Chapter 5 – I know

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Hayasaka-san has a best friend.
Aya Sakai, a girl who wears fringe glasses and bangs that hang over her face.

She is a very quiet girl, but her appearance is nothing more than a facade.
It was early in the morning, I was running late and was about to enter the school through the back door.
As I climbed up and jumped over the iron gate, a car stopped a short distance from the back door.

The body of the car was bright silver.
A girl got out of the passenger seat, then approached me, and also climbed over the gate. 

—Just in time.
Kirishima, help me.

So I helped the girl through the gate.
As she landed, her bangs hung down for a moment and I realized for the first time that it was Sakai.

—Without your glasses, you’re unrecognizable. 

As I say this, Sakai hurries to take a case out of her bag and puts on her glasses.

—I wear them to school just in case.

It’s a pretty bland excuse, like she just thought of it.

—How much did you see, by any chance?

—Enough, so much so that I saw you making out with that boy.

—But, it’s not a strange thing for siblings to kiss each other.
According to western values, it’s something normal.

—Who knows.

Sakai brushes his hair and takes off the glasses he just put on.

—Well, he’s actually a college student.

She said it without hesitation.
I can’t imagine her saying that in a normal situation.

—I’m not going to tell anyone.

—Thank you, let’s have a little chat.

We proceeded to sit in the bike yard, and stayed there for a long time.

—By the way, the other day there was a third grader in your class.

—Yeah, he was a pretty loud kid, yelling that his girlfriend was missing.

One of the third year boys had fallen in love with an unknown girl who was a sophomore.
The third year girls wanted to warn him not to get involved with her, but he seemed to turn a deaf ear. 

—It was you, wasn’t it?

—Yes, I was afraid to face him.

Without her glasses, Sakai’s image radically changes, to the point where she could be someone else, maybe that was the reason.

—I like to try different things.

Sakai says.

—Do you think you can find your perfect partner after only one love? That’s a bit vague.
I think you have to fall in love over and over again and date many different people before you find the one.

—I read in a book that, according to a social experiment in the U.S., a company needs to meet a hundred people to hire the right person.

Maybe it’s the same with love.
You have to fall in love with many people to find your ideal partner.

—That’s why I try to get to know a lot of people very closely. 

—You’re a free spirit when it comes to love.

—That’s the kind of love Kirishima is experimenting with, isn’t it?

A warm summer breeze blows over my body.
The pool is clearly visible from the bike yard.
Through the fence, girls in navy blue swimsuits were soaking their bodies.

Tachibana-san was standing by the pool.
The blue sky seemed to absorb her, like a summer mirage.

She turned her gaze to where I was standing as if she felt my eyes on her.
We looked at each other for a moment.
Then she jumped into the pool.

—Has Hayasaka-san told you about us, by any chance?

—She didn’t say anything.
But Akane is not good at hiding things.

I see, so she doesn’t know yet.

—Hey, can you tell me about it?

—It’s not something I can talk to other people about.

—You know my secret, so it’s time for me to know yours.

Sakai continues to talk in a carefree manner.

—Kirishima, you’re very dear to Tachibana-san, aren’t you? She was looking at you just now.

—I don’t know.

—That must be the reason why a girl joins a club alone with another guy.

—But she’s engaged.

—That doesn’t matter.
From what I’ve seen, Tachibana-san only cares about Kirishima.

—If it weren’t for the fact that she’s engaged, I would have thought so, too.

—I don’t think so.
But, I know she’s been learning to cook lately.
She says she wants to be a good girlfriend.

—Yes, she does so for Yanagi-senpai.

—Kirishima, what’s your favorite food?

—Boiled eggplant

—That’s what Akane is learning to make.

—Still, I’m still the second, these feelings have been very clear from the beginning.

Sakai removes the bow from her chest there and unbuttons her blouse.
She had a small bruise on her collarbone.

—Are you serious?

—Yes, it’s hickeys.

I imagine the man in the driver’s seat putting his mouth on Sakai’s neck.
But the reality is, such a scene took place in the morning on the bed in the room where the college student is staying.

—Kirishima, your face is red.

—Sakai, you are more reckless than I imagined.

— I don’t know, I think it’s normal.
I think it’s a very natural feeling to want to touch and be touched by someone you like.
Even boys want to touch girls.

—Is that what you think of girls?

— Yes, and I doubt Akane and Tachibana-san are exceptions.
But, from a girl’s point of view, you’re the kind of guy a girl wants to arouse that kind of interest in.

—Huh?

What do you mean by that?

— Do you think I’m cool?

— You might be… If it weren’t for your glasses.

I think it’s time to be clear.

— And why do you think that way?

-Because you’re too shy.

— Is that all?

—It’s important.
A guy like you can keep a secret more than a guy with a pretty face and good looks.
That’s why we feel more comfortable doing things with men who exude an air of security and secrecy.

Next, Sakai neatly buttoned up her blouse, put on her glasses and let her bangs hang down.
The usual bored-looking girl had returned.

—So, Kirishima, you might have it tough from now on.

In movies and dramas, girls are often portrayed as innocent.
But in real life, girls can be a bit more complicated.

«I’m not a good girl,» is what Hayasaka-san usually tells me every time she wants me to touch her.

Maybe Sakai is right, maybe girls have these interests too.
But what about jealousy and possessiveness?

I had told my first love not to be friends with any other guy.
I wonder if girls ever feel this way.

I was lying on the couch in the club room thinking about this.

I was seduced by the impact of Sakai’s progressive love life.
But I fell asleep in the meantime.
I woke up in the middle of the second period to feel something wet and soft against my ear.
It was the same sensation I had one day.
A pleasant sensation ran down my spine.

—You’re finally awake.

She leaned over and looked at me.

—I’m sorry.
I have a habit of licking you.

When Tachibana-san tries to lick my ears again, I hurriedly sat up.

—I have many things to say, but for now, I want my glasses back.

Tachibana-san was wearing my glasses, which she must have taken when I was asleep.

—You’ll damage your eyesight if you wear them too long. 

—No, I want to wear them a little longer.

—If you don’t give them back to me, I won’t be able to see anything.

Tachibana-san discreetly touched the glass with her finger and then handed them back to me.
I quickly proceeded to wipe off the fingerprints with a wipe.

— I thought you were in class.

— I thought the same thing about you.

— I mean why are you here, Tachibana-san?

— I saw you in the bicycle yard, and when I went to the classroom, you were nowhere to be found.

— I see.
Now that I remember, I had seen you too.

— Why were you with Sakai-san?

— We met by chance.
But how did you know it was Sakai? She doesn’t look like herself without her glasses.

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— The way she stood, the way she held her elbows when she spoke, everything was identical.

Tachibana-san’s powers of observation are frightening.

— Well, it doesn’t matter much, let’s resume our club activities.

Tachibana-san takes out the love guide.

And the title of the page where it was located was called «Basic games without hands».
It was another erotic product created by the author’s imagination.

— Tachibana-san, I told you that we can’t do club activities during exams.

Besides, this is the investigation and mystery club, not a romance club.

— It’s okay.
I want to know more about love.

Tachibana-san pushes the notebook at me and I push it back.

— You’ve been avoiding me lately.

— I haven’t.

— Yes, you have.
You made the sudden decision to cancel club activities.

— We’re supposed to be in exam week.

— I asked you to help me study and you refused.

— That’s not…

— And yet Hayasaka-san asked you and you accepted.
You can’t imagine how much it hurt me. 

My heart started to ache after I saw that Tachibana-san had a sad expression. 

— President, you like Hayasaka-san.

— You’re wrong.

— It’s true.
And Hayasaka-san likes you too.

—What makes you think that?

— The way she treats you is very unstable, sometimes she’s kind, sometimes she’s rude.
It’s as if you love someone else.

—But you’re forgetting something very important.
Hayasaka-san loves someone else.

—That.
That’s the difficult part.
I’m sure Hayasaka-san has someone she likes, but she seems to like the president too.

Tachibana-san had a serious expression when she said those words to me.

—The president seems to like Hayasaka-san, but he also seems to like another girl.
Who is the other girl?

—I…

Those words went straight to my head.
Tachiaban-san’s question was too direct.

— Don’t you like me?

She asked me that question.
Very calmly, very matter-of-factly, surprisingly emphatically.
I answered as calmly as I could.

—If everything Tachibana-san feels is true, then it’s a very crowded situation, with many people pointing the arrow of love in different directions.

— Yes, that’s why I want you to answer me.

Tachibana-san brings her face close to mine.

— Tell me the truth.
Who is Hayasaka-san in love with? Who does the president really like?

— Well…

Of course, I couldn’t tell her the truth, even if I wanted to.
So I decided to change the subject and make it up as I went along.

—What about you, Tachibana-san?

—Do you know who you’re really in love with?

— I’m trying to find out.
I’m almost at the point where I know who and what makes me feel the way I do.

Tachibana-san holds the love guide in her hand.

—Let’s play this game.
I want to explore my feelings more.

—No, that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

— What? Why not?

— I’ve told you before.
If you’re engaged, you can’t do these things with another man.

— And who decided that?

— The people, it’s not right to do something like this.

— Is it the people, or the president?

She hit the bull’s-eye.

— It doesn’t matter. 

— If you don’t do it, I won’t let you go to class.

— The only thing you’ll do is make me very angry.

When I say that, Tachibana-san energetically replies, «I want you to be angry.»

— I put my fingerprints on your glasses because I want to see your angry faces.
I want to see the different expressions you make.
I want to know how you will feel when you do.

I see that Tachibana-san wants to push this situation to the extreme.

— Are you sure you don’t want to? You say that, but it doesn’t seem that way.

She manages to see right through me.
It’s true that I’d like to play that kind of game with her.

But I’m still prevented by the fact that she’s engaged.
If it has a negative effect on her family environment, and causes her to be unhappy, it would be very bad for everyone.

So, for the time being, I’ve decided to fight my impulses.

—Okay, let’s do it.

I grab her hand and pull her to me.
Our faces are so close that I could kiss her at any moment.

— But let’s not do any of the basics, let’s do the advanced.

There is not only a basic version, but also an advanced version of «The Game Without Hands» in the Love Notes.
Of course, the advanced version is more extreme.

—A-Are you sure?

Tachibana-san’s eyes widen and her face turns red.

— Of course!

After all, Tachibana-san is strong on the defensive, but weak on the offensive.
To make matters worse, I stroked her hair and blew in her ear.

— Kyaaa!

Tachibana-san made a strange noise, shook off my hand, covered her ear and walked away from me.

Lately, I always defend myself by making her embarrassed, like this.
But Tachibana’s blush only lasted a few minutes before she quickly put on a straight face again.

— President, that was a dirty tactic.

— Do you really think so?

— I just want to know who the president really likes.

Tachibana-san is trying to understand love.
Hayasaka-san’s feelings, her feelings and my own feelings.
But…

— Love is not an easy thing to answer.
The human heart is difficult.
That’s why we all strive to imagine how the other person feels.

—Yes, I agree.

Tachibana regained her composure and said.

—Then I will answer it for you.

—How?

—Emotional testing

Sounds rather disturbing.

—The fault is yours.
You refused to help me study, but you did with Hayasaka-san.
It makes me pull away from you, and at the same time you get closer to her, even spending time with Sakai-san.
That’s why I do things like this.

After saying this, Tachibana-san left the club room.
I wiped my glasses again and adjusted my uniform collar, which was disarranged when I fell asleep.

What the hell are you planning to do, Tachibana-san?

That’s what I thought, and at the next break, there was a shout from the guys who were fans of Tachibana.
The reason was that she was wearing a tie around her neck, this is an indication that she has a boyfriend.

That was the beginning of Hikari Tachibana’s emotional ordeal.

In the morning, Tachibana-san calls me in front of the school gate.

—Good morning, president.

Her boyfriend’s tie is tied around her neck.

—What do you think of it?

—It looks good on you.
Cooler than a ribbon.

—How do you feel now, president?

—Same as ever.

He didn’t seem amused by my reaction, so he said «Hmm» and walked away.
The truth is, it didn’t seem like a big deal to me.

I found the combination of a summer morning and Tachibana-san refreshing.
Meanwhile, the guys who were fans of Tachibana-san sighed in sadness.

All their hopes of being with her and being able to conquer her were gone in a second.

—Kirishima-kun, are you okay?

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Hayasaka-san accosted me in the hallway.
The first-class period was the chemistry subject, and I was about to enter the lab.

—Why do you say that?

—Well, it’s because Tachibana-san seems to have taken things to the next level with her boyfriend.

—Ah, well, I don’t care what happens with them.

— Are you feeling sorry for yourself again?

As we were talking, Tachibana-san appeared across the hall.
In her hand was a cardboard cup with black tea.

—Hayasaka-san.

Tachibana-san called out to Hayasaka-san.
Since they met at the station building, they seemed to get along reasonably well.

—Do you like the president?

—N— No, I don’t like him.

When asked a direct question, Hayasaka-san is quick to answer.

— Hmm, I see.

—We-we are just good friends.

Thereupon Tachibana-san glued herself to my arm.
At that moment, Hayasaka-san’s face tensed up.

—Hey, Tachibana-san, we’re at school.

—I know.

—And you have a boyfriend, right?

—What’s wrong with that?

—I can’t believe you’re trying to get close to Kirishima-kun like that when you have a boyfriend?

—Contact is normal between the president and the club members.

—Oh yeah, right.
It’s good that you guys are so nice.
I’m glad that you guys are getting along very well.

Hayasaka-san had an awkward smile on her face.
This is bad, it’s not supposed to be so obvious. 

Tachibana-san is just testing us, as the expression of satisfaction after seeing Hayasaka-san’s reaction was too clear.

—Oh, class is about to start.

She put a straw in her drink then took a sip as she entered the classroom.

—Kirishima-kun, let’s go back to class.

Hayasaka-san still had a tense smile on her face.

—Come, let me see your face.

Hayasaka-san said with a tense smile, «Let me see your face,» and we returned to the empty classroom.

— It seems that you don’t get along with Tachibana-san.

— I’m sorry.

— It’s okay, I know it might be hard for you.

But Hayasaka-san’s hand holds the textbook so tightly that her fingers have turned white.

— Kirishima-kun, you look calmer than usual.

— Really?

— Yes, but what happened all of a sudden? She gets along well with her boyfriend, but she sticks to Kirishima-kun.

— I think I know why.

I explain to her that Tachibana-san has started to test our feelings for each other.

— Hmmm, so she was trying to make me jealous by doing that.  

— Maybe.

— Well, I don’t mind that kind of thing at all.

Even though you say that, it’s obvious that you do.

— The expression on your face says otherwise.
You’re struggling to smile. 

— I know I’m number two.
You don’t have to worry so much about my feelings. 

After a brief pause, Hayasaka-san looks at me seriously.

— By the way, Kirishima-kun, you bought a new hair conditioner, but you don’t use it much, do you?

— I don’t have much time in the morning, so it’s inevitable that I’ll forget.

— It shouldn’t be like that, you need to worry more about your personal grooming.
Come, I’ll help you with it.

She took out her own hair cream from her bag.
She brought it with her because she has a swimming class today.

Hayasaka-san stood up, reached out and put some cream on my head.

—It’s done.
You look very nice now.

It has a floral fragrance of cherry blossom and lily of the valley.
It’s the same scent as Hayasaka-san’s hair.

—When you’re in front of Tachibana-san, try to keep calm.

During the lunch break, I was lying on the sofa as usual.
I wanted to listen to music, but my headphones were lost, so I tried to sleep, and then Tachibana-san came in.

As soon as Tachibana-san approached, she touched my glasses’ lens with her finger again.

— I said, «That’s not going to make me angry.

— I just want to see another side of you.

Then Tachibana-san sniffed me.
The next moment, she grabbed my head with both hands and started sniffing me.

—Hmm, how strange.

She says with a cold expression.

—This is a challenge for me, isn’t it?

—Tachibana-san has a good nose.

—Hayasaka-san’s sweet smell doesn’t suit you, president.

And out of nowhere, Tachibana-san took out her own hair conditioner and put it in my hair roughly, replacing the floral fragrance with a citrus mint fragrance. 

I couldn’t even wash my hair, so I had to stay there.
After the lunch break, we passed each other in the hallway and Hayasaka-san got angry with me.

—It smells like Tachibana-san.
Did you let her put her own hair conditioner on you?

When I turned around, Hayasaka-san looked at me and smiled.

—Good for you.

Her smile was very scary, at the same time her eyebrow was trembling.

—I don’t mind at all.
I knew that I was number two from the beginning.
I won’t get jealous.
I’ll be fine.

Hayasaka-san was mumbling in the hallway with vacant eyes.

—Why are you messing with my Kirishima-kun…? You already have a boyfriend… Just because you’re beautiful you think you can do whatever you want…

Tachibana-san is a music lover, so she was wearing a pair of white colored wireless headphones with a gold logo on them, which are famous for their bass sound. 

The students say they are her boyfriend’s headphones.
I also heard her humming alternative rock songs that I never imagined she would hear.

The sharp sound is piercing.
It’s a common belief that a girl’s musical taste is influenced by the man she’s dating.

—What do you think?

—Your headphones look good. 

—Hmm

Tachibana-san frowned, took out two pencils from my pencil case on the coffee table and left. 

I can make a poker face if I want to.
But Hayasaka-san wouldn’t be able to, as she reacts instantly.

— How could you give your pencils to Tachibana-san?

During the break, Hayasaka-san approached me.
She saw that Tachibana-san was using my pencils in class.

— So, I wasn’t the only one you gave them to. 

— I’m sorry.

— It’s okay, I don’t care!

This doesn’t look good at all.

— By the way, Kirishima-kun, can I borrow your gym uniform?

— My gym uniform?

— I need it for a technical class, but I forgot to bring mine.

— But I’ve already used it for PE.
And it’s all sweaty.

— It’s okay, it doesn’t matter.

One of Hayasaka-san’s fans screamed at the top of his lungs after seeing her wearing a boys’ gym uniform that wasn’t even her size.

There was no way that innocent Hayasaka-san would do something like that.
The conclusion everyone came to was that she had borrowed a gym uniform borrowed from the infirmary.
But why a boy’s uniform?

On the other hand, Tachibana-sana, who has a keen eye for observation, had not overlooked it.
After gym class, she caught me by surprise in the hallway. 

—Those clothes Hayasaka-san was wearing are the president’s, aren’t they?

—Maybe.

—Hmm, so she’s trying to get attention, huh.

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—Don’t keep provoking her.

—She started all this when she took your pencils. 

Is that why Hayasaka-san asked me for the pencils? 

—In the meantime, can I borrow your gym clothes? 

—I don’t think that’s possible today.

—Take it home when she’s done. 

—What do you plan to do?

The mysterious battle between Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san intensified day by day.

Tachibana-san took my deodorant spray out of my bag, sprayed some on her blouse in front of me, and then deliberately walked in front of Hayasaka-san.

Hayasaka-san said she had forgotten her textbook and took mine.
The two of them were doing all sorts of things, so I finally ran to the student council room during recess.

—Kirishima, you’re pathetic.

Says Maki.

—Seriously, how far are you going to go with this?

—Those girls are going to finish me off.
I don’t think I’m going to get out of this unscathed.

So I proceeded to explain everything that was going on between the two girls.

—Everyone was talking about Tachibana being in love with her boyfriend? Was it a hint to Kirishima?

—She’s testing her emotions.
She doesn’t even know who she’s in love with.

—Hayasaka is weak, so she was easily provoked, and Tachibana is surprisingly belligerent, so they got into a fight.
No wonder all your stuff keeps disappearing.

Maki had noticed it all along.
Pencils, gym clothes and much more.

—In girls’ schools, it’s a status symbol to come to school with a boy’s backpack.
I guess it’s a way to show off to your friends.
That’s probably your situation.

—What do you think I should do?

—There’s nothing a man can do when two women fight.
But I’m not going to abandon you.

Suddenly, the classroom door opens, and behind it stood Saki, Hayasaka-san’s best friend.

—She will help you with your problem.

It’s probably because Sakai and Maki look a bit alike, I thought, but I didn’t say it.
Sakai doesn’t want people to know who she is. 

Then Maki leaves, leaving me with Saki.

—You were talking about Akane, weren’t you? This fight with Tachibana-san is going too far.

Saki seems to be aware of the situation too.

—If it continues like this, Akane runs the risk of being a yandere with you.
Personally, I think that it’s cute.

—Is she really that unstable?

—When we went home together, she kept talking to herself the whole time.
She was saying things like; «Tachibana-san, why are you doing this? Kirishima-kun is only mine.
Stay away from him… Wait, is it okay for me to get angry? I’m supposed to be his lover… No, Kirishima-kun is mine.
Uh, wait, ah, yeah, I’m the mistress, I should keep quiet…» For me, it’s interesting to watch women fight, but as Akane’s friend, I wish Kirishima would tell Tachibana to stop.
Akane is mentally weak.
She doesn’t have the mental capacity to be a lover. 

—But I’m not sure if Tachibana-san will listen to me.
Maki said that a man can’t stop women from fighting.

—Normally that would be the case.
But Tachibana-san will listen to what Kirishima says.

—What makes you think that?

—Because Tachibana-san is testing Akane’s feelings, but not testing Kirishima’s feelings.

Sakai says that Tachibana-san has never been in love.

—You knew it all along, didn’t you?

—Knew what?

—…Kirishima, I think you’re getting dumber and dumber.

Sakai says.

—Have you seriously not noticed that the tie and headphones Tachibana is wearing are yours?

How did I not notice when she showed off the tie and headphones? And the alternative rock she was humming is one of my favorite songs.

—It’s about time you gave those back.

—I don’t think so, I really like these new possessions. 

Tachibana-san touches her tie.
In her breast pocket is an MP3 player with a headphone cord coiled around it.

Tachibana-san is supposed to wear low-tech headphones that aren’t wireless, but when I was sleeping in the club room she snatched them from me.

«I think she really wanted to wear her boyfriend’s things and see the look of jealousy on Kirishima’s face.» As Sakai analyzed it.

«But she was afraid Kirishima would hate her because she had a good relationship with her partner.
So she could only test Akane’s feelings.»

I don’t know what the truth is in all this.
But right now I’m only interested in getting my things back.

Maybe Hayasaka-san knew whose tie that was, and that must have triggered all kinds of conflicts in her emotions.
And she also liked that I always wore a tie, even in summer.

—I’ll give it back to you.

She says as she holds out the love guide.

—But first, you must play with me.

—I told you I’m not going to do that kind of thing.

—But it seems to me that the president wants to.

—You’re wrong.

I said firmly, and Tachibana-san suddenly shut up.

—I’m sorry, I was selfish.

—No, I’m sorry for being so abrupt.

—I won’t ask you again.

He takes her bag and starts to leave the club room.
She still has my tie and headphones on.

—W-Wait!

I stood in front of Tachibana-san with my hands clasped behind my back.

—President, you have a lot of energy.

—I’ll play the game, but I want my tie back.

—Okay, I promise.

Tachibana-san smiles at me.
She looks a little happy.
Well, I’m glad she’s happy.

—Okay, let’s do it.

—Yes, let’s do it.

It will be a simple game without using hands.

The no-hands game is one of the dumbest games included in the love guide.
As usual, it is noticeable that it depends on the player’s taste whether the game is fun or not.

The rules were simple: for 20 minutes we had to stay in a closed room without using our hands.
Tachibana-san and I sat on the couch in front of the coffee table.

Once we had both hands behind our backs, the game began.
But there is very little we can do without using our hands.

And there are so few rules that we don’t even know what to do.
Time passes in silence.
Despite being a game created by an author with an IQ of 180, it’s a real failure.
And that’s when it happened.

—My hair is bothering me.

Tachibana refers to a lock of hair hanging down her cheek.

—President, help me put it over my ear.

Well, there you go.
This is the essence of this game.
You ask your opponent to do what you can’t do.
But you can’t use your hands, so you have to use other parts of your body.

—Okay.

—Hurry, my hair tickles.

I approached Tachibana-san and I could smell a nice fragrance.

Then I brushed a strand of hair off her cheek with my mouth.
As a result, my lips brushed her cheek, but Tachibana-san kept her face calm.

I slowly tuck a lock of hair behind her ear.
It’s not too difficult.
But I find myself tracing the outline of my ear with my tongue as I do so.

This is just like what Tachibana-san used to do with me.
No, it’s not because I was fascinated by the beautiful shape of the ears, or the complexity of the shape.

I wanted to make Tachibana-san feel embarrassed and end this sooner.
That’s true.
It’s not an excuse.
But Tachibana-san doesn’t seem to be embarrassed at all. 

—Thank you.
Oh, and I’m thirsty.

A paper cup with water is carefully placed on the table.
The paper is soft, so you can nibble on the edge with your mouth.

—Tachibana-san, it looks like you were very prepared.
You understand this game perfectly.

—Yes.
Now, let’s start.

I hold the paper cup in my mouth.
Then, I put the rim of the other side of the cup in Tachibana-san’s mouth.
Our faces are close to each other again, as if we were facing each other.

Tachibana-san’s face is still beautiful and when I look at her closely, I feel uncomfortable.
The screws in my head start to loosen.

Tachibana-san puts her mouth on the rim of the cup.
Of course, my mouth is on the other side.
Through the paper cup, we are connected.

It is not an indirect kiss.
Our lips are simultaneously on the rim of the cup.
A bridged kiss, so to speak.

An existential act of kissing.
No, it’s almost a kiss.
It’s a connection.
It’s like a deeper, more intimate acceptance than a normal kiss.

I tilt the glass to give her a drink of water.
But because of the sudden movement, most of the water spills out.
Ms.
Tachibana’s pale lips and white blouse become wet.

—I’m sorry.

—I need to clean up.

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Hand towels were also on the table.
So I proceeded to grab one with my mouth.

I immediately went over to wipe her.
Her skin is so white and delicate that you can almost see the veins, so I wipe her very gently.

—My lips are still wet.

—Okay.

The fabric of the hand towel is thick, so there is no direct contact.

However, my lips and Tachibana-san’s lips definitely touched through the towel.
I was surprised by this fact.

Tachibana-san’s cheeks blushed.
As I wiped her, I felt Tachibana-san press her lips against mine.

How would it feel if we didn’t have these hand towels?

—I already wiped all the wet areas.

—Okay.

I bring my mouth to her neck and wipe it.
Next, her blouse.
It’s wet and a little see-through.
It smells nice.
No matter what part of her body I clean, Tachibana-san doesn’t resist at all.
My heart is starting to fail.

She let out a sweet sigh.
I would like to hug her slender body.
That impulse comes to me, but I suppress it.

I had to get away from her before I lost my mind.

—I’m done cleaning up.

—Thanks

Tachibana-san has a kind of ecstatic look.
She’s also breathing shallowly.
Maybe she’s starting to lose her mind, like me.

—President, is there anything you want me to do?

—Now that you mention it, I’m starting to feel a little hungry.

On the table is a little silver bag of Pocky.

—You can eat this.

Tachibana-san takes one end of the pouch with her mouth, and then I reach over to take the other end, so we both pull at the same time to open it.

After opening the bag, Tachibana-san takes a pocky stick with her mouth and holds it out to me.
I took a bite of the tip, and so on until the pocky got shorter and shorter.

There was a small part of the pocky left to bite, which means that, if I do, I’ll be able to give her a kiss? Is this what you want?

Tachibana-san nods, and lifts her chin while offering me her lips.
At last, the moment I’ve been waiting for the longest.

However, just as I’m about to kiss her, she drops the cookie in my mouth.
A mischievous smile appears on her face.

I was so looking forward to it.
I’m like a child who’s just been tricked.
I was so looking forward to being able to feel her lips.

I can’t stand it.
I want to take Tachibana-san’s lips, even if I have to do it by force.
But… I started to feel something weird in my mouth, and then I quickly understood Tachibana-san’s true intention.
The part of the cookie that Tachibana-san had in her mouth was moist and soft.

It’s a truly forbidden act, something dirtier and more perverse than kissing someone.
The moment I swallowed it, an inexplicable feeling of pleasure ran through my whole body.

—What do you think?

—Tachibana-san, you are very cunning.

—Are you still hungry?

—A little bit.

We did it again and again until the pocky bag ran out.
The satisfaction I’m feeling now is greater than anything. 

We decided to go for the second bag.
Maybe I can get a kiss next time.
With such expectations in mind, I was willing to do it again.

Tachibana-san’s moist cookie broke my brain and caught me.
She was also breathing hard, and her eyes were ecstatic.

After several attempts, we reached the last bag.

I had a hunch that this would be the one.
With high hopes, we work together to open the last silver bag. 

But…

Then the timer went off, telling us that 20 minutes had passed.
With a silly sound, a feeling of emptiness set in.
We were ourselves again, and began to reflect on what had happened.
What the hell had we been thinking?

—I knew I shouldn’t have played Forbidden Games so lightly.

—You’re right.

We were in an awkward situation.
Her skirt was disheveled, and her thighs were exposed.
If it was Hayasaka-san, I probably would have thought she was doing it intentionally.
But, coming from Tachibana-san, it’s hard to judge….

—Hey, the game is over, give me back my tie.

Tachibana-san takes off the tie and puts it around my neck.
I’m a little nervous, it’s like the classic newlywed scene where the wife helps her husband.

—And, I want you to stop bothering Hayasaka-san.

—Okay.

Tachibana-san nodded after those words.

—I have no reason to do it anymore.

—What?

—Hayasaka-san is in love with two people, isn’t she? I don’t understand, because I only have one favorite.
And the president likes two people too.

Tachibana-san stopped talking.
Instead, she touched my cheek.

—Hey, let’s kiss.
I’ve never done it and I’d like to do it.

She comes closer to my face and I stop her by grabbing her shoulder.

—I can’t.

—Why?

—You shouldn’t do this when you have a boyfriend.

—He’s not my boyfriend.

—What?

—He’s a relative.
He’s just pretending to be my boyfriend so no man will come near me. 

That confession was a complete shock to me.

—And the engagement?

—It’s real, but it’s with someone else. 

—And you’re not going to break it off, are you?

It was a very direct question.
Tachibana-san nodded,

—My mother’s company is doing well thanks to his father.
As per the agreements between both families, I have to marry her son after I graduate.

Tachibana-san turns away from me and stands up.

—So, the president doesn’t like girls who are engaged.

—That’s not the case.

—But you won’t kiss me.

—That doesn’t mean you should do it with just anyone.

—I see.
Then I can’t kiss anyone for the rest of my life.

—Why is that?

—Hey Shiro-kun

Tachibana suddenly calls me by my first name.

—What?

—Have you already forgotten when you talked about your first love in the karaoke room?

When I was little, I told the first girl I liked that I didn’t want her to be friends with other boys.

—How can you remember what happened ten years ago?

—It was my first love.

—But the facts are a little different.
To be precise, Shiro told that girl, «I don’t want any other boy to touch you.»

—That’s even more embarrassing. 

—Yes.
And that little girl took it too seriously.
Even now, ten years later, she can’t touch another boy, she doesn’t want to be touched, and she can’t get excited about anyone else but him.

Tachibana’s glassy eyes catch me and hold me.

—Hey

A cold hand touches my cheek.

—Did you know?

—Know what?

Tachibana brought her face close to mine, so that if I moved, even a little, our lips would overlap.

—Did you know that that girl is me?

I was speechless.

I know that if I say anything here, our relationship will change drastically.
But for some reason, Hayasaka-san’s face came to my mind and I couldn’t say anything.

Maybe I was afraid of the changes that would occur if she left me.
After looking at each other for a while, Tachibana-san turned away from me.

—Well, it’s okay.

This time, she prepares to go home and simply leaves the room.
When I was left alone in the place, I looked at Pocky’s bag, grabbed a piece and put it in my mouth.

It’s not enough.
I can’t seem to be satisfied anymore without cookies moistened by Tachibana-san. 

While eating the Pocky, I remembered what Tachibana-san had said, «Did you know that that girl is me?»

That’s why Tachibana-san is special.
And no matter what, she will always be my only love.

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