“Well, it’s almost time to prepare for dinner. It’s time we talked about how things will go from now on.”
Senjougahara-san ended our current topic of discussion, seemingly with regret, as though announcing the end of a party.
For some reason, it felt as though both of us were rejunvenated.
We were positively glowing.
What do we feel so united?
“By which you mean?”
“I mean, what you will do from now on, Hanekawa-san? Even if you stay for tonight, what will you do starting from tomorrow? Do you have a plan?”
If I were to say, “Oh, right, I’ll go back to that tutorial school, then” now, even as a joke, I would probably be hit again. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was kicked.
“– have no idea.”
Senjougahara-san nodded solemnly.
Her expression was so very serious, it was almost impossible to think it was coming from the girl who up till now had been wholeheartedly critizing her own boyfriend’s wrongdoings.
It had been said that she had a wealth of expressions now, but this was more like two-sided character.
“To be honest, I want you to stay here starting from tomorrow… putting you under my control would be most preferable.”
“That rewording doesn’t really help…”
There didn’t seem to be much difference between the two.
Well, what she wanted to say was, essentially, that she was worried, so she was probably being honest.
“But, as you can see, our home is quite cramped — Father will be back tomorrow, and I of course can’t have you sleeping and changing in the same room as him.”
“Well, of course.”
That would be rather questionable.
And it would be an unbelievable bother to her father for a classmate of his daughter to sleep in the same room.
“What if Father falls in love with you? That would be terrible.”
“Is that what you’re worried about?”
“The day might come when I would have to call you ‘Mother’.”
“No. No, it won’t.”
“And why is that? Are you saying Father’s not good enough for you?”
Senjougahara-san glared at me rather seriously.
What a troubling personality to deal with.
It would seem that she really did love her father.
Due to this point — actually, even without this point — I couldn’t have her allow my staying here after tomorrow.
But then, what should I do?
“Well, we can make it work for a day or two. I’ll have Father go outside when we change.”
“I can’t make someone else’s father do that…”
What kind of guest would I be if I did?
“By the way, Hanekawa-san, what do you think will happen with your family now?”
“I doubt they,”
Thinking it no longer necessary to force myself to call them ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ in front of Senjougahara-san, I chose to express it using ‘they’.
“I doubt they’ll be living in a hotel forever, so they’ll probably rent a house nearby. That would be most economical. We still have our fire insurance, so until the new house gets built with that money, they’ll rent some place to live.”
“How much will the builders need, I wonder?”
“If it’s the same style of house, then probably about 30 million yen.”
“No, not how much money. I meant how much time.”
That was an embarrassing mistake.
I thought of money first.
“Mmmn, it’ll depend on how they build it, but adding in all the formalities, it’ll probably be around six months.”
In other words, said Senjougahara-san.
“You will have graduated and be traveling the world by then.”
” — That’s true.”
It — won’t be built in time.
I still did not know what, exactly, it will or won’t be in time for, yet.
The house I had lived in for fifteen years had been burnt to the ground — by the time it is rebuilt, it will just be another home.
I had lost everything.
That’s all there was to it.
It didn’t matter whether it will be on time or not — in the end, it was just bad luck.
“Well, putting that aside, it’s certain that you will have a place to sleep if they manage to rent a place quickly enough, correct?”
“Yep. Well, it’ll still be just the hallway, though.”
“The hallway? Oh. Right.”
From her reaction, it would seem that Senjougahara-san forgot what I had told her before.
But that was all her reaction amounted to.
“Well, there’s always something — in a home, I mean.”
“Yes. There’s always something.”
“In that case,”
Senjougahara-san suddenly reached out, took her cellphone from its charging stand, and displayed the calender.
“The problem is where you will stay until they find a place to rent — were your textbooks and notebooks burnt as well?”
“The only things I saved are the stationary and wallet I brought with me that day. I can probably borrow the textbooks from the teachers if I ask, though.”
“I see. So on that front, there’s no need to worry.”
As she spoke, Senjougahara-san did something on her cellphone with one hand — I couldn’t see what exactly it was from my angle, but judging by how quickly she was hitting the keys, she was probably not looking at the calendar anymore.
Was she typing a message?
“I have a good idea, Hanekawa-san. Would you like to hear it?”
“A good idea?”
“You could call it a scheme, even. I’m Hitagi the Schemer. A crossover you can only dream of from across universes.”
She calls it a crossover, but it’s easily just lifting elements from the other side.
“It’ll probably be a week before your parents can find a place to rent — well, we can probably manage that.”
To be honest about how I felt, this plan or scheme or whatever didn’t seem too attactive — if I had to find a place to stay, even if worst came to wrost, I still just had to visit the hotel those two were staying at, and everything would be settled.
Ultimately, it was just a problem of my own selfishness, and it wasn’t something that Senjougahara-san needed to rack her brain and be anxious about.
That was why the actual details of the idea were of little importance.
I was happy that Senjougahara-san would consider all this for me,
“I want to hear about it. Please tell me.”
and I said this.
“Oh, I don’t know if I should. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.”
After her rehabilitation, Senjougahara-san’s personality has gone from simply frank to slightly annoying.