Chapter 40 – The Kiss and the Dog and the Wolf 
“Didn’t I say ya don’t hafta be so cautious? That, just now, was a joke.”
“Aah, okay okay. Okay okay.”
Do kindly sympathise with the feelings of I, who was almost kissed by a guy. There’s no way you’ll be so easily forgiven when you teased someone in such a way when they are seriously depressed.
There’s a need to clearly tell this guy who doesn’t know such a basic thing. Having decided, I face Ichigo-chan again and make a serious expression.
“Well, take a seat, Ichigo-chan.”
I sit cross-legged on the bed and make Ichigo-chan sit in seiza on the floor.
As Ichigo-chan came straight to my house from the school, besides his school uniform, he naturally doesn’t have have anything to wear. As such, I obligatorily let him wear my room wear. However, should I say as expected or as a matter of course, it looks pretty tight. Well, our difference in height is more than 10cm after all. Maybe I should be glad that he was at least able to wear it.
Pushing up the bridge of my black-rimmed glasses, I sternly point at him.
“I’ll seriously wallop you if you do that again. ‘nd I won’t ever listen to you again. Got it?”
“Be good then. I’m going to send Soutarou an apology mail now.”
Strike while the iron is hot. I want to quickly reconcile with Soutarou. I can’t concentrate on the end-of-term tests when I’m feeling this gloomy and I can’t enjoy the summer vacation.
With these thoughts, I hold the smartphone with both my hands and lie down. I desperately mull over what to type but nothing comes to mind.
Soutarou is probably angry that I chased after Ikuto back then. He’s angry that I proceeded with a dangerous undertaking even though I, alone, might not have been able to help at all. I understand.
Then, did he ignore me just now because we met despite having quarrelled with each other and it was awkward? Or is it jealousy like what Ichigo-chan said? I’m not sure about this.
Still, it seems I’m quite obtuse. What should I do if I get the wrong idea again and anger Soutarou? We may not be able to return to how we were in the past.
With the app still open, I grasp the smartphone tightly.
The last time I sent a message was the day that incident with Ichigo-chan happened. We haven’t been keeping in touch at all ever since. Even though we contacted each other everyday before that. Even if I don’t have business with him, just『Soutarou』or『Shiritori』, now that I think of it, the messages I sent were full of those without actual content. Without thinking, my fingers simply moved.
In spite of that, now, when I’ve things I really want to convey, nothing comes to mind. My fingers are trembling.
Don’t ignore me like that. Call my name like usual.
My shoulders shake in surprise.
The one who called me ‘Mako’ was obviously not Soutarou, but Ichigo-chan.
I knew that. However, the timing was so coincidental that I was taken aback.
“Ye hands ain’t moving at all.”
I glance at Ichigo-chan. Ichigo-chan puts the manga he’d been reading aside, and looks in my direction.
Squeeze, I put more strength into my hand that’s holding the smartphone.
I’m most afraid of having my message ignored even though the other has read it. Normally, I won’t care at all but I’ve a feeling that we can never reconcile if it’s ignored in this situation.
That’s why, it’s better to apologise face-to-face. Let’s go to Soutarou’s house tomorrow and apologise. If it seems like he’s going to run, let’s pin him down with wrestling moves or whatever and yell at him to listen to what I’ve to say.
“It’s fine. I’ll apologise to him face-to-face tomorrow. I’m sleeping.”
“‘Dat so. Actually, it’s still 9pm y’know. Ain’t it too early to sleep?”
Ichigo-chan’s yawning as he reads the famous pirate manga about searching for a grand treasure in the sea. It was originally already in my room. By the way, I’ve only read till about volume 20. It was till the part where that blue-haired princess played a big role. Yet, for some reason, the full collection of volumes is here.
Besides that, there’s famous basketball manga, Strawberry Underwear Falls in Love At 100% and other kinda old but still famous manga gathered here.
“Then, should we play a game? The Game of Life, maybe?”
Walking with my knees, I approach the shelf containing game software and pass him a software I chose randomly.
However, Ichigo-chan doesn’t seem very interested. Before long, he leaves the software on the futon and rustle, he begins to rummage through the book shelf.
“Hmー, don’t ya have somethin’ else?”
“Ichigo-chan sure is picky. You can take a look around as you like so find it yourself.”
At that moment, a notification that I’ve received a message came in.
Groping for my phone on the bed, I casually lower my gaze. And, surprise, a message from Soutarou came in. With my fingertips trembling, I go ahead and read its contents.
『Mako, can I call you?』
It’s just a single sentence but I’m happy enough to shed tears.
I didn’t expect that Soutarou will contact me from his side. Even if he’s calling to scold me or for some similar reason, I’m happy. I can talk to Soutarou properly. That alone makes me happy.
“Sorry, Ichigo-chan. Can I make a call?”
“Is it him?”
’Him’ is probably referring to Soutarou.
Ichigo-chan’s expression clouds over slightly and a furrow forms between his brows. His sharp sanpakugan turns even sharper and I unconsciously shrink back. This comes at a bit of a late hour, especially after I said whatever I wanted to that extent, but I’ll probably be defenceless if I’m punched, kicked or tied down by the muscle-bound Ichigo-chan.
“That’s right… Soutarou said that he wants to call. I think it’ll be over quickly so read manga or something and wait, okay, Ichigo-chan.”
What’s he saying.
Holding my phone, I stand before the door and look back at Ichigo-chan who’s looking up at me. Several tens of seconds pass by silently like that. Concluding that it’s useless no matter what else I say, I turn my back towards Ichigo-chan and try to leave the room.
“Let me kiss you then.”
I reflexively turn around at the shocking words.
“How did it come to that. I don’t wanna.”
“Then show me your underwear. Underwear.”
“Quit messin’ around. Read the manga over there or something. You can see high school girls’ underwear y’know.”
Pointing at the Strawberry Underwear 100% manga, I roughly drive him away.
However, Ichigo-chan slowly stands up and walks towards me. Although I say ‘walks towards me’, it’s a small 8-tatami room so he arrives before my eyes with just a step or two.
“Weren’t ya talkin’ with me. Why are ya makin’ a call. Aren’t messages fine? Ya definitely won’t be back for about an hour if ya make a call.”
“I’ll make it 15 minutes.”
“Don’t wanna. Isn’t it fine to call ‘morrow?”
Ichigo-chan who’s slowly drawing nearer is extremely scary. Including that time with Prince, it’s the second time I’m pressed against the wall in a room, but different from the Prince, this is quite intense.
Prince was erotic but it felt like a kitten playing with me. Ichigo-chan feels like a wild animal or a bird of prey so, like this, I sense the danger.
Our faces grow even closer because he switches from a kabedon to a hijidon. Even as I feel the intensity before my eyes, the way his sublime countenance brilliantly advents, is like a shoujo manga. Nay, it’s actually BL.
“Tomorrow’s no good. Soutarou, too, probably plucked up his courage to contact me. That’s why I’ve to reply him immediately. It’s no good if I don’t contact him right now.”
“‘Is dat so. Still, no.”
Ichigo-chan seizes my smartphone and subsequently flings it forcefully onto the bed.
Fortunately, it lands on the futon so I don’t think it’s broken, but I can only open and close my mouth repeatedly like a goldfish in response to his chain of actions that can be deemed ‘startling’.
“What are you doing! Seriously, Ichigo-chan. Soutarou’s really waiting for my call.”
I feel excessively anxious when I imagine that Soutarou may be thinking that I’m ignoring him despite having read his message.
Perhaps Ichigo-chan didn’t notice my state of mind; he’s caressing my cheek and stroking my chin. Not understanding Ichigo-chan’s intention, I blink as I stare at his face.
“Does Makoto not grow beards? Iz so scant.”
Uh, is that something we must talk about now?
When I stoop down to escape from the beneath the elbow that’s doing the hijidon, he smoothly embraces me. Instead of being embraced, maybe it’s closer to being seized. In such a way, he then tosses me onto the bed like what he did to the smartphone just now. That’s when I finally realise the peril my body is in.
“Didn’t I say ya don’t hafta be so cautious? I’m not gonna do anything, I say. Ya?”
“I got it. I’ll believe those words so, for the time being, sit there.”
Having been flung onto the bed, I somehow get up while both my mind and body are weakened, and point to the floor.
Even as he calculatively confiscates my phone, Ichigo-chan obediently sits on the floor. He won’t return my phone despite being obedient, huh.
It’s troubling that I can’t make a call but it’ll be even more troubling if he targets my butt or my lips next, out of curiosity.
“I got it. I won’t make a call. I won’t but at least let me give a reply.”
“It can’t be helped, huh.”
“The way you say that is really kinda displeasing. Well, whatever. Give me a moment.”
I make him return the phone before he changes his mind and begin thinking of what to type.
Somehow or other, it’s just my gut feeling but I think I musn’t tell Soutarou that I’m with Ichigo-chan. I’ve an inkling only people who can’t read the atmosphere will tell him that. Rather, I’ve the inking that things will turn troublesome.
『Can we have the call tomorrow? Somehow, I don’t think I can converse well now.』
The instant I send the message, the ‘Read’ word appears beside it.
And several seconds later, a reply comes in. Gulp, I swallow my saliva and chase after the words that were received.
『Can I come and see you tomorrow then? I’ll come and pick you up at 11am so let’s eat together.』
『That’s fine. Thanks.』
Replying with only these words, I put the smartphone down.
It’s the first time I’m looking forward so much to ‘tomorrow’. I want to hurry up and meet Soutarou, and tell him something. Not just ‘I’m sorry’. I’ve lots to say to him. There are things I want to convey to him after having not conversed for this 1 and a half days.
Honestly, I want to talk to him today but if there’s still a ‘tomorrow’, then ‘tomorrow’ is fine. Tomorrow is fine if I can meet him.
“Makoto, are ya done with the reply?”
“Aah. I’m going to meet Soutarou tomorrow. 11am.”
Suppressing my cheerful and buoyant heart somehow, I lie down on the bed.
Well then, should I memorise an English word? Opening the vocabulary book, my restless legs thrash about.
Without a word, Ichigo-chan climbs onto my bed. It’s a surreal situation where two guys, 178cm and 190cm-ish, are lying down on a single bed.
Sandwiched between Ichigo-chan and the wall, I lift my head from the vocabulary book and give a sidelong glance. Ichigo-chan has gone to search for The Grand Treasure of One Piece.
“Ichigo-chan, get off the bed.”
“Because it’s squeezy.”
I push him with my elbow but Ichigo-chan doesn’t even budge. Instead, he’s getting increasingly closer to me.
“Oi. How annoying.”
Despite my glare, his gaze still remains on the book and he does nothing but chortle. It doesn’t seem like he’s going to leave at all.
“Why not. Isn’t it just sleeping?”
“It’s a hindrance because it’s just sleeping. I can’t sleep if it’s squeezy.”
“I’ll hold your hand then.”
How did it come to that. Perhaps my sentiments are projected too obviously on my face; Ichigo-chan’s smile grows even wider.
With a bewildered expression, that surfaced due to my sentiments of this disturbing and bothersome guy, still on my face, I’m unable to say anything and remain still as it is.
Subsequently, did several seconds pass since then? The first one to concede is me. Giving a very deep sigh, I lower my gaze at the vocabulary book.
“The hand is fine. In exchange, I’ll drive you out if you take up anymore space.”
It’s squeezy, it’s hot and it’s a hindrance. But it’s useless even if I say anything else so I decide to leave the matter alone.
More importantly, tomorrow. What should I first say when I meet Soutarou tomorrow? What will Soutarou say? There are so many things to think about that one head really isn’t enough.
 Shiritori – Japanese word game, can be played through texts.
 Probably a reference to the shounen manga, Strawberry 100%. The pirate one in the previous paragraph should be One Piece.
 Kabedon (wall don), hijidon (elbow don). Former: cornered against the wall with his palm against the wall. Latter: same thing but with elbow instead of palm.