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Chapter 28 – Friend
The result of consulting with Oba-san was: I’d sleep in the employee break room, while Klua-san would use my room. If Klua-san had been awake, she would have refused with all her might.
Of course, if she’d been awake, I wouldn’t have needed to bring her there in the first place.
In the break room, I made a bed just for the night and laid down. Apart from the location, it wasn’t any different. It was basically the same bed I usually used.
Maybe because I’d had some alcohol myself earlier, I soon started to nod off. Sleep took me right after I closed my eyes.
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If Klua-san woke up in a strange room in the morning, I was worried she might panic, so I woke up early, put the bed away, and headed to my room. I knocked several times, but there was no reaction.
Is she still sleeping? I wanted to let her to sleep all day today, but she might have plans…
「Excuse me, Klua-san.」
I called out to her before going in.
What caught my eye when I entered the room was Klua-san’s poor sleeping posture.
I’m sure Oba-san put the covers on her last night. She must have kicked them off while she was sleeping.
Apparently, Oba-san had also changed her clothes, but she’d taken those off as well. In other words, Klua-san was sleeping in her underwear, completely exposed. Every time she took a breath, those huge breasts rose and fell.
I’d known she was big even when she was wearing clothes, but somehow they looked even bigger without them.
No, stop it. It’s rude to have such impure thoughts about her.
However, it was a bit of an awkward situation for her to wake up in.
Should I just ask Oba-san or Mear-san to wake her…? No, they’re already quite busy with the inn’s morning tasks.
I was still in the middle of my work holiday, so I had free time that day. Who else was even available besides me?
In the end, she was still my partner.
「Klua-san. Wake up. It’s morning already.」
My voice seemed to reach her, and she opened her eyes with a yawn. She still looked half asleep, and didn’t seem to have grasped the situation yet.
She was back to using polite speech, unlike yesterday when she was casually calling my name without honorifics. It was a bit of a bummer, because her calling me by just my name was a refreshing experience.
「Yes, it’s me, Relius. Yesterday, you accidentally drank too much alcohol and collapsed, so I brought you to the inn.」
I briefly conveyed the situation, and it looked like she finally recalled yesterday’s events. Gradually, her face turned pale. It became such a horrified expression, the face of someone whose actions can’t be taken back.
「M-my deepest apologies!」
Still in only her underwear, Klua-san bowed her head vigorously, in full dogeza. It was an apology of the greatest sincerity, pressing her hands, knees and forehead against the floor.
「Uhh, it’s okay. I don’t really mind it, you know.」
「It doesn’t matter if you mind it! I-I’m a merchant, but I’ve caused so much trouble to you, a craftsman and my partner! Someone like me isn’t qualified to work with you!」
Tears spilled from her eyes as she bowed again and again.
Right now, I just want her to wear clothes, but it was kind of hard to make her stop even for that. The only thing I got from this was that not bringing Klua-san to any of her acquaintances was definitely the right decision.
If any of her merchant acquaintances had seen her like that, how furious would they have been with her?
Klua-san was serious about living as a merchant. That’s why she wanted to face the craftsmen properly, according to her profession. Certainly, part of why yesterday went the way it did was from the clumsiness on the shop’s side, they made a mistake with our drinks.
I, as a customer, had also made several mistakes in response to theirs. I wanted to go and have them make up for it, but that might have caused trouble for the shop. When I thought about the whole situation, I felt sorry for them.
I was sure Klua-san’s feelings were close to that. Even if I told her it was fine, that wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know how other craftsmen would normally respond to this, but based on Klua-san’s reaction, I got the feeling they’d probably have terminated the contract.
However, I wanted to continue working with her. It wasn’t because she was beautiful — well, that might have been 10 or 20 percent of it. It was mainly because she was serious and passionate about her job, and having fun with it.
Even if my share of the profits were to decrease in the future, I think I’d still continue my current relationship with her, without changing a thing.
That was the reason for it.
「W-well, I… I have to take responsibility. Because of my carelessness, I caused you—」
「Before that, would you please get dressed?」
Klua-san looked down at herself, then turned bright red and covered her chest with her hands.
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Klua-san seemed to have calmed down a bit after changing into proper clothes. She sat on the bed, still beet red.
「First of all, I didn’t think of it as particularly troublesome.」
「Wh-why not? I caused you a lot of trouble. I ended up making you carry me to the inn and prepare a room for me.」
I realized she was probably thinking that our time at the restaurant was work-related. Naturally, I had to clear up that misconception.
「I didn’t really go to meet you on business, did I?」
「Huh? Um… What do you mean by that?」
「I was just going out for drinks with a friend.」
Klua-san stared at me with surprise written all over her face, but eventually shook her head.
「Even so, I went there as part of my job. And yet—」
「I just want you to reflect on it. I went out drinking with my friend, my friend drank like an idiot and got totally plastered. Whether or not it was for business is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?」
Klua-san looked pensive as she considered these words. I kept going before she could say anything.
「As a matter of fact, while I was carrying you up here… well, your chest ended up hitting me a few times. In reality, I’m the one who should be apologizing here, right?」
「Relius-san… you’re not particularly responsible for that. I don’t think you had that kind of intention at the time.」
「Is that what you think? I’m a man, too, but you haven’t even thought about that, have you? Anyway, I came here to apologize. I’m sorry.」
She closed her mouth and was quiet for a bit. I reached out my hand to her.
「In spite of that, will you continue working with me? I’m rather fond of your work, and I’d love to maintain our partnership.」
Klua-san thought for a bit, then opened her eyes widely and nodded, bowing to me one more time.
「I understand, I’m sorry. I’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again.」
「That’s fine when we have work to do, but don’t worry about it when we go out drinking as friends. I enjoyed seeing you like that, it was a side of you I don’t usually get to see.」
「Wh—uh, but I won’t make any blunders like that again!」
She practically shouted that, her face red. At any rate, I had somehow managed to defuse the situation.