After the sibling quarrel, Ojou-kun exchanged a glance towards me, then back at his father.
"Otousan, what is my friend doing here?", he says.
Mr. Fujikoba says, "He has come here to talk with you. About what, the answer is unclear. That is for you to talk to him about."
He looks at me again, and I wave at him this time, chuckling nervously.
He ponders this for a moment.
(No...something is not right.), he thinks to himself.
This prompts him to look over at me again, noticing Cringe-kun and Prez-kun standing slightly behind me.
This sends off a warning siren in my head.
(Uh-oh!), I think to myself.
Before he could ask who they were, I rushed over to him, giving a friendly pat on the back.
"H-hey!", he exclaims, but I give him no chance to ask anything.
I had to act fast.
"You remember your old school friends Taiyaki-chan, and Aoki-chan, right?", I ask him.
He looks at them.
Cringe-kun, looking away, was swatted in his head hard by the bespectacled blue hair, who was bowing.
That prompted him to bow, as well.
Ojou-kun knew what game we were playing at.
"Ok. Suppose I humor you...",he says in my ear, "...what's in this for me?"
"Didn't you say you wanted to make friends?", I ask him.
"Yes, but...", he says, noticing his father's glare of suspicion out of the corner of his eye.
"It is not nice to keep your company waiting.", the tall man boomed.
"Deal.", he whispers back, before walking over to them.
"OHOHOHO! Please do take a seat, everyone.", he says, motioning them to a set of leather chairs.
We do as told.
"Our servant will make you some tea. I trust that is to everyone's liking, no?", he continues.
There was no complaints between us.
"Celeste, four, if you will?", he says.
"And an Earl Grey for me, as well.", Mr. Fujikoba chimed in.
"Very good, milords. I shall be back in a jiffy.", she says, walking away.
("Milords?"), Prez-kun thinks, wondering who the second one was, considering the little boy didn't ask for anything.
All he saw was a lord and a lady.
He tried not to think too hard about it, as Celeste did indeed come back in a jiffy with freshly prepared tea.
"You didn't want anything, Jin?", Ojou-kun says.
The boy looked down.
"No thanks. I'm not thirsty. I'm going to my room.", he says, bowing towards us.
Celeste pulls him aside before he could walk out.
"Do you feel alright? Are you sick?", she says, putting a hand to his forehead, checking for a fever.
"I-I'm fine. Just not thirsty, is all.", he says, gripping his arm nervously, while not making eye contact with the maid.
"If you say so. Very well.", Celeste says with a bow, "I'll be here if you need anything.", she chirps happily.
"Th-Thanks!", Jin says before rushing out the door.
OH, HELL NO!
Those three words rang through young Makoto's head.
He knew what his brother was up to, and he wasn't going to let him get away with it.
"Otousan, may I be excused?", he asks.
"No. You, unlike your brother, have company.", he responds.
"But I need to powder my nose, and it's an emergency.", he whines desperately.
"NO. Don't ask again.", his father booms back.
"I honestly don't mind.", I say, raising my hand.
"Yes, we can wait.", Cringe-kun says in an unamused tone while ungratefully sipping the scalding hot tea.
The father sighs, and says, "Makoto, I don't know you are at school, but here at home, we treat our guests with respect.
It was a family tradition built by my most respected great grandfather, the founder of Fujikoba Co., and we have upheld it every generation since. I will NOT let his good name be tarnished.", he says, while crying manly tears.
Beads of sweat drop down all of our heads in response.
Ojou-kun sighs and facepalms.
"I can hold it in, I suppose, so please stop embarrassing me. Don't you have some business calls to attend to?", he asks.
"Nonsense. I rarely get to come home on a non-holiday. I want to spend it with my family, and since you're here, I might as well get to know your friends better.", he responds.
Makoto groans in reluctance knowing a storm is coming.
While his brother is distracted, Jin sneaks silently toward the cellar.