I let out a morning yawn as I walked along the school route. I couldn’t suppress my sleepiness and kept yawning repeatedly. Last night, I suddenly remembered a scary story I heard long ago, and it kept me from sleeping well.
As I walk alone, I spot a girl with red twin-tails ahead. I increase my pace and walk beside her.
“Good morning, Karen-chan.”
“…..Mm, good morning…”
There are heavy bags under her eyes, and she seems a bit unsteady on her feet. She has these kinds of days occasionally. Maybe it’s because she stayed up late watching anime?
“You stayed up late watching anime again yesterday, right?”
“Yeah, there are so many interesting shows this season…”
“That’s not good. Don’t stay up late.”
“Moegi, you also have bags under your eyes…”
“I couldn’t help it… I wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t…”
As we walk together, both feeling sleepy, we hear the sound of someone running up from behind. Karen-chan also seems curious and turns around. It’s a silver-haired girl.
She seems to have something to say to Karen-chan rather than me, as she runs straight toward her. And then, she stops in front of her.
“What’s… with you? This early in the morning…”
“I… I have something… to talk to you about…”
Karen-chan looks surprised, and Kohaku-chan is breathing heavily. Despite her irregular breathing, she desperately tries to convey something.
“What is it?”
“I… I think we should reconsider our past and future together…”
“What do you mean?”
Kohaku-chan catches her breath and faces Karen-chan.
“I’ve always prioritized my own feelings… and maybe you have too, right?”
“…That might be true.”
“I think our feelings are precious. But is it really okay to continue like this? Lately, I feel like we haven’t been considering Izayoi-kun enough, always prioritizing ourselves.”
“I don’t think I can continue like this. Izayoi-kun has been kind to us. He probably laughs and forgives us no matter what we do. But don’t you think we’ve been relying on that kindness too much?”
“Karen-senpai, please place your hand on your chest and think about it. Think about our past… Were there feelings for the other person? Did you have respect for them?”
Kohaku-chan takes Karen-chan’s hand and guides her to place it on her chest. Karen-chan closes her eyes. After a few seconds, she opens them.
“Right… We might have been too self-centered… Making a fuss during lunch, being possessive, without considering Izayoi’s feelings…”
“Yes, exactly. We need to consider Izayoi feelings from now on. We should interact with him, express our interest, and convey our affection.”
“I… I was getting anxious. I thought that because Kohaku is stylish, cute, and better than me, she might take Izayoi away from me, and I didn’t want that to happen at any cost…”
“I feel the same way. When I see Izayoi-kun talking with Karen-senpai, having fun, and discussing things I don’t know, I get jealous. I hate seeing it like that, and I think he’ll be taken away… “
“We were both feeling anxious…”
They murmured, as if savoring their words. The usual confrontation between the two was absent.
“We shouldn’t get anxious. These feelings won’t sprout easily, and we shouldn’t force them to sprout. They’re important, so we need to nurture them slowly and let them grow… I’ll re-examine myself once again…”
“I’ve been doing the same since the day before yesterday. I know it won’t be easy, but I want to change little by little and get closer to Izayoi-kun…”
“I’ll change too. Because I want to get closer to Izayoi…”
They will surely change. It may not happen immediately, but as long as there is a will to change, people can change. My sleepiness has also disappeared without me realizing it, captivated by their exchange.
“…We wouldn’t understand this without someone telling us. Thank you Kohaku, for giving me a chance to re-examine myself. So, um, thank you…”
Karen-chan, blushing, looked straight into Kohaku-chan’s eyes as she expressed her gratitude. Kohaku-chan, feeling frustrated but not looking away… also expressed her thanks.
“I-I didn’t say it for your sake… I-I said it for Izayoi-kun’s sake… But, if you’re thanking me… Y-You’re welcome…”
What is this feeling? It’s like their distance suddenly became much closer… Something like that…
Watching them, it feels pleasant.
“But, don’t misunderstand. Kohaku is my rival. I won’t give in. You might think that my advances have decreased starting today, but it’s not that I’m reducing my efforts. I’m just adjusting my pace. So, don’t let your guard down.”
“Fufufu, I’m just adjusting my pace too. Don’t think that I’ve given up and let your guard down as well.”
With a smile turning into a competitive one, they respect each other as “rivals.”
“Fufufu, I won’t let my guard down. After all, Kohaku is the one I’m up against.”
“I won’t let my guard down either. Because I’m up against Karen-senpai.”
The two of them have been so energetic since the morning… Hmm? Something fell from Kohaku-chan’s pocket. I picked it up to see what it was…
“Aah! T-That is!”
There, written on it were the passionate lines that Kohaku-chan had just said. She had prepared a script. How cute. Maybe she was desperately thinking about it? She also has dark circles under her eyes.
“Let me see, Moegi.”
“Um, ‘Running first and reaching Senpai’s side will convey the desperation,’ ‘This line is more effective after Senpai reflects on herself’…”
“G-Give it back!”
While dodging Kohaku-chan, who was blushing and trying to retrieve it, Karen-chan read the paper. It seemed that all her actions had been calculated.
“Here it says, ‘Raise your voice tone here to convey desperation,’ ‘A fast-paced delivery here sounds cool.’ Fufu, Kohaku, you’re really cute.”
Karen-chan directed a teasing gaze at her, like an older person teasing a younger one. This made Kohaku-chan even more embarrassed.
“W-What’s with that?! I’ve never said things like this before, so I didn’t know how to do it! Is that wrong?! Isn’t it fine?! I mean, I even prepared a plot and practiced in advance!!”
“You practiced too?”
“N-No, that’s not it! I didn’t practice!!”
Karen-chan was embarrassed, but Karen told her with a serious expression on her face. This time, she thanked her rival.
“I’m not making fun of you. Thanks to this, it really resonated with my heart. Thank you.”
“W-When you thank me so seriously, it’s embarrassing, so please stop…”
“I’ll give this back. Thank you very much.”
“Ugh, I’m so embarrassed. …… You’re welcome.……”
I want to keep watching their friendship drama forever… but we’re running out of time!! Not good, I lost track of it!! We’ll be late!!
“H-Hey, both of you!! We’re gonna be late!!”
All three of us started running together. Both of them are fast, after all. I have seen Karen-chan during regular classes, so I know, and even though I have only seen Kohaku-chan a little during the sports festival, I can tell that she’s fast enough to be impressive in terms of athleticism… But the movement of her chest is remarkable. It seems like they’ve gotten bigger again…
“W-W-W-W-What should I do!? If I’m late, Mother will scold me!! I’ll get a smack on my butt!”
“Aren’t you a high school student already? And speaking of which, your chest bouncing is quite something…”
“It’s a feast for the eyes.”
While trying to restrain her chest from bouncing, Kohaku-chan keeps running. Even if she tries to hold it, things that bounce will bounce…
By the way, the three of us managed not to be late.
“No way, the two top students in the second grade slept through the first hour. …… There must be something going on. Let’s overlook it this time.”
“It can’t be, Gindou Kohaku-san, the top student of the first year, must have had some circumstances that made her face the desk from the first hour. Let’s overlook it today.”
Needless to say, all of them slept through the first hour due to the all-night and all-morning dash to the top of their lungs.