Chapter 1 - The Amazing Bride
I was a little surprised when I arrived at my house. A familiar moped was parked in front of our house. This motorcycle with a pink license plate number──"Oh, you're home now, son of the motorcycle shop owner?"
A middle-aged man dressed as an itamae (chef) came out from the entrance of my house. He was the owner of Sushimaru, a sushi restaurant in a shopping center.
"Are you doing maintenance on your motorcycle?"
I thought it was impossible, but the words flew out of my mouth.
"No, I'm delivering sushi, anyway. Or I mean, is there something fun going on, Hakuma? As far as I know, this is the first time the Ouji family has ordered extra-best sushi!"
What a rude old man, but no wonder he was surprised. If I'm not mistaken, I don't remember ever ordering an extra dish, let alone the best extra.
"I never expected to meet the day when the Ouji family would hand over the three Yukichi to me. There might be an octopus falling from the sky tomorrow." [TN: Yukichi is a Japanese Hero featured on the 10,000 yen money]
Again, I thought he was a rude old man, but I could understand his feelings. Maybe tomorrow there really will be an octopus falling from the sky. Because, that's how unlikely it is for my family to order something like this.
"Oops, this is no time to be lazy. I have another delivery to complete. See you, Hakuma!"
He waved her hand and left for the next delivery.
"I never thought that old woman's prophecy would come true...."
We served the sushi specialty. Normally, I'd be so excited that I'd call Kanako to boast about it, but right now I was having trouble being honestly happy. In the end, I decided to go inside. I opened the front door and walked in.
"Eh? Is there someone here?"
How did I come to that conclusion? The answer was simple, "Oh no! I'm so happy today to be served by such a beautiful girl!"
"Come, come, don't be shy, eat a lot."
I heard my parents' happy voices coming from the living room on the first floor, it seemed that someone had come into the house. The evidence was a pair of footwear that I had never seen before. Yes, there was a pair of shoes that didn't look like they belonged on the porch of our house. Although I thought it was impolite behavior, I was intrigued by the shoes and raised them to my eye level.
"What the heck, it's very conspicuous, right?"
Glamorous is a better word than flashy. They look like a pair of white high heels that you can imagine a Western princess in a fairy tale.
Where have I ever met the owner of such shoes? To my recollection, never. Thinking about it made me curious. It stimulated my curiosity. With that in mind, I took off my loafers and headed straight for the living room.
Then, I turned the knob of the living room door and stepped into the place where a pleasant conversation was taking place. To my surprise, there was a girl I knew very well in the living room. She smiled at me and said, "welcome back".
First, I couldn't believe my eyes. Then I doubted my head. I rubbed my eyes vigorously and patted my head. What an unimaginable sight, an extraordinary person sitting on a chair in the living room. And then I looked at her once more, this time there was a distinctive feature, a mole under her eye.
"Welcome back," she waved her hand happily at me and once again greeted me with a smile. It was frustrating, but she was very, very cute. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with my eyes or head. The fact that there was nothing strange about my body, it meant that this situation was the truth, there was not the slightest lie in it.
In the living room, a middle-aged man and a petite, baby-faced woman were eating the sushi in the center of the table. Well, these two idiots were my parents, so I didn't mind them, and it also didn't matter now. The problem was the woman sitting across from them. Why is she in my house?
She just rejected me today! Then now she's looking at me with a smile. What's going on? Why is Himegi Touka in my house?
No, the problem isn't that she's in my house, but her clothes!
Why is Himegi-san wearing a wedding dress? Yes, she was dressed like a bride-to-be, with a dress that was pure white and sparkling.
As far as I know, a wedding dress is not something one would wear while at home. Yes, wedding dresses are for weddings.
I understand it now, so the high heels in the front foyer are Himegi-san's.
I was stunned, my eyes wide with shock. I tried to stay calm, but no matter what I tried, it couldn't be denied that the scene I had just seen was nothing more than a dream.
"Hah-ha, what the hell?"
Like a puppet whose strings had broken, I fell to the floor with a loud thud. I was in a state known as 'back dislocation'.
"Eh? Ha-kun, are you alright?"
Himegi-san who was wearing her wedding dress was surprised to see me fall. Then, she got up from her chair and rushed over to me. I raised my trembling hand and pointed my index finger at her face. And then, "Hah-hah-hah!" came a ridiculous voice.
Next, there was a ringing sound coming from my pants pocket. It was the sound of the alarm I set an hour and five minutes ago. It was as if the sound was a reflection of my current situation. Whatever it was, the prophecy had clearly come true. Coincidentally, just as the old lady had said, one hour and eight minutes later, I sat up and shouted something like
stupid person. I regret it so much. I really regret that I should have asked the old lady what happened next. But still, I'm a very pitiful person to fall down in front of the person I love. Ah, if I could go back, I wish I could go back to that moment five minutes ago.
"Have you calmed down enough, Ha-kun?"
"Ooii, Ha-kun, can you hear me?"
My lost back strength had returned and I managed to sit on the empty seat by myself. It was a joy to have her so attentive, but unfortunately, there was no way I could calm down. I tried my best to sort out the situation, but I was getting more and more confused. As for Himegi-san, she sat beside me and looked at my face with a worried expression.
"I understand why you're feeling confused, but if you listen to what I'm saying, I think you'll understand the situation a bit."
"Understand a little?"
There were so many things I was curious about. Will she be willing to tell me everything? I went back to examine her figure again and again, from head to toe.
After all, it's a wedding dress, right? Yes, no matter which angle you look at it from, it's a wedding dress. Her shoulders and back were exposed, so I could see her beautiful collarbones and the nape of her neck. What's more, just as I imagined, she had large breasts. Even if she was wearing a school uniform, it wouldn't have been able to hide them, but when I saw that cleavage of her breasts, I once again realized that she was the type of girl with a category called "Big Breasts".
You should know, I didn't mean to look at her with an evil eye. There was a reason why I couldn't help but notice her breasts, and that was the number symbol. The number 60 was engraved on her right breast.
Is it a tattoo? If so, what did the number mean? Is it that, or her breast size? Does that number "60" mean her breast size? No, no matter how I look at it, Himegi-san's breast size seems to be more than 90 centimeters. Maybe not centimeters, but inches? I tried hard, very hard, to take my eyes off her breasts that I was staring at, and then I raised my gaze and looked at her beautiful face.
"Hey? Is there something on my face?" she asked.
Himegi-san gave me a cheerful smile. Aah~, my favorite expression. She's usually so calm, but this rare innocent smile of hers is the thing that captivates my heart. Yes, I wanted to keep this smile to myself. However, when I look at her face, I feel a little uncomfortable.
Is it just my imagination... That she looks sexy? Erotic? Or is it because she is wearing a wedding dress? Perhaps, too, because of her unusual makeup and hair? I think she looks more mature than usual. Granted, she used to look more mature than her friends, but now she looks more like a mature woman.
"Can I confirm one thing?"
"...... It's not a prank or anything, right?"
After thinking about it many times, it seemed like this question was the most suitable. My parents who were enjoying their sushi, Kanako, and that old fortune teller and Himegi-san, all conspired to give me a surprise. If that was the goal, it was obvious that they had been a great success. So, I think it's about time they told me the truth.
"Well, I'm sure you'll be surprised, but it's not a surprise."
"Then why are you in my house? Why are you wearing a wedding dress? And stop eating sushi at your own pace! This is an emergency, right? There's a woman wearing a wedding dress in our house while drinking green tea with her cool face. As adults, can't you be more responsive?! Also those salmon eggs, sea urchin and fatty tuna meat are mine!"
How can these parents eat sushi so casually? What amazing parents.
"Calm down, Ha-kun. I'll explain everything in order."
"First of all, I'm a time traveler."
"So, as you can see, I am not the Himegi Touka you know, but the Himegi Touka from six years in the future."
What was this guy talking about? Himegi Touka from six years in the future? I-I didn't understand what he meant at all and I hope it was just a mishearing.
"Of course, you look more mature than the Himegi-san I know, but if he's saying from the future, that's... that's far-fetched."
However, the only thing I was sure of was that she was indeed Himegi Touka herself. I can't explain it properly, but I have observed Himegi-san for a long time, so I know very well about it. This woman in front of me is not just someone who resembles Himegi Touka, but she really is the real Himegi Touka.
"Mhmm! I knew you wouldn't believe me. Well, it's certainly no surprise. It was all calculated," she said while trying to take something out of a branded bag.
"You don't want to say that the bag is proof that you're from the future, do you?"
"Don't worry. I'll show you something clearer now," Himegi-san then took out a red smartphone from her bag with a proud look on her face.
"I think this will make you believe that I'm from the future. Or rather, this smartphone is proof that I'm from the future. After all, it's a new smartphone that didn't exist in this era."
I took the red smartphone she handed me.
Is this the smartphone of the future? It looks like an ordinary smartphone.
"This is the smartphone they sell in the future...?" I said incredulously.
"Ah! You don't seem to believe me at all! Then, I'll show you the contents of the video inside. Look at this, even the most cynical of you will believe it."
Himegi-san snatched the smartphone back from me and started operating it.
"Look, this video will definitely convince you," she then pointed the smartphone hard in front of my face. I looked at it, a video that seemed to have been taken in some sort of luxury hotel.
"Ha? Dad, Mom and Himegi-san?"
On the smartphone's screen, I could see my father, mother, and a boy and girl who were about five years old, as well as Himegi-san who was wearing a wedding dress of the same design as the one she was wearing now. Then, I glanced at my mom and dad, who were eating sushi, meat, and fries.
"Mom and dad also look great in tuxedos and black dresses, huh...," I muttered.
They looked a little older on screen. Yes, Mom had gained weight and Dad's forehead was wider.
"I mean, who are these kids waving their hands around saying, 'Good luck, big brother!' Do any of my relatives have children this small?"
"-They're your younger sister and brother, you know?" Himegi-san said.
"Huh? My younger sister and brother?"
What is he talking about? I've been an only child since birth. There's no such thing as younger sisters and brothers in this world.
Unable to understand the situation, I looked at my parents, who had been silent all along, and asked them to explain what was going on. Then my father put down his chopsticks and opened his mouth for the first time.
"Actually, it's like this... Hakuma, soon you'll be a big brother."
"Ha-chan, there are two babies inside your mother's stomach."
Mom rubbed her belly with an affectionate expression and at that very moment I realized that my mom's belly was bulging. So that's the reality, huh. In other words, I'm going to be a big brother, right?
"I see... well, umm .... Congratulations," saying that I stood up.
"""Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!""" we all burst out laughing. Oh, my gosh, I was so happy, happy beyond measure.
I never thought that at the age of 16, I would become a big brother. Well, that's probably a lie. After all, the bulge in her stomach is probably just something they put in there.
"Haaah~. If the future is like that video, I must be very happy," sitting down with a stomp, I stared at her smartphone screen with a complicated expression.
From the video, it seems that they were invited to Himegi-san's wedding. Even if it was just a set-up, I was honestly glad that I was still interacting with her six years later. To be honest, after being flatly rejected by her today, I had given up hope of ever interacting with her again. After we finish school, we'll go our separate ways and never see each other again. It's sad to say, but that's what I envisioned.
However, this is the reality now, in the video, I was invited to Himegi-san's wedding as a family. What a great honor. Even if it was a fake video, it honestly made me happy. If I were in a position to congratulate Himegi-san who is the bride, I would truly be honored. Suppose there is such a future, I hope it will come true.
"...In the setting of this video, we're friends, right?"
However, while I was celebrating, there was a part of my heart that still ached. Yes, a contradictory feeling was growing inside my heart. This girl with a carefree smile on her face belongs to someone else. Even in the story of this video, I still have mixed feelings. Today, after she rejected me... there's still a part of me that doesn't want to give up, even though I realize that my choice should be to give up. Even though I understand that it's just my ego, I still don't want to lie to my feelings.
"As a friend? You still don't trust her, do you?"
"So, what's the point of using my parents to pull off this big surprise?"
In my opinion, it was too much to make me surprised. I wonder whose idea this was.
"Haaah~ It's a statement I already expected, but it's still a bit annoying when you don't believe me."
"By the way, who is the photographer using this smartphone?
"My younger sister, you know. More importantly, do you understand this is my wedding video?"
"Yes. Your wedding was in some kind of luxury hotel, right?"
"That's right. Six years later, on April 14, we rented a hotel that everyone knew about and had a big wedding."
"Nah, Ha-kun, you're not in a position to congratulate...," she said.
"Huh? Not the one who congratulates?"
What does that mean?
"Well, okay. I'll continue the story. Six years from now, I'm going to have a wedding, and since it's called a wedding, of course I have a partner, right? Do you understand it so far?"
"You mean, about the groom?"
"That's right! What do you think the groom is like?
"Who is he? I don't know, maybe a son of a rich businessman? A handsome actor or something?"
"My husband is neither the son of a rich businessman nor a handsome man. Rather, he's a cute guy who's a bit disappointing, anyway"
"What? A cute guy who's a bit disappointing?"
"Never mind, I'll replay this video and I want you to see that husband of mine," Himegi-san operated her red smartphone with a serious expression.
"Alright, this seems to be just right. Ha-kun, don't fall down again."
"Honestly, your words are a bit disturbing, anyway. But that's enough, there's nothing surprising now."
A magician should be the one who surprises his audience. However, I've been surprised all day. I'm going to be a magician, and no matter what happens, I won't be surprised!
"You're like preparing all kinds of flags, you know? Okay, calm down, just watch this video," Himegi-san held out her smartphone to me.
I took the smartphone and stared at the screen. The scene changed and it now looked like a church. Above the white bridal aisle, there was a large cross. Then, there was a foreign man who didn't look Japanese, wearing glasses and dressed like a priest, holding a thick book with a very calm face.
There was also the soothing sound of a pipe organ coming from the church. Wagner's "Hymn of the Wedding," which everyone had heard, was playing. Then, a large wooden door opened, through which a handsome middle-aged man I didn't recognize and Himegi-san wearing a wedding dress appeared.
This can't be wrong, right? This must be the scene where the father and daughter walk down the bridal aisle, right? I was a little surprised. I never thought that I would be shown such an elaborate fake video like this.
"This looks like a real wedding ...."
"Yes, because it is the real thing...," Himegi-san made a disappointed expression while pressing her temples.
Then I looked at her smartphone again. On the screen, Himegi-san wearing a pure white wedding dress was standing next to a man in an equally white tuxedo. Unfortunately, the smartphone screen only showed the back of the groom. Thus, I could not see the groom's face clearly. However, from the looks of it, he was not an overly tall man.
Even so, I could easily imagine what would happen next. Perhaps, the groom and bride would pledge their eternal love to the priest. Then, just as I imagined, the groom and the bride, Himegi-san, pledged their eternal love in front of the priest.
"At this rate, I don't know who the groom is."
However, the back and head looked familiar. His voice also sounded familiar. And then, their vows were said. Although I had never been to a wedding, I knew what to do next. Well, it was obviously the exchange of rings and the kiss of vows. The groom and bride exchange kisses on the mouth in front of everyone, and are blessed by clapping and congratulating each other. That's how it should be. Next, the priest utters a complicated set of words and urges them to exchange rings.
Huh? I've seen this groom's face... somewhere before, right? Hey, where have I seen this face before?
I tried my best to trace the memories inside my head. Hmm, slender body, brown hair color and blue eyes. With a young and neutral face, a little unreliable ....
"──── ehhhhh? Is it me? Impossible, is it me?
"What!? Just now!? You just realized it?"
Incredibly, the groom on the screen was me! In the video, I nervously put the ring on her beautiful slender left ring finger. I don't remember ever experiencing such an event. Although I often forget, but after an event like this, I'm sure I wouldn't forget it even if I wanted to. In other words, this was an event that didn't exist in my memory.
As it turned out, the absurd story she told me was not just nonsense, but reality. I also stared at her who was in front of me, while she looked at me with a triumphant expression on her face.
Ah, I don't recognize this expression of hers. Perhaps this was a real face that she only showed to special people.
──In the screen, me and her were kissing.
I feel that it’s a nice view. This is strange, I've never touched girls, let alone kissed them. However, my movements were natural as I put my hand on her face and kissed her lips-like a scene from a movie.
Ah, this feeling that arises, I can't put it into words. Is this a dream? If it is, I want to wake up immediately.
I stopped the video, as embarrassment made me unable to continue watching it.
"Ah! This is the best part!"
"No, that's enough. I can't keep watching it, I feel dizzy now...."
Then, with trembling hands, I returned the red smartphone to its owner and─stared at her face─her lips. No, for the rest of my life, I won't be able to get that kiss scene out of my head ....
"Now you know who my husband is, right?" she asked.
I was speechless. I tried, but my throat was trembling and I couldn't say it. Raising my hand, I sincerely surrendered, having to admit my defeat.
As for her, she looked happy when she saw me and looked at me with a carefree smile on her face. Well, if she was my partner, then no wonder she was in this house. Then, she fluttered her wedding dress, turned her body around, and showed me her glittering ring while saying, "─I am the bride who has been destined for you!" with a very sweet smile on her face, she made a very unexpected statement. Apparently, I was the one who monopolized this smile of hers.