Chapter 6 | To My Parents’ House

A local newspaper store is located on the border between a shopping street and a residential area.

A number of Super Cubs are parked on the street.

The inside of such a store, which could be found anywhere in the city, was currently enveloped in a noisy atmosphere.

It was late afternoon when the evening newspaper delivery staff would normally be starting their work, and the atmosphere was relaxed.

Suddenly, a long white limousine pulled up in front of the store, and out stepped a beautiful model-like woman in a business suit and a boy with the appearance of an elementary school student who was cared for and loved by the president of the store and all the employees.

The employees who were present surrounded the boy, who always seemed to be in a special mood, with concern.

At first, Ayane was going to talk with the president of Haruto’s employer in a separate room, but Haruto decided to explain the situation so that everyone could hear, saying, “I was indebted to all of you.”

As a result, the people who heard the story became angry at the kidnapper, who they had thought was their mother, and worried about the person who was Haruto’s grandfather, which led to a kind of bizarre situation.

“I see what you mean. Shibusawa-san, I am sorry, but I would like to talk directly with Tatsu-bo, or should I say, Haruto Sairenji. I’d like to take some time out of the meeting if you don’t mind.”

The president, who had been listening to Ayane’s explanation as if he were observing her, started to say so.

“…Okay, I understand. I will wait here.”

Ayane nodded after thinking for a moment.

“Thank you. You guys, get ready for the evening paper! Don’t make a mistake by thinking about something else!”

“That’s not right, boss!”

Ignoring the booing of the unsatisfied employees, he urges Haruto to the back office.

It’s a place he’s usually been in many times and has even borrowed a desk to study at, but given the circumstances, Haruto was a little nervous as he followed the president’s lead.

“Have a seat wherever you feel comfortable. Oh, don’t be so nervous. I’m not trying to give you a lecture.

Haruto sits on one of the chairs attached to the three simple office desks in the small office room. This is where he often studies for exams and does his homework.

The president sits across from him at his desk.

“So, do you see any difference between what the lawyer named Shibusawa told you and what Tatsu-bo heard? It sounds too far-fetched for me to understand.”

“Ah, well, I just heard about it earlier, too…”

“I guess. But well, there’s no doubt that Tatsu-bo’s mother is a total jerk. If you can escape from her, it’s not a bad thing…

But what are Tatsu-bo’s real intentions?

I heard Tatsu-bo wants to leave home and go to college someday, but if your new guardian takes you in, you might be able to fulfill that hope, but there’s no guarantee that it will be worse than right now. Besides, once you leave this town, it will be difficult for us to help you.”

He was seriously concerned for Haruto’s safety.

Haruto is very happy and proud at the same time.

“I want to believe in that man. If he has a real family, I want to meet them. But I don’t want to cause trouble for the president and the others.”

“Don’t worry about that. We can all make up for one person’s absence, and we can hire another person. We can manage for the time being.

If what the lawyer said is true and Tatsu-bo has a new guardian, we can’t let him do his job without their approval.”

By law, minors who are still in the period of compulsory education are not allowed to work. The only exceptions to this rule are those who help out in the family business and those who have the consent of their guardians for financial reasons.

If the woman who was supposed to be Haruto’s guardian is really the one who kidnapped Haruto, then her consent to work is invalid and Haruto cannot be allowed to work at the store.

“Tatsu-bo is strangely liked by decent people. I’m sure he’ll be fine wherever he goes, but wait a minute.”

With that, he opens his desk drawer and takes out a box and a small bag.

He then took out a brand new smartphone and accessories from the box, a phone case, and a small mobile battery from the bag, and placed them in front of Haruto.

“Take this one. The way to use it is the same as the one I give you when delivering, so you should be fine. It’s a low-cost carrier, so it won’t have much Internet capability, but I’ve put the numbers and addresses of the store, me, and my wife in the phone book.

If you need anything, just call me right away, anytime. No, not only that but call me at least once a week for the time being. No e-mails. Okay?”

Haruto is perplexed when he looks at the president’s face and sees the smartphone that was suddenly handed to him.

It is true that the president has given Haruto a smartphone in the store’s name so that he can be contacted during deliveries and collections since he does not have a cell phone.

However, he returns it every time he returns to the store after making a delivery or collecting money.

But what should he do with this smartphone, which clearly has a different meaning from that of a mobile phone? Besides, there must be a monthly usage fee.

“Bu, But…”

“I was originally going to give it to you if you graduated and got a job with us, and if you were able to go to high school, I was going to give it to you as a gift for passing the entrance exam. The price is very reasonable because it is not a big one, so it is nothing at least until you get settled. I don’t think you’d waste it.

I’m more worried about Tatsu-bo being taken in by someone I’ve never met. I’m sure it’s the same for the others. If we can keep in touch regularly, we can rest assured.”

The president returned, this time opening a small safe in the back of the office and taking out an envelope.

He then takes Haruto’s hand and puts the envelope in his hand.

“This is a bonus. I’m sorry that I can only give you a small portion of it, but save it in case something happens to you. Just in case something happens, don’t tell your lawyer or your grandfather or whoever.

Understand? If you ever need help, don’t hesitate to call me. There are a lot of people on your side here.”

“President… Thank you very much.”

When he checked the contents as he was told, he found more than a dozen 10,000 yen bills in it. The amount of money was probably intended as a reminder to use it to come home in case of emergencies.

Haruto was so moved that he burst into tears.

He scratched his cheeks in embarrassment as if he were crying, waited until Haruto had stopped crying and calmed down, and then left the office after making sure Haruto put the envelope and smartphone away in his jacket.

“Have you finished your conversation?”

“Yeah. The last thing I want to confirm, Tatsu-bo, is that the Haruto Sairenji that you are talking about is really going to be taken care of. No, that’s not it, you’re going to respect his will and let him live happily?”

“Yes. I promise you that I will never do anything that is not in line with Haruto-san’s wishes. If after meeting with his grandfather, Haruto-san still wants to live in this town, he will be given a guardian since he is still a minor, but I will return him to you with responsibility.”

Ayane meets the president’s gaze straight on and makes a clear promise.

“If that’s the case, I suppose there’s nothing more to say from our side. We will miss having you there at least for the time being, Haruto-kun.”

“Even if he does end up living with his grandfather, we can always keep in touch, and I’m sure he’ll come back here at least once to take care of school procedures and so on.”

“Then it won’t be the last time! Tatsu-bo, be well! If you have any problems, call me anytime!”

“Yes, yes! If you want, you can be my child!”

“Next time you come back, I’ll take you out for a nice meal again!”

The employees say these things and hand Haruto a piece of paper with their contact information on it.

“Thank you for everything. I am glad to have met you all. I will definitely come back again!”

The president and all the employees saw Haruto off as he bowed his head with tears in his eyes, and continued to wave to him until after he got into his limousine and drove away.

“You were blessed with a good workplace, weren’t you, Haruto-san?”

“Yes, I was. It is thanks to those people that I have been able to live my life. I want to repay them someday…”

Haruto kept looking behind him until he could no longer see the dealership without hiding his sad face.

The limousine was taken once back to his home, and he packed his personal belongings into a worn-out bag with ease. After 30 minutes of travel, they arrived at a regional airport in the northern part of the prefecture where Haruto lives.

It is a small airport with only one runway and one terminal, but for some reason, the limousine passed in front of the terminal and stopped in front of the fence on the other side of it.

Then, an official who identified the limousine opened the gate of the fence, and Haruto and the others went straight into the airport.

Haruto had never been on an airplane before, but he had taken a train at the station.

He had heard somewhere that there is a boarding procedure for boarding an airplane, so he thought that he would have to buy a ticket and choose a seat just like on a train, so he did not expect to go near the runway in the car.

People are anxious when things turn out differently than they expected.

Haruto also entered the airport in a limousine, which caused him to scurry restlessly around outside through the window.

Without much further progress, the limousine came to a stop in front of an airplane parked in a reasonably sized paved space by the runway.

“We’ve arrived. Our next stop will be on this plane.”

Ayane said calmly to ease Haruto’s anxiety and got out of the car first.

Seeing this, Haruto rushed out of the car and found that he was really right in front of the plane.

Haruto’s eyes were captivated by this airplane, which he saw up close for the first time other than in photographs or flying in the distance.

It was smaller than a typical passenger jumbo jet, and the jet engines were not under the wings but attached to both sides of the tail near the base of the tail.

The shape of the main wings was also somewhat reminiscent of a fighter plane, with the tips of the wings angled and folded upward.

“Wow…so cool.”

Haruto’s eyes lit up, forgetting his current situation.

His eyes light up as he forgets his current situation. No, in fact, he looks more like an elementary school student yearning for airplanes, and in a way, it suits him.

“I’m glad you like it. Shall we go for a ride? We can take a look at it another time.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Haruto, who had been stopped in his tracks by his admiration, regained his composure at Ayane’s words and bowed his head.

After shaking her head and saying there was no need to worry, Ayane stood up first and went up the ramp.

As he followed her, Haruto saw Ayane’s skirt coming up the steep ramp first, and he hurriedly looked down.

The tight business skirt was not so tight that he could see inside, but he could still see her slender legs up to her thighs, and he turned his head to hide his red face as he walked up the ramp more slowly than necessary. However, it was only a dozen or so steps, so he would soon be able to complete the climb.

Ayane asked Haruto, who was still lying on his face, “Is something wrong?” But he couldn’t tell her the truth, so he had to shake his head to cover it up.

“Welcome aboard, Haruto-sama!”

Haruto entered the cabin with his agitation still unsettled, but he was again surprised there.

The area immediately after entering the entrance was covered with soft carpeting, but there was nothing of particular interest except for two spare sheets by the wall.

Haruto proceeded to the right-hand aisle indicated by Ayane, where he was met by four women.

The women were dressed in matching uniforms and bowed their heads toward him with kind smiles on their faces.

He was surprised to hear his name called out by these women, who appeared to be cabin attendants, but more than that, he froze when he saw the cabin ahead of him.

The cabin has only a few seats on each side, reminiscent of a luxury sofa. At a quick glance, there are about 10 seats and a sofa large enough to seat three people by all accounts. On the opposite side of the sofa is a large television set that I have only seen in electronics stores.

It gave the impression of a luxury hotel or a movie set, not an airplane.

“Please take whichever seat you like. Let me get you a drink, what would you like to drink?”

One of the women asks Yoto, who has stopped walking in confusion, as she urges him to take a seat.

“I, uh, um, tea, please.”

Yoto sits on the second seat from the front with both knees together and manages to squeeze out a few words.

For some reason, two of the women turned their backs and looked down.

(What? Did I do something wrong?)

But in reality, the women were just too excited to see his gesture and couldn’t help but turn their backs on him and pull themselves together.

Soon after, Ayane also entered the guest room and turned the seat in front of Yoto so that they were facing each other.

“Are you uncomfortable?”

“Well, yes. I’m not sure if this is the way it’s supposed to be on an airplane.”

“In an ordinary airliner, the seats are smaller and there are more passengers. On this plane…”

“Excuse me for interrupting your conversation.”

In the middle of Ayane’s words, two men came from the aisle on the entrance side and approached her.

“Thank you for flying with us. I am the captain of this aircraft today, and my name is Okochi.”

“My name is Kawana, and I am also the co-pilot. I look forward to working with you today.”

A calm-looking man in a suit and black hat bows deeply to Yoto.

It was the first time he boarded an airplane, and he did not know if it was normal for a pilot to come to greet him or not, but he felt a little strange that the pilot did not bow to Ayane.

“We are ready and will be taking off shortly. Is there anything you are concerned about?”

The captain, who identified himself as Okochi, asked with a gentle smile, but Yoto was surprised at the content of his question.

“What? Oh, um, aren’t there any other passengers on board?”

At Yoto’s question, Captain Okochi glances at Ayane.

“This plane is the private jet of Yoto’s grandfather. So today, we are here just for you to fly, and no one else will be flying on it.”

“Yes, it will be a flight of fewer than two hours, so please relax and enjoy the flight.”

With that, the two pilots returned to the cockpit.

“Um, is my grandfather a remarkable man?”

He can’t imagine how great it would be to have a private jet, but he does know that it would cost a lot of money.

Thinking back, he even conducted DNA tests on all the students in elementary, junior high, and high schools in Japan just to find Yoto. If his grandfather had borne the cost, it is hard to imagine how much money it would have cost.

When he thought of this, he became even more nervous.

“I guess so. There is no doubt that he is a wealthy man, but he is just an old man who is looking forward to seeing his grandson, Yoto. So for now, please don’t worry about such things and think about what he will do for you when you meet him or what you want as a Christmas present.”

Even as he listened to these words, he was struck by unknown anxiety.


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