I passed through the school gate, which still had few students around and descended a gentle slope.
Thereupon, a pair of family members holding hands, could be seen coming out from the nursery school, adjacent to Sakuranogaoka.
It was a pair of mother and daughter. When the girl looked over here and saw me, she smiled and waved her hand.
I also gave her a tiny smile and waved back.
Probably when I was her age, I was also enjoying my life, the most.
“…Kaede was cute, when she was around that age.”
While thinking rudely, I compared my sister and the little girl who went away now. Reconfirming that my sister is the best, I once again started walking towards the home, where she was waiting.
Along the way, I was contacted by Kaede on the phone to buy soy sauce, so I took a little detour and dropped by the usual supermarket. After shopping, I returned back home.
“I am back.”
Since I went shopping on the way, it took me 30 minutes more than usual to reach home. Reaching home without any problems, before going to the living room, I dumped my bag and school belongings in my room.
After that, I put my gym uniform, which had not perspired at all, into the washing machine, washed my hands and then went to the living room.
“I brought the soy sauce…. Why are you here?”
When I entered the living room, the first thing that came into my field of vision, was Shizuku and Kirasaka sitting on the sofa.
“Minato-kun doesn’t know the location of the celebration, right? That is why, I thought of going together.”
“I am also not participating in the celebration. Since it is rare, I thought about having a meal with Shinra-kun.”
I pointed towards the entrance and told the two people.
For a moment, the two people looked blankly at me but after a while, as if understanding something, they both looked towards each other…
“Since Minato-kun is saying this, Kirasaka-san, please go back home.”
“No, wasn’t he talking to you? Please go and have fun at the celebration.”
….I was talking to both of them, though?
As if not understanding the meaning of my words, the two started quarreling about who was told to return.
During that while, I passed the request soy sauce to Kaede who was cooking in the kitchen.
“This is the requested soy sauce.”
“Thank you, Nii-san!…By the way, are you about to go somewhere?”
Kaede, who had already started preparing two people’s portion of dinner, showed a slightly troubled expression.
I had told her about the ball game tournament, but I wonder if she had thought that I won’t be participating in the after celebration.
Trying to remove the worry on Kaede’s face and letting the two observing the situation here, know the situation clearly, I answered.
“No, I will eat the meal at home.”
And then, I could hear two surprised voices coming from behind.
The two still didn’t give up. They kept grumbling behind us, while we were eating.
But, my decision was firm….because, I did not want to leave the house.
“It has already started!”
Looking at the clock on the wall, Shizuku lamented.
Right now, the time is 6:45 PM.
The appointed time is 6:50, so Shizuku is already late.
From here to the place Shizuku talked about, it will take 15 minutes even if you run.
Typing something in the smartphone dejectedly, I wonder if she was contacting Yuuto about coming late.
Kirasaka was also somewhat pouting, while drinking coffee.
Every time our eyes met, she would show a gaze so cold that it would send chills down my spine. It was pretty bad for my heart.
If it is this gaze, I wonder if a delinquent would also run away under its influence.
While I was firmly trying not to move, as if Shizuku came up with something, her face started glittering. Then she went over to Kirasaka and started whispering something to her.
Listening to it, Kirasaka also started grinning and with a warped face, started approaching here.
“What? I will not go anywhere, even if you say something… In the first place, do you think there are even any people in the class, who would be delighted by my presence?”
“No, we will stop saying anything further!”
The two stopped…. not in front of me, but in front of Kaede, who was sitting further in the back.
The two girls approached the surprised Kaede and started whispering something in her ears. It was quite a strange scene.
I wonder what the two conveyed to Kaede as she nodded a few times.
While repeating that act many times over, I felt I could hear a voice asking “Is it true?”. While I was thinking so, the secret conversation between the three finished and they stood in front of me.
While clearing her voice with an unnatural cough, Shizuku…
“I have prepared.”
While listening to the abrupt words that sounded like the beginning of Oogiri, I unintentionally responded. It was not Shizuku or Kirasaka, but instead Kaede who appeared in front of me.
“What… Even if you partner up with Kaede, my determination won’t change.”
With some determination, Kaede looked into my eyes firmly and spoke betrayal like words to me.
“Onii-chan… Go for the sake of Kaede…”
“OK let’s go… Let’s go right now.”
The castle like solid determination of few seconds ago, changed into a simple pebble in an instant.
I rushed inside my room and quickly changed into my outdoor clothes.
And then, I returned back to the living room and went towards the two, who were praising Kaede magnificently. Leading both of them, I started walking towards the place of celebration.
1. So, reference time. Oogiri is a kind of a comedy show, where in front of audience, a host/moderator will give some questions to comedians. The comedians will give witty/absurd answers to those questions. Sometimes comedian are also given photographs, where they give their absurd impressions about the situation.
In the previous line, Shizuku says “I have prepared.” (整いました). This is actually a catch phrase of a comedian Nezucchi (link is in JP) whose real name is Nezu Toshihiro, someone who regularly takes part in Oogiri. In his case, it is more like “I have got/prepared a riddle/an answer.” for the show.
Most of the sources are in Japanese (including the above one), so it is difficult to provide. I did however find an article about the comedy duo “Daburu Koron” (Double Colon), he is part of, here in English. If you are interested, you can read about it.