Chapter 39 – The Kiss and the Dog and the Wolf 
“Ichigo-chan… I’m troubled.”
“Ichigo-chan, I don’t understand a man’s heart. Why did Soutarou ignore me?”
In the end, I brought Ichigo-chan to my house. Or rather, I should say that he sent me, who was so taken aback by Soutarou ignoring me that my head turned blank and dazed, home.
Although I’m by nature the type who isn’t too concerned with human relationships, it’s somehow shocking to be treated coldly by Soutarou. It’s because I thought it’s natural for him to always go “Mako, Mako” by my side. But that way of thinking belongs to someone with quite a bad personality, doesn’t it.
The relationship between Soutarou and I may have been built upon Soutarou’s kindness. No matter what selfish things I say, no matter what rash things I do, Soutarou’s the one who accepts them all.
Friends are probably beings who’ll fight once or twice. I may not need to take it so seriously.
However, I’ve never had the experience of genuinely fighting with friends before. That’s why I don’t know how to reconcile. Is it okay if I say I’m sorry? I’m sorry ――despite being such simple words, I don’t know when to say them and what expression to make when I say them.
“Wasn’t he against you being with me, Sakurai? It’s probably just jealousy.”
I stare at the pot with meat and potato stew in it.
This meat and potato stew was made by Mitsuki. The homemade cooking of Mitsuki with high specs in housework is superb. As Mitsuki is a cut above the rest only in cooking and appeal, she really can’t do sports and studies.
While the lil’ fool, Mitsuki, with pointlessly high femininity is super adorable in my eyes, this Mitsuki is still unable to bring Prince down.
Meat and potato stew, nameko miso soup, freshly-cooked rice and chicken wings bought from the nearby delicatessen. For dessert, it’s pudding, also made by Mitsuki.
The dishes are arranged on the dining table that can seat four people.
“He likes you, right. You sure are dense.”
I’m estranged from romance. I’m aware of that. After all, I’m an unpopular woman who has nil romantic experiences and has also never gotten confessed to before.
Still, Soutarou likes me? Soutarou is the heroine, Mitsuki’s, capturable character y’know. Moreover, I’m male now. It shouldn’t be possible for Soutarou to like me romantically.
“How do I reconcile, then?”
“Apologising ‘s likely enough. Say ‘Sorry, I’m dating Subaru-san’. Den say sumthin’ like ‘Let’s get along as friends from now on’.
Oh, right. Ichigo-chan thinks that Subaru and I are dating.
I open my mouth and take this opportunity to tell him the truth.
“Subaru isn’t my girlfriend. It’s just that Subaru has someone else she likes. That’s why.”
“Aa, well, I thought t’was the case. You and Subaru-san didn’t feel like ya were dating after all. But I also thought that I didn’t stand a chance. That’s why I’m giving up already… bon appetit.”
After properly putting his hands together and lowering his head, Ichigo-chan reaches for the meat and potato stew.
Despite knowing that he doesn’t stand a chance with Subaru, Ichigo-chan leisurely chews the potato without changing his expression. Observing that, I also sip the nameko miso soup. Among the dishes on the table, only this nameko miso soup was made by me. The taste may be slightly too bland.
“I see. … I’m sorry for deceiving you.”
“Not really. Subaru-san’s kind so she wasn’t able to reject me directly. More importantly, this miso soup sure ‘s tasty. You made it, didn’t you. Dat’s amazing.”
Leaving the discussion about whether Subaru is kind or not to a later date, I’m glad Ichigo-chan has a clear-cut personality. I was worried that he’d be more attached to Subaru, and that he’d berate and wallop me who deceived him, but he may be a surprisingly nice guy.
“There’s more, y’know. Because both Mitsuki and I cook a lot more than necessary despite there being only the two of us. At that time, I should’ve invited Soutarou too…”
“Sheesh, isn’t it fine if you reconcile from now on. How effeminate.”
Well, sorry for being effeminate. I was female up until three months ago, you know.
How convenient that I return to being female and return to being male when it’s opportune for me. In the end, which one do I want to live as? Will I remain a creature whose gender cannot be differentiated and die this way?
Subaru seems to be fully enjoying this life of being transported into an otome game, but I’m not enjoying it at all and if possible I want go back right now. I want to go back.
I wonder what’s this gloomy feeling that drops by out of the blue. I shouldn’t be a temperamental person though.
“But I can’t do that.”
Just like that I lay down on the table, groan groan, and start groaning
If this is a game I’ll definitely press the reset button, but this is technically reality.
If I raise my head now, I’ll definitely cry. Although I don’t know why I’ll cry, I’ll definitely cry.
“Oi, raise yeh head, Sakurai.”
I shake off Ichigo-chan’s hand that comes stretching towards me. Ichigo-chan draws his hand back with a start.
Even though I didn’t invite Ichigo-chan over to vent my anger on him. Even though my goal was to separate him from Subaru and make him fall for Mitsuki, it’s embarrassing that I behave so disgracefully.
It’s because Ichigo-chan faces me so straightforwardly that my true thoughts reveal themselves, don’t they.
However, Ichigo-chan isn’t my family, lover or even a friend. I may come off as cold saying it this way but he’s really just an, just an acquaintance. He’s not someone I can act spoiled with and depend on.
I gently raise my head and look straight at Ichigo-chan. Garnet sanpakugan that look like they’re burning. It’s an eye colour possible only because it’s an otome game.
“I don’t understand you. Which ‘you’ is the real one?”
“Even today alone, just as I thought you’d send delinquents flying, like now, you act weak like a girl and stuff. What are you pretending to be? Which is the real Sakurai Makoto?”
I think Soutarou and Kaname told me something similar before.
Indeed, in order to become Mitsuki’s cool onii-chan, I’m aware that I try to act as such a ‘me’. However, again, it’ll feel strange if I reveal “the me who was female” in the real world.
Be it that I act as a male or remain as female, it’s cobbled either way and odd. It seems like it’ll come apart if I move even just a little.
My arms break off and my legs come off as I move forward. Bit by bit, bit by bit the real ‘me’ disappears. Isn’t that something natural as humans mature and is actually something common?
As long as I act as the ideal ‘me’, the past ‘me’ will disappear bit by bit and reborn as a new ‘me’.
“I am, me. But I was seriously pathetic this time. You confronted me directly so my true thoughts also unconsciously came out.”
Anyone will act as their ideal selves.
It may appear misshapen and you may even dislike such a self once in a while.
Even so, I’m Mitsuki’s onii-chan.
Even if it’s cobbled and feels out of place, even if it’s brought out into the open. I’ll continue acting as Mitsuki’s cool onii-chan. If I do so, surely one day, a proper, cool, dependable, someone the female otome game players will go “So cool, onii-chan~! Kyaakyaa” at, I’ll become such an onii-chan.
“Alright! The grand strategy to reconcile Soutarou and Makoto, we’re gonna have a strategic meeting yoー. I won’t let you sleep tonight man, Ichigo-cha—”
Ichigo-chan grips my arm with his right hand, and his left hand is placed at the back of my head.
20cm away from the tip of my nose lays Ichigo-chan’s face.
I can see my bewildered expression reflecting in his garnet eyes.
“I came to like you.”
How did that come about from this sequence of events?
The first words that come to mind are these.
Ichigo-chan’s face gradually approaches and his lips touches mine――… right before that, I push his shoulders away with all my might and gave a slap with all I’ve got in the direction of Ichigo-chan who’s some distance away.
“UOOOOI! Wh-wh-what are you—”
“Talk after you calm down some more, Sakurai.”
As he received the full-power free swing slap of a high school boy on his cheek, his cheek is bright red.
Holding his bright red left cheek, Ichigo-chan slowly returns to his seat again. And then, he resumes eating as though nothing happened. Incomprehensible.
“Ichigo-chan, what, what are—”
“‘What’ you say, it’s a kiss right. I didn’t manage to do it though. I’m dispirited ‘cos you gave me a slap.”
What’s with this guy! Incomprehensible.
Anyone will reject if they’re about to be kissed suddenly. Why has it become as though I, who rejected the kiss, is the bad guy. I may accept a surprise kiss from someone I like, but isn’t it normal to reject a kiss from a guy who’s less than a friend?
Furthermore, didn’t he like Subaru up until a while ago? Your heart changed too fast, ya. That’s more dispiriting.
“‘Dispirited’ you say… You…”
Thinking that he may try to kiss me again, I look at Ichigo-chan in fear.
Watching me behave like that, Ichigo-chan snorts dismissively.
“Ya don’t hafta be so cautious, I won’t do it anymore. You sure are being over-conscious.”
“Shuddap. I weren’t particularly cautious or anything. You’re the one being over-conscious! IIIdiot, iiidiot!”
Picking up the chopsticks again, I reach for the meat and potato stew.
Thinking about various things somehow made me hungry. I feel like eating Mitsuki’s delicious homemade cooking will help me regain my energy. And after that, let’s think of how to reconcile with Soutarou.
For a moment, I looked on the black side but as expected, I need Soutarou. Because Soutarou is my precious friend.
Clatter, hearing the sound of a chair falling, I reflexively raise my head.
And then, with a momentum that doesn’t allow for any chance of escape, he brings his face closer. My voice can’t come out due to the overwhelming shock and I can only withdraw my head like a tortoise.
I’ll be kissed this time for sure, or possibly receive a free swing slap in retaliation. With these thoughts in mind, I tightly shut my eyes and after a moment of nothingness, I feel his lips touching the temple of my forehead.
“It’s dispiriting if you’re so scared.”
Even though I’m seriously bewildered, this guy is acting so brazenly. Does he not even have a fragment of morality?
This will be a sex crime if I’m female y’know. To the degree that I’ll win if I say ‘He forcibly tried to kiss me’ y’know.
I’m glad I didn’t let such a beastly guy fall in love for Mitsuki. The lovely, adorable and frail Mitsuki may already be raped by now.
Moreover, plotting to kiss after making the other party let down his guard for an instant, this guy… is capable!
“I can stay over today right. Ya invited me after all.”
“Leave. Leave right now. And don’t ever come back.”
I sense various kinds of danger from the grinning Ichigo-chan.
I don’t know whether this guy seriously likes me, or says he does to trouble me in retaliation for me getting in the way between him and Subaru.
However, it’s probably the latter. There’s no way he can fall for me in such a short time. In the first place, there isn’t any impetus that make him fall for me. Also, Ichigo-chan was in love with Subaru up until a while ago y’know.
“Don’t worry, I won’t attack you when you’re asleep. Let’s start with becomin’ friends ‘kay, Makoto.”
He probably wants to grin but it’s a smile that fits the sfx ‘smirk’.
With great vigour, I fervently, fervently pray that he’ll leave. I didn’t sense so much danger even from that Junya. Different from Junya, Ichigo-chan has an aura of being difficult to drive away so that may contribute to the sense of danger.
Guys are scary. Super scary.