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.
Two months have passed since then. Kiyami and I… Or rather, Fuuka and I being together had become the norm. And I don’t even remember when, but we switched to calling each other by our first names somewhere along the way. Which was kinda hilarious — no, I’m not kidding.
Since neither of us had any friends in class, and since we were seatmates, we naturally got closer to each other. These last two months were nothing short of a miracle.
While two months wasn’t much time, it still was enough for a lot to happen. Fuuka visited my club, and we made some friends there. All in all, it was quite fulfilling. Her being an awesome teacher also allowed me to go comfortably through each day, so there’s not a moment I’m not grateful to her.
So, on a Friday afternoon just after some intense tests, we planned on walking home together as we’d been doing for a while. However, due to a small blunder of mine, my teacher ended up calling me to the staff room, which had her waiting for me.
These blunders of mine were nothing new, so I hurried back reflecting on the fact I’d been making a lot of them recently. As I was about to open the door, I heard a guy’s voice from inside the classroom.
Who was it? I thought for a moment it might’ve been some guy trying to open the door himself. But the moment my fingers touched the handle, I was struck with a strange feeling of deja vu. Sure, I knew Fuuka’s voice, but his was also familiar to me.
“Let’s give us another shot.”
While I only caught the train moving, the words ‘let’s give us a try’ suggested it was something important. It didn’t take another second for it to click, but I couldn’t believe it at the same time — Imataka had come to our classroom. He was talking to her.
“…Why? Didn’t you already reject me?”
She was right. One year ago, he rejected her in the clearest and harshest sense of the word. He berated her enough I confronted him about it then. So, why was that same guy trying to reconcile as if nothing happened?
“I realized it later. You’re what’s most important to me.”
“W-Why?” Fuuka was clearly bewildered. Confused, even. Though it didn’t take me long to realize I was starting to get agitated, and even more riled up than her. “So, you want to date me? Is that what you’re saying?” She concluded with a raise of her eyebrow.
“Yeah, that’s right. You want it too, don’t you? Let’s make up for our lost year together.”
“No need to make up for anything.”
“I won’t date you.”
There was no clearer way for her to refuse him. Of course, she should be doing that! How could he talk so much sh*t — comparing her to other girls, berating her at every angle — only to come back wanting to date her?
“Hey, hey! C’mon, Fuuka! Be a little more honest with me,” he insisted.
“G-Get away! I’m not lying or anything!”
“Nah, it’s fine, let’s go outside for a bit.”
“Stop it! Let go!”
I must be insane. Why am I doing the same thing I did a year ago? There was no need to eavesdrop anymore. Fuuka wasn’t a stranger to me as she was back then, and more than that, I couldn’t ignore the trouble coming her way.
Unlike a year ago, I calmly opened the door.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” I feigned ignorance. “Hm? What’s this?”
I deliberately put on an act. If I charged in guns blazing like last time, it would surely end up in failure. So, I played it cool to maintain a semblance of composure.
“Sup, Fuuka. Hm? You’re Imataka, aren’t you?”
“Huh? Oh, it’s Taiga… Don’t address her so casually, dude.”
Though he admonished me, I looked only at her. Fuuka was already on the verge of tears. Seeing her so cheerless, so sad, was enough to break my heart.
“Kakeru…” She squeezed her voice.
“It’s fine if we call each other by name. So, Imataka, what are you doing here after all?”
“Huh? I had some business with her, so keep your nose out of it. Hey, Fuuka, let’s go home together,” he forcefully reached for her frail arm, but I swatted him away. “W-What are you doing?!”
“You’re being way too pushy, man. Besides, she’s going home with me.”
“What?! Stop with the lies, you obnoxious, arrogant loser!”
“…He’s not lying,” Fuuka’s voice came out slightly hoarse. Unfortunately, it only served to strain Imataka’s stubborn expression further.
“Huh? What are you on about?” He turned to her.
“I’m going home with Kakeru. Not with you,” she said, moving next to me with her face downcast.
The handsome dude in front of us was utterly lost at what just transpired. He had this deflated, lost, and disappointed look in his eyes. “No shot. No way, no damn way. You mean to tell me that in just a year, she’s had a change of heart? Fuuka, that’s… That’s too fickle even for you!”
After spitting whatever that was, he went on to babble some incoherent theories, explaining how loyal he had been, how he realized Fuuka’s importance, and how he’d given up on other women just to come here.
However, all of that was counterproductive. After all, he’d stated one year ago he could never see her as a woman, and that he’d never see her in a romantic light. And now, after all that, he’d done a complete 180. He might be handsome, sure, but beneath that exterior lived the embodiment of narcissism. I could see it clearly now.
“That’s enough, Imataka. You’re, well, it’s painful to say this, but you’re being a pain in the a*s.”
“Huh?! What the f*ck? Shut up, dammit! Fuuka, come—”
“You shut the hell up.”
I put myself between the two without a second thought. He tried pushing me away, but I held my ground firm and steady. This guy was stubborn in every sense of the word, but he couldn’t muster the same condescending expression he hit me with a year ago. He had no confidence in that infuriating face of his.
“Get out of here, you f*cker! I’m her childhood friend!”
“S-Stop it! Please!” Fuuka’s voice was almost a scream. Meanwhile, I shook my head in disgust.
“You can walk home by yourself,” I locked eyes with him. “That’s the solution. And don’t you dare come near her again!”
“Don’t f*ck around with me! Why should I take orders from you, Taiga? I fell in love with her, that’s why I want to make up! Outsiders like you should just—”
“I’m not an outsider! We always walk home together!”
“Huh… Huh?!” He stepped back in surprise, which allowed the pressure to ease a little. I could take a moment to breathe. “No way. That can’t be true!”
“It is,” I doubled down.
“Is it true, Fuuka?!” He couldn’t believe it.
“Yes. I’m always with him now,” she confirmed. Her words dealt a strong blow.
While he might be a stubborn guy, he’d probably back down at this point. Thinking this, I kept watching him from the corner of my eye, but I didn’t expect the situation to unfold the way it did.
“So, are the two of you… dating, or something?”
And then, it happened. Fuuka, the one who’d been so scared all along stepped forward, her deceivingly large bosom puffing out as she proclaimed, “Y-Yes! I’m dating Kakeru now! He’s my boyfriend now…! Yeah…!”
Her voice was so clear it might’ve reached the horizon… Wait, wait! What the hell is going on, Fuuka?! — Oh no, has the continuous pressure of this situation driven her mad? Still, the sudden twist didn’t end there. For some reason, she tightly gripped the hem of my blazer and muttered, “That’s right, Kakeru.”
The sheer destructiveness of her whisper sent shivers down my spine. The volcano I’d forced inactive within me had begun to awaken, and an eruption was imminent.
“N-No, this can’t be! Taiga, you…!” He grabbed me out of the blue, but I didn’t feel the terrifying athletic prowess he’d exerted over me one year ago. No, I felt instead a fragility that made it clear I could get him off me. So I pushed him away with both hands.
Not wanting to see her hurt any further, I decided to go along with the lie she crafted.
“Yeah! We’re not hiding it anymore. We’ve… We’ve been dating for a while now!”
“So what you’re doing now is gunning for a taken girl, get it? C’mon Fuuka, let’s go,” I urged her to leave.
Alright, it finally worked! — Or so I thought, only for the once-handsome guy to come at me again, his face crumbling to what looked like a dying beast.
“There’s no way I’ll lose to someone like you! To a f*cking bottom-feeder!”
If I gave in to his provocation here, we’d be back to square one, to one year ago. I didn’t even know what kind of competition he was on about, but I couldn’t back down.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself! Nobody thinks you’re some hot shot!” I spat back.
“You might be okay at studying and sports, but that doesn’t make you the king of the hill! In fact, someone who looks down on others like you is downright pitiful. I realize that now.”
“What did you say, you slopsucker?! Don’t get cocky! You secretly want to be like me, don’t you? Have you forgotten just how much I tormented you last year?!”
“Imataka, stop it!” Fuuka tried to intervene.
“And you shut up!” He pushed her to the ground, and that was the last straw. My patience had reached its limit the second he laid his hands on her.
I didn’t waste time, immediately supporting her up before standing in front of the guy. “Don’t f*ck around, Imataka. I never wanted to be anything like you. Not for a second. Someone who calls others slopsuckers, bottom-feeders, or whatever else you come up with just to have someone to look down on. — Just f*ck off.”
“Ugh… You, you damn piece of sh*t!” With his shout, I felt the world spin around me. Fuuka screamed, and I felt an aching pain across my cheek. Finally, I realized it.
I’d been hit.
“What are you doing?!”
His punch, however, was the decisive blow. A teacher had just arrived in the classroom and intervened, which put our second altercation to an end.
“Get out of my way, you b*****d! I’ll murder you, f*cker!”
Even when faced with a teacher, he desperately scrambled to hit me. However, he’d been caught red-handed, and there was no way he could talk himself out of it.
This time, he was the one who ended up suspended with no one on his side, just like I’d been a year ago. I heard later that, despite being initially popular in school, people had gradually distanced themselves from him.
That being the case, he might’ve stopped being able to get other girls to date him and eventually decided to come crawling back to Fuuka. Honestly, it was disrespectful at best.
Imataka had a significant fall from grace after this debacle and no longer had anything to do with us. His grades plummeted, and he couldn’t even stay in high school.
Thus, even a life adorned with vain glory could end up in uncertainty. Finally, the grudge that started a year ago had finally reached its conclusion.
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