A couple of weeks later, I was visiting the Sfir home again –
“Welcome, Leon-sama, and also Claire Ridill-sama, Sophia-sama will be here shortly, so please relax and take a seat.”
Regis greeted us at the door – At his words we were led inside, somehow Claire is here with me. It seems that it has something to do with what she was planning last time.
“You did well in finding a way to let me accompany you.”
“I have no relationship with Sophia-chan, so I asked Mother to allow me to meet with her to strengthen the bond between our families, she agreed almost immediately.”
Agreed immediately, wow. That Caroline allowed Claire to go out with me? Maybe, is she suspicious of me doing something behind her back with the Sfir family?
Well, there is no point in worrying about that now.
“By the way, I didn’t realize the Grances family was so close with the Sfir family.”
“The Grances and Sfir family have a long lasting relationship. You didn’t know?”
“Ah…I didn’t know. Can you tell me about it?”
When I was trying to learn more about the relationship, Claire seemed to become annoyed and rolled her eyes.
“Otouto-kun knows a lot of different things, but you know, it’s kind of surprising that you don’t know about something that is common knowledge.”
She doesn’t need to be so harsh. My only source of information has been Milli and Alice, so I only know a little about the world.
“What’s wrong….Oh, right. Otouto-kun, you’ve never had a proper teacher before….sorry.”
“No, I don’t mind Claire…I’ve gotten a lot of help, so if you are worried, there’s no need, I’m fine.”
“Sophia will be coming soon. If you have such a sad face, she will think something is wrong.”
I can hear footsteps approaching along the corridor and cheer Claire up. Soon, Sophia was visible along with Regis.
As Sophia entered the room she began looking around the room until she found me. Her face immediately brightened and a huge smile showed on her face. She ran up to me with her medium length, golden hair streaming behind her.
“Leon onii-chan, you came back!”
“Of course. I made a promise with Sophia after all.”
“He~he~, I’m happy.”
Sophia bounced around happily in front of me. Seeing such a pure smile, it makes me happy.
“- Ojou-sama, have you properly greeted all of your guests?”
Regis quickly corrected Sophia on her manners. Sophia hurriedly turned to Claire,
“It’s been a long time, Claire Ridill-sama. Welcome to our home.”
Sophia grabs the hem of her skirt and elegantly curtsied. Sophia is still seven years old though, she was distracted by me, so her response was delayed. She still did very well in her formal greeting.
Although I say that,
“……I can not accept it.”
Claire scoffed and shook her platinum blond hair in dissatisfaction.
“U-um, I’m sorry. I heard that today Leon onii-chan was coming, so I was very excited, I apologize if what we were doing made you feel uncomfortable.”
“No, that’s not the problem. Leon is my otouto-kun and you call Leon, onii-chan. Well, then shouldn’t you call me Claire onee-chan!?”
……………huh. I thought that it may be something like that. But Sophia definitely wasn’t expecting that. She is stunned silent and blinking rapidly.
I feel kind of nostalgic. Claire also told me the same thing when we first met, I had a similar reaction to Sophia today.
“Ah ~ Sophia-chan? If you do not want to call me onee-chan, you can just call me Claire-nee instead.”
Maybe — add a little heart at the end.
“Claire onee-chan…..? Is that okay?”
“I would be happy if Sophia-chan would call me that. Of course, if you don’t want to call me that you don’t have to.”
Claire looked into Sophia’s red eyes, she seems to be acting rather polite to Sophia……Maybe Claire understands the benefits of having a good relationship with Sophia and the Sfir family?
No, I guess she understands that much. Claire is matching Sophia’s gaze and holding a calm smile the entire time.
……huh? That’s strange. Claire looks dignified. Where’s the Claire that I know?
“Leon onii-chan is thinking that seeing Claire onee-chan act like a lady is strange?”
I panic and try to think of an excuse after Sophia’s sudden accusation.- – But, it was too late and Claire slowly turned to me with a pleasant smile.
“It’s a misunderstanding, it was my first time seeing Claire act like a proper lady, I was just thinking it was refreshing to see!”
“Is that true?”
“It’s definitely the truth. But, didn’t you hear Sophia? She called you onee-chan.”
“Oh right, about that…”
Claire returns her gaze to Sophia. Haaa~I’m saved.
“Sophia-chan, will you call me onee-chan?”
Claire asks for confirmation. The way Claire is acting caused Sophia to appear a little embarrassed.
“Claire onee-chan. Um…..like that?”
“~~~~~~~~How is this child so cute!? Otouto-kun, can I have her?”
“……Stop being ridiculous. Can you calm down a little?”
I grab Claire by the back of her neck and sit her down next to me. If I let her keep going we’d never get to the main reason for our visit. Then, I again turned my eyes to Sophia.
“I have something we need to talk about. Sorry, could you spare some time to hear me out?”
“To tell you the truth ――”
I give her a quick overview of my plan. Because I am the child of a mistress, my Father’s legal wife is hostile towards me. And so, to gain freedom, I told her that I am trying to start my own business.
And I’d like to talk to Carlos, who is the head of the Sfir family, about this — I ended up saying it pretty bluntly in the end.
“Leon onii-chan are you against marrying Sophia?”
That reaction is unexpected, and I’m hesitant to respond.
“N-no, that is…….”
“You don’t want to?”
“No, it’s not that. We are still children, so it’s a little early to be thinking about marriage. Well……”
I give up. I was against us meeting when Father first told me we were to be engaged. This marriage that our parents proposed, at first we were both against it, but now Sophia seems to truly want it.
Claire was leaving everything up to me and had been patiently watching our conversation. I wonder if it will be okay…I’m afraid the situation may get worse if it’s left to just me.
I tried to convey this to Claire with my eyes, she gave a small nod and turned to Sophia.
“Hey Sophia-chan, what do you think of otouto-kun?”
“Leon onii-chan? Um let’s see, Leon onii-chan has a very good heart. So when we’re together I feel at ease.”
……Ah, that’s right. Because Sophia has the ability to truly understand people’s feelings, she would hate being around people that have hidden intentions or that keep their true feelings inside. In other words, the feelings Sophia has for me are not romantic, rather they are just feelings of affection.
I guess that was clear to Claire. She smiled at me telling me I didn’t need to worry.
“Hey, Sophia-chan, my brother does not dislike you and I just want you to be my sister-in-law.”
“……Is that so?”
When Sophia looks at me uneasily, she grasped my hands timidly.
“….Leon onii-chan, you don’t hate Sophia?”
“Of course not. It’s fun to talk with Sophia.”
I have no need to pretend, these are my honest feelings.
However, Sophia is just too young and I can’t see her as a love interest. I want to protect Sophia, the same way I used to care for Saya when we were young.
Did she read my feelings? Sophia shakes her golden hair and turns back to Claire.
“Hey Claire onee-chan. If I become Leon onii-chan’s imouto, can we stay together forever?”
“Of course, if that’s what Sophia-chan wants, you can always stay with me.”
“Oh, okay, then Sophia will be your little sister! Ah, but then…..”
At the moment that Sophia started to smile happily, her expression became sullen.
I didn’t know why her mood suddenly changed, but I guess Claire understood why. I narrowed my eyes to see if I was missing anything.
“If you want to be together with otouto-kun in the future, you don’t need to worry. Rather you could even consider it to be rather advantageous, because he has a tendency to only love his sisters!”
-Wha-! I was barely able to suppress my shocked scream.
What are you saying, you stupid sister! Don’t label me as some perverted siscon!
In the first place, if you say something so unclear –
“Well, Leon onii-chan and Claire onee-chan seem to be on really good terms. If that’s the case, then Sophia will be the best imouto!”
–She accepted it!?
No no no. I certainly do not deny that Claire and I are on good terms, but that is still no reason to say something like that! Is it? Especially to say it’s an advantage to be my sister! Right?
After all, Sophia should be able to understand my true feelings……Unless deep down I actually do feel that way…..no no no…….that’s impossible….ha ha ha ha…….
No, I need to escape from this reality!
“Claire, give me a break. Don’t you think Sophia will have a huge misunderstanding!?”
“Hmm, so that isn’t how you actually feel otouto-kun?”
“What to say -“
“So, what I said was true, right?”
I’ve been defeated by Claire and I fall silent hoping to end this conversation. Though, looking at her green eyes, it seems like she wants to bring it up again.
I certainly do not want to go through that again, but as it is, my human decency is being doubted. But I am confident that I can persuade Sophia without any help from Claire….
Settle down. I need to calm down and think.
If I give up this argument to Claire, I’ll essentially be admitting to Sophia that I am someone that is only interested in sisters…..Just thinking about it has me feeling embarrassed.
However, if I can come up with a good enough excuse here, I can start trying to convince Sophia again. Still, I haven’t come up with a proper way to persuade her yet, so I might end up making Sophia feel sad again……huh?
……Would it not be fine to just accept it as is?
“- See he finally realized that he is only interested in his sisters. So all this time Leon wasn’t even aware of the fact that he had been slowly building up love points with Claire.”(TN: This is Claire talking. The way it’s worded in the raw is really strange.)
“Wait, Claire!? Stop saying such strange things. I didn’t give up because I accepted what you said, I just gave up the argument because I realized there was no way I could win!”
I try to counter her in a loud voice, but I realize I’ve lost as soon as I said that I gave up. Claire realizes this and let’s out a smile. It’s so frustrating.