Chapter 6:

The 'Cheerful' Girl and the Caring Landlady...

The Struggles from the Happy Girl Next Door

"I love you, Kiyota..."Bookmark here

"Y-Yukari...?"Bookmark here

"I want to be with you... I know that we just me yesterday but... You're the only one who hasn't shun me away after seeing this..."Bookmark here

She looked down at the bruises on her body and once more, her gaze landed on me. Her beautiful eyes were staring directly into me, almost as if she was looking into my soul.Bookmark here

"Will you be my boyfriend?"Bookmark here

She gently cupped my cheek and slowly but surely, our faces were inching themselves closer to the other persons. The feeling of her breath. The way she was looking at me. The way she was trembling...Bookmark here

"This doesn't feel right... I don't like this" I gently placed my hand on her own and spoke up "I'm sorry... But I can't" Bookmark here

"..." She backed up slightly and stared at the ground. I didn't reject her because I didn't want to. I just didn't want to be confessed by her nor anyone else in such a situation.Bookmark here

"Besides... I doubt that she's even in love with me..." "Yukari...?"Bookmark here

I called out her name, but she didn't respond. She continued staring at the ground without even reacting to me calling out to her.Bookmark here

I gently placed both my hands on her face and lifted her head slowly so that our gazes would meet one another's, but even then, she was looking away from me with tears in her eyes.Bookmark here

"I need to do something..." "I'm grateful and happy that someone like yourself confessed to me... But just thinking about what you might be going through hurts..."Bookmark here

"I want to be with her as well... I don't mind being her boyfriend, but... I don't want her confession to be in such a moment. I want it to be a happy moment, one where she's not suffering every single day..."Bookmark here

I steeled my resolve and spoke up "If you still love me after I do whatever I can to get you out of the situation you're in, then I'll accept your confession"Bookmark here

"But right now... I can't, not knowing that you're suffering for no real reason at all"Bookmark here

I let out a sigh and before I knew it, she had thrown herself towards me and started hugging me all the while crying into my chest.Bookmark here

I lightly patted her head, but all the while I did so, I couldn't help but think about everything that was going to be happening "I really put myself in a bit of a difficult position..."Bookmark here

I chuckled a bit and sighed "But if I can help someone out... Then I don't mind it"Bookmark here

Once she had stopped crying, she slowly pushed herself away from my face and wiped away the remnant tears or her face. She looked over at me and started smiling once more.Bookmark here

"Thank you... Kiyota"Bookmark here

"There's no need to thank me... Not until we do something about the situation you're in"Bookmark here

"And when that happens..." She closed the distance between the both of us once more and gave me a peck on the lips "I'll confess to you once more, ok?"Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah"Bookmark here

"Are you getting embarrassed by any chance~?"Bookmark here

"S-Shut up"Bookmark here

"Tee-hee~" She giggled once more and after a few seconds, she started covering herself once more "D-Do you mind stepping out? It's a bit embarrassing now knowing that you're able to look at my underwear..."Bookmark here

"I-I-I'm sorry!" I quickly stepped out of the changing room and took in deep breaths "I completely forgot about it!"Bookmark here

I leaned up against one of the walls of the store and let out a sigh "I was too focused on what was happening that I didn't even notice it..."Bookmark here

I let out a sigh and as I placed my hand to my chest, I could still feel it beating faster and faster "I got a bit too carried away over there... But, I'll do whatever I can"Bookmark here

After a few more seconds passed, I heard her come out of the changing room in her own clothes. She seemed somewhat embarrassed about what had happened and I couldn't even blame her.Bookmark here

"S-Sorry about that... I really didn't see anything"Bookmark here

"D-Don't worry about it"Bookmark here

The both of us stood there in silence for a good minute or so "This is awkward..."Bookmark here

"Kiyota?"Bookmark here

"Hmm?"Bookmark here

I glanced over at her and for some reason, she was smiling. But unlike the ones she showed me the first day, these seemed to be genuine smiles of happiness "I'm happy that I fell in love with someone like you~"Bookmark here

"You're still on with that...?"Bookmark here

"Of course, besides, once everything's finished, I'll confess to you once more" "Just make sure you don't fall for someone else, ok~?"Bookmark here

Hearing her say those words, I could feel my face start blushing a bit "Yeah, yeah"Bookmark here

She poked my cheek with her finger and smiled at me "You really are cute~"Bookmark here

I let out a sigh and glanced over at where the registers were "Let's go. We need to meet up with Natsumi"Bookmark here

"Aww... You're no fun"Bookmark here

I pulled out my phone and after dialing her number, she answered the call with the same cheerful tone "Hello~?"Bookmark here

"Hey there. We're ready to head on to the registers, how about you?"Bookmark here

"I'm ready, I'll head on over then"Bookmark here

"Got it. See you soon"Bookmark here

"Later~"Bookmark here

I hung up the phone and just when I was going to start on heading over towards the registers, a sudden weight could be felt on my left arm.Bookmark here

"W-What are you doing?!"Bookmark here

"I just want to walk around like this for a bit~" "A man should be able to escort a lady such as myself at these times... Don't you think?"Bookmark here

"..." I stared into her eyes for a bit and sighed to myself "Fine... But only until we get to the registers..."Bookmark here

"Ok~"Bookmark here

She clung a bit more to me and without another word, the both of us made our way through the people and merchandise and once we were nearing the registers, she let go of my arm and headed off towards Natsumi.Bookmark here

"I wasn't actually expecting her to do what I asked"Bookmark here

"Come on, Kiyota!"Bookmark here

I let out a smile and made my way towards the both of them. Once they had finished paying for their things, the three of us continued making our way through the city all the while the both of them continued talking to one another about themselves and the like.Bookmark here

Once it was time for us to go our separate ways, we said our goodbyes to Natsumi and the both of us started making our way back towards the apartment complex.Bookmark here

As we did so, neither of us started a conversation. We simply walked through the street in complete silence. As we were nearing the apartment complex, she ran up ahead of me and beamed me a smile "I'll see you tomorrow, Kiyota"Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah... Take care"Bookmark here

"I will~"Bookmark here

She ran towards the stairs and once she was standing in front of her door, she looked back towards me and gave me a wave before entering her apartment.Bookmark here

"I hope everything will be fine today..."Bookmark here

As I was starting to make my way towards my own apartment, I noticed that Yumiko was outside cleaning the front of the place she lived in.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon, Yumiko"Bookmark here

She looked over at me and smiled at me "Good afternoon Kiyota, did you head out?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, there were some things I needed to buy so I decided to get it out of the way"Bookmark here

"That's good to hear" She smiled at me once more, but I couldn't help but notice a bit of sorrow in her tone of voice.Bookmark here

"Yumiko? Is everything all right?"Bookmark here

"Why do you ask?"Bookmark here

"I don't know if it's just me... But that smile doesn't really seem to be genuine..."Bookmark here

"..." She stared into my eyes for a bit only to sigh and open the door to her apartment "Do you mind if we talk for a bit?"Bookmark here

"I-I don't mind, but..."Bookmark here

"Of course, do whatever you need to do. I'll be waiting"Bookmark here

Without another word, she made her way inside her apartment and I was simply left there wondering if I had said anything that could've bothered her.Bookmark here

"I guess I'd better get going..." I headed towards my apartment, left everything inside and headed back downstairs towards her apartment.Bookmark here

I knocked on the door and she immediately opened it up "Come on in. Make yourself at home"Bookmark here

"Thank you very much"Bookmark here

The tone of her voice sounded cold, but at the same time, a hint of sadness could be heard from it. Bookmark here

It was at that moment that I found out that it wasn't just the Takahara family who had problems... There was someone else who had gone through her fair share of disappointment and pain in her life.Bookmark here

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