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Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter

ひとり寿司第35章パート1

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します!

ひとり寿司

寿司シリーズの第一作

キャミー・タング

西島美幸 訳

スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。

ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。

そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。

エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。

レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり ——

過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。

***

35

レックスは永遠に続くような階段を見上げた。「四階?」

「そう」

「で、エレベータないの?」

「ない」

「オリバー」レックスは彼の方を向いた。「膝は良くなってきてるけど、階段を昇る時は、まだすごく痛いの」

浅黒い皮膚と対照的な明るく白い歯を輝かせて、オリバーは顔をゆがめた。「引っ越すまでにはもっとよくなってるんじゃない?」

「さあ。理学療法は頑張ってるんだけど」(嘘つき。ここ数回のセッションはキャンセルしたくせに。臆病者)

「そっちの方は上手くいってる?」コンバーチブルのメルセデスまで戻った。

「順調よ。回復はゆっくりだけどね」

「うん、そんなもんだよね。大学の時、半月板が裂けたことがあってさ、六ヶ月かかったよ、ビーチバレーボールができるようになるまでに」

「ビーチバレーするの?」確かにオリバーは体格が良かった。

「もうしてない」悲しそうに笑った。「膝がついていかないから、やめたんだ」

「それは大変だったわね」レックスだったら、車椅子を余儀なくされるまでやめないだろう。車椅子になったとしても、まだやめずにみんなを追いかけ回すかもしれない。

オリバーは肩をすくめた。「思ってたほど悪くないよ。君もやるんだろ?」

「月曜と金曜が男女混合、水曜日がSCVAの女子チームよ。中学生女子チームのコーチもやってる」

「そうなの? 楽しそうだね。どんな調子?」

「ああ……順調だけど、六月から資金が切られるかもしれなくて」事実、水曜日の夜以降、祖母が資金を切っても驚くことではない。

「本当?」彼女のために助手席側のドアを開けながら、オリバーは立ち止まった。「いくら?」

レックスの全身は、その場でブンブンと音を立てるハチの巣に変わった。九月までに必要な金額を彼に告げた「この夏、プレイオフのために遠征するから、高いの」

エジプト人のような形の目が、思慮深そうに細くなった。「もしかしたら、何とかできるかも」

「マジで?」

「約束はできない。ちょっと考えさせて。計算してみるけど、しばらく考えてたんだ。こんなことができないかなって。悪気はないんだけど、僕のビジネスにとっても有利かもしれないから」

「もちろんよ、分かるわ」

「それに僕の牧師がいつも言うんだ。イエス様がしたように、コミュニティーに貢献するようにって」

「どこの教会に行ってるの?」レックスは信じられなかった。オリバーの言うこと全てが、彼を完璧な人にしていた。

「緑の牧場教会」

「私、サンタクララ・アジア教会に行ってるの」(釣り合うとはこういうことか)

「それはいいね」面と向かうと、自信にあふれた彼の眼差しは澄んでいた。「そうだ、今晩一緒に食事でもどう?」

「私? 今晩?」このハンサムで日に焼けた男が、彼女ともっと時間を過ごしたいと思っているのか?

「君が空いてるんだったら、是非」

「もちろん」彼の高級車で時間を過ごしたくないと思うのは、死んだ時ぐらいだろう。

ああ、それに、彼と一緒にいるのも確かに楽しかった。

**********

「楽しかったよ、レックス」オリバーは、彼女の方にゆっくり近づき、アパートのドアの枠にもたれた。

「私も」確かにそうだった。彼はエイデンのように穏やかで、落ち着いていた。エイデンのように彼女をからかうことはしなかったが、会ってからまだ数時間しか経っていないので、当たり前だ。

「また今度会えるといいな」彼の声は低くハスキーになった。

「いいわね」

オリバーのエキゾチックな目が、彼女の口に降りてきた。これは男性の無言のサインに違いない——女の子に(入るよ!)と伝えるための。

彼女はそれを受け入れてもいいと思っていたはずだ。話しやすいし、不快に感じることは何もない。歯はきれいで、臭くなく、靴じゃなくて顔を見て話してくれる。

「ユー・ガット・メール」か何か、感傷的なラブコメ映画で見たジェスチャーで、オリバーはレックスの頬をさわった。レックスはあごをピクピクさせたが、ギクリとはしなかった。やった、上出来だ。

彼は、ゆっくりと近づいてきた。レックスとしては、もっと早くしてくれた方がよかったのだが。

いや、彼女は態度を改めるべきだ。この恐れを克服しなくては。これ以上、彼女の人生を台無しにはさせない。オリバーとのキスを楽しむ!

それに、女の子達のことも考えなくてはならない。オリバーは、チームのスポンサーになってくれる可能性のある素晴らしいボーイフレンドになるだろう。

彼のキスは、最初はとても軽く、はちみつのように甘かった。(悪くない。大丈夫だ)

そして、だんだん息が激しくなり、濃厚なキスになってきた。体を押されて、ドアにもたれた。レックスは息が苦しくなり、離れた。

彼の目は曇り、真っ黒だった。そして瞬きをすると、悲しそうになった。「ごめん、君があんまりきれいだから。本当に楽しかったよ」

それはお世辞だ。「夕飯ありがとう」お金も払ってくれた。「あの……また電話するわ」やっと、本当に彼と一緒にいたいように言うことができた。

レックスは一人でアパートに入った。半分ぐらいしか出し終わっていない段ボール箱は、また詰めなくてはならない。

おもしろい。まるで彼女の人生そのもののようだ。

***

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