[Maika Pov this whole chapter]
When I returned home from shopping, I threw myself into my bed and buried my face in my pillow.
I met Kitami.
To be honest, I thought it would be more awkward. Conversation was not going well.
I wondered if he knew why I wasn’t going to school right now.
I would be happy if he didn’t know. No, it would be more correct to say it would be helpful.
Anyway, I don’t want to cause him any more trouble that he deserves.
I took a few days off from school and thought a lot about it.
What to do from now on. How to get along with everyone.
Whether or not I should go to school in the first place.
And above all, how to treat him.
Should I apologize for the trouble I caused him?
Or would even that be a nuisance?
I thought about it a lot and worried about it a lot.
“I felt like an idiot….”
I know. It means that I was worried all by myself.
It was probably just a trivial matter to him.
But still, but still.
”It’s just me…”
I know I was alone in the dance.
I shouldn’t think that I could have been of help.
But, but, but…
I wonder what kind of relationship she has with Kitami.
He said she was his junior at his part-time job. But I wonder if that’s really all.
Rather, the way she looks at Kitami makes me doubt their relationship.
They must be close. The way he treated her also seemed somewhat soft.
“He was so cold to me…”
As I say it out loud, I realize firmly in my head that he has not been cold to me.
Compared to her, that’s all.
I don’t know anything about the value of their relationship.
This lingering feeling is probably jealousy.
It’s the end result of my own hubris.
It was my hubris to think that I was somehow special to him that brought about this situation.
I am. No, only me.
Such a mistake to think that I understand him.
It’s that simple. There are others who understand him. That’s all.
He was moving on while I was mulling it over.
So this feeling is a no-no.
Forcing these feelings on him is unacceptable.
I’m going to go to school tomorrow.
And I’ll just casually say hello and we’ll be back to normal.
I would have been thinking about how my classmates would look at me until yesterday, but the fact that he was the only one far away from me easily overcame that anguish.
I put a lid on that fact, and I contained the thoughts swirling in my chest.
Then the next day, Monday, I was on my way to school as scheduled.
To be honest, I was not at all excited, but I was feeling less depressed than I thought I would be.
Perhaps it was because I had seen him yesterday and his attitude toward me had hardly changed at all. This is due to the one-sided support of my mind.
“Good morning, Maika.”
“Ah… good morning.”
And to my surprise, my classmates’ attitudes toward me had changed.
No, they had rightly returned to normal.
(Sympathy…? No, surely something else…)
I thought they must have feared that it would fly off the handle. They must have thought it was a big deal when I stopped coming to school. He probably thought it was a big deal when I stopped coming to school, so he tried to avoid being the aggressor and not be so blatant.
（I don’t know, maybe he didn’t think that much about it…)
Maybe it’s just a coincidence.
But once I have been exposed to malice, I can’t help but wonder if there is an underlying intention behind it. I can’t help thinking that.
I could no longer trust others honestly.
(It doesn’t matter.)
Yes, it doesn’t matter.
If people around me treat me that way, I just go along with it.
As long as I don’t treat Emi inappropriately, I should be fine.
I am sure that was a threat in her own way. A threat not to do anything unnecessary.
I won’t get involved anymore. That’s the end of it.
There is no problem.
”What is this… behind the school building after school?”
During lunch break, I noticed a letter in my bag.
The contents asked me to come to the back of the school building after school.
(What the hell…)
I wasn’t sure if I should go, but I decided to go anyway.
I had a lot on my mind, but I thought it would be troublesome to postpone the problem.
It was a boy from the same class who was at the meeting place.
It was Shirakawa. What on earth does he want?
”Maika. Wanna go out with me?”
Without any preamble, he suddenly said such a thing.
I don’t know what it means.
But I had to respond.
”….I am sorry.”
One sentence, I said. I can’t imagine going out with him normally.
First of all, we don’t get along well. I honestly don’t feel comfortable with him calling me by my first name.
”W-What hell! You don’t want to go out with me?”
Of course I don’t like it. We’ve only talked a little so far.
“…. Damn it! Why the hell not! Why can’t you go out with me!!”
There is no reason. Because there is no reason to go out with you.
How confident is he?
However, if I don’t give him a reason, he won’t be convinced.
I was hesitant about what to say, but replied without thinking.
“I have someone I love.”
”S-someone you love?”
It was supposed to be a casual remark. Just an excuse.
A bluff to get out of the situation.
But I felt those words weighed heavily on my heart. I heard something creak.
”Damn it! Is it Kitami? That guy! He ignored me!”
”What do you mean? Ignore…”
I know he comes to mind as someone I love.
I have acted in a way that could be misinterpreted, and then there is that paper.
But what do you mean by ignoring? A droll, such a bad feeling runs through my body.
”—-Are you sure? He has a girlfriend.”
Shirakawa’s words upset me a little. But I stifle it so that he does not realize it.
“That’s right. On Saturday, they were walking arm in arm. He even called her by her first name.”
Shirakawa’s mouth twists into a grin. I know. He’s trying to trick Kitami.
( Sakakibara said that she was glad to see him today…. That means another person…)
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. That’s why don’t think about it.
“You believe in that kind of two-timing? Let’s talk some other time, just take your time, okay?”
With that, Shirakawa left. His eyes seemed to be filled with quiet anger.
(… None of my business.)
It doesn’t matter who he was with or what he was doing.
It doesn’t matter if he has a girlfriend.
So why does it make my heart flutter so much?
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t want to know.
Pushing down my dark feelings, I set out on my way home.
I felt as if I had been left behind somewhere in the world.