“Apparently, he did it with his sister.”
“Yeah, I got a message about it on LINE yesterday.”
“You too? I got one too.”
“Everyone seems to have received it.”
“That guy is crazy, sending a s*x video with his sister to everyone.”
“I never thought he’d be like that.”
[I never thought he’d be like that.]
Rumors were spreading within the class. The malicious words filled the classroom with negativity.
No, this wasn’t just a rumor. The fact that “Yuran Kimisaki sent a video of him having sex to everyone” was an undeniable truth, something that couldn’t be twisted by words.
That’s why I’m feeling so shaken.
Yuran and I have been childhood friends and close friends since we were little.
So, I thought I knew his personality better than anyone else.
The firm image of Yuran in my mind is telling me that he’s not someone who would do something like this. But this is a fact.
A few girls talking in front of me turned to me and spoke. We weren’t particularly close, yet they addressed me by my first name, which showed they were quite skilled in social interactions.
“So, what do you think of that Kimisaki guy?”
…I was asked after all.
It’s common knowledge in this class that Yuran and I are childhood friends who get along well.
I personally felt a sense of happiness about it and would often go to Yuran’s place during breaks to have silly conversations. Our classmates teased us, calling us an “old married couple,” but I didn’t mind at all.
So, it’s only natural that my classmates bring up the topic with me.
However, it’s still bothersome.
I can see them mocking me deep down inside.
My close childhood friend was involved in an outrageous act behind my back, and I wasn’t even considered as someone of the opposite sex.
To teenage girls who thrive on stories of others’ misfortunes, this fact is like a B-grade delicacy.
In other words, there’s no reason for them not to bite into it.
But… I haven’t sorted out my own feelings. I need to handle this casually.
“I don’t know. I’m confused too.”
“Yeah, right? I can’t believe a nice guy like Kimisaki would be doing something like that behind the scenes.”
“I’ve never even filmed anything like that with my boyfriend.”
“Hahaha, me neither!”
…I can clearly see that they’re mocking me.
These girls have really nasty personalities. The worst.
But in this school, no, in all high schools, there’s something called the school caste system, a hierarchy.
These girls are at the top of the top, what you might call the “first-string” players.
I’m just an ordinary student, maybe in the third-string.
So, even though I may despise them deep down, I know what would happen if I said something that even slightly irked these first-string students.
I’d be ostracized within the class, subjected to insidious bullying, and even if I went to the teacher for help, I wouldn’t be understood. I can see that bleak future clearly.
In fact, I’ve seen many people leave this school in just that way.
So, even if I secretly despise these girls, I must never show it outwardly.
“Oh, too bad, Miori.”
“You liked Kimisaki-kun, didn’t you?”
…Their question hit me like a sharp dagger.
In my mind, Yuran’s presence had clearly surpassed mere friendship.
Yes, I liked Yuran romantically.
And I believed that Yuran liked me back in the same way.
I thought it was evident in our interactions, and even our classmates probably knew.
“Yuran, maybe he didn’t like me after all?”
My voice slipped out unexpectedly.
The feelings I had kept bottled up found an outlet and spilled out through my mouth.
My sudden remark seemed to surprise them a bit.
“It’s okay, don’t worry about it! That guy is a scumbag for doing something like that! It’s a good thing you didn’t end up with him!”
“Yeah, that’s right! You should be glad you found out he’s a scumbag!”
What’s… going on?
Could it be that these people are sympathizing with me?
No, maybe they just thought I was pitiable.
Even these girls with nasty personalities might have felt sympathy for me in the situation I was in.
They started badmouthing Yuran, using harsh words like scum and trash.
I’m in a position where I should be upset, but…
Gara ra ra…
The door swung open.
As the door opened, the incessant gossip about him in the classroom, which had been like the blaring sirens of the city, came to a sudden halt. The classroom was shrouded in an eerie silence.
Even the girls in front of me, who had been gossiping so loudly just moments ago, fell silent.
Someone had entered the classroom. That was all there was to it.
But the person who entered had the potential to silence this entire room…
Who is it? Who is it? I wondered.
Well, I didn’t need to wonder; I understood. The person who had just entered the classroom was undoubtedly him, my childhood friend, and the object of my affection, Yuran Kimisaki.
I knew it in my head, but I wanted to confirm it with my own eyes.
I wanted to see Yuran’s presence there.
I turned around hesitantly, like flipping the next page of a mystery novel.
Standing there was none other than my beloved Yuran.
Even though I knew it was him, my heart raced, and I could feel my pulse quicken.
Yuran stood frozen in front of the door, under the collective gaze of our classmates. His eyes lacked their usual sparkle, and they appeared lifeless.
Upon closer inspection, his skin looked pallid, and his hair was disheveled.
It was clear that something had happened.
I understood that much.
When I thought about it carefully, there was no way Yuran would willingly engage in such actions. Earlier, I had interpreted it as Yuran acting of his own volition, but in reality, there was no version of Yuran’s character that would lead him to do such a thing.
Yuran was gentle, somewhat absent-minded, and charming in a way that made you want to be around him.
That was the kind of person he was.
So… it was absolutely impossible for Yuran to engage in such actions willingly!
Once my mind was made up, I leaped from my chair with such force that it toppled over.
As Yuranesaw me standing up, his eyes changed from the lifeless ones earlier to ones filled with a glimmer of hope. He must have understood that I believed in him.
So, I approached Yuran, ready to convey everything to him.
To save Yuran…
Suddenly, a female student grabbed my shoulder.
The suddenness of it made me let out a strange noise.
My body, which had been heading toward Yuran, was forcibly pulled in the opposite direction.
Why, how? I didn’t understand the girl’s intention for grabbing my shoulder, and it left me in great confusion.
“You know ~ Kimisaki-kun.”
She raised her voice in spite of my thoughts.
“Miori is sad, don’t you see that?”
What is this person trying to do…?
I only knew Yuran’s character from years of being together, so I couldn’t decipher the thoughts of this girl with whom I had barely spoken, whose name was also vague to me.
“Taking scandalous videos and spreading them to the whole class? Isn’t that insane?”
“Wait… That’s not it…”
“Ha? What are you talking about?”
“Are you stupid? This guy, even at a time like this…”
“Hey, everyone thinks the same, right?”
I see… I understand now.
These people see Yuran as their enemy and impose their own sense of justice. They believe that their actions are right, so they don’t feel any pain in exposing someone like Yuran in this way.
It’s like a public execution. The incited masses took pleasure in the criminal’s head being chopped off, and these people also seem to enjoy the idea of punishing Yuran.
The justice that prevails at a particular moment becomes the justice of that place.
So, in this context, these girls’ actions are considered just. No matter how Yuran struggles, he is seen as the villain, and those who defend him will be equally guilty.
…This is madness… It’s not justice at all.
“Hey, Miori, don’t you think the same?”
“This guy is saying stuff like it’s not his fault~. Don’t you think he’s crazy?”
“Say it! You’re childhood friends, right?”
“Why are you hesitating? Miori is the victim here, so no matter what you say to this guy, there won’t be any consequences!”
“Come on, Miori!”
No way, right?
My heart raced wildly.
Why do I have to be faced with such a choice?
I like Yuran, and deep down, I sensed that he wasn’t at fault in this matter.
But now, with everyone here considering themselves the embodiment of justice, if I were to defend Yuran…
They, these girls, would undoubtedly condemn me.
I would become the bad guy, and they would target me next.
But in their minds, they wouldn’t feel guilty because they believed they were doing the right thing.
“Yuran… you’re not worth living.”
That’s what I said to Yuran.
My memories from there on are blurry.
However, the vivid memory of my classmates getting excited in response to my words and the despairing expression on Yuran’s face is etched deeply in my mind.
A loud alarm goes off. I stop it messily. The clock reads seven in the morning.
“I had a terrible dream…””
I get up to stop the alarm, put my body back in bed, and think about the dream I had today.
The dream is a dream that is lost after a few minutes, but the memory of the dream remains vivid for a short while after waking up.
The dream I had today was a dream of that worst day.
No, it wasn’t the worst day for me.
It was the worst day for Yuran…
The day he was betrayed by his childhood friend, who he thought believed in him, falsely accused by the whole class, and expelled from school.
Putting myself in Yuran’s shoes, I really feel like crying.
Because Yuran did nothing wrong.
The whole incident was caused by his sister, who was morbidly in love with Yuran.
His sister locked Yuran up, forced him to do things with Yuran, and then spread the video.
It was one month after Yuran transferred to another school that I learned about this from her younger sister.
At that time, I abandoned Yuran, fearing that I would become a target of bullying.
I betrayed the person I loved.
I committed an act that was worse than the women I despised as the worst.
I know that even if I apologize, it will never be forgiven.
But if I could just say one word, just one word…
That is all I wanted to say to him.
Three months have passed since he disappeared, and not a day goes by that his image does not appear in my dreams.