Translated and Edited by: luccayn.
-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.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
My legs took me toward that blonde goofball as rage, and only rage consumed me. After all, why should the girl who mustered up her courage be treated like that? Why should she cry and feel so much pain?
“Sorry. I forgot something,” I stopped between them.
“You. Aren’t you from my class?” Even he was taken aback. Not a weird reaction to have after some intruder interrupts their private conversation. Still, he quickly put on a smile. “Wait, I don’t really think so, but… Were you eavesdropping on us?”
“That’s right. Quite the scene you were making earlier, y’know.”
I admitted to eavesdropping nonchalantly, meeting his gaze from my lower height. But I didn’t throw a glance at Kiyami who stood on his opposite side — No. It was more accurate to say I couldn’t bear to see her suffering, face riddled with tear stains.
“Ah, I see. But you have some nerve barging in when you have nothing to do with us.”
“I told you already: I forgot something. Besides, you’re a pain in the a*s whether we’re related or not.”
“U-Um, excuse me…”
Her frail voice came from behind me, but I pretended not to notice. After all, I was but a complete outsider, someone who never interacted with her properly. The same went for Imataka, and I knew it. I knew the smart thing here would be not to get involved… But this wasn’t about logic or my relationship with them. It was about feelings.
“Imataka, why are you so stuck up?”
“Huh? What are you on about?”
“When you rejected Kiyami-san earlier, what did you say again? You called her a pain in the a*s. Not only that, you also spat she was a hassle, and you didn’t spare the effort to bring up other girls, did you? Oh, but this wasn’t all. You went above and beyond, telling her you didn’t even see her as a woman.”
He looked embarrassed for a second, but quickly put on a faint smile.
“I did that to make her understand,” he began. “She misunderstood things.”
“The one misunderstanding anything here is you!” I heard my own voice leave my lips with a boom as I closed in on him. Imataka’s facade of calmness didn’t last long; stripped of it, he furrowed his brows.
“Hey! You damn extra, do you dare talk like that to me?!” He yelled, grabbing me by the collar. But that only fueled my anger even more. The sizzling in my heart was loud, and I couldn’t just turn back and leave. I felt the heat sear through my body, and it hurt.
“Even if you’re gonna reject her, there’s a way to say it! Why did you have to compare her to other girls?! That’s just plain disrespectful! Do you think you’re some hot shot, Imataka?!”
“Shut up, smarta*s. I just stated the facts,” he taunted me with a sick smile draped across his face, almost a mocking jeer. Then, he softly slapped my cheeks once, twice, thrice, all in order to provoke me more. In normal circumstances, I might not have reacted. Right now though, it felt just right.
“Shut up, you! In fact you—” He couldn’t begin.
“Why did you have to say all that, Imataka?!” I cut him off.
“‘I’ve never once thought of you in a romantic way’ — Why did you have to spit such cruelty?!”
That was the breaking point. The volcano that had been simmering with anger finally erupted in a blaze of fire and vitriol. I felt his cheeks connecting with my fingers’ bones, and the desk right behind him toppled onto the floor. He fell off balance.
It didn’t take long for the both of us to fall grappling onto the floor, rolling while exchanging blows. Though a blur, I could hear screams around us, probably from our classmates.
I knew I was doing something terrible. I did.
Not long after, a teacher rushed in and caught us, taking these two troublemakers to the staff room.
The teacher’s questioning took a long, long time. In the end, Kiyami and Imataka’s inquiries took about 10 minutes each, while mine were more in the ballpark of 30. They dug deep, asking me all sorts of questions about the incident.
Almost an hour ago, each of us had been called into a small, almost reception-like room that was attached to the teacher’s office. I had no idea what was being said inside there, as I was the last to be interrogated.
Kiyami — the only one not in my class — was the first to come out. When she saw me sitting there, she got flustered and quickly disappeared off somewhere. The previous anger which almost made my head burst had grown calmer since arriving here, and now only guilt remained to consume it.
Imataka was the next to be called in, and when he came out not 10 minutes later, he had the smugest expression on his face. I had a bad feeling but was too preoccupied with what I’d done to pay attention to it.
Finally, as I entered the room, our middle-aged homeroom teacher fixed a sharp glare on me. It was clear he believed Imataka, which also meant he believed I had unilaterally provoked and attacked him.
As I continued to be interrogated, responding with dwindling strength, I realized something awful. Imataka apparently testified that he hadn’t laid a finger on me when he actually did. It was wrong on his part, and I honestly told them everything.
But the more I spoke the truth, the stranger the teacher’s demeanor became.
“Taiga. So what you’re saying is that you got angry about a confession that had nothing to do with you, so you punched him?”
“…Well, that’s one way to put it.”
Unable to comprehend, the middle-aged teacher ran a hand through his thinning hair, pondering. He then told me they’d contact me later about what would happen next and left the room, leaving me powerless and weak.
It was already dark outside, and I ruminated over what just happened.
Ah, what have I done? I hurt someone out of some self-righteous sense of justice. Actually, I’m sure just barging into the classroom was a mistake in itself. It wouldn’t have taken much for me to wait for them to leave. Nothing bad would’ve transpired then.
That night, I received a phone call informing me I’d been suspended. Minutes later, we had a family meeting. They questioned me on what I was doing so early in my school life, but I simply answered, “We had a fight.” I didn’t want them to know I’d lost my temper over a girl, after all.
I didn’t realize it right away, but I had made a huge mistake at a crucial time in my high school life. Imataka had become the “king of the class” as expected, so nothing good was expected for the little guy who punched him. From the next day onward, my days were horrible, and I was ostracized by the entire class.
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