Chapter 12 – Preparation and malaise (10)
Translator – Vodka
I received the café au lait and gulped it down in one go. Then, I threw it in the trash box next to the vending machine.
During that time, I was thinking.
This uncomfortable yet familiar sensation I am getting from this man……where have I felt it before?
Was there some sort of a hint in the conversations we have had until now?
With limited information in hand, I searched for an answer.
“Was there something you wanted to ask me since I am a student?”
At my question, the man shook his head horizontally.
“Although, it would be correct for someone in my position to say, ‘That’s right’, at this juncture, unfortunately, it’s not so……since the opinions of students aren’t necessarily valuable.”
I had no objection to his words. He was right.
Listening to him speak, I thought we had at least one thing in common.
“……Don’t people say that you have a distorted outlook?”
His thought process was a little, no, quite distorted.
True that students who had scanty life experience wouldn’t necessarily have valuable opinions.
Even so, for keeping up appearances, a person would usually not say so.
However, this man stated his contrary opinion definitively.
I was able to grasp his thought mechanism from that alone.
“True that people close to me say so, but I like to think of it as not telling any lies.”
With a “That’s why”, he continued.
“You are the one I want to talk with, Shinra Minato-kun.”
With both elbows on his knees, the man leaned forward a bit as he waited for my words in silence.
It was as if he was confirming my reaction to his words.
I didn’t look away from him and met his gaze head-on. I started off with a joke.
“……I don’t swing that way.”
“Neither do I. I have a beloved wife and daughter at home.”
You did understand the meaning, huh……
I was sure this was going to dampen the mood.
I was a bit taken back by his unexpected comeback but soon returned to the issue at hand.
“Why me? Can I ask?”
“I said this before too, right? It’s because I have heard about you.”
Wasn’t it from the school?
Although it was only an assumption, I had concluded that it must have been the school.
If it wasn’t the school, but some individual who knows me, and this man has grown curious after hearing about me from that individual, then……
The scope of my conjecture got narrowed down in one go.
Situations like this made me grateful for having only a small circle of friends and acquaintances.
Thank you, me.
“From my daughter.”
Even if you say that I don’t know who your daughter is.
Heck, I didn’t even know his name.
I noticed that there was a want of definitive exchange of information, that I had not introduced myself. So, I proceeded to remedy it.
“Come to think of it, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I am Shinra Minato.”
“I of all people have forgotten. My name is——”
Just as I was finally going to catch his name, we got cut off by a voice emanating from behind us, from the direction of the hotel reception.
What bad timing.
Before he could continue with his interrupted self-introduction, the matter with the man who had approached us from behind will have to be dealt with first.
Thinking so, when I turned around, I discovered that the person who was behind us was someone I knew.
“Isn’t it Shinra-sama? Sorry to have interrupted your talk.”
The man smiled cheerfully. He who gave off a grandpa-like feeling, was none other Kuroi-san, Kirasaka’s butler-cum-driver.
I have heard from her that when she would be in school, he engaged in secretarial work for her dad.
“Why is Kuroi-san here?”
“The president has come to the hotel today, hence.”
It was an obvious reply.
There would only be one reason for him to be in a place where Kirasaka wasn’t.
Other than the person named Kirasaka Ren, there must be someone else in this hotel whom he served.
I slowly turned my head to look at the person whom I had been talking to until a moment ago.
In other words, the man Kuroi-san addressed as “president”, the man I had been talking to was……
“Let me continue from where I left off. My name is Kirasaka Reiya.”
The man who let no emotions show on his face, said so, an intrepid smile seemingly hung on his lips.
This man was Kirasaka’s dad?……
I could finally understand the reason for getting a familiar feeling of discomfort from his gaze, mannerism, and gait.
“……That was why you have heard about me.”
“It would seem you are getting along well with my daughter.”
No, no, saying that I get along with her is preposterous.
Because of your daughter, every day is a mess, you know.
Like father, like daughter.
The air around him was exactly like hers.
It was rather strange that I hadn’t noticed it until now.
Kuroi-san, who had joined in on the conversation half-way through it, cast a surprised look in my direction, but I didn’t have the leeway to explain myself at this moment.
As I directed my full attention to the man sitting in front of me, he issued the next few words, in what sounded like a different tone.
“I want to ask you just one thing.”
Faced with his serious tone of speaking and expression, that seemed to give the impression that the conversation there on out would furnish the reason for his coming here today and calling out to me, I had unconsciously straightened my back. However, I wouldn’t notice that until later.