To Butt Heads
“—That little cat, he always comes up to me when we are at school.”
While heading to the supermarket to buy ingredients, Aki was chirpily talking about the cat she had befriended at her school. From what I heard, Aki helped the cat get down from a tree he was stuck on by calling the teachers. It seems that the cat remembers the face of his benefactor, Aki, and approaches her when he sees her.
“Cats are capricious, but cute.”
“Yes, they’re adorable~ Just looking at a kitten makes me especially happy. I want to keep a cat too…”
Aki is extremely fond of cats. She has always said that she wants to own a cat, but has never actually tried to keep one. It does not mean that her family members are allergic to cats or her parents are against it. Aki is the one who doesn’t keep cats in consideration of them.
Would you be able to live under the same roof with, for example, your natural enemy? It’s weird to phrase it in such a way, but a cat’s—no, the natural enemy of animals in general resides in Aki’s house.
The natural enemy known as Miyu Hanazawa.
There is no solid explanation, but all kinds of animals that appear in front of Miyu-sensei are frightened and flee at a glance. It’s not like Miyu-sensei tries to surprise or intimidate the animals. Her mere existence scares off the animals. Therefore, the conclusion that Aki and I have drawn is that the animals escape from Miyu-sensei because she is the natural enemy of animals. Their innate instincts probably told them that she was someone they don’t want to be involved with.
By the way, Miyu-sensei who can scare off even puppies is depressed after the animals escape at the sight of her. I guess it is natural for her to be shocked when the animals run without her even doing anything wrong to them.
“You should just keep a cat when you live alone.”
“No, I can’t. It would make the cat feel lonely when I am away.”
Aki returned a bitter smile to my proposal.
Aki is really gentle. She always thinks about others before herself. However, it is this gentleness of hers that worries me. I can’t help but wonder if she’s holding back with everything, even if she doesn’t have to.
When I was about to agree with Aki’s words, I heard a familiar voice calling out to me from somewhere. When I turned towards the direction of the voice, I found a small child adorably running towards me. She clung to my legs as soon as she reached us.
Aki is stunned by the sudden event. I am also a little surprised myself. I didn’t think we would meet in a place like this.
“Ehehe~ I met my Onii-chan!”
The little girl who hugged me looked up at me happily.
What a cute smile! She may be the cutest existence in the world!
Those were my thoughts as I looked at Emma’s smiling face.
“Um… Good evening, Emma-chan.”
I greeted her with a smile for the time being, and Emma returned the greeting with a cute smile.
“S-s-s-senpai!? T-this child, w-who is she?”
Aki, who was stunned by Emma’s sudden appearance, asked me with a shaking voice. Despite how sudden Emma’s appearance was, that’s being way too agitated, right?
“What are you so agitated about?”
“No no no! How is Senpai so calm!? What does ‘my Onii-chan’ mean?”
“I am calm because she’s an acquaintance. She is the sister of my classmate.”
While explaining about Emma to Aki, I turn my eyes towards the direction Emma came running from. The fact that Emma is here probably means that she is here as well.
――Sure enough, that girl was also in the direction Emma came from. Charlotte Bennett, who transferred into our class just yesterday.
When our eyes met, Charlotte politely bowed her head. I also bowed and gave a greeting in the same way. She then approached us, even though she seemed awkward.
“Good evening, Aoyagi-kun. And um…”
“Oh, this is Aki Hanazawa. She’s Miyu-sensei’s little sister.”
“Hanazawa-sensei’s sister. Nice to meet you, I am Charlotte Bennett. Hanazawa-sensei is always taking care of me.”
“T-thank you for the polite words. I am Aki Hanazawa, Miyu Hanazawa’s younger sister. Thank you for looking after my sister.”
Despite being nervous, Aki replied politely, just like Charlotte. However, she immediately grasps the hem of my clothes. She’s probably really shy right now. Aki is not good at meeting new people.
Well leaving that aside, I’ve been seen alone with Aki… I hope that didn’t cause any weird misunderstandings.
Although the one accompanying me was Aki, I felt that it was bad for Charlotte to see me alone with a girl. However, it would be unnecessarily strange to panic here. Charlotte is not even concious of me as someone of the opposite sex. I think it’s better to stay calm here than to resolve a misunderstanding that may have never occurred.
However, there is one thing that is of concern. Aki’s smile is stiff, probably because she is nervous, but for some reason, Charlotte’s smile is stiff as well.
Is she also a shy person? It didn’t look like that from what I observed in school…
While gazing at Aki and Charlotte looking at each other’s smiles, Emma pulled my clothes and asked for a carry. Seeing as she instantly demanded me to carry. If I declined now, she would make a hurt expression, so I bent over and lifted Emma up.
“Oh~ So you’re actually going to do it…”
“-!? A-Aki? What happened? Why are you looking at me with such cold eyes?”
“Nothing, nothing at all.”
When I saw Aki with a somewhat scary atmosphere, she looked at me with a smile. I wonder if it was because of… When I looked at Charlotte in helplessness, she awkwardly averted her eyes.
W-what is with this reaction?
I didn’t know why Charlotte turned away from me, so I tilted my head in confusion.