Chapter 20: Lots of Things to Carry on the Last of Day of School
As fourth-graders, we were in the midst of completing our final semester of elementary school and found ourselves riding on the bus.
The last day of elementary school was always an exhausting experience because we had so much stuff to carry.
“I hate winter break because there’s so much homework,”
“But with the workbook, you can finish it in two hours if you just look at the answers,”
The key is to copy the answers quickly and smoothly without getting caught.
And be careful with math, because if you don’t show your process, it looks suspicious.”
“But then what’s the point of homework?”
Chiaki and Chinatsu were discussing how to finish their winter break homework quickly as we rode on the bus.
We were free now, with winter break starting, and we all had things we wanted to do.
Homework was just holding us back.
However, the diligent Chifuyu put a stop to it.
She joined in the conversation of the two girls sitting in front of her from behind.
“Doing homework is something you do for yourself.
So, cheating is absolutely unacceptable.
Especially for you two…uhm, you should work harder in your studies….
“…Yes, you’re right.
Cheating is not good.”
“Aww, come on, it’s too much trouble.” Chinatsu retorted
If you don’t get caught, it’s fine.
You can intentionally make some mistakes in certain places to make it look like you actually did it.” Chiaki said.
“Oh, both of you don’t understand what Chifuyu is saying at all….” Chifuyu shook her head.
“Both of you should do your homework properly…otherwise, I won’t be able to show my sisterly authority by not being able to help you with problems you don’t understand.”
“Haru-nee also has her own personal reasons…” Chifuyu added.
It’s unacceptable to copy the answers.
It would reduce the opportunities for communication between us sisters.
“Anyway, cheating on homework is prohibited for both of you.
In return, we’ll teach you and guide you every step of the way.
Of course, Chifuyu will also help,” Chifuyu declared.
“Ah, but Chifuyu can already do her own homework,”
“Don’t say that.
You can ask us anything, whether it’s a question you understand or one you don’t.
Even if you forget what you learned, we can help you with that too,”
“Um, I’ll pass on that offer…”
“Ah, don’t make that sad face… I-If there’s anything you don’t understand, just ask Haru-nee, then…”
“Yeah! Leave it to me!”
I felt infinite energy bubbling up inside me.
It was wonderful to have a calm environment to do homework with my sisters.
Chifuyu smiled wryly and looked out the window as the conversation died down.
Snow was falling from the gray clouds outside and blanketing the town.
Silently, Chifuyu stared out, lost in thought.
Lately, she has been like this, looking for something with a hint of frustration.
“Anyway, Nishida was still picking a fight with me until the very end,” Chiaki said.
Wasn’t his name Nishino? It didn’t really matter.
He had been bothering Chiaki again today during our last PE class of the semester.
Since it was the last day, the teacher allowed us to play any sport we wanted, and dodgeball won the vote.
“Hey, come on, let’s play! You idiot!”
Nishino taunted, as usual.
If he thought that was cool, he was mistaken.
We were in the fourth grade, and soon this method wouldn’t work on anyone.
Well, anyway, dodgeball began, and Chiaki dominated the game.
Afterward, Nishino kept bothering her, even during lunch.
“Oh, really? There’s a guy like that in your class?” Chinatsu was surprised
“Yes, there is.
A guy like that.”
“Hmm, could it be that he likes you? That Nishida guy?”
“What? How did you come to that conclusion? Even if he did like me, why would he pester me?”
“Don’t you get it? It’s a dilemma that boys in elementary school face.
They tend to be mean to the ones they like.”
“Where did you get that information?”
“It’s from a love book that Fuyu was reading.”
Chifuyu is in… l-l-lo-love? No way, that couldn’t be… But then again, maybe the word I heard is different from what she’s reading.
Maybe it was a glove book? Or was it a Cove book? There are so many possibilities.
As soon as Chifuyu heard Chinatsu mention the book, her gaze, which was previously fixed on the window, quickly shifted.
Are you reading a book about love?” Chiaki asked.
“What?! Um, no, huh? I just happened to pick it up… that’s all…”
Why is her face turning so red? This reaction isn’t about glove related books or about a Cove travel book, right? What?! Chifuyu, who are you in love with…
“What kind of book is it? Show it to me.”
“Well, um… it’s just that…”
As soon as Chifuyu heard Chinatsu mention the book, her gaze, which was previously fixed on the window, quickly shifted.
Yes, I want to spread this cuteness to the whole world.
That’s not it.
I need to know who is Chifuyu’s love interest now.
“What? Is it some embarrassing book or something?” Chiaki asked.
“No, it’s not like that…” Chifuyu replied.
“Well, never mind…let’s get back to the topic.” Chiaki said
I’m proposing the theory that Nishida is trying to get your attention, Aki, because he likes you.” Chinatsu said.
“Hmm, I don’t really get that mentality.
If he likes me, wouldn’t he be kind to me? Like Kaito,” Chiaki replied.
“That’s a mentality limited to elementary school boys.
Well, I think it’s weird for a fourth grader to still be acting so childish, but maybe it’s like you, with your eighth-grade Chuunibyou syndrome; now thinking about it, maybe you and Nishida are a good match after all.”
Kaito is a hundred times better,” Chiaki said.
At this moment, Chifuyu, who had been relieved to escape further questioning and had been staring at the ground, suddenly raised her head to look up at Chiaki.
“What’s wrong? Fuyu?” Chiaki asked.
Could it be…that Onii-san….
is Chifuyu’s crush?
What should we have for dinner? Croquettes and pork cutlets take a while to make.
We had vegetable stir-fry yesterday and meatballs the day before, so what about today? Hmm, they worked hard during the second semester of school, so maybe we should have something luxurious to celebrate.
But with Christmas coming soon, having high-calorie dinners too frequently isn’t a good idea, is it?
Perhaps I could simply buy some ice cream.
How about I grab four mochi ice creams?
As I drove the car, the snow fell heavily and covered the road with a blanket of white, replacing its usual gray concrete color.
I hope I won’t slide or lose control.
What if the brakes fail? I used to enjoy the snow, but even now I wouldn’t say I dislike it, although I’m not entirely at ease with it.
Perhaps it would be better to slow down more than usual.
I eased off the accelerator and pressed down on the brakes more than usual while navigating through the curves on the way home.
As a result, I arrived home about ten minutes later than usual.
“Welcome back, Kaito!”
“I’m home… I’ll start making dinner right away,” I replied to Chiaki’s greeting.
Her presence was adorable, almost like that of a saint or a priestess.
Being with her made me forget the fatigue from work.
As soon as I entered the house, I noticed the staircase, and peeking from the top were Chifuyu and Chinatsu.
“Welcome back, Kaito-san!”
Chifuyu has grown fond of me lately, even carrying my dishes for me.
Moreover, although I can’t really converse with Chinatsu, I feel like we’re communicating better than before.
In other words, I was getting along well with the four daughters.
Trust is crucial for anything, especially for becoming their “papa”.
Someday, I hoped we could share everyday moments filled with laughter…
Wait! W-What’s this?!
This piercing gaze that felt like it was stabbing my skin! When I followed the direction of the gaze, I saw Chiharu peeking through the living room door.
Her pink hair and bright blue eyes were adorable, but her gaze was suspicious and unsettling.
Did she think I was trying to take her sisters away from her?
No, that wasn’t my intention….I just wanted to be a good father to them.
I needed her to understand that.
After finishing cooking dinner, I waited for the right moment to bring up the topic.
“Let’s have mapo eggplant tonight,” I suggested.
As usual, I whipped it up in just a few minutes, and the four girls all ate separately in their own rooms.
I, however, ate alone in the living room while watching TV.
It’s still difficult to eat all together.
Four people seem to mesh well and have fun, but with me added to the mix, it’s not so smooth.
Chiaki and the other two is fine since we’re already comfortable with each other, but Chinatsu is not.
If she’s uncomfortable, it will ruin the mood.
Eating with a sense of discomfort is not enjoyable.
It will be a little while before the five of us can eat together.
Speaking of Chinatsu, what should I talk to her about for a minute today? Yesterday, I tried to tell a scary manju story to make her laugh, but it didn’t quite land.
“Next, I’ll say I’m scared of tea,” I thought aloud.
“Really….Is that so?”
It seems like the children don’t usually like it when I talk like that.
After finishing the meal, I cleared out the dishes.
At that moment, Chiaki and Chifuyu came down from the second floor.
“Thank you for the meal, Kaito-san!”
Hmm, this was an unusual combination.
Normally, Chiharu would be with someone…oh, she’s hiding in the back.
She was sticking her head out the door, as if she was trying to hide.
“Kaito, Kaito! Listen, at school today, Nishida…”
As I received the dishes, Chiaki talked to me about school.
Wait, isn’t this the first time she’s talked to me about school?
Heh, that’s nice.
Did my papa aura just level up? Or is it just my imagination? No, it’s probably not a mistake.
“And then Chinatsu said…”
Hmm, from what I heard, there’s this guy named Nishida who’s been verbally harassing and bothering my daughter at school.
Could it be a sign that he likes her?
I felt angry about how Nishida called Chiaki an idiot.
However, it does seem like a typical behavior of adolescence.
“I see, there’s a possibility that he likes Chiaki.”
“Ah, no, it’s not confirmed yet.
It’s just a possibility.”
“But even if that’s the case, why would he be mean? I don’t understand his psychology.”
“Well…boys are more childish than girls, so maybe they do those things to get attention.
In middle school, there are a lot of guys who purposely overreact or speak loudly to get the girls’ attention.”
“I see…I had no idea.”
“Well, it’s just a possibility.
There are all kinds of people out there.
It’s hasty to jump to conclusions based on this alone.
If you really can’t stand Nishida-kun, there’s also the option of telling the teacher at school.”
“I don’t necessarily hate him, but I don’t really care either.
I don’t understand him well enough to do anything about it, so I’ll just leave it alone.
Besides, tomorrow’s the start of winter break, so I won’t have to see him for a while.”
If that’s what Chiaki says, then that’s fine.
But if anything happens, I’ll report it to the teacher right away.”
“Oh that’s reassuring!”
When I was a child, it was a little embarrassing to speak up to the teacher, and at the same time, there were times when I was later labeled as a snitch or tattletale.
But as an adult, I realize that it was actually the most effective thing to do.
However, doing that kind of thing can also make you stand out in the class.
If Chiaki is still okay with the situation, it’s probably best not to use that tactic.
Anyway, now that I have the chance, since Chinatsu is here too, I could ask her about any school events.
“How was it for you, Chinatsu? The second semester?”
“Well, let’s see… there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy for me…”
“But I did catch a ball that one of the boys threw in dodgeball!”
“Uh, what does that mean?”
“It means ‘You Rock You Know’.
It’s awesome, right? I made it up.”
“Oh, wow! That’s cool! I’ll use that too next time!”
My sense of humor is really on point today.
I’m communicating with my daughter like I’ve never been able to before.
Maybe I could become a real PAPA someday.
But…with both Chiaki and Chifuyu, they both seem to have different levels of affection towards me.
Parenting is difficult…
After chatting with Chiaki and Chifuyu for a bit, they went back upstairs.
Then, Chiharu came in to replace them.
The idea of having your sister who has been with you for a long time taking away is apt to bring out a lot of feelings of sadness and loneliness.
But that’s a good sign—proof that this is an environment where they can express their desires.
This children usually tend to bottle up their emotions, so it would be beneficial for them to be a bit more self-centered at times.
“Chiharu, don’t worry.
I won’t take away your sisters.
I’m aiming to be their papa,”
“……Oh, no, it’s not like that,” she replied.
Well, if there’s anything bothering you, feel free to tell me,”
“Um…well, I guess I might have been just a little sad at the thought of them being taken away…” she admitted.
But don’t worry, I won’t take them away.
In fact, I want to be their dad,”
“h-huh? thank you,”
This is actually great; while we’re speaking, I’ll ask Chiharu about school.
She might have some worries herself.
“Speaking of which, do you have any worries at school?”
“I guess my worry is that Chiaki is too cute,”
“I see…anything else?”
“I’m also worried that Chifuyu and Chinatsu are too cute, and that boys might bother them,” she added.
“Well, I understand.
But what about you? Does anyone bother you?”
“That kind of thing doesn’t happen to me,”
“I don’t think that’s true.
All four of you are so wonderful that you could go anywhere and be proud of who you are,”
Oh, I wonder if she might have misunderstood me in a weird way.
…I’m probably worrying too much though.
I can’t help feeling a little gross about myself for even thinking like that
My tendency to have a self-deprecating mindset from my past habits hasn’t completely disappeared.
I need to be more responsible as a father.
“Well then, I’ll take my leave around here.
Thank you very much.”
“Yeah, thanks for talking about it with me too.”
As Chiharu was about to leave the room, she paused and opened her mouth once more.
“I was thinking of taking a bath, but I thought it might be troublesome, so I didn’t.
Instead, I went ahead and prepared the bath for you…”
“What?! Really?! Thank you!”
“I’m glad to hear you say that.
You’ve been taking care of us, so it’s the least I could do.”
“Thank you, Chiharu.
You saved me.”
With that, she finally left the living room.
I felt relieved that everything was normal.
Cleaning the bath on a cold winter day would have been a slightly depressing chore, but today was different.
As soon as I turned on the switch, the bath warmed up quickly, giving me a refreshing feeling.
TN: In the first part, when Chiharu heard Chifuyu reading a book about love, she tried to convince herself that wasn’t what Chifuyu was reading; the word for love is Koi, and there are other words that are spelled as Koi: one is Carp Fish, and the other is Intention.
TN: The word YRYN that Kaito says doesn’t literally mean “you rock you know” it’s just translation effort lol.
it says yaruyan, meaning “you can do it”.
TN: Pls correct me if you think there is any mistake.
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