It was the 15th of July, the yoi-yoi-yama of the Gion Festival (or the night festival two days before the main event).
With many sightseers coming over to see each street’s yamaboko, the city of Kyoto was more lively than usual.
On that day, I headed to Kura right after school, as usual.
Regardless of what time I reached the shop, I would always say, “Good morning.”
I did my usual greeting and showed my face, but an unexpected voice called out.
“Ah, Aoi-chan, yer here. I’ll help ya put on the yukata properly today.”
Apparently having waited for my arrival, Mieko-san vigorously pulled me to the back and helped me tie a lovely vermillion obi. The yukata was the one I’d received the other day, with red dianthuses blooming on a white ground.
“Yep, that should do it. Now it ain’t fallin’ off. It really fits ya, too.”
After helping me tie the obi in that cramped space, Mieko-san proudly nodded.
She was also wearing a neat, light purple yukata.
As expected of an elderly Kyoto woman. She looked totally accustomed to wearing it.
“Thank you, Mieko-san. Your yukata is lovely, too.”
“Thanks a lot. Ya really like the color, huh?”
“Yes, it really suits you. My yukata is also cute, so you must have good sense, Mieko-san.”
I said while touching the obi, but Mieko-san opened her eyes wide.
“Yeah, well, I might have good sense, but the one who chose yer yukata was Kiyotaka-chan.”
“Eh?” My heart pounded.
“I was asked by Owner to give ya a yukata, but I didn’t know the fashion of young folk, so I talked with Kiyotaka-chan, and he said this would fit ya. I thought something more flashy would do it, but ya do look great in this one. As expected, he has good judgment.”
Mieko-san explained cheerfully, but I looked down without saying a word.
After that, Mieko-san hurried out of the shop, leaving behind me and Holmes-san alone in the shop, as usual.
He was sitting at the counter, writing in the account book. Today, he as in a dark grey yukata and a black obi. The deep blue yukata from the other day was great too, but my heart skipped a beat upon seeing his appearance, which looked more mature than before.
Seriously, he’s just so suited to wearing a yukata. As expected of a Kyoto guy!
“…Was it crowded outside?”
Holmes-san gently asked, his eyes still on the account book. Coming to my senses, I lifted my head.
Even I knew that my face had turned bright red.
—After all, I was really happy that Holmes-san had chosen my yukata.
“Ah, yes. As expected of the Gion Festival.”
“Well, it’s already yoi-yoi-yama. By the way, Aoi-san, you’re going to meet your friends from Saitama today, right?”
My heart skipped a beat again, but to a different tune this time.
“Ah, yes. Umm, I’ll be meeting them at the lobby of a hotel called ‘Ryokuen’.”
“Ah, Ryokuen. That’s a hotel that has always taken in students on school trips since a long time ago.”
I nodded and took a glance at the paper bag on the counter.
That was the tea bowl made by Izumi-san.
“…Izumi-san will be coming over today as well, right?”
I put on a nonchalant face and casually asked the question I was extremely curious about.
“Yes, she said she would come over today.”
Likewise, Holmes-san lightly nodded, as if it wasn’t important at all.
Could it be that he didn’t notice Izumi-san’s confession?
No, it’s impossible for Holmes-san to miss that. He must have noticed it.
When he accepts the tea bowl, it would mean that he accepts her feelings. For better or for worse, all I could do here was watch.
And after that, I would have to meet with my friends from Saitama… Why did it have to be today, of all days?
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Editors (Tier 2) : Joshua Fisher, Yazmin Arostegui, Steven Baltakatei Sandoval
Assistants (Tier 1) : Bennet Kilian, Jaime Cuellar, Karen Kronenberg, redlegsfan21, Anna, Definitelynotme
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