「Uh, I…… This is Noda Sagiri…」
We start off with an awkward conversation.
It’s the first time I’m being awfully conscious in a conversation with Mizuhara. I decide to give him my thanks for the clothes, which was the point of the call.
「You really helped. Thanks. I don’t know what I would’ve done in that snow.」
「Don’t worry about it. I had something to do in school, so it was just a little detour. Is that all you wanted?」
「Mm…… Mmm. Not really…」
I want to ask him about Nonomiya-san and his brother’s wedding ceremony, but I don’t know how to ask him, or if I should ask at all.
I’m humming while trying to prolong the conversation and straighten my thoughts.
「What did you do? Did you run into some trouble?」
He thinks I’m calling him because I’m having problems.
I don’t blame him. He’s been very helpful in many ways.
「That’s not it. Um…… I heard you were going to attend your brother’s wedding ceremony…」
「Yeah. I’ve decided to go. Whoever marries my brother is going to inherit the title of landlady of the family inn. The other side has given their consent and still intends to marry him, so there’s nothing much to worry about. Plus, I’ll get to maintain appearances by attending the wedding.」
I’m the one who asked out of curiosity, but I have no idea how to respond.
He’s trying to say it in a businesslike fashion, but I can tell he’s really not into it. It’s getting awkward, and my palms are sweating.
As soon as I wipe my hands with a handkerchief, Mizuhara makes a slight cough.
「……Are you okay?」
He’s talking somewhat slower than usual, and his tone is a little sluggish even as he says he’s okay.
Is it the cold that’s been spreading?
「It’s not a cold. ……It’s just a minor case of insomnia.」
I ask him why, and he explains that he’s been having a bad dream recently.
「In my dream, I’m back home living with my family again. There are many elves too. It’s a relaxing dream at first, but when I ask them to make make me some snacks, smoke starts coming out of them. I take a closer look and see the elves enveloped in flames. They’re burning up. They show me their charred hands and say, does it look like we can make snacks like this? They end up dying while laughing maniacally.」
「……Whoaaa. That’s one hell of a dream……」
It’s more grotesque than a horror movie. I don’t really get scared when it comes to horror movies, but I feel sick when watching splatter films.
「I don’t want to see that nightmare again, but it conflicts with the need to get enough sleep in order to stay healthy. I’ve been forcing myself to sleep, but I just can’t.」
It happens to me sometimes. I tell myself to sleep, but my eyes are still wide open.
Mizuhara tells me that he’s taking a daytime flight to Hokkaido. There’s still some time before the actual wedding ceremony, but his mother sent him a flight ticket a few days before the wedding.
He must be feeling stressed from the idea of seeing his father again. That must be another reason he can’t sleep.
「Do you know about pressure points that help with sleep and recovery from fatigue? I’ve heard that there are a few on our bodies. You can try pressing a few of them.」
「You sound like you know about it. Why don’t you tell me where some of these pressure points are?」
「Sorry, I don’t know too well.」
It may be on the top of the head, or somewhere around the base of the neck. That’s what I’ve heard, but I’m not too sure.
「You’re recommending it even though you don’t know how it works?」
「I mean, it also depends on the person, right? When I can’t sleep, I start reading my economics textbooks. It’s especially effective before exams, but I doubt it’ll work on you.」
「……Are you sure you did fine on your exams this time?」
「Of course, leave it to me.」
「I most definitely won’t.」
Just like that, we’ve gotten sidetracked, earnestly talking about trivial things. I can hear a Mizuhara yawning, and his tone sounds sleepy now.
It’s a good time to sleep, and we weren’t talking about anything important. I should take this chance and tell him to go to sleep.
「You should wake up early tomorrow, so……」
I’m about to hang up the phone.
He sounds like he’s half asleep, but he’s still trying to continue the conversation.
「……I heard that you’re not dating the prince.」
「I thought you always wanted a boyfriend. Why did you reject him when he finally confessed to you?」
「Well…… Hmm. Sadly, I don’t really feel the same way about Michel as he does right now. I don’t want to get into a relationship with him half-heartedly……」
If it was someone I knew from a blind date, I might have given it less thought and entered a relationship.
「Well, I’ve had a lot to think about too. ……Uh, Mizuhara?」
He’s not chiming in like he did before.
I try calling him an idiot with a soft voice, but there’s no response. I stay silent for a while. Still no response.
It seems like he’s fallen asleep on the phone. It can’t be helped since he hasn’t slept much because of his recent nightmares.
I quietly say goodnight and hang up.