「 Thinking about it, if you haven’t looked at a person’s face after a while, you’ll find them hard to understand 」
Morning. We return from the cruiser to Shou-neechan’s Ferrari.
There’s a palatial residence in the outskirts of Los Angeles rented by Minaho-neesan.
We finished breakfast and had tea on the poolside table.
Minaho-neesan, Nei, Megu, Mana, Edie, then Shou-oneechan and me.
Shou-neechan changed from her red dress last night to a sporty T-shirt and shorts from the cruiser.
「 Was the matter with your father that shocking? 」
Megu asks me.
「 Yeah 」
I told everyone about my parting with father after telling Shou-neechan.
It was before we left for Los Angeles, so I haven’t told Megu and Mana yet.
I mean, it took me a while to organize it in my head.
As for Nei, I told her on the ship after leaving Hawaii.
Edie, does she understand? She’s just smiling.
「 He disappeared during April, and it’s August now, right? That’s four months Yet, seeing my father after a long time, I felt something different 」
「 Different? 」
「 Yeah, Megu, how should I say it, his face looks distorted, or rather, languid. Anyway, it was different from father’s face in my memory. Before, he has his back stretched out, like, his face should look sharp. Yet, he always looks down, hunchback, saying only “Sorry,” “Is that so?” “My best Regards” 」
He lost his vigor.
Father that day.
「 No, of course, it’s Father. My father. I’m sure about his face. But, he seems like a different person. His atmosphere was so different that I thought “Who’s this guy?” 」
Yes, I feel like I met Father’s ghost instead of my father.
「 A salaryman who ran away from his workplace is now working on a land unfamiliar to him. Furthermore, with so little money at hand, he doesn’t have a definite place to stay, he slipped into a workplace that hires people without even a guarantee of identity. His mental state has gone haywire 」
「 Well, it’s hard to find new jobs for a man over 40’s in an unknown land 」
Nei tells me,
「 If you’re not used to the job, the younger ones would shout at you. Your pride would be in tatters, making you wonder what you’ve been doing in your life 」
I don’t get that.
「 But, he was my parent. I wanted him to get himself together in front of his child. To think that he’s showing such a disgraceful attitude in front of MInaho-neesan and the lawyer 」
He shut inside his mind.
He only looks at inside himself as he cast his eyes downward.
He didn’t even look at me, his child.
「 Looking at it objectively now, it makes me think. Could it be that your father doesn’t know you anymore? 」
「 Well, you were completely different than when your father disappeared 」
「 I’m always myself though 」
「 Yes, your mind has always been yourself, But, your outlook has changed a lot 」
Has my outlook changed?
「 Yes. Before, you weren’t stretching your back with dignity. You were so unconfident that you speak in a small voice and keep on stuttering 」
Oh, speaking of which.
「 Your hair looks tidy now. That day, you weren’t wearing student’s clothes but the suit Katsuko prepared for you, right? 」
I thought that it’s been a while since I met father.
Katsuko-nee asked me to wear a fine suit
to not let him worry about me adopted to Kuromori house.
「 I think your father is the one surprised, thinking “Is this really my son?” I believe that he got embarrassed 」
「 He who disappeared looks miserable. You, on the other hand, were abandoned in Tokyo, your father imagined that you surely look miserable too 」
Well, I guess.
My father only left a single bank passbook to me.
His son who’s just a high school student doesn’t have enough money to live by himself alone in the future.
It’s unknown for how long I can stay in that house too.
There’s a lot of possibilities after mother divorcing father.
Father has no relatives.
Mother’s relatives all hate her. While at it, I included.
The company father worked at is related to mother’s parents.
I don’t have anyone to depend on this world.
My life was just downhill at that point.
「 And in the end, you felt hopelessness, you consulted the school. Then, the school talked to some establishments, and therefore, a volunteer accepted you as an adopted son. I think that’s what your father recognizes 」
「 I said that if he accepts the adoption, your future expenses will all be paid by the adoptive family, and all of Yoshida family’s house and properties in Tokyo will be abandoned. I even left transportation and accommodation expenses to Tokyo, then your father will probably think “Then that’s good. With this, my son’s problem is settled. I won’t feel pain from abandoning him in Tokyo. That’s good fortune. Lucky” then he’ll come back to Tokyo as if nothing happened, I think 」
「 He was in that state yet my response to him was wrong. I should’ve used the lawyer’s office or a rental meeting room when talking to your father. But, I unconsciously used a first-class hotel tea room, due to my intuition 」
Minaho-neesan’s usual customers she talks to are all big names in political and business affairs.
Therefore, she chooses places as such to meet with those people.
「 Then, the lawyer too, Kouzuki-sama picked one of the best. Wouldn’t your father imagine a commoner lawyer who works at a government office instead? 」
「 Ultimately, both you and I came in formal dress 」
I wore a suit and Minaho-neesan also put on a brand name clothing because she’s meeting with my father.
「 Huh? What? Yo-chan father meeting Yo-chan wearing ragged clothes, and with the school teacher and a government office lawyer? 」
「 He must be thinking that the “Kuromori house” trying to adopt him isn’t that poor but isn’t also such a big house 」
「 However, he showed up looking so handsome. Then, he felt that Kuromori house was a very wealthy house due to how the lawyer and I talk so he felt heartbroken 」
「 Huh, why? 」
Nei’s getting even more confused.
「 It’s because of me 」
「 A child like me, the child he abandoned gets so much luck that he can’t understand, he can’t agree with it 」
「 Yes. After parting with him, he’s been suffering in the bottom of the society for four months, yet his son talks about the story of how lucky he is. Why is it so different? He can’t agree with it, that’s probably how he felt 」
Therefore, he’s been so abject to Minaho-neesan.
He ignores me.
「 But, your father was of an inferior character so, he should’ve gotten angry and urged to deny your adoption, or try to rip off money from me. Yet, your father didn’t do that 」
Minaho-neesan followed up.
「 Wrong. My father feels guilt from abandoning me and disappearing before anything. Therefore, he couldn’t say it 」
If he grumbled and argued back with “What can a father who left his child behind say?” He can’t reply to that.
That lawyer has quite the presence, Minaho-neesan also shows power.
All he can do is accept that I’ll be adopted in silence, so he becomes more abject.
「 But, isn’t he Onii-chan’s father? He’s a parent, and yet, in the end, he’s not thinking about Onii-chan at all 」
「 If you think that way, he shouldn’t have abandoned me and disappear in the first place 」
I smiled wryly.
「 Yeah. He’s been like that from the start to the end. He and I may be related by blood, but we’re not parent and child. We’re not family 」
「 Yoshi-kun 」
Megu holds my shoulders.
「 Therefore, this is for good. Minaho-neesan didn’t have to think of his re-employment, and it all ended without him asking for a settlement on the lawyer. It’s better that it ended without giving him anything 」
I returned the passbook father left me and the house and lot on his name.
I don’t want to be indebted with that man.
It’s a clear farewell.
「 That’s just pitiful. Onii-chan’s so pitiful 」
Mana’s also abandoned by her family.
「 But, I noticed one thing 」
Minaho-neesan looks at me.
「 Looking at your father, showing that gloomy timid look, hunchback and looking downwards, closing up his heart and only looking at the inside of him, just speaking in a small voice 」
Yeah, father looked horrible.
His eyes were so gloomy that I wanted to look away.
「 It reminds me of the old you, just when you entered High school 」
「 You, I was talking about you 」
「 And now, you’re so confident, and respectable 」
Was I like that?
Oh right. I was.
「 As you were abandoned by your father and left alone, your father left you and fled Tokyo. Then, both of you were in the same state as if you were looking in the mirror. Both lonely and have your heart closed 」
I endured the dark nights alone.
Father also suffered from loneliness all the time far away from Tokyo.
「 You overcome a lot of terrible situations. Therefore, you’re in this state now. I’m proud of you. Knowing that I’m glad that I talked to your father 」
「 No, I wasn’t able to do anything on my own. It’s all thanks to everyone. Everyone stayed with me, guided me, therefore, I was able to crawl out of the dark hell. This is the power of everyone. I’m the one who’s thankful to everyone. Thanks 」
If I didn’t meet with this family.
There will still be a dark marsh inside of me.
Just like my father.
「 Minaho-neesan, thank you. You called out to me on my worst state 」
I thank Minaho-neesan.
「 No, back then, I was only thinking of using you. I’m the one who’s saved thanks to you, I’m grateful 」
「 Aaah, stop that already! If you continue that, the “Thank you” competition won’t end! 」
Nei gets in between Minaho-neesan and me.
「 Mufufu, but, it feels nostalgic just now, I guess. Back then, Yo-chan’s always nervous when talking to me! Oh, right, you were even stuttering. When did that get fixed? 」
Speaking of which, I was.
「 Huh? Onii-chan never stuttered! 」
「 Then, it’s already fixed when he got acquainted with Mana-chan! 」
「 No, Nei-oneechan, not that 」
Megu shows a curious face.
「 Yoshi-kun’s my classmate since April but, Yoshi-kun never stuttered! 」
Megu, it’s just
You completely forgot about that.
Back then, you weren’t interested in me at all, so it didn’t leave an impression.
If you ask me.
Perhaps, it’s both.
「 But, if I recall, during the enrollment, there was a guy who was so gloomy and didn’t talk to anyone. Since when did he become so cool? 」
「 Huh? Megu? I’m not cool though 」
「 You are. Whenever I look at Yoshi-kun, my heart can’t stop pounding so hard 」
「 Yes, Onii-chan looks cool. I think so too. Your hairstyle was strange when we first met, but now its okay 」
That was Misuzu’s taste.
「 Yo-chan who’s continuously looking after everyone is gradually becoming cooler 」
Nei said. Minaho-neesan giggles.
「 Nei hasn’t noticed 」
「 Huh? 」
「 In the mansion, every morning, Nei splits his hair to the right side then Megumi fixes it to the left after that 」
I stay silent about it.
「 Seeing his hair, Nei fixes it, then after that, he bumps to Megumi and sets his hair again. You all fix his hair so many times in a day 」
Yeah, I wonder why though.
「 Huh? I didn’t notice it at all! 」
「 Ah, me too! Nei-oneechan, were you splitting Yoshi-kun’s hair? 」
「 No, well, it became a habit to fix Yo-chan’s hair whenever I see it 」
「 Me too 」
The two are only batting during the lunch break when selling bread.
I’m wearing my food cap.
They can’t touch my hair.
「 I know. I mean, Misuzu-oneechan also has the same habit. Whenever she sees Onii-chan, she fixes his hair 」
Misuzu also has the obsession of fixing my hairstyle.
「 What about Mitchan and Ruri-chan? 」
「 Michi-oneechan and Ruri-oneechan aren’t the types who want to touch but prefer to be touched 」
Right. Mana’s right.
They cling and come along with me.
Then, they’d look at me saying “please touch me.”
「 What about you Mana-chan? 」
「 I’m on the side who does what’s best at the time 」
Nei asks. Mana replies.
Mana lets me do what I want, touching her or letting her touch me.
She enters my line of sight and waits for me to call her.
「 As for me, I dive to Darling whenever I see him 」
Yeah, Edie’s that kind.
One of these days, my body would snap because of her.
By the way, Agnes appears suddenly then says “Papa, let’s have sex!”
「 What about Katsu-nee? I imagine Katsu-nee trying to fix up Yo-chan’s hair too 」
「 Katsuko-nee only does it in the morning when I’m leaving. She doesn’t touch my hair every time we meet like Ya-chan and Megu 」
「 Ah, I see, that’s why it has a strong impression! 」
「 What about Nagisa-san? Onii-chan’s staying over Nagisa-san’s house once a week, right? 」
「 Nagisa uses a hand brush on me when she sees my hair looking funny in the morning 」
「 Handbrush? 」
「 Yeah, she lets me look at the mirror and fixes it. She tries to teach Mao-chan how to do it herself, me too 」
「 As expected from a mother! 」
「 Me too. I respect his independence. I won’t meddle with his hairstyle nor fashion 」
「 Nufufu, By the way, how was it this morning? 」
Nei looks at Shou-neechan, grinning.
「 I-I’m the one who got my hair combed 」
Shou-neechan replies bashfully.
「 What about Yo-chan’s hair? 」
「 I’ll do it for sure next time! 」
「 Shou-neechan, you wanted to fix my hair? 」
「 Well, I just feel that it’s conceited for a woman to fix a man’s hair 」
Shou-neechan’s getting incoherent.
「 No, I don’t mind it 」
「 Y-Yeah, I get it now 」
She tells me while blushing.
「 Speaking of which, what about Rei-chan? Onii-chan 」
「 Rei-chan’s focused on sex for now and also, look, she’s a very strong Onee-san, right? 」
「 Yes 」
「 Therefore, she always gets up in a hurry. We don’t have time to fix our hair at all 」
We have sex until the very last minute in the morning.
The girls fell silent.
「 I want to do that next time! 」
「 No! Nei-oneesan! 」
Nei and Megu glare at each other!
◇ ◇ ◇
Afternoon. Kyouko-san visits.
Miss Cordelia brings in Golby-san who seem to be in ill-humor.
「 What’s wrong? 」
Minaho-neesan asks Kyouko-san.
「 Well, you see, this girl cried to Cordelia saying that she wanted to have her way with Nei by all means 」
「 Eeh?! I said no! 」
Nei immediately rejects what Kyouko-san said.
「 Just kidding. She’s given up already but, she’s been a bit pushy lately, so I thought of punishing her. Is Edie here? 」
「 She felt Kyouko-san’s presence, so she hid 」
Edie’s a master when it comes to sensing Qi.
And, she’s not good at dealing with Kyouko-san and others.
I mean, all the Lesbians.
「 Could you bring her here? I thought of having her beat up Nikita Gorbachev-chan black and blue. 」
「 Hah! I know her skills Onee-sama! I’ve been with that girl until we arrived at Los Angeles 」
Golby-san replies in fluent Japanese.
「 She’s just a failure of a brown girl using half-baked skills! She’s not even on my level! 」
Blue eyes and fluffy milky blonde hair.
Her skin is so white you’d be surprised.
Today, she’s wearing some white rider suit fit for her body.
Whoever looks at her can see that she’s a Russian beauty, but.
She’s quite the ill-tongued. A horrible case at that.
「 Well, I do agree that she’s quite cute. But, Cordelia-oneesama let go of her from the collection, right? After all, even if you polish coal, it won’t become a jewel! Rather than that, this girl, Nei is lovely. Hey, Onee-sama, since we’ve come all this way! Let’s take Nei back home! She’s definitely someone fitting for Onee-sama’s jewelry box!!
Her smile to Nei is rude.
「 I said ‘no’ so many times already! 」
「 Geez! What poor child, deceived by a man! If you allow Onee-sama, then I’d gladly teach you the true pleasures any time! 」
Golby-san’s 17 years old, so Nei’s the old one here.
But, it seems that when it comes to lesbian supremacism, it doesn’t matter.
The hierarchy in their world is Miss Cordelia, her master > Herself > Other women.
She thinks men should be extinct from this world.
「 It was a pleasant trip with you, but there was one guy who was a kill-joy 」
She’s talking about me.
By the way, during our ten-day travel, Golby-san never talked to me. A man.
She’s only talking to Nei and Edie.
Furthermore, she only talks in English, so I don’t understand.
Since I’m watching her fight with Rei-chan, I know that Golby-san is fluent at Japanese.
I mean, her skill in the Japanese language is high, so she was chosen as Rei-chan’s fighter.
And it seems that she’s forced to speak Japanse by Kyouko-san and Miss Cordelia right now.
Therefore, she purposely throws insults at me.
「 This is why you’re such a no-good girl 」
「 Right, she’s useless unless we break her high nose this time 」
Golby-san’s owner, Miss Cordelia said.
「 Geez, even Cordelia-sama says that! I hate it! Why is it that you two don’t understand my feelings? 」
「 You’re my cute little cat but, I feel regretful for raising you without knowing the world for a while. That’s why I sent you to Japan 」
「 Onee-sama, I went to Japan and found that my skills are excellent! No one has the ability to win against me in that country. Even That Reika girl seems to be a good one among the Japanese but, Kukuku, I had to tone down quite a lot just to be in an equal ground with her! Really, it’s hard to fight with low-level people 」
She speaks poorly of Rei-chan who’s not present
「 Then, you can easily win against Edie, right? That girl’s 16 years old. A year younger than you. You won’t lose to a younger girl, would you? 」
Miss Cordelia taunts her.
「 Obviously! I said it earlier but, I’ve already seen through all of her skills during our trip to Los Angeles 」
「 I see, then, what will you do when you lose? 」
「 I won’t lose! Kukuku! Kyouko-sama, what kind of joke is that? Ahaha, that’s so funny. So funny! 」
Kyouko-san looks at me.
「 Would you mind gambling? Edie vs. this girl 」
「 Right, if this girl loses, we’ll take Nei. If Edie wins 」
「 We’ll give her to you 」
Miss Cordelia said
「 I can’t do that 」
「 Oh. What a wise thing for a stinky man to say. You seem to know the difference in ability between that girl and me 」
「 I don’t mean that. My family isn’t subject to gambling. I won’t bet Nei 」
I look straight to Golby-san.
「 Also, Edie’s much stronger than Golby-san 」
Golby-san’s eyebrows twitch.
「 Oh my, I knew it, this stinky man is stupid like a dog!!! 」
Anyway, it seems that Kyouko-san wants Edie and Golby-san to fight.
I don’t know the reason though.
「 Who cares, bring that dark-skinned girl here. I’m going to beat her up in an instant!!! 」
「 Really, Golby-san’s got bad eyesight 」
「 Edie’s already here since earlier 」
Edie is always protecting us, her family.
She’s just hiding her presence in plain sight.
「 Okay, Darling 」
She shows up from behind the tree.
She’s done evacuating Mana and Megu while Nei attracts Golby-san’s attention.
「 Don’t kill her, okay? 」
I order Edie.