[Hihara Karen PoV]
On that day, I arrived at the meeting place for our date an hour early. It’s currently around 9 in the morning, and there are plenty of people around. And I can feel their glances on me. I never really thought about it, but am I actually quite popular? Well, it doesn’t really matter… I came early because I didn’t want to be late, but…
He’s already here. Just as expected from Izayoi…
“How long have you been here?”
“I just got here a little while ago.”
He’s definitely been here longer. We currently live in the same house, but we decided to meet up like this because we wanted to have a proper meeting point. When I left the house, he wasn’t there already. Maybe he’s been here for two hours? Well, that’s unlikely.
“Senpai, your outfit is super cute. And of course, Senpai is even cuter.”
“A-ah I see. Enough of that, let’s get going. Time is limited, you know.”
…He’s coming on so strong!!! I mean, I’m happy, but I’m not used to this!! By the way, I’m wearing a white-based dress with floral patterns. I searched online for trendy clothes and hurriedly bought this outfit yesterday to wear today.
I’m an indoor person, so I don’t really have a lot of trendy clothes.
“Is it okay if we hold hands?”
“I-It can’t be helped……”
What’s with this guy!? How can he be so forward!? Up until now, he used to stutter and be nervous whenever we had harem-like situations. So, what’s with this change!?
[Are you volunteering as my baggage handler?]
He used to have this kind of vibe around him!
But now, he’s pushing forward so aggressively. If pushing doesn’t work, he’s like “push-push-push-push.” He’s really coming on strong.
His hand is a bit rough, different from mine. With this hand, he’s always protected me… Suddenly, my face starts heating up. Even though we both have feelings for each other, it’s weird that we’re not in a special relationship…
“First of all, where do you want to go?”
“Let’s go to the movies. They’re showing a movie about the failure at the Magic Academy right now.”
“R-Right! Let’s go!”
Alright! I really wanted to see this!
‘Theatrical Release of The Failure at the Magic Academy: Traditional End Featuring Over Magic and the Truth of Sorcery. What is Magic? What is Sorcery? Will Everything Be Revealed? – The Final Curtain and Conclusion -‘
The title and subtitle are so long, but I don’t mind at all!
“It’s the conclusion, right?”
“Yes. Well, there’s still source material left, so it’s not really the conclusion. Probably a fake ending. That movie studio did something similar before with their taglines. Most likely, the next theatrical release will be ‘A New Beginning’ or something like that.”
“I see… Anyway…”
Izayoi suddenly stops in his tracks. I stop too, wondering what’s going on. He’s trembling, looking at our connected hands.
“I’m so happy and moved that we’re holding hands like this!”
“That’s not the kind of thing you’re supposed to say!”
I start walking again, our hands still holding.
Just how overflowing with love is he? It’s like he’s a completely different person from before. I’m surprised, but at the same time, I feel reassured that he’s treating me just as preciously as before. But it’s both heartwarming and frustrating. Our relationship isn’t boyfriend and girlfriend.
“We have some time before the movie starts. Do you want to go to a bookstore or something?”
Is it just me, or am I the only one who feels unsatisfied?
While we were walking, planning to kill time at a bookstore until the movie started, an inexplicable group of delinquents blocked our path. One had blonde hair and piercings, including one in his nose. He wore his cap backwards, giving off that stereotypical delinquent vibe. It was a set of five rough-looking troublemakers.
“He’s with a cute girl.”
“Don’t stay with that weed-like guy.……”
Just like an experienced adventurer picking on a talented new adventurer in a fantasy world, they started harassing Izayoi and me. However, Izayoi remained composed and calmed them down with a wave of his hand.
“Sorry, but we don’t have time for this. Just like an experienced adventurer picking on a talented new adventurer in a fantasy world, and just like a rude veteran adventurer would pester them, please stop bothering both me and my girlfriend.”
Ah, so Izayoi was thinking the same thing. That’s a bit relieving. Honestly, these delinquents are like small fry, but it’s not wise to use force recklessly. I’m sure Izayoi understands that too.
“What’s up, trying to act cool in front of your girlfriend?”
“It’s not… She’s not my girlfriend in the special sense.”
Those words made me feel an indescribable loneliness. Not his girlfriend… If he hadn’t mentioned the two-timing, we could’ve become something special right away. Honestly, I wanted him to call me his girlfriend.
“This guy’s acting all tough in front of his girlfriend!”
“Just get lost…”
I really wished he would’ve said, “She’s my girlfriend, so back off.”
I wanted to hear that… But he didn’t. I really dislikes the idea of two-timing. If it weren’t for two-timing, I wouldn’t be feeling like this. If he had chosen me without any hesitation, he would be a perfect score…
“But even though she’s not my girlfriend, I’ve already decided that if I were to make her my girlfriend, I would make her happy. So, please leave us alone. I’m trying to enjoy some alone time with my girlfriend.”
What… He’s really cool….. Not a perfect score, but still… It’s not the exact result I was hoping for, but he’s really cool. Pulling and pushing, pushing and pulling – I’m feeling kind of tossed around, and it’s frustrating, but…
“Aren’t you embarrassed saying stuff like that?”
The delinquents seem taken aback by Izayoi’s words, like they hadn’t expected that response.
“Of course it’s embarrassing. But I’ve decided to be honest about my feelings. In front of her, I’ll let my love overflow and won’t tell any lies. So, I’ll bear with a little embarrassment if it helps improve Karen-senpai’s opinion of me.”
He’s saying that kind of thing? It’s such a waste of how cool it is!
“Isn’t this guy something?”
“Let’s get out of here…”
“Yeah, you’re right…”
…The delinquents dispersed. Maybe it’s because they felt Izayoi’s aura was overwhelming…
“Well then, shall we go?”
He seemed a bit embarrassed… Actually, quite a bit embarrassed. Now that I think about it, when he blushed and said he wanted to hold hands, he looked just like this. He’s really embarrassed, huh… But he’s trying to show off. Because he likes me.
We’re holding hands as we walk.
We’re not in a special relationship. He mentioned two-timing and other confusing things. It bothers me a little, but… But there’s no one else for me except him…
That’s what I think.
We arrived at the bookstore and immediately headed to the light novel section. Ah, they have “The Mediocre Magical Academy” here! Well, I already bought all of them through online reservations, so I have them with me, but seeing them lined up like this makes me incredibly happy!
There are plenty of other customers besides us, but are there any other couples like us? It feels like we’re getting quite a few stares.
Well, I do acknowledge that I’m cute, but…
“Senpai, do you have any recommendations?”
“Hmm? Oh, right… I think ‘I Was Reincarnated and Graduated from Chuunibyou After a Few Years’ is interesting…”
“I haven’t read that one before. If you recommend it, I absolutely have to buy it.”
“R-Right. If you say so…”
Continuing to hold hands, we walk around the store. There are several other couples around, too. They look like couples, but I wonder if we look like a couple as well?
Izayoi buys my recommendation and since it’s about time for the movie to start, we leave the store. And then…
“It’s raining… It started pouring down…”
The sky had turned into a mass of rain clouds, and it was raining heavily. It must have started suddenly. People without umbrellas were covering their heads with their hands, running to find shelter.
Could this be a flag for a shared umbrella event? However, neither of us has an umbrella…
While I’m thinking about buying one somewhere around here, Izayoi lets go of my hand.
“Wait here for a moment. I’ll be right back.”
After holding hands for so long, he suddenly let go. He’s probably gone to buy an umbrella or something… But it would be fine if we just went together. We could keep holding hands.
As I’m pondering that, powerful beams of magical energy are fired into the sky from multiple directions. In the aftermath, the rain clouds disperse, revealing a clear sky with a rainbow.
In other words…
The rain has stopped…
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Shortly after, a completely drenched Izayoi returns to my side.
“Um, about that…”
I point my finger towards the sky. It’s almost certainly the case, but I ask just to make sure.
“Yes, I blew away the rain clouds. I didn’t want your beautiful clothes to get dirty, Senpai.”
“I-I thought so…”
I mean, I knew, but seriously! How much do you like me? I’m incredibly happy! Thank you!!
“Well then, shall we go watch the movie?”
After finishing the movie and having a meal, Izayoi mentioned that he wanted to go to that familiar bench in the park, so we headed there. To be honest, today’s date was extremely enjoyable. My favorability towards him has skyrocketed. Despite this trend, he’ll probably still attempt the double timing, but this situation is different, so I’ll decline.
“Senpai, please let me confess one more time here!”
“No matter how many times you ask, my answer won’t change.”
“Uuuu, pl-please don’t say that… Just, just listen without saying anything.”
“Haa, I’ll listen…”
Honestly, my answer is already determined, but I’ll listen anyway.
“I like you. I really, really like you. That’s why, please be my girlfriend.”
“I’m sorry. As long as you talk about two-timing, it’s not possible.”
He kneels on the still damp ground, lowering his head. It’s obvious.
――Do you like Kohaku that much?
I didn’t intend to say something like that. However, it slipped out of my mouth involuntarily. He’s thinking about Kohaku, Kohaku, Kohaku. Lately, he’s been looking at her in a special way. I was prepared for that. So, I gave her a little push. But, but, I don’t want that either. I’m scared.
Kohaku might take everything from me one day. It would be nice to date him. Even if there’s a two timing, I know he’ll treat me well. But if everything is taken away one day, I wouldn’t be able to bear the unbearable pain. If we date, I might fall more in love, and my feelings might become even more precious and dependent.
When emotions become abnormally intense, being discarded is something I’m dreadfully scared of. I’ll break down. That’s what I hate the most. That’s what I’m most afraid of.
“…Do you like Kohaku that much?”
“I really like Kohaku-san. But, I also really like you, Senpai.”
“…Is it because Kohaku is so attractive? If I were to accept two timing, I might start worrying if someday you’d choose her over me… Kohaku has a bigger chest and is cuter…”
I expressed my unease. I didn’t intend to bring it up. I wanted to end things on a fun and bright note, with a light-hearted confession. But by posing this difficult question to Izayoi, I’ve darkened the atmosphere.
“I would never leave you! I’ll keep liking you no matter what happens. Even if I’m hit by a truck and reincarnate, or stabbed by a random attacker and reincarnate, or die of illness and get divine powers from a god to reincarnate into another world, or even if I’m reincarnated by a mistake of the gods!!”
“And not just that, I won’t go somewhere and leave you behind! If I find a gateway that suddenly leads to another world, I’ll close it and come back to you. If I’m about to be summoned as a hero, I’ll avoid the magic circle and won’t go to another world! I won’t leave you alone! I’ll always be with you!”
“A-Ah, y-yeah… you’re so passionate…”
He grabs my shoulders and looks at me with those intense eyes, just like he did before. His eyes are focused solely on me. I’m totally flustered.
It will always be like this. I won’t worry about the mood. But it’s incredibly cool. He’ll always cherish me.
There was no more room for doubt… Two timing… Should I just accept it?
“So, please, go out with me!”
Our faces were close. My mind was boiling, and I couldn’t think straight! This is bad. I need to stay calm…
“Is… Is it a no?”
Maybe I should consider accepting it. But still…
“No, it’s a no…”
He slumped down to his knees again. Yeah, it’s definitely a no. I narrowly avoided admitting it…
Well, maybe I could compromise a bit and do a few things for him… After all, I do like him this much, so I should appreciate that…
“B-But, I’ll do some things for you. I guess. Like, going on dates, holding hands, giving you a knee pillow – even if we’re not officially dating, I’ll allow it!! Only because I have to!!”
“Seriously?! Yes! If things keep going like this, then someday!”
“But I absolutely won’t accept two timing! That’s the one thing I won’t ever, ever allow!”
Well, I suppose this much… Wait, isn’t this a bit troublesome? Sure, I’ve decided that I won’t engage in two timing for now. That’s a firm decision. But the other day, I already eased the restriction on “Aannn”… and now, I’m also allowing other things like knee pillows?
N-No worries… I won’t accept two timing, that’s for sure. Let’s hold firm on that. But maybe, could I consider allowing a few other things? Like making homemade things together.
“Uhm ,being intimate off-limits, too!?”
“Don’t get carried away!”
[Third Person PoV]
“Kuuu, how embarrassing… Saying such cheesy lines, making such nonsensical confessions… What on earth am I doing…”
Izayoi was reflecting on his day full of affectionate antics. Honestly, he was feeling the maximum level of embarrassment. However, driven by his strong desire to date, he ended up pushing himself to make excessive displays of affection.
Back home, he was in his room recovering from the mental damage he had exchanged for his grand gestures.
“But then again, I can do all sorts of things with Karen. Ugh, this is the best… but so embarrassing.”
It will take him a bit more time for his mental damage to recover fully.
“Hey, Kohaku-chan. You should stop this.”
“What do you mean? I’m just going out.”
“Kohaku… You can say that so easily while wearing a mask and sunglasses, hiding behind buildings.”
Kohaku-chan seems to be tailing the two on their date, so Aoi-chan and I are keeping watch to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
Kohaku-chan… She’s doing this kind of stalking…
“It’s just that we happen to be going to the same places. It’s not like I’m stalking or tailing anyone.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Why are they holding hands!? It’s infuriating. They should get caught in the rain.”
… She’s spewing venom with a bitter voice. What do you call this if not stalking…
“Aah, I envy her, getting protected from a delinquent, getting words like that. They should get caught in the rain.”
… The resentment is intense. Aoi-chan… Is it just my imagination, or does Aoi-chan seem a little envious too?
Afterward, while we’re stationed around the corner from the bookstore, her prayers seem to have worked as rain starts pouring down. But then it stops in an instant… He must have done something…
“As expected of you, Izayoi-kun!”
She turns her sparkling eyes on him. After that, the three of us continue to tail them as they walk around, eating hamburgers. In the park, he makes a pretty outrageous confession to her.
“I’m so jealous. I want him to do that kind of thing for me too!”
… After the two of them leave, we go back home ahead of them. As I start preparing dinner, Aoi-chan mutters,
“Ah, what have I been doing all day…”
Me, too… [Said in English]