Let’s put the manga publication out of my mind for the time being. My mind is occupied only with the publication of the novel right now.
But I’d like to read the manga that Mitobe-sensei drew…….
How on earth would my character move?
No, right now I need to concentrate on taking a bath. But is it possible to draw 100 pages in such a short period of time? ……He must have something special in his nature. No, his daily effort must be tremendous. I’ll learn from him.
For now, I need to take a bath and calm my head down.
There was a large bath in the annex of the building where the students were staying. It had an open-air bath.
Since not all the students of the school year could enter the baths, we entered the baths as a unit of two classes.
Since I started living alone, I sometimes go to the public bath.
Soaking my body in the large bathtub feels surprisingly good. It was the perfect place to think about the development of my novels.
I remember that when I was in junior high school at a forest school, I left the bathtub immediately without even soaking myself. I wanted to be alone as soon as possible–
I took off my clothes in the changing room and put a towel around my neck.
I’ve moved a lot today, so my body feels dusty. I wish there was a sauna. ……
“O-Oi Shinjo, why are you being so imposing!?”
Hiratsuka was strangely frightened.
Looking at the students around me, I saw that they had towels wrapped around their waists. Is that …… the way it’s supposed to be? No one does that in the public bathhouses I go to.
“You take the towel off when you get into the bathtub anyway. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Right. I agree with Shinjo.”
It was Hirano who interrupted from the side. The big body is muscular and strong.
He was a member of the judo club. His well-trained pectoral muscles were twitching.
Hmm” Is the front supposed to be hidden? Anything is fine, right? I mean, let’s get in there! There’s a time limit, right!”
Yamada, who also has a strong body trained in the baseball club, grabs my shoulder.
It’s annoying, but I don’t mind. It was his way of communicating with me.
“……How to say this, you three are awesome.”
I thought Hiratsuka would be more excited, but he wasn’t. He covered the front of his head with a towel.
I thought Hiratsuka would be more excited, but not so much. He was covering his front with a towel and his long hair was bunched up in the back.
“A-Anyway, let’s go in!”
The bathhouse was moderately spacious. With this many people in there, the bathtub would fill up quickly.
The first thing I did was to wash my body at the washroom.
I guess Anri is probably soaking in the bathtub right now.
While washing my body, I still think about Anri. ……I have to erase my evil thoughts.
“….. you’re Shinjo, right? …… you, what kind of relationship do you have with Shinozuka-san?”
It was an unknown student who suddenly spoke to me while I was washing my body.
It was a rude thing to say, but I didn’t care.
“Oi, don’t ignore me.”
“I’m not ignoring you. Anri and I are friends.”
I guess he didn’t like my answer, because he looked a little peeved.
Who is this guy?
“Haa? You’re calling her by her first name. –Hyo?! That’s cold!?”
The rude man suddenly jumps up, startled. It looks as if someone had splashed water on his head.
Looking behind him, I saw a large man with a neat face.
He is …… surely Nikaido, Anri’s childhood friend.
“Owada, you’re not doing anything stupid. Isn’t it rude to meet him for the first time with such a attitude? Sorry, Shinjo is fine, right? I’m Nikaido. …… I’m in the same class with this guy.”
“Wait, hold on?! Because this guy is always flirting with Shinozuka-san!”
What does it matter to us? If Shinozuka is happy, that’s good enough for me. Don’t be jealous.
What is this? I can’t follow the conversation at all. I want to wash up. I don’t want to cause trouble.
Hirano and Hiratsuka, who were in the washroom a little distance away, were looking at me with concern.
I lightly waved my hand and told them I was fine.
Nikaido moved Owada out of the way and sat down next to me and began to wash himself. Owada bowed to me and went to his friend in the same class.
“I’m sorry. He is not a bad guy. …… Well, it’s called puberty. Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”
“I don’t mind, but …… can I wash up first?”
“Ou! Then let’s wash up right away!”
This guy is probably very popular. From a man’s point of view, he is handsome and his smile is natural and attractive.
…… Anri’s childhood friend huh.
We silently washed our bodies quickly and moved to the open-air area.
The bathtub we are in is in the open air.
No one comes near me and Nikaido. ……Why?
“I’m sorry again. My name is Owada and we went to junior high school together.”
“Is that the same for Anri?”
“Hmm? I see. Shinozuka was able to tell Shinjo about junior high school, right?”
In our daily life after Destinyland, Anri and I passed by Nikaido.
That’s when Anri told me about her past.
That day is a memory I will never forget.
Nikaido scratched his head.
“Ahh, yeah, you’re amazing. I really respect you. I couldn’t do anything about it. Thank you. Seriously, thank you.”
“No, I don’t owe Nikaido any thanks.”
“Well, for Shinjo, that’s true.”
Nikaido continued his story.
“As you may have heard, it’s my fault Shinozuka turned out the way she did. It’s been on my mind for a long time. ……”
I was annoyed by his tone.
My voice becomes a little stronger.
“–your fault? It’s been on your mind for a long time? It’s very self-centered.”
Nikaido stares at me with a strong gaze. I don’t care and continue. Strangely, I can’t stand it.
“—-We didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. –Why are you talking to me with a normal face? Why are you……trying to get along with me…. No matter how hard you try, you can’t erase the past. …… That’s what I think.”
The words directed at Haruka, Miyazaki, and Saito-san in the past were self-explanatory.
They are the past, not the girls of today.
And they are not words for Nikaido.
The past is the past, not the present.
–The past cannot be erased, but wounds can be healed. The present can be cherished and lived in the present.
He’s probably a good guy too. Maybe he was doing something for Anri.
I relaxed and sank my body into the bathtub up to my shoulders.
“Anri is the most important person in the world to me. –I will protect her.”
My body is hot. It is not because I am soaking in the bathtub. It is because I am thinking of Anri.
No one can beat this feeling.
Nikaido smiles, comes up to me, and crosses his shoulders with me?
“Shinjo, today was the first time I saw Anri smile from the bottom of her heart. It was when she was with you. I had never seen such a good smile before. Rest assured, I have no intention of getting involved with Shinozuka and hurting her—-.”
…… I was able to move forward with Haruka. Even Nanako and I were able to talk normally.
So even Nikaido’s reconciliation with Anri …….
“Don’t look at me like that. I’m good. …… Honestly, school is a special place, isn’t it? I couldn’t forgive myself for my mistakes, and I’ve worked really hard since then. So I assure you. No one will ever get involved with you two again. We won’t let them.”
“Nikaido?” …… what about Owada from earlier?”
“Sorry about that. …… I’ll take a good look at him.”
I didn’t sense any egotism from Nikaido.
“I’m getting a little hot, so I’m going to go ahead and leave. Nyanta’s classmates are worried about you too.”
–Hmm? Did he just say “Nyanta”? Wait, what’s going on?
“Oi, Nikaido?! What’s going on! Why did you call me Nyanta—-“
For a moment, Haruka’s face came to mind, but she said, “I forgot.” That means he really has forgotten. She has such a special head. That’s why it’s different.
Nikaido, who got out of the bathtub, smiled wryly.
“You know about [†Jet Black Fallen Angel Dark Angel†], right?”
…… Of course I do. The author started posting last year and quickly took first place overall. I think there was a book report at the same time as mine. ……
“Could it be…..”
“Hahaa, it is what you think. I said earlier that I wouldn’t get involved with Shinozuka, but since I really seem to like you, I’ll get involved with you, and we’re rivals in the same industry. I look forward to working with you from now on!”
Nikaido slapped his tight hips and went to where his classmates were ……. What the hell is this guy? I can smell the same smell as Haruka and Dojima,…….
S-So that guy won’t get involved with Anri after all.
But will he get involved with me ……
“Ooi, Shinjo! Are you okay!!”
“I mean, did Shinjo get along with Nikaido?”
“I tried to stay away from you, thinking you were talking about something serious.”
Yamada, Hiratsuka, and Hirano came to me worried.
“Nikaido is super famous, right? He’s athletic, good at studying, and super popular, but he’s also famous for not being interested in girls.”
“D class revolves around him. He’s famous at other schools for his good looks and I hear he’s also a model.”
“….Shinjo is no slouch either.”
Somehow, I was surprised to find myself feeling relieved when I talked with these guys.
“I’m kind of tired ……. By the way, Yamada, are you and Tanaka-san really not dating?”
“Gooo!? Seriously?! Like I said Shinjo, we are not dating!!”
“Awesome, it’s going to rain tomorrow, right? I mean, Tanaka-san came to watch the game the other day, right? Brought a homemade bento.”
“…… I’m jealous of that story. I’m …… scared of …… girls.”
“Hirano is surprisingly popular! Didn’t you see how many chocolates he got for Valentine’s Day? And everyone was celebrating your birthday too.”
I see, Hirano is popular because of his good personality.
Speaking of birthdays, mine was in the second half of summer vacation. I’ll try not to remember …… any bad memories right now.
“Didn’t Shinjo get a daily confession when he first entered the school?”
“N-no, that was…. not real”
“Haa!? What do you mean it’s not real! I don’t understand the meaning!!”
I spent the rest of the time listening to Yamada and the others talk nonsense, occasionally telling my own story.
This time, which is nothing special, seems to …… be very fulfilling.
My heart began to pound at the thought of seeing Anri during my free time after this.