The Line That Separates Them. — Line 25

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Familiarity.

“Chiaki… and Miya?”

Minami, whose arm was tangled with that of Takumi’s, looked at us with a complicated expression. My eyes inadvertently focused on Takumi, and unlike our trio’s complex expressions, he maintained his usual composure. I don’t know if it was just me, but the way that Takumi escorted Minami seemed to be coming very naturally to him as if he was used to escorting women. Well, if I think about it, he does work at a high-class establishment, so it’d weird if he doesn’t know how to correctly escort women. Yes, that’s surely it.

Minami awkwardly retrieved her arm, and Takumi lowered his arm as well. A silence descended among the four of us, nobody said a word for a minute or two, then finally Takumi broke the uncomfortable silence with a cough.

“Good morning, Yukimura-san and Princess. I take it you have something to discuss? I am a bit tired as well, so excuse me.”

It seemed he didn’t wish to be part of our discussion, for he quickly excused himself and laid down on the grass a few meters away, covering his face with a white handkerchief. His actions couldn’t help but draw out a chuckle from all of us, dispelling the heavy atmosphere. Minami’s expression recovered as well, her cheery and dazzling smile returned to her face.

“I want a full explanation.”

I said as I folded my hands and took a step forward. Minami stepped back and waved her arms in front of her body as if to declare her innocence.

“It’s nothing. Our team took a break from the practice and would join after lunch, so Takumi said we’ll practice during this time.”

Minami’s voice was rather low and was barely audible to me, but when I noticed her line of sight focused on Takumi, I realized she was talking in such a way to make sure that Takumi doesn’t overhear our conversation. More importantly, why would our team take a break when we’ve been provided just one day for training?

“Break? What do you mean? Weren’t you guys having some kinda tournament or something?”

“Yeah. It was a knockout competition. The losing team gets eliminated and plays again after the loop is completed. However, our team stayed in for hours. The others couldn’t defeat us. It looked like our team was bullying them, so the boys decided to let the other teams practice for a while.”

“So you guys came here to practice? But most of the students are there on the track… Rather, how would you guys even practice here?”

I glanced around, and there wasn’t any location in our immediate vicinity optimal to practice for the three-legged race. And while the ground wasn’t overly uneven, it could still lead to some problems considering the three-legged race’s characteristics. Moreover, even though I have no right to say this, Minami doesn’t seem too well-versed in the world of sports. I have honestly never seen her seriously run before, I just can’t imagine it.

“Ah~ The boys around the track were giving us weird looks, so we were looking at a comparatively unpopulated place to practice.”

“Why though?”

Even though Chiaki and I came here ourselves, we didn’t really have any intention to practice and just wanted to skip. Minami’s cheeks reddened as she spoke in a low voice.

“If I were to mess up and fall down in front of so many people, I’d be embarrassed enough to die. Not to mention, Takumi-kun would be there as well, I couldn’t possibly tarnish his reputation…”

“C-cute.”

“Huh?”

Minami’s embarrassed expression was so cute that I lost myself for a second. Her cuteness really does breach the barrier known as gender.

“Ahem! Sorry about that. Leaving that aside, what are you going to do now? Should we… leave? We weren’t doing anything anyway.”

“N-no, it’s fine. Rather, I’d prefer it if you’d help.”

“Are you sure…?”

I asked in hesitation, but Minami merely smiled in response. It seemed she had realized the intention behind my question, for she walked over to my side and whispered with a grin.

“Are you concerned about intruding on our alone time?”

I averted my gaze and nodded my head. Chiaki, who was standing on the opposite side, giggled while covering her mouth.

“That’s surprisingly kind of you… It’s fine though. I don’t have the confidence to spend hours alone with Takumi-kun without messing up. I’d be much more comfortable with you guys by my side.”

Looking at this cute creature whose mere existence was enough to relax the hearts of those around her, my lips involuntarily curled as I wrapped my arms around her waist and hugged her with all my strength. I could feel her trembling within my clutches, her softness was clearly transmitted through even with all the clothes in the way.

“-! Miya-chan!?”

Minami squealed as she attempted to escape from my arms. Of course, it was all for naught.

“Sigh~ I have one heck of a love rival, don’t I?”

I said while rubbing my cheek against Minami’s cotton-like cheek. She flinched and stopped squirming.

“T-that’s…”

Looking at her awkward expression, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

“Don’t worry~ I just meant that I have to work harder, you know? So that I don’t lose to you like this time.”

Minami certainly caught me off guard this time around. I can tell that the meek Minami is gaining courage and pushing ahead. However, I won’t be left behind, not in matters relating to Takumi. Minami smiled as she hugged me back. She leaned on me and placed her lips right by my ear.

“I will make sure he becomes your brother-in-law.”

As soon as her words pierced my ears, she squirmed violently and finally escaped my clutches.

“Huh!? You little- Come back here!”

“Ahahaha~”

“Come back here!”

“You two are too loud, you wouldn’t want to disturb him, right?”

Chiaki said as she pointed at Takumi who was laying on the ground a few feet away, with the handkerchief still covering his face.

“W-wait, we forgot all about him.”

As if thunder had stricken, Minami and I faced each other with horror flashing on our faces.

“He… Didn’t hear us, right?”

Although we started by whispering, I am sure that we must’ve inadvertently raised our voices… And it’s a possibility that Takumi has heard some things that aren’t meant to be heard.

“I am sure he is asleep. It’s Kawashima-kun we’re talking about… He can sleep anytime anywhere.”

“But what if he heard us…?”

Minami asked with a horrified look on her face.

“L-let’s go check for now… Don’t be so pessimistic, Minami.”

I tried to comfort her, but I was equally terrified of the consequences that would arise if Takumi had heard even a part of our conversation. I clenched my hands and prayed that such was not the case.

We cautiously trotted towards Takumi, the distance between us decreased inches at a time, there was no movement from him, which could indicate his lack of consciousness. However, we weren’t hasty in our judgment, for he could just be pretending to be asleep.

If that were to be the case, I’d be in serious trouble. Not to mention Minami, who is already at her limit by just participating in a race with Takumi, would have to face him every day while knowing that the latter is already aware of her feelings.

“Takumi-kun~”

Minami carefully called out to Takumi in a low voice, but there didn’t seem to be any reaction. As such, she crouched down, slowly picking up the handkerchief covering Takumi’s face.

“He seems to be asleep.”

Chiaki muttered. Minami placed her hand on Takumi’s cheek, and seeing how there wasn’t any reaction, she sighed in relief. I unclenched my hands as well, my chest heaving in relief.

“Seriously… Just how much does he love to sleep.”

Minami had regained her spirits as she said while caressing Takumi’s cheek. She had her usual expression of a loving wife as she stared at Takumi’s face as if nothing else existed in the world.

“Hey, get your hand off him.”

“Now, now, don’t be sulky. We just avoided a major upset. Let me have this.”

As Minami said that, she started poking Takumi’s cheek with a delighted face.

“Stop it, you’ll wake him up.”

I said in resignation. Well, as long as we aren’t exposed, it’s all good. I wouldn’t want him to be aware of my feelings before I have a chance to confess. That’d be demotivating, to say the least.

“Hmm~?”

“Ara, Takumi-kun, good morning.”

It seemed that Minami’s insistent poking had finally woken Takumi up. Minami is a person who wouldn’t do so normally, but I am sure she wants to treasure the little time she has with him, leading her to interrupt Takumi’s sleep.

“I fell asleep, didn’t I?”

“Yep. Fortunately.”

“Fortunately?”

“Ahaha~ It’s nothing. Well, since you’re awake now, shall we practice for a bit?”

Minami playfully said as she stood up and offered her small hand to Takumi. He still looked a bit sheepish as he grabbed her hand and looked up with a confused expression.

“Pull.”

He said as he shook Minami’s hand. As for Minami, she tried her best to pull him up, even resorting to using both of her arms. Minami started breathing hard because no matter how hard she pulled, there wasn’t even a bit of movement in Takumi, and because of panting, her breasts began to shake as well. And it seemed that both of us noticed this at the same time as he instantly stood up and spoke with a smirk.

“Let’s practice then, shall we? What about you guys? Are you going to hang out here or…”

“Yeah, we have nothing else to do… We won’t disturb, I promise.”

“Okay, then.”

Takumi indifferently nodded as he motioned Minami to stand by his side. Chiaki and I placed our handkerchiefs on the ground once again and sat down after making sure that no stones or insects were in our vicinity.

When my attention returned to Takumi, he was crouching and tying a cloth around Minami’s and his ankles. Minami seemed to have a bit of a blush going while Takumi continued to have his way with her leg.

“Is it tight?”

“H-huh?”

“The knot, is it tight? Are you comfortable?”

“Uh, y-yeah, it’s fine.”

Takumi nodded and steadily stood up. Takumi was on the right while Minami was on the left, their left and right legs respectively were touching with a cloth holding them together.

“Minami, can you place your arm around my shoulders?”

Minami blinked in astonishment as she took a couple of seconds to register this, then she timidly raised her right arm and placed it around his shoulders.

“Kyaa!”

Takumi on the other hand circled his left arm around Minami’s waist and firmly held her, getting an extremely cute moan out of her as a result. Takumi turned his head and looked at Minami’s beet-red face.

“A very satisfactory response.”

“T-Takumi-kun! Don’t tease me!”

“That wasn’t my intention at all. But that moan was certainly cute though.”

“Takumi-kun~!!”

“Ahaha~ Sorry, sorry.”

Huh…

“Chiaki… Do you have some water?”

“What?”

“I wanna see some rain. Some people deserve to get washed away.”

“You jelly?”

“I am burning. Normies should just die.”

“Ahahaha~ Let her be, Minami is trying her best. Looks like Kawashima-kun knows it as well, he isn’t as indifferent as he usually is.”

“Hmph… It’s frustrating that you’re right.”

“And what do you mean when you say ‘normies’? You get a confession practically every single day.”

“H-hey-“

“Fufufu~ I was kidding~”

“You…”

On the other side, Takumi was hugging Minami’s waist while she tried her best to maintain her composure, albeit failing miserably.

“Just relax. Let’s start slowly, then we’ll pick up the pace, alright?”

“U-understood. Can I have a second?”

“Hmm?”

Minami retrieved her hand from Takumi’s shoulder and started messing with her hair. After about a minute, her beautiful blond hair jumped up and down in a pretty ponytail.

“That has so much destructive power.”

Chiaki muttered with sparkling eyes. However, Takumi seemed unphased as he simply hugged her waist again and urged her to prepare herself.

“Now, let’s start walking.”

“En.”

Takumi slowly lifted his left leg, taking Minami’s right leg along. It was a bit awkward at first because of the height difference, but it seemed Minami got used to it.

“Now let’s try light jogging.”

“Okay~”

Minami looked a lot more optimistic than when they started. And slowly but surely, she seemed to become more familiar with Takumi’s touch and that improved their coordination. And at the one hour mark, they could already jog comfortably.

It was borderline excruciating to watch them get along so well, especially with all the gentleness that Takumi showed her. I felt it piercing my body. I could see that she had gained a lead that wouldn’t be easy to catch up to. However…

“I haven’t been one to give up so easily.”

“Huh?”

“No, nothing, Chi-chan.”

“Are you so shocked that you’ve started-”

“Stop speaking right this instant.”

“Ahahahaha~ She’s so gonna get him, y’know.”

“Stop. Speaking. Who’s side are you on anyway?”

“Fufu~ A few months ago, I’d definitely say I am on your side, but Minami is just too cute.”

“Grr.”

“I am not saying you are the least bit cute though~”


“Grr.”


“Bye, Takumi-kun~ Thanks for today. We should be set for tomorrow!”

Minami came up to me after wiping away all of the sweat that had accumulated after several hours worth of jogging and running. She seemed tired, but her expression appeared to be very refreshed. It’s not that I don’t understand her feelings, but being looked at by such pure and affectionate eyes is really burdensome sometimes. Especially when I have just deceived them not too long ago by pretending to be asleep.

“Yep. Thanks to you as well.”

“Let’s take first place!”

“Someone sure is enthusiastic.”

“Yes~!”

Minami clenched both of her hands with a smile. She was a bit hesitant at the beginning, but she was quick to learn and adapted quickly. I had expected us to fall many times, but it seems that I was wrong, for we didn’t hit the ground even a single time.

“You two as well. Thanks for the help.”

Princess and Fujiwara-san had helped us with keeping the time and stuff, and although it seemed as if they didn’t have anything to do, they were motivated to practice when they watched us, so both of them did a few laps along with Minami and me. My expectations with the two’s athletic ability weren’t really high since I’ve watched them play volleyball and dodgeball before, but damn they sure are bookworms.

“I’ll head off for now.”

“Where are you going?”

Princess asked me as she and Yukimura-san came over after taking a breather. I took a look at my phone, the time displayed was about 1:30 in the afternoon.

“I think I’ll go look for Fumiya and grab something to eat.”

“Want to eat together with us?”

“We didn’t bring lunch boxes, we’ll be buying something for the cafeteria. We have football practice soon after, so we will probably be eating with the boys.”

“Oh… Is that so?”

Princess and Minami seemed disappointed, but what could be done. I have something really important to do. Something so important that I was willing to risk my school life to do it. I sent a message to Fumiya saying that I was having lunch by myself and bought a good quantity of bread to fill me up. At around 2 PM, I made my way to my destination with determined footsteps.

“Yukiko-sensei, it’s me.”

Yukiko Yuiko, our school nurse. She is around the same age as Nakano-sensei, being in the former half of the twenties. She is a rather elegant woman with a towering stature of 175 centimeters, about the same as me. She is immensely popular among students because of her beauty and figure. I once heard a rumor that a fellow staff member confessed to Yukiko-sensei but he was shot down immediately.

She has shoulder-length black hair and black eyes, with a small mole under her left eye, enriching her overall attractiveness. When I entered the infirmary, Yukiko-sensei was standing by the window, looking at the students playing with a smile. Her white coat swayed with the wind as did her hair.

“Ah, it’s just you, Kawashima.”

Sensei said as she turned around to check who had entered the infirmary with such familiarity. Her expression was formal at the start, but as soon as she realized that it was me, she smiled changed into a very casual one.

“The way you said that makes it sound like you were expecting somebody else.”

“Not really.”

Yukiko-sensei said as she stretched her arms, resulting in her assets showing their presence. As if natural, I walked over to one of the beds nearest to the sliding window and laid down, pulling the comfortable blanket enough to reach my chest.

“You little brat, you’re here to sleep again, right?”

“Wow, Sensei, you’re really smart.”

“You…!”

Yukiko-sensei angrily stomped and stood by the bed with a fierce frown.

“Shouldn’t you be practicing too?”

“I’m already done.”

“Huh? Isn’t the practice supposed to last till 6?”

“I meant that my part is done, I’ll probably crash here for the rest of the day.”

Yukiko-sensei’s frown deepened, but she ultimately sighed in resignation and sat down at the edge of my bed, her hips touching my legs. She then proceeded to pull out a pack of cigarettes from her lab coat and lit one with the lighter that was in her other pocket.

“Sensei, there are so many things wrong with you smoking in the infirmary, but most importantly, should you really be smoking in front of a student?”

She took a deep breath and released the smoke before turning towards me with a smile.

“Do you really think I’ll care about my image in front of you?”

“And why is that?”

“You always come here to sleep, sometimes even skipping classes… I think we have a bond of some kind, you feel? I consider you my friend, don’t tell me that you don’t…?”

“Sure.”

Yukiko-sensei said with a grin. The room suddenly descended into silence as Sensei continued smoking and I closed my eyes, waiting for the sleep to enshroud me. However, how would my life be such an easy one?

Bzz Bzz Bzz

“Is that your phone?”

“Yes.”

I retrieved my phone from my pocket and picked it after reading the name displayed on the screen.

“What is it?”

[Where are you? We’re starting the tournament again.]

“You guys go ahead without me, I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

[Of course, you will. Fine, you must be sleeping somewhere, I’ll call you when it’s time to go home, don’t you dare turn off your phone.]

“Okay.”

I ended the phone call and placed my phone on the space beside me, a little distance away from where Yukiko-sensei was sitting.

“What happened?”

“Nothing really.”

“I have a strong feeling that many people are cursing you right this moment…”

“I am sure it’s just you.”

A couple of seconds passed by before Sensei asked with a complicated expression.

“Hey, Kawashima.”

“Hmm?”

“What do you think of me as a woman?”

“Well, I am sixteen and the legal age of marriage is twenty-one. In five years you’d be nearing your thirties, Sensei.”

“Huh, what…? -! You damn brat, I didn’t mean it that way.”

“So this isn’t a proposal… I got my hopes up for nothing…”

“Y-you… Haah~ Seriously… What the hell are you?”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s just that you don’t seem like a normal high-schooler. Your confidence, composure, attitude…”

“Are you sure this isn’t a proposal?”

“Listen here you little-”

“I was just joking, Sensei. And I am like any other sixteen-year-old boy.”

“Huh… Is that so…?”

Saying so in a low voice, Yukiko-sensei crushed her cigarette in the ashtray sitting on the side table and immediately laid down beside me. Her mellow and sweet scent tickled my nose while her softness could be felt at every point our bodies rubbed against each other. Her pretty face was just beside me, and I could feel the ends her silky hair tickling my cheek. It seemed that she didn’t know where to place her hands, for she folded her arms and placed them over her chest.

“What are you doing, Sensei?”

“Huh…? I am just laying down on a bed because I am tired.”

“Sigh~ Sensei, are you trying to get revenge for before?”

“I wonder~”

“Well, I’ll just consider this as an unexpected feast.”

Her cheeks blushed a little, but she frowned right after.

“Are you trying to scare me away with such comments? Know that I am a full-fledged woman and such things don’t affect me.”

That wasn’t my intention at all, but whatever. The bed we were laying on wasn’t the widest one considering it is an infirmary bed, but because of Sensei’s slender build, I didn’t feel much discomfort. Then suddenly…

Bzz Bzz Bzz

“Kyaaa~!”

Bzz Bzz Bzz

Sensei violently squirmed, reaching out under her to retrieve the culprit. However, it seemed that she was having difficulties because of the coat, so her hands couldn’t reach my phone that was vibrating under her body.

“Sigh~”

“O-oi, Kawashima-kun? Kawashima-kun!? Where do you think you’re touchi- Kyaa~! Kawashima-kun! You- No, no, not there~! Kyaa!”

“Got it. Sensei, those were some pretty seductive moans.”

Yukiko-sensei could be seen panting heavily with a red face, glaring at me who simply looked at the phone’s screen.

“I didn’t expect you to call at this time.”

[Ah, Takumi. It’s about that summit thing. The final documentations have just arrived, I’ve sent it to your personal e-mail, do check it and tell me if you want something changed, the American side is waiting on your response.]

“What’s the deadline?”

[There isn’t any deadline per se, it’s just that they have to talk to various governments about the gathering, so as soon as possible, I guess.]

“Understood.”

As soon as I ended the call, Yukiko-sensei’s voice sounded from beside me.

“Kawashima-kun, aren’t you forgetting something?”

She seemed rather angry but still refused to get out of bed. Rather, she got closer and placed her head on my left shoulder. Since I had to check the documents, I continued to fiddle with my phone.

“Hmm?”

“Hah! Forget it. So, what were you talking about? I overheard some things, what’s this about summit and America and stuff?”

“Should a teacher be eavesdropping in their student’s conversation?”

“You, lis-”

When she started speaking, the door to the infirmary violently slammed open, the noise reverberated in the empty corridor. When the door closed again from the inside, a tired yet sweet voice entered my ears.

“Yuiko~ Give me a light~”

Nanako-sensei headed over and cluelessly pulled open the curtains, only to find a teacher laying down beside a student who was busy fiddling with his phone.

“Y-Y-Yuiko!? K-Kawashima-kun!?”

“Good afternoon, Nanako-sensei.”

“I swear this isn’t what it looks like, Tomoyo.”

I opened the document sent to me on my email after I left all the explaining to Yukiko-sensei. She had left the bed to calm Nakano-sensei down, making the room quite noisy. Not that I necessarily mind, I am rather used to the noisy atmosphere considering I spend so much time with those children at the office.

“Sigh~ Yuiko, no matter how Kawashima-kun is, you shouldn’t just get in bed with a student.”

“Yes, yes, I am reflecting.”

After a few minutes of talking, they seemed to have concluded their discussion with Yukiko-sensei finally realizing her mistake. As for me, as I had gone over the document, I decided to call Kyoko.

[Have you gone over the document?]

“Yeah, don’t go through with it, for now, I see many things that can be improved upon, I’ll work on it when I come over. For now, just delay them for a bit.”

[Understood.]

Yukiko-sensei and Nakano-sensei headed over and sat at the edge of the bed I was laying down on, then they both lit up their cigarettes and begun smoking as if natural.

“Seriously, should you two be smoking when I am here?”

““It’s fine if it’s you.””


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