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.
I didn’t expect this kind of life to last long. In fact, I figured it’d last a day and that would be it. Still, I somehow found myself walking home with Kiyami every single day since then.
During our walks, I’d notice her smiling from time to time, which only left me bewildered. Had I misunderstood her hating me? Have I been wrong all this time? Regardless, the shock I felt from seeing Imataka was still fresh in my mind, so I was careful never to mention it in our conversations.
One certain lunch break later, I — a loner in everything but club activities — decided to have a change in scenery. While we technically weren’t allowed up on the rooftops, I still went there to eat my lunch. Some other students would occasionally eat there too, so I wasn’t the only one.
Still, the scenery wasn’t quite as picturesque as I’d imagined, being surrounded by all these towering grey buildings and all. Lost in these thoughts and other random observations, I opened the lid to a lunch box my sister had made for me. As soon as I was about to take the first bite, though, my phone buzzed in my pocket.
“Now? Who could it be?”
One quick glance at my screen was enough to make my heart skip a beat. It was Kiyami.
Right, we’d exchanged contact information a few days ago. I had leaned on her kindness and asked for help with my studies, which allowed me to have this unbelievable boon of talking with someone I admired. What on earth is this life I’m living?
“Where are you right now? Wanna have lunch together?”
Seriously…? Have lunch together with her? I did a double-take internally, and my brain went into full panic mode. God forbid I reject her offer, lest it would make me condemned by every living soul on this planet. Shaking my thoughts away, I replied with a yes and told her I was on the rooftops. Mhm, I was flustered to no end.
A few minutes later, I heard light footsteps approaching from the stairs. Kiyami walked outside and donned a mischievous smirk on her face, “Pretty bold, eh? It clearly says ‘No Entry.'”
“Oh, that. My passion can’t be stopped by a mere sign.”
“Strange passion, that is.”
“Oh, when it comes to the ‘I wanna escape from this classroom!’ kinda passion, I’m the king of the hill.”
“Aaand that’s not a passion,” she laughed and sat down next to me, placing her silver lunch box next to my black one.
Lately, it had become quite the normal thing to have her so close, but it was still something I hadn’t gotten used to well. Simply put, being next to someone I regarded so much was enough to make my heart jumpy. In fact, our having lunch together was already some kind of routine, given the fact we were both seatmates. But, y’know, eating together somewhere else was a completely different thing.
“Wow. Your lunch box…”
“Hm? What about it?”
“It’s, uh, quite economic.”
“Nice way to put it! Yeah, it’s mostly just rice.”
I was grateful for my sister having made something, but it was a chunk of white rice with pickled plums and a bit of pickled veggies.
“Wanna have some?”
Kiyami took some pork from her cute lunchbox and plopped it on my rice.
“Wow! M-Meat! You’re giving me meat!”
“Sheesh, loud. Well, I’ll give you this one too,” she ended up sharing some salad, potatoes, and even some extra dessert she had packed for after the meal.
“Are you sure about this?! Wow, what a feast!”
“Well, it would be a hassle if the guy next to me collapsed.”
“I wouldn’t go down that quick, y’know. Chomp.”
“Ahaha! Eat before you talk!”
While she advised caution, her eyes were full of laughter. Oh, to think I’d be having lunch with a girl on the rooftops… It was a miracle in my life, for sure. In hindsight, I felt like my life’s been experiencing some “bugs” as of lately.
“I wonder what’s been happening to my life…”
“Hm? What’s up?”
“Nah, just feels like my life’s more fulfilling now. It’s all thanks to you,” I smiled.
“Oh, that ain’t true. It’s all you, Taiga.”
“No, no! It’s all you, I mean after what…”
I stopped myself, realizing I was about to venture somewhere I shouldn’t in any circumstance. The incident from a year ago was something we both avoided discussing. Damn, I’d unintentionally stepped on a landmine. Frustrated, I could taste regret like bile in my throat.
“I mean, I don’t really…” Her words waned, and the conversation didn’t continue further, for better or for worse.
However, desperation in wanting to know just why she was so kind to me began to overpower my fear. What were her intentions with all this, considering what happened in the past?
So, with a heavy sigh, I crossed the line I had been so careful not to cross.
“Um, so, Kiyami… Do you… Do you not hate me?”
The second my words left my lips, her eyes shot open and she froze. Clearly, this came out of left field for her. She was so surprised, in fact, an almost childlike innocence shone through her confusion.
With a rumbling heart, I strung my messy thoughts into words.
“About a year ago I… I saw what happened between you and Imataka. I thought so many times if I’d just left after seeing it and kept it all in my heart, everything would be fine. But I didn’t. I barged into the classroom and did all that… If I hadn’t barged in maybe, maybe…”
My words faltered. I wasn’t even sure what I was talking about specifically anymore, and I floundered. Still, I desperately fought back the confusion and tried to think. She’d stopped eating her lunch and waited patiently for me to complete what I had to say.
“I… I’ve been seeing you alone a lot after that incident. So I wondered if you were really hurting inside. Even from an outsider’s perspective, I could tell you had changed. It must’ve been so incredibly painful… If it weren’t for me—If you and Imataka were the only ones there, maybe you wouldn’t have been hurt so badly,” I breathed. “I thought you resented me for turning that confession into the mess it became. It would be warranted—”
“No, Taiga,” quietly, she denied my words. Unlike what she’d been doing, she interrupted my conclusion with her own words. “I don’t resent you. Besides, the reason I was rejected was, well, me. I was the only one who cherished our memories—these feelings.” Her voice grew hoarser. “I’m sure that, to Imataka, I was no different than anyone else. No matter how hard I tried, he’d never see me as a potential partner. That’s all there is to it,” her last words scraped at her throat.
I listened to her own confession with what felt like thorns piercing my heart. It was a different sort of pain, kind of like what I felt during the incident.
“It was fine for me to be a mess. But when I saw you in pain, it really, really hurt. Even though you had nothing to do with it, you still got angry for my sake and ended up lashing out… And was unilaterally scolded at the end. That’s why I’ve wanted to apologize for so long.”
“A-Apologize? Why?!” I faced her directly and saw large tears welling up in her eyes. Within her pupils was the reflection of a man and his oh-so-pitiful expression.
“Because it’s my fault you… you ended up being alone in class. If I hadn’t let you help me, you would have a… a better time…”
Listening to her words amidst this chaotic mess of a situation, I realized she had a misunderstanding about Taiga, just another ordinary, unexceptional guy. So, maintaining seriousness and locking my eyes with hers, I strung words to ease her mind, even if just a little.
“Kiyami, you’re misunderstanding me.”
“Yeah. First of all, even if that thing hadn’t happened, I would probably still be a loner now… Not probably — surely. I mean, you know just how bad I am at socializing, right? There’s no need to worry about all that.”
“I don’t give a damn about Imataka anymore. It’s all in the past, and I’m not really damaged because of it. Actually, it was over before I knew it… Either way, it was already game over for me then, so I figured I’d start over in my second year. Besides…”
I took a deeper breath than usual. There was something I just had to tell her, even through nervousness.
“Lately, I’ve been having so much fun when I’m with you, Kiyami, I feel saved. I actually love the way things are now, and it’s all thanks to you.”
“N-No, it’s not me!”
Rain often stopped quiet as a whisper, with no one noticing. And such is the way a girl’s tears eventually dry up. I sat down right beside Kiyami, waiting for her to calm down. How much time had passed? I didn’t know. Before I even knew it, the storm in her heart had cleared up.
“Taiga… You don’t find me a pain, do you?”
“Huh? No shot I do. In fact, you’re the best. You’re so the best I just wanna thank you a hundred times over! Oh, and let’s continue to be good friends.”
“…Mhm. I understand. Also, we should hurry, lunchtime is almost over.”
“What? Oh no! We need to run back!”
Frantically, we rushed back to our classroom. But for some reason, we had smiles plastered on both of our faces, and I felt a huge wave of relief crash over me. And with our misunderstandings cleared up, our lives became even more enjoyable.
Thank you for reading! Be sure to leave your opinions on the chapter below!
If you enjoy my work and would like to
feed my caffeine addiction support what I do, feel free to visit my Ko-Fi page! Any value already means the world to me. Don’t worry though, I’ll never paywall anything I ever translate. That’s scummy.