“Yuran, you’re really strong.”
“Ah, in that case, I’ll use a character I haven’t used much before.”
“No, but if you go easy on me, I won’t be happy if I win…”
“I’d rather you didn’t go easy on me! I’ll win next time, though.”
“Got it, I’m looking forward to it!”
Ginro-san is at my house. It’s our weekly home date, and we’re sitting in front of the TV in the living room, engrossed in a fighting game. At first glance, it seems like a typical home date, but today is different.
Since yesterday, Ginro-san has been showering me with what could be described as abnormal affection, something reminiscent of what my sister used to do to me. So, I wanted to keep my distance from Ginro-san for a day to sort out my thoughts, but the sad reality is that it’s not possible.
I must try not to expose my true feelings to Ginro-san while holding onto these ambiguous emotions.
“Oh, I lost.”
“I did it! I beat Yuran!”
Lost in thought, I didn’t even realize the game had ended. The screen displayed the unforgiving result of my defeat.
Ginro-san put the controller on the floor and happily waved her hands and feet.
“Maybe it’s the first time I’ve ever beaten Yuran!”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, it is!”
Ginro-san was excited, clearly overjoyed at having defeated me, even though I wasn’t using a character I was familiar with. Normally, I would have been secretly thrilled to see this side of Ginro-san, but today, I don’t have the luxury for such feelings. My heart is too tense.
Ginro-san peered into my face, our eyelashes almost touching. It was too close for comfort.
“Are you upset that you lost so badly?”
Ginro-san stared at my face with a mischievous smile.
“No, it’s not that. I was just lost in thought…”
Ah, not good.
“What were you thinking about?”
I messed up.
I had taken an incredibly foolish action of digging my own grave. I had just vowed not to reveal anything, but that determination was shattered in an instant.
What am I doing?
I clenched my fists tightly, disgusted with my own stupidity. But right now, I need to explain myself rather than regret, or else Ginro-san, who is perceptive, will see through everything.
“Oh… I was thinking about what to have for lunch today.”
Our eyes meet. If I look away, it’s instantly obvious that I’m lying, and to remove my gaze is tantamount to admitting that I’m lying.
“Is there something on my face?”
“No, there’s nothing.”
“That’s good. You keep staring at me like that.”
“But Yuran, I’ve been feeling that something’s off today.”
“It’s a feeling I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind, but I was debating whether to say it.”
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.
I can hear the beating of my heart. It’s racing at a speed and volume I’ve never experienced before, and I’m despairing over the predicament I find myself in.
What should I do?
Ginro-san’s small mouth opens.
“Maybe it’s difficult to figure out how to face someone the day after a kiss like that…”
“Huh… Ah… Yeah.”
What Ginro-san said was somewhat unexpected for me.
Phew, that was close… She still hasn’t grasped the essence of it. I narrowly avoided a disaster.
“…So, how about we do it one more time?”
“I think if we kiss again, the awkwardness will disappear.”
Ginro-san pleads with sparkling eyes, a pure look akin to a puppy seeking a treat, and it’s a bit endearing, but unfortunately, I don’t have the composure right now to fulfill this desire.
Therefore, the answer is a firm ‘NO,’ and that’s it.
“Sorry, Ginro-san, I’m not feeling well right now… I just can’t bring myself to do that.”
I choose my words carefully to avoid touching Ginro-san’s nerves, trying to evade danger. It’s my only form of resistance.
“Is that so? Well, if Yuran doesn’t want to, there’s nothing I can do.”
Although I say these words, Ginro-san, whose request was denied, is clearly visibly disheartened. Ginro-san doesn’t talk much, but her emotions often show on her face, and right now, her downturned eyebrows and pouted lips make it unmistakably clear that she is disappointed.
I feel guilty inside, but it’s for the sake of both of us. If Ginro-san discovered the anxieties in my heart, she would undoubtedly be much more upset than she is now. I must avoid that at all costs.
“Okay, then I’ll go make some food.”
“Eh! Even if you’re not feeling well, don’t push yourself. I’ll make it.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry. I can manage something like this.”
“…Even though you can’t kiss me?”
Ginro-san said something at the end, but she spoke so softly that I couldn’t quite hear what it was.
Ginro-san’s cooking is delicious, but for some reason, I always pass out after eating it. Today, I need to be extremely cautious in everything I do, so I want to eliminate any potential sources of anxiety.
“All right, I’ll do my best…”
I scratched my head and headed toward the kitchen next to the living room.
[Yuran seems different today.]
That was the first thing I noticed this morning.
I think it’s natural for me to think that way because when Yuran opens the door to greet me at his house, it’s always visibly different.
Normally, he would show me that beautiful, natural smile with his lovely features, but today, it wasn’t a natural smile. It was a “manufactured smile.”
If someone were to ask me how I differentiate between a “natural smile” and a “manufactured smile,” I wouldn’t be able to provide a clear answer. That’s because I believe it largely depends on how I perceive it.
But I’m already convinced that Yuran’s smile today is a “manufactured” one.
So, maybe that excuse about not feeling well earlier was probably a lie. I don’t understand why he would lie, but…
And, there have been irregular events leading up to this point, to begin with.
I couldn’t reach him from last night until this morning.
This had never happened before. Yuran is usually very punctual with his messages, and he always replies within a minute, no matter when I text him.
For Yuran to suddenly stop replying to my messages was a big deal to me.
Now I know the truth: Yuran was probably just asleep. But until that became clear, I was so confused that I didn’t know where to put my emotions.
At night, I couldn’t sleep due to anxiety and restlessness. My tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I was too anxious, and that’s why I found myself wandering outside around my house.
I was in such a state of mind.
But the moment we reestablished contact, I was relieved and quickly arranged a date, hiding the dark circles under my eyes and the traces of tears with makeup. I wanted to see Yuran as soon as possible.
And I wanted to kiss him.
Where Yuran had been just moments ago is now an empty seat.
He must have gone to the kitchen in the adjacent room, and I’m alone now.
The kitchen in Yuran’s house is not connected to the living room; you have to step outside the living room, open a door on the left, and enter the kitchen.
That’s why we can’t have a conversation while he’s cooking.
“Playing games alone isn’t fun.”
I put down the controller and sank deeper into the sofa.
“Oh, it smells so good.”
A delicious aroma of curry wafts in from the kitchen. Yuran knows I love curry, and ever since he found out, he has been treating me to it regularly. The taste keeps improving each time, gradually approaching professional quality.
It might sound a bit arrogant, but I can’t help but think he’s making it for me. I’m sure Yuran is making it for my sake. Thinking that way makes me love him even more, and I can’t help but cherish him.
…Yuran, no matter what secrets you may have, I love you. That fact will never waver.
So, Yuran… you don’t need to hide anything from me.
It was noon, and Ginro-san and I were having lunch. The menu was curry, which happened to be Ginro-san’s favorite.
As if to emphasize that, Ginro-san sat in front of me, savoring the curry with delight.
“Mmm, it’s delicious!”
One of the reasons I enjoy cooking is because Ginro-san always eats my food with such relish. Indeed, when someone enjoys the dishes you’ve prepared, it’s a source of happiness.
Moreover, seeing Ginro-san, who used to have minimal emotional fluctuations, enjoy my cooking so happily when we first met, is something I cherish.
I undoubtedly love Ginro-san.
I love her…
“…Yuran? Aren’t you eating?”
“Eh… Oh, yeah.”
“I know it’s weird to say this to the person who cooked it for me, but it’s really delicious.”
“Hahaha… thank you.”
Ginro-san’s spoon comes to a halt. Why did it stop moving? Did something happen?
“What’s wrong? Are you full?”
A brief moment of silence. I have a bad feeling about this.
“Why are you responding like you’re not all there?”
“Just earlier, you said you weren’t feeling well… but that can’t be true, can it?”
…This is the worst…
Everything, everything has been exposed.
Ginro-san really understands me much more than I thought…
“Yuran, what are you hiding?”
“Eh? No! I’m not hiding anything!”
“I’m telling the truth! Besides, why would I have to hide something?”
I retort half-heartedly, a clumsy and immature response. Well, it’s not even a response; it’s more like a child’s tantrum. But at this moment, my brain couldn’t come up with anything better.
“You’re lying. Don’t lie to me.”
“I’m not ly—-“
“But today, Yuran isn’t the usual Yuran! Normally, you don’t force that kind of smile!”
“I wanted today to be a fun date… So, I thought I shouldn’t say anything… but that smile… Don’t show it to me, please.”
“I know this is entirely my subjective view, but I really hate that smile.”
“I’ve said this before, haven’t I? There were girls who I thought were my friends, always smiling in front of me, but in reality, they hated me… they faked their smiles in front of me.”
“At first, I had no idea, but gradually, I started realizing that even people who usually have genuine, kind smiles elsewhere would put on a fake smile in front of me.”
“So… I don’t want Yuran to wear that smile.”
“If you’re hiding something, I want you to tell me.”
A forced smile…?
Did I really have such a face…?
“Our relationship, Yuran and mine, is different from others, so…!”
“Don’t hide anything from me.”
Ginro-san’s first display of strong emotions.
While Ginro-san has shown affection toward me, she has never raised her voice and expressed herself like this before.
I made this happen.
I hurt Ginro-san by putting on that fake smile and by trying to get through today while avoiding hurting her…
I’m the worst kind of person…
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…”
“You don’t have to apologize. I just want you to tell me.”
“…What I’m hiding…”
Ginro-san’s gaze pierces me. But if Ginro-san learns the truth that “the person I love equates me with someone who traumatized me,” she will undoubtedly be more hurt than she is now.
But if I evade the answer here, Ginro-san will lose trust in me.
What should I do? Which way is…
“I’m sorry, Ginro-san.”
“I’m a scumbag.”
“What’s wrong all of a sudden? Yuran is not a scumbag.”
“….Right now I was thinking about whether or not to tell you a certain fact that I’m keeping inside of me, or whether or not to tell you, based on which of the two would make things go better.”
“…What do you mean?”
“I… pretended to be thinking about Ginro-san, but I didn’t even try to face you properly, and all I could think about was how to settle the matter.”
“From the beginning I wasn’t ready to face Ginro-san, nor was I ready to face my own darkness.”
The actuality isI am really a scumbag. I was trying not to hurt Ginro-san by comparing her with my sister, but that was actually my ego that I didn’t want her to hate me.the actual ego of not wanting to be disliked by Ginglou is what’s really driving the situation.
It’s an arbitrary and self-centered way of thinking that doesn’t consider anyone’s feelings.
Such a scumbag……..I was a good fit for my sister’s sex toy…
“…… Yuran… tell me…”
“I love Yuran…I love you…I can take it all about Yuran, I love you! Because I love you! No matter what kind of person Yuran is, I know Yuran’s kind and beautiful side!”
“I will never give up on Yuran!”
Ginro-san, those are words from her heart, that’s why
I have a duty to respond to it…
Even if I hurt Ginro-san very badly, I have to tell the truth…
I have to hurt Ginro-san…
I want to escape from that obligation, I want to be a good person, I don’t want to hurt people, if I hurt people, I will become the same person as my sister,
“When I kissed you yesterday…”
“I saw the image of my sister in you, Ginro-san.”
Unveil the truth.
Even if it hurts Ginro-san, I have to do it.
It is my duty.