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Hi guys. The first week of no Reika I spent thinking about the Suiran/Zuiran thing, and went with Zui’ran in the end.
The second week of no Reika was because I was in Melbourne on a business trip.
The third week of no Reika was because Vampyr was out.
But I’m back now. Wew~
Kaburagi was walking on clouds.
Ever since he gave Wakaba-chan those reference books and exercise books, the two of them would discuss difficult questions with each other.
“We’re competing to see how who can get further in the exercise books.”
Who was it that called it “cynical and unromantic”?
“That girl hates to lose, after all,” he said between smug sips of his tea.
“You are working hard together,” I praised.
See? Look at where my perfect advice got you.
By solving the exercise book together, the two of you have even more to talk about.
As expected of me.
“We talk on the phone or message each other about questions that we can’t solve.”
“You have her mail address!?” I asked in shock.
When did that happen!?
“Yeah. There was an accident during the summer, so I’ve had it since then.”
Don’t tell me he did the same thing to her as me, assaulting her with messages every five minutes if she didn’t reply?
That was horrid.
And scary too.
“…Sending too many messages may bother her, so please show some moderation.”
“I know. Even I know restraint,” he declared rather proudly.
I didn’t have much confidence in his idea of restraint though.
“Truly, now? Women despise men who will not give up, you know?”
“If she does not reply to your email, you must not pester her, you know?”
“You’re the one who won’t give up! What kind of guy do you think I am!?”
Kaburagi huffed and turned away unhappily, so I decided to leave it at that for today.
This wasn’t over.
I took a sip from my hibiscus tea. The faint tang was delicious.
“…We’ll be going to the library, yeah?” he asked, seemingly over his bout of unhappiness.
“Yes, you did mention something like that.”
“I was thinking of asking her out for a meal this time…”
I think last time he mentioned bringing her out to a French restaurant in Aoyama, didn’t he?
“Please try not to bring her to anywhere too unapproachable.”
“Unapproachable? Like, how unapproachable is unapproachable even?”
“Hmmm. Well, having dinner at a French restaurant certainly qualifies. If you are going for Italian, then go for somewhere informal like a café or a regular restaurant, not one of the expensive ones. I suppose if I had to add to that, go for a restaurant that is well lit.”
“That’s hard. Do I have to follow all those restrictions?”
Exactly what is hard about that?
What kind of restaurants do you usually go to, exactly?
“Last time I went with her to a restaurant, she didn’t seem to mind that much.”
“Eh!? When was this!?”
“During the summer.”
“Was it dinner?”
“No, it was lunch that time. We stopped by after coming back from the hospital.”
Right. Back then he was taking her to the hospital every day.
“Where did you take her, incidentally?”
The restaurant that he named was an all-organic hidden French restaurant. That place, huh?
“Yurie liked it.”
“So Yurie-sama liked it…”
“So did you suddenly invite her too, that time?”
“Huh? Yeah. It was just about lunchtime so I suggested getting some food before taking her home. That restaurant allows last minute reservations after all.”
Suddenly his expression looked a bit awkward.
“But it’s not like she was wearing anything weird, alright!? And she said the food was good! And also it might have been French but it was a relatively casual place, okay!” he argued.
I guess he remembered what I said just now.
It sounded like excuses, actually. Also he was being loud.
How was he going to take responsibility if we were overheard?
Well, I suppose it would be fine for lunch…
That place wasn’t too fancy after all, and if Wakaba-chan knew she was meeting with Kaburagi then her clothing couldn’t have been too bad either.
“I suppose that is fine then… But I had no idea you were so fond of French. You wanted to bring her to Aoyama for French food as well.”
“Ah, it’s not like I really like it or anything, but Yurie liked it,” he said without an ounce of shame.
I slide to the side so that I was right in front of him now.
“Kaburagi-sama, please stop making all of your decisions based on Yurie-sama.”
“Hah?” he replied blankly.
Notice it already…
“Buying presents that Yurie-sama would like, taking her to restaurants that Yurie-sama would like, with cuisine that Yurie-sama would like. Everything you have done has been with Yurie-sama as a basis, with the assumption that if Yurie-sama would like it, Takamichi-san would as well.
“But the girl you like is supposed to be Takamichi-san, is it not? Then should you not be thinking about what kind of presents would make her happy, and what kind of food she might want to try?”
“Yurie-sama might indeed be fine about being suddenly taken to a fancy French dinner, and certainly her clothing would not be out of place. I can understand why you might not have thought too deeply about it because of that.
“But Takamichi-san is not Yurie-sama. An expensive French restaurant is not somewhere that a normal high school girl often goes to,” I said, before looking at him straight in the eyes. “Who are you really looking at?”
Kaburagi’s eyes went wide.
…I mean, I didn’t entirely blame him.
Yurie-sama had been by his side since he could remember, and given his long crush on her it was natural that she had left a deep impression on him.
It didn’t help that he kept every other girl at arms length, either…
Still, it was just weird that he was using somebody else as the basis for his decisions with Wakaba-chan.
I was starting to feel sorry for her.
I looked back at Kaburagi, still silent and hanging his head.
Oh, was that too much of a shock?
Was he feeling depressed now?
Oh dear, maybe I went too far…
And wow, Kaburagi was surprisingly sensitive to these things.
“Ah, ummm… But at least you meant well, right? Mmn, I could tell.”
“Oh! I know! That maple syrup was a great choice, right?” I said hastily. “And that teddybear was a good idea too. I approve.”
His only response to my consolation was to mutter something quietly.
“Pardon? What was that?”
“…The maple syrup was Shuusuke’s idea, and the teddybear… was something that I picked because Yurie liked them…”
Far from consoling him, I just rubbed salt in the wound…
Oh geez, his head was hanging even lower now~
At times like this, what he really needed was somebody who understood him better than anyone else!
Now where was that best friend of his…?
Eh!? He wasn’t here today!?
I looked straight ahead as I sipped my hibiscus tea, trying not to look at the boy sitting with me.
After a long while, Kaburagi finally raised his head.
Hm? What did he get?
“I need some time to think. Let’s talk again tomorrow,” he said before standing up.
Ah, was he going home now?
“My apologies, but tomorrow I already have plans and cannot come to the salon.”
Sorry… But I’m already going to Mao-chan’s birthday party, you know~
Wah! Come on, don’t blame me with your eyes like that~
What if I bring you some sweets from the party? Would you like that?
Eh? You don’t want them?
“Gokigen’yoh, Mao-chan. Happy birthday.”
She was wearing a white dress.
With Yuuri-kun in his little bowtie next to her, the two of them looked like a tiny bride and groom!
“You look adorable in that dress, Mao-chan. You just need a bouquet and you would be the spitting image of a bride.”
So I handed over a bouquet.
Mao-chan met Yuuri-kun’s eyes, looking both happy and shy.
Mmmn, it’s spring.
Since the primary school section finished classes before the high school section did, the party had already begun.
By now all the kids in the Petit Pivoine were familiar with me, and they came in turns to say hello to me.
Today was stressful since I was worried Kaburagi would summon me.
But he didn’t say anything in particular, and from what I saw he seemed normal, so I supposed that I was safe for now.
I took a seat next to Mao-chan and handed over her present.
“Reika-oneesama, did you come straight from school?” she asked.
“Yes. Please do excuse me for coming in my uniform,” I smiled.
“No, I’m just really happy that you came,” she told me.
For her birthday, I got Mao-chan a Swarovski pendant.
Girls loved sparkly things.
Wakaba-chan’s little sister was a good example of that.
So was the time when Imari-sama bought Mao-chan that glass hair ornament, so I hoped she’d like my present too.
“Wah, it’s so cute! Thank you so much! Can I wear it now?”
I’m so glad that she liked it!
Putting it on, she turned to Yuuri-kun and asked,
“How do I look?”
“It really suits you, Mao,” he smiled in return.
Wow. I think maybe even a primary schooler had better skills in romance than Kaburagi…
When Mao-chan’s mother came over to thank me for the present, she encouraged me to try some of the cooking, so I began to help myself.
Most of what was presented to day was cooked by her mother.
As expected of her~
Mmm, this chicken in boiled tomatoes was really good!
“I actually wanted Akimi-san to come too, but since we only just met I wasn’t sure if she would be happy to get an invitation,” Mao-chan told me.
“Ah, I see.”
Mao-chan had taken a liking to Akimi-san ever she came over that time during the spring holidays.
“I’m really excited. She’s going to teach me how to bake bread next time! Haruto-niisama loves bread, and they talked for ages the other day about which bakeries were good.”
“Akimi-san said that she loves freshly-baked raisin bread. Haruto-niisama went and bought some to try afterwards, and he said that it was delicious too.”
“He said that Akimi-san really liked sweet things. Should we go together sometime? Me, and you, and Akimi-san, and Haruto-niisama, and Yuuri!”
“…Could it be that you are trying to pair Akimi-san with Ichinokura-sama?”
I knew it.
She had seemed rather forceful in insisting that Akimi-san go home with them that day.
“Ichinokura-san is already officially dating somebody, is he not?”
That beautiful model of a girlfriend.
“Apparently they haven’t been meeting much, recently.”
“Yes. So now is my chance…” she smirked.
Oh my god!
When did my pure little Mao-chan learn to smile so evilly like this?
“If I could choose, I would have actually preferred you to marry him, but…”
“I gave up on that, though. After all, you already have somebody as dreamy as Imari-sama, and at school you have the Emperor and Yukino-kun’s oniisama as well, right? Haruto-niisama would have just too many rivals.”
Um, I think I just heard some names that I couldn’t ignore…
“Ummm, Mao-chan, are you perhaps having a terrible misunderstanding about something?”
“Don’t worry! Instead, you’ll help me with Akimi-san, won’t you? Won’t you, Reika-oneesama?”
How could anybody refuse those adorable puppy eyes of yours?
When she grows up, Mao-chan is going to have all the men wrapped around her finger, isn’t she…
Good luck, Yuuri-kun!