“Uhm, can you say that one more time?”
“I think I like Asuka after all.”
In a coffee shop run by a master with a white beard.
I was revealing my feelings to Chinami.
Chinami looked puzzled from the bottom of her heart.
“U-uhm Hiro-kun, you got a girlfriend, right?”
“….. yes. But the more time I spend with her, the more Asuka flickers. …… I feel nothing but sorry for her.”
“For confirmation, why did you go out with that girl? Why did you get a new girlfriend?”
“Well, she confessed to me after we went out a few times, and at first I thought about turning her down.”
She was cute, girlish, upstanding, caring, and exactly the stuff of ideals.
But I couldn’t turn my feelings toward her.
So, I wanted to reject her confession.
” I was told that it was okay if I didn’t like her right now, and she even cried a little, so…”
“So your feelings were shaken?”
I nodded my head.
I hate myself.
I bit my lower lip tightly.
“By the way, how did that girl come to like you, Hiro-kun?”
“Oh, she’s in the same class as Asuka. When I was dating Asuka, I was in her class quite often, and that’s how she caught my eye.”
It was love at first sight.
“It seems that when she found out that Asuka and I had broken up, she mustered up the courage to ask me out on a date with me.”
“…… I see. People’s things look even better when they belong to someone else.”
“Eh? What is it?”
“No, I’m sorry, it’s nothing.”
Chinami’s voice was like a mosquito’s, and she sputtered out a few words.
The background music in the store drowned out her voice so I couldn’t hear her very well.
“Going back to the subject, what do you mean you like Asuka?”
“I haven’t been able to figure out how I feel about Asuka for a long time. I don’t know whether I like her or not.”
The more I thought about it, the more I was getting swamped.
But after I started dating her, I was able to face the girl, Asuka Nomi, anew.
Asuka is selfish and egotistical. But I didn’t mind her being selfish.
Sometimes she was so honest that it was embarrassing for me, and I liked her because she was so healthy that she would grow her long hair just because I told her I liked it.
“Asuka is a perfect match for me. For me. And I realize it now.”
It was only because I went out with a different girl that I realized how much I liked Asuka. I was finally able to get out of the feeling of being lost.
Chinami paused to support her chin with both hands, and then jiggled her gaze at me as if peeking out from below.
“I guess a little time has passed and you forgot about it. Asuka did some pretty terrible things to Hiro-kun, you know? I don’t think it’s wise to still have romantic feelings for a girl like that, like a wife who can’t stay away from her domestic violence husband.”
At first glance, Chinami’s analogy seems to be spot on.
But it’s not.
I lowered my gaze slightly.
“I …… think I’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
In a calm voice, as if repenting, I began to speak.
“When Asuka first told me she was going to break up with me, I didn’t say anything back and just listened to what she said. I thought to myself, “If only we had discussed this properly at the time”. I didn’t want Asuka to hate me, so I listened to everything she said.”
I don’t want her to say we’re splitting up or anything casual like that.
I feel that one word would have made a huge preoblem.
I was the one who made the choice to be quiet and do as I was told. As a result, I aggravated Asuka.
We didn’t have enough time to talk.
“I didn’t have enough awareness of myself as a boyfriend. I usually go out with girls. If I were in the opposite situation, I wouldn’t like it at all.”
Asuka has no friends of the opposite sex.
The reason being, I never had to worry about it.
But it’s something I could understand if I imagined it.
I don’t feel good about Asuka going out with her male friends.
Even if she says she has nothing to do with it, I don’t like what I don’t like.
I didn’t have enough imagination. I was more selfish than her.
“So it’s not all Asuka’s fault. It’s rather my fault.”
“I see. There were times when she was late for a date or cancelled it, right? What about that?”
“I think that’s Asuka’s fault. But I did spoil her too much. I could have been a little angry.”
“…… Asuka is such a selfish, self-centered who always annoys Hiro-kun, you know?”
“But I like Asuka like that.”
After we decided to break up, all I could see were Asuka’s bad qualities.
She is selfish and egotistical—
But I had already taken that into consideration when I confessed my feelings to Asuka.
I don’t mind Asuka being selfish.
I don’t hate being caught up in Asuka’s selfishness.
I only hated being threatened that she would break up with me.
“…… So what are you going to do about it? Do you dump your current girlfriend because you still like your ex-girlfriend?”
“…… …… I’m the worst, aren’t I?”
I felt my chest tighten at the relentless question from Chinami..
The reason for dumping her is too selfish.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I embarrassed you. But it’s not good to keep going out with someone if you don’t have feelings for them.”
That’s exactly what is insincere.
“I agree that Hiro should break up with your current girlfriend, but I think it’s a lost cause to try to get back together with Asuka.”
“A lost cause, huh?”
“Yes. you are bound by your first love.”
“I’m bound by my first love. ……”
“Haa ……mou, I can’t help it. I’ll give my sister a hand here.”
“What do you mean?”
Chinami smiles gently and leans forward to take my hand in hers.
“I’ll go out with you.”
I let out a gut-wrenching cry as the words I had not expected came out.
“Look, Asuka and I are sisters and we have similar faces. I thought I could take Asuka’s place.”
“What are you….. saying? What are you talking about?”
“Am I not good enough?”
“Nyahaha, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. You take it too seriously. Well, if you insist, I’ll think about it.”
“I’m sorry, but that’s a bad joke. ……”
I turn my cheeks to twitch and give Chinami a suspicious look.
“I mean, I’m not thinking of getting back together with Asuka.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. After I broke up with her twice, I can’t say that I still want to get back together with her.”
“But since I’ve consulted with you so many times, I thought I should let you know what I’ve come to.”
I am not meeting with Chinami today for the purpose of consultation. It is to express my will.
“What about your current girlfriend? Are you going to continue your relationship?”
“No. I will confide my feelings to her without hiding them, and apologize.”
As a result, I could not respond to her feelings. If this was going to happen, I should never have started going out with her in the first place.
I should have been strong in my heart and refused her confession.
This was my mistake.
It is not something that can be easily forgiven.
It’s no wonder I was vilified. But it would have been worse to continue the relationship.
That’s why I’m breaking up with her.
“Are your feelings set in stone?”
Until a little while ago, my feelings were dizzy.
Talking to someone is important.
But I tended to take the advice of others for granted.
I guess I was not used to asking for advice.
Now, however, I am able to think properly on my own.
“Can I ask you about one thing that’s been bothering me ……?”
“Yes. What is it?”
“What do you like about Asuka?”
When Chinami put her cheekbones on the table, she looked me in the eye.
What I like about Asuka huh—-
There are many things, but the most important is.
“I like her smile. At first, Asuka didn’t open up to me at all, her expression was cold, and I thought it was impossible to get along with her. But when I saw Asuka smiling innocently while talking with her friends, I was instantly attracted to her.”
I laugh to myself and scratch my neck.
I wanted Asuka to show me the same smile she shows her friends.
In the course of repeated trial and error, I realized that I was liking Asuka as a person of the opposite sex.
“Really simple, isn’t it?”
“That’s right. ……”
Chinami laughed in dismay and pointed her index finger at me.
“I guess …… I’m not good enough for you.”
“Eh? What did you say?”
Chinami-san mumbled in a voice that sounded as if she was about to disappear.
The background music in the store drowned out the sound again, so I couldn’t hear her.
“Nothing. I don’t want you to think too much about it, but can I ask you one more question?”
“If it’s me and Asuka, which would you choose, Hiro?”
“Ha? W-What do you mean?”
“Just answer the question. Don’t think about what it means.”
Questions that made me want to think about the meaning.
A lot of question marks were floating above my head.
Come to think of it, Asuka had asked me a similar question before.
The answer was given then.
I can’t fully grasp the intent of Chinami’s question, but there can only be one answer for me.
“I see. Thanks for answering.”
Chinami-san finished the rest of her coffee and got up from her seat with her belongings.
“Aaah. I feel kind of silly now.”
She stretched out her hands across the ceiling and laughed bitterly.
Holding up her index finger with a pin, she brings her face close to mine with a smile on her face.
“Finally, this sister has one last piece of advice for you.”
“Yes. Take a hit and crush it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Hiro-kun, you’re not so blind that you can’t see what I’m trying to say, are you?”
Chinami smiled softly and put her shoulder bag back on her back.
Take a hit and crush—-
No matter if I don’t succeed or not, I’m going to give it my best shot.
I clenched my fists and turned my head down.
“But …… I can’t continue to swing around Asuka any more.”
“Is that so? I think Hiro’s good point is that unlike appearances, you are brazen. With that brazenness, you wooed Asuka, right?”
“Ugh… ……, that’s a harsh way of putting it.”
“Nyahaha, I’m not a good-natured girl.”
“You think so? I have a feeling that Chinami is a good-natured girl.”
She consulted with me and even gave me advice.
But Chinami shook her head and tapped me on the shoulder.
“I’m just as selfish as Asuka because I have the same blood as her”
Without much of an explanation, Chinami leaves the coffee shop.
Me thinking once again when I’m alone.
It doesn’t boil down to this.
I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I’ll do what I can.
I raised my face and drank the rest of my tea.