"And with this Yellow Eight, UNO!"
I heard Nikaido's voice from the living room. Well, I can at least see them playing happily there that no one bothers me while I'm cooking.
"Oh no! Nikaido of the North is on the verge of victory. I believe in you Yellow Zero! Attack!"
This time it's Ria. Eh? Are they really playing UNO?
"Kukuku. Yellow Zero? Prepare yourselves for the power of Red Zero! Trample on their dreams!"
"Ugh. Changing it to Red? I guess I have no choice but to put out my Ultimate Move. Fire, Water, Wind and Earth heed my call. Plus Four! Change the terrain to Earth(Yellow)! I won't let you win."
What the hell is that Akane? What kind of UNO are you guys playing?
"Eh? Unfair. I almost win. Yellow Six."
Ah. At least Nikaido is still normal.
That girl can be calm or is she? She's trying to play a normal UNO but those three seem like they're in sync at trying to make it more dramatic.
"We won't let you win. Whoever wins gets to have an hour with Ruki-senpai alone! We all have our reasons but you, you don't."
Oi. Consult your prize first if I agreed. This Ria.
"W-what? Then I have my reason too. I liked Onoda. I liked him throughout our 3rd year!"
Nikaido, don't just confess there. There's someone who has something more fearsome than your like playing with you.
"Huh?! Then all the more reason for you not to win. I'm his wife. I won't let a girl who isn't one of his stolen be close to him. Even if you can't ignite his desire."
Akane, spare the girl. She just got dragged to be here.
"Right. Normal girls like you have no right to spend time with him. I miss him a lot so I have to win. I have to make up for what I said to him before."
Aoi, I heard you and in fact, I'm not angry at what you said.
"Stolen? What's the meaning of that?"
Ah. Now you girls have to explain it to her. Anyway, I should really focus on cooking.
Since there are now more people, curry then. Good thing curry powder is now a thing. Cooking it is like cooking instant noodles with extra steps. These girls look like they can take a bit of spice except Ria.
Now I wonder, is this really a chore for a guy like me? Ah. Well. I already started so there's no use thinking about it now.
I was about to finish when I heard someone screamed in joy from the living room.
"I win! Yes! One hour with Ruki!"
Aoi jumps in delight as she shows off her now empty hands. The other three turned downcast that they even forget to utter a retort.
When she sees me looking from the kitchen, she immediately runs over to hug me from the back. I can feel her soft breasts pressing onto me.
"Careful. I'm cooking."
"Sorry, I just can't resist when I won. I'll have you for 1 hour."
But I haven't agreed to that? Well, it's fine. I already planned to talk to them anyway.
I'm thinking since earlier. These two, they openly show their affection to me since we met earlier, will it still ignite my desire for them?
They're attractive yes, I bet if they broke up with their boyfriend there will be others who will then try their luck to confess to them.
Ah. That somehow ignited my desire. The thought of stealing them away from other guys who want them. Eh? Is this? No. I can't be sure of this yet.
"Just stay put and watch. They're still not done playing right?"
"I missed your scent. No, not just your scent. Everything about you."
Her arms tighten her embrace to me. I can now also smell her scent. This girl. She's also like this when I first brought her home.
"You. You're always unruly, Aoi. It's not that bad but you might get hurt here."
"You're still like this, you keep on being this caring but I guess you did change. Akane can't be that happy if not. I'll watch you over here then."
Aoi settled herself on a chair at the dining table. She rests her hand on her chin as she watches my back while I work.
Minutes passed and the smell of curry wafted all over the kitchen. Those in the living room also caught its scent that they stopped playing altogether and went to the dining table.
"I can't believe at first that Onoda can cook. But smelling this now…"
Is it really that rare for a guy to cook, Nikaido? Besides, it's instant curry.
"It's been so long since I ate Ruki-senpai's cooking."
Ria, you keep on inquiring me of my recipe back then. At least you stopped now.
"Husband's cooking. Eh? Shouldn't it be the wife's duty to cook?"
You only remembered that now, Akane?!
"Failure of a wife. Be careful, we might get that seat off you."
Aoi, what do you mean by that? Akane will be… Ah. She's competing with her. But she didn't know, she and Akane are different. No matter what, I won't let go of Akane. But them, they have a choice.
"Okay girls, stop talking now. Let's eat."
Serving them one by one, the girls felt like they were in a restaurant. I guess this is the joy of cooking. When others look happy at what you made.
After eating our lunch and some ice cream, we all moved back to the living room.
Err, the sofa that should only be for three people is now occupied by four. Nikaido settles herself on the single sofa on one side, Akane at my right, Aoi at my left and Ria, because of her small stature, settled on my lap. They all settle themselves comfortably. These three. Is it fine to show this to an outsider?
"Uhm, I keep asking earlier but no one answers. Onoda you told me to come here for me to understand but no one's answering me."
Maybe she found this scene uncomfortable, Nikaido asked once again.
"Sorry Nikaido, I told you it will be hard to understand even if I explain."
"Explain it. I'll try to understand."
"Should I help you, husband?"
"No, it should be me. And I have a favour to ask from her."
"What favour? I'll do it if I can."
"Spread on the school about Akane's relationship with me."
Yes. Nikaido is a bit of a good girl, there's a chance she won't gossip about what she discovered earlier.
"If it's just that then okay. You want others to stop pursuing her?"
"Yes. She's mine. I'm not comfortable when others aim for her."
"You know Onoda, I will probably be in awe of your relationship when you said that if there's only Shimizu that close to you."
I know. It's weird in her eyes. But I can't reject these two and just looking at them this comfortable with me somehow eases me up. When I stole them before, I only took care of satisfying my desire or that's the only thing I noticed but now, what exactly did I do?
"These two, Aoi and Ria. They're mine but I prefer it to be kept secret."
"I know Ueno, she's dating someone and it's not you. And that little girl is a junior from our middle school, right?"
Right. I told her not to break up. She kept it but I wonder, what does she think of that guy now?
"They're mine. I mean, I stole them from their boyfriends."
"Huh? I don't understand."
I told you, you wouldn't understand.
"It means Ruki-senpai won us over or rather he slowly tricked us into being his."
Ria answers her.
"That's what I don't understand. Tricked? Then why is Ueno still with her boyfriend?"
Ah. She doesn't know Ria is the same as Aoi.
"Ruki ordered me not to break up."
Err. When I cut you off, you have the choice on what to do already but you still kept it.
"I see. Then that means you don't love your boyfriend anymore?"
"I have to keep liking him at least. In order for me to keep igniting this guy's desire. He already tried to cut me off before but I can't accept that so here I am again."
"Desire? What's his desire? And cut off? I'm honestly confused."
"Should I tell her?"
Aoi turns her head to me.
"No, let me. Let me talk to her alone. You girls leave us for now."
I look at the three of them. They understood and left the living room. To where will they go, they can explore the house if they want.
"Nikaido. What I'm about to tell you, I can only ask you to keep this a secret."
"I can't really promise. But I will keep it to myself as much as possible."
"That's good. I don't really want to tell this to others not connected to me, I don't know why I'm inclined to tell this to you."
"Then let me connect to you too."
"You can't, you won't be able to ignite my desire. At least, as you are now, it's impossible."
Yeah. She doesn't like anyone. Well, she did say she liked me but that's still not enough. I have to steal her first like Aoi and Ria. I can think of the guys aiming for her, but that's not enough.
"That's why I want to know what that is."
"Let's see. You now know that I've stolen them, right? My desire is... Hmm. It's to steal every girl who likes someone else. Well, that changed now, and I still don't understand everything about it. So, maybe it's now about if a girl can ignite this desire of mine or not."
I'm still contemplating about what to do with the two and now I'm here divulging my secret to someone not connected to me. Haa. Why? Why did I accept when she said she wanted to go? If I rejected, it would've been over. Even if she hated me for that, it doesn't matter. Am I attracted to her in any way? Do I want to steal her? But on what reason? Really, I don't understand.
"I see. But back in middle school…"
"I purposely not communicate to everyone in class while I target those outside like Aoi and Ria."
"I'm supposed to keep this a secret right?"
"What if I accidentally leaked it?"
"No. Just if."
It will be really bad for the girls if my secret was made public. Not only those still chasing me, but even those I already cut off. Especially Aoi and Rio. Others won't be named but they will.
"I don't want to threaten you Nikaido but if it can protect them…"
"You said 'protect them', not protect the secret."
"Isn't that normal? I stole them, I'm responsible for them not to be publicly shamed."
Why did she have that kind of reaction? I don't mind if the secret only hurt me but if the girls get implicated, I won't take that lying down.
"Eh? Your way of thinking…"
"It's unique. Normally if someone wants to threaten another about a secret. They're doing it to protect themselves."
"But I'm protecting myself in the process."
"No. Your top priority is to protect them. That's different."
"Is that so? Anyway. That's how it is. I don't know what I can do if this becomes public."
Ah. I'm already thinking what to do to Nikaido if ever that happens. Should I seal her mouth here right now? This is Aoi's fault for kissing me like that but it is mine too, I could dodge but I didn't, leading to this situation now.
"I understand. You're weird in a way Onoda. I guess there's more to you. Though that desire of yours is somewhat repulsive, and I was really repulsed by it, by the way. But hearing your reasons to keep it secret, I guess there's more to it than just your desire."
"I don't understand."
"You can't understand because you're only set at what you're doing right?"
"Eh? I don't know. Maybe?"
"Then how can I connect to you?"
"That is, you can't. How can I steal someone upfront?"
This girl. You just said you're repulsed by my desire and now you're back at asking. I can't understand this girl's train of thought.
"I see. You need a reason to steal me."
"Err. Why do you want to be stolen by me?"
"I like you. Isn't that enough?"
"Of course not. Those girls, they like or love their guy before I stole them. It's just, I don't know what happened in the middle of it that they turned like that now."
"Eh? Isn't that simple to be explained?"
"You did something that made them fall for you. It may have remained unnoticed by you, but for them that's a turning point."
This girl. She's explaining everything I don't get. I guess bringing her here is a good idea.
"I see. Your explanation is probably correct."
Right. They won't tell me like how Haruko won't tell me how I helped her before. Should I confront them about it?
"Argh. I thought I was lucky when I saw you again at the supermarket. I didn't know I'll be signing up to something this complicated."
"No, you don't have to. I approached you with an ulterior motive anyway. This is my own fault."
If that's what she will say then okay. To think someone will approach me with that kind of motive. This girl, does she really like me? I guess I should ask her. Maybe she will answer.
"Why do you like me?"
"Huh? Are you serious at asking me about that?"
"Err. No. I never tried understanding before why they fall for me. But I want to start understanding it. For them it might already be too late to try and understand but for you, you only like me. It's not love, right?"
I'll start with her. I want to understand. I don't want to neglect things again. If I don't and something happened before I realized then I won't be able to forgive myself. I have to change this outlook. I have possessiveness and this desire.
The former is already satisfied by Akane and the latter needs more, it can't be truly filled so I will keep on stealing someone new, over and over.
"Yes. It's not love, it's just a simple crush on my part back then. Somehow it turns to like. You had some sort of mysterious air on you back in middle school, and yes, I can see that you still have that, even now. Your way of thinking is different than most guys I know. So I am probably drawn by that mysteriousness. Your looks could only be said as above average, you can be someone's type like mine but most will just take you as ordinary, maybe. It's your mysterious air that gives off the vibe that you're cool or interesting, in that regard I gave you a lot of bonus points. Uh. That's how I like you."
"I see. I still don't understand. I'm not doing anything special though? On the surface, at least."
"You know Onoda, liking someone isn't all about looks or what they've done to you. True, that's a major factor for everyone but human minds or hearts just work mysteriously, there are things you can't explain no matter how you think. I like you and that's what I think. What about you?"
"Err. I only remember you as my desk neighbour. Sorry but that's the only impression I have on you. My view is quite narrow back then. I only move to satisfy my desire. So if it's about like or not like, then I guess I like you too."
"Hmm. At least you don't have a bad impression of me. Then what about Shimizu and those two?"
"Akane is someone special to me, I want her, she's mine. Those two, maybe I started caring for them when I successfully stole them back then, they're my responsibility. I did that to them."
"Ah. I see. So only Shimizu is special but it's still not love. About the two, you said they're your responsibility then why did you think of cutting them off?"
"To free them from me."
"Have you asked about their opinion?"
"Then that's not taking responsibility, is it?"
Ah. I'm back at this point. Not considering what's on their mind.
If it's before, I might've let Kana go too after she graduates but I guess I'll consult her before I do anything. And she will be like these girls from my middle school. For Satsuki, she's better than Kana, I can't just give up on her as long as she loves Sakuma. But if one day she did, then I have to take responsibility for her too.
But this desire. I have to understand it fully. Will I be able to get hard normally for those who fell for me? I never tried or I'm afraid it will disappoint them if it didn't react.
Ah. I see.
That's why. I understand. So it's about me this time. It's not all about the desire. I'm probably giving myself a psychological burden, being afraid to fail to get hard for them. I never tried so I don't know. That's the thing holding me back. Haa.
But I also have to look for an angle about this desire. It's better to satisfy it along with them. Will it really only work at girls who like someone else? Earlier, the thought I had seems to work. Should I try that to Aoi and Ria? If it works then it's good and if not then I'll look for another.
"You're right. That's irresponsible of me."
"So what will you do now?"
"Take them back in."
"But this desire. Even if I did take them back, if they can't ignite this desire of mine then it's useless."
"Why is it useless?"
"If I can't get hard for them, it's useless."
"E-eh? What? What? I'm confused."
"Ah. I'm sorry. Are you a virgin Nikaido?
"i***t Onoda. Don't ask a maiden about that! Err. So you getting uh hard for them is a must?"
"Ah. Sorry. Yes, because we're doing 'that'."
"I see. Then I don't know what to say anymore. I'm ignorant about that."
I can't help but notice Nikaido turning red. I probably got her flustered. I didn't know she's still a virgin. This topic is too much for her. I should stop now.
"You're right. Thank you for answering my questions Nikaido."
"I'll keep your secret. And about your relationship with Shimizu, I'll disclose it only to my friends, whether they will spread it or not, that will be their own choice."
"That's enough. Then, you three. Until when will you eavesdrop?"
"Ah. We're found out."
From a corner that's a blindside for me, Akane, Aoi and Ria came out stumbling. They're probably there since earlier. They only pretended to leave us alone.