Chapter 29: A Story of Each


Translated by Dawn

 

Chapter 29: A Story of Each

Kazemiya was standing in the darkness without an umbrella to shield her from the pouring raindrops.

The girl in front of me, soaking wet with a face as if she were about to cry, somehow looked at me as if she had a grievous wound all over her body.

I could not leave Kazemiya alone.
There was no such option.

I immediately forgot about my original purpose of coming to the convenience store and just silently put her under my umbrella and took her home.

I couldn’t leave Kazemiya, who was too unprepared to run away from home, alone on this dark road at night, and my house was close to here.
Above all, both my mom and dad love Kazemiya.
They would accept her even if I suddenly brought her home.

My prediction came true.
When I brought Kazemiya home soaking wet, my dad, mom, and Kotomi were all surprised, but when they saw Kazemiya’s face, with slumped shoulders and a downcast expression, they said to her, “……go take a bath for now,” and brought her up to the house.

“Brother.
What happened to……Kazemiya-senpai……?”

“…She ran away from home.”

“Ran away?”

“She fought with her mother or something.”

That was all Kazemiya told me until we came back to this house together.

“Fighting with her parent, and running away from home…it sounds like a common story but…”

While saying this, Kotomi shifted her gaze in the direction of the bathroom where Kazemiya was in.

She must have had the impression from what she saw earlier that it was difficult to put it down as “just a fight between parent and daughter”.

“…It’s no use us thinking about it right now, is it?”

“I agree.
We won’t know anything until we hear from the person in question.”

The smile she had shown in the daytime was gone from Kazemiya, whom I found in front of a convenience store.

Summer vacation started tomorrow.
She seemed happy when we made plans to spend time together.
I was getting frustrated with someone who took that away from her.
It was as if magma was simmering deep in my stomach.
……No.
Now wasn’t the time to be angry.

“Then, I should think about cheering up Kazemiya first.”

That was what I tell myself.

“Then leave it to me.”

“Do you have a better idea?”

“Yes.
I have a secret plan.”

I couldn’t believe that Kotomi, with the title of a first-year student who passed as a top student, first in her grade, and student council member would be so confident in her statement.
I wonder what kind of secret plan she had.


“…but I need brother’s help for that.”

“I don’t mind, I’ll do anything to cheer up Kazemiya.”

“Thank you very much.
Then, from now on, please promptly prepare what I am going to tell you.”

I promptly prepared the items as requested and handed them over to Kotomi.
I honestly had no idea what she was going to do with what I handed over to her, but I decided to trust my step-sister.

“The preparation is complete”

“I see.
Anything else I can do?”

“Brother, please stay in your room.”

“….is that all?”

“That’s all.”

“I-I see.
Alright.”

I waited in my room as I was told……but I was getting anxious because nothing was going on so far.
I couldn’t figure out what Kotomi’s “secret plan” was at all.
How on earth did she intend to cheer up Kazemiya……?

“……Narumi?”

“……Kazemiya”

As I was pondering alone, I heard Kazemiya’s voice through the door.

“Do you want to take a bath now?”

“Yeah…thanks.
You saved me.”

“Right.”

“……”

“……”

The conversation somehow broke off, and silence ensued.
What is this awkwardness? I mean, why doesn’t Kazemiya come into my room?

“…Stop standing in front of the door.
Come on in.
Don’t worry about it.”

“Eh…ah…”

“If you don’t like my room, I can ask Kotomi to let us use her room.
Or if you want, we can go downstairs to the living room…”

“It’s not like that.
I don’t like Narumi’s room or anything like that…….”

What? Kazemiya’s voice coming through the door sounded a little strange.
She was acting strange.

“That, uh, about clothes…”

“Clothes?”

Kazemiya, who had run away from home, had nothing on her but her phone.
Her soaking-wet clothes were now spinning in the washing machine.
Therefore, Kotomi must have gone to the changing room earlier and left a change of clothes.


By the way, the change of clothes was something that my mother had bought in advance with Kotomi, saying, “Let’s prepare for when Kazemiya-san comes to stay here again.” I didn’t think it would be useful here…….

“Like, is it the wrong size or something?”

“It’s not…I mean, it’s not wrong…it’s kind of too big for me…wait, that’s not the problem.”

Hm? I thought it was something about clothes not fitting right and not being able to wear them properly, but I guess not.

“I don’t understand…well, it’s fine.
You’re cute no matter what you wear.
Anyway, at least show me your face.”

“Achoo…!”

She looked like she was about to cry before.
I might not be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t at least check what she looked like now.

“—–”

Not a second after opening the door, I lost my voice.

I had just heard somewhere that sight was responsible for about 80% of the perception we get from our five senses.
And right now, 80% of what I was getting from both of my eyes was being crushed by violent information.

Kazemiya Kohaku in front of me; the clothes she was wearing were certainly not the right size.
In fact, they weren’t even women’s clothes.
Rather, it was the short-sleeved T-shirt I had offered to Kotomi earlier, which I usually wore.

It was obviously too big for her, which was not surprising, given the difference in physique between Kazemiya and me.

It was a cheap shirt purchased at a major fast-fashion chain store, but somehow, just by wearing it, Kazemiya was struck with a violent dazzle, or something like love, as visual information.

“….Sorry.
I kind of got out of the bath and found Narumi’s clothes on the floor.
I only had underwear and this to wear on top.”

Could this be the “secret plan” that Kotomi was talking about?

If so, what did it mean? What in the world could turn out to be like this, and how could this cheer up Kazemiya?

“….Just so you know, I’m wearing pants underneath!”

“I-I see.”

Upon closer inspection, I saw that she was wearing women’s loungewear.
But if she was wearing loungewear, it might mean that she was wearing underwear……I had to stop thinking about it there.
I thought things that shouldn’t be thought.

“…Kotomi was the one who put my T-shirt there.
Sorry about my sister.”

“T-there’s no need to apologize.
Rather, is this something you don’t like, Narumi?”

“What?”

“You know, that…your clothes.
I wore them, so…”

“It’s not that I don’t like it.
Or rather, how about you? If you don’t like it, I’ll get you something else to wear right now.”

“I-I don’t dislike it.
On the contrary—”

Kazemiya started to say something and quickly covered her own mouth.

“….Sorry.
No, not now.
Forget it.”

“I-I see…alright.
I forgot.”


On the contrary, what was it? It bothered me, but since I agreed to forget it when I was told to forget it, I had no choice but to forget it.

“Well, come on in anyway.”

“….Mhm.”

Kazemiya came into the room with a reddish face, probably after taking a bath, nodding her head.

As I was observing her, our eyes met.

“W-what?”

“Kotomi told me.
She said she had a secret plan to cheer you up.
I don’t know the logic behind it, but…it sounds like that secret plan of hers is working.”

“…Yeah.
It seems so.”

Kazemiya squeezed the hem of her shirt and let out a soft smile.

“I’ll thank Kotomi-chan later.”

“Do that.
She’ll be happy.
…Here, a chair.
You can sit there.”

“Eh? It’s okay.
I’ll sit on the bed.”

“It’ll be a problem if you fall asleep when I take my eyes off you like before.”

“…I’m not going to fall asleep.
That was just me letting my guard down a little.”

Kazemiya mumbled and complained but meekly sat down on the chair I had prepared for her.
I then sat down on the bed to make sure that, in case of any accidents like the last one, they would not happen.

“Can I ask you something?”

“About what?”

“About you running away.”

“I thought you said you didn’t want to get involved in other people’s affairs.”

“I told you I wanted to get into yours.
We both do.”

“…Yeah.
I remember.”

First semester.
It was the beginning of me facing my family that I had been running away from until now.

I remember that time well.
How could I forget? Ah, yes.
The girl named Kazemiya Kohaku was special to me.
So special that I could easily reverse my principles.

“But if you don’t want to talk, I won’t force you.
I’ll wait forever for you to talk to me.”

“For how long?”

“How long do you want?”

“…I don’t know.
What if I said ten years?”

“I’ll wait ten or twenty years if that’s what you want.”


“Ten or twenty years together.”

“As long as you want.
If Kazemiya wants, I will be with you for the rest of my life, and no matter how long it takes, I will wait for you to talk to me.”

“…idiot.
You should know what it means before you say it.”

Kazemiya turned her eyes away from me.
I didn’t know if it was just me, but I felt that the blush on her face was even redder than before.
Was it hot in the room? I had the air conditioning on, though.

“…I’ll talk.
Now.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m glad that you’ll wait, but I’ll probably spoil it by telling you everything.”

“Go ahead.
At least a little.”

“I don’t want to.
Because if I start spoiling Narumi, it won’t be just a little bit.”

After prefacing this, Kazemiya began to explain in detail.

The story leading up to the runaway from her home—

***

“Hey, Mom.
Can you elaborate?”

The crew on the set of a one-off special drama was perplexed.

The filming itself was going well, and today was on schedule……no.
They finished filming earlier than scheduled.
This was all due in large part to the efforts of one woman playing the lead role.

If the co-stars had a problem, she would be there to help them solve it.

If there was a problem, she would solve it with her flexible response.

Furthermore, all of the parts she played were all done without any NG.

She always kept the atmosphere on the set bright and friendly with her meticulous attention to the staff and co-stars but also tightened up when she had to.

The fact that the filming was running ahead of schedule was all due to the help of this woman—Kuon, whose real name was Kazemiya Kuon.

She herself was now the source of such trouble.

Although today’s filming itself had already been completed, so there were no scheduling problems, it was still a shock to the drama’s staff and co-stars.

“Kuon, what’s wrong with you?”

That Kuon, Kazemiya Kuon, was coming at her manager and mother, Kazemiya Sorami.

Even those around her could see the flames of her anger flickering quietly as if she were about to grab her by the chest.
It was an unbelievable behavior from her, who has always stood in the way of improving the atmosphere of the scene.’

“…Didn’t you hear me? Or you still don’t understand? Oh, yeah.
Then I’ll make it easier for you to understand.”

She then stared at her own mother with a look of such earnestness that she had never shown even during the filming.

“I want you to explain to me while I’m being nice to you, you old hag, about how you kicked Kohaku-chan out of the house, or some such nonsense.”

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