Tonari no Kuuderera o Amayakashitara, Uchi no Aikagi o Watasu Koto ni Natta - v1 Chapter 1
- Tonari no Kuuderera o Amayakashitara, Uchi no Aikagi o Watasu Koto ni Natta
- v1 Chapter 1 - Kuuderera Next Door
TLN: Sorry for the wait
Quderella Next Door
Beep, beep, beep, beep.
The time was seven in the morning, when my alarm that I had set finally went off.
The calendar is set in April.
Spring is the season of new school years, new lives, new students, and new members of society. It was a season with a lot of “new” in it, and the scenery outside the window reflects the season, with a lingering chill alongside warm sunlight.
The street outside was bustling with people in brand new uniforms and unfamiliar suits. The room next door had been vacated last month, and the new resident had already moved in yesterday.
The short spring break is over, and it’s now the second spring since I entered high school.
In other words, one year has passed since I started living alone.
I turned off the alarm and got out of bed. I stretched and relaxed my body, which had become stiff while I was sleeping, and took a few deep breaths to clear my mind.
“…… Okay, let’s get up.”
I got out of bed and washed my face in the bathroom.
I’m using a cheap facial cleanser that I just replenished the other day. Apparently, my skin is pretty tough, so I base my choice on both the price and how refreshing it is.
I turned off the faucet after washing off the foam on my face, and rinsed my mouth while I held a toothbrush with toothpaste inside my mouth and lightly wiped off the water droplets that had splashed on the sink and mirror.
“I guess I grew up a bit …”
I muttered to myself while looking at the mirror.
I think I’ve gotten used to living alone, but I don’t believe that I’ve grown up much.
“I guess it doesn’t make a difference, anyway.”
I took my eyes off of the mirror and put my arms through my shirt, which I had ironed yesterday. I put on my tie, and then put on my uniform pants, which I had dry cleaned during spring break, and put on my blazer.
I put my hands together in front of my breakfast, which I prepared at a small round table for one person.
This morning’s breakfast consisted of rice, raw egg, spinach boiled in soy sauce that I had left over from yesterday’s dinner, and salmon saké that was on sale.
I sprinkled salt over the salmon and cooked it for a few minutes to give it a nice crispy bite. I’m proud of how well it was cooked.
It was only a year ago since I learned that if you cook it yourself, it costs less than a fifth of what it would cost at any beef bowl restaurant (Gyudon), and it tastes better when freshly made.
I think I’ve grown up a little bit by taking care of things such as cleaning, cooking, doing the laundry on my own, learning the fact that it costs money just to live, and learning to appreciate my parents.
『Living alone? It would be nice if you could get your tuition exempted as a scholarship student. Well, It’s not gonna happen.』
My mom said this to me two years ago, when I was in my 3rd year of junior high school and was starting to think about my career path.
This was my current life after fulfilling my mother’s suggestion, which I had laughed at while lying on the sofa in front of the TV.
When I actually got the scholarship, my mom said, “What was that promise?” I thought it was a good memory now but I was really angry at my mother for forgetting it at that time.
“Thanks for the meal.”
I quickly washed the dishes after I finished eating and put them in the drainage basket. I also learned that it’s easier to wash the dishes right after eating if it’s just for a single person.
When I checked the electronic clock on the desk, the time was 7:45 am.
It was only a fifteen-minute walk to the school, so if I left at eight o’clock, I would arrive before the first bell. To pass the time, I filled the electric kettle with water and turned it on, planning to drink some tea after the meal I had.
The room that I live in is a 1LDK, which is large enough for a single person to live in, with a living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom all connected together in a single spacious apartment.
It was on the second floor of a four-year-old rental apartment complex with excellent security, including an auto-lock system, intercom with a TV monitor, and a mailbox. The kitchen, bathroom, and air conditioning are all new, and the price is high compared to the other apartments around the area.
Although it was in lieu of the tuition fee for fulfilling the promise of being a scholarship student, I still felt bad for my parents and wanted to move into a cheaper apartment. But my parents decided to let me stay here on the basis of two words, “parental love”! Going back to the present, I am delighted with this comfortable living space and feel grateful for their support.
Also, there was another reason why I liked this room.
“It’s blooming beautifully again this year.”
When I opened the south-facing window connecting to the balcony, I could see the cherry blossoms in full bloom right in front of me.
Small pale pink flowers were swaying in the breeze, coloring the beautiful scenery, and the breeze that brushed the cherry blossoms softly carried the sweet and sour smell of the blossoms.
“I really love this view.”
I really enjoyed this view, which could be only seen in spring, and it was a lovely sight to see the cherry blossoms swaying and dancing in the wind.
While looking at the scenery, a beautiful, clear voice softly overlapped the illusionary beauty of the scenery.
“This song is …”
I listened to the song quietly.
It was the melody of a Japanese folk song about cherry blossoms, which every Japanese person has heard before. The beautiful voice was very quiet, but had a clear tone. It managed to reach my ears, carried by the breeze as if the voice was praising the beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom.
As if the petals in front of me were dancing alongside her singing, they slowly descended. As I turned my gaze to the next room, as if being pulled by a thin transparent thread, I found myself unconsciously drawn to the profile of the girl standing there.
A girl as beautiful as a delicate piece of glasswork, with her black hair fluttering in the gentle spring breeze, was humming the song on the balcony next to me.
Her profile is like a white porcelain sculpture, and her deep blue eyes reflect the falling cherry blossoms as she sings a beautiful melody from her lips.
That was the only natural thought that came to my mind.
Her soothing voice, both clear and calm, resonated deeply, as if her voice was quietly melting into the air.
Her voice gently tickled my ears and I couldn’t help but stand there and listen in fascination.
However, her narrowed blue eyes were somehow fragile, giving off a sense of tension and danger.
Reflecting the falling petals of the cherry blossoms, I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful girl. Her cold profile was so mysterious that you couldn’t help but admire it. When those blue eyes noticed me, the song was suddenly cut short.
The eyes that were directed at me narrowed slightly.
I came back to myself when I saw a slight hint of confusion in her expression, which seemed like an inorganic glass sculpture.
(…… that. In this situation, maybe I look like a …… suspicious person?)
Objectively looking at the situation, a guy is peeking into the balcony next door too openly.
In addition, the other party is a girl, who is so beautiful that you can’t help but admire her, and I realized this was a situation where you couldn’t complain about being treated as a peeping tom.
“Sorry, ……. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on you.”
Her brow furrowed and she turned away, her small hands clasped in front of her chest as if she were frightened.
It looked as if a child who had done a misdeed was being scolded, and even her expressionless face showed her increasing tension.
“I’m sorry, …….”
She mumbled in a voice that was just barely audible, and went back into the room, hiding her face, as if trying to escape.
I was left alone with the sound of the window closing.
There was no opportunity to stop her, and in that split second, I forgot to close my half-open mouth.
“…. I’m fucked”
I muttered to myself as I turned my face from the balcony next door to the front and propped my cheek against the railing of my room.
My neighbor moved in yesterday, but I didn’t know she was a girl, and she was wearing our school uniform, so she might be a new student this year.
Even though there is no such thing as friendly relationships with neighbors nowadays, it was very awkward to meet a girl from the same school for the first time. It would not have been surprising if the neighbor’s parents had complained about me being a suspicious person.
I’m relieved to know that the intercom won’t be ringing any time soon and that she won’t be yelling at me on the balcony, but as long as we’re neighbors, we’ll probably see each other at some point, and I’ll apologize to her at that time.
“Oh no, I have to get going too.”
Putting the problem aside for the moment, I left the kettle filled with hot water untouched, picked up my school bag, and walked through the front door.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Oh, Nacchan, good morning.”
“Katagiri-sensei, good morning”
“Ah, so stiff, so stiff. You can call me “Onee-chan” outside of school.”
“It was Katagiri-sensei who decided that when I’m in uniform, we’re teacher and student, right?”
“Eh, is that so? I don’t remember. Oh, maybe I was drunk at that time.”
As we walked towards school, the one who was sticking out her tongue in an unapologetic manner was my Homeroom teacher, Katagiri Kasumi, who works at Tosei Gakuin, which I was currently attending, and is also my cousin.
[TN:Gakuin 学院 The word gakuin means literally “study organ (institution).” Historically, a gakuin was a school associated with the Christian church. It’s also commonly used to refer to private schools. You could say that a gakuin is an educational institution endorsed by someone (other than the government)]
My cousin, who will turn twenty-four this year, is petite and has a childlike face with a hint of innocence. Her hair is cut to her shoulder length, and although her body has feminine curves, if she wasn’t wearing a suit, she would look about the same age as me.
“I want two more weeks of spring break. It would be a nice present for the teachers for their year of hard work.”
“You said the same thing last summer, that you worked hard for a half year.”
“Was that so? I wonder if we’ll get a four-day consecutive holiday or something. Of course, the salary will remain the same.”
My cousin was a rather useless adult who always wanted to take more than half of the month off to rest like this.
Her personality was so out of hand that it was not uncommon to see her being berated by the school principal, but she was the type of person who was somehow tolerated by the people around her because she was always cheerful and charming.
Even when we are walking side by side, I feel like we are more like siblings or friends than a teacher and her student.
I can’t hate her though, because she has helped me a lot of times with her positive personality.
“But Nacchan has gotten used to wearing the uniform after a year. You looked so fresh and neat last year.”
“Well, everyone will, after a year.”
The uniforms that are designed for everyone have become more comfortable with my body, and I’ve gotten used to wearing them every day. I can unconsciously put my bag over my right shoulder, and I can walk the familiar route to school without even thinking about the directions.
It’s not all new to me and I’m not grappling with it like last year, and I think it just looks more comfortable once everyone gets used to wearing it.
“That’s not what I meant. I’m just saying that you’ve grown up a little from your onee-chan’s point of view.”
With her hands folded behind her back, she grinned and looked up at me.
I turned my head away, trying to escape the mischievous gaze that was pointing out the past.
(…… This is how it was for someone who’s known me for a long time.)
Kasumi is my cousin who is six years older than I am, and she has always been like a real sister to me. Though she is a bad adult, it still doesn’t stop me from being grateful to her.
It was Kasumi who kindly advised me when I was in junior high school and had to make a real choice about my future career for the first time.It was also her who told me about the scholarship system when I was feeling strangely impatient to become an adult.
And that’s when I fulfilled my promise to my parents to be a scholarship student.
『It’s impossible for a high school student to live alone, isn’t it?』
『Then why don’t you let me take care of Nacchan? Nacchan worked hard to keep his promise, isn’t that unfair?』
And it was also Kasumi who got angry with my reluctant parents on my behalf.
That’s why I can’t stop worrying about her, and I feel like I’m being made fun of when she says I’m growing up.
I’m sure she’s actually teasing me, though, judging by her grin.
“Well, if you can think you’ve grown up in a year or so, you won’t have any trouble, and I don’t think of myself as an adult either.”
“Nee-san should be a little more mature given your position and age, but…”
“Oh, that’s not cute. It’s not cute at all. That part is no good. That kind of thing is completely wrong. Yup, rejected”.
She frowned and crossed her small arms in front of her and gave me a bad look.
It’s not a joke, but I think the reason she has no dignity at all is because of this gesture. I’m sure you’ll be able to understand why.
Just as I was about to start walking with a wry smile on my face, Kasumi let out voice as if she remembered something and clapped her hands.
I also stopped and tilted my head at my cousin.
“I heard that there’s a foreign exchange student coming to your class today”
“Foreign exchange student?
◇ ◇ ◇
“Nice to meet you, I’m Yui Elijah Villiers.”
Her beautiful voice, like the rolling of a bell, calmly spoke her name in a flat tone without any intonation.
In the quiet classroom, the girl whom I had just seen this morning, stood on the podium with a blank expression on her face, without flinching from the stares of the entire class. It was so sudden that the whole class exchanged glances with each other fidgeting nervously.
She has a foreign name that I’m not accustomed to hearing, long black hair that bounces off the light, and smooth, flawless white skin. She is slender like a model, and most importantly, she has a beautiful, well-defined face and mysterious blue eyes that look like they are made of glass.
The transfer student, who looked ephemeral and somehow lonely, was without a doubt, my neighbor, and my eyes widened in surprise when I saw her.
“Villiers-san is an exchange student from England. Her Japanese isn’t a problem at all, but there may be some things she’s not familiar with, so please take care of her!”
As Kasumi continues at her own pace alongside Yui, the classroom starts to get more and more noisy.
“Another beautiful girl has just transferred to our school.”
My friend Suzumori Kei, who sits in the front of me, laughs and talks to me in the back.
His statement seemed to be the general consensus of the class because the entire classroom was looking at Yui with curiosity and envy.
However, she herself remained quiet without changing her expression, and her cool, indifferent gaze made her look like a princess in a deep window. This mysterious atmosphere made her beauty stand out even more.
[TN:”深窓の令嬢” or “shinsō no reijō” literally translated in english as Deep Window lady. It was an expression for sheltered girl/carefully raised young lady from a well known family]
“What is your judgment, Natsuomi?”
“What am I supposed to judge? I’m not interested in that.”
“I knew you’d say that.”
Kei shrugged his shoulders and laughed happily.
Kei has been one of my closest friends since I entered this high school.
He may look flirtatious and light-hearted, but he’s actually a caring person with an excellent sense of distance and a great guy who can hang out with anyone, young or old, male or female.
For some reason, this mass of communicative power seemed to take a liking to me, and we became friends as he kept trying to get involved with me. Yui was attracting so much attention that even Kei, who doesn’t judge people by their looks, started talking about her.
When she made eye contact with the homeroom teacher Kasumi, who was standing next to her, she nodded with a smile that was almost too good to be true and held her palm out to me.
“If you have any problems, please ask Katagiri-kun next to you. He may look unsociable, but he’s kind enough to help you.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Next to the transfer student who slightly nodded her head, my cousin was waving with a smile.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Do you have any questions?”
“Don’t worry. I know all the facilities and rules from the school information I received beforehand.”
“I see. So there’s nothing to ask?”
“Yes. Nothing at all.”
After the morning assembly, it was break time before the first period started. I was sitting next to Yui, and we hadn’t been talking at all.
To begin with, we didn’t even look at each other, let alone talk, and even now, she didn’t move as she looked out the window as if to say she was done talking. I thought that I should at least do what I was assigned by the homeroom teacher, but this was the reality.
(I’m not trying to be pleasantly chatty either, but ……)
She doesn’t even look at me, and I don’t feel like she’s trying to blend in with the people around her, she’s clearly got a ‘stay away from me’ aura.
It’s true that if you’re this cute and lovely, there will be plenty of people who will come close to you, and I’m sure there will be some troubles. But I want you to understand that I’m not trying to get involved with you for ulterior motives.
(……, even though we’re neighbors to begin with)
The other party didn’t even seem to notice that we had already met this morning.
It’s true that it was only for a moment, and unlike her good looks, I don’t believe I have a memorable face, but it’s too difficult to apologize for this morning’s incident in a situation where we can’t even have a conversation.
As there was nothing more to say, I kept my mouth shut, and naturally there was no conversation between us. The classmates, who had been watching from afar with a curious expression on their faces, looked away awkwardly. If you look next to me, you’ll see that Yui’s face remains expressionless and unconcerned.
(Why am I doing this like it is a contest of endurance?)
Just when I was beginning to have such doubts, Kei, who wasn’t able to bear watching, intervened with a bright smile and offered a helping hand.
“Hey, why did you come to Japan to study, Villiers-san?”
“There are some circumstances.”
“I see. I’m sorry for asking you something difficult to answer. Is there any place you want to visit in Japan?”
“Nothing in particular.”
“Oh, so you’re more of an indoor person?”
“No, not really.”
“Well, okay, then. Well, then what?”
Yui was perfectly uncommunicative.
Even though Mister Communication didn’t give up on the topic, he couldn’t continue to play catch as long as he didn’t get another reply, and even if he waited for a while, he couldn’t see the ball being thrown back to him.
Even though Kei kept throwing the ball from different angles, Yui never caught any of them, and the conversation just rolled on.
(I’ve never seen Kei work so hard in my life. ……)
As I was being impressed by the ironclad salt of the earth way she dealt with Kei, the bell sounded over the speakers announcing the start of first period.
I managed to control Kei, who was still fighting, and I interrupted the conversation in the meantime.
“Well, if you have any problems, let me know. Our homeroom teacher has asked me to help you after all.”
“Yes, thank you.”
I ended the conversation with Yui, who glanced at me and bowed her head faintly.
She says she doesn’t have a problem with it, and if she doesn’t want to get involved, I think we should respect that, and if she’s in trouble, we can just reach out to her.
I decided that was the best way for me to interact with her, and consoled the blank-eyed Kei for putting up a good fight.
◇ ◇ ◇
It was after school when all the classes for the day were over.
Yui, who was seated next to me, got up from her seat and walked out of the classroom without making a sound and Kei muttered to himself as he watched her go.
“Villiers-san, really, didn’t talk much the entire day.”
“Yeah, she’s been acting like that the whole day”.
Glancing at the empty seat next to me, I agreed with Kei.
Some of my classmates, both male and female, were as attentive to her as Kei was to me, and some were more interested in her than others. However, the new student next to me spent the day with the same unfriendly poker face she wore in the morning.
Our homeroom teacher had entrusted me to take care of her, so I watched her from the side, but she seemed to go to the cafeteria or the store during lunchtime, and when I saw that she went to the physical education class without hesitation, it seemed that she really had prepared perfectly for the facilities on campus. She didn’t seem to need any help from me, so I didn’t try to talk to her either.
“Well, there are people who want to be alone, so just leave them alone.”
“But I feel sorry for her if she comes to study abroad and she’s not good at making friends.”
“If that’s the case, I’d feel sorry for her too, but she doesn’t have that attitude.”
“Well, ……, that’s true.”
Kei nodded while raising his eyebrows.
Despite his flashy appearance, Kei has no ulterior motives and is very caring.
Especially for those who are lost on their own, he takes care of them. I was one of the people who he helped last year. Therefore, I’m not going to dismiss Kei’s meddling as a nuisance.
But it was obvious that Yui was putting up a wall.
I think it’s a type of kindness to let her do what she wants, so I stopped forcing myself to bother her.
I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but I don’t think it’s right to do something that the other person doesn’t want, no matter how good their intentions are.
“Well, I overheard our class talking about the origin of ‘Villiers’. It is apparently the name of an English aristocrat.”
“Yeah. It doesn’t sound like much in Japan, but it’s like a real princess.”
“Princess …. is another word that really doesn’t ring a bell.”
When you hear the word “princess”, the image of a beautiful blonde woman in a fluffy white dress wearing a tiara in a story book or movie comes to mind.
However, Yui has beautiful, shiny black hair, and her face, although well-groomed, is definitely a Japanese beauty, so she is the opposite of a western princess.
Even so, it’s enough to make me think that she’s a princess when she’s called by a noble name with a middle name.
“But it’s amazing that she’s studying abroad at this age. Going to a foreign country by yourself is something I can’t even imagine.”
“Alone? She came to Japan by herself?
“Kacchan said she was studying abroad, so wouldn’t she normally be alone? I’m sure she’s staying with someone she knows or something.”
When I heard Kei’s words, I remembered what happened this morning.
The floor plan of the apartment which I live in is not family friendly, the layout is spacious for one person, but small for two people. The apartment is basically rented out for single occupancy.
I forgot about it this morning, partly because I was a bit confused, but it is very likely that Yui is living alone, just like me.
It was quite sudden, since she had really come to Japan from England by herself, and she had only moved in next door yesterday.
Although my parents’ house is only two hours away by bullet train, I was born and raised in Japan. Even so, it was really hard to live alone until I got used to it.
(That’s why a girl living alone in a foreign country is ……)
Even if she doesn’t have to worry about finances because of her family background, it would be a very difficult situation if she is not living with others as Kei says.
I’m sure there’s someone nearby that she could rely on, and it’s not something I should worry about, but it’s a hardship I’ve just experienced myself in the last year, so I can’t help but think about it.
“Well, …… still, as long as Villiers-san herself didn’t ask for help, there’s nothing we can do for her.”
“But Natsuomi was named as the caretaker by Kasumi-chan, right?”
“I guess there’s no point in being one then.”
“Oh, that’s a good comeback. I’ll bet.”
”I’m sure you’re right.” Kei chuckled lightly.
There was a time when I was stubborn too, so I know how it feels to not be able to take another person’s hand, even if it’s out of kindness. That’s why it would be kinder to her if I didn’t force myself to meddle with her affairs.
The fact that I got carried away with a sense of omnipotence after fulfilling the promise I made to my parents last year is now just a part of my black history, and I can’t be proud of the fact that Kei and my cousin knows about it. …… Well, it was a bitter experience, but now I think it was a good thing.
“Natsuomi, are you working a legal part-time job today?”
“Oh, Kei also works illegally on weekends.”
“Don’t call helping out with the family business illegal.”
Kei shrugged his shoulders with a bitter smile.
Kei’s mother runs an entertainment establishment staffed mostly by girls, and Kei usually helps out on the weekends.
It’s a so-called nightclub, but Kei says it’s safe because it’s not noticeable from the exterior and he’s just helping out in the family business.
When I heard this story last year after we had become friends, I understood why Kei was strangely mature.
“Come visit me once in a while. I’m sure you’ll like it here, and I’ll do my best to serve you.”
“I’ll think about it when I’m old enough to drink. I’m off to go now.”
“Okay. I’ll see you next week.”
I waved lightly as I left the classroom and headed to what Kei called my “legal part-time job”.
◇ ◇ ◇
At the far end of the campus, in a concrete building with a large cross on the roof, the sun’s rays streaming through the stained glass windows on the walls illuminated the quiet chapel in a variety of colors.
My murmur echoed in the empty chapel.
I turned my head lightly, then my wrist, and took another deep breath. As I slowly sink my fingertips into the black and white keys, the solemn and beautiful sound of the pipe organ echoes through the church.
The song was a standard one used at weddings and worship services called “Praise and Worship” or No. 312, “Deeply Beloved”.
The high-pitched sound of the brass instruments blended with a variety of tones to create a gorgeous and powerful melody that filled the chapel. I played the pipe organ with both of my hands and feet, checking the sound and feel.
Tosei Gakuin is a Catholic mission school with a long history, and a small church has been built on the school grounds.
The church is used for weddings, funerals, Sunday masses, etc. It is also open to the public and attracts Christians from outside the school.
And I was helping out as an organist at the church.
To be frank, if you want to earn money, it’s much better to work at a convenience store or fast food restaurant.
Even though it’s a religious school with a long history, it’s still a modern school, so to a certain extent everyone works part-time in secret, and the school doesn’t tell anyone as long as they don’t cause any problems.
However, I’m a scholarship student, so if I get into trouble, my scholarship may be revoked at worst, so if I want to get a part-time job, even if it’s not a good one, I will inevitably have to get a part-time job approved by the school.
I’m not a religious person, but my mother used to take me to church when I was a child, so I was familiar with the church. I’ve been learning the piano for a long time, so I was not afraid to take the job and I liked the fact that I could play a pipe organ worth tens of millions of yen.
As my fingers left the keys, the reverberating sound of the pipe organ slowly melted into the chapel and disappeared.
“…… Well, I guess that’s about it.”
I shook his wrist to check the sensation in my fingertips.
I was given the key to the back door of the church so that I could play the organ freely after school and on holidays when the church was empty, and it was one of my favorite habits to play the organ in the empty chapel for practice.
“One more song then…”
Just as I put my hand on the keyboard, I noticed that sunlight was shining through the slightly open door of the chapel and looked back.
There was someone standing there.
Yui stood there, her blue eyes slightly round.
◇ ◇ ◇
In the office at the back of the chapel, I sit across the table from Yui.
“Is Katagiri-san doing interviews for a part-time job here?”
“My cousin who is in charge of this place is very diligent. Our homeroom teacher.”
“I see. Thank you for your hard work.”
Yui nodded her head as if she agreed with me.
I felt a bit sorry for our homeroom teacher, who had just been exposed to a student, but I regained my composure, thinking that it could not be helped with that cousin of mine.
“Can I have you fill out this application form then?”
I handed Yui an application form to help out with school events.
This is not a regular part-time job in any formal or practical sense. It is a simple application form with just your name, address, contact information, and a reason for applying. In addition to this, the school also has a special program for students who want to work part-time. Is what my cousin said.
“It’s all personal information, so if you don’t want me to see it, you can fold it in half before you give it to me.”
“No, there’s no problem, it’s fine.”
Yui took out a pencil case from her briefcase and proceeded to the application form.
Looking at her pencil case placed on the desk, there is an illustration of a deformed cat on a white background.. I wonder if it’s called Busakawa, it was an illustration of a lazy cat with an indescribable taste..
(…… surprisingly, she is using something pretty cute(?))
I couldn’t help but stare at her personal belongings, which were far removed from her cool, unapproachable image, and at the person herself as she ran her pen over the paper.
She has a really good figure, and even just the gesture of turning her head down and pulling her fallen hair over her ears is like a scene from a movie.Yet her expression doesn’t move, and I can’t tell what she’s thinking at all.
As I watched the tip of her pen moving smoothly, I thought that this was her sense of distance from others. Yui’s movements suddenly stopped. Looking at the tip of the pen, I saw that it was frozen, pointing at the column for motivation.
“That part is about why you wanted to do this job.”
“Yes, I understand. Thank you very much.”
Yui puts the hand that holds the pen to her mouth and raises her eyebrows slightly.
Then, after a small nod, she began to move her pen and wrote, The principal recommended that I could earn money at this job even though part-time work is prohibited at Tosei Academy, and turned her gaze towards me.
“No, I don’t think they’re asking about why you came to help out at the church, I think they’re asking about why you want to earn money.”
“Why you want to make money?”
“It’s not like you’ll be rejected, you can just write something like social experience or wanting to work for the church or the likes.”
“I understand. I’m very sorry about that.”
Yui bows her head and puts the eraser on the desk while keeping her back clean and straight.
As I was thinking about how difficult it might be to interpret Japanese, I had a flash of inspiration when I saw Yui’s name on the form.
“Could it be that Elijah, Villiers’ middle name, is your baptismal name?”
“Yes, it is.”
Yui affirmed with a faint vertical movement of her head.
A baptismal name is a name that Christians receive when they are baptized as a testimony to their faith. Many devout believers are baptized, and they receive the names of saints from their pastors and incorporate them into their names.
As a religious school, Tosei gakuin has an exchange program with sister schools overseas, so if Yui is such a devout Christian that she has a baptismal name, it makes sense that she would come to this school, and it is natural that the principal would introduce her to this part-time job.
While I was trying to make sense of the whole thing, Yui, who had just finished filling out the application form, handed it to me.
In the revised motivation, she wrote, “To make ends meet. For a moment, I was taken aback by her unexpected reason.
“By living expenses, do you mean …… food expenses and such, correct?”
“Yes. You’re right.”
“Villiers-san pays her own living expenses?”
“Is there something wrong with that?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong with that. …..”
Yui replied to the dumb question that came out of my mouth without changing her expression.
The idea of a British aristocratic princess working part-time to pay for her own living expenses in a foreign country was quite different from my image of her as a struggling student.
I had expected her to live alone in that apartment from her talk with Kei, but I guess she is very different from the image I had of an aristocratic princess.
The way she said it earlier, it sounds like Yui herself asked the principal for a job, so I guess she has her own situation.
I’m sure it’s uncouth to get involved in other people’s affairs, and if she doesn’t want to say anything more, it’s not my place to ask.
While reflecting on the fact that it was me who had built up a self-serving image, I reminded Yui to confirm one point.
“But this job doesn’t make that much money, you know. If you’re looking for living expenses, it’s much better to find a regular job.”
Although having fulfilled the promise I made to my parents, I am living alone because I want to, and it is enough for me to earn my own pocket money.
If I wanted to, I could get a little more, but the disadvantages of losing a scholarship are far too great, so I don’t need the luxury.
However, this job is only at the level of “school-approved help,” and there is not always a steady workload, and even if you were able to work throughout the vacations, the amount of money you could make would be quite modest.
If you want to earn money to live alone, this part-time job is not for you.
“…… No. I’m just trying to earn a little money for myself, as much as I’m allowed.”
She dropped her gaze to the desk, her pale blue eyes flickering with seriousness.
It sounds different now, it became a quiet, passionate voice.
(…… Villiers makes this kind of face too.)
I was a little surprised to see her strong will in her voice for the first time, and at the same time, it changed my impression of her.
I think she must have had her own reasons for coming to Japan, so I decided not to get into it any further and stepped back.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to ask. That was unnecessary.”
“No, it’s fine. Thank you for the advice.”
As I apologized, Yui also bowed her head, shaking her long black hair.
I took the completed application form and folded it into an envelope.
“I’ll submit this to the administrator here. I don’t think you’ll be rejected, but please wait until the end of the week to get a reply.”
This part-time job is overwhelmingly unpopular among the students because of the nature of the work and the amount of money involved, so I am currently the only member of the team.
If it weren’t for the scholarship, I would have chosen a better paying part-time job, and if the school didn’t have enough staff, they would have used the church’s help to find temporary workers.
If the principal recommends her, there’s no way she’ll be rejected during the screening process, but I’ll tell her that just in case.
“Is there anything else you want to ask me?”
“Can I ask you something not related to work?”
“Yeah. As long as I can answer.”
Yui dropped her gaze to the table for a moment as if thinking, then looked up.
“Do you live in the room next to mine, Katagiri-san?
I froze at her sudden statement.
“…… You remember me after all?”
“Yes, I noticed you when I saw you in class.
“I see, is that right?
…… Now, what should I say?
I thought she didn’t remember, but she did, and I was at a loss for words because I didn’t expect Yui to bring it up at such a time.
I was thinking about apologizing the next time I saw her, but I’m not handy enough to be tactful and put together a good story at a time like this, so I don’t know how to answer …….
Yui was staring at me with an expression that never faltered, and I had no idea what she intended to say to me.
It’s no use for me to mull it over, so I look up, ready to apologize as planned.
“Well, about that…”
We both bowed our heads at the same time and looked up in surprise at each other’s reaction in a similar manner.
‘Why are you apologizing, Katagiri-san?”
“What? No, why? …… I was staring intently at you. Rather, why are you apologizing to me, Villiers-san?”
“Because I think it would be uncomfortable to hear someone suspicious singing from next door.”
…… a suspicious singing voice?
Rather than suspicious I fell in love with it, and after that I was fascinated by her and wasn’t able to apologize for my rudeness.
“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind afterwards, so please forgive me this time.”
“Oh, no, ……, well, yeah, I’ll be careful too, so the feeling is mutual …….”
“Okay, I understand. Thank you very much.”
Yui bowed her head with the same poker face, and I bowed my head again as if I were following her.
(…… I’m not sure about this, but if it means Villiers isn’t mad at me either, so let’s go with it)
I thought I could just ignore the whole thing, but there was one thing that was bothering me, so I opened my mouth again.
“Can I say one thing?”
“Yes. What is it?”
Yui turned her gaze at my words.
“It wasn’t an unpleasant song. Let me just say that I did not dislike it.”
Yui’s eyes fluttered a few times as she listened, and she tilted her head.
“What do you mean, ……?
When Yui asked me with a slight embarrassment on her poker face, I was a little shy to say it face to face, but I didn’t look away from Yui and answer.
“Your singing voice was very good. I’ve heard of various people singing as an organist, but I’m still fascinated by it. That’s why I don’t think it was unpleasant.”
Yui’s blue eyes rolled slightly, and she looked clearly surprised.
I’ve been playing piano with my mother for a long time, and I’ve always had a fair amount of opportunities to accompany her in songs.
That’s why, even if I was just humming the song, I know the level of Villiers’ song that I heard this morning, and that it’s not something that can be learned overnight.
That’s why I wanted to make sure I said my part. I knew it was none of my business, but it was my way of showing my respect for her.
“…… Tha- thank you …… very much.”
When Yui, who was tilting her head, understood the meaning of the words I had told her, her cheeks became slightly red and she turned her face down.
(……, she’s not only honest, she’s kind of cute, too.)
My cheeks relaxed when I saw Yui’s embarrassment as she rolled her gorgeous and delicate shoulders.
She looked so cute and adorable, and the gap between her and the poker face I had seen before made her look even more cute and adorable, which made me smile a little.
“……what is it?”
“No, nothing else.”
I shrugged my shoulders and replied to Yui’s slightly sullen frown.
I’m tempted to watch her look a little more adorable, but I don’t want to offend her by being too mean, so I stood up to end the conversation.
“Come back here after school at the end of the week. I’ll explain the job to you then.”
“Okay. I look forward to working with you.”
I led Yui to the back door leading to the outside, and now, completely back to normal, Yui bowed her head respectfully before stepping out through the back door.
Just as I squinted in the dusk of the evening sky, Yui’s footsteps stopped and her tiny back turned to face me.
“Katagiri-san’s organ was also wonderful. It was really nice to listen to.”
A faint smile appeared on Yui’s face as she said this in the soft evening glow.
It was the first time I had ever seen her smile, and I was unable to respond as I stared at her in awe.
(…… What the hell, you can smile properly, can’t you?)
There was no trace of the loneliness I had felt when I saw her for the first time, nor of the unmoving expression on her face that had remained frozen for so long. There stood a pretty, lovely girl with gentle, blue eyes.
“I’ll see you later in the week. If you’ll excuse me this time.”
With another small bow, she puffed out her long, fluffy hair, and this time, when I couldn’t see her back anymore, I let out a sigh of weakness.
“…… A princess I don’t understand.”
The lonely face I saw in the morning. The expressionless face in the classroom. The embarrassed face I saw earlier and the smile I just saw that made me fall in love with her.
It’s the princess who transferred from England, the classmate who sits next to me, the co-worker at the part-time job that no one else wants to do, and a neighbor in my apartment.
I couldn’t help but let out an indescribable chuckle as I thought back to the events that I had told Kei about, even if he didn’t believe me.
Of course, Yui and I are nothing more or less than that, and I have no intention of having any special relationship with her in the future just because of our strange connection.
Still, I would be happy if she could open up to me to the point where she could be comfortable around me.
“Well, let’s continue practicing.”
Smiling at my neighbor, whose expression changed more than I had expected, I closed the back door with a slightly lighter heart and went back to my practice.
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