I knew you were warm, Haruto-kun.
I hurried back to town and met up with Amane-nee-san.
She was dressed in white and a skirt, which was very neat and clean, even though she usually wears jeans and other clothes that are easy to move around in.
Riding in the car driven by her, we headed for the Tomi residence across the river.
“Is this a rental car?”
“No, it’s my friend’s car. Isn’t it inconvenient to be without a car around here?”
The town where we live is hardly urban.
There is a large commercial facility operated by the Tomi Group, but it is located a bit far from the station, and everyone drives there.
It is equipped with a large multi-story parking lot, and it looks like a shopping mall in a regional city.
“After all, the Tomis are just a family of countryside business owners, aren’t they? There’s no need to be afraid of them.”
“Living in this town, the Tomi family is treated differently.”
Everything in this provincial city revolves around the Tomi family.
Retail, construction, telecommunications, real estate, finance, and food production are all handled by the Tomi Group, not only in this town, but throughout the region.
For a town with no significant industry, the fact that the Tomi Group is headquartered here is a great blessing.
However, according to Amane-nee-san, it is not such a big deal.
“The Tomi Group is a company with only 400 billion yen in total sales. It’s a middle-class company, not to mention one of the most insignificant in Japan, let alone the world. And even if they are the best in any field in the region, they are still a small business in Japan as a whole.”
“Is that how it is?”
“That’s the way it is. The world is a big place.”
Saying so, she smiled at me.
As expected of someone who studied abroad at a famous American university, I thought to myself.
First of all, the idea that a company with sales of 400 billion yen could be considered small is beyond me.
Our world is limited to this town and, at the most, the neighboring ordinance-designated city, and neither Rei-san nor I know anything about the wider world.
But I will eventually leave this town.
At that time, I hope that Rei-san and I can get to know the outside world together.
As long as she is bound by her distant vision, she will never be free.
So I have to do something about it.
The mansion of the Tomi family comes into view.
The big old gate looks familiar.
I came to this mansion once when I was in elementary school.
My father took me, but I didn’t have a good impression of it.
It is a grand mansion, but the Japanese style home has a gloomy atmosphere.
The people of the main family were very stiff and formal.
I didn’t want to come back, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with them.
When I got out of the car, I was approached by a middle-aged man who seemed to be the guard of the mansion.
“Who are you?”
He said curiously as he examined us.
A family as wealthy as the Tomis has its own servants.
I think it is very different from the Akihara family living the apartment life.
“Please tell the head of the family that the Akihara’s daughter has arrived.”
Amane-nee-san said, acting very graceful.
The guard hurriedly retreated to the back.
Even though we were a branch of a family, we were apparently treated as important people to some extent because we were relatives.
Soon a woman in a kappogi (Japanese cooking apron) came fluttering in from the back of the building and appeared at the entrance.
She was a girl, rather than a woman, and seemed to be about my age.
Underneath her kappogi, a sailor suit peeked out, and her three braided hair was cute in combination with her serious impression.
The servant girl smiled brightly.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Let me guide you.”
We were then led to the back of the mansion.
Eventually, the girl stops in front of a Japanese-style room separated by a sliding screen.
“Please wait a moment until the head of the family arrives.”
After saying this, the girl bowed softly and walked away.
Amane-nee-san and I looked at each other and then went into the room.
Even though Amane-nee-san had arranged the appointment in advance, the chairman of the Tomi Group must be busy.
However, there was a girl in the corner where no one was supposed to be.
It was Rei-san, on her knees on the tatami mats, shivering.
Rei-san was startled and looked up.
When she saw us, she looked shocked and then her face lit up.
Rei-san jumped up and then jumped on me.
I hurriedly took her in my arms and hugged her softly.
I was a little dizzy from her sweet scent.
She looked up at me with tears in her blue eyes.
“You came to save me, didn’t you?”
“I was scared… I was really scared.”
It is natural for a girl like Rei-san to be scared when she is suddenly abducted by a car full of men.
However, nothing seemed to have happened to Rei-san at the moment.
“Are you okay?”
I asked, and she nodded.
Then she smiled and pressed her lips against my lips.
“You’re going to do that in front of me?”
Amane-nee-san teased us in an amused voice, but Rei-san didn’t seem to mind.
Rei-san leaned against me like a spoiled child.
After confirming each other’s presence for a while, we slowly pulled apart.
“After all, Haruto-kun is so warm.”
And Rei-chan smiled softly, her face turning bright red.