I arrived at Shinozaki-san’s house.
It was in an intricate area and I got a little lost, but I had been running, so I did not lose much time.
I lightly adjusted my breathing and brought my finger to the intercom.
Soon after, a voice came over the intercom.
“My name is Hiroto Suginami. Uhm is Shinozaki-san
“No, it’s me. Wait here for a minute.”
Visiting a girl’s house —- it is not often that I get a chance to visit the house of a girl with whom I have a complicated relationship.
That’s why I was strangely nervous.
I should be nervous now, though.
I waited in front of the intercom as Shinozaki-san told me to, while adjusting my breathing.
After a while, the door opened.
“What’s going on? If it’s a delivery service, you should pick it up yourself.”
“That’s fine, that’s fine. It’s for Asuka.”
“Ha? What do you mean it’s for—-, Hiroto?”
Shinozaki-san pushes her back, and Asuka appears on the scene.
As soon as Asuka’s eyes met mine, she stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me in amazement.
After a few seconds of silence, Asuka gripped the sleeve of Shinozaki’s dress.
“W-What is the meaning of this?! Why is Hiroto here⁉︎”
“Hiroto-kun, he has something to say to Asuka.”
“What’s that? Mami, didn’t you say something ……?”
“No. I didn’t do anything. It’s up to Asuka now.”
Shinozaki-san pushed hard on Asuka’s back.
After making us close the distance between us at once, she went back inside the house, closing the door behind her.
Asuka and I are left alone.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come so suddenly.”
“No, it’s nothing. ……. What do you want from me?”
“Hey, do you have any free time today?”
“I’m having a Christmas party with my friends …….”
The way I started this was a mistake.
The plan was not proceeding as I had envisioned. Improvise, me!
“…………,Uhm you coming, Hiroto?”
“N-no. That’s not a good idea.”
“Yeah, I guess so. There are only girls. Well, I’m sure Hiroto will fit in.”
“Is that so?”
The flow is not good.
To begin with, I am not having a good conversation with Asuka.
It is probably because I am extremely nervous.
Asuka was feeling the same way, and the awkward atmosphere was clinging to her.
Suddenly, Asuka looked behind her to see if she sensed something.
I looked behind her as well.
The door was slightly open.
Through the gap, Asuka’s friends were all looking at me.
“C-Can we change the place?”
Asuka’s face turns red regardless of the cold, and she suggests moving to a different location.
I don’t like to be in the presence of an audience.
“Yes, let’s change it.”
I decided to take Asuka’s suggestion and move to a nearby park.
A small park. It was after seventeen o’clock and not a single child was there.
We sit next to each other on benches, keeping a little distance between us.
It was so cold that our breath turned white. Asuka was rubbing her hands and puffing away.
“Ah, I’m sorry, I didn’t notice. “
“I-it’s okay. I can handle the cold.”
“I don’t think that’s going to cut it.”
We have been together for more than two years.
I handed her the coat, and Asuka, puzzled, put the top on.
“…..Aren’t you cold, Hiroto?”
“I’m a bit of a cold weather guy.”
“Hiroto, do you think such a lie will work?”
Naturally, Asuka seemed to know that much as well.
I showed her the scarf I had wrapped around my neck with a bitter expression on my face.
“Look, I have this.”
“…You’re using it”
Asuka’s eyes widened slightly and she blurted out.
I took a small breath and looked into her eyes.
“Do you have some time for me after this? I have a place I want to go with Asuka.”
Asuka’s eyes flashed with excitement.
“D-do you even know what today is? Why are you coming to see me? Hiroto, you have a girlfriend—-“
“I already broke up with her.”
“Is that so…… I’m sorry, I lied. I knew Hiroto broke up with her.”
Asuka sputters out in a mumble.
In a closed space like a school, it is easy for information to spread about colorful love affairs.
The matter with Sakura-san was hidden from everyone around me, but even so, it was spreading without my knowledge.
And looking at Sakura-san, it would have been easy to imagine that we broke up.
“Hiroto, I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
” I’m sorry. I know I’m bothering you by coming out of nowhere.”
“Really, I’m in trouble. But I’m the one who doesn’t understand the most.”
“I thought I wouldn’t see Hiroto today. But when Hiroto came, I didn’t know what to expect. I was so happy, even though I should have thrown away these feelings because they weren’t good for me. I’m really no good at all. ……”
Asuka muttered to herself as she looked up at the sky in self-mockery.
Exhaling in exasperation, Asuka looked at me sadly.
“I don’t want to bother Hiroto anymore. That’s why I don’t want to be with Hiroto—“
“You’re not bothering me.”
“I want you to spend today with me.”
“I know it’s a bit much to ask for when you’re having a Christmas party with your friends, but I want to be with Asuka. So come with me.”
“Ha? Eh? What are you saying?”
I can’t back out of this.
If Asuka refuses, I should give up.
But I don’t want to give up, so I’m going to tell her how I feel. I will not be weak.
Asuka’s face turned so red that it looked like steam was coming out of it.
“…..Do you know what you are saying is messed up? …… Hiroto doesn’t like me anymore, right?”
“I did say that? I don’t remember saying I didn’t like you.”
I was not sure how I felt.
But I don’t remember saying I disliked her.
Well, I think I acted in a way that made people think that.
“But what I said and what I did were messed up. But I finally got my feelings straightened out. So I don’t think I’ll blink anymore from here on out.”
I touch Asuka’s left hand.
It is cold. My body temperature seems to be higher than Asuka’s because I had been running earlier.
“So please go on a date with me now.”
I begged, earnestly, straightforwardly.
I was more nervous than when I first asked her out on a date.
Asking for a date in a straightforward manner is suitably nerve-wracking.
Asuka’s brownish eyes swam suspiciously and she bit her lower lip gently.
“….. that’s not fair.”
I also wanted to ask you out. But I couldn’t do it because I had to give up, I had to look forward. But it’s not fair! How can Hiroto ask me out⁉︎”
“T-That being said. ……”
Asuka reveals her frustration with tears in the corners of her eyes.
I scratch my neck and reveal my bewilderment.
Asuka stares at me from below with a cat-like appearance and a grudging look on her face.
After a few moments of silence, she turned away.
“….You have to entertain me. You have to escort me properly.”
Asuka squeezes my hand back.
I swallowed the spit in my mouth as my heart beat faster.
“Got it. I promise”
Asuka broke her swollen expression and smiled softly.
It has been a long time since I looked directly at Asuka’s smile. I knew she was the cutest girl in the world. Damn, my face is getting hot.
I was so nervous that I noticed footsteps approaching me.
“Are you guys not making out too fast?”
“Eh, Mami? Wait, why are you here⁉︎”
Shinozaki-san appeared, looking at us with a dazed look on her face.
“Here you go, your stuff.”
It seems that she came to deliver Asuka’s stuff to her.
I wonder if she had anticipated this outcome.
“I’ll tell everyone that Asuka has been taken home, so don’t worry.”
“……. I-it’s not what it looks like! I mean, that doesn’t reassure me of anything!”
“If you don’t like it, come back.”
“.Uug……. I won’t go back.”
Asuka swallows hard and looks bitter.
Seeing Asuka like that, Mr. Shinozaki was smiling happily.
“See you later. Ah, Hiroto-kun, don’t take Asuka around until late, okay? Don’t play games with her, okay?
“I-I know. I had no intention of doing that.”
“Really? Well, it’s okay.”
Shinozaki-san left the place with a fluttering, swimming hand.
Because of the strange things she said, an awkward atmosphere enveloped us.
I had to make sure I conveyed the message clearly so as not to give the wrong impression.
“Just for the record, I don’t intend it to be that way. It’s just a date.”
“……Ah, of course! I’m not prepared for anything.”
“Nothing! Come on, let’s go. I don’t know where you’re going.”
Asuka’s face turned bright red as she pulled my hand and we walked.
It has only been a few months, but I miss this feeling.
As I thought, I like Asuka.