“Heh, I see. ……. so that is how it is”
At lunchtime, I told Miyamoto-san and Obata-san about the story that had been told in class, thinking that they would soon hear about it anyway, and I got such a reaction from Obata-san. Next to me, Miyamoto-san looked dissatisfied.
That wasn’t the reaction I was expecting.
“Yeah? What do you mean by “So that is how it is”?”
“No, it’s just that the people in my class were acting a little strange.”
By “strange,” do you mean that the people around you knew about the story but didn’t say anything about it? Miyamoto-san is very popular, and if the story seems to be spreading in that class, I would think that there would have been some concern about Miyamoto-san.
“They didn’t say anything to you?”
“Oh, …… In our class, it’s like we’re not supposed to talk to Mizuki about Ishikawa.”
“Eh, wait, Nanao.”
“Eh, what is that?”
Eh, what was that. What is the meaning of this?
When Miyamoto-san called her name, Obata-san made a face like, Sh*t. From the look on his face, I guess Obata-san must have slipped up.
I had never heard of such a story. I don’t usually overhear what people I don’t know well are talking about. ……, or rather, I try not to listen to them, so Yuki often tells me what they are talking about.
I looked at Yuki to see if he knew, but he did not seem surprised and was sipping spicy miso ramen from the school cafeteria.
From the looks of it, I guess he knew about it. I guess he had heard of it.
“Sorry, sorry, don’t worry about it.”
“No, I don’t really care”
I immediately responded to Obata-san, who said so with a slightly impatient laugh. My story is NG. …… what’s up with that? (NG= No good).
“R-really, it’s no big deal. It’s just that someone in my class upset Mizuki a little bit.”
Miyamoto-san calls Obata-san’s name in a voice a little lower than usual. Her voice contains a little bit of anger and, well, how can I say …… it’s a little scary. Obata-san is a little scared, too.
But still, did I make them angry? Is that okay? I’m too sorry if you got into a fight with someone in class over me or something. It would be a disaster if she is isolated from the rest of the class.
Worried and feeling guilty, I was about to ask if everything was okay when Yuki joined the conversation.
“…… Well, if it’s not a problem, that’s fine but the story is that Miyamoto doesn’t want this spreading.”
Miyamoto-san, who had been looking at Obata-san with half-lidded eyes, hears these words and turns to me as if she is relieved. Then, looking apologetic, she replies.
“Me? …… Ishikawa-kun is better than me…”
“No, I don’t care. It’s a little late for people to be saying that. However, I don’t like it when people say that Yuki and Miyamoto-san cut corners. If Miyamoto-san doesn’t like it, I should correct it properly.”
When I said this, Miyamoto-san put her hand over her mouth and froze for a moment.
…… It’s just a matter of whether you don’t like it or not, and I don’t think you have to think about it that much.
As for me, it would have been nice if I could have just plain said I don’t care about that stuff. It would have saved me from having to spread the word about my grades. I thought about the possibility that Miyamoto-san might not like it, but the second it occurred to me, I thought it might not be true. So I was thinking that Miyamoto-san would say she wouldn’t mind. But I guess that’s not the case if she’s worried about it like this.
After a while, as if mumbling, Miyamoto-san said.
“…… don’t like it, I guess.”
“If that’s the case, we’ll have to do something to correct it.”
Yuki says so while looking happy.
……No, why do you look so happy? ……Well, never mind. Now it’s more important …… than that.
“What is the plan?”
Once that is decided, I need to figure out a way to correct it.
“Well, it would be too weird if you suddenly said, ‘I’m number one in my regular exams!'”
Yuki gives the simplest and most appropriate idea. If I do that, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of criticism again. The impression that has already been lowered will be lowered even more, and I can clearly see a future where people will call me a cheat and fraud again like they did in junior high school.
“Oh, I haven’t really thought about that.”
“Well, …… We don’t get to interact with our classmates nearly as much as we’d like.”
In response to Obata-san’s comment, Yuki answered, and I followed suit. The reason for the lack of interaction is my fault and I’m really sorry about that. Well, Yuki said before that he is normally friendly with the people in the badminton club, so I am relieved about that. I’m not sure if there is anyone from the badminton club in the same class ….., but I wonder if things would have been different if there were.
When my thoughts wandered off on such a tangent, Obata spoke up.
“…… It would be good if word got out that Mizuki wasn’t teaching Ishikawa how to study, but that Ishikawa came in first on the exam, right? That’s what Mizuki was trying to say yesterday.”
Miyamoto-san looked apologetic at Obata-san’s words, so I responded with a little laugh, meaning to tell her not to worry about it.
“Well, yes. As long as there’s no more talk about how Miyamoto-san was not serious, I’m fine with whatever.”
It’s not that I want it to spread that I was first. Rather, I don’t want that to spread. If I could do it well without that information spreading, I would. I’d like to ……, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
“Okay, okay. Then leave it to me. We’re not that close, but there’s a girl in Ishikawa’s class with whom I’m in the same club, so I’m going to go talk to her.”
“Leave it to me” Obata-san said, lightly pounding her chest with her fist.
Oh ……, that’s pretty reliable. My impression of Obata-san as a “dependable person” has grown a little.
“Oh, well, I’ll be looking forward to working with you.”
“I’m sorry, I am feeling like I’m pushing things on you”
She is reliable, and she looks kind of good at it, but I feel terribly sorry for her.
“No problem, leave it to me.”
“Thank you, Nanao.”
I thanked Obata-san, and Miyamoto-san, who was sitting next to Obata-san, also thanked her.
When the pace of my lunch, which had slowed down while we talked about such things, returned, I remembered something that had been bothering me.
“Oh, by the way, you said earlier that my story was NG. ……”
When I said that, Miyamoto-san looked at Obata-san again with half-open eyes, as if slightly accusing her. Obata-san looked at me with an expression that I could almost hear her saying, “Why did you dig it up⁉”.
Sorry. I really wanted to check.
“I’m sorry, Mizuki.”
Saying that, Obata-san calmed down Miyamoto-san.
I was so sorry for Obata-san that I didn’t want to prolong the conversation, so I asked her directly what was bothering her.
“Uhm, don’t you get along with your classmates? Are you isolated in class or something ……”
I’m sorry if you’re being left out in class because of me. …… If that’s the case, I think I should keep my distance from Miyamoto-san and the others.
…I guess… I don’t like it….
“It’s okay. We talk normally, and it’s really just like they don’t talk about Ishikawa.”
“I see. ……I’m glad to hear that.”
I was relieved to hear that. I don’t get the sense that she is lying out of concern, and I think she is really telling the truth.
These three people are my most precious friends. If they were having a hard time because of me,…… I was so afraid that they didn’t even notice it. I think I’ll sneak a peek into her class later …….
Then we talked about our summer vacation plans. Yuki is involved in club activities almost every day. Miyamoto-san has to help out at home, but basically has no plans. Obata-san also has club activities, but only two or three days a week. Other than that, she would go on trips with her family, visit the cemetery during the Bon festival, and so on.
While talking about such things, Obata-san put away the lunch box she had finished eating with a clink. Then she stood up from her seat with her lunch box.
“Well, good is better than bad, so I’m going out for a while. See you later.”
With that, she waved her hand in the air and took off at a run. I waved my hand in a small wave as she took off at a run.
Then, as if following Obata, Yuki got up from his seat.
“Ah,……,I think I’ll go check on her for a bit.”
“Eh, then we …… will too.”
“No, it would be better if the parties concerned were not in the stone.”
Well, I see. That wouldn’t be any different from the messy idea that Yuki first told me. That’s what I thought and sent Obata off, but then I reflexively said something strange.
Then Ariki said, “See you later,” and walked out of the cafeteria as if chasing after Obata-san.
Then, only Miyamoto-san and I were left in the four seats. …… Is it strange that we are the only ones left with half of left.
As I am thinking this, Miyamoto-san looks at me and says.
“……I guess we can leave in a few minutes.”
When I answered that, Miyamoto-san said, “Well, let’s talk about the place you said you wanted to go on summer vacation,” and started talking about something that was a continuation of what we had talked about on that rainy day at my house the other day.
“Oh! Welcome back, Shota.”
Yuki said as I returned to the classroom, looking just as happy as he had been when he had decided to properly deny the rumor in the cafeteria.
“I’m back. …….”
The tension was high for Yuki, but not so much for me at all. The tension is rather low because of the pain from the stares of the people around me.
“I guess the misunderstanding is safely resolved.”
“Safe…… safe huh…..”
Feeling this look from the people around me,…… especially the look sent from Sumika, who looked so frustrated that I noticed the moment I entered the classroom, I felt nothing but discomfort with the word safe and sound.
Well, …… it’s for Miyamoto-san’s sake.