“Firmly and perfectly, I’ll tie it tightly, okay♪”
During the sports festival, in the event called the two-person three-legged obstacle relay… Putting aside the fact that it’s too long, in the two-person three-legged race, we tie a string around each other’s legs, and Ayana is enthusiastically tying the string between herself and me.
“I’m connected to Towa-kun… Ufufu♪”
When Ayana says that with a smile, it sounds weirdly suggestive. Lately, the time I spend with Ayana feels so blissful that I quickly drift into a rosy mindset… My affection for her is about to overflow.
It’s not something to be ashamed of, and it’s not particularly different from usual. But still…
[Now that the athletes are ready. Ladies and gentlemen in the audience, please give them your full support.]
After that announcement, the races started one after another.
Our turn is in the middle, so we don’t have to run immediately. Not only our teammates of the same color but also students from other colors cheer with the same supportive spirit.
The voices of encouragement from the surrounding students and the parents blend together, creating an atmosphere of excitement.
Ayana seemed to have seen something, and I followed her gaze.
There were Mom and Seina-san, snuggling up to each other. When their eyes met ours, they waved their hands flutteringly. But… why is Mom, who is just a parent, wearing a headband?
“Akemi seems fired up.”
“Why is Mom fired up…”
I prayed silently that she wouldn’t generate a cheer that drowns out the voices of the people around us. And as fate would have it, our turn arrived.
Just like us, other students are also paired up with someone of the opposite sex, and they seem a bit awkward, as if they feel embarrassed about putting their arms around each other.
“Towa-kun, this should be an easy win, don’t you think?”
“Maybe. Let’s not waste any time and go for it.”
Placing our hands on the hips, the moment we had been waiting for had finally arrived.
“Take your positions. On your marks, get set, go!”
With a clang of the pistol, we all ran at once.
First, we had to run half a lap around the field, but Ayana and I intended to move our legs naturally without doing anything special.
However, when I glanced back, I noticed that there was quite a significant gap.
“The pair, Yukishiro and Otonashi, are fast! Incredibly fast!”
“Their synchronization is amazing. It’s incomparable to the previous pairs!”
I could hear such commentary, indicating that Ayana and I appeared perfectly in sync to those watching.
Without any drop in speed or disruption in our footwork, Ayana and I continued to leave the others behind as we ran.
We pushed through the mesh placed on the ground, then turned sideways and walked slowly on a thin bar. Finally, we crushed the balloons provided by sandwiching them between us.
At the moment the balloons burst, Ayana, carried by the momentum, ended up clinging to me. Seeing that the others hadn’t arrived yet, she even wrapped her arms around my back.
“It’s fine if we stay like this for a little while.”
She puffed up her cheeks adorably, but after all, this was a place where many eyes were gathered.
I felt like I heard my mom’s excited voice, but without looking in that direction, Ayana and I resumed running and crossed the finish line.
Apart from the obstacles, we gave our all in the race, so our breathing became slightly heavier.
Both Ayana and I were not part of any sports clubs, so moments like these, unexpectedly running, made me think that we should exercise a bit more regularly.
“Good job, Towa-kun.”
“Good job, Ayana.”
By the way, Ayana is still a girl who stands out regardless of her position.
There are many people who don’t know about our relationship, so there were some students who cast inappropriate glances at her, sweating due to running and the heat.
(…This is probably also a factor.)
Moreover, although not as much as Iori, Ayana has an outstanding figure.
Her chest bounced noticeably while running, and I felt like I heard cheers just like with Iori. It made me sigh, realizing that there were indeed many perverts around… Well, I, who is captivated by Ayana, might also fall under the category of being a pervert limited to her.
“Ayana, you’re definitely a beauty. You’re so cute that it’s troublesome… seriously.”
“Oops, sorry. My feelings for Ayana slipped out.”
As Ayana stuck close to me, I endured the heat and the situation.
“…Hey, isn’t it hot?”
“Well, it is summer.”
“But still… Isn’t it really hot?”
“That’s true… What is it?”
I tilted my head, listening to the conversation between the two boys sitting in front of me, wondering about it myself.
The two-people three-legged obstacle relay had ended, and we had all returned to Shu’s tent. Ayana was still leaning against my shoulder.
It’s hot… Indeed, it’s hot.
But I can endure it by using the fan I have in my free hand to cool myself.
“You know, it’s true that it’s summer, right? But why are you doing that?”
“Just bear with it, you know we’re childhood friends.”
“Well, that’s true, but still!”
“You’re so noisy…”
“…Towa, is it my fault?”
Shu looked at me with a slightly tearful expression, and I chuckled, not quite sure.
However… I found the unabashed way they exchanged words quite heartwarming, precisely because I knew what had happened a little while ago.
Our relationship had certainly changed… However, it was precisely because we had gotten rid of our burdens that we were able to regain this relationship… I truly felt it was a good thing from the bottom of my heart.
“…Wait, Towa, weren’t you supposed to continue with the competition?”
As Shu pointed it out, I immediately headed towards the entrance gate.
The next event was the Borrowing Race, and I had completely forgotten about it due to my interaction with Ayana.
Since I was the last one, I bowed deeply to apologize.
“Hey, you’re late!”
“Aisaka, huh. I completely forgot.”
Aisaka, who happened to be nearby, also laughed at me, and without missing a beat, we both went back to the field.
The Borrowing Race wasn’t a particularly challenging event.
You just had to pick up the item written on the card and head to the finish line… However, some people seemed to struggle with it, so it was about half and half between those who finished quickly and those who took their time.
“Senpai, do your best!!”
When it was Aisaka’s turn, Mari’s cheer resounded loudly.
He seemed completely fired up, and the moment the gunshot echoed, he sprinted forward… His speed was incredibly fast, leaving the student running next to him, who was supposed to be in the track and field club, far behind.
Afterward, Aisaka looked at the paper and headed towards the principal.
He held hands with the principal and continued towards the finish line, so it seemed like he had to borrow something from the principal.
“That guy is way too motivated.”
To think that a single cheer from Mari could push him to give his all… Well, I can painfully understand the feeling of catching fire when you’re cheered on.
“The next player, please get ready.”
And so, finally, it was my turn.
Hoping for a regular item to be called out as I crossed the finish line, I prayed silently as I sprinted forward at the sound of the gun.
There was nothing particularly special about my performance compared to the other students. I checked the paper—I had started running towards where Ayana and Shu were.
“Towa-kun! Do your best… Huh?”
“Is the borrowed item around here?”
Curiously, the two of them stared at me, and I grabbed Shu’s hand.
“Come with me.”
Though confused, Shu immediately started running alongside me.
“Towa-kun! Shu-kun, do your best!”
Encouraged by the beloved voice, we ran towards the finish line.
I thought we were running pretty fast, but other students were running side by side with us. We kept running with all our might… and somehow managed to be the first to reach the finish line.
Lightly patting Shu’s back with gratitude, I handed the paper to the staff.
And the words that were read out loud were:
“The item that Yukishiro-senpai obtained is ‘best friend’.”
…Well, it’s a bit embarrassing.
I pushed Shu’s back, telling him to get back to work.