(Interlude 7) “Traces” of Kururi Kurumizawa
For Christmas, we had a party at Shiho’s house.
Mr. and Mrs. Shimotsuki celebrated with us, the food was delicious, I enjoyed spending time with Shiho, and I think it was a wonderful day.
I kind of … thought, ‘I guess things are finally back to normal’.
With my relationship with Shiho restored, our romantic comedy was once again at peace.
It was already around 9:00 p.m. when I arrived home after the Christmas party.
When I showed up in the living room, I found her rumbling as I knew she would.
“… Oh, welcome home.”
A childish woman with a big head is watching TV in a disheveled outfit.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw my stepsister stretched out on the couch like a loose cat.
“You’re showing your belly button.”
The bottom of her shirt was rolled up, revealing her adorable belly button. I pointed it out to her, but she didn’t even try to fix it and continued watching TV.
“I don’t mind if you look. I don’t think anything of it when Onii-chan looks at me.”
“That’s not the point, though.”
It’s okay if you’re just letting me look at you because we’re family.
“Hey, how was the party? I know Shimotsuki-kun’s mother is a good cook, right? Was it still delicious?”
Azusa said and showed me the screen of her smartphone.
There was a picture of the food I just ate. Shiho must have taken it and sent it to Azusa.
“Yeah, it was delicious.”
“You know, it would have been nice for Azusa to come too, right? Satsuki-san said she wanted to meet you.”
“Gnu… but you know, if I go, I feel like I have to admit that Shimotsuki-san is my Onee-chan, and I kind of don’t like that.”
At one point, Azusa had also been invited to the Christmas party.
But she refused, so I couldn’t go with her.
Shiho’s mother, Satsuki-san, wanted to meet Azusa, but it would be a little while before they met face-to-face.
“Have you eaten dinner?”
“Yes, I did. I ate some snacks a while ago.”
“I wouldn’t call that a meal, though.”
“Noisy Onii-chan idiot.”
I think Azusa has been talking to me more and more lately, perhaps because she’s in her rebellious phase.
I guess I’m being played down or … no, I’m being recognized as a full-fledged family member, so I’m going to make light of it. Yeah, I decided to think of it in a good way.
“Onii-chan, I want my Christmas present to be a giftcard, I want to use SSR characters on Shimotsuki-san!”
“… By the way, what’s your present for me, Azusa?”
“Huh? Are you going to give me Azusa too? That’s too much trouble… Then can I give you a ‘Katatataki Ticket’?”
(TLN: Ticket for a Massage Machine, idk)
Lately, I feel like my stepsister is becoming more and more of a useless person.
She started withdrawing after becoming estranged from Ryuzaki, and just about that time she became friends with Shiho, and since then she has been on a downward spiral.
Perhaps she was badly influenced by Shiho, who is a no-good person.
Because of her influence, Azusa also started playing games all the time. … It’s not a bad thing, but I wanted her to do a little more, like study harder.
“Onii-chan, please heat the bath. Ah, the laundry has also piled up.”
“Yes, I’ll take care of it. Azusa, prepare to take a bath too, okay?”
“Prepare? Do you want me to take off my clothes and wait?”
“Change clothes, towels… No, no, I’ll do it all.”
Azusa, who is becoming a completely useless person because of Shiho, of course, does not do her chores. I know I should give her a firm lecture, but I couldn’t take a strong attitude because I somehow think such a stepsister is cute.
With a wry smile, I returned to my room to put my luggage down for the moment.
–I was already completely back to my usual routine.
No mountains, no valleys, a flat romantic comedy ticking along at a steady rhythm.
As if nothing had happened…
The daily routine goes on as if nothing had happened with Kurumizawa-san.
So, if I’m not careful, I might forget about her.
I feel a little afraid of that.
I wonder if the time I spent with her was really meaningless.
I don’t want to think that it was so worthless that there is no point in remembering it.
Is there any … meaning to the happiness that was seized by using a girl who was so troubled, suffering, and hurt as a stepping stone, and then forgetting about her?
I know it’s a beautiful thing.
But I don’t want to forget.
Because I am the same “existence”, just like her.
I want to remember the girl who was disposable as a good servant of the story.
If possible, I want to witness her happiness.
That’s why I was scared because I wanted to remember her but if I wasn’t careful … I would forget her.
The effect she had on me was completely gone.
The wounds in my heart had healed, the cage of guilt had been broken, and she was completely out of my mosquito net.
I wonder if this is how I will forget about Kurumizawa-san.
I don’t like that a bit… and I feel a tug in my heart.
(What is it that Kurumizawa-san left me?)
So I searched desperately.
Thinking about the ‘traces’ she left on me, I suddenly had an idea.
“Yes… it’s a test.”
I thought of it and opened my bag.
At the end of the day, I checked the results of the tests returned to me once again.
Since it was a mid-term test, only five basic subjects were tested.
And all of them were above 85 points.
Previously, my average score had been around 60. … I had grown a lot in a short period of time.
That is definitely her influence.
(I got such a good score because of what Kurumizawa-san taught me…)
Once again, I remember her in my mind once again.
(Someday … I will be grateful to her, I’m sure.)
I am sure that what she taught me will be useful in the future.
If I remember it properly, I’m sure I won’t forget … her, either.
Kurumizawa-san certainly ‘existed’.
I’ll never forget that…
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