Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
“Here you go, these are your assignments for tomorrow!”
With a bang, she slammed tomorrow’s printouts onto the family restaurant’s table.
Sitting in front of me is a beautiful short-cut girl with chestnut hair. Her name is Mei Ayagawa, and she’s my girlfriend. We’ve been dating for six months.
She was more beautiful than a lot of idols, and her smile was so likable, that no one at school had any negatives to say about her.
Before we started dating, she even had a fan club. Her existence was known by the entire school, especially in the second grade which we were in.
However, unlike her outward appearance and contrary to her image, she was relentlessly selfish, even toward me, her boyfriend.
At first, I thought it was because she was just a bit of a perfectionist. But as time went by, she became more and more aggressive.
It started with small requests, such as “When you walk with me, you have to carry my luggage, too,” but it snowballed into worse ones, like “You have to give me a present once a week,” and even “You’ll do all my school assignments.”
These were not requests befitting of lovers.
“Well then, I’m going to karaoke with my friends now, so make sure you do it right! I mean, you’re going out with me, so you should be thankful for this!”
After finishing what she wanted to say, she got up from her seat and quickly left the restaurant. Moreover, she took for granted that everything she ordered was my treat, and left without paying a dime.
Back when I confessed my feelings for her, resulting in her accepting them, I felt as if I was in heaven. Now, though, I don’t even know why I keep up with this. Do I even like her anymore?
I’d started working part-time to earn money so I could buy her gifts. Currently, I work three jobs and spend most of my time working, not counting school… When was the last time I had a date with her?
The only thing we do that’s remotely couple-like is holding hands, and even though it’s been six months since we’ve started dating, she refused to do anything with me, be it kissing, sex, or anything else.
She told me she wanted to wait until graduation for us to go further. I’d respected her wishes and cherished her dearly.
But is our relationship even that of a boyfriend and girlfriend? Are we even a couple in the first place?
With his thoughts unsettled, Shuu Haruki, Mei Ayagawa’s boyfriend, paid the bill and headed off to his part-time job.
After wrapping up his part-time shift, Shuu Haruki walked downtown to go home.
Haah… I’m tired again today. Well, I’ll go home and do the assignments quickly so I can go to bed asap…
Dragging my sluggish body from my job, I kept walking toward the nearest station. Getting home as quickly as possible was my priority, so I took a shortcut through the hotel district, a place full of those people.
Among them, a few people in suits went directly home from their work.
I’m struggling with part-time, so how do they do it?
Walking along the path half in admiration, half in envy, I spotted a couple. The man wore a suit, and the woman cuddled his arm, looking happy.
Aah, They look good together and seem like nice… people…
Casually treading the path, I kept looking at that couple. The girl who held the middle-aged man’s arm was my girlfriend, Mei.
My body froze at that sight, and I dropped my luggage onto the asphalt.
Muddled, my mouth could only thinly mutter her name.
Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?!
My thoughts, broken and disorganized, gradually calmed down and soon I was filled with questions. Why was she cheating on me?!
I did everything she wanted! She asked me for money, and I offered it right away! She asked me to delete all my contacts except hers, and I did it in a heartbeat!
Everything she asked me to do, I’ve done, and yet… And yet, why is she locking arms with a random old man, but NOT WITH ME?
As I kept thinking unanswerable questions, they stopped, and she eventually noticed me.
When her eyes met mine, she huffed and immediately let go of that old man she previously entwined with.
“Mei… Who’s that man next to you?” I ask her, desperately trying to keep my voice from breaking.
“U–Um… This person is…” Her eyes darted around as she desperately searched for an answer.
The old guy next to Mei then asked her casually, “Do you know him?”
This awkward atmosphere lingered for a moment longer, and then she stopped fidgeting, grabbing onto that man’s arm.
“T–This guy is a stalker! He always ambushes me wherever I go, and he won’t quit no matter how many times I tell him to!”
Her terrible excuse stunned me for a second, but that confusion quickly turns into anger.
“Hey! You’ve gotta be kidding me! You’re calling me a stalker?! Your excuses are just bull—GUH!”
I felt a jolt in my face and the impact blasted my body backward.
Realizing I’ve been hit by that guy, belatedly, I feel pain starting to rise on my right cheek where he decked me. The inside of my mouth was cut, and the pungent taste of iron filled my mouth.
“Oi, she doesn’t like it! Get away from us, stalker!”
The old man who hit me looks down on me with contempt. After this, Mei jumped into his chest. “Thank you, Masaki-kun! I was so scared…”
You B*TCH! So you’d rather be with some random dude than with me?!
I grit my teeth in frustration. No longer was my head filled with confusion and every fiber of my being wanted to screw the a**hole in front of me.
“Mei… Everything you’ve ever done to me… I’ll tell everyone every single thing! You better brace yourself!”
After growling these words at her, I walked away feeling dizzy.
The morning sun broke through the dawn, and beams of light shone through my room’s window.
Last night I got home dizzy from the beating, and as soon as I touched the bed, I was out like a light. The bright sun-rays woke me up, and soon after I felt pain on my cheek.
That son of a b*tch! He hit me with everything he had, and my face’s swollen. Will I have to hide it for a while?
After what happened yesterday, strangely enough, I was feeling fine. Though I felt a thirst for revenge over what she did, I also felt free from her selfish shackles. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this clear.
I put a gauze from my first-aid kit on my face and got ready to go to school. Looking at my watch, I saw it was around 7:50. I rushed downstairs and slipped my shoes at the entrance.
Come to think of it, I haven’t said these words in a while…
I finally recognize how bad I had it. Thanking God for releasing me from that hell, I walk out the door.
Arriving at my classroom, I noticed the odd atmosphere permeating the room. Despite that inkling, I sat down, only to be surrounded by a group of girls from my class a second later.
“Haruki, you… Is it true you’ve cheated on her?”
“Ha?!” I can’t help but loudly exclaim my confusion.
“Mei told me about it! She saw you walking with a girl on the streets yesterday! When she asked, you told her you’ve been cheating for a long time!”
What?! She’s the one who was cheating on me! That b*tch told everyone here otherwise!
I looked around the classroom to find the perpetrator of these lies, and I find her, Mei. She was at the edge of the classroom, surrounded by other girls.
“Hey, Mei! Don’t play dumb with me!”
I got up from my chair and start to question her, but the girls stood in between us as if to protect her.
“Haruki, what are you gonna do to her?”
“What do you mean? She’s lying!”
“Not only did you cheat on Mei, but now you’re gonna hurt her again?!”
“I’m not gonna let her lie like that!”
“Stop hurting her anymore!”
Even as I desperately tried to make excuses, everyone around me took her word for it. My pleas were drowned out by her words.
Among the angry people were some I even thought were my friends. Every single soul in the class expressed their hatred toward me, and the incessant whisper around me started to cut through my core.
“I was threatened by him!”
“I was forced to go out with him since he threatened me!”
“I’ve been suspicious of him for a while now!”
Disgust was shot at me from every corner of the classroom. No matter which words came out of my mouth, they were useless.
When I told them that she was the one cheating on me, they said I was a psycho for trying to make her look bad, as if I was trying to save my own skin.
When I told them about her usual exploitative nature, they denied saying she would never act like that.
Every single word I said was nothing but gasoline, feeding the ever-growing malice, like flames spreading through a wildfire. The ill-will toward me grew and grew until the homeroom teacher entered the classroom, then it all subsided.
But it didn’t last long. When the teacher left, I felt the animosity grow with ferocious intensity, pouring on me without break.
Even when I left the classroom to escape the engulfing enmity, the rumors had already spread throughout the whole school. Wherever I went, I was the target of piercing hatred from everyone.
And I could only endure it.
After getting through the school-wide attack, I quickly leave the classroom and head home.
I wanted to get there asap, and my thoughts were filled with the desire to plop onto my bed and just sleep, engulfed by this torrent of malice I’d never experienced before.
Finally, I made it home, but that relief was short-lived.
Greeting my family, I open the door, only to be met with my mother standing there, peering at me.
“Haruki… Is it true you hurt Mei-chan?”
After I had endured all the attacks at school, I was attacked at home.
“I’ve heard you were with other girls, even though you have her!”
“No, mom! I—”
“—I didn’t raise you that way!”
She interrupted my words and covered her mouth with her hands, bursting into tears.
“Why… Why won’t anyone believe me!”
I threw my bag in the doorway and darted outside.
Running out of the house, I kept going on recklessly. As I approached the limit of my endurance, I stopped at a large pedestrian bridge, sitting down on its steps.
No one believes in me… No one.
I have nobody I can trust anymore, not the classmates I’ve been with for a bit over a year… Not even the parents who raised me for 16 years.
There’s no longer a place for me. Nowhere.
Suddenly, I see a car driving down the road, and a thought runs through my head.
If I have nowhere else to go, I might as well just… disappear.
Climbing the railing of the pedestrian bridge, I eventually reached its top. Below me, cars busily sped by, and I knew that if I jumped over the grid, I wouldn’t be able to save myself unless I got extremely lucky.
No longer able to grasp the meaning of my own life, I was finally going to jump. However, just as I was about to, I hear a clear voice call out to me.
I turn my head back to see who it was.
“Are you… Usami?”
Little did I know this encounter would change my life forever.
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