“I’m sorry, you know? You came along all the way, and I couldn’t help you.”
“I should be sorry. I’m the one who couldn’t be of assistance. Let’s go for a custom-built PC.”
“I’m not very knowledgeable about machines, so I’ll leave it to Yukito-kun.”
Although I went with Himiyama-san to an electronics store, I ended up not accomplishing our goal and just returned home. Himiyama-san had been considering buying a desktop computer, but she couldn’t find one that suited her needs. This was just a date at the electronics store that made her happy.
“But really, this thing about gaming PCs, huh? Before I knew it, it’s all about that. I don’t play games on my computer, so I don’t care much about the performance.”
“Indeed, it’s hard to imagine Himiyama-san headshotting enemies in an FPS, while chatting… “
The gentle older sister, Himiyama-san, firing guns indiscriminately in an FPS while typing in chat was a surreal image. Some people have a personality change when they get behind the wheel of a car, so I couldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility. I had worried that she might be harboring stress and had descended into darkness, but it was good that it wasn’t the case.
I hoped she’d continue to stay unaffected by such things in the future.
“But why is it shining so much? Is there a reason for that, Yukito-kun?”
“It’s the ‘Decotora Theory’.”
“Just because it looks cool when it’s shining, it became like that due to a misconception.”
“So, is it really just shining for no reason?”
“It’s really just shining.”
“Does that have any meaning?”
“Such rational observations can sometimes be quite cruel.”
So, after that (?), having given up on the gaming PC, we decided to order a custom-built one.
Since Himiyama-san doesn’t feel any romanticism about a shining computer, she just wants something simple that can handle Office and PowerPoint. She doesn’t even need a graphics card. Being inexperienced, she’s quite relaxed about market prices, and she’s prepared an exorbitant budget, so there’s no shortage of options.
That’s fine, but I wondered why Himiyama-san suddenly wanted to buy a computer, so I asked a straightforward question.
“Did you suddenly need a computer for something?”
“I thought I shouldn’t remain trapped forever and need to move forward.”
A kind gaze turned toward me. Even though we couldn’t achieve our goal during the outing, Himiyama-san, walking beside me on the way home, seemed somewhat cheerful and happy.
“I see. I think the same way.”
“Yukito-kun, you really don’t understand much, do you? I don’t think such casual responses are appropriate.”
“That’s strange. Doesn’t polite language work? Isn’t it supposed to smooth things over if you just say yes to everything during conversations with women?!”
“Isn’t that a pretty big prejudice?”
“Expecting social skills from an introverted loner like me is quite troublesome.”
Especially when the other party is Himiyama-san, who can be considered a natural enemy. It’s only natural for tension to rise in such situations.
And hey, I didn’t mention it, but she’s crossing my arms right now.
Her chest is touching meeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Foooooooooooooooooooo!
“Yukito-kun, do you have a girlfriend?”
“My ‘no girlfriend’ streak equals my age. I strongly protest against this bullying question.”
“Oh, you’re saying that. —– Is it okay if I seriously harass you then?”
Himiyama-san swiftly moved her body, and in an instant, the sensation of her arm against mine changed from earlier to undeniably soft. I could feel the warmth of her skin through her thin clothes.
“I took it off♪”
“I will get down on my knees with all my heart, so please forgive me.”
“Of course. You’d want to feel it directly, right?”
“That’s a terrible misinterpretation on par with fabrication!”
My arm was tightly held, and I couldn’t move. During this time, the sensation continued to transmit directly.
“Don’t worry. This is just a way of saying thank you. You can consider it a freebie.”
“I believe this is a full count with two outs in the ninth.”
“It would be embarrassing for me too if it’s outside, so how about once we’re back home?”
“I deeply realize that mutual understanding is just an illusion.”
Ultimately, humans are foolish creatures who cannot truly understand each other. My fate was about to be sealed.
As I was desperately trying to find a way out of this predicament, Himiyama-san’s words, which she probably didn’t think too much about, lingered in my ears.
“But, Yukito-kun, wouldn’t you be popular with the ladies?”
Those words were casually spoken, without any particular intention behind them. However, I couldn’t help but be intrigued, perhaps due to the situation I found myself in.
“It’s not like that at all. And I don’t want to be popular. To keep thinking about someone who can only choose one person, someone I can’t even choose, is not rewarding.”
There are people who can casually date multiple individuals, and it might be true that it’s about having that kind of capacity. However, I don’t possess such a capacity.
I can’t act innocent like a harem protagonist.
Being unable to feel for someone, I don’t even have the qualification to be felt for.
Both Hinagi and Shiori probably have wonderful encounters awaiting them in the future.
Not encounters like the unpleasant ones I have, but rather fateful ones. There will surely be someone who treasures me the most. Someone who is blessed by everyone. Unlike me, they possess that kind of charm.
If a romantic relationship can only be formed when the vectors of emotions point in the same direction, then I can’t respond to anyone’s affection. A one-way street that won’t be fulfilled.
“It’s nothing. Let’s go back.”
Shaking off those thoughts. Will the day come when I can respond to someone?
Even if I fantasize about such an illusion, it’s meaningless.
“Since that day, you’ve remained strong, unchanged. But that strength of yours will surely—”
Himiyama-san starts saying something, and her grip on my arm tightens. Despite it being the height of summer, her body presses firmly against mine. Even someone caught in a snowstorm wouldn’t stick this closely, would they?
“Thank you (please step back a bit).”
“Isn’t your true feelings the opposite of what you’re saying?”
“I’m an honest person. If you keep up, I’ll truthfully point out the things you’d rather keep hidden in your mouth.”
“Fufufu. I wouldn’t want to see where Oceanus, the sea god, vomits.”
It’s clearly difficult to walk like this, but Himiyama-san doesn’t seem to care.
As we walk through the arcade, Himiyama-san stops in front of a miscellaneous goods store.
“Would you like to take a look, Yukito-kun?”
“Yes. I don’t have any bags, so it’s fine.”
The shop isn’t particularly spacious, but it’s crammed with antiques and small items. For someone like me who isn’t familiar with these things, it’s refreshing.
Needless to say, my room is devoid of any interior decoration. I miss that overly barren room. Now, my mother and sister have invaded my room with their belongings.
Take your beauty products back to your own room! Whose private things are those rubber items placed beside the pillow!
“This placemat is lovely. Should I buy it? Yukito, do you want anything?”
“I have no sense for these things.”
“That’s surprising. You seem knowledgeable about everything.”
“No one like that exists.”
Sadly, I lack even a fragment of aesthetic sense. For the time being, I believe that black is the answer to everything.
Because I’m an introverted loner! Apparently, saying that recently sounds like a self-deprecating boast and makes people uncomfortable. Sorry.
Do I really need clothes other than tracksuits and pajamas? That’s the feeling I’m starting to have.
“Is there something as a memento… Oh, how about this, Yukito? Let’s get the matching set of mugs.”
“Well, that’s a bit…”
Himiyama-san holds two mugs with a smile. They come in a set of two as a pair. If she and I were to use these, it would be ridiculously unnatural.
I mean, it might be a bit presumptuous, but even the shopkeeper is looking at us like, “What kind of relationship are these two in…?” I want to know what kind of relationship we’re perceived to have. I think it’s probably seen as a sugar mommy relationship.
“I just moved here, so I haven’t prepared any tableware for guests or anything. I’ll have to gradually get things together from now on. First, I need to get your things.”
“No, I don’t think that’s necessary.”
“Eh, you will come, right?”
“Most likely, I can’t just casually visit the apartment of a woman in her prime…”
“I’m living alone, so it would put me at ease if you come.”
“Didn’t that apartment have pretty tight security?”
“Security for Yukito isn’t active. You want to touch me, right?”
— I succumbed to the pressure of her smile.
After returning from the miscellaneous goods store, I was invited into Himiyama-san’s house. We completed the order for the computer and discussed it while putting together the parts on her smartphone. She seems really unconcerned about the performance aspect, and the cost ended up being quite reasonable. She selected a larger monitor for easier work, and everything should be fine for general tasks.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of work do you plan to do with the computer?”
Himiyama-san’s body slightly jumps.
“I’m thinking of becoming a tutor for cram schools.”
“That’s why I’m planning to use it for preparing teaching materials and such. Back then, I could ask the teachers around me various things, but now I have to do it all myself.”
“How wide a range of subjects are you planning to teach?”
“Probably elementary school students. I really love kids… I want to give it another try, just once.”
“Teaching with you as the instructor would surely be enjoyable.”
“You think so…?”
She wears a smile, but there’s an underlying sense of uncertainty. An unexpected reaction. As if searching for something, probing, or perhaps seeking permission, Himiyama-san poses a question, looking for an answer.
“—Do you think I’m qualified to teach someone? Yukito-kun?”
Am I in a position to answer that question? I don’t quite understand why she’s asking something like that. However, her gaze is earnest, and if I were to answer that I don’t have the qualification, it felt like it might have a significant impact on whatever decision Himiyama-san is contemplating.
“Yes, I believe so. I’m sure. Himiyama-san seems like someone who would teach kindly.”
“I-I’m sorry! I’ve shown you such an embarrassing side of me…”
Tears overflow from her eyes. She hastily wipes them away with a handkerchief.
Was this decision really that important to Himiyama-san?
She’s generous and has a sense of understanding. She might be a reassuring instructor for elementary school children.
Even though she mentioned it’s only about twice a week for the cram school tutoring, seeing her tears makes me feel that it’s a significant choice for her.
“With you as the instructor, things will go smoothly.”
She hugs me tightly. I can directly feel her softness against me.
Could this immense serenity enveloping me possibly be real?! Wait, aren’t we still not sitting properly?
Why is she hugging me like this?! My everyday life is just an ongoing series of free hugs.
“There won’t be any immediate consequences. There won’t be any immediate consequences.”
I desperately hold back the impending breakdown of my sanity. If I let it go, it’s all over.
After this, I was held in her arms for a full ten minutes. I have attained enlightenment. I am the enlightened one, The founder is Yukito Kokonoe.
“Are you leaving already? I wanted to properly express my gratitude.”
“If it’s expressed properly, I might end up drained.”
“Ara ara? What did you expect to happen?”
“If I say it out loud, I might get banned by the administrators.”
“I don’t really understand, but you can say it to me. Is that okay?”
“Hiiii! I hope the management didn’t see that!”
All I could do was pray. I felt powerless.
“Thank you so much for today. My heart feels a little lighter.”
“I’m glad to hear that. But, I always wonder, is your likability meter broken?”
“No matter what you say, my likability towards you just keeps increasing.”
“That’s a bug. You need to patch it.”
For some reason, Himiyama-san’s likability towards me is high. We’ve only just met, but she seems to really like me. Honestly, if you go by the frequency of the messages she sends me on my phone, Himiyama-san is surpassing the levels of the refreshing handsome guy. It’s like a full-on dating app.
“Then, please call me when the computer arrives. I can set it up.”
“I’ll be counting on you for that. Oh, but feel free to come over anytime, regardless.”
“No, I can’t.”
“I wonder how long you can resist me. Fufufufu.”
“This is bad, this is bad.”
This is not good. Trembling like a frog being stared down by a snake, I’m suddenly saved by Himiyama-san’s phone ringing. Opportunity strikes!
“Well, I’ll head home then.”
“Ah, Yukito-kun. Sorry about that. Well, see you next time.”
This is my chance to escape. I can’t let this opportunity slip away! As I put on my shoes by the entrance, she sees me off. I wave my hand and leave her place. Just as I’m about to exit, I notice that Himiyama-san is answering a phone call.
“—Hello? Who might this be?”
I wonder if it’s someone she doesn’t know. I can’t eavesdrop on the conversation.
As I’m about to leave, I notice a change in her tone of voice.
I think I heard something like that. Come to think of it, Himiyama-san mentioned that name once before…
Unable to recall anything further, I just left the scene as it was.