My first time jogging was one early morning, where the sun had only just appeared. Even though it was so early in the morning, my bodyguard, Mihara-san, was already greeting me with a lively smile.
“Good morning, Reika-ojousama! Come! We’ll do our best, starting today!”
“Good morning… I will be in your capable care.”
After doing some leg stretches in the garden, we began slowly running around my neighbourhood.
Mihara-san had suggested 3 kilometres for our first day. I told him that I had never run for 3 kilometres before but he told me that I had to run at least 3 kilometres for it to have any point, so in the end I had no choice but to bear with it.
“We aren’t worrying about your time today, so just go at your own pace!”
Under his encouragement my running was energetic at first, but before long my feet were leaden. My lungs hurt too.
“Eh-! Reika-ojousama, what’s the matter!?”
“We’ve only just run 500 metres, you know?!”
Like I care. I don’t think I can run 3 kilometres unless we drop the pace more.
The hot-blooded exercise enthusiast Mihara-san was having none of it though.
“Reika-ojousama! You’re running slower than you walk, you know!? Come on!”
Impossible. It hurts. I want to give up…
I was already heaving before we reached the 1 kilometre mark. I was slumped over as I ran, and my arms looked more like I was dog-paddling than I was running. And my lungs… my lungs… were burning… I swear I could taste blood…
“Reika-ojousama! Swing your arms more! Come one! One! Two! One! Two!”
Mihara-san began to count out a rhythm to encourage me as he ran beside me.
“Don’t give in to yourself, Reika-ojousama!”
“Reika-ojousama! We haven’t even reached the halfway point! Give it some oomph!”
“Keep your head up and keep at it! Go! Go! Go!”
Mihara-san’s voice rang out through the affluent neighbourhood.
Pain… Why had I ever thought this would be a good idea… When were the endorphins going to come… I kept waiting, but the runner’s high never came for me… Pain… Painnnnn…
In the end, it came down to him pushing me from behind, but I somehow managed the 3 kilometres back to the house.
With shaking legs, I collapsed onto the garden without a care. The grass was sharp and prickly but I couldn’t bring myself to bother.
“Reika-ojousama! After the jog we still have your stretches!”
Impossible… I didn’t have the energy to get up anymore… My heart was pounding dangerously in my chest.
A wide-eyed Oniisama discovered me laying around in the garden.
“Reika, you okay…?”
I tried to speak but only strange wheezing noises came out, so I shook my head instead.
“Mihara-san, how far did she run?”
“Roughly 3 kilometres.”
“Hmmmm, this bad after just 3 kilometres…?” said Oniisama, sounding troubled.
Sorry for being useless, you two.
“But no need to worry! With daily running she’ll have the stamina in no time!”
Eh-!? I’m going to be doing this daily!?
I wanted to reply but it hurt too much to. Please no, just today was enough already… Please, no more running…
But Mihara-san had been hired specifically to guard me during my jogs. Hiring him based on a whim, and then quitting after one day? I couldn’t bring myself to be so selfish… But I hated this…
The sunlight was getting stronger now so if I lay there I would tan. Somehow gathering the strength to get up, Mihara-san and Oniisama supported me as I headed indoors. Inside I lay down again.
Thanks to Mihara-san’s hot-blooded pep talk the whole neighbourhood was aware of what a sorry sight I was. And given how much Okaasama cared about face, she was absolutely livid about it. Things were just horrible…
Starting from the next day we were driven to a nearby park to do the jogging.
But Okaasama was still in a bad mood. Things were just horrible…
The only spot of encouragement came from Beatrice’s emails.
“Today I ran 5 kilometres!”
“Today I ran in the evening too!”
Thank god I wasn’t alone──
I had no choice but to agree to the detox thing to cheer Okaasama up.
I still didn’t wanna go… But if I said that now Okaasama would finally throw a fit for real. This was my punishment for shaming her in public.
But at least it was just a detox course. It couldn’t be as bad as last year’s fasting…
I arrived with Okaasama at the Kaburagi group’s hotel. The hotel porter helped us with our luggage and we were guided into a room where acquaintances of my mother were waiting. They were older women from the upper class, and after looking around, many of them had been at the fasting last year. I supposed that a few of them were into dieting fads, and had invited all the rest along. What a pain…
That was when I noticed Maihama-san present, who was for some reason looking dressed up. She noticed me too, and came over.
“Goodness, you came too, Reika-san?” she said with a challenging look.
“Yes. You too, it seems, Maihama-san,” I replied with a smile.
“Fasting last year, and now a detox this year? You sure are working hard. You must really be desperate for her approval. Masaya-sama’s Okaasama, I mean.”
“You seem to be misunderstanding, but I am simply here to accompany my mother. The shocking addition here is you. For all that you mocked it last year, you seem to be standing right here. How the direction of the wind changes. They say that to slay the general you must first begin with the horse, but just because you yourself are in that position is no reason to project onto me. It is offensive.”
“What was that!?”
Hmph. She could glare all she wanted, it wouldn’t make her scarier. And once again, her curls were half-baked today.
I bade her gokigen’yoh with a smile and then left.
This trip was already turning into something annoying though…
Oh! Akimi-san! Hiiiii!
I could feel Maihama-san glaring from behind but I ignored it.
When everybody was here, Kaburagi’s Okaasama appeared on scene with a bang.