After the weekend break, I was walking to school with Mio, as usual. To avoid any chance of the mysterious hand tremors occurring again, we weren’t holding hands. Mio had reluctantly agreed to this, as she didn’t want to draw attention to us or make me uncomfortable.
During the weekend, I had tried to avoid my family as much as possible. Shion and Tsumugi also refrained from approaching me, and when we accidentally crossed paths, they would simply avoid eye contact and appear uncomfortable.
I had rejected their apologies, so it was only natural for them to act this way. The real issue was with my mom. I could tell that my situation was putting a lot of stress on her. She was working tirelessly every day, and I felt terrible for adding to her burden with my problems.
I wondered what I could do to ease her stress. Maybe I should get a part-time job?
As I pondered this, I felt a sudden pinch on my cheek. I turned to my side to see Mio looking a bit grumpy.
“Come on, spacing out again? If you’re dealing with something, you can always talk to me, you know? I’ll listen to anything. Is it still about your family?”
“Yeah, sorry about that. Well… yeah, a bit. But I’ll be fine. Thanks, Mio.”
I didn’t want to worry her any further. She had helped me so much already, and I hesitated to burden her with more.
“You can always worry me… I want you to tell me everything…”
“Eh? Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention again. What did you say?”
“Forget it! You idiot!”
I hurried after Mio, who looked a little angry and walked faster and faster ahead of me.
In the end, she didn’t speak to me until we entered the classroom. By now, I had decided not to talk about my problems with her to avoid causing more worry.
As we finally entered the classroom, no one had spoken to me yet. It seemed like my classmates were intentionally avoiding any interaction or eye contact with me. It appeared that my initial firm rejection had worked in making them keep their distance.
However, when I spotted Todoroki, who was already in the classroom, Mio’s face lit up with a smile, as if her previous annoyance had been forgotten.
It seemed she hadn’t been genuinely angry, and I felt relieved. I greeted Todoroki with a nod and took my seat.
While my classmates had been eerily silent when I first entered, they had now gone back to their usual business. Rejecting their advances firmly at the beginning had clearly been effective.
Seeing Todoroki enthusiastically recounting yesterday’s events, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief.
This girl is definitely more like himself when he’s full of energy.
She had completely returned to her usual self, and there was no trace of the meek attitude she had shown on the way home yesterday.
“Eeeeehh?! That happened!? Thank goodness you’re safe, Akane-chan! By the way, Taiga… why didn’t you tell me about such an important thing this morning?”
Mio hugged me tightly and said that, leaving me speechless. It was true… I had been so preoccupied with my family matters that I had completely forgotten about the major incident until I arrived at the classroom.
Seeing Todoroki praising me so happily, Mio, who had just been relieved about Todoroki’s safety, inexplicably started to wear a gradually frightening expression.
No, her smile seemed genuine at first glance, but for some reason, it was incredibly unsettling. Todoroki seemed to feel the same way.
“Hii! Mio!? Why did your expression suddenly turn so scary!?”
“I-it’s, not really… I’m always smiling, you know? But, just a tiny bit, it bothers me when Akane-chan blushes when talking about Taiga…”
“N-no way! It’s just your imagination! I’m not that kind of girl!”
“Is that so? Well, that’s good then, right? Fufufu, just kidding. Anyway, I’m really glad Akane-chan is safe…”
Mio hugged me again with a smile, but Todoroki’s body was trembling.
I couldn’t help but feel like I had glimpsed a scary side of Mio. Well, it did make me happy to be loved so much… Yeah, I better not upset Mio too much.
Just then, the classroom suddenly became restless.
“What’s going on? Oh, looks like we have a couple of models here.”
Unlike Todoroki, who was clueless and casually commented on the situation, the entire class was filled with tension.
“Oi… Are you guys serious? How dare you show up at school like this!”
With those words from Sanada, I looked towards the classroom entrance. As soon as I saw them, a dark emotion welled up from the depths of my being, and my heart raced.
Rinto Kirishima, who wore a calm expression as if nothing had happened, and Reina Saito, who seemed to have completely lost her sanity, were standing there.
“Taiga, long time no see! Are you doing well?”
Before I knew it, I had rushed towards Rinto in anger, ready to throw a punch. But just before I struck, reason kicked in, and I stopped myself.
“Oi, oi, what’s going on? Why the sudden aggression? We’re best friends, right? Well, calm down.”