First Published on Ainushi
「 I found out the reason why Hiiragi Natsumi is so obsessed with me.」
「 Fast! What, it hasn’t even been 3 days yet, has it? 」
Early in the morning, as soon as Chiharu came to work, he was informed he had an appointment. Perhaps it was a declaration that he was throwing in the towel already. Trembling with trepidation, he went to the parlour, only to be greeted by Sakuya’s『 I found out the reason 』. Without thinking it through, he demanded an explanation.
(No matter how much that lass was after Sakuya, 3 days was just too quick.)
Did he seduce her? This newborn suspicion rose briefly but was then instantly refuted.
Even at the party, he had sensed that man named Tachibana Takayuki had been charmed by Amou, now known as Hiiragi Natsumi. Moreover, he had fallen head over heels in love with her.
Even if Sakuya succeeded in fooling him and seducing Natsumi, surely Takayuki would detect the change in her heart and the first one to be suspected would be Sakuya.
It was one thing for Sakuya alone to take the blame, but it could also lead to a trust issue with the company.
It wasn’t possible for Sakuya, who had sworn loyalty to Chiharu and the Kudou family, to act this rashly.
Making no progress in his thoughts, Chiharu urged him to speak.
「 It seems like when she was 10 years old, there was an abduction attempt.」
『And you say that back then, the one who helped you was『me』 ?』
『I’m sure you don’t have any memories of it… While desperately running for my life, the one blocking the path behind me and letting me escape… was a middle school boy. At the time I was immersed in slipping away and didn’t pay attention, but I still vividly remember a fruity smell. It’s the same exact smell that you have on you.』
「By the way, is the cologne you’re wearing at the moment custom-made? 」
「No. Actually, it’s a cheap store-bought one.」
「As I thought… Also, if she was 10 years old at the time, then you would have been 14? That’s exactly around the time you were studying abroad. Do you remember coming back for a bit?」
「Not at all. 」
「He-he, then it is just a misunderstanding. Okay, continue your report.」
She was never able to forget about her『benefactor』.
Certainly, it must have been my first love. Natsumi spoke with an enthusiastic gaze.
『Our reunion must have been fate. On the university grounds, there lies a large library upon which I crossed paths with you. That’s when it was clear to me. Ah, this is my saviour.』
In the premises of Natsumi’s escalator school, there was a large library.
Students from any grade can freely visit the campus, and although there is an authorisation system, outsiders still can peruse it.
Not long after entering middle school, Natsumi was entrusted by a teacher to return a book to the library.
There, she saw a distinct young man dressed in a pure-black suit. The citric smell coming from him, made her realise that he was 『the boy from before』 and providing various plausible reasons to the librarian, she managed to learn『his』name and social status.
「 There was a time when I went to the University’s library to look up some materials. 」
「I see. So it is not necessarily a false claim.」
Leaving aside whether or not you are『the one from her memories』.
To Chiharu’s additional statement, Sakuya silently agreed.
Finishing the report, with a polite bow and「It’s almost time for me to fetch her」,Sakuya left the parlour without waiting for Chiharu’s response.
All that was left behind was an envelope placed on top of the table.
「…As usual, I am extremely delighted with his work, but it feels like he is not treating me like a boss.」
Sighing with a good grief!, Chiharu pulled out from within the envelope a thick bundle of reports.
The document was carefully written in German so that the target or the people around her would not be able to read it.
Taking extra precautions, with a Japanese-German dictionary right beside him, Chiharu quietly started deciphering the sizable, or three day’s worth, amount of papers.
【Day 1 of escort-duty: Carrying out a meeting with the client, Mr. Tachibana Takayuki, and the target, Miss Hiiragi Natsumi.
Mr. Tachibana does not appear to trust me, and he emphasized『This is work, don’t forget it』.
Over Mr. Tachibana’s shoulder, Miss Natsumi is eyeing me with a carnivorous stare. Need to pay special attention.
I have been told to escort her outside the house and on her way back and forth from school. I am not needed inside the house.
Afterwards, I see her off to the Hiiragi mansion, but inside the car I get sexually harassed with a careless grip of my hand or touch on my shoulders.
『Call me by name』, she says as if it were set in stone. As I am about to decline, she pesters『Only, when it is just the two of us』. I stood firm and was about to take my leave when I heard her mutter in a low voice,『 The level of closeness must not be high enough yet 』. Not sure what that means.
I conclude that she is the type that can not comprehend conversations and reluctantly decides to plant a covert listening device.
I purposely dropped the pot-pourri that I had prepared beforehand as a safety measure off the dashboard. After she took an interest in it, I told her she could keep it and handed it over to her. She acted troubled, but she seemed to be pleased. Part of the bug was hidden at the bottom of the pot-pourri.
『Up till Takayuki-san’s route, it was simple but as expected, and the degree of difficulty of a hidden character is higher.
He doesn’t seem to be similar to the guys from the student council who will give in after I hear them out. I don’t want to waste too much time cause I can’t just skip like in the game. Still, Sakuya… Kyaaa~ I addressed him without honorifics. Sa.Ku.Ya.♪ Nuuu, the real thing is way too smexy ~! 』
In the rest of her monologue, she continues to mix ambiguous words like game and scenario.】
Speechless, Chiharu creased his forehead with a wrinkle between his brows and with an unwilling expression, continued on with the next report.
【Day 2 of escort-duty: Delivering the target to her school and waiting for her call and going out to meet her.
Time for school. I notice that her uniform is slightly disordered around the chest area. Knowing what she was aiming for, I deliberately didn’t point it out. In the end, just before reaching school, she pretends to notice it and with a『Oh my, how clumsy of me.』, and she throws glances at me as she fixes it. Lastly, without averting her eyes, she asks『Did you noticed it?』. I answer with a ‘Notice what?’ After hearing that, she turns away and grunts something in a low voice.
It appears that she is carrying the pot-pourri around with her, so I am able to listen in on her interactions and conversations at school. It seems that she doesn’t have a single female friend, just a lot of male students that try to talk to her and she responds amiably.
Noon. As an alumnus, her fiance pops by for a visit and they have lunch together in the student council room. Soon, they start flirting, so I temporarily turn off the device and take a break.
Evening. Receiving a call, I proceed to the school to meet her and found her waiting, surrounded by Mr. Takayuki and several other male students. Seems like those other guys are part of the student council.
After boarding the car, visibly struggling to speak, she starts,『Long ago, you saved me』.
When she was young, she was nearly abducted, but a middle school boy prevented it. She says that this same middle schooler was me, but it doesn’t ring a bell. Most importantly, at the time, I was attending a foreign educational institution, so it is obviously the case of mistaken identity.
So as not to divulge any possible personal information, I vaguely brush it off. Yet it seems like she interpreted it as an acknowledgement.
I will summarize her monologue that day.
『Up till now, everything follows the game. It’s increasingly clear that Sakuya has no recollections of that time…Well that’s all hogwash, so obviously there’s nothing to remember. Except for the Library-part. ♪ I don’t know when the scenario with Sakuya will happen, so I am glad that I can frequently see him.
And that librarian was so simple. After all, a naïve sob story of Sakuya being my life-saviour was enough to make him leak out Sakuya’s personal information. Let me see, when was the next event? If I remember correctly, it was the one where I pretend to fall over while getting off the car and he supports me in front of Takayuki-san. The so-called Jealousy event… Aw, I can’t wait! 』
As her bodyguard, naturally it is my duty to help her when she is about to fall, but in this case, how should I react?】
「…Is it mandatory for me to continue reading this? Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to refrain from reading any further.」
Even if I say this, reading my subordinate’s report as the『company president』 is my duty.
This is just work, this is just work. Reciting it in his mind like a Buddhist prayer, Chiharu rubbed his misty eyes and looked at the last part of the report.
【Day 3 of escort-duty: Going back and forth from school only.
Morning. I drive off ahead of schedule because she wants to leave earlier than yesterday.
Enroute, we see a family in the middle of their stroll, holding hands and walking across a pedestrian crossing. Suddenly out of the blue, she asks,『Is your family around?』
When I don’t answer, she pries further into my personal life,『 Just now, you were looking at that family with loneliness in your eyes, so it made me curious』. With these words, she peers at my face at point blank.
It was a hindrance while driving, so I push her shoulder aside, but laughing delightfully, it seems that she may have misunderstood my actions.
Nevertheless, she tenaciously shoots questions at me, so I turn her down with the excuse that answering them is not my job and yet, she willfully decides「Must be lonely without a family」. After that, her one-sided chatter continues on, but I ignore everything she says and stay silent. As expected, that hurts her feelings and she strikes up, saying that she wants to enjoy a conversation.
After informing her that my duty is to guard her and that if she wants enjoyment, she will have to seek it elsewhere, I kept silent again.
Evening. As always, I park the car near her house, and Mr. Tachibana who arrives home before us, comes out to greet us. In her fluster to get out of the car, Ms. Natsumi deliberately loses her balance. Seeing this, I pretend not to notice and step away. From the rear, Mr. Tachibana rushes over and in my place, he holds her in his arms.
Was the『event』wasted with this?
Today as well, I include an extract of her eye-catching remarks.
『 How strange… Sakuya’s response is a bit too indifferent. What is going on? It may be because it is just the third day, but even so, when it comes to the topic of family, he should have answered hesitantly. When I pressed him a bit, he sheepishly said that he needs to focus on driving, so I am sure he doesn’t hate me. Yep, something must be missing… In the trip-up event, the one to save me was Takayuki-san. Huh? Could I have possibly raised Takayuki’s love gauge too much? No way, if this goes on, I will end up with Takayuki. I don’t want that! I am so gonna get Sakuya, a person who’s never known love to say,「You are the first person that I’ve longed for」! I will absolutely not give up on my true end.』
Is this the so-called maniac? She makes no sense at all.】
Thinking that Sakuya was quite pitiful, Chiharu checked the company’s accounts on his phone.
Thinking that he was on standby at the moment, Chiharu immediately switched over to telephone Sakuya. First, he conveyed that he had finished reading the report and then sympathized with him.
「 Well, you know,…just 27 more days to go, please bear with it.」
The only thing he could add was, I will also persist in reading your reports.
Chiharu’s sole relief was the Sure mixed with a dry laugh over the phone.
Author’s Note: What can I say? I’m sorry about everything.
- Pot-pourri is a mixture of dried, naturally fragrant plant material, used to provide a gentle natural scent. It is often placed in a decorative bowl or tied in small sachet made from sheer fabric. The word is French.
- A covert listening device, more commonly known as a bug or a wire, is usually a combination of a miniature radio transmitter with a microphone.