Age is Just a Number – 14

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Painful Habits.

It was Sunday, October 11. 

“Nnn~”

A beautiful woman in her mid-twenties was peacefully sleeping on the arm of a rather tired-looking individual.

“It hurts.”

Ichirou was grimacing at the fact that his right arm was practically about to fall off from his body. Not to say that Miyuki’s head was heavy or Ichirou’s arm was weak, but his arm hurting was natural since Miyuki had left her side of the bed and was cuddling against his chest with her head placed on his arm. He could not blame her, for it was a habit of hers.

Ever since they were little, the three siblings had chosen to sleep together in the same bed. It wasn’t that all three of them didn’t have their own rooms, on the contrary, the mansion their family resided in back then had more than enough space to accommodate three average-sized families quite comfortably. 

The three of them started sleeping in the same bed after Ichirou turned three-years-old, the reason being that his two sister’s adoration for him had already reached an uncontrollable point. The ten-year-old Miyuki and the six-year-old Mayumi refused to let their little brother sleep by himself. As such, Ichirou spent the next ten-or-so years sleeping next to both of his sisters. Only Mayumi slept with him following Miyuki’s departure from the house for college.

Back then, Ichirou was completely used to letting his sisters use his arm as a pillow, but ever since he moved out, this was the first time someone had slept on his arm, causing it to go numb.

“Miyuki. Wake up. It’s really late.”

Ichirou tried to retract his arm from under Miyuki’s head, but it was quite painful for him to do so, so he chose to rhythmically tap on Miyuki’s cheek to wake her up. This rhythmic tapping motion of his seemed to be quite practiced as this was something that Miyuki hated. One could wake her up in any way, but being tapped on in a certain rhythm somehow pushed her buttons, almost always getting an interesting reaction out of her.

“Nnn~ Ichirou~ No, don’t go… I wanna cuddle~”

It seemed that the reaction Ichirou was expecting didn’t happen as Miyuki whispered in a subconscious state with a blissful smile plastered on her face. Ichirou couldn’t help but think of Hikaru while looking at Miyuki’s spoiled expression.

“Wake up. It’s Mother’s birthday, right? We should head out as soon as possible. We have to make it before lunch.”

“Nn~?” Miyuki’s eyes slowly opened and her bright pupils came into view. “Yes! It’s Mom’s birthday! We have to pick up her gift and the cake!”

Miyuki excitedly said as she jumped up and stretched beside the bed. However, that excitement soon came to an end as she rushed back into the blanket while shivering and rubbed her cold cheek against Ichirou’s chest.

“It’s really cold.”

… 

About two hours had passed since Miyuki and Ichirou had gotten out of the bed. Miyuki had whipped up a decent breakfast for the duo, and after eating, they first headed towards a jewelry store in Shibuya where the duo’s order had been prepared by the shop in advance. After picking up the box with the present, they had it wrapped up in a golden wrapping paper. 

“Let’s hope Mother likes this.”

Ichirou said while he placed the box gently in the trunk situated at the front of the vehicle.

“You picked it out yourself. Mom is sure to love it.”

Miyuki smiled as she took the driver’s seat.

“Yeah, and you paid for it with your own money. You’ve been working for less than a year, and your salary is already enough to buy Mother such gifts, she’ll be really proud of you.”

“Isn’t she already?”

“Ahaha~ She sure is.”

… 

Ichirou and Miyuki reside considerably close by. Even on a busy day, it would be unusual to take more than thirty minutes commuting from one place to another. However, their parents lived quite a fair distance away.

Even with Miyuki driving at high speeds on the relatively empty highway, it would take around three hours to reach their destination. Not that it mattered as what lay the other side of the long road was a home that both of them missed.

“Fuel is way too expensive nowadays.”

Miyuki quipped as she paid the money at a gas station at the outskirts of Tokyo, filling the tank enough to last the journey.

“Yes, well… Your car isn’t necessarily known for its fuel efficiency.” 

“Bleh~” Miyuki showed her pink tongue as she placed her card in her purse after paying for the gas. “We’re already so late, let’s go!”

Miyuki stretched to hype herself up. Ichirou, who could see the gas station attendant staring at Miyuki’s lascivious curves, sighed in displeasure.

“We are late because of you. Who makes such a grand breakfast in the morning?”

“Hmph!”

Miyuki, who couldn’t come up with a retort pouted and averted her gaze in embarrassment. Ichirou just smiled and rolled his window down to enjoy the chilly wind rushing by as they sped through the nearly empty highway.

… 

Around two-and-a-half hours later. Miyuki pulled up in front of a massive building, the entrance of which was equally as majestic. This building was one of many in the vicinity which belonged to the same company, each building upholding a charm unlike any other.

This was the Asian headquarters of one of the largest companies in the world. Ichirou’s and Miyuki’s father was the CEO of the said Asian branch. And even among the upper echelons of the business world, his reputation was nothing to scoff at. 

The duo left the present in the car and made their way to the entrance of the building after handing the keys of the car to a chauffeur who jogged towards them and bowed before receiving the keys.

Ichirou heard the screeching of brakes from behind him, prompting the duo to look back. What they saw was a black stylish Ferrari coming to a stop. 

A beautiful woman stepped out of the driver seat. Her black hair reached a bit below her shoulders that were exposed as she was wearing a one-piece with considerable exposure. Her sharp yet gentle eyes scanned her surroundings as she passed the keys of her car to the chauffeur. Her curves were perfect as was the elegance she carried with her mere existence. One could tell at a glance that she was the child of a wealthy family.

“Ichirou?”

Her honey-like voice carried by air entered the duo’s ears. Ichirou smiled at the wide-eyed woman whose right hand was covering her lips as tears welled up in her eyes.

“It’s been a while, huh?”

Ichirou had comparatively frequent encounters with Miyuki since they lived so close by, however, the same couldn’t be said for Mayumi. The last time they met was during the winter holidays. Considering it was October, a little less than ten months had passed since their last rendezvous.

Not to say that either of them was particularly busy. Both siblings were geniuses among their age group, so concerns regarding their academics were non-existent. The simple reason was that Ichirou was too immersed in his life with Hikaru.

During the spring holidays, Mayumi had an international trip planned with her friends and Miyuki had her work, so Ichirou decided against going home. During the summer break, Ichirou only visited his house for a little less than a week, and coincidentally, those were the only days in the entirety of summer that Mayumi had some urgent work to take care of, delaying her much-awaited reunion with her little brother.

“Ichirou~!”

Mayumi dashed over, her lustrous black hair danced with the wind and teardrops rolled down her flushed cheeks.

Pomph!

Mayumi dived into Takumi’s arms and buried her face in his chest. It was a blessing that Mayumi wasn’t a big fan of makeup, or Ichirou’s black outfit would’ve been smeared white.

Ichirou smiled as he gently stroked Mayumi’s hair.

“Let’s go in, or people will give us weird looks.” 

Miyuki said as she smiled. She then turned towards the security guard whom she had beckoned over with her hand a few seconds ago.

“Is Dad in?”

The siblings were famous in the company as their father was the CEO, not to mention that their mother was a world-famous actress back in the day. As such, it was unusual to find anyone within the company who would fail to recognize Miyuki.

“Yes. Sir is in. He entered about an hour ago.”

Security guard respectfully said, pointing at a car parked under a tree. It was the car owned by Hashimoto Shin, Ichirou’s father.

“What about Mom, was she with him?”

“No, Madam last visited three days ago.”

“Is that so… Fine then. Let’s go in, you two.”

Ichirou nodded as he softly pushed Mayumi away, wiping her tears with his sleeve. Mayumi, after calming down, grabbed Takumi’s arm with a wide smile and followed Miyuki into the building.


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