Chapter 8:

In Search of Salvation

The Struggles from the Happy Girl Next Door

I woke up relatively early the next morning, took a quick bath, had some breakfast and prepared myself to head to school.Bookmark here

As I stepped out of my apartment, the sound of yet another door closing caught my attention. I looked over and noticed that it was none other then Yukari.Bookmark here

"Good morning, Kiyota~"Bookmark here

"M-Morning..." I was perfectly fine in that moment, but just remembering everything that had happened between the both of us left me somewhat flustered.Bookmark here

"Just remembering her tell me that she loved me is making me nervous... This isn't good" I took in a few deep breaths and composed myself once more "You have classes this early as well?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, it's a bit of a pain if you ask me"Bookmark here

"I understand that all too well"Bookmark here

She giggled at my words and thus the both of us started making our way down the stairs and as we were about to step out of the complex, a kind yet mature voice greeted us.Bookmark here

"Good morning, Tokugawa-san, Yukari"Bookmark here

"Good morning, Kuniko-san~"Bookmark here

"Good morning"Bookmark here

The both of us bowed to which she replied with a smile off her own "I see that the both of you are getting along relatively well~"
Bookmark here

"Yeah, we are~!"Bookmark here

She grabbed hold of my arm, to which I shook her off. I didn't know if she was just being clingy about what she had declared to me the other day or if it was something else entirely, but even then... I hadn't even reciprocated her feelings yet to want to do something of the sort.Bookmark here

Seeing this, Matsubara-san simply giggled and smiled at us once more "Take care of her, Tokugawa-san"Bookmark here

"I-I will..." Bookmark here

"Take care out there and have a nice day"Bookmark here

With those words, she slightly bowed at us and headed on inside to her apartment. With that out of the way, the both of us continued making our way down the street.Bookmark here

I took a quick glance over at Yukari and simply noticed that she was smiling "After everything that happened... She's starting to show off more of her real feelings... Or maybe it's just with me?"Bookmark here

"Hey, Kiyota?"Bookmark here

"Yeah?"Bookmark here

"Can I ask something from you?"Bookmark here

"Depends"Bookmark here

"Shouldn't you say that you don't mind at all?"Bookmark here

A sigh escaped my breath at her words "Just say it..."Bookmark here

"It's regarding my parents"Bookmark here

Just hearing the drastic change in her tone of voice was enough to make me stop in place "Does she really want to talk about that now?"Bookmark here

"I might have a way to put them in jail... But, I'm afraid of what's going to happen to me after that"Bookmark here

"If you had a way... Why didn't you do anything? You wouldn't have to have gone through the pain of getting physically abused!"Bookmark here

"And what would I have done after that?! I have nowhere else to go!"Bookmark here

I knew she had a point there, but even then, just knowing that there was something she could've done to stop everything that happened was more then enough to piss me off.Bookmark here

"She's right... And I can't fault her for not doing anything" I took in a deep breath and exhaled "What do you need from me?"Bookmark here

"... Huh?"Bookmark here

"Once you show the evidence or whatever to the authorities... What do you need me to do for you?"Bookmark here

"I-I wasn't planning on you doing anything for me... At the very least, just testifying alongside me"Bookmark here

"That won't do... What about a place to live? Income?"Bookmark here

"... I'll find a way" She looked up at me with a smile, but even then, it wasn't the same smiles she was giving me after I found out about everything... Instead, they were the fake ones she would put up to hide her real feelings.Bookmark here

"It disgusts me... It disgusts me how real it looks even though it's a fake one..." I cursed under my breath and stared directly into her eyes "When everything is solved... You'll be living with me"Bookmark here

"H-Huh?!"Bookmark here

"You'll live with me. If you feel like you're taking advantage of me, you can look for a part-time job... But I can assume that you already have one, right?"Bookmark here

She gave me a slight nod "Perfect, we'll split everything so that way we can both live a bit easier"Bookmark here

"Are you fine with that?"Bookmark here

"What?"Bookmark here

"Living with someone like myself... Someone who-"Bookmark here

"I don't care about what you went through. I promised that I would be there for you if you needed my help, besides..." I gulped a bit and my face started heating up a bit "I-I promised you that after everything was finished... I-I would accept..."
Bookmark here

I couldn't even finish my sentence after remembering everything I had told her back there "I really said some embarrassing things back there! What the hell was I thinking?!"Bookmark here

"Yeah... You did"Bookmark here

She started tearing up a bit at my words and before I could even say anything, she threw herself towards me and started hugging me tightly.Bookmark here

"You'd better make me a happy girl, Kiyota"
Bookmark here

"U-Umm..." I scratched my cheek and sighed to myself "If her own parents weren't able to bring her happiness... I guess it's my job to do whatever I can for her"Bookmark here

"I'll do what I can, but for now, we're still friends"Bookmark here

She let go of me and started pouting "That's not fair~"Bookmark here

"We still haven't solved anything, so I technically haven't agreed to be your boyfriend"Bookmark here

She lightly smacked my shoulder and smiled at me once more "Then I guess my goal is going to be to get you to fall for me before everything is solved~!"Bookmark here

"Please don't..."Bookmark here

She giggled at my words and thus the both of us made our way through the street. All the while we did so, in the back of my mind, the sole thought of knowing that we were going to start with the entire process of making her a free girl once more left me scared about what was to come... Bookmark here

"Even then... It'll be a tough thing to accomplish... They're are going to be a lot of troubles in the road we're going to take, but we'll get out of them and in turn..." Bookmark here

I glanced over at her smile and I couldn't help but smile as well "I'll be able to make that smile the only one she'll ever have the need to make"Bookmark here

Once we arrived at the university, the both of us continued walking alongside one another, from time to time she greeted some of the students who walked pass us.Bookmark here

"You're pretty popular, aren't you?"Bookmark here

"Jealous~?"Bookmark here

"Not really"Bookmark here

"That's no fun..." Bookmark here

She puffed out her cheeks and as we were both walking through the school grounds, a sudden voice called out to me "Kiyota~!"Bookmark here

"Hmm?"Bookmark here

Before I could look over at where the voice called out to me, a sudden force pushed me and out of nowhere, wrapped itself around my arm.Bookmark here

"N-Natsumi?!"Bookmark here

"Good morning, Kiyota~" She beamed me a smile and upon noticing that Yukari was right beside me, she smiled at her as well "Good morning, Yukari-chan~"Bookmark here

"G-Good morning, Natsumi"Bookmark here

"L-Let go of me, will you?"Bookmark here

"Why~?"Bookmark here

"Because everyone's looking at us!"Bookmark here

She glanced around and sure enough, some of the students that were passing by us were looking at the scene of her wrapping her arm around my own.Bookmark here

"Who cares~? Besides, we used to this when we were kids, didn't we?"Bookmark here

"We did... But..."Bookmark here

I glanced down at her and sighed "Back then... You weren't as... You know..."Bookmark here

I scratched my cheek somewhat awkwardly, but even then, she didn't seem to understand what I was trying to get at.Bookmark here

After  a few seconds of her looking up to me, a smirk ran across her face "Either she noticed nd she's going to back off or she's going to start teasing me"Bookmark here

"I didn't know that you were such a pervert, Kiyota~"Bookmark here

"I'm not!"Bookmark here

"Are you sure~?" She tightened her grip on my arm even more which in turn made it so that her body was pressing up against me even more.Bookmark here

As this happened, I felt a sudden chill run through my entire body, I glanced over at Yukari and simply saw her smiling at me "That smile is too scary!"Bookmark here

Once she had gotten her fill of teasing me, she let go of my arm and smiled at us once more "We should get going before classes start"Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah"Bookmark here

I took one last glance over at Yukari and sighed to myself "I really don't know what's worse... Having Natsumi teasing me like that or Yukari smiling at me in a somewhat frightening way..."Bookmark here

With that small meetup out of the way, we all agreed to meet up with each other once our breaks were up and thus, our first class of the day started without any troubles at all...Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.