While enjoying a famous confectionery called “Shingen Mochi” on the riverside, there was a troubled student sitting alone. That student is me, Yukito Kokonoe.
Going back home feels like an unbearable chore. I fall into a delinquent-like thinking, where my family environment is in disarray.
I thought my mother had no interest in me. I thought my sister hated me. That’s how it was supposed to be. And it was fine that way. Everything was going smoothly. There were no problems. I believed that causing trouble and disappearing would bring peaceful days. That was my understanding of filial piety. That was my norm.
But suddenly, everything that was normal and ordinary for me changed completely.
Why did they suddenly become kind?
I wipe off the black honey that got on my lips with a pocket tissue.
No, there’s no way that my superior beings, my mother and sister, could be wrong. They are different from me, a lowly creature.
My mother and sister have always been kind. It was me who didn’t understand.
I came all this way without knowing. Kindness, the meaning of it. Contrary to the clear blue sky, my mood is gloomy, and I delay going home, lingering in this dusk.
One day, when I returned home, my mother and sister were wearing reverse bunny outfits.
Due to the outrageous act of Sekka Kokonoe, the Kokonoe family was swept up in an unprecedented reverse bunny craze.
I feel like I’m already dead.
Unable to hide my confusion, I gather my courage and ask my sister about the intention behind it.
“Ha? It’s the Year of the Rabbit, you know.”
She’s absolutely right, but I lack the intellectual capacity to understand the correctness of her response.
I seek help at the Himiyama residence, but even Himiyama-san is wearing a reverse bunny outfit.
Like Alice lost in Wonderland, the collapse of common sense.
Perhaps I have wandered into a world not of another dimension, but a world of reversed values.
So now, I am a stranger wandering, searching for an exit in this unfamiliar land.
My mother is currently in the midst of her “Mother training,” and she mistakenly sees me as an infant or a baby.
After all, she sometimes talks to me in baby language. All I can manage is babbling in response.
When did common sense get so distorted? Will the days when I can be at ease ever return?
Once I return home, it’s immediately a battlefield.
I am spoiled as quickly as the wind, as quietly as the forest, as fiercely as the fire, and as unmoving and spoiled as the mountain. Of course, they are also pampered as if with shadows and thunder.
With the strategies of my mother and sister, using the “Kōyō Gunkan” military tactics, I am undoubtedly being conquered.
A message arrives on my smartphone. It’s Hīmizan-san, a master strategist known for corrupting me.
As I read the content, I spew out a mouthful of roasted soybean flour and start running.
“Yes. My brother wants you, Yukito-kun, to participate too.”
I’m taken aback by this unexpected request.
Involuntarily, my hand stops as I’m about to eat a plateful of cherries. They’re in season and delicious.
I received a shocking email from Himiyama-san saying, “I’m pregnant with a baby♪,” and I hurriedly came here, but now that I think about it, I had no reason to panic.
Dangerous, dangerous. What was I getting all worked up about… Safe.
“What’s wrong, Yukito-kun? Don’t you like cherries?”
I start sweating. My mind is in complete chaos. I can’t comprehend anything that’s being said.
The vital signs indicate abnormalities in my breathing, pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and level of consciousness.
I may have the strongest mental fortitude to watch horror movies with an expressionless face, but when it comes to genuine paranormal phenomena, I’m utterly defeated. My gaze wanders in empty space, suffering a merciless defeat.
I never had a sixth sense before. But now, I’m trapped in a situation where I can see things that even a sadistic clown would be shocked by. I pick up a cherry with trembling hands.
I can see it. From the slightly open collar, I can see something that I shouldn’t be seeing, something belonging to Himiyama-san.
“Cherry boys are easily stimulated…”
“Do you really want to eat cherries that badly? It’s okay, you can have them anytime.”
“Fufu… fufufu…Looks like you finally pissed me off. ……”
She leans over and talks to me with her sweet breath in my ear.
The performance of semiconductors doubles every one and a half to two years. This is known as “Moore’s Law.” However, unlike Moore, this Himiyama-san has no upper limit to the increase in her likability.
I can’t help but feel a sense of crisis. From the moment I met her until now, the pace of increase in likability has been twice as fast as before. It just keeps going up. I beg you, please stop!
If things continue like this, me eating cherries, may end up being devoured by Himiyama-san.
So, the strategist, Yukito Kokonoe, came up with a plan while being blown by the south-eastern wind.
It’s called the “Operation Lower Himiyama-san’s Likability.”
Upon researching, I found that sexual harassment is the most off-putting characteristic of men for women. It includes things like unwanted physical contact and sexually suggestive remarks.
Even though Himiyama-san is nothing but kind and well-meaning, I have to put this into practice. I’m sorry, Himiyama-san!
“Hehehe. You seem to have quite an impressive thing there. Don’t underestimate me. Shall I play with that beautiful cherry of yours and turn it into an American cherry?”
I swiftly lift Himiyama-san’s chin with my right hand, barely brushing my left hand against her ample cleavage. I look into her eyes from above as if I were showing her a hypnosis app.
A moment of silence. The only sound that echoes is the gulp of Himiyama-san swallowing her saliva.
Her eyes glisten. Her luscious lips slowly part.
“…Are….you serious… I am marked as a defective product, a woman disqualified from being a woman. Do you really desire someone like me? Why are you so—-
Huh? That’s strange. Even though I’m engaging in sexual harassment, her likability is increasing. It feels like the level-up sound is playing in succession, just like when defeating an experienced metal monster.
Wait, could it be that I fell for false information!?
Somehow, Himiyama-san has firmly held my left hand without me realizing it. Let go of me!
What are you planning to do with my hand? Hey, the sensation of cherries!?
I met my demise. I’ll leave the rest to the next generation of Yukito Kokonoe. I’m counting on you, buddy!
“You gave me a coin before, right? The person was deeply moved by it. And Yukito, I know school has been tough for you. That’s why he was so concerned about you.”
“I’m the one who should be grateful.”
I don’t know the details, but I heard that she made a great effort to have my suspension lifted.
Although I am truly grateful to Himiyama-san, but I can’t shake off my discomfort towards her.
Oh, pink ……. I’m talking about cherries, right? I don’t have any other intention. I’m just saying that I don’t!
“They had been together for a long time, but they couldn’t have children, so they couldn’t make a decision about marriage. However, when the pregnancy was confirmed, everything changed. My brother was delighted, but the concern of being an older parent weighed on him. That’s when he received courage from you, and he was really happy about it.”
I had heard that they were getting married before, but I had no idea how it happened.
Come to think of it, Himiyama-san also said that she broke off her engagement due to infertility.
As a woman of the same sex, she may have had some feelings about it.
But I am a complete outsider, and I don’t even know them.
Himiyama-san’s brother holds an important position, and the scale of his wedding is quite large.
The number of guests invited is also far removed from a typical wedding.
The actual number of guests invited to the wedding ceremony is also far from the norm.
The wedding ceremony is a big event, and the number of guests is quite large.
“Don’t worry, Yukito, you’ll be sitting with me in the family section.”
Eh, I’m a relative of Himiyama-san? I’m too scared to mention it any more.
“I heard that if you can tie the stem of a cherry in your mouth, you are a good kisser.”
The stem was elegantly tied on the mischievous tongue that playfully flicked. It had turned into a beautiful six-pointed star.
“Too much skill!”
How skilled is she in kissing? What depths of technique does she possess, mysterious person?
“Wanna give it a try?”
“I think I might lose all strength, so I’ll pass.”
“Ara, what a pity.”
Considering the current state where I’m already being figuratively “weakened” by my mother, becoming even more like a spineless creature is undesirable. Being completely crushed is the least of my concerns.
Now that my attempts to lower her affection have all failed, I feel powerless.
I’ve tried various things, you know. When asked about fashion preferences, I provocatively said, “How about naked suspenders? Well, it’s probably too much for you, Himiyama-san (laughs).” But when she actually went and changed clothes, I realized it was impossible to lower her affection.
Why did I make such a foolish comment? Regret knows no bounds.
In other words, Himiyama-san’s current appearance and good behavior is (self-regulation).
For some reason, I try to ask a question that I’ve been hesitant to ask. It may be a good opportunity.
“Why are you so kind to me, Himiyama-san?”
The air felt frozen. The seductive atmosphere from earlier dissipated, replaced by a bitter and pained expression on Himiyama-san’s face.
There was something familiar about that expression… I managed to gather my thoughts and spoke.
“…No, I’m not kind. ….I am a liar”
She weakly laughed. Her body trembled uncontrollably. Her lowered figure seemed fragile, as if it would break under the slightest pressure.
I was at a loss for words. Insensitively, I had hurt Himiyama-san, who had shown me such kindness.
“Mother said that doing this would make you feel at ease.”
I lightly embraced her, as if touching something delicate, so as not to break her fragile body.
I was nothing more than a stranger to her, and this was my limit. Even if I were accused of sexual harassment, there was no helping it.
Still, I felt it was necessary. My mother’s teachings were absolute.
“I don’t lie.”
“—–! Right… Your words were true. But I didn’t believe them…”
Himiyama-san’s choked sob escaped. She buried her face in my chest and simply cried.
I realized that I didn’t understand the meaning behind those tears. Our relationship remained vague, based on what I didn’t know. It was unstable and fragile, on the verge of breaking.
Was it because of built-up stress? Being a working adult is harsh.
As long as it’s my chest, I’ll always lend it to her. That’s the only thing I can do.
After some time had passed and Himiyama-san had freshened up her makeup a bit, we were once again eating cherries together. I felt like my fondness for her was growing even stronger.
“Don’t worry about the gift or attire. It was a sudden request, so we’ll take care of everything.”
It was a very kind gesture. Then I suddenly remembered.
“What’s the matter, Yukito-kun?”
“I remember now. My mother mentioned that she would also be attending the wedding… and the venue is the same.”
“Is that so?”
“Wait a moment. Let me confirm.”
I quickly dialed my mother’s number, and she answered almost immediately.
[Oh, Mom. I have something to ask. No, not about measurements. Eh, I’m not dating anyone, so I’m free? What are you talking about? I’m the type of guy you like? What are you–]
My mother kindly told me things I didn’t ask about. She truly is a saint.
I managed to finish the conversation. Can you believe such a coincidence?
“It seems that Himiyama-san’s brother is marrying one of my mother’s friends.”