“That looks delicious. Can I have a bite?”
“…It’s the last one, though.”
The last piece of fried chicken that I had saved was snatched away from me, and I let out a disappointed sigh.
We were in an empty classroom at school—the same one where Fukumura caught me that day.
“So, how’s the atmosphere in the classroom?”
“Well, I’m completely isolated… treated like an outcast, to be precise.”
It had been about three weeks since Shinohara barged into my part-time job and dragged me away during lunch breaks.
In short, Fukumura had destroyed everything.
The soccer club, Sonoda, and even her friendships, all of it.
“So, pay attention to me, okay? I may seem fine, but I get lonely easily.”
Let’s talk about the fate of the soccer club. In short, they received a complete suspension from all official matches for the season. Naturally, the club activities were suspended as well, and they are currently inactive.
Shinohara stopped coming to school. Well, that’s no surprise. After all, he received backlash from all directions, including the upperclassmen, underclassmen, and even his fellow classmates. Rumor has it that he’s considering withdrawal, so it’s undoubtedly a difficult time for him.
Shirakawa was in a similar situation. However, he continued coming to school—or rather, he managed to continue.
Shinohara got suspended, but Shirakawa didn’t. According to Fukumura, she said if he’s remorseful, he shouldn’t run away. Well, indeed, being suspended might have made things easier for him.
Now, let me explain how it all unfolded. Actually, my bullying issue had nothing to do with it.
Because Fukumura was the target of bullying.
[The pain they inflicted on him, no one could endure it. After all, they hurt someone dear to me.]
I heard those words next to Sakakibara, and it sent shivers down my spine. For various reasons.
Of course, I was happy about her feelings. But I had already…
Anyway, things progressed very quickly. The rumors about me had already caught the attention of the teachers, which probably played a significant role. The school responded promptly, wanting to take action while the fire was still small.
Since that day, I haven’t seen Shinohara. Of course, I don’t want to see him either.
“Well, for me, I’m not lonely because I have Shuya.”
Fukumura mumbled with meaningful intent. How should I respond? That’s my recent concern.
That was the answer to Fukumura’s wish that day. Due to certain circumstances, Fukumura became the most isolated person in the year.
She exposed everything. Yes, everything.
Being ignored, having desks moved away from her—every little detail, she spread it all throughout the school.
Naturally, she became an outcast. It was inevitable since she was like a walking minefield.
But she didn’t mention Sonoda at all.
There was no need to mention her.
[Sonoda! She’s the one who betrayed us!]
That was shouted by Shinohara in the middle of the classroom. In the end, she was also betrayed by someone.
After that, it was straightforward. Suspicion piled up, turning into disgust.
No one was on her side. She stopped coming to school.
After that, I don’t know. She’s not officially expelled from school, so she could come back anytime she wants.
She remains firm in her stance. She insists that this is her problem alone.
Of course, I know that’s not true. But I decided to stand with her and share her pain.
Well, honestly, I don’t really care about what happens to Sonoda. More importantly, I need to address the issue at hand.
“What is it?”
Without looking at me, Fukumura seemed somewhat lonely. I pretended not to notice.
But I’m sure I won’t forget that expression for the rest of my life.
“You should confess your feelings to Shion-chan.
“Eeh?! W-Why would I…?”
“No, I mean, there’s no point in hiding it anymore. You like Shion-chan, don’t you?”
“Well, yes, but…”
I endured the embarrassment and managed to answer. I couldn’t lie. It would be a betrayal to the girl in front of me.
“There’s no time like the present. Go and confess. It’s like something out of a youth drama, right? Skipping school to confess.”
“Right now… Wait a minute! Don’t push me! Stop it! Okay, okay, I got it! I’ll go now!!”
With her literally pushing my back, I rushed out of the classroom.
Youth, huh? It feels strange.
I take a step forward. One step at a time, I move forward. Pushing through the crowd of students, I hurriedly left the school.
No matter how strong the wind blows, things won’t turn out that way.
She is undoubtedly one of the special ones to me as well.
“Aah, he’s gone.”
I wonder if she noticed. Why that clumsy guy suddenly rushed out of school to confess his feelings.
She’ll probably figure it out. I hope she does. Otherwise, she would have won.
I can’t stand the thought of her taking all the credit, so I pushed him forward.
It was all because of me that his love could come true.
“I guess it’s a draw.”
And so, my first love came to an end. But I’m sure someday I’ll meet someone wonderful.
A love so magnificent that it will make my first love pale in comparison.
And then, with pride, I’ll declare my victory to her.