Chapter 4: The gentle tyrant
I was wearing an apron while cooking at Sei-san's house when I heard the doorbell rung. 'Who could it be at a time like this' curious I open the door without taking the apron off. There was a young man standing while holding a package in his hands. He smiles widely at me before bowing his head. "Yes, can I help you?" I ask.
"Mrs. Seichiryo, there is a package for Mr. Seichiryo. Could you please sign this?" he asks innocently. My jaws drop ajar; too shock to even protest. In my daze, I sign the document and he handed me the package. "Good day then, Mrs. Seichiryo" he said before walking away. I close the door shut behind him. 'The heck… since when did I become his wife? I'm only 18! Do I look old?' I ask myself. After awhile, I started to find the whole situation to be quite funny and I laugh aloud.
Sei-san was confused to see me laughing when he came down the stairs and asks "What's so funny?" while picking up some books on the floor. "Ah, just some kid who thought I was your wife" I laugh it off "Here, this is for you" I handed him the package and went back to the kitchen. It has been about 4 months now since I started learning at Sei-san's house. And it has been a routine for us to dine together once it was all finished.
"What's for tonight?" Sei-san asks out of the blue when he walks into the kitchen. "Salmon rice with salad" I added simply without turning to look at him. "Could you help me set up the table?" I ask and he nodded as a reply. "You can find the chopsticks in that drawer" I added when I saw him rummaging the wrong drawer looking for the chopsticks.
It took me quite awhile before the dinner was ready. Like always we sat on the table, said our thanks and ate in silence. I never have the tendency to really talk when I'm eating, and it seems like Sei-san was the same too. I was munching on my salad when finally I remembered something urgent. "Tomorrow is my last paper" I stated "so today is our last class" I added while taking a gulp of the water. "So I guess, thank you for your teaching me until now" I said full of gratitude. Sei-san looks a little shock when I said that, but he just nodded his head in understanding. "Do your best then. I knew you're going to do well" he added with a smirk that was almost looking like a smile.
I raised my right eyebrow 'That's strange' I thought. "What's with the sudden confidence?" I ask him aloud. "Since you have me as a tutor, I know you would do well" he added awhile later. I gritted my teeth in annoyance. 'This guy… always full of himself. But I guess he's right though. I've been able to answer the question quite well now' I thought a little depressed about the whole truth. It's been awhile since we last throw sarcastic remarks at each other. Sei-san has been surprisingly considerate these past 3 months, and I guess that was a good thing?
I was bringing the dirty plates to the kitchen when suddenly I slipped and fall hardly on the floor. There was a 'CRASH' of plates and I scream an 'OUCH'. Sei-san was watching the plasma TV as always when that happens. He came running and saw me flat on the ground. "Satsuki, are you okay?" he asks worriedly while kneeling down beside me. "Yeah… I'm fine…" I reply while trying to get back on my feet. He held onto my arms and helps me get up. I didn't notice that my left hand was bleeding, well not until Sei-san said "Your hand is bleeding."
I curse aloud and he went to find the first aid kid to treat my wound. We sat on the couch, I refuse to let him treat my wound but he insisted that I stay put. "You have a paper tomorrow" he said while examining my hand. "No, it's fine. I'm right handed anyway. See, my right hand is fine. But sorry about the plates though" I said guiltily. 'Damn it, I didn't notice that plastic bag just now' I curse inwardly for my carelessness. "Well, thank you" I added with a smile of gratitude before heading back towards the kitchen to clean up the mess.
"You don't have to…" I heard Sei-san protest and I cut him off. "It was my fault, and I need to take the responsibilities. I just can't leave the mess like that. Because I know you won't be able to clean it up alone" I added indifferently. I took out some old newspapers and beginning to pick up the huge pieces before using the newspaper to sweep the floor. Just in case; so that small pieces of the broken plate that we could not see with naked eyes; will stuck to the newspaper instead of the floor. It could be hazardous if Sei-san steps on it accidentally.
Once done, I warp the big pieces with the newspapers and put it into a plastic bag. 'That should do it' I said proudly at my work. Sweat was beginning to from at my forehead. I was a little tired after doing all the work in one go. After throwing out the trash, I went back inside the house to get ready to go home. It was still quite early; since I did not have to wash the plates anymore. 'Maybe I could still catch the 7pm train' I thought to myself. With that I said to Sei-san "Sei-san, I need to go now. I think I can still catch the 7pm train. So, goodnight!"
Hastily, I walk towards the door but Sei-san grab onto my arms and said "No, let me drive you home." "But it's still bright outside…" I protested. "I promised your sister to take care of you. Driving you home is not a big deal then" he said and grab onto his car keys. I pouted in reply and added to myself 'I'm not a kid, you know! Ah geez, sister is too worrisome sometimes.'
This time around, I was not too shock anymore to ride the expensive car. It seems like my immunity has increased towards expensive things; ever since I met Sei-san that is. We sat in silence as the car drove away from the apartment; I saw little kids playing hide and seek at the playground. 'How nostalgic. It's good to be young sometimes' I chuckle to myself. My gaze wonders around several things on the park when suddenly I saw a couple walking while holding hands. That very moment, I remembered something urgent that I have promised myself not long ago. 'How could I forget? Ah man… but is this a good time? I guess I need to make a move since today is practically the last day I'm going to see him again' I thought worriedly. 'Here goes….' I took a deep breath and hold it in.
"Can I ask you something?" I said aloud breaking the silence in the car. Sei-san has been aware that I have something on my mind, so he didn't jump in shock this time around. "It depends. What is it?" he asks. "Uh… I know you've been in love with my sister for 11 years now…" at that, Sei-san's eyes wide in shock; as if asking 'How did you know?'
"Well, I kinda found your journal… but that's not the point!" I said while laughing nervously to hide my guilt for invading his private space. "What I want to know is why you didn't say anything to her? It's been a long time now. Why don't you just confess?" I ask with curious eyes.
There was a long pause before he said "You wouldn't understand" with a sigh. I frown slightly. "Why not?" I added after some time. "To be able to stay beside her without any awkward feelings are a privilege of being a good friend. I don't want to ruin it by confessing my love, if you know what I mean" he said with a smile.
"But I think it's better if you can just confess, Sei-san. I don't think she has anyone special at the moment. Just go and reveal your feelings before it is too late. You know, sometimes it's better to say things out loud rather than just keeping it to yourself" I explain in details. He just stays silent without saying a word.
"Think about it, Sei-san. What if you were just a minute too late to confess? Won't that make you feel 'A minute, I was late for a minute!' ?" I look at him this time. He is not showing any reaction at all. 'This guy, is he avoiding the conversation? This is not good…' I thought silently.
"Well, I know it's not my business to pry but I just want to let you know… I'll support your feelings for my sister" with that I smile widely to give him some encouragement. "Come on; is it too hard to say the word 'I love you'?" I added with a chuckle. Hearing that, I saw a reaction from him; but I didn't know what kind of feeling he was feeling at the moment. I never saw him showing that kind of expression before.
We arrived at my house a moment after the conversation ended. I said my thank you and bid a goodbye. I was about to close the car door when I heard Sei-san called me "Satsuki…" then he paused. I lean forward to hear what he was going to say but he didn't continue. I look at him confused. "No… it's nothing…" he said with a blank expression. I was more confused than ever, but I just nodded and close the door shut.
"That's strange. Maybe we wanted to say he's going to try and confess? But ended up losing self confidence?" I ask aloud. But whatever it was, I know deep inside my heart it was something good. I smile as I walk towards the main door. I have to admit, the days I spend with Sei-san was a little weird. Yet, it was enjoyable still. 'It'll be some great news if sister said they're going to get married! He'll be my brother-in-law' I thought happily with a chuckle. But suddenly, I felt a stab pain in my chest. With a confused feeling, I step into the house and shut the door behind me.
It's been about 2 days now since I was sick with flu. But luckily, I was feeling much better now; even though I still have the sore throat. "Are you sure you're well enough to stay alone at home? I could still get a day off" Masao said when she was getting ready to go for work. "I'm fine. I'm not a kid anymore, you know" I said hoarsely.
'Arghh, it's still painful to talk' I thought with a feeling of depressed. "Call me if anything happens" she added and walk out of the door. I sigh heavily. Sometimes it is not a good thing to have such a worrywart sister! I pick up my favorite manga and roll on my bed while flipping the pages one by one. I was getting at a good part when suddenly I heard the doorbell.
'Now who could it be this time?!' I thought annoyed. I slam the book on the desk and rush down the stairs; almost tripping down in the process. "Coming!" I added when I heard another bell. I twisted the knob and swing the door open. My eyes widen in great shock.
"Sei-san!" I said. To my surprise, Sei-san was standing in front of me while holding a basket of fruits. At the ground, there was a present that was warped with beautiful paper. "If you're looking for my sister, you've just missed her" I said as a matter of fact. He handed me the basket of fruits and said "I heard that you're sick."
'Huh? So he's here for me? Since when did they start to talk about me in their conversation?' I added confused. "If that's the case, come on in" I invited him. I walk ahead of him while heading towards the living room. "Do you want some tea?" I ask after he settles on the couch. He shook his head while stating "I don't want to trouble you. And I've just got back from a café anyway." With that I put the basket on the table and sat on my couch. It has been quite awhile since I last saw him. I think it was about a month ago?
'I wonder if he has confessed. I want to know the progress, but it doesn't seem like anything has changed. Nee-chan didn't even say a word' I thought while frowning to myself. "Here" I heard Sei-san said while handing me the present. "For me?" I ask in shock. He just nodded in reply. 'Now that's shocking' I thought while examining the present. Without wasting any second, I warp it open. There was a teddy bear like Rika-san but this time, it was cuter with a pink bow tied around its neck.
"Why a teddy bear?" I ask aloud. He looks at me in shock. "I thought you love teddy bears" he added after a pause. Suddenly pieces of the conversation I had with him not long ago flash through my mind.
"Most of the people that enter here said that I was crazy to do something so childish like this. I thought you'll think the same" he added a little impress with my reaction to his hobby.
"Well I have to admit, I like teddy bears too. They're cute. And there is nothing wrong with you spending your money with whatever you desire. At least, you deserve a reward for working hard, right?" I added my opinion.
'So he remembered?' I chuckle loudly. 'Well I suppose it's alright then. He's a direct kind of person after all' I smile to myself. "I do love teddy bears. But I didn't expect for you to remember what I said a long time ago. Thank you" I said full of gratitude. I hug the teddy bear tightly and play around with its bow when I remembered about the party.
"Did nee-chan invite you to the party next week?" I ask when I remember the party that was going to be held here. My sister has been quite happy about the party; she said it was going to be a surprise for all of us. She has been inviting close friends and some relatives of ours. I did ask about what it's all about, but she said it would not be a surprise if she told me now.
"She did. What's the occasion?" he asks me looking curious. I shook my head in reply. "She didn't say to me either. What I know is that it's going to be a surprise party for us" I added while thinking the possibilities of the party. 'Maybe she was promoted? But isn't it too early to get promoted?' I muse to myself. We ended up spending almost an hour talking about the possibilities of the party. Sei-san was saying maybe my sister was going to be transferred and I was still thinking about the promotion.
We ended our conversation when Sei-san's editor calls him while screaming something into his ears. He was looking indifferent with the entire situation, so I ask him what it's all about. "I was supposed to hand in my work today" he added without a care.
"Say what?!" I said almost screaming. "Then go on and get moving. You shouldn't be here when you have work to do" I said while grabbing his hand and drag him towards the door. 'I pity the editor though' I thought to myself. 'That person must be suffering to be working with a person like him' I sigh deeply. I open the door for him, but he didn't move. He was hesitating about something so I ask him "What's wrong?" but then, he reply "It's nothing" then went out while patting my head on the way.
'Weird… he has been like that since I convinced him to confess. Was it wrong to encourage him?' I ask myself and close the door shut. With a last sigh, I hum happily and run upstairs to continue reading my manga. Even though at the moment, my heart was beating crazily for some unknown reason.