Sixth period was over.
“Do you wanna go to a family restaurant?”
“Oh, yeah, sure. Let’s do that.”
So we decided to continue our talk at a family restaurant. While we were discussing this, I was being stared at by the three guys who had called for me, today. They didn’t have to get so mad just because I tackled and kicked them in the leg. No, that type of guy would be pissed if I did that to him. Yeah, let’s run.
“So, let’s go quickly.”
I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about the past while walking, so I continued walking to the family restaurant whilst talking about something else instead.
“If they ask you to go somewhere with them, don’t go, okay?”
“Why do you say that to others but go yourself?”
“I’m used to it.”
“What kind of story am I going to hear…”
We chitchatted as we walked. Soon we arrived at a family restaurant.
I order a light meal with a drink.
I’m not sure what to say, but I’m going to ask you to listen to my old stories again. …… it’s a little hard to talk about, but…
“You don’t have to tell me, you know?”
“No, I’m fine.”
Shortly before I heard Sumika say, “I’m just trying to be friendly with you.” Ryosuke asked me for romantic advice. I asked him why he couldn’t ask someone else, but he said there was no one he could talk to about it.
His partner was a girl who was one year younger than him, and she was also in the badminton club. Well, I knew her name. To be honest, I didn’t really want to hear about relationships, but I thought it would be good for Ryosuke, so I decided to do my best to help him get along with her.
I tried my best to give him good advice, even though I had never been in love before. Ryosuke and the junior got to know each other very well. I jokingly told him to ask her out to go somewhere, but he said, “Being alone with her is too awkward, so Shota should come too.” And we went out together, the four of us, two men and two women.
Then the summer vacation of the third year approached as well as the day of the last game. Ryosuke said he was going to confess his feelings to his junior on this day. I was nervous as if I was the person who would be confessing to her. Thinking about how well Ryosuke and the junior had gotten along, there was a good chance she would say yes.
As I waited to hear the result of the confession, Ryosuke came back looking more dejected than ever. I was surprised to see that he hadn’t said anything about the acceptance of his confession. When I tried to pat him on the shoulder and give him some words of comfort, he removed my hand with force. As I froze in surprise at the action, the next moment I was pushed away as hard as he could. Ryosuke shouted at me with tears in his eyes. To sum it up, he said that the reason why she was close to Ryosuke was, because she wanted to be close to me, and that he was not in her mind, at all. I didn’t want to get along with the junior more than I had to, because I was trying to support Ryosuke. Ryosuke said “I don’t even want to see your face anymore!” and ran off.
Shortly after that, the junior girl confessed her feelings to me. I couldn’t forgive her for taking advantage of Ryosuke, and dating someone like that was a no go. In response to her confession, I told her that I had talked to Ryosuke and told her that I couldn’t go out with someone like that.
“Eh, Why is Shota so popular? Is that really the story?”
“Yes, It’s the truth. The story about being popular……”
I wonder if I can show my face to Yuki. Considering the fact that people have left me, because of this face, the more we become friends, the less I want to show my face. …… But I also don’t like the fact that I haven’t even shown my face properly to my friends. …… Let’s trust Yuki here. He’s the kind of guy who would stand between me and the bad guys, when I’m being beaten up, and I’d like to think he’s not like my old best friend.
“What’s the story?”
‘Well, maybe, but it’s because of my face.”
As I said this, I took off my thick lidded date glasses and raised my hair.
Yuki froze with a look of surprise on his face. I’m not sure whether this is a good idea or not.
“Seriously, ……. You’re so handsome!”
“Can you stop talking like that, it’s kind of embarrassing.”
“Ah, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but I didn’t realize that Shota, one of the seven mystery of my class, was so handsome.”
“Eh? What’s that? What are the other six?”
“I thought there would be at least one more.”
“Hmm, I see. …… Are you skipping P.E. too, by any chance?”
“Because even though you were beaten up, you were really fast, and you weren’t out of breath.”
“Ah. …… Yeah, I don’t want to be spotted by any weirdos.”
“And yet, you’ve been spotted. …… Well, I guess that certainly explains why you’re so popular. …… Oh, Shota last name is Ishikawa, right?”
“Yeah, I mean, you used to call me Ishikawa-kun a while ago.”
“Is Shota the Ishikawa-kun who was rumored to be as good and handsome as the junior badminton players at the junior high school badminton games?”
“Yeah, that could be me. ……”
Well, I don’t care about that. I’m going to continue with the story.
After the last game, the next day I went to school, I went to Ryosuke’s seat during lunch break. I knew how much he liked the junior, because of the romantic advice I had given him. But I knew I couldn’t just leave it at that.
When I went over to Ryosuke and called his name, he looked up and expressed his disgust. I was taken aback, because I had never seen such a reaction from him before, and Ryosuke said in a voice loud enough for the whole class to hear, “What do you want, the person who took my girl.” As I froze in thought, my classmates crowded around Ryosuke. Ryosuke told his classmates that he had been asking me for love advice and that I had taken the girl away from him. He made it sound like I was the bad guy and that I had purposely taken her away from him. I immediately looked at Sumika, who was in my third grade class. What I saw there was Sumika, who was clearly looking at me with disdain.
From there, it didn’t take long for the bullying to begin. After a week or so, my desk was covered with trash, and after two weeks, my classmates started to beat me up.
In the first year, I solved the bullying problem immediately, because Sumika and Ryosuke were there and I wanted my peaceful life back as soon as possible. But in the third year, I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t report it to the teacher, nor did I say anything to my parents. Even when I was injured, I think I just said I fell or something and let it slide.
“So far, this is the first part of the third grade bullying story.”
“Part 1 ……?”
“Yeah, the second half of the story, solution, is coming up next.”
“Oh, if you’re looking for solution, maybe you can ……. Is this really the kind of story I want to hear?”
“No, I just thought it might be tough to talk about.”
“Hmmm ……. I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I didn’t think I could make friends in high school, but I wanted to be friends with Yuki, so I wanted you to know the truth about the rumor.”
“Well, I guess I’ll tell you the rest of the story.”