TL: Double chapter again!
The story spread fast.
In just one day, the whole school knew about the false accusation.
….But that’s as it should be.
Because the incident was so malicious, it was covered extensively on last night’s news program, and was widely reported in this morning’s news and newspapers.
It became such a big deal that the name Kohei Matsuda, the ringleader of the incident, was trending.
In addition to that, since it was a local incident, …… everyone’s interest was really high. The information was spread not only to the students of this school, but also to their parents and acquaintances from different school buildings.
“H-hey,…… that guy,…….”
“What should I do …… I’ve been behaving terribly.”
“He’s been falsely accused, hasn’t he? Seriously, it’s terrible.”
“How can I apologize ……?”
There was no longer any doubt in anyone’s mind. TV commentators were also very significant in sending out numerous comments blaming the perpetrators and pitying the victims.
Students did not doubt the words of actors and celebrities.
They did not believe anything I said, but they believed the words of the celebrities on TV.
Not quite a flip-flop ……, but the sudden look of sympathy directed at me was disturbing.
Mai and I despised our surroundings, wondering how so much could change in one day after the news broke.
The harassment against me had been going on for over a year, but to change so much in one day when the news broke, I questioned humanity.
For once, even the gentle Mai seemed uncomfortable.
After ignoring and making fun of me for so long, now they’re just messing around with me too much. What a bunch of trash.
I left home later than usual today,…… but there are too many people on the street. I made the mistake of coming to school late yesterday, thinking that since I stayed at Mai’s house, I wouldn’t have to see those three people. …… I guess just delaying the time adds up to so many people.
I walked down the street to school, talking pleasantly with Mai, not looking at anyone.
“Mai, do you want to take a little detour?”
“Yeah …… I kinda hated it too.”
On the way, we took a turn into a secluded back road.
It’s a little late, but there’s plenty of time …… no problem, it’s much better than being exposed to that stare.
—-However, this decision was also a mistake.
The student council president came after me.
Perhaps she had been looking for the right moment to speak to me the entire time. By running away to a back road, I gave her an excuse to talk to me.
I mean, I left the house later than usual. …… Have you been waiting all this time? ──If so, she must be a scary woman.
What pisses me off more than anyone else is this kind of reaction.
The one like the student council president who deliberately makes dark circles around her eyes and appeals that she couldn’t sleep because she was so worried about me.
“Mai……, shall we go back?”
I decided to go back the way we came.
It’s far better to be exposed to curious stares than to be followed by the student council president on the backstreets.
I’m really sorry for pushing her around, but Mai also silently followed me.
“……, Student Council President.”
Now Mai probably feels sincere sympathy for the student body president, but she doesn’t say it out loud, much less tell me that I should forgive her.
Mai puts my feelings before anything else. I can’t help but fall more and more in love with her, even though she is already irrepressibly lovely.
The student council president turns her head when I try to pass by.
Why did this person come in front of me, if she doesn’t even dare to meet me face to face?
But I’m not going to let this pass by without a word. I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to make this woman suffer too.
I whispered softly in the ear of Ruiko Himekawa, the student council president, so that Mai couldn’t hear it.
“……How are you going to atone for it?”
Ruiko, not expecting to be accosted, looked up with a startled expression,…… and saw Ryosuke’s face.
“……… Ah, no,……Stop it.”
Hate, rejection, contempt…… and anger.
All kinds of negative emotions were directed against me. Tears flowed down unceasingly, even though I had been trying to hold them back.
They were not tears of fear.
They were tears from the fact that I didn’t want to believe anything that such a kind, serious, and sincere man had to say to me, and I felt sorry that I had driven him to the point of making him look like this.
It was lucky that no one was around. Tears continue to fall as I stare at Ryosuke’s back as he leaves.
I knew he would never turn around, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of his back.
(I couldn’t ask him to forgive me. I couldn’t even say sorry lightly. …… Why didn’t I trust the boy I loved so much?)
[I really didn’t do it! Please believe me, student council president!]
[How can I believe you! If you can’t apologize to the victim, don’t ever talk to me again! And don’t show your face in the student council! Your presence here is a stain on me!]
I yelled at him in a terrible way, thinking I could get away with it.
It’s awful to remember now…….
I should have believed him and offered him help……
What if Ryosuke at that time was hated by his family, ostracized in class, and helplessly trapped, and he was really and truly relying on me as his last resort?
“…..W-what a terrible woman I am”
How much did I hurt him at that time?
How much did Ryosuke suffer when he heard me say this? And how much he must have hated me.
Just imagining it makes my stomach ache.
I can’t believe that I would use such horrible words to abuse Ryosuke, who believed in me and desperately wanted my help. ……It would have been so easy to give him my hand, but ……I rejected him.
I wanted to be with him forever, so I recruited him to join the student council, and then I kicked him out of it myself. ……It’s really disgusting.
“I’m so sorry. I’m truly disgusting in every way! I hurt and tormented Ryosuke so much …… how can I atone for my sins……”
I didn’t go to school and went straight home.
I had been tardy and unexcused ever since elementary school, and I planned to use that as a point of appeal when I went on to higher education, but …… I really didn’t care about that.
I couldn’t find the energy to do anything.
I was ashamed to even walk down the street.
I thought about apologizing as many times as I could until I was forgiven, but then I realized that was absolutely the wrong way to think.
Take more time, suffer, regret, …… and then go apologize a lot.
I don’t want to ask for forgiveness, I just want to apologize.
[……How are you going to atone for it?]
If I suffer, will he listen to me……?
But I’m weak. …… Ryosuke was trying his best, but I don’t have the guts to try as hard as he did.
I don’t even have the courage to head to school.
Ryosuke is so strong, but I am so weak.
Ruiko headed home with a despairing look on her face.
At first, she was so emotional that she kicked him out of the student council, but she soon changed her mind and began to treat him harshly in an attempt to somehow rehabilitate him.
(But it all backfired. Because I didn’t do anything wrong. I just waved my stupid sense of justice and deeply hurt the kind-hearted boy of my first love. ……)
[Himekawa-san, I look forward to working with you again!]
[Yes! I’m looking forward to working with you too!]
What she recalls is the greeting on the first day at the student council.
The bright, kind, and cool junior who she saw at that time will never appear in front of her again.
No matter how much she made mistakes, he was a dependable presence who supported her without ever making a sour face, but …… she made him disappear.
“─ ─ Ruiko!? At this hour, what’s wrong!? Are you sick!?”
“…… I arrived home.”
Before she knew it, she was standing at the front door.
Then her mother came running up to her, looking worried.
She probably look terrible now that she came in such a hurry.
Still, she was relieved to find her mom.
Just by being with her mother, she gives her peace of mind. If it were true, she should have been like her mother and become a presence that made Ryosuke feel safe and secure.
“Mooooooooooooommmmmmmmmm!!!! I’m sooooo soooorrryyy!! I really aaaaammm!!! Ryosuke-kuuuunnnn!! I’m really sooooooorrryyyyy!!”
“Ruiko?! What’s wrong?!”
Tears began to flow again when she was thinking about it.
She thought she had poured it all out earlier, but it looks like …… was still there at all.
“….It’s going to be okay? Mother’s got your back.”
“……Uuugggh……thank you …… ugh …… higggh!”
She sob into her mom’s chest.
She just apologize and cry, and her mom gently pats her back …… and does so without asking her why.
(I should stay away from Ryosuke-kun because I’m sure I’ll cause him pain just by being …… around him. Let’s not have another one like today.)
─ ─ Ryosuke doesn’t need me.
He doesn’t need me. …… because Mai Nakazato is there for him. She has been …… and will continue to …… support Ryosuke.
If I could, I would like to go back to a year ago and protect Ryosuke-kun with Mai.
Because the truth is…
I’ve always envied Mai for always being with Ryosuke-kun.