The Konoe family’s plans.
Toru was at a café with Aino.
Aino’s white cheeks were red, and she was looking around nervously.
Maybe she was embarrassed by the situation of being alone with a boy.
However, it was because of Aino that this need had arisen.
The encounter with Chika during lunch break was a serious one.
After Aino told Toru that she wanted him to be her fiancée, Chika’s face turned pale.
Chika has been acting as a perfect superhuman since she entered junior high school. She has never lost to anyone no matter what.
It is unusual for Chika to be so flabbergasted. I’m sure Asuka would have loved to see it.
Chika muttered, “There’s no way you can do that.” She looked like she was going to say something else, but when she noticed the other student council members approaching, she glared at Toru and the others, and then quickly walked away.
Even though they didn’t know what the conversation was about, it seemed that the people around them could tell that Toru, Aino and Chika were arguing.
I wanted to ask Aino about the meaning of her statement about her fiancée, but I couldn’t do it with so many people watching.
That’s why Toru suggested that they come to a café after school.
They went to a café in the Unimall, far from the school. So it was unlikely that anyone from the school knew them.
(TLN: Unimall- underground mall of Nagoya Station)
They sat down at a table facing each other. The soft red sofa was comfortable.
Aino ordered an iced chocolate with ice cream.
Toru couldn’t help but smile.
“You like sweets, huh?”
“No, it’s not like that. It’s ……. Anyone would have asked for this, right?”
Aino said, then turned her head shyly and whispered.
“I really like sweets.”
“I don’t think there’s anything to be embarrassed about. I like sweets too.”
Aino smiled a bit joyfully.
Toru said and then was thinking about what he would order when a female waitress came over.
Aino looked up and said to the waitress, “I’d like two …… iced chocolates with ice cream, please.”
Toru was startled and looked at Aino, who whispered, “Can’t we have the same thing?” She asked.
Since he didn’t mind the chocolate with ice cream, Toru nodded and said, “Alright.”
The waitress, a slender and beautiful woman, listened to Toru and Aino’s conversation, looked at them smiling, said “Yes, sir.” and left.
“It’s kind of like a …… date.”
Aino’s cheeks twitched as she mumbled, then she quickly covered her face with her hands.
“It’s not like I want to go on a date with Renjo-kun, you know?”
“I’m sorry for calling you out here.”
“It was nice of you to ask me out, though. ……”
Aino says in a muffled voice.
At least, I’m not here on a date with Aino.
I’m here to find out what Aino wants.
“I’m going to ask you straight, why did you say you were willing to make me your fiancée?”
If it was a lie to embarrass Chika, that would be fine, but would the shy Aino go that far?
I asked Aino about it, and sure enough, she shook her head.
“I’m really serious about that ……. That’s why I invited Renjo-kun out for lunch.”
“I see. I see. I solved one mystery, but now I have an even bigger one. Why me?”
It was a genuine question. It’s not like Toru and Aino have ever been particularly close.
It’s not like there are other boys who are close to Aino, but it’s not normal to ask a complete stranger to get engaged.
Aino nodded her head.
“Konoe-san said bad things about …… Renjo-kun, so I said I’d be his fiancée on the spot, but I didn’t explain myself well enough, did I?”
It was probably the most inexplicable incident Toru had ever encountered in his short life.
“‘There’s a reason why you need to have a fiancée, even if it’s just a formality, right? Like you’re about to be forced to marry someone else?”
Aino raised her eyes in surprise. I think that’s a good guess.
“How did you know?”
” I just knew for no other reason.”
Even if Aino has feelings for Toru, she would not suddenly ask him to be her fiancée.
There was no advantage for Toru to have her as his fiancée.
To be precise, considering the deep relationship between Toru and the Konoe family, I think there is no advantage at all.
However, Aino seemed to be unaware of the relationship between Toru and the Konoe family. Aino was surprised to learn that Toru and Chika were former fiancées, and she couldn’t believe it was an act.
If that is the case, then it is reasonable to assume that Aino has a reason to need a fiancée, even if only in a formal way.
The reasons for the special circumstances of needing a fiancé are limited. For example, it is relatively likely that she is about to be forced into a marriage that she does not like.
So, the theory that I mentioned just happened to be correct.
Aino looked impressed and nodded, ” Yes indeed.”
“I can’t tell you much, but …… you know that I was born in Finland, right?”
I knew that, but my only knowledge of Finland was that it was a country east of Sweden and west of Russia.
“My mother is the representative of a Finnish company’s Japanese subsidiary ……, which is like a branch in Japan.”
I also heard that Aino was the daughter of a Finnish conglomerate. Her mother also seems to be a member of the management family of that conglomerate.
So, she is just like Chika.
“The company has been in the red for a long time, and the headquarters in Finland refused to support us, so we had to go to a big company in Japan to help us build the company. So, we tried to get financial support from a big Japanese company to help us rebuild. ……”
The president of that company offered a condition: he would help Aino’s mother rebuild her company. In exchange, an engagement must be arranged between the president’s relative and Aino.
It seems that the other party made such an old-fashioned proposal.
I think this is unreasonable. It was only natural that Aino didn’t like it.
The problem was that Aino’s mother was willing to accept the proposal.
Aino looks down.
“My mother doesn’t care about me. She only cares about her own company.”
“So, you want me to be your fiancée and reject the proposal?”
“I think that if I show them that I already have a fiancée, they will understand.”
“But I don’t know if such a move will work …….”
(I think you need parental consent to marry underage, but what about an engagement?)
Toru did not know.
“Please! It’s just a temporary fiancée. It’s only for a short period of time, and I won’t cause you any trouble.”
“…… Why me? I’m sure there are plenty of other men out there.”
Toru asked that question. He understood why Aino needed a fiancée, but he still didn’t have an answer to his first question.
Aino slumped down in her chair.
“Because …… Renjo-kun is kind.”
“I doubt that.”
“You don’t seem like you’d take advantage of my vulnerabilities and do something crazy.”
” I might, you know.”
Aino blushed and stared at Toru with a serious expression.
“Anyway, I need you, Renjo-kun. …… There’s no one else I can rely on but Renjo-kun.”
When she looked up at him, Toru was hesitant.
I don’t feel bad about being relied on by such a pretty girl.
Aino spoke back to Chika for Toru’s benefit. If he could, he would want to help her.
But is it really possible for Toru to help? Aino’s suggestion seemed unrealistic.
Above all, he feels that there are people who can help Aino more effectively than him.
What can Toru and Aino, who are still minors, do?
” I still have time to think about whether or not to take the offer, right?”
“Um … yeah.”
“In the meantime, see if you can’t find some other ways to solve your problem. Also, I think you should look for a potential fiancée other than me. I just helped Luthi-san, who happened to almost be injured.”
Aino’s mouth was gaping, as if she wanted to say something.
But Aino seemed to have swallowed those words.
Instead, she whispered.
“If there’s no other way, …… will you help me, Renjo-kun?”
Toru was lost for a moment. But there is only one answer.
“Of course. I’ll help you as much as I can.”
Aino’s expression brightened and her blue eyes sparkled. Her face looked so happy that I was almost drawn in just by looking at her.
Before he knew it, Toru had become deeply involved with Aino. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Anyway, Toru also decided to look for other solutions. What he needed was information.
“What is the name of the company that is trying to help your mother’s company?”
It might not be the kind of information that Toru, an outsider, should be asking, but he had no choice.
But when he heard the name of the company from Aino, Toru realized that he was not completely unrelated.
“Luthi-san …… that company ……”
“What about the company?”
“It’s a company of the Konoe Group.”
This means that the company is run by Toru’s and Chika’s family.
If that’s the case, then the man Aino is about to be engaged to must be one of the relatives of the Konoe family.
Who could it be? I think it’s someone that I know as well… I asked Aino about it, but she didn’t seem to know his name.
If this is the case, Toru will have to check for himself.
“Luthi-san, can I leave you for a moment?”
“Yes, but what’s the matter?”
“I’ll call the Konoe family and check.”
Toru then walked out of the store. In the corner of the underground passage, he took out his phone.
The person he was calling was the person in charge of communication between Toru and the Konoe family.
Within one minute, the other party picked up the phone.
“Hi, Toru. You haven’t called me much, I’ve missed you.”
A woman’s voice with a surprisingly light-hearted tone said. Toru chuckled.
“I’m glad to hear you’re doing well, Fuyuka-san.”
Fuyuka Tokieda is the female secretary of the Konoe family. She’s in her late twenties and has a cool vibe, but it’s only her appearance that’s cool.
Fuyuka is a live-in employee of the Konoe family. She is in charge of communication between Toru and the Konoe family, and is practically Toru’s guardian.
She is also the only person from the main family who is kind to Toru, for which he is grateful. Since she is an easy person to talk to, he can ask her questions about who Aino’s fiancée is supposed to be.
However, it’s not a good idea to get right to the point.
“There was something I wanted to ask you, Fuyuka-san.”
Toru said before, thinking about how to find out. But there was no need to worry about that.
Fuyuka said with an uncharacteristically adult laugh, “Ehehe.”
“If you’re calling me at this time, it can only be about that. I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you.”
“Again, I’m so silly. Didn’t you hear from your classmate Aino Luthi herself?”
Toru had a very bad feeling about Fuyuka’s smug tone.
(How does Fuyuka know about Aino?)
Fuyuka continued in a cheerful voice.
“You’re lucky to have a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed girl as your fiancée, aren’t you, Toru?”
“Uh, that means that ……”
“I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that the Konoe family is planning to make Toru-kun the fiancée of Aino Luthi-san.”
Fuyuka told him over the phone in a happy voice.