How Could You Like Another Girl When You Already Have A Cute Fiancée Like Me? - V2 Chapter 1
- How Could You Like Another Girl When You Already Have A Cute Fiancée Like Me?
- V2 Chapter 1 - And So, The Alliance And The Love Comedy Continues
Chapter 1: “And So, The Alliance And The Love Comedy Continues”
Trains in the countryside are hard to come by.
On his way home from school, Kouta stood in line waiting for the train. In front of him were two girls in uniforms from a nearby high school, happily chatting with each other.
“Have you watched the drama last night?”
“Yeah, I did! They had great actors. Especially the one playing the role of the fiancée─”
Kouta suddenly shouted, causing the two to turn around in surprise. At that moment, Kouta had already left the line and dashed onto the station platform.
It was the last word Kouta wanted to hear right now.
Something he really didn’t want to think back on spurted out, something he dared not think about.
At the end of the platform, in the middle of nowhere, Kouta stopped. As he was catching his breath, he heard a voice behind him.
“Mou~ Kouta, you are reacting too much to this drama.”
It was Chris behind her. She took off her sunglasses and laughed like a madwoman.
Christina Westwood is the daughter of the world’s richest man, the casino tycoon Tyrell, and is said to be a millennial half-model. She is also Kouta’s former fiancée.
“…You know what I feel, right? I get a headache when I hear that word…”
“Of course, it’s about Kouta. I know what you mean.”
Chris bought a Coke from a nearby vending machine and offered it to Kouta.
Buying another Coke, Chris sat down on the station bench. She opened the pull-top and looked at Kouta. She tapped her side of the bench.
Kouta sat down at her urging.
She took a sip of her cola. The cool, chilled liquid sloshed down her throat, but she felt nothing but refreshment.
The autumn sky was covered with gray clouds. Kouta leaned back on the bench, a mumbled murmur leaking from his mouth.
“How did I get into this mess…”
In his mind’s eye, he sees a beautiful dark-haired schoolgirl, Hisame Tojo, whom Kouta fell in love with at first sight on the day of the entrance ceremony.
Since the day of the entrance ceremony, Kouta has been running for the same class committee as Hisame Tojo and he has been approaching her. When he confessed his love to her and she said yes, he was so happy that he jumped up and down. The days they spent together as lovers were the most glorious of Kouta’s life.
But then, at his home, Hisame said,
『I thought Kouta-kun had confessed to me because we were engaged.』
“I was Hisame’s fiancé, so she didn’t make her own decision to become my girlfriend, did she? That means Hisame didn’t become my girlfriend out of her own choice, she only said yes because I was her fiancé, but she didn’t really care about me, did she!?”
He had an idea.
Hisame never flirted with anyone, no matter who confessed their feelings for her. Even when a handsome senpai confessed his feelings for her, which other girls are always ooh-ing and aah-ing over, Hisame rejects him without a second thought.
Somehow, Kouta was the only one who got the OK.
Hisame did not hesitate to say “yes” to Kouta’s confession. The answer was so inorganic and immediate that Kouta, who had confessed, could not believe it and asked back.
Hisame did not even have to think about it.
Her fiancé wanted to be in a relationship. It is better to be close to the person you will eventually marry. So, Hisame simply agreed. That was all there was to it.
“Yeah, I knew that… I have no strengths, no special skills, and I’ve never been popular before, so there’s no way Hisame would like me. But if she accepts my confession, I’ll misunderstand, won’t I? I’d be tempted to think that Hisame likes me too…!”
Thinking back, Hisame never told him that she liked him. She was generally expressionless. When she spoke, she did so in a flat, flat voice, and her responses and demeanor were curt.
Kouta was convinced that this was Hisame’s character, but now he doubts it.
Hisame was unsociable because she was with Kouta, whom she did not like. It was not absurd to think that Hisame was unfriendly because she was with Kouta.
“Aaaaaaaaaah I’m an idiot. Why did I get carried away…!? You’re not thinking straight, it’s that Hisame! She’s the Takane no Hana (unreachable flower)! She’s a woman of talent and beauty! Why would she, who is too high-spec, like me, an ordinary guy─!?”
“That’s not true.”
There was a voice beside him.
“Kouta has many good qualities, even if Tojo-san doesn’t realize it, I know that Kouta is kind and cool.”
Chris fiddled with a crushed can. Her face was slightly reddening.
Kouta’s body temperature rose.
“I don’t think Kouta is ordinary. At least for me, Kouta is special. Kouta is─.”
“Stop! All right, stop!”
Kouta hurriedly interrupted Chris.
He chugged the Coke in his hand and tried to cool down his body temperature. But the embarrassment was not over with just a bottle of Coke.
(Well, high-spec girls include this person, too. And Chris has confessed her feelings to me… I don’t understand. What happened to my life all of a sudden? Why am I being liked by such a cute, lovable girl─?)
He looked at Chris with a sideways glance and saw that she was smiling.
“You thought I was cute, didn’t you?”
“Don’t read my thoughts!”
Kouta shouted and turned away. This is the frightening thing about Chris. Her insight is so great that she can hear everything that is going on in people’s minds.
He heard the sound of an empty can falling into the trash with a thud.
“Well, I love Kouta, but I guess Tojo-san is different.”
Chris threw away the can and stood in front of Kouta. She opened her arms wide.
“Kouta, if you have a broken heart, you can cry on my chest.”
A broken heart.
(Is that how it works…? I guess it’s not really a relationship if she was dating me because she was my fiancée. So my love was destroyed after all.)
His chest hurts like it’s been gouged out. He indeed had a broken heart because it was so painful every time he thought of her.
Chris stared at Kouta with moist eyes. In front of him were her ample twin dunes, not quite as large as Hisame’s, but still more than enough volume to reach out and touch.
Kouta turned his head down.
“……Chris, don’t spoil me.”
He can’t borrow Chris’s chest.
Because Kouta had not yet answered Chris’s confession.
Kouta couldn’t just hug a girl who wasn’t his girlfriend.
“I’m just kidding,” Chris said, lowering her arms.
“That kind of silly sincerity is what I like about Kouta.”
Kouta’s smile looked as if it had been forced.
Chris pulled Kouta’s sleeve.
“We’re going to get on the train. We’re going to have a strategy meeting at Kouta’s house.”
“At my house? Strategy meeting?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about our relationship, Kouta.”
Kouta was pulled along by the train, and was forced to walk.
Chris’s blonde hair fluttered as the train slid onto the platform.
“We are ‘allies’. Aren’t we?”
The “Engagement Breakup Alliance” was originally formed to break off Chris and Kouta’s engagement.
It was now once again formed to dissolve Hisame and Kouta’s engagement.
Getting off at Kouta’s nearest station, Chris proceeds with light steps. Her short pleated skirt danced with her skipping steps.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been to Kouta’s. Do you have any new furniture since I’ve been gone?”
“Of course not. I can’t afford to buy furniture that quickly.”
Kouta’s house is a poor ramen shop where even the food budget is cut down.
“Why are we having the strategy meeting at my house? There are other places, right?”
“Like the park.”
“Oh, it’s getting colder these days. Winter will be here soon.”
“…Like a family restaurant…?”
“You just thought about what’s in your wallet, Kouta.”
“If it’s only a drink bar…!”
“No family restaurants, no cafes, remember I’m the Christina Westwood of the world? If I go to a crowded place, I’ll be in big trouble.”
”Being a celebrity must be tough,” Kouta thought.
“That’s why Kouta’s house is the best.”
(Well, okay… we were living together just a week ago. I guess I don’t have to worry about it now…)
“Yeah, yeah! Kouta’s house is like my house now~.”
“That statement is a bit misleading in many ways!?”
Arriving at the cheap apartment where his home is located, Kouta opens the door.
The moment he opened the door, he could smell the aroma of miso soup.
It was not time for his Dad, who runs a ramen shop, to be home.
Kouta stood cowering as he opened the door.
There was a girl in a ponytail in the kitchen. Her reddish brown hair was bright even under the old fluorescent lights, and she was wearing the same school uniform as Kouta and the others. She wore an apron over it and turned her head while holding a ladle.
“Ah, Kou-kun, welcome back.”
It was a simple, natural statement, but Kouta couldn’t reply.
He could not understand at all why she was at his house, and even more so why she was making miso soup.
Nia Kitaouji came rushing to the front door with a big smile on her face.
“Kou-kun, Kou-kun, do you want to eat rice? Do you want to have a bath? Or─”
“I’m right here, you know.”
Chris pushed Kouta away and peeked out.
Nia was surprised to see her. The next moment, she laughed carefree.
“Wow, you had a visitor. But don’t worry, I didn’t know how much Kou-kun would eat, so I made more for dinner.”
“Huh? ‘You have a guest’, don’t you mean you are a guest too?”
“I’m sorry we don’t have slippers at Kou-kun’s house. Please take off your shoes and go straight up.”
“I know that even if you don’t tell me that! Why are you in charge of Kouta’s house?”
Chris pointed a finger at her, but Nia didn’t care. She returned to the kitchen while humming a song.
Chris turned around to see what was going on.
Kouta was in over his head.
Kouta wasn’t only engaged to Hisame, but also to Nia, who was Kouta’s fiancée.
“””Itadakimasu.””” [TLN: Please don’t tell me I need to translate this.]
The three of them shouted in unison at the dining room table of the Gouzanji house.
Kouta held up a bowl of miso soup. He took a sip and said, “Oh,” as he sipped it.
“It tastes so comforting. It makes me glad that I am Japanese.”
“Fufu, Kou-kun, you’re overreacting!”
Nia smiled at him as they sat opposite each other.
The only ingredient in the miso soup is simply tofu, so the skill of the cook really comes out in the soup. Nia seemed to have prepared the soup by making a proper broth. [TLN: I’m not exactly well-versed with JP food, so I’m sorry in advance if this part was done badly.]
In the chair next to Kouta, Chris was puffing her cheeks out in a sulky manner.
“H-Hmm~. If you like this, the vichyssoise our chef makes is more delicious.”
She was gulping down the miso soup with tremendous vigor. This is not the behavior of someone who doesn’t like it.
Kouta put his chopsticks to a small bowl of stir-fried egg and bean sprouts.
“This one has a very gentle taste. The amount of salt is just right.”
“Kou-kun, there were only bean sprouts in the refrigerator. I wanted to make a proper salad or something.”
He thought that was a waste of money.
She was a very good cook. If there had been an abundance of ingredients, he would surely have had a variety of dishes on the table.
“H-Hmm~. If you like this, the scrambled eggs that our chef makes are more delicious.”
He looked to the side and saw that Chris’s small bowl was empty, and she was staring at it regretfully.
On the platter was sardines.
“This simmered sardine is also great! It makes me want to eat more rice!”
“There’s more rice for you, Kou-kun.”
“H-Hmm~. If you like this, our chef’s acqua pazza is better than… ugh, more rice!”
Chris regretfully held out the empty bowl.
After finishing most of the meal, Nia smiled.
“I’m glad Kou-kun and the guests are happy. It’s always a thrill to show off your cooking for the first time, isn’t it?”
“Hey you.” Chris had a serious look at Nia.
“Can you please stop calling me a ‘guest’? Don’t tell me you don’t know my name.”
“Well, I don’t watch much TV, so I don’t know much about the once-in-a-millennium half-models.”
“If you knew that much, you would know! Are you making fun of me!?”
Nia was trying to be nonchalant, and Chris was standing on her feet in frustration.
Kouta decided it was time to cut to the chase.
“Ermm, why is Kitaouji-san at my house?”
”Uh-huh,” Chris said, nodding her head.
Nia let out a small gasp.
“’Kitaouji-san’, you say? Kou-kun calls me like I’m a stranger. It’s hilarious.”
“No! You and I are strangers─”
“You can call me ‘A-chan’ like you did in kindergarten, okay, Kou-kun?”
’Did I used to call you like that…?’ Kouta thought, pressing against his forehead.
He was five years old. He had no recollection of it at all.
“Kouta looks troubled. He probably doesn’t remember much about kindergarten─”
“But Kou-kun, you remember the promise you made to me, don’t you?”
Chris was annoyed at being ignored.
Nia looked only at Kouta.
“You remember me, don’t you?”
Kouta’s gaze drifted to Nia.
To be honest, he doesn’t remember.
He remembered asking a girl he played ramen shop with in kindergarten to make ramen with him all the time, but that was it. He doesn’t remember Nia’s name or face at all.
He was wondering how to answer her question.
Suddenly, she grabbed his face with both hands.
Nia extends her arm from across the table.
“Eh, but you’re the one who said it though? Kou-kun said he wanted to make ramen with me. I told you that I would be your wife if you would marry me, and Kou-kun promised to marry me. Since I was five years old, I went to pottery class every day to become Kou-kun’s wife and make ramen bowls, and in elementary school and junior high school, I kneaded clay and turned a potter’s wheel after school and made many works of art. How can it be that Kou-kun has forgotten his promise?”
Silence fell over the Gouzanji household.
(I can’t say… I can’t say I forgot…)
Nia’s nails were digging into his face. It hurts. It hurts physically and mentally. She opened her eyes and stared at Kouta with a straight face.
“Hey now…!” Chris tried to help her out, but Nia didn’t take her eyes off Kouta.
Her pupil’s dilated eyes peered into Kouta’s.
“Answer me, Kou-kun.”
“…A-Ahh, yeah, I remember the promise…”
Nia’s hand quickly pulled away.
She was smiling happily. Kouta’s shirt felt disgusting dripping with sweat.
“I was able to get into Kou-kun’s house because we stopped by Tetsuji-san’s store.”
“He was so happy when I gave him a bowl of ramen noodles I had made and asked him to use them. I told him that I had other things to give him, like tea bowls and bowls, but he asked me to put them in his house because he didn’t have room for them in his store.”
”Ah,” Kouta said, his voice leaking out. That’s why Tetsuji gave Nia the key to the house. This sounds like the kind of thing his sloppy dad would do.
“Tetsuji-san remembered me, too. He said I was the “A-chan” from that time. I bet Tetsuji-san will be surprised when he finds out that I’m going to be Kou-kun’s bride.”
Nia’s face broke into a smile.
Kouta felt Chris’ strong gaze on his cheek. Chris was looking at him like a hole in the wall.
（I know. Even I know what I should do…! I have to say “Let’s not get engaged” at this point…!)
However, Kouta can’t simply tell Nia to call off the engagement.
If the engagement was decided by their parents, he could say, “That’s an outrageous thing to do, disregarding our will!”
But with Nia, it was Kouta himself who made the promise.
Chris stepped on Kouta’s foot under the table.
“Y-You see, Nia…”
Nia tilted her head.
“I remember the promise we made in kindergarten, and I’m glad you’ve kept it in mind. But I’m not so sure about the promise of marriage in kindergarten─”
“Oh, that reminds me. I have something for Kou-kun.”
Nia abruptly got up from her seat.
She had placed a bag in the corner of the kitchen. She took something out of it.
“Here, you can have it.”
Nia showed Kouta a ceramic doll.
“Is this, me…?”
The face was not that clearly sculpted, but Kouta recognized it as himself because of his hair and clothes.
“You got it~”, Nia laughed.
“Kou-kun doll, don’t you see the resemblance? I made it myself.”
“Y-Yeah. Thanks, I guess…?”
To be honest, he was not happy to receive a doll that looked like him, but Kouta thanked her for her kindness.
“I wonder where I should put this doll… Kou-kun’s house is so small, it’s hard to find a place for it…”
Nia was looking around Kouta’s house as if it were her own apartment.
Chris poked Kouta with her elbow. With a look, she urged him to return to the subject of breaking off the engagement.
Kouta was determined again.
“N-Nia, I have something important to tell you!”
Kouta took a deep breath and let it out in a gulp.
“I want to call off the engagement we had when we were five years old─”
A loud noise drowned out Kouta’s words.
Kouta watched as Nia slammed the doll against the edge of the sink.
The doll’s head was smashed to pieces.
Nia turned around with the doll of Kouta, missing from the neck up, in her hand.
“Oh, I broke the doll. I’m sorry, Kou-kun, but I’ll make another one.”
Nia’s eyes were not smiling at all, though she had a thin smile on her face.
Kouta’s whole body broke out in a cold sweat.
(Is this the one… where you’re not supposed to mention engagement breakups…?)
Chris blurted out “…Crazy.” next to Kouta.
Nia came up beside him and put a headless doll in front of Kouta with a thud.
“So, Kou-kun, what was that all about?”
Kouta said, looking away from his doll. He didn’t dare to talk again about breaking off the engagement.
“Nia Kitaouji… Nia Kitaouji… found her. Wow, she must be a proper potter.”
Chris was looking something up on her phone. When he peeked at her hand, he saw that she was looking at an auction site.
“A rice bowl would be around 100,000 yen.”
Kouta looked at Nia with surprise.
“What kind of person eats with a rice bowl that costs… 100,000 yen, more than I make in a month?”
“…Kouta, the rice bowl that Kouta just used, wasn’t it made by Kitaouji-san?”
Kouta looked at the tea bowl on the side. He was sure that it was not one of their rice bowls. It was a pitch-black pottery with a deep indigo pattern on it. It was beautiful, even to the untrained eye.
“I was surprised you noticed, Chris-chan. You’re not a celebrity just for show huh.”
“…You seem to be very good at irritating me.”
(100,000… this is worth 100,000 huh…)
Kouta stared at the bowl and dishes sullenly, while Chris poked at him.
“The platter made by Kitaouji-san was sold for not less than one million.”
Chris pointed out to the astonished Kouta. The platter on the table.
“D-Don’t tell me, that plate…!?”
“That’s right. I put all of today’s food on the plate I made. If the dishes are good, the food tastes better, doesn’t it?”
Kouta almost swooned.
“Don’t put bean sprouts and sardines in those stupidly expensive dishes…!”
“Kou-kun, I became a potter just to make Kou-kun’s ramen bowls. Don’t worry about the price of the plate, okay?”
“I do! Why is a bowl of ramen that costs 500 yen in a serving bowl that costs 100,000 yen? That’s absolutely ridiculous!”
It’s a ramen shop, but the selling point could be the bowl, not the ramen. Rather, they should charge an appreciation fee for the bowl without the ramen.
Kouta stood up from his seat. He carefully carried the teacups, bowls, and plates to the sink.
“I’m going to wash the dishes, so take them home after. I’ll tell Dad to return the bowls. I bet he didn’t know they were worth that much.”
“No, it’s too heavy.”
“You’re the one who brought it though… Then give me your address instead. I’ll send it to you by courier.”
“Kou-kun, I don’t like it when you suddenly come to my parents’ house to say hello. I’ll have to talk to your father and mother about the schedule.”
“Didn’t you hear me? I said I would send it by courier.”
“I myself am not in a hurry to get married. If Kou-kun is going to college or something, we can have a marriage after that, okay?”
“You’re not listening to me, are you? When did anyone talk to you about that?”
Kouta was about to wash the dishes in a messy manner, when he hurriedly returned to his careful movements. If he broke an expensive plate, he would have been in serious trouble.
“It would be more convenient for Kou-kun, wouldn’t it? I mean, you’re dating Chris-chan now.”
There was the sound of running water.
Kouta stopped washing the dishes and turned around.
Kouta looked doubtful, and Chris blinked.
Seeing Kouta’s reaction, Nia let out an “Eh?” while she tilted her head.
“Aren’t you two dating?”
“No, we’re not dating─”
“That’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with the idea that Kouta and I are dating. After all, it might happen in the near future.”
“Hey, Chris, don’t make this more complicated than it already is!”
“Oh, really? That’s funny.”
Nia smiled, revealing her teeth.
“I thought you two were in a relationship because Kou-kun brought a girl home when his parents weren’t around.”
“Wah…!” Kouta blushed. When he glanced at Chris, she turned her face away from him. Her face was slightly red.
“I see, it’s Chris-chan’s one-sided love. I’m sorry, Chris-chan, that you couldn’t do many things with Kou-kun because of me, even though you came all the way to Kou-kun’s house.”
“─Shut up, you irritating little fly!”
A low voice filled with a great deal of emotion.
Chris stood up from her seat and then stood in front of Nia.
“That’s a provocative statement you made there. Can I take that as a declaration of war against me?”
“What are we fighting about? Is there anything that Chris-chan and I have to fight about?”
“That’s a silly question. You like Kouta, too, don’t you? I think that’s reason enough for us to fight.”
“But I’m still his fiancée, aren’t I?”
Chris was at a loss for words.
“I’m the one who’s going to marry Kou-kun in the future. That is a definite future, but right now we are both still in high school. I don’t care if Kou-kun goes out with someone else before he gets together with me, okay?”
“…You, how can you love Kouta─”
“I think experience is important.”
Nia put her finger to her lips.
“Isn’t it oftentimes cooler for someone to have a girlfriend than someone who doesn’t have a girlfriend? If there are a lot of girls who come on to you, it means that you are attractive, right? Am I wrong?”
That’s one way to look at it.
He has a girlfriend and is popular because he is attractive. The fact that he has a lover is proof of that.
“So when I saw Kou-kun being sandwiched between two adorable girls at school the other day, I was so happy.”
Nia’s eyes narrowed in fascination as she shifted her gaze to Kouta.
“My future husband is such a charming man.”
Chris bit her lip and tightened her grip. The two hands clenched in a fist were trembling.
“Y-You’re telling me I’m just a stalking horse? Kouta’s going out with me for experience is just a prelude… to him marrying you…!?”
Nia smiled wryly at Chris, who wore an aura of anger.
“…You’re the very first person to mock Christina Westwoods of the world this much, Nia Kitaouji.”
Nia spun around and picked up her bag.
“I’m going home to make a bowl of rice.”
“Oh, hey, dishes! Take the plates!”
“Kou-kun, you can do whatever you want to Chris-Chan, okay? I won’t be mad at you.”
After saying what she wanted to say, Nia left Kouta’s house.
What was left behind was a dish that was not worth the price and Chris, who was burning up with rage and anger.
“Ah, I’m so pissed! What’s with that girl!? Don’t get carried away just because you’re his fiancée. You’ll see!”
Chris’ bellowing pinched Kouta’s ear.
“Let’s leave Nia aside for the moment,” Kouta said.
Across the table from him was Chris, her cheeks puffed out. She was still fuming with anger.
“Nia told us she wasn’t in a hurry to get married. That means we should take it easy. I wonder if Nia will change her mind after a while.”
“You’re being too optimistic, Kouta. Do you think a girl who remembers a promise she made when she was five years old, and who is still so attached to Kouta, will change her mind so easily?”
“Kouta couldn’t even tell Kitaouji-san to call off the engagement.”
“H-How could I even say that under the circumstances…? The moment I said there would be no engagement, it looked like my life was about to end!”
“Well, it did seem a bit dangerous.”
“This is bad. I’m in so much trouble. If Nia’s story is true, she has been training as a potter for ten years to keep her promise to me, right? The promise I said back then wasn’t that serious─”
He was making fun of other people’s lives.
If Kouta were in Nia’s shoes, he would feel the same way. The young Kouta had swept Nia’s life away by making an irresponsible promise.
“Haaaa, my head is beginning to hurt in earnest. I want to go back ten years and preach to myself…”
“I understand that Kouta is trapped enough to escape reality, and it’s fine to think about Kitaouji-san’s situation, but Kouta, you didn’t forget your beliefs, did you?”
“Who is Kouta going to marry?”
“Who─ I’m only going to marry the person I love!”
“You know what I mean. That’s what you believe in.”
Chris smiled while her cheek rested on her hand.
“When you have that belief in front of you, all promises are meaningless. Kouta wanted to break off our engagement because you wanted to marry the person you love, didn’t you?”
In the sense that it was a promise made ten years ago, there was no difference between her engagement to Chris and her engagement to Nia.
“I wonder if Kouta would have accepted my engagement if I had told you that I had studied Japanese for ten years because of my engagement to Kouta?”
“…I don’t think I would have accepted it.”
Chris shrugged her shoulders.
“I only have one question for you. Do you like Kitaouji-san?”
“No, I don’t…”
Kouta let out a sigh.
“I mean, we’ve barely met each other before. My face and personality are completely different now than when I was five years old. We may have played together in the past, but that doesn’t guarantee that we’ll get along now.”
There is simply too little information to develop romantic feelings.
Nia’s healthy appearance is definitely one of the most attractive and lovable, and she is a good cook, which he found out this time. But Kouta is not so infatuated as to fall in love with her on that basis alone.
“I’m relieved to hear that.”
“We’ll deal with that crazy girl later. We’ll figure out how to end her engagement later.”
“Right now, we need to figure out how to call off your engagement to Tojo-san.”
“What’s with that terse response?”
“….I don’t want to think about Hisame… I don’t even want to remember her… I wish she’d call off the engagement on her own…!”
“That’s awfully convenient.”
Chris crossed her arms.
“Kouta, before we start planning our strategy, let’s get one thing straight.”
Kouta gulped at the serious look on her face.
“Kouta, you have no more regrets about Tojo-san, do you?”
No more regrets.
Chris looked at Kouta, who froze.
“If you are breaking off your engagement, it means that you have no love for Tojo-san. Is that correct?”
The sound of sea birds chirping came from the balcony.
The room in the dusk is cast in dark shadows for two. Chris looked at Kouta, who showed no sign of opening his mouth, and narrowed his eyes wistfully.
“…I figured that it would be something like this.”
Chris was at a loss for words. It was as if she was afraid to say them.
“Because Kouta still thinks Tojo-san is─”
“I don’t know! I don’t even know how I feel… I still get nervous when I see Hisame, but─”
“I knew you still liked her.”
Chris’s mouth was agape.
“Kouta, please think about this. If Kouta still loves Tojo-san, before you dissolve the engagement…”
“Chris, please tell me. Am I really still in love with Hisame?”
“I know you can see right through me, can’t you? Is the feeling that I have for Hisame really love?”
He knew that this was not the right question to ask Chris. But Kouta still couldn’t help but ask his ally.
“I’m having a rough time…! It’s hard for me to see Hisame and talk to Hisame. …Before it wasn’t like this; just being in the classroom with Hisame was enough to lift my spirits, and I could say with confidence that I liked Hisame. But now─”
Just the sight of Hisame is painful. When their eyes meet, he feels as if his heart has been stabbed with a needle, and when they have to exchange words, he is depressed. Being in the same class and on the same committee are the other factors that are hurting Kouta’s heart right now.
It is hard to believe that Kouta “likes” such an emotion filled with all kinds of bitterness.
“I see. So you’re unaware,” Chris said, dropping her eyes.
“If I were aware of my feelings, I wouldn’t be asking you.”
Chris shook her head with a downcast expression on her face.
Kouta stared at his ally. Chris opened her mouth to Kouta, who was earnestly waiting for an answer.
“I know why Kouta is having a hard time. After all, Kouta was betrayed by Tojo-san.”
Kouta choked as the unexpected word came out.
“Kouta thought that he and Tojo-san had feelings for each other, didn’t he? Since they are lovers, it is natural for them to have feelings for each other. But Tojo-san did not like Kouta. They were only together because she was his fiancée. She betrayed Kouta’s feelings. That’s why Kouta is in so much pain.”
“So I’m in this kind of pain because I was betrayed…”
“Tojo-san didn’t betray Kouta with malicious intent. She thought Kouta knew about the engagement, too, and they were both just coasting along, weren’t you?”
Kouta was about to say, “How can we be coasting together?” but he swallowed his words. The person to whom he would say that is not Chris.
(That means Hisame didn’t get my feelings either…)
He thought he had made the confession of a lifetime. But Hisame mistakenly thought that Kouta was trying to get me to go out with him “because he is my fiancé”. It was definitely Kouta who made her think so.
If he had been able to tell Hisame that he really “liked” her, would things have turned out differently?
“Aaahhhh, I don’t know anymore! Where did I go wrong? What’s wrong with me? How did this happen…!?”
“─You know what the problem is. It’s the engagement.”
That line went right to Kouta’s heart.
The engagement was bad.
If you ask him, it all started with the engagement: the engagement with Chris, the engagement with Hisame, and the engagement with Nia. All of Kouta’s problems are caused by the engagements.
“Kouta and Tojo-san are not to blame. Because they were engaged, Tojo-san said yes to Kouta’s confession, and Kouta misunderstood. If they hadn’t been engaged, they wouldn’t have crossed paths in the first place.”
“That’s right!” Kouta stood up with a great deal of energy.
“The root of all evil is the engagement! If it weren’t for the engagement, none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t have misunderstood, and Hisame wouldn’t have been forced to go out with me…!”
“Yes, it’s all the fault of the engagement. So I know what we’re going to do.”
Kouta and Chris’ gazes entwined.
It was the trusting look in the eyes of their allies.
“First, we have to break off the engagement.”
“I agree. Kouta’s problems won’t be solved until we break off the original engagement.”
”All right,” Kouta stretched.
Now that he knew what he had to do, the haze that had been hanging over his mind seemed to have lifted a little.
“Once that’s decided, we’ll need to have a strategy meeting! I’ll make a fresh pot of tea.”
Kouta headed for the kitchen.
Chris looked at his back and quietly murmured.
“─We need to get this over with before Kouta realizes how she feels.”
“We will now begin the second strategy meeting of the Engagement Alliance!”
Kouta, who had prepared tea for the two of them, opened his mouth at the dining room table.
“I want anyone who has an idea for this engagement breakup strategy to raise it.”
“So, Kouta has no ideas.”
Chris blew on her tea and let it cool before sipping it from the teacup.
“Don’t be so blunt…”
“Fufu, I don’t mind Kouta depending on me.”
With a wickedly playful grin, Chris pulled out a writing pad.
“I’ll start with what we know now. Kouta’s mother and Tojo-san’s mother decided to get engaged, is that correct?”
“And in exchange for the engagement, Tojo-san’s grandfather on his mother’s side is renting the store to us at a discount.”
Chris drew a simple diagram on her notepad and thought for a moment.
“In this case, the only people we have to convince are Tojo-san’s parents.”
“I guess so. But my mother’s not here.”
“If you want to reach out to Tojo-san’s parents, you’re going to have to use Tojo-san.”
“By Tojo-san, do you mean…?”
“Tojo-san is going to tell her parents that she doesn’t want to get engaged to Kouta.”
“…My Dad didn’t listen to me at all when I told him I wouldn’t marry Chris.”
“That’s because Kouta’s dad was talking about opening an overseas branch. As far as these conditions are concerned, Kouta is not the only one who benefits from the engagement; there is no advantage on Tojo-san’s side to continue the engagement.”
Certainly, he thought. Kouta nodded his head.
“Why are these conditions so one-sided…?”
“Kouta’s mother and Tojo-san’s mother were probably that close. But now that Kouta’s mother is gone, if Tojo-san cries to her parents that she doesn’t want to be engaged to Kouta, the engagement will probably be called off without a second thought.”
”I see,” Kouta replied.
“So, how do we get Hisame to think of dissolving the engagement?”
“What kind of fiancée would Kouta not like?”
“Hmm, let’s see. If you ask me so suddenly like that…”
“I don’t want a fiancé who is flirting with other women. Or someone who is cold to me only. I don’t want a fiancé who doesn’t look at me.”
“Then that’s the plan.”
”Huhh!?” Kouta made a strange sound.
Kouta stopped Chris, who was about to write in her notepad.
“W-Wait a minute! What am I supposed to do…?”
“I’m going to flirt with all the girls except Tojo-san, give Tojo-san the cold shoulder, and make sure you don’t even look at Tojo-san.”
“How is that possible?”
He had never flirted with a girl before. What does one have to do to be flirting with a girl? Kouta did not even know the definition of what constituted flirting. The second two words sounded like he was trying to be mean, and Kouta’s conscience was out of line.
“I suppose my wording was a bit extreme. First of all, flirting with a girl other than Tojo-san is practically no action on Kouta’s part. I, as his ally, will just tease Kouta in the classroom.”
Fufufu, Chris was smiling wryly.
“…You look so happy.”
“If I were to stand up to Kouta in class, Tojo-san would definitely notice, and it would be embarrassing for his fiancée if Kouta and I looked intimate.”
Chris might flirt with Kouta if she comes. There’s no predicting what she would do.
“I don’t mean to be cold to Tojo-san, but you have to keep your distance from her as much as you can. She’s not the type to talk to Kouta on her own, so if Kouta doesn’t actively try to get involved, the distance will naturally open up.”
“You’re doing the opposite of what you did when you tried to propose: you’re reducing your contact with Hisame.”
Since they got along well by increasing their contacts, the opposite will inevitably lead to estrangement.
“This strategy is less difficult than the last one. It’s much harder to get along.”
“One last thing: Don’t show any signs of interest in Tojo-san.”
“Signs of Interest?”
“If she thinks Kouta still likes Tojo-san, then there’s no need to break off the engagement.”
“That’s true, but ‘signs of interest’? When have I ever pretended to be interested in her?”
Chris sighed grandly.
“…You’ve been looking too much.”
“You’ve been following Tojo-san around the classroom with your eyes. How many times are you going to look at Tojo-san during class and during recess?”
Chris crossed her arms in frustration.
Kouta tilted his head.
“Is that so…? I didn’t intend to look at Hisame in particular…”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Chris said irritably.
“Anyway, if Kouta doesn’t care about Tojo-san, Tojo-san will realize that this engagement is against his will and that there is no happy future for them.”
Again, it was a perfect strategy. Chris was a great help. Kouta was glad to have her as an ally.
『I really liked Kouta.』
Suddenly, her crying face came back to him.
The blonde girl who was writing down the plan in her notepad looked up.
“I’m sorry. Can I still hold off on replying to your confession…?”
He is aware that this is a selfish request.
But he thinks that Chris doesn’t want to hear a half-hearted answer, either.
“I’ve got my hands full with this engagement that just fell into my lap. I said I want to marry the girl I like, but I don’t know who I like anymore. I’ll definitely give you an answer when the engagement is taken care of─”
The butt of the pen poked Kouta’s lips.
“I can wait. I waited fifteen years to fall in love.”
Chris looked down at her notepad again.
The sound of the pen’s nib against the dimly lit room echoes quietly, and Kouta stares at her long eyelashes without a word.
“We’re going with this strategy tomorrow. I’m going to call it the ‘Keep Your Distance From Tojo-san’ distance strategy.”
Chris finished writing the plan and got up from her seat. She went to the refrigerator. She was going to put a notepad on the fridge.
“Read this carefully! Kouta, don’t stick with Tojo-san while you clean up like you did today.”
“T-That was Hisame following me…! I tried to go alone.”
“I don’t know about that. It looked to me like Kouta was talking to her.”
“I didn’t have a choice! Hisame tried to carry all that heavy stuff by herself.”
“See, you’re looking at Tojo-san.”
Kouta shook his head.
“…It was just a coincidence.”
“I hope so.”
“I was just talking to her casually. Rather, it was Hisame who followed me… and I wonder what in the world she’s thinking.”
It suddenly leaked out.
Kouta has a bitter and awkward feeling towards Hisame.
What about Hisame? Hisame didn’t like Kouta, so she probably doesn’t feel anything about the breakup. But she didn’t seem to be willing to call off the engagement.
He doesn’t understand.
There was no advantage for Hisame to be engaged to Kouta. So why would she be so reluctant to call off the engagement─.
“Chris, you can read Hisame’s thoughts by looking at her facial expressions, can’t you? You know what Hisame is thinking, don’t you?”
Chris put the pen to her lips as she turned to face the refrigerator.
“─Really now? I don’t know what Tojo-san is thinking.”
Tokiwa Central High School had a perfect female student.
She was always ranked first in regular examinations, had a ladylike and quiet demeanor like a Yamato Nadeshiko, and had a beauty and style that made everyone look back at her whenever she walked down the street.
She was so beautiful that she had another new victim today.
“Tojo-san, I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you. Will you go out with─”
By the school gate. As Hisame was leaving the school, a boy was clinging to her.
There should have been a better place to confess, but Hisame would not even come to a place with a nice atmosphere. So, the only way for the boys to confess was to ambush Hisame on her way.
They are not allowed to say even the last word of their confession.
The cold air that Hisame wears around her frightens the boys, but they persist. If he is discouraged at this point, where will his feelings go?
“Can I ask you to think about it for a little bit…? I’m going to be a man worthy of Tojo-san.”
Hisame’s eyes turned toward the boys for the first time.
But the look in her eyes was colder than the ice in Antarctica.
“You are not the right man for me.”
Hisame walked with an expressionless face and a voice that was devoid of any warmth.
The boys were completely frozen. They looked at her glossy black hair and were stunned.
“I’m so glad I found you, Tojo-san… how cool and beautiful you are…”
The boy muttered like a dying message and fell to his knees.
Hisame Tojo is the flower of the school and the admiration of all the boys in the school.
─But that’s only her outer mask.
(Ughhhh, Kouta-kun was cool today too… He rushed to me right away when I carried something heavy during cleaning time. Was Kouta-kun watching me…? No, it can’t be, I am sure Kouta-kun is a kind person who reaches out to everyone. Anyway, thanks to Kouta-kun, I was able to exchange words with him today for the first time in a week. What a blessing it is to be able to talk with someone you love…)
Hisame headed home while thinking about Kouta.
She was in the living room of her house, putting out a box of sugar candy for a snack when she heard a voice saying,
“Welcome home, Hi-tan.”
Hisame’s older brother, Haruto appeared.
He looked like a young man who was enjoying his college life. Hisame took one quick glance at her smiling brother’s face and replied with a blank expression on her face.
“Did something good happen at school? You look a little loose-lipped.”
Hisame covered her mouth with her hand.
Her family members are the only ones who can see the subtle changes in Hisame’s facial expression.
“Let me guess what happened.”
Haruto sat across from Hisame in the living room.
“You got back together with Kouta-kun!”
“…………How good it would have been if it had been like that…”
Hisame got depressed.
“Eh, that’s not it!? Then what’s the good thing that happened?”
“I had my first conversation with Kouta-kun in a week.”
“What do you mean by that? Kouta-kun hasn’t even spoken to me since that incident.”
The image of Kouta with his head bowed comes to Hisame’s mind.
Along with a voice that says, “Please break up with me.”
“Isn’t it good that I was able to have a conversation with Kouta-kun?”
“Haa~. If Hi-tan can be satisfied with that, it’s fine I guess…”
Hisame bit her lip and tightened it.
There was no way she could be satisfied.
She wanted to talk to Kouta every day and go home together after school with their hands tied behind their backs. She wanted to be lovers again and go on dates with him on weekends and holidays.
Before they started dating, she would not have wanted this if Kouta had remained inactive in their relationship.
But once she opened the lid and tasted the sweet nectar, she couldn’t resist any longer.
“…Why, Kouta-kun… It must be because he still doesn’t want to be with me, after all. The moment he found out that I was his fiancée, he decided to break up with me…”
“But if Kouta-kun didn’t know about the engagement, then he didn’t have any choice but to go out with Hi-tan because he was engaged, right?”
Hisame had always thought so.
Hisame’s fiancée was decided when she was five years old. It happened because she wanted it to happen.
Naturally, Hisame was very happy about her engagement to Kouta. But Hisame had always been worried about how Kouta felt about it.
When Kouta asked her to go out with him in high school, Hisame assumed that he wanted to get to know her better before they got married. They were engaged, so they both knew who they would be with in the future. Since they were getting married, it would be better to get to know each other better now. She thought that was what Kouta must have thought.
So, after two months of dating, she wasn’t dissatisfied with the lack of invitations to go on dates.
She knew that Kouta did not go out with her because he liked her. She was happy enough that he was willing to take the steps to get to know her. [TLN: Fatal mistake there gurl.]
That was the case, but─
“I can’t believe that Kouta-kun really…l…l…likes me……”
Hisame’s face turned bright red.
She thought it was like a dream. Is there such happiness?
The population of the Earth is 7.8 billion. The probability of both sides having the same mutual love is infinitesimally low among them. It was truly a miracle to be mutually in-love with one another.
“Hi-tan, you underestimate yourself too much. From my point of view, Hi-tan is more attractive than any other girl.”
“You’re an adult, and you look at your JK sister that way? It’s gross.”
“Stop! Don’t suddenly look at me like that out of the blue!”
Haruto guarded his sister’s icy gaze with his hand.
“But it’s true. When I show Hi-tan’s picture to my guy friends, they ask me to introduce you to a hundred percent of them.”
“I’m sorry, but you’re carrying around a picture of my sister and even showing it to other people? That’s gross.”
“I know you have at least one picture of your family on your phone!”
“Let’s just leave it at that.”
Hisame suddenly looked away.
“I’m not going to ask you to introduce me to anyone. If you bring someone with ulterior motives, be prepared.”
“What kind of preparation!?”
“Be prepared to never speak to me again.”
Haruto frowned at the exaggeration.
“I know. I’ve never introduced you to anyone, have I? I think Kouta-kun was proud of Hi-tan, too.”
Hisame’s face turned pale. She fumbled with the sugar candy she had taken out of the box.
“That’s absolutely not allowed. It mustn’t happen.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“If everyone at school finds out that Kouta-kun and I are dating…”
“What if they find out?”
Haruto urged, and Hisame’s voice trailed off.
“Even Kouta-kun will be thought of as a weirdo just like me…!”
That was Hisame’s greatest fear.
Hisame has experienced this feeling of alienation since her childhood in the group life of school. She was used to being left out of the group. However, she can’t stand the idea that even Kouta, whom she loves, will be treated as a weirdo for dating her.
This is the reason why Hisame was so adamant about keeping it a secret when she was dating Kouta.
“You’re a weird person, you know…? Who would say that about HI-tan now? Hi-Tan is dragging the old days too much.”
“No one says that now, but I’m sure they all think it in their hearts, and we must make sure that Kouta-kun’s relationship with me is never made known, because it would cause trouble for him.”
“I think you’re just being paranoid…”
“Then why did Kouta-kun ask me to break up with him…?”
When they dated, Kouta told her that Hisame was not weird.
But she thought it was just him being kind.
If he really thought she wasn’t weird, why would he ask her to break up with him?
(It’s because I’m a weird girl, isn’t it…? Kouta-kun went to the trouble of liking me, but because I am a weird girl, Kouta-kun thought I was different while we were dating…)
Kouta said something about forcing her into a relationship after he told her that he wanted her to break up with him. She didn’t really understand what he said. She couldn’t discern whether he wanted to give her a reason to break up with her, whatever it was, or whether she just couldn’t keep up with his own thinking.
When Kouta dumped her, Hisame had lost the ability to think, as if she had been plunged into total darkness.
“…When he was with me, Kouta-kun was kind and didn’t make a single disgusted face. But in his heart, he probably thought I was too much for him.”
“You’re thinking too much, Hi-Tan. Kouta-kun didn’t say that, did he?”
“Then why did Kouta-kun break up with me? And he even tried to break off the engagement. I’ve been dating him for a while and I thought he didn’t want to marry me, Kouta-kun is…!”
Tears spilled out in large drops.
When she looked down, a number of water droplets fell on the table.
“I don’t want that… Even though I… I’ve always loved Kouta-kun. I would never lose to anyone in regards to this feeling…!”
Chris, who had lived with Kouta for a while, appeared out of nowhere.
Nia claimed to have promised to marry Kouta ten years ago.
There was no way she could lose. There was no way she could lose this love for Kouta.
She can say that she’s the one who loves Kouta the most and that her love for him is stronger than the two of them.
“Then, Hi-tan, you have to find out why Kouta-kun broke up with you.”
“Because you don’t actually know what Kouta-kun didn’t like about Hi-Tan, do you?”
“Like I said, that’s because─”
“You’re just speculating, aren’t you, Hi-tan?”
Haruto threw a sugar candy into his mouth.
“We need to find out exactly what caused Hi-tan and him to break off your relationship and engagement. Otherwise, Hi-tan won’t be able to make things better.”
Hisame, face down, pressed both hands on her ample breasts.
“Can things even get better from here…? I can’t help it if I’m weird─”
“So you’re just going to give up on Kouta-kun?”
Haruto said so as he bit into a piece of sugar candy.
“Kouta-kun wants to break off the engagement and has no intention of getting back together with Hi-tan, does he? If that’s the case, then Hi-tan should forget Kouta-kun and find a new love─”
With a slam, Hisame stood up with her hands on her hips.
The box of sugar candy on the table bounced.
The spacious living room was instantly covered in a blizzard. Haruto was unfazed by Hisame’s silent anger. He smiles thinly and asks,
“Hi-tan, you said it yourself. What did you enter high school for?”
Tokiwa Central High School is a medium-sized prefectural high school.
It had no special characteristics and only middle-class students in terms of academic ability.
Hisame, who graduated from Harvard University with a high grade point average, went to the trouble of entering Tokiwa Central High School for the reason of─
“─To have a romantic comedy with Kouta-kun during high school!”
Hisame emphatically asserted.
(That’s right. I’ve lost sight of why I came to this school in the first place. My goal was to fall in love with Kouta-kun, become his lover, and live a sweet high school life in love with him…!)
That was temporarily accomplished.
Kouta fell in love with her.
Kouta confessed his love to her and they became lovers.
But the happy days didn’t last long.
(I’m still in the first year of high school… It’s too early to give up. Kouta-kun is my hero. I would never give him up to anyone, I would find out why Kouta-kun ran out of love for me and solve the problem. And Kouta-kun and I will be lovers again─)
Seeing Hisame’s mouth break into a faint smile, Haruto smiled reassuringly.
Translator’s Afterword: Wow, Hisame’s brother is a gigachad kek.
On another note, sorry this took so long! It’s only now that I have started to get time for translating again. Not to mention, this chapter is 36 pages long. So yeah, it’s verrryyyy long.
Other than that, my sister’s moving-up ceremony is coming soon, and I wanna help in celebrating it for a bit. Like having the entire family go out to a fast-food restaurant or something like that. I hope you guys could help me, I would definitely appreciate it if you could!