(Title – 顕正 – Kenshō – Revealing the Truth)
After all those mishaps and fateful events in Kichirō’s life, three years had passed by. Ryū and Seijirō were already working as a nurse in a hospital in Kyoto, while Kichirō and the others just recently graduated, so they were all preparing for the national licensing examination. Ken, however, had to return to Tokyo to help in managing their family’s business for the mean time while applying for a job.
When Ryū would return from work in the afternoon, he would cook dinner then help Kichirō in studying for the exam in the evening.
“Can’t I watch TV for now? It’s still months before the exam. My friends and I already studied this afternoon,” Kichirō sulked.
“No,” Ryū plainly replied.
Kichirō harrumphed then continued to eat.
After a bit of silence, Ryū glanced at Kichirō and saw that he looked like he was still sulking. “If you don’t want to study, go look for a part-time job instead of lazing around doing nothing here,” Ryū added.
Kichirō looked at Ryū with doubt. With food in his mouth, he contested: “Eh, I’m always busy here. Don’t say I’m lazing around.”
“Don’t talk when your mouth is full,” Ryū stopped him.
Kichirō chewed his food faster then continued explaining: “I’m washing the dishes, cleaning, taking care of Kuro, gardening, doing the laundry, and I’m also helping my mom at home.”
Ryū squinted his eyes as he said: “What are you, my servant? I didn’t take you in as my wife to do all of this.” Kichirō blushed when Ryū said those words. After all these years of being together, he could not get used to hearing those unexpected words from Ryū. Ryū continued: “You should earn your own money and prove to your mother that you can also be successful. Then, we can ask for her blessings… She won’t use your future as an excuse to force us to stop seeing each other.”
Kichirō thought that this was a good idea, but then waved his hand and squinted back at Ryū. With sarcasm, he responded: “I guess that’s not necessary. She really likes you a lot, a lot more than she likes me, her own son! She may disown me if she finds out that we’re dating but will continue to dote on you since you’re her favorite ‘son.’”
“Well, you have a point. I can just ask her if I can adopt you by then.”
“Eh, am I some pet that you randomly adopted?” Kichirō frowned.
“No. If it’s random, I wouldn’t have to keep you by my side all these years. I want to take you in the Ueno clan.”
“So, you do consider me as a pet!?”
Ryū stood up from where he was seated. He reached out and pinched Kichirō’s cheek. “A very cute pet that I want to eat all the time.”
Kichirō became flustered and slapped Ryū’s hand away. “Okay, I give up. Let’s study.”
The following day, Ryū woke up early in the morning to prepare for work. When he looked to his side, he saw that Kichirō was still asleep. When Ryū kissed his forehead, Kichirō frowned and rubbed his eyes. He yawned and stretched out, then he asked, “What time is it?”
“Time for you to wake up,” Ryū plainly replied.
“It’s still too early. I don’t go to school anymore. Let me get some more sleep,” Kichirō protested. He turned to the other side and covered his face with a pillow.
Ryū glared at him and though he was facing the other side, he could feel the freezing coldness of Ryū’s deadly glare. When Kichirō turned to Ryū’s side, Ryū hurriedly pounced on him. He locked Kichirō’s arms on both sides and whispered with a husky voice: “It’s either you stand by yourself or I’ll make something else stand up.”
Kichirō wryly smiled at him, then he laughed, “Alright, I give up. I’ll get out of bed now.” After saying that, Kichirō closed his eyes again. “Just give me a second.”
Without uttering a word, Ryū scooped the other from off the bed and carried Kichirō in his embrace.
“Chotto matte kudasai!” Kichirō begged. He was not prepared for another surprise attack from Ryū. He tried to struggle but he could not free himself from Ryū’s strong grip.
“Your second was up. Let’s go downstairs. I’ll cook.” Ryū went on carrying Kichirō. Kuro, who just woke up, too, saw his ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ ‘flirting’ again. “Kāsan is such an idiot,” he thought. He followed the two downstairs and saw Ryū carrying Kichirō until they reached the kitchen.
This had been the same series of events that Kuro witnessed for most of his life with this young couple. He was really happy and thankful to be with them, although he got to hear this saccharine exchange of words every now and then.
After they ate breakfast and after Ryū prepared for work, Kichirō walked to the front porch with him.
When they reached the front yard, Ryū spoke: “You don’t have to send me off. Just stay inside and review. I already contacted Naoki and Aiko for you.”
“Heh, I’m going to my parents’ house for a bit. I wanna take a walk with Kuro, too.” Kichirō smiled.
Seeing Kichirō beaming at him like this, he could not help but recall how Kichirō had the same smile, years ago, when they were still in college. He could not resist the jouissance brought about by this moment so immediately gave Kichirō a warm kiss on his lips.
Kichirō could not resist because he enjoyed it himself. Every moment he had with Ryū was something he cherished in his heart. Ryū’s sweet smell and the warmth of his breath was already enough for his heart to flutter. Normally, Ryū was the only one who would embrace him when kissing, but lately, Kichirō also learned to embrace him back.
Ryū was taken aback by this so his body slightly jerked. He secretly smiled knowing that his years of training Kichirō really paid off. When he took a look at Kichirō’s face, he noticed that the boy still had his usual blush on his face every time he was aroused. Ryū chuckled, “Okay, that’s enough for this morning. Don’t give me that look or else I’ll be forced to go to work late.”
Kichirō tilted his head to the side and looked as if he was puzzled, “What do you mean?”
Ryū narrowed his eyes and just gave a big sigh. “Never mind, you’re still slow when it comes to this kind of matter.”
If Kuro could do a facepalm, he would have done if earlier, “Baka ja nai no? ?”
( You’re not stupid, are you?)
Without further ado, Ryū pecked Kichirō’s forehead and got in his car. He drove away, leaving Kichirō behind with curiosity still written all over his face. Kichirō watched the receding back of the car and waved goodbye at Ryū.
Kichirō was thankful for this day. Although it was the start of autumn, it was still sunny with azure skies. Normally, days during the start of autumn would be overcast and stormy. As he walked along the quiet road, he noticed a familiar back of a person, who was several meters ahead of him. He ran after this person to confirm who it was and yes, it was indeed his mother. “Okāsan, are you taking a morning walk?”
Fumiko looked back at him with a wooden look on her face. “Yes,” she replied.
“I’m going to our house to help with the chores,” Kichirō smiled.
“Un,” after agreeing, they silently walked toward the Ishikawa residence.
The serene atmosphere, together with the gentle rustle of the trees as the wind blew would ease the passerby’s mood no matter how troubled he may be. Autumnal foliage was about to start. Kichirō could see from the trees that some of the leaves were turning yellow.
As they walked, Fumiko broke the silence, “Would my eldest son be dear enough to accompany mother to the market?”
“I don’t mind. Let me text my friends first. I’ll inform them to wait for me at home. They’re coming over so that we can study for the licensure exam.”
Fumiko’s face was still wooden. Kichirō could not guess what she had in mind. “Oh right, I will send you over to Osaka next week. You can stay with your aunt while you study for your exams there.”
Kichirō was shocked by this sudden turn of events. It was like his mother placed a cudgel in between him and Ryū which clearly did not give him any leeway.
“But Okāsan, I don’t want to stay there,” he protested.
“No buts. You’re going there whether you like it or not. I don’t want you to stay here and continue making a fool out of our family,” Fumiko harshly responded.
Hearing his mother’s last statement made his heart thump. Kichirō was speechless at the moment. He did not know what to do. What’s with this sudden decision?
To be continued…