〜From Kotaro Nakagishi’s Point of View~
I had lunch at a ramen shop with a good reputation and smoked at the smoking area outside.
The price of cigarettes has gone up recently, but as a single guy, I don’t mind that much.
However, I would quit if the price exceeds 1,000 yen.
“Fu…..I said the same thing when they were at ¥500.”
In other words, I can’t quit smoking.
In effect, I’ve lost to nicotine.
Now it’s May and a little warmer. If it had been a little colder, today’s ramen would have tasted even better.
“Oh, Uncle Kotaro!”
I met an unexpected person while smoking.
Her name is Yuri Nakagishi.
She graduated from college this year.
She is the daughter of my brother and a cousin of Ryosuke’s.
She was in the same class at the high school Ryosuke transferred to, so she helped him a lot.
“You’re single and smoke cigarettes?”
“It’s none of your business.”
But unlike Ryosuke, she is cocky.
She is probably the only person who would ever tell a 40-year-old man that I am single without hesitation.
Well, that’s the cute part.
“It’s been what, ……4 years since you graduated high school? The ramen here is delicious.”
“Haa? Spoiling the mood and all that?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
She’s a hell of a niece.
A little distance away stood a petite woman who bowed politely when our …… eyes met.
Come to think of it, Yuri received an invitation too.
“…… looking forward to it tomorrow, huh?”
“Yes! We can eat delicious food!”
“…… I see.”
It’s a statement that is hard to believe for a 22-year-old woman.
As the two of us are chatting and laughing, a person comes out of the ramen shop,……, probably an employee of the store from the way she is dressed.
“We have reservation for Honoka Matsumoto-sama, will you come in?”
“Ah! Well then, Uncle Araphor! I’m off!”
She hurriedly entered the restaurant with the other girl whose name was called —- Honoka Matsumoto.
You are lucky this is a friendly place, normally I would have been called away and skipped a turn, right?
I put out my cigarette and got in the car.
And please stop calling me uncle Araphor.
As I drove, I thought about Kaede.
Even though it was a seed that I sowed myself, I felt so sorry for her. She had loved her brother so much, but now he can’t recognize her anymore.
All memories of her disappeared without a trace, and even if she stood in front of him, he couldn’t see her.
The distraught look Kaede showed at that time was extraordinary. It was so terrible that I still see it in my dreams. Her life with Ryosuke was probably the most important thing to her,……, but the possibility of spending time with him in the future has been cut off, and to top it all off, even the precious memories have disappeared from his mind.
Kaede could not accept this fact.
Both Rinka and I were terrified that she might have lost her mind.
Kaede was a terrible sister who had wronged Ryosuke, but she was still a niece to me and a precious daughter to Rinka.
So it was always painful for Rinka to see her spending her days in a state of abandonment.
But …… Kaede’s spirit was incredibly resilient, and within a month she was back on her feet on her own, this time with new means to get her hands on Ryosuke.
I think I understand why Ryosuke felt she was a monster. It was the first time even I, who had been involved with many famous people, had seen someone with such a strong heart.
—— Kaede had been working as a model in the shadows, but now she began to appear on TV to catch Ryosuke’s eye.
And day by day, her appearance is becoming more and more beautiful.
It is not a plastic surgery, but …… she grew into a goddess like woman as if she was guided by God, and became a shining presence.
Kaede is active as an actress.
After four years, she has become a beautiful, ladylike, and perfect woman who no one knows.
The reason she was able to work so hard was because she thought that the more active she was, the more likely she was to be seen by Ryosuke. ……So, in pursuit of this unfounded possibility, she is living a life of bloodletting and hard work.
“Still,…… it was no good, but…”
Ryosuke still can’t see Kaede.
I feel sorry for her …… but I do not wish for her efforts to be rewarded.
If that happens, it will destroy Ryosuke.
Since the incident at the hospital, Ryosuke has been unable to recognize Kaede,…… otherwise, it seems that Ryosuke would have been completely broken at that time.
The doctor says that by erasing his sister’s existence from his mind, he has managed to escape the collapse and keep his ego intact.
If it had been otherwise, he would have become a cripple.
If Mai had not come, Ryosuke would have been completely finished.
I still can’t forgive her no matter how I think about it.
But she is my niece, so I can’t destroy her entertainment activities. There are quite a few Ryosuke-related stories that I could destroy, but if I put them out there, I would lose the means to get Ryosuke to recognize me, and in turn, there is a very high possibility that Kaede will be destroyed.
However, if I leave it at that, it will continue to have a negative impact on Ryosuke.
The more famous she becomes, the harder it will be for him to live.
I was quite distressed.
“The hospital incident…… also turned out to be a distraught thing because I was worried about my little brother. I got beat up a little, but it made my big sister who loves her brother.”
It was horrible that I even used that hospital fiasco to my advantage, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about how I wish she hadn’t been so obsessed with Ryosuke.
“….. Is it really worth worrying about on a happy day?”
Tomorrow is the wedding for Ryosuke and Mai, who graduated from college. It’s the big event I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I got the invitation, I really have.
“This year Ryosuke will be 22 years old…… Time goes by way too fast at my age.”
I lit up a new cigarette.
I’ve decided that I won’t smoke one tomorrow, so I’ll smoke today while I can.