Even So, We Are Living in the Present - Chapter 77
Chapter 77 – Last Stronghold
“… You… are…”
At the appearance of the person who quietly opened the door to the president’s office, Airi’s eyes widened as she stammered out her words.
“I have heard about you. I am the president of the Sakura Zaibatsu, Sakura Mitsuaki.”
With a calm self-introduction, even smiling faintly at the startled party, Sakura bowed and stepped into the president’s office.
At the sight of him, the atmosphere of the room changed mysteriously and profoundly. It was not only his distinguished appearance. The aura he exuded and the way he behaved demonstrated his austere position, even absent of words.
While everybody watched with bated breath, Natsume handed over the place to Sakura, whose back was facing him, and crouched down in front of Kyosuke. Although he tried to relieve Kyosuke, he immediately found Tomoya peering concernedly through the door, his face clouded with bitterness.
“Yuu, my bad, but I’m going to leave for a while. As long as Kouki’s father is around, there won’t be any problems, so you can rest assured and stay by Kyosuke’s side.”
After setting his hand on Yuu’s shoulder, who nodded obediently at his words, Natsume stood up again and headed for the door. While Tomoya was in front of the president’s office, a tearful expression crossed his face at the sight of his friend’s back, who remained motionless in his sitting position.
Natsume, who couldn’t bear to take his eyes off his younger brother who was mumbling in a tearful voice, took him by the shoulders and led him halfway to the stairs and gently addressed him as they descended together to the first floor.
“Seriously… what are you doing crying here when Kyosuke is enduring such hardship?”
Uncontrollable tears kept spilling down. His older brother’s large palm wiped his wet cheeks as he carried on further.
“You know… people will be confounded if you keep making such a face. We’re out of here for the time being. Is Kouki in the car?”
Looking at his younger brother who nodded weakly, Natsume raised the corners of his mouth subtly.
“Well, then you can cry all you want once we get back to the car.”
He softly brushed his brother’s back as he uttered a straightforward response before heading back through the quiet store to the limousine where Kouki was awaiting them.
In the president’s office, Airi was speechless at the arrival of Kouki’s father, and Yuu, who was clutching a downcast Kyosuke, looked up at Sakura.
After several moments of silence, Sakura spoke up.
“Watching you, I’ve learned a lesson.”
Hearing the words spoken, Airi’s face lit up. There was something that she can teach someone whose influence and wealth were unparalleled to her own. She voiced a question with such joy, but her expectations were instantly shattered by the following words.
“… Oh, in a negative way.”
As he added with a sigh, Airi’s eyes widened and then her brow drew back in a frown.
“I’m not in a position to condemn people over their children, either. That’s why it made me rethink the meaning of the phrase, ‘Learn wisdom by the follies of others’.”
As he expressed these words, his face was that of a father thinking about Kouki. He kept on going, staring straight at the other party who said nothing back.
“Thank you for making me realize that it is irrelevant whether or not I am related to my child by blood.”
Although it was akin to cynicism, the realization was significant for Sakura, whose parents were not related by blood, and he was not wrong to have reached an understanding. Therefore, he was sincere in his words. And then, naturally, he cut to the chase.
“Regarding accommodation, I will take care of the rent and other expenses. There should be no problem with that, right?”
The words were plainly uttered without hesitancy. At Sakura’s question, Airi made a bitter face while shifting her glance away.
“… Yes, I guess so.”
Even at this point, she has shown neither a shred of compassion nor even a hint of remorse for Kyosuke, and on the contrary, her voice even had a regretful tone to it.
But Sakura said nothing about that.
The lack of any objection from the other party, who had been pushing for the marriage proposal all along, was sufficient to bring the situation to an end. In terms of influence and power, Sakura undoubtedly had the upper hand.
As the head of a brand company, Airi understood this. No amount of persuasion could convince her to budge, but she concluded that this time she should back down. Turning her back on Kyosuke and the others, Airi’s icy voice echoed through the room as before.
“The conversation is over… I have no more use for you either. Please leave at once.”
The word ‘you’ was intended for Kyosuke.
Kyosuke looked up at the other person, who never glanced back at him.
From her back, he could sense her exasperation.
While Kyosuke was still cowering, Yuu softly whispered to him.
“… Kyosuke, can you stand up?”
He nodded mildly when asked with a warm tone of voice that seemed to melt even the ice.
Even though the situation was settled, the fear in him could not be swept off immediately.
With Yuu supporting him, he slowly stood up and left the president’s office, fearfully retreating and almost suffocating.
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