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|The Girl Next Door|
|Character(s) Shown on Cover|
The Girl Next Door is the 21st chapter of Taamo's Taiyou no Ie.
Young Daiki brags and shows off his test scores to his amazed friends. Daiki sees Mao and asks her to show him her test scores, which Daiki happily claims his win. Mao tells him that they weren't competing and she barely studied for the test. Daiki's friends make fun of Mao and call her a sore loser. They complain about Mao's attitude, but one of Daiki's friend admits that Mao's hairstyle was really cute (with the ribbon), which another one agrees. Furious, Daiki yells at them and complains that Mao isn't cute.Mao has just beaten Daiki again in video games, and Daiki asks for another game. Mao refuses and says that Daiki is weak. Young Hina comments about the two of them to her teddy bear. Daiki makes insults Mao's hairstyle, saying that it was weird and she looked terrible. Mao admits that her dad always says that it makes her look like mom . When Mao leaves, Hina tells Daiki that she knows that boys bully the girls they like. Daiki gets annoyed and says that he doesn't like Mao. Mao meets Hiro out the door, and Hiro notices her hairstyle and pokes it. Mao rips the ribbons out of her hair, and Hiro asks why she took the hair bands out. Hiro says that it was cute. Daiki watches the two of them from a distance.
Daiki recalls his parents death, and thinks about he hates the rain, particularly because it reminds him of things he'd rather forget. One day outside near the shrine, young Daiki was huddling by himself in the rain. Mao came over with an umbrella and shielded Daiki from the rain pouring on him. It meant a lot to Daiki.
Daiki is now living with his aunt and uncle in Kobe after his parents death. He couldn't bring himself to live in that house, without his parents and face reality. Daiki recalls how Hiro contacted him saying that Mao is living in the house. Daiki had completely forgotten about Mao, and he couldn't even remember what Mao looked like.
When Daiki had stopped by Hiro's house, Mao came to greet him (and it had been a while since they had met). Daiki doesn't think it is okay for Hiro to live with Mao, who was already a woman. Though Daiki thinks that Mao always tries her best, no matter what.
Back in present day, at the Goodbye and Welcome Back Daiki party, Mao and Hiro are half asleep. While Hiro is asleep, Mao and Daiki decide that Mao should draw on his face. Surprisingly, Daiki is able to laugh in house again.
At Daiki's school in Kobe, Daiki talks with another one of his classmates about his transfer to a prep school. For fun, Daiki imitates his classmate's dialect in Kansai.
At his aunt and uncles house, Daiki is packing up things to send to Mao and Hiro. Daiki's aunt comments that Daiki's cartoons were "creepy", and Daiki claims that it is a "work of art". Otoha comes over, and gives him good luck charms that she bought. Otoha goes downstairs to clean it up. Daiki's aunt comments that Otoha has become a fine young lady, and she was hoping that Otoha and Daiki would get married. Daiki is surprised by this, and he tells her that he will repay her for everything. Daiki's aunt says that she doesn't want to be repayed by money, and she would rather have Daiki chase after his dreams. Daiki's aunt wants Daiki to introduce her to the girl he likes, since she was the person who changed him from being a coward. Daiki is embarassed, and he doesn't want to admit it, but he wants to see Mao again.
Mao looks at the calendar, excited for when Daiki will come back to the house. Mao asks Hiro where Daiki is going to school, and Hiro tells her that Daiki is going to Mao's school. This makes Mao schocked, since Daiki is "so smart". Mao imagines Oda bullying Daiki, and Oda laughing in Chi's face when she confesses to her. Hiro ponders about Mao and Daiki, who will be working at the same restaurant, going to the same school, and living in the same place. He tells her that Mao needs to work somewhere else, but when Mao says she'd rather not, and Hiro tells her that he was joking. Mao suggests that Hiro should work at the bar, and Hiro says that she is crazy.
At the Warring States Themed Bar, Mao is surprised that Matsumuto Aoi lied to Daiki that the job (at Warring States Themed Bar) available was in tutoring. A guest requests to see Mao, but apparently he/she left.
Mao leaves after finishing her job from the Warring States Themed Bar, and she meets Sugimoto (Radical), who wants to talk to her face to face.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
Daiki [thoughts about Mao]: Short little Mao. Before I knew it she was here beside me.
Daiki [thoughts about Mao]: After that Mao never came to school with that hairstyle. I felt a little guilty, but at the same time relieved. Like taking back a toy someone stole from you.
Daiki [thoughts]: My parents died one rainy day. Since then I've hated the rain. The smell of it reminds me of things I'd rather forget. The brother who never shed a single tear. The sister who bawled her eyes out.
Daiki [thoughts about Mao]: She never said a single word as she stood by my side, shielding me from more than just rain. But no one will ever know how much that meant to me.
Daiki [thoughts about Mao]: But if I were to sum up Mao in a single sentence I would say that she always did her best. Always did her best to find her way. Always. Always. Always.
Daiki [thoughts about Mao]: Before I knew it, I was able to laugh in this house again. Mao. Short little Mao. Somehow she had reached even the deepest parts of me. Before I knew it, she was here beside me.
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