TL: Update on the survey Link
“…… Hey Ayana, what did I do?”
“…… I don’t think you did anything.”
There was me and Ayana, looking at the house from a distance, not sneaking into it. For me, it’s my house, and for Ayana, it’s like half her house, so why don’t we just go in? But there is a reason why we can’t do that.
“…..Sis is late”
A woman was twilight in front of my house, looking at her phone. She was waiting in front of the house, which probably means that she has something to do with one of the family members who is not at home. But her appearance is …… something scary. I’d say it’s Yankee-like, or that the atmosphere has a thorn in its side.
“I’ve never seen him before, but I wonder who she is.””
“……A debt collector?”
There shouldn’t be any debts in my family… Well, I wouldn’t know unless I ask my mom about money-related matters, but at least we’re not living a life where debt collectors come to our home, I think.
…Okay, there’s no point in just standing here. I gather my courage and approach the woman. I told Ayana to wait there, but she won’t leave my side, making a fist and insisting that she won’t let go.
The woman notices us as we get closer. Up close, she’s probably in her late 30s? Even so, she’s incredibly beautiful. She looks at me, her eyes widen in surprise, and then she opens her mouth, seemingly at a loss for words.
“C-Could it be, Towa-kun?”
Towa-kun, let’s ignore the “-kun” for now, but hearing my name being called, I’m taken aback. Ayana also lets out a small “Eh?” At this reaction, the woman runs up to me.
“Uwaa, Towa-kun, you’ve grown so much! Yeah, you’re such a good-looking man! I can understand why Sis would be proud of you!”
Saying that, the woman hugs me tightly. Her scary atmosphere from earlier changes so drastically that I’m a little dumbfounded. Ayana’s cheeks are puffed up, but she seems to have stopped saying anything when she saw the happy woman’s face.
“Oops, I’m sorry. I was just so happy …… hmmm, where should I start explaining? Let me first introduce myself. I am Kanzaki Eto and an old acquaintance of Towa’s mother, I guess you could say that.”
My mother had a friend like her …… Anyway, Ayana and I brought the woman, Kanzaki-san, up to my house. She showed us a photo she had been carrying around, and my mother was clearly standing right next to Kanazaki-san in it. Perhaps because of that, Ayana and I were much less guarded.
“Then when Sis got a boyfriend, she suddenly became really gentle. She, who was once called Yasha-hime and feared by others, became scared instead.”
“…..Yasha-hime?” [TL:Demon Princess]
“That was the nickname she had.”
Mom didn’t like to talk much about the past. She could tell me some things, but I didn’t know that she had been given such an embarrassing nickname.
As we talked with Kanzaki-san, Mom came home.
“I’m home~ Eh, Kanzaki!?”
It turns out they really did know each other. I had my doubts, of course. Even my mother was surprised that Kanzaki-san came over today. But she was happy to see her after so long, and we decided to eat dinner together.
“I’ll help too!”
“It’s okay, Ayana-chan. Leave it to me.”
I chuckled at the disappointed look on Ayana’s face. She seemed to enjoy cooking with my mother and always helped out whenever she came over. As I watched her return reluctantly, Kanzaki-san asked me a question.
“By the way, I can’t believe a cute girl like her is Towa’s girlfriend. You two look good together, but how did you manage to catch her?”
As she asked, I was about to explain that there were various reasons, but Ayana cut in, hugging my arm tightly and speaking strongly to Kanzaki-san.
“I was caught from the beginning. Body, heart, and everything! So there’s no room for anyone else to come between us!”
Ayana’s strong words made Kanzaki-san roll her eyes. To tell you the truth, I was surprised to hear Ayana say it so strongly. Ayana looked at me with a huff, buried her face in my chest, and told me why.
“…It’s just a little jealousy. I get upset when Towa-kun talks to other girls. I know I should try to fix it…I really do.”
Ayana fell silent after saying that. From her demeanor, it was clear that she was troubled by her own shortcomings. But from my perspective, even that side of Ayana was cute…I guess that’s just the weakness of being in love. As I gently stroked her head, Kanzaki-san watched us with a smile, as if watching something heartwarming.
“It’s nice to see that kind of thing. A happy scene can make everyone around you smile.”
“Is that so?”
“Well…in a way, it’s tough for me since I don’t have a man.”
I couldn’t really say much in response to that. But despite my initial suspicions, I felt that Kanzaki-san was a really nice person after talking to her for a little while. Of course, part of it might be because I’m still a kid and she’s an adult, but I sensed something comforting and motherly about her, like my own mom.
“Is there anyone you like, Kazanki-san?”
“Ooh~, you’re curious, aren’t you, Towa? To be honest, I like women.”
I didn’t mean to deny or judge same-sex relationships, but I was taken aback by her sudden coming out and my response was delayed. Ayana quickly moved away from Kanzaki-san. Kanzaki-san waved her hands, denying it was a joke.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Ayana-chan, you’re being mean! You didn’t have to move away like that.”
“I’m sorry…I just…”
“…That reaction hurts me a little, you know.”
There was a heavy silence as Kanzaki-san became dejected, but despite all the ups and downs, it seemed like Ayana and Kanzaki-san were starting to get along. At that moment, my mom arrived with some food.
“Alright, it’s done! I’m sorry it’s just something simple like fried chicken and nikujaga.” (stewed meat and potatoes)
“That’s totally fine, Sis. Anything you make is delicious!”
Kanzaki-san happily received the dishes and arranged them. I helped carry the remaining dishes, and we began our dinner with this new acquaintance, Kanzaki-san.
“Sis, Towa has really become a handsome guy, you know?”
“Yes, he has! Towa looks just like him, and he’s handsome and kind… I love him so much, Towa~!!”
“…Mom, you smell like alcohol.”
I’m happy to be hugged, but she really does smell like alcohol… come to think of it, something like this has happened before.
“Ayana-chan, you’re not jealous of Sis, are you?”
“Of course not. She’s Towa-kun’s mother, right? It’s only natural.”
“…But your pupils are dilated.”
“Did you say something?”
“! No! I said nothing!”
In any case, it’s a lively atmosphere. Personally, I don’t dislike it. Sometimes I want to spend time quietly, but when people gather like this, it’s nice to be lively.
“…Hey, Eto, am I really able to properly interact with Towa as a parent?”
“What are you saying, Sis? Towa-kun’s smile is proof enough, isn’t it?”
“But what if it’s a fake smile? Ever since that accident, Towa has been… for so long…!”
…It was just for a moment. For a moment, a scene that I had never seen before flashed through my head.
The sight of Ayana-chan comforting my mother, who was crying… and the sight of Kanzaki-san, who was looking at my mother, had a frightening expression that I couldn’t imagine from the girlfriend in front of me.
In front of me, my mother clings to me, and Ayana-chan and Kanzaki-san talk as if they’re good friends… the scene I just saw was so unlikely that I shake my head to forget it.
“By the way, Ayana-chan, didn’t you have any rivals when it came to getting together with Towa-kun?”
“Ah, that’s something I’m curious about too. You two have always been close, but were there any rivals?”
As the two of them asked their question, Ayana tilted her head, not understanding what they were talking about.
“A rival refers to someone who is an equal opponent, right? There is no such thing as a rival to my feelings for Towa-kun. ……”
“……that’s great, Ayana-chan!”
Ayana laughed through her nose, and for some reason, my mother and her friend started applauding. Then, somehow, it turned into a time for Ayana to talk about how she felt about me to the two of them. In many ways, I couldn’t join in on that conversation, so I sat alone and ate the nikujaga that my mother had made.