The Limit of Holding Back?
After finishing up with dinner and cleaning up, we made our preparations to go home. I was the only one with any baggage, so Charlotte was waiting for me until I was prepared to head out.
…Hmm? What happened to Emma? Right now she’s soundly sleeping in my arms.
She was sleepy, probably because her stomach was full after eating dinner. Immediately after finishing the meal, Emma leaned on me and descended into a sweet slumber. So even at this point, I am still holding her in my arms.
“I will be heading back then, Aki.”
“Hanazawa-san, thank you very much for today. I am grateful to you for listening to my sister’s selfish requests even though we’ve just met for the very first time. Well then, please excuse us.”
“No, I have to thank you as well. Please continue to get along with Senpai.”
We moved to the entrance to Aki’s house and said our farewells. Charlotte was still as polite and gentle as usual.
What is Aki talking about? Her greeting was polite, but why did she make a request on my behalf? Why is this girl acting like my mother?
“What is it, Senpai?”
It seemed like Aki noticed my gaze as she stared back at me.
“No, it’s nothing.”
“Is that so. Then I have a question to ask Senpai, is that okay?”
This is quite a rare stance for Aki. Charlotte will have to wait if we take too long, so let’s make this quick.
“Yeah go ahead.”
“Then—Exactly what sort of relationship do the two of you share?”
Aki asked something quite unexpected with a cramped smile on her face.
…I was careless. She did not bring this up when we initially got together, so I did not expect that this question would be asked at the time of parting.
“Didn’t I mention a little while ago? She is my classmate.”
For the time being, I’ll try to throw her off by stating facts. However, Aki seemed like she wouldn’t be convinced by such words.
“Your relationship is much better than that, isn’t it? Moreover, her sister is so fond of you. You can’t possibly be mere classmates.”
Aki looked at Emma in my arms for a moment and then stared at my face. What the heck is it? Has she been holding back all this time while wanting to ask ever since we met?
Aki is normally very docile and she is sometimes intimidating, however, her atmosphere right now is similar to that one time. It does seem like she’s a little desperate, so she’s probably reached the limit of how much she can hold back. She had probably been considerate of me and held back on the questioning…
“We became friends when I rescued Emma who was lost. Isn’t it so, Charlotte-san?”
“That’s correct, I still can’t thank you enough for the help.”
When I asked Charlotte, she agreed with a smile. I do think she is a little excessive with her gratitude though.
“I… see… I’m sorry if I asked something strange.”
Listening to us, Aki had a troubled look on her face as she bowed in apology. She really is honest in situations like these.
“It’s alright. If you have any concerns, just ask immediately. I’ll try to answer as much as I possibly can.”
I told her that because I thought that it is the role of an upperclassman to guide their junior, but Aki seemed happier than I expected.
“…Aoyagi-kun is very kind to her.”
“Huh? Did you say something?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
I thought Charlotte muttered something, but when I asked, she shook her head in denial. I’m not sure, but it was probably just my imagination. After concluding that, I said goodbye to Aki and headed home with Charlotte.