TL: So I finally got his name. His name is Makoto Shinjo…took me long enough.
“Makoto, what are you going to do about college? You could have entered a higher education school, but you went to the trouble of entering a low-level high school. …… You don’t have to worry about money.”
My stepsister and stepmother are sitting around the table eating breakfast.
My stepsister, with a sleepy look on her face, bit into a piece of bread.
I was already thinking about changing into my uniform and going to school.
I never eat breakfast with my family.
It’s just silence and a heavy atmosphere.
“…… No, as you said before, I’m leaving home after graduation. I can’t bother you any more.”
Stepmother made a bitter face again.
I still remember it.
‘It’s hard to pay for school with two kids. ……, and one of them is always getting into trouble.’
‘A boy who is violent to a girl is not my boy!’
‘You, you molester, ……, yeah, why……mou…… I want you to get out of here.’
This is what I was told as a child.
The words stung my heart. They become thorns that cannot be removed and rot from the core.
My stepmother looked at me bitterly.
“T-That’s a metaphor for scolding. …… You are my child, so be firm and set a good example for Haruka. You’re her big brother——-.”
–You’re her big brother.
I don’t know how much these words have broken my heart.
…… It’s okay. I don’t feel anything right now.
“…… Yes, I understand.”
My sleepy stepsister muttered as she spilled bread crumbs.
” Ugh, I can’t remember anything from last night……I forgot about it when I went to bed……I’m so sleepy……. Onii-chan, you’re leaving…… home, are you going on a trip somewhere?”
Step-mother wiped my step-sister’s mouth with a drawn out look.
It is a gesture like taking care of a child. It’s as if she’s not treating them as high school students.
“You don’t have to worry about it. Come on, you’re going to be late, get ready.”
“Fu ~a ̄i……, O-Onii-chan don’t go ahead …….”
I grabbed my bag and left the living room.
I didn’t dislike the school day.
There are a lot of students there, so the chances of seeing someone I know is slim. No one would talk to me.
There was no one around me.
Even though a lot of students are walking to the same school.
There are times when I get a strange feeling.
What would happen——– if I could go to another world?
So I started writing my novel.
This morning, I felt a little different than usual.
I don’t usually look at my phone, but I found myself irresistibly curious about my page on the novel site.
It’s not that I’m expecting anything. It’s a novel that I like to write.
I found myself checking my page.
–No notifications, huh.
Messages don’t come that often. But Pomeko’s message last night calmed me down.
It was when I arrived at the school gate.
My childhood friend Shizuka Miyazaki and a strange girl were waiting for someone.
I felt like stopping but I told myself.
’Don’t worry, no matter what happens, there will be a lot of people watching here.’
I can feel their eyes on me. I pretend not to notice.
This is a world where that is acceptable. Just let it go by and–
“Wa-wait, Makoto! I-I want to talk to you! Y-You have to face my feelings properly!”
“Right~, uhm Shinjo-kun right? ”I-I’m Shizuchi’s friend, my name is Momo Kurosawa. …… I mean, what are you laughing at? Shizuchi said she wants to face you seriously.”
Apparently, I couldn’t get past them with just a fake smile.
……She attracted curious glances from students on their way to school.
Miyazaki is objectively a popular girl. She’s just cute, that’s all.
Miyazaki looks at me with a sad face. The boys would probably fall in love with her if she looked at them like that.
“I-I was not lying about my confession……, I know you’ve been through a lot,……, but it’s in the past, so let’s look forward. Why don’t you come and watch a movie with me sometime? It’ll make you feel better.”
“You’re a really nice girl, Shizuka.”
Kurosawa paddled Miyazaki. Kurosawa’s voice suddenly became deep.
“I mean, who do you really think you are? I really don’t get it. I don’t care about the past! Even if you were violent or suspected of molestation, Shizuchi says she loves you. Lying about her confession……. Haa~ You’re crazy!”
“Enough, Momo-chan, I-I’m fine …….”
I can’t get this girl’s words into my mind.
Why do I have to be told this much by a girl I don’t know?
Nothing resonates in my heart.
Miyazaki doesn’t even try to deny any of my allegations.
–What is the point of favoritism?
Only the person involved can understand the pain of a false confession.
That was before I met Nanako.
I had spent my junior high school life quietly.
The incident with Saito-san lingered in my mind, and I spent my days not talking to anyone.
One day, I was summoned by a group of girls.
There was a girl I used to talk to occasionally before the …… Saito-san incident.
Her name is …… I believe, …… Kisaragi-san. I remember it was easy for us because we were both plain.
Kisaragi-san was standing there with a look on her face like she didn’t know what to do.
And then she took a deep breath and said to me.
“I’ve liked you for a long time……. Please go out with me ……. P-please.”
“Eh, m-me? Because I’ve …… heard a lot of bad things about me and I’m …… hated.”
“I believe in you ……. even from a friend, please.”
Kisaragi-san bows her head deeply.
Of course, I didn’t hate her at that time. So–I–
“…… Uh, from a friend or …… might be okay ……, yeah, I see ……, I– friend, please.”
When I replied, Kisaragi-san smiled with relief.
She must have been nervous about confessing, I thought.
I must have been wrong about everything.
We’d been messaging each other, going home together in secret, …… getting carried away.
The day of our first date. I was so nervous that my heart was racing.
When I arrived at the meeting place, I found a group of girls from my class there.
“You’re really talented, Kisaragi!”
“Awesome, you really have done it.”
“Kyahaha, [I’m looking forward to it tomorrow] gross.”
Kisaragi-san was standing behind them with a puzzled expression.
“U-uhm, Makoto-kun ……I-I’m sorry.”
“Yeah, tell him, Kisaragi.”
“Are you going to reveal the truth now?”
It was then that I understood. I had been deceived. Kisaragi’s words were decisive.
“It was a punishment game…… where I confess my feelings, but Shin-kun, the truth is—–“
The mind of falling in love was destroyed during Saito-san’s time. I’ve been looking forward to the aquarium and the movie.
I was looking forward to going to the aquarium and the movie. I couldn’t stay late with her because I was in junior high school, but I was really looking forward to talking with her.
–I couldn’t forgive myself for being so naive.
Something was rising in my heart.
I didn’t want to show it.
I silently turned my back on the girls and walked away.
I could hear them laughing behind me.
It’s okay, I’ll be strong.
I reseted my phone as I walked away–
“Makoto? Are you okay? Your face is so pale.”
“Haa, Shizuka is so sweet… This guy, on the other hand…”
The girls would never understand.
Miyazaki-san will have to be made to understand with harsher words than before.
When I think about it, my fake smile starts to peel away.
My heart becomes empty.
“Ooi, you guys are in my way.”
Someone interrupted my voice.
It was a voice I had heard before. The tone of voice was the same as usual, but it was filled with strong anger.
Shinozuka-san was standing there glaring at Kurosawa-san with a great expression.
“Hiii S-Shinozuka-chan? ! Wait, you’re scaring me. …… Hey, we’re friends, remember? I’ve never done anything to you!?”
I felt my temperature drop.
Shinozuka-san’s voice was even lower.
“Friend? …… you …… watch your mouth ……, I–“
“I-I believed you, Shinozuka! You were such a good friend to me! Hey, you can’t be a delinquent anymore! –Yes! Why don’t you and Shizuka-chan go out together, and you too, Shin-kun!”
Those words stimulated my mind.
My consciousness was about to be taken over by my mind again.
“Eh, y-you, wait…….”
“…… Makoto, you stay out of this.”
But I didn’t stop.
I said plainly.
“Sorry, Shinozuka, I need you to shut up. I’m talking to you……. Miyazaki, and by the way, Kurosawa, have you ever been subjected to unwarranted slander? Have you ever been falsely accused of something you thought you were protecting? Have you ever been wrongly accused of something you were supposed to be protecting? Have you ever been betrayed by someone you trusted? Who are you to talk like a know-it-all when you don’t even know what’s going on? I have one wish. I don’t want to cause …… any trouble. — Please, leave me alone.”
I smiled tautly again and bowed politely.
“—-It’s too late to fix it now. Don’t get involved with me again.”
I heard a cry.
When I looked up, I saw my childhood friend Miyazaki, who I had loved dearly, in tears. She was spouting words of regret. Kurosawa was acting her pitiful self while comforting Miyazaki.
Shinozuka-san sniffled and headed for the classroom.
I saw my childhood friend crying – nothing touched my heart.
The classroom is the same as usual.
I’m reading my book quietly while the rest of the class makes a lot of noise. Shinozuka-san was unusually reading a book on her phone. I wondered if it was an author she liked so much. Her face is relaxed.
Even after this morning’s events, she and I don’t talk to each other.
Even if we were to get along – we would only be betrayed.
So there’s no need for us to get along.
There’s nothing I can believe in—–.
Shinozuka-san spilled out a small voice.
“…… Yeah, okay.”
I was surprised to hear a cute voice that I have never heard before.
She began to type in a message.
When I saw her, I couldn’t help but notice the message on the novel site, so I took out my phone.
I guess it’s okay if it’s just a little bit.
–No notifications, huh? I’ve posted it, but I’m sure he’s busy. I wanted to hear your thoughts…….
I got a message notification in red letters!
“I finally had time to read it this morning! The latest episode was really interesting ♡! I’m so embarrassed because I’ve never used a heart before, but it was so interesting! I had a bad day this morning, but you made me feel better! Good luck with the update! Please keep up the good work!”
The power drained from my entire body. I’m glad ……. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I’ll reply too.……No, if I reply right away, he might not like it.
But …… I want to reply in this mood.
I thanked him and told him about my plans for future updates. It may have been a stiff sentence, but that’s about right.
–As I was about to send.
I can feel Shinozuka-san’s eyes on me. That’s rare.
After I finished typing the message, I looked sideways at Shinozuka-san.
Shinozuka-san was staring at my phone.
Then she glanced at me with a wrinkle between her eyebrows.
Her hand was moving in some way.
–What is it? Did you think it was strange that I didn’t speak in honorific? Oh, there’s another message.
‘……… Could it be?’
–Could it be? What does that mean?
I nodded my head. …… phone ……, maybe …….
I opened my eyes and stared at Shinozuka-san.
Shinozuka-san’s phone cover had a character of a Pomeranian on it.
We returned to our straight faces and looked forward.