Tonari no Kuuderera o Amayakashitara, Uchi no Aikagi o Watasu Koto ni Natta - v1 chapter 4
- Tonari no Kuuderera o Amayakashitara, Uchi no Aikagi o Watasu Koto ni Natta
- v1 chapter 4 - Different colors of smartphones
Different colors of smartphones
It was Saturday night. Tomorrow will be a day off from school, and while I was busily reading the manga I bought as an e-book, my smartphone rang.
“Nacchan, are you free tomorrow? You’re not busy anyway, right? It’s not that I don’t have any friends to ask to go shopping with me, but you know what? It’s easier for me to be with Nacchan than my female friends because I don’t have to worry about anything. You see, I’m a woman at a certain age, right? I’m afraid of being alone, and it’s really annoying to get picked up.”
“You dialed the wrong number, bye bye.”
“Wait, wait, wait! It’s registered on my phone, how can it be a mistake? Sorry, Nacchan, please don’t hang up!”
◇ ◇ ◇
Then, the next day (Sunday) at 2:00 pm.
Despite the fact that it was my day off, I was standing at the front of Yokohama station ticket gate, which was a ten-minute ride away by train just to accompany Kasumi on her shopping trip.
Exactly at the time of our meeting, there was an incoming call from Kasumi on my phone.
“I’m really sorry about this. I really feel bad for Nacchan, and I’m deeply, deeply regretting it, but who would have thought that there was some stuff that I had to submit by tomorrow?”
“Wait a minute. So you forcibly called me out here and then suddenly decided to cancel──”
Before I could even finish my complaint, the call was cut off.
Of course, I tried to call her back, but she didn’t answer, and sent me a samurai-style stamp on the messaging app, saying, “I’m grateful”. Don’t mess with me, d*mn it.
Thus, I was about to completely waste my day off.
(However, I came all the way out here to Yokohama…)
Even though it was a quick trip from my house by train, I feel like I have to do something now that I’ve come to the city.
In fact, if I don’t, I’d just end up wasting half of my day because of that useless adult. So I decided half-heartedly to make the most out of my day off.
Suddenly I found myself at a loss of what to do and let out a long sigh. I was not in the mood to look for clothes, I don’t go to arcades, and I’m not the kind of person who spends time alone in trendy cafes.
(…I guess I have no choice but to go home.)
As I was about to give up, unable to think of any other good options, I saw two flashy-looking guys desperately pleading to a girl.
“We will take you to the store! So just tea is fine!”
“Yeah, that’s right! Come on, we’ll buy you a drink! Please!”
Two men, bowing their heads frantically with both hands clasped together, not even bothered by the attention they were gathering.
(Oh, so these are the so-called pick-up artists. I guess they do really exist)
Although I’ve heard about them, I’ve never seen them personally, so I couldn’t help but watch them closely.
The men were college students and seemed to be light-hearted. The girl being approached has long, beautiful black hair, a white shirt, a navy blue high-waisted knee-length skirt, and a simple shoulder pouch, giving her an elegant and neat image.
When her long hair swayed and revealed her profile, I could see her beautiful face and those clear blue eyes.
Unexpectedly, the name of an acquaintance spilled out of my mouth.
“No. I-I’m fine…”
“We’ll take you to the store! You don’t know the way, right?”
“We’ll just take you there! Okay? Please!”
“Uhm, I-I’m really fine…”
“Then just give us your contact info! Please!”
“SNS is fine! We’ll do anything!”
Yui, who is being worshipped by two men, had a tense expression on her face and looked troubled as she was driven to a corner with no way to escape.
(No matter how you look at it, she’s troubled…)
I suppose when you’re that cute and lovely, these types of guys will probably prey on you first.
However, I hope that they would at least consider how the other person felt.
I don’t like being involved in disputes, and I’m not good at violence, but what I hate the most is turning a blind eye to someone I know who’s in trouble right in front of me.
(I don’t want to regret it later, so I guess I have no choice.)
Letting a long sigh, I prepared myself and called out to the guys to help the princess in a pinch.
“Excuse me, she’s my companion, is there something wrong?”
The three of them, including Yui, turned their attention to me.
I approached the three of them who looked at me in surprise and tilted my head with a calm smile.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Yui’s eyes widened, then I responded to her by raising my hand as if we had planned to meet up, and the two men quickly moved away from her.
“Oops, sorry about that!”
“Sorry for bothering you on your date! Bye!”
After bowing in a light tone, the two men left in a flash.
They were persistent but they were also quick to give up, as if they were used to it. They disappeared quickly as if they didn’t want to get into trouble.
It seems to be more efficient to move on to the next target, instead of losing time and effort by sticking with a girl who doesn’t like you.
As soon as the two were completely out of sight, I let out a breath and looked back at Yui.
“Are you okay? I’m sorry if it was unnecessary.”
She hugged herself tightly and crouched down.
“I was… really… scared”
Her voice was weak and shaky, and her small body was trembling.
Biting on her fingertips while holding herself tightly into her own arms, she tried to keep her body from collapsing as she rested her back against the wall.
It was an unfamiliar foreign country for her. If two men whom she didn’t know persistently began to hit on her, naturally, she would be scared.
Even my Japanese cousin said she was afraid of being picked up, and even me, a man, would be terrified if two strangers were persistently trying to hit on me.
Looking at Yui, who was still crouched down and shaking, I felt ashamed of myself for thinking lightly.
“I’m sorry, Villiers. I should have helped you sooner.”
“No, don’t worry… I really… appreciate it…”
She finally stood up and bowed to me with a weak smile.
(…I can’t leave her alone in her current state.)
That’s what I thought when I saw Yui, who was clearly pale and still holding herself…
“What brings you to Yokohama, Villiers?”
“Eh… a… err… I came to buy a… smartphone…”
“Smartphone, hah… Oh, so you didn’t have one yet?”
Speaking of which, I’ve never seen Yui holding a smartphone.
It was not like I was planning to ask for her contact info, so I never noticed.
“Well, I don’t really feel the necessity, but my family suggested through the… principal that I should have one so they could contact me.”
“So, you came all the way here in Yokohama and got entangled with those guys?”
Yui frowned and gave me a small nod.
From the perspective of those guys who are trying to pick up girls, it was a simple matter of calling out to them after seeing an excellent target, but for the person in question, it was a very frightening experience.
Even I, who had prepared myself to help her, was nervous, and Yui must have been terrified by the suddenness of the situation.
I felt guilty that I did something wrong last night when I tried to refuse my cousin’s invitation.
Then I turned my face to Yui, making sure that I kept my tone calm as much as possible.
“It’s not that I’m blaming you, Villiers, but I think you should be aware that you have good looks that attracts those kinds of people, and next time you should try to decline or run away from them.”
“Yes… That’s right …I’m sorry”
I tried to be as gentle as possible, but Yui nodded her head like an upset child.
It was true that Yui had an eye-catching appearance, so I warned her for her own good. I scratched the bridge of my nose, realizing that now wasn’t the best time for it.
“Anyway, let’s head to a place where you can relax a bit. If you want to go buy a smartphone, you should wait until you’ve calmed down. I’ll accompany you.”
“Eh…? You’re going with me…?”
Yui raised her face in response to my words.
“Well, at least you won’t get picked up while I’m around. You can decline if you don’t want to Villiers.”
“N-No… Well, Katagiri-san, of course I don’t hate it.. but.”
“It’s your precious day off, and you’re going to spend it with me for my personal errand…”
Yui mumbled apologetically, while furrowing her eyebrows.
She didn’t refuse my offer and didn’t seem to be bothered by it, though she still looked anxious from the previous incident.
Even at this moment, I was reaching out to Yui, who was still apologetic to me.
“As I told you before, I can’t leave someone I know alone if they’re in trouble, remember? So if it’s not a bother for you, you can consider it as my own selfish meddling and just go along with it.”
“Well, you see, my appointment was canceled and I’m stuck with nothing to do. Other than being bug repellent, I could probably be of some use to you, like showing you where the stores are and what to buy, right?”
To ease the atmosphere, I shrugged my shoulders in an exaggerated manner, and Yui let out a chuckle as if all the tension suddenly disappeared.
“You’re very kind, as always.”
“No, like I said, I just happen to have a lot of free time on my hands.”
After hearing my somehow unscrupulous reply, Yui let out another chuckle.
It’s true that I was bored because of the sudden cancellation of my appointment, and if someone I knew was in trouble, it was also natural for me to want to help them.
While I was thinking about how I was ‘kind’ to her, Yui looked up at me again as if she was trying to regain her composure.
“If you have some free time, Katagiri-san, would you mind accompanying me to buy a smartphone?”
“Yeah, I can guide you around if you want.”
My mouth relaxed when Yui took the trouble to rephrase it, Yui smiled as well and we shared a light laugh.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Thank you very much.”
With a cheerful voice of the clerk, Yui and I walked out through the automated door of the smartphone store.
I took my smartphone out and looked at the time, it was past 5 p.m. The sun was already setting and the sky was tinted orange.
Walking shoulder-to-shoulder with me, Yui, holding her brand-new smartphone in her hands, turned her face to me with a delighted smile.
“Thank you very much, Katagiri-san. If I had been alone, I wouldn’t have been able to buy it today.”
Yui thanked me with a slight bounce to her usually calm tone.
Yui froze after hearing the clerk’s question, “Which model would you like?” It was indeed difficult for her to buy it by herself.
She looked at me, almost crying, and whispered, “Katagiri-san…” so I suggested that I could teach her how to use it if it was the same model as mine, and thanks to that, Yui and I now have the same smartphone model.
I was surprised when she actually chose the pink color after pondering for a long time, but when I saw the smiling Yui holding the smartphone in her hands, the cute pink color matched her perfectly.
“How do you feel about having your first smartphone?”
When I asked that, Yui thought for a moment and then smiled wryly.
“Like ‘casting pearls before swine’ is it?”
“…Huh? What’s that mean?”
“It’s a phrase that means the same thing as the Japanese phrase ‘Neko ni Koban’. So please teach me how to use it.” [TLN: 猫に小判 a japanese phrase that means casting pearls before swine; (giving) a gold coin to a cat]
Seeing my bafflement, Yui narrowed her eyes happily, as if she were a child who had successfully pulled off a prank.
I couldn’t help but smile after seeing Yui’s unusual playfulness, as if she was in a good mood after getting her smartphone.
“Do you have any apps you’d like to use, Villiers?”
“It’s an abbreviation for applications like browsers, games, videos, etc.”
“I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that stuff…”
“Ah, right, it’s your first time using a smartphone. Sorry.”
Realizing again that I was a more uncommunicative person than I thought I was, I apologized to her.
“Okay, let’s start with how to register a contact in the phone book, do you have a family member’s contact number?”
“Yes, then my sister’s phone number is──”
Yui rummaged through her shoulder bag, searching and searching, then… slumped her shoulders in disappointment.
“…I’m sorry, I think I left it at home.”
“No, you don’t have to look so depressed…”
I soothed Yui, who suddenly lost her previous smile and became dejected.
(For the time being, I can tell her my number to teach her how to use it…)
However, I was not her friend, and I felt awkward being the first person to be registered on Yui’s phone.
If it were me, I wouldn’t mind it, but when I consider it from Yui’s perspective, I felt an inexplicable sense of discomfort and frowned.
“If so, it would be better to teach her when we get home.”
Yui tilted her head when she heard me muttering.
“Is it not okay to register Katagiri-san’s number?”
“Eh? No, it’s not that it’s not okay, but…”
“…Well, Are you sure? I’ll be the first person registered in your contacts.”
“Why, what’s wrong with that?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong, it’s just…”
Yui was looking at me, who couldn’t find the right words to explain, curiously.
Certainly, there was no reason to think that it was no good, I was just being self-conscious about it, and if Yui herself didn’t mind about such small details, then so be it.
Yui kept looking at me curiously, so I finally gave up.
“…if it’s fine with Villiers, then…”
“Yes, please do.”
Yui bowed to me, who reluctantly agreed.
Thinking that I was being too self-conscious, I changed my mindset and tried to regain my composure.
“So, first try pressing the phone icon.”
“This one, right? Yes, I pressed it.”
Launching the dial app, with an unfamiliar touch, Yui inputted my number as she was told.
She registered the number in the phone book under the name ‘Katagiri Natsuomi’.
“Then press the ‘save’ button to complete the registration.”
“Oh, this is all I need to do to register a phone number?”
I opened up Yui’s phone book and confirmed the name ‘Katagiri Natsuomi’.
Yui, who was able to successfully register the number, looked at the phone book with satisfaction and broke into a smile.
“Wow, it’s done. Katagiri-san became my first.”
“That’s a dangerous misleading word, okay? If you’re planning to tell someone, please explain it as ‘the first person registered in my contacts,’ you hear me?”
“Dangerous, misleading word? I don’t think it’s misleading.”
“It’s not exactly a wrong statement, but it could be taken in a different way.”
“What do you mean by that? And please tell me what exactly is dangerous about it. I’m curious.”
“No, it’s not dangerous. There’s nothing dangerous, so calm down for a moment.”
I managed to coax Yui, who showed a strange curiosity in a strange place, into accepting my somewhat forceful advice to say that I was her ‘first contact exchange practice partner.’
I know very well that she doesn’t have any intention to mislead me, not even by a millimeter, but if she tells her classmates or family in that way, it could cause a terrible misunderstanding. Managing to somehow convince Yui, I felt a sense of relief.
Making use of the opportunity of having arrived at the station’s ticket gate, I exclaimed, “Oh, crap. I forgot that I have to charge my IC card to keep the remaining balance.” I deceptively said so that she wouldn’t pursue me further.
As I passed through the ticket gate and waited for the train on the station platform, which was starting to get crowded with people rushing home, Yui, who was standing next to me, muttered to herself while looking up at the darkening sky.
“I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t meet Katagiri-san.”
When I turned my head towards Yui, she was looking up towards the dusk sky with a faint smile on her face.
“I came to Japan to change, but if I hadn’t met Katagiri-san, I don’t think I would even have had the chance.”
As Yui muttered to herself, she narrowed her blue eyes at the single contact number on her smartphone.
“That’s not true. That’s an exaggeration.”
“No, it’s true.”
I scratched the bridge of my nose, which didn’t even itch, to hide my embarrassment at the words Yui said to me with a smile.
When I first met her, she was a cool, emotionless princess, but now she smiles in a cute, adorable way that is appropriate for her age.
That gap tickles me and I can’t stop watching her.
“…Well, I’m glad I could be of some help.”
After I managed to respond with a few words, the train slid onto the platform with a distant whistle sound. After the passengers had finished getting off, I stepped into the train and Yui followed me inside, holding on to the handrail near the door.
“Ah, by the time we get home, it’ll be time for the half-price bentos.”
“That’s right. I don’t want to bother cooking now, so I think I’ll buy a half-price bento today.”
“Shall we go shopping together for dinner then?
“Well, since you asked, I guess I’ll go with you.”
I laughed and nodded in acceptance of Yui’s suggestion.
On the train on the way home, I installed a messaging app on Yui’s phone and registered my ID, and we exchanged messages to serve as Yui’s typing practice.
“Thank you so much for today.”
“You’re welcome. If you ever need help again, just let me know.”
After exchanging such messages, we gave each other a small smile and got off the train.
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