My mind went blank.
Shirase’s voice was not directed at Shota Nijitani, but at Shota Mukawa. She used to call me by my first name, not my last name. I have never been called by my first name since I came back here.
I was found out.
…… Wait, did she really found out?
In an instant, all sorts of thoughts went through my head.
I immediately understood that Shirase noticed me because of my glasses and hair. Because in the reflection of me in the portrait mirror at the entrance, I had the face of Shota Mukawa.
However, I was still a little too tall.
My height has grown a lot since those days, and my body has changed thanks to muscle training. There was no way she could have found out so easily. Shirase, with whom I have the least relationship, has found out about it?
She didn’t seem convinced. It was a way of asking that seemed to be laced with some sort of uneasiness. It appeared as if she couldn’t believe it, but had no choice but to believe the scene in front of her.
What to do?
I don’t even need to think about it. The answer is obvious.
Despite the fact that I was so upset that I was speaking in broken Japanese, I had no choice but to deny it. There was no other choice but to deny it with all my might.
“No, you are Shota-san.”
“Yur wong aim Shota Nijitani desu” (You’re wrong I’m Shota Nijitani desu)
“…… your name is Shota-san, right?”
Damn it, she’s just trying to get me to fry.
Surely my name is Shota, so there’s no mistake in calling me that. Is this blurring of the lines a bit of a quandary?
“Uhm……that. If someone suddenly calls you by your name, you don’t know what it means, right? Our relationship is not that deep. What’s going on all of a sudden?”
Still, she does not seem to have obtained any proof. I had no choice but to deceive her by force.
Shirase was staring at me. Then, after a few moments of thinking, she pulled out her phone.
“Then let’s make her see it.”
“Who is it you want me to show it to?
I stopped at that name.
“…… you don’t get along with her ……, but you know her contact information?”
“There are a lot of things going on at the academy.”
She knows because they are goddesses?
No, don’t even think about it now.
It’s not good to have her contact Akazawa here. Of all people, she is the one who should not know about this. If she finds out, my school life will be completely over.
I have to stop Shirase somehow. But how can I persuade Shirase? If I try too hard, she’ll suspect me.
“You look a little pale.”
“No, I’m fine.”
“I see. Then I will call her as soon as I can.”
“Wait, slow down. Why Akazawa in the first place? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m Shota Nijitani and I’ve only just met Shirase at Tenkain Academy. We’re just friends, if I may quote you.”
“…… friends have no problem calling you by your first name, right?”
Of course it is.
“It would look like intimacy with a goddess. It would end my peaceful life. So let’s keep a certain distance, like we have been doing.”
“…… is fine with me. Can I film you?”
“I usually wear contact lenses. I don’t like people to see me in glasses.”
I don’t know what to say.
If this image were to be spread, it would be the end. No matter how much my former childhood friend is a heartless person who doesn’t notice me, there is indeed a possibility that she will notice me.
Or maybe she won’t notice?
…… Is it unreasonable to expect that possibility?
“Or rather, Shirase seems to have mistaken me for someone else since a while ago?”
“Do you remember Shota Mukawa……?”
“W-Who knows. The name Nijitani has been my surname since I was born. The name Shota is not uncommon.”
“I couldn’t figure it out, so I asked Shota’s childhood friend, Akazawa-san–“
“How did you know that me and Akazawa were childhood friends?”
I realized right after I said it.
“….You just confirmed it”
There was no way that I, a transfer student, was Akazawa’s childhood friend. I had dug my own grave.
Shirase exhaled heavily.
“I should have suspected it from the beginning. I had never heard that Kanon-san had an older brother.”
Come to think of it, they went to the same school. Then, she was suspecting it from the beginning. The most likely to be found out was thought to be the least likely, but considering the existence of Kanon, it may have been the most likely.
“If you are Shota-san, it makes sense. The reason why you said you didn’t want to be friends with the goddesses, and the nature of the discomfort I felt in some places.”
I had given up. I’m not going to fool around with this.
“That’s right……, I am Shota Mukawa.”
We moved to my room.
It was too hot to be talking at the entrance. Even if it was just a sudden situation, the double punch of the extreme heat would be too much to bear.
I prepared barley tea for the two of us in the refrigerator and returned to the room. As I poured myself a cup of barley tea, I thought about what to do, but no good ideas came to mind. I don’t know what Shirase was up to, but she was the one who suggested that we talk.
Shirase was sitting in the center of the room. Puzzled by the unrealistic scene, I sat down on the opposite side of the room. After a few seconds of silence.
“……, it’s been a while.”
What am I supposed to do? The relationship between me and Shirase has been going on since the second year of junior high school. And the relationship was very short-lived.
I’m not particularly moved or emotional when I see her again like this.
I mean, it’s not like that, right?
We were originally in different elementary and junior high schools, and the time we spent together was short. We were ex-lovers in the sense of relationship, but it was not a sweet relationship either.
She broke my heart. The reason for that was not because she cheated on me, but because she called my relationship with her a game.
But now I know that Yakumo-kun is the man I met at that time. I can’t blame her for not feeling any special emotion toward this reunion. I asked her earlier how she feels about Yakumo-kun, and she really doesn’t know what to do.
Silence once again takes over the place.
“…… please listen to what I have to say.”
Shirase opened her mouth.
She began to talk about herself.
From childhood, she had had special feelings for her younger brother, Yakumo-kun. That it was by chance that she met me in junior high school. As a transfer student, she approached me because she was trying to become a goddess again this year by attaching herself to other goddesses. I had no idea of her true identity until today.
“…… I see.”
That was all that came out of my mouth after hearing everything. I knew most of it, so there was little surprise.
And today, when Yakumo and Kanon were suspected of dating, she lost herself and came over to my house and this is what she found.
Only the sound of drinking barley tea echoes in the cold room.
“Please tell me about Shota-san too.”
“Yes. After you transferred to a new school. I was wondering what kind of life you had”
I was a little lost, but now that I had been exposed, there was no need to hide it. I told her about my life after I changed schools.
Before my third year of junior high school, I transferred to the countryside and lived there. I told her that I had gone on to higher education there and was living a normal life. I told her that I had come back here when my mother remarried.
I didn’t mention the reason why I changed schools because she didn’t ask me about it.
Because it’s pathetic, isn’t it?
I didn’t want to say that I was heartbroken by the attacks from girls. Shirase probably doesn’t even know why I transferred schools. It was better not to give her unnecessary information.
” I see. You were leading a normal life, weren’t you?”
Shirase, looking somewhat relieved, gulped down her barley tea.
“I have a question too. How did you know about me and Akazawa?”
I don’t remember talking to her. When I was meeting with this girl, we just made small talk. I didn’t mention anyone’s name, not even Akazawa’s. I was in a situation where I didn’t want to talk about school or anything.
In response to my question, Shirase sat down and slowly bowed her head.
“Before that, I would like to apologize first.”