“...And? If you have an excuse, I’m all ears.”
“I admit that I was conceit that Saya would be fine. But I can’t argue with the fact that I was a poor escort myself.”
“That’s right. As your employer and Saya’s brother, I have the right to be angry.”
As he stared at the chair that was pointed out to him, Sakuya prayed that Saya, who was sleeping soundly, would not wake up just this once.
After that, fortunately they were near the university, and thanks to the security guard who called the police, the situation was quickly resolved.
Takayuki was dragged unconscious to the police car, and Saya, who had slumped down in shock, was put in an ambulance just to be safe.
Sakuya had no choice but to stay behind and accompany to the police station to explain the situation. As he was explaining the situation, a detective who was familiar with the situation of the Kudou family came to follow up, and Sakuya could finally rush to the hospital where Saya was taken.
Fortunately, Saya was not seriously injured, just a cut made by the knife grazing her bosom, but it was something that would heal quickly with disinfection and gauze.
However, since she was mentally unstable, the doctor recommended that she stay overnight after receiving an IV drip for her well-being, and Chiharu, who came to the scene later, agreed.
“At that time, Saya was wearing clothes specially processed to be stab-proof, and her bag was custom made to prevent even military knives. The butterfly knife he carried would probably bounce back and injure him. Although, you can’t say you’ve been so spoiled by her full equipment that you’ve forgotten how to be an escort.”
“Yes, that’s right. It was true that Saya was one of the best in the dojo at self-defense, aikido, and shorinji kempo. Even though she was taken by surprise, she should have been able to dodge and counterattack with that level of attack...It’s true I was thinking so. I apologize for that.”
Even though Sakuya, who was supposed to be guarding her, could have immediately caught Takayuki who jumped at her that time, he left Saya to move.
No matter how much trust and strong bond they had at the base of it all, the fact that he had put his escort in danger, that he had allowed her to do what she wanted, even if it was only for a moment, and that he had pushed her mentally into a corner by doing so, he must say that he was disqualified as an escort.
The employee would be severely punished and fired, and the victim’s family would sue for damages if they were traumatized.
... Under normal circumstances.
(Well, I guess Kiryuu didn’t expect her to run into him either. That girl takes on too much of everything. I guess she still had a little of compassion for that man who humiliated her so badly.)
If asked if she liked the man named Takayuki Tachibana, Saya would answer no without hesitation.
However, even though it was only for a short time, he was introduced to her as someone she would eventually marry, and he had deepened his relationship with her family.
She must have been caught off guard, because Natsumi usually came to her, but this time it was Takayuki, which made her think that Sakuya must be the one being targeted.
But what he was after was Saya from the start.... This was where the subtle misalignment of reactions occurred, and Takayuki was a criminal.... So he was arrested for attempted murder.
“By the way, I haven’t told you the details yet... Yesterday, the investigation report on Takayuki came up. Natsumi Hiiragi, who ambushes Saya every day and verbally abuses her... I was a little curious as to what they were going to do with that delusional girl who had already shown her true colors with no pretense.”
‘Don’t worry, I could help you understand.’
‘I’ll be there for you, I’m here to support you.’
Being rubbed with such sweet words with a catty attitude, the legitimate son of a branch of a famous family that had fallen so easily.
Naturally, Chiharu had assumed that Takayuki would come to his senses when he saw how ugly Natsumi really was, and that he would lose his affection for her.
But the facts were far more than he expected.
“I’ve heard that Takayuki didn’t just abandon Natsumi, who was acting strangely, but boxed her.”
“... No way. Then the reason she didn’t show up that day...”
“Yes. He had to get her out of the hospital when she was treated and finally locked her in a concrete cage.
A room in a condominium, a cage with no place to escape, in a way harsher than a mental hospital.
Even if she noticed and cried, screamed, or ranted, Takayuki was the only one who heard it.
‘Adorable Natsumi, you’ll always be there for me, won’t you?’
‘You’re the only one who understands me, and I’m the only one who can understand you.’
Was that how his mind loosen?
Or had it already been destroyed?
Now that Takayuki was in police custody on a charge of attempted murder, there was no way to confirm this directly with him... But neither Chiharu nor Sakuya had any intention of doing so.
Now that the person who had been holding her captive had been arrested, Natsumi would surely be released from her cage by now.
There would be no need to contact her and cause unnecessary damage.
(I’m sure Takayuki was trying to protect Natsumi... The way he did it was wrong, but...)
For Natsumi, it was just a stepping stone to get closer to Sakuya, but for Takayuki, it was undeniably true love.
That’s why, to Sakuya who made such Natsumi crazy... No, to Saya, who Natsumi half-crazedly complained about that she was a ‘bug’ because she was by Sakuya’s side, he attempted to erase her existence with hostility.
He believed that if he erased Saya, Natsumi would surely return to normal.
Saya was the pitiful one.
Even though she wasn’t in love with him, her ex-fiancé had told her to get lost and almost killed her.
Even though her body was unharmed, her heart must have been torn apart by the invisible blade that pierced over and over again.
“Now, as an employer, I have to fire incompetent guards...”
“Yes. I’m ready.”
“...Ready, right...that’s fine. Then, as of now, I am terminating your exclusive contract with the Kudou and relieving you of your duties as my bodyguard.”
“So, from now on, there will be no employer-guard relationship. As the next head of the Kudou family and the head of Kiryuu, let’s get to know each other.”
‘You can relax’, Sakuya looked at Chiharu, who had relaxed his shoulders, with a blank look on his face as if he didn’t understand, and Sakuya took several deep breaths to calm his thoughts.
After seeing his former subordinate’s rarely seen dumb face, Chiharu laughed lightly and glanced at his sister with a nostalgic look, ‘Then let me tell you the story of how I took in Saya until she calmed down’, before returning his gaze to Sakuya and spoke again.
Yurie told him about the Hiiragi family, a genius named “Saya Hiiragi” who was still a child, played out after independent research.
Her ability was remarkable, and he immediately moved to persuade her parents that it would be good for the Kudou family if they could just get her off their back.
They wanted to make her their child, to welcome her as his sister, and to eventually use her power for the benefit of the Kudou family.
His wise parents complied, and he rode to the party with gusto.
He drew the poor genius to himself after she was thrown out at a party to bring the two families, the Hiiragi and Tachibana, together.
And that was as far as the plan went.
When he got to know her in person, she was very smart... On the other hand, she was a very cautious and timid child.
Normally, when people found out that they had been taken in by a family that was incomparably more prestigious than their original home, they became wary but arrogant in their knowledge of luxury... Otherwise, they would become overwhelmed and spoiled by the family they finally had.
As if to ridicule Chiharu for thinking so lightly, Saya called him ‘Chiharu-sama’ and kept a line between them, refusing to approach him.
He just wanted to take good care of her. He just wanted to spoil her.
He just wanted to show her what family was.
Just as he was feeling this frustration, Sakuya actually met Saya...When he found out that they had been together at the facility in the U.S., and that a trusting relationship had been built between them, he thought of using Sakuya to see if he could somehow make Saya feel better.
If you couldn’t open your heart to a hastily arranged family, at least take the time to rewarm the bonds you’ve developed in the past and make yourself feel at home.
He hoped that through the time she spent with Sakuya, she would gradually get to know himself and his parents.
“My plan was half successful. By being with Kiryuu, Saya became more expressive than ever, and she also approached us, though through you. As a daughter of the Kudou family, she also began to think positively about her future. But.”
“But you know... Just when I thought we were becoming a family, I didn’t think she’d be in danger of being taken by you.”
It was only recently that he thought their family was finally getting closer to each other.
At the same time, he realized that the distance between Saya and Sakuya was changing, and that bothered him.
He was not kidding; they were about to become an ideal family, and finally he was making Saya realize she had a family, but why should he have to feel the loss of letting go of his younger sister, who was only 14 years old, so soon?
“Hey Kiryuu, give me an honest answer. How do you feel about Saya?”
“I love her.”
“Hey, man, that’s not fair! And that melting expression...I don’t know whose that look for, but if one of the nurses here or something saw you, they’d be fainting immediately, that.”
“Hah... I’m not interested in anyone but Saya, so this is completely annoying.”
“As for Saya’s family, that obsession of yours is much more annoying.”
‘Well, that’s okay’, Chiharu said with a sigh as he looked at the bed, which hadn’t moved a muscle, once again.
“You heard what he just said, didn’t you? Saya. Now, that’s all the help I can give you. The rest is up to you to decide and choose.”
‘First, let’s get up’, he said, giving his sister, who was pretending to be asleep, a gentle brotherly smile.
As Chiharu left the hospital room, Saya awkwardly sat up to face Sakuya.
His expression was indeed one of surprise, but there was no hint of awkwardness that he had been asked to confess.
“... I’m sorry you had to hear that.”
“I’m sorry. But I really wanted to hear Sakuya’s true feelings.”
“You could’ve asked me directly.”
“... Yeah. But I felt like if I did that, I’d be left hanging.”
She was full of delusions and said a lot of crazy things, but Natsumi was still single-mindedly in love with Sakuya.
Regardless of her fantasies about scenarios, heroines, and games, Saya believed that her feelings were genuine.
She thought it was wrong that she used Takayuki and the other men as stepping stones for that.
When she thought about Natsumi’s feelings, Saya suddenly felt uneasy.
Sakuya was a grown man, and it was not surprising that he would eventually fall in love with someone and start a relationship, and even now he could easily have a girlfriend if he wanted to.
When that happened, he would probably leave Saya’s side.
She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to call him ‘Sakuya’ as casually as before.
The thought of that made her inexplicably scared.
“Saya is a very special person to me. Then and now. As you can imagine, I would be troubled when you ask me if I saw you as such a person from the first time I met you.”
“Well, that’s right. I was two at the time.”
“Yes, that’s right. If you wanted to, I’d be accused of being a pedophile.”
‘But’, he continued with a meaningful smile.
“My mind was already made up at that time when I parted with Saya. At the time, Saya was 7 years old, and I was 16... After all, I can’t avoid the title of ‘pedophile’, can I?”
When Saya was told of this outrageous confession, she turned over in embarrassment, dyeing not only her ears but also her neck bright red.