The Line That Separates Them. — Line 17

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September 23, Saturday.

Yesterday, during the opening day of Haru High School’s cultural festival, various unexpected and surprising events occurred. I was involved in almost all the things that happened in and around my class. Yesterday and the day before, I was forced to make many decisions… I deeply regret some, while I find others quite satisfactory. It just depends on the perspective, I guess.

The most regretful thing that happened to me yesterday was probably… my first kiss. Nobody would ever know about it except me, however, the first kiss is truly an important event for a girl, a romantic and pleasurable first kiss can positively motivate a girl, whereas an unromantic or unconsented one can scar a girl for life. And I just gave away my precious and cherished first kiss to someone who’d never know that he was kissed in his sleep. It is a possibility that Takumi hasn’t kissed any girl yet and the kiss we shared yesterday was his first kiss… Shit.

I gave into my instincts and couldn’t hold back. It was a sudden and impulsive decision, but it wasn’t as bad as it seemed during the time of crime, I managed to get a good taste, but still, all the romantic scenarios, where our lips would overlap and create a harmony between two souls, I had fantasized about were thrown out of the window, just like that.

After the kiss, Takumi continued to sleep. We had plans to go to visit the festival together, but when I saw his comfortable sleeping face, I just couldn’t bring myself to interrupt his slumber. He was tired, even in the morning when he arrived, there were small bags under his eyes and his body seemed sluggish, his fatigue was laid bare for everyone to see, but none of us could do anything about the situation as it had to be Takumi who’d cook the food that everyone would eat.

The reason being the rehearsal two days ago. In addition to Takumi’s platform, there was supposed to be a separate kitchen where most of the dishes would be cooked. The plan was to let Takumi focus on two dishes and serve them to customers, however, after tasting Takumi’s cooking, all the previous chefs voluntarily backed down and begged Takumi to be the cook for our establishment. And Takumi, being the soft-spoken, soft-hearted, calm, and composed idiot that he is, accepted his classmate’s pleadings with a wry smile.

I wanted to object at that time, but observing my classmates looking at Takumi with tremendous respect in their eyes, I just couldn’t bring myself to intervene. And I decided to request Takumi as well. We couldn’t visit the festival together, but the time I spent with him, just staying on the roof and looking at his sleeping demeanor was lovely and memorable enough.

These thoughts crossed my mind as I sat on top of my bed in my room, clad in my pajamas and the blanket on my legs. My room’s door was slightly knocked and a certain bespectacled person peeked in while being cautious of my state of consciousness. When she saw me sitting on my bed, she seemed relieved as she opened the door completely and said while crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“Minami, you awake? It’s seven-thirty. You should go soon, or you’ll be late.”

“Mm-hmm, I’ll be there in a bit, Sis.”


My sister then slowly closed my room’s door and I could hear her footsteps getting farther away as she ultimately went down the stairs and reached the first floor. I stretched my arms once again and got off my bed with a jump. Following my morning routine, I descend a flight of stairs, and after entering the kitchen, I greet my father and my mother and proceed to sit down on one of the four chairs around our dining table.

“Minami, we plan on visiting your school today… What time shall be fine?”

My father addressed me while sipping tea from a customized teacup that my mother got him for their anniversary. The funny part was that the cup said ‘World’s Best Son’, and since there wasn’t any other person who’d be suitable enough to hold that cup, my father grumbled and received the cup from my mother who had a wry smile on her face during the whole incident.

Today, I wanted Takumi to take breaks while cooking, I just can’t bear looking at him working without even a moment’s rest. A schedule was constructed in my mind and I resolved myself to implement it after I reached school. After thinking for a while, I replied to my father while taking note of the schedule I had just created.

“Father, you all can come during lunch… It will be crowded, but I will have a table reserved for you.”

My father nodded, my sister fixed her spectacles as she spoke.

“Minami, I looked at the forums of your school, and it seems that your class is doing good. It’s in the top five even among more than fifty different presentations.”

“Yeah, we are working hard.”

I smiled as I remembered the exact reason why our class was doing so well. My sister, Fujiwara Mizuha, is a college freshman and an honors student, who is much more beautiful than I am. Ever since elementary school, boys have been throwing themselves at her, however, no boy has ever caught her eye. There was once a boy in high school, but it seems that his personality was incompatible with my sister.

“Okay. We’ll come to visit during lunch. It’s is a restaurant, right? Hope it fills our bellies.”

My sister said so and heartedly smiled, displaying her pearl white teeth.

“I’ll be looking forward to serving you.”

We sisters didn’t have the best relationship when we were little, but as we grew up, the distance between us decreased. From getting hit, to hitting up the shops and malls. From getting my food stolen to eating out in fancy places. From being called incompetent to being each other’s best supporter. My sister and I went through all the same experiences which siblings go through, and now our bond is strong and I adore her.

My sister got her car when she managed to get into one of the best universities in Tokyo. My school falls on the route which she takes to go to college, so she drops me to school almost every day. And today, when I settled on the passenger seat and fastened the seatbelt, she abruptly looked me in the eye seriously and said.

“That guy who is dominating your gallery. Who is he?”

My body shuddered and a chill ran through my spine. I could feel my whole body go cold and my feet go numb. My parents were very strict about these kinds of these, more like, my father was extremely doting. Before I could recover from the shock, she spoke again.

“Two-hundred-eleven pictures. And that’s just yesterday. About a hundred pictures were just him sleeping on your thighs. You even took selfies while posing beside his sleeping face. Minami… Who is this ‘Takumi’ who has a hidden folder with over two-thousand pictures named ‘Darling’ dedicated to him?”

My sister was looking at me in the eyes. She had never touched my phone before, so she had never questioned me about it. But it seems like she found out. I am so stupid for keeping all those pictures right there.

“S-S-S-Sister… I-I-I-I…”

“You remember what happened to you in middle school, right? That guy just wanted to show you off and desired your body, do you want to go through the same hell again?”


“Listen… I am not going to tell Dad… But… Please tell me about him… I don’t want my dear little sister to experience something horrible like that again.”

“En… P-Please, give me a little time.”

My sister nodded, and after starting the expensive car, she began driving towards my school. About five minutes later, she looked at me with anxious eyes and asked.

“You good?”


I replied, intending to continue, I looked at my sister with a determined expression.

“His full name is Kawashima Takumi. He’s a classmate of mine and sits right in front of me in class. Many circumstances are surrounding him, and as such, he works tirelessly to support his sister and himself. He is a very gentle and kind person, always soft-spoken and calm. I fell in love with him around the end of April and am infatuated with him since.”

My sister hit the breaks of the car as a red light interrupted our smooth drive.

“And you didn’t even stutter, huh. Last time it was a senior, and now a classmate? As for his nature, I’ll evaluate myself… And if I find even a single fault in him then… Minami, you know what would happen, right?”

My sister had a very sad expression on her face, she was aware of what I went through, and she was the one who supported me through it. I understand where she is coming from, but I also know that Takumi is different and that I truly love him.


I gulped nervously and nodded. Looking at which, my sister laughed and said in an amused voice.

“All those seducing techniques are sure gonna come in handy.”

My body shuddered as I had a bad premonition, but I knew that I had no say in this matter as my sister was stubborn and way too overprotective, not that I mind, I still love her very much.

At about eight-forty, I entered my class and found my classmates running around getting things ready for the day. Our homeroom teacher, Nakano-sensei was standing in the middle, skillfully leading the troops to battle. Normally, the homeroom teacher’s participation in the preparations are minimal, if not negligible, however, in our class, not only did our homeroom teacher help us prepare, but she also acted as a chef who stood behind Takumi and supported him.

This development occurred because we didn’t have any other students in the class who could keep up with Takumi. Except for Shishidou-san, who happened to be an heir to a family restaurant, the rest of the students were deemed unworthy to work in the same space as Takumi. Unexpectedly, it seems that Nakano-sensei is more than what she seems on the surface, she told us that she has been cooking her meals since she left her home after graduating high-school.

“It’s Minami-chan!”

A friend of mine called out, and instantly, all the gazes in the class turned towards me. I just inhaled some air and smiled while waving my hand towards all of them. All my friends rushed over to me as they kidnapped me and made me to accompany them to the locker room to change into our uniforms.

After we chatted merrily for some time, we realized that opening time was around the corner, so we hastily applied light makeup and rushed toward the classroom, and after entering, we were confronted with a rather gloomy atmosphere.

“Sensei, what happened?”

Sakura walked up to Sensei and asked in an uncertain voice.

“Hmm… Well… It’s already the opening time but there’s no sign of Kawashima-kun. Also, the comment section of our page on the forums is flooding with reservation requests, and I am not sure how to handle them…”

Nakano-sensei’s beautiful face was expressing her genuine concern, however, there was one thing that came to me as a surprise in her statement.

“S-Sensei… We… Do we have a page?”

I asked her as I walked and stood by her side. According to my knowledge, there’s just a common discussion page on both the school’s official and student’s unofficial forum which focuses on the activity of the cultural festival.

“Yes. They did something new this year, the projects in Top-5 get their separate discussion in the forum, officially designed and recognized by the school. The third-year students who manage the student forum did the same and gave classes in Top-5 their separate discussion thread. And now, our thread in both the forums are jam-packed with people looking for reservations.”

“What about the other classes and clubs? If memory serves me right, there’s even the student council on the list.”

“They’re different. Only our class’ and 2-C’s project are the ones where reservations are viable, and in the case of class 2-C, it is a couple’s oriented project, so nobody would openly ask for reservations on the forums…”

A sigh couldn’t help but escape everyone’s mouths, they continued their preparations while continuously trying to contact Takumi or Aoki-kun. At about nine-twenty. The customers had started to arrive, but there were still no signs of the main chef, so the customers were served with the drinks and light appetizers which Nakano-sensei and Shishidou-san could manage. The taste was inferior, sure, but the dishes were still considered to be top-quality, it was just that they were being compared to Takumi’s cooking.

At about nine-thirty, there was some movement in the curtains. However, all the twelve tables were already occupied, so it would be unprecedented for someone to be allowed inside right now. Are the bodyguards, ahem, classmates, slacking off or what?

However, once the face of the duo who rushed in with beads of sweat on their foreheads came into view, all the staff of the restaurant started cheering, especially Nakano-sensei and Shishidou-san. However, for me, the situation had turned awkward. My face involuntarily turned bright red as my breathing turned rough, the memory of our first kiss under the ever-watching celestial bodies flashed in my mind as I subconsciously lowered my gaze and stared at my feet.

Almost all the girls in the class were currently aware of my feelings towards Takumi. Only two or three girls knew at the start, but now it had spread in the entire class. It just so happens to be that our class’ girls are extremely tactful and understanding, and as such, even the boys of the same class don’t know let alone the other classes. The girls currently present in the class were looking at me, prompting me with their gaze to go and greet the duo, however, I couldn’t lift my face, or my expression would be laid bare for everyone to witness.

“Sorry for the tardiness everyone. Nakano-sensei, tell me the situation.”

I was shocked. From his abrupt tone, it seemed like he was defending me in some twisted way… Wait… Don’t tell me… When my thoughts had gotten wilder, I heard Takumi’s voice penetrating my ears once again.

“Isn’t it fine to just ignore them? They’re just comments.”

The classroom suddenly fell silent, I didn’t know what occurred but when I turned around, Nakano-sensei and Takumi were facing each other. Takumi just had his usual calm and collected face while Nakano-sensei looked flabbergasted, which was in contrast with her usual cool appearance.

“W-What do you mean, Kawashima-kun…?”

Takumi just looked into Nakano-sensei’s eyes.

They’re just comments…”

Everybody present in the class froze… It took a while for his words said in a matter-of-fact voice to sink in… We were one thing… Even the guests froze.

“Now then, let me see them orders. Sorry for making you guys work so hard.”

Like machines being switched on, all of us started working again with a start, he threw his bag towards Aoki-kun and equipped his apron and started cooking. However, there was one thing I noticed… He was tired and fatigued, no doubt about it, but he seemed quite pleased and relaxed.

At about 1:20 P.M, my family finally texted me, saying that they were outside the school gates and were coming over. I looked at Takumi who had sweat beads accumulated on his forehead and neck, and honestly, he looked hot.

September 23, Saturday. 12:45 A.M.

“Sir, please check this file. The research and development department has asked for your approval.”

“Hmm… Seems decent, send it to Kyoko for a look. And… Michi-san, you seem tired, you should go home.”

“N-No Sir. I am fine. I-”

“It’s fine.”

“B-But sir, both Shoji-kun and Kiyumi-san haven’t come today, we haven’t heard from them the whole day.”

“Yeah… That sure is a problem. We only have twenty-seven members, and having two less on the scene creates a sense of stress. Well… Don’t worry too much about it. Send these files to Kyoko, and send those statistics to the media, tinker them with a bit and make them a bit less. About one-percent will do. The advertisements are edited and ready to go so contact the advertising agency and give them the green light. Also, I want an inspection team of level-five employees to go to America and Europe for an inspection of our subsidiaries, shortlist the names of the youngest and the oldest level-five employees and make a fifteen-man team for the inspection. Our new smartphone, the Oracle 4, has been doing superb, there are negligible amounts of complaints and it seems that making a variant of it will boost the sales. Do this, take the currently trending movies, anime and games to create the Oracle 4 ‘Trending Series’. Five variants with ten million units each should be enough for the initial launch. Keep the pricing at about five-thousand to ten-thousand Yen higher than the base model, depending on the manufacturing cost.”

Suddenly, the room which contained twenty-five people became noisy and restless. The room was quite big and luxurious considering that my own office was just above this one. There was everything in this room that modern technology could offer, not just this specific room, every Oracle related company was similar in structure to this one in terms of comfort and working environment.

Amid all the noise and rustling a certain sound entered my ears while I was looking over a product design submitted by the guys over at my favorite Technological Development department. I ignored the voice as it seemed irrelevant to me at the time.

I closed the file in my hand in satisfaction as I cracked my neck bones to relieve some fatigue. And as soon as I did, I felt a bull crashing into my abdomen, the office chair I was sitting on rolled back as I used my feet to stop myself from crashing into one of the desks. The file in my hand flew as it created an arc in the sky, the papers inside flew all over the room and the gazes of everyone present focused on me and the woman who had her hands tightly wrapped around my waist and her face buried in my chest.

All the employees in this room were different from all the other people in the company. These were all the people whom I directly conversed with daily and they were all like a small family. In this family of thirty-one people, with me and the three girls included, there were no secrets, there were no betrayals. All the people here were either completely broken and had been brought in by me or were extremely talented and scouted out by us during the initial interviewing process.

“Kiyumi… What happened?”

I asked in a calm voice. I know that this person, this woman, would never betray me. Manaha Kiyumi is a person who has been with me since I had nothing. She was one of the initial members of the {Battle Force} and one of the people that I trusted the most in the world.

“Waaah~ Waaah~”

However, the very same woman just kept crying and bawling in my arms, her eyes were wet with tears, and so was my coat. At this point, everyone had already sensed the importance of the situation and were standing in a circle around the chair I was sitting on.

“Did Shoji-kun do something to our dear Kiyumi?”

“If that’s the case then I will kill him.”

“Why would Shoji do something? He’s got the best wife in the whole universe. Kiyumi-chan is everything a man could ask for in a wife.”

“That’s true… However, here she is, crying her eyes out while in the bosom of her dearest.”

“Uwaaah~ Uwaaah~”

While the others were coming up with their theories, this 27-year-old woman continued to cry while soaking my shirt and coat in tears. I gently rubbed her back and said in a soft voice.

“Tell me Kiyumi… What happened? Did that bastard do something to you…?”

‘That bastard’ refers to Kiyumi’s husband and another member of the {battle force}, Manaha Shoji. He was also one of those who had suffered greatly in his life despite his brilliant talent in statistical analysis and economics.

She just raised her head a bit, her eyes filled with tears and her whole face covered with tear droplets. She then proceeded to nod a little, and in an instant, it seemed like every man had a switched flipped in their brains. Kiyumi is a very beautiful person, in every sense of the word. Both her superfluous beauty and her inner beauty shine like a star and illuminate the dark world of others in this group.

Kiyumi is a person who was brought up in the lowest level of human society… She has suffered all her life, so much so that nobody could compare… And three years ago, when she finally broke, when she couldn’t go on even with the seemingly endless amounts of inner beauty and optimism that she possessed, when she was on death’s gate, waiting for her life to perish, I was the one who found her. I snatched her from the mouth of hell, and for that, I received a lot of resentment from the person herself. Her resentment, her hate, her fear, all of her negative feelings towards this hateful and cruel world, I took it all from her and gave her what she had always deserved.

“He… He… *sob*… He… gave… g-gave… me…”

She took a deep breath to say the other words in a single breath.

“… A baby!”

Everybody froze, and I was startled. It took me a while to register what she said, and when I did, I abruptly stood up from the chair, and before Kiyumi could fall on the ground because of my sudden movement, I grabbed her hand and pulled her up into a hug. One of my hands circled her waist and the other rested on her head while caressing her deep brown hair.

“W-What do you mean… Kiyumi? You are kidding me right?”

She just shook her head in my bosom and then proceeded to look me in the eyes with a visibly endless amount of affection in her eyes. She took a deep breath once again and said in a firm tone.

“Boss… No, Takumi. I am pregnant. I am carrying a life in my belly. This worthless me is going to give rise to a new life… This life, which you saved and nurtured is going to give birth to a new life… Takumi…listen to me… Both Shoji and I want you to be this child’s Godfather.”

My heart shook, I could feel the corner of my eyes moistening. I pulled Kiyumi into a deeper hug, and while caressing her back… I said while doing my best to hold back my chaotic emotions.

“Kiyumi… I know this is inappropriate since you are more than a decade older than me… However, please let me say this…”

I pushed Kiyumi away slightly and looked into her eyes. The employees in the background who were cheering and crying also halted their movements as they listened to me.

“Kiyumi… Even though I have no blood connection to you… Even though we’ve only known each other for three years… Even though we have more than a decade’s worth of age gap between us… You are like a daughter to me… I don’t know why, but I just can’t help it… During these three years… I watched you grow from a child who was as lifeless and broken as a skeleton into a brilliant woman who could rouse life and positivity in every person she meets…”

I saw her dazed expression and hastily followed up.

“I know this is something awkward and unacceptable for you… I am extremely sorry if this offends you… I will just lea-”

Kiyumi, who was looking me in the eye shook, her eyes trembled, so did her shoulders. Everyone standing in the room sighed lightly, and I could even hear cries of resignation coming from some people. I wonder what that is all about.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid! Idiot Takumi! Takumi is such a bit idiot!”

Kiyumi angrily comes closer to me and pounds my chest with her little soft fists. Her tears had stopped, but not they were flowing as if one had destroyed a dam. While her whole body shook in her attempt to punch me, her tears flew everywhere. I was dumbfounded, what was happening here, I just looked at Kiyumi with a clueless expression while getting beaten by her hands.

“*sob*… ‘I am extremely sorry if this offends you…’ Is this something a father says to her daughter? Huh? *sob* You are just an idiot! Ever since the instant you picked me up all those years ago, you were my only family. I had never received familial love in my life, not even for a second. But I don’t regret spending twenty-four years of my life… Because… Because…”

Her gaze with which she looked at me turned extremely gentle and affectionate.

“…After all that suffering and pain… I finally found a person to call family… I found a father who spoiled me and rubbed my head whenever I was sad… I found a mother who always cooked delicious meals for me and spoke sweet words to cheer me up… I found a big brother who always protected me and gave me the courage to keep going on… I found the little brother who’d push me forward toward the light and smile at me as I took my next steps… All of them were you Takumi… You changed my life, you changed my world… So… Don’t say those kinds of words… I beg you… You called me your daughter… your family… That’s all happy that I can ask for. I am yours, I am your daughter, I will be whatever you want me to be… So please… Please… Don’t leave me… Father.

She hugged me once again, this time with a lot more strength than the previous time… I could feel the sincere and genuine sentiments from her voice… And it’s true that I feel awkward and embarrassed being called ‘Father’ by a woman much older than me… But still… I am unexpectedly quite happy.

“If it’s a girl, Megumi. If it’s a boy, Izumi.”

I said with a smile. And listening to my words, everyone in the room was shocked, even Kiyumi.

“T-T-Takumi… No… T-Thi-”

“It’s my Godchild, you know? Is there a problem in using my parents’ name for my godchild?”

Kiyumi seemed in a daze for a moment, but as soon as she returned to her senses, she smiled heartedly and said with a wide smile.

“No! Izumi and Megumi it is!”

After that, she snuggled up to me. Shoji came over in the middle of our party and cried because Kiyumi had stolen the car and had driven straight from the hospital to give me the news, so he had to run over because he couldn’t find any taxis. He then got a firm beating from me and a lesson in child-care and pregnant women.

The next morning, I reached home at around 5 A.M, so I was kinda late and decided to sleep a bit. Waking up at 8:45, I knew I had fucked up so I grabbed Fumiya and rode to school and parked my bike the school parking lot, well, there will be a lot of guests so it should be okay.

I had to deal with some redundant issues as soon as I entered the class, but it seemed that everything in the morning rush was settled easily. Today, I even managed to get a ten-minute break where I used the divine-class a.k.a Minami’s thighs to get a quick nap, only to get to work again.

At about one-thirty, when clothes of everyone in the class seemed quite sweaty, and except for Takumi and me, who were men, it seemed as though all others were somewhat uncomfortable. At that time, a peculiar family entered the restaurant.

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