｢Hey, you. How you doin’?｣
The voice on the other side of the line was exceptionally cheerful.
｢I’ve finally got you, aren’t you a bit cold? I’ve been waiting for you to call for days.｣
However, the words were filled with a bit of complaint.
“Sorry, sorry. I’ve been busy with things and settling in.”
｢Well, it’s ‘kay. Though I’m cryin’ myself to sleep every night while I’m waitin’ for you to call. But now that you did, I feel like that fog has been lifted from my heart. Well, enough of that, I forgive that cold shoulder.｣
“I think you’re exaggerating a bit…”
｢So how’s it goin’? Bein’ newly-weds with your beautiful little sister.｣
“No, we’re not really like newly-weds. She’s just living here. Really, you always say stuff like that…”
｢Hmph. Well, gimme a brief heads up of what’s happened with your sister so far.｣
“Mm, well. It’s kinda like this…”
I said, and then informed my friend of everything that had happened.
｢——I see. Seems you’ve been a bit troubled.｣
“Well, yeah, kinda. Kyotsugu-san and Shouko-san, the Arisugawa Family, I really must commend them for raising such a splendid lady, but—”
｢Splendid’s splendid, right?｣
“Kind of, she has been raised like a noble young lady, no doubt. If it weren’t for her behaviour towards me.”
｢I’ve heard all you said, but still, I think your sister’s got plenty of moderation, doesn’t she?｣
“And what about her sexual inclinations towards her brother?”
｢Well, can’t be helped. Meanin’, can’t be helped that your little sister loves and loves you so, so much, right? You’re the only man in her life.”
“……Aren’t we blood-related?”
｢That’s none of my concern. Anyways, there’s no mistakin’ that your little sister’d love to cross the line between siblings, huh?｣
“Yup. I think that’s it after all.”
｢You’re just blowin’ things out of proportion. I think you’re just imaginin’ stuff. There must be some sorta other explanation for your little sister.｣
I’ve never really thought about it much, but maybe my sister’s behavior does have some other reason behind it.
｢Well, it’s probably this, the thing they call ‘bein’ aggravated’, maybe?｣
｢When you’ve got a cold that’s 90% gone, but the cough in your throat still doesn’t go away for days, kinda like that. Isn’t that the feelin’ you get about your little sister?｣
｢Like, your parents were always away from home, so you were like a foster parent and educated your sister, right? Although you two were fraternal twins and at the same age.｣
“Mm. Well, I do get that feeling.”
｢Everyone has more or less been a mother-or-father-con at some point… You could say that. For the most part, the first person of the opposite sex one encounters would of course be their mother or father. But for your little sister, she was raised differently… In other words, you, the older brother, were the one blood relative close to her when she was being raised. That’s why you were the first person of the opposite sex she noticed, right?｣
“Mm, well… I guess.”
｢Livin’ with someone for long would normally make you come to a conclusion. ‘It’s not right to love this person in that way.’ Your mind and body would get that. But in your little sister’s case, she unfortunately was about to understand right when you two were separated. The necessary process has been interrupted, the necessary person wasn’t there, it’s kinda like that.｣
“Well, even then. How is this similar to the aggravation of a cold?”
｢Well, usually the reason for a cold’s aggravation is that the necessary rest and nourishment hasn’t been taken, right?｣
I understood it.
Certainly, that was possible. The words of my friend had been smooth and it was somehow easy to come to an agreement with them.
However, it was that…
Going by that explanation, my sister’s ‘aggravation’ had been my fault, that’s how it felt.
Still, that was a little, how should I say it, it just wasn’t something I could agree with.
I mean, I had been desperate back then.
Both of our parents had been the worst when it came to being a family, but they weren’t people we could hate. Just like how kids get engrossed in work with sparkling eyes, we hadn’t been able to tell our parents to just ignore their work.
Thats why back in those days, I had been desperate in my own way.
One way or the other, I had taken on the duty to raise her properly, that was the kind of thing I had been dealing with.
｢Well, you don’t have to worry about it too much.｣
My friend said.
｢Like I said, your little sister’s got plenty of moderation. ‘N so she won’t do anythin’ reckless.｣
｢That’s how it is, right? Though she’s finally been reunited with the men she really, really loves, she still hasn’t put a hand on you, she’s respectin’ your intentions, right? If that isn’t called moderation, than what is?｣
“Eh? Like that, it feels like I’m someone who should be pushed down?”
｢Of course. If I were your sister, I would’ve humped you the second we met.｣
｢Well, doesn’t look to me like that will happen, though. You should relax now that you can make up for the lost time with your little sister. Although, if she’s gotten so beautiful in those years that you almost forget that you’re siblings, then it’s a different story.｣
“Haha, there’s no way that that could’ve happened.”
I couldn’t really say that my friend hit a bullseye, could I?
——With this and that, the conversation with my friend that I hadn’t talked with in a while ended.
That took a while…
I tilted my neck with a quick glance at the clock in the living room.
My sister still hadn’t come out of the bath.
Well, I do know that girls can take their sweet time in the bath. Even so, isn’t that taking a bit too long? I’ve been waiting for almost an hour already?
…I should go check on her.
Just so that you know.
Approaching a private space like a bathroom was embarrassing for me, and on top of that I had to take a peek inside, how could I’ve do something like that?
But there are times that happens, right? Back when we’ve been younger, we both were in the bath together, right? That certainly had been true in the past, but as for my current little sister whom I hadn’t seen in six years, there was definitely no way I could do something like that.
How was I supposed to deal with it at that time? I want to hear what all the other older brothers in the world would’ve done.
Well, whatever. Even if there is a slight possibility that something happens, this isn’t the time to dwell on things. For now I guess I’ll call out from a distance——
Footsteps approached as I was thinking about calling out to her.
Quick-paced, irritated footsteps. From the direction of the bathroom.
Opening the sliding door noisily, my sister walked into the living room.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?!”
“Er, what do you mean…?”
I froze up.
Well, of course I would.
A girl my age, having nothing but a bath towel on her, appeared in front of my eyes. I think anyone would’ve frozen up. Whether the person in question was your little sister or not, that didn’t matter. Probably.
What is this. Why’s her skin so fair?
I mean, now that I’ve seen her this way, her figure really is amazing.
Long legs. Slender waist. And yet her chest was full.
I don’t think she’s wearing any underwear either… Shouldn’t there be a limit to how good a girl can look like that?
Ah, I give up.
Gimme a break.
I said while I was averting my eyes awkwardly:
“Can you put on some clothes first?”
“Please don’t change the subject!”
“I want to hear the reason!”
“Well, that’s… Sorry, reason for what?”
My sister’s eyes turned into triangles, looking very angry.
I honestly don’t get why she’s mad like this.
What did I do?
From what I can see, something must’ve happened in the bathroom that caused this turn of events. I talked with a friend on the phone, then I sat here cross-legged drinking tea, that’s all, right? I don’t get why she’s mad and viciously glaring at me for that.
While stretching out her chest towards me, she said:
“I was in the bath, and yet why didn’t you come to peep at me?!”
“Eh? What language’s that?”
“I’m speaking Japanese of course!”
In addition to her eyes that were tensely raised at me, my sister was steadily looming over me.
Um, excuse me?
Could you please stop to push your cleavage in my face?
“Um… can you say that again? I think I didn’t hear you right.”
“I was in the bath, and yet why didn’t you come to peep at me is what I said!”
It seems I didn’t mishear.
“Yes. I understood what you said. But Akiko…”
“What is it?”
“I think that goes against common sense, doesn’t it?”
My sister bent back in an exaggerated way.
That kind of reaction made it look like I was the one in the wrong here… That wasn’t right, was it? I had said the right thing, hadn’t I?
“Look at this!”
My sister said, stroke her bare upper arm, and then continued:
“Not only is it spotless, my skin’s also glistening! It’s beautiful, right?!”
“Mm, yeah. Certainly, it is very beautiful.”
Still angry, she nodded happily nonetheless, and continued:
“So that I can always look good for when Onii-chan sees me, I haven’t neglected my skin care for a single day!”
“Ah, mm. Thanks?”
“I’ve put great efforts into it every day to make it look like this! Isn’t that something to be proud of?!”
“Mm, well. You did put a lot of effort in it, huh?”
“Rather, shouldn’t it be natural for you to want to attack me?!”
“No, there’s no way something like that could happen.”
My sister looked as shocked as someone innocent who got judged guilty in court. As always, her vocabulary seemed to lack the word ‘siblings’.
I mean, now that I get a good look of her, isn’t her hair still wet? All this time she was soaking in the bathtub, waiting for me to come… that’s the kind of feeling I get. She was probably cheerfully humming to herself.
Now that I think about it, I kind of feel bad about it… No, no, no, calm down. Protect your common sense, the one at fault here’s clearly her.
I’ve started thinking in weird ways, haven’t I?
It was still daytime, and yet she said, ‘I suddenly want to get in the bath’, and hurriedly left her room. Then, when she was leaving her room, she looked at me with those glittering eyes. That was probably the reason for all of this. I hadn’t noticed it back then.
“Well, err, for now, calm down, Akiko. Why don’t you drink some tea?”
“Please don’t change the subject!”
“What, you don’t want any? I even used some high quality green tea leaves for it and it’s still hot, it was for your sake. Look, I thought that after getting out of the bath, your throat would be dry, right?”
“Thank you very much for letting me have this!”
My sister’s expression changed completely and turned into a smile, drinking tea seemed like an important matter now.
Well, drinking a lot of tea is an easy way to cure bad temper, isn’t it? She forgave me even while she was still wearing nothing but a bath towel.
“…Fuu. That was delicious. Thank you for the tea. Since Onii-chan’s so good at brewing, this tea’s flavor came out excellent, didn’t it?”
“…Ahem. Well, with this tea I’ll dismiss it, I shall close my eyes to your carelessness this time.
This is how I’m being treated this time?
That’s something new, isn’t it?
“With that said, I’m going to enter the bath once again.”
She’s going to get in again?
“This time I’m going to get in slowly.”
“Mm. I see. That’s good. You have to be careful with hot water, huh?”
“Yes. I’m deliberately entering it slowly, okay?”
“Mm. I don’t really understand it, but enjoy yourself.”
“Well then, I’m off. I’ll be taking plenty of time to deliberately enter it slowly, okay?”
With that said, my sister left the room.
…She really likes baths, huh?
It’s probably that she didn’t get to wash her hair or body earlier. This time she’ll probably focus on that. Well, looking at girls who love to keep themselves clean makes you feel good, I warmly welcome it. Even if it’s my sister.
Now then, what do?
I’ve still got to finish up unpacking, and I got to put the materials for the transfer student lessons together.
Well, this is my long-awaited winter vacation. It won’t hurt to read a book while I drink my tea, I think I’ll kill some time.
“Onii-chan! Hey, Onii-chan!”
One hour later.
With especially loud footsteps, my sister leaped into the room with her face rapidly changing colors.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?!”
“No matter how long you stay in the bath, I’m not going to come and peek at you.”
“Isn’t that too much?! Even though I was trying so hard to give you a hint!”
“So you really did say that deliberately. Anyway, I’m absolutely not going to peek at you. Peeking at my sister in the bath, how could I do such a perverted thing?”
“In the eyes of love, it doesn’t matter whether you are a pervert or not!”
“In any case, it’s a no. No means no.”
“Grrrr. Onii-chan, you meanie!”
This had probably been the first time in all my life that I had heard that.
“Ahh, I won’t forgive you!”
With both her arms flailing around, my sister was sorely angry.
“If you’re like this, I won’t talk to Onii-chan anymore!”
“Don’t give me such a half-hearted answer and stop reading your book!”
“I’m serious, you know?! I really will not talk to you anymore, you know?! Please reflect on your sins while you’re crying as your cute little sister’s ignoring you!”
While closing the sliding door shut with a slam, my sister ran back to the bathroom.
As promised, my sister didn’t talk to me.
At least for two hours.
Shortly after, she couldn’t bear anymore not to talk to me, approached me with teary eyes, and suggested we should reconcile, that’s how it was.
But after we had made up, my sister turned back into her noisy and cheerful self.
With the ‘reconciling’ over, she even managed to make us a luxurious dinner from our meager budget..
If I had to say it, well, she was certainly a cute.
Translator notes and references
Vibrating phone sound.