Proceeding to Chapter 4
After a nice and long walk, Ayase and I had finally reached the park where we first met. Time sure flies; we had spent a total of six hours together since noon. I was a little scared at first of how to spend the time, but everything turned out pretty naturally.
We walked over to the swings, but before sitting down she said to me,
"I have to use the restroom Onii-san. Please hold onto my bag for me."
"Got it, I'll wait right here."
As Ayase ran across the park to use the bathroom, I plopped right onto the swing and listed lazily back and forth. Today was a good day, the most fulfilling experience I've had in awhile. I spent some good personal time with Ayase and I'm sure her view of me has improved by now. She can be insane but she isn't unreasonable.
She was taking awhile so I started looking for things to do. I was feeling really bored and though I knew it was extremely inappropriate, I took a look into Ayase's bag. First I pulled out her perfume and took a whiff. A gentle, redolent fragrance radiated from the glass bottle, and I felt shivers run down my back as I took in the aroma. But then I realized I was doing something really weird, so I quickly returned the perfume and pretended that never happened.
Then I pulled out her handkerchief...nothing to do with this.
After that I delved further and found her phone. I wasn't really planning on looking through it, so I just clicked the side button to see what time it was. But instead of the time, the alert for missed calls popped up on the screen.
She had...23 missed calls!
I opened her phone and looked through the calls. Four of them were from Modelling Agency, and the other nineteen were from...Kirino?
Confounded by these revelations, I began to think of what might possibly explain these missed calls. Suddenly, it hit me-
My heart skipped up a beat, I was caught red-handed. I slowly looked...
She walked up to me and snatched her phone away from my hands. Her deep, opal eyes were melancholy with a dull sadness. She was not angry, but I could tell that I had offended her.
She asked, "What were you looking at, Onii-san?"
"Well...you have missed calls."
"They're from your modelling agency, and Kirino."
"So what's your point onii-san?"
"My point is that you skipped out on modelling today for me, didn't you? You wanted to make up for what happened this morning so you-"
"-no Ayase-san. You didn't need to do this, I lied to protect you because I wanted to, you don't have to-"
"Onii-san! Listen to me!"
I was struck frozen. Whenever Ayase makes that angry yell, I stop dead in my tracks because I know something bad is about to happen, something really bad. She was breathing heavily, and I was expecting a roundhouse kick to the face. Instead, she gently said,
"Onii-san, you think that I hung out with you today to make up for this morning's disaster, don't you?"
"Well, yeah I do."
"Well then you are wrong."
I was dumbfounded. The words I heard right now were definitely good words, but they didn't match the situation. I asked,
"If you didn't do this today to make up for what happened, then why did you come to town with me?"
She took a long, deep breath and closed her eyes. She confidently said,
"Because Onii-san, I wanted to. Everything I did today was of my own accord. I didn't spend the day with you because I felt bad for what Kirino did to you, but because I wanted to be here. So don't think that I'm here out of pity for you - I'm here because I want to be here, and that's that."
My heart warmed up to those words. For Ayase to actually want to hang out with me, I never would have even conceived of this miraculous event. But still, there was one more thing bugging my mind,
"I...I see. Then Ayase-san, why did you want to hang out today?"
Suddenly she stared me dead in the eye. Her eyes grew wider and her stance grew stiff. With a strange facial expression, she said to me,
"Because onii-san, I like you."
"I like you onii-san, that's why I came today."
Suddenly she began to walk towards me at a slow, deadly, and deliberate pace. My heart pounded with every step she took, and as she got too close for comfort, I started backing up. I backed up further and further until I reached the end of my park. With my back to the fence and nowhere to run, I said,
"Uh Ayase-san, can you back up just a little?"
"Why onii-san? What's wrong? Don't you like me back?"
"I do...I mean I don't...well I do but you'll get angry so...I mean, are you alright Ayase-san?"
"Oh, I'm perfectly fine. You should be more worried about yourself than me."
She brought both hands to my cheeks. Her hands felt icy, I knew something bad was going to happen! I closed my eyes, scared of whatever was to come. I braced myself...
Until I heard a burst of laughter.
She let go of my face, but she was still laughing. She was laughing so hard that she had to bend over because her stomach hurt so much. Bewildered (and maybe a little disappointed), I just stood there motionless. I was unsure of how the situation had just turned out. Did I pass out? Did I miss something?
Once Ayase wiped the tears off her cheeks and stood up, she said to me,
"You should've seen the look on your face onii-san! I've never ever seen you blush such a deep shade of red!"
I blushed. Again.
She kept on ranting, "Well how does it feel onii-san? Having your heart teased, it's not a very good feeling is it?"
Ooh, so that's what this is about.
She continued, "It's about time you got a taste of your own medicine. I should do this more often, maybe I'll bring a camera next time and show it to Kirino sometime."
I immediately responded, "Please don't do that. Kirino will kill me. Literally."
"Okay okay, I won't tell Kirino. But seriously onii-san, I did not come with you today because I felt bad for you or anything. I'm here because I want to be here, do you understand?"
"I understand Ayase-san."
"Good, and for future's reference, please know this: whenever I do something good for you onii-san, don't question why I'm doing it. Just accept it and be happy, okay?"
"Umm, got it, I will never question you."
"Perfect! I'm glad we straightened that out! Well then, it's about time we got home right?"
Ayase turned around and headed for the exit. She gave me one last wave and yelled,
"See you later onii-san!"
I waved back. That Ayase-tan, she's so cute...
I returned home. Mother opened the door and welcomed me in. I walked up to the stairs to get to my room, but Kirino suddenly appeared in front of me. She confronted me and declared,
"Come on Kirino, I've been out for hours now, I've learned my lesson."
She sighed, "Whatever, just get out of my sight"
I quietly complied. I turned around to open the door, but Kirino stopped me and asked.
"By the way, Ayase wasn't at modelling today...do you have anything to do with that?"
I was caught off-guard. "What! No, of course not! Why would you ever think that?"
She stared at me like she suspected the truth. "Okay, just making sure.
Relieved that Kirino let me go, I was finally going to go to sleep in my room, but then I heard my father thunder up the stairs. His massive figure was more foreboding than ever, and he had an angry aura about him. He sternly stated to me,
"Kyousuke, get down here. We have to talk."
Oh yeah, the earrings I got for Ayase. Oh boy.
I followed my father downstairs, and on the living room table was his credit card statement. He beckoned for me to sit down, so I took a seat on the couch. He pointed at the statement and said,
"Kyousuke, I noticed that you used my emergency credit card."
"Yes dad, I did."
"Furthermore, the statement says that you used the card for earrings...how is that in any manner appropriate for an emergency?"
"Well you see dad, I uhh...err..."
"Because quite frankly, I do not see how earrings are necessary for any kind of emergency situation."
"Dad, if I could just explain-"
"I want you to go out tomorrow and return those earrings, this credit card was not meant for-"
Something in me just snapped at that point,
"DAD! You shut your mouth and listen to me!"
Dad was shocked. I kept yelling,
"No! I will not go return the earrings! I've waited patiently to explain, but you keep cutting me off every time I tried to explain! Yeah it wasn't an emergency of life and death; actually, I probably would have been just fine if I hadn't gotten those earrings! But nevertheless, I needed those earrings for a dear friend of mine and at that time it was definitely an emergency to me! So dad, punch me or kick me or ground me all you like, BUT I WILL NEVER REGRET GETTING THOSE EARRINGS! JUST TRY AND MAKE ME RETURN THEM!"
I finished my rant, panting and sweating profusely. My father was shocked by my explosion of anger. He simply looked me deeply in the eye and said nothing. After awhile he asked,
"You said those earrings were for a dear friend of yours?"
"Yes dad, a very dear friend of mine."
Dad let out an exasperated sigh and finally conceded, "Okay, I get it. Friends are important, and if the situation with that person called for an emergency, then I understand your use of the card."
I let out a breath of relief, but then father kept speaking,
"However! This is not to say that I approve of your use of the card. I will overlook this purchase, but this shall not happen again. If you want to get your friends gifts, then you must buy the gift with your own money - only then will the gift be genuine and meaningful. Do you understand Kyousuke?"
"Yes dad, I understand."
"Good. Now return to your room and go to sleep, it's late. Good night."
I walked out of the living room and trudged upstairs to my bed. I lifted the covers and tucked myself in, ready for a good night's sleep. But as I waited for sleep to come in the darkness, I realized something.
This was the second time I ever stood up to my father like that and won - the first time was when I defended Kirino and her obsession for manga. It was so strange that I would do this for anyone besides Kirino, let alone Ayase of all people. Confusing questions ran through my head: who is Ayase to me? Why would I stand up for her like that? Why does she mean so much to me right now? Because up until today, I thought the only person who could make me feel this strongly about anything was Kirino, but Ayase proved that wrong and now I'm confused.
A/N: sorry for the late update everyone, I'll try to get on the next chapter right away! Thank you for reading the chapter and please review!