[translation] Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi ~ Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai 6, Ch. 11 part 658
Type: Novel Translation
Title: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai 6
Series: Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi
Author/Circle: Nakamura Shungiku, Fujisaki Miyako
Forum Discussion: HERE
Notes: Sorry for the wait! Tis the season for shopping and fic fests, which cut into my translation time. You can also view the book in-progress on Pressbooks for what’s likely a more pleasant reading experience!
This time: Yokozawa prepares for a relaxing weekend with Kirishima–but first, he has to get through the work day.
Chapter 11 (cont.)
The week seemed interminable, but at long last, Friday arrived. With overtime practically every single day this week, Yokozawa had found himself heading home on the last train and collapsing into bed, only to repeat the exercise when he came to the next morning.
While he’d made every effort to get into the office as early as possible each morning, he still had far more on his plate than he could handle. Those around him were trying to help as best they could, but everyone was already working their hardest, just as busy as he was, so complaining was useless.
If he could just make it through this month, things ought to settle down to some extent. Once the fair itself started, he’d mostly be working on support for the festivities.
For now, though, there were fortunately no events scheduled this weekend, nor would he have to come into work. Hectic as the weekdays had been, he could probably take it easy now. He’d be able to see Sorata for the first time in a week, and on Sunday, he had plans to go out with Kirishima and Hiyori, just the three of them. When he let himself focus on these things, he found that the fatigue didn’t bother him nearly as badly.
Apparently a piece of Hiyori’s that she’d drawn in art class had won an award in a ward-wide competition and was going to be on display at the Ward Office, so they’d decided to head down to the office to see it on Sunday.
Today, though, he’d go back to his apartment, with plans to finish up any housework he’d neglected by the next morning before heading over to the Kirishimas’ place the following evening. Thinking he might prepare Hiyori’s favorites for Saturday night, he started to plan a menu out in his head as he stepped off the elevator.
He was currently making his way to the Japun editing division, with business involving handing over some sample materials for an advertisement as well as discussing promotional activities connected with the upcoming movie.
“Ah, I’m sorry!”
He’d ducked out of the way to avoid a collision with a passing coworker, swinging to the side, and wound up ramming his shoulder into a stack of boxes. The whole column had been in danger of toppling, when he managed to save it just in time.
“Are you all right, Yokozawa-san?”
“More or less. How about tidying up this place a bit, hm?”
“We’ve been meaning to get around to that, but…” The editor who’d addressed him gave a wry smile before slipping away. The editing floor was always a wreck—whether it was the shoujo manga division with Emerald or the shounen manga area of Japun. He supposed, though, that the literature division wouldn’t be all that much different in this respect.
There were posters plastered all over the walls here and there, and back issues of magazines were piled up into corners. Pretty much all of the desk tops were a sorry sight as well—and while Kirishima’s desk was reasonably tidy, there was still so much stuff on it.
Still, thanks to most of the manuscripts having been converted to data format now, much of the physical clutter had been reduced. However, that meant that overseeing the manuscripts still in physical form was a very important job in the editing division. These manuscript pages, drawn by the mangaka themselves, were naturally one of a kind, with no other original copies in the whole world. They were invaluable as far as the publishing house saw them—as well as the authors’ assets.
“Where’s Kirishima-san?” he asked Hitomi as he passed by, unable to pick him out on the editing floor. With his light hair color and trademark black-rimmed glasses, Hitomi always seemed at-ease, wherever he went.
“Oh, Yokozawa-san. I believe Kirishima-san should be returning from a meeting soon, but perhaps it’s run a bit long. Are you in a rush?”
Yokozawa flicked a glance to the whiteboard, noticing the word ‘meeting’ clearly scrawled next to Kirishima’s name there—though it should have ended some 20 minutes earlier by now.
“No, it’s not terribly urgent, so I’ll come back later. Sorry—but would you mind passing this to him?”
He’d wanted to speak directly with Kirishima, but he could always fire off an e-mail, and they’d have plenty of time to talk the next day as well. Kirishima seemed to have a meeting with an author scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but they’d agreed to have dinner together. Yokozawa would arrive at the station near their apartment building, do a bit of shopping, and then head on over.
“Understood. But—Kirishima-san should be in the lounge, I think? He might be finished by now, so why not go check?”
“All right—I’ll poke my head in on my way out. If he’s holding the meeting in the lounge—would that make it in reference to the movie?” he asked, just in case—he wasn’t exactly eager to run into Yasuda again, after all, though his cowardice grated.
“No—they’re discussing Oosaki-san’s comic.”
“!!” He felt a jolt shudder through him at the unexpected name. Thankfully, Hitomi was caught up in reviewing the samples Yokozawa had just passed him and didn’t notice his discomfort.
“I believe their formal dinner is scheduled for a later date, but Oosaki-sensei was already here to meet with their literature manager, so the decided to get it over with via a last-minute meeting. It’s just a meet-and-greet, so he’d said he’d be done in a half hour, but I suppose they got caught up chatting…”
“…Yeah, probably…” He recalled Kirishima’s and Yasuda’s conversation from earlier, feeling a queasy sensation welling up in the pit of his stomach.
”Hey, maybe she had a crush on you?”
Yasuda’s powers of observation were always irritatingly on-point. He’d seen through Yokozawa’s and Kirishima’s relationship within only moments of meeting for the first time, and only a few days earlier, he’d noticed Yokozawa’s unresolved issues with jealousy and put a firm stop to them. Considering this, Yasuda may have been correct in his suspicions.
“Oosaki-sensei was apparently a former classmate of Kirishima-san’s back in college. That they specifically asked for Kirishima-san to work on their project must mean they were quite close, don’t you think?”
“No clue… I haven’t heard a word.” Aside from his eavesdropping, all he’d heard from Kirishima directly was that he’d been asked to head up the comicalization of Oosaki-sensei’s work—nothing more. He had to be sure to keep up appearances that he hadn’t heard something he’d only picked up in passing.
“Really? You seem like you know everything there is to know about Kirishima-san…”
“The hell I do!” He gave a start at Hitomi’s casual comment. The notion that even passing observers were starting to notice had him breaking out into a cold sweat.
“Eh—but, everyone knows you’re the person he’s closest with in the whole company, you know?”
“Yeah right. Yasuda-san’s known him a hell of a lot longer than I have—they’re contemporaries, after all.” He did feel a slight twinge of guilt, throwing out Yasuda’s name for purposes such as this, but if he’d responded honestly, that would have no doubt roused further suspicion. It had been a last resort.
“Oh yeah, those two started working here around the same time… I only met Yasuda-san for the first time recently, but he’s really quite beautiful! Line him up alongside Kirishima-san, and it’s like seeing beings from another world…”
“Yeah, you can say that again…” His gaze went a bit distant along with Hitomi’s. Like beings from another world—it certainly fit them, and when they stood together, it was definitely one hell of a sight. Perhaps the discomfort he’d felt, seeing the two of them alone together, had been because it had made him feel like something of an outsider, in that sense.
“They just ooze this aura that makes them impossible to approach, it made me feel like I was just some drawing on a page. But then—when he’s with you, that’s when Kirishima-san feels the most…I dunno, down-to-earth?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“No, just—it’s not like he’s usually really difficult to approach, but it’s like…there’s a filter over him, blocking part of him from view. Like he’s deliberately creating a distance from everyone else, as their superior. And—I do understand that he does that for us, of course.” Hitomi’s thoughts were dead on target; he might come off rather gentle and amicable, but he was still one of Kirishima’s subordinates and had sharp powers of observation.
“Well, he’s an adult, so what can you expect?”
“But one time, I caught him standing with you, laughing really hard about something, and it was quite a shock—like, wow, even Kirishima-san can look like that when he wants to. It’s proof of how much he trusts you.”
Rashly denying the incident would only rouse suspicion of a shameful relationship, so despite the awkward feelings the comment roused within, Yokozawa feigned ignorance. “…I guess if you want to see it that way.”
“Truthfully, at first—I found you super intimidating, but then I realized that just showed how serious you were about your job, and I didn’t find you nearly as scary anymore. So while I understand it’s mostly as an extension of my place under Kirishima-san, I’m really happy I get to work with you.”
“Pretty words will get you nowhere, you know.” Was everyone out to kill him with kindness today? Yokozawa was well accustomed to people being frightened of him, but having compliments heaped on him like this just left him ill at ease.
“I’m serious! Oh—right! I had something I wanted to ask you about the upcoming fair; do you have a moment?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” He was relieved to have some work-related conversation to distract himself with. He wasn’t too good at talking about himself under any circumstances—be they compliments or curses.
“Now where did I leave it… Hmm—oh, there it is! It’s this—about the rules for applying to win the present this time…” Hitomi fished out the document in question from a pile of papers on his desk and passed it to Yokozawa.
“Oh, that?” He glanced over the paper to confirm its contents. He knew from experience how easy it was to make mistakes at this point of the process, and pushing his personal thoughts to the back of his mind, he forced himself back into work mode.
To be continued…