Volume 2, Chapter 5: Confession
“You’re kidding, right?”
I asked in a coarse voice. Gotou-san calmly shook her head.
I said, interrupting her.
“You told me you had a boyfriend! And that you’ve been dating for five years!”
Gotou-san, with a bitter smile, shook her head and said:
“That was was a lie.”
I suddenly felt weak and leaned my back on the chair.
“What the heck is this all about?”
It was a natural question. Even though she said she likes me, didn’t she reject my confession? For what reason? I don’t understand at all. To my justified question, Gotou-san put a dramatic expression on her face and nodded several times. And then, she kept talking.
“I’m sorry. You see… I have a pretty good intuition.”
Gotou-san nodded and at the same time, the waiter came and left the meat we ordered then went away hurriedly. Now that I think about it, when we both entered the restaurant there were already people. It’s probably full by now. Waiters and waitresses were rushing back and forth.
Once I took my mind off Gotou-san, I felt my thoughts had calmed down a bit. Gotou-san casually pushed the meat plate towards me so that I could grill them. I received the plate quietly and placed the pieces of meat one by one on the grill.
“When you invited me over to your house, I was very happy. I almost felt like jumping for joy. But…”
Gotou-san said as the noise of the meat being grilled increased.
“What I felt back then was that “Today’s not the day.”
“Yes. I thought that “If I nod my head and start going out with him now, for sure things wouldn’t work so well.”
I looked at her and asked.
“Is that what your intuition told you, Gotou-san?
“That’s right. So that gave me the impulse to lie. About having a boyfriend, and…”
I sighed and took the tongs. I was happy that Gotou-san invited me to dinner, more so when she said she likes me, but there was something I didn’t understand well. She thought “Today’s not the day” so she made up a right lie to reject me. I scratched my head. I didn’t know whether I will be relieved or not. So we like each other? Then it will be okay if we go out. Although it wasn’t a wedding, I don’t understand why she was worried about a designated day.
“Um, so in other words, since it wasn’t a “lucky day” so you didn’t want to do it or something along those lines?”
I spontaneously asked Gotou-san who burst out laughing.
“Ah, hahaha, it’s isn’t like that! It’s different! We’re not talking about the lottery!”
“Well, what is it then? I feel relieved, though I don’t know why.”
I murmured and turned the meat over. Gotou-san chuckled. I thought it was not a situation to laugh at because I was serious. Although I should have been happy about the turn of events and that she had confessed to me that she likes me, at the same time that my heart rate was increasing, a strange feeling of discomfort and of feeling out of place coexisted inside me.
“I am a cautious woman.”
After saying that, Gotou-san stared at the grill.
“I like to take time to grill the meat so that it’ll taste delicious.”
“But if you overcook it, it’ll spoil the taste.”
“But if you eat it when it’s soft just because it tastes more delicious, it’ll upset your stomach.”
“After a few times, you’ll start developing an eye for when it’s cooked just right.”
At my words, Gotou-san suddenly shook her shoulders.
“Do I like the type of woman who seems to have a lot of dating experience?”
“Well, look at how much sex appeal you’re giving out right now.”
Surprised by what I said, Gotou-san put her hand to her surprised mouth.
“Is that so?”
“Yes, you heard me right.”
I answered that and Gotou-san laughed out loud.
“Now we can eat.”
“Oh? Really? Let’s dig in.”
Gotou-san happily took the chopsticks then grabbed a piece of meat. She ate it and smiled widely.
I looked away from her and laughed ironically. See? That’s the sex appeal I was talking about.
“So you don’t think our relationship can last, then?”
“Mm, I wonder if that’s the case.”
“How long did you think it’ll last?
I asked abruptly. I knew that if I didn’t speak clearly and ask her, the conversation would not progress at all. To my question, Gotou-san turned her head a little to the side.
“Mm… I’m not sure I can answer that.”
I sighed. I like her. Without a doubt, I like her as a member of the opposite sex. But this conversation that’s been going on for a while now is extremely uncomfortable. It’s killing me, and it’s not very productive. Honestly, I feel like I’m being played. If you’re not interested, then just say you’re not interested, that’s what I thought.
“I don’t believe it.”
When I answered, Gotou-san looked up and stared at me.
“All that talk about you liking me. I think that’s too good to be true.”
“No, I mean it. I’ve liked you for a long time.”
“You’re just making fun of your kouhai.”
When I said that, for the first time, the expression on her face turned gloomy. Gotou-san put down her chopsticks and looked at me with a serious expression.
“Well then, how can I make you believe me?”
I was shocked by what she just said and the expression on her face. I was puzzled by the sudden shift of her behavior as she was so casual back then. However, I shouldn’t flinch here. As my heart beat faster, I remained as calm as possible. To test her, I played my best card.
“Will you… do it with me?”
I looked Gotou-san in the eyes and spoke clearly. Her shoulders contracted for a moment and then she immediately withdrew her gaze from me. I noticed that, slowly, her cheeks were becoming red. I felt that the silence was extremely long. To avoid the uncomfortable silence, I took a glass of beer and drank it.
Gotou-san opened her mouth. She was about to say something but stopped. Then she opened her mouth again, and in a low voice, she said:
“I’m a virgin… is that okay?”
I spit out the beer involuntarily. The word “virgin” echoed vividly in my mind. And at the same time, I realized that I had asked a stupid question. It was too direct and rude a question.
“Um, I take back what I said, I’m sorry.”
I told Gotou-san, who had a puzzled look.
“…So you don’t like the fact that I’m a virgin after all?
“Ah, that’s not what I meant!”
I said out loud. I was worried about the misunderstanding.
“I just thought that I had asked a really rude question, so please allow me to take back what I said!”
“Oh… but do you dislike virgins?”
This person, strangely enough, clung to that topic. Is it that big of a deal?
“No, no… In the first place, I find it hard to imagine that you’re like that.”
“What do you mean “like that?”
“No, I mean… that thing you said about being a virgin.”
It was strangely embarrassing to say the word “virgin” in front of a woman. However, that’s exactly what I said. A woman as attractive as her remaining inexperienced up until the age of 28 seemed like a joke to me.
“Anyway, I think nothing’s wrong with it… I just didn’t get the chance.”
Gotou-san suddenly looked away and pouted. Seeing the situation, I thought what she was saying seemed to be true. And she seemed to be quite concerned about that.
“No, I’m really very sorry. I take back what I said earlier.”
“Once you’ve said it, there’s no taking it back.”
It was exactly as she said so I just lowered my head. Then, I lifted it slowly, looked at Gotou-san, and saw her red cheeks as she was facing the table.
“Oh, are you mad?”
“I’m not, but…”
She made a slight nervous movement and gave me a look.
“I really like you, Yoshida-san.”
“Eh… Ah… Yes…”
“So, if that’s what you want, then I…”
“Ah! No! Seriously it’s fine!”
I guessed where her words were going, so I interrupted her.
“What happened earlier was nothing!”
“But you want to, right?”
I really do! Argh, idiot! I think if I pushed a little I would get it. Gotou-san’s breasts that I have always dreamed about… if only I asked for it… Idiot!
As I insulted myself in my mind, I sighed a little. That’s enough. However, I also regretted that I had troubled Gotou-san too much. I have no heart. Feeling sad, I put my feelings in order, and then, to clarify my relationship with Gotou-san, I said:
“But, from now on I definitely won’t say another word of confession to you.”
At my words, Gotou-san’s eyes opened wide. Without worrying about it, I continued:
“You’re always trying to get other people to say things you want to hear. I won’t let myself be fooled again.”
Gotou-san was breathless because of what I said. My words were in a category beyond her expectations. I felt a little better. Gotou-san is the type of person who would do all sorts of things to get other people to say what she wants to hear. That trick won’t work on me anymore.
“No, that wasn’t my intention at all…”
“If that wasn’t your intention, then it’s even worse!”
Gotou-san puffed up her cheeks.
“Oh, you don’t have to get mad at me. Yoshida-kun, do you really like me?”
“Of course I like you! That’s why I got mad!”
“I’m tired of you leaving me all flustered every time we interact.”
I said it clearly.
“Gotou-san, if you really like me then it should be fair that you’d be flustered by me as well.”
Having said that, I took the glass with the beer and hastily chugged it down. I finished and left the glass in place.
I let out a sigh.
“I said it…”
I said what I was thinking at the time. Finally, I said it. Everything, from the fact that I liked this person to the fact that I was under a lot of stress. I knew inside I would have a hard time dealing with it, I was attracted to her and at the same time because of some of her weaknesses, a part of me found her stressful.
Both sides of the coin were gently pressing me, and making me seriously tense. When I told her what was on mind all along, it was evident that the weight on my chest was lightened. Gotou-san, upon hearing it, seemed confused and let out a chuckle and said:
“Have you always wanted to say that?”
“Yes, very much”
“5 years ago?”
This time, when I responded, she laughed.
“Eh, you do like me.”
“I told you that before…”
Also, for five years I have been grilling the meat she eats. Except, I disliked it, though I never said anything about it.
“I see. Well, next time I’ll be the one to confess.”
“Please do so.”
“Although I don’t know when I’ll be ready… but will you wait for me?”
When she asked me that, I was immediately going to answer “Yes” but I held back. I won’t adjust to someone else’s pace. Although this puts me in a bind, I knew I had to fight her because if I didn’t, I definitely wouldn’t win.
“Um, I don’t know. Maybe someone better will appear soon.”
When I said that, Gotou-san pouted.
“Yoshida-kun, is that the extent of your feelings for me?”
“No, not at all.”
I gave the beer a shot.
“It’s like if you cook meat for too long, then it’ll get burnt.”
After all, it would smell bad enough to eat. Gotou-san laughed as she shook her head.
“I’ll be careful not to burn it.”
After saying this, she also gave the beer a drink. For a while, we felt uncomfortable with each other, and to break the ice, we took the meat that was on our plates and ate it in silence, along with several shots of beer.
“I’ve answered your question.”
Gotou-san said slowly. Even without saying it, I knew she implied that I was the next to answer. Undoubtedly, Gotou-san had answered my question. That being the case, I thought I should also answer her question truthfully.
“Taking into consideration what we just talked about…”
First, I wanted to confirm my hypothesis.
“You wanted to know whether or not I’m dating someone, right?”
I asked Gotou-san a direct question and for a moment she seemed to hesitate. The expression on her face froze and she immediately shook her head, then putting aside the chopsticks from her hand.
“…I couldn’t think of any other explanation for it.”
I was confident that I could answer the question of whether or not I had a woman. Looking at Gotou-san, I opened my mouth and said:
“No, I’m not dating someone else. Since I joined the company, I’ve fallen for none other than you.”
I said it naturally, and for a moment Gotou-san seemed to be speechless as her mouth was half-open. She then looked away from me saying:
“Is that so?”
Gotou-san’s gaze then wandered across the surface of the table as she shook her head.
“Well, I guess it’s not a lie. Because your eyes tend to swim when you lie, Yoshida-kun.”
“Like an international swimmer?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
I remembered Asami saying it and said it in a low voice, but I didn’t dare to say it one more time. Anyway, I suck at lying. I didn’t know that Gotou-san knew that characteristic of mine.
No matter what I said to change the subject, Gotou-san would not take the bait.
“Why did you refuse?”
I gulped slowly. I decided not to lie. When it’s a situation like this, you have no choice but to choose your words wisely while conveying the truth. I gathered my courage.
“It’s not that I’m dating any women, but there’s someone who’s living with me at home right now. Someone considerably younger than me, a minor.”
When I said that, Gotou-san frowned.
“What? What do you mean?”
“It’s exactly like I said. It’s because I’m living with a minor. That’s why I don’t want to be away from home for a long time.”
“No, not that.”
Gotou-san’s gaze looked confused and then she tilted her head to the side.
“This… minor. What’s your relationship with this person?”
“An old acquaintance, someone from my old neighborhood.”
I looked at Gotou-san closely as I said it, taking care of every detail so she won’t suspect me. Gotou-san looked into my eyes as she listened to my words.
“Ah. If so, then why is this person living with you now?”
“Ran away from home and couldn’t find anyone else to rely on…”
That was not a lie.
“A few months ago.”
At my response, Gotou-san seemed strangely convinced and nodded several times.
“I see. That’s why you always have to hurry back home. Just to confirm…”
My ears were on alert listening to what she was saying.
“Is this person a boy? Or is it a girl?”
I saw this one coming. Depending on the answer to this question, the phrase “living with me” will change greatly. However, by the time Gotou-san asked this question, she had already realized many things, and so did I.
“Must I say it out loud?”
At my words, Gotou-san looked away and seemed to be worried.
“Yoshida-kun… I think you already understand, but… you’re walking on a tightrope you know? Letting a runaway girl stay at your place…”
“It’s a bold question to ask, but, you’re not doing anything inappropriate with her, are you?
The tone that Gotou-san used was sharp. Her usual friendly, smiling demeanor disappeared and she was now looking directly at me with a serious face.
“Of course not. I’m not so stupid as to lay a hand on a girl.”
I answered clearly and Gotou-san looked into my eyes for a few seconds and then closed it before sighing deeply.
“Well that’s fine, I guess, but…”
After taking a sip of the beer, Gotou-san stared at the glass, seeming to reflect on something. Then she blinked once, took a deep breath, and then spoke again.
“What is it?”
Gotou-san looked at me again.
“I can’t comprehend it.”
“You said you liked me, didn’t you?”
“I said it and it’s the truth.”
“I see, but…”
Gotou-san frowned, looked at me once, and then withdrew her gaze. After a brief pause, she looked at me again. I could see the displeasure on her face.
“But while you say that, you also said that you’re living with a woman I know nothing of, and that sickens me.”
“No, she’s not a woman, she’s a brat. Besides, nothing has happened.”
“It’s not about that, Yoshida-kun.”
My words seemed to just pass through Gotou-san’s ears as she continued talking.
“I know that you’re always a gentleman towards women and the fact that the girl hasn’t become your romantic interest is proof of your stance.”
“Well, what about it?”
“People’s values change from time to time.”
“You may feel this way now, but what about tomorrow? Or the day after? While I’m alone at home, you’ll be together with that girl. You won’t even know when your feelings have changed for her.”
“Come on, she’s a high school student, there’s no way I’m having a relationship with her.”
“You can’t say that. There are adults out there who come and go as high school girls. You don’t know when you might suddenly realize the charms of that girl.”
“And even if you’re not interested in the girl, what if she falls in love with you? What if that girl brings her body closer to yours? Would you seriously reject her? Perhaps you might just go with the flow and something might…”
As I raised my voice, Gotou-san shook her shoulders in shock and stopped talking. As if I were scolding her, I slowly said:
“No, I mean it, that won’t happen.”
“Really? Do you promise?”
“I promise. Do you want to do a pinky swear?
I said this by showing the pinky of my right hand. I stood up and Gotou-san stared at my finger like a little girl, then suddenly laughed.
“I don’t like it. You’re suddenly treating me like a child.”
“I’m not, believe me…”
“Um… I got too emotional just now. I’m sorry.”
Gotou-san bowed her head a little and put a piece of meat that was still on the plate into her mouth. She chewed several times and then breathed heavily through her nose.
“Glad you liked it.”
Gotou-san looked down like a worried child, remained silent for several minutes, and continued to put meat in her mouth. During that time I was also quietly gulping the beer. I took a fleeting glance at my wristwatch and it was already eight in the evening. Has Sayu had her dinner yet? I thought.
Hearing her voice, I looked at Gotou-san again, and at that moment no one would think she was a girl who seemed to have self-confidence.
“You won’t be robbed of me by a young girl, will you?”
I looked up when I heard Gotou-san’s question. I felt chills all over my body.
I have never seen that expression on her face until now. Just thinking that I was the one who brought it out of her, I felt my body tremble with an emotion that I couldn’t understand as either pure joy or a sense of superiority.
Honestly, I was excited. I looked away from Gotou-san and continued:
“Five years. A woman I’ve like for five years just told me she likes me. Under these circumstances, did you really think I’d be tempted by anyone else?”
When I said that, Gotou-san’s cheeks turned a little red, and then she looked away from me. A subtle silence came between the two so Gotou-san unnaturally cleared her throat. When I looked at her again, I saw the usual Gotou-san with her gentle smile and self full of confidence.
“Well, if you’re saying that much…”
Gotou-san bowed lightly and her mouth made a smile.
“I’ll meet this girl.”
When I heard those words, my thoughts froze. Meet a girl? Who? Sayu? Gotou-san meeting Sayu? Where?
“Um… you mean…”
I started to sweat cold and said that as if to make sure I heard what Gotou-san said.
“I’m saying I want to swing by your place.”
“Wait, wait, wait.”
“You have nothing to hide, right?”
“I don’t, but even so…”
I was speechless at that simple question from Gotou-san.
“You’re asking me why…”
“Do you find it more difficult to invite me over than allowing a high school girl to stay with you?”
I couldn’t find the right words to answer. When she saw the expression on my face, she nodded with satisfaction.
“Well, it’s decided.”
I didn’t answer anything. Which essentially meant the same thing as giving my approval.
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