Even So, We Are Living in the Present - Chapter 56
Chapter 56 – About Teacher
As instructed by Natsume, Kyosuke left the living room, headed up the stairs, then unobtrusively opened the sliding door directly to his left. Despite the vastness of the indoor space, there was no other presence apart from Natsume and Tomoya. Across the sliding screen was a 19.44 square meter Japanese-style room covered with clean tatami mats. In the center was a large square desk. Whether coated by lacquer or not, it was exceptionally lustrous. A pair of luxurious-looking zabuton cushions were positioned facing each other.
Um, I believe it is…
A thought crossed his mind before he stepped into the room. While he had a vague recollection that the order of sitting was determined by seniority, he could not be certain since he has not learned it, therefore, the thought was promptly discarded. At any rate, he sat down on the cushion furthest from the entrance.
While cautioned not to step on the edges of the tatami mats──
Amidst the hushed space, Kyosuke tensely awaited Natsume’s arrival.
Several minutes later, footsteps ascending the stairs can be heard, and soon after, the sliding door was opened.
“Yo, sorry to keep you waiting.”
With a distinctive hoarse voice, he placed a teacup in front of Kyosuke. From the soft steamy water, a mild aroma of tea leaves lingered in the air, tickling his nostrils and soothing him out of his tense state of mind.
Putting his own teacup across from the one he had just set down, Natsume sat down and took a seat on the floor.
When he was about to grab his teacup, he was unexpectedly addressed, leading him to switch his attention to Kyosuke with a brief response.
“Do the two of you live here together?”
It would not be out of the ordinary for there to be someone else on this fairly expansive site, yet there was no hint of anybody else. Judging that there was no necessity to conceal the contents of his casual question, Natsume spoke up.
“Ah, at present, yeah. In the past, I had a grandmother and a grandfather, but they both passed away about five years ago due to senility.”
“Is that so…?”
Although his words were delivered in a relatively unaffected tone, the part about the loss of his family resonated profoundly with Kyosuke, leaving him downcast and helpless to do anything more than listen attentively to the conversation. As if to dispel the gradual deflating atmosphere, Natsume tapped his knee crisply.
“Oi, pay no mind to it. Let’s get to the main topic.”
Feeling sorry for his words of consideration, he nodded and straightened his posture. Natsume, leaning his cheek on the table so as not to be stiff, swiftly entered the subject.
“So? Yuu, he goes to Saki’s place, right?”
When he replied hesitantly with a question mark because he did not recognize the name in the blunt question, Natsume sighed and folded his hands.
“Seriously, you don’t know anything, do you? I’m talking about the name of the teacher who is instructing at that dance school. Don’t you even know the name of the instructor at that dance school?
While a succession of forthright words penetrated Kyosuke’s heart, he accepted the truth with neither denial nor rebuttal since it was indeed exactly as he had been told.
“I don’t know… It’s Yuu who goes there, so Yuu might know about it.”
Even though that was a far-fetched excuse, Natsume nodded in agreement with that part of the statement without pointing it out.
“Saki’s family is known for their reputation. The head of a major hospital called Akiyoshi Dental Clinic belongs to her father, and he is also a practitioner. Her younger brother’s name is… Tsuzuki, I think?”
At the name spoken by the person who was explaining it to him nonchalantly, Kyosuke’s eyes widened as he searched his memory for it. His reaction was caught by Natsume, and he asked him.
“Hm? What’s wrong?”
“… Is that Akiyoshi Tsuzuki’s older sister?”
His name was coincidentally the same as someone Kyosuke had met at the amusement park the other day, hence he involuntarily reacted. Natsume looked unusually startled, his eyes widening in admiration, and he let out a “hoh,” sound.
“What, you knew her brother? But you attend different schools, don’t you? You know it quite well.”
“Eh, well, let’s just say we chanced upon each other.”
The other party who may know everything. While Kyosuke wished to take back his last word exactly as he said it, Natsume may have been aware of it, but he answered evasively, just in case he was questioned about Kouki.
“… Well, he lives near Neko Neko Wonderland. Isn’t that too small a world?”
“Yes… I was taken by surprise.”
When Natsume reacted with a bit of a withdrawn look, Kyosuke agreed with him with a mixture of a bitter smile and a laugh.
“But no one should talk about their parents’ house to Saki. Since she ran away from home in disgust.”
“… Eh, she ran away from home?”
Hearing another astonishing revelation, he interjected even as the other person was explaining. As Kyosuke’s questions popped up each time he spoke, Natsume lifted the corner of his mouth in amusement and gave a nod.
“It seems that her parents and she don’t really get along. They were always quarreling with each other. The primary reason for this is that Akiyoshi Dental Clinic is a preferential treatment for wealthy people.”
This guy is so knowledgeable about everything…
While fixing his eyes on the person who would readily answer his question, Kyosuke muttered his candid thoughts inwardly.
“… Did you know that the dance school is free of charge?”
The abrupt question prompted him to ask back another question in doubt. However, based on his reaction, Natsume understood immediately.
“I guess you don’t know.”
That being the case, he took a sip from his teacup before resuming the conversation.
“Saki has been admitting those who have difficulty in socializing into her school.”
Kyosuke likely would not be shocked anymore by what Natsume has to add. And that meant it wasn’t a simple dance school. He stared at Natsume earnestly and kept his ears open to what was in store ahead.
“You know how most of the students were very mature, despite their age, right?”
Nodding, he recalled that the members of the school who had greeted Yuu earlier had all been very soft-spoken, giving the impression of peacefulness.
So that’s what that turned out to be.
At Kyosuke’s reaction, Natsume’s face broke into a faint smile as he sipped his tea.
“That rumor spread, and now during the day, she has been looking after those who have family conflicts or are not attending school and teaching them how to dance. From early in the morning until late at night. All by herself.”
“… I-I see…”
“Even though it’s free, the school operates thanks to donations from the parents and local residents.”
Although many surprising facts were taught to Kyosuke, all good deeds without ulterior motives will be rewarded with the gratitude they deserve, even if they are not sought after.
“Since Yuu also attends that school, there must be a reason for that, I suppose.”
“Yes…. that is something that can be tell.”
As a child, Yuu was affable, but by the time he entered junior high school, he gradually shunned relationships with others, and with the exception of being with Kyosuke, he became particularly apathetic, as if he had lost all emotion, and spoke sparingly. Kyosuke attributed his change in behavior on account that he had grown sick and tired of being called “cute”. While the person himself did not disclose anything, Kyosuke, whom he has been with since childhood, could discover no other reason for this. Perhaps at the dance school where Saki taught, he can pursue what he desired to do devoid of such apprehension and uneasiness.
“Why did she get kicked out…?”
As if out of habit, a question mark escaped. At the same time, Natsume’s cheeks twitched.
“You, quit replying to questions with questions!”
While not deliberate, Kyosuke was positive that he had reacted the same way from earlier, and he apologized as if he were about to fade away. Natsume immediately dismissed his furious demeanor and returned to the main topic of discussion.
“Did you get into a fight?”
“Ah, uh… his body didn’t act the way he wanted it to… There was nothing he could do about it, so he said, ‘Leave’. Therefore, I left in a quiet manner. I think the fact that he is partially blind in one eye is a significant contributing factor…”
When he was reminded of Yuu’s appearance, he winced as if he regretted not being able to do anything about it. However, Natsume did not pursue the matter.
“So it wasn’t a fight?”
Kyosuke gave a frank nod to the renewed question.
“Yes, there was no quarrel.”
“Then that ain’t a problem. Getting into a fight and storming out is a scum move, so don’t ever do it.”
With a half-smile, Natsume pulled out a smartphone from his trouser pocket, then tapped it several times and held it to his ear.
“… Yo, Saki? Kyosuke’s at my house, so call me when everything’s done… ah? Uh, no, I can’t go since Tomoya is here. Well then, please take care of it.”
Needless to ask, the person on the other end of the line was a dance school teacher. There was no need to inquire about the content, either.
“So, stay with me until it’s over. Since this is your matter, I’m sure you’ll be contemplating all sorts of things on your own when you get back home──”
Halfway through Natsume’s words, Tomoya’s voice was heard through the sliding door and it slowly opened. From the opening sliding door, a reserved glance can be discerned.
“Ah? What’s wrong?”
When Natsume noticed, he turned and asked, but the other party’s eyes were not on his brother.
“What the hell, I thought you were looking for me.”
If he realized it was Kyosuke who was staring at him, he would return his gaze to the front with a tsk that his younger brother couldn’t hear.
Tomoya’s expression sparkled as he watched Kyosuke, and Natsume let out a heaving sigh and a wry smile.
“Sorry, please tend to him.”
At one point, he looked at Tomoya, then nodded in agreement with Natsume’s words.
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