The doors to the train slid open. We walked in and sat down next to each other. It wasn’t rush hour. His small hand was holding mine firmly. After the exam was over, we were allowed to take two days off. I decided to go home and visit my family and Charlotte. My mom had already found out about the exam. Not what it was about, only that I had passed, thanks to Toshiko. It was quite surprising to see only thirty-five out of hundred-and-forty-nine students be successful. I was able to relax for an entire day. It felt really good but during that time, I got an unexpected request from Yuuma. He kept insisting and eventually I gave in. I asked permission from Toshiko. She too excitedly gave me the okay. The female voice announced the next station. The doors opened again, and we stepped outside. The weather was nice. I still couldn’t believe myself that I was actually doing it. Bringing Yuuma to my school. We went through the gate and straight to the main building. It was quiet.
“Your school is pretty big.”
Yuuma looked impressed. To him, his studies were the most important part of his life. After all, his goal was to become a doctor and save lives. The downside was that he couldn’t stand dumb people. Luckily, I managed to get average to good grades.
“Yuuma, why did you want to visit my school?”
“I was curious. You decided to switch school all of a sudden. Honestly, I thought that you might have been expelled from your previous one. So, I wanted to make sure that you were actually going to a decent school and concentrating on your studies.”
I let out a nervous laughter. He was even stricter than our mom.
“Also, I’m your brother. I have to make sure that your environment is save.”
His cute face looked all serious. He was indeed the only man in our household. I pulled him into my arms and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
“Nee-chan, please refrain from embarrassing me in public.”
I showed him around and before we knew it, it was lunch time. We went to the cafeteria to buy some sandwiches and decided to sit outside and have a little picnic. The trees were giving us shade. A light breeze was rustling their leaves.
It was a girl’s voice. I turned my head to see Himura and Rin standing a bit further away from us.
“Nee-chan, do you know them?”
I nodded my head. Rin was holding a sandwich in her hand as well. She was trying to hide behind Himura’s leg as usual.
“Rin-chan, do you want to join us for lunch? This is my younger brother, Yuuma.”
Himura placed his hand on her head and made her walk forward. She hesitantly took one step after the other.
“Yuuma, this is Rin-chan and next to her is her dad, Himura.”
He stood up and bowed slightly.
“I’m Yuuma. Nice to meet you.”
They sat down next to us on the grass. We continued eating our sandwiches. Himura opened up the packaging for Rin.
“Aren’t you going to eat?”
I looked at him who was just quietly sitting next to her.
“I’m not hungry.”
“Then have at least a drink. And of course, one for Rin-chan as well.”
I handed them two small orange juice bottles. He opened it for Rin and gave it to her but wouldn’t open his own bottle.
“I gave it to you for you to drink it, not to stare at it.”
I grabbed his bottle out of his hand to twist it open and then handed it back to him. He seemed surprised. I gestured with my hand for him to drink it. His lips touched the mouth of the bottle, and he took a sip. He was quite a handsome man. Not that I didn’t notice it before. But this was the first time we were this close to each other and I wasn’t afraid of looking him in the face. I was unconsciously fixated on him and was caught red-handed by Rin. My eyes quickly shifted to another direction.
“Nee-chan, hand me all the rubbish. I’ll throw it away in the bin.”
Yuuma’s words made me jump. I was embarrassed.
Rin copied Yuuma.
I answered her with a smile. Her eyes widened and she smiled back at me. We finished our lunch and were about to go our separate ways.
“Himura, if you don’t mind, Yuuma wants to hang out with Rin a little longer.”
“I never said that.”
Yuuma looked displeased by my lie. I placed my hand on his head.
“I want you to be friends with her. She’s two years younger than you. Be nice to her.”
He crossed his arms and looked the other way. There was a reason why I was forcing this friendship. I had a feeling that Rin didn’t attend school and stayed with Himura at all times or at least on our school grounds. She had no way of interacting with children around her own age. Rin walked over and unexpectedly grabbed Yuuma by his blue t-shirt.
I crouched down and turned Yuuma around to face her.
“She is asking you something, Yuuma.”
He was a good child. And I knew that after some time he would open up to her.
“Fine, I guess I can play with you a little.”
And of course, he couldn’t say no to a cute little girl such as Rin. His cheeks turned red. We went to Rin’s favourite place, the greenhouse. She held Yuuma by his hand and showed him all her plants and books. Himura didn’t object. He actually didn’t say anything and instead was making tea for me. I would lie if I said that I wasn’t nervous around him. Why do all strong Outliners have the same intense aura around them?
“I hope you don’t mind me forcing Yuuma to be friends with Rin-chan.”
He placed the cup of tea in front of me.
“Well, in the end, it’s Rin’s choice if she wants to be friends with your younger brother or not. It has nothing to do with me.”
He pulled the chair next to me back and sat down. I immediately stiffened up. Why was he sitting next to me? There were two other chairs available.
“Rin has a Paroxys too. One that can be very useful. That is why she is a target for the outside world. She not only knows how to use it but is exceptionally good at it too.”
My eyes followed Rin who was watering the plants with Yuuma. She wouldn’t let go of him.
“That’s why you keep her hidden.”
“Thank you for introducing your younger brother to her.”
“No need to thank me.”
I smiled at him but immediately rotated my head back. It was still overwhelming to look him into his eyes. The playdate had come to an end, and we said our goodbyes. Rin made Yuuma promise to come back and play with her again. As we were leaving, we walked into my group of friends. They were all very excited to meet my younger brother.
“Oh my god. He is so cute.”
Sayuri said and patted Yuuma’s head.
“You don’t look very similar.”
Nina commented and had a closer look at him. Ohta and Haruto joined her. You could see in Yuuma’s face that he was trying to stay calm. He hated being the centre of attention. It made me laugh.
“Ayumi. Perfect timing. I was looking for you.”
Someone called out to me from a distance.
“Oh, Yu. What’s up?”
He walked over to me but stopped after seeing Yuuma.
“Who’s this kid?”
“My younger brother.”
“I see. Come to my room when you’re free. I need to discuss something with you.”
“Sure. But it might get late. I need to drop Yuuma back home.”
“That’s fine. Just text me.”
The conversation ended and he left. It was getting late. I successfully got Yuuma back home. My mom had given me several containers full of food. I rushed into the train station and jumped on the last train. No one was in the same passenger car as me. I sat down and placed the bag on my lap. The lights kept flickering. It was the first time I saw it happening on a train ride. My surroundings felt a bit eerie too. The train stopped at the next station and the doors opened. No one came in and the doors closed again. My imagination was running wild. In that moment, a guy from the next passenger car walked in and sat down opposite of me. I felt a small relief. Maybe I was going insane. I tend to tense up quite easily these days. The lights had stopped flickering as well. I was glad to get off the train. The fresh air was helping me to calm down, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that someone was following me. I picked up my pace.
A hand came out of nowhere and grabbed me by my shoulder.
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