I can‘t write threats even if my life depends on it lol
“Sorry, I said a lot of difficult things, but rocks really aren’t that complicated. You wouldn’t die if you don’t have any gemstones, but you won’t find a lot of people who hate them, you know? I think that’s, how should I put this, the kindness of stones.”
“Yeah, what you said! I think gemstones are kind. They might be useful for being accessories and asset management, but they aren’t just that…I think they could also become bonds that connect people. I like that about them…yeah.”
I couldn’t make magnificent explanations like Richard by any standard, but I thought I could say what I wanted to say. Just when I was hoping that I somehow managed to convey the nuances, Tanimoto-san put vigor into her eyes and leaned forward. Oh, the person from before had returned.
“I would like you to hear this as a somewhat fuzzy talk based on my own personal feelings, not having anything to do with being a ganseki-ya or koubutsu-ya.”
After repeating many preambles, Tanimoto-san began to speak.
“The ‘good’ gems that are assets and accessories are beautiful and rare things, aren’t they. Like pigeon blood rubies. Therefore, processing technologies pursue and tries to reproduce the finest beauty. But, it feels a little lonely to only chase after beauty that could be classified as a higher grade.”
When I asked her why, Tanimoto-san put a slim finger to her chin and looked shy.
“Because, no stones are imitations of anything—they are all one-of-a-kind. Every one of them has a rich romance, regardless of grade. At least I think so.”
Her dark eyes shone daringly.
She shot through my heart in two steps. Tanimoto-san said she “really loved stones.” Her “love” was different from my “love”, who somehow felt happy when looking at gemstones. This was the aura of a professional.
It was little bit different from Richard, but she also wholeheartedly loved the world of stones in her own way.
For some reason, I felt a sharp, numbing feeling in my heart.
When I kept silent, Tanimoto-san groaned with a high-pitched “Ah!”
“I did it again…I’m really sorry. Even though the good thing about stones is that you don’t have to think about all the details. You can think, ‘Wow! So beautiful!’ just by looking at them…And yet, whenever I talk about them, I never stop…No, I have to reflect on this…”
“What for! I want to hear you talk more. I want to know more about stones, but I have no idea how to go about that. Right now, I’m truly so happy I can’t say it well.”
Thanking me, Tanimoto-san smiled so adorably that it was almost divine.
And so, she told me that for some reason, her nickname was “Gorgo Tanimoto” when she was the president of the rocks and minerals club in high school.
After class, which I absentmindedly sat through, I exchanged numbers with Tanimoto-san. Finally, at last. What’s more, she told me that we should eat lunch together today. As we walked together, the university became another world. I was so overjoyed, it was insane. Was this really real life? It almost feels like someone would come up to me to say, “You’re going to wake up from this dream any minute now ” and throw cold water on everything.
And just when I thought that, that someone really came.
“Pardon me. You are Nakata Seigi-san, yes?”
Right when I exited the main entrance, an unfamiliar man stopped me. He seemed to be on this side of thirty, with big eyes and a baby face, but the suit he was wearing looked expensive. It gave off a more strait-laced and business-oriented feeling than Richard’s clothes. Of course, I had never met this man even once in my life.
“…I am, but who are you?”
“Excuse me, but might I have a little bit of your time? It will be over very soon.”
“How do you know my name?”
“We will talk over there. Let us go together, if you please.”
“Seigi-kun, should I leave?”
“It is related to the jewelry store in Ginza. If you please.”
Even when I looked reluctant, the man didn’t mind it at all. The way this bastard used the words “if you please” was plainly wrong. He should have Richard teach him Japanese.
After I watched Tanimoto-san leave with heartbroken sorrow, I entered a neighbourhood coffee shop with the man’s urging. He ordered two coffees. Why wasn’t Tanimoto-san the one here?
“…So, what do you want with me? Who exactly are you?”
“My name is Homura. I apologize for speaking to you so suddenly.”
For the second time in my life, I received a business card. The first was Richard’s. The business card was for a company called Homura Corporation*, located in Marunouchi. A business district with land rent that was just as high as Ginza’s. The man’s name was Homura Takashi. Even though there was really no reason to question it, the man told me that it was a family-run business. Apparently, he was currently in training as a subsection chief. I truly, from the bottom of my heart, could not care less.
(TN: The word used here is shouji, which is a general name for a commercial company.)
Homura-san took out a paper file from his leather briefcase. He then took out a photo from the file. It was a picture of himself and a woman with long black hair. They were in front of a fountain encircled by a flowerbed of tulips, and their arms were timidly linked together. I recognized the woman’s face.
It was Akashi-san who brought the ruby to the store.
“I am her fiancé. She visited the store you work part-time at, yes?”
“…How do you know where I work?”
“One thing led to another, so I was using someone to investigate her. I do apologize for acting in a way that frightened you.”
“‘Using someone’. So, in other words, a detective. If my friend was dating someone like you, I would tell them, ‘Break up immediately. There are other guys out there.'”
“There is a reason for it. I do not mind if it is only a little, but please listen to what I have to say.”
Homura-san bowed his head deeply.
He met Akashi-san exactly one year ago. She joined Homura Corporation in spring and he fell for her, they dated and then got engaged. They had finished meeting with his parents, and now it was the marriage stage. However…
“It was hopeless. Even though she said yes, from then on she became evasive and non-committal, and no arrangements could move forward. We postponed the wedding once and it is scheduled for August of this year, but at this rate it is likely to fall apart again. It is too long for pre-wedding blues. My mother is uneasy…I told her that I wanted to us to talk if she had a reason, but she didn’t tell me anything…there was no other method.”
“So why did you come to me? The things you are doing are strange.”
“The stakeouts have already been stopped, but after her movements were followed for a month—”
“I think you mean ‘she was tailed.'”
“In that one month, the only action she took that was different from usual was visiting the jewelry store where you work.”
“So then you followed me, and came all the way to my university?”
“I am truly sorry. I will be getting to the main subject now. If you will, could you please tell me what was her purpose for coming to your store? Even the smallest piece of information is fine.”
The son and heir to a Marunouchi company hiring a detective to investigate his fiancée’s behaviour. What the hell is this situation? Was this really something happening in the twenty-first century?
“…I think you already know this, but my boss is a handsome man. A million times more than me.”
“I saw his picture. He seems to be from Britain. If I were to compare my looks to his, then it’s all over for me. But I won’t give up. The store owner, Richard-san, does not know of me. And of course, he does not that I have come here.”
“So, basically you’re telling to spill since you won’t tell him about it?”
I regretted my snide words. Homura-san didn’t even take a sip of the coffee that was brought to him. With this, my lunch break for today is probably over. Thinking of my afternoon classes and a distraction from the current situation, I thought I should perhaps order a big plate of Naporitan* while I could, but I didn’t feel like doing that in front of this person. Homura-san looked pitifully tense.
(TN: Naporitan is a Japanese style pasta dish with spaghetti, ketchup or tomato sauce, etc.)
“I do not feel that I can have you sympathize with my actions. I know only too well that I am selfish. But I am here, after having thought about it thoroughly in my own way.”
“…Do you have an idea as to why your fiancée would go to a jewelry store?”
“Last winter, I gave her a ruby. It was a brooch inlaid with diamonds. She liked it…that’s what I thought at the time, but I wonder if that was not the case…”
Homura-san’s words ended weakly. I knew it. She didn’t buy that brooch herself. That was why she didn’t know if it was heated, or its price.
Was she really trying to sell it?
“Please. Not knowing anything is more painful than anything else. I cannot bear to lose her.”
“Akashi-san probably also has her own reasons, why won’t you accept that?”
I looked between the photo and Homura-san, then pointed at Akashi-san. She looked a little more filled out than when I saw her at Richard’s store. But her smile, like at the store, was somewhat stiff.
“Isn’t the name of this person Akashi Mami?”
“No, her name is Sasu Mami…”
We looked at each other with confused faces. Homura-san didn’t seem like he was lying, and there was no reason for him to do so.
Did that mean she was using a fake name?
“…Who is this Akashi? There is no one with that name at our company.”
“Maybe a relative?”
“There is no one with that name. Well…she never introduced me to anyone with it.”
Suddenly, Homura-san looked like an elementary school student confused at being assigned middle school homework. Even though I thought of him as a pathetic villain until just now.
I recalled Akashi-san, who turned up to the store like a storm and left behind a jewel.
“…Please excuse me. I have class, so.”
I bowed my head to Homura-san and stood from my seat. There was no point in staying here any longer. But I probably already said something I shouldn’t had said. I was the worst. I truly was the worst. I wouldn’t want to go to a store with employees like me. From behind, Homura-san called after me, “Thank you very much!” If it were me, I wouldn’t want to say thank you to some guy who betrayed the secrets of someone I loved. Everyone was in the wrong. The man who used a detective to spy on his girlfriend. The woman who used a fake name to have the jewelry given to her assessed. The part-timer with a loose tongue.
After I exited the shop, I received a text from Tanimoto-san. A short text that read, “Was everything okay? Let’s talk again!” Happiness welled up within me from the pit of my stomach. I was so overjoyed I couldn’t stand it. If I ever dated her and she was acting somewhat strange, I thought that I would hire a detective too. When someone loved someone else too much, it seemed that they steadily got weirder and weirder.
After my afternoon classes, I made a decision.
The next time the former Akashi-san a.k.a. Sasu-san came to the store, I would tell her about what happened today at once and apologize. She might get angry, and Richard might fire me. However, I had to draw the line between right and wrong and take responsibility.
Jewels are beautiful, so everyone seemed to become happy just by looking at them. I, who optimistically thought that, was a fool.
Saturday. Ten-thirty in the morning. Thirty minutes before store opening. And, it was the day that she was scheduled to come to the store.
Leaving Chuo-dori, I walked up the building stairs, and there I saw people in front of the door.
It was two people. One of them was Richard. The other person was grabbing his collar, pushing him against the door and rattling it. They were wearing a black leather jacket and had long hair. A robbery? Assault?
“What the hell are you doing! I’m calling the police!”
“Shut the fuck up!”
“Please wait, Seigi.”
I widened my eyes at Richard’s voice, and Leather Jacket glared at me. Skinny jeans and high laced up boots. I went down the stairs and braced my legs apart on the white stones of the pavement.
When the other party slowly came down to the sunny sidewalk, the out of place feeling felt by my ears took form. It was a woman. She was much thinner than Richard.
Her blonde ponytail gathered at the back of her neck had a purple gradation at the ends. Her lipstick was bright red. Her eyes were sharp.
“You work here too? Which one’s the secret lover?”
She looked to be in her twenties. Her outfit seemed more suited for Harajuku than Ginza. Why was someone like her attacking Richard? Richard also came down the stairs while straightening his dishevelled shirt. His usual suitcase was safe. The goal didn’t seem to be jewelry robbery.
“…A tangled web of blind passion?”
“Fool. This is our first time meeting.”
Apparently, she picked a fight with Richard when he was about to enter the store. What for?
Beneath the dully shining cloudy sky, the mysterious woman scowled at me.
“You tryna start something? What a joke, bring it. I’ll show you a world of pain if you look down on me.”
“I oppose violence against women. I shall ask you your business. What do you mean by ‘secret lover’? Who are you, and where did you come from?”
“Akashi Tatsuki. I work as a bassist in Shibuya. I’m a studio musician. Twenty-seven years old.”
Before the two of us, Akashi Tatsuki took out her wallet and showed us a photo. It was of two women in high spirits in some place that looked like an izakaya.
“Do you know this woman? It doesn’t matter how small, tell me everything you know. I have my reasons.”
Wearing the Japan’s national soccer team’s uniforms and grinning with their arms around each other’s shoulders, it was Akashi Tatsuki and—Sasu Mami.
As I was taken aback, someone dropped something on the road behind me. It was a light brown shoulder bag. A black-haired woman was standing there. Sasu Mami. The one who reacted first was Akashi-san. She chased Mami-san, who had begun to run away, and grabbed her hand.
“Mami! I finally found you!”
“Let go of me! We’re already through!”
“Think about how much people worried about you! Just up and disappearing like that!”
The two women were grappling with each other on the road. This is bad. This is really bad—and the very moment I thought that, a black taxi stopped alongside the front of the building. The one who rushed out of it was Homura-san.
“What on earth are you doing? Get away from Mami-san!”
“So you’re the paramour? We finally meet, brace yourself, ‘kay!”
“Stop! He’s my fiancé!”
Mami-san’s scream stopped the trio’s time.
While this explosive situation was going on, they were standing stock still on the Ginza road. Since Richard’s jewelry store was on the second floor, the people from the office on the first floor came out with shocked looks on their faces. This neighborhood was almost all office complexes, and the restaurants scattered here and there all opened at noon. The nearest coffee shop was also a bit too faraway.
Although, there was a place that was exceedingly close to a free coffee shop that was right where we were.
The possessor an absolute-zero beauty glared at the three adults with a freezing gaze.
“I shall allow you to enter my shop under the condition that you ‘must not break anything in the shop.'”
After asking if they were fine with that, the two women and one man looked around disorderly and nodded at Richard.