Chapter 20:

Our Happy Life

The Struggles from the Happy Girl Next Door

"Good morning, Kiyota dear"Bookmark here

"Good morning Kuniko"Bookmark here

"Coming back from work?"Bookmark here

"Yeah... Today was one hectic day" I scratched the back of my neck and let out a sigh "I needed to help out with a pretty big order"Bookmark here

"That sounds good for you. At least you have a pretty good job that pays well, right?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I'm very thankful for you helping me find that job" I bowed at her and simply heard her giggle.Bookmark here

"There's no need to thank me whenever possible. You've helped me out throughout these two years. I just paid you back a little bit for everything that you've done"Bookmark here

"I really didn't do anything to deserve to be thanked"Bookmark here

"Nonsense, dear" She beamed me a smile and glanced over inside her apartment "Would you like to have some dinner with me?"Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, but I promised Yukari a date today"Bookmark here

She seemed to have remembered something and bowed "I'm sorry, I forgot that it was your anniversary, correct?"Bookmark here

"Yes, it's already been 2 years ever since we started going out"Bookmark here

"I'm glad that things have been going well between the both of you~"Bookmark here

"Yes, I'm grateful for that as well" I glanced down at the time and bowed "I should get going now. Yumiko told me that she wanted to see me for a bit"Bookmark here

"Of course, take care, Kiyota dear"Bookmark here

"You too"Bookmark here

With those words, I said my goodbye to Kuniko and headed on over towards Yumiko's apartment. I rang the doorbell and waited for a bit, after a few more seconds passed, she opened the door and beamed me a smile "Glad that you could make it. Come on in"Bookmark here

"Thank you very much"
Bookmark here

I entered her apartment and once she closed the door, I let out a sigh and proceeded to take a seat.Bookmark here

"Hey, Kiyota"Bookmark here

"Yes?"Bookmark here

"You going to propose to Yukari or what?"Bookmark here

"W-Where is this even coming from?!"Bookmark here

"It's about time, don't you think?"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

"You going to do it later today?"Bookmark here

"I-I was planning to do so..."Bookmark here

"Perfect. You remember that place I showed you before? The hilltop overlooking the city?"Bookmark here

"Yes, I do"Bookmark here

"Propose to her there. It'll be secluded, the view is pretty and I can assure you that she'll agree even if you're a brat who's afraid of being rejected"Bookmark here

"P-Please don't remind me..."Bookmark here

She let out a giggle and lightly smacked my back "I doubt she'd reject you... I can tell that the both of you love one another very much" Yumiko looked into my eyes and grinned at me "So just go for it, ok?"Bookmark here

"I will"
Bookmark here

"You're second mom here will prepare something special alongside Kuniko to congratulate the both of you when you get back, got it?"Bookmark here

"Thank you very much"Bookmark here

With those words, I bowed at her and just when I was going to exit the apartment, she called out to me "I have something for you"Bookmark here

"Hmm?"Bookmark here

I looked back and noticed that she had in her hands a small box "This is my present to you. I hope you like it"Bookmark here

I stared at the small box in her hands and then looked up at her "You really didn't have to do all of this for me..."Bookmark here

"Nonsense. Since you're my son now, I get to give this to you"Bookmark here

"..." I bowed at her and took the box slowly away from her hands "Can I open it here?"Bookmark here

"Of course, go ahead"Bookmark here

I slowly opened up the box and couldn't help but look at a necklace that laid right then and there inside the box. Bookmark here

"I told myself that if I ever had a child that I would give this to him. And since you allowed me to call you my son, I've decided to give this to you"Bookmark here

"I can't take this. You still have an opportunity to have a child of your own!"Bookmark here

She shook her head at my words and simply smiled at me "As long as I know that I have someone like you, I don't need a child anymore"Bookmark here

"But..."Bookmark here

She gently laid her hands on my own and smiled at me "Do this for me, please. I want you to have it now"
Bookmark here

"..." It pained me seeing her like this, but there was nothing else that I could do. After two years of living in these apartments, I had come to learn more about each one of them.Bookmark here

Kuniko was more of a teasing mother all the while she really liked to talk with others about anything and everything while Yumiko herself wouldn't budge regardless of what you would say to her.Bookmark here

"Thank you... I'll cherish this"Bookmark here

"Thank you" She took the necklace from my hand, walked behind me and started putting it on my neck for me. Once she had done so, she walked back towards my front and smiled "It looks good on you"Bookmark here

"I'm glad"Bookmark here

She beamed me yet another smile and out of nowhere smacked my arm "Now go on and make that girl a happy one you hear me?"Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah... But you don't have to hit me that hard!"Bookmark here

"What was that?!"Bookmark here

"N-Nothing..."Bookmark here

She giggled and thus led me out the door "Make sure, got it?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I heard you"Bookmark here

After saying my goodbye, I made my way up the stairs and headed on over towards Yukari's and my apartment. I pulled out my key and proceeded to open the door, as I did so, I couldn't help but notice that the front entrance was empty, but I did see that her shoes were laid down in front.Bookmark here

"I guess she had no more classes today" I put on my indoor slippers and made my way inside towards the main section of the room and upon doing so, I noticed that a single figure laying down on my bed with a book in her hands.Bookmark here

"I'm back"Bookmark here

"Hmm?" She looked up from the book and beamed me a smile "Welcome home, dear"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

"Would you like dinner, a bath or perhaps... Me?"Bookmark here

"None of those"Bookmark here

"Huh?! Not even the beautiful girl laying down on your bed?!"Bookmark here

"Not really"Bookmark here

"Don't be so boring~!"Bookmark here

I let out a chuckle and noticed that she had left her clothes for today on our desk chair "You like the book?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, you made a very good suggestion" The book I had given her was one called Left to be Alone which was a story about a kid who had been betrayed by her family, friends and everyone close to him.Bookmark here

The only one who didn't see him any differently was his sister, but because of everything that had happened, he came to hate people but as the story progressed, it shows how people change because of others actions.Bookmark here

"I'm glad that it's to your liking" I glanced over at the time and proceeded to grab a towel and some clean clothes "I'm going to take a bath really quick"Bookmark here

"But didn't you say that you didn't want either?!"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I did"Bookmark here

"You're so mean~!"Bookmark here

"Sorry, sorry"Bookmark here

I beamed her a smile and quickly made my way over to shower ad change into some clean clothes. As I did so, I stared at the ceiling for a bit and sighed to myself "I can't believe that I'm actually doing this... I do hope that she accepts"Bookmark here

The first one to have heard about me asking Yukari about marrying me was of course, my mother, when she heard what I was going to do, she insisted that I give her the ring my grandma left for us.Bookmark here

I didn't want to do it since I knew it was something special for her, but even then, she insisted that I would do so. When she told me about it, she told me to visit her with Yukari so that she could talk to her.Bookmark here

When we did visit my mother, the both of them got along even better then I had anticipated and before I knew it, the both of them had become the best of friends.Bookmark here

Ever since then, my mom would ask me about Yukari and how she was doing. And now... I was going to ask her to marry me, the one thing I never hoped of doing.Bookmark here

After some more time, I finished taking my shower, changed into my clothes and made my way out back towards the bedroom. Thankfully, Yumiko decided to expand the apartment even more and because of that, I was finally able to have a designated room for a bedroom.Bookmark here

Even though it was small, it was better then nothing. Upon arriving there, I glanced over at Yukari and noticed that she had finished changing into her own outing clothes.Bookmark here

"I'm ready whenever you are, Kiyota"Bookmark here

"We still have some time before actually having to leave"Bookmark here

"Ok, I'll continue reading then"Bookmark here

"That's fine" I beamed her a smile and made my way over to my desk to grab the ring I had hidden away in case she ever found it. I stuffed the small box into my pocket and made my way over to my chair to relax.Bookmark here

"How was work?"Bookmark here

"It was alright... It was a bit tougher today, but apart from that, it was fine"Bookmark here

"I'm glad that you're doing fine...  But I don't like the fact that it's in the same place where her daughter works..."Bookmark here

"Are you perhaps jealous?"Bookmark here

"W-Why would I be jealous?!"Bookmark here

"I'm just messing with you"Bookmark here

I let out a chuckle and simply noticed that she was pouting at my words "I guess she was worried if I ended up leaving her and dating Kuniko's daughter..."Bookmark here

When I was first introduced to her daughter, Takahara Rui, I was surprised to see that she was identical to her mother, but something about her teasing me whenever given the opportunity made me feel a bit weird.Bookmark here

But after getting to know her even more throughout the time that I was working there and getting to spend time with her as friends, I had come to learn that that was just her way of getting along with others.Bookmark here

Yukari on the other hand would sometimes glare at me whenever the three of us hung out and she would start pouting whenever she was teased by Rui, but apart from that, they all got along well with one another.Bookmark here

"You know that the one I love is you. I won't leave you"Bookmark here

"R-Really?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I can promise you that"Bookmark here

"Thank you... That makes me feel a bit better"Bookmark here

"Glad to hear that"
Bookmark here

As we waited for it to be time for us to head out, my phone started ringing and noticed that it was none other then Natsumi "Hello?"Bookmark here

"Hey there, how are you doing?"Bookmark here

"I'm doing alright, How are you doing on your trip?"Bookmark here

"It's beautiful~! Paris really is the best place to visit!"Bookmark here

"Glad to hear that. Make sure to bring us something from there"Bookmark here

"You know that I will~" "So, Are you doing it today?"Bookmark here

"Yeah... I am"Bookmark here

"I'm so happy for you. Promise me that we're celebrating once I get back, got it?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, we will"Bookmark here

"Ok~ Catch you later, the tour I'm taking is about to start~"Bookmark here

"Ok, see you later"
Bookmark here

With those words, she hung up the phone and when she did so, I noticed that Yukari was still focused on the book on her hands "I'm glad that she didn't hear that..."Bookmark here

After some more time passed, it was finally time for us to start on heading out. Once we locked up the house, we started making our way throughout the street hand in hand.Bookmark here

I glanced over at her face and noticed that she was smiling all the while we headed on over to our destination "I'm glad that we get to go on this date~!"Bookmark here

"Yeah, same here" "You're really going to like the place I made a reservation in"Bookmark here

"I hope it isn't too pricey"Bookmark here

"Don't worry about the price. Remember that I got a pretty big bonus the other day. I used a bit of it to reserve a spot in a relatively pretty place"Bookmark here

"You really didn't have to do that"Bookmark here

"I know, but I wanted it to be special, that's all"Bookmark here

She stared into my eyes and smiled at me "Thank you for doing this, Kiyota"Bookmark here

"No worries"Bookmark here

After walking around for a bit more, we arrived at the restaurant which wasn't high end, but it was relatively popular in the city that we were in.Bookmark here

Once we were led to our tables, I glanced around and couldn't help but notice that there were quite a few couples dining.Bookmark here

"Kiyota"Bookmark here

"Yeah?"Bookmark here

"You didn't compliment my clothes"Bookmark here

"..." "I messed up" I glanced over at her and stared at her for a bit. She wore a light pink one piece dress with a matching purse. She wore little make-up on which only made it so that her beauty would shine more.Bookmark here

"Y-You look pretty"Bookmark here

"Really~? I'm glad that I can make you blush~"Bookmark here

She lightly poked my cheek with a grin on her face "You really like to tease me..."Bookmark here

"Of course, you are my boyfriend"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

I let out a sigh and once we were ready to order, we called over the waiter and placed our order. After doing so, I noticed that she was simply staring into my eyes "Do I have something on my face?"Bookmark here

"No... I was just remembering how you wouldn't accept me to be your girlfriend unless we solved my problem"Bookmark here

"Well... I at least wanted to do everything I could for you... It didn't sit right with me saying yes just like that"Bookmark here

"I guess you have a point there"Bookmark here

She beamed me a smile and once our food had been brought to us, we gave thanks and proceeded to eat without a care in the world. As we did so, we continued talking and messing around with one another, but in the back of my mind, the idea of asking her to marry me lingered in the back of my mind.Bookmark here

After around an hour of just sitting there talking and eating, I paid the bill and thus we started heading to our next destination, the movie theater to watch a movie that Yukari had been wanting to see for some time.Bookmark here

She wrapped her arm around mine and the both of us made our way towards the movie theater. Upon arriving there, I bought the tickets and we headed on over towards our screening.Bookmark here

Once we handed over our tickets, we entered the screening and proceeded to take a seat. As we waited for the movie to start, she leaned her head on my shoulder and smiled all the while.Bookmark here

As the movie started, the both of us stayed in complete silence and from time to time we spoke about what was happening and what not, but even then, neither of us ever decided to let go of each others' hand.Bookmark here

"I really do love you, Yukari"Bookmark here

After another two hours passed, it was finally time for the moment of truth. The movie finished and we made our way out onto the night street.Bookmark here

"Where to next, Kiyota?"Bookmark here

"There's actually something I want to show you. It's pretty far away, but I know that you'll like it"Bookmark here

"Let's go then"Bookmark here

She beamed me a smile and thus the both of us grabbed the train and started heading off towards our destination which was the hilltop that overlooked the city.Bookmark here

The ride was around thirty minutes away, but even then, the sight that we could see was more then worth it.Bookmark here

When we arrived at our stop, I followed the road that Yumiko had showed me the first time we had come by and after around ten more minutes of walking, we arrived at the hilltop.Bookmark here

Luckily there weren't any people and the stars were shining even brighter then ever before.Bookmark here

"It's beautiful~"Bookmark here

"I'm glad that you like it"Bookmark here

She stared at the beautiful night sky with a smile on her face. That same smile was the one that had made me fall even more in love with her and the sole thing that made it that much better was the fact that I would see it every single day at least once.Bookmark here

"I need to do it. I want to do it... I want to be with her forever if possible"Bookmark here

"Y-Yukari?"Bookmark here

"Yeah?"Bookmark here

She looked over at me with that same smile. The smile that once was a fake smile, one that she wore to make no one notice the hidden feelings she was having was no longer there.Bookmark here

I went down to one knee, took the box with the ring out from my pocket and presented it to her "W-Would you marry me?"Bookmark here

A moment of silence fell between us. I waited for a few more seconds, but no response came through. I looked up at her and then noticed that she was crying.Bookmark here

"Y-Yukari?"Bookmark here

"*sniff* R-Really?"Bookmark here

She looked me dead in the eyes and before I could ask again, she beamed me a smile and threw herself towards me "I accept!" "I'll marry you~!"Bookmark here

"R-Really?"Bookmark here

"Yeah *sniff* I will~!"
Bookmark here

I slowly got up into a sitting position, grabbed her hand gently and proceeded to slip the ring into her ring finger. Upon seeing it there, I couldn't believe it myself.Bookmark here

"This is surreal to me..."Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah..." She wiped away the remnant tears and smiled at me "It really is"Bookmark here

That night, we stayed there overlooking the city hand in hand and simply took in it's beautiful scenery.Bookmark here

Once we were ready to start on heading on back home, we left the hilltop and made our way back towards our house. After around an hour or so of being on the train and walking, we arrived at our apartment complex.Bookmark here

Just when I thought things were going to end at that, I noticed that Yumiko, Kuniko and Rui were standing there, most likely waiting for the both of us.Bookmark here

"Welcome back~!"Bookmark here

"So, did you get rejected or what, Kiyota?!"Bookmark here

"If you did, my daughter can become your wife~"Bookmark here

"K-Kuniko?!"Bookmark here

"I'm just joking, Yukari dear"Bookmark here

This was the life I wanted. I wanted neighbors with who I could speak to without having to be too respectful. People I could call my friends and my new family.Bookmark here

"We're back, everyone"Bookmark here

"And engaged~!"Bookmark here

Yukari lifted our hands where she had her ring on and cheers started resounding throughout the silent night.Bookmark here

That night, we all celebrated Yukari and my engagement by eating and drinking the entire night. Once the whole party had ended, we said our goodbyes to everyone and the both of us made our way back home.Bookmark here

We quickly changed into our nightwear and as we were heading to bed, I couldn't help but notice that she still had the ring on her hand "Won't it bother you while you sleep?"Bookmark here

"I doubt it will... Besides, I want to know for sure that this isn't a dream"Bookmark here

"Yukari..."Bookmark here

She lightly grasped my hand and smiled at me "Good night, dear"Bookmark here

Hearing her say that word made my heart skip a beat, but even then, I knew it was something I would be hearing many more times in the future.Bookmark here

"Good night"Bookmark here

As I started drifting off to sleep, I couldn't help but remember the expression she had upon seeing me on one knee on that hilltop. That alone was more then enough to make me see that I did in fact love her.Bookmark here

I lightly caressed her hair and smiled at her "I love you... Yukari"Bookmark here

"I'll make you the happiest girl. I'll be the best husband I can be for you and I wish to spend the rest of my years living with you. Throughout the toughest times"Bookmark here

"I won't let you suffer no more... Not on my watch"Bookmark here

And thus... The Struggles from the Girl Next Door were no more... Now, it was only a life full of happiness for that girl who would become the best wife a man could hope for.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.