Nanako Minami PoV
I’ll never forget the first time I, Nanako Minami, met Haruka Shinjo.
“So you’re Nanako! You’re one of the people who hurt Onii-chan!”
“E-Eh?! W-Who are you?”
“Wait, Haruka, calm down!”
“Huh? It’s not exactly what I imagined, is it? K-Kisaragi, a-are you sure this is Nanako-san ……?”
“You idiot, I couldn’t possibly be wrong. I remember all the stupid girls who messed with Makoto.”
“Kisaragi’s an idiot, too!”
“S-Shut up, ……, you’re an idiot too!”
I nodded my head in surprise. I believe her name is Haruka and she is the younger sister of Shinjo-kun.
She is a natural, but her athleticism and cuteness make her stand out in school.
…… She is a far cry from what I am now.
“Hmm, okay! Hey, Nanako, let’s have a parfait together and talk!”
“Haa, Haruka ……, why are you involved with this woman who has nothing but bad rumors?”
“Shut up! Even Kisaragi has gotten herself into a pretty bad situation, not to mention a bad rumor!”
“……Ha, I’m sorry. I-I’m not going to do anything weird anymore. I mean, I don’t want to hear about it from you, you overzealous tsundere!”
I was taken aback by the momentum of the two of them.
I was vaguely thinking that these people were chatty.
“Huh? Nanako-san, aren’t you dirty? A bit of a wait ……, rummage …… rummage ……, there it is! Yeah, don’t move!”
“Eh, ah, eh? S-Shinjo-san!?”
I’ve been teased earlier, and my uniform was dirty. The blackboard eraser was thrown at me from behind.
I was sure I got rid of the dirt, but I couldn’t remove the stain on my back.
I didn’t care because it always happened anyway.
Haruka wiped my body again and again with her own towel.
“T-towel, it will get dirty……”
“Heh? Why don’t you just wash the towel if it gets dirty? My mom washes them for me. …… But if you go home with a dirty uniform, …… Nanako’s mother might be sad. ……”
“Okay! It’s okay! Come on, let’s go! Let’s go eat parfait!”
“No, we’re getting to the wrong end of the stick.……”
Haruka-san’s neighbor Kisaragi-san let out a sigh. But they didn’t seem to be in a heartbreaking mood. It was as if she was a big sister who was worried about her little sister.
Haruka pried open my shell of not wanting to get involved with anyone anymore, and walked in–
“Heeh? When I listen to Nanako’s story,…… I-I thought it was better than I thought. I’m starting to think so.”
“I-I couldn’t resist ……, I mean, I was getting more and more serious about Makoto ……, but I couldn’t resist the group’s groove …….”
“Haha, Kisaragi’s an idiot, she’s just as stupid as I am. I’m sorry I was a little too pushy with you.”
“I-I’m sorry! …… I was flattered by the literary club and got carried away. I’m not going to make any more mistakes. …… I really like Makoto-kun so much that I went crazy.”
“S-Scarry?! Kisaragi needs to work on her sick personality, right?”
The only thing we have in common is that we both hurt Shinjo-kun.
The past is irretrievable and cannot be changed. Guilt fills my heart.
Apparently, other girls from different classes have also hurt Shinjo-kun in the past.
Haruka-san has regular discussions with the two of us on that side, but she seems to have come to nail us down to make sure we don’t make any strange moves.
It seems that …… Kisaragi-san was too late to do anything about it.
So I told the two of them about the incident in middle school.
At first, I didn’t feel sorry for the lonely Shinjo-kun or anything like that.
I thought that if I, as the popular girl in the class, was well-liked by everyone, I would be able to pry open Shinjo-kun’s hiding place.
Even if everyone hated him, I would be able to treat him well.
I could save the class from being left out and play the good girl. That way, everyone would like me even more, I thought.
Shinjo-kun and I got to know each other better and better. I could feel my heart opening up to him.
It made me happy to see Shinjo-kun’s wounds gradually heal.
Honestly, I didn’t care about my own reputation anymore.
As a final push, I invited him to karaoke and hoped we could have a good time.
I was alone with Shinjo-kun, who had been suspected of molesting someone, and I didn’t want to start any strange rumors about him, so I invited a friend of mine from another school, a boy I knew from club activities. He was a little flirtatious, but I knew he would be okay because he was kind to me.
But……, I couldn’t go to the karaoke. I could only tell Shinjo-kun on the phone to be nice to my friend.
Because at that time I was …… being forcibly summoned by a gyaru student. …… I had promised Shinjo-kun that I would be there, but I couldn’t, and I was really nervous inside. I thought I would never get it back.
I can be friends with anyone. I thought I could be friends with anyone, regardless of gender.
But that was just me as I saw myself.
The way others saw me was different.
“You’re getting carried away, aren’t you? Why are you talking to Tsuyoshi-kun so friendly? That guy is my boyfriend.”
“Nanako, you’re giving boys too much attention.”
“Nanako is too much into boys. Don’t act like you’re a good girl.”
“Girls bully each other on a rotating basis, right? You bullied her too, right? Then it’s your turn.”
I didn’t know where I went wrong.
But I made a mistake. The world of girls is one that boys don’t understand.
To be honest, bullying is an everyday thing that comes around no matter how popular a girl is.
But when I was bullied, …… I understood that it really hurt my heart.
It’s not the kind of bullying that you see in TV dramas. It’s not the kind of bullying you see in TV dramas.
But my heart was …… really painful and lonely …….
The bullying of me has spread to other schools. No one wants to be associated with me anymore.
Still, I once approached him to talk to me, thinking that Shinjo-kun would be able to help me.
But Shinjo-kun did not see me.
Later, I found out. The flirtatious guy who I thought was my friend was the enemy of Shinjo-kun, who I was friendly with. He was so jealous that he tried to abuse Shinjo-kun in a karaoke box.
Fortunately, Shinjo-kun was able to shake off the boys’ hands and escape.
But the rumor spread that Shinjo-kun was a violent man.
But ……, it turned out as if I was cheating on Shinjo-kun.
“Zubi …… Nanako ……, I feel super sorry for you. I-I can’t get involved with Onii-chan, but Nanako can still make it.”
“…… Oh, I cant?”
“Fool Kisaragi! Of course you can’t! If you hurt Onii-chan any more, I’ll kill you.”
“Wait, Haruka, that doesn’t sound like a joke. ……”
“I don’t know how bullying lasts that long. I was once bullied for hiding a shoe, but it was over pretty quickly.”
I retreated into my shell. I couldn’t trust anyone anymore.
Even talking about it now, my body trembles.
The harassment continued even after I entered high school. Not as often as in junior high school, but every once in a while, I would be directly harassed.
I’m sure it’s because I’m uncomfortable.
I thought it would be okay if I just stayed in my shell.
I thought I could get away with it if I didn’t feel anything.
Because I had hurt Shinjo-kun.
It was the bee’s knees that hit me. I had gotten carried away.
So I deserved to be hurt. It’s all my fault.
Still, only those who are involved can understand the lonely feeling of being isolated in class.
It’s a hell. …… Shinjo-kun has been experiencing such hell for a long time.
Shinjo-kun tried to believe in me even a little bit, but …… I ruined everything.
So I built a wall around my heart.
I suppress my emotions with an iron will. I’m going to live my life without getting involved with anyone.
“Hey, Nanako, it’s still okay. Explain it properly– “
If I get involved, nothing good will happen.
Besides, it reminds me of being betrayed by a classmate I believed in.
I’m fine as I am. I can just stay in the game world and not get involved with anyone.
With parfait cream on her mouth, Haruka leaned forward with a messed up face and grabbed my hand.
I was so surprised I couldn’t speak–
“….I hate ite……, I don’t want to see your face like that anymore. I-I, we, we hurt Onii-chan too ……, so we can’t be involved anymore.
“But, Nanako, you’re different. Do you want to go around Destiny with me on the next field trip? No, I mean, I’ll go with you! If you don’t want to, I won’t let you go!”
“Huh? What about me? Don’t forget me!”
“You should go around with someone from the literature club to clear up any misunderstandings! Idiot!”
“…… Well, yeah, I guess. I’ve done some bad things to everyone. …… We’ll talk about it and take a field trip. ……”
I tried to refuse. I can’t trust anyone.
Maybe even Haruka-san will betray me. Who knows, maybe I’ll hurt Haruka without even knowing it.
When I looked up to tell her that, Haruka’s tearful smile pierced my heart.
“Hey, Nanako, let’s go together! Because we’re friends now!”
The word “friend” cut into my heart, and I couldn’t control the feeling that welled up in me.