There were twelve of us gathered at the karaoke bar. It means that 1/3 of the class is actually participating. Thanks to Kouki and Sakurai’s initiative in inviting all their classmates, there was a good balance in the number of participants without any particular group or member sticking together. The group headed towards the karaoke bar, where they took two rooms and enjoyed socializing in their own way.
“So, what happened to Kokonoe?” (???)
“It’s a shame I wasn’t there to see it.” (???)
After an hour or so, when both parties had gradually become less cautious, the topic of Kokonoe came up. The conversation between the two gals, Mineda Miki and Sakurai, joined by Miho and Kazunari Takahashi, who used to be the ace of the soccer team in junior high school.
“He’s definitely a dangerous guy. It’s impossible for a guy to suddenly lose his temper when he introduces himself.” (Kazunari)
“Don’t worry, Kazunari, he’s an interesting guy.” (Miho)
“Miho, you seem to like Kokonoe a lot, is there something wrong?” (Kazunari)
“Something happened a long time ago.” (Miho)
“Eh, You know each other?” (Miki)
“No, I don’t think he remembers me and this is the first time I’ve talked to him directly. But I know he’s a great guy.” (Miho)
“You’re an athlete, aren’t you, Miho? Does that mean Kokonoe also excels in sports?”(Miki)
“Kouki-san, did you play basketball in Junior High School?” (Kamishiro)
And then a voice interrupts the conversation from across the room.
Shiori Kamishiro – her long black hair is pulled back into a ponytail. She seems quite tall; over 170 centimeters (5’7 feet). Even in her school uniform, her large breasts make a strong presence.
“Do you know me?” (Miho)
“No, I don’t, but I thought that if you knew Yuki, then maybe…” (Kamishiro)
“Ah, I see. Are you a basketball player too, by any chance?” (Miho)
“Yes, I was in the same Junior High School as Yuki. I played girls’ basketball. ……” (Kamishiro)
“Oh, I see. Do you know why Yuki didn’t show up at that time?” (Miho)
“I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it.” (Kamishiro)
“…… I see.” (Miho)
Sakurai and the others watched with interest as the two of them carried on a conversation with some sort of implication.
“Hey, were you and Yukito close, Kamishiro-san?” (Miho)
“…… I think it’s the other way around. Yuki hates me.” (Kamishiro)
“What? What do you mean, Kamishiro-san?”(Miho)
The cheerful atmosphere that she had shown until now had disappeared from her face as she spoke with downcast eyes.
“I’m sure Yuki didn’t come today because of me…..”(Kamishiro)
“No, you’re wrong. The only reason the Yukito didn’t come is because I–” (Suzurikawa)
With the exact same words, a new intruder suddenly appears.
Hinagi Suzurikawa. She is one of the most beautiful girls in the class, along with Kamishiro, the two most beautiful girls in the room. She, too, has changed from her usual mood and cast a dark shadow.
“Are you two acquainted with Kokonoe?” (Miho)
“What the hell, tell me first. What kind of guy is he?”(Takahashi)
The two of them bumped their gazes against each other, as if they hadn’t heard Takahashi’s question.
“I’m sorry, Kamishiro-san. I was just wondering, what do you mean with your fault?” (Suzurikawa)
“What is your relationship with Yuki, Suzurikawa-san?” (Kamishiro)
(Hey, hey! What’s going on here? Why is this suddenly turning into a drama?)(???)
(I don’t know, those two and Kokonoe seem to know each other, is there a reason?)(???)
“What did you do to Yukito ……?” (Suzurikawa)
While Miho was laughing to himself, the social gathering suddenly started to become bitter.
[Shiori Kamishiro PoV]
Yukito Kokonoe was a member of the basketball club in Junior High School. Both boys and girls use the gymnasium for their club activities, and they interact with other members of the same club. When I was a freshman, I didn’t know Yukito Kokonoe at all. It was in the summer of my second year that I, Shiori Kamishiro, began to take an interest in him.
I don’t know what happened to him but it was around that time that he started to improve his basketball skills. But it wasn’t talent or anything like that. To put it in those terms would be degrading to him. He practiced harder than anyone, so he got better than everyone. I’m sure it’s just that.
Yukito became absorbed in basketball. It was as if he was trying to shake off something. He was the only one who stayed behind after school and practiced for hours. During summer vacation, he was sometimes the only one still practicing. It wasn’t just at school, I even saw him practicing on an outdoor court located in the park.
I was the tallest of the girls, and I was in charge. At that time, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the club activities. The team wasn’t strong enough to make it to the top of the tournament. Our school wasn’t the kind of school that put a lot of effort into its athletic teams, and the team members, both boys and girls, were moderately enjoying their club activities.
But he was different. He was the only one who kept holding the ball as if he was possessed by something, and kept on shooting towards the hoops. It was as if he was driven by something, as if he was trying to forget something.
Perhaps motivated by this, the boys’ club activities began to include a seriousness that had never existed before. He had also become a top-class point guard. He had become one of the best point guards in the world, and the expectation that with him, we might be able to reach the top, had changed the basketball team.
–Amazing, I thought.
Very honest praise. An amazing person who can influence someone just with his attitude. He’s not like me. I was envious, dazzled, and wanted to watch his back forever, but at the same time, I was worried about the danger of him neglecting himself, so I started talking to Yukito Kokonoe.
After a while, I got to know him so well that I started calling him Yuki, and our conversations increased. We started to talk casually outside of club activities. I had never had many friends of the opposite sex before, so it was a very enjoyable time for me. He was so kind and generous, and he was so mature that I couldn’t believe he was my classmate. He was the kind of person I felt safe just talking to.
I can see it clearly now. I was attracted to Yukito Kokonoe.
But at that time, I was not mature enough to admit my feelings honestly. I couldn’t sort out my first emotions, so I approached him with vague feelings and I turned him down. I’m sorry I did that to you.
In hindsight, it was all a mistake. I should have stayed away from him from the beginning. After all, I had betrayed him in the worst way, hurt him, and taken everything away from him.
“…… I’m Yukito childhood friend.” (Suzurikawa)
“Could it be that you’re the reason Yuki has changed?” (Kamishiro)
“Yes. But who are you? Tell me what you did to Yukito!” (Suzurikawa)
“I… I–” (Kamishiro)
Sakurai intervened, unable to see the seriousness of the argument between the two.
“It’s a social gathering, today! Right? Let’s get along, both of us.” (Sakurai)
“Huh. I’m leaving.” (Kamishiro)
“I’m sorry for spoiling the mood, Sakurai-san. I’m going to the other room, okay?” (Suzurikawa)
As the two left, an unbearable atmosphere filled the room.
“What am I going to do with this atmosphere?” (Sakurai)
“Come on, Kazunari, sing something.” (Miki)
“Eh, why do I have to sing first?” (Kazunari)
“I’ll ask her about Kokonoe in detail next time.” (Miho)
“It’ll never end well in that kind of atmosphere. ……”(Sakurai)
What happened to the three of them? The sudden outbursts of violence between the two beautiful women left the classmates in no mood to enjoy karaoke and left them completely distracted.