Volume 10 Chapter 47 Sakuraba Haruka, My Prince
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
After watching all the events, I took a taxi alone and returned to a famous hotel in Roppongi.
Wow, this hotel is amazing….
I wonder how much it cost. Akira-kun said he got it from an acquaintance who no longer had plans to go, but from the event tickets to the Shinkansen and hotel reservations, I feel incredibly grateful for everything he has prepared for me.
”Haruka-nee… If you want, would you like to come see the Christmas event?”
I was surprised when Akira-kun called me two weeks ago.
But is it okay…? It was good before when Akira-kun’s mom and Grandma were with me, but this time I have to go to the event alone. I’m scared of bumping into someone in the crowd and having a flashback of memories again.
But… it can’t stay like this.
I wanted to take a step forward after seeing Akira-kun doing his best at the previous Halloween event.
’If Sakuraba-san wants to move forward, this is surely an opportunity. Let’s take the next step. It’ll be alright. I and everyone in the Shirogane family will support you, and Tenga-san told me that Aqua-sama, Nekoyama-san, or Mayuzumi-san’s family will support you if anything happens on-site.’
My assigned doctor gave me a piece of paper with the phone numbers of Beryl’s family members.
Everyone must be busy, yet they are so kind.
Is it really okay for me to cause so much trouble to so many people?
I feel sorry for that. But even so, the doctor held my hand and said this.
’Do you know? The people of Beryl call themselves the Aqua Family.’
’Yes, this is a word that Aqua-sama said at a certain celebration. He loves and cares for everyone like his own family. He said that if you have any troubles, you should rely on him. Helping each other is natural for family… right? So I think Sakuraba-san should also honestly rely on his kindness. After all, Sakuraba-san is one of Tenga-san’s family members.’
Even Akira-kun always happily talked over the phone about how big of a guy Shirogane is.
To me, even Akira-kun is already amazing, but Aqua-kun is the one I admire. Like a comet, Aqua-kun appeared in Japan, not only illuminating this world that was sinking into darkness but also becoming a large meteor shower involving Akira-kun, enveloping this world in a warm light called Beryl.
Even though he just turned 16, I wonder how much he carries on his shoulders. Seeing Akira-kun working hard to catch up with someone like that, I realized that I can’t stay the way I am.
’Okay. Doctor… I’ll try my best.’
’Okay. I’ll give you my full support. Oh…and just in case, my helper, Godly Painter——who’s in Tokyo… Cough, cough, excuse me, I’m a little choked up. I mean, Maria-sensei, a very famous doctor. If something happens in Tokyo, she’ll be there for you, so I’ll give you her contact information just in case.’
And so, right now, I was pushed by Sensei and Akira-kun, and I took the Shinkansen to Tokyo to see Beryl’s organized event. At first, I was a little anxious, but so far, I think I’m doing fine.
”Well then, before it gets late, I should eat at a restaurant… ah!”
I noticed that Akira-kun’s keychain, which was attached to my bag, was missing. Maybe I dropped it somewhere. No, it’s certain that I dropped it since I couldn’t find it even after searching the room.
I’m pretty sure I had it during the live, so it’s highly likely that I dropped it during the parade. After confirming that I didn’t leave anything at the counter, I left the hotel and asked the taxi driver to take me back to the vicinity of the parade venue where I was just now.
However, today is Christmas. It took a long time to move earlier, but returning to the location where the parade was held is also quite a challenge. In the end, it took as much time to get back near the venue as it did to return home.
”It’s congested… What should I do? Maybe it’s faster to walk from here?”
”Yes, let’s do that! Thank you very much.”
I paid and got off the taxi midway, then slowly started running towards the destination. It’s just a keychain, I can buy another one. Some people might think that way, but that keychain was given to me by Akira-kun as a gift. Certainly, there may be similar products out there, but that keychain is unique to me in the whole world.
”The parade was fun, right?”
”Yeah! It’s my first time seeing something like this!!”
”Yeah. When they closed the Shibuya intersection, it was amazing, but this is just as crazy.”
”I’m looking forward to Wonderland. I wonder what it will be like?”
Although there were fewer people around, there were still many people near the site. Some were chatting in the park area, while others were playing musical instruments.
”The moment I first met you, my heart beat stronger than ever before. Ah, I see! I was born to meet you, my chest tightened with excitement.”
”TENGA! TENGA! TENGA!”
Oh, Akira-kun’s song… In front of a girl playing the guitar and singing, a gal-like girl repeatedly raised her fist. Hehe, I remember hearing on the daytime talk show that Akira-kun is popular among girls who play musical instruments because he is good at the guitar.
”I think it was around here.”
When I arrived near the place where I was watching the parade, I looked around the surrounding ground. Then, a young woman with a flashy appearance who was nearby approached me.
At first, I thought she was a girl who came to watch the parade, but upon closer inspection, she was wearing a construction helmet and had a staff ID hanging around her neck.
”Um…actually, I dropped my keychain…”
As I explained the situation, the woman touched her earpiece Intercom.
”Can we confirm the lost item? It’s Tenga Akira’s keychain, and the location seems to be near Tokyo International Forum. Yes…yes…understood. Thank you very much. If there’s anything else, can you please contact me? Yes. Thank you.”
The woman bowed her head apologetically.
”I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. I checked with headquarters, but it seems that the lost item you’re looking for hasn’t been delivered. I did ask them to contact me if they find it later, but I’m sorry I couldn’t be of much help.”
”No, I apologize for interrupting your work, but thank you very much for your polite assistance. On the contrary, I apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
I bow my head repeatedly.
”Tsushima-san, I’m sorry, could you also tidy up the wiring over there?”
”Please wait a moment! I will come right away!”
The woman called Tsushima took out a memo and handed me a pen with her phone number and email address written on it.
”Just in case, this is the contact point for the event management. They also handle lost items, so there might be a possibility of them being delivered later. If I find anything during my work, I will make sure to deliver it to the headquarters.”
”Thank you so much! You’ve been a great help.”
I bow my head again to Tsushima-san.
After parting ways with Tsushima-san, I retraced my steps to avoid causing any inconvenience to those working nearby. If there is a possibility, it would be on the way back to the hotel where I could catch a taxi. It was quite crowded, and perhaps when I passed by someone, my bag rubbed against something and my keychain fell.
”Hmm, it seems like it’s not here after all.”
I searched carefully, but couldn’t find it, so I returned to the park where I was earlier.
”Excuse me, miss. I saw you pass by earlier, what’s wrong?”
When I turned around in response to the voice, there stood the girl who was playing Akira-kun’s song earlier. Behind her were the girls who were making TENGA calls earlier. Are they… band gal, perhaps? I was surprised to be surrounded by women with flashy appearances, different from the elegant girl from earlier.
Everyone looks cool. Unlike someone like me, there’s a fashionable Tokyo girl vibe going on.
”Ah, um… actually, I dropped my key holder…”
”Is it, by any chance, this one?”
The girl took something out of her jeans pocket and handed it to me.
It’s the key holder I was looking for. I recognized it at a glance. The scratches and the slight bald spot are exactly like mine.
”I found this in the grass over there a while ago, so I was going to take it to the staff. I’m glad. The owner was found.”
”Thank you! Thank you!”
I offered to thank her, but the girl playing the guitar waved her hands and said it was unnecessary.
”I-is it really okay…?”
”Sure. I can’t accept gratitude from another fan of Akira-san. Besides, if it were Akira-san, he would probably say not to worry about it!”
Certainly sounds like something he would say… When I thanked them again, I had a little chat with some girls in the park.
”So, Tenga-senpai is the best!”
”Yeah, he’s a reliable senior for everyone.”
”Aqua-kun and the others rely on him a lot too.”
”And then, that cool posing! It’s seriously amazing!”
This is the first time I’ve talked to Akira-kun’s fans like this. The more I talked, the more I realized that they support Akira-kun, and it made me happy. Among them, the story of the girl who gave me a keychain left the strongest impression.
”You know, I actually planned to leave my guitar and go back to my hometown in Gunma.”
The girl looked into the distance, reminiscing about the past.
”In the midst of that, there was a girl living with me… Well, she’s my girlfriend, and she won the ticket for M-Stage. It was our last memory together, so we went to see it before returning to Gunma.”
The show the girl went to see was that legendary episode where Akira-kun played the guitar until the strings broke.
”I was determined to give it my all. We only live once, so I thought I would definitely regret it if I gave up here. I know I caused my girlfriend some inconvenience for a while.”
The girl showed me the guitar she had just played. When she went to a pop-up shop, she got Akira-kun’s autograph on the guitar. Her eyes sparkled as she happily talked about that moment.
”Kyouko-san! It’s time to go to the yakiniku party we reserved!”
I thanked the girls once again.
I cannot express enough gratitude for being treated so kindly. The girls invited me to have yakiniku (grilled meat), but I had already made a reservation at the hotel’s restaurant, so I reluctantly declined.
”Well then, see you later, big sister!”
”Enjoy sightseeing in Tokyo!”
”Be careful of the people in nun outfits! They are nice, but once you enter their world, you won’t be able to escape!”
”If you join any strange religion, join the Fallen Angel Akira Worship Club!”
”Well, it’s not really a religion, just an unofficial fan club… and being weird is unnecessary!”
”Let’s meet at the next live concert!”
They were really kind to me, even giving me a ride in a taxi. I immediately headed back to the hotel’s restaurant.
Thanks to someone who had originally made a Christmas dinner reservation but couldn’t make it due to work, they had reserved the latest time slot at 22:30, which was a great help.
”Your reservation is for… Sakuraba-sama, correct? Please follow me.”
The restaurant staff guided me to a private room. Is this really okay? These dishes must be expensive, right? Since I’m not used to going to places like this, I felt extremely nervous.
Every dish that came out was elaborate and delicious… but eating alone felt incredibly lonely. Since I’ve been taken care of by the Shirogane family, every day has been lively, and everyone has been considerate enough not to leave me alone. Just realizing that makes me glad I came here.
Yes, I’ll go back tomorrow.
And I have to tell everyone. I can’t rely on them anymore, and I can’t stay like this either. Just like the child who was playing the guitar earlier, influenced by Akira-kun, I want to face forward and live my life.
For that, even though it’s lonely, I thought it would be better to become independent and be on my own. Besides, Akira-kun also has a future.
Just thinking about it makes my chest tighten, but it’s undoubtedly better for women like those girls earlier, to be by Akira-kun’s side than me, with scars.
”Sakuraba-sama, for those who have reserved the Christmas dinner, the hotel has prepared a modest gift. May I bring it here for you?”
”Yes, thank you.”
”Understood. Please wait a moment.”
A few tens of seconds after the waiter left the restaurant, the sound of knocking on the door could be heard.
”Sorry, Haruka-nee, for being dressed like this…”
After the Christmas night parade, it seems that Akira-kun was working as a gift distributor and was dressed as Santa Claus.
”Then, what about the stains on your clothes…”
The reason his clothes were in tatters was not because of an accident on his bike after work, but because he tripped in an empty place in a hurry. I was worried if he had hit his head, but he said it was okay because he had practiced defensive moves. Phew… I’m glad there weren’t any major injuries as it appeared.
”Haruka-nee, how was the Christmas event…?”
”It was very… yes, very enjoyable!”
I told Akira-kun about my impressions of the live performances and parades. I had so many things I wanted to talk to Akira-kun about, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. Even so, Akira-kun kindly listened to my story until the end.
It was truly enjoyable.
But, that’s why I have to talk.
”Akira-kun, I have something to tell you.”
I conveyed to Akira-kun what I had just thought. The thought of wanting to live facing forward. The thought that it’s not good to just rely on others. And above all, the thought that I don’t want to become a burden to Akira-kun.
However, I stopped saying only the part about not wanting to become a burden. If I say that, I will rely on the kind Akira-kun again.
Just by uttering those words, I feel like crying. But I thought that I should properly convey the farewell words to Akira-kun, who has taken care of me.
”Understood. Haruka-nee… Can you listen to my… no, my story next?”
Akira-kun looks at my face with a serious expression. In response, I nodded silently.
”I want to support Haruka-nee, who is working hard by her side. So, would you like to live together with me… in my house?”
Why are you so kind to me? Is it because I’m Akira-kun’s childhood friend? Your kindness makes me happy, but at the same time, it hurts. Because I have nothing to give back to Akira-kun.
”I have always… no, I still love Sakuraba Haruka as a woman.”
Love…? Akira-kun, do you… love me? Ah, I see, is it the same kind of love you would have for a friend or family member? Akira-kun stood up and faced me, shouting with a serious expression.
”Let me say it again! I, Tenga Akira, as a man, love Haruka!!”
I was so surprised that I couldn’t even speak.
Akira-kun knelt in front of me and handed me a small gift box from his pocket. As prompted by Akira-kun, I untied the ribbon and found a box with a ring inside.
”Actually, I was planning to change and rent out the rooftop observatory to say it there… That’s why I’m in this strange outfit, and it’s even dirty. But, instead of showing off, I learned from Shirogane Aqua, a man who is important to me as a junior, that there are more important things.”
I couldn’t stop my tears at Akira-kun’s sincere confession.
”Haruka, will you marry me? I will never let go of you anymore! Please, just nod…!”
Seeing Akira-kun tightly holding my hand as if praying, I also realized that I didn’t want to be apart.
”Is it really… okay with someone like me?”
Akira-kun hugged me tightly.
”Haruka, I want to become a stronger man. I want to be someone reliable, someone who can support others, a man of great stature. I promise. So, will you live with me?”
I wrapped my arms around Akira-kun’s back and hugged him tightly.
”I also want to become a strong woman who can support Akira-kun! That’s why…! I also like you. I really like you. I love you!!”
No more words were needed.
We gently kissed each other.
After that, Akira-kun put a ring on my finger.
It felt like a dream…
No, it might actually be a dream.
But even if it is, all I have to do now is confess to Akira-kun.
Because I have already realized my true feelings inside me.
”I’m sorry. Thank you for staying open so late for us.”
As we left the private room in the restaurant, we bowed our heads to the staff members who welcomed us with applause.
Since it’s already time, there are no customers around.
”If there’s anything I can do…”
The restaurant staff exchanged glances and showed a smile. I wonder what’s going on? Akira-kun and I exchanged glances, slightly puzzled.
Seeing our reaction, a woman with a plate labeled ‘Chief’ took something from the counter at the entrance and came back.
”In that case, it’s fine. We have already received payment in advance from those who dined here today. As a matter of pride for this restaurant, we cannot accept anything more from our customers.”
Saying that, she showed us a credit card with Aqua-kun’s name hidden on the number part. It seems Aqua-kun had come here for the previous event.
And without informing Akira-kun about it, and probably without informing anyone at the company about us, I learned that he pulled off this surprise so smoothly.
Akira-kun laughed loudly and turned his gaze towards me, saying,
”How about that? Isn’t my junior so cool? I… I want to be a man like him.”
Akira-kun spoke with genuine happiness.
Certainly, Aqua-kun may be cool, but the coolest person for me is Akira-kun.
Even on the phone, Akira-kun always talks about how amazing Aqua-kun and the others are.
That’s why I fell in love with Akira-kun, who cares so much about his juniors.
When I returned to the room with Akira-kun, we spent a passionate night together.
On the following day, by hearing the announcement inside the building that Aqua-kun had paid the accommodation fees for all the guests who stayed, Akira-kun laughed and said that Aqua-kun is an incredible person. When I asked Akira-kun to show me the email he received from Aqua-kun, it seems that it was a happy share of the successful proposal from yesterday.
”Well then, I’m going. Tomorrow, I’ll be a bit late, but let’s go together to announce our marriage. So, please wait for me at my house.”
After receiving the key to the house from Akira-kun, I watched him get into the car that came to pick him up. I hope that Akira-kun returns home safely without any injuries.
December 24, 2022.
This year’s Christmas became an unforgettable memory for me.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.