Taiyou arrived in front of Aoba’s room and stopped his feet. He secretly thought that this would never happen. There seemed to be no great solution for the problem of Aoba and her three mothers. He did not understand why Atsuko and the others hid who Aoba’s birth mother was, but he felt that they had no intention of speaking even if they would die.
On the other hand, Aoba clearly could not move forward because of the adolescent peculiarity called stubbornness, causing her to go as far as running away from home. Driven by a sense of competition, Atsuko became even more stubborn because of that. It was a vicious cycle. There was no indication in one way or another that persuasion or preaching was possible. It was not a problem that could be solved by playing the side of gender equality. Therefore, Taiyou decided to attack it from a completely different point of view. He brought up some type of unusual negotiation, trying to find a breakthrough, and got caught up in a complicated story. It can be said that it achieved success in some way.
He did not quite know about the composed Atsuko but at least Miho recognized him as the ringleader who tempted Aoba, and turned her anger towards him. It can be said that it seemed he accomplished his goals of redirecting the parent’s hatred towards himself. To get that far was amazing, but then Atsuko proposed something unthinkable. That he should confess right now.
She had a faint smile on her face immediately after saying that. From what Taiyou experienced with Kohaku and Sakura, he preferred probing for one’s true intentions, and somehow understood Atsuko’s true motive.
There was no need for Taiyou to confess to Aoba at this moment. There was no need to at all. That’s why it was nothing more than Atsuko’s revenge. Bringing up some type of unusual negotiation and using it against a shocked man, was meager revenge.
Words hold power. Particularly in this situation, even if it was a joke, he could not help but to obey. After all, Atsuko is a mother, and Taiyou said that he likes her daughter. Furthermore, she said that she would allow him to do as he pleases if he accepted her proposition. In some way, it was a very justified argument, so there was no reason for Taiyou to refuse.
And so, arriving in front of Aoba’s room, Taiyou could not help but to have a bitter smile. Half of it was the enjoyable sensation of outwitting her and the other half was the fun of arguing back and forth.
He sorted his feelings and took a deep breath once. His facial expression changed quickly as he looked up. It changed from a bitter smile to the face of a well-defined man.
Knock Knock. Knock Knock.
Two knocks were repeated twice, based on manners he learned from Kohaku.
Taiyou heard Aoba’s reply from within the room. Taiyou thought whether Miho would knock that way and guessed correctly, considering who she pinpointed.
「I want to talk to you about something, but can I come in?」
「Huh, Natsuno-kun? A minute, wait a minute」
He heard a slapping sound from within the room and judged that she was rushing.
「Suu, haa, suuhaa. In, please come in」
After awhile, she gave him permission to enter. Taiyou turned towards the door and entered.
It was a fancy room like a girl’s. He noticed that she was indeed rushing to change her clothes. She sat in a chair and was dressed in plain clothes. She appeared to be in her usual straight ponytail, blue mini dress, and coordinated black knee-high socks. Her thigh that could be seen between the top of knee and hemline of the skirt, and her kneecap that was transparent through her brand new knee-high socks, made Taiyou’s chest tighten.
While suppressing his rapidly beating heartbeat and pretending to be calm, he closed the door behind him.
「Natsuno-kun, have you finished your conversation?」
「huh? No, it starts…now」
For a moment, he thought that was an indirect rejection. Although he had not begun talking about anything yet, he misunderstood being asked 「if the conversation had ended」
(Do not be too conscious……)
While secretly smiling faintly, he changed his attitude.
「The conversation with Atsuko-san and Miho-san?」
「Well you could say something or another came from it. Is it ok to tell you?」
Keeping in mind what Taiyou asked, Aoba’s body became stiff, and it was obvious that she was nervous. She was nervous earlier but now it became more obvious that she was nervous now. Instead of Taiyou who calmed down, her nervousness was caused by a misunderstanding. A faint mischievous side begin to bud in Tayou but considering it was not necessary at the moment, he threw it out of his mind.
「Actually……I, I have fallen in love with Miyagi-san」
Plenty―― after truly freezing for no less than ten seconds, Aoba finally squeezed out a voice. It was the reaction that seemed to have witnessed something extremely unexpected. Furthermore, puzzling over it three and a half times, and then seeming to have an accepting reaction. Compared to Atsuko and the other’s reaction, Taiyou felt that Aoba’s was refreshingly pleasant.
「What, what are you talking about Natsuno-kun?」
「I like you, I love you」
「na na na na na na――」[1. Mikazuki: Batman!!!!…No connection to the story at all but Aoba being flustered is extremely cute! xD]
Taiyou did not mince words and chose to speak in a way that did not leave any room for misunderstandings. Aoba who was confessed to, panicked on a grand scale.
「What are you saying Natsuno-kun!?」
「I love you」
「No! That’s not it. What’s the matter all of a sudden?」
After saying it, Aoba made a surprised facial expression as if she realized something.
「It can’t be. You said something to Mama didn’t you?」
「It had to be Atsuko-san? You don’t believe that it was Miho-san?」
「It’s because Mother isn’t someone who instigates you. If I make that assumption, then it is the type of thing Mama would do」
「Oh, now I understand. I believe you」
「It’s as I expected after all……what is Mama doing?」
「That’s not the case. I was told to said something I said earlier, but it’s not like that」
「Then, what do you mean?」
「When I told Atsuko-san and the others that I love Miyagi-san, they told me that they would accept me as soon as I confessed. 」
There was a short pause and then Aoba was astonished on a grand scale again.
「In other words, I was told to convey my feelings properly」
「Fe, fe fe fe feelings?」
「I like you」
Taiyou repeated his confession. After he did, he could see Aoba becoming extremely flustered. It was way too unexpected and sudden. She was so cute that Taiyou wanted to embrace her with all his strength.
「Jo…Stop joking Natsuno-kun」
「I’m not joking, I’m serious」
「But, you suddenly said such a thing……」
「If that’s the case, wait until you are calm. Then, will you consider if I’m not serious or not?」
He said while looking straight at Aoba. The gaze that Taiyou gave her caused her to panic lightly but he did not say anything afterwards. Aoba gradually calmed down after seeing that his eyes were serious. After staring at the look on Taiyou’s face for a while, Aoba quietly asked a question in return.
「Why do you like me?」
「Do I need a reason?」
「Yes, it’s necessary」
Aoba answered immediately without hesitation. Thus, Taiyou responded.
「It seems that it was during the daytime when we talked in the hallway? That time, your face just before returning to the classroom……There’s no way to explain it. I fell in love the moment I saw it」
「During the day……that」
「Yeah? Does anything come to mind? Could it be that you remember the face you made?」
「Ah, no, that’s not it」
Aoba crossed her hands and hastily denied it.
「Yeah, that time, was when I fell in love with you」
「……but, Natsuno-kun. You have Hayakawa and the others that I met this morning――」
「Yeah, that’s right. I already have girlfriends. That’s why I’m saying it like this――I also like you」
「You want me to be in your harem as well?」
Aoba asked in return. The panic that remained in her voice until a while ago had already disappeared. She calmed down and asked him with a serious tone.
Taiyou nodded clearly without glossing it over or expressing it in different words. If there was a need for someone to make an excuse, this was the situation. Now however, Taiyou believed that there were times when excuses were not necessary.
Aoba looked downward for a short while. While slightly biting her lip, her face looked like was considering things but hesitation was intervening. Taiyou waited and was prepared to wait forever. He thought that he could wait forever if he was able to know her feelings. Eventually――,
「……Natsuno-kun, I also have something to say to you」
「I also…may have fallen for Natsuno-kun」
This time, it was Taiyou’s turn to be confused. He didn’t expect her to say something like that. He didn’t imagine it in the slightest.