Living with a Beautiful High School Student: A chance encounter after seven years [Chapter 2] [Volume 2]

Sleepovers with high school girls

Several days have passed since the sleepover date was decided, and December has arrived. It’s the Christmas season.

The city is decorated with Christmas lights, and everyone is excited at this time of year. Walking through the streets with a different atmosphere than usual, you can feel the sense that “another year is coming to an end.”

However, the view from the office has not changed at all.

While some companies may have a busy period at the end of the year, there is no fixed busy period for the work of a Systems Engineer. It depends on the amount of work and the progress of the project. Even during the end of the year, if the work is under control, it’s business as usual.

I was working as usual as well.

I got up from my desk to speak to Izuka-san, a programmer.

—Izuka-san, regarding the matter we discussed earlier, I just finished the detailed design and sent it to you by email. Could we meet tomorrow to discuss it?”

—Yes, I will review it later.

Izuka-san turned towards me and winked.. Even though she is older than me, she has a playful charm.

—By the way, Yuya-kun, is there something bothering you?

—Eh? Why do you say that?

—Lately, I feel like your tone of voice has been a bit dull. As an older sister, I can sense these things, you know?

Izuka-san bursts into laughter.

If only she knew. It’s about the sleepover party matter from earlier.

As a man, planning a girls’ get-together  was a challenge. I thought of several options, but I still didn’t have anything concrete.

How can I make sure Aoi and Rumi have fun?

…I know. Maybe I should talk to Izuka-san. She, being a woman, might have better ideas than me since we are the same gender.

—Actually, this weekend, Aoi will come to visit my apartment. But I’m not sure how to properly welcome her…

Only Chizuru-san and Rumi know that Aoi and I live together. Keeping our cohabitation agreement and Rumi’s visits a secret, I revealed my concerns to Izuka-san.

—Oh, Yuya-kun, it seems like you have a really good relationship with Aoi-chan.

—Hahaha, it seems like she’s quite fond of me… But actually, I wanted to talk to you about ideas to entertain a high school student.

—Hmm? Since you’re family, you don’t need to worry too much… Ah, I see, I understand what you mean.

Izuka-san showed a mischievous smile.

What does that enigmatic smile mean?

Did she find out that I was lying to her?

—You want your adorable niece to have fun with you, don’t you? Yuya-kun, you’re a good uncle.

—Eh? W–Well, I do find my niece cute too. Hahaha…

—Yeah, yeah, you’re great.

Izuka-san pats me on the back. What a relief. It seems like she interpreted things in the right direction on her own.

—I see. How about you prepare something that she can enjoy?

—Something she can enjoy… What would make you happy, Izuka-san?

—Probably a bonus paycheck, don’t you think?

—I can’t give her something like that! She will completely misunderstand!

—Hahaha. I’m saying that as an adult woman, I’m sure you would agree. — Izuka-san replied with a smug smile.

But I think it would be inappropriate to give money to a high school student as a bribe to come to my house.

—It’s true that that’s something adults would appreciate. But please, think of something suitable for a high school student.

—Hahaha, I was just kidding. Hmm… How about something sweet? Any dessert could work.

—Really? Is it okay to do that?

—Yes, it’s fine. Yuya-kun, you’re overcomplicating things.

—Oh, I see… but won’t it be too simple?

—Don’t worry! Girls love sweet things. — Izuka-san assured me.

It’s quite general advice… But wait a moment.

I remember that Rumi loves sweets. Aoi gave her a flan as a souvenir from the company trip.

Aoi also mentioned that she really liked the surprise cake. Both girls undoubtedly have a taste for sweets.

—Maybe you’re right, Izuka-san… I’ll prepare some sweets. You’ve given me a great idea.

—Right? I hope Aoi-chan has fun. Good luck, uncle!

—Hahaha. Thank you for your support.

I thanked Izuka-san and returned to my desk.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I let out a relieved sigh.

Good. Now I have a clear direction.

There was a pastry shop that caught my attention in the underground shopping mall at the station. I could stop by and get a quote on my way back home.

A few minutes after I’d returned to work, Chizuru-san, who was absent, came back.

She normally walks with a straight posture filled with energy, but for some reason, her posture was hunched. Her eyes looked lifeless, and she didn’t have her usual aura of work efficiency.

—Chizuru-san, is something wrong?

*Mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble…*

—Chizuru-san!”

W–Wait! What did she just say?

I couldn’t hear well, but she was surely murmuring something terrifying…!

—Destruction destruction destruction destruction destruction destruction destruction… Oh, hello, Yuya-kun.

When our eyes met, Chizuru-san barely managed to lift the corners of her mouth. It was a just barely a smile.

—The weather is nice today, isn’t it? I feel like cultivating mold in the basement on days like this.

—That’s not how to start a conversation, and there’s no coherence in that sentence.

I don’t quite understand what’s going on with her… Did something happen? Is she being possessed by an evil spirit?

—Um, did something happen? If you want, I can listen…

—Are you willing to listen to me, Yuya-kun?

It’s quite surprising to see Chizuru-san, who is usually calm, so agitated… She seems to be accumulating a lot of frustration.

—Is your attitude related to the recent business application we delivered?

—Yes, that’s precisely the issue at hand. Frustration is oozing out through my pores.

Now it all makes sense, that troublesome client who, despite us following every guideline they asked for, kept making additional requests. This led to multiple changes in the basic design of the system, which became quite bothersome.

—Yes, it turns out they have made additional requests once again. Thankfully, it seems to be a minor correction, but we have to deliver it again by today.

—How disrespectful…

Even though Chizuru-san had conducted thorough research, it seems like the client has become capricious once again.

—But we have already fulfilled the delivery and all previous changes. Can’t we simply reject it? Our task is already complete.

—I would have liked to express some complaints, but it seems that company is run by the son of one of our regular clients. The higher-ups said we can’t reject it directly.

—I see, so in other words he has some immunity… How bothersome.

—There’s not much we can do about it. I’m putting in a lot of effort to keep the name of this company clean. — Chizuru-san replied as she sat back in her chair and began typing on the keyboard — Besides, I had a school reunion today.

—Eh? A school reunion?

—Yes, I had plans to meet up with my friends from university after five years. We had promised to drink while catching up on our lives… But it seems impossible now.

As Chizuru continued typing on the keyboard with an ironic smile, her unusual expression revealed a sense of disappointment.

This may be the first time I see Chizuru-san expressing herself so disheartened. It seems like she was really looking forward to that alumni reunion.

I want to be of help to Chizuru-san.

I want her to go to her reunion and enjoy a pleasant evening with her old friends while having a drink.

Naturally, this feeling flowed through me.

—…By the way, what is considered a minor correction?

—Hmm, this is what’s considered a minor correction. — Chizuru-san said as she handed me the documents.

As I reviewed them, I could see the details of the areas that needed correction and the steps to take.

—This is far from a minor correction. It’s a lot of work, and it can’t be completed today either.

—Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mention it to you. It’s just the final stage that’s left,” Chizuru-san replied as she continued typing on the keyboard.

I see… Assuming that I “work diligently overtime alone,” there is a possibility that it can be finished today.

But what if we work together?

Although time will be tight, maybe we can finish just in time for the end of the work hours.

The task that remains for me is to create the documents to share during client visits. The visit date is scheduled for later, so there’s no need to rush and finish them today.

Other than that, I only have to respond to a few routine emails that I have pending. I could adjust my schedule and help Chizuru-san with her work seamlessly.

—And is there anything I can help you with?

Upon asking this question, Chizuru stopped typing on her keyboard. She turned her face towards me, her eyes widening.

—Help…? What are you saying, Yuya-kun? You must also have a lot of things to do.

—Don’t worry, I have some time available in my schedule.

—Hmm… I appreciate your offer, but I don’t want to make you stay late. It would be unfair to Aoi-chan. Let’s just leave it as it is.

—Don’t worry, there will be no need for me to work overtime.

I’m aware that I may seem insolent by contradicting my boss, but I can’t give in.

—I want to help Chizuru-san so that you can go to the alumni reunion. You won’t be able to make it even if you work overtime, right? But I’m confident that between th two of us we can finish on time.

After saying it with determination, Chizuru-san blinked.

—Finish on time? Are you serious?

—Of course. I’ll also help you with all my might, so let’s do it together. Okay?

—Yuya-kun… No, I can’t accept that. If we don’t finish on time, we’ll have to stay longer. Aoi-chan will be saddened.

—That’s why it’s even more important that we finish on time.

—What? — Chizuru-san asked, surprised.

—Aoi balances her studies and household chores, you know? If I can’t even do my own work properly, I’ll feel like a failure in her eyes. If we stay here doing overtime, it would be going back to being the exhausted company employee of those days. But I’m not that person anymore. Now, I’m someone who managed to become the past version of myself that Aoi admires.

—Chizuru-san, let’s make sure we finish on time. That way, you can go to the alumni reunion and reminisce about old stories while enjoying a good amount of alcohol.

—You truly are… Thank you, Yuya-kun. I appreciate it.

—No problem. Usually, I always receive your help, so let me return the favor every now and then.

—Hahaha, it seems like you’re becoming quite the talker. — Chizuru-san said as she ruffled my hair.

—Hey, what are you doing, Chizuru-san!”

—Haha. Sorry, I’m just happy to see the growth of my subordinate. — Chizuru-san responded, laughing cheerfully.

The cloudy expression from earlier has completely disappeared.

—Alright, alright. No time for jokes, right? We don’t have time for that.

—Oh, I see you’re very serious. Then, let me ask again… Yuya-kun, can you help me?

—Of course! — I replied with a smile.

Great! We must finish on time, without fail!

—Chizuru-san, how can I help?

—Just wait a moment. I’ll send you the list of corrections right away.

Following Chizuru’s instructions, I set to work diligently to complete the task.

 

****

 

Around the desks in the office, there was an unusually quiet silence. There was no idle chatter between Chizuru-san and I. Our conversations were limited to work-related questions and reports. The sound of the keys resonated more clearly than usual.

Focused on the assigned task, it seemed like I would soon be finishing.

—Alright! That should be it. — I whispered after tapping the enter key.

At that moment, a sense of fatigue that I had forgotten about overtook me. I leaned back in my chair and stretched.

I glanced at the wall clock in the office. There were still ten minutes until the end of the day… We made it just in time. Now Chizuru-san could also attend the alumni reunion.

—Chizuru-san, we’re done.

—I understand, let me review it. If there are no issues, I’ll proceed with the final delivery.

After spending some time typing on the keyboard, Chizuru-san let out a sigh of relief. Her expression mirrored the relief of having successfully completed the delivery.

—Ah, we did it! And just in time, too, right? You’re truly amazing, Yuya-kun.

—Hahaha, it was definitely exciting.

—Hahaha, it certainly was. But I am a bit tired of this kind of tension.

—Well, I think I’ll just check my emails before I leave for home. I haven’t had a chance to look at them during work. — I mentioned as I opened my inbox and started reading my emails.

—Yuya-kun. I really appreciate you today. Thanks to you, I’ll be able to make it to the alumni reunion on time.

—You know, we’re here for each other when we’re in a pinch… Although, let’s be honest, I’ve been more of a burden to you. I apologize for being such a useless apprentice.”

—That’s not true.

I felt a strong pat on my back.

The impact was stronger than I expected, and I instinctively straightened my back.

—Now you’re a true professional. You’ve proven yourself to be reliable, Yuya-kun. 

Upon hearing those words, I felt all the tension in my body ease away. Being praised by my boss is something that brings me happiness. I struggled to contain the wide smile that threatened to appear on my lips.

—Do you remember what you were like when you first joined the company? — Chizuru-san asked.

—Hmm? I’m not sure…

—You had a serious, honest, and dedicated appearance. You were always full of enthusiasm when you spoke. I thought at that time that I had found a good talent to have as a subordinate.

—That’s not a big deal. It’s common among new employees everywhere.

Chizuru-san shook her head and said: “No, it’s not like that.”

—Honest people don’t try to cover up mistakes or provide incorrect reports. Those who are serious don’t forget effort and gratitude. Those with enthusiasm have a constant desire to improve. You had all these qualities. I thought you were a worthy new recruit to be nurtured.

—What’s… what’s happening? You’re suddenly praising me too much. — I asked, surprised.

—That’s true, maybe it’s not my usual way of acting. I got carried away seeing your growth as my subordinate and just got carried away. Hahaha. — Chizuru-san responded, smiling innocently.

Although there were tough times where I felt exhausted, Chizuru-san always observed and evaluated me… I’m glad to have been her subordinate.

—So, do you remember this? When you were a newcomer, you accidentally deleted the data of an ongoing application. Even though we had backups, you came to me almost in tears and apologized, saying, ‘Chizuru-san, I’m so sorry!’ Don’t you think you’ve grown a lot since then?

—Please, stop teasing me just when I was getting moved!”

Please, stop reminding me of that embarrassing mistake. It still affects me a lot.

—I don’t want to remember it… At that time, I was desperate and felt like my spirit was breaking. I even thought of the two letters ‘C’ and ‘D’ (Dismissal). Though now, I can say that thanks to that, I learned the importance of backups. Maybe it’s a good memory after all.

—Putting jokes aside, I truly value your skills and effort. I expect great things from you in the future.

—Chizuru-san… Yes! I will give it my all!

—That’s a good answer. Starting tomorrow, I will entrust you with some of my tasks.

—Thank you… Wait! You just want to have less work, don’t you?

Oops, I almost got carried away and ended up doing her work. I really can’t let my guard down around this person…

—Haha, you caught me. You and Izuka-kun are tough on me.

Jokingly, Chizuru left the office. Her voice as she said “thanks for your hard work” had a cheerful tone, and her walk seemed lighter than usual.

After that, I finished responding to my emails and shut down the computer. I greeted those around me and left the office.

As I headed towards the station, I saw several restaurants decorated with Christmas themes. People passing by wore happy smiles, and everyone was excited for the last big event of the year.

Although it had nothing to do with Christmas, I was excited too.

Now I can finish my work on time, and I have become someone that Chizuru trusts. Unlike in the past, I can also take care of household tasks.

—Hey, Aoi. I’ve left behind the fatigue of being a mere company employee, right? — I whispered to myself as I walked through the crowd.

…I have to make a visit to the pastry shop.

I could see my breath in the cold air, and my hands were numb from the cold. Winter is already here.

I crossed the bustling streets and descended the stairs leading to the underground.

As I waited for my fiancée’s return, I imagined her smile.

 

**************

 

Several days have passed, and now it’s Saturday.

The wall clock in my room read two o’clock in the afternoon.

Today is the day of the sleepover.

Aoi and I are in full preparation to welcome Rumi.

—We’ve cleaned the room… What else should we do, Yuya?

Aoi is very restless. She seems nervous because it’s the first time she’s inviting a classmate to her house.

—Should we have decorated as well?

—Hahaha, should we have prepared party glasses and firecrackers?

—Oh, you’re joking again… hahaha! Sorry, I’m just really excited for the sleepover.

I look at Aoi, smiling, and suddenly feel a bit uncomfortable.

Huh? Are her eyes slightly swollen…?

—Hey, Aoi, did you not sleep well last night?

—Ugh, you caught me. Yes, that’s true. I had trouble falling asleep last night.

—I see. Were you so excited for the sleepover that you couldn’t sleep?

—W–Well, what’s wrong with that?!

—Haha, there’s no need to get so defensive.

—But Yuya, you have a mocking look on your face!

—Sorry.

While calming down the pouting Aoi, the doorbell rang.

—Ah! It looks like Rumi has arrived… In moments like these, how should we greet her?

Aoi started to get nervous.

She’s just a friend, she doesn’t have to be so anxious.

—Calm down. Since you’re nervous, do you want me to accompany you?

—Yes, please.

We both headed towards the front door and opened it quietly.

When our eyes met with Rumi in her casual clothes, she squinted her eyes and waved at us.

—Hi, hiiii! Did you come out to greet me like a happy couple?

—W–We’re not a couple! We’re not in a relationship like that… Idiot.

Aoi turned completely red.

Although she unconsciously brags about not being in a relationship, I wonder if she is like that at school too? If so, it would be quite embarrassing.

—Hello, Rumi-chan.

—Hi, Yuya-san! Thank you for inviting me today.

—You’re welcome. It’s cold outside, huh? Do you want to come in quickly?

—Oh, that’s considerate of an adult. How cool.

As Rumi said: “I apologize for intruding,” and entered while taking off her boots, Aoi muttered a word.

—…I can show that level of consideration too.

She pursed her lips and let out a cute growl.

Could it be that she was annoyed because she was trying to be hospitable to Rumi, and I was taking that role away from her?

She seemed nervous, so I thought about being firm… But maybe I overstepped.

When I led Rumi to the room, she looked around with great interest and said: “Wow. You two really are living together.”

—Rumi-chan, I’m going to prepare something to drink. Please sit in the chair and wait. You can expect something delicious since Aoi makes really good tea.

—Really? Does the tea change depending on how it’s prepared?

—Yes. Even though we’re using the same tea leaves, the one she prepares is much more delicious than the one I make. Right, Aoi?

—Uh? Y–Yes. The key is in the water temperature and letting it steep properly.”

—Oh, I didn’t know that. You’re amazing, Aoi!

—I–It’s not that big of a deal…

Aoi seems embarrassed, but somehow she also seems proud.

—Rumi-chan, please wait here. Yuya, please get the utensils ready.

—Understood.

We stood together in the kitchen, preparing everything to welcome Rumi. We took out tea cups, plates, and forks from the shelves for the cake.

I bought the cake this morning at the underground gallery near my workplace.

The one we prepared for both of them is a charming-looking cake that uses plenty of strawberries. It has an almond base and a butter-rich custard cream. They say the gentle acidity of the strawberries pairs perfectly with those flavors.

By the way, since I like chocolate, I chose a Sachertorte.

After getting the utensils and the cake ready, Aoi patted my shoulder.

—Hmm? What’s wrong?

—You noticed that I wanted to impress Rumi, right? That’s why you supported me so I could make up for it, right?

Aoi whispered so that Rumi couldn’t hear.

—I’m not sure… It could just be your imagination.

—Come on! You always act like you don’t know… Thank you for doing that.

—Haha, it’s not something you should thank me for.

—Well… I just want to say that I appreciate you paying attention to me. It makes me happy.

Aoi lightly tapped my shoulder as an act of embarrassment.

Unbeknownst to me, her expression changed to that of a spoiled child.

—You’re always so kind to me, I want to depend on you more, Yuya-kun.

—Wait… Stop now. Rumi-chan might hear, you know?”

—Don’t worry. I’m speaking softly. Only you can hear my voice…

—Ohh…

Suddenly, we heard a small voice of astonishment.

Aoi and I turned our heads towards the source of the voice.

Rumi was peering into the kitchen with a mischievous smile.

Could it be… that she overheard us?

Aoi’s cheeks instantly turned red.

—R–Rumi-san?!

—It seems like you two were having a nice moment. Were you having a romantic moment?

—W–We’re not!

—But Aoi-chan, you were touching Yuya-san’s shoulder, isn’t that a gesture of affection?

—T–This is… There was a strange insect on Yuya-kun’s shoulder and I was shooing it away! Seriously!

—Hey, it hurts! Aoi, you’re using too much force!

Suddenly, Aoi’s touch had changed from gentle to something more aggressive. I understand she’s trying to hide her embarrassment, but this really hurts.

—Don’t be embarrassed, Aoi-chan.

—I’m not embarrassed! Say something, Yuya-kun!

—First, stop hitting him!

—That’s right! It hurts!

As I was protesting, Aoi stopped and snapped out of it. Thank goodness. I thought my shoulder was going to be destroyed…

Meanwhile, I asked Rumi to go back to her seat. I didn’t want her to continue bothering Aoi.

—You should learn to control yourself a bit more, Aoi.

—I–I’m sorry. But… It’s your fault, Yuya-kun.

Aoi grumbled slightly as she placed the cake on the plates. Why is it my fault…? Hmmm. High school girls are complicated.

As we brought the tea and cake to the table, Rumi’s expression lit up.

—Wow, Aoi-chan, this is amazing! The cake looks so cute!

—It was prepared by Yuya-kun. It seems to be quite a popular cake.

—Oh, I see. Then, should we take pictures of it first?

—Yes, I want to take some too… It’s really cute, right?

—This strawberry looks like Aoi-chan when she gets all red with anger.

—Hey, that’s an exaggerated comparison.

The two high school girls start taking pictures with their phones while laughing. Maybe they will upload them on social media. Whatever the case, it’s a charming sight.

Once they finished taking photos, we began eating the cake.

Rumi ate  enthusiastically with an ecstatic expression.

—This is delicious… How amazing.

—Yes, it’s really tasty. Good job, Yuya-kun.

Both of them are enjoying their cake with satisfaction. Although it was my first time buying from that store, I was glad that the taste lived up to its reputation.

When Rumi took a sip of tea, she let out a soft “ahh”.

—This tea also has a delightful aroma. Good job, Aoi-chan.

—Rumi-san, I think it’s the type of tea leaves that matter.

—You don’t have to be so modest.

—Hey, don’t tickle me.

—How envious, Yuya-san. Being able to drink such delicious tea every day… Oh, I know. Why don’t you work at my house, Aoi-chan? Put on a maid uniform and make tea for me.

What? Aoi dressed as a maid…?

The image of Aoi in a maid uniform forms in my mind.

—The setting would be the garden of the mansion (even though we don’t have one). Aoi would be wearing an elegant ruffled maid dress and serve Earl Grey tea in fine cups. With a shy smile, she would offer homemade scones and say: ‘Please enjoy, miss.’

—I won’t work at Rumi-san’s house and I won’t wear a maid uniform, right, Yuya-kun?

—Well, actually, I think the maid uniform wouldn’t be so bad.

—Yuya-kun?!

Aoi opens her mouth in surprise. It seems like she wants to say: “Why are you betraying me?”

I’m sorry. Maids are a male fantasy. Please forgive me.

—That’s right, Yuya-san! You really want to see Aoi-chan dressed as a maid, don’t you?

—Yes, I definitely think it would suit her well.

—That’s it, that’s it! It’s decided! Someday I’ll make Aoi-chan wear a maid uniform!

—I’m telling you I won’t wear it!

—Rumi-chan, I’ll help with that too.

—That’s enough already! Whose side are you on, Yuya-kun?

As we joke around with Aoi and eat the cake, the conversation gradually shifts to school. As expected, the central topic is Aoi.

Rumi happily talks about Aoi. Although she teases her occasionally, it seems like both of them are enjoying the conversation as they exchange jokes. They really have a good relationship.

—Yuya-san, do you want to hear a cute clumsy story about Aoi-chan?

—Of course, is it a new story?

—Yes, a new story. It happened when we went to the station two stops beyond our nearest station. And this one is an absolute masterpiece! You know how the access works at the entrance gates?

—Do you mean the IC cards?

—Yes, exactly. Well, it turns out that on that day Aoi couldn’t get through the entrance gates. No matter how many times she tapped her card, it always beeped. She got nervous and kept tapping it multiple times… But then she realized that what she had in her hand was a points card from a drugstore.”

—Haha… It seemed like she wanted to accumulate points in an different way.

—And on top of that, Aoi, said with a serious expression ‘What should we do? It seems like the magnetic stripe is defective.’ Then she went to talk to a station employee, and when she came back, her face was completely red and she went through the entrance gate. And she whispered to me quietly, ‘Please keep this a secret from everyone…’ It’s really funny!

—Hahaha… That’s really funny!

—Exactly! She’s just too cute!

—Hey, you two… I warned you before that you shouldn’t make fun of other people’s mistakes, right?

Aoi is smiling, but her eyes aren’t. Although she usually has a look full of kindness, it’s now covered with anger.

In this situation, there’s only one action that Rumi and I can take.

—Aoi-san, I sincerely apologize to you.

—Yes, I’m sorry too, Aoi.

When Rumi and I apologize, Aoi nods with a displeased expression.

Come to think of it, a long time ago, when the three of us had dinner together, we had a similar interaction. Rumi’s stories are funny, and we unintentionally laughed.

—Aoi, I’m sorry.

—Hmph.

When I apologize, Aoi turns away and pouts. Her cheeks puff up like balloons.

—Hehe. Aoi looks cute even when she’s angry.

Surprisingly, Rumi is touching Aoi’s cheeks. It seems like she’s not entirely angry.

—Hmm. Still, I think Aoi would look good in a maid uniform. It would be super cute, you know?

—No matter how much you praise me, I won’t wear it.

—It’s sad to hear that. If you wore the maid uniform, Yuya-san would definitely get excited.

—Eh?

Aoi and Rumi’s gazes turn towards me at the same time. Rumi has a mischievous smile while Aoi’s cheeks turn red.

…Are they expecting something from me?

While I would love to see Aoi dressed in a maid uniform, I can’t just show my affection for her in front of Rumi.

But I also want to meet Aoi’s expectations… What should I do?

As I grapple with this internal conflict, our eyes meet, and Aoi, who seems restless, speaks up.

—Yuya-kun, would you be happy if I wore a maid uniform?

—Uhh… I think so, I would be happy.

Unable to resist her pleading expression, I nod my head.

—Oh, I see… Then, I’ll consider the proposal.

Saying that, Aoi covered her mouth. She seemed to be making an effort to contain her smile, but she definitely had an affectionate expression.

—I–It’s too precious…!

Rumi slumped onto the table and squirmed.

It’s true, it’s precious.

However, as an adult, I can’t have the same reaction as Rumi.

While internally screaming “Her affectionate expression is so cute!” I maintained a calm smile.

 

****************

 

—I think it’s time to move on to today’s main event. — Rumi said as we laughed and chatted.

The main event… Could she be referring to watching a movie?

Before I could ask, Rumi took out a Blu-Ray box.

—Here it is! A romantic movie!

I stared at the box for a moment.

The title is ‘Second Love, Second Life’. It’s a famous romantic movie that was popular about two years ago.

I remember that it’s about a couple who separated many years ago and then meet again, falling in love once more and leading a cohabiting life while enjoying part-time jobs.

The story is realistic in portraying the intertwined feelings as they go through difficult times, and the ending is touching and brings tears. It’s a highly acclaimed Japanese movie.

I see. Aoi mentioned wanting to watch a movie, but it seems that Rumi prepared this one.

—This movie is actually Aoi’s request. I’ve seen it before, but Aoi really wanted to watch it with you, Yuya-san. It seems she has some longing for a home date. Isn’t that right?

—Rumi-san, please don’t say unnecessary things. — Aoi shot a narrowed gaze at Rumi, her face turning red.

This was part of their usual interaction.

—So, Yuya-san, do you want to watch this?

—Yes. I’m excited for the movie Aoi chose for us.

—O–Of course… Here’s the Blu-ray disc!

—Haha. Don’t get so nervous, Rumi-chan. Thank you for lending us the disc.

—Yes, here you go. Please enjoy it.

Rumi handed over the Blu-ray disc, which was inserted into the player.

Meanwhile, the two of them moved to the sofa. Aoi sat on the left side, Rumi sat in the center. I sat on the right side, which was empty.

…This sofa, it’s the first time the three of us are sitting together on it, and it’s a little cramped. If I’m not careful, my shoulders might brush against Rumi’s who is sitting next to me.

It seems like my nervousness showed, as Rumi gave me a pat on the shoulder.

—Yuya-san, don’t you think you’re worrying too much? It’s fine, come a little closer.

—Thank you, but our shoulders would touch.

—Don’t worry. We’re not strangers, so it’s fine. Come on.

Rumi smiled without a care.

This girl is truly kind. Aoi feels at ease knowing she has a friend who can look after her, as she herself finds it difficult to express.

…As I thought about that, I noticed Aoi looking at me with a concerned expression. It seems like she’s suppressing something she wants to say.

—Aoi, are you also feeling uncomfortable? If so, you two can use the sofa and I’ll bring a chair for myself.

—…I’m indecisive.

—Hm? Indecisive?

—Well… I feel uncomfortable when Yuya-kun and Rumi-san are too close. I’d prefer it if you weren’t so close.

Aoi was wearing a worried expression as she asked Rumi not to get too close to me.

…I can’t help it. Even though I feel guilty for making Aoi feel jealous, the feeling that she’s cute prevails and encourages me.

Beside me, Rumi covered her face with both hands and exclaimed, “How cute!” while kicking her legs.

I understand that feeling. If I weren’t an adult, I would also be rolling on the floor, shouting, “She’s so adorable!” and spinning with excitement.

—Hey, Rumi-chan. I have a suggestion.

—I was thinking the same thing. Shall we switch places, Aoi? That way, I can be further away from Yuya-san.

Rumi quickly proposed that even though I didn’t mention it.

We took our seats on the sofa in the following order: Rumi on the left, Aoi in the middle, and I on the right side. This way, Rumi and I won’t be as close. Thank you, Rumi, for understanding Aoi’s feelings.

…Is this the dynamic they have in school as well? Although Aoi is usually more responsible, they have an interesting relationship.

—I–I’m sorry. It seems I was a bit selfish…

Aoi, sitting next to me, apologized. She seems embarrassed and regretful.

—It’s okay, you know how Aoi is when it comes to Yuya-san, right? Besides, at school…

—Rumi-san! That’s a secret!

—Oops!

Aoi quickly covered Rumi’s mouth with her hand.

—Stop it, Rumi-san! Those things are private!

—Mmmph! Mmm!

—Aah… Look. The movie is starting.

I quickly changed the topic of conversation, and Aoi released Rumi’s mouth.

—I almost ran out of breath!” Rumi exclaimed, noticeably excited.

In response to her complaint, Aoi remained expressionless.

As the sound started coming from the TV, we fell silent and began to enjoy the movie.

The film began with scenes of the two protagonists in their high school days.

They became friends through the school cultural festival and eventually started dating.

However, as they became college students, their paths started to diverge more and more. And the time for separation came, as they had to follow different paths.

Five years after graduating from university, they meet again at a live music venue.

He is a musician dreaming of making his debut in the music industry, living a life as a part-time worker. She supports him on his journey but also feels insecure about her own future. They start dating for the second time and decide to live together.

Just as the story was reaching its climax, the phone rings in the room.

—Hmm, I think it’s my phone. — Rumi took her smartphone out of her pocket — It’s a call from my boyfriend… Sorry, guys. I’ll take the call outside, so keep watching the movie.

Rumi got up from her seat and went outside.

—Then I’ll pause it for a moment.

—There’s no need to stop it, Yuya-san. I’ve already seen it before.

With hurried footsteps, Rumi left the room.

—Well, even though we were joking about you earlier, it seems like Rumi-chan is also very much in love with her boyfriend.

—T–That doesn’t matter. Idiot.

Aoi murmured softly, then kicked my foot.

It’s surprising how affectionate she becomes as soon as Rumi leaves.

—…Yuya-kun. Watching a movie together like this, it feels like a home date, doesn’t it?

—Yes, it’s a situation you’ve always wanted to have, right?

—Yes. I’m very satisfied today.

—I see. Then, let’s do something similar again next time.

When I made this suggestion, Aoi touched my hand and snuggled up against me.

—Why not now?

Aoi nestled up against me and rested her head on my shoulder.

Our hands, which had been touching, delicately separated and moved towards my thigh. It tickled, and my body involuntarily trembled.

—…Aoi, you’re being a little too clingy. Try to control yourself.

—It’s a home date, so I thought you would also want to do these kinds of things.

—But Rumi-chan is here too, right? So…

—…Should I stop?

—Ugh… Just while Rumi-chan is away from her seat, okay?

—Yes, hahaha, it worked.

I gave in to her pleading and allowed her to do it. I realized that maybe I’m spoiling Aoi too much.

—I also enjoy spending time with you, Aoi. But today, Rumi is here. If she comes back now, it would be too embarrassing… So calm down!

We grew nervous and continued watching the movie.

The two of them, who now live together, deepen their love even more than during their high school days. There are sometimes scenes where her anxiety about the future increases, but overall, they lead a loving life.

The scene changes, and the two are cuddled up in their room. It’s similar to how Aoi and I are now, but the difference is that they are sitting on the bed.

The protagonist starts caressing the thigh of the lead character with a teasing touch.

—[Hey… Can you comfort and pamper me a lot tonight, so I don’t feel lonely? Can you completely satisfy me?]

Right after the protagonist made that proposal, the two shared a passionate kiss. Then they undress and lie down on the bed.

This movie has bedroom scenes… While I’m okay with it, I wonder if Aoi will be fine. She can be a bit innocent, and she might be blushing.

I glanced at Aoi.

Contrary to my expectations, Aoi was sleeping with her eyes closed. Her chest rose and fell silently as she let out soft sighs. Though she is usually responsible and mature, her sleeping expression was innocent.

—Oh, it seems like she’s sleeping soundly.

By the way, she mentioned that she couldn’t sleep well last night. She seems tired, so I’ll let her sleep on the sofa. As I thought that, I prepared to quietly move away from the sofa, but then…

—Yuya-kun…?

Aoi, who should be asleep, called out my name.

—Oh no, did I wake you up?

I cautiously looked at Aoi’s face.

Aoi had her eyes closed and seemed to be sleeping peacefully. What a relief. It seems like what she just said was part of her dream.

However, my relief was short-lived.

—…Can you pamper me a lot so I don’t feel lonely?

Aoi’s sleepy words were similar to what the heroine in the movie said to the protagonist to invite him to the bed. Though I believe it’s just a coincidence, I can’t help but feel self-conscious about it.

—What kind of dream is she having…?

Aoi held onto my clothes tightly. Without wasting time, she leaned towards me.

What should I do… In the blink of an eye, her head ended up resting on my knees.

In this position, it would be difficult to move Aoi back to the sofa.

But if we leave things as they are, it would be a problem. What excuse can I give if Rumi returns to the room? Even if I were to explain it honestly, it would be too embarrassing.

—…Yuya-kun. Good luck at work.

Aoi murmured in her sleep. By the way, the way she said it was so cute.

She must be dreaming of seeing me off to work. In any case, I had never seen Aoi in a state like this.

—…Her sleeping face makes her look so defenseless.

My gaze is drawn to Aoi’s soft and tender cheeks.

Boop.

I gave it a soft poke with my finger, and the tip of my finger sank into her gentle cheek.

However, she showed no signs of waking up at all. She continued to breathe softly with a whisper.

—Do you want to use my thighs as a pillow, Yuya-kun? I see that you’re in desperate need of some pampering… Alright, come here. Good boy.

Once again, sweet words came out of Aoi’s mouth as she slept . It seems like she’s having a dream completely different to our current situation.

I had never imagined that there would come a day when Aoi would show me so much affection, especially when we first began living together. Seeing Aoi so comfortable and trusting in my company, I feel happy.

I gently stroked Aoi’s head as I observed her sleeping face. It’s truly beautiful. So perfectly arranged, like a doll…

Creek.

I could hear the sound of the room door opening.

Rumi returned… Oh no! I was so absorbed in Aoi’s sleeping face that I completely forgot about Rumi!

—I’m back. Sorry for the delay… Wait, is Aoi asleep?

—It’s not what it looks like, Rumi-chan. I can explain…

—Shhh.

Rumi put her index finger on her lips and smiled.

—Yuya-san, if we make noise, she’ll wake up. Let’s let her sleep.

—Eh? Ah, yes…

Rumi crouched in front of the sofa and looked at Aoi’s sleeping face.

—Isn’t she just too cute? Her sleeping face is incredible.

Rumi touched Aoi’s cheek with her finger.

—Ah… Enjoying a beautiful sleeping face and pressing a soft cheek… It’s a moment of pure happiness.

With heart-shaped eyes, Rumi delighted in gently squeezing the cheeks. I thought her previous comment was out of concern for Aoi while she was sleeping, but was this her goal from the beginning?

—She’s like a really friendly kitten. And her cheeks are so soft. It feels so nice.

While Rumi gently pressed, Aoi let out a soft “hmm” and murmured.

—Beatrice… What should I wear for our date today…?

I thought she was finally waking up, but she made a sleepy comment. She continues to sleep, unaware of the situation.

Beside them, Rumi expressed her surprise with a question mark and tilted her head.

—Yuya-san, who is Beatrice?

—It’s a teddy bear. It’s Aoi’s favorite.

—Aoi gives names to her stuffed animals, it’s really cute… Wait! So, in her dream, Aoi is consulting what to wear for a date with her teddy bear?

Rumi got excited and exclaimed: “That’s too cute!”

On top of that, I’m surprised that Aoi would turn to her teddy bear for something like this.

It seems her need for companionship hasn’t changed since she was a child. In her childhood days, she always played with her stuffed animals.

Next time, I’ll buy a new stuffed animal for Aoi. I’m sure it will make her very happy. Her companion, Beatrice, will also be happy to have new friends.

While thinking about this, Rumi called out to me, “Hey.”

—Yuya-san, thank you for joining our pajama party today. I really appreciate it.

—No, thank you for inviting me. Thanks to that, I had a fun day off.

—Oh, you definitely seem like a grown-up when you respond like that. Yuya-san, you’re cool.

—Hey, hey, don’t make fun of adults.

—Hahaha, I’m not making fun or anything. I’m just giving an honest impression. — said Rumi as she made the peace sign with her fingers.

I really admire how this girl is able to express her emotions so naturally. Perhaps the great compatibility with Aoi comes from Rumi being authentic and genuine, without pretending to be someone she’s not.

—But I’m glad you’re having a good time. I’m aware that my insistence on having you participate was a bit pushy. So, I apologize for that.

—Do not apologize. It’s not just a social courtesy, we’re actually having fun. I think Aoi feels the same way. Look at her happy face while she sleeps. — I said, pointing to Aoi’s face.

Seeing the joyful expression on Aoi’s sleeping face, Rumi also smiled tenderly.

—Hehe. We’ve been blessed with something good. Thank you for everything!

—Hahaha… Aoi always seems to enjoy listening to Rumi-chan’s stories at home. Please continue to get along well in the future.

—Ahh… Yuya-san, you always say such mature things.

—R–Really?

—Yes, it’s true. Yuya-san is mature, kind, and considerate… That’s probably what attracts Aoi. — Rumi said while gently stroking Aoi’s head — I heard that Aoi and Yuya-san reunited after seven years and have been dating since then.

—Yes, that’s true.

—Sometimes I hear Aoi say that she’s glad you’re still the same mature and kind person since the day she met you.

—U–Um… Let’s change the subject. It’s too embarrassing.

—Not so fast, cowboy. I’m not joking, this is serious. Listen, this is important. — Rumi responded, kneeling in front of me — Aoi told me, you know? They haven’t had their first kiss yet. It seems like they’re having a pure relationship, right?

—So, she tells you those kinds of things…

In reality, we had shared a kiss on the cheek, but for Aoi, that didn’t count.

—And if I’m being honest, when I heard that, the first thing I thought was that you’re an amazing man.

—Eh?

—Because, you know, you want to have romantic moments with the person you like. It’s natural for a couple living together, right? You want to do many things that couples do at home.

—You could say that.

—And that confirms to me that Yuya-san wouldn’t do anything beyond kissing with Aoi while she’s still in school. Because you deeply care about her. You’re a wonderful person, and Aoi has been in love with you for the past seven years. “I’m so happy that Yuya-kun values me a lot,” she also brags about it, you know?

—So, Aoi considers me important?

…Honestly, I felt a little relieved hearing that.

Couples our age commonly kiss. They might even do more than that.

But in our case, I’m a working adult and she’s a high school student. We hesitate even when kissing each other.

We can’t have a normal relationship due to the age difference.

I was worried about how Aoi felt about it… I was actually anxious. Perhaps it was unfair to hear it from Rumi, but I felt a little relieved to sincerely know what Aoi thought.

Rumi showed a mischievous smile and pinched my side.

—It’s amazing how you still hold back from kissing her. But don’t you want to do something more exciting with her, Yuya-san the adult?

—Please, leave me alone…

—Hahaha! Even Yuya-san gets nervous. Huh? It’s so cute!

Rumi laughed exaggeratedly, and Aoi’s eyelids twitched slightly. She let out a small sigh as if she were drowsy.

Aoi’s eyelids slowly lifted.

When she saw me in her field of vision, drowsiness suddenly disappeared, and her eyes widened.

—…Eh?

Aoi stiffened. Her face instantly turned red.

—Y–Yuya-kun, what’s happening here?

—You fell asleep and had your head resting on my lap.

—I don’t remember doing that… I’m sorry. I’ll get up right away.

Aoi got up as if she were fleeing from me and coughed slightly.

—And… What were you and Rumi-san doing?

—We didn’t do anything. Right, Rumi-chan?

—That’s right. We were just looking at Aoi’s sleeping face and pinching her cheeks.

—That’s enough! What were you doing?

—Don’t worry, we didn’t do anything bad to you. A high school girl’s skin is very soft.

—I don’t want to hear those comments. You shouldn’t play with people’s faces.

Aoi puffed up her cheeks and lightly tapped Rumi’s shoulder.

—Really… You didn’t do anything else?

—We didn’t do anything. Although, if I had to mention something…

Rumi glanced at me from the corner of her eye.

When our eyes met, she smiled like a mischievous child.

—Aoi-chan, Yuya-san and I became friends while you were asleep.

—Eh? Friends…? What do you mean?

—Yes. We had an adult conversation… Shhhhh.

—What… What does that mean?

—Nyahahaha! It’s a secret.

—Don’t be mean, tell me. Hey, don’t get away!

Aoi and Rumi started playfully chasing each other.

—Hey, you two, don’t make so much noise. We don’t want to disturb the neighbors, right?

—That’s right, Aoi-chan. Let’s play hide-and-seek outside, okay?

—Whose fault is it?

Seeing the two of them starting to play again, I could only awkwardly laugh.

Without realizing it, the movie had ended and we were back to the title screen. I took the disc out of the player and put it back in its case.

I looked at the wall clock. It was almost time to prepare dinner.

What are we going to have for dinner tonight?

While watching the two mischief makers, I vaguely thought about that.

 

****

 

After both girls finished playing, Aoi started preparing dinner.

I offered to help in the kitchen, but she kindly refused.

Instead, she asked me to entertain Rumi by saying: “Yuya-kun, please play with Rumi-san.” And that’s why I’m now playing video games with Rumi.

I admired Aoi’s attitude of being a good host to guests, but that wasn’t the real reason.

In reality, it was because Rumi, who was now bored, might mess up the room, so I needed to keep an eye on her. It was quite a fun excuse.

—Both of you, dinner is ready.

Aoi’s voice echoed from the kitchen as we were absorbed in the game.

—Aoi-chan, you speak like a lovely wife. You’re approved!

Rumi nudged me in the side. Since I had the same opinion, I could only respond with a forced laugh.

We left the game and sat at the table. Rumi opened her eyes in surprise when she saw the food placed on the table.

—Eh…? Did Aoi-chan make all of this?

On the table, there were croquettes, fried shrimp, potato salad, and miso soup with tofu. The fried foods weren’t frozen or store-bought, but rather, Aoi had cooked them herself.

—Rumi-san, please, eat a lot.

—How amazing, it looks delicious! Come on, let’s eat quickly! I’m really hungry too!

—Haha, you act like a child.

Seeing Rumi excited, Aoi also smiles gently.

—Thank you for the meal!

Rumi picks up a croquette with her chopsticks and brings it to her mouth. As she chews, her expression changes to one of ecstasy.

—Mmm, delicious! It’s creamy on the inside and simply amazing, Aoi-chan.

—Rumi-san mentioned that she liked potatoes, so… I’m glad you enjoyed it.

—How envious, Yuya-san. Being able to eat Aoi-chan’s homemade cooking every day. She’ll surely become an excellent wife, right?

—Wait, wife?!

Aoi’s cheeks turn red.

—Why are you getting nervous? Haven’t you been thinking about Yuya-san for seven years? Don’t you want to marry him?

—I–I don’t know! Idiot!

Aoi timidly eats her fried shrimp.

Yes, I also feel embarrassed talking about that, so I’d prefer to avoid that topic.

—By the way, Christmas season is coming soon. Rumi-chan, do you have any plans to go out with your boyfriend?

Changing the topic casually, Rumi quickly responded, “Of course!”

—We haven’t decided where we’ll go yet, but we’ve already promised each other. So I’m excited. — she said while swinging her legs back and forth with a smile on her face.

—Aoi, we should also go out together on Christmas. — I proposed.

—Eh, is that okay? — Aoi responded surprised.

—Of course. Didn’t I tell you not to worry?

—Y–Yeah. Um, then… I’d like to have a Christmas date.

—Understood. I have work on the 24th… Would the 25th be better? It’s a Saturday and we’ll have the day off.

—If Yuya-kun is okay with it, I would prefer the 25th. We could enjoy a more relaxed date since we’ll be off,

—Alright. We’ll decide where to go later.

—Yes! I did it, a Christmas date with Yuya-kun…! Ah…! — Aoi exclaimed, realizing Rumi’s gaze.

Aoi’s cheeks blushed after saying that out loud.

—Aoi-chan looks so happy, she’s so adorable.

—What’s wrong with that?

—Nothing… By the way, Aoi-chan, do you get all lovey-dovey and dependent when you’re with Yuya-san?

—That was the last straw! I’m taking Rumi-san’s fried shrimp away!

—Aah, but I like fried shrimp too! Don’t be mean!

While Aoi and Rumi played, I couldn’t help but get lost in my thoughts.

This is the first time since our company trip that I’ll go out alone with her. I need to make sure we enjoy Christmas to the fullest.

After all, seeing Aoi happy is my greatest joy.

I wonder what kind of date would make Aoi smile with happiness.

As I pondered, I continued eating the croquettes.

 

****

 

Although we had finished dinner, we continued chatting without leaving our seats.

Rumi praised Aoi’s cooking again, especially the croquettes, which must have been very delicious. Aoi responded shyly, saying: “You’re praising me too much,” but she looked very happy.

It was past 8 PM. And it was time to take a bath.

—Rumi-chan, why don’t you go into the bath first? I’ll take care of washing the dishes.

—Really? That’s great, Aoi-chan! Let’s take a bath together. — Rumi responded excitedly.

—Eh, no thanks.

—Are you rejecting me?! – Rumi dropped her shoulders, disappointed.

It seemed like she had given up, but quickly she tried to negotiate again.

—Come on, it’ll be fun. Don’t you think it would be a good memory of a sleepover?

—You’re only thinking about doing silly things, right? It’s very suspicious. I’m not a child. Go take a bath by yourself. — Aoi responded firmly.

However, Rumi’s determination was notable. She didn’t back down at all.

—Darn, how can I convince Aoi-chan…? Ah, I know. — Rumi said as an idea struck her and she approached me.

She came close to my face, looking at me with pleading eyes.

—Yuya-saaan. It looks like it will be just the two of us while Aoi-chan is in the bath.

Those words were whispered to me as Rumi gave me a flirty look.

—Eh? Well, I guess that’s how it will be.

—We can wash the dishes later. Let’s watch kitten videos together, alone. — Rumi insisted in a sweet tone.

Moreover, she emphasized the phrase “alone” What was her goal?

As I wondered with curiosity, Aoi intervened.

—N–No, that’s not going to happen. You’re forbidden from watching videos with Yuya-kun.

—But I’ll be bored while Aoi-chan is in the bath. Why don’t we spend enjoyable time together, Yuya-san? Besides, we were playing video games together before dinner, right? It’s allowed then.

—T–That’s… Uhm. — Aoi hesitated.

Her hand lightly brushed against mine. Since there’s a table between us, Rumi, sitting across, can’t see it.

—Then, I’ll take a bath with Rumi-san.

—I did it! Aoi, you’re really understanding.

Truly, one cannot underestimate Rumi’s ability to attack a person’s weak points.

As I smiled ironically, Aoi gently rubbed her hand against mine.

Suddenly, I looked towards where she was and she looked at me with pleading eyes.

—…Yuya-kun, you’re my fiancé, remember? You shouldn’t get along too well with other girls besides me. — she said softly, audible only to me, and then she stood up.

—Come on, Rumi-san. The bath is that way. — Aoi said.

—Alright. I’ll bring my change of clothes and towel. — Rumi responded eagerly.

The two of them prepared themselves and entered the changing room.

Meanwhile, I slumped over the table.

—…How is it possible for her to be so adorable?

There’s no need to worry, because I am fully committed to Aoi. I won’t be unfaithful.

But it’s not my intention to make Aoi feel insecure. It will be important to be even more careful in my relationships with other women.

I took the dishes to the kitchen and applied detergent to the sponge. After creating some foam, I started washing the dirty dishes.

Before helping with household chores, I used to think that washing dishes after every meal was bothersome. But now, I realized that it’s surprisingly enjoyable. There’s a strange sense of accomplishment as the dirt disappears. Could it be that I’m skilled at household tasks?

While thinking about that, I heard a muffled voice from the changing room.

—Wow! Aoi-chan, you have big breasts!

—Idiot!

The word “breasts” was so suddenly mentioned that I couldn’t help but laugh.

—Hey, Rumi-san, don’t stare at me so much.

—Although I already thought you had a nice figure under your clothes, it’s even more impressive in reality.

—Please, don’t say it so loudly! Yuya-kun might hear you!

No need to worry, Aoi. I can hear the conversation perfectly well, and I also saw you the other day when I accidentally walked in on you in the bathroom.

The scene from that day vividly comes to mind, and my cheeks start to flush.

—It’s not fair, Aoi! Share some of your, um, assets with me too!

—H–Hey, you can’t touch them so roughly! Stop that!

—What’s this? They’re so soft and bouncy!

—W–What… What are you doing?

…Yes, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear anything.

I turned the faucet on stronger than usual, letting the water flow forcefully.

The sound of running water in the sink became the background noise to the honest conversation of the high school girls. Hopefully, now I won’t be able to hear their voices.

—These girls… Aren’t they aware that I’m a man? — I muttered as I rinsed the suds off the dishes.

I quickly finished up the household chores and sat on the couch.

While enjoying watching a variety show, I heard voices coming from the changing room once again.

Instinctively, I turned my head towards the source of the sound. Are they causing a ruckus this time?

—Oh! You’re adorable, Aoi-chan!

—I–It’s embarrassing.

—But it looks good, don’t you think? I’m sure Yuya-san will be very excited.

—R-Really…? — Aoi responded uncertainly.

—No doubt about it! You’re cute and charming.

—Huh…? Do you really think so? — Aoi asked hesitantly.

—Don’t worry! With your charm, you’ll leave him breathless!

—…Sexy? Breathless?

I don’t know what they’re planning, but one thing is clear: Rumi is trying to influence Aoi and plotting something suspicious.

—Come on, come on, Aoi-chan. Let’s show it to Yuya-san! — Rumi urged.

—P–Please wait. I’m not mentally prepared yet… — Aoi pleaded.

*Bam!*

The changing room door slammed open and Rumi emerged. She was already dressed in her pajamas, and her hair was dry.

Then, Aoi came out of the changing room, arriving a few moments later.

—Eh?

Unable to contain my surprise, I let out a sigh.

Aoi, for some reason, was wearing one of my dress shirts. It was the same one I usually wear to work.

As expected, the size didn’t fit her. It was too big and loose. The sleeves were too long, completely hiding her hands.

However, in the chest area, it was tight. Two mountains stood splendidly.

My eyes moved even lower. She wasn’t wearing any pajama bottoms. She might have shorts underneath, but even that was hidden by the shirt, giving the impression that she wasn’t wearing anything.

A fresh, white glow on her thighs. Slightly reddened knees. And beautiful, slender legs. I finally understood what Rumi meant by “cute and sexy”…

Or rather, I would say it’s sexy or even erotic.

Aoi glanced at me from the corner of her eye as she squirmed. Her cheeks were rosy, and it wasn’t from coming out of a hot bath.

—Um… Yuya-kun, do you like this kind of thing? — Aoi asked with a soft voice, her sensual lips parting.

Rumi beside me boasted: “You must be excited seeing Aoi-chan looking like that in your shirt! I coordinated it myself.”

—Well, Rumi-san said guys like this kind of thing… Did it excite you? — Aoi asked, looking at me with expectant eyes.

Yes, I was excited. I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable about where to look, you have a lovely figure. But I can’t let myself be tempted by you.

…Of course, I can’t say that.

I cleared my throat with a slight cough.

—Hey. It’s not right to play with my work clothes. Stop joking around and go put on your own pajamas.

—A–Ah… Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry. — Aoi responded.

After apologizing, Aoi turned to Rumi, with tears in her eyes and a dejected look on her face. “Yuya-kun doesn’t seem happy at all,” could be read on her face.

Both of them, with a disappointed expression, returned to the changing room.

I grabbed the remote and turned off the TV, sighing heavily.

—Phew… Damn, I don’t know how much longer I can hold out if I’m attacked like this again.

I lay down on the couch and took a deep breath.

When my heart rate calmed down a bit, I began to reflect.

Aoi had dressed like that because she wanted to make me happy. Maybe I was too cold with her.

But still… The destructive power of that shirt was incredible.

—…The incredible love techniques of gal girls are terrifying.

I couldn’t get the image of Aoi in that shirt out of my head, and it left me emotionally shaken.

 

*****

 

After Aoi and Rumi finished bathing, they didn’t go back to their room but instead sat on the couch and started chatting. Even though I came out of the bathroom, they remained lively and not bored at all.

—Yuya, you need to hear this. Rumi is quite funny. She scored a goal against her own team in PE class. Isn’t that right, Rumi?

—I didn’t know which way to attack, you know? I tend to be a little disoriented. I have to admit, I’m not very good with directions.

—Haha, it’s okay. It’s just that you don’t understand the rules.

—You don’t understand, Aoi. In life, attitude is the most important, not the rules.

—Please don’t bring your life philosophy into PE class.

Both girls enjoyed talking mainly about what happened at school.

I simply listened to their conversations. I enjoyed watching their smiles and how they had fun more than actively participating in the conversation.

Time passed quickly.

I looked at the time on my phone, and it was already past 10 PM.

Normally, Aoi should be getting ready for bed… But it was a special occasion to stay overnight together. They didn’t have to go to school tomorrow, so it wouldn’t be a problem if they stayed up late.

I got up, and both of them turned to look at me.

—Well, I’m going to bed. It’s late, so try not to make too much noise, okay?

—Yes, goodnight, Yuya-kun.

Aoi also stood up.

—Rumi-san, let’s go to my room. Here Yuya-kun can hear our voices.

—Oh, what’s going on? Are we going to have a secret conversation that Yuya-san can’t hear?

—No, it’s just that Rumi-san’s voice is very loud, so we’re just changing locations.

—Hey, that’s mean!

—But you’re always so excited.

—You’re so wicked! As revenge, I’m going to search Aoi’s room!

Rumi bid her energetic goodbye, saying: “Goodnight, Yuya-san!” and hurried towards Aoi’s room.

—Oh, why does it always end up like this?

Aoi stood up hastily.

Suddenly, I remembered the image of when they came out of the bathroom.

—Um… Yuya-kun, do you like this kind of thing?

—Aoi.

I called out to Aoi as she chased after Rumi.

Aoi paused and turned around. Her fine hair gently floated as if in a shampoo commercial due to the centrifugal force.

—Yuya-kun? Is something the matter?

—I wanted to say… The shirt you were wearing earlier. It looked really cute on you, and it got me really excited. I panicked and didn’t know how to respond. I’m sorry.

As I conveyed my feelings, Aoi’s face turned slightly red.

—It’s… It’s unfair to surprise me like that. Idiot.

—I know, I’m sorry. But at that time, Rumi-chan was there, and I couldn’t say it.

—Thank you… Goodnight then.

Aoi hurried towards her room but suddenly stopped in front of the door.

Aoi turned around and smiled shyly.

—As punishment, next time I’ll make your heart beat even faster… Goodnight, Yuya-kun.

After saying that, she entered her room, and I brought my hands to my head.

—No matter how many hearts I have… I won’t be able to handle it…!

If she wants to make me feel even more excited, that shirt is already in a quite daring category.

So, if something even more provocative were to sneak in, it means that… No, I shouldn’t think about that, but my imagination starts to run wild.

—Well… It’s time to sleep.

I turned off the lights in the room and returned to my own bedroom.

…Of course, that night I couldn’t easily fall asleep due to my uneasiness.

 

******************

 

A new day arrived.

It was Sunday, and Aoi and Rumi were getting ready to go out. It seems like they’re planning to visit a candy store near the station.

Even though they had cake yesterday, they plan to eat something sweet again. It seems that Izuka-san’s advice was accurate.

—Yuya-kun, we entrust you to stay home.

Aoi put on her slippers, lightly tapping the floor with the tips of her toes as she said that.

—If you want to cook something for lunch, there’s leftover rice in the fridge that can be used for fried rice. There’s also instant curry… But if you don’t like rice-based dishes, we also have pasta for you to choose from. However, instant soups aren’t healthy, so it’s better to avoid them, okay?

—Okay, got it. Don’t worry, I’ll whip up something on the fly.

Please stop scolding me in front of Rumi. It’s not only embarrassing, but she always mocks me.

And as expected, Rumi is looking at me with a teasing smile.

—Aww, Yuya-san, you’re being treated like a child~

—Rumi-chan, don’t make fun of adults.

—Hahaha, sorry! Come on, Aoi-chi!

—It’s alright, Yuya-kun, see you later.

—Yes, take care.

I bid farewell to both of them and returned to my room.

It’s incredible how this place has transformed from being a noisy space to a tranquil one.

I took out the clothes from the washing machine and headed to the balcony.

As I hung up the clothes, I thought about Christmas.

—Where should we go…

Compared to before, Aoi is becoming more honest with her thoughts and emotions. If I ask her where she wants to go, she will surely give me a direct answer.

The challenge would be to come up with a worthy surprise for her.

During the company trip, I prepared various surprises, and Aoi enjoyed them all. I want to make sure Aoi also enjoys our Christmas date. As her fiancé, this is my time to show my worth.

But what does Aoi like?

Speaking of Christmas, what kind of gesture would be appreciated by her?

As I pondered that, I realized I had a smile on my face.

I was thinking about all the things I can do to make the person I love have fun.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I like Aoi, to the point where just thinking about it makes me happy.

—…Although if I were to tell her directly, she would probably feel very embarrassed.

I smiled wryly and finally hung up the towel before returning to the room.

I think she mentioned that we had leftover rice… Perhaps I should try making a risotto to practice and put in a little more effort. If it turns out well, I can prepare it for Aoi next time too.

As I marveled at myself for continuing to think about Aoi, I opened the refrigerator in search of the ingredients.

Living with a Beautiful High School Student: A chance encounter after seven years

Living with a Beautiful High School Student: A chance encounter after seven years

Kutabire Salarymen no Ore, 7nenburi ni Saikai shita Bishoujo JK to Dosei wo Hajimaru
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Artist: Released: 2023 Native Language: くたびれサラリーマンな俺、7年ぶりに再会した美少女JKと同棲を始める
Amae Yuya, an office worker in his third year of employment, is completely exhausted by the daily grind. Then, for the first time in seven years, Yuya meets Aoi Shiratori, a girl eight years younger than him who used to live in his neighborhood. She had grown up to be a beautiful JK girl who was good at housework, and she said to him, “Yuya-kun, would you like to live with me under the premise of marriage?” Aoi desperately wants to live with Yuya, her first love. Yuya, who is puzzled, agrees to live with Aoi as a guardian for the time being, but Aoi’s aggressive approach makes him very nervous inside.

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