TL: This is a sponsored chapter. Thank you WinoloTonolo for donating. Enjoy this chapter!
In the end, I was never able to practice baseball.
…… Well, you know, I enjoyed spending time with Anri after school, and I might have turned my attention away from baseball.
I’ve seen baseball cartoons, so I can handle it, I guess.
Besides, I’ve been busy revising my manuscript. I have time to do it without rushing, but ……, it’s in my nature. I want to get it done as soon as possible.
Today is the day of the ball game. We left the house early and we are relaxing on a bench in the school courtyard.
In the past, I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I’m so excited to spend the day with Anri that I wake up early.
As I was exchanging messages with Anri in the morning, she woke up early and we decided to go to school early together.
I thought we could spend some time together on a bench in the courtyard.
“Uhm, Makoto, what do you think of this artist? I think it fits the image pretty well, don’t you think?”
“It’s very beautiful ……, yes, all the candidates are too great to choose, but this one picture is …….”
Anri looked up the details of the painter on her phone.
She showed me the page of the manga she was working on.
“Uwaa, this artist is amazing! He’s a newcomer, but his manga is selling like hotcakes. The quality of his drawings is extraordinary. ……, Eh? But he’s a student. ……”
“….. The painter’s name is Kagurazaka Maple … Fumufumu, it’s true that this is, no, what’s this level? T-The story is also very interesting. It’s frustrating…….”
“Ahahaha, I’m going to have to look up the artist now. I’m not going to lie, I’m really jealous of this comic too. ……”
There was something about the artist’s drawings that struck a chord with me.
I thought I’d buy the manga, without mentioning it …… Is there also a novelized version? …… Hayato Mizutobe……I engraved the name in my heart.
“As I recall, Saeko-san said, ‘This painter is a bit unusual, so there’s a good chance he won’t accept you!’ But if I like it, I’ll do my best to negotiate! …… Anri”
“I think I’ll go with this person. It’s not because he’s popular or anything. He’s going to write out the darkness of Mikey Saburo in my work.”
Anri put her head on my shoulder with a big smile on her face.
A gentle smell tickled my nose. It was a soothing smell.
I squeezed Anri’s hand. Anri reciprocated.
This is how close we are as friends. My other friends don’t know about it ……. We’re the only ones who need to know.
“Then, I’ll have to get in touch with you. …… Fuwaa, …… I feel so relieved, and I woke up so early, I feel like sleeping.”
“I’m really sorry for the trouble. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a painter. ……”
“Ummm, ……, I’m looking forward to the ball game today. ……”
“Let’s go watch some volleyball.”
Anri fell asleep with my shoulder as her pillow.
Since Haruka had taught her volleyball, she and I had been practicing together on a regular basis.
I was Anri’s assistant. Nanako-san was Haruka’s assistant.
We didn’t talk much, but it wasn’t an unpleasant atmosphere.
Yes, it was a natural atmosphere.
Every time I saw Nanako, she changed her outfit from plain to beautiful like the Nanako of old. Her face was still a little dark, but when she was talking to Haruka, her expression was cheerful.
Haruka seemed to be completely in love with Anri.
She was so happy that she had a big sister. …… No, we’re the same age.
It’s a strange feeling.
It’s not that I don’t like to be with other people.
Anri has broken down my walls.
The weight on my shoulders–I could feel the love–
Anri woke up before more students arrived at school, and we made our way to our classroom.
When we arrived at the classroom, the female volleyball players were gathered around Saito-san.
The boys, led by Yamada, were talking about today’s baseball game.
A different atmosphere from the usual classroom.
In the past I didn’t like that kind of atmosphere because I was all alone.
…… The loneliness of being alone is tolerable. It dulls the mind without even realizing it.
But I’m okay now. I have an important friend next to me.
Anri and I took our seats as usual and started reading our books as usual.
The same quiet air surrounds us as usual——-
“Hey, Shinjo! I’m expecting a lot from you today! I’m counting on you! Tanaka, why are you looking at that manga all by yourself? Oh, you’re going to the volleyball game too, right? I’ll be there later, you can watch our baseball game too!”
Yamada, who had left the group, returned to his seat and spoke to Tanaka-san and me.
I nodded in confusion. Tanaka-san refuted, her face turning bright red.
…… Am I being used as an excuse?
“Eh, ah, that, I-I don’t want to go because I’m not good at sports ……, but I want to see baseball, maybe …….”
“I see! Haha If Tanaka sees us, she’s going to work super hard! Uh, if we win …… that is.”
Yamada’s end of the sentence suddenly became smaller.
I caught Anri smirking at me from the side.
I too became a stone figurine and watched their movements.
“…… C-can you recommend me some manga …… other than Tetsuro? I want you to go to the bookstore with me.”
Tanaka-san said in a strange voice, perhaps tempered by Yamada’s comment.
“Hyo?! …… E-eh I’m a gloomy person, and if I’m with you, they’ll make fun of me. ……”
“Ha? I don’t know, dude. Tanaka is the one I choose. Do you mind?
“Ah, n-no, I don’t mind.”
“I see, good! Oh, s**t, I should have said if I won the first round! I’m such an idiot!
“I-I see Fu-fuu……hehe”
The two of them seemed to be in a good mood.
When I looked to the side, Anri was smiling with satisfaction. It made me smile to see Anri like that.
Yamada suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders.
“…… Shinjo, seriously, please. I’m going to get serious for a second, but I’m the only one in my class who’s on the baseball team……. I’m super excited!!”
“Wait a minute, I only know baseball from baseball comics.”
“Heeh, You watch manga, Shinjo? Unexpected! Don’t worry, it won’t matter after the match! Muscles don’t lie!”
Yamada got up from his seat and went to the group of boys again.
‘Woo hoo!!! I’m really fired up! I’m gonna be stubborn today!”
Slapping himself hard on the face to get fired up, …… What’s that, is it a trend?
This is how my first ball game with my classmates began.
I, Tanaka, have been having trouble lately.
Why is Yamada-kun bothering me? I thought you were just an idiot!
But don’t give me that serious look you sometimes show! He think it’s kind of cool, right ……?
And, h-he doesn’t care what I look like, and he tries to come into my territory. …… It’s too …… unusual, Yamada-kun!
And the two lovebirds in the back seat are looking at us with smiles on their faces! You guys are smiling more than I am!
I-If Yamada and I went to a bookstore together, we’d …… be on a date? Uwawa If I show my true colors, He’ll definitely hate me. I talk too fast when I talk about my favorite books. ……
Huh? But when Yamada and Tetsurou were talking, they also seemed to be talking fast …….
I was so embarrassed that I don’t remember much …….
So now I’m writhing around in the volleyball gym.
I’m standing on the court as a starting member.
I can’t move my body because I’m afraid of the eyes of the many students around me. I’m so …… scared …….
I prayed that the ball wouldn’t fly towards me, but unfortunately, a loose, mountainous ball flew towards me.
“Tanaka-san! Just calm down and touch it!”
Shinozuka-san, who was standing next to me, spoke to me in a soft voice, and her tone of voice surprised me because she was talking to a version of Shinjo-kun.
I was so startled by the voice that I seemed to have touched the ball without realizing it, and the ball flew up beautifully. My heart was racing. The other students tossed the ball, and Shinozuka-san called out to the others, “Let’s go from behind.”
Shinozuka-san jumped up and unleashed a back attack with beautiful form.
No one could react to the ball, and it thrust into the court.
Praise and admiration from the allied students was sent to Shinozuka-san. The cheering from off the court was incredible.
“Is she on the volleyball team? Isn’t she amazing?”
“Oh, she’s famous for being a yankee angel.”
“Fuwa …… she is super cute.”
“Yeah, let’s definitely cheer for Class C!”
“Oh, that’s Yamada’s, nice receive!”
Shinozuka-san was a little embarrassed, but she was only looking at one point in the hall.
At the end of her gaze was Shinjo-kun, who was only looking at Shinozuka-san. Huh? Hasn’t the baseball game started yet?
Shinozuka-san waved a small hand so that only Shinjo-kun could see it.
Shinjo-kun waved back a small hand and nodded. …… No, the air is too sweet!? It’s a sugar rush!!
”UOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Nice receiving, Tanaka! Keep up the good work!!!”
Huh! What the hell is Yamada doing here! What’s wrong with your game! And don’t cry!
But, I’m kind of happy. You said you’d come to watch.
I’m starting to feel a little more at ease.
Not all of the opponents are good at what they do. Even when they make mistakes, they smile and keep playing.
After that, I made a few receptions and was replaced by another player.
In the meantime, Shinozuka-san’s onslaught was incredible. She scored more and more points with a technique that was as good as the volleyball team.
Yamada was captured by the other classmates and went back to his own game, crying.
The game ended with an overwhelming victory for the B team of our class, first year C class.
The next game started immediately. Next up was the A team from the first year B class. The team with Haruka Shinjo, the famous …… club activity killer. Ugh, ugh, I hope I don’t have to play this time. ……
While I was thinking about this, Miyu Saito, who was at the top of her class as the rear of the class, came over to talk to me.
“You did a great job, Tanaka-san. Your receptions were super! I told Yamada when you would be leaving! Good for you!”
–It’s your fault! You nosy rear end. ……
Fu fuun. W-Well, I have a generous heart, so I’ll forgive you. …… Beh, I’m not afraid of the rear.
“T-Thank you. Can I go…… and watch some baseball?”
Saito-san pushed me back, as if to say that she understood everything.
“Yes, I’ll be fine for the next game, so hurry up and go! Yamada, he’ll be happy!”
I ran out of the gym with a red face.
When I thought I was the only one leaving the gym, I saw that Shinozuka-san was with me.
Shinozuka-san was also running fast, as if she wanted to get to the playground as soon as possible.
“Oh, Tanaka-san, that was a good receive. Thank you for your help.”
“Oh, um, y-yeah, y-you too.”
Uuuuu, I don’t know what to say, because I know how sweet you two usually are!?
The Yankee tone sounds so cute.
” Are you going to the baseball game? Let’s go quickly.”
We hurried to the field.
The ground was filled with cheers.
Our class was tied at the end of the fourth inning.
I couldn’t help but complain.
“That idiot Yamada, he was watching the volleyball game. …… What if we don’t win anymore ……”
“Heh? Ta, Tanaka-san?”
Akakaka?! I-I couldn’t help but be honest.
No problem, it should be better than Shinozuka-san. Yeah, let’s forget about it.
“M-More importantly, look, it looks like Shinjo-kun is going to start this round!”
“Oh, yes, I know because Saito-san told me. …… Shinjo, will he be okay? He hasn’t been practicing baseball at all. …… M-maybe it’s my fault. ……”
Uwa, it’s bad. The way she’s staring at Shinjo-kun at the bat is so precious, she doesn’t look like the same person.
After Shinjo, Yamada was up to bat.
My eyes met Yamada’s, who was looking around scamperingly.
Yamada was waving at me in a big voice.
I-Idiot, I’m so embarrassed. Yamada is telling something to Shinjo-kun.
Shinjo-kun looked at Shinozuka-san for a moment.
Huh? Shinjo-kun’s signs are kind of …….