“Kaoru, I heard the one you love was actually Risa, huh?”
Just like usual Kaoru came to visit the Mizushima family again, and when he was planning to say his greetings to Haruki, right at the moment he opened the door of Haruki’s room, Haruki’s words where hit him so hard that made his brain stop processing any information for a second.
After his little sister, Emily, told him everything she knew about how Yuriko had a misunderstanding about the person Kaoru has an unrequited love for almost close to fifteen years was Risa, Kaoru’s childhood friend, and Haruki’s wife, there was only one thing that came into his mind when he finished heard this, that was “If Haruki heard this, I’ll die for sure.”
And that worse case he wanted to avoid at all cost, was happening right in front of his eyes.
Although he couldn’t tell it really well if Haruki was seriously angry or not with how well Haruki’s poker face was.
“No, that’s totally wrong, okay!? You have a big misunderstanding here! The one I love is only Yuriko-san! No matter what happens, there’s no way I would fall in love with someone like that Risa!”
“”Like that Risa”… You said?”
“Risa is an amazing woman, she always got a perfect score in school exams, her hourglass-figure was marvelous, and she is a woman who was overflowing with affection and kindness. There is no other wonderful woman like her.”
Realizing his verbal slip, Asahina began to praise Risa in one breath.
Asahina doesn’t know what to do anymore, but seeing that Haruki didn’t put up a protest anymore he sighed in relief. But still, Asahina couldn’t read Haruki as usual and wondering if he was seriously angry or not.
“Don’t worry, there’s no way I will have a misunderstanding about this. I already know from a long time ago who you really like. Seriously, stop making things more complicated than this. Wouldn’t everything would be much easier if you just go and confess to Yuriko?”
“I got it. But you know, there’s no prove Yuriko-san is also in love me here. If she rejects me things will surely go south, so I didn’t really hate the current relationship I had with Yuriko-san right now”
“So, should I start looking for another man and proceed with Yuriko’s remarriage then?”
“Yamete!” (TN: Sorry, I couldn’t resist myself here so I’ll just leave this line in Romaji.)
Asahina covered his face with both of his hands when he heard Haruki’s question.
Although Asahina did know well that he was a coward, but only in this matter where he couldn’t take a step for even 1 cm to move forward.
“Then do something about this quickly. And for your information, the one who has the final call about this matter is my old man. If you keep this up, it would be going to happen like last time. You hear me?”
Asahina too understood pretty well that if he kept being a coward like this, it is only a matter of time before Yuriko’s father decided a partner for her and being taken away from him.
Perhaps because Asahina’s indecisiveness was rubbing him in the wrong way, Haruki drove him out of his room.
Walking down the hallway alone, Asahina was pondering on how to convey his feelings toward Yuriko.
If he’s going with the common lines where everyone used, there’s no way it would make a string in Yuriko’s heart.
Rather, Asahina even didn’t know the lines everyone used when conveying their feelings toward someone they loved.
Even after passing his thirties, he still couldn’t make any move toward one woman. Having this thought, Asahina then once again realized how pathetic he was.
Asahina, who was sighing for the Nth times now, was standing right in front of Yuriko’s room before he realized it.
Well, if there’s a chance for me, I’ll tell her at that time. With a pessimistic thought, he knocked the door and waiting for Yuriko’s permission to enter.
Shortly after, he could hear Yuriko’s voice behind the door and invite him to enter the room. And the servant who was together with Yuriko began to open the door and inviting Asahina for entering.
Placing her teacup on the table, Yuriko raised from her chair and do light greetings to welcome Asahina.
After returning a greeting to her, Asahina took a seat that was close to Yuriko.
The servant immediately prepares a new teacup on the desk and poured a tea for Asahina.
Took some of the sugar out of the Sugar Pot, he then put them in his tea and began to stir the spoon in his teacup.
Enjoying the smell of the tea quietly, Asahina then began to take a sip of the tea.
“As always, this is a good tea leaf you have Yuriko-san.”
“Today’s tea is Darjeeling. It is great that it suits your taste.”
“Well, having a good tea like this is one of the reasons why I came visiting the Mizushima family after all.”
“I am really glad to hear that.”
After that, time passed with a silly conversation they had together, and Asahina couldn’t talk about something important to Yuriko at all.
Right at this time, Asahina remembered that he has something he brought for Yuriko today, which he had entrusted it to one of the servants who has received him when he came here today and ask a help of the servant inside the room to bring the item here.
“Thank you for waiting, here is your item.”
Received the paper bag from the servant, Asahina took out a rectangular box from it.
What’s that might be? Thought Yuriko while she was looking at the case curiously.
Opened the box, Asahina took out a cup and a saucer from inside it.
After taking them out, Asahina then presented the cup and the saucer which had a Casablanca Lily flower painted on them to Yuriko.
“Asahina-sama, those are?”
“One and the only one teacup and saucer in the world, which I personally made. To be honest, I was thinking to give you an accessory, but what I’m really good at was only this after all. By the way, the pictures were hand-drawn.”
“Well, the Casablanca here is the image I have of you. Yuriko-san, I’m sorry if I am offending you by using your image at my own convenience. Though I said this myself, I am really confident in these two. So Yuriko-san, would you take these?”
“… Those? For me?”
“Of course. That’s why I made these after all.”
Putting back the teacup and the saucer back into the box, Asahina passed it into Yuriko’s hands.
Once again, Yuriko slowly opened the box lid, took the cup and slowly looked at the picture.
For a few times, Yuriko used her finger to trace the drawing of the Casablanca with an entranced expression.
And suddenly, Yuriko raised her face vigorously and shows her biggest smile ever to Asahina.
“Thank you very much! I am really happy with this present. In the picture Asahina-sama’s drawn I could always feel a warmth in it, and the pictures you are drawn tend to show your kindness really well. Asahina-sama, did you know? I have been a fan of your drawings since long time ago and have been loving your drawings ever since then.”
Asahina felt this spectacle to be rather similar to that time. No, it was more than that. The spectacle where Yuriko was smiling broadly at him like this was made his mind suddenly goes blank.
It’s because, he remembered and experienced the feeling, the feeling that made him fall in love with Yuriko at that time, once again.
The smiling face of Yuriko at that time and the smiling face of Yuriko right now were overlapping in his mind, and every word that he wanted to say to Yuriko to convey his feelings that he has been carefully thought up until now, were quietly washed over from his mind, even the cautiousness he has washed away too. And unconsciously, yes, unconsciously, what he really wanted to convey to Yuriko all these times—
“Would you marry me?”
— Were naturally coming out of his mouth.
At first, Yuriko doesn’t understand what Asahina was talking about, but after replaying those words in her head for a few seconds, she finally understood that Asahina was proposing her.
At the moment she finally understood it, “Eh? Eh?” her face started to turn red like a boiled octopus and she began to raise a soundless scream.
Looking at Yuriko’s reaction, Asahina suddenly returned to his senses and began to realize what he had just said and he started to panic.
“N-No! It’s not what I mean— No, no, it’s not like I didn’t mean that, but it’s not like what’d you think!”
If Haruki was here he should be able to give Asahina a proper follow-up, but sadly in here, there are only Asahina, Yuriko, and the servant.
And about the servant, as expected of a pro, though no one in the room knows what she was thinking about the current situation right now, she just silently stands a few steps away from Asahina and Yuriko.
“A-Ano, please calm down Asahina-sama!”
“Yes! I will!”
While the other one was at their wit’s end, the other one was panicked greatly. Looking at how they talked to each other was quite comical in its own way.
However, after Asahina took a few seconds to calm his rough breathing and regain his composure, he then spoke to Yuriko like he was ready to get rejected by her.
“… For this whole time, it has been always you, whom I love Yuriko-San. I at that time was the third son of the Asahina’s family who no one ever had any expectation to, the one who always wondered what could he do for his family. And the one who saved me from all of my worries was you. You showed me what I could do with my talent and how I should live on. And how you accepted me as what I really am at that time, made me really happy.”
“But I didn’t do anything.”
For Yuriko, she believed she never did anything toward Asahina like what he had told her.
It was obvious how Yuriko doesn’t have any recollection of it because she didn’t do any of those on purpose.
“Even if you didn’t realize it, the fact that I was saved by you is real.”
“Bu-but, you told me that you have someone you yearned for, and it was almost close to fifteen years long.”
“… I just didn’t have the courage. The courage to throw away the position of a dependable person of your brother’s friend. Once, I had given up on you. But I was tormented by it ever since I made that decision. So I had enough, I don’t want to see you being taken away by another man anymore.”
With a deep breath, Asahina began to calm himself again.
It’s okay, I can do it. And he started to steel himself.
“Yuriko-san, I love you. Would you marry me?”
“Ah, about my income you don’t have to worry! I have enough for us! Though I rarely got any bonus or a raise in my wage. And about the servants we could hire, although I couldn’t hire a lot of them at least I could hire some of them to help us with our daily life. And for the house, don’t worry! There is a lot of unused house and we could use the real estate agency to look at them for us so if there are any house you are interested in I would definitely take them! And if I couldn’t get them, I’ll build one for sure. And about Tsubaki, don’t worry! Asahina’s family is very open to everyone and we never discriminate people. I’m sure my other family members will accept her in no time, of course, I will be the top of the list!”
“A, Ano…. Asahina-sama?”
“Of course, for the person I love, you will always be the number one! Yes, there will be a hard time for us, but I will persevere. That’s why…”
Perhaps because he couldn’t hear Yuriko was calling on him, he kept talking nonstop.
“Listen to me.” Had enough with Asahina, who continue talking, Yuriko raised her voice a little and called Asahina.
“Yuriko-san? So, that’s mean, “No”?”
“You wrong! Listen to me first… I too love you, Asahina-sama. And so, I accept your proposal.”
Asahina’s mind was going blank again and his mouth was agape when he heard Yuriko’s answer.
That just shows how much he found Yuriko’s answers to be unbelievable.
Still petrified, Asahina pinches the back of his other hand strongly, and from the pain he felt, he finally came to believe that what has happened right now was not a dream. And the joy he felt deep in his heart started to overflow.
“Ee, I really mean it.”
“You will marry me?”
“Yes. Or rather, I should be the one who asked that. Asahina-sama, I have failed in marriage once and I already had a child, are you really fine with a woman like me?”
“That’s not a problem at all! Just thinking that you will marry me is already making me really happy.”
Seeing how happy Asahina was, Yuriko too was soaked in joy knowing that her feelings have finally passed through.
“Yes, what is it?”
“That, I have a favor to ask, could you call me by my first name? I would be really happy if you do so.”
“I understand. Well then, etto… Kaoru, sama.”
Averting her eyes away from Asahina and with a blushing face, Yuriko began to call Asahina’s first names in a whisper. Asahina told her that she didn’t have to use “sama”, and it was decided that Yuriko will call him with “Kaoru-San”.
Calling each other’s name together, the two look at each other and smile brightly.
Haruki, who was wanted to go check on the situation of Asahina, has missed his timing to enter the room. While looking at Asahina and Yuriko, who has a pink atmosphere that was overflowing from them right in front of his eyes, he started to put a curse on Asahina where his pinky toe will hit the corner of a dresser.
The matters about Asahina and Yuriko’s were informed to everyone in the mansion, and everyone began to give their blessing to the two of them.
Of course, they told this to Tsubaki too, and she was relieved and happy about this information.
Since then Asahina’s work was just fast.
He began to collect any data and document, put up everything in PowerPoint, design it carefully and gave a presentation to Yuriko’s father, Souichirou, the head of Mizushima, where the presentation was titled “Merits the Mizushima will gain if I, Asahina Kaoru the third son of the Asahina, married with Yuriko.”
Though as a head of the Mizushima, Souichirou has shown a sign of disapproval because it was too soon for Yuriko’s second marriage. But as a father, he recognized Asahina Kaoru as an ideal partner for his daughter, Yuriko. And thus, he gave his approval.
By the way, Asahina got the idea of the presentation from Haruki.
Knowing how calculating his father could be, Haruki gave a hint to Asahina indirectly.
And about Yuriko’s daughter, Tsubaki.
It is true that Tsubaki has a very favorable impression toward Asahina, but whether she would accept him as her father or not was a different matter.
Asahina asked Yuriko’s help indirectly to find out what Tsubaki thinks about him. Yuriko too has been rarely had a talk with Tsubaki so she gave her consent to Asahina.
A few days later, from what he heard from Yuriko, Tsubaki gave her immediate approval when Yuriko asked her whether Tsubaki would accept Asahina as her father or not. After hearing this Asahina was sighing in relief.
However, knowing how reasonable Tsubaki was, Asahina worried if she was pushing herself.
If it was indeed like that, then I just have to gain her approval with my own effort from now on. Thought Asahina while he started to take a deep breath and fired himself up.
For the Asahina family, when they heard the information about Kaoru and Yuriko’s marriage, where every one of them already knew Kaoru’s feelings toward Yuriko, they gave their blessing to the two of them wholeheartedly.
Around this time, there was a doubt about Asahina where he actually just uses Yuriko as his smokescreen while the truth is he’s a gay, or, finally the last one is getting married, how could he took that long? Did he actually swing that way? Anyway, there are just so many Asahina’s family members whose get excited about the marriage between Kaoru and Yuriko, and speculation after speculation kept coming out one after another. Without knowing this, Kaoru’s image in the Asahina family was beaten to a pulp.
After that, a meeting between the Mizushima and the Asahina were concluded without any hitch. And it was also decided that they would turn in Tsubaki’s application form for entering the primary school after her surname changed.
Although Asahina wished to have a wedding ceremony, Yuriko gave a firm refusal with a reason that “It would be my second time.” so it was decided that they would hire a professional photographer and took a photograph session together where Yuriko will use a white wedding dress and have a dinner party together with people from the Mizushima and the Asahina.
Asahina was really wanting to have a wedding ceremony in the church, but just thinking that he could finally marry with Yuriko, he was so happy and found that it was also fine like this.
What’s more important for Asahina right now was, Yuriko would wear a wedding dress just for him.
Ah, I hope that day would come soon. Thought Asahina with full of anticipation.