I am a worthless being. My name is Yukito Kokonoe.
I mutter words that have no meaning, but it’s unavoidable. It’s just the way it is.
Today, the temperature exceeded 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) . As early summer arrives, the scorching sunlight is unbearable. With the cicadas’ chirping as background music, I realized something that was perfectly natural.
I was heading towards the shopping mall. I’m still growing, so my height has increased. The swimsuit I used in middle school had become too small. I rarely wear it except for swimming lessons, but if an adult woman invites me, I can’t refuse.
Mio-san and Tristy-san invited me to choose a swimsuit, but I decisively declined. It’s an impossible task for me, who has never had a girlfriend before. Both of them have excellent figures. Especially Tristy-san, who is half-Japanese, I won’t go into details, but she’s well-endowed and impressive. It’s like having airbags!
As I exit the station, I spot a familiar figure from afar. The airbags are bouncing.
Tristy-san, the person in question, stands out with her dazzling hair color.
I hesitate whether to call out to her but decide against it. My relationship with Tristy-san is quite strange.
I am the victim, and she is the perpetrator. We only met by chance due to an accident.
And yet, it’s strange to be invited to hang out by such a person.
Tristy-san and Mio-san invited me to go to the pool.
They say it’s to apologize, but now I regret agreeing to it.
Tristy-san seems to feel guilty, and she has been quite considerate towards me, but it’s not good for either of us to settle for that.
“Well, she’s so beautiful, she must have a boyfriend.”
The person next to her must be her boyfriend. A handsome couple. Whether they had a meeting arrangement or not, Tristy-san runs towards her boyfriend with a radiant smile, and they embrace each other tightly.
The two of them make a perfect match. They embody the ideal couple.
I wonder if it was really a good idea for me to accept the invitation. From Tristy-san’s boyfriend’s perspective, I’m just an intruder. The apologies and compensation for the accident are already settled. Our relationship ends there.
There’s no reason for Tristy-san to be involved with me anymore.
Even though we won’t be alone, going to the pool with a guy is probably not a pleasant feeling for her boyfriend. What should I do? This is troublesome…
Overwhelmed by the heat, I decide to take a break and enter a nearby cafe. Wiping off sweat with a handkerchief, I order iced coffee and start thinking about what happened yesterday.
Yesterday, Shiori apparently received a confession from Suzuki, a second-year senior who is said to be the next ace of the baseball club. She came to me specifically to say, “I turned him down properly, Yuki!” with her usual cheerful smile. It’s thoughtful of her, but Shiori is popular. I can vouch for that.
Come to think of it, I felt a sense of discomfort even back then. Shiori expressed her feelings for me, and so did Hinagi. But I haven’t given them an answer.
Am I just a piece of garbage?
I’m nothing but a benchwarmer. In fact, I should be benched myself!
Now that I think about it, I haven’t given any response to the “love” directed towards me by these girls. I’m a damn scumbag. I deserve a thousand deaths.
Seriously, this is the worst… I’ve never paid attention to others before. I thought I was being rejected. My world revolved around me alone.
But now I’ve realized that’s not the case. I grabbed onto the extended hand.
I don’t know who Suzuki-senpai is. But if he truly likes Shiori and confessed with sincerity, then Suzuki-senpai is far more earnestly looking at Shiori than I am.
Within the rejected confessions of Shiori, there might have been someone who could genuinely make her happy, someone who could reciprocate the affection she holds for them.
I am different from someone who is always searching for “affection.”
Was it good for Shiori to turn down the confession? Such a self-righteous thought.
Since she made her own decision to decline, I have no right to say anything.
However, if I had given an answer earlier, for example, if I had clearly responded that I couldn’t reciprocate Shiori’s feelings, she might have had new options.
There might have been a chance for the sincere confession of someone to be rewarded.
—-I am being cruel.
Will I be able to fall in love with someone again? Will there ever be a day when that happens? And above all, is it fair to keep dragging these girls along, unsure of my own feelings?
By keeping the answer on hold, avoiding their “love,” and remaining stagnant in the same place, I may be robbing them of their future and possibilities.
Is it okay for me to be near these girls?
“Leon, long time no see! Are you going to be in Japan from now on?”
“Yeah. I finally managed to come over here.”
It had been three years since Tristy had seen her brother Leon. While Tristy and their family moved to Japan, Leon was the only one who stayed abroad for work.
Finally, after finishing his work handover, Leon had decided to live in Japan starting this summer.
However, it seemed that he wasn’t accustomed to the Japanese summer yet, as he wiped off copious amounts of sweat in the sweltering heat.
“Let’s go inside the store quickly. I miss the air conditioning.”
“Japanese summers are hot, right? But you’ll get used to it soon.”
Despite saying that, they headed towards the mall, seeking refuge from the harsh sunlight.
“Is Leon’s place far from here?”
“It’s a 20-minute walk from the station, so I can visit anytime.”
“That’s great. Mom and Dad will be happy too!”
“By the way, it must have been tough for you. You caused an accident, right? Are you okay?”
“Yeah. The other person involved was really nice.”
“I was surprised when Mom told me. I’m just glad that nothing happened to you, Tristy.”
Engaging in casual sibling banter, they strolled through the mall together.
Tristy had met up with Leon here to help him gather the things he needed for his new place. Leon was going to live alone.
“…I think I’ve got most of the things I need now. What about you, Tristy?”
“Then it’s my turn next. Follow me!”
After finishing Leon’s shopping, Tristy headed towards her intended destination.
“Oh, are you buying a swimsuit?”
“You should pick one too, Leon. Don’t you have one?”
“You’re choosing quite a flashy swimsuit. Did you get a boyfriend or something?”
“N-No, it’s not like that! He’s not…”
“Oh, I hit the mark, huh? Introduce him to me sometime.”
“It’s not like that! Yukito is the person involved in the accident—”
“Accident? What’s that about? Is he your destined partner or something? It’s Japanese culture, I see.”
“It’s not like that!”
Tristy hurriedly denied, but she could feel her face turning red.
Leon smiled warmly as he observed his sister earnestly choosing a swimsuit.
“So this is what ‘away’ feels like…”
As we approach summer, the sun sets much later in the day.
It’s transitioning from dusk to the darkness of the night. When I look up at the sky, it’s dyed in a vibrant azure color, reminiscent of glazed pottery.
I find myself in a very out-of-place situation. Just being here challenges my identity as an introverted. Who am I? Yukito Kokonoe. Is that really who I am?
Amidst the cheerful commotion around me, my heart feels cloudy.
“Yukito-kun, sorry to keep you waiting!”
“Hey, you don’t have to rush like that; he won’t run away, you know.”
“For me, I’d run away as much as possible.”
However, I’ve been cornered! Two people come out of the changing room, and everything suddenly becomes more dazzling.
Mio-san and Tristy-san invited me to the night pool.
It’s a spell that deals significant damage to an introvert. I’m already feeling blue.
When it comes to summer, the only thing I would usually do is watch B-movie shark films. It’s not a place I would naturally find myself in. It has low priority for me.
Of all places, I ended up here. It turns out that I, Yukito Kokonoe, am a man who cannot even hold a candle to the winds of the introvert world.
As I catch a glimpse of Mio-san and Tristy-san, an inadvertent comment escapes my lips.
“Hey, isn’t that a little too straightforward!?”
“It’s embarrassing to be seen like this…”
“Don’t you think there’s not enough fabric?”
“It’s a bit flashy, isn’t it? I put in all my effort!”
“Haa. Having a good figure really makes a difference. I’m so envious.”
“I think both are great.”
“Which swimsuit do you prefer?”
“That’s right. Which one do you like?”
“Can you please stop presenting me with choices that only create dissonance?”
That’s definitely a situation where cracks in friendship can appear. No one benefits from it.
“If you choose me, I’ll provide some service, you know?”
“I don’t accept service overtime.”
“Well, even if you don’t choose, I’ll still provide the service!”
“I’ll pay you overtime for that.”
I received some (?) service from Tristy-san. It made me happy.
I was invited to hang out as an apology, but I never expected it to be at a night pool. It might be more comfortable than during the day, but I’m more inclined toward dark and damp caves rather than brightly lit holes. However, I don’t have anyone who would invite me to such a place.
Well, I don’t have many acquaintances to begin with!
As I indulged in self-deprecating thoughts, I was immediately flanked on both sides, with my escape route cut off.
“Let’s have a great time today!”
“Yukito-kun, how do I look?”
“It’s wonderful. It’s like the Rococo style.”
“Can I take your praise as a compliment?”
Asked for my opinion on their swimsuits, I answered honestly.
In this situation, there’s no way I could express a negative opinion.
Mio-san is wearing an off-shoulder bikini, while Tristy-san is also in a bikini, but with her incredible figure, she looks like a model.
They have already caught the attention of those around us. Despite that, they stick close, but now we’re all in swimwear. When they come into contact with me, our skin directly touches.
“You have two flowers in your hand, Yukito-kun.”
“It’s quite a burden.”
“Let’s take a selfie, a group photo!”
“Is that really okay? I don’t want any social media scandals later.”
“It’s fine! Only my friends will see it.”
“I just don’t want to be identified…”
“I’m sure you’ve been through this already, right?”
“When did my rights become a free pass?”
Is this the dark side of social media?
“Hey, hey. Yukito, what do you usually do?”
“What do I usually do? Well, I guess I often get involved in troubles and such.”
“Coming from someone who got involved last time, try not to say scary things.”
“Sorry… It must have hurt!”
“No, no, don’t worry about it. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for me.”
Mio-san and Tristy-san looked a bit down.
Oh no, they invited me to hang out like this. I should have a good time or it’ll be a waste.
Besides, even though I have some inherent issues, troubles don’t happen all the time.
“Big sister, why don’t you play with us? Is that kid over there someone’s brother or…”
I twisted his arm and threw it into the empty pool. Splashes of water flew up.
“What are you doing all of a sudden—”
I twisted his arm and threw it into the empty pool. Splashes of water flew up.
“Shin-niiiiii! Wait, wait! I’m sorry! We’re not forcing you to come along—”
I twisted his arm and threw it into the empty pool. Splashes of water flew up.
I sighed in relief as the self-introductions faded away.
“It’s peaceful today.”
There are days without troubles. If there were constant incidents happening every single day in this safe Japan, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I want these peaceful days to continue.
“You’re really something, aren’t you?”
“Being near Yukito feels like the safest option! Let’s play, let’s play!”
Oh boy. I instinctively shrugged my shoulders. I tried to act like one of those laid-back protagonists, but honestly, I ended up playing a lot. It seems the laid-back type doesn’t suit me.
But then again, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a pool or something.
“But really, did something happen?”
“You have no self-awareness, do you?”
I’ve been getting approached by outgoing older sisters and brothers quite a lot lately.
While eating the frankfurt that the laughing older brother treated us to, I couldn’t help but wonder.
“I got so much…”
Mio-san and Tristy-san also seemed bewildered by the meals and drinks they were treated to.
Come to think of it, the trio I threw into the pool earlier, the 3G, seemed to be getting attention from the nearby older sisters. It was quite a heartwarming sight.
As a self-proclaimed introverted loner, I had been irrationally hostile towards extroverts and party people, but it turns out they’re all nice people! It was just my vision that was clouded.
“Mio-san, is there a rule for this night pool that only good people can enter?”
“How can you see reality with such clouded eyes…”
“Yukito-kun is interesting, that’s why he’s getting attention!”
“I feel like you could do well anywhere in the future.”
Hmm, did I have any elements that would attract attention?
“Oh right, speaking of the future, Yukito-kun, have you decided on your career path?”
I pondered Mio-san’s question. Being a beekeeper on a remote island was rejected. While there’s also the option of helping my independent mother, even though it was denied by Hinagi, I haven’t given up yet.
“The path of a vagabond, perhaps.”
“That’s too scary! It’s not just about black labor.”
“Yukito-kun, let’s keep the horror comments for summer only. Anyway, I understand that you’re not thinking about it. But if we say that, it might apply to us as well.”
Mio-san chuckled awkwardly, looking troubled.
“What’s up with your career path?”
“Well, you know, we have to start thinking about job hunting soon. We can only play like this for now. It’s going to get busier from here on. Ugh, it’s depressing.”
“If things don’t work out, Yukito-kun, you can ask my dad for help. He can do something about it. I’m not saying I’m like that, but my dad is pretty impressive.”
It seems Tristy-san’s father works as an executive in the Japanese branch of a foreign company.
I’ve gained a powerful connection! Sorry, but life is about connections. That’s the reality.
By the way, once you become a university student, you’re on the verge of entering society. It’s the time when you start seriously considering your future life plans.
I can only hope that Mio-san and Tristy-san can follow the path they desire.
“Yukito-kun, would you like something to drink?”
“I’ll have a sports drink, please.”
We changed clothes and took a break after having exhausted ourselves playing. We were enveloped in a pleasant feeling of fatigue.
Swimming is a full-body exercise. It consumes more energy than I thought. I feel like I’ll fall asleep as soon as I get home. It was already past 20:00. It’s about time we leave, or else we’ll be in trouble.
“I had fun today. What are you going to do after this, Yukito-kun?”
“I’m going home. Since I’m underage, I can’t stay out late at night.”
“I see, that makes sense. Can I invite you again sometime?”
“Yes, of course. I had a great time too.”
When I told my mother and sister that I would be going out with Mio-san and the others, they were strangely unhappy.
I have no idea what would happen if I came home late at night.
“Um, if it’s okay, Yukito-kun, would you like to come to my house next time? We’re having a family BBQ.”
“To Tristy-san’s house? That’s a bit…”
“Is it not okay?”
Tristy-san looked sad and lowered her gaze, but there was something she had been concerned about while we were having fun today.
“It wouldn’t be right to your boyfriend, after all.”
“Huh, Tristy-san, don’t you have a boyfriend?”
“I-I don’t! There’s no such person!”
“Huh? But I happened to see you hugging each other in front of the mall the other day.”
“What does this mean, Tristy?”
“I really don’t have one! The mall… wait, could it be about my brother?”
“You mean it was your brother?”
“Yeah. When I went to buy a swimsuit the other day, my brother—Leon—finally managed to come here, so we just met. It’s not like we’re dating or anything!”
“I was worried that you were playing with me even though you had a boyfriend.”
“That’s not it! I swear, it’s definitely not like that! In fact, Leon said he wanted to meet you too. Even Mom and Dad want to meet you, so would you come to my house next time?”
“Well, in that case…”
I didn’t realize I suddenly had more visitors wanting to meet me, but I see, so his name is Leon.
I thought Tristy-san and him were a handsome couple, but if he’s Tristy-san’s brother, it’s understandable that he’s also handsome. It seems my needless worry was for nothing.
Looks like the shura was averted. I’m glad, I’m glad.