[Emiri] -4- I reached out and held his hand.
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Saturday came around and it was a lazy day for me.  I usually would have slept in, but I could tell she needed a dose of morning affection.  Arisu seemed to want that.  She didn’t say it, but I could see her change drastically when she got to give me a morning kiss.

It was like night and day… and it made me consider what love was.

I might have married her because I didn’t have it, and wanted to know what it really was all about.   We’re into our second week, and my body has come to enjoy her touch.  Jin had asked me a question, and I in turn had asked it to Arisu.

“Arisu… are you…  are we gay?”

She just laughed at me.

“Why, do you want to be?  I don’t think of myself as such.  If I hadn’t met you, I probably would have found a man.  I guess you could call me bisexual, but I just want to enjoy my cute wife without the need to quantify it, do you need to put a label on it?”

I shake my head.

“Not at all, it’s just that you are my first and only lover.  I don’t know what it really means yet, I suppose.  But I’m not your first love, am I?”

She pulls me close to her and softly kisses my lips.

“It depends.  If you mean a physical love, then no, I’ve experienced it before, but if you mean a love where I can enjoy coming home to a cute wife, and getting spoiled by her sheer healing cuteness, then yes.  In that you are definitely my first love.”

I wonder what the face I’m making right now looks like to her?  It should be a happy one.  I’m at least in some part her first love.  I’m happy about that aren’t I?

“Are you upset?”

“No… is that what I look like right now?”

“No, but I just want to make sure you are happy living here, with me, and Jin.”

“Jin-kun?”

“I’m sure you’ve figured out a bit by now, but Jun is a bit of a…”

“Recluse?”

She nods at me.

“Jin hasn’t had the chance to interact with anyone but me in the last couple of years.  So I was hoping that having you around would allow him to see that other people in the world aren’t always scary and judgmental, and that it’s okay to go outside once in a while.  If he does, maybe he can find a good girl like you.”

“Like me?”

“Yup, so if it’s not too much trouble, can I count on you to help him out once in a while, with his antisocial behavior?  You know, on your days off, go eat a burger with him at some chain restaurant, or go see a movie in the theater.  That’s all I’m asking.”

“Isn’t that like a date?”

“It’s more like social encouragement.  A date implies a romantic engagement.  Because you are already my wife, there doesn’t need to be any pressure.  It’ll be more of a friendly time together.  Plus, being seen with a cutie like you can only turn other women’s heads in his direction, right?”

“Haah… I suppose it makes a bit of sense.”

“If… if any of this bothers you, just tell me.  If he does anything inappropriate, I’ll scold him properly.  But… I’m just worried for him.  He’s the same age as you, but he just didn’t blossom like he should have.  It’s partly my fault, but there’s only so much I was able to do...”

Arisu’s face looked sad.  The happy face I gave her already faded when discussing her worries about her younger brother.  I don’t want her to leave for work today feeling sad, so I ask her if she wants me to do anything to make her feel happy before she leaves.

She pulls off my hair ties, so all my long hair falls down, then she holds me from behind and takes a deep breath, so she can enjoy the smell of my flowery shampoo and the lotion I apply on my body.  She combs my hair a bit, and braids my hair into a single french braid with surprising speed. Afterwards she moves it around my shoulder to rest on my bosom in the front and takes a selfie with me and her in it, and almost immediately that smile she had before is again back on her face.

“Yes.  This will definitely get me through the day~  Such a cute picture of my wife… I’m gonna brag to everyone!  Guhehehe~”

Such a little thing like that makes her happy again.  I don’t believe I’m half as cute as she says I am, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Though Arisu would change that first word to cutie given the chance.  She is highly affectionate and doting on me, it feels really nice, and being around her makes me feel calm.  Why is it such the opposite feeling with Jin-kun?

I escort her to the door, and give her a kiss goodbye.

“Itekkimasu~ Emiri-chan!”

“Iterasshai, Danna-sama.”

She leaves the house happy at least.  I’m glad I can do that much for her as her wife.  With the house empty, as Jin-kun is in his room, I see what there is for breakfast, while seeing if a friend is awake yet.

>EmiriNemuri:  Are you awake?

>LoliTigersFan:  I am, just writing a bit… is something up?

>EmiriNemuri:  Nothing important.  I’m just trying to get a hang on this whole marriage thing.

>LoliTigersFan:  Stale already?  Have you tried buttsex yet?

>EmiriNemuri: [Animoji: CatHoldingNoSign.ani]

>LoliTigersFan:  I’m just kidding. Talk to me.

>EmiriNemuri:  She keeps saying that I’m cute all the time!

>LoliTigersFan:  Yes, that is one of your most redeeming qualities.

>EmiriNemuri:  How do you see yourself with the other girls?  You do stuff with them, right?

>LoliTigersFan:  I see myself as what I am, a lovely lily, who gets to have tons of yuri with other beautiful women, and then get great sex from a guy I love more than anything… except maybe Murai.

>EmiriNemuri:  [Emoji: Blushing]  That’s not quite what I meant.  What I meant was, do you doubt your sexuality at all?

>LoliTigersFan:  Oh, you’re worried about that.

>EmiriNemuri:  That? What’s That?

>LoliTigersFan:  Your gender identity.

>EmiriNemuri:  Maybe… a little…

>LoliTigersFan:  Let me ask you a question:  When you close your eyes and imagine a pair of arms draped around you from behind, are they a man’s or a woman’s?

>EmiriNemuri:  Umm… about that…  I can imagine both… but well… it’s the both of them.

>LoliTigersFan:  Both of them?

>EmiriNemuri:  Well… when it’s Arisu-san, I feel a calm and comforting feeling.  But when it’s Jin-kun… my heart starts beating real fast, and I don’t… I’m tense.

>LoliTigersFan: Jin-kun?  Why imagine Jin-kun?

>EmiriNemuri: Ah.. about that.. the other day he sort of came into the bathroom while I was washing myself…

>LoliTigersFan:  NANI!?

>EmiriNemuri:  He was so shy and nervous, and I was too… but I somehow ended up asking him to wash my back… Arisu kept saying he was harmless…

>LoliTigersFan:  He saw you naked?

>EmiriNemuri: What? No!   Nothing like that… but well… in turn I also washed his back… and no, I don’t know what possessed me to.  But, when I hopped into the shower, we talked… and I learned that he’s… never been with a woman before… and well… I mentioned that I hadn’t been with a man…

>LoliTigersFan:  Are you trying to set a forbidden romance flag??

>EmiriNemuri:  No… I just… felt… a sort of… kinship…

>LoliTigersFan:  Anything else besides that?

>EmiriNemuri:  There was one other thing… Arisu ducked out part way through a film she wanted to watch with us, and made Jin-kun keep her spot warm.  My hand sort of fell on his… and my heart started beating real fast, so when you asked me about arms around me… and I thought of Jin-kun’s… since I’ve never really touched another guy…

>LoliTigersFan:  Oh okay, that’s fine then.  Did he grab it or make a move on you?

>EmiriNemuri: Not at all, he’s been a perfect gentleman.  If anything he seems a little nervous around me.

>LoliTigersFan:  Ah, well it is her little brother.  He’s probably been starved for any affection from someone other than his big sister.  It might not be a bad idea to maybe have a little bit of skinship with him from time to time.

>EmiriNemuri: Skinship?

>LoliTigersFan:  Yeah.  Just… you know.  Watch some TV together or find a reason to touch shoulders, nothing crazy or misleading.  It might be a bit therapeutic for him.

>EmiriNemuri: You know, Arisu was saying something similar, like taking him out on a friendly lunch date, but like a no-pressure date, more of an accompanying escort-like thing to give him some confidence and get him used to going out a bit more.

>LoliTigersFan:  That’s an excellent idea!

>EmiriNemuri:  Is it?

>LoliTigersFan:  Sure.  Besides, wouldn’t it be good to make Jin-kun a little less nervous around you?  It would definitely make Arisu worry less knowing you both were comfortable around each other.

>EmiriNemuri: Huh… I guess that makes sense.

>LoliTigersFan:  I got an idea!

>LoliTigersFan:  Make it a goal to be able to go out and link arms with him by the end of the month!

>EmiriNemuri: Link arms?!?!?!!?!?

>LoliTigersFan:  I can do it with my little brother Teruo easy, and that’s what Jin-kun is to you now, right?

>EmiriNemuri: Ah..un…. that’s… he’s my little brother…

>LoliTigersFan:  Ah shit.  I gotta run, Kizuna and Murai are fighting over Kuu-tan.

>EmiriNemuri:  Who’s Kuu-tan?

>LoliTigersFan:  It’s a stuffed jellyfish.  If you need anything else just text me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

>EmiriNemuri:  Don’t worry about it.  Give Murai a big kiss from Auntie Emi, okay?

>LoliTigersFan:  Will do!  [Emoji: Baby][Emoji: Knife][Emoji: Bomb][Emoji: Gun]

She’s got her hands full with the babies today, huh?  Murai was a little cutie when I saw him last, I can even remember her trying to get me to breastfeed him.  I don’t even have any milk, how am I supposed to!?

Sometimes I think she has a few screws loose, but she’s a genuine friend, so I can’t complain.

...Skinship with Jin-kun…

Maybe, if an opportunity presents itself…?

I take the opportunity to make some breakfast.  It’s some fried rice.  We had leftover rice in the refrigerator, so I just added some soy sauces, cut up some shallots and garlic, and a shot of some cooking sherry with a dash of MSG.  I made enough for both of us.  

knock knock

“Jin-kun… it’s Emiri.  Would you like to eat with me?  I made a bit too much.”

“...I’ll be out in a moment.”

I take a seat at the kitchen table, and wait.

Jin comes out wearing some athletic shorts and a tank top.  His hair is messy, and he’s got just a tiny bit of stubble on his face.  

“Thanks for joining me, Jin-kun.”

“Aa, thanks for cooking Onee-chan.”

Onee-chan again, huh?   It’s fine.  I don’t mind it.

“It’s fried rice, I hope it’s to your liking.”

“Looks good.” he says as he sits down.

We both put our hands together and say itadakimasu.

Jin is using a spoon rather than chopsticks, but he seems to not show any dislike for the taste.  I think it tastes pretty good myself.

“You used MSG?” He asks me.

“Yeah, it tasted better than just plain salt.”

He nods and eats, though I can see he’s looking at me occasionally.

“Say, Jin-kun… would it be possible to get to know each other a little better?  For Arisu’s sake?”

“... get to know each other?”

“Yeah.   Arisu… thought it might be a good idea for you to get a little better acquainted with me, and I don’t want you to think I’m making it uncomfortable for you to come out of your room if I’m around…”

“I’m not uncomfortable around you…”

“Oh… that’s a good thing… then.”

“You aren’t disgusted with a recluse like me?”

“Why would I be?”

“Well there was that thing in the shower… and then when your hand touched mine in Aneki’s room…”

“You were worried about that?”

He nods, averting his gaze.

“Jin-kun, can you look at me for a moment?”

He lifts his gaze and puts it on me.

“Am I as cute as Arisu says?”

He nods his head.

“Is that what you think too?”

He pauses.

“...tiful.”

“What was that?”

“Beautiful…  I think Onee-chan… is.”

This disheveled guy just said I was beautiful.  I can feel the blood rushing to my cheeks making them red.  My heart is also slowly beating a step quicker.

“Your hair… it looks nice like that.”

He noticed it?

“T...thank you for the compliment.  Arisu was feeling down this morning, so she braided it how she wanted, took a selfie, then cheered up.  It made me happy to see her happy.”

He nods quietly again.

Our conversations always seem to be awkward.  But that’s not entirely a bad thing.  The silence between us too is enjoyable.

“Jin-kun, what do you do in your room all day?”

“...Read usually.”

“Oh, like what?”

“...webnovels.”

“Oh, you like them too?  I was just reading a cute one the other day a friend of mine recommended.  “The Duke’s Lover is No Good.”

He perked up after hearing that title.

“The one by LionPrincess?”

“You know it?”

“I’m up to the latest chapter.  Right now, Princess Ame is trying to take the duke as her own lover now that he ran away from home.”

“Ah, I’m only to the part where his sister Lady Kanata is trying to force her onto his old father, so she can have his incestuous baby!”

“Oh, you’re still behind.  It doesn’t go as she planned at all, but the one truly hurt by her actions is the Baroness Lolita.  She is absolutely devastated not knowing what had transpired!”

“You aren’t spoiling anything?”

He shakes his head vigorously.

“I promise.  I won’t say anything else, but you should read it.  It’s only five chapters until you get caught up.”

“I’ll read it before I go to bed tonight.  It’ll be fun to speculate what happens in the story with you, now that I know you read it too!”

“Yeah…”

“I wish I could write.  I just don’t have the talent for it.”

“Why do you think that?”

“To write a romance novel… you have to have experience with it in the real world, right?   I’m still learning myself… with Arisu.”

“I’ve run into the same problems.”

“You write?”

“A little… I have trouble with the actual romantic scenes… even though I’ve read so many… to describe them… is difficult without having a real experience…”

“Jin-kun.  Can you put out your hand for a moment?”

He hesitates for a bit, before extending his hand palm out.

I put my own out and our palms touch.  When he doesn’t recoil, I move my fingers into the spaces between his, and hold his hand.  My heart is beating faster now, and I almost want him to pull away so he can’t hear it.  To me, it’s audible.

“Your hands are soft, Onee-chan.”

“Jin-kun’s hand is bigger than mine.”

“I’m a bit taller than the norm.  So it’s appropriate.”

“Is this much okay?  Do you want to stop?”

“...I’m okay… if you are?”

We sat across from each other and held hands, eventually he found enough courage to bend his fingers as well into my own.  For the both of us, there was a nervousness, and our palms got sweaty soon enough.

I have to lead him into breaking our hand holding.

“How was it?”

“It wasn’t bad.”

“I’m glad.  I guess you can call that a small success!”

“Success, for what?”

“Skinship!  It was a safe holding of hands.”

“Is that what that was?”

“Yes, did you think it was something else?”

“I… uh… don’t know?”

“It was just a starting point, for us.”

“...for us?”

“Family shouldn’t be afraid of each other.  I’m pretty sure.  After all, you and Arisu are the first family I’ve ever known.  I want us to all get along.  I want to let Arisu be happy and have this one less worry.”

“You really love Aneki?”

“I don’t know if what I’m feeling is really love, but I think if it is, I want to cultivate it.  It all happened so fast… us getting married.  But your sister is so kind to me, even though I don’t have the first idea how to be a good wife to her.  But I’m going to do my best!  And that means starting to build a relationship with you, my new little brother.”

I think I said something wrong.  Jin-kun was a bit happy when we talked about the webnovel, and he seemed alright when we held hands.   But afterward… he seemed down again.  It reminded me of me when I was at the orphanage. Like him, I had a hard time connecting with people.

I got lucky... one day when I was by myself in Akihabara, I was eating at the place I now work at.  A cute girl in a costume was handing out flyers for the place and I decided I would give it a try.  When I was enjoying a plate of Napolitan, a beautiful woman asked if I liked cosplay.   I thought it was cool, but never thought I could do it myself.  As it turns out, that person was none other than the legendary Akiba Idol Min-Min!  She invited me to try a shift, and though I bumbled up a bit, it appears I was something called gap moe.  So I somehow got a job, and while I’m not as klutzy as I was before, it still happens, and it gets people excited for some reason.

I ended up working there from then on, and made friends with a part timer who was an up-and-coming author, and Min-Min who’s name I learned was Hiromi.  I slowly broke out of my shell, and was able to face the world a little bit better.

I think I understand Arisu better after this.

I’ll help Jin.

I got up and started clearing the table.  Jin-kun went back to his room, and when I had finished cleaning I felt motivated.  It was almost noon, and would be lunchtime soon.  So I sent my wife a text.

>EmiriNemuri:  I miss you.  I managed to touch Jin-kun today.  I held his hand over the table for a little while.  I’ll do what I can to help him fit into society again.

>CutieHunter:  Send me another picture~  I want more cute~  Work is hell today~  That jingly bitch is driving us crazy!

I take another selfie, one with me in a headscarf and an apron holding a duster.  I know she likes maid costumes, but we don’t have one here, and I don’t bring costumes home from work.

Snap!

>EmiriNemuri:  [PhotoAttached:  xxxx1924.png]

>CutieHunter:  I’m DYING!!!  I want to make a mess now and watch you have to bend over and clean it up!!!  AHHHHHH!!!

>EmiriNemuri: …

>CutieHunter:  You’re the best!  This should get me through the worst of it!  I’m going to make it my desktop background!!!

>CutieHunter:  Also, thanks for helping with Jin.  I’ll leave what to do up to you.  Do you want anything for dinner?  I’ll be home by five.

>EmiriNemuri:  I’m fine with anything.  But can we eat the food before you… um… eat me?

>CutieHunter:  No promises on that!

“Jin-kun!” I call out near his door “Do you want anything specific for dinner?  Arisu is going to bring it home.”

“I’m good with anything.  She knows what I don’t like.”

>EmiriNemuri: I asked Jin-kun if he wanted anything, and he says you know what he doesn’t like.

>CutieHunter:  Ossu!  Love ya <3!

>EmiriNemuri: <3

I didn’t see Jin until the time Arisu came home.

He came out to eat, our dinner was Italian food.  Some spaghetti with sausages and tender meatballs in a red sauce.  It was much richer in taste than the napolitan we served at the Chara Cafe.

“So Jin, I heard you were feeling up my wife.”  She says casually.

I watch him choke on the bite he just put in his mouth.  He quickly reached for his drink and pounded on his chest.  Arisu also slapped him on the back.

“It was a joke man, take it easy!”

Jin sighed.

“So how did she feel?  Soft, right?”

“Aneki…”

“I know.  You can go hide after we eat.  If you need to, put on some headphones.  I’m stressed out and it might get loud.”

“...thanks for the warning.”

Jin-kun finished before us, and excused himself.  I tidied up when Arisu and I finished eating, and I stored the leftovers in the refrigerator.  Arisu was true to her word.  She almost tore my arm off dragging me into the bedroom.

I’m not ashamed to say she made me scream.  I hope Jin was wearing headphones after all.

The rest of the night was spent with me reading the webnovel and Arisu relaxing on her computer.  I hope tomorrow goes better.  

In bed, she held me close and I had the opportunity to see her.   She looked exhausted.  I pulled her glasses off which she accidentally fell asleep wearing, and I ran my fingers through her hair.

My lips touched hers, and the soft feel of her nose exhaling tickles me.  

“Good night, Danna-sama.  I’ll be sure to do my best tomorrow as well.”

I put my head into her chest, until the soft beating of her heart lulls me to sleep.

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