TL: This is Soafp. This is kinda a sponsored chapter but also isn’t? So for today a double release!
Anri hugged me and listened to my story.
I continued to speak objectively, telling her only what had happened.
If I didn’t, my emotions would fluctuate and I would suffer.
In the middle of my speech, my emotions would rise up and I would feel pain in my chest, or I would be at a loss for words, but each time
Anri’s hug became stronger.
“─ At that time, no one believed me.”
“I became friends with Saito-san in the library—-“
“Everyone hated me—-“
“I thought that maybe this time I could really make it work, but—–“
“But I still felt lonely—–“
” I built a wall around my heart—-“
It was the first time I had ever had someone ask me about my past.
My emotions screamed and bit into my chest.
I didn’t need sympathy. I didn’t need friends. I thought it would be better if I didn’t trust anyone.
I was anxious and insecure.
What if I told Anri about my past and she hated me too?
That’s not possible, my heart told me, but what if…
If Anri threw me away, …… then I’d be really broken.
So I didn’t want to talk about the past. But that’s not it. I felt that I had to tell her if she believed in me, because she was my precious friend.
I can’t just leave the past behind forever. I have to face it properly.
Today’s …… date made me realize that once again. Anri is the most important person to me.
When I finished telling her everything, there was only silence in the karaoke box.
I was too afraid to look at Anri’s face.
Anri pulled her body away from mine.
Anri’s hands touched my cheeks.
Her warm hands gently caressed my cheeks.
I bet I look terrible. It was a fun date, but because of my selfishness, I had ended it on a bad note. I was filled with regret.
I couldn’t make eye contact with Anri.
I could hear Anri’s voice.
“Makoto-kun ……, look at me.”
I looked down and raised my eyes fearfully.
My eyes met Anri’s.
Anri was crying inconsolably.
It wasn’t pity, nor was it sympathy.
It was a look of sadness and love. ……
I don’t want to make Anri cry. But I can’t stop crying either. I don’t know why I’ve become such a crybaby. …… I’m supposed to be strong, right? I’ve been living my life with a will of steel, right?
“Makoto, hey, can you still not trust …… anyone?”
I wanted to scream, but it’s not true, I can trust Anri. No matter what happens, I will always believe in Anri!
I shook my head and strongly denied it.
An inarticulate cry came out of my mouth.
It was only after I met Pomeko that I was able to enjoy school.
I felt at home in the shopping mall with Pomeko.
Shinozuka, with her stern expression on her face, began to enter my mind more and more.
Before I knew it, most of my heart had been gradually healed by Anri.
When we watched the fireworks together at Destiny, I felt a certain love for Anri as a friend.
But when she hugged me that night, I realized that affection was love.
Anri pulled my face towards hers.
My cheeks feel the warmth of Anri’s soft cheeks.
Anri whispered in my ear.
“I believe in you, no matter what. No matter what happens now, or in the future, or forever, ……, so please believe in me too, Makoto…”
I bit back a sob and just hugged Anri.
[I believe you.]
I felt as if those devilish words had crushed the last of something inside me.
I could feel my heart rapidly calming down.
My heart is still beating fast. But my breathing became deeper and slower.
Then I said the words.
“I also [believe] in you Anri—-“
Anri relaxed her body as she leaned against me.
I felt comfortable with Anri’s weight on me.
I wondered how much time had passed. There was no word from the receptionist.
We hugged for a long time, then slowly pulled apart.
Then we looked at each other and laughed.
“…… Sorry, Anri. I’m sorry that I ruined our date at the end.”
“No, I’m glad to hear about your past. I was afraid you would never talk about it.
“Well, I wasn’t going to tell you. But ……, do you believe me ……?
“Yes, I believe in you …… I was able to move forward because of you, too.”
Anri is moving forward. Then I have to move forward, too. In order to become a man who can match Anri—-
“Huh? Makoto? Looks like you’ve been blown away. …… It’s a little embarrassing when people stare at me,…….
” No, no. I’ve always been seen crying too. I thought I’d like to show Anri how cool I am someday.”
Anri muttered quietly, and at the same time the receptionist’s bell rang.
” –idiot, I’ve seen it a million times.”
It was hard to hear her voice over the sound of the reception bell.
It was a strange feeling.
Was there ever a time when my heart felt so light? I was just selfishly talking about my past and crying.
“Makoto, let’s go! If we don’t go home soon, Mom will get tired of waiting for us.”
“Yeah? Wait, wait? Your mother is waiting for us?
“Yeah, I just got an email…… saying that she is waiting for us to prepare dinner today to celebrate Makoto-kun’s book launch.”
I didn’t think that she was preparing such a celebration,……, that’s true, that mother might do it. I’m going to have to prepare myself …….
“Alright, let’s go. I’ll show your mother that I’m not ashamed to be Anri’s friend.”
“Pfft, it’s like we’re getting married. ……”
Anri’s face turned bright red even though she said it herself.
I was also very sensitive to Anri’s words. I felt embarrassed and turned my head to the side.
…… Today is kind of a special day. It’s the same as the time of Destiny. It’s a memory I’ll never forget.
Anri is shyly approaching me.
The distance felt closer than before.
“Hey, Pomeko, aren’t you a little too close?”
“Nyanta, it’s okay today! It’s a special day. ……”
A little pouting, Anri took my arm.
So, we decided to leave the karaoke room and head for the station. –.