〜From Mai Nakazato’s point of view~
I have a childhood friend whom I love very much.
His name is Ryosuke, and he is my beloved friend.
When I was a child, I always chased after him.
But he doesn’t seem to like me that much. I mean, I’m more like a girl friend……, yeah, that’s exactly what I mean.
But I’m okay with that.
Even if it’s a one-sided love of mine, if I can see Ryosuke surrounded by his beautiful sister and adorable younger sister and see him happy, I’m satisfied!
Unlike his sister Nagisa, Kaede is scary, though, and I’m not the most efficient person, so older people always hate me. …… I need to work harder!
Ryosuke and I have been next to each other since we were born, and we went to kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school together.
I was not good at studying, so I studied hard to get into my current high school, which has a high deviation! I don’t think Ryosuke realizes it though!
[—I’ll never forgive you if you bully Mai again, okay?]
When I was in elementary school, I was bullied for a while.
It was a very painful day, but it was all thanks to Ryosuke that it was only a little.
I was surrounded by about five girls who were beating me, and Ryosuke happened to walk by.
I was too scared to tell anyone about the bullying …… but Ryosuke confided everything to my parents, my teachers, and the bullies’ parents. …….
I remember I had bruises on my body from the beatings and the bullies admitted it, so it became a big problem.
The bullies were really scolded harshly.
Later, all five of them came to my house with red eyes to apologize to me …… and I think they were crying a lot.
[I did something bad]
When I said to Ryosuke──
I was poked… that made me laugh.
The bullies’ attitude changed and they started to treat me nicely, even though they looked uncomfortable.
I was really grateful to my father and mother as well.
They bowed their heads …… many times to thank Ryosuke for saving me, their daughter.
[If anything happens to Ryosuke-kun, Mai will protect you!]
[One day we will definitely have to repay this favor!]
As a childhood friend, I’m proud of them for saying that, but …… mom, dad, …… when Ryosuke comes over to our house, stop being all over me, okay? I can’t play with him at all because you’re in the way!
─ ─ This is one of the memories I have with Ryosuke.
I loved him even without his help, …… but I went over the edge with this.
I’ve fallen in love with him to the point where I’m asking for it all over again.
——-The situation was far more serious than I had thought.
I was astonished to see Ryosuke so worn out that he looked like he was going to die.
I knew that there were lies circulating that Ryosuke had assaulted a woman, but I thought that would go away soon.
If I looked into it, I know Ryosuke didn’t do it, and most importantly, I could rest assured that his sisters were there for him.
I could trust that those two would definitely protect him…… so it’s not my place.
I think Ryosuke feels safer with his sisters than with me.
Still, I went to visit him several times, but Ryosuke’s father turned me away at the door.
[I don’t know if he doesn’t want to let me in because he’s worried about Ryosuke. ……?]
[Mai, I don’t know, but let’s leave it to the parents over there.]
We thought so and turned back …… but in fact, it looked different.
[I really didn’t do it,…….]
After a long time, Ryosuke looked very worn out.
[Of course you didn’t! I know for sure that Ryosuke would never do such a terrible thing! And yet everyone in the class and Ryosuke’s family is crazy!]
I comforted Ryosuke and then went to his sister.
I can’t believe it …… that his sister …… wouldn’t believe Ryosuke’s story!
[I have enough evidence.]
You said that, but what is enough evidence between the testimony of the other side and the fact that Ryosuke was walking in the back alley in the middle of the night?!
But no matter how much I told them, his family would not listen to me! On the contrary, everyone in the class started blaming and abusing Ryosuke. Even Kirishima-san and the student council president, who were such good friends of his, ……!
Why ……? Don’t you remember the Ryosuke you’ve known until now? Do you really think he’s the kind of person who would do something like that?
Nobody could hear me no matter how much I pleaded.
[Yamamoto-san, ……, you’re disgusting!]
[I wish you would not meddle in other people’s business.]
The situation was so serious that my dad couldn’t wait and went to Ryosuke’s house.
He suggested to him that he should have it checked properly again ……, but Ryosuke’s father would not listen to him at all.
He said that he had already settled the case and there was no need to look into it.
I didn’t think Ryosuke’s father was this kind of a person …… he doesn’t believe in him even a little bit …….
What surprised me was that his sisters thought the same way.
I thought those two would side with Ryosuke no matter what. I never thought they would think the same way as their father.……!
I can’t forgive them……. but it was me who trusted those three and left Ryosuke alone………………. Sorry Ryosuke.
— Ryosuke’s mother will be coming back from her business trip soon.
If even his mother doesn’t believe in him,…… there will be no place for him.
At that time, his father and mother began to seriously discuss the possibility of supporting Ryosuke.
—But Ryosuke’s mother was different.
She listened to everything he said and believed in Ryosuke.
No matter how much his father yelled at her, no matter how angry his sisters got at her, she still believed in him.
I was really happy.
We were not the only ones who believed in him.
I was also happy that Ryosuke had a place at home.
If Ryosuke’s mother had been there when he was arrested by the police, the future might have been different.
But it was too late because Ryosuke’s father had settled the case on his own.
Ryosuke’s mother …… Rinka thanked us family members in tears, saying that we supported Ryosuke when she wasn’t there, but …… we didn’t do much.
We just believed in him. ……yes that’s it.
[Mai…… do you want to go out for dinner?]
[If you’re free on your day off, do you want to hang out?]
[Mai, you’re looking cute today.]
And then Ryosuke became very kind to me.
Of course, he has always been very kind to me, but until now I didn’t think he thought of me as anything more than a good childhood friend.
Since we are both the opposite sex, we don’t hang out alone anymore, and we don’t see each other outside of class much anymore since we started high school.
I was a little sad, but Ryosuke and I were never lovers, and I never told him how much I liked him.
So I guess it’s inevitable that we’ll grow apart as we grow older.
But …… It’s different now.
He is happy just to find me.
He invites me to hang out with him alone on holidays.
He gives me gifts.
He invites me out to dinner frequently.
He never says no to any invitations I make.
There was hardly a day that went by that we didn’t see each other outside of school.
It wasn’t my intention to take sides, but I’m still awfully happy …….
All of my good friends have moved away, but I’m so happy to see the warm feelings Ryosuke has for me that I don’t mind at all.
Still, I hope that one day he’ll be cleared of the false accusation.
I don’t mind if he leaves me… but please don’t suffer.