“Don’t give up! Don’t give up on me, hot-blooded senpai! Is that how it’s going to be? Didn’t you say you were going to confess? Didn’t you say you wanted to show her your good side? Is that a lie? I can’t believe you were so half-hearted!” (Yuki)
“Ha…… ha…… Kokonoe, take it easy on me …….” (Himura)
“Don’t make excuses! You’re going to tell her, right? What the hell have you come here for! Imagine that! There’s no way she’ll like you after seeing you in such a pathetic state! Are you okay with that? Some other guy might make a move on her, you know? Do you want to see Takamiya in another man’s arms?
“Ryouneeeeeee!!!! Ohhhhhhhh!!” (Himura)
“Yeah, give it your all from the start! You won’t die trying!” (Yuki)
“I love you, Ryooooooooun!” (Himura)
Today in the basketball club, I, Yukito Kokonoe continue to work hard. Physical strength is the most important factor in basketball. In order to win, you have to have the skills, but you also have to have the stamina to be able to move for the full 50 minutes, including the 40 minutes of the fourth period and half-time. In order to be able to handle such a large amount of physical activity, it is necessary to start with a basic physical fitness improvement program such as running, but the senpai’swere weak. There was no way they could win like this. But isn’t it strange that the first-years are beating up the third-years? What’s going on with this club? The Copernicus in me is turning.
“The only one who seems to be okay with it is Kouki. I don’t think Ito can do it.” (Yuki)
“I’m not going to give up because of this.” (Himura)
“Okay, you’re going to play five rounds with me.” (Yuki)
“Hey, don’t be so casual with your jumping!” (Himura)
“Stop laughing with a straight face, you’re scaring me! It’s too early!” (Himura)
Those who were observing the event all had complicated expressions on their faces as they followed the flying figure with their eyes. The basketball team was now running around the perimeter of the school building. This is one of the ways to improve their physical strength, but most of the basketball team’s practices are decided by me, Yukito Kokonoe. The school didn’t put much effort into the weak basketball team in the first place. The advisor is not a specialist in this field, so he throws the whole thing at me.
“Toshiro you idiot!” (Takamiya)
The one with a bright red face was third-year student Ryone Takamiya. She is the soul of Toshiro Himura, the captain of the basketball club, Toshiro Hamura. He was also the one going to confess his feelings to her after the tournament. However, as you can see from the series of exchanges, it’s obvious that she already knows how he feels about her. Yukito Kokonoe is very precise in stirring up the senpai and inspiring them.
Kamishiro was watching Toshiro with a wry smile on her face, but Kamishiro felt fulfilled with herself right now. She could finally see Yukito Kokonoe playing basketball like this, because that was the future that Shiori Kamishiro had taken away from him.
She felt that everything was moving in a slightly better direction. That said, there was a past that Kamishiro wanted to clear up. Another lingering feeling in her chest.
“I also…… have to face it.” (Shiori)
[Shiori Kamishiro PoV]
“Thank you for coming, Suzurikawa-san.” (Shiori)
“Uhm, what’s wrong? It’s about Yukito, isn’t it?” (Hinagi)
After school, I called Hinagi Suzurikawa to an empty classroom. It was very important to me, but I wondered what it would mean to her. It was something she hasn’t heard about. Still, there is something I have to tell her. She had a dubious expression on her face. It was the first time we ever had a serious conversation together like this. We are rivals……, or perhaps we don’t like each other very much. But that didn’t matter right now.
I handed the box in my hand to Suzurikawa-san. Inside was a beautiful amber-colored brooch. It was my treasure, and I had kept it carefully until now. But I have never been able to wear it. I wanted to put it on, but my inner feelings wouldn’t allow me to do so.
“It’s beautiful. But what’s wrong with this?” (Suzurikawa)
“Yuki gave it to me.” (Shiori)
“…… I see. Are you trying to brag about it?” (Suzurikawa)
You’re wrong! This was supposed to be yours, Suzurikawa” (Shiori)
“What do you mean?” (Suzurikawa)
She tilted her head as if she didn’t understand. That would be it. She didn’t seem to know what it meant. But the truth is, she was supposed to be the owner of this brooch. I was just given it. I told Yuki I wanted it so, he gave it to me. But I’m not the real owner.
“This is what Yuki was going to give you when he was thinking of confessing his love to you.” (Shiori)
[Yukito’s past POV]
I don’t know if I would call it a sense of loss. It’s like a huge hole has been left in my heart, and it’s eating me away. But, yeah, it’s natural. My family didn’t like me, so there was no way anyone would like me. I thought I knew that from the beginning. It was all a misunderstanding on my part, and I must have looked ridiculous and pathetic when I selfishly thought that Suzurikawa loved me too.
The summer of junior high school. On the day of the summer festival this year, I was planning to confess my feelings to Suzurikawa.
I wanted to take our relationship one step further.
I liked her…since we were little. We had spent time together as childhood friends. In the course of that time, my love for her gradually developed, but there was never a definite trigger. In fact, there may have been, but at least to the extent that I can’t remember it, Hinagi and I have spent a lot of time together. That’s what I thought. But it was a misunderstanding, and I was the only one who thought that, so I was rejected outright before I could confess my feelings.
Lately, things have been awkward between us. Whenever I tried to talk to her as usual, Suzurikawa would often speak harshly to me, as if she was annoyed. Thinking about it, the distance between us as childhood friends must have been uncomfortable for her. It was stressful to be in close contact with someone she didn’t like. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, but from the very beginning, I’ve been invisible to her all this time, that’s all.
I didn’t even realize it when I thought she didn’t have feelings for me. Thinking about it, I noticed that Suzurikawa had made a number of such signs. When she told me that she had been confessed to by a senpai, it was always the same. I had foolishly assumed that she would never accept such a confession by another guy. But that’s not what she meant. She was trying to tell me that I was a nuisance and a hindrance when I approached her. Maybe it was because we had known each other since childhood that she didn’t say it directly to me, or maybe it was just her kindness.
I’m not needed by anyone. My mother and sister didn’t like me either, so the kindness that I received from Suzurikawa was more than anything that I had asked for. There were days when I felt happy. But those days are gone now. There was nothing left for me now.
“What went wrong……?” (Yuki)
I muttered to myself, but no answer came back to me.
No tears came out. There was only despair. The emptiness that covered my grief spread.
In my room, I had many memories of her. There were even pictures of us together on the wall. All of them were the history of my stupid and foolish misunderstanding. I didn’t want to look at them anymore. In one of the photos, Suzurikawa was smiling embarrassingly next to me and I had a straight face. She looked much younger than she did now. I wondered if she really meant that smile, or if she had always secretly thought that I was annoying.
Every year, we went to a summer festival together. I could tell how kind she was to me by the fact that she went along with me even though she hated me. But now, that kindness was poison. It would have been better if she had told me outright that she hated me. Thinking back to last year, when we went to a summer festival, I tried to hold Suzurikawa’s hand to prevent her from getting lost in the crowd. She reacted with a shock and hurriedly withdrew her hand. In the end, our hands were never held. It was uncomfortable to be held hands by someone you disliked. I guess it can’t be helped. She already hated me by that time.
It’s so unrequited……, I think to myself. As long as the memories of her remain in this room, I may drag my feelings out forever. I was dumped anyway. It’s okay now. It was all a misunderstanding on my part, and it wasn’t a mutual love. It was just a one-sided love. Just an unrequited love. Even if it was just a feeling that had been building up for years, I had to let it go.
“Let’s get rid of it.” (Yuki)
I have to throw it away. The memories of her. My relationship with her, everything. Our relationship as childhood friends is over. We’re strangers now, we have no connection whatsoever. Because she hates me. I can’t keep harboring these feelings for her. I’m not going to be near her. She even has a boyfriend. I can’t keep having the same relationship as before. Especially if she hates me. I’d become a stalker.
I made up my mind to get rid of my memories of Hinagi Suzurikawa. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong. It must be right. Something is screaming in my heart. Is that really the right thing to do? But there was nothing to overturn it, only the facts presented in front of me. Suzurikawa said it herself that she would go out with her senpai. What else is there to say? There was nothing I could do to deny it.
I toss the photo frame into the garbage bag. A straight-faced me and a smiling Suzurikawa. The expression on my face in the last picture I saw looked like I was crying.
The last thing I had left was the present I had planned to give Suzurikawa when I confessed my feelings to her. I really wanted to be close to her like before. I wanted to get to know her better than before. I also never really had the experience of giving someone a gift like this. Every year, I gave Suzurikawa a gift for her birthday, but this was the first time I had chosen something like an accessory. It was a complete hunch. I just picked something that I thought would look good on her. But it would have been annoying to get it from someone she didn’t like. It would only make her feel uncomfortable.
I thought about just throwing it away, but I had bought it myself. What a waste. It might be a good idea to give it to someone else. My mom and sister also hated me, so it wouldn’t feel good to give it to them, would it? Well, maybe I can give it to a classmate someday.
I left the brooch alone and finished getting rid of the pictures. I didn’t have much stuff in my room to begin with. There were no more traces of Tonagi I had in my room. No more albums, no more memories. Yes, that’s fine.
In the empty room, I just stood there without doing anything.