For the time being, I let them in.
“We heard that your piano is out for an assessment.”
What a powerful information network.
As expected of a super hacker.
While preparing tea, I nodded in affirmation.
“It’s not at all what you think.
I didn’t do any hacking or anything.
Our grandmother collects rare pianos.
And your piano was one of them.
She was informed that one was out for an assessment and when she inquired further, she found out that it was yours.”
So that’s how they came to know.
That piano dealer leaked information, I see.
Or is it that the power of the Hongou family was just that great.
“Are you planning to sell it? Rei-chan.
Yesterday, it seemed like you were just feeling under the weather but, did something happen?”
A worried expression on her face, Sara-sama looked straight at me with her lovely eyes.
Ah, how adorable.
Still, what Mari-sama has taught me is unexpectedly useful at times.
I was trained to never lose my composure or show any weaknesses no matter what happens.
I was also strictly taught how to courtesy.
It is all owing to Mari-sama’s teachings.
Although I do feel that Katsuragi-sama had seen through it all.
He does after all seem to be someone who lives by instinct.
“Uhh, I was thinking of selling some things from this house.”
“…… Because there is no need for me remain here.
I am thinking of leaving.”
Sara-sama and Souju-sama’s faces brightened.
“You’re moving in to the school dormitory?”
I shook my head no.
“Well, where are you moving then?”
I have yet to decide.
“It is as yet undecided.
I will settle it once I get a job.”
The two of them had on an identical expression of surprise.
They are indeed twins, to have such a likeness of expression.
“What, what are you saying? What job? And what are you planning to do about the piano?”
Sara-sama inquired in a gaping manner.
“Uumm, I have decided so after numerous considerations.
To quit the academy and work in a company with company housing.”
They were both astonished.
They’re so adorable.
It seems that a smile was growing on my face.
“How can you smile that way? I don’t get it!”
Souju-sama had gotten angry.
“To put it simply, Fuki-san had been wasting the money her son sent her for her own sake on Mari-sama and me… Yes, I say she was wasting them.
I was reproached for that, so I decided to return even a little part of it to her family by selling the piano.”
I sipped on my tea.
“Here, I have too much memories with Fuki-san.
I cannot forget her.
So I will leave here instead.”
“If that’s the case, isn’t there no need for you to stop attending the academy? You can just continue going as before.” (Souju)
“That’s right! Why are you quitting?” (Sara)
I told them the reason as it is.
They are my friends who are so worried about me after all.
I do not wish to keep secrets from them.
It is enough that I am already keeping my parents a secret.
I should rather say that instead of keeping it secret, I feel that it cannot be good to speak about my parents to Sara-sama and Souju-sama who had had such nice upbringings.
While Sara-sama expressed surprise that Takanashi-sama was Fuki-san’s great-grandchild, Souju-sama had no reaction.
“Oh? Did Sou-kun perhaps know already?”
Guiltily, Souju-sama avoided meeting my eyes.
“Yeah, I did some digging.
I knew that she was residing in Takanashi’s house.”
“Souju, why did you not inform Rei-chan then!?”
I gripped Sara-sama’s hands in mine.
Her hands are soft and smooth.
They are not like my own.
“Sara-chan, thank you for worrying about me.
I believe Sou-kun stayed quiet about it for my sake.
So that I, who so dearly missed Fuki-san, will not get hurt.
Fuki-san thought nothing of me.
It was only me who had gotten attached to her of my own accord.
The two of you are truly so kindhearted that I am very much happy.”
I think myself fortunate.
I may not have been loved by Fuki-san, but I have friends who are by my side like this.
“I think there is absolutely no need for Rei-chan to quit the academy! You’re a scholarship student! You’re contributing to the academy!” (Sara)
“I think so too.
Why would you think there is any need for you to quit?” (Souju)
I tilted my head.
“Conversely, why must I stay in school? I will work as is the norm.
And I will find happiness of my own.
… But it truly pains me to separate from the two of you.
It is just that, would it not be difficult for us to remain friends as we have been until now? We live in such different worlds.”
I live in poverty.
Now, we may have the common point of being on the same year in the same academy, but once we graduate, we won’t have anything common between us anymore.
“Rei-chan, you’re not gonna put in any effort to stay friends with us? Are we that insignificant an existence to you?”
“That’s right! Will you not put in the effort to stay with us?”
I don’t know why, but Sara-sama and Souju-sama’s words pierced me deeply.
I have always thought that I should live within my own means; it had never occurred to me to fight against it.
“But, I’m poor!”
I could feel Souju-sama’s earnest gaze at myself.
“If that’s the case, make it so that it’s okay for you to stand with us.
Persist in it! If it’s Rei-chan, I believe you can do it.” (Souju)
“That’s right, Rei-chan.” (Sara)
I, go over to that world? I have never thought of that.
I am poor.
I have the blood of a terribly ill-tempered grandmother and that trash of a father of mine running in my veins.
Right, that naked artist mother of mine has also been added to the bunch as of late.
←New! So they label it on the internet.
“I have never thought of that.
I have only ever thought that I should live within my own means.
Is it okay for me to escape poverty? Is it okay for me to live in luxury?
Not a once in a year luxury, but ordering a hamburger at a fast food joint on the regular, or eating out at a restaurant, or ordering the large portion at a beef bowl place.
Is it okay for me to wish for such things?
“Rei-chan, aren’t you thinking of something else?”
Ha! So you could not see through this gluttonous delusions of mine huh, Souju-sama.
I am a glutton, you know!
“That’s because I have only ever thought to live within my own means until now.
But is it truly okay for me to wish for a life entirely different to what I have led up to now?”
Sara-sama and Souju-sama looked at me and smiled.
“Of course, your life is yours.
It’s okay for you to live as you wish.”
“That’s right! Look at Souju, he’s supposed to be HONGO Pharmaceutical’s heir, but he’s saying such things to me as to take a son-in-law in and take over instead! That he wants to be free.
It’s the same for me, I want to be free! Rei-chan, we are still high school students.
It is okay for us to dream.”
It’s okay for us to dream.
I see, it’s okay to dream!
“You seem to strongly believe you should keep in honorable poverty, but that reeks of brainwashing.
It’s not like that, got it?”
“Brainwashing… What a perfectly fitting description.
I believe I should live in poverty.
Why is that? Why?”
I have only come to realize it now that someone’s pointed it out, but I might have had really believed that I must always remain in poverty.
“At any rate, you’re going to try for us, right?” (Souju)
We’re going to graduate together, okay?” (Sara)
I nodded enthusiastically.
Just you watch, I will stay on as a scholarship student!”
It was a relief that I have not bought the resume form yet.
Thank goodness, else it would have gone to waste.
I hate letting something go to waste.
Regarding the piano, they said that Youko-sama will secure a place fitting for it before I leave here.
Of course, the selling of the piano is no more.
To Fuki-san, I will only be sending her the kimono and tea ceremony set.
My desire to return her money was dismissed.
As Souju-sama said, the money was spent according to Fuki-san’s own will, so I have no responsibility over it.
“No need to concern yourself with what Takanashi said.
He’s probably been told some things by his grandfather.
If he does anything, we won’t stay still so, it will all be okay.”
Such reassuring words I have just received.
I decided to leave this place once summer break starts.
There is a month and a half until then.
Until then, I will live here as I have hitherto done.
That is, in this tiny dilapidated rental house filled with memories of Mari-sama and Fuki-san.
Although she did not have any love for me, I still wish to meet her once again.
Even knowing she does not love me, I still wish to see her.
The warmth of the hand that held mine in my childhood was real.
And I could not think that the smiles she had shown me were all lies.
I wish to see her once more.
Even if she will laugh at me and call me a fool.
The rainy season will come soon.
I softly let out in a whisper that the season where one should be careful of food poisoning is coming.
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