Ryosuke, unaware of his sister’s plans or her regrets, was visiting a coffee shop alone with a certain someone.
“Here is the iced coffee you ordered.”
After receiving the iced coffee he ordered, he and his friend sat down facing each other. Fortunately, there were no other customers around the cafe, except for a group of women at a distance from them.
This creates a quiet and relaxing space that Ryosuke likes, where he does not have to worry about the eyes of others.
The only drawback is that the system requires customers to go to the counter to pick up their food after it is ready.
Furthermore, the restaurant requires customers to pay in advance in order to prevent them from running away with the food, but Ryosuke is convinced that even with this disadvantage, the restaurant is still a good one.
Besides, it is necessary to have a system to prevent crimes before they happen.
He knows better than anyone that there are people out there who are up to no good.
“The iced coffee here is delicious.”
“Isn’t it? Mai likes it here too.”
I went to a movie with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and on the way home we came to my favorite coffee shop.
We have been exchanging emails and phone calls, but it’s been two months since we’ve seen each other like this. I guess seeing each other in person is totally different from seeing each other through electronic devices.
It’s a pity that we can’t see each other because of the distance between us.
“The view from the window is nice too.”
“I especially recommend this seat.”
The man in front of me, elegantly enjoying his coffee, is now my one and only male friend.
His name is Usui Kyosuke. He is 17 years old and dyes his hair brown.
He looks a little bit delinquent and gives a scary impression when you first meet him, but inside he is very wonderful.
I was looking forward to meeting Usui-kun. He is a friend who believed in me to the end and still treats me the same way.
[Hmm? You assaulted a girl? Eeh? Do the guys at your school believe that story?! No, no, no, people are too blind to see it…… You would never do such a thing.]
I was so happy that I cried because I never dreamed that someone would say such a thing to me.
——-And today, Usui-kun invited me out to celebrate being falsely accused. Next time we would play together would be during the summer vacation, so I was really happy that our plans had been moved forward.
“Can I talk to you about something?”
“Hmm? No problem.”
After enjoying our conversation, I asked Usui-kun for some advice.
“Do you think there is any way I could make up for what has happened?”
When I put on a serious face, Usui-kun straightened his posture and listened to me seriously.
“Ah, that childhood friend of yours?”
The matter I wanted to discuss with him is about Mai.
These days, they are the most important people in the universe, but until a year ago, they were quite estranged from me.
Even though I had the embarrassment of playing with a childhood friend of the same age, I chose the student body president and my damn sisters instead of my childhood friend.
Plus, there was a time when I found it more fun to talk to Kirishima, even though we were the same age.
It’s an embarrassing past that I really don’t understand now.
There was definitely a time when I was neglecting Mai, even when I was with her and I felt guilty about it…….
I’m afraid to even think about leaving Mai now if I don’t somehow make up for the mistakes I’ve made.
—- Fortunately, Usui-kun seems to be very popular.
I’m sure I can get some good advice from him.
“─ ─ Didn’t Usui-kun tell me before? You said that you are a love master and that you are going to be popular in high school. …… so I was wondering if you could give me some good advice?”
“……… yeah …… well …… is that so?”
Usui lifted a glass cup of iced coffee –- but his hand was shaking like a pulled fawn.
It’s was naturally …… all a lie.
Ryosuke and Usui were childhood friends in kindergarten and elementary school.
They have been friends since then, but since junior high school they have attended different schools.
Therefore, Ryosuke does not know anything about Usui at school.
He is lying to take advantage of this.
The truth is that he has never been a love master or even had a girlfriend, and to top it off, he has no female friends.
He is just lying to look good.
Ryosuke turns his pure eyes on him without realizing it.
After the false accusation, Ryosuke came to believe completely in Usui’s words, who believed in him.
Because of this, Usui Kyosuke in Ryosuke’s mind has risen to the level of an extraordinary great man.
Apparently, Ryosuke would trust anyone who believed in him to any extent.
In reality, he is a third-rate nonentity —- but he has no idea that this is the case.
That is why he had no choice but to consult with Usui.
On a love advice that has nothing to do with himself,…… he is rather envious that he has a childhood friend with whom he has such a relationship.
Besides, Usui-kun has a lot of friends. I only have one friend, Usui-kun.”
“O-ou ……, I have a lot of friends! Takashi, right? Yuji? Kazushi? And then there’s ………”
“……………? And “
That was all.
However, he couldn’t say such a thing in front of Ryosuke because …… is also set up with him having a lot of friends.
At that time, a fashion magazine on a nearby shelf caught Usui’s eye.
“……And, it’s ……… Yusei Tachibana.”
Ryosuke stood up with a clatter.
The name of a student at Usui’s school, but he happened to use his name on the cover of a magazine he saw.
And even Ryosuke knew that name.
He is a very handsome man who also works as a model. He was quite famous and a billboard advertiser in the city.
“I-I can’t believe you’re friends with such a famous person.”
Ryosuke’s respect level jumped even higher.
Of course, it’s a lie. He had never been friends with such a famous person before.
Usui is no longer drenched in sweat,…… not sweat from the summer heat, but from embarrassment and panic.
Because Ryosuke is so pure when it comes to Usui, he believes even the words he would normally doubt. …… Thanks to this, he doesn’t realize it’s a lie, and the story just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
It is a vicious cycle.
“I’d like to meet him.”
“Eeh!? You want to meet him?!”
“Well, he’s a celebrity, and if he’s friends with Usui-kun, he must be a good guy, right?”
“……Well, ……Yeah, but he might actually be a pretty bad guy, you know?”
“He’s a friend of Usui-kun, so there’s no way that’s true!”
“Hey, can you stop that?”
“…… Eh? About what?”
Usui hoped that he would not be too deified.
But he gave up on the idea that it was a seed he had sown himself.
—That’s when it happened.
Three girls who were listening to the conversation came to the table where Ryosuke was sitting.
The three girls were Ryosuke’s classmates.
He doesn’t know the name, but they were definitely the ones who were ignoring him and Mai as well as talking about them behind their backs.
It seems that Ryosuke did not notice them due to the fact that they were at a distance.
The three of them came by and smiled at him, though he was not amused by any of the fun he was having with his friends.
“T-thank goodness, we were worried about you …….’
“…… About what?”
The timid-looking girl utters something unintelligible.
He couldn’t translate why they were worried……, but she immediately gave him the answer.
“You were so dark at school. But you’re smiling happily, and you seem to be okay now, right?”
A girl who was different from the feeble-minded girl said something off-the-mark and stupid…… Ryosuke thought about splashing the coffee in front of him, but he held back because he felt bad about bothering the store and didn’t want to get it on Usui in case he got it on him.
“…… Hey ……You don’t have to do that, do you?”
The girls were so excited to be approached by Usui, but he sensed the tense atmosphere and interrupted the conversation.
He knew what Ryosuke was going through at school because he had heard it from him. …… That’s why he couldn’t tolerate what she just said as a friend. …… He is basically a bad-a*s guy, but he shows his manly spirit at times like this. His friendship that he believed in Ryosuke to the end is not a feat.
“Haa? You are from other school, you don’t know what’s going on, just shut up!”
“That’s right! Yamamoto-kun is having a hard time at school!”
“Yes! And what’s that …… in your ear? It might be supposed to be a piercing, but it’s the kind you don’t put a hole in.”
“…… oo …… oo ……”
Usui is seriously damaged.
The three girls were kind to Ryosuke, but they were tough on Usui.
Ryosuke, who has a good face, was quite popular before he was falsely accused.
The three of them had been looking for a chance to apologize to him, hoping to somehow improve their relationship.
Usui’s intrusion was a hindrance to them.
He was offended by her apparent ulterior motives, but most of all, he could not forgive her for saying something that would hurt his dearest friend.
The three of them, who had underestimated him as a boy from another school, didn’t even know.
They did not know how foolish their actions were to throw such terrible words at Usui. ……
—Ryosuke gets up from his chair and goes over to the woman who said the worst words of the three.
“….You …… Usui-kun believed in me to the very end, you know?”
“I don’t know your name, but you look familiar —- you’re the one who threw my lunch in the trash, if I remember correctly.”
“No, but …… the other kid was more aggress—“
“You’re the one who trashed my lunch box that my mother worked so hard to make for me! After all that you’ve done, what the hell do you think you’re doing! Don’t talk so high and mighty to Usui-kun!!”
This girl had a crush on Ryosuke before the incident.
After the case was falsely accused, her affection for Ryosuke was restored, and she sought to somehow become friends with him.
However, her plans were ruined by her comment to Usui— – she was so shocked that she tried to run away from the scene with tears in her eyes.
“Now hold on!!”
But Ryosuke grabbed her arm and stopped her.
“Go apologize to Usui-kun!!”
The woman’s face turns pale as Ryosuke yells at her.
Until she apologizes, he will not let go of the arm. Although he is uncomfortable to even touch her, his friend is more important than his own feelings.
“Ah, I-I’m sorry…..”
Usui accepted the apology even though he was confused – and Ryosuke turned his attention to the other two standing there.
“You two too!”
“I’m sorry. ……”
“I-I’m really sorry.”
“Get out of my sight. And don’t talk to me again, okay? Even at school? —If you want to tell the class that I said something mean to you, you can tell them.”
“No, I’m not going to tell—“
“You don’t have to answer me every time I say something! Don’t interrupt my precious time with my friends any more than you already have!”
When they were told that, the three of them walked out of the store dejectedly. Usui was stunned to see Ryosuke looking at them uncomfortably and Ryosuke really losing his temper.
(But with that attitude, it can’t be helped…)
However, looking at Ryosuke now, he does not despise him. He knows how much he has suffered at school. In fact, he couldn’t understand the girls who made such insensitive remarks.
After all, classmates are only that level of recognition.
They think that Ryosuke’s emotional wounds will heal in time, that he will get better, that he will lighten up, that he will learn to believe in others again.
Not only the girls, but everyone thinks so.
They are all naive to the extent that a deeply wounded heart can never be restored to its original state.
They don’t want to see Ryosuke back on his feet, but rather they want to see Ryosuke who has recovered and pretend that their misdeeds never happened.
There is no way he can forgive them.
The gap between Ryosuke and them will only get deeper and deeper.
The only people who could offer him words of comfort were his mother, the Mai family, and Usui.
“So what do I do with Mai?”
“Do you have multiple personalities?”
Usui thinks it’s scary how fast he can switch from one personality to another.
But it’s not school or home. …… As long as the external enemy is gone, it’s back to a safe space.
He was talking to his best friend whom he cherished very much,…… and he didn’t want to drag out the boring things forever.
And Usui also senses this and begins to think about Ryosuke and Mai, even though he has never been in a relationship before.
“…… umm …… how are you doing at school?”
“I’m usually with her.”
“….How do you get to and from school?”
“We’re together every day except when she has a committee meeting.
“…..Do you call or text?”
“Both, we do that a lot every day.”
“…….What about on your days off?”
“We hang out all the time.”
“What do you want to talk to me about?”
“Eh? How to get along with Mai.”
“You’ve already doing it? That’s your girlfriend?”
“…… No, no, no way. It’s 10 years too early to say I’m Mai’s lover. …… Mou~, Usui-kun, you’re so sweet.”
“Stop doing that.”
He didn’t need to be a love master to figure it out.
No advice was needed …… All that remained was the certainty that if either of them took the decisive step, they could become lovers.
But he is not going to tell him that.
Because he thinks it’s a problem he has to solve himself.
Besides, if he and Mai became lovers, they would have fewer opportunities to play together like this. ……That was the worst thing for Usui.
For him, too, Ryosuke is an irreplaceable best friend.
He is not concerned with whether he is falsely accused or not.
Even if his innocence was not proven, he was willing to go along with the case as a friend.
“I think it’s better to wait and see how things go for a while.”
“Do you think so?”
“I think you should go ahead and continue the relationship like you’re having now, okay?”
“…… then I’ll do that?”
If the current relationship continues, sooner or later the two will definitely become lovers.
That’s why Usui thought his input was unnecessary. …… They suffered a lot, and will end up together happily.
Therefore, he wanted to enjoy the time he could spend with Ryosuke for as long as he could now that he was given priority as a friend.