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.

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.

"Good morning, Kiyota~"

"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.

"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?"

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

"I understand that all too well"

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.

"Good morning, Tokugawa-san, Yukari"

"Good morning, Kuniko-san~"

"Good morning"

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~"

"Yeah, we are~!"

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.

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

"I-I will..." 

"Take care out there and have a nice day"

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.

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?"

"Hey, Kiyota?"


"Can I ask something from you?"


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

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

"It's regarding my parents"

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?"

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

"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!"

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

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.

"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?"

"... Huh?"

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

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

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

"... 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.

"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"


"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?"

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

"Are you fine with that?"


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

"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..."

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?!"

"Yeah... You did"

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.

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

"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"

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

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

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

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~!"

"Please don't..."

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... 

"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..." 

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"

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.

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


"Not really"

"That's no fun..." 

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


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.


"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~"

"G-Good morning, Natsumi"

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


"Because everyone's looking at us!"

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.

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

"We did... But..."

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

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

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"

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

"I'm not!"

"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.

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!"

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"


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..."

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...