In The Heart of Toma.

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The surrounding area is dyed in darkness, and the light of the white electric lamp stands out well.
A cool breeze enters the room.
The current time is 9 pm.


Toma, who was relaxing as if lying on his bed in his own room, was recalling his conversation with Haru.

“For starters, if Sasaki-san doesn’t have a boyfriend, why don’t you try asking for her contact information? If she becomes your girlfriend, you’d be happy, right? After all, you are quite handsome.”

“I don’t intend to deny that, but…”

“Alright then, go for it! I’m really cheering for Toma’s love!”

It wasn’t a joke or anything, Haru was seriously saying that.
Certainly, that support was appreciated… and it’s not like he wasn’t happy about it.

“I can’t even imagine me and Mio-san dating…”

Mio’s beautiful appearance and good personality are such that it would be strange if she didn’t have a boyfriend.

She’s busy with her assignments because she’s going to university.
She hasn’t come to play at the university.
Perhaps she doesn’t have a boyfriend because of a firmly established reason… Toma imagines, but that imagination seems to fit.

“…I made Mio-san worry today… I never thought I’d tell anyone about my past…”

Toma’s past.
His girlfriend had been two-timing for about a month… maybe she had confessed to him while she already had a boyfriend back then.
He hasn’t been able to escape from that trauma even now…

Toma himself thinks that this is a lame thing.
Keeping it in his heart would be the best thing…

However, today, my consciousness was changed.

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He sincerely thought that it was good to talk to Mio today.

“I… I’m completely devoted to whoever I’m with, to the point where I won’t be beaten by any other woman… I won’t even consider two-timing.
Instead, I’ll..
make sure my partner is completely mine.
I’ll make them unable to imagine being with anyone else but… me…”

This was Mio’s advice on how to handle relationships.
And then–

“So, Toma-kun, why don’t you try to find a girl who is as faithful as that? There must be girls who think of you in that way.”

Her advice was that if he could find such a partner, he wouldn’t need to change himself.
It was typical of Mio’s way of thinking, and she wasn’t wrong.

“I’m not sure if I can get such a partner as someone like her…but I feel relieved,” said Toma with a smile.

If his best friend Haru were here, she would definitely have had a sarcastic remark to make.

“Hey, wasn’t that advice meant for me?” he would have said.

Actually, it was true.
Mio had expressed her true feelings, but Toma, who was not very perceptive, would not have realized that…


At that moment, Toma’s phone rang with a rhythmic ringtone.

The caller ID read “Bar Miki-san”.
Toma flicked his finger and answered the phone right away.

“Hello, Miki-san.”

“Sorry for calling you so late at night, Toma-chan.”

“No worries, is everything alright? What can I help you with?”

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Although Toma was inquiring about the reason for the call, he had been working for a year, so he could guess the content of the call just by receiving it.

“Do you have anything scheduled for this Sunday?”

“Sunday…? One moment, please.”


Knowing that it was a work-related call, Toma quickly opened his schedule app to check for any plans.

“I don’t have anything specific scheduled.
Is this about adding a shift?”

“Yes, I’m sorry to ask you this, Toma-chan, but do you think you could work that day? It seems that Mori-san has something scheduled that day.”

“I see.
Alright, it’s on Sunday, right?”

Toma replied cheerfully.

“It would be a big help.
Your work hours will be the same as usual, from 6 pm to midnight.”

“Wait, there’s a night shift that day too, right? I’ll work that too.”

“It’s okay because my husband can come out to the store front during the night.
Also, Toma-chan, you’re a college student, so please don’t push yourself too hard.
Although, I feel like I’m already asking too much by adding another shift this time…”

“No, it’s fine.
I’m not in the middle of a test period or anything, so I can manage.
So, I’ll be there at 6 pm on Sunday.”

“Thank you, Toma-chan.
I’m counting on you.”


“…Well then, talk to you later.”

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Confirming that Miki had hung up, Toma entered the work hours into his smartphone schedule and turned off the screen.
Then, he left his room, went down the stairs, and opened the door leading to the living room.

“Mom, I have work on Sunday so you don’t have to prepare dinner.”

“Oh really? But I wanted you to eat my homemade cooking.”

“There it is, brother’s boycott again.”

Sitting on the sofa in the living room, relaxing while watching TV, were his mother, Kumi, and her sister Ume.

Kumi frowned sadly, while Ume teased him.

“You don’t have to say it like it’s a boycott…sorry, Mom.”

“Okay, I understand.
In exchange, make sure you eat plenty for dinner until Saturday, okay?”

“Got it.”

“Ume, help with the cooking too and make sure to eat properly.”

“Tell me that once Ume can eat one-third of what I can.
She’s such a light eater that it’ll take forever–“

Toma deliberately cut his words, then looked at Ume’s body and sighed heavily, “Haahh.” This rude behavior was something they were used to in their daily lives as siblings.

“Hey Mom, wasn’t that really mean? It was really mean!! He just sighed looking at my body!?”

“Don’t you think he wouldn’t say anything if you ate more?”

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Kumi loved cooking and seeing Tota and Ume enjoying her food was her pride and joy.

That’s why whenever this topic came up, she would always side with Toma.
If the family’s pillar, Kumi, was on their side, Ume wouldn’t stand a chance.

“I’m eating a lot! My stomach is already full!!”

“Let’s eat more.”

“You can still eat, can’t you?”

Ume’s argument is returned twice as strong by Kumi and Toma.
This is the strength of the 1-to-2 dynamic.
Toma’s strategy is simply to piggyback on Kumi’s words.

“Mom’s cooking is delicious, but I can’t eat anymore because I’m full!”

“Then let’s eat until we’re completely full, so you can eat more later!”

“You have to stretch your small stomach!”

Ume, who realizes that there is no room to argue, bites her lip in frustration.
It’s understandable that she looks like that, as she’s not on a diet but just really gets full easily.

“This is such a difficult situation… It’s all my brother’s fault! Idiot!”

“Hey, don’t use such strong words!”

“That’s right, Ume.”

“Grumble, grumble, grumble…”

This is what it means to be caught in a tough spot.
The three members of the family.
Toma is able to gain an advantage by aligning themselves with Kumi, who is the most powerful.

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