As I gently pushed the wooden door open the fragrant scent of coffee wafted past my nose.
“Ah, you’re here, Kyeong-hyun. Come on in.”
A woman dressed in a white shirt and black waistcoat stuck her head out from the side of the counter.
With a vivid countenance and her hair tied back, she could only have been a woman in her mid-20s.
Her name was Han Che-ryeon, the manageress of café “Saint”.
“Good afternoon, Manageress.”
Having entered the shop, I looked around inside for a moment after I greeted her.
Tables and chairs of baronial design were arranged at even distances for comfort on the deep brown wooden floor. Due to furnishings like an archaic birdcage, candelabrum, and cupboard displayed around the room, the café almost seemed like a reception room of an old Western mansion with a long history.
Obviously they weren’t real antiques. It was only their exteriors; none of them were actually made in Europe.
But they were of such high quality that normal people would have no way of telling. Each placed in a natural manner, the manager’s handpicked furniture and furnishings made the room look suitably ‘decent’.
Looking at the room composed with a high degree of perfection like a work of art, I uttered in awe.
“I see the business is slow again today.”
The European-style café ‘Saint’ where I work part-time was plain quiet today as well. It was an all too similar scene. It seems this situation had not changed even during the three months that I had no memory of.
Since there’s no place in this neighbourhood like a cinema or fashion boutiques that young people could gather at, business is bad for shops like cafés where their main customers are people in their twenties. In this business district, you go under right away if you don’t aim for middle school students playing around the school or at families for your customer base.
When this European-style café opened out of nowhere, Yeon-hee and I had predicted that it wouldn’t do very well. It’s not a chain coffeehouse by a major company, and we had reckoned there’d be nobody in this area who would look for an antique café that put emphasis on the free nature of the owner.
That prediction was dead on, and it hasn’t changed even now.
“Hurry up and get changed! Or I’ll dock your wages for being late.”
“There’s still more than five minutes left before I clock in…”
Because I came straight here as soon as school ended, I still have time left until I’m on the clock.
To tell the truth, there’s an after-school supplementary lesson in progress at school and there will be a self-study session at night as well. But since they aren’t mandatory, I left school early with my homeroom teacher’s permission.
Although I don’t take them because it’s more efficient for me to study alone, it has far more to do with financial reasons. From my perspective, the after-school supplementary lesson fee is too expensive for what I would actually gain from them, and I need time to earn money from a part-time job. That’s why I’ve been coming to the café to work-part time after school.
“Quiet, you! Keep that act up and I’ll turn back the clock hand by 10 minutes while you’re changing.”
“Yes, yes... Understood.”
I replied half-heartedly and headed towards the staff room. Although that is its official designation, it’s an ambiguous room that is also used for changing and storage. You could say it’s a room stuffed with everything that you wouldn’t want your customers to see in this small shop.
While thinking “let’s hurry up and get changed,” I reached out my hand to open the changing room’s door. Right at that moment, I was engulfed by an ominous premonition that I could not comprehend.
‘Come to think of it, there was a situation like this in a light novel that Sega lent me before.’
When you open the door there’s a girl in the middle of changing, and having been seen in her undergarments the girl blushes and screams.
And it’s not just me and the manageress that works at this store now.
However, regardless of my thoughts, my right hand unconsciously executed the action that I’d repeated hundreds of times.
Inside the staff room was a girl of a seemingly delicate constitution with her long, lightly coloured hair let down.
She had a fluffy navy blue one-piece and a white apron on her. No matter how you looked, she was not in her undergarments.
And then her face became contorted right after our eyes met.
“S-Sunbae, don’t look, you pervert…!”
“You’re already dressed!”
I shouted at the girl stooping her body covering her chest with her hands.
Mindful of the manageress outside, I shut the door. As I did, she drew closer with a mischievous smile on her face.
“Really, Sunbae, why is your timing so off? You should’ve walked in 30 seconds earlier.”
“Sorry, I’m having a little difficulty understanding. And why would I do that?”
“Then you’d be able to see me in my underwear!”
Saying that, my self-proclaimed “fiancée” Han Ka-ryeon gave a sweet smile.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t particularly want to see that.”
“How harsh! Are you saying it’s hardly worth your time unless one is at least on the same level as Miss Yu Yuyu?”
“That’s not the problem at all!”
Her breasts were indeed smaller than Yuyu’s, but that certainly didn’t mean Ka-ryeon’s looks were inferior to hers.
Especially the current image of her dressed in a navy blue one-piece and a white apron suited her far better than when she was in her school uniform the last time I saw her. This seemed to be the café’s waitress uniform, and fitting the concept of the café it felt like she was a maidservant receiving a guest at a mansion. However, the skirt was a little short to call it traditionally “European”. Thanks to that, her beautiful legs underneath the translucent black stockings were… Well, let’s just say it’s really difficult to lower one’s eyes.
“And you’re fine with a man entering the room and stealing a glance at your underwear when you’re changing?”
“But I might’ve been wearing sexy underwear on purpose to show to you.”
“Hahaha, very funny. Hahaha...”
What is this, a light novel?
“Oh my, I think it’s completely possible if you consider our relationship.”
“For the record, I still don’t believe any of the things you girls have said.”
Han Ka-ryeon claimed that we were dating. Furthermore, she was not just a girlfriend but a fiancée, and that we had gone all the way.
But for me, a guy who has lost his memory, she’s nothing more than someone that I’ve met for the first time.
“You don’t believe me… Even though I yearn for you so much. *sob sob*”
“Wow, this is my first time seeing such unnatural false tears…”
It’s quite an acting skill how there are actually tears flowing down her cheeks.
“Let me confirm this again… Is there really no one who can testify we were in that kind of relationship?”
“Not even the manageress?”
At that moment a voice was heard from outside.
“Hey, Kyeong-hyun? I’ve just let it be since I figured you’re bantering with my sister again as usual, but you didn’t go in while Ka-ryeon was really changing, right? And you aren’t doing weird things to Ka-ryeon with her mouth gagged because of the sudden burst of desire, right? I’m a little bit concerned how there’s no sign of you two coming out of the staff room…”
Although her voice was gentle, a strange chill could be felt from it.
“Nah, he wouldn’t. Not after I’ve told him firmly that I’d grind his precious place like coffee beans if he ever lays his hands on Ka-ryeon.”
I flinched involuntarily. Scary…!
“Since my sister is like that, there’s no way I could tell her.”
It’s the same as Yuyu, huh. Even the people who are close have no idea about the relationship between me and the girls.
In the end, there’s no method that I can use to cast some light to the authenticity of their claim that we were dating.
“…For the time being, let me get to work. I’m going to get changed.”
I’ll get an earful from the manageress again if I don’t hurry up and go back outside.
I put down my bag and loosened the tie on my school uniform.
However, I was unable to undress any further due to the pair of eyes looking at me behind my back.
“I said I’m going to get changed. Why aren’t you leaving?”
As I spoke sharply at her, she replied with an angelic smile.
“I want to see you in your underwear...!”
As I pretended to kick her with my foot, she let out a cute squeal and left the staff room.
Now I’ve got to work with that girl for about five hours, huh...
“Man, I should be getting paid more…”
It felt like the working conditions had gotten much worse than they were three months before.
After I put on the dress shirt and trousers, I wore the vest on top and wrapped the plain apron around my waist. They were all black except the white dress shirt. Although the clothes were simple, as ‘genuine’ articles in both appearance and reality unlike the fake antiques outside, they felt high-class enough as if to question if it’s okay for an ordinary highschooler like myself to wear them.
Having changed into this café’s waiter uniform, I went out and started working.
“It sure is quiet...”
But there’s nothing for a part-timer to do if there are no customers.
The same goes for the manageress, frowning with her chin on the counter, and Ka-ryeon sitting in front of her yawning.
“Shut up and go wipe the tables again.”
“You asked for it, Sunbae.”
Perhaps it was because she was in front of her sister, but Ka-ryeon no longer made advances at me. Feeling a bit relieved by that fact, I started wiping the tables, just as I was told, in silence.
And without a single customer present, the hands on the clock reached five thirty.
Alongside the manageress’ mumble, the door into the store which had been shut burst open.
“Auntie! Tomato and egg fried rice for three here.”
“I’ve told you I’m not an auntie! And it’s risotto, not fried rice!”
The manageress glared and yelled at the girls striding inside. Clad in nearby Eunyoung Girls High School’s sky-blue uniform, the girls paid no attention to the manageress’s fit and grabbed their seats by the window side while laughing out loud amongst themselves.
“I’d like that spaghetti with garlic and bacon and one pork cutlet with that yellow sauce on top, please! On the double!”
“Okay, okay! Give me a few minutes!”
Replying to the order by the two male students who came in right afterwards, the manageress went into the kitchen behind the counter. Both of them were wearing our school uniform, and they were such regulars that we’d even greet one another in school if we bumped into each other.
“I’d like to make an order!”
“Yes, what will you be having?”
When the manageress is in the kitchen and is unable to come out, I, the waiter, am responsible for taking orders. Greeting the continuous flow of customers, I took the orders at each table one by one.
“Ah, just a—“
After I turned my head while trying to say ‘just a moment’, I closed my mouth immediately. I saw a girl in a navy blue uniform making the order.
Unlike what I’d remembered, I wasn’t alone. After I confirmed Ka-ryeon was serving the customers skillfully, I went back to greeting the swarm of customers with an oddly relieved feeling.
Eventually all the seats inside the café, including the ones at the counter, became full and the atmospheric European-style café fell into chaos in the clamor of the students. Inside of it, I either delivered the orders to the manageress focused on preparing food in the kitchen or carried the completed dishes, busily moving with Ka-ryeon. The onslaught continued without a moment to catch our breath.
“Sis, table 6 wants to change their order.”
“The food’s all done already! Tell them to just leave if they don’t like it! I’ll eat the meals myself!”
The reason why this store, one that does so poorly as a café, was able to survive over a year since its opening in this neighbourhood was right there.
This was all because the manageress started making meals on the spot with her own supper ingredients for the customers who hadn’t had dinner and were asking if there was anything to fill their stomachs. The taste was better than anything they could ever have imagined. In the end, café ‘Saint’ had settled itself in this neighbourhood not as a place for drinking coffee but as a place for eating food.
When it was evening, students wearing uniforms from Bigyeong High and Eunyoung Girls High—the two of the three nearby high schools except Collegiate High that’s the farthest away—flocked to this café. Although they provide complete meals at Eunyoung Girls High, because the school food is of poor quality as is often the case, quite a number of students sneaked out of school in the evening to eat outside.
As a result, by the evening the surrounding restaurants become full of students who have snuck out from school, and this café is included alongside the major restaurants that such students went to. Despite the fact it’s farther than the snack bars right in front of the schools, it enjoyed a flourish of full tables every evening.
Though the situation somewhat brings tears to the manageress who had been hoping the café would succeed with its coffee and cakes.
“Geez, really... Why do these kids come all the way here to eat?!”
“Manageress, table 9 said the meal wasn’t enough and that they’d like a specially made croquette!”
Despite her grousing, the manageress put the fryer on the stove. Since this place was originally a diner before it got turned into a café, it had a comprehensive cooking facility.
For a moment, I was mesmerised by the sight of the manageress cooking intently on end even though she was dripping with sweat. The sight was always striking.
Although the reason I work at this café is simply to earn money, the reason I insist on working here is because of the manageress.
I heard she lost her parents at an early age, and that she raised her sister all by herself. Since her family didn’t have any property unlike me and Yeon-hee, it seemed she went through considerable hardships. But through hard work and dedication, she was eventually able to have her own store at a young age. I respect her, and that’s why I work at this hellishly busy store.
It feels ‘educational’ in a different sense than the studies that I do, and because it’s also a nice change of pace, it’s a time where I gain a lot in many ways.
“Your change is 3500 won. Have a nice day.”
And the hectic peak ends less than an hour later. The students who have to return to school before the end of evening pay their bills right away and leave. Although the manageress designed this café as a place where people could spend their time in peace and leisure, such free time doesn’t exist in the weeknights of Korean high school students.
While we were cleaning up the store that had emptied in an instant, the manageress staggered out of the kitchen. Her hands were holding two steaming plates.
“These are your dinners, so dig in… I’m going to take a rest…”
Delicious-looking rice omelettes were on plates that the manageress put down on the counter. Even more enticing than those served to the customers, I could tell she poured her heart into them.
“Thank you for your hard work today.”
As I said that, the manageress raised her thumb without a word. Then bumping against the wall, she wobbled off into the staff room.
It has always been like this: having finished her evening battle royale, the manageress went into the staff room and fell asleep after serving the food for the part-timer last. However, unlike how I remembered, this time around there was food for two people, and I wasn’t the only part-timer who had to eat supper.
“Then shall we eat?”
Sitting in front of the counter, Han Ka-ryeon and I started eating our rice omelettes. Because pre-scented eggs were used instead of regular eggs, the taste was different than that of just eating at a restaurant.
“Sunbae, how did I do today?”
While I was silently eating my rice omelette, Han Ka-ryeon struck up a conversation beside me.
“What do you mean?”
“I meant how I was at work?”
“…You were better than I thought you would be.”
To be honest, I was a bit surprised.
I only have memories of me working alone. So I was worried as to what I should do if we didn’t work too well with each other, but it was nothing more than an unfounded concern. Not only did Han Ka-ryeon serve the customers skillfully, she covered for the tables that were out of my vision while moving so that she wouldn’t walk into my path.
Although I used to get dead tired just like the manageress in the past, it wasn’t that exhausting today. The burden had certainly lessened from before thanks to Han Ka-ryeon being around.
“It’s all thanks to you teaching me. At first... All I did was make mistakes.”
Slightly embarrassed, I turned my eyes away.
“Although it’s a bit unfortunate that I have no memory of us working together before now… I’ll be counting on you from now on as a colleague.”
Though I had only worked with her for an hour at most, I recognised Han Ka-ryeon as a person who I could trust as something along the lines of a colleague. Or should I say a comrade who suffered alongside me? It could be that I’m feeling a kind of camaraderie.
A thought suddenly occurred to me: if it’s with this girl, it may be possible to make this store grow further.
Han Ka-ryeon shook her head lightly.
When I looked at her, surprised by her unexpected words, she smiled softly.
“You should count on me as a fiancée, not as a colleague, you know? I’ll be disappointed if you say you’re just my colleague.”
Sitting beside me, she gently leaned her head against my shoulder. Although she must’ve sweated while she was busy working, she did not smell of sweat at all. Instead, there was only a pleasant scent like the subtle smell of soap.
I’d forgotten all about it…!
I was so busy working that I’d completely forgotten that this girl is my apparent fiancée…!
“Y-You see, that’s…”
I mumbled, breaking out in a cold sweat. My heart was pounding, perhaps because I was caught a bit off-guard.
Han Ka-ryeon was my ‘part-time junior’ in every respect while she was working. The image of her hard at work taking orders and carrying dishes was just nothing more than that of a diligent waitress.
But that diligent waitress was now leaning against my body shyly with her hands on her lap— at a distance where our faces would touch if we were to move even slightly.
“But you showed no sign of that during work...”
“I can’t express my affection when my sister’s watching and there are other customers around, can I?”
“E-Express your affection…?”
“Like this, for example...”
Saying that, Han Ka-ryeon gently hugged my arm.
It wasn’t like I could feel her breasts since she didn’t hug me tightly, but the slight brushing sensation was peculiarly ticklish.
“W-Well then, I’m off to do the dishes! You look after the shop!”
I sprang out of my seat after I hastily shoved the two remaining spoonfuls of rice omelette into my mouth. I shook off her arms and tried to head for the kitchen, but having emptied her plate already Han Ka-ryeon took the plate away from my hand and stacked it on her plate.
“You don’t have to be in such a rush. There won’t be more customers anyway.”
“B-But you never know! A score of rugby club members who finished their intense training might swarm down on us! I should hurry and get the dishes done!”
“There are no rugby clubs at nearby schools here.”
Stopped from escaping to the kitchen, I took a few steps back here and there, ending up inside the counter. I let out a sigh of relief upon seeing Han Ka-ryeon--who was chasing after me--cease her pursuit, but I soon realised my predicament and shouted.
“A-A dead end!”
Driven into the corner of theㄱ-shaped counter; I was completely blocked in by Han Ka-ryeon.
“We finally have the café to ourselves.”
“M-Manageress is here, too.”
“My sister’s fast asleep, so she won’t be waking up for a while. …Fufu, it feels like we’re a husband and a wife trying to have private time after sending our kid to bed early. Which do you prefer: a boy or a girl?”
She’s getting way too ahead of herself!
“I-If a customer comes in…”
“A customer at this time of day? Not a chance.”
It was sad that I couldn’t refute. There would’ve been people coming in to drink coffee after they’d finished their supper if it was another café, but those kinds of customers were hard to find here.
“Why are you so afraid, Sunbae? What horrible thing could a feeble girl like me do to you?”
The incident that happened at school crossed my mind in a flash. Yuyu pouncing on me, her breath, and those overwhelming…
“Sunbae. You’re thinking about lewd things, aren’t you?”
“Sunbae. You’re thinking about lewd things, aren’t you?”
“No, I’m not!”
Although I denied almost immediately, Han Ka-ryeon smiled softly as though she knew everything.
“It’s okay, Sunbae.”
“Because, you see…”
Covering her mouth with her hand, Han Ka-ryeon smiled. Then with a slight blush, she said in a gentle voice:
“I’m thinking about lewd things, too.”
What is this girl saying…?!
“It’s the first time the current you is seeing these clothes, right?”
Paying no heed to my confused state, Han Ka-ryeon grabbed the skirt hem of the waitress uniform that she was wearing.
“Aren’t they lovely? You said they looked good on me last time, as well.”
Dressed in a navy blue one-piece and a white apron, her attire harmonized with her surreal beauty, emanating a dangerous charm. It seemed that there were more male patrons today than three months ago, and that’s probably because Han Ka-ryeon started working with those clothes on.
“But it concerned me how short the skirt was when I first wore it.”
I also agree. The skirt wasn’t that short to call it a miniskirt, but how it kept fluttering and swaying every time she moved was of peculiar concern. Although it wasn’t to such an extent as to expose what was underneath, I was worried that it might just narrowly reveal because it kept moving constantly. And you never know, there might be guys trying to sneak a peek.
“But it’s not so bad since you steal glances at me.”
“I-I wasn’t stealing glances at you!”
I was looking at you because I was worried! Honest to God!
Saying that, Han Ka-ryeon took a step closer to me. Then she put her hands in front of her thighs.
“You couldn’t see it up to here, could you?”
And then she raised the hem of her skirt.
“There’s a pattern sewn on here.”
She had raised the hem by 5cm, at most.
But on the upper portion of the stocking wrapping her leg — i.e. the portion that was hidden by the skirt — was a shining silver pattern. As though it were a silver ornament adorning her thigh.
Her slim leg that followed a smooth curve upwards became sensual in an instant as she exposed her thigh.
“And above there is…”
Han Ka-ryeon raised her skirt further.
The stocking ended at where the band decorated with lace was, and above it was her white bare skin. However, what stole my attention was something else.
‘A g-garter belt?’
That black strap that was holding on to the stocking’s band and going upwards on the bare skin of her thigh was certainly a garter belt. I had caught a glimpse of it that was displayed at a shop when I went to a department store together with Yeon-hee before, but this was my first time actually seeing it on a person.
An innocent, junior girl of seemingly delicate constitution was wearing immodest lingerie underneath her skirt.
“If you so desire, I can show you what’s further underneath. Even the deeper part.”
And currently she was showing it to me and seducing me with it.
“I said it earlier, right?”
Talking to me softly in a sweet voice, she looked at me.
“Would you please confirm whether… I came wearing sexy underwear on purpose to show them to you?”
After saying that, she drew closer with one step towards me.
One step, two steps... The distance between us decreased each time she took a step forward, and also made it easier for me to reach out and raise her skirt further up her legs.
With her face flushed, Han Ka-ryeon looked up at me.
It was an abnormal situation: The girl that I was working with here just a moment ago was raising her skirt and seductively tempting me in secret as her sister slept in the next room. I felt as though I would suffocate from the decadent ambiance floating inside the counter.
Eventually, I slowly reached out my hand towards her skirt.
“Why are you doing this?”
Then I snatched away her hands that were raising her skirt. The skirt fell gently due to gravity and covered the thigh that was seducing me.
That was dangerous. I would’ve fallen for her seduction if I hadn’t experienced a similar incident with Yuyu that afternoon.
“It’s in order to for you to regain your memory.”
While her hands were sized by me, Han Ka-ryeon replied with a nonchalant attitude.
“Because my memory might return if I try things that I have done before?”
“What if this is not what I had done before but something that I’m doing for the first time completely?”
“Does that matter, though? There’s no harm from a man’s perspective when a girl is seducing him like this.”
Her voice was composed as ever.
“I would have to take the responsibility if I fell for your seduction and lay my hands on you.”
As I said that, she stared at my face motionlessly.
“Can’t you think of it as enjoying yourself just this once?”
“I can’t think of it like that.”
“Is it because it might get in the way of studying?”
“There’s also that.”
Sighing, Han Ka-ryeon took her hands out of my grip.
“But then why do you think I’m doing this?”
“That’s the question...”
What does she have to gain by doing these things to me?
"When I think about it, it’s all the same even if your story is true. Supposing we really went out with each other, I believe doing all this is a little bit odd.”
Of course, Han Ka-ryeon’s claiming that we had done all kinds of stuff routinely inside the store since a long time ago…
“Sunbae… Can’t you accept that I’m being like this because I just sincerely love you?”
“I’m sorry, but you’re the one that’s the most difficult to believe out of the three girls when it comes to the ‘genuine’ aspect.”
Now that I think back, the one who created this situation was none other than Han Ka-ryeon.
She’s the very person that pointed out that I even lost my memories of what I studied, and proposed that I should date them at the same time in order to recover those memories. In retrospect, she had often complicated the situation by drawing out our reactions at various points on top of that.
Honestly speaking, she’s the most suspicious. Although Yuyu is the most questionable, Han Ka-ryeon is the most suspicious one.
“So I’ve failed to win your trust. Ahh, how sad.”
“That kind of behaviour makes it even harder to trust you, you know…”
While staring, I told her.
“And if you really were my fiancée, why did you propose that I date you three girls all at once? You might lose me to those other girls.”
“Mm… Because it seemed like it would be fun?”
At that moment, she averted her gaze and made an expression as though she was a bit bitter.
“It was because I wanted to know about your… relationship with those people.”
“My relationship with them…?”
“Because I’m your fiancée. I have to get a grasp of my fiancé’s relationship with other women."
“Why in the world did we get engaged? Aren’t we both high school students?”
To that question, Han Ka-ryeon shut her mouth and did not reply.
As I stared at her still, Han Ka-ryeon let out a sigh and opened her mouth once more.
“Fine. Since it appears you’re so suspicious of me, I’ll tell you as it is.”
“As it is?”
“Although I was planning on having a slow talk with you later since I figured you’d to take it the wrong way when I tell you this all a sudden… I guess it’s better to come out with it, rather than be treated as a distrustful woman.”
Smiling bitterly, she swept her hair up.
Then she said in a calm voice.
“My dream is to become a NEET.”
“Yes, have you not heard of it before?”
I have heard of it... I remember reading about it whilst studying.
It’s an abbreviation of Not in Education, Employment or Training. Although the word was created in connection to the problem with youth in the UK originally, the term was also brought in to Korea as it became widely used in Japan as a word to refer to unemployed adolescents who have no intention of working. The legions of lethargic NEETs who have no desire to work are becoming a problem in Japan, and it has been reported that there’s an increasing trend of NEETs in Korea as well.
But what does that have to do with being my fiancée?
“Are you saying you want to become a full-time housewife?”
“Oh Sunbae, a housewife has to do housework. Cooking, cleaning, laundry… Housework is labour too, you know?”
“…Then what is it?”
“You see, I hate that kind of pesky stuff the most.”
With an angelic smile on her innocent face, Han Ka-ryeon spoke such non-sense.
“That means... You want to live just lazing around...?”
“Yes, I don’t want to do any work at all. Not even housework.”
“But you were working hard a while ago…”
“You fell for it, Sunbae. I worked with great care today so that I would be in your good books. Usually, I fool around and make a lot of mistakes.”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t want to work at the café. I’m just doing this because my sister kept nagging at me to give her a hand.”
“I-Is that so?”
“Well, I also do think I should repay my sister who has raised me up until now.”
Replying like that, Han Ka-ryeon made an expression with mixed emotions for a mere moment.
“But I can only live off my sister for so long. That’s why I need another person who will provide for me.”
“…And that’s me?”
With a perfect smile of an angel, Han Ka-ryeon replied.
“Hold on a second…”
I shook my head hard from side to side.
“That absurd future dream of yours… I’ll put it to the side for the time being…”
While looking at the immaculate girl in front of my eyes, I said with a shaky voice.
“Okay, so let’s say you and I got married later… Then I would work outside and earn money… And you would do absolutely nothing at home and play around with the money I earned all day?”
“Then what is there to gain for me?!”
She’s not earning money, and it’s not like she’s doing housework… I had promised to marry a person who said she would spend her time simply playing around all day long?”
“Really Sunbae, what is there to gain, you say?”
However, Han Ka-ryeon covered her mouth and smiled.
“You will be able to gain something really nice.”
“And what is that?”
When I asked out of genuine curiosity, she carefully approached me, smiling. Then she modestly gathered her hands on her lap, and she spoke as though whispering, looking up to me.
“I will give you myself.”
She said to me with a truly sweet voice as to jolt one’s entirety for an instant.
“I’m not confident that I will do well with no cooking, cleaning, nor laundry. But I think I will be able to do one thing well.”
“A-And that is?”
“Pleasuring my husband♡”
What that means, I can guess from just looking at her crimsoned face.
“Whatever it is that you want to do, it’s fine to do it to me. Whatever it is that you want me to, I will do it for you.”
“Wh-What are you--”
Damn, she usually has a pure and innocent style that provokes one’s desire to protect, so it’s impossible to resist when she makes such an extremely coquettish expression.
“You said you didn’t want do anything else because they were all troublesome!”
As I yelled taking a step backward, she replied moving two steps closer.
“This I can do quite well.”
“On what grounds?! Not to mention when it’s th-that kind of stuff…!
“I like that kind of stuff as well. A married life where I can live idly and do that kind of stuff a lot with my beloved husband... Sounds perfect.”
“I will be a good girl and stay at home obediently, so you can work without a worry and return home every evening. Then you just have to adore me a lot.”
“What are you, a pet?”
“Ah, that sounds good, too. Please adore me like a pet, master. Woof woof♡”
Woof woof, my ass! There are probably nine fox tails hidden beneath that skirt of yours…!
Although I tried to back away, before I knew it there was no more space left that I could withdraw to. Having driven me into a dead end, Han Ka-ryeon slowly drew closer, reached out her hand and lightly touched my lips.
“If we get married, I will leave the cooking, cleaning, and laundry to you. In return, you can look forward to our nighttimes.”
That sweet voice, and the subtle sensation being transmitted from my lips... I gulped without knowing.
“H-Han Ka-ryeon, you…”
“Please call me familiarly by my first name like you always used to.”
Engulfed in a feeling as though I were bewitched, I stared at Ka-ryeon; the girl who possessed such a dangerous charm right in front of my eyes.
“You may not remember, but I’ve had my eyes on you since I first came to work with you... Thinking to myself ‘this person is the one.’ That’s why I kept tempting you like I did earlier, and eventually made you lay your hand on me.”
Looking into my eyes, Ka-ryeon spoke in a soft voice.
“Just like before, you told me that you would take responsibility. That’s why we got engaged.”
“Is that… true?”
Replying while nodding her head, there seemed to be no falseness in her eyes.
However, I still can’t trust her word completely. It might be probable, but it’s all a bit too unrealistic.
Also, there’s one more part that is awkward.
“But, why me? If it’s you, you could have any rich and capable man.”
I’m an ordinary high school student who has nothing right now. Wouldn’t I be an inadequate choice for her to make me her man who was to provide for her forever?
If it is her looks, Ka-ryeon could immediately find a man who would provide for her. A truly capable man that’s beyond compare to a part-timer like me.
“How harsh of you to say. What do you take me for, Sunbae? A woman who tries to swoop in on rich men and live an empty life of luxury?”
“That’s much the same…”
Were you honestly thinking it was different…?
“Sunbae, I don’t want to just do that with anybody else. I want to do that with you.”
“Sunbae, I don’t want to just do that with anybody else. I want to do that with you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Certainly, you are an ordinary high school student who has nothing now, but whilst working with you, I thought to myself that ‘this person is the one.’”
Her voice rose a little.
“You’re sincere. You study hard and even work diligently at the café. Yet you’re never impatient nor too greedy. Rather than aiming for the jackpot, you’re the type that builds up one step at a time. Although you probably won’t achieve huge success, you’ll have a stable and sound job. If it’s that kind of a person you turned into, I would be at ease and would lovingly wait for my husband at home.”
“I-Is that so?”
“Yes, and you really cherish your little sister. Since you’re a person who treasures family, you’ll hold your wife dear, also. I think I would be happy if you were to treat me as well as you treat your little sister. Furthermore, since we both grew up without parents, we would be able to understand and care for each other much better. What’s more, there are sides to you that are similar to my older sister. You’re that kind of person. That’s why I love…”
Ka-ryeon, who was running off her mouth, suddenly stopped talking. After a brief silence, she shortly turned her head with a slightly reddened face.
“…Mm, I’ll stop right there. It’s kind of awkward now that I’m trying to talk seriously.”
“That’s why I love… What…?”
“I-I said I’m stopping right there.”
Until now she had an attitude as though she was teasing, but now it was something a bit different.
Then I realised the fact again that she was younger than me.
Said Ka-ryeon, clearing her throat as if to evade the question.
“This is all I can reveal to you right now. Of course, I don’t think you will believe everything I have told you. Since it’s an unrealistic story, and there are those two other girls...”
Ka-ryeon spoke with an emphasis.
“Don’t forget... I want to be your bride.”
What could I say, I had no clue at all.
At that moment, the sound of the manageress stretching was heard from the staff room, and as soon as she heard that sound, Ka-ryeon took the plate she was eating the omelette rice from earlier and disappeared into the kitchen.
Yawning, the manageress walked out of the staff room soon after, and the café returned to being an idle place of work once again. The strange mood that was filling up the café just a while ago disappeared into thin air.
But the sweet words that Ka-ryeon had whispered did not vanish and still rang in my ears, and thanks to that, I couldn’t break away from the feeling of restlessness for a while.
I’m digressing here, but Ka-ryeon did break two plates while washing the dishes. I don’t know about the other ones, however it seems it was true when she said she wasn’t confident with house chores.