Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“—So that’s what happened… Sawada? You listening?”
Reika isn’t present today, since she had an errand to do with her father. Her absence from school leaves a gaping hole in my heart.
“Yeah, I’m listening,” I answered. “You and Hiratsuka-senpai hugged each other while naked,” I looked at Hirano.
“No no no! It was a sparring match! The only pervert there was Hiratsuka-senpai! Guh… You’re so distracted without Sakashita around.”
“N–no, it’s not like that… I–I’m normal without Reika.”
“Don’t lie, it’s obvious… Well, whatever.”
Hayakawa’s presence alone attracted the attention of my classmates. Since he became a successful streamer, his popularity skyrocketed, and honestly, it was nice to see my friend thrive like that. I’m glad we’re still friends.
“Well, I gotta go, but let’s walk home together!”
“Yeah, see ya later man.”
When he walked off the classroom, I felt the previous gazes shift in tone. The gazes were completely different when I was the target. While he changed himself for the better, I haven’t done squat to change.
There was the rumor that my father was a criminal, which was spread by Hiratsuka. I remember him going around the school to clear up the misunderstandings and claiming the blame for all the shade I had on me.
It was thanks to his actions that most students believed it was all a hoax.
Keyword: Most. Some were different, thinking I really was the son of some criminal. Actually, every classmate I had, apart from Reika, still believed in that story.
When I asked Hiratsuka who was the one that told him about my dad, he replied, “The student council president, Lee. I didn’t go looking for anything, he just told me about it.”
It was strange. Almost everyone believed in Hiratsuka’s side of the story, but this class in particular hated my guts. I felt such animosity only grow with Reika’s absence.
I thought I didn’t have to worry about what others said. Reika was by my side, after all… But I do feel bad about any rumors floating around about her because of me.
… Well, I don’t think Mashima is pulling any strings. Despite all that happened between us recently, she was someone I grew up and spent a lot of time with. I knew she wasn’t someone who was inherently bad, spreading malice just for the sake of it.
But even now, I could hear the murmurs of my classmates being thrown around from behind.
“I heard Reika is a delinquent too.”
“He took Hiratsuka under his wing.”
“He’s the son of a scumbag.”
“This time Hayakawa is his lackey, huh…”
“Why is he in a good mood?”
I’m no longer the pushover I was with Mashima. I’ve erased my tormented self, and I can now think coldly like I used to.
… But I didn’t do anything. All I did was fight with Hiratsuka and Hirano, while not trying to improve this class’ perception of me. Compared to Hayakawa, I haven’t grown at all.
That’s why I’ll follow his example and take a deep look at myself. But when I tried to meditate and look back at my past—
“Oi, Sawada, the president wants to see you… Answer me, disgusting f*ck,” His voice was dripping with malice.
And at that moment, a conflict arose in my mind. Should I be strong, or stay quiet like before?
—I choose not to care about his words.
“Thank you, Yamada.”
“Don’t talk to me, or they’ll think I’m a criminal too.”
I’m good at letting things go. As soon as I breathe, my mind calms down and all the bad feelings go away.
With that in mind, I decided to meet the president, who was probably waiting for me in the hallway.
Goriki Sekiguchi, a.k.a Lee is the student council president. He was known for his abnormally long sideburns and long slit eyes. Be it summer, be it winter, he always wore a leather jacket over his shoulders, and the only shirt he ever wore was a tank top.
Uh, it’s cold, but I guess he isn’t feeling anything since he has a lot of muscles.
All in all, he’s a man of few words and a massive sense of justice. Frankly, he wasn’t the type I liked to deal with.
“Toshiki Sawada, we heard you were involved in a violent incident. It was reported that you beat Hiratsuka, who could not resist until he passed out.”
Even I was surprised at that. His case was related to underground fights, and Hiratsuka himself was the one who picked a fight with me in the first place… Though it was true I basically violated him.
Well, that was already resolved between us.
“Wait a second, that issue is between me and—”
“Him? I don’t care. I’ll simply judge what happened… Follow me to the student council office,” The president didn’t listen to anyone, and had a deep connection with Mr. Tachibana, the school principal.
So no matter what excuses I have, it’ll still be my fault? Why is school such a difficult place to be? Being falsely accused makes me sick to my stomach…
I had to deal with many horrible feelings before. Every time Mashima found a man for herself, I felt a piece of my heart being ripped out of my chest. Despite that, it was my own feelings on the matter. All I had to do was bear them, and it’d be fine.
The hostile stares from my classmates, the students in the hallway who looked at me with curiosity, this hard-headed president…
Ah, I finally get it… I should just stop caring about anything.
With my mind finally made up, I pried off the president’s hand before he could grab me.
“If you wanna talk about it, just do it here. What kinda punishment do you want to exact on me?”
“I see… Minus 10 points. You’re a bad student for standing up to your seniors. Well, I don’t care about your feelings, just come to the council office.”
It doesn’t feel right. Instead of condemning me, they just wanna take me to the student council office.
“Ah, Lee-senpai! —And Toshi, who’s with you apparently! Fufu~ Look, I’m wearing a different hairband today, lookie—!”
It was Mashima who intervened, and I noticed Lee turning away with his cheeks burning red.
“Y–you’re dainty today, as always… Too dazzling for me to look at,” The way he said it sent a chill down my spine.
In the most casual way possible, she started touching Lee. Their closeness was too intense.
“Hmph! You’re cool too, Lee-senpai! It’s a yes from me! … Are you two fighting or something? I hate violence…”
With those words, she tried to come closer and hug me, but I evaded her attempt.
“Eeh~? You’re cold, Toshi… You used to be so warm… Hey, we’re childhood friends, aren’t we? I won’t do anything weird anymore, so let’s go back to being friends like we used to.”
I took a glance at Lee, who gritted his teeth and almost shed tears at this sight. Despite that, I turned to Mashima and softly answered.
“No, Mashima-san. We’re not friends anymore. A lot has happened, and it’s better if we don’t talk anymore…”
“Y–You…! Wasting Eri-san’s goodwill…! I won’t allow it!”
“Hey, Lee-senpai! Calm down! —Toshi, let’s have lunch together today, we have lots to talk about!”
Lee then suddenly grabbed my hand.
“Sawada! We’re going to the office right now! My heart is breaking, and I have a LOT of questions to ask you!”
I’d rather deal with him than with Mashima.
“G–Got it. I can walk on my own, so let go of my hand please.”
Thus, I had to accompany him to the council office. Uh, class is about to start, so will it be okay?
“Okay, see you soon~! Take care, fufu~”
Her smile was strangely scary… So that’s how she looks like with her fake smile on, huh.
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