She Was Actually My Stepsister. ~Recently, The Sense Of Distance Between Me And My New Stepbrother Is Incredibly Close~ - Chapter 4
- She Was Actually My Stepsister. ~Recently, The Sense Of Distance Between Me And My New Stepbrother Is Incredibly Close~
- Chapter 4 - Apparently, My Stepmother Asked Me to Run an Errand for Her...
Chapter 4: “Apparently, My Stepmother Asked Me to Run an Errand for Her…”
Akira’s transfer examinations have been successfully completed, and August has arrived.
It appears that summer vacation has finally begun in earnest for Akira, and he has been spending many lazy days at home.
There were several pleasant changes.
First of all,
Akira started coming to my room and borrowing some of my manga.
I sometimes borrow manga from Akira, and I am glad that we share the same taste in manga.
Akira would often come to the living room to play games with me.
“Akira, Can we stop playing EnSam２? Or rather, why don’t we seal it, forever…?”
“Eh~ My winning streak will stop forever if we do that, you know?”
“But that’s just going to make my record of losing streaks and disappointment go up forever…”
Akira basically hates to lose and bites down, but I don’t try to fight back even though I keep losing.
Rather, Akira is so good that I have given up trying to win.
I am even confident that I will never be able to compete with her if I let her use Nakazawa Koto.
Looking back on history, the basic principle of the Art of War is not to play a game that cannot be won from the beginning. The famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi was undefeated because he only played with opponents he could beat throughout his life…
However, as an older brother, I have to play against my younger brother even if I know that I will lose.
He could think of this as a practice to entertain people when he would go out in the society. That is ri—
“…This again, your aerial combo that connects from your chain 『Mekuri』is so unfair!”
“It is fair, more importantly it’s more bad being unguarded.”
My Yoshinobu has been getting a perpetual combo in the air since a while ag—oh, he’s dead.
『─ I will not marry a man who is weaker than me. If you want me, beat me!』
Akira pointed at me sharply over Nakazawa Koto’s line, but that made me simply furious.
“Damn it! Next time I will definitely make you my wife!”
“Is that a proposal? But I don’t want to marry my brother~”
“Who’s going to take you as a wife? I’m talking about the game!”
Why do you look so uninterested when you’re a man to begin with?
“I’m going to make sure I’ll get you into Yoshinobu’s ‘Ooku Harem!’ because I’m the Shogun, and I don’t take kindly to being looked down upon!”
“Oh no, I’m in trouble~”
Is this guy a demon?
But, well, Akira plays games with me without complaining, even though I’m lacking compared to him. I’m glad that I’m often invited to play games these days.
By the way, why is it that every game we play is biased toward competitive games?
It makes me feel a little uneasy, because I didn’t want him to beat me up through games…
On the other hand, games in which the players must play together to conquer a stage, progresses smoothly, thanks to Akira’s cooperation.
I had no idea that these games that I had been playing halfway through would live on today…First of all, to the developers of these games, I am sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused!
Neither my Father nor Miyuki-san paid any attention to us playing games in this way..
It felt like they didn’t want to disturb us brothers bonding like this.
However, that day, things were a little different.
＊ ＊ ＊
While Akira and I were playing games as usual, Miyuki-san approached us with a reserved look.
“Akira, I’m sorry, I need you to run an errand for me…”
Miyuki-san had been really busy recently with her work and was feeling exhausted, which is why her smile appears to be lacking.
As for my father, it looks like the project has been delayed and that he is working more days that require an overnight stay. That doesn’t bother me because I’m used to it.
However, I just recently learned that Miyuki-san, a freelance makeup artist, is just as busy—if not busier—than my father. In fact, despite her modest demeanor, Miyuki-san is a very stoic worker.
She occasionally performs makeup for TV dramas as well as movies, and as a result, her August schedule is jam-packed.
I was a little worried because Miyuki-san still did not want to cut corners on doing housework.
However, Akira plainly said, “Eh…but, it’s such a hassle~” then rolled sloppily on the floor after saying so.
Kousei’s the same as her, or do all these good-looking guys tend to find things bothersome?
“Please Akira? Let Mama sleep a little…”
There’s no room to argue. Dark circles have formed under her eyes, although she tries to hide them with makeup.
“But, I’m not familiar with this area yet…”
I was strangely convinced.
When Akira said earlier that it would be a “hassle,” he probably didn’t mean it.
He simply lacked confidence in something he was experiencing for the first time.
It’s the same with Kousei, who often say “It’s bothersome,” about things he had no experience with. Or it could simply be just a bother to him.
Oh yeah, Akira was lost on the day we first met. I suppose he is hesitant to go alone when asked to run errands. So, if that’s the case…
“I’ll go, Miyuki-san.”
“Ryouta-kun, are you sure?”
“Yes, of course. Please do not hesitate to ask me as well.”
“Then, I’ll be counting on you. Thank you very much, Ryouta-kun…”
“Also, Akira, I’ll show you around town.”
“You might as well know what’s around here if you’re going to live here now, right?”
“You stopped by the supermarket and the convenience store before you came to the house, right? How about some other stores that might be useful for you to know about?”
“…All right. Then, I’ll go with you.”
I glanced at Miyuki-san and our eyes met.
She smiled and nodded toward me as if she was satisfied.
“I’ll write down what I want you to buy, so just hold on a second…”
＊ ＊ ＊
While Miyuki-san was making a list of things to buy, Akira and I started preparing to go out.
Come to think of it, I had never gone out with Akira.
Maybe that’s why I was a little excited. If he’s comfortable going out with me, I would like to go to an arcade or a bookstore with him sometime soon.
“But what should I wear?”
I have some clothes in my closet.
But most of them were things my father had given me from the set. The shirts that were given to me by actors I don’t know well are too unique and I feel a bit hesitant to walk around in them.
I’m not an individualist, and I’m not fashionable enough to wear unconventional fashions.
Besides, it’s not like I’m going on a date with a girl. I am just going out shopping with my brother.
Simple is best. Or, rather, the best way to dress is to be inconspicuous.
“Ah forget it~. I’ll just wear what I usually wear…”
So I chose a simple shirt and pants as usual.
After I finished changing, I walked out of the room and ran into Akira, who had just come out of his room.
“Are you ready?”
He was dressed in his usual drab clothes. On top was a hoodie that didn’t show any skin even though it was summer, and underneath was a pair of jeans that were rather tight. These were the clothes Akira wore the first time I met him. [TLN: I am not a fashion expert, bare with me here thanks kek]
“Are you sure about your outfit?”
I can’t speak for others when it comes to fashion, but I asked anyway.
“I’m used to wearing this outfit…”
“Isn’t it hot?”
“I see. But you should be more interested in fashion. You look like you’d be popular with the ladies.”
“I-I don’t need to be popular!”
I was only kidding when I said that, but Akira’s reddening and getting angry was quite adorable.
“Is that so? I think it’s a waste, though, don’t you?”
I didn’t say anything sarcastic about how I’m not going to be popular no matter what I wear.
Because I feel like I’m losing to Akira.
“Then let’s go.”
We went downstairs and Miyuki-san gave us a shopping note, money, and two large eco-bags.
There were quite a lot of things to buy, but the list seemed to indicate that we would only need to go to one supermarket.
I was glad Akira was with me today, so we could each carry our own bags.
I waited for Akira, who was wearing sneakers, to come out of the doorway.
But then Akira suddenly tripped over a step.
I rushed over to catch Akira.
“Are you okay?”
“Y-Yeah, I’m fine…”
Akira said so, but I was not fine. I could not stop myself from laughing.
“Oh, Akira did you go ‘kyaa~’ just now…?”
I couldn’t help but tell him that. “Kyaa~!” is what normally a girl would say.
“I just said it unintentionally! Or rather, stop laughing!”
“And you’re quite flabby, aren’t you?
When I held Akira in my arms, I felt something soft.
I was strangely convinced that this was the reason why he always wears loose-fitting clothes.
“Y-You’re so noisy! Wait, where do you think you’re touching, huh!?”
I had offended Akira again.
Well, it certainly wasn’t a good idea to mess with his physique, and Akira was probably at an age where he is mindful of it.
＊ ＊ ＊
While heading to the supermarket, I was walking beside Akira, trying to put him in a good mood.
“My bad. I’m really sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. But you should work out a little more.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You’ve been only lying around a lot lately. In the living room, you’re lying on the floor playing with your phone or reading manga, and when you’re cooped up in your room, you’re probably just sleeping.”
“The fact that you tripped on the steps just now is evidence of your lack of exercise.”
Akira had a pained look on his face.
“You’re being too careless. ─Well, I’m glad you’re letting your guard down.”
“You know, at first I felt like I was being rejected. ─I thought Akira would be more open-minded.”
I thought back to our meeting the other day.
『─Um, first of all, I don’t want you guys to get too close to me.』
Akira also seemed to remember and looked crestfallen.
“…Don’t worry about what happened at that time. Me and dad didn’t care about it either.”
“Don’t say that. I’m really sorry that I suddenly behaved like that…”
“That’s why I said don’t worry about it. These days, we’ve been playing games together, right? Seeing Akira let his guard down makes me happy that you’re accepting me, as your brother.”
“But, well, I don’t mind if you’re more considerate, you know? ─Like this!”
I put my arm around Akira’s shoulders and pulled him closer.
Akira was about 160 centimeters tall. His shoulders were narrow, so when I put my arm around him, Akira fit perfectly into my side.
The pleasant smell of the soap tickled my nostrils. On the contrary, I was worried that I might smell sweaty.”
“S-Stop teasing me, Aniki!”
“But I’m totally serious, though? It’s just a friendly reminder from me.”
Akira is curled up uncomfortably with a red face, but he’s not denying it.
I guess he’s more confused about what to do than he is allowing me to do this.
“Aniki, do you do this kind of thing to anyone…?”
“No, only to Akira.”
“I think it’s more because it’s Akira.”
Kousei is taller than me, so his arms wouldn’t fit in the same way. As for Hinata… that would be impossible.
I don’t have many close friends myself, so the only person I can be comfortable with is my brother Akira.
“Hey Aniki, it’s embarrassing to walk around like this…”
“Really? Okay, I’ll stop.”
Akira was still blushing when I released his arm.
I guess it was a bit too much for me to put my arms around him outside of the house. But judging by the fact that he doesn’t mind, Akira might be accepting me a little bit.
I want to be a close brother.
I thought I would be glad if Akira felt the same way.
＊ ＊ ＊
We arrived at the supermarket, pushing our carts and tossing the items on the list into our baskets.
“And by the way, Aniki, does this make any sense?”
“I don’t know. I just read something about it before, but I don’t know if it works?”
We were going right around the supermarket.
The supermarket is basically arranged in a left-handed direction according to the “Human Left Hand Rule”. [TLN: I have no idea what it means as I try to look it up 人間左回りの法則 ]
Apparently, there are various reasons for this, such as the fact that it is easier to pick up products with the right hand if you turn left, or the fact that the heart is on the left side of the body, so turning left is more comfortable for people.
At any rate, based on marketing calculations, customers stay longer when they turn left, and they tend to pick up products they may not need.
Conversely, shopping on the right shortens the time spent in the store and prevents the customer from picking up unnecessary items. I read somewhere that this leads to savings.
I honestly don’t know if it’s effective or not.
When I lived with my father, I never cared how long I spent at the supermarket, and if I wanted something, I just tossed it in the basket and headed for the cash register without worrying about expiration dates or prices.
We, the Majima family, had never been concerned with saving money, but when the four of us lived together, it was a different story. Both parents apparently earn a good amount of money, but if Akira and I were to go to college in the future, we would need to spend a certain amount of money. It is even more necessary for an older child.
I want to reduce their financial burden as much as possible.
This is my way of showing filial piety.
“─So, Aniki, what is that thing in your hand?”
In my hand, I hold a candy that is not on the shopping list.
“You see, your brain gets tired when you play games, right? That’s why I’m trying to recharge my sugar levels while I’m playing.”
“At least call it studying…”
“Don’t you also have an energy drink in your basket, Akira?”
“That’s for studying all night long…”
“You’re lying. You stay up all night playing social games, don’t you?”
Akira grunted, “Ugh…” as if he had been hit by a bull’s-eye.
“Energy drinks have a lot of sugar in them, okay? I don’t care if you get fatter.”
“I-I’m not fat!”
We, brothers, were having such a silly banter in the candy corner.
＊ ＊ ＊
After checking out, Akira and I left the supermarket and went back home.
I split a tube of ice cream “Pakiko” in half and handed it to Akira, so we could share it.
Akira, who received it, is now sucking out the ice from inside the tube while holding onto its opening. This makes him my accomplice.
“By the way, Akira, Miyuki-san is really amazing, isn’t she?”
“What do you mean?”
“This note. Do you notice anything when you look at it?”
“…The fact that she’s using such characters nonchalantly, even though she’s old?” [TLN: No illustration/pic for the list so I can’t make out what they mean exactly]
“That’s not it! Don’t mention her age or hobbies! ─No that’s not it, I meant the order of the list!”
Akira seemed completely unaware, but I had actually noticed it faintly while shopping.
“She didn’t just write this from the top of her head, but she wrote it in the order of how to get around the supermarket.”
Starting with vegetables, then meat, fish, side dishes, and daily necessities… Miyuki-san probably organized the list based on the supermarket’s layout and efficiency, so that we wouldn’t have to go back and forth at the supermarket.
No wonder we, who don’t usually go to supermarkets, were able to smoothly find what we were looking for.
However, since we were shopping backwards, we put the items in our baskets in order from the bottom of the list, not from the top. It was too late when we realized that it would have been faster if we had bought from the top of the list.
In other words, it made absolutely no sense for us to have gone the other way around.
If we had a list to begin with, we wouldn’t have picked up anything extra, and since we ended up buying something extra, the going right had no effect.
Well, if I am asked to buy something again, I will go in the order of the list.
I might still end up buying unnecessary items though…
“Maybe my mom used to work part-time at a supermarket.”
“Do freelance make-up artists have to go through that type of apprenticeship?”
“Maybe a little before she broke up with my dad…”
I guessed what was going on and didn’t dig any deeper.
Our parents’ divorce─ a common topic between us.
However, I felt like it was still too early to talk about it, even though it was a common topic. It would be better to wait until I had a better relationship with Akira to talk about it.
＊ ＊ ＊
As we walked along, we both finished eating our Pakikos, and I decided to try something I had always wanted to do with my siblings once I had them, so I challenged Akira to a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who would carry the bags.
“Alright then, Akira, let’s play rock-paper-scissors to see who carries the bags.”
“Ehhh!? I’m going to carry two of these heavy things!? Absolutely not!”
“It’s good exercise, and it’ll help you tone your muscles.”
“Uwaa~… Aniki is such a s*dist~…”
“No, you’re the s*dist who mercilessly beats me in EnSam2.”
After a tough game of rock-paper-scissors, I emerged victorious.
“I won, I won! Do you see it now? This is an older brother’s ability!”
It was me.
For some reason, I felt extremely happy – perhaps it was the first time I had beaten Akira at anything other than a game.
“You just got lucky…”
“It’s all thanks to the virtues I’ve been accumulating every day. Luck is a part of one’s abilities, as they say. Or rather, consider this a grudge from Hijikata and Yoshinobu. We have taken our revenge, you two in heaven!”
“Somehow I’m pissed off~…”
I handed my bag to Akira. Akira’s arms felt a heavy weight on them, and he held up the eco-bag with a pitiful “Uhee~” sound.
“It’s so heavy~…”
He whined like a child, but then switched to a more affectionate tone and said, “Aniki…”
Although he was competitive in games, he didn’t seem to want to compete when it came to carrying heavy bags. Well, the bags were certainly heavy.
I thought it might not be good to spoil him as his older brother, but I couldn’t ignore his pitiful cries.
“Then let’s switch at the corner of that road over there.”
Honestly, he’s such a spoiled brat.
Pampering him like this… well, it’s not so bad.
In the end, I took the eco-bags from Akira and headed home with them in both hands.
Even after that, Akira was in a good mood, inviting me to play games and coming to my room to borrow manga before going to bed.
In this way, the relationship between me and Akira gradually deepened.
It may not have been to the extent of being blood-related brothers, but our bond as stepbrothers was definitely becoming stronger─ or so it seemed.
Translator’s Comments (AJ1703): Ok I’m sorry this took So long before getting it out. I have been so busy with College that I hadn’t found the time to actually do it until now. It’s currently our long week break (holy week). I’m here to inform you all too that our semester is said to last until like the last week of May or maybe first week of June. In other words, I’ll start uploading regularly again since it’s “summer break” that time. I also thank the people who have been donating still despite my lack of activity. I appreciate the support so much since I have been using it for College stuff like buying electronic parts such as breadboards, wires, and so on. So yeah, this won’t get updated for another month but I sure do hope you guys will be able to wait. I’ll try to finish the first volume of this series as soon as I get on that break mode.
Anyway, as seen, this chapter has not been edited yet as no Editors were available at the moment. Please, if you’ve seen any mistake throughout the chapter, don’t hesitate to point it out in the comments section and I’ll fix them. Thank you all again for the support still despite everything, I’ll make it up to you all when I get the time ^_^