“What’s with the air? Oh well, let’s start homeroom.” (Tatsuya-sensei)
Not long after, Tatsuya-sensei arrived and homeroom began.
We the students listened quietly to the scary Tatsuya-sensei .
The brief homeroom session was over, and we had some spare time before the next class started.
The classroom becomes noisy, as if to break the heavy atmosphere of earlier.
When I looked at Mitobe, she had wiped away her tears and started reading her book. She’s…… surprisingly strong.
Also no one was talking to me.
This is the first time since the upper grades of elementary school.
I can hear the voices of the students in my ears.
I heard Kyoko’s trembling voice.
“I’ve been very selfish. I don’t think he has healed yet…….” (Kyoko)
I could also hear Tetsuya’s raspy voice.
“What’s wrong with him? I’m really disgusted with the way he’s changed. Kyoko, can I do something?” (Tetsuya)
“No! Don’t get involved! Do you want to die? If it hasn’t healed, then it’s really bad…….You have a different physique than when we were kids.” (Kyoko)
“Huh? Kyoko?” (Tetsuya)
“No, Hayato can’t sympathize with people’s pain and joy. That’s why he’s different from… us…. He’s not normal.” (Kyoko)
I don’t feel anything when people say I’m not normal.
But I felt like something important was slipping away.
The only person in this class who knows about my past is Kyoko.
I stopped paying attention to Kyoko.
I had to study my emotions in the manga as hard as I could. I knew that if I didn’t, something terrible and irreversible would happen. I knew that my mother would cry again.
I can tell what’s right and wrong. And I understand that violence is wrong……. That’s society.
When I looked at Mitobe, I met her eyes.
She makes a bright red face and closes her eyes in a hurry.
She turned bright red and hurriedly broke her gaze.
……The first girl I ever took an interest in.
I thought I had no empathy. The only time I was different was when I was drawing.
I knew a little bit about what it felt like to have fun when I was talking with…… Mitobe at the park at night.
She carefully explained to me what was interesting about novels.
I felt like I could grasp something that my senses could not.
….Mitobe is a key person for me. I’m not pretending this time. I’m going to fix my broken…… body so that I don’t make my mother cry.
But what is a friend? I don’t know much about the word friend. Can you draw a picture with me? Would you show me something I’ve never seen before?
So I talked to Mitobe, who was reading a book during our short break.
My classmates became noisy just because I moved, but I wasn’t interested.
Come to think of it, since I stopped pretending this persona of me, something heavy in my heart seemed to be getting lighter.
Maybe it was just my imagination, but it must be a good thing.
Mitobe groaned as she covered her face with a book, but she answered me properly.
“I’d like you to wait until lunchtime to talk to me. I’m not ready for this……, oh, for lunch break to come.” (Mitobe)
I nodded and returned to my seat.
I have to explain various things…. Otherwise, Mitobe may be inconvenienced.
–Kyoko glaring at Mitobe-san, Misuzu with a wrinkled brow, Tetsuya trying to act defiant, and my classmates looking on in amusement.
This was because I couldn’t understand the emotions swirling in the classroom.
As Mitobe had suggested, we headed to the back of the gymnasium.
No one comes to the back of the gymnasium. And there is more space than you might think……. Why is there a bench here?
Mitobe laid a towel on the bench and sat on it.
We didn’t say a word until we got here.
I can feel the nervousness coming from Mitobe.
–Yes, I know a little about Mitobe’s mood. Why? Even though I’m not interested in the others?
Mitobe stammered a but, but found the courage and began to speak.
“Well… uh, let’s eat first, shall we? Oh…… wow, I’m so embarrassed by the amount of food I have…… I often eat here alone.” (Mitobe)
Mitobe’s bento was indeed a large quantity. But it was colorful and looked very tasty.
The fact that she makes this kind of bento every day suggests that she is loved by her family and that they don’t shame her.
“It’s a nice bento. It looks very tasty…….” (Hayato)
“Ah, haha, I want to lose some weight, but my mom always makes a lot…..” (Mitobe)
“You want to lose weight? You don’t have to do that or are you being forced to? It’s the healthiest skin for girls in our class. It doesn’t hurt your skin because you don’t use makeup. It’s beautiful skin.” (Hayato)
“Wow, uh…… that’s so embarrassing…….” (Mitobe)
“Okay, then I’ll say no more. Come on, let’s eat.” (Hayato)
We ate our food while talking about manga and web novels.
I didn’t mention anything about this morning.
I felt something strange. I felt that the rice tasted better than usual.
Why is that?
The way Mitobe-san ate was magnificent.
The way she used her chopsticks so neatly and munched away…
“After all, I do need you Mitobe” (Hayato)
“Huh? What are you talking about?” (Mitobe)
Not long after, we finished our lunches and put down our chopsticks.
And then Mitobe opened her mouth.
“You know, if you stay with me, Kagurazaka-kun will be bullied too. I think there’s still time for you to tell Kyoko-san.” (Mitobe)
“Bullied? Oh, to be ridiculed and treated like a toy. They even hid my flip-flops. I experienced that when I was in junior high school. When I started to put into practice the information I got from the mangas, and I kept making mistakes.” (Hayato)
At that time, I didn’t really know the line between bullying and being a good friend.
So I thought I was normal.
Recently, I realized that I was being bullied at that time.
“Kagurazaka-kun? Um…” (Mitobe)
The first person I ever wanted to be friends with was Mitobe-san……., but there’s something I need to tell you first.
Mitobe-san listened to me earnestly.
“I’m broken. I am a person who has no empathy for others. I’ve always wondered about emotions. I didn’t know why people were happy. I didn’t know why I was happy. I didn’t know if I was sad. That’s when I came across manga.” (Hayato)
I told Mitobe-san about what had happened to me.
I told her that I had been acting just like a character in the manga and pretending to be a normal person.
I had no interest in anything other than drawing, and was indifferent to others.
I told her about how I lied to my crying mother as not to make her sad.
I told her about the first time I talked to Mitobe-san the park, and that it seemed like fun.
I explained in an orderly fashion
Mitobe-san was crying for some reason…….
I didn’t know how to act… I didn’t know what to do.
“sniff…… Kagurazaka-kun…… Y-you suffered a lot more than I did.” (Mitobe)
“No, I don’t really understand what suffering is.” (Hayato)
Mitobe-san slapped herself hard on the cheek. It made a light sound.
I looked at it and wanted to touch her cheek a little.
“Hmm…. But there’s one thing I can understand…. Hey, you didn’t want to see your mother crying, so you started lying, right…? Then… even if you don’t understand Kagurazaka……. Somewhere in your heart, you didn’t want to see your mother sad.” (Mitobe)
My thoughts were spinning fast in my head.
….I didn’t want to make my mother sad? Did I have such feelings? I do not know. But is it objectively one of the right things to do?
“You have a point…………. I apologize for the abruptness, but could you come to my house today? I’d like you to take a look at the pictures I drew of your novel, and……” (Hayato)
“y-your house? Y-yeah,……, I don’t mind, but……, wouldn’t that bother you?” (Mitobe)
“It’s okay. I’ve never had a friend over before.” (Hayato)
“By the way Mitobe, about that line in chapter 13 of the novel, I think it was line 18…” (Hayato)
“Wait, what! How can you remember that? Okay, I’ll check it out!” (Mitobe)
Mitobe hurriedly took out her phone.
I’m not sure why my blood pressure was more stable than usual when I saw her like that….
……More stable than usual? I’m not sure, but I’m know it’s a good thing deep down in my heart.
It happened when we went home together after spending the day without incident–
“I was looking for you. I had no idea you had moved. Hey, long time no see, Kaede—” (???)
A boy I had never seen before was waiting for us in front of the school gate.
Mitobe’s face has darkened.
The female students passing by were making a racket when they saw him.
“Wow, he’s super handsome!” (Female classmate)
“Really? He’s not really my type” (Female classmate)
“He’s so cool! He looks like the playboy type.” (Female classmate)
“He’s from a different high school.” (Female classmate)
“Was he waiting for someone?” (Female classmate)
“That’s……, Hayato and Mitobe.” (Female classmate)
Mitobe was hiding her face with her bag.
“Why is Kakeru here…. I never wanted to see you….” (Mitobe)
“Huh, Kaede is so shy. I missed you so much, Kaede. I was an idiot in…… middle school. I’m sorry for making fun of your novel.” (Kakeru)
I compared the two of them
Would it be better if I didn’t join the…… conversation?
Mitobe looked disgusted. What’s disgusting? From the looks of it, it looks like an old friend came to see you–
“……You’ve got to be kidding me. Kakeru-kun never leaves me alone……. No, that was just because I had a communication disorder and didn’t fit in with the class. Hey, Kakeru, I told you I never wanted to see you again, didn’t I?” (Mitobe)
“Hmm? Oh, you’re still sulking over that. Please forgive me already. It was just a one time argument between you and me, right?” (Kakeru)
“I don’t want to see you again. I don’t even want to remember what we did in middle school anymore…..” (Mitobe)
The man known as Kakeru took a step closer.
I reflexively stepped in front of Mitobe.
“Who are you? Oh, you’re the guy who approaches Kaede because she’s a professional novelist huh? I’ve known Kaede since we were kids. She works hard and writes a novel every day……, and yeah, it’s better because I ruined the plot so she could give the characters character development, you know? Haha, you have no idea how much I’ve helped her!” (Kakeru)
I glanced at Mitobe.
Mitobe shook her head with a distressed expression.
–I wonder why? Now I could feel and empathize with Mitobe’s feelings.
Mitobe is very uncomfortable right now.
“Why would you say such a thing to me? You’ve been making fun of me for writing novels! I’m……” (Mitobe)
“Yeah, that did happen, but I changed my mind for Kaede’s sake!” (Kakeru)
I didn’t know what was bothering me but I felt something in my chest.
Something that comes up when I look at this man….. a black feeling.
Kakeru took another step forward.
Mitobe stepped back and clung to my back.
A warm feeling is transmitted to my back. I could feel her shaking through her body.
I felt like I could understand how Mitobe felt.
I select the scenario from all the books I’ve read in my mind.
I select the appropriate scene for the situation and read it over in my mind.
I turned around and grabbed Mitobe’s arm.
Then I squeezed her hand—
“I’m going to…… act.” (Hayato)
I have to reassure Mitobe. Not with a broken smile, and not with a fake smile–
It’s not a broken smile, and it’s not a fake smile, it’s an expression of how I feel when I’m with Mitobe.
“Ah, that’s– that’s– that’s foul…..” (Hayato)
I said loudly so Kakeru could hear me.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine without Mitobe, Kakeru. –Anyways come on Kaede, let’s go to my house. I’m going to introduce you to my mother.” (Hayato)
I could feel a warm feeling coming from Mitobe. I wondered what this was all about.
It’s a very gentle feeling
“Hey, wait! What are you doing to my Kaede? I came all the way from another prefecture and just because you’re a little cooler than me doesn’t mean—” (Kakeru)
I Looked sharply at Kakeru, who was trying to grab me by the chest—-
I stopped and stared at him and said.
“—Kaede is my lover. You should stay away if you have nothing to say or do here” (Hayato)
Kakeru’s eyes widened.
In dismay, Kakeru says with tears in his eyes.
“It’s not true…. this kind of man, Kaede is with—” (Kakeru)
And then Mitobe said in a loud voice.
“I hate you so much! I’m not embarrassed or lying, don’t get me wrong! Next time I see you, I’m calling the police! Idiot!” (Mitobe)
“Oh, and by the way Kakeru…… Hayato is a much nicer man than you will ever be!” (Mitobe)
“Oh…. I’m…..” (Kakeru)
Kakeru slumped to the ground and began to cry.
Mitobe left Kakeru and pulled my hand out of the school gate.
When the two of us walked hand in hand for a while Mitobe saw my hand in hers, and hurriedly pulled it away.
“I’m sorry that such a creepy girl was holding your hand…….” (Mitobe)
“Creepy? There’s no such thing as a creepy girl anywhere……. I understood a little bit more about emotions. I’ve also learned that Mitoobe hated that man.” (Hayato)
“Oh, haha Kagurazaka……, you’ve been very helpful to me today.” (Mitobe)
“It’s no problem. Come on, let’s go. I want you to look at my painting I drew” (Hayato)
The warmth Mitobe left in my hand was warm still.
I stared at my hand, which was slowly getting colder.
Did I still want to hold her hand?
What can I say about this feeling? I don’t know, but I felt like I had a hole in my chest.
“Hmm, that was embarrassing, but……, thank you…….” (Mitobe)
Mitobe smiled at me.
I’m not sure why, but it made me feel like the hole I felt was just closed.
TL/ED- So now we have finally finished the “introduction” and well we see now that Kakeru only wanted clout but yeah if you noticed they started using first names all of a sudden it was for the “act” but for now they will keep using last names but if there are any errors or questions please comment them and I hope you enjoyed chapter 3 of the series :)