The goddess can’t go back to her home.
If that’s true, maybe I should ask him what’s going on.
But Suikin-san’s beautiful blue eyes are downcast and she’s trembling as if she’s frightened.
I can’t ask such a child with a hard look on her face insensitively.
We’re just distant relatives, strangers.
I didn’t know what to say, and for a moment, silence reigned.
At that moment, the sound of the water heater’s automatic hot water supply was heard in the room.
The bath water’s ready.
I smiled at Suikoto-san in relief.
Why don’t you go take a bath first.
We can talk about the situation later. The most important thing is to stay warm. Oh, yeah. You need a change of clothes.
I took a set of navy blue jerseys from the top of the closet.
Then I glanced back at Suikoto.
Looking at her again, Suikoto-san’s style is quite good and she’s taller than most girls.
But I’m sure my clothes would still be too loose for a man like me.
Well, it is what it is.
I don’t know what you’re gonna do with your underwear, but of course I’m not gonna ask you.
Suikoto took the jersey and said “Thanks.” She said quietly and looked at it.
“Is this Akibara-kun’s?”
“That’s right. All I have in this room are my clothes and some of my dad’s old clothes. You’re gonna have to be patient.”
Is it washed?
“Sure. I’m pretty meticulous.
Mizukoto looked around the room and nodded in agreement.
I think it’s pretty tidy for a high school boy living alone.
I don’t cut corners on laundry or cooking.
There was one thing I needed to ask you before I got you in the tub.
“Suqin-san, have you eaten dinner yet?”
I didn’t eat.
He had come all the way here at night without any luggage, so I thought he probably hadn’t had dinner yet.
I doubt he even has a wallet.
And I hadn’t had dinner yet.
Do you have an appetite?
“Me? I’m hungry, but what does that matter?”
No, it’s nothing.
I’m sure you’ll be able to find a way to get a good deal more than you think you can.
I sat down on a chair at the table.
And then he sighed.
What the hell is going on?
Whatever the future holds, it’s almost certain that Suikin-san will be staying here today.
But I felt that was a bad idea in many ways.
I’d question the decency of any adult who encourages boys and girls of your age to sleep in the same room.
Well, about your sister…
I took out my smart phone and called my sister’s phone, the source of all this.
It would be an international call to my sister Ameon in the U.S., but it shouldn’t cost that much because of the rate plan.
Problem is, it’s early in the morning there, considering the time difference.
I’m not sure if she’s awake or not… but she just got a call from Ame-no-sama at Suikoto-san’s place.
Then you’re probably okay.
The phone was connected before I could make a single call.
“Hello? This is Amane Akihara.”
It was beautifully pronounced.
When I make a phone call and get a response like this, I realize that Ame-sama is studying abroad.
Unlike me, she was a very bright student at a prestigious university in America.
But maybe not in a sensible way.
I’m Haruto. Haruto Akibara. I’m sorry for calling so early. I didn’t realize you were already up.
I said, “Oh! came back in a cheerful voice.
“Long time no see! I’m doing fine, as I should be, but how are you doing, Haruhi-kun?”
I chuckled, thinking that I didn’t need to emphasize that I was doing so well.
But talking with you makes me feel a little better.
I answered Ame-no-sama’s question.
I’m fine, thanks to you. Anyway, you didn’t have my number on your phone?”
I’m trying to, but I didn’t see who it was and I hit the answer button.
“Let’s check that…”
“I thought it was about time you called me, Haruhito.”
I could imagine her smiling at me on the other end of the phone.
This man was always thinking strange things, wanting to do everything his own way, and acting as he pleased without thinking of the trouble he might cause others.
But I didn’t dislike your free spirit.
“Ame-sister, about our key, you gave it to my classmate, didn’t you?”
I gave it to you. To you and my cousin, Rei Suikoto.
“Why did you do that?”
“Because it’s a waste of time.”
“If I study abroad, I’ll have a lot of keys left over that no one will use. So I thought it would be better to give it to someone who might use it.”
“Don’t treat our keys like they’re nearly expired pudding…”
“Okay? It’s also the key to my house.”
I’m the only one living here now. Besides, don’t you think it’s a bad idea for two high school boys and a girl to be alone in the same house?”
“Oh, you’re thinking something dirty, aren’t you? But if you put it that way, me and Haruhi-kun were living in that house alone just a while ago, right?”
Well, it’s been just the two of us since Dad moved out.
But that’s not the same thing.
Ame-no-sama continues in a joyful, bouncy voice.
“Haruhito, did you imagine that you might be able to do something naughty when you were alone with me?”
No, I didn’t! I don’t know what my dad would say if he heard you talking like this.
“Don’t worry, your uncle knows that I gave the key to Suqin-san.”
I almost dropped the phone from my hand.
According to Ame-sama, her uncle, my father, has already given his blessing.
I’m getting more and more confused.
Unlike your sister, your father’s a sensible man.
I asked her.
Suqin can’t live in her old house anymore. That’s why she’s moving in with us. That was Ame-sister’s suggestion too, right?”
That’s right. She’s the Lady of the House of the Farseer.
Ame-no-sama said casually.
Oh, I see.
I’ve heard rumors that Suikoto-san is the daughter of the president of a big company, but it’s true to some extent.
The Tohmis were the family that owned the largest business group in this local city.
The Tomi Group is involved in a number of businesses including construction, telecommunications, real estate, and retail, and boasts consolidated group sales of several hundred billion yen.
And the Tohmis were the original members of the Akihara family.
The Akihara family split off from the Tohmi family in the late Edo period. In addition, our grandfather’s wife, my grandmother, was also a member of the Tohmi family.
But unfortunately the Akibaras have no property unlike the Tomis.
That’s why my dad’s a civil servant and I live in this cheap apartment.
Nowadays, the words “main family” and “branch family” are becoming obsolete, and I myself am not close to the Tomi family, and have hardly visited them.
Still, it’s weird.
“Your surname is different. If Suqin-san is from the Tohmi family, why isn’t her family name Tohmi?”
“It’s complicated. I can’t explain it right now.”
I sighed again.
“If it was just a quarrel between parents and children and she ran away from home, I would’ve sent Suikoto-san back to Tomi’s house right now. But that’s not the case, is it?”
This is no ordinary runaway. She can’t really go back to the house. So protect her.
“Protect Suqin-san? Me?”
Don’t worry. You can do it, Haruhito. You’re so kind.
And then she said, “I’m busy.” and hung up the phone.
I understand that your schoolwork is so hard that you have to study from early in the morning, but please consider our situation as well.
She said I was “kind.” And that’s why I can protect Suikoto.
But being nice doesn’t help.
Kaho always said I was a kind person.
But Kaho still dumped me.
I tried calling my dad, but he’s not answering.
Maybe he’s working late.
I hear the shower running.
I think Suqin’s washing herself.
I didn’t have the luxury of blushing at the thought of it.
The house at the far end.
Crossing the river to the west from the city center, at the foot of the mountain, was the house of Tomi.
The house across the river reminds every resident of this town of the house of the Tomisaki family.
I remember when I visited Tomi’s house when I was in elementary school.
Behind the big old-fashioned gate, there was a large Japanese house and a garden in a pure Japanese style.
It was a big mansion, but it was covered with a kind of dark and gloomy atmosphere.
I broke off my coherent thought.
I was going to have dinner as soon as I got home, but it’s been quite a while.
Now, let’s prepare a quick meal.
Including Suikin-san’s, of course.
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