[Kasumi Otsuki PoV]
“You’re amazing, Kasumi.”
I, Kasumi Otsuki, was very happy to be praised by my beloved parents.
I was brought up with a lot of love and I lived my life to live up to my parents’ respect and praise. I was brought up with a certain amount of strictness, but I knew it was for my own good, and it didn’t bother me because I was praised at every turn.
Of course, I didn’t always get the results I wanted. Even so, I did my best and tried to get as good results as I could.
For me, Kaede Kusunoki, who had always been the top student in my grade and had achieved results in many of her studies, was someone I admired. Unlike me, who was sometimes shunned for speaking my mind, she had a good personality and was a popular girl at school.
She took the liberty of recognizing me as her rival and treated me as a normal person, even though we competed with each other every chance we got. She and I worked hard together to improve ourselves, and my goal was to surpass her one day.
One day, her parents passed away in an accident. As I love my parents, I knew she must be very depressed, and I wanted to help her.
But when she came back to school after being absent for a few days due to a funeral, I was puzzled. Everyone else must have been too. I thought she was depressed, but she didn’t show any sign of it. And then she changed her behavior and even said that she was just being herself. It’s hard not to be surprised.
At first I thought she was confused because of the sudden death of her parents. However, no matter how many times I asked her, her answer remained the same. I didn’t realize at the time that every time I denied her, her eyes became cloudy.
A little while later, I got my first top grade in the final exam.
I wasn’t too happy about winning against her who wasn’t in top form, but for the first time, she fell out of the lead seat. I thought she would be depressed, but when she found out that I was in the lead, her reaction was, “Funn, that’s good.”
Naturally, I snapped at her, but she only seemed annoyed. My parents praised me for being the top student in my class, but that was the first time I was not happy with the praise.
I tried to compete with her in something other than studies, but she had already quit all her lessons. I couldn’t understand why she was throwing away everything she had built up so far.
As I was investigating the reason for her behavior, I noticed that there was a man who had recently become involved with her. Thinking that this man might be the cause of her behavior, I attacked him, but was brushed off lightly.
When I met him again, he came out of Kusunoki’s house with another woman. As I continued to talk with him, I was invited to visit her house, and when I talked to him, he told me that everything Kusunoki had said before was true.
I didn’t want to believe him, so I turned my eyes away from him until now. But I couldn’t help it. If I admitted it, the girl I admired would not exist.
I understood that Kusunoki hated her parents. I also understood that she had been forced to do many things by her parents. I also understood that her parents had never praised her.
I don’t know how to feel about her because my parents liked me, wished for me, and praised me often, and Kusunoki-san is the opposite.
But if the girl I admired and set my sights on is also a fake, what should I set my sights on in the future?
When I was arguing with her, a person named Hoshimiya-san stopped me, saying that I was arguing with my emotions even though I understood that it was my bad habit.
I had a conversation with her to cool down, and once again I said what I thought and made her angry, even though I should have stopped.
(Ah…I did it again…)
Even if I regretted it, I couldn’t change the fact that I had said it out loud once. I apologized, but the girls must have felt uncomfortable with me.
I could tell that the girls here had been through a lot. Talking to them made me realize how fortunate I was. And that we have different values.
Is it a sin for me to try to develop a mutual understanding with them?