“Excuse me,” a voice came from the other side of the door.
Satoru hurriedly sat back on the cushion. Maria and I also turned and sat down properly.
“Sorry for making you wait.”
The door slid open and the woman from before came in with a tray of teacups. She set them down in front of us along with some snacks.
“We’d like to talk to you individually, so would you please follow me one by one?”
I wondered what would happen if I refused, but of course that wasn’t an option.
“Well then, Saki Watanabe, please come with me.”
I was dying for a drink but had no choice except to follow her out into the hall.
“The man who was supposed talk with you all is Mr. Niimi, the man who was with you earlier. Oh, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Kinomoto. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said, giving a quick bow.
“…anyway, when I informed the chairman of your arrival, she asked to speak to you directly instead. So we are going to her office now.”
“Oh, you mean, Satoru’s…Tomiko Asahina?”
“Yes. She’s very kind, so don’t be so nervous.”
There was no point in her saying that. My heart, which had already been beating quite fast, began pounding even more vigorously.
“Excuse me,” Kinomoto bent down on one knee and knocked on the door.
I waited with trepidation.
“Come in,” a clear female voice replied.
The door opened and we entered what appeared to be a drawing room that was twice as large as the parlor we had come from. There was an elegant alcove on the left inside, inside which was an attached study, and opposite it was a set of staggered shelves.
“Bring her in please.” The grey-haired woman seated at the table spoke without looking up.