“Thank you for your hard work today. It’s a bit much to ask you to work into the night on your first day. I’d like to ask you to stay for the later hours tomorrow.”
After Miyano-san gave us today’s salary and covered our bus fares, we left the shop together. As I walked through the door, Miyano-san pulled my collar lightly.
“Make sure you send her home properly, okay? She’s a young girl.”
“I’ll probably have to pay a second fare, won’t I?”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Miyano-san gave me a pat on the back as I left to join the smiling Jindou.
“Senpai, want to meet my parents?”
“I don’t. Let’s head to the bus stop already. There’s some things I want to know.”
We started walking to the bus stop together. It’s just past 6pm, and it was already dark outside because it was only springtime. The streetlights were on. The two of us were wearing uniforms, and as we walked, housewives on their way home from shopping for dinner looked at us with a teasing smile. Maybe the girl from the future walking next to me can help me? I could go back to when these wives began to date their current husbands and tease them a bit? I'd light firecrackers and sparklers, serenade them with a song and a dance. …I’d get arrested, wouldn’t I?
“Have you accepted that I’m from the future?”
The girl walking next to me asks, unaware of the foolish plans in my head.
“Well, I can’t deny it.”
As I’d just told her, I couldn’t really deny it, because she’d guessed not only the clothes of all 13 customers, but also the patterns and random English words written on their shirts. There was also the case of Sasashino.
“Am I going to die in the end?”
“I’ve come from the future just to make sure you don’t.”
“Feels like our roles are reversed. I wanted to be someone’s knight in shining armour, but instead I’m the damsel in distress. What’s up with that?”
“It’s quite nice to save someone.”
“What’s with that tone?”
Well, if you’ve been told you’re going to die soon, I suppose you can’t really do much about it except pay attention to your surroundings.
“Should I make sure to always look both ways when crossing the road?”
“Please do. Also, I’d recommend going out with me to change your fate quickly. Instead of a flap of a butterfly’s wings, let’s have a whole storm!”
“That would kill me even faster.”
Not sure how it is for Jindou, but from my point of view, we just met today. If couples formed this easily, Japan wouldn’t be suffering from a declining fertility rate. Or is it Jindou and Sasashino’s existences that are the cause of the decline?
“When am I going to die?”
“There’s no rush. It’s still some time from now.”
She laughed and smacked my arm lightly. Well, even Sasashino thought it was fine to leave me alone today, so it's not like it was going to happen today or tomorrow.
“But for some reason, I don’t feel much even though you told me I’m going to die. It’s like a death sentence, but I don't really feel like I have any regrets or anything I need to do.”
“It’s just because you’re still a little doubtful of my story. …No, you should get a girlfriend to make sure you don’t have any regrets! You actually want to introduce her to your parents so they feel at ease, don’t you?”
“Sounds like there's more in it for you than for me. And really, if I die, my parents won’t be relaxed no matter what, and my girlfriend will get hurt too. Besides, if I introduce you as my girlfriend and if I live, I'll be stuck with you.”
“Muu, my Senpai is too smart. You’re mean, coming up with such a reasonable excuse.”
“I’ll only call your bluff if I like making fun of you.”
“I demand better treatment! …I feel like I say this every time I do this.”
“It’s my first time hearing it. I’m not from the future.”
We boarded the bus and sat in the back.
Is she a preschooler on her way home? A girl and her mom were staring us down. The same kind of stare that the passing housewives from before gave.
“Look, look, even that little girl over there thinks we make a great couple. I guess we have no choice but to accept it, you know?”
“I’m a weak man.”
“That’s the first time you’ve made that excuse.”
“By the way, how many times have you been rejected by me in past loops?”
“Zero times. I confess over and over until you end up going out with me.”
“I- I see…”
“Why are you drawing away from me?!”
No, you’re just a bit creepy. I won't tell you that, though.
“Ah, it’s my stop next.”
After she pressed the request-stop button, she sensed a stare and looked at the little girl again. The little girl, who was reaching for the same button, was looking at her angrily. Jindou looked at me with pleading eyes. Even if you look at me like that, there’s not much I can do.
“Why don’t you just let me win tomorrow, Onee-san?”
“ーThere’s no pleasure in a victory when it’s handed to you!”
The little girl says something that sounds like a line from an anime, and her mother puts her hand over the little girl’s mouth, bowing her head. With a philosophy like that, she’ll become a big deal in the future, hmm?
While such a silly situation unfolded, the bus arrived at the stop. We let the little girl and her mother get off first. When the two of us got off, the little girl looked back and waved at us.
“See you tomorrow~”
“Yes, see you tomorrow.”
We parted ways with the little girl and started heading to Jindou’s house.
Jindou looked up at the night sky, thinking about something.
“Should I let her win tomorrow?”
“ーWe can just get off a stop earlier.”
“Ah, two birds with one stone! Then I can take a lovely walk with Senpai every day!”
Ahh, I dug my own grave.
“Don’t forget your promise!”
“We can get on a bit laterー”
“Aaa, I can’t hear you, I can’t hear your excuses!~”
Arguing with her is useless. She knows she can’t win with words, so she just refuses to argue in the first place.
Jindou’s house is a detached house with a garden in the suburbs.
“I know it’s smaller than Senpai’s house, but would you like to come in?”
“No, I’m going home.”
“Hey, hey, don’t say that.”
“I’m saying it.”
All the lights were on. In other words, her whole family was home. Actually, it wouldn't be fine even if they weren't.
“Well, that’s exactly what Senpai would say. I’m going to use our part-time job as an excuse to appeal to you, so when you give in, be sure to confess.”
She opened the gate at the entrance, and made her way to the front door. With her back to me, she said her parting words.
“I’m a patient girl.”
‘So give up already’, she wanted to say when she looked back at me one last time. She had a bright smile, but there was a trace of loneliness in it.
“But it’s okay, since it’s for the one I love.”
I felt a bit of regret as she opened the door and walked in. If you think about it, Jindou came from the future to save my life. It’s a bit unfair for me to keep shaking her off like that. However, I couldn’t just accept her confession.
As I start heading home, I think about all that’s happened today.
Akika Sasashino and Haru Jindou, two people from the future, have come to save my life. And somehow, each is dating me in the future. Could it be that they’re from different timelines? If so, then I’m not a two-timing bastard.
Dear future me,
How are you? Have you become a cheating playboy?
You’re a worthless man, and dating someone out of your league will only hurt you.
If you’re a two-timing bastard, then you deserve to die, asshole.
While I was thinking about something stupid, my phone rang.
ー “Tomoe, I came from the future to save you.”
She’s the third one! Asshole! Die!
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