After her mother received the letter and left the house, Tsubaki was ambushed and dragged by her Etiquette teacher that came into the house through a different entrance.
At first it was Fumiko who should have been the one teaching her about etiquette, but Tsubaki never behaves and likes to mess about in front of Fumiko. Her demeanor and actions were too unlady-like so they hired in an Etiquette teacher from outside
But as a matter of fact, she wasn’t naughty though everyone around her perceives her as such. The only things that she have done that were deemed ‘naughty” was because she likes to climbing a tree, grip a vine and playing Tarzan, plucking some Akebia fruits that grows around the garden while inviting Kyousuke to come eat together.
Despite her carelessly playing Tarzan, even though she didn’t mind since she was technically a grown woman, others around her don’t see it like that. Her body was small and pretty nimble. Then there was a time when climbed up a tree and looked down upon Kyousuke, and his reaction was really a sight to see.
[O.. Oi! You can’t get down from there!? Wait there, I’ll go call Sega–… What the, DON’T JUMP DOWN!! Are you okay!? Any injuries somewhere!?]
After that matter, Kyousuke already sees Tsubaki as a girl that if left alone would only cause trouble so in order to prevent that, Kyousuke started sticking around her more.
The kindergarten Kyousuke attends to was generally filled with polite young girls so Kyousuke has never, ever met a girl who was as hyper and energetic as Tsubaki.
On the topic of kindergarten, Tsubaki was yet to attend one, and was not capable of attending one at the moment.
The reason being that is because of the divorce of her parents not being officially completed yet. They plan to enroll her in kindergarten only when her surname is changed to Mizushima.
Because there was still plenty of time before enrollment; from common sense, the name of things around, wordings, and the manners that the upper class society should maintain were being relentlessly beaten into Tsubaki.
The impression others have towards Tsubaki of Mizushima was a young girl who has never gone out before and was ignorant of the ways of the world. Her uncle and mother were worried whether she can communicate well with other children in the kindergarten by the time she were to enroll.
The Etiquette teacher was strictly teaching Tsubaki to first stop her way of addressing herself by her name but with [Watakushi].
Also, calling Kyousuke not with [Kyou-chan] but [Kyousuke-san].
It would be unnatural to suddenly change her way of speaking so she made sure to do the change slowly.
Currently, there were other things besides etiquette being teached to Tsubaki. Like tea ceremony, flower arrangement, piano, Koto, penmanship, swimming and English conversation. (TN: Koto is a Japanese traditional instrument. Just go Google it if you guys want to have a look at it.)
About Kyousuke, he was also being teached the same with the things mentioned above, the only difference being no Koto, and replace that with multi-language training and Violin.
We are so busy, even when we are still kids… Tsubaki cannot help but think of that.
After finishing her etiquette lesson, she had dinner and took bath. After bathing, she makes way for her bedroom. While on her way to her bedroom, she saw the door to her uncle’s room slowly being opened. Crouching down to meet Tsubaki’s height, Haruki pops his head out. After looking left and right to see no one was around, he gestures to Tsubaki to come closer.
Sensing that she would be given some troublesome task again, Tsubaki was reluctant to come but standing still too wouldn’t help with anything so she went into her uncle’s room.
“Oji-sama. What can I help you with?”
“No, it’s nothing big really.”
Your words aren’t really convincing though… Thought Tsubaki while looking at her uncle suspiciously.
“Well, that… I heard from Segawa that you are getting along with Kyousuke really well.”
“Yes. I and Kyousuke are really close.”
“Ah. You know about Kyousuke sending a letter to me, right?”
Having heard Tsubaki’s affirmation, her uncle showed out a letter, that Tsubaki had passed to her mother this morning, from his briefcase and gave the letter to Tsubaki.
Looking at the letter closely, the seal hasn’t broken yet.
“Erm… Oji-sama, how can I help you with this letter?”
“Please read that in my stead.”
Read this by yourself! Tsubaki was really tempted to yell her uncle, but she reminded herself that she still a kid and calm herself.
“Erm… Why me?”
“… Please read that once and check if there are any negative words in it. And if there are any negative words please tell them honestly to me, even if I have to eat layers of Oblaat while hearing it.” (TN: Oblaat: A thin edible layer of starch that wraps some candies in Japan.)
Tsubaki was shocked to see her own uncle, who was the temporary leader of the Mizushima company, to suddenly become this weak-minded.
Although her uncle spoke with calm tone, he was shaking. And his fingers were somewhat shivering.
“I do not mind if it’s only this much, but if Kyousuke-san heard about this he will be angry.”
“Don’t worry, I will keep this a secret.”
Asked by her uncle, although she was reluctant, she broke the seal of the letter, unfolded the content that was neatly folded and looked at the paper.
There, she saw beautiful characters written neatly, even Tsubaki was impressed by the calligraphy skills. And what Kyousuke’s really wish to do and thought to his father.
It began with expressing his gratitude to his father for always doing his best at his job and also about how lonely he felt when his mother passed away, and his father keeping his distance away from him.
How he missed the day where they were eating breakfast together.
How he wished to go out together again sometimes.
How he wanted his father to touch and pat his head like how he does like before.
While Tsubaki was in the middle of conveying what was written in the letter as it is, her uncle looked downward. And sometimes Tsubaki heard sniffling sounds coming from her uncle.
After calming himself to some extent, Haruki asked Tsubaki with a nasally voice.
“Are there any negative words?”
“No. These are everything what was written in here.”
“… Thank you.”
Receiving the letter from Tsubaki, her uncle looked at the letter as if it was something precious.
“What an easy to read characters. To think he already remembered Kanji this much. Even though that child was once a crybaby before, children’s growth are really fast huh. I should have been there watching over his growth in her stead but… Really, what am I doing?”
Tsubaki was now assured that after seeing this parent deeply moved and smiling cheerfully by reading his son’s letter, Kyousuke and his father’s relationship will be finally fixed.
To her uncle who was still moved while looking at the letter, Tsubaki told her uncle that she has to sleep now and left the room.
The next morning, inside the dining room. Kyousuke rushed to Tsubaki with an excited expression on his face.
“Tsubaki! Here, look! A letter from father!”
“Isn’t that nice, Kyou-chan. So, what was written in there?”
“Aa, father was apologizing for what he had done until now. And father is cheering for me to do my best in lessons. Oh also, father love’s gazing at stars! Same like me, I love watching stars too.”
Kyousuke was really happy that he keep re-reading the letter again and again. He even forgot to eat his breakfast.
In the end, Segawa reminded and urge Kyousuke that he will be late and accompany him to enter the car.
Few days later, Tsubaki’s parents’ divorce was finally accepted, and the news of the daughter of the Mizushima being single once more was spread.
Tsubaki’s surname also changed from Kurahashi to Mizushima and was finally allowed to enroll in kindergarten.
Tsubaki was in the same kindergarten with Kyousuke, thanks to the Etiquette lessons that were hammered into her for a month, she can pass her kindergarten life without standing out and bring trouble to her family.
Afterwards, her grandfather who was gone abroad finally returned. And it became the first time the grandfather and Tsubaki to meet face to face.
Although Tsubaki was anxious if her grandfather would treat her in disdain because she is a child of that hateful man, perhaps because of her eyes that really resembled her grandmother, her grandfather treated his granddaughter with love like a normal grandfather would.
Right now, Tsubaki was personally experiencing what she once heard in her previous life; In any world, grandparents are really weak toward their granddaughter.
In a certain day, while she was on her way home from kindergarten, Tsubaki saw an unfamiliar person at the entrance.
The servants received that person as if they knew that person, so Tsubaki thought that person must be a client of her uncle.
Looking from behind, that person was a man with high stature and had thin hair color.
What a rare client even for the Mizushima, let’s take a look on his face. With that in thought, Tsubaki slowly moved beside the man.
There, perhaps the unknown man realized Tsubaki who was moving restlessly, he faced at Tsubaki’s direction and their eyes accidentally meet.
Staring at Tsubaki’s face for a while, the man seems to have noticed something and smiled, from there he crouched down and match his height with Tsubaki.
“You must be Tsubaki-chan, right? You really do look like Yuriko-san when she was just a child. Ah, your eyes also resemble Aunty’s as well. So cute!”
Being frightened by the man’s enthusiastic compliments as if he knew Tsubaki, she unconsciously took a step back.
While being flustered by the man’s tension, haruki finally shows up from his study. Looking at the present situation, Haruki seems to grasp the situation and began to introduce the man to Tsubaki.
The name of the man was Asahina Kaoru and also her uncle said that Kaoru was an old friend since they both went to the same elementary together in the Elementary Department of Takamine Academy.
Tsubaki found it unexpected that her uncle, who was a level and calm type of person, to be close with such a person who had an exact opposite personality from him.
Perhaps because the noise they made at the entrance can be heard even in Yuriko’s room, Yuriko came to the entrance and check if there were any problems.
Looking at Yuriko’s appearance, Asahina began to ignore Haruki, who was talking to him and came closer to Yuriko with a joyful smile.
Seeing this, Tsubaki finally understood that Asahina’s intent in coming here was to see her mother.
“Long time no see, Yuriko-san.”
“Maa, Asahina-sama. Long time no see.”
“It’s around 5, no… 6 years I think. My, Yuriko-san. Your charm as a woman has grown again I see, you’ve become even more and more beautiful ever since the last time I see you.”
“Thank you. It goes for you too, Asahina-sama. You’ve become more charming since the last time I see you. You must be blessed with a wonderful wife, right?”
“No no, I’m still unmarried you see. The job at my workplace is just so fun that I don’t have time to think about marriage.”
Hearing that Kaoru was still unmarried, Yuriko somehow became uncomfortable with what she had just said and that feeling was showing on her face. But Kaoru told her to not mind it.
Sensing that her mother and Asahina would have a long conversation, Tsubaki left that place thinking that it wouldn’t be wise to bother them in their conversation while looking at them with a sidelong glance.
Since that day, Asahina frequently visited the Mizushima residence. Using her uncle as his cover, Asahina visits her mother almost every day.
During those times, he never forgot to bring presents to Tsubaki every time he visited.
What a devoted man. Thought Tsubaki while receiving the present.
A few weeks has passed since Asahina began to visiting Mizushima house. Tsubaki was heading to the sunroom to read a book.
While on her way, Tsubaki met with Asahina who sat at the back of a small space on the staircase, and beckoning Tsubaki to came closer.
Looking at Asahina, Tsubaki wanted to retract her statement that she said her uncle and this person had bipolar personality.
I take it back. These two are really similar. Tsubaki had that thought while looking at Asahina who was beckoning her with a hand gesture.
Well, can’t be helped. I was called so, let’s go. Saying that to herself, Tsubaki goes and entered the small space under the staircase and heard what Asahina wanted to ask to her.
“Hey Tsubaki-chan, between Japanese sweets or Western sweets, what does your mother like the most?”
“At first I wanted to gave her accessories but, there’s no way she will take something heavy like that from a person who is just a friend of her big brother, right? Also, Yuriko-san is not a person who would like something gaudy too, I don’t think she would love something like jewelries. Ah right, people have a different preference about arts too, don’t you think? Even though we went to a theatre that one time, I don’t know what she would love to watch. And therefore, I was thinking that sweets are the most safest choice. Ah Tsubaki-chan, did you know what Yuriko-san’s hobbies are? Haruki didn’t tell me a~anything at all. He’s so cruel, right?”
Tsubaki was overwhelmed with Asahina who bombarded her with questions.
This man was coming from an upper class household too but, what a friendly guy.
Well, he’s an old friend of uncle so I don’t think he is a bad person. It should be okay with give him a little help I think. With that in thought, Tsubaki gave some little advice to Asahina.
“I believe Okaa-sama would prefer Western sweets. Okaa-sama always eat them together with me after all.”
“It’s Western sweets then.”
“Also, what about a gift with something associated with Okaa-sama’s name? I think a brooch or hairclip with lily motif would be good.”
“I see. It can became a topic for discussion if something related to names. Different with accessories and rings, it can be worn everyday too. Thank you Tsubaki-chan! Really, it’s just like what Haruki said: If there’s something you want to clear up, Tsubaki would be your best bet.”
About that… I think uncle just found Asahina-san is being troublesome and pushed everything to me. Tsubaki wanted to say that, but she can’t bring herself to say it and just stayed silent.