📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.
📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.

Hey, Do you Sleep a lot? Chapter 6

Sleeping Side by Side with a Childhood Friend, Once Again

KO-FIDISCORD

Chapter 6: Sleeping Side by Side with a Childhood Friend, Once Again

“What’s wrong, Ōtaki…?”

Ryōsuke’s expression was more concerned than ever as he asked.

“You really seem off today. Are you truly alright…?”

──Four days after Shizuno suggested stopping our sleepovers.

This happened just before the morning homeroom, in the classroom.

As expected──since that day, I’ve hardly been able to sleep at all.

Even wrapped in my blanket alone. Even when listening to music, drinking something, or trying some light exercise… The best I could do was doze off lightly. Since that day, I probably haven’t slept more than five hours in total.

Such a state, it’s the first since right after I entered school.

The strong urge to sleep was almost violently overwhelming, making me dizzy and headache-ridden to the point of collapsing.

But still──forcing a smile, I said,

“No, no, I’m fine.”

And with that, I shook my head at Ryōsuke.

“Just feeling a bit under the weather… nothing serious.”

Recently, Ryōsuke had been concerned about my health quite a few times.

First, it was the day after we stopped the sleepovers. And then several times, with days in between.

Even from a distance, it must have been clear that something was different about me.

But… each time, I just gave a wry smile and shrugged it off.

It was somewhat hard to bring up the topic of stopping the sleepovers, and I didn’t want to unnecessarily worry Ryōsuke. After all, this was a personal matter between me and Shizuno.

And Ryōsuke didn’t pry further.

He wasn’t exactly satisfied, but he seemed unsure whether it was right to dig deeper.

But──this time, it was different.

“Obviously, saying you’re fine under these circumstances is a bit of a stretch.”

Ryōsuke’s face took on a slightly annoyed expression, uncharacteristically for him.

“Don’t try to fool me. You might think you’re being considerate, but it doesn’t reassure me at all.”

“…”

“Besides, it’s pretty obvious… You haven’t been having sleepovers recently, right? With Mori-san.”

His words made me sigh involuntarily.

…Yeah, that’s right.

It was bound to be noticed.

I was looking so worn out, and the observer was the sharp Ryōsuke.

It was impossible not to notice, and trying to hide the truth under these circumstances… was only more perplexing to Ryōsuke.

“…Well, yeah.”

Taking a deep breath, I admitted it.

“Sorry, you’re right, Ryōsuke… It’s been a week since the last sleepover. I’ve barely slept, and I’m pretty much at my limit…”

“…I thought so, it shows.”

With a calm, almost Buddha-like expression, Ryōsuke nodded.

“So, why did you suddenly stop having sleepovers? What happened to lead to this?”

In response to his question, I frankly explained what had happened recently.

How Shizuno suddenly called me out and suggested we stop our sleepovers.

She was evasive about the reasons, but it seemed like she had her circumstances.

And finally, the phrase she left me with: “You have to properly cherish and care for the people who are important to you.”

Incidentally, I had tried to talk to Shizuno several times since then.

Right after arriving at school, during breaks in the classroom, at the bus stop after school──.

Every time I saw her, I tried to speak to her, to understand the situation.

But she consistently ignored me. I couldn’t even get a response──.

After hearing everything, Ryōsuke thought for a while.

His face seemed to be searching for words, guessing at the meaning of the situation.

Then he turned to me with a serious expression and said──.

“…It feels like there’s a misunderstanding.”

Like a detective conveying a sense of discord, he spoke.

“It seems… like some trivial misunderstanding has occurred.”

“Trivial…!?”

I couldn’t help but echo his words.

How could he say that!

I’m seriously worried and suffering here!? Anxious that we might become distant for life!?

“But from the looks of it, that’s the only conclusion I can draw.”

Ryōsuke said with a surprisingly nonchalant face.

“There’s no reason for Shinobu to have to stop the sleepovers. Mori-san also seems unwell lately, and it’s certain she’s not sleeping either. Plus, considering how awkward you two are, it’s just a simple misunderstanding, that’s all.”

“…Maybe, but to call it trivial…”

I grumbled in frustration. He could take it a bit more seriously…

…But, after a moment’s thought,

“Well… I guess that’s possible…”

Indeed, I can feel the persuasiveness in his words.

It’s Ryōsuke, who has a knack for understanding things, saying this.

In fact, there’s nothing serious like a feud between us… It seems like a trivial misunderstanding could have been the trigger for all of this…

“Try talking to her,” he finally suggests, softening his expression.

“Just go straight and talk to Mori-san. There might be some resistance and quarreling at first, but it’s much better than drifting apart aimlessly.”

“Well, yeah, I guess so.”

Logically, I understand Ryōsuke’s point.

Leaving things as they are would lead to the most regret. If that’s the case, it’s best to confront Shizuno head-on. Somehow, it even feels like the problem might get resolved easily.

But─why is it?

Right now, I can’t muster the courage to take that step forward again.

Is it because I’m too tired and my energy is sapped? I just can’t immediately respond with something like, “Alright, I’ll give it a shot!”

“You don’t have to rush,” Ryōsuke adds, reading my mind, his smile tinged with bitterness.

“If you worry too much, it’s you who’ll suffer. If you can’t sleep forever, you’ll really collapse someday.”

“Yeah, that’s absolutely true.”

“If things get really bad, I’ll mobilize my sister or mother to forcefully make you sleep together. If you don’t want that, you better sort things out quickly.”

“Okay, I got it…”

That definitely isn’t something to laugh about…

My sister maybe, but my mother… No, my sister is also a bit much…

Aware of my grimacing face, I nodded.

“Ah, but I’m going back to my hometown this weekend. If I take any action, it’ll be after that.”

“Oh, really? Why so suddenly?”

“My parents suddenly called me back…”

A message had come abruptly.

“Can you come back home this weekend?”

No specific reason was mentioned, but it’s probably to help with the ranch work. It’s getting busy around this time of year.

“But that might be a good opportunity,” Ryōsuke muses, crossing his arms.

“Shinobu became insomniac after coming to this city, right? Going back home might give you a clue to the cause of your insomnia.”

“Yeah, that’s true.”

It’s been just a month since I left Sapporo at the end of March.

It hasn’t been long enough to feel nostalgic, and since it’s within the same prefecture, the distance doesn’t feel too far.

But… as Ryōsuke said, I somehow feel like there might be something there.

Feeling vaguely hopeful, I stare out the window at the scenery.

A few hours on the express train from Sapporo Station.

Arriving in my hometown for the first time in a month─I was unexpectedly moved.

Exiting the station, the expansive blue sky greets me.

Houses sparsely scattered, the air feels pure and clean.

And then,

“Welcome back, Shinobu,” my mother says, having come to pick me up in her car.

Of course, her face and expression haven’t changed from a month ago.

“Hey, I’m back,” I reply, climbing into the passenger seat with an involuntary smile.

“You seem a bit refreshed, haven’t you?”

“Nah, it’s only been a month since I left for Sapporo…”

“But you know, they say ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.'”

Chatting like that, I feel a warmth of nostalgia in my chest.

Although it’s only been a short while since I left this town, every sight feels familiar.

Then, after a thirty-minute drive,

“I remember now, this is how it was,” I mutter, deeply inhaling as I get out of the car.

The blue sky stretching near the horizon.

On the vast grassland, cows graze here and there.

The wind brings familiar scents, the ground under my feet feels soft, and the air I breathe in deeply is fresh─.

I might have started getting used to Sapporo, but… yeah, this is the place I lived.

This is my original landscape─I feel it with all my senses.

That night, nothing unusual happened.

I checked on the cowshed, greeted the cows.

After lunch, I tidied up my old room a bit and helped with the ranch work.

During dinner, we talked about school, and after a bath, I spent a casual time with my parents.

Nevertheless

─I realized something. The so-called… gratitude towards one’s parents is indeed a real feeling.

Even if left alone, meals are prepared, cleaning is done, laundry is washed, and even the bath is heated for me.

Moreover, my mother, while working on the ranch, still manages all these household chores. I was deeply reminded of how much effort parents put into raising their children.

Filled with gratitude, the day came to an end.

And then─the surprising truth hit me the next morning.

“…Hmm… huh!?”

In the dim light of dawn in my room, I realized something and leapt up from my bed.

The familiar sights of my early morning room greeted my eyes.

The study desk sinking in the darkness, the bookshelf, the worn carpet.

Through the gaps in the curtains, the blue-dyed ranch outside.

Even now, in May, the early morning hours are quite cold.

─I had slept.

Touching my head─and feeling no headache, I acknowledged it again.

For the first time in a while, I had slept soundly.

“…Seriously…!”

It’s hard to believe, but there’s no mistake.

I remember up until 10 pm last night, and now it’s 4:30 am.

This is usually the time I’d wake up when I lived here.

No dizziness, sleepiness mostly gone─yeah, it’s true.

I had slept.

First thing, I changed and went to the cowshed, helping with the morning chores.

Cleaning up the manure, health checks, confirming if any were in heat, feeding them, and so on.

After finishing, and while having breakfast with the whole family, I kept pondering alone.

It’s been probably a month since I last slept deeply without needing someone by my side.

Apparently, I can sleep without any issues when I’m at home.

──So, that means…

There’s something at home that’s not in Sapporo, or perhaps, there’s something in Sapporo that’s not at home──that’s causing my insomnia.

And somehow──Shizuno was neutralizing that.

When I put it into words, it might sound a bit vague.

It might even seem obvious to some.

Yet──compared to when the cause was completely unknown, I feel like I’m much closer to finding a solution.

Now, all I need to do is to try out different elements that come to mind, and I might even find a fundamental solution to my insomnia…

With these thoughts─

While watching TV and eating grilled fish, a thought strikes me.

The reason for my sleeplessness seems rather straightforward.

Moving to the city for my first solo living experience from the countryside, and then struggling to sleep.

It’s a common scenario, and I guess many people who start living alone face similar issues.

But──about Shizuno.

Why did Shizuno start suffering from insomnia?

Her life didn’t undergo as drastic a change as mine.

She graduated from middle school and entered high school, but she didn’t move or lose any friends.

──So, why?

Why did she start having sleepless nights at this particular time──?

I can only speculate.

There could be endless reasons.

Yet──Shizuno, who was so close to me.

Shizuno, with whom I spent many nights in the same bed──.

I now regret not knowing even such basic things about her…

I don’t really know anything about Shizuno.

“──Shinobu, you know,” my mother’s voice suddenly cuts into my thoughts.

Jolted from my reverie, I ask somewhat startled,

“…Yeah, what is it?”

My mother, oblivious to my surprise, says,

“I’m meeting someone from the past this afternoon. And I was thinking you should come and greet them too.”

“Oh… A person from the past…”

“Would that be alright? Do you have some time?”

“Yeah, sure. Meeting someone is no big deal.”

“That’s good. Actually, that was one of the reasons I wanted you to come home this time…”

So that’s what it was.

I thought they just wanted help with the housework, but there was another reason.

Still,

“Who is it? Someone from the past, like an old acquaintance or a relative?”

I have no idea who it could be.

There are a few friends I’d like to meet, but I can’t think of anyone my parents would be involved with.

To my puzzled look, my mother replies with an excited tone,

“──It’s Mori-san!”

I stop my chopsticks mid-air in surprise.

“Shizuno’s mother is coming to visit us today──”

“──My, how Shinobu-kun has grown!”

As soon as I appeared in the entrance to greet her, Shizuno’s mother exclaims with a beaming smile.

“So handsome! And look how strong you’ve become…”

“Uh, it’s been a while… Mrs. Mori…”

I reply timidly, bowing slightly, overwhelmed by her unexpected praise.

“Has it been five years?”

“About that, I suppose. And look at you, using polite language so well… You’ve become such a respectable young man…”

“Well, it’s not really a big deal…”

“No, no, I’m surprised… Oh, and please, stop calling me ‘Mrs. Mori’ in such a formal way. Just call me ‘Auntie’ like you used to.”

“…Alright, I understand.”

──She looked a lot like Shizuno.

Her short hair, the slightly tired look on her face revealing the years she’s lived──but still, Mrs. Mori, or Auntie, resembled Shizuno a lot.

Not just in her features but in her voice, her gestures, even her fashion sense, which was simple yet stylishly urban──.

As I’m slightly shaken by these observations,

“Well, we shouldn’t just stand here talking,”

My mother suggests, urging us to move.

“Let’s have some tea! We don’t have much time!”

──In the living room, I find myself listening to the two mothers chatting over tea.

They talk about our family business, Auntie’s job, and more.

And all the while, I keep thinking.

──Actually, something had been on my mind.

Despite all the times I’ve visited Shizuno’s house, I had never met her mother before.

It’s not just my mother; I realize I haven’t met anyone else from Shizuno’s household.

Shizuno did mention that her parents are often away due to work, and indeed, research jobs are demanding.

Still──it’s puzzling that we never crossed paths at her house.

In Hokkaido, it’s not uncommon for high school students to live alone. But it strikes me as odd that Shizuno is living almost by herself in such a large house.

I’ve been somewhat concerned about her living situation.

“──How about you, Shinobu-kun?” my thoughts are interrupted.

Auntie suddenly asks me.

“Being in the same class with Shizuno again… Have you gotten used to school life?”

Ah, I see. The conversation has turned to a report on my recent situation.

“Yeah… I suppose I’ve managed somehow,” I reply, choosing to omit the topic of my insomnia and summarizing the other aspects of my life.

“I still have friends from middle school, and I guess I’m finally getting used to living alone…”

“That’s good to hear. You’re getting along well with Shizuno, right? I was happy to hear you brought her up in a conversation recently…”

“…Yes, that’s right,” I respond vaguely, unsure how to explain.

The matter of our sleepovers… of course, Auntie wouldn’t know about that.

I can’t imagine Shizuno reporting such things to her parents.

Moreover, I’m at a loss on how to explain why we’ve drifted apart again after that.

To me, she suddenly asks with earnestness in her face,

“…How is Shizuno doing lately? Is she eating properly? Does she seem to be in good health?”

There’s a noticeable change in her voice.

Unlike her earlier tone, this one is laden with anxiety and concern, which strikes me as odd.

Why is she asking me these things? She could directly ask Shizuno.

Or is there some reason she can’t…?

I don’t know, but feeling it’s inappropriate to offer empty reassurances, I say frankly,

“…She doesn’t seem very well.”

“She often seems under the weather, and from what I can see, she’s having a hard time.”

That’s the truth.

Shizuno is struggling with sleeplessness.

Spending nights in that large house, unable to sleep properly.

Yet──why isn’t her mother by her side?

And why is she asking me about Shizuno’s condition?

“That’s what I thought…” Auntie sighs sadly.

“Even when we talk on the phone, she sounds like that… I’ve been worried she might be having a hard time…”

“…Why don’t you ask Shizuno directly? You’re her family. Can’t you meet and talk to her in person?”

I’m aware that my question is somewhat presumptuous.

I, too, haven’t been able to engage properly with the discussion about ending our sleepovers.

It’s like I’m shifting the blame away from myself.

Yet──I wanted to know the reasons.

I sense a barrier between mother and daughter.

I needed to understand what it was──.

“Yes, you might think that,” Auntie admits in a self-reproachful tone.

An awkward silence fills the living room──.

Then, with a burdened expression, she says,

“Maybe I should tell Shinobu-kun… Maybe I’ve already caused you enough

confusion… Yes…”

Turning to me with a resolved look, Auntie speaks──

“The truth is, my husband and I, Shizuno’s father and I, decided to live apart this spring.”

“Separated?” I ask, my heart skipping a beat at the unexpected and serious revelation.

I hadn’t anticipated the situation at her home to be so grave…

“Yes… We’ve been growing apart due to work, and things have been increasingly difficult… When we finally decided and told Shizuno, she became incredibly upset. She was very close to her father. Since then, things have been strained between us… Moreover, around the same time, my job started demanding more of my time in Sapporo…”

“I see,” I murmur, understanding dawning on me.

That explains why Shizuno was often alone at home, why her mother couldn’t keep up with her current situation, and perhaps even why Shizuno has been unable to sleep.

“But… you’re right. I need to be there for her more,” Auntie says softly, a tired smile on her face.

“There might be resistance, but I believe that deep down, she will understand…”

There’s hope in her voice.

Surely, she has been troubled by this all along.

Her inability to fully support her daughter, not even being able to grasp her current situation.

Her despondent expression was so much like Shizuno’s.

──That’s why,

“…I will too,” I find myself saying reflexively to her.

“I’ll help in any way I can.”

Auntie looks at me, surprised.

“My capabilities are limited… but I’ll cooperate however I can, so please tell me anything.”

“…Thank you,” she says, tears beginning to form in her eyes.

“I’m so grateful you would say that… Actually, if you could… just stay close to her for me.”

“Stay close to her?”

“Yes.”

She nods firmly at me.

“Ideally, I would want to do that myself… but right now, she’s rejecting me. So, I’m sorry to ask, but I hope you can be there for her, Shinobu.”

“…Be her ally,” I repeat, uncertainty creeping into my voice.

Being an ally is easier said than done, even for a family.

I’m not sure if I can do it.

Especially since──I was recently pushed away by Shizuno.

Do I even deserve that role──?

But,

“…Maybe you already are,” Auntie finally relaxes her expression.

“Shizuno and you have always been very close… Without me saying, you might already be her ally.”

That made me recall our past.

Always together, playing, laughing, crying, even fighting.

We used to do everything together, almost like family──.

Indeed, back then, I was always by Shizuno’s side.

Perhaps even closer than now, when we just sleep beside each other.

“Of course, you both have grown,” Auntie says, looking distant.

“It’s not the same as back then, and there’s also how you feel, Shinobu.”

She’s right.

Now, I can’t just sleep beside her without feeling disturbed.

My heart races, and I even find myself wanting to touch her.

“But if you’re willing──”

Still hesitating, yet looking somewhat hopeful, Auntie looks at me.

And then──she says,

“I want you to be there for her again…”

──At school after the weekend, waiting in front of the main gate after classes.

I was waiting for Shizuno.

I intended to talk to her.

To confirm why she wanted to stop sleeping together, to understand her feelings──and then, to think about what comes next.

Honestly, I still don’t know what to do.

Sure, Auntie told me to “be there for her,” but that didn’t necessarily mean “keep sleeping beside her.”

I know she wasn’t referring to a literal physical proximity.

But after talking to her──I realized.

I don’t want to leave Shizuno alone.

I can’t just ignore her family issues, loneliness, or insomnia.

So now──I’m completely without a plan.

I’ll talk to Shizuno without any plan, and just go with the flow…!

After about thirty minutes of waiting,

“…Shizuno!”

──She comes out of the main gate.

Her face is still pale, her steps somewhat unsteady──.

When she notices me, she immediately hardens her expression.

Without saying a word, she quickly tries to pass by me.

“Wait a minute!”

In a flurry, I chased after her.

I anticipated she might try to escape, but I desperately needed to talk to her.

“…What?” she asked in a cautious, hoarse voice.

“I’m in a hurry… What do you want?”

“I just want to talk properly!” I implored, walking beside her.

“Why did you suddenly say you want to stop sleeping together? I want to know why!”

“Keep your voice down…!” she exclaimed, alarmed by the word “sleeping together” that I blurted out.

Indeed, there were many students around us like us, heading home. It might not have been wise to bring up such a topic so carelessly.

But,

“I really want to know why you suddenly said that! I want to understand and be satisfied…!”

I was determined.

Looking into her eyes, I continued.

“So, please tell me what’s on your mind, Shizuno!”

“…It’s just like I said the other day.”

“Is that really all it is!?”

“That’s all! Just leave me alone!”

“I can’t just leave you alone!”

“Why not!?”

“Because I’m worried about you!”

At those words,

Her expression changed at my declaration ─ Shizuno’s eyes widened in surprise.

She stopped in her tracks, her eyes wavering as she looked at me.

In those eyes ─ a hint of desperation, a trace of hope in Shizuno’s gaze.

I pressed on, seeing her like that.

“I don’t want to see you suffering or in pain. That’s why ─ I at least want to think you’re okay! I don’t want things to end like this!”

Shizuno’s eyes trembled once more.

She seemed about to say something, her lips quivering.

But ─ that was only for a moment.

Suddenly realizing something, Shizuno’s expression hardened.

“…How can you say that?”

In a low voice, she accused me.

“How can you say such things to me…”

“What… what do you mean?”

Taken aback, I stumbled backward under her intense gaze.

The anger and frustration in Shizuno’s eyes ─

“What do you mean by ‘how can’? Why can’t I say I’m worried about you…?”

“…Sigh… Are you pretending to be ignorant?”

Shizuno sighed, seemingly exasperated.

“I know, you know…”

“Know what?”

She looked up at me with resolve, her emotions pouring out as she confronted me.

“Shinobu! You and that woman ─”

“─ Ah, found you! Found you!”

Her sentence was cut off.

Shizuno’s earnest words ─ drowned out by someone’s obnoxiously loud voice.

Moreover,

“Hey, Shinobu! Been looking for you! Why’s your school so hard to find, huh? Ahahaha!”

Turning around ─ I saw a woman.

She appeared to be in her early twenties.

Brightly colored hair, a cool, composed face.

Dressed in stylish clothes, she had the look of a model ─ a familiar figure to me.

A woman I’ve known for years, someone I met regularly ─

But why now, of all times? Can’t she read the room and come back later?

And for some reason,

“…Ah, ahhh…”

Shizuno ─ staring at the woman as if she’d seen a ghost.

Then, with a face about to burst into tears, she pointed at the woman and blurted out,

“─Shinobu’s… girlfriend!”

“…What?”

I uttered in utter bewilderment.

“Ha…? Girlfriend…? Uh…?”

I was completely lost.

This woman, my girlfriend…?

彼かの女じよっていうのは多分……『あの子』的な意味での『彼かの女じよ』ではなく……『恋こい人びと』『付き合っている人』って意味の方の、『彼かの女じよ』だよな……?

……。

……。

“This person!?”

But why? How did she come to that understanding?

After all, Shizuno has never even met this person before…

So why…?

Glancing over, the woman seemed to be watching the situation unfold with an expression that said, ‘Oh, this is getting interesting.’

No, you! Help me out here!

Help clear up this misunderstanding, why are you enjoying this?!

“…Playing dumb won’t work!” Shizuno, looking like she was about to cry any moment, began her inquisition.

“I saw everything! Shinobu, you were on a date with that person… And then! You went shopping at the supermarket together… and even spent the night…”

“…What!? Wait a minute!”

A date!?

Spent the night!?

What is she talking about!

“That’s not what it was! And why do you know about that day──”

“──Don’t make excuses! I already know everything! Don’t pity me, just cherish that person if she’s so important to you!”

“But it’s not like that!”

“Why are you lying!?”

“I’m not lying! Because this person is──”

“──Huh… Sister?”

A familiar voice came from the direction of the school.

There stood Ryōsuke Komine.

Ryōsuke Komine, the younger brother of Hana Komine ─ the woman standing there ─ looked confused.

“Eh… What are you doing here, sis…?”

Finally, Hana Komine spoke.

“Well, I’ve been in touch with Shinobu lately. I came here today to talk a bit!”

“…”

“…”

“…”

A strange silence descended upon the scene.

Everyone looked at each other, not knowing what to say.

Breaking the silence was,

“…Um…”

Shizuno, her face pale.

“I… Could it be that…”

With a forced smile, she looked around at us and asked,

“Did I completely misunderstand the situation…?”

“Hmm, so…”

Later, at a family restaurant with the four of us.

“The whole misunderstanding was because my sister was concerned about my high school life… and had been secretly checking on me,” Ryōsuke explained, unusually angry.

Without even touching his coffee, he stared intently at his sister ─ Hana ─ across the table.

However, Hana seemed unfazed and said in a sing-song voice, taking a sip of her Darjeeling,

“Come on, it’s not my fault! Shinobu said Ryōsuke seemed to be getting along with a girl lately! Of course, I wanted to see for myself!”

“…Getting along with a girl?”

Ryōsuke’s eyes narrowed at me.

Feeling cornered, I stammered,

“No! I didn’t say that exactly!”

“But you know, he seemed to be interacting a lot with Kanon Rokuyō, so I just mentioned that…”

“…What’s that about?”

Ryōsuke exhaled a resigned sigh.

“I’m not in that kind of relationship with her. Really, we’re just talking about Ōtaki and Mori…”

“So, that means,”

Shizuno, who had been shrinking in her seat, hesitantly spoke up.

“The other day, Shinobu met with Hana to talk about Ryōsuke… They met at Odori Park, went to a café, visited Ryōsuke’s house… and then you made curry as a thank you, right?”

“Yeah, that’s right,”

I nodded deeply and sighed softly.

“I was just dealing with Hana’s brother complex…”

“Then what about the night? You said you couldn’t sleep together, so did you stay over?”

“Yeah, I stayed over…”

I nodded and then let out a heavy sigh, recalling the bitter memory.

“Whenever Hana eats dinner with someone, she usually drinks too much and can’t make it home… It happened when we celebrated moving in together, right after I moved here… So,

I figured she’d end up staying that night too. And indeed, after getting drunk, she took over the bed, leaving me to spend the night in the bathtub…”

“That’s exactly it!” Hana said, her voice tinged with an apology as she joined her hands together, looking at Shizuno.

“Sorry, Shizuno, for worrying you… But don’t worry, I’m not trying to take Shinobu away!”

“Ah, I didn’t mean to imply that I was worried about anything like that!” exclaimed Shizuno Mori in a flurry of panic.

However, Hana Komine dismissed her worries nonchalantly, saying, “No, no, why hide it now? Don’t be stubborn, just be honest with yourself!”

“I’m not being stubborn!” Shizuno insisted.

“But Shinobu Ōtaki is quite a catch, right? So, you were worried because I was around, weren’t you?”

“The fact that I was worried is true, but it’s not because he’s… well, it’s not for that reason…”

As she spoke, she glanced briefly in my direction. Biting her lip awkwardly, she mumbled before finally saying, “…Sorry.”

With a voice barely above a whisper, she apologized to me.

“I’m sorry for the misunderstandings, for saying all those things…”

Her attitude was unusually humble. Her expression, usually so defiant, seemed almost crestfallen, as if her previous stubbornness had been a lie.

It was a bit hard to watch, so I said, “…Don’t worry about it.”

Smiling at her, I added, “I’m glad any misunderstanding is cleared up. I just didn’t want things to stay awkward between us, that’s enough for me.”

“…But I did cause you confusion, didn’t I? Made you feel bad…?”

“Well, a lot happened, but it helped me discover something too. Don’t beat yourself up over it.”

“Okay…”

She nodded solemnly, Shizuno did.

And then, “…Thank you.”

Finally, a smile appeared on her face.

“Thank you for saying that…”

Seeing her smile after such a long time made me happy, and I found myself smiling too.

“…So, with that!” Ryōsuke Komine suddenly stood up, breaking the moment.

“Big sis, we should get going.”

“Eh? Why? We just started getting to know Shizuno-chan, I want to talk more!”

“No, you really need to read the room… They might want to talk alone.”

“…Well, you have a point.”

Hana Komine agreed, unusually perceptive.

But then, an idea struck her, “Ah, then! Ryōsuke, you can tell me that story instead! You know, the one about Kanon Rokuyō!”

“…Alright, alright, let’s get going,” Ryōsuke resigned himself.

“Yay, I can’t wait!”

With a resigned look, Ryōsuke stood opposite an excited Hana, who got up from her seat. But before leaving, she turned back to us.

“…Really sorry for everything. Let’s chat again soon, Shizuno-chan. I know a lot about Shinobu’s middle school secrets!”

“Ah, yes, please!”

“Don’t just go spilling my secrets!” I protested.

“See you later!”

With that, Hana took the bill and left the restaurant with Ryōsuke.

…They were like a storm that came and went, those two…

“Wow, she’s an amazing sister…” Shizuno commented, still a bit dazed.

“It’s surprising to see her like that, considering how cool Komine-kun usually is…”

“Yeah, she’s actually calmed down a bit. She was even wilder in high school…”

“But she didn’t seem unpleasant. Kind of an interesting person, in a way…”

“That’s good. As long as you don’t dislike her.”

People who don’t like that type tend to really dislike them…

I’m glad Shizuno didn’t have a bad experience.

“…Well then,” I changed the subject.

Now that it was just the two of us…

“…There are things I haven’t been able to talk about, let’s talk about them.”

“…Okay,” Shizuno nodded, a bit nervously.

And so, I began to tell her ── first, about my feelings.

“I have a request ──”

“──I want you to continue sleeping beside me.”

◆◆◆◇◇◇

And then.

We left the store together and headed to Shinobu Ōtaki’s house.

Along the way, we shopped at the supermarket, cooked dinner together, and took turns in the bath.

Such things…

What I once thought of as ordinary now feels incredibly nostalgic to me.

Probably, there are still many problems unresolved.

I can’t sleep alone, and the misunderstandings about our promises remain unsolved.

But still…

“Thank you…”

In the dim room of Shinobu Ōtaki.

Lying next to him, I express my gratitude once again.

“Even though I misunderstood and was cold to you… thank you for worrying about me…”

Shinobu Ōtaki has forgiven me.

From now on, we can sleep side by side.

Just having that reassures me; I believe everything will be alright.

Surely, we will be fine together in the future.

“It’s okay, don’t worry about it,”

Shinobu Ōtaki’s low voice resonated right beside me.

“That… I also would have been troubled without this. I’ve been really struggling to sleep lately.”

“Is that so? Then I’m glad…”

“So, that’s why…”

Shinobu Ōtaki hesitated for a moment and then continued,

“Let’s keep helping each other out from now on. There are many problems, but together, like this, we can support each other…”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

In this world…

Surely, the place where I feel most at peace and secure is here with him.

I realize that clearly.

It’s frustrating, but my body understands this fact.

So, for today…

Desperately seeking more reassurance, I…

“Shizuno Mori!?”

Wrapped my arms tightly around Shinobu Ōtaki’s body.

Feeling his warmth throughout my body, the rough touch of his hands, and his familiar scent…

While confirming his presence with my whole being, I tightened my arms around him once more.

“Wait, wait a minute, um…!”

Shinobu Ōtaki let out a clearly flustered voice.

“Isn’t this against the rules…? Hugging like this…!”

Indeed, it might be.

“Rule Number 3: Be cautious of excessive physical contact! Remember the tension between a man and a woman.”

I’m clearly breaking that rule.

But,

“Just for today… let’s forget the rules…”

I admit it.

I want to be closer to Shinobu Ōtaki.

I want to feel more secure, close to him.

I don’t usually like to be selfish, but today, I want him to allow this of me.

“Okay, I understand…”

Still somewhat stiff, Shinobu Ōtaki agreed.

“Just for tonight then…”

“Yes, thank you…”

Nodding, I buried my face in Shinobu Ōtaki’s chest, and suddenly, sleepiness overwhelmed me.

It must have been about ten days since I last felt this strong yet soothing desire.

As I closed my eyes, my consciousness quickly drifted into sleep.

Feeling this bliss, I couldn’t help but relax my cheeks and whispered,

“Goodnight… Shinobu.”

And then Shinobu Ōtaki, too, wrapped his arms around my back.

In his calm voice, he said,

“Yeah… Goodnight, Shizuno Mori.”

📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.
Hey, Do you Sleep a lot?

Hey, Do you Sleep a lot?

Nee, Mokkai Neyo?, ねえ、もっかい寝よ?
Score 10
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: , Artist: , Released: 2020 Native Language: Japanese
Shinobu Otaki and Shizuno Mori, who vowed to each other for the future when they were young, became separated.Even though he has been in high school for the first time in a long time, he gets into a fight because of the discrepancy in the “promises” he remembers.Insomnia due to an unfamiliar new life. Disappointing reunion. The worst start for them.But – by chance, they realize that they can sleep if they sleep together. After that, in the school infirmary, in the Shinobi room, in Shizuno’s house. I was confused by each other who grew up differently from those days, and made a “sleeping rule” for only two people ….This is a story of two childhood friends who are frustrated, frustrated, sweet and sour, but warm … they can’t be honest. The story of them sleeping together and gradually regaining their former distance.

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