Thank You to Nicole for Commissioning this Translation ♥
Disclaimer：I cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of this translation
A 10-Year Belated Afterschool Date
Leaning across from the driver’s seat, Kawabe Tatsu opens the passenger-side door of the parked truck sitting in front of the station at the roundabout.
“Did I keep you waiting? ……Is that so. Anyhow, thank you for coming over.”
He picks up the luggage of the beloved woman he was expecting and places them in the space behind the seats. After checking that the passenger seatbelt was properly fastened, he slowly started the engine.
“I’m glad you were able to get time off.”
To make this trip back home to the countryside where Tatsu lived, she took advantage of her paid vacation time.
Due to her regular job being situated in Tokyo, a city-smell emanated from her.
(Damn, after not having seen her for so long, she sure is cute……)
With a bit of bittersweetness in the atmosphere, the agricultural truck began driving down the road.
On weekend afternoons, there is a sense of carefreeness in this rural town.
While peering outside the window nostalgically, his girlfriend caught sight of high schoolers in familiar uniforms walking along the street.
They were wearing the same uniforms Tatsu and her wore a decade earlier.
Following graduation, Tatsu remained in the small town in order to inherit his family’s farm while the then less than 20 years old girl, on the other hand, went off to study at a university in Tokyo.
It was during this very summer that these two reunited and became lovers.
“You were really adorable back then, weren’t you?”
Looking at the profile in the passenger seat, Tatsu was reminded of the innocence she had in her uniform.
“The winter uniforms were nice and clean-cut and the summer uniforms contrasted well against your fair skin……”
His girlfriend blinked in shock as Tatsu voiced his unfiltered thoughts.
“……What? Don’t all like, why now.”
During high school, there were many instances where Tatsu found her lovely, but knowing little of love, he never thought to verbalize it.
“You see, during those days, I didn’t think I was fit for you. Also, I didn’t think it would be good to lay hands on the girl of the family next door……”
The confession this summer was a decision made after both had become full-fledged adults.
“……But, I admired them. Dates on the way home and such.”
When passing by the main gate of the high school, you could see a small coffee shop for students.
“Why don’t we stop by? You came all the way from Tokyo. I could just make an excuse to your parents if we happen to be back a little late.”
While feeling a tad guilty toward the Auntie next door who was eagerly awaiting their daughter’s return, Tatsu drove the truck into the coffee shop’s parking lot.
After ringing the door chime and entering inside, a nostalgic sight could be found. The books on the bookshelves have been replaced with newer ones, but the worn-out tables and menu boards were the same as those from 10 years ago.
“Do you still have it? The big parfait.”
The two sat down on a two-person seat and opened the menu.
“This, this, this is the one. I was jealous of couples that got to eat this together. Especially, like, the back and forth with the cherry that was on top.”
They quickly ordered some drinks and were soon face-to-face with the parfait. Of course, the cherry on the top laid there untouched for several moments.
“You can have this, I can pass. I’m not a child after all.”
His girlfriend laughed and said that she wasn’t a child either.
The feeling of giving up the canned cherries was both sweet and astringent.
“There’s no helping it, I guess.”
The moment she looked away, Tatsu grabbed the cherry with his fingers and held it up against her mouth. So with a look of embarrassment, his girlfriend proceeded to eat the cherry.
As their eyes met, they both began to laugh.
Then after driving around and surveying a bunch of date spots around the high school――.
Tatsu made an admission in the running truck.
“Actually, there’s one more place I wanted to visit with you at that time. It’s a bit of a detour, but is that okay?”
His girlfriend tilted her head, inquiring where.
Departs from the town center and travels through a handful of tunnels. Soon enough, a pink building with a tower like that of a fairy tale castle could be seen on the mountainside.
“There it is, it’s that!”
It was a place that she too knew. After all, that building was a retro Showa love hotel.
“It’s still there. This place was the goal of the local high school boys here, you know?”
Tatsu maneuvered the truck into the spacious parking surrounded by tall weeds and approached the building.
Although there were cracks along the outside walls, the place appeared to be open. There were signs of people at the entrance.
“Shall we go in a bit?”
While making the suggestion for the second time today, Tatsu took his girlfriend’s hand.
She didn’t exactly want to be terribly late….and at the time, he didn’t exactly want to pull her either.
“I never got the chance to ask you in high school, but, I want to embrace you. I want to embrace you right now.”
And his girlfriend’s face slowly turned red.
Once again, he took her hand, and this time, she followed along quietly.
(Had we been lovers then, what would we have been like?)
Entering the hotel room, he embraced his girlfriend from the back.
As he kissed her nape, the memories of her played in his head once more. The peach fuzz on the back of her neck was the same as back then and it is now right before his eyes.
He then proceeded to remove her clothes and on the same stroke, buried his face into the hair on the back of her head and kissed her nape again and again.
What kind of underwear would she have worn at that time? What kind of smell would her body have had?
His mind was racing with such thoughts.
Looking down at her from above as he laid her on the bed.
That moment seized Tatsu’s heart.
Her skin moist and sweaty, her figure alluring to the eyes, and her bush wet… It was the body of a woman who knew how to be loved.
Taking a breath, staring, and then undressing in response to her gaze.
“I thought about what if I had asked you back then, but I’m glad it was now. Though I can’t quite explain why……”
He could smell the scent of a mature woman as he held her naked body.
Moreover, Tatsu now too knows how to please a woman. And for that reason, he was fine with the way things are.
“I love you……”
And at the same time, touching every corner as he whispered to her. And once he was sure she was ready enough, he joined their bodies.
Together they savored the joy of being physically connected.
“Listen, I’ll explain everything to Auntie. Like about how I’m heads over heels for you and how I simply couldn’t let go of you…,,,”
Wallowing in love at his age, he wasn’t sure what to think. Though it wasn’t hard to tell why……
(Right now, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been)
In that cheap love hotel in the countryside, Tatsu experienced a bite of the happiness that reality has to offerーー.