23 Should We Go Back Together?

Hisaki's first day at work went smoothly. She got to know her colleagues who handled the administrative tasks as she did. Mrs. Koyanagi also introduced her to the labor group supervisor Mr. Kajiwara.

Both Mrs. Koyanagi and Mr. Kajiwara taught Hisaki the workflow in the warehouse.

This huge place processed from receiving the shipment of goods, putting them away from the receiving dock to storing them in suitable places. They were also responsible for collecting products according to the orders to packing and shipping them.

"We ship our goods all over the country," Mr. Kajiwara boasted with a proud smile as he finished explaining to Hisaki, "No matter whether it's a small shop or a huge department store, we will ship them without fail but, most of our focus is on southern region."

At this time, Mrs. Koyanagi left Hisaki to learn from the middle-aged man as she went to continue her job. They sat in the supervisor's office cubicle that was separated far from the administrative office.

"Mr. Kajiwara, does it mean the labor staff would pack the goods in all three shifts?" asked Hisaki while jotting down the points on a notebook.

"Yes, the shipping out happened all the time," Mr. Kajiwara took a paper from the drawer. He handed it to Hisaki, "We separate the workforce according to the processes. The group that receives the goods at the dock is different than the one that put them into storage."

Although Hisaki's role was just as an assistant clerk, it was still crucial for her to learn in depth. After she asked a few more questions from Mr. Kajiwara, she thanked the older man and left the supervisor's office.

Her session with Mr. Kajiwara started after lunch hour. Now, it was three in the afternoon, only one hour left before clocking out.

To return to the administrative office, Hisaki had to walk down a long pathway. There were huge steel racks on her left and right where the goods were stored. The digitizing system of a warehouse was still outdated at this time thus, more labor force was required.

Several workers were focused on their tasks. It was an understatement to say the warehouse is busy. It went beyond that.

"...!"

Hisaki's eyes instantly brightened. She bumped into her old man!

Heisuke also seemed to notice her. He stopped doing his job and greeted her. A few big boxes were stacked together on a platform hand truck trolley. He was handling it.

"Going back to the office?" Heisuke thought he saw her coming out from Mr. Kajiwara's office.

Hisaki nodded with a smile, "Yes."

Heisuke hummed in acknowledgment. A thought struck his mind. He asked, "Should we go back together?"

Since they came to work together, it was nothing to return together too. Unless one of them had another prior engagement to be attended to after work hours ended.

Hisaki almost jumped in delight. She immediately answered happily.

"Yes! Then, I'll wait for you outside?"

"En."

Both of them headed to their own destinations. While Hisaki couldn't resist smiling in glee, Heisuke still had a calm look. He dutifully did his job as he brought the boxes to a section of the warehouse.

"Hey, Heisuke, who were you talking with earlier?"

A man with a buzz-cut nudged Heisuke's arm. He saw this quiet man interacting with a girl earlier.

"She's the new assistant clerk," answered Heisuke without looking up. He was checking the list of the items on the clipped board.

"Oh? How did you know her?" The man asked again in curiosity, "I've only heard that we got a new staff at the office. Did she ask you for help?"

"No. I asked her if we should go back together," replied Heisuke without thinking. He began to arrange the boxes on the steel rack.

"What? What... wait! Did you really ask her to go home together?"

Heisuke frowned as he finally realized how one could easily mistake his words with another meaning. He turned around and looked at his coworker.

"Miss Chisaka has just moved into the apartment where I live," Heisuke briefly explained, "We're neighbors. Since today is her first day, I just help her. Tadao, don't think nonsense."

Tadao blinked a few times before his lips broke into a wide grin, "Oh! That's the reason! Alright, alright. I was just excited to see you talking to a pretty girl like that."

Heisuke shook his head, feeling a bit helpless. He stared again at Tadao, "Have you finished your work?"

"Hehe, not yet," Tadao laughed sneakily. He turned around to go in the opposite direction, "I better go before Mr. Kajiwara nags at me."

Heisuke ignored Tadao. He continued his job.

At certain times, Heisuke couldn't avoid thinking back to what his mother told him last night about Hisaki's situation back home.

After dinner, his mother brought up more stories that Mrs. Ikeda conveyed to her.

The young lady actually had a bright future waiting for her. Unfortunately, her opportunity to further her study was snatched away by her own family. If she didn't run away from the unwanted marriage, her fate might worsen.

Heisuke secretly thought both he and Miss Chisaka were forced to make the same choice due to their environment.

He rejected the study offer because he understood it would just make his mother work harder. Although he received a scholarship, it wouldn't be enough. They still had debts to pay, the ones they shouldered after his father's imprisonment.

Heisuke didn't have the heart to let his mother endure everything.

As for Miss Chisaka, she was deprived of the opportunity because of his family's backward views. He heard that her grandfather was the one who held the crown at home. The old man was also the one who forced her to get married.

Heisuke exhaled softly. With a slight turn of his chin, he glanced in the direction where Hisaki vanished.

At a quarter past four, he found Hisaki was already waiting for him outside the warehouse. She didn't notice him approaching her. Her attention was on something else.

Heisuke quietly followed her line of sight.

Did she only look at the vast blue sky?

"Miss Chisaka."

As if she heard a soothing melody calling for her, Hisaki turned around and gave the man a happy grin. Delight twinkled in her pair of eyes.

Throb!

Heisuke froze.

A fleeting image of the woman in his dreams seemed to overlap with the woman in front of him. His gaze remained on her smiling face but there was no expression colored on his own.

"...Mr. Saeki, are you alright?"

Hisaki was confused to see Heisuke staring intently at her. She didn't think there was anything weird on her face. Besides, there was something wrong with the way he looked at her.

"Mr. Saeki?" Hisaki waved her hand, trying to get a reaction from him.

Heisuke snapped out of his daze. He blinked his eyes a few times. Clarity returned to his gaze.

"Sorry... Have you waited long?" asked Heisuke. He gently rubbed the space between his eyebrows as he avoided looking at her.

"No, but, are you really alright? Are you tired?"

It was hard for Hisaki to not feel worried. In the short time that Heisuke stared keenly at her, Hisaki really felt the vibe coming from him was amiss.

"I think I just need a rest," Heisuke denied it. He returned to his usual calm and unperturbed demeanor.

"Then, we should go home soon," Hisaki agreed, "I feel like today is hotter than usual."

Heisuke just hummed softly. Both of them walked along the road that would lead them back to the apartment. Sometimes, a few motorcycles and bicycles passed by them, leaving the flowers and leaves fluttered.

"How's your first..."

"Do you..."

Both of them didn't finish their words. Hisaki looked at Heisuke for a moment before she burst into laughter.

A faint smile brewed on his lips. Somehow, he liked to hear her laughing.

"What do you wanna ask? About my first day?"

Heisuke nodded, "Is everything alright?"

"Everyone is good to me," Hisaki was truly in relief, "I learned a lot from Mrs. Koyanagi and Mr. Kajiwara. My colleagues also are all helpful."

"You can ask anyone if you need help. Most of them are good," admitted Heisuke honestly.

There were a few people who tended to cause trouble but, the warehouse was generally a good place to work. Despite the hard labor that was required, the boss paid them well.

"Then, what do you want to ask me about?" Heisuke lifted his eyebrows.

Hisaki's smile turned sheepish. She looked left and right, suddenly shy to continue staring at the man. After a moment, she finally asked, "En... do you work the morning shift tomorrow?"

Heisuke blinked. His answer was not what Hisaki wanted to hear.

"I'll work the evening shift."

"Oh... is that so."

Hisaki pursed her lips. She lowered her head, trying to conceal her dismay.

Heisuke tilted his head. Why did he sense some disappointment coming from her?

Could it be...

"If I work the morning shifts, we can go to work together."

Hisaki abruptly looked up at him, "Really?"

"...yes."

Her smile bloomed again.

For real, Heisuke didn't know why did he persuade her with such words. Even though they were neighbors who worked at the same place, they didn't need to go together but...

Seeing how bright her smile was, he thought that he had done a good thing.

'Who are you, really?'

Even though the idea sounded crazy and they had just met a few days ago, Heisuke had to admit that somehow, Hisaki reminded him of the young lady in his dreams, the lady whose face was still a blur in his mind.

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