“Tomorrow is school day again so what are we going to do? Yuu-kun, it’s hard to see Hazuki after yesterday, isn’t it?”
Kanade looks up at me with a worried look on her face.
We got together at a different (less crowded) coffee shop than yesterday to decide what to do from here on out. As expected, going into that coffee shop is too tough for me right now.
“I guess it is. The problem is going to school and having lunch. I think I can handle it because we are in different classes, and after classes, I have club activities and Hazuki has cram school.”
“That’s right. Well, there is a game next Saturday, right? How about we practice in the morning and at noon for that game?”
It has been about eight months since the new team was formed. A game was coming up, an important test of the results of the team’s hard work. Wouldn’t it be okay if I devoted myself to morning, noon, and a week of practice…?
“I’m sure it’s not the worst idea. It’s true that Kanade’s idea might be the most comfortable.”
“Right? I’m pretty sure those two are coming to watch the game too, right?”
“That’s how it’s going to be for now.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Yuu-kun, I know this is a terrible thing to ask you after yesterday, but what are you going to do about your relationship with those two? Are you going to continue to pretend that you don’t know?”
Kanade was twirling the ends of her hair with her fingers. This is an old habit of Kanade’s. Whenever she is anxious or worried about something, she unconsciously fiddles with the tips of her hair. I could tell from the gesture that Kanade was worried.
“I couldn’t honestly pretend that I didn’t know anything about it. I’m actually thinking of setting up a little trap for them next week at the end of the game. If you’d like to help me, Kanade?”
“Of course, I’ll help! Because I can’t forgive those two either.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that. I’ve been relying on Kanade a lot lately.”
“It’s okay for you to rely on me more. I think we both need each other when we’re weak.”
“Yeah, I know. Thank you.”
I was only thinking about myself, but Kanade must have had a big shock too because two of her childhood friends did that to her without telling her. And yet, she’s really my best childhood friend because she cares about me and is willing to help me out.
After I left Kanade and went home, I sent RINE to Hazuki.
“Sorry. I’m going to school tomorrow and have a lunch break, but I’m going to train on my own for next week’s game. So can you have lunch with a friend or something for the week?”
Even if it was a text-only exchange, I couldn’t help but think of Hazuki at that moment, and my fingers trembled as I typed. And now that I’ve finished sending it, I’m dreading Hazuki’s reply. I wonder how she feels about doing RINE with me. Is she laughing at me for being cheated on without knowing anything about it?
The Hazuki I know is not the kind of person who laughs at people behind their backs. But I realized the other day that this is an illusion.
I am afraid. I was scared of Hazuki from the bottom of my heart. As I was crouching under the covers, the screen of my phone lit up.
“I understand. You said next week’s game is important. I’ll be there to cheer you on that day, so practice hard.”
If I hadn’t known about Hazuki’s betrayal, I would have been extremely enthusiastic when I saw this message, but nothing resonated with me now. It was more like disgust. I had feelings for Hazuki that were more than just family, but I felt so sad that my heart had become so cold.
From Monday, I started going to school early and practicing in the morning as I had planned, and also went out to the field to practice in the afternoon as well. Kanade also went along with me in the morning because she was my manager, but one of my teammates made fun of me saying, “You have a girlfriend and you’re allowed to practice alone with Kanade? You don’t even know how I feel!” Well, I understand a little bit.
Hazuki and I didn’t see each other at school very often, as expected. Since we are in different classes and have different after-school activities, we almost never see each other as long as we can avoid the time when we go to school and during lunch break. Even during the short breaks between classes, I was very careful to disappear from the class immediately.
But all my efforts were ruined by the lunch break on Thursday.
“Yuuri. May I have a moment?”
Just as I sat up to go to practice when the chime rang, I heard a voice calling me from the classroom door. I looked in the direction of the voice and sure enough, there was Hazuki.
“I came here right after class because lately, you seem to disappear as soon as it’s break time. I’m glad you’re still in the classroom.”
Hazuki was right, since the beginning of this week, I have been trying to leave the classroom as soon as the chime rings. That is, of course, because I don’t want to see Hazuki. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kanade looking at me and Hazuki with a worried look on her face.
We move away from the classroom to the front of the music class, where not many people come.
“I’ve been busy lately. I’ve had to move quickly. Did you come by a few times to check on me by any chance?”
“Yes. I haven’t been able to come to school or have lunch with you this week, so I’ve been a little lonely.
“I’m sorry about that. It’s going to be the same as usual until the game, so just bear with it until tomorrow.”
“That’s all right. I don’t mean to be selfish and make you feel uncomfortable. I just wanted to talk to you while seeing your face for a little while.”
I was annoyed by Hazuki’s words, which sounded so sentimental.
I’m not going to be a wimp. You’re not trying to make trouble for me? When you’ve already betrayed me so badly.
“I’m sorry I missed you too. We’ll go to school and have lunch together again next week. Well, I’m off to practice.”
I quickly make my way to the field, trying not to let the resentment welling up in the pit of my stomach get the better of me. Then Hatsuki calls out to me from behind.
“I understand. Thanks for your time, Yuuri. Good luck with practice.”
I only raised my hand without turning around so that Hazuki wouldn’t see my face. I am sure I look ugly and distorted right now. I couldn’t let Hatsuki see my face like this.
“I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about on Saturday, Hazuki.”