Chapter 10:

The Truth About Natsumi

If I Had To Find One Girl From Quadruplets, Should I Be Worried?

Ever since I accompanied the Setsunazaki sisters the other day, I start to think about Mysterious Cherry Blossom Girl again. I was so immersed with my daily life that I almost forgot about her. What was it that I saw with Natsumi? A vision? Is it telling me that Natsumi is the Mysterious Cherry Blossom Girl? I should ask her about that.

Now then, how can I ask her? Follow her like when we met? No, Akino will surely kill me if I did that again. No, not just Akino. Fuyuha and Haruna will also lose their trust in me. What should I do then?

First, let’s ask for advice from Newcastle-senpai. Wait, how can I find Newcastle-senpai while we’re at school? Between the two of us, she’s always the one to find me! Well, this is confusing.

I wander around the school aimlessly, hoping to find Newcastle-senpai. Hang on, she’s probably on her class. Now then, where’s her class located? Before I even took a step on the way to Newcastle-senpai’s class, my phone starts ringing. It’s a message from Newcastle-senpai.

“Kazuki, I had a feeling that you wanted to see me. Where are you right now?”

Newcastle-senpai’s feeling is always spot-on, just how did she do that? I answered her message, “I’m currently in front of my class. Where are you now?”

Newcastle-senpai’s replied immediately, “Oh, I see you!” After I read the message, I look around to find Newcastle-senpai. When I spotted her, she smiled as she waves her hand.

“Hi there, Kazuki. How can I help?”

“Uhh, sorry for bothering you. I just want to ask you about something.”

“No problem, no problem! You can rely on me!” said Newcastle-senpai proudly, then she asked, “So, what’s the question?”

“Uhh, I wanted to know something from someone. Do you have any idea how?”

Newcastle-senpai put her finger on her chin, “Hmm, if you ask me, I’d probably ask them directly. Although, be mindful of your actions towards girls, okay?”

“…How did you know it’s about a girl?”

Newcastle-senpai winked while sticking her tongue out, “Just a feeling I had!”

I sighed, “As always, it’s amazing. Now then, any other tips?”

“Hmm, I don’t I have any more advice for now. Just be yourself?” said Newcastle-senpai as she taps my shoulder repeatedly. I chuckled, “Thanks, Senpai.” Newcastle-senpai put her hands on her hip, “No problem! I’m happy to see you looking better every day!”

After I parted ways with Newcastle-senpai, I look around the second years’ floor to find Natsumi. While I’m wandering around, many gazes are directed towards me. When I return their gaze, all of them are avoiding eye contact or even ran away. Why are you staring at me if you didn’t want to be stared at?

While I’m still returning their gazes, someone tapped my shoulder. I immediately took a defensive stance. The tapper exclaimed, “Kazuki-kun! I’m not going to hurt you!” When I see my tapper, I returned to my relaxed stance, “Oh, Natsumi. Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.” Natsumi giggled, “No, no. It’s also my fault. I should’ve called you instead of just tapping your shoulder.”

I scratched my head, “Listen, I want to ask you something…”

“Yes? How can I be of help?”

In my mind, I wanted to ask so many things to her, but the words just wouldn’t come out. While I’m still pondering, I noticed that our surroundings are whispering. Natsumi doesn’t seem to notice their whispers as she was just being silent and waits for me patiently.

“…On second thought, maybe it’s not that important… Sorry for making you wait this long,” I said to her as I turned to leave.

Natsumi grabbed my sleeve and said, “Are you okay? You looked pale…”

“…I’m fine. I was just thinking that it’s best if you aren’t friends with me.”

Hearing my words, Natsumi loosened her grip on my sleeve. As I leave, I glanced at Natsumi. I suddenly felt guilty when I saw Natsumi’s sad expression. Not wanting to crush Natsumi’s future situation, I turned back, grabbed her hand, and said, “Sorry about my words before, I wasn’t thinking clearly. Can we talk at another place?” Natsumi’s expression brightens when she saw me grabbed her hand. When I saw that expression of hers, it helped me calm down.

I instinctively brought Natsumi to the school backyard, the place where we first met. When I noticed the surroundings, I said, “Sorry. Should’ve picked a better place.” Natsumi shakes her head, “No. This place is fine. This is where we first acquainted, after all!” I chuckled. When Natsumi noticed that my expression has become relaxed, she smiled and said, “There! I like it when you’re relaxed! Don’t be so stiff with me and my sisters!”

I chuckled again, “Thanks Natsumi. Although, I’m not so sure about that in front of one other person.”

Natsumi giggled, “Easy does it. Don’t rush it with Akino-chan, okay?”

“Got it. And about what I was saying…”

“I’m listening…”

“I know you said that you only had three sisters and not four, also the fact that you went with your sisters to the amusement park,” I said to confirm the facts. Natsumi replied with a nod. I continue to talk, “Did you know that I was there too?” Natsumi nodded again.

“So you know… Then you know that I was with a girl?” Natsumi nodded for the third time. “Lastly, the most important thing…” Natsumi clenched her hand in front of her chest, starting to look serious. I took a deep breath and said, “Was it you who went with me at that time?”

I said it, the words I’ve been wanting to say this whole time. Natsumi is stunned for a bit, then she took a deep breath and said, “I am very sorry to disappoint you, but it was not me who went with you at the amusement park.”

I let out a deep sigh, “I knew it wouldn’t be easy… Natsumi, thanks for answering…”

“I am very sorry. To make it up to you, allow me tell you a secret.”

“Is that okay?”

“Yes. I think that you should know about it…” said Natsumi, looking serious. I gulped. Natsumi closed her eyes, seemingly to steel herself to tell me the secret. When Natsumi is about to talk, a familiar voice interrupted her, “Natsumi! Where are you?”

I suddenly felt the urge to run away before things get worse, but I was too late as the owner of the voice caught me alone with her sister. I try to talk my way out, “Listen, before you say something, let me explain. I didn’t stalk her this time. Natsumi is nice enough to follow me here.”

Akino didn’t say anything, she only stared at me. Urk, awkward… While in this awkward silence I realized, for the first time in the history of our interactions, I didn’t feel the usual hostility from Akino. I wonder why…

Natsumi jogged to Akino then said to her, “Akino-chan, it’s okay. Kazuki-kun really asked me to follow him here.” Akino sighed, “I don’t care about that now. I have something to tell you.” Natsumi, looking confused, asked, “Can you tell me here?” Akino shook her head, “No. This concerns our family. I don’t think outsiders should hear about it…” Natsumi thinks for a while, then decided to go with Akino. As she leaves, Natsumi waves at me to say goodbye.

I wonder, what is it that they’re going to discuss? While I’m still pondering, my phone rang. It’s Newcastle-senpai, reminding me of the “punishment” we agreed on the other day. “This should be a nice change of pace,” I thought.

When I arrived at the school cafeteria, I try to find Newcastle-senpai. It shouldn’t be hard. Newcastle-senpai always stands out with her blonde ponytail and ribbon. After looking for a while, I find Newcastle-senpai already seated on her table. Noticing me, Newcastle-senpai smiled and waves at me, “Kazuki! Here!” I then sit in front of her. Seemingly noticed my situation, Newcastle-senpai said, “Your meeting didn’t go well, huh…”

“Yeah… Before we get things straight, she was needed somewhere else…”

“Huh… It’s probably important then.”

“What should I do?”

“For now? Probably nothing?”

I chuckle, “Heh… it’s probably for the best. Thanks, Senpai.”

“You’re welcome! Now then, what should we eat?” said Newcastle-senpai as she looks around the cafeteria, scouting on what other students are having for their meal. While I’m still thinking of what to eat, my phone received a message. It’s from Fuyuha, asking me to meet her at the flower garden after school.

I replied to her, “Okay, got it.” After replying, I noticed that Newcastle-senpai already has her food lined up on the table. Just how did she do it? I replied Fuyuha’s message in less than a minute, right?

“Kazuki, what’s the matter? You’re spacing out.”

“No. Just wondering about something.”

“Huh… Okay, then… Anyway, let’s eat!” said Newcastle-senpai. I responded with a nod. Newcastle-senpai then starts eating her food, while I watched her.

I kept thinking about Fuyuha’s message. Why did she ask me to meet her after school, right after they had their family discussion? Is it possible that I was somehow mentioned in their discussion? I then realized that I was about to cut ties with them. That topic probably surfaced on their discussion. Well, I should prepare for the worst then…