“H-Hinata, what did you just……”
“It’s nothing.”
“There’s no way it was nothing… Say it, all the way to the end.”

I can try adding something random to the sentence, but I don’t think she would approve of it. She’s bringing her face close to mine… In a way, seeing her face up close is bad for my heart.

“Be more honest with yourself, be more selfish. Say it properly, to me at least…”
“………”

I wonder why Hiori is making such a lonely face. I don’t want to see her like that.

“I’m sure saying it will only trouble you, Hiori.”
“Don’t mind about that and out with it.”
“……Fine.”

It doesn’t seem that I’ll be able to get out of this one, so I decide to confess my feelings. It’s terrifying. But, if I back off here, I have a feeling that I will regret it one day.

“I’ve ended up loving you.”

“………eh?”

 

——With this, there’s no going back.

As reluctant as I am, I get up from her lap and sit next to her. I straighten my posture, and I watch Hiori’s face intently. It seems that she doesn’t quite understand what I meant, so I strengthen my resolve as I continue my words.

“Hiori, I love you. It’s not the kind of affection between friends, or family. I love you, in a special meaning.”

“…hh!”

She opens her eyes wide with surprise. Well, I guess anyone would be, getting confessed to by a girl who’s also her childhood friend. And… she must be feeling troubled. Although the confession makes me feel refreshed, it only serves to burden Hiori. Although I had intended to keep it to no one by myself, this is where I have to make the distinction. After all, I can’t keep Hiori to myself forever.

“But Hiori, you don’t need to mind about me. I want you to find a better person and be happy with him. If you already have someone you like, then I’ll give you my support. If not, there’s an option of going to a marriage interview or something.”

“…What… are you……”

“I’m already content being able to meet you again. I even got to talk with you like this. So Hiori, you should think of yourself more.”

“Wait… a moment…”

“For Tsubaki’s sake, you should——”

 

“Hinata!!”

“Y-yes?!”

 

My shoulders jolt when she suddenly yells at me. I’ve never seen her this angry before.

“Why are you deciding, consenting, and bringing it to a close on your own?! I can’t believe you! How stupid can you be?!”
“Well, but…”
“To begin with, why are you giving up on me?! Is your love for me so light that you can throw it away just like that?!”
“O-of course not! I love you so much, but… but… you don’t need to mind about me.”
“Why are you putting yourself aside like that?! Shouldn’t you be thinking of your own feelings first and foremost?! …Try to be greedier, won’t you……”
“…Hiori.”

That’s not it. I always act according to my own greed and ego. My wish is for Hiori to be happy. Maybe I’m just sticking my nose in her affairs, but I really want it to come true.

But when I spell it out to Hiori, she shakes her head several times and deny it vehemently.

“Far from [your own wish], you’ve always been thinking about [what you wish for others]. It’s always been like that.”

“……That’s…”

not true——I can’t seem to complete my sentence. All this time, I’ve always been acting for myself, not for someone else. That’s how it should’ve been, but I can’t refute Hiori’s words.

“Besides, why are you trying to proceed the conversation while disregarding my feelings?”

But, there’s no point in hearing it. There’s no way that she would reciprocate my feelings. I can’t even begin to imagine that she loves me. Hiori heaves a sigh with an astonished expression, as though she’s trying to let off steam from her blushing face.

 

 

“I… I’ve been in love with you since a long time ago, you know.”

 

 

“………”

 

Eh?

 

“…W-will you say something…”

 

I turn silent and my mind goes numb, while Hiori’s face grows redder as she looks down as if to hide her embarrassment. Meanwhile, what she said is far too unexpected for me, and I can’t seem to comprehend it. Eh, what? What’s going on? Did she just say… she loves me?

“…Love… eh? You mean, me?”
“Do you see anyone else beside us here?”
“Really? Me?”
“Are you saying that you don’t believe me?”
“But…”
“…I believe that I have told you the same thing previously, but you ignored it outright.”

When?! Ah, come to think of it, I remember her saying something like that last year, but I thought she meant it along the line of being friends or a family. In addition, I wasn’t aware of my own feelings at that time, so I couldn’t catch the meaning. But regardless, I’m at fault for not considering Hiori’s feelings.

“I-I’m sorry.”
“Although back then, I was only saying it on the spur of the moment. I didn’t plan to confess to you then. But, this time… um, I confess with ‘that kind of intention’ in mind…”
“Y-yup…”

Which means, the feelings are mutual… right?

“……hh”

When I finally realize that she feels the same way about me, my face heats up. My heart is beating fast, as though I’ve just finished a marathon. I get goosebumps all over my body. It almost feels like I’m still dreaming. It’s like I haven’t woken up after I fainted earlier. There are no words that can describe how happy I’m feeling right now, but…

“I’m happy to hear that… but, like I said earlier, someone like me won’t——”
“I won’t forgive you if you say another word.”
“………”

Overwhelmed by her strong tone, I can’t say anything. Then, her stern face changes to that of sorrow, and tears spill from her eyes quietly.

“Hiori…”

“Do you know how I felt as I kept thinking of you for years? Are you saying it, knowing that I love you so? My beloved person died, and I believed that we wouldn’t be able to meet again… but we did. My wish, which was beyond the bounds of possibility, came true. Do you know how happy I am to be able to see you again?”

“……”

“Moreover, I’m the one who decides my own happiness, not you.”

Those are the words that I said to her before. But now, she’s the one who’s saying them to me. I see… what I’m doing is only pushing my idea of happiness to her.

“…Hiori, I’m sorry.”

I slowly reach the tears on her cheek and wipe it with my index finger.

“I won’t yield no matter what you say. I won’t listen…… because… I love you… Hinata.”

“…Yup.”

It pains me to see her being so desperate. It rends my heart. I didn’t know that she had been thinking of me so… so dearly. I’ve ended up hurting her more by trying to conceal my feelings. I feel stupid for thinking too much about it. Actually, it would have been better not to agonize over it.

“Hiori.”

I call out her name. I bring her slender body close as I embrace her. These two actions are more than enough to fire the dazzling feeling in my chest, causing it to gush forth from the bottom of my heart. Hiori twitches in surprise at first. Then, she timidly puts both her arms around me to hug me back. Her warmth nestles in my arms, giving me comfort.

 

“Thank you for still loving me, all this time.”

 

She’s been thinking of me, always——even though I was unaware of my own feelings, even after I died. Even though she knew that she wouldn’t be able to convey her feelings anymore, she never stopped loving me. Just how painful, how agonizing it must have been for her. There’s no way for me to know how she felt, but just imagining it is enough to break my heart.

She should’ve just forgotten about me. It would’ve been easier for her if she did. She should’ve gone and searched for a new happiness instead.

“Thank you.”

But, I can’t help but to feel happy to hear it.

I’m overcome by emotions, and my tears start flowing to my cheeks on their own. It’s fortunate that we’re hugging each other, which means she can’t see me crying. I embrace her even tighter to prevent her from noticing.

“……If my happiness is what you wish for, then I’ll grant it for you. Hinata… make me happy.”

“…Yup.”

“Stay with me forever.”
“Yup, if you’re fine with someone like me.”
“…Stop depreciating yourself already.”
“…erh?”

I end up making a strange voice because of the lump in my throat, but she pays it no mind. Does she know that I’m crying?

“I won’t forgive anyone who belittles the person I love, even if it’s you.”
“That’s quite an embarrassing line.”
“…Be quiet.”
“Ahaha.”

Aah, in the end, it seems that she’s the only one for me. From here on, even in death, I’m sure she’s the only one that I will love.

 

“Hiori.”

 

We slowly release our embrace, and we stare at each other at a distance so close that our breaths are tickling each other. Hiori’s face is beet red, but I’m sure that I’m blushing just as much. No matter how thickheaded I am, I can still read the current mood. If I make a mistake here, I get a feeling that she’ll scold me for the rest of my life. The only thing I need right now, is the courage to act.

While enduring the dizziness that’s pressuring on me, I place my hand on her cheek, and I use the other hand to clasp hers. She looks a bit perplexed when she catches on to what I’m going to do, then she slowly closes her eyes. From her hand, I can tell that she’s nervous. And similarly, I think she knows that I’m nervous, too. It’s really embarrassing, but at the same time, I feel happy.

I double my resolve and I inch closer to reduce our distance. I have the feeling that I hear something from afar, but I pay it no heed. I focus my mind to one point, and I slowly close my eyes. I approach her face, to hold Hiori’s trembling lips against mine. Our lips are so close to each other that I can’t tell if they’re touching or not, when————

 

“I’ve returned home.”

 

I was thrust away.

 

“Uooh!”
“Hinata-san?!”

Thud! Her shove splendidly lands me on the floor. I did assume an ukemi, so it doesn’t hurt much. Although… it really took me by surprise… Tsubaki runs to me in a fluster and sets down the bags she’s holding. Then, she helps me get up to a sit on the floor. When I look at Hiori, it seems that she’s finished regulating her breathing by using all her might. She remains seated on the sofa as though nothing is wrong.

“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine! Totally fine! Welcome home, Tsubaki! You’re back early!”

I understand why she thrust me away in that instant. Although, even if she wants to hide it from Tsubaki, she could’ve done it more gently. I scowl at the culprit who pushed me away, but she averts her eyes.

“Geez, what were you doing?”
“”Nothing.””

The way we answer at the same time only makes it more suspicious. Ugh, this is awkward. Although Tsubaki tilts her head to the side in wonder, she doesn’t pursue the matter. I guess we manage to fool her with that. We both sigh in relief.

“Um, were you out shopping for dinner, Tsubaki?”
“Yes, I bought the ingredients for seafood curry, but… are you fine with curry?”
“Of course. Ah, I’ll help you.”

I roll up my sleeves. But by the time I reach towards the shopping bags, Tsubaki has already snatched them away from me.

“Hinata-san, please take your time with Mom.”
“Eh? But…”
“You were the one who did the cooking last time, so it’s my turn today.”

I can say nothing back to the best-quality smile that she shows me, so I decide to accept her offer and relax. For now, I return to sit next to Hiori. Although, I have no idea what to do next. Maybe I’ll put on the TV or something…

“………”
“What may seem to be the matter, Hiori-san?”

I can feel a piercing glare coming from my side. I can’t bear with it for long, so I try calling out to her. Although when I give her a glance, I can see that she’s in a terrible mood.

“Hinata… you’re always sweet to Tsubaki. You’re quick to fawn on her, and you’re overprotective when it concerns her.”
“R-really? I mean, Tsubaki is a good girl, and she’s kind, too… Besides, since she’s your daughter, I end up thinking of her as a child that I need to protect? Something like that?”
“…What’s with that?”

It seems that she’s not satisfied with the excuse that I make at my wits’ end. Although, her cheeks are tinged red when she turns her face away. I don’t know if she’s angry, or embarrassed about it… But at least, it seems that her mood has improved.

“Perhaps… I should help with cooking every once in a while.”
“Hold it right there.”

Hiori gets up from the sofa to head towards the kitchen, so I grab her arm in a hurry.

“W-what?”
“Well… you can just take a seat, Hiori. I’ll help instead.”
“Tsubaki said no earlier, didn’t she? Or what, are you trying to stop me from cooking?”
“………”
“Why are you looking away?”

Hiori is dexterous, and she can do anything. But of course, every human has their shortcomings. In Hiori’s case, cooking is one of her weaknesses. No matter what she tries to cook, the result isn’t what anyone would call food. Even though I had tried teaching her all the steps from scratch, it’s a wonder how she would always fail somewhere. If Hiori is cooking me something, I would eat it until the plate is clean. But, I saw hell the last time I did it… How I wish to forget about that time.

“I can help with a few things at least, right?”
“Uuh… I’m worried.”
“If you’re that worried about it, how about you come and watch?”
“Okay, okay, I’ll do just that.”

I follow her lead and get up from the sofa. I’ll keep an eye on her so that we won’t have some mysterious food X as our dinner. Hmm… I think this will be our first time gathering in the kitchen.

“Hinata.”
“Hm?”

Hiori calls my name, so I turn towards her. She comes close and suddenly sandwiches my face with her hands. Then, I can feel a peck on my forehead. It happened in a really short time, but I could feel the soft sensation clearly. The place where she kissed me feels warm. It does make me happy… but why the forehead?

 

“I love you.”

 

The charming smile that she rarely shows, as well as the words that she normally wouldn’t say, makes me blush helplessly. I feel cheated by her surprise attack, but I have no complaint because I’m happy about it. Well, not minding about the little things is one of the weaknesses of being in love. Although I still have doubts if I’m really the right person for her, as long as my love is stronger, I’m sure it will turn out just fine.

 

“I love you, too.”

 

Although it feels embarrassing, I reply in a similar manner.

She smiles happily, seemingly satisfied with my answer. She’s my beloved person, and I want to see her smile, always. I want to protect her smile. Then, my face forms a smile on its own.

We both laugh with our cheeks still red.

 

 

 

 

——This moment really feels like a dream.

 

 

 

 


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7 thoughts on “Warm Place Extra 6

  1. Yes. I heard the Squeeing. I shall Join!
    SQUEEEEEE!!!! THEY’RE FINALLY OFFICIAL!!
    Ehem.

    °The next day in class°

    Tsubaki: I walked in on my parents flirting yesterday.
    Tsubaki’s Friend: What’s the matter with that? It’s good that your parents are lovey lovey
    Tsubaki: It’s not that! I may have interested they’re first kiss! Even though it took a year to get to this point!!
    Tsubaki’s friend: WHAT IS WITH YOUR FAMILY??!!

    Liked by 5 people

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