How to lose a girl with a poisonous tongue, starting from 100% likability (Volume 1) - 5 - Chapter 4: Prologue to Confession with Himuro-san, Starting with a Mutual Love Affair
- All Mangas
- How to lose a girl with a poisonous tongue, starting from 100% likability (Volume 1)
- 5 - Chapter 4: Prologue to Confession with Himuro-san, Starting with a Mutual Love Affair
Chapter 4: Prologue to Confession with Himuro-san, Starting with a Mutual Love Affair
I, Ryouha Himuro, exhaled as I heard the signal of the end of the cleanup volunteer work echoing from all over the riverbanks.
As if seeking shelter from the sweltering sun, I move under the bridge and crouch down.
In her hand was a plastic bottle filled with a sports drink. Tajima-kun had bought it for me when I was exhausted. I was really trying not to let him know that I was at the peak of my fatigue, but …… Tajima-kun seemed to have completely recognized me. I’m glad, but a little embarrassed.
I take such a thoughtful gesture from my beloved into my heart and chew on the happiness once again. Thank you, Tajima-kun!
I’m in a completely down state after having done physical labor, which I’m not very good at.
The main reason was that I carried heavy things such as bicycles and TV sets by myself.
I’ve been giving Tajima-kun a lot of trouble lately, so I was too much …… eager to let him have fun at least today, and as a result …… I ended up worrying Tajima-kun unnecessarily…. …Really, what am I doing? …….
The reason why I’m still here, even though my volunteer work is over, is because I’m waiting for Tajima-kun, who went to report to the teachers on my behalf, exhausted.
He also told me that he had some personal matters he wanted to discuss with me…
What personal matters? Could it be, Dede, that he’s going to ask me out on a date? That would make me so happy. I’d be so happy.
If that’s the case, I’ll have to think about what I’m going to say in reply before now. …….
Yes, I can’t make any more mistakes.
Tell her how you feel calmly and calmly, Ryouha Himuro. Yes, I’m sure you can do it.
If you make a mistake here, you won’t have a chance to be alone with Tajima-kun for a while.
The student council will be closed for the test week.
And in the meantime, …… Tajima-kun will study alone with Sunashiro-san. …….
I imagined a bad scene. My heart starts to ache dully with a feeling of uneasiness in my chest.
Masashi Sunashiro. The person who suddenly appeared in front of Tajima-kun after he entered the second year.
The person who, in a very short time, became such close friends with him, as if he was snickering at my efforts that I had been working so hard for a year.
We started talking a lot just because we were sitting next to each other, and before I knew it, we had even exchanged contact information…and he used the midterm and final exams to arrange what, from my point of view, was only a half-date to study together.
Mr. Sunashiro was getting closer and closer to Tajima-kun at a pace that was inexplicable to me.
When I look back, he is no longer behind me, and it seems as if he is about to overtake me.
Confusion, envy, sadness, fear. A sensation of various emotions welling up from the pit of my stomach.
And actually, I learned it from conversing with Sunashiro-san.
Maybe …… he likes Tajima-kun, too.
So I can’t lose. I can’t fail here.
I take a deep breath and turn up the heat as I watch the water bobbing peacefully.
I have to tell him.
I have to tell Tajima-kun how I honestly feel.
What are my honest feelings?
Yes, that’s obvious. I don’t mean to be tongue-in-cheek or negative,
A word of thanks and a word of apology.
The first one is gratitude. Of course, this sincere feeling of being glad that you like me. I want to put everything I have into just one word.
The second word is apology. This is …… once I have kicked Tajima-kun’s feelings to the curb. ……Yes, there is no excuse for this. I have to bow down and make a clean break.
Otherwise, I have no right to be by Tajima-kun’s side.
I stood up with a fire lit in my heart, determined to give it my all.
As I listened to the sound of the grass in the distance, I could hear it getting louder and louder.
Tajima-kun must be coming this way.
Then I must prepare myself and practice.
So I won’t fail again. To speak from the heart.
I take a sip of my drink to get myself in the mood and shake my head, “Okay.
Thank you and apology, thank you and apology, thank you and apology, thank you and apology…
I repeat these two thoughts silently in my heart and wait for Tajima-kun to come.
I waited for Tajima-san to come.
After reporting the completion of the volunteer cleanup to the teachers and the beautification committee members, I was walking toward the bottom of the ice house.
I was almost to the destination when I saw Himuro leaning his back against the wall under the bridge, which was hardly visible due to the surrounding bushes, and gazing blankly across the river.
Now, here comes the real work of the day, the beginning of the big game.
Feeling my hands sweating, I approach the side of the ice house with all my might.
“I’m back, Himuro. I guess you’re really done now. The teachers will take care of all the rest of the correspondence with the collection agency, and the student council can disperse as they see fit.
“Right. I’m sorry, Tajima-kun. I’m sorry for making you feel like you’re an unnecessary burden. I should have been the one to report to the teachers as the student council president. …… Thanks to you, I’m feeling much better now. Thank you so much.)
(With a small bow.
The ice room is unusually devoid of venom. Apparently, he is that tired.
“So, Tajima-kun. About that personal matter you were talking about earlier…”
Oh, yeah. …… I was just about to tell you.
I was a little stumped by this unexpected rush from Himuro, but I was ready and started to move my mouth.
I was determined to ask him out on a movie date.
“Hey, Himuro, do you have some free time after this?
His ears twitched slightly at my words.
This is the kind of …… sensitivity I’ve been waiting for, right?
Then, I’m going to push it all at once with a smile on my face,
“It’s afternoon to be precise,……, but I don’t mind if we break up once and change into our casual clothes…”
Feeling the sweat trickling down my face, I reach into my jersey pocket and pull out my long wallet.
“If you’re free, I was wondering if we could go to a movie together…”
As I was talking in a nervous rush, I hurriedly tried to take out the advance tickets for Breathless from my wallet, which Himuro had requested in my mind’s voice.
“Hey, look, there was the advance ticket I bought before. I thought it would be more fun with just the two of us than alone…”
I look up when I hear Himuro call out.
There was Himuro with a serious expression on his face, as if he had made an important decision.
“Thank you. And I’m sorry!”
Himuro breaks his legs and says no with a strong, firm refusal, just as I pull the advance ticket for Breathless out of my wallet.
I had no idea what had just happened. Suddenly, my vision almost went dark.
Again, a refusal.
Unlike the previous times, the voice from her heart did not come to her until later.
What in the world was wrong with ……?
My thoughts can’t catch up with reality. Your cheeks are burning and you feel thirsty.
It was just then.
“There he is! Hey, Otaku-jima…”
I heard a third person’s cheerful voice.
“There you are! I’ve been looking for you for… …… what …………?
Sunashiro, who had come down the embankment from the bike path to the riverbank and appeared below us at a run, stopped what he was saying when he saw what was going on.
I reacted to the voice and looked up to see Himuro’s indescribable gaze on Sunashiro.
Perhaps it was because of the bushes, or perhaps it was in the shadow of the bridge. It seems that the entire forward-bending posture of Himuro had been blocked from Sunashiro’s view until about halfway through the meeting.
Sunashiro’s frozen expression told me that he had no idea what to do after encountering such an extraordinary scene when he came to see me for some business.
“Ah, ah, ah, ah, …… sorry, it seems you were in the middle of something. …… Then I’ll leave you to your own devices…”
Sunashiro managed to keep his voice even while his face was wrinkled, and after saying that, he immediately turned away and tried to walk away. But..,
But he was stopped by the flat voice of Himuro, who straightened his posture.
“Don’t worry about it, I’ve just finished my business with you. If you came here because you have something to do, it’s probably good timing. Well, I’ll leave you to it. Let’s go home.
Himuro turns to Sunashiro, and then he quickly leaves.
Without speaking to me at all. …….
Not knowing what to do, I just sat there nodding my head and watching Himuro’s back as he became smaller and smaller.
As I was stiff and unable to move, Sunashiro’s concern for me was directed at me.
“…… sorry Otajima. It seems I came to you at the most inopportune time without noticing Himuro-san. ……I’m so sorry! I was told by Otashima that you were going to ask me out on a date. ……”
“No, Sunashiro came just after the results came in. So don’t worry about it.”
Naturally, his gaze shifts to the movie ticket that he could not hand over to her.
Sunashiro, who stared at the ticket as if following his gaze, uttered a surprised voice.
“Don’t tell me you tried to ask Himuro-san out on a date with …… that movie?”
“Oh, yeah. Yes, I did.”
“Because that …… is a ticket for an anime movie …… no matter how you look at it.”
The advance ticket with a picture of the hero and heroine of Breathless. Sunashiro saw it and said with a cold look on his face. I involuntarily feel faint.
“Oh, oh. As you can see, it’s an anime movie.
“Oh my God. …… Otashima, you’re an idiot. I told you, if you find out about Himuro-san’s hobbies and use them to your advantage, maybe you’ll have a chance.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s right. I remember that.
“Then what’s with that kind of thing? It’s just a guy who has a taste for Otaku Island.
“Well, that’s the thing. …… I can guarantee that it’s fun. ……”
I’m sure it was a request from none other than yourself. …….
“I’m starting to feel like an idiot for feeling sorry for myself ……. Can I? The next time you invite Himuro-san to a movie, make sure to choose a movie that’s not his cup of tea. Understand? Because in your case, that’s the first thing to do.”
“Oh, oh …… I’ll keep that in mind for now.”
Sunashiro’s powerful approach made me shake my head.
“I was going to support …… Otashima, but I didn’t think it was a problem before I asked him out on a date. Well, it’s just like Otaku-jima, I guess.”
Sunashiro shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head.
The next moment, however, Sunashiro turns his attention back to the movie ticket still clutched in his hand, and stares at it for a few seconds,
“I’ve made up my mind.
He looked at it for a few seconds and then lifted up his mouth as if to express his determination.
“Otashima, I’m free today, so I’ll go with you to see a movie. If I don’t do anything, you won’t have anyone to go with and the ticket will be wasted.
“…… can’t deny that.”
At first, I had planned to go to the show alone, but now I was feeling lonely.
When I said this hesitantly, he responded with a proud smile.
“Then it’s settled then. You should be grateful to me for being so merciful. Well, in return, you’ll have to study with me until the screening time.
Hey, hey, that’s what you’re really here for, isn’t it?
“Well… I was actually looking for you because I wanted to ask you about the quota for Saturday and Sunday. I don’t want to have to stay up all night during test week like I did during the …… midterm.”
I’m sorry, but that’s almost a given with your current level of proficiency. Well, I don’t want to discourage your motivation, so I won’t say anything.
So, what do you think? So, what do you think? I’m free after this. I’ll be lucky to see a movie for free.
“That makes it sound like you’re doing it mostly for yourself.”
“Well. Don’t say that.
Sunashiro’s carefree smile naturally makes a smile fall onto my face as well.
This must be Sunashiro’s way of cheering me up in his own clumsy way. It’s easier to be absorbed in something than to be alone with your head in your hands.
“…… I understand.”
I nodded my head in response to his good intentions.
I have no idea why Hishiro’s true feelings were so.
Maybe he had done something wrong that could have made a hundred years of love grow cold. If that’s the case, I’d like to apologize properly once, but …… apologizing anyway even though I don’t remember it is the worst way to apologize. I really don’t …… know what to do.
Anyway, it’s a fact that I have an extra ticket if I’m rejected honestly. It’s a waste of money…besides, it might be more fun to try to proselytize the anime to that sand castle than to see it twice… Besides, I’m sure we’re not going to get anywhere if we keep worrying about it…
“So, where should I go to teach him? Is it the same as usual, in a classroom?
“Well, I’m hungry after all the work I’ve done, so I think I’ll grab a hamburger. Oh, just because we’re going out together doesn’t mean you can’t make some strange mistake like this is a date.
“I’m relieved to hear that. If it’s a date, then I can’t go there at all, since I’m an avowed Himuro fan.
“Hey, you’re looking good for nothing. Well then, Otashima, let’s get dressed and meet in front of the station.
After saying this, Sunashiro left the place first.
I’m going to go to the station.
“Ah, my head hurts so much, I need a break!
Sunashiro suddenly roared and rested his upper body on the desk as if nodding off.
The place was on the second floor of a hamburger store. The place is a table in the eat-in space.
This is the third time he has declared that he is giving up since he started studying with a hamburger in his hand.
Let’s just say that I’m a healthy high-school boy, and I’m tempted to switch positions with the desk at the sight of the extraordinarily rich dice of the sandcastle being pressed.
“Hey, hey, the interval for taking a break is getting shorter and shorter. This seems to indicate that study time and break time will be reversed in the end.
I shrugged my shoulders as Sunashiro started playing with his phone.
“You’re annoying. After I drink this, I’m going to change my mind and get serious.”
Sunashiro took a sip of his drink and started fiddling with his phone again.
“Well, it’s Sunajo who’s in trouble with this, and I don’t have any disadvantages. Now, take a break to your heart’s content.
“I know, I know. I was just about to get serious when I got this line back.”
Hey, come on, that’s not what you said before.
“For now, your priority should be memorization. Japanese history, world history, and information should be done thoroughly. Math and English will come later. I’m sure I’ll be able to handle them a little better since I’ll have a good grounding in midterm.”
Sunashiro’s lips twisted into a smile as she responded to his words.
“I’ll tell you now, to be honest, I was about to give up because I thought it would never be possible. I was prepared for my allowance to be reduced to 1,000 yen… But Otashima, who was supposed to be a stranger to me, started to put more effort into it than I did. …… As a result, I was able to achieve the above-average ranking I had promised my parents…”
Sunashiro put away his phone and said happily with a distant look in his eyes.
“What, does that mean you didn’t trust me much? That’s a little too much for Sunashiro to have asked you to do.”
I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s not like that, it’s not about Otaku Island, it’s about me making my own limits… well, it all comes down to the fact that Otaku Island is really gross.”
What? Why? There was no foreshadowing, no such element.
As I rolled my eyes, Sunashiro turned up the corners of his mouth,
I wonder if this is just a hunch? I thought Otashima would do something about it – whether it’s midterms, finals, or the university of my dreams – and that’s why Otashima is really creepy.”
“That’s …… probably a compliment, right?”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Otaku-jima is really gross.”
Sunashiro nods with a bright smile.
I think it’s a bit much to ask you to be happy about this, Sunashiro-san.
“Yes, yes. I don’t care if you’re really gross, let’s resume our studies now, shall we?
“What? I really believe that from the bottom of my heart… but… what? …………?”
Sunashiro, who had been smiling in a playful manner, opened his eyes wide as if he had just seen something shocking.
His astonished gaze flew far away. I followed his gaze and looked behind me.
What I saw was a man and a woman in school uniform, who appeared to be a couple.
The man is tall and handsome, and the woman is small and cute. Both were wearing uniforms from different schools from ours.
They were holding a tray with a set of hamburgers and chatting with each other. Naturally, they didn’t notice us sitting at a table, but chose a counter seat by the window with a good view and sat down. Well, they seem to be just a couple. Do you know Sunajo?
“Lie…… why is Kyosuke here…………?
Sunashiro, who was bent over as if to hide his presence, whispered this in a panicked voice.
“Hmm, what’s that reaction? Could it be that he is Sunashiro’s ex-boyfriend?
“No! I’ve never had a boyfriend. What are you making me say?
He’s not kidding about the self-deprecation.
“You know, we were talking about that before when we were having a chat next to each other. Aki has a boyfriend named Kyosuke. That’s him right there.
“Oh, I might have had that one. So that’s Aki next to him. …… So, this Aki-san, why is she wearing a uniform that’s not Kimijima’s? Is cosplay your hobby?”
What? It’s obvious that she’s not Aki. What, are your eyes rotten?
“Sorry. I’m a bit fuzzy on things I don’t know, …… so if it’s not Aki, then the girl next to that boyfriend of hers could be her …… sister or…”
“…… guess what?”
“……Sunajo, from the look of your anger, that was the scene of an affair between Aki-san and her boyfriend Kyosuke-kun, is that right?
“Yes, I’m sure so. And they’ve only been dating for less than a month. How is that possible?
Sunashiro is furious, as if he wants to barge in right now.
“Calm down, Sunashiro. How about we just call his girlfriend and ask her about it?
“Yeah, that’s right. If she’s not guilty of anything, she might know about this. It would be a shame to jump the gun and say it was all a misunderstanding.
“…… You may have a point, Otajima. Okay, I get it. I’m a little scared, but I’ll give it a try.
After a few moments of looking worried, Sunashiro nodded his head and put his phone to his ear as if he had given up.
The caller seemed to answer the phone immediately after he called, and the conversation started within ten seconds, and Sunashiro, as if he was just calling because he was free, casually asked for information from Aki.
I watched Sunashiro with my cheeks crossed in silence.
I watched Sunashiro’s sorrowful expression as his cheeks tightened as the conversation progressed.
“───How was it?
It would have been a silly question to ask Sunashiro, who was staring at the phone that had done its job, with dim eyes.
“…… Aki, Kyosuke told me that he had to cancel our date because he suddenly had to attend a club activity.”
“Well, since they’re both wearing school uniforms, I’m sure he had something to do at school in the morning.”
“I can’t …… forgive him for betraying Aki!”
Sunashiro gripped the paper cup tightly, his voice and expression growing tense.
It was in the middle of this. The girl with him left her seat to go to the bathroom and passed by our table.
I was so worried that the girl with whom I was having an affair (?) had completely disappeared from my sight. Sunashiro took the opportunity to get up from his seat as soon as the girl disappeared completely.
I’m going to go complain to Kyosuke. You wait there!”
As soon as he says this, Sunashiro walks away quickly without waiting for a reply.
She is furious and out of her mind, and it’s probably not a good idea to let her go alone.
Following this instinct, I immediately run after Sunashiro.
The target was hunched over with a peaceful expression on her face, playing with her phone and not feeling in any sense of danger. Sunashiro, who quickly approached right in front of me, first slammed his right hand against the counter with all his might.
Bang! a strong impact shakes the tray on the counter, and Kyosuke looks up in surprise to see what has happened.
Naturally, there were other customers in the restaurant, and their eyes all focused on the sudden sound, but the rest pretended to ignore it, as if it were a matter of course.
“Hey, who were you just here with and what were you doing ……?”
Kyosuke flinched for a moment at the low, strong voice filled with passion, but he immediately recognized the situation and tried to open his mouth to defend himself. But the furious Sunajo does not allow him to do so.
“It’s no use trying to play dumb. You know what I mean when I say that I just got off the phone with Aki, don’t you?”
“What if it was ……? Masa is the same as me…he’s always changing one guy after another…right? Tell that to Purse-san, who’s looking worried behind Masa’s back. This is just homophobia.”
Sunashiro turns around when Kyosuke says this, and for the first time he realizes that I’ve been following him.
It seems that “Purse-kun” means me. He’s so rude even though we’ve never met before.
I sigh to myself as I put away the phone in my hand.
“Masa, you don’t really care about such a lazy guy, do you? It’s like you’re only taking him because he’s buying you a drink.”
Kyosuke glances at me and smiles wickedly. This is a usual way to make his position clear. To make them realize that he is superior to them.
“Oh, don’t be discouraged. Reality is always cruel. Unlike the two-dimensional world you love.”
I wonder why he thinks I have feelings for Sunashiro and that I am paying him a tribute. …… It’s a complete mystery.
“Don’t call me names so casually, it’s disgusting. I don’t care about you right now. Apologize to Aki and break up with her. All I want to talk to you about is that promise.”
Sunashiro’s brow wrinkles, and she scowls at him as if she’s dealing with her father’s enemy.
“What? Why would I make such a promise? I mean, heh heh, if anyone has to make a promise, it’s you guys.
“Huh? There’s nothing else I have to promise you.
You do. If you don’t want me to take a picture of you being beaten up by me and spreading it all over the place, you can promise me that you won’t tell anyone about what happened here.
Kyosuke stood up and said with a hint of superiority.
He looked down at us with his clenched fists snapping, and his stout physique, which seemed to have been trained in an athletic club. It’s a shame, but with such a difference in physique, it’s no wonder he’s described as a nymphomaniac.
It seems that this guy thought he could win if it was just me and Sunashiro, so he decided to play hardball. As soon as Kyosuke stood up, Sunashiro’s arms were unfurled and his legs were lowered behind him.
His hand shaking slightly as he clenches his fist is not so much anger toward the underlings as resentment toward himself for his inability to do anything. It makes Sunashiro seem cute, even if it’s not appropriate to think so,
“No, that’s impossible. I’m stronger than you in a fight.
With a confident look on his face, he throws a challenge over my head.
I find myself standing in between him and Kyosuke, as if I’m protecting Sunashiro.
“Hey, hey, you better stop being so bossy, purse man. It’s true that there’s a chance that Masashi will fall in love with you if you show your manliness here, but you can’t beat me, first of all.
“No, in manga, the theory is that the one who looks obviously stronger loses.”
I return his mocking smile with a nonchalant attitude.
“Well, you want to give it a try? I don’t mind at all.”
“What? Don’t you dare!”
Kyosuke yelled at me with a scornful smile on his face and a blue streak on his face.
In this case, the act of yelling is more like an alarm to show that he is scared than a threat. It is an action of wild defensive instinct, like a dog’s howl. Thank goodness uneducated people don’t know the word “tactics” and are simple-minded. Their heads are in a happy set.
So I held my ground and stared at my opponent, unresponsive.
That was a few seconds after we started glaring at each other.
Kyosuke’s gaze was broken by a loud click of his tongue.
He kicked the leg of the chair he was sitting on with his right foot, and after taking one look at me, who still didn’t react, he went downstairs with a thud.
The other side lost patience.
“……Hey, you left the woman behind. He’s really just a facetious son of a b***h.
I sat down in the chair Kyosuke was sitting in and casually took a bite of the leftover fries and shrugged my shoulders. Oh, without salt, that’s pretty good.
Sunashiro was appalled, as if he still hadn’t quite grasped what was going on.
I shrug my shoulders and start playing with my phone.
“I didn’t know about …………. I didn’t know Otaku was so braggadocious about fighting.”
Sunashiro takes a few seconds to comprehend the situation and gives me an impressed look.
I put my phone away and snickered at his praise and kicked him off.
“Of course it’s a bluff. Of course he’s bluffing. A bluff.”
“Heh? …… So if Kyosuke hadn’t backed down and there had been a brawl, ……”
“Well, I’m sure he would have called 110 for help. I have no intention of winning by force against a guy who looks like he could be the ace of the sports club.
I immediately answered. But I had an idea and put my hand on his chin.
“No, wait, …… I have God in my heart, I might have managed it.
“Oh, I know that one. It’s called Chuunibyouji. There was a guy in my middle school class who had the same disease as Otakujima, a disease that makes you crazy from watching too much manga and anime.
I’m not sick! Well, I guess you don’t believe me. I can’t believe he’s really in touch with God.
But Otashima really has guts, doesn’t he? It’s like when he jokes around with me with a nonchalant look on his face… but even in a situation like now where he’s sure to lose if I make a move, he can still look cool and proud of his victory. What are you, a fearless person? Or are you just an idiot?
“No, no, of course I’m scared. You’re sure to lose if they find out you’re bluffing.
To tell the truth, I was quite nervous inside. The reason why my true self, who folded my hands and prayed for the end of the game, didn’t come to the surface, must be because I had to keep my facial expressions tight so that I wouldn’t be startled by Ryoha Himuro’s voice in my mind.
Thanks to that, I have acquired the skill of poker face.
“Then why did you come here? I told you to wait for me. Besides, this conversation had nothing to do with Otaku Island, so it’s natural that you don’t want to get involved.
“Huh, …… is that how it’s usually done ……?”
Sunashiro’s quizzical gaze fell on me from above my head as I tilted my head in confusion.
And Sunajo, too, had no idea what to do when he was confronted by a man who had reopened himself to him. The evidence of this is that his fingertips were shaking a little, though he may not have noticed it himself. To be honest, you can’t really blame me too much, can you?”
Sunashiro’s eyes widened and she reflexively held her hand down. He looked at me with a hard look, as if he wanted to say something.
“……I may have meddled unnecessarily, but I recorded the whole conversation with that man, so I’ll send it to you later.”
“What, when did you do that ……?”
“Well, just before I met up with Sunashiro.”
“But why are you acting like it’s a cop drama? …… Is it insurance so that you can cry to the police if your bluff fails and Kyosuke knocks you out? If that’s what you mean, then there’s no reason to give it to me. ……”
“You see, that’s it. They say love is blind. So I thought it would be a little less difficult to convince you if I had more evidence than arguments. Well, if you don’t need it, just turn it off.”
“Oh, ……? So this might be for Aki?
“No, it’s not. No, it’s not. It’s more for you. I tried my best for the sake of my friend, but it ended up in vain…” That’s a bad ending, even for me who was there. And I don’t want to have to share that awkwardness with my neighbors during lunch break. Well, it’s just insurance against that. Huh? Does that mean it’s for my sake after all ……?”
Sunashiro, who was looking at me as I was asking myself the same question, suddenly burst out as if he couldn’t stand it any longer.
“Haha…isn’t Otaku-jima really dangerous! It’s like a suspense movie with a bunch of old guys bugging and bluffing and whatnot. It’s really creepy.
“Seriously gross …… is definitely not a compliment.
“Well, let’s not get into the details.”
Sunashiro, with tears in the corners of her eyes, laughs with delight and delight, and slaps me on the shoulder.
A rather serious slap. Why am I being slapped? I have no idea.
“Well, now that that’s all settled, let’s get back to studying.
Sunashiro takes a step forward and raises his arms above his head, stretching out as he goes.
As soon as I got off my seat and got to my feet, Sunashiro, who had straightened his arms, stopped.
“…… And Otashima, I’ve made up my mind. I’ve decided that I want to beat Himuro-san.
Sunashiro turned his head to the side as he said this to me behind him and continued to speak.
“So, Otashima, you’d better be prepared for that.
“Hey, hey, even if Sunashiro is known for his strength, that’s a bit too much of a pipe dream, don’t you think? I’m sorry to interrupt your motivation, but that’s too much for Tajima-sensei to handle.”
I shrug my shoulders and reply bitterly, “Please make it a little more realistic.
Then a dazzling smile comes from the sandcastle.
It was as if he had found a fool and was mocking him, telling him that he had been misguided.
“Well, to be honest, it was really interesting. I really didn’t think it was an animated movie.”
Sunashiro’s first words of satisfaction as he passes through the thick doors of the theater after the screening of Breathless is over.
Walking next to him toward the lobby of the movie theater, I smile back happily.
“I know, right? Even cartoons aren’t that stupid, are they?”
“It’s kind of frustrating, but I agree with Otashima on this one. I used to avoid anime just because it was anime, but from now on I’m going to put that kind of prejudice aside.
“Yes, yes. I like that kind of honesty in Sunajo.
As soon as I said that, Sunashiro’s eyes widened.
Sunashiro’s walking speed increased and he walked toward the lobby ahead of me.
I was pulled in by the fact that he was so honestly attracted to me. …… Well, I guess that’s what happens when someone says “I like you” to someone like me.
The actual “I’m not a fan of the way you look at me,” she said, “but I’m not a fan of the way you look at me. I noticed a slight blush on her cheeks, probably due to her sudden short run.
“So, when are you going to do the sequel to this?
“We haven’t announced a specific date yet, but we are planning to do it in the fall.
“I see. Then take me with you when it comes out. You have a responsibility to get me stuck in Breathless, you know.”
“Responsibility?” …… Well, I don’t really care.
I’ve got your word. I promise!”
With a light smile on his face, Sunashiro squeezed my hands together and held them tightly.
“And Otashima, any other anime recommendations you can give me? I’m going to be free tonight for now. I was thinking of renting some DVDs on the way home if you have any. If you want, we can watch it together…”
Yeah, that’s a bad idea.
“Giving Sandcastle any temptation other than studying right now is an action I can’t authorize, since you’re the one who’s been chosen to be my teacher. If you’re not busy, study, study.”
“Oh, …… that’s right. ……”
“Hm? Well, after the test is over, I’ll give you tons of Otashima-san’s recommendations, to the point where you’ll be calling them really gross. If you’re up for it, be prepared.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s great! I’ll hold my breath. Don’t let me down.
Okay, I got my word. Let’s get you hooked.
“Otaku Island for now, that’s a promise too. Well, we can’t just stand around here like this forever, so let’s get out of here.
With that, Sunajo begins to walk with me, and we move from the theater entrance to the lobby.
It was just a few steps past the entrance when he said to Sunashiro, “What?
“What the …………?
I heard the sound of something being dropped on the ground with a crunch, and at the same time someone’s voice was raised softly.
Sunashiro and I both turned our heads in the direction of the sound.
We both caught sight of who it was, and let out a voice as well…
The dark-haired girl in front of me was, for all intents and purposes, Ryoha Himuro.
She must have come to the movie theater after going home. Her outfit was the one I had given her last week. If I hadn’t met her here, I would have said, “I’m glad you’re wearing it. I bet he would have said with a happy face, “I’m glad you’re wearing it…it looks good on you.
……I bet you would have said, “I’m glad you’re wearing it, it looks good on you” with a happy face. …….
Yes, of all places, the person to whom I invited to a movie has turned down my invitation and is now showing up to watch the same movie of his own volition.
The sound I heard earlier was an A4 size booklet that had been dropped by Himuro – in short, a pamphlet of Breathless, so I couldn’t think of anything else to say…
A heavy silence fell.
Himuro was the first one among the three to recover from his rigor.
When he came to himself, he quickly picked up the pamphlet and began to speak with a cool expression on his face.
“Oh, what a coincidence…” (Why is Tajima-kun here? And why are you and Sunashiro-san together again?)
From the sound of his shocked voice in his mind, does it mean that he didn’t expect me to be in a movie theater? And why is Himuro, who turned down my invitation, at the movie theater? And he came to see Breathless …….
“Oh, oh ……”
My mind is blank. I can’t get any words out.
“You just came out, does that mean you guys came to see this movie, Breathless?” （Did Tajima-kun just ask me out on a date with you to watch Breathless together?)
“That’s right. It was a waste of the extra ticket.”
Sunashiro, who was in a bad mood for some reason, replied.
Himuro blinked repeatedly, as if he didn’t understand the meaning.
“What, the tickets are left over… ……”
But Sunashiro raises his eyes and says that this attitude doesn’t make any sense.
“What? I’m not sure what you mean by that,” he said, his eyes flashing.
“I see, since I declined your invitation, you invited Sunashiro-san who was there instead. I’m sure that’s how it’s going to be. As a result of running away because I was embarrassed by Sunashiro-san’s visit, I probably turned down Tajima-kun’s invitation to go on a date with him – and, according to this situation and Sunashiro-san’s comment, I also turned down his invitation to see my favorite bracelet together…. …)
“Well, well, …… that’s what I mean. Well, the ice room turned me down, and I also felt that it would be lonely to go alone for some reason. ……”
Hmm? Why are you so surprised about your actions, Himuro?
Could it be, Himuro, that you were completely unaware that I had invited you to the movie?
But, Himuro, you clearly rejected my invitation. Yeah, at least he must have known that I asked him out on a date, right? Otherwise, there’s no reason for him to suddenly bow down to me right then and there. …….
“So you admit …… that you asked me out.” (No, Tajima-kun. That “thank you” and “I’m sorry” were not said with the intention of turning down the date! Because of my insincere attitude, Tajima-kun has been giving me a hard time. And yet, Tajima-kun is always there to support me in my foolishness. And instead of giving up on me, he is trying his best to make me like him more. …… So I decided, let’s end this kind of thing. I decided to accept a date from Tajima-kun after expressing my gratitude and apology to him. Otherwise, I would not be able to feel sorry for Tajima-kun. Then, perhaps because I had been reciting it in my mind for a long time, the moment I talked to Tajima-kun, that feeling was the only thing that came to the fore. …… and that’s why it happened like that. ………)
The voice in Hiburo’s mind, which sighed quietly, rushed to explain.
That was the reason,……?
In other words, the “thank you” and “I’m sorry” were not a rejection of the date, but were actually an apology for my rudeness and delight at my feelings, which were the opposite of what I really wanted, and that’s why I couldn’t hear his heart voice.
The words were filled with the fullness of Hishitsu’s feelings.
It is far from the case that I can be relieved …… to find out that he did not hate me,
“You seemed to be having a lot of fun, though. It seems to me that your speed of recovery is a bit unusual for someone who was rejected by someone she liked. In short, you just want any cute girl after all, don’t you?” (No, I don’t. …… Why do I keep saying things that are not what I think? And you do it in a way that criticizes Tajima-kun. This is not what I wanted to say. Why does my mouth try to push him away?)
Contrary to his regretful intention, as he himself admits, Hishiro’s expression is one of reproach,
“It seems I was right. It seems I made the right decision in rejecting the invitation from a frivolous man like you. You lied about your love for me. I’m so disgusted, you really are an a*****e. Why can’t I say a single word of sorry? Why do you keep …… moving your mouth so fluently with all the unnecessary things you say!)
I’m in a conflict between my real intention and my pretense.
Hearing both at the same time, I really didn’t know how to open my mouth.
I couldn’t think straight.
It was then that I heard the following words.
“You’re the one who’s the worst!”
Sunashiro raised his voice and took a step toward Himuro.
“You should have just sat next to me and listened to me all this time, making fun of Otaku Island all you want. Who the h**l do you think you are? You were just teasing me with your stupidity and just because someone likes me doesn’t mean you’re that high and mighty!”
Sunajo lunged at him, trying to grab him by the chest.
His loud voice attracts the attention of some of the guests in the lobby, but Sunashiro doesn’t seem to be bothered by that,
“It’s true, from the point of view of a perfect superhero like Himuro-san, Otaku-jima is probably a completely insignificant opponent. Even if he had invited me to a movie that I had originally planned to see, I would have turned it down immediately.”
At these words, Himuro’s eyebrows twitched slightly. Sunashiro did not notice.
“I understand that you don’t consider Otashima as a member of the opposite s*x at all. That’s your choice and I won’t say anything about it. But I don’t think you should deny her the effort she made to be liked by you.
Sunashiro continued without hiding his rising anger.
“There is no one who wouldn’t be shocked to be rejected by someone they like. So instead of asking him to teach me how to study, I went out with him as a distraction so that the ticket I prepared for him wouldn’t go to waste. You know what? I’m disgusted at being misunderstood, so let me tell you, I’m the one who asked you out.”
“You’re the one who asked me out…”
Sunashiro, who had been denouncing him, became more and more irritated by his nonchalant response.
I am sure that this was the worst batting situation among all possible batting situations.
Sunashiro had encountered the scene in a way that could only be misidentified.
I was sure that when Himuro said those words, it was not just before I gave him the ticket, but after I had invited him to the Breathless movie – a decision that was made after taking everything into consideration. He must have made that decision after seeing the ticket in my hand and seeing Himuro leave, saying that the conversation was over. This must have been what I saw when I was turned down for a movie date.
And Himuro in front of me, knowing the fact that I had asked him out on a date and it was for this movie, was inwardly beating himself up to the point of being too hard on himself. However, Himuro seems to be unable to back down in front of Sunashiro and is trying to keep up the appearance that he turned down the movie date.
“……We must not treat people’s efforts with disdain. ……You certainly have a point. Let’s do this.”
After ruminating over Sunashiro’s opinion and nodding to myself, Himuro turned his attention to me, who was standing behind Sunashiro.
“Tajima-kun, if time permits, would you like to watch the Breathless movie with me again? Of course, it’s my treat. I admire you for taking my tastes into consideration when choosing our date.”
Himuro smiles a testing smile.
But his feelings are the opposite,
（I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I know that no matter how much I apologize, you will never forgive me. So will you at least let me have another chance to start over ……)
It was a plea that almost brought tears to my eyes. …….
The truth of Ryoha Himuro’s true intentions and the truth of the discrepancy that occurred at the riverbank.
I was aware of everything, and my body remained frozen by the inability to explain it all.
Besides, if I reached out to Himuro now, I would be trampling on Sunashiro’s compassion and goodwill, who was raising his voice for my sake. …….
…… And maybe Himuro doesn’t understand.
This is different from the usual conversation within the student council.
“Well, I wouldn’t say no, would I? Because it was Tajima-kun, of all people, who wanted this situation in the first place.” (Please! Please, let’s …… together and give me another chance to apologize properly this time ……)
Sunashiro was surprised that this roundabout way of speaking was taken as an insinuation.
“Well then, let’s go, Tajima-kun. We don’t have much time left before the screening time. Otherwise, Tajima-kun will really ……)
Taking my silence as agreement, I quickly end the conversation and Himuro tries to start his action. In fact, he is trying to force his way through in a desperate situation. However, his expression was extremely cool, which could be considered irreverent by those who saw it.
This is the final blow to Masashi Sunashiro, who had been growing increasingly angry.
“You ……, how far do you have to go to make fun of Otaku Island’s feelings!”
With a thud, Sunashiro briskly repelled the hand that Himuro was about to hold out to me.
Himuro is appalled, and Sunashiro’s clear hostility flashes through the air.
Despite his flirtatious appearance, Sunashiro Masashi has a side of him that is more sincere than others when it comes to love.
Sunashiro is furious at Himuro’s behavior, as if he were playing on my goodwill, just as he did with my friend’s boyfriend earlier, and I’m sure he would have been the same way no matter who it was.
“Let’s get out of here, Otaku-jima.”
Sunashiro grabbed my arm forcefully and started to pull me along.
I am left at her mercy, empty and lost in my own thoughts, and she takes me away.
The moment the automatic door opened, I turned around and saw Himuro with her usual expressionless face.
But the slight behavior that she was unconsciously displaying had the melancholy of a puppy abandoned by its owner…
Sunashiro let go of my arm a while after we walked out of the general merchandising store where the movie theater was located.
“Sorry, Otashima! I couldn’t forgive Himuro-san’s arrogant attitude and I just lost my temper.
Sunashiro, facing him head-on, bowed his head vigorously.
“I had the chance to go on a date with Himuro-san, but he was …… annoying, wasn’t he?”
Sunashiro looks me up and down.
I shouldn’t make Sunashiro look like this because of me. …….
“……That’s no way to be annoying. I’d like to thank you. Because that Masashi Sunashiro got mad at me for my sake. So, ……, thank you.”
It is as difficult to express gratitude to someone face to face as it is to confess it.
My cheeks heat up, my eyes start to swim, and I start to smile awkwardly to hide it.
Sunashiro’s voice was stifled as if he was taken aback. His right hand was placed on his chest, probably to swallow his “really gross” impression of the embarrassed face in front of him.
After the tongue-in-cheek remark by Himuro, I thought this was a bad idea.
Sunashiro opens his mouth while twirling his blonde hair with his fingertips, as if to change his mind.
“Seriously, what’s with that guy? My impression of Himuro-san has completely changed today. He must really think of ordinary people like us as nothing more than insects, doesn’t he?
Sunashiro’s mysterious gaze pierced through my face as I spat out my frustration.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not in the mood to support Otaku’s love life anymore. ……Yes, I will never support you …….”
He was firm in his assurance, but for some reason his last line was weak and weakly blurted out.
“I don’t know if it’s for me to say, but you shouldn’t go for Himuro-san. She has too bad a personality. It’s a typical pattern that beautiful women have bad personalities. You’ll regret it for sure.
I’m sorry to say this to Himuro, but with an attitude like that, I don’t blame him for getting that opinion.
But… but I saw it… …….
Ryouha Himuro looking after me as I’m being taken to the sandcastle.
She was holding the pamphlet tightly in her chest and looking conflicted about something.
It’s as if she’s pleading with me, “Don’t go! as if she was appealing to the audience.
His sad eyes, as if his fearless attitude just before had been a lie, are still burned in my mind.
That’s why I …….
“……Maybe I will. Even so, I can’t seem to give up on Ryouha Himuro.
I said to myself in a self-mocking tone as a faint ray of sunlight shone through the cloudy sky.
Sunashiro gave me a surprising response,
“Hey, why are you so eager to choose Himuro-san? Is it because she has a nice face or looks?”
For some reason, Sunashiro’s expression looks like she’s about to cry. Could it be that …… she is getting emotionally involved with me, who seems to be recklessly in love?
“…… is the only way. Because she has a bad character and nothing else good about her. Or do you see something different in Otakujima?”
Sunashiro’s question was right on target, and I looked away and answered.
“If I had to say, I’d say that I’m …… a bit of a spoiled …… brat and a bit of a stubborn …… brat. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t just take a look at your own personal information and then use it to make your own decisions.
Sunashiro’s mouth dropped open and he asked, “Who are you talking about?” His expression was …… well, the reaction was as expected.
Sunashiro’s words suddenly reminded me of the reason why I fell in love with Himuro.
Yes, the incident at the bus excursion in the first year.
Looking back, I realized that I had been in love with the real Ryouha Himuro from the very beginning.
I saw a side of Himuro that was different from the usual Himuro during that mountain climbing, that was the real Himuro Ryouha.
Himuro’s harsh and sharp-tongued personality was a fake version of her.
But in reality, she is quite different. She is a spoiled brat and a stubborn person.
She is shy about love, and is sometimes upset or sad at the slightest incident with the person she loves. She is also more possessive than others, and gets angry and sulks immediately if something happens to her.
In addition, his sense of dress is extremely tacky.
That is the real Ryouha Himuro behind the cool honor student.
I saw a part of that in the exhausted Himuro on that hike, and that’s why I fell in love with that side of Himuro, and I was not ready to give up on her, no matter what I knew about her.
That’s why I can proudly declare that I’m in love with him.
That I love that troublesome character, that wicked Ryouha Himuro.
“It’s that kind of troublesome personality that makes me feel like I can’t leave her alone. It makes me want to be there for him. I don’t know if that’s enough.”
“Support? You mean Otashima supports Himuro-san?”
“Yes. Think about it. That guy is so full of self-doubt that he still hasn’t made any moves on the person he loves.
It’s obvious to anyone who looks at him that he’s not making any such appeal.
“It’s true, if you put it that way …… that there’s someone I like, but I haven’t heard any more rumors about it, which I’ve always wondered about …….”
“It’s funny, isn’t it? I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to have a new one, but I’m sure it’s a good idea to have a new one.
Sunashiro tilts his head, still lacking something to accept.
“…… hmm? Support,………….”
I suddenly feel a strange tugging at my own words, and I ponder.
And then it hits me,
“Oh, yes, that’s the way to do it!”
Yes, that’s right, “support”. This way, we can close the distance between you and the ice house, slowly but surely…
“What? What? You just came from ……?”
“Sorry Sunashiro, I’m going back to Himuro. I need to talk to you about something…well…something like that.”
“Eh …… huh… the mentality of Otaku Island is really made of diamonds.”
“Haha, I guess you’re right. See you later, Sunajo. Thanks for getting mad at me earlier. I’m glad you did. See you at school.
And just as he was about to step out..,
Sunashiro called out to me from behind.
“As I said before, I will never support your relationship with Himuro-san. Please remember this at …….”
“Oh, oh …….”
I couldn’t understand the reason for Sunashiro’s bright smile at the end, so I could only reply awkwardly.
I ran to the movie theater where Himuro was supposed to be.
However, there was no Himuro in the lobby of the movie theater.
Maybe he was watching Breathless. Thinking so, I looked around to see if there was a place nearby where I could sit down and wait until the screening was over… At that moment, my phone rang.
An incoming call. It was from Nanna,
<<Oh, is this Aito? I just wanted to let you know where Ryoha is.
<<Is she safe? What are you talking about? >>
<<<No, I don’t think so. You said you’d have a backup plan in case of an emergency.
<……Yes, I think that’s what you said. ……>
<Well, that’s not important, what’s important now is where Ryoha is.
<<<Ah, yes. That’s right. If you know where she is, please let me know.
<<<Yes, you’re right. Now, about Ryoha’s current location…
I put my phone away after hearing from Nanna about the current location of Himuro, and immediately set off for the location.
I told Himuro the answer I got and took a new step forward.
My normal is different from what everyone else says.
I think I’ve been aware of that for as long as I can remember.
I didn’t say anything difficult, but everyone who came into contact with me started saying things like “Himuro-san is amazing” and “I can’t do it”, and they began to respect me as someone who was a cut above the rest.
As a result, they avoided working together or doing things side by side with me for fear of comparisons and criticism, and they kept their own self-preservation and moved away from under me.
That man, Aito Tajima, was the first.
The first person who was aware of this and still tried to respond to my normality.
The one who stood next to me, knowing that I would show him my shame and my blunder, but still he didn’t run away from me.
Such a wonder.
He was the first person to express his opinions and complaints to me.
Unlike the people before, who only tried to make things up as they went along, he clearly stated his intentions in his complaints.
I am sure that he would never have said those words to me if he didn’t see me as an equal.
I was happy.
He tried to be my equal, he really wanted to stand next to me, he saw me as an equal partner, and sometimes he even cared about me and supported me…
I am so happy to have met such a wonderful person.
It was during a bus hiking trip in the fall of my freshman year that I became aware of my love for Tajima-kun.
The destination was at the foot of a certain mountain, a mere torture for someone like me who lacked the physical strength to do any exercise in my personal life. I really couldn’t understand where the element of relaxation from the usual class life existed in this.
Tajima-kun and I, who were in the same class at that time and were on the class committee, were at the end of the line and were in charge of notifying our homeroom teacher who was in the front of the line in case of some unforeseen situation.
As a self-confident person, I have never felt so glad to be a class committee member as I did at that time. …….
Because that contingency happened to me, of all people.
Because I was not strong enough, and because we had to face steep slopes many times, I got exhausted and was gradually pulled out of the line, and I fell far behind.
I must have been frustrated by my own inadequacy at that time. My body, which was at the limit of its ability to resist my pleas for a speedy march, miserably broke my leg.
It was then that Tajima-kun, who had been accompanying me without a single complaint, began to scold me with a serious face… and then he carried me to the line on his back.
As I nuzzled my face into his warm back, I let it sink in.
“Oh, I love this man.”
I loved him so much.
After that, my love for him increased at twice the speed every time I met him, and now my true love can’t be anyone else but Tajima-kun. Yes, it’s not that I want to get married anymore, but I want to go out with him with the definite intention of getting married.
From then on, I think I was living my school life with and without Tajima-kun.
How can I make him fall in love with me?
How can I become his …… lover?
I think that’s all I thought about.
That’s why I ran for student body president. If we were to be in different classes in the second year, I would lose contact with Tajima-kun. I was worried about that, and the existence of the student council was nothing but a lucky thing for me.
The moment I decided to run for the student council, I felt the maiden-in-love part of me whispering to me. At first I thought that all I had to do was to keep in touch with Tajima-kun, but I decided to make this a space where I could be alone with Tajima-kun all the time after school.
Since the president of the student council has the authority to elect the other board members, why don’t we just ask the secretary and the treasurer to be the ones who are willing to lend us their names only?
At that time, I calculated the amount of work that the two of us would have to do together, and it seemed to be different from the usual concept of normal. I really love you, Tajima-kun, for going out with me even so!
When I found out that Tajima-kun liked me, and when he told me so, my feelings soared to the heavens.
It was the most exciting event in Ryouha Himuro’s life.
Why am I turning it down?
If I had the ability to go back in time, I’d go back there right now and beat the s**t out of me right then and there. I want to crawl on my knees and shut him up.
I don’t know why I did that. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really…?
My heart squeezes tight when I recall Tajima-kun’s appalled face at that time.
Even so, Tajima-kun… didn’t try to leave me.
Even though I had pushed him away so badly, he was not only treating me as usual, but he was also making appeals to me in many important places.
I’m glad. I like him more and more.
That’s why I have to change myself.
So I faced Tajima-kun on the riverbank.
Words of gratitude and apology. With these words, I tried to make up for my past rudeness and take another step forward.
But the result was …… a huge failure due only to my feelings being ahead of my time.
No, it was not a fiasco anymore. …….
Because if I had done better in that moment… that would never have happened. ………….
No, you still could have made up for it. …… Yeah. …… if I hadn’t said all those things I didn’t mean… ah!
I’m so screwed. I feel like I’m completely stuck.
……Everything Sunashiro-san said was right on the money. I would have been furious too if he had disrespected Tajima-kun so much in front of me.
And yet, I myself did it. ………….
They say that a fool must die to be cured. …… Huh…
Sigh of gloom.
I couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie, and now I’m walking around the city aimlessly.
Like a zombie, staggering about without reason.
And that’s when it happened.
“Hey, Ryoha. I’ve been waiting for you to come over here.”
A bright-faced woman who looked like a college girl at a glance called out to me.
“……How do you know my name? Who the h**l are you ……?”
I gave her a quizzical look, and she smiled brightly,
My name is Nanna. My name is Nanna. I’m the owner of the fortune teller’s store over there. Please feel free to call me Nanna, Nanna-san. My job is to read the depth of your mind. So that you will feel familiar and easy to talk to me, I don’t mind if I speak in a casual manner.
She pointed her hand toward a strange building with a signboard “Nanna-san’s Fortune-Telling House”.
I think Saeki-san and the others were talking about it before. They said there was a fortune-telling store specializing in love counseling that was very successful.
“And how did the owner of the fortune-telling store know my name?
“Oh, because Aito, a regular customer, told me about it. By the way, the reason I call you by your first name is part of the familiarity I mentioned earlier. I have no other intention.
“You mean …… Aito Tajima, right?”
“Yes, Aito has often asked me to consult with Ryouha about her love life. At that time, he once showed me a picture of Ryoha. As a part of fortune-telling.
What? Tajima-kun, you were doing that behind my back?
Trying to know how to get me to like you?
What’s that? What’s that? I’m so happy, I’m so happy!
“By the way, it was actually Nanna who urged Ryoha to confess to you, wasn’t it? Because according to my fortune-telling, the two of them should have been in love already.
I’m kind of frustrated, but it seems that this fortune-telling is really true to its reputation. Maybe I need a reading: …….
“Silence means affirmation. Don’t worry, I won’t tell Aito.
What’s with that smirk, it’s a little irritating.
“You said you were waiting for me earlier, what was the reason?”
“Oh, it’s just because that’s what Nanna-san’s horoscope said. According to Nanna-san’s ability to see far, Ryouha is supposed to pass by this area with her love troubles for the person she loves.
What is this guy ……? I’m sure he’s just a crazy person, but even if it’s just a coincidence, he’s right… it’s scary.
“…… won’t deny it. Well, it’s not always about Tajima-kun.
“Please let Nanna-san tell your fortune. I’ll pay you for this time, of course.”
“…… I see. If you say it’s for free, I might as well. As I am a girl of your age, I am also interested in that …… aspect of your work. ……”
That’s not like me. The reason I went along with such a blatant sales pitch, which I would normally have refused, is probably because I wanted an answer that I was willing to go to such lengths for.
And…hehe, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have the same experience as Tajima-kun.
“Well, then, please come to Nanna-san’s house of fortune-telling.”
With a bright smile on her face, Nanna disappeared into the store ahead of the others.
I also went inside the store.
It was a mysterious space with the atmosphere of a witch’s workshop.
Although I was a little hesitant, I sat down on a round chair that was prepared for me.
Now, let’s start the reading. This time I will tell about Ryouha’s love life. First of all, I will read your information directly from your face.
Nanna stared at my face for a while with an affable and amiable expression that seemed to be well received.
What is it? This mysterious feeling, as if she could see everything through me. It was as if my heart was whispering to me, “This is what I can expect…
“Hmmm…first of all, Ryouha, you clearly have someone you like right now, don’t you?”
“Oh …… that’s the information you got from my conversation with you earlier. I think I saw a technique called hot reading on TV once before …….”
I mean, I just admitted that I was talking to Tajima-kun.
Are you making fun of me?
“And Ryouha has recently been wondering about the existence of a girl who is strangely close to the person she likes. How about it, aren’t you right?”
“…… I know that too. It’s called the Barnum Effect. It’s one of the techniques used by shady fortune tellers like you to point out things that seem to apply to everyone, as if they apply only to the person in question.
“In other words, what Nanna-san just pointed out was right on the mark, wasn’t it?”
“I think it’s a perfectly natural human feeling to be concerned if the person you love is talking to someone of the opposite s*x.”
Huh… …… seems to be a total disappointment. It was a total travesty.
My disappointment is let out in a deep sigh.
Then Nanna’s face suddenly softens just before she opens her mouth.
As if to say, “This is just the beginning. She said to me with a chill in her voice,
“Thanks to your innate talent, you’ve been able to do everything so well that you don’t particularly want to make friends with people your own age, who are clearly superior or inferior to you, and with whom you tend to have gaps in your conversations. How about that? Isn’t this also true?”
“Yes. Yes. But what does this have to do with my love life?
Actually, this is the biggest problem of all.
A strange throb ran through my chest. It was as if someone had peeked into a part of me I didn’t want to show.
“Okay… Ryouha had no interest in socializing or relationships until she was in high school. Well, of course. You had such a great status that you could live without those elements. It’s an enviable life. To be able to live with your chest out without worrying about being seen. It’s an impossible feat if you’re not a strong person like Ryouha.
Nanna, who had once closed her mouth and removed the smile from her face, dismissed the envy with the words of refusal, “But…”
“When you become a high school student, your sense of value changes completely. Because Ryoha met someone she wanted to be with, someone she wanted to build a friendship with. And moreover, in the form of love.”
I remained silent for a long time. I couldn’t say anything back.
My right hand was unconsciously placed on my chest. Yes, as if trying to prevent me from being looked at any further.
“Ryoha had never learned the basics of socializing, which she had unconsciously learned in her childhood when she was a pure child. It was inevitable to say so, because it was not necessary for Ryoha’s life up to now. Yes, for example…”
As if thinking, Nanna poked her right cheek with her index finger.
“Ryoha, can you recall when you first became aware that red is generally treated as a color that indicates abnormality and blue as normal, as is the case with traffic lights, signs, and the like?”
“That’s …… probably only when I was a wee …….”
“Of course. But if I didn’t remember it, I would be in trouble in my life, I might get harmed, so I naturally learned that red is a color that generally indicates danger or importance. It is the same with human emotions. If you ask me when I learned how to judge which is joy and which is anger and how to respond to them to make them feel better or to build friendship with them, I can only say that it was when I can remember. I don’t think there is anyone who can say that they remember practicing.
Nanna laughs. My palpitations accelerate in a more unpleasant direction.
“But Ryouha, you don’t know how to do that at all. You don’t know how to approach the person you love, how to approach the person you love…”
What the h**l is wrong with this guy? Why do you have to be told by someone you just met…
“Well, what does it matter? Even if he did, it wouldn’t make things any easier if he just walked up to me. Yes, I have a talent for charm…”
I open my mouth, trying to maintain my self-respect in spite of my dismay at having been completely taken completely by surprise. Oh, how stupid …….
But Nanna interrupted me with warm eyes, holding my right hand with both of hers,
“But Ryouha herself must be aware that it’s not good enough. You want to do something about it, but you are frustrated because you don’t know how to do it. You want to know how to express your feelings in a way that you never had to before.
I was unconsciously saying in a voice that I could not even hear.
“Or else, sooner or later… no, your face says that you already know regret.”
Nanna gave me a gentle look as my eyes widened.
I had no choice but to surrender. My instincts tell me to do so, and I let out a muffled voice. For help.
“……, then you know what to do, since you said it so confidently. You know what you’re doing.
“Which jutsu? What do you want to do with the person you love, Ryouha?
“That …… lover. ……”
“So, what do you want her to do when you become her lover?”
“It’s …… that ……”
Shame clutches her cheek muscles like a claw and restrains them.
…… but I have to say it. Yes, we have to make our intentions clear. Otherwise, we can’t move forward. I can’t tell Tajima-kun how I feel about him if I’m hesitant to tell even this insignificant stranger!
“I want to be accepted and embraced for who I am.”
That’s right. Tajima-kun, who reached out to me as an equal for the first time, now I want him to accept Ryouha Himuro as an individual.
…… of course, with special feelings included.
I think I finally understand now that I’ve said my thoughts out loud.
Which is the path for me. At least, I shouldn’t take the Shinkansen that can get me to my girlfriend without any transfers.
“I see… I see…”
Nanna smiles with a satisfied smile.
What’s with that “thank you for the food” look? …… pisses me off a little.
“Well then, Nanna has only one piece of advice for you: be reasonable. There is no way you can compete with a dragon with your initial equipment. Start by steadily killing slimes and gaining experience.
In short, I’ll never be able to achieve that wish with what I have now.
Yes, I already know that. You don’t have to tell me.
With the way I am now, even if we were to have such a relationship, it would only cause Tajima-kun hardship and discomfort.
If you want to get close, you have to take the appropriate steps.
Yes, so I’ll start with…
“Now, here is the last fortune-telling from Nanna-san. As for the current state of Ryouha’s favorite person… it seems that he is heading for the movie theater to return to your place. Yes, it would be a good idea to head for the fountain square straight ahead after leaving here.
An unwavering smile. Really, who is this guy? Why do I feel like I can trust him?
“Well, it’s a good thing I’ve got a good idea.”
“…… I know. I don’t.”
I reply, not hiding my irritation at being rushed.
Then I got up and walked to the door and turned my head once to Nanna, who looked at me with a beaming face.
“……I’ll thank you in advance. Thank you.”
“No, no, this is my job.”
It was a strange feeling.
Nanna’s words with her bright smile seemed to me to be pointing to something else.
I was not sure what it was.
The location of the Ice House that Nanna had told me about was the fountain plaza on the way back to the station after leaving the general merchandising store.
A little resting place in the center of town. When I arrived there, I stopped and took a quick look around.
But I don’t see Himuro in the crowd around the fountain.
I put my hands on my knees and let my shoulders move up and down, trying to catch my breath.
I heard a familiar clear voice in my ears. I looked up.
What I saw was Himuro, who seemed to have rushed to the scene.
He was holding his hand on his chest, gasping for air.
“……At any rate, I’m glad to see you. I’m glad I got to see you.
“……That’s right, Tajima-kun. ……”
Himuro began hesitantly, but in the next moment, as if to say, “Yes, yes, leave it be,” he bowed his head quickly and vigorously.
“I’m sorry about before!
“I didn’t mean to go that far – no, no matter what your excuse is, your disrespect is unforgivable,…… and it’s no wonder Sunashiro-san is so angry,……. ……”
I was so happy and embarrassed to hear her honest words, I scratched my cheeks and opened my mouth.
“It’s okay. Himuro was looking for me without watching the movie. That fact alone is enough for me.
“Yes,…… and the reason I turned down Tajima-kun’s invitation was not because I didn’t like you,…… but if you could keep that in mind,…… That would be very helpful.”
“Oh, oh. ……”
“…… well, a lot has happened.”
What kind of things?
“Well, a lot of things.” I’m invoking my right to remain silent here.)
I found Himuro’s annoyance endearing and couldn’t help but let out a wry smile.
“What’s with that face? This is why Tajima-kun isn’t popular with the opposite s*x. Besides, who would accept your confession…!”
Himuro, who was about to spew his venomous tongue, hastily clamped his mouth shut. He shakes his head and swallows the words that were about to come out.
(Oh, I almost ruined the mood …… again!)
Then he nodded once and looked at her with sharp eyes.
“Tajima-kun. Tajima-kun… I think this …… is a good opportunity for me to tell you something. I’m sure you’ll be spending a lot of time with me in the future.
Himuro quickly put his right hand on his chest.
“Seventy percent of what I have said is just a pretext, because I don’t really mean what I say. It would be helpful if you would keep that in mind and not take …… it too seriously.” (…… it’s all backwards! I couldn’t say “It’s all backwards!” …… too abruptly, but it got the point across a little bit. ……)
Don’t worry. I already know.
I already know. I’ll listen to you half-heartedly from now on. Especially the part where you’re saying I’m s******g up everything.”
“Well, it’s true that 30% of what you say is true, so don’t forget that.” (I’ll do my best to tell Tajima-kun how I really feel.)
“Yeah, I know.”
Himuro smiled at me as I nodded my head, as if to answer both of them, and we smiled at each other for a while.
After that, there was silence between us,
Himuro is staring at me.
Melancholy and fragility. My eyes were drawn to the mysterious expression of Himuro, which was different from his usual expression, and my body stopped moving.
Hey, this is not the time to stay frozen! Say it!
I shake my head in my chest to cheer myself up and start to move my throat to speak up.
But then she starts to do the same,
Their words are said at almost the same time, as if their determination will never stop.
“Why don’t you start with me as a friend?”
“Would you like to be my friend?”
We looked at each other and were appalled.
And then another mysterious pause.
We get over it and resume our conversation.
“……, Tajima-kun, what was that?”
“That’s exactly what he said. He wants me to start out as a friend…”
I’m embarrassed the second time. I scratch my cheek.
Starting as friends, that was the choice I made.
From there, I thought we’d slowly and gradually get to know each other better.
I would be the one to support Himuro so that his romance would be fulfilled.
“Himuro, you said something similar to me, didn’t you?
I’m sure I wasn’t imagining it.
“Not exactly. Mine is <Would you like to be my friend>” (Yes, I want Tajima-kun to get to know me little by little from there. (Yes, I want you to get to know me a little bit from there. If we can gradually get closer without forcing ourselves to be conscious of it, I’m sure I can show my honest self.)
Himuro puts his finger on the edge of his mouth and smiles.
It seems that Himuro was giving me an answer to face me…
Himuro, unaware that the voice in his heart was telling him first, begins to explain the circumstances with his usual cool, superior face.
Tajima-kun, there’s someone I like” (Don’t be surprised. Don’t worry, it’s you. (Don’t worry, it’s you. I’m sure I’ll tell you one day.)
“Oh ……, I’ve heard that before.”
“But you know, I’ve never felt this way before and I don’t know how to deal with this person. I mean, I’ve never been able to get along well with anyone, even someone of the same s*x. ……
The downward look in her eyes was unmistakably her concern.
“That’s why I want Tajima-kun to accompany me in this practice. I, Ryouha Himuro, am training to be able to express my true emotions. (I want Tajima-kun to like the real Ryouha Himuro too. So please accept this request, which may just be my selfishness.)
I already like the real Himuro enough.
That’s what I really want to say. But that’s just selling my perception. That’s meaningless.
We’ve decided to build a common understanding between us through our attitudes and actions.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that the most suitable person for this is you, who spends a lot of time with me at the school and is of the opposite s*x” (I’ll tell you about it sooner or later.) I’ve been in love with Tajima-kun for a long time. (I’ll tell you about it sooner or later.) So I want you to go out with me so that we can be like that!
She smiles at him with a proud expression on her face. However, her left hand on her skirt was holding the fabric tightly, as if she was holding back her embarrassment.
“I’d be happy to be friends with Himuro, but that would mean I’m supporting your love, wouldn’t it? But that would be a bit of a problem for me, since I’d like to start out as a friend and eventually become your lover…”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. I’m going to reward you handsomely.
What do you mean by a great reward?
“Hmm, that’s a secret.”
It seems to me that he’s really looking forward to it.
Well, I’m going to enjoy it.
“Yes, that’s a wise decision, Tajima-kun.”
We look at each other and smile.
“Well then, we’re friends from now on, aren’t we, Himuro?”
“Yes. I’m looking forward to working with you. Tajima-kun.”
The look on Himuro’s face at the moment we shook hands was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.
It was a treasure he had obtained because he had arrived at the right answer.
It must have been the natural Ryoha Himuro who showed her smile because she was not conscious of it.
She was both cool and pampered, front and back.
Let’s see the two sides of the same wonderful smile of the mischievous Himuro-san!