Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
Today is a holiday, but I get up early in the morning, like always, as part of my exercise routine with grandpa. When I was a child, I was extremely weak, but I’ve come to like these activities. Sometimes, his friends also join us. They teach me many things, so it ends up being very productive.
After we finished the workout, I start cooking rice for lunch. Grandpa can make it, too, but his is very rough and frankly not tasty at all.
Sometime later, Reika woke up and walked into the living room.
“R–Reika! T–This is grandpa’s house! You should get dressed properly!”
“Nnh…? Oh, I forgot… Yeah, Toshiki, help me change my clothes… Mmm…”
She’s not a morning person, so she rarely is well-dressed in the morning. It’s been that way ever since she was a child.
I quickly grab some loungewear and put it on Reika. She’s wearing shorts under her, erm, shirt, but… I try not to look as much as possible.
Then, I lead her to the washroom.
“Okay, let’s wash your face… Okay, now I’ll wipe it with a towel.”
“Mmm… nhn~ mmm~”
I gently wipe Reika’s face, and soon she gradually began to wake up to her surroundings. Stretching, she snuggled her face into my shoulder.
We were as close as when we were kids… It’s a bit embarrassing now since we’ve grown a bit, but I don’t hate it at all…
“Nnnhrg~ —Toshiki, good morning!”
“Good morning, Reika.”
Then, we left the washroom and ate breakfast together with Grandpa. Days like these were special to me, moments of respite with the people I love. That alone makes me happy.
All I want is to grow old and live this happiness until the day I die.
“Hey hey, Toshiki, Grandpa kinda looks like Raoh¹, doesn’t he?”
“From Fist of the North Star? … Oh, he looks a lot like him.”
“… Is this Raoh handsome? Let me see,” Grandpa got curious.
She then showed him a manga. He looked satisfied upon seeing Raoh. The scene unfolding before me was kinda funny.
Grandpa loves Reika, Mr. Sakashita’s daughter, very much… And I do too.
I played with her every single day until I turned six, though I only remember bits and pieces. The shock from losing my father made my memories fuzzy.
“Hm? Toshiki, you’re not gonna eat that omelet? I’ll take it then!”
She leaned over to me, trying to yoink my omelet. Inevitably, our bodies touch. I’ve never minded it before, but recently any sort of contact with her made me feel embarrassed.
“R–Reika, I’ll give it to you, just wait a sec…”
“Yeah, yeah, then feed it to me like you did when we were kids.”
Despite being fidgety, I managed to grab the omelet with my chopsticks and feed it to her.
“Hmm, I’m looking forward to my great-grandchildren.”
Reika’s face turned flaming red at his words. My previous embarrassment worsened, and I shrunk back into a shell…
Sometimes, Grandpa is not home due to work. That can happen even on the weekends.
“I’m going to work. If you’re gonna go to town, be careful,” he said, leaving the house with a huge backpack on his back.
Reika and I were going to see a movie today, so after seeing him off, we went into our rooms and started changing. I have zero fashion sense, so I put on the clothes she picked for me the other day and moved to the washroom.
Waxing my hair is something I never really do, so my hairdo came from the bro at the salon Reika and I went together a few days back.
After finishing getting ready, I called out to her.
“Hey, I’m ready~! How’s it going over there~?”
“Oi, you’re fast~! Wait a sec~!”
I decided to sip some tea while waiting for her in the living room, sitting on the couch… Oh, now that I think about it, I’ve been receiving a ton of messages from Hayakawa.
“I’m supposed to meet Hirano after my part-time job.”
“For some reason, I’m supposed to tag along with his training…”
“Sh*t, I’m gonna throw up… Why the hell am I boxing?!”
I gently close my phone…
Yup, I’ll hear more from him later in the week.
While I kept waiting for Reika, I reply to a message from Nakajima, the junior girl from the manga club… Come to think of it, she’s always asking about Hayakawa, isn’t she?
Even back when I was friends with Mashima, it was often only Hayakawa and I. That’s because I didn’t have many opportunities to talk to her at school… She was always off somewhere.
Believe it or not, even I, an insensitive person, can tell that Nakajima is interested in Hayakawa. Everyone falls in love, after all. I’ve loved Mashima… Though, in hindsight, I don’t know if it was real love or what.
Shutting my thoughts, a slamming sound echoed by the stairs of my house.
“Sorry, sorry, I’m late! —O–Oh, hey, what a line, sounds like you’re meeting someone for a date…”
“Haha, I just got here… Eh, Reika… This atmosphere is totally, um…”
After my eyes landed on her, I dropped my phone with a plop.
Whenever we went out together, she always wore a t-shirt and pants combo, which made her look more tomboyish… However, she wore a dress and a fluffy jacket.
I have no idea what it was called. I’m not even sure if it’s a one-piece dress or something like that.
Regardless, all I can tell you is that… She was drop-dead gorgeous.
“Ehehe, surprised~? I worked hard to get dressed up for today. Hey, hey, c’mon, say something.”
I was too dazzled by Reika to even look at her, and my flustered attitude pleased her.
“Enough teasing you, we’ve got time, so let’s go!”
She reached out her hand to me, and grabbing it I stood up.
“Reika, you’re stunning,” these were short words, but they came from the heart nonetheless.
She fidgeted at my sudden compliment.
“H–Hey, Toshiki! I–I can’t believe you’re flattering me…”
“It’s not flattery, you are stunning.”
“I–I see, thanks. You look cool too, Toshiki…”
“T–Thanks… Well then, let’s go.”
Nervous, I tenderly squeeze her hand and lead her along. I’m the one doing the escorting today.
We walked out of the front door, and once again our fingers intertwined as we headed back to the city. I stole a glance at her from beside me, and she looked extremely happy.
Just one glance is enough to warm my entire heart. She gives me peace.
And it was then I had a thought. Maybe I was hurting myself without even knowing it all this time.
As we walked, I felt a sharp glare at us from the neighbor’s window, but we both didn’t care. Mashima was no longer a concern.
All I needed from Reika was a smile, and that was enough to fill my heart —Suddenly, an image suddenly flashed in my mind. When I was just a child, Reika and I held hands and happily walked through a flower field. I loved her smile then.
I felt a strange feeling well up inside, rising up from the bottom of my heart. It wasn’t that feeling of love I felt for Mashima, nor was it familial affection… I had no clue as to what it was.
Despite that, I let the emotions flow without pushing them away—
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