In the end, it didn’t take a week for Ai to change.
「 Auuuuuu 」
It’s been three days since then.
「 Geez, Ai-san, you’re in the way 」
It’s the usual lunch break.
The usual bakery.
Megu shouts at Ai as it’s busy inside the selling area because the students are lined up.
「 Y-Yes! Auuu 」
Ai replies in panic.
「 Ai-chan help me out here! 」
Nei shouts at Ai.
「 This, this, and this one 」
A female student picks her bread.
「 Okay, thank you for your patronage! How much was that, Ai-chan? 」
Nei looks at AI.
「 It’s 440 yen for the three of them 」
Ai looked at the products and replied immediately.
「 Here 」
「 Okay, I received 1000 yen 」
「 The change is 560 yen 」
Ai has a good memory.
She learned the price of each product in no time.
Also, she’s good at math.
「 This and this 」
「 Yes, that’s 240 yen! 」
If Ai were still under her mother’s umbrella, then nobody would notice her skill.
Other than memorizing the price and calculating them, she’s slow when it comes to putting them in the bag and handling money.
She’s not good when it comes to placing the freshly baked bread in the selling area and all the other jobs that need quick hands.
Anyway, Ai’s body can’t catch up with the speed of others.
「 Oh, Ai-chan. I’ll do that, help this customer calculate the price of his purchase! 」
「 Uuuu, that’s 270 yen 」
She still needs Nei and Katsuko-nee’s support even now.
Even so, that’s three days of change.
She’s used to the job as a seller in this bakery.
「 You don’t have to do that 」
「 Auuuu, I’m sorry 」
Oh, Megu got angry at her again.
「 I’ll do that, Ai, do this 」
Looks like Edie came to help her.
「 Here you go! The second batch is ready! 」
I shout as I open up the business-sized oven.
I line up the pads of pastries one after another.
「 Got it, Yoshi-kun! I’ll go get them 」
Megu jumps in the bakery efficiently.
「 Megu-chan, we’re out of cheaper pastries! 」
「 Got it. I’ll take those out first! 」
Katsuko-nee said. Megu brings 50-yen cheaper pastries to the counter first.
「 Next is this! 」
Edie takes the next pad.
I continue to take them out of the oven.
「 Ai-chan, you don’t need to move away from the counter 」
Nei comes in to take the next pad.
「 As expected, life gets easier when there are more people 」
Kana-senpai, who’s eating lunch ahead of us together with Yukino, said.
「 Yoshi-kun, is this the last one? 」
「 Yeah, that’s all of the pads 」
「 Good job 」
Megu kisses me in the lips.
「 We’ll deal with the rest, you can take a break, Yoshi-kun 」
She said then brings in the last pad.
After baking the second batch, my job is over.
What’s left is to eat up and clean the bakery.
Katsuko-nee can take control of the counter.
「 Megu-chan’s become so proactive now 」
Kana-senpai speaks her impressions.
「 Back then, she’ll never kiss Nobu like that, does she? 」
「 Megumi’s pressed for time right now 」
「 That Ai girl appearing has become a turning point for Megumi 」
What do you mean?
「 Hmmm. You mean Ai’s become a stimulus for her? 」
「 Stimulation? Or I should say that she found someone who is on the same level as her, a rival she has to fight upfront, and so, she’s become desperate 」
Yukino put her chopsticks down and said.
「 Look at the people so far. Nei and Agnes are much more beautiful than Megumi. She can’t match the social standing and elegance of the Kouzuki ladies. The Takakura sisters have this mysterious power, Edie and Michi are stronger and much more resilient than her. Anyway, everyone is much much more incredible than herself, and so she feels like she lost from the start. She’s got a huge inferiority complex after all 」
「 Furthermore, she’s sports-minded, and so, she doesn’t go against her seniors, like Katsuko-san or me 」
「 But, that girl, Ai, she looks cute, but she’s got some problems in her head, right? She’s slow, and she goes “awawawawa” from a slight problem 」
「 Well yeah, she’s got a lot of problems 」
「 That’s the reason. Megumi found someone she can fight directly for the first time. They’re at the same level. I mean 」
「 Isn’t Ai in the same age? Thus, Megumi fears that she’ll be downgraded if she lost. It gets her cornered. She doesn’t want to lose because that girl is on the same level as her 」
That’s another harsh opinion towards Megu.
「 Oh, I see. Ai becomes an impending crisis for Megu-chan 」
Kana-senpai agreed, but…
「 Well, I get what Yukino-san’s trying to say. Nobu’s women are either smart, beautiful, or determined, or all of it 」
「 That’s right 」
Yukino and Kana-senpai smiled at each other.
She’s beautiful and determined, but…
Compared to other women, her intelligence is…hmmm…
It’s wild but reasonable.
Kana-senpai belongs to the quick-witted and smart ones, though.
「 Right. Nobu never picks girls without talent 」
Kana-senpai looks at me.
「 That’s right. That means, well, in a sense, Megumi’s the one that’s slightly pitiful among us. But, with this Ai girl coming in, Megumi finally found someone she can compete on the same low-level, and so I think things are getting better? She can’t stay depressed with that 」
「 Well, I think that this is good stimulation for Megumi. After all, she’s always comparing herself and saying: “I’m worse compared to everyone. Useless. A dumb girl,” and she enters a depression spiral. She’s quite the coward after all 」
Yukino, you’ve got the nerve to talk about Megu with that arrogant attitude.
But then again, that’s just Yukino being Yukino.
「 Oh, she thinks that if she gets depressed, Ai might surpass her 」
「 That’s right. Megumi doesn’t have the time to feel down right now 」
Yukino says proudly.
「 Also, Megumi started consulting Katsuko and Nei on Make-up and stuff. It’s funny. She wants to deal with that Ai’s cuteness 」
「 Oh, isn’t that a good thing? Megumi-chan has a good enough foundation, and so I think she’ll shine when you polish her. She’s simply wasn’t proactive until now and is fussy about other things, right?
「 B-But, it’s Megumi! 」
「 Megumi is still Megumi! 」
「 Yukino, your insecurity towards Megu still hasn’t disappeared 」
「 Insecurity? What, Me? With Megumi?! 」
Yukino’s making a “Huh?” face.
「 What are you talking about? Are you stupid?! Are your eyeballs rotting? 」
「 You’re scared that Megu becomes more beautiful than you 」
「 W-What?! That’s not true! 」
「 It’s not just about beauty, you’re scared that Megu might become a “good woman” because she’s competing with Ai now, right? 」
Yukino’s been insecure with Megu ever since childhood.
That’s the reason why she bullied Megu all the time.
「 If the momentum continues, Megu will become a woman much more beautiful and charming than you 」
I sit down in front of Yukino.
「 W-What?! 」
「 E-Either way, I’m not cute! 」
She gets angry.
「 No, I should ask you what are you talking about 」
I looked at Yukino in the eyes and said.
「 Yukino’s cute. I know that the most. I guarantee you that 」
「 Huh? Ah, huh? 」
「 That’s why I’m asking you to stop depreciating the other girls from the shadows. You lose your cuteness when you do that 」
「 Ah?! Nanana?! 」
「 Ufufufufu… Now then, I guess I should switch with the other girls 」
Kana-senpai stands up.
「 Yukino-san, take it slow with Nobu~ Hmm 」
She heads from the bakery to the counter.
「 Let’s switch! 」
「 Nei-chan and Ai-chan, go eat first 」
「 Okay, Katsuko-oneechan, Let’s go in Ai-chan 」
「 Okay, uuu 」
Katsuko-nee picks Nei and Ai together for now.
Ai still needs someone she can depend on.
She needs a person that she can rely on nearby.
It’s too early to have her confront Megu.
「 Auuuuuu 」
Nei and Ai come in.
Ai sits next to me.
It’s because she finds me dependable.
Yukino glares at Ai, who snuggles close to me.
Ai noticed Yukino’s gaze and flinched.
She could make up her mind whether she’ll sit somewhere else or stay next to me, and yet…
Her thoughts came to a standstill, and she froze in place.
Yukino will continue to glare at her.
「 Ai-chan, prepare tea for everyone. Here’s the lunch, Yo-chan 」
Nei follows up.
She takes out the lunch box for Ai, herself, and me.
Using that flow, she asks Ai to prepare tea, and so there’s no disagreement from her.
「 Now then, I wonder what’s our lunch today? Wow! It’s crab croquette! 」
She shows delight while speaking loudly on purpose.
It’s Katsuko-nee and Mana, who prepare the lunch box during the morning.
「 You need tea if we’re eating crab croquette. Ai-chan, hurry up and prepare tea. Prepare one for Yukino-chi as well 」
「 O-Okay, auuu 」
Ai stands up slowly and prepares tea.
Still, she’s slow.
She’s only prepared two teacups for some reason.
Then, she takes out the teapot and tea caddy.
Then, she prepares two more teacups.
I don’t get how Ai thinks.
Then, she takes off the cover of the tea caddy.
Timidly putting in the tea on the teapot.
「 Ai-chan, that’s too much tea leaves 」
Nei checks on her.
「 Auu, sorry 」
She timidly returns the tea leaves back to the caddy.
「 Look. Stop that process and hurry up. Bring out the right amount of tea leaves! 」
Yukino complains out of irritation.
「 No, but, if she puts lots of tea leaves, then it’ll get strong 」
「 Why not? If you’re not okay with the bitter taste then just dilute it 」
Yukino. That’s just rough.
「 I mean, you complain like that Yukino, but you never prepared tea, have you? 」
Yukino never helps out in housework in the mansion.
「 Well, you know? I’m pregnant 」
「 Nono, that’s got nothing to do with your pregnancy! 」
「 I won’t carry anything heavier than the chopsticks! 」
She just gives up on thinking.
「 What? I mean, other people can prepare tea better than me, so I don’t have to do it! I’m the type that drinks tea, not the one that cooks it! It’s my role! 」
「 Yoo, Yukino-chi’s getting shameless now 」
Nei speaks in amazement.
「 Seriously. I feel like if we add Ai and Yukino together, they’ll mix well 」
I said. Yukino.
「 Stop joking. I am myself! I don’t need anyone adding to me! And I don’t need to be dragged around! 」
That’s what’s impressive about you.
「 Hmmm. If only Ai-chan can have some of this shamelessness 」
「 Uuuuu 」
Nei said. Ai can’t even speak up a word and just groans in reply.
But, she no longer looks down, or away from the people, nor trying to escape to her own world.
Ai now listens to the conversation and wants to join in.
「 That’s enough. Anyway, come here with the tea and let’s eat 」
Ai puts the teacups she prepared around.
「 Thanks 」
Yukino takes a sip.
「 Thin 」
Oh, she returned too many leaves that there’s no taste now.
「 S-Sorry 」
「 Well, this is okay. Next time do it properly 」
Yukino said and smiled.
「 After all, you seem cuter than Megumi, so it’s okay. I’ll get along with you 」
Yukino tells Ai.
「 It’s getting exciting for real 」
Nei says while eating her lunch.
「 Lat week, the climax was that the Takakura house, who can oppose the Kouzuki group has come in, and Megu-chan entered the Takakura faction 」
Megu turned stable as Tsukiko is a calm leader.
「 And this week, Ai-chan came. Agnes and Mana-chan came to teach as Ai-chan’s teacher, right? The two are always with her in her everyday life, and even when having sex with Yo-chan 」
Ai always had her mother do everything for her, and so…
She needs someone who does everything in her daily life together with her.
That includes changing clothes, brushing teeth…
Agnes and Mana are in charge of those in the mansion.
「 And then, the three of them become a new group. Agnes has quite the influence on one thing and another. Everyone comes close where Agnes goes 」
「 Agnes and Mana can’t teach her everything, and so Edie and I come to help. Katsuko-oneechan and Nagisa-oneechan help out too. Then, Mao-chan’s with them. Agnes loves Luna-chan, and if Luna-chan’s there, Yomi-chan’s present as well 」
Yeah. Ai, Agnes, and Mana take the central part, and they gather people around.
「 What’s fun to see is Tsukiko-san and Megu-chan not trying to approach Ai-chan. Also, the Kouzuki girls 」
Misuzu, Ruriko, and Michi. Shou-neechan and Rei-chan too.
「 T-Those people are scary 」
「 Really? Mii-chan and the others are good girls too 」
「 But, scary 」
Oh, she senses the elegance and spirit of self-reliance.
Ai sees it as scary.
On the other hand, Misuzu and the girls can’t accept Ai, who can’t even find her place.
「 It would be unfortunate if the family splits up because of that 」
「 Hmm? I don’t think you have to mind it though 」
Nei said with a smile.
「 It’s natural to have this instability if we have this many people 」
「 Compared to the simple “Kouzuki house faction,” “Former Kuromori faction,” and “Takakura house” group split, having Ai-chan intrude in stirred up everyone, and it’s fun to see 」
「 I thought so too. Mingling around suitably…Well, girls, you can’t get along to exist, but putting that aside, I think having more interactions is better 」
「 Yeah. Experiencing interactions with the irregular creates a stronger group. That includes our family 」
We need to grow stronger.
「 I think we should create incidents like this every week to change the personal relationships for the better. I’m sure that something will change by next week again. And then, Ruri-chan and Ai-chan might get along that time. We need a constant change like that 」
「 It’s okay. You don’t have to worry about it, Yo-chan, you’re the king of this kingdom, and so you can just boast your strength. Only accept everyone and settle down 」
「 We’ll do anything to protect this kingdom. If anyone causes trouble, we’ll all follow up. If anyone goes too far, we’ll look after it. There will be a lot of things happening from now on, but we’ll overcome them all 」
「 Yeah, we’ll manage somehow as long as we’re together We can overcome anything 」
I’m still a slow, incompetent high-school boy, but,
My family is strong.
「 That’s right. And if we lack in members, Yo-chan can just bring in more cute girls 」
「 And see, we’re growing stronger with more people 」
「 U-Uhm, A-Ah, I-Is it okay for Ai to stay? 」
Ai asks me.
「 I-I don’t know what’s going on, but, I don’t understand why it has come to this… 」
To the people, Nei saved Ai from the stalker from the Judo club.
And Ai helps out in the bakery out of debt of gratitude for Nei.
「 It’s scary at first, but, t-that…I’m okay about n-needing to have sex with Yoshida-kun, Ai is Yoshida-kun’s sex friend for a year… 」
She seems to have accepted the fact that I violated her multiple times as natural.
「 T-That’s something else…no, uhm…what I mean is…I don’t particularly hate…hate having sex with Yoshida-kun 」
Ai never thinks for herself.
That means she’s got no pride.
Therefore, the idea that she lost her virginity to me or that I can play with her body for a year…
She thinks that it’s fate, and so she just accepts it.
That’s one of Ai’s weakness.
「 But, uhm, living with everyone, was, uhm, somewhat fun… 」
「 Everyone smiles all the time, teaches Ai a lot of things, and being friends with everyone, together with everyone…it’s fun 」
「 Mama seems confused at first, but now… 」
「 She does housework together with Katsuko-san, and she seems to enjoy looking after Mao-chan and Koyomi-chan. Mama likes small girls. But, Ai is already in high-school, I’m no longer a girl that Mama likes 」
「 She’s going to help out on Nagisa-san’s shop today, right? 」
Nei tells me.
Ai’s mom came from a good family, and so she never worked part-time.
She’s tied to her father’s house and forced to marry a man she doesn’t like.
Furthermore, at that time, she’s pregnant with a child from a different man.
「 Ai-chan and your mother, you two need to go outside and interact with people. If not, you’ll have a boring life where you only hide inside 」
「 Yes. I’m having fun right now. I don’t know what will happen to me in the future, but I’m excited. Thrilled. It’s scary, but fun. Then, uhm 」
Ai looked at me.
「 Is this only for a year? Will it be over in a year? 」
「 That’s one year for now. You can think of what you want to do after that 」
「 Me? 」
Ai looks confused.
「 Yeah. I forced Ai, who never moved, who never know how to move by herself, to come with us, and forced you to do things yourself. 」
「 So is it okay for me to stay here? 」
Ai tries to escape to her dependence.
「 No. That’s not allowed. You need to decide on your future. That’s the reason why you’re learning for one year 」
Ai needs to become independent in one year.
「 But, what if Ai wants to stay here after a year? 」
「 That’s something for you to decide in a year 」
「 That’s because Ai can’t know that right now 」
「 Auu 」
「 Shuffle 」
「 Auu! 」
I clear up Ai’s mind.
「 Anyway, you and your mother will return home this Friday 」
Ai’s father works at Sendai, and he comes home only during weekends.
「 Uuuu. I don’t want to see Papa 」
「 But you will. And then, you’ll confirm how much you’ve changed. Then, on Monday, you’ll come back to the mansion and live with us 」
That’s all we can do until we clear up Ai’s relationship with her parents.
We still haven’t reached a conclusion whether Ai’s mother wants to divorce or not.
「 We’ll send you over by Friday. Then, we’ll have sex in your room again, Ai 」
「 O-Okay, I don’t mind it, but… 」
She now thinks that it’s natural for us to have sex.
「 I’ll go with you by then. Oh, Megu-chan’s coming too. You still haven’t done Ai-chan and Megu-chan together, right? 」
「 Looks good. That just creates a new swing on the family 」
If Megu and I were to get along…
The relationship within the family will change.
「 Right. Let’s do that, Ai 」
「 Y-Yes, I understand 」
Ai replies in a small voice while blushing.