[Misaki Himiyama PoV]
The only question that came to my mind when I heard those words was.
Why would you say that?
I stared again at the face of my ex-fiancé.
Starting over. What do you mean with that? The relationship between the two of us? After all this time? We took different paths, and then we reconnected, in a few minutes. What in the world can we do over? I’m not young enough to simply nod my head when I heard such words.
Even if we love each other, sometimes there is nothing we can do about it. If we are married, it is more than just the two of us. As a family, one’s qualifications are being tested. It was only natural. And I was not qualified.
“I never thought you’d say that now…….” (Misaki)
“I’m sorry, but I’m serious! If you don’t have a partner right now, please think about it.” (Mikiya)
It sounded somewhat hollow. Despite his passionate words, a sense of discomfort clung to me before joy and happiness. It didn’t seem like he was lying. If he’s already divorced and the relationship is settled, then he’s free to be with whomever he wants.
Is it possible that he has chosen me as his partner?
Because of love?
But, but, but!
That’s why I can’t believe him.
The exact same words that came to my mind spontaneously spilled out of my mouth.
“It’s because I love you. I couldn’t stop forgetting about you, Misaki.” (Mikiya)
“Then why!” (Misaki)
I was about to raise my voice, but I held it back just in time.
I’ve already sorted out my feelings. And yet, my heart is in such turmoil. I thought I had convinced myself. I thought I had accepted it. It was a future I had given up on. I’m sure the reason I’m thinking like this is because I’ve recently met that boy again.
“Why didn’t you fight for me, Mikiya-san?” (Misaki)
“You didn’t protect me back then.” (Misaki)
”I know. I have my own problems.” (Mikiya)
He is the heir to the inn. As the next president of the company, there were many things that he could not throw away.
That’s why I can’t help it. I was convinced of that. I had to. It was my fault in the first place. I can’t blame him. Let’s break up. At that time, I had no choice but to nod my head to his words. I was so naive to choose such a path.
There was no way I could compare them. But still, I thought.
The boy who was fighting alone, against everything. He was covered in scars, but still stubbornly went through with it.
Normally, I can’t behave like that. There is something that is important to me, something that I can’t get rid of, and it is tying me down more and more. People have a fear of losing something. Then, does he not have it?
But there’s a boy like that, even if he couldn’t fight alone, maybe, together, we could have gotten through it. Still, we chose to separate. We believed it was for the best. We didn’t fight, we followed our surroundings.
“No, you’re wrong! It’s going to be okay this time. Even my mother thinks you’re–!” (Mikiya)
Your mother thinks what?
That’s impossible. It was intuitively unnatural.
I was not approved by his mother. She opposed our marriage and I could not overrule her reasons. I was not blessed with a child. That was the most fatal flaw of all. There was nothing I could do about it. That’s why it was strange. Then, even if he divorced her, he should have just found someone else. I don’t think his mother would care about me if I couldn’t have children.
My thoughts return to that question.
Come to think of it, “Ryokan Umibara ” has been increasing its profits by switching to inbound demand. The number of foreign visitors to Japan has surpassed 30 million, and tourist spots are overflowing with foreigners. The number is expected to increase in the future, and the tourism bureau has announced that the number will exceed 40 million.
However, the world can change in an instant. Nowadays, foreign traffic is restricted and entry regulations are in place. I wondered if the Ryokan Umibara would be able to survive under such circumstances.
“Is the inn’s business secure?” (Misaki)
In addition, it is said that once a Ryokan turns its focus to the inbound market, the Japanese will start to leave. It is perfectly natural for inns to segregate themselves due to cultural differences, but the more they focus on inbound tourism, the more they suffer from the damage, not just the benefit.
“Y-yeah. It’s been quite tough. We’ve been taking various measures. We’ve been asking the bank for a loan.……”
And yet, he had come this far to try to get back together with me?
The unnaturalness accelerated. Then I noticed the discomfort.
“I realized how strange it was. Did your mother tell you to come here?” (Misaki)
”–! No, you’re wrong. That’s not true!” (Mikiya)
“Were you trying to use me?” (Misaki)
I know firsthand the value of power. In that sense, I may have been favored for a long time. There were many people who approached me with some sort of intentions. Maybe that’s why. At some point, I became sensitive to such things.
“It’s a shame, because you were never like that.” (Misaki)
“It’s not a lie, I still like you! I just need a little help.” (Mikiya)
“It’s not me you want, is it?” (Misaki)
“You’re wrong! Misaki, I really —-” (Mikiya)
As if to interrupt his words, the doorbell rang.
“I’m sorry. I’m in the middle of something.” (Misaki)
“I see you have a visitor. Shall we change the day?” (Yuki)
“No. It’s okay. I’m done.” (Misaki)
Himiyama-san welcomes me with a slightly sad smile. There were men’s shoes in the doorway. I was told that there was a visitor in the house, but was it someone she knew? Could it be a religious solicitor or a life insurance salesman? By the way, there was a suspicious-looking man hanging around in front of the apartment building the other day, and Himiyama-san lives alone. There’s no better way to be careful.
“You are….?” (Mikiya)
I walked in and saw a man sitting in the living room. He seemed to be in a serious mood. It did not look like a congenial situation. There was also a sense of tension between him and Himiyama-san.
Eh, what is this situation?
I didn’t know what was going on, but I gave the least suspicious answer I could think of.
“I’m an electrician in town.” (Yuki)
“I’m here to install a PC.” (Yuki)
“Why did you change your speech a little, Yukito-kun?” (Misaki)
“I thought I sounded like a local electrician.” (Yuki)
“Not really.” (Misaki)
“Oh, I see. I’ll stop now.” (Yuki)
The man seemed to be convinced by my words, regardless of whether I sounded like an electrician or not.
“So, you’re the boy Misaki was talking about” (Mikiya)
“I’m the boy from the electric company. Excuse me for interrupting. I’m ready whenever you are.” (Yuki)
“It’s okay, Yukito-kun. I want to be able to use it as soon as possible. Mikiya-san, can you go home now?” (Misaki)
“Oh, yeah. But Misaki, I’m serious. I’m serious with—-” (Mikiya)
“Mikiya-san, that’s enough!” (Misaki)
As if to add to that, Himiyama-san raises her voice sharply.
The man, perhaps surprised by her words, stood up and headed for the door.
“I’ll be back, Misaki.” (Mikiya)
“Mikiya-san, you know what I’m talking about. We’re done.” (Misaki)
The two people were discussing something in the doorway.
Not wanting to interrupt him, I let my gaze wander and saw the mugs on the table. A pair of cups from a set of two that looked familiar and that could only mean one thing.
Haha, I see. Well, that’s the scene of an affair, isn’t it?
I see what you’re doing! Hey, why am I bothering you like that? I hope I won’t be erased as a witness. I don’t want to be in a daytime drama. Can I go home now?
Himiyama-san came back, but when she noticed my gaze, she suddenly started to panic.
“You got it wrong. I wasn’t preparing this for Mikiya-san–” (Misaki)
“It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me. I know.” (Yuki)
“You don’t seem to understand, so I’ll tell you the truth. It’s just a coincidence that Mikiya-san came here today, and what you see here is what I had prepared for you.” (Misaki)
“I’m a very perceptive person, so don’t worry about it.” (Yuki)
“That’s not called being perceptive. Do you understand that?” (Misaki)
I understand the feeling of guilt. But I don’t think affairs are good.…… With this in mind, I began to tear up the packing material to begin my work.
But I don’t think adultery is a good idea.…… With this thought in mind, I began to tear the packing material into pieces to start the work.
BTO stands for Build To Order, which is somewhere between a commercial product and a self-made product. All you have to do is to customize the parts according to your needs, and there is no need to assemble them. So, in about an hour, you can not only set up your computer, but also install peripherals such as printers. It’s an integrated scanner, by the way. Himiyama-san seems to be the type of person who doesn’t mind making an initial investment.
“I think I’m done for now. Are you sure you can use it?” (Yuki)
“Thank you. I’ve used the computer many times, so I’m fine.” (Misaki)
Himiyama-san made me a mug of coffee. It’s full of milk and sugar, just the way I like it. I sit down on the couch, and as usual, she sits right next to me. I can’t escape…….
“Even so, you’re quite serious” (Yuki)
I, too, am starting to think I should try harder.” (Misaki)
“Is that so?” (Yuki)
I didn’t ask too many questions. I’m sure everyone has one or two things they don’t want to tell. I remembered that she said she was going to start working as a tutor at a cram school. I’m sure Himiyama-san will be a good teacher, popular with the students.
Still, I felt I had to say something, so I made up my mind.
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I think you should stop having an affair.” (Yuki)
“It seems that you didn’t understand me at all, Yukito-kun. Ufufufu” (Misaki)
The ufufufu was scary though.
However, if I didn’t speak up here, it would be her who would be hurt in the end. I owe Himiyama-san a debt of gratitude for her help in the past, so even if she hates me here, I have to say it.
“Affair makes you unhappy.” (Yuki)
“Like I said, it’s not an affair …” (Misaki)
I turned next to her with a gulp and grabbed Himiyama-san by the shoulders. She sounded surprised, but I couldn’t care less.
“I don’t want you to be sad, Himiyama-san!”
“Y-yes. Um. It’s not an affair, though.” (Misaki)
“I’m sure you’ll find someone better.” (Yuki)
“What’s the matter? Yukito-kun, you’re being very aggressive today.” (Misaki)
“I’m worried about you!” (Yuki)
“I-I understand, I understand. I’ll take care of things with Mikiya-san. Thank you for that …….” (Misaki)
I wondered if I could have saved Himiyama from the world of daytime drama. Having an affair or an unfaithful relationship is not good. No one will be happy. I know that. If you continue such a relationship, it will eventually become a bigger wound. It will be irreversible. That’s why I have to stop it even if it hurts now.
I looked straight into Himiyama-san’s eyes, but somehow I could tell that her cheeks were slightly tinged with red.
“I didn’t expect you to care about me, Yukito-kun. I love how pushy you are.” (Himiyama)
Slowly, Himiyama-san’s hand went around my back.
Huh, did I do this wrong?
[Misaki Himiyama PoV]
My face was hot as if it was on fire. My heart palpitations still wouldn’t stop.
He left, but I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I threw myself down on the sofa.
I ruminate on the words in my head. “I don’t want you to be sad,” he said. I’ve given up so much. I’ve given up on my dreams, on love. I’ve never achieved anything. I had no choice. I didn’t deserve it. It had become the norm, and I had been living my life to this point in apathy and laziness.
I wonder if it’s okay to be happy and want something.……
No one else told me that. He is the only one.
Then it is a pledge that never be mistaken.
I thought it was too late. No, it wasn’t. It’s never too late.
I’m scared. Ever since that day, I’ve been afraid to stand in front of people as an educator. The way they looked at me seemed to say that they would not allow me to stand there. My legs trembled, my voice rasped, and my mind went blank. There was no way I could be a teacher in that state.
I stood up and took out a small box from the closet.
In it was the letter I had failed to give him that day.
“Can you give me one more chance?” (Misaki)
I’ll open up. I’ve reached my limit. I can’t bear the thought of hiding it from him any longer. No matter what he says, I’ll accept it and move on. Let’s get rid of the past, overcome it, and find happiness. If I don’t start moving, nothing will happen.
My time, which had been stopped, was about to start moving.