Chapter Forty-two 「Daddy Daughter Date」
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???, ??? ?? (???)

I’m in a strange apartment.  It’s a 2LDK, and I’m sharing it with two people.  We’ve got this giant futon on the floor.  I’m in the middle and to either side of me is Kanae and … I can’t tell if it’s Shizu or Shiori.  Right now we are all fooling around, but… for some reason Kanae and her, once I was spent, continued on.  I went to use the restroom, and when I got back, they were so into it, I decided to just let them be.  So I opened the back porch door, it was a sliding glass type, and stepped outside and had a seat at the table that was there.

When I looked across at the porch of the next door neighbor, I noticed it was Ruru.  Only… she looked different.  She was wearing just a bra and panties.  They had mascots of dad’s and my favorite baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers.  She comes over to me and asks if she can bum a cigarette from me.  I don’t smoke but I’m pretty sure there are some on the table inside.  So I go in and grab an open pack I see there, an ashtray, and for the hell of it, one of the beers I know that are in there.  Ruru looked pretty stressed out, to be honest.  She was also insanely sexy.

I bring them back out to her, and she’s quite happy.  She takes a seat and has a smoke and a drink while we talk about the Tigers’ latest season.  It’s all in good fun until she decides to get up.  She slips somehow, and falls back in the chair.  She’s admitting to being a little drunk, and her being on my porch late at night and intoxicated is not a good thing, adding to it, her stomach is growling loudly, so I scoop her up in a princess carry, and walk over to her porch.  Her door is opened enough that my foot can slide it open, and when I do I enter a very messy room.  The only clean spot is on her couch, and I gently place her down.

But she captures me.  

“Such a good kid, aren’t you?  You deserve a reward.”

She lifts up her bra, and I see her adorable flatness.  She asks if I like what I see, but instead of complementing her I tell her I’d like to see her limited edition mascot panties around my lover.

She grins and says if I take them off of her, she’ll loan them long enough to me to get my wish.  So I carefully pull them down Ruru’s legs, which are somehow less defined, and when I get them around her ankles, she deftly removes her foot from one hole and both her legs wrap around me, pulling my body and face directly to her pussy, which is way more erotic than I remember.

It’s there, in front of me, and I feel my desire surge.  This girl… this… Ruru.  I’m going to make her my woman!

It’s afterwards.

I’m… at a studio.  Somehow I know it’s Kanae’s workplace.

Ruru is there, alone, crying.  She’s waiting for me.  I see her after what I know is a long time, and by being there I feel like I’m betraying someone… Umeko?  Still…  I meet with her and I find out something amazing.  Ruru is pregnant with my child.

Somehow I’m filled with a great happiness.  Like it was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I know… Ruru…

???

Why… is Ibuki here?

Oh.  Ibuki is pregnant.  That’s a good thing… right?

I bring her home to my house, and mom is there, but she’s alone.  Dad’s nowhere to be found.  That idiot couple is never apart.  Mom’s looking so far along right now, she’s gotta be in her eighth month already.  I tell mom all about it, and mom’s happy too.  

Ibuki is the daughter she wanted for me all along, and now we’ll be having a baby together, securing ties between our families...

I’m at the kitchen table, and I’m standing over Ibuki’s shoulder as she’s enjoying a cigarette while explaining to me what she’s writing.  It’s a story about us.  About this crazy harem we called a garden.  Umeko is also here, and she’s upset that Ibuki is in this house, but I have to calm her down.  Umeko saved me from a bad time in my life, and I found out how much I loved her.  But I also hurt her.  I told her, Ruru would be a part of my life from now on, because she was carrying my baby.

...Wait?  Ruru?  Where did Ibuki go?

Suddenly there is a knock on the door.  I open it up, and it’s Saya, along with Satoko.

“Hello, Mother.  Hello Kouta, Ume, Ruru… Satoko, go greet everyone!”

Satoko cheerfully skips through the house and gives hugs and kisses to all of my lovely flowers.  She makes sure to say hello to her soon-to-be auntie in mom’s tummy.

“All that’s left is for Umeko to get pregnant.”  Mom says with an usually pleasant smile on her face.

“Uuu… I would, if Kouta wants me to.”  Umeko says “But all he does is play with Ibuki anymore.”

I’m in the downstairs room, it used to be something of a storage room, but now it’s a nursery.  Ibuki and I are holding hands, and looking down at the child in our crib.

“Isn’t Hanako beautiful?  Who would have thought two plain and ordinary people like us could make something so beautiful.”

I pull her hand up to my lips, the gold wedding band on her finger matching my own, and kiss her softly.  As her hand pulls away from my lips, she reaches for her ring and pulls it off, handing it to me.

“Isn’t it time you did the right thing?”

I look down at the crib, and the baby is there… but… it’s not Hanako.

Instead there’s a loli next to me.

“Kouta, don’t you understand that I’m only waiting on you?”

Her hand extends, and I slide the ring on her finger.  We hug and kiss, like lovers.  “Let’s take Murai and go for a walk.  Reiko and Kizuna are waiting for us…”

I grab the stroller while Ruru puts the baby in.

Then we leave the house.

Before my eyes open, I see a familiar face.

Mina?

“If they set foot in this place, then it’s allowed.  This place is your sanctuary, as it is mine, and was Gorou-kun’s…”

Saturday, June 13th (Morning)

I sit up with a start.  I thought I should be spooning Ibuki, but I’m all alone in the bed.  My heart is beating rapidly, and I’m trying to make sense of the dream I had.  It was me and Ruru, but it also wasn’t.  Ume and Ibuki were a part of it… even mom?  But if it had any meaning, the only bit of it I understood, was that somehow, whatever my relationship with Ruru was… It was weighing heavily on my subconscious.

I rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

When I entered, I was greeted with an Ibuki, who was sitting on the washing stool, and slowly cleaning herself up.  I had to go, so I emptied my bladder in the toilet, then turned around to face her.

Ibuki smiled at me and beckoned me over to her.  She used her sudsy towel to wash my son, and then stood up, hugging me with her soapy body.

“Sorry I wasn’t there when you woke up.”

“You don’t need to be.  I’m just glad you were close by.”

“Are you feeling better today?”

“Thanks to you, I feel good, yes.”

“By the way, Senpai, you don’t have to worry… Your wife, she gave me her birth control pills before she left for school after that night.  I know I didn’t ask you permission to, but I have been taking them since she instructed me to…”

“Shiori did?”

“Yes.  Do… you wish me to stop?”

I shake my head.  “No.  Please continue to do so.  I’m… too irresponsible, and hearing you say that now is incredibly stress relieving.  I was actually worried after last night.”

I put my arms around her then.

“I hope I didn’t hurt you too much, I’m sorry I was so rough.”

“You don’t need to apologise for anything, Senpai.  It’s not like I hated any of it… you poured your feelings into me, and I got to know another side of you as well, which made me happy.”

“Ibuki, can you answer a question for me?”

“Anything that I can, I will.”

“Knowing that I have… other women to care for, how does it make you feel?”

“I don’t understand the question completely, Senpai.  Are you asking me if I am jealous?”

“That or anything else.  Not that I rank my women, but… you are one of my partners…”

“I believe Sakuraba-san and I are similar in our roles.  We merely wish to be with you, over anything else.  Maybe you still see me as something other than what I am, but I am your property, Senpai.”

Her soapy finger traces a figure eight around my pectorals. “Do you know what an Otoshigami is?”

“That’s… when an object over time gains a type of sentient spirit, right?” I ask, recalling a manga about that.

“It’s best to think of me like that.  I derive happiness by being used and cared for by you.  My will is to match your will, and in return you care for me so that I can continue to be an object you treasure that brings benefit to yourself.”

“You say that, but so far all I’ve used you for is sex.”

“That’s fine for now, isn’t it?  You will surely find a use for me in time, though it’s not like I don’t enjoy you having your way with me either.”

“You really aren’t disgusted with me for what I did?”

She shakes her head.  “No, Senpai.  If this is the result, then I have no complaints in this life or the next.”

“Ibuki… is there no way to return to your family?”

“I don’t know.  I gave up everything to chase after you, so if there is a benefit to be had in some way to them by being with you, then I suppose it’s possible they might consider it.”

“So your value to them is what connection to me you have?”

“It’s probably something like that.”

“Are you involved in your family’s company in some way?”

“Not really, though, if you wanted me to, I’m sure I could talk to my Onee-san and she could place me somewhere in it.”

“Would it be possible for me to speak with someone in your family?”

“If that is what you wish.”

“Then, let’s wash off.  I’d like to do that.”

We step in the shower, and Ibuki insists it’s her job to make sure I’m as clean as possible.  I received a thorough cleaning from her, and in return, I carefully washed her.  Her toes, her legs, her sensual gap, her flat stomach, her small but desirable breasts, her neck…

“Ibuki… I want to dirty you again.”

“Then do so.  Nothing would make me happier than to be covered in your desire.”

I hug her from behind, and there’s a knock at the bathroom door, so I call out to whoever is on the other side.  The person opens the door, and enters.  It’s none other than Ruru.  Ruru skips the washing entirely, shedding her clothes and immediately stepping into the shower with us.

“Ruru?”

She ignores me completely, and pushes Ibuki against a wall, pinning her there with uncanny strength for her body size.

“Tell me how!  How do… I get him?  What do I have to do!?”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know!  That’s why I’m asking you!!”

Ruru is angry for a short while, a tension in the shower.  I was about to move, but Ruru’s hand shot straight out to the tattoo on Ibuki’s privates.

“...Where did you get this?”

“...”

Ruru’s fist connects with Ibuki’s stomach, and she lets out a small groan and gasps for air.

“Ruru, what the fuck.” I yell at her.

“Shut up!  Either fuck me right here or tell me where you got your plaything’s tattoo!”

“Her tattoo?  I have no idea.  She came to me with that already there.” I honestly tell Ruru.

“Was it a woman who looked like me?  Big tits?”  Ruru is about to send another fist into Ibuki, so I grab hold of her hand, and her, to prevent it from happening.

“Hit her again, and I’ll hit you.” I say in anger.

“Growing some balls?  I won’t hit her if she tells me.”

“It’s her business.”

“No, Kou-bou.  It’s very much my business.  That lettering on her snatch… is my mother’s.”

I look at Ibuki and she looks away from me for perhaps the first time.

“It was my mother’s dream to be a tattoo artist.  Because of me being born, she had to give it up.  Instead she became this superficial housewife… but from time to time… a friend of hers would visit, and a friend of my own as well after I talked to her about it.  I saw my mother’s skill, and her unique lettering.  I would always recognize it when seeing it.”

“...”  Ibuki remains tight lipped.

“Will you tell us what you can?” I ask her.

“A short woman with breasts.  Yes, she did this.”

“Let go of me, Kouta.”  Ruru growls.

“No violence against Ibuki.  Promise me that.”

“Against her?  She’s been ruined enough.”  Ruru spits at her.  I’m a bit taken aback at her sudden hostile attitude against Ibuki.  Not that she’s suddenly hostile.  Ibuki hasn’t done anything but be hurt, so I’m very confused about the whole situation right now.  But I do let go of Ruru, who backs a couple steps away from Ibuki, who is lightly holding her stomach.

“I came to figure out a way to throw myself at you, yet again, but seeing this…”  she gestures to Ibuki  “Ane-sama has no business with my mother.  Yet somehow, you, her little brother have connections to my mother in many different ways.  Why?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Seriously, I only met her twice, when you brought me there to your home.  That’s it.  Also, what connections do you mean?”

“I mean all of them!  Your homeroom sensei, Saya-san, Ume-chan, Kobayashi-san…  I’m sure there are more I don’t know about, but are you spying on me for them?  For my mother?  Is this why you won’t go all the way with me?”

“I can’t begin to tell you how much of that I’m not able to follow.  What business would Saya or Ume have over there in the first place?  Sensei?  I had no idea they knew each other…  Nacchan I could see because I saw she had some tattoos, but that’s all I know.  I had no idea where she got them, and we aren’t exactly close friends.”

“Not close friends?  You’re in their club, aren’t you?  Don’t think I don’t know!”

“No.  I quit that club on Thursday, when I learned they wanted to force Ibuki to join.  I won’t let any harm come to her.”

“... you quit?”

“Yeah, both Ibuki and I have nothing to do with them anymore.”

“You’re not lying to me?”

“I swear it on whatever you want me to.  If anything, I want that atrocity gone from her body, but she’s expressed an interest in keeping it.”

“Let her keep it.  It’s a fucking curse.  I hope she gets the full damnation it brings!” Ruru yells, then pushes me out of the way and gets out of the shower, grabbing her clothes and just leaving us be.

A curse?

“Are you alright, Ibuki?”

“I’m fine Senpai.  I’m sure I deserved that.”

“How can you say that?”

“I believe her, you know.  That this thing is a curse.”

“Ibuki!”

“I still want it as proof.  Without it, would you really still consider me your property?  As long as I have it, who else would want me?”

I can only sigh.  “I really fucking hate tattoos.”

I also exit the shower and dry off.  Ibuki does as well, and we dress, heading back into my bedroom.   I was going to have her call her family so I could speak with them, but for some reason, I couldn’t bring that matter up now.  

“Ibuki, go ahead and do what you want to, today.  I’ve got plans for noon for a couple hours, and might not be home until late.”

“You wish me to stay here?”

“I’m saying if there is anything you want to do, feel free and do it.  I’ll be back later.  You might be my possession, but you aren’t a prisoner here.”

“I understand.”

I reach in my pocket and pull out a ¥10,000 note.  

“Whatever you need or want to do.  Try to keep it within that amount, unless you are prepared to use your own funds.”

“Senpai, that’s too much.”

“Consider it my peace of mind.  It’s natural to want to make sure your things are taken care of.  If you think it’s troublesome to use on yourself then think about it being me who wants you to use it.  Do something happy or fun for yourself.  That in turn will keep me happy knowing you aren’t stuck here waiting for me all the time, okay?”

“...understood.”

“Good.  Now, I have to see a girl about an onsen.”

I exit the room and go knock on Ai-chan’s door.

“Just a moment~”  I hear her voice on the other side of the door.  It soon opens and an Ai in loose casual clothes answers the door.

“Oh, Kouta.  What’s up?”

“I just wanted to see if you had time to check out the onsen?”

“That’s right… we were going to do that today.  Sure, let’s go.”

“I’m not in a big rush, but I do have an appointment at 12 in shibuya, so I’d like to wrap things up by 10:30.”

“What time is it now?”

“7:15.”

“Kinda early…” she says with a yawn and a stretch.

“Let’s go grab some breakfast then.”

“Alright.  I’d rather not work on an empty stomach.”

I let Ibuki know about breakfast as well, and I also knocked on Ruru’s door as well.  I figure I’ll let Rina wake up on her own today, and worst case if she isn’t seen before Gotomaki-san leaves, I’ll give her door a knock then.

Ai-chan goes with me to the kitchen, but there’s an interesting situation once I get there.

Gotomaki-san isn’t there.  Instead, there is only a nightmare in human form, to remind me this world is an ugly place.

“...Pink?”

The actor from that place, the one Saya commanded to do sexual things for her release, and who Tae mentioned was Kotone’s lover…

Miyuki-san… I believe?

She was in the kitchen making breakfast for Kaneshiro-san and Mitsui-san.

“Where’s Gotomaki-san?”

“...didn’t she tell you?”  The girl with the pink twintails asked me.  I can only shake my head.

“Well, then let me introduce myself.  I’m Gotomaki Miyuki.  On the weekends I’ll be filling in for my mother.  I take it you are the Manager?”

“Currently, yes.”

“Don’t worry about adjusting the payments to me, I’m just helping out my mother from time to time.”

I nod. “If that’s what you wish.”

“...  Ai?”

“Hello Miyuki.”

Miyuki quickly rushes in and tackles Ai-chan into a hug.

“I missed you, Ai!  You just keep getting cuter and cuter!”

“I can say the same.  I love the hair!”

“I know! It’s so nice to not be restricted anymore by having to keep it in a reasonable color.  Everything good in the club?”

“Yeah.  Kotone is stubborn as ever about not cheating on you with another girl.”

“Well, that’s just a misunderstanding on her part.  It’s not like I’m making her.”

“Eh? You aren’t?”

“No.  Kotone is really clingy to me, and I may have accidentally said something like ‘I never want to share you with another woman.’ …”

“Ahahaha!  The way she makes it sound, if she does, you’d dump her.”

“Never!  Kotone is my girl, she’s gonna make it big once she graduates.  I hope she can get into a good college, get a good career then take care of me.”

I’m not quite sure what I’m hearing.

“You’re okay with her being there, Gotomaki-san?” I ask, curious about how Miyuki feels about Kotone doing basically the same thing she does.

“...no, not really, but that’s where we met.  She followed me around for the longest time like a stalker.  She tried to join the club back then, but the rules…  I tried to push her away at first, but… she was just so in love with me, I caved in, and started dating her.  But well… she wanted to be with me all the time, and that meant she had to…”

I nod.  That club is definitely a fucked up place.

“Anyway, I think it makes her feel better being with me also doing it, though I hope she’s being safe.”

I want to ask her so many questions, the main ones being about Saya, but I don’t think right here and right now is the best place.

“If it’s not too much trouble, could you whip up something for us, Gotomaki-san?”

“Sure thing.  Just gimme a couple minutes.”

The actress from that strange dinner theater sex club as it turns out is our current Chef’s daughter, and the older lover of my former club member Kotone, a.k.a. Gyaruko.  It seems Ai-chan knows her in some capacity, maybe from a previous year in the club?  It’s not really my business to care anymore though, is it?  I’ll just live and let live.

Breakfast was pancakes with syrup, bacon and sausage links.  No eggs. When I asked, she admitted to being terrible at cooking them. It’s not a big deal to me, since the pancakes were quite tasty.

“Ah, it’s getting late.  I gotta go!”  Kaneshiro-san suddenly says.

“Somewhere important to be?”  I ask her as she gets up.

“Yeah, I have a meeting with someone out in Shibuya.  She’s going to show me around, and introduce me to the real Japanese fashion.”

“Sounds nice.  Have fun!”

“What about you?”

“I’ve actually got some business out there later, who knows, we might bump into each other.”

“If we do, it’s your treat.”

“Okay.  Have a nice day.”

“You too, manager.”

Kaneshiro-san gets up, and heads back to her room presumably to ready herself.  Mitsui-san seems to be trying to get my attention by staring at me in an intense manner.

“Mitsui-san, how about you?”

“Usami-pyon.  I tried her route.”

“Oh?  What did you think?”

“I still like Nyanko-chama more, but I think I can understand yours and Daitokuji-san’s feelings about her a bit better.”

“Well, that’s fine.  In the end, you like who you like!”

“Un…”

Ai-chan and I both finish, and then we leave the cleanup to Miyuki-san at her insistence, heading outside to check out what we can of the onsen’s repairing.

There’s an access panel in the form of what looks like a concrete post.  Ai-chan easily pulled it off and started looking around inside.

I asked if there was anything I could do, but Ai-chan shook her head.  Instead she moved to the actual control panel, and opened it up, finding something and it turned out to be a small set of tools in a metal bin.  

“Kouta, go wait in the shade.  I think I have an idea what’s wrong, and if I’m right, we might be able to have this thing fixed today.”

“Huh?  Really?”

“Yeah.  Just… I’m no good with people hovering over me.  Call it performance anxiety, alright?”  She said a bit shyly.

“Alright.  I don’t have to leave for a while, so if you want anything like a bottle of water I’ll get it for you.”

“Thanks.”

“Aa…”

I headed back to the porch and sat at the table there.  I saw Miyuki cooking once more and when I peeked inside I saw Ibuki and Rina at the table, eating.  Ruru isn’t there, did she perhaps choose to eat in her room?

When she was done, she looked out the door and saw me.  Next thing, she’s outside with two cans of cold soda, and taking a seat near me.  She slides me one of the cans, and tugs the ashtray her way.

“So, I figured you wanted to keep it quiet, but that was you yesterday, right, manager?”

“...I’m sorry.”

“For what?  Being nervous?  It’s not unusual for first timers to not want to interact.”

“No, it wasn’t really because of that.”

“Then was it because of your company?”

I nod.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen Uesugi-san bring anyone there.”

“...”

“Are you dating her?  Didn’t enjoy watching me do that to her?”  She says, taking a draw, and exhaling.

“Something like that.”

“Well, don’t worry too much about it.  When you walked out, she had me stop immediately.  Instead I must have spent fifteen minutes consoling her instead.”

“Huh?”

“She’s never done that before.  Usually she gets the cheap room, 115.  102 is like VIP levels.”

“Cheap?”

“Un, 1 hour is only ¥10,000 in the cheap rooms, and based on availability.  Uesugi visits about twice a month, and usually asks for me, or Tae.”

“Tae does that too?”

“She’s not VIP level yet, she’s still in training, and only to select clientele.  Ones who can be trusted not to overstep.”

“Does that happen a lot?  Overstepping?”

“On occasion,  but it’s a one-strike rule.  There are no second chances, and everything is recorded.”

“She never said anything about it being recorded…”

“Not that I’m complaining that you essentially turned me down, but, you wouldn’t have come if you weren’t interested in Uesugi-san, right?  So why the rejection?”

“Do you really want to know, or are you just making small talk?”

“Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes.”

“Did you know Saya is a single mother?”

I nod.

“Oh, she told you? Then you must really have something with her…  I think she’s finally looking for a partner.  Maybe for herself, maybe someone who can accept she has a child. That girl…, she’s wound so tight, she’s going to eventually snap one day.  You are a member of the Anatomy Exploration club?”

“I was, but the more I learned about it, the more I disliked it.”

“Saya had a hard time trying to stay safe in it.  It seems she was saved on two separate incidents by the other girls.  She was determined to not have intercourse by any means.  It’s strange though, because one of the rules is that you can’t be a virgin.  I got the feeling she was, though, with how she behaved.  Even though she had a kid…”

Miyuki taps her ash out and takes a sip from her own can of cola.

“Anyway, she was always hung up on some kid she called shota.”

...as in, shota Kouta?

“Anyway, she says she always had a thing for him, but she was nervous about meeting him again.  Something about her having a baby might have discouraged him from… being with her.  But it’s strange… She never used any of her holes except on women.  No kissing guys, only giving handies or she’d let them fondle or suck on her breasts, or do other safe but strange fetish stuff.  She had one good friend though, a girl named Natsume.”

“Nacchan?”

“You know her too?”

I nod.

“Nacchan was her friend there.  One of the girls who helped her at that time, when she was put in a very bad spot.  The other was Natsume’s friend… she was a gyaru, and a goddamn freak.  But she was fucked up in so many ways, honestly, Inoue-sensei actually kicked her out of the club after a bad incident.  It got her in a shitload of trouble too.  But she also saved Saya when…”

“Kouta!  Can I get that water?”  Ai-chan calls from a distance, interrupting our conversation.

“Pardon me.”  I say to Miyuki, and head inside real quick to grab one for Ai.  Heading back out and handing it over, I see a bunch of sweat on her brow.  I use my shirt to wipe some of it off, after that she takes a few sips and thanks me.

“I figured out what was wrong.  We need two new hoses and two new water pumps.  Shouldn’t cost more than ¥30,000, but it’ll take me a while just doing it by myself.”

“Do you need an extra laborer?”

“No, but I could use an assistant.”

“Have someone in mind?”

“Yes, but you might not like who it is… Mi-chan.”

“Mi-chan?”

“She’s actually really bright and observant.  She’ll keep me from making any mistakes.  I’m confident that I can do this, but… it would be a big help to have her here.”

“Then it’s fine.  Do whatever you have to.  Do you need to phone in the parts?”

“Yes.  Do you mind handling the payment?”

“Of course, I don’t expect you to pay… in fact, let’s call it the first week’s rent for getting this thing operational.”

“Fueh?  Really?”

“The original estimate had an extra zero.  Trust me, I’m sure.”

“Also, as soon as you get it up and running, you can have first dibs on using it.  I think that’s fair, right?”

“Sure!  Leave it to me!”

Ai-chan closed up the panels for now, and we rejoined Miyuki at the porch table.

“So Miyuki, later on, you’ll be back to make dinner, right?” Ai asks her.

“Yup, think mom said it was from five in the afternoon.”

“Want to do some late night bathing once I fix it?”

“Bathing?  In that pool?”

“It’s an artificial onsen.  It’ll take a while, but it should be ready before you leave tonight, and from what I’ve seen of the engine that powers it, it’s top of the line.”

“So it heats up?”

“Does way more than just heat up.  It’s got powered jets, and a steamer.”

“Sounds nice~  But, do you need to clear it with the manager first?”

“I don’t mind.  But just to let you know… some of these girls like to bathe naked.” I let her know.

“Do I look like I mind?”  She says, though the rest of that sentence was probably, haven’t you already seen me naked?

“Sure, then, Ai-chan, you are in charge of the onsen restoration project.  Bring who you need to bring, order what you need to order, and tonight is your night.”

“Sure… you’ll join us too, won’t you, Kouta?”

“...”

“It’s outside of the club, so… you won’t fault Mi-chan or anyone for that much, will you?”

I shake my head.

“No Saya.  I don’t care what happens or who you invite, but absolutely no Saya.”

“Sure.  I doubt she would have come anyway.”

“And let them know, because Ibuki does live here, any conversation about her going to the club, and I’ll throw them out personally, friend or not.”

“I’ll let her know.”

“...”

“Alright, well, order what you need to, and I’ll arrange the payment for it.”

“Sure.”

“Well, it’s getting up there in time, let me go back in and do the dishes.” Miyuki adds to end our conversation.

Heading back in with everyone, I go back to my room and consult Ibuki on wearing something nice for my date with Satoko.  Ibuki finds me a nice looking set of clothes, and dresses me.  I let her know what’s going on with the onsen repairs and she nods.  I grab my phone and go up to the office.  I grab the PH business card, find Ai-chan who’s just wrapping up the parts order.  I pay for it, and then find Gotomaki Miyuki and consult her about perhaps something special for dinner.  I remember Jinguji-san talking about Korean Barbecue and asked Miyuki if she can cook it.

“Sure, I’m pretty good at cooking barbecue.  I learned how from my dad.”

“Your dad made Korean barbecue?”

“Yeah.  He worked in all kinds of places.  He can do Korean, Chinese, American, Australian, you name it.”

“Alright.  Get what you need if it’s not in the pantry.  I’ll reimburse you later if that’s okay?”

“Sure.  I bet you got fat stacks, papa!”  she makes a gesture for money and smiles wide.  “If not, you can always visit room 115, and I’ll take care of you.” she winks and I can only shake my head.  Shameless!

“Alright, I’m off.  See you later, manager.” Miyuki says.

I stop by Rina’s room to check in with her.  I knock, but there’s no answer. I open the door, which was unlocked, and see that she’s passed out on the bed.  She must have been working hard….  I’ll leave her be.  There is plenty of time tonight to make up for not seeing her last night.

I pop back in my room and fish out the Pony Princess plush from my bag, say good-bye to Ibuki, then the next stop is out the door and to the Dagashiya, to pick up my cute little daughter for our impromptu day date.  As I’m walking towards the business district, I open my phone to check on any messages I may have neglected.

There are a few, but only one that means anything to me.

>LionPrincess:  Kouta… gomen.

I freeze in place, knowing full well what that meant.  My heart began to twist in my chest.  I mean, it was so good the last while, but… yeah…

>ThiccWaifus:  Kawazu?

Did she… at least go where I asked her to?

Nothing for a while in response, I got to the Candy Shop, and found Saya at the register.

“Welcome, Kouta.”

“Saya.”

“Satoko will be ready to go in a few minutes.”

I nod.

“Kouta, can we put aside yesterday for a moment?”

I nod again.

“Would you be willing to take me out on a date again?  This time, you decide where to go.  I’ll follow your lead… and if it’s a concern… I promise I’ll behave.”

“... I’ll give it some thought.”

“Please, do.  Also, if you run into any problems while you are out with Satoko, please call me.”

“Sure, but, this is my chance to show that I can be a reliable Onii-san.”

Saya nods, though I can’t read the expression on her face.

“¥1,200.”

“?”

She pushes a bag of candy out towards me.

“Satoko said you want these for your trip with her.  But, you are her customer, and she can’t be giving the best candy away for free, even to you.”

I quickly pull out the money and put it on the counter next to the candy.  “I really missed out on not being able to run this place with you, didn’t I.”

“Why, did you want free candy that badly?”

“No… You see, someone told me if it was free, it just wouldn’t taste quite as good.”

“That might be the case, huh?  Because it was money I didn’t earn, and you didn’t want, that’s why it was bitter...”

“What’s that?”

“Ah, never mind it.” she says, waving her hand in front of her.  “Satoko!  Your Onii-san is here!” Saya yelled back into the house.

Coming, mommy!” A cute high-pitched voice calls back.

Now, we were going to see Masked Rider at a mall venue.  Satoko however is dressed for something completely different.  She’s dressed up entirely in a light blue outfit with rainbows and ponies.  The only thing not blue, are her socks, which are white, but somehow still adorable on her.  She even has a satchel around her and that too has been pony-fied.

“Let me guess, Auntie Ume got you those clothes?”

“Yup!  She said you’d like it if I was dressed up cute, and Auntie says you think she’s cute when she wears these kinds of clothes.”

“...well, that’s not entirely wrong…”  The truth of it is, Umeko sort of fits into the beautiful girl wearing kiddie clothes trope only too well.  It’s a gap moe.  With Satoko, it’s just preciously innocent.  “You look fabulous, but, are you really sure you want to wear that to a Masked Rider event?”

“Un!  When we get our masks, I’ll just be Masked Rider Pony Princess X!”

…  Why is life so easy for a kid?

“Oh, I won this the other day, carrying it might be a bit much, but would you like to put it somewhere safe before we go?”  I handed her the Pony Princess plush doll I had brought with me, that I had been keeping hidden behind my back the whole time.

She took it and gave it a big hug thanking me, then after a quick back and forth through the door from the shop to the house, she came back.  

“Do you have your tickets?”

She fishes them out of her satchel to show me.

“Okay, keep them safe.”  I grab the bag of candy “I also bought the candy you suggested, so can you keep these safe too?”

“Leave it to me!”

She stows them away as well.  I offer her my hand after that.

“Shall we go, Masked Rider Pony Princess?”

“It’s Pony Princess X!”  She says cheerfully as she takes my hand with her little one.  “I’m going now, mommy!”

“Okay, sweetie.  Have fun with your Onii-san.”  Saya waves us off, and we set out on our date.  It’s a reasonable walk to the train station, but Satoko is a champ, I gotta say.  We hop on, and find the train packed.  I’m holding on to one of the handholds above me with one hand, and onto Satoko with the other, keeping her safe.  After one stop, a seat opens up and we claim it.  I’m sitting next to a thirty-something woman with a young lad on her lap, and myself with a Satoko on mine.

“Oh, how precious looking.”  The woman says.  “Your daughter?”

I'm going to deny it, but Satoko has it under control already.

“No, he’s just my Onii-chan for now.  He hasn’t kissed mommy yet, so he can’t be my daddy.”

“...”

“I see…”

“But that’s just ‘cuz Onii-san was nervous.  Mommy is really pretty, so he probably just needs to be around her more before he can be comfortable enough.  Satoko understands, because she is going to be beautiful like mommy is one day, so she is gonna help Onii-san get used to pretty women too!”

A pained look is clearly on my face, and I see the woman trying to stifle a laugh.

“Is...that so…  well, ganbare, Onii-san.

“A...ahaha… thanks…”  Welp, I’m mortified now and it’s only been a short while.  Satoko is very… forthcoming.

“We’re going to see Masked Rider at the 109 building.”

“Is that so?  So are Yusuke and I.” The woman says.

“Cool!” Satoko cheerfully interjects.

So, Satoko and Yusuke suddenly started talking passionately about the latest episode (which I haven’t seen) and I got to having some boring grown up talk with the woman to pass the time.

She’s a married housewife, and it turns out her child and Satoko both won tickets for the show from a contest sponsored by the TV show.  They had to draw a picture of Masked Rider, and the top 10 entrants got tickets, as well as their picture featured at the end of one of the episodes.

I had no idea Satoko could draw that well, though, I did see a picture she drew before, and it was pretty good.

When we got off the train, Satoko reached in her bag, and pulled out a couple pieces of candy, all lollipops.  She asked permission to give Yusuke and his mother one, which both kindly accepted.  Then Satoko asked me if I would carry her piggy-back when Yusuke’s mother had done so after receiving the lollipop.  We walked side-by-side until we were almost to the 109 building, when I was called out to by a too-familiar voice!

“HUBBY!”

Yes, blindsided, my wife ran over to me.

“Hi, hubby♡”  she says, while giving me a hug in front of Satoko and the mother-son pair…  I’m sure she didn’t miss that, and coupled with what Satoko said before…  Yeah…

“Ah, youth.  We’ll go ahead, okay?  It was nice meeting you.”  And they left.

“Gold-oneechan!”  Satoko says cheerily!  “Did you come to see Masked Rider too?”

Shiori shook her head. “No, I was just here with some friends, but I’m happy to run into both of you.  You were the one we helped earn tickets for last Sunday, aren’t you?”

“Yeah!  You were an amazing dancer!”

“Hehe, thanks.”

Behind her, three more people walked over, but only two I recognized.

“Kouta.  Babysitting?” a certain 23-year old bro-con asks me.

“Yo, Manager!  Cute kid?  Yours?” a half Japanese-American tenant who left earlier than I also hits too close to the mark.

It was Kanae, and Kaneshiro-san.

“Umm, This lovely young lady is Satoko, and we’re here to see Masked Rider.” I introduce my charge, not answering to her parentage at all.

“Oh, the live?” Kanae mentions.

“You know it?”

“Sure, signs are plastered all over inside.  It’s being held on the roof.”

“Oh my god, it’s just like that picture!” Kaneshiro-san suddenly says excitedly.

“???”

Kaneshiro-san in an impolite way moves Shiori to my left side, and has Kanae stand behind her.

She moves back and says something to the strawberry-haired woman with planetary-sized breasts.  

“Ya’ gotta let me take a picture of this!” Kaneshiro-san says.  Even though the one with the camera around her neck is the woman I haven’t seen before.  But she starts fiddling with the camera, and Kaneshiro-san makes us stand in a certain way.  Satoko is leaning over my shoulder with the lollipop in her mouth as I boost her up, her hair and arms drooping around my front.  Shiori is reaching for my collar while staring at me, and Onee-chan’s hands rest on Shiori’s shoulders.

She makes that pose with her index and thumb on both hands with a rectangular view that she can see through, and then gives the other woman a thumbs up.  The camera’s shutter goes off a number of times, and then the camera lowers.

“Ya’ got it Maps?”

Maps?

“I have it.  I’ll send you a copy as soon as I get back.”

“Actually… we’re done anyway, want to tag along with these two?” Onee-chan says.

“Hmm… Nah, I don’t want ta’ intrude on Manager’s time. An’ Don’t wanna make the little lady uncomfortable.”  Kaneshiro-san declines as politely as she can.

“Oh, if you are heading back to the mansion, the Onsen is being repaired, so please give them some space.”

“Wha..!?  You’re fixing it today?”

“Yup.  Ai-chan says it should be ready to go tonight.  Don’t fill up, there’ll be Korean Barbecue as well.”

“Fuck yeah!”  She says before quickly covering her mouth, realizing she swore in front of a child. “Oops, sorry about that.”

“It’s okay, I already know all the bad words.”  Satoko smiles, forgiving her.

“Kana-chan, mind if I borrow Maps for a little while?”

“Sure.  Send me a text if you need anything else, alright?”

“Will do.”

Kaneshiro-san and the Strawberry-haired girl leave, and now what was a father-daughter date is now… a mixed family date?  My stress level at the moment is rising like the peak of Mt. Fuji.

“So, Kouta… aren’t you going to properly introduce us to your friend here?”  Shiori says, smiling at me.

“Ah..”

“I’ll do it myself.  Onii-chan gets nervous around pretty women.”  Satoko says shamelessly on my behalf.

“Is that so?”  Shiori says, a shit-eating grin from ear-to-ear plastered on her face

“I’m Uesugi Satoko!  Onii-chan is friends with my mommy and auntie!  He and I are going to see Masked Rider today with the tickets I won from the drawing contest!”

“Oh, can I call you Satoko-chan?  My name is Kawamura Shiori, and this is Kawamura Kanae.”

“Kawamura?  Hey, Onii-chan, isn’t your family name the same?”

I exhale and my knees feel wobbly.

“Aa… Satoko… umm… let me introduce these two the right way…  The tall one with the black hair is my Onee-chan, Kanae.”

“Onii-chan’s Onee-chan?” She asks, tilting her head.

“That’s right…  and this blondie here… is my wife, Shiori.”

I heard a quiet but audible tak sound and when I looked down at where the sound came from, the lollipop she was only moments ago sucking on, had fallen to the ground.

“...wife?  Onii-san is married!?”

“...I’m afraid so.”

“No...way!”  Satoko says in disbelief.

“It’s true.  Does that upset you?”

“Uuu… but… but… was that why you didn’t kiss mommy?”

“Satoko… There’s a bit more to it than that...” I try and explain, but I’ve got nothing.  Rather, the real reason I didn’t kiss Saya was because the mood was really fucking bad.  I didn’t like seeing Saya so open sexually.  I think… that was really why, more than anything, but I sure as hell can’t tell her what her mother does, now can I?

“Oh, is that all it is?”  Shiori swoops in with her reply, which, knowing her, is going to cause even more problems. “I’ve got no problem with Kouta kissing your mommy.”

“Eeee~?  You’re okay with it?”

“Yup.  As long as I can kiss your mommy too, there’s no problem.”

“Huh?  You wanna kiss mommy too? … isn’t that weird though?”

“Why do you think that?”

“Don’t you have to be special friends first for girls to kiss?”

“Special friends?”

“Un, the kind who hug each other naked at night.”

“...”

“...”

“Oh, that’s fine.”  Kanae now sticks her nose in the shit.  “Kouta and and Shiori and I have slept naked and hugged at night together before, so we’re already all special friends.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Oh, then it should be okay!  But.. umm… if Onii-san kisses mommy, that will make him be my daddy… but I already have a mommy and an auntie, so… what would that make… Gold-oneechan?”

What exactly is this girl saying?  Saya… is seeing someone else at night, and a woman to boot?

“It would make her nothing but trouble, Satoko.  Don’t mind these two...  No one will be kissing your mommy but who she lets kiss her.”

“...I guess.” Satoko suddenly seems dejected.

“Shiori, Onee-chan.  We’ve got a live event to go to, so I’ll see you around.”

“Not so fast.”  Kanae says with an evil grin.  She pulls out her phone and makes a call.  In no time flat, she hangs up.

“We’re all going.  So let’s go cheer on Masked Rider!” Kanae says, and Satoko tries to regain her enthusiasm.  Adult relationships are complex, but the shit I’ve got going on?  It’s like a maze that even I’m lost in, and I’m pretty much at the center, so all routes should lead to the exit, though that isn’t the case at all.

This very unlucky situation has gotten even more out of hand, and now all four of us have entered the building and have hopped in the elevator and made for the top floor.  We have to take the stairs up to the roof itself, but just as Onee-chan said, there were signs everywhere pointing the way.

At the door, we had to present our tickets, so Satoko pulled the two she had in her bag out and handed them over.  The attendant in charge of admission tore the stub off and handed them back to her, and gave us each a mask to wear.

Kanae merely said someone’s name and the word guest, and instantly she and Shiori were admitted to the venue, they declined the masks, though.  I don’t know how she does it, but Onee-chan is always able to do strange things like that.

So we all had seats about four rows back from the front.  Satoko was sitting beside me when an usher came up to me and pulled me aside.

“Are you that young girl’s guardian?”

“Yes.”

“Would she like to be a participant?”

“What do you mean?”

“The bad guys usually kidnap a child for the show, and she’s so cute, I’d like her to be the one we use for this event.  Is that alright with you?  You can discuss it with her first if you want.”

“No, it’s not necessary.  Please do so, I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.  I’ll let her know.”

“There is one other thing.   The woman sitting near you, the brunette… will you let her know Minagata-san asks for her participation as well?”

“Uh… sure?”

“Excellent.  Thank you for your cooperation.”

I head back to my seat and let everyone know in a quiet voice, so as to not spoil it for the other attendees.”

“Me?” Satoko whispers.

“Do you not want to be saved by Masked Rider?”

“...that would be pretty cool.  Okay!”

Also I tell Kanae quietly and out of earshot of Satoko about the name the usher mentioned and participating.  She only nodded.

It was about fifteen minutes before the stage announcer began to quiet everyone down and hype the children for the show.  The villain came out first and was a BIG dude.  Swollen muscles visible through the skin-tight suit and wearing an evil looking mask.  He talked about his ultimate plan to stop Masked Rider by kidnapping a close friend and making him unable to attack, thereby defeating him by using underhanded means.  Suddenly the actor playing the big baddie, WARUMAN,  leapt off the stage and came over to me, he pulled me out of my seat and gave me a fake punch.  I went along with it, falling to the ground, and he ‘kidnapped’ Satoko from us.

Shiori and I watched the show after that, as Kanae had also gone missing.   Satoko was kept safe on stage, put into an obviously fragile plastic cage by the villain.  Masked Rider is then summoned, and there are a bunch of bad guys he has to beat up before getting to where the Villain and Satoko are (currently behind the curtain).

Shiori is holding my hand and smiling at me.

“It reminds me of an event I went to with Shizu-nee.”

“Eh, you two did this kind of thing?”

“Yeah, but it wasn’t Masked Rider, it was the Zuu-Rangers!”

“Oh, I used to like that show.”

“Shizu-nee and I liked it too, it was one of the last memories I had of Papa.”

“Oh, he took you?”

“Yes.  I bet for her…Satoko-chan, right now it’s the same.  You might only be her Onii-san, but she’ll probably remember this day fondly.”

“I hope so.  Satoko is a good girl.”

“And you are a good guy.  But going after a woman with a child?  I’m not enough for you?”

“Shiori, don’t say that.  Her mother is a friend, that’s all.”

“It’s okay, I trust you.  Maybe you end up kissing her mother and our child will come with an Onee-chan of their own right from the start.”

“...I would say that was already the case with mom...Reiko.  But, I don’t know about any of the rest.  Anyway, her mother is a bit… much.”

“You don’t like her mother?”

“I thought I did, but… I’m having difficulty understanding my own feelings towards her, and besides that, I’ve said it about Shizu already, but… she’s the one I love, you know?”

“I know that better than anyone, Kouta.  Even if it hurts, I know.  I don’t blame you though, and I do hope you will grow to love me more over the time we have to go still.”

“I don’t suppose you saw Shizu yesterday at all?”

“No, she came home and went right to work, why?”

I pull out my phone and showed her the still unanswered message.

“Oh… Kouta…”

I shake my head.

“I’m alright.  Just… a bit sad.”

“Want me to talk with her?”

“It doesn’t matter.  I don’t even want to ask why, I just want to hold her.”

“How can you be so forgiving of Onee-chan like that?”

“I don’t know, Shiori.  I don’t know at all, I just know that I love her.”

“If… I did that, could you forgive me?”

I hang my head.  “I wouldn’t know until it happened… Do you remember when we took a ride in the BMW and I threw up?”

“Yeah.”

“In that dream, both you and your sister had babies, but… none of them were mine.  I was so disturbed by it…”

“Do you think this one isn’t yours?”

“No.  I believe it is.  But…  look, I’m a crazy selfish person.  As long as they are with me, if it’s only women… I can manage, because I am a degenerate like that, but… I don’t want to share any of them while they are with me with any other man.  It’s a fucked up double standard, but that’s how I feel.”

“Even me?”

“Aa.  Even you.”

“Want to hear something reassuring?”

“Sure.”

She grabs my hand and squeezes it tightly.

“When it comes to men, you are the only one I’ll probably ever be with.”

“You say that… but what if Shizu moves on from me, and finds someone she wants to marry, instead?”

“...”

“Will you go with her?  You two are like that, right?  For the sake of being in sync with each other?”

“That’s…”  Shiori falters for a moment in her reply.

“It’s okay.  Just… if you choose to have it, let me be a part of its life, okay?”

“Kouta…”

I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me.

 Suddenly all the children started crying out.  I had missed much of the show while talking with Shiori, but it seems Masked Rider had been captured.  Now the announcer was trying to coax the children into summoning another Rider friend.

The kids became fired up, and suddenly, a tall masked female in an outfit out on a low-powered bike rode in, and all kinds of staged prop cannons fired, announcing her arrival. 

She got off the bike and did some amazing poses, while quoting dialogue.

“Impudent WARUMAN!  I, Rider Banchou, won’t let you get away with killing Masked Rider!”

“Foolish Rider!  I will defeat you and have you watch on as I kill him! WARUMEN, Attack!”

This new hero quickly dispatched all the small fry, then dared to attack the big guy by herself.  The fight stopped looking staged and started looking real.  Regardless, it was part of the show that Masked Rider managed to escape while WARUMAN was distracted, and he rescued Satoko from the cage.  Then she cheered them on from the side of the stage while both Masked Heroes fought the Villain.

In the end, the Heroes won, and shook hands.  Then everyone on stage bowed, ending the show.

Afterwards, all the (relevant) actors were to the side, and taking photos and signing pictures.  Satoko came over to Shiori and I, and we got in line.  By chance, another friend was there who we hadn’t noticed.

“Eh, Mahiro, is that you?”

“Kouta, Shiori?  What are you doing here?”

I point down at Satoko.  “With a friend.”

“Oh, I’m with my little brother.”  Indeed, at her waist was a familiar face.

“Yusuke?”

“You know my brother?”

“Eh… then was that older woman…?”

“That was my mom.”

“Eh!?  But she was so young!”

“Yea… mom had me when she was too young.” Mahiro says with a bit of embarrassment.

“It’s fine.  I’m not making any judgment here…”

“Mom had an errand to run, I came in at about halfway so I could take him home.”

“That’s fine, isn’t it?”

“Thanks, Kouta.”

I smile.

“Satoko, this is Mahiro, she’s a friend of Onii-chan, Shiori, and Auntie Umeko.”

Satoko waves, then she pulls out more candy and offers all of us some.  I got a cotton candy ball, and the others all received similar stuff.  While we were lined up, we got to take a photo with each of the actors.  Shiori opted to only get one herself with the Rider Banchou, so for Satoko and I, we posed with each of the two Heroes and for some reason the Villain, WARUMAN.

Afterwards, we waited for Kanae to come back out of costume, and Mahiro stayed with us.  As it turns out, after most of the children left, WARUMAN took off his helmet.

“Kanzaki?”

“Oh, Kouta.  How’s things?  Banchou okay at your place?”

“Yeah, she’s doing fine.”

“Good to know.  You haven’t been down for lunch, and she was a little frustrated lately.”

“Ah, my girlfriend works a part time job, so I wanted to get as much time at lunch as possible with her.”

“I see.  That’s good then.  Take care of her.”

I could only give him a wry smile.

“Kouta, do you know him?” There’s a voice, and it’s Mahiro asking me that.

“Yeah.  Mahiro, Kanzaki.  Kanzaki, this is my friend Suzuki Mahiro.  Kanzaki here is friends with Ruru.”

“I… sort of know that already.”  She says flashing an interested smile and acting coquettishly.  Wait.. was this the guy she was interested in?

“A friend of Kouta’s?” he asks cautiously.

“Not that kind of friend.  Shizu and Rina are part of my gal circle.”

“I see.”

I give Mahiro a knowing look and she nods at me.

“Kanzaki, I was meaning to ask you this, but… are you seeing anyone currently?”  I ask him, opening the avenue for Mahiro.

“Me?  Ah… no.  It’s difficult to keep a woman for very long.”

“Oh, can’t find the right one?”

“Mm… something like that?”

“Willing to take a chance?”

He raises an eyebrow at me, reminding me of a certain american celebrity wrestler.

“Hi… um.”  Mahiro bows low. “I like you.”

Kanzaki just scratches his chin.

“I see.”

“...”

“...”

“Would you be interested in maybe having coffee with me sometime?” Mahiro asks him out.

I give Kanzaki a thumbs up. “That will be fine.  When are you free?”

“Anytime!”  She says cheerfully.

“Onee-chan, are you confessing to the bad guy?”  Yusuku asks.

“He’s not a bad guy!  He was gentle with me!”  Satoko corrects Yusuke.

“Speaking of bad guys, why are you dressed as the bad guy, Kanzaki?” I ask him.

“This is my part time job.  I do all kinds of live events like this on the weekends.” He answers casually.

“Lord Bad, WARUMAN, Evil King Downer, I can’t name them all, but I’ve been doing this since I started highschool.”

“That’s sooo interesting, teehee~” Those two went on to flirt for a bit, and eventually Kanae returned.  

“Big Onee-chan!  You were Rider Banchou, weren’t you?”  Satoko runs up to her.

“Ah… I was.  Seems calling in that favor was a favor in itself…” Kanae mumbled.

She locked eyes with Kanzaki and nodded.

“Not bad, Kid.”

“I thought I recognized you.”  he said, then bowed to her.  “Former Banchou.”

“Taking good care of my Ruru?”

“Yes.  I try not to let her get too carried away.”

“Good.  Do me a favor, keep an eye out on this brat too if you have time.”

Kanae chops me on the head.

“You know Kouta?” he asks with wide open eyes.

“Ah… yeah, she’s my Onee-chan.”  I say to him.

“A...ah…?”

“Welp, that’ll be all I guess.  Kouta, Shiori, shall we go have something to eat?” Kanae suggests.

“Sure!” Shiori agrees.

“I want hamburger steak!”  Satoko chimes in.

“Oh, that sounds good.  I know a good place around here.” Kanae replies.

We say our goodbyes to Mahiro and Kanzaki, and Satoko to Yusuke, and we leave, heading to a nearby family restaurant. As we take the elevator down, Kanae hands a slip of paper to Satoko.

“What’s this?”

“The live event was recorded.  They are going to put it up on a streaming service, and this is the channel.  You can be notified if you subscribe to it.”

“Oh, you mean I can watch it like I was in the audience?”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

“Coooooool!”  Satoko stares at it for a while, then carefully puts it in her satchel.

When we get down to the ground floor and exit 109, I kneel down and pick Satoko back up, putting her on my shoulders.  We head to the family restaurant, and get seated.  Onee-chan orders for everyone and soon we all are having hamburger steak.  But... Why did only Satoko and I get the child portion?

I ended up giving a bit of mine to Satoko who ate her own plate easily. I could have finished mine, but Satoko really seemed to enjoy eating it.  If it made her happy, then what should I care about my portion size?

I received a secret text from Shiori.

>LionMaiden:  Onee-sama and I are going to go do bad girl things, and don’t want to get lectured by Satoko-chan.  Order dessert and we’ll be back, okay?

So, the two excuse themselves.

“Onii-chan, we’ve got a problem.” Satoko says with seriousness after the the pair of troublemakers leave.

“We do?”

“Un.  I’m pretty sure you can’t marry mommy too if you are already married.”

“That’s true.  It is against the law.”

“So, that means you’ll go to jail if you kiss mommy, right?”

I shake my head. “No.  It’s just frowned upon.  Kissing is how you decide if you want to get married to someone.  To actually get married you have to go down to the government office and fill out paperwork.”

“Is that how it works?”

I nod.

“Oh.”

“But, that’s also how you get divorced.” I tell her.

“More paperwork?”

I nod.

“I’m sorry.  Satoko didn’t know Onii-chan was married.”

“That’s because I never said anything.  Look, Onii-chan isn’t a great guy, Satoko.  Would you believe I have a bunch of girls I kiss and hug?”

“Un.  I believe it.”

“But, I’m married too…”

“...”

“That’s just how it is.  If your mommy is serious about marrying a guy she kisses and hugs… that only she gets to kiss and hug, It’s not something I can do right now.”

“So… Mommy would have to wait until you get divorced?”

“Only if it’s a closed marriage she wants.”

“So… you are saying you can kiss mommy if it’s one of the other ways?”

“Maybe, but there is a small problem there too.”

“Like what?”

“Maybe, your mommy isn’t so happy knowing I’m kissing other girls.  She might want me to only kiss her.”

“Is that really a big deal?”

“For some people, it’s the biggest deal in the world.”

“Un… okay.  I’ll find out if mommy is okay with you kissing other girls.  If she is… are you going to try again?”

“I don’t know.”

“...Satoko...can I ask you a question?”

“Okay.”

“Do… you want a daddy that badly?”

“...I want mommy to be happy.  I… have a daddy, because mommy said so, but I’ve never met him.  Mommy sometimes cries at night because she says she isn’t sure if she did the right thing.”

“The right thing?”

“Mommy… didn’t tell daddy about me being born.  She says it was complicated, and she couldn’t explain it to Satoko just yet, but that I’d understand when I was older.  Mommy said she loved daddy and never stopped loving daddy.”

“Do… you want to meet your daddy?”

“I don’t know.  Mommy likes you, Onii-chan.  If daddy comes back, then he’ll be the one kissing mommy, right?  What if daddy is a mean person?”

“Do you think that?”

“Well, I mean… Daddy could have come to visit mommy even if she didn’t tell him I was his, couldn’t he?  Mommy could at least be a little happy.”

“That’s true…”

“And it’s not like it matters with Kibou.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because Kibou isn’t mommy’s.”

“Huh?”

Satoko slams both hands over her mouth.  Did… she spill a secret?

“Satoko. If a person loves your mommy, then they have to accept loving you and Kibou.  That’s all there is to it.”

“...really?”

I nod.

“Then, if Onii-chan loves mommy, he has to love Satoko and Kibou too?”

“Yes.  Otherwise it’s just that person being selfish, and that’s not love.”

The serving staff passes by and I order some dessert, a small cake.  Satoko has given me more questions than answers, but it seems like I’ve learned more about Saya from Satoko than from Saya herself.

“Satoko, it’s okay if you aren’t able to answer this question, but does your mommy bring people home to hug at night?”

“... only two people.”

“Can you tell me who they are?”

“One is Auntie Umeko.”

I nod.

“The other is a mean girl… it’s Kibou’s mommy I think.”

“A mean girl?”

“Yeah.  She’s got rings and drawings on her body.”

...piercings and tattoos?

…!

Nacchan!?

“Is her name by chance, Natsume?”

“Uh… close?  I think it’s Nacchan.”

Nacchan has a child, and Saya is raising it?  For what reason?  Is this something I should know? I haven’t gotten to the rest of the videos on the SD card Natsume gave me… perhaps… I should find a moment to view the next one, it might give Ibuki a kick in the brain if she saw something club related going bad, but at the same time… I also think Natsume gave that SD Card to me as an extension of trust. I think if I’m not part of the club anymore… I should return it to Natsume.

“Do you know her, Onii-chan?”

“Yes.  She’s my classmate, and so is Umeko.  Don’t worry, we’re all friends, so there’s nothing wrong with them being special friends of your mommy.  In fact, I even hug and kiss Umeko as well.”

Satoko smiles.  She might have been worried, but I did my best to quash it.  Who and what Saya-san does is mostly none of my business, because we aren’t lovers… though I admit some concern in finding out about Ume more than Nacchan.

Kanae and Shiori return just in time to help us eat the cake.

“So, Satoko-chan, is there anything you want to do while out with your Onii-chan?” Kanae asks her.

“...There is, but… Onii-san might have something else to do today.”

“Kouta, is that true?” Onee-chan asks me.

“Not until way later.”

“Then, want to go see a movie with your Onii-san and Onee-sans?”

“A movie?”

Kanae pulls out her phone, and sure enough, there’s a Masked Rider movie showing a couple of blocks away.

“Umm.. I can’t see that one.  Mommy said it was too violent.”

“Well, I won’t tell her, and Shiori won’t tell her… Will Kouta tell her?”

“...Yes.  Because her mother trusted me to take her to this event, and should anything outside of that happen, wanted me to call her.  However, what I can do is ask for permission.”

I get up from the table and excuse myself for a moment.  

I placed a call directly to Saya-san.

Brrrrrt!  Brrrrrt!

“Hello?  Kouta?”

“Hi, Saya.  We just finished the event and now I took her to a family restaurant for a hamburger steak, I hope you don’t mind that.”

“Why would I?  Did she have a good time?”

“Yeah, she got to help with the event, she had a blast.”

“Wonderful.  So, just checking in, then? Will you be bringing her back now?”

“Um… about that.  I asked if she wanted to do anything else, and then suggested a movie but… Saya said you had reservations about it because it was too violent.  It’s the Masked Rider movie in the theater right now.”

“...you want to take her to it?”

“What matters more to me is your permission.  If you say no, then I absolutely will not.  We might be… in a strange place, but nothing is more important to me than the trust you have placed in me regarding Satoko.”

“...Then, if it gets too violent and she starts to squirm, will you leave at that point, no matter what?”

“Yes, without a second thought.”

“Then you can take her.  You are her daddy, so I trust you.”

“I… appreciate that.”

“You both ate lunch, so… anything you’d like to have for dinner?”

“Are you inviting me?”

“Yes.”

“Then anything should be fine.  I figure we’ll be back around six.”

“Alright, I’ll expect you then.”

Beep.

I went back inside, and found that my cute daughter was no good at eating cake.  Her entire face was a chocolatey mess.  Shiori just smiled though, and pulled out a wet-nap from her purse.  “Well?”

“Provided she’s not showing that she’s too uncomfortable, she can see it.  But if she’s looking like she’s having difficulty… I’ll be leaving with her.”

“Difficulty?”  Onee-chan says. “You’re right here with Rider Banchou!  I beat up WARUMAN super easy, didn’t I? You won’t be scared with me around, will you?”

“Uh-uh!  I’m a Rider too!  I’m Masked Rider Pony Princess X!”

“Oh, sounds strong!  Us Riders can always band together and defeat any evil threat, right?” Kanae thrusts her hand up in the air.

“Right!” Satoko does the same.

“So if I get captured, does that mean Rider Banchou will come rescue me?”  Shiori asks flirtatiously.

“We’ll both come!”

“Yay!  And what about Kouta?”

“Just leave the small fry to me!” I say, checking in to the conversation.

“...”

“...”

“...” Satoko pats me on the shoulder.

I get the feeling if Ibuki was here… she'd appreciate that more.

So, off we went to the movies.  Along the way, my phone buzzed again.

It was the message I dreaded.

>LionPrincess:  I’m really sorry… 

>ThiccWaifus:  Will you stop by tonight?

>LionPrincess:  Kouta… we won’t be able to…

>ThiccWaifus:  Just come, I don’t care when, just come!

>LionPrincess:  Okay.

>ThiccWaifus:  I’m on a date with Shiori and Kanae, so I probably won’t be home until past 8.

>LionPrincess:  Un.  I’ll come after work, okay?

>ThiccWaifus:  I’ll be waiting.

“Kouta?” Shiori links my arm that’s holding my phone.

“I asked her to come by tonight.”

“I see…”

“I just… want to hold her for a bit.”

“That’s what I used to do…  Shall I come too?”

“...”

“You don’t want me there?”

“You’d probably be the only one I’d ask.”

“Yes, but… do you want privacy with Nee-chan over me being there?”

“I just want to hold her, and tell her I love her.”

“...I never thought I’d say that she doesn’t deserve you… but I’m really close.  I’m almost depressed that I wasn’t the one you laid eyes on first.”

“Stop.” I say loudly.

Everyone stops.  “Satoko, can you let go of my hand for a moment?”

Satoko does.  

I immediately turn and kiss Shiori deeply, despite the foot traffic around us on a Saturday, I won’t let my wife feel more let down than she’s saying she does right now.  My arms wrapped around her and I pulled her tightly to my body.

“I know I’m crazy, okay?  My feelings for her are unreasonable, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have proper ones for you and everyone else.  I’m more sorry than anyone that you have to deal with me like this, but it’s been a lot to deal with lately.  I’m just trying to make everyone happy.”

“I know you are Kouta… but it’s a woman’s heart to always want to be at the center of her lover’s world.”

“Sure you mean me?”

Shiori pulls Kanae over.

“Kanae, I’m breaking up with you.  I’m going to move in with Kouta.”

“...”

“...”

“Stop it.”

“I’m dead serious, Kouta.”

“I know, that’s why I want you to stop it.”

“Why?”

“Because… I know Onee-chan makes you happy.  I know you want to make me happy too.  I’m just afraid… I’m afraid you don’t really accept what I’ve been doing.  That I’m only hurting you by being with everyone else.”

She raises a hand to my cheek.

“Then, when I tell you to stop, will you stop like I just did for you?  If I have enough, will you listen to me then?”

“Yes.”

“Listen Kouta… I’m really okay with it all.  Really and truly.  I’m grateful to Shizu-nee for bringing you to me.  And I’m sure Shizu-nee loves you as much as she can in her own way, but she is fucked up, and I promise you, she’s never been this responsible on her own until she met you.  You are the best thing to happen to either one of us, and you are supportive of my love for Nee-chan and Onee-sama.  If anything, I never want you to leave me.  I will always stand by your side, and support you.”

“Shiori…”

I let our hug go, and Satoko grabs my hand again.

Shiori squats low for a moment and speaks to Satoko.

“Sorry about hogging your Onii-san.  Sometimes guys get dumb, and you have to be the one to tell them you love them and everything is alright, otherwise they get stupid ideas.”

Kanae squats low as well.

“It’s true, and your Onii-san is really dumb when it come to not understanding when a woman really likes him.”

“Onii-san’s a DQN?”

“PFfffttt!!!”

“HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

“Yes, I couldn’t have said it better myself.  So make sure your mommy knows that, if you want him to kiss her, okay?”

Satoko’s eyes start twinkling.

What the hell are these women teaching my daughter!?

“UN.  I understand!”

Onee-chan pats her head. “That’s a good girl.  Learning this now, will only help you in the future.”

Shiori stands up, looks me in the eyes, and goes “Nihehe~” cutely sticking out her tongue as she makes a bop motion onto her own head.

What are you, a gag anime character!?

I can’t handle the pace of these two.

We eventually make it to the theater, and Onee-chan buys the tickets.  We head inside and the lobby doubles as a miniature arcade.

“How long do we have?”

“About ten minutes.”

“Good.  Onee-sama, go buy drinks.  Kouta, fund me.”

“Fund you?”

“Yeah, Satoko-chan and I are gonna dance!”

Sure enough, My wife and my daughter found a dancing stage machine, and putting in some coins for them, Shiori selected some songs, and those two played together.  I was of course cheering them on from the side.

Satoko was doing her best, but she’s still only five.  But it looks like she managed to clear the stage.  So Shiori gave her a high five, and they started the next one.  Before the arrows came, shiori showed her a move, and said when the arrows looked like that, to do that move.  So the song went on, then when the arrows came, both Satoko and Shiori spun around in a cool fashion, and I was impressed.  Once more they managed to clear the stage, and Satoko did a little better than she expected.  

“Last one, ready?  Do this when you see the back and forth, okay?  The spin will also be in this one.”

“Okay!”

And sure enough, Kanae had returned with four colas, and a juice in time to see the finale.

Shiori was of course getting SSS rank on each stage, but what was impressive was Satoko managing to get a C on the last one.  And when the moves that Shiori said were coming did, Satoko was ready.

A side-to-side hop, then a double cross, and finally a backspin.  She managed to get all but one perfect!  I was proud, and cheered her on.  Kanae, not to be outdone, also cheered her on.

That must have gotten her a bit nervous, because she dropped a few arrows, but still managed to keep her C rank.

At the end, they were able to put in their initials.  S&S.

“Hehe~”

“What’s so funny?”  Satoko asks.

“My sister and I use those initials, so it’s like I was playing with my Onee-chan.”

“E~, but you’re the Onee-chan!”

“Do I have to be?  Wanna be my Onee-chan today?”

“That’s weird!  You’re weird!”

Shiori makes a face like she’s heartbroken.

“Besides, I… need you to be my onee-chan right now.”

“Oh?”

“I… have to go potty.”

“You know what?”

“What?”

“Me too…  Let’s go together, and those two will wait for us.”

“Okay~”

So the two of them took off to find the restroom, and that left Kanae and I alone.

I took one of the colas, and Kanae just leaned on me.

“When are you going to give me one of those?”

“One of what?”

“Those cute little monstrosities.  Did you see her?  She’s so cute I started to ovulate thinking of you giving me one just like that.”

“Onee..”

“I’m serious you know.  If you want, just you, me, and the twins.  I can support us all, we can all get a place together, and you can give us all babies.”

“Just us four?”

“I know you love Rina, and the puppy, and whatever you have going on with Ibuki…  I’m a bit surprised you haven’t taken Ruru yet.”

“Ruru?  Why would I?  She’s too pure for me.  I don’t want to ruin her life.”

A slap hits the back of my head.

“Are you kidding me?”

“What?”

“Make that girl experience what love is.”

“Why me?”

“Because, it’s what she needs, she’s just unable to admit it to herself.”

“I doubt she wants to anymore.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because Ibuki got a tattoo from her mother, and Ruru saw it, and now says she’s cursed.”

“Wait… the Oni-loli put a tattoo on Ibuki?”

“Oni-loli?  Anyway, Ruru’s mom did it, supposedly.  It’s right above her… you know… and it says Property of Kawamura Kouta.”

“...”

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah.”

“Was it difficult to be with her, seeing it?”

“It’s easier for sure when I don’t have to… then I feel like I have to force myself.”

“Want me to pay for the removal?”

“I can pay for it, but… she doesn’t want to get rid of it.”

“What about the little kitten’s?”

“I don’t care anymore.  I kind of wish it was gone, but… I don’t know Onee-chan.  Everyone you warned me about is now somehow in my life.  It’s like I failed all the lessons you tried to teach me.”

“...Kouta… It’s no easy thing for me to say this… but… It’s okay.”

“What is okay?”

“Loving all those girls.  If anyone is fit to do it, it’s you.”

“But… you always said marriage is the goal, one woman for the rest of my life, no straying.”

“Yes, that’s because I had always planned it to be me.”

“...”

“And it’s not like I wouldn’t have brought another woman into it… I had planned on giving you Mafuyu.”

“Your friend from work?”

“Yes.  Didn’t you see her?”

“I did?  When?”

“She was with Kaneshiro-san.”

“You mean the strawberry colored hair woman who had the giant…”

“Tits?”

“...camera.  Yes of course I mean tits!  Those things are biological weapons, what the hell!?”

“But you know, her thighs are even better.”

“...”

“Anyway, look.  There are some things going on that you need to get caught up on soon, and one of those is your sexual proclivity.”

“My what?”

“I want you to get good at sex.  I want you to get so good, that no woman can manipulate you with it.  I had hoped to teach you how, but… since you and I have been separated, I haven’t been able to help you learn.”

“Why are you saying this now?”

“Because… I kept you from realizing your gift.”

“What gift?  Being a cheating scumbag?”

“Kouta…  all these women in love with you… do you think it’s normal?”

“Of course not!”

“Well, you’re right.  It’s not.  It’s something to do with the Shimejima line.  Jiji called it a ‘Blessing’  but basically… you attract women.  So it would benefit you to learn how to control it.”

“Control… what?  A Blessing?  I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Kouta.  I… admit to not knowing all the details, and it’s something you should consult Jiji about… but… every single one of these women… they can be helped by you and your ability.  Your sex helps them.  Yes, it’s almost unfair how it works, but… you know, I’m also affected by it.”

“You?”

“From the very beginning.  If it wasn’t for you loving me as much as you do… Kouta… Bad things would have happened to me.  I wouldn’t have been able to care for you.  Yes, whatever time you hate me for stealing from you I can’t give back, but… I could have lost twelve years without you.”

“???”

“What do you want the end to be?”

“End?”

“Does it have to end in marriage with Shizu for you to be happy?  Is it not enough if it’s just them and I?  At the end of Jiji’s trial for you, stay married with Shiori until your child is born, then divorce her and marry me instead.  I’ll move heaven and earth to keep those two tied to us.  What do you say?”

“Tied?  Onee-chan… they aren’t animals.”

“But they are.  You are a Shimejima too, Kouta.  We both have Reiko’s blood flowing in us, that means you, as a male in the lineage, have a gift that makes women exactly that to you.  Every woman is basically livestock for you to pluck out and take home.  If you don’t believe me, try it on that brat’s mother.  Just believe yourself loving her as hard as you can, and see what happens.”

“...”

“That’s all I’m asking you to do.  If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  I won’t pester you about it after this.”

I sigh.

The girls come out of the restroom, and we all go to take our seats.  It’s Kanae on the outside, then Shiori, Satoko, and me.  The movie starts and it’s pretty fun.  Seemed to have a good budget, and the CGI effects were cool.  Satoko was doing fine, though when it did get a bit plot heavy and a couple scenes a bit more intense than expected, I did get worried.  So, I had Satoko come and sit on my lap.  Sure enough, with my arms wrapped around her stomach, she was much more calm, and was able to enjoy it.  Shiori also helped by putting a hand on her leg or holding her hand at certain times.  Really, Shiori… was already like a mother with Satoko.

The movie was only about an hour and fifteen minutes, so it went by pretty quickly.  When the lights came back on, it was time to take Satoko back home.  On the way out of the theatre, there was a table set up, and all the children received a masked rider toy.  Satoko picked one, and Onee-chan whispered something to one of the staff and they handed me one as well.  I was holding on to Satoko and Kanae ruffles my hair then pushes me from behind with a hand to get moving.

“Why did they give me a toy?”

“Because I told them you were autistic and you love this show more than anything.”

“You what!?”

“You got a toy, didn’t you?”

“Onee…”

“Oh don’t act like you don’t love it.  You have all those things in that cabinet still.”

“Those are my nendos and figmas!”

“Kouta, if you say those words, your penis will shrink in size permanently.”

As it turns out, Onee-chan drove Shiori, Julietta and her co-worker, Mafuyu to Shibuya, so the car was back near the 109 department store in a garage.

We made for it, and while I held on to the toy, I was reminded of the figurine I had gone to the house to recover.  I sure hope onee-chan didn’t discover it’s secret.  I still had to discover it’s secret!  But, another thought came to me.  Kibou was always eating a car or playing with it, one or the other, and this toy didn’t look like it had any detachable parts, so maybe… I could give it to him as a gift?  At the very least it might make me seem like less of an asshole if I remember that she is taking care of two kids, despite what might be true about her second one…

Kanae by chance has a child-size car seat in the trunk, and I wasn’t going to ask why.  While she puts Satoko into it, Shiori pulls me aside once more.

“Kouta.  When you return the girl… go get me a MILF.”

“...”

“I’m serious.  NTR me again.  Drive me fucking crazy.  Watching you be a responsible adult to that little girl… you’re gonna make a great Papa… and if you haven’t figured it out, I’ve got serious  abandonment issues from that.”

“...”

We all got in the BMW, I asked Onee-chan to drop Satoko and I off at the Seven near our house.  She understood I was asking for privacy, since I never once mentioned who’s child Satoko was.  She gave me that much, and took off with Shiori, who promised to come visit with Shizu later on.

We walked the short distance to the Dagashiya and it was just before six when we arrived.  It was closed according to the sign, but the door was open.  When Satoko led me inside, Granny, Saya, and Kibou were all in the living room.

Dinner was already prepared.  It was KFC?

“I hope you don’t mind.  It’s not the real thing, I made it here.”

“Oh… It smells good.”

“I made Granny a plate, she likes to watch her news program around now.  I think she’s got a crush on the anchor about a decade younger than she is.”

I smirked at that.  What’s a ten year difference when you are already that old?  Somehow, Both Shiho and Nishioka both popped into my mind.  I had to purge my thoughts quickly of those two.

Kibou was put in a high-chair next to Saya, and Satoko and I sat on either side.  The food was fried chicken, there were also mashed potatoes and gravy, along with (slightly burnt) biscuits.

Saya had to take a moment to cut up Kibou’s food, and help him eat.  Honestly, I hadn’t appreciated the fact that that’s how dinner is for a single mom.  And here I was not even doing anything productive to help.  

“Just eat, please.  Don’t mind me.”

“How can I…?”

Saya just smiles at me sweetly. “It’s a mother’s duty.  I’m sure yours did the same…”

At one?  It would have been… Onee-chan cutting up my food and feeding me before she could even eat...

God… how much did Nee-chan really have to do for me every day from when she was like six years old?

Saya finished cutting up the food for and feeding Kibou.  Then she took the time to eat her own food, but by then Satoko was already done, and Saya had wiped Kibou’s face and was taking him out of the high chair and letting Satoko take him over to the TV.

“Oh, uh… Could I give this to Kibou?”  I took the Masked Rider toy out of my pocket.

“You got something for Kibou too?”

“Ah well… Satoko got one too.  They were giving them out after the movie ended… and I somehow ended up with an extra one.”

“Sure, go ahead.  It’s thoughtful of you to do so.”

I got up and walked over to Kibou who was already looking at Satoko’s.  She was driving her toy all over the Pony Princess plush I had given her when I arrived.  I handed it to Kibou and he giggled a bit before taking it and promptly sticking it in his mouth.

It seems the Masked Rider has been licked.

Does that make Kibou the only successful villain?

I caught a glimpse of Granny who was watching her shows but also keeping an eye on the kids playing near the TV smiling at me.  They weren’t watching the TV, but it’s just that spot that happens to be their activity center.

I returned to Saya, and sat with her until she finished her own plate.

Just looking at her, what Onee-chan and Shiori said to me… I tried it.  I put the thought of her being in that club… being at both clubs out of my mind… and I just imagined loving her.  Being here with her and Satoko, and holding Saya gently in my arms, and watching Satoko just being cute… Saya as my wife, being a proper dad to Satoko…

“Kouta?”

Saya interrupted me.

“Something wrong?”

“Huh..?  No… nothing at all, I was just daydreaming I think.”

“What about?”

“Wondering what my place might have been here.  Thinking thoughts that are useless.”

“I… see.”

“Thanks for dinner, Saya.  And thanks for letting me take Satoko for the day.”

“I should be the one thanking you, though… shouldn’t I?”

“I’m happy to do the little I can for now.”

“Leaving?”

“I should get going.  I need to check on something being repaired at home.”

“Let me see you out, then.”

I nod, and Saya escorts me out through the candy shop and closes the door.  Us alone in the barely lit room between her life, and my life past the next door, she tugged on my shirt.

“Saya?”

“Forgive me…”

Saya leaned into me, and her lips pressed against mine.   They were so soft and warm, inviting me… pleading me to explore more of her.  I could almost hear her heartbeat in the quiet and empty shop.  It was beating so rapidly… Her hand grabbed mine and it was like she was instinctively drawing me to some forbidden part of her, but she was also fighting it.

Eventually we broke the kiss, and Saya was shaking.

“...”

“Are… you okay?”

“No… but I’ll have to be.”

“What’s… wrong?”

“What do you think?  I want you, Kouta.   But… you don’t want me, not yet anyway…  I thought… I could handle it…”

“It was just a kiss?”

“To you… perhaps.  To me… it was something else… something much more.”

“Saya… I don’t want to hurt you… but you know I have other lovers…”

“I know.  And I can’t offer you anything but a body that’s had children and a poor candy shop to run.  I have a precious daughter with you, and another child… as well as an elderly grandmother that needs care… compared to the others...”

“Saya, you are a perfect beauty, and a diligent mother and granddaughter.  Really, there is no drawback except one, and that’s… your openness about sex.  I don’t understand how you aren’t disgusted with sex, considering how you have to deal with it in that club… in that way…”

“So… that’s what’s holding you back?  Me doing that?”

“You were a bossy onee-chan to me as a kid, but you were also the first one to awaken me to that pleasure.  I’m honestly a little heartbroken because I think that innocent shota me is having a hard time reconciling my feelings for who you are now with the responsible scumbag version of myself that I’m learning I am.”

“Then where is the place we can meet in between?”

“We just met there.  At your dinner table… for a moment, I felt at home.  That moment… was perfect.”

“Then… will you come by for dinner more often?  If it troubles you waiting for me to eat, I can feed Kibou first before you arrive.”

I hold on to Saya’s shoulders.

“No.  Because then I wouldn’t see the hard working mother who’s raised our daughter so beautifully.”

Saya starts to tear up.

“I love you Kouta… don’t… make me wait forever…”

“I won’t… but can we do this properly?  Slowly?  I want to get to know you as the wonderful woman I’m sure you are, and fall in love with you that way.  You’re my one and only Sacchi-nee.”

Saya momentarily lets out a single sob, but nods as well.

I hug her once more, and then she sees me out.

In the fresh night air, the only thing left to do is walk home, to Paradise Heights, and where I feel the innocence I have as a man, is being slowly extracted from my very soul.

Saturday, June 13th (Dagashiya)

I kept an eye on Kibou while mommy walked Onii-san out.  It took a bit longer than it should have, and when mommy came back, she was crying.  She tried to hide it, but I know what it looks like, since I’ve seen it so often.

Mommy cleaned the table, and put away the leftovers.  When she was done cleaning she went upstairs.  So I left Kibou with Baa-chan, and went upstairs too.

“Mommy?”

“Oh, Satoko… What’s up, baby?”

“Onii-san… I think there’s a problem you should know about.”

“Oh? And what’s that?”

“Do you remember me telling you about the Onee-chans he was with?”

“I do.”

“Well, Gold-oneechan… I think the reason he won’t kiss you, is because you’d hate it if he did.”

“Why would I?”

“Because Gold-oneechan… her name is Kawamura Shiori by the way, and she’s married to Onii-san!  He can’t be our daddy because he’s stuck with her.”

“Is... that so?  Married?”

“Un.  He thinks it would make you really sad if you kissed him knowing that.”

“It’s… a bit late to worry about that now, Satoko.”

“Why, mommy?”

“Because I just kissed Kouta before he left.  And… I’ll find a way baby… I’ll find a way to make him your daddy.”

“Mommy, I just want you to be happy, if it’s not Onii-san, then why not just tell my real daddy about me?  Daddy would come back, right, if he knew about me?  You could be happy then.”

Mommy grabs me and holds me like I hold my dollys.  “My sweet baby girl.  Mommy can’t tell you why just yet, but… trust me, your Onii-san… he’s the best choice to be your daddy.”

“Okay.  Just don’t be too sad.  If you need Satoko to sleep downstairs when you have to hug him, I don’t mind.”

“...”

Mommy just holds me tight.

“Can you just promise me one thing tonight?”

“Hmm...?”

“Don’t let it be that mean lady who comes over… I like Auntie Ume more.”

“Oh? You don’t like Nacchan?”

“She’s scary, mommy.  But Auntie Ume… she’s hugged and kissed Onii-san too, so wouldn’t she be your better special friend?”

“Where are you learning all this stuff about hugging and kissing?”

“I’m a very observant girl!” I say proudly.

“Alright baby, I’ll call Auntie Ume and see if she can have a sleepover.”

“Good.  Can I stay up just a little longer to color?  I want to draw a picture about today!”

“Go brush your teeth, and you can stay up and color for a little while.”

“Yay!  Thanks mommy.”

I leave mommy alone, because no matter how much I try, she always cries anyway.  At least Auntie Ume makes her feel way better in the morning.  Plus, I can show her my new Pony Princess plush when she comes over!

Satoko, you’re the smartest girl ever.

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