Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
It was a good time for the four of us to get together for a nice conversation and have some lunch.
After a bit, we ordered a parfait, which was the recommendation of this family restaurant, and waited for it to arrive.
Yuki also exchanged contact information with Rikka, and we settled down to talk about how we would continue to be friends. After that, she invited Yuki to take her somewhere with a mirror, and they left the table together.
Now it’s just me and Akina. Sitting across, she looked out the window.
“Haru, after the parfait arrives and we eat, I think I’ll call it a day. Did you have a good time?”
“Sure did. Takanashi-san is pretty energetic, and it was fun talking to her. We also got some nice food at a nice restaurant to boot.”
“Well, good to know.”
“But, um, today the plan was creating a place for both Yuki and Takanashi-san to get to know each other, so was it okay for me to be here? I hope I didn’t get in the way…”
“I’d never say you were. In fact, you’re the only reason this worked out in the first place.”
“But I felt I was just sitting there, listening.”
“Just keep being there. To be honest, Shirahato-san and I are not that close. She’s also meeting Rikka for the first time. I’m sure she had a great time thanks to your presence here, and I thank you for that.”
“If that’s what you say, I’m glad I came here too.”
While we chatted, the waitress finally arrived with the parfaits, along with some iced coffee for the three of us. The delicious-looking dessert with plenty of chocolate cream on top of ice cream was for Yuki, Akina, and I. On the other hand, the iced coffee was for Rikka, who wasn’t a very sweets person.
“Akina, you have a sweet tooth?”
“I may look like this, but I do,” she answered. “Whenever I go out with Rikka, I make sure to get one.”
“Ooh~ I have a sweet tooth as well. Actually, I remember you told me we were similar in this way as well,” I said.
“T–That’s right… If you prefer chocolate over fruit in a parfait, then maybe even more so, but I don’t know.”
“I’m with you on that one. Chocolate parfaits all the way.”
“Oh, you like them too?”
Akina took a deep breath, her crimson eyes staring at me through her thick lenses with a tinge of hesitation.
“W, Well, to be honest… Rikka only planned to invite Shirahato-san and me here.”
“Hm? You weren’t going to invite me in the first place?”
“Y–Yes, but… I talked to her and told her if she was going to meet Shirahato-san, you should be there too.”
“Is it because of the thing you told me earlier? I mean, you think my presence would help keep the conversation afloat since I know Yuki more?”
“Well, that’s part of it, erm, you know I’ve never had the chance to see and talk to you on your day off, have I? So I thought this would be a good opportunity… That’s why I invited you.”
“True, I never went out with you on any holidays ever since I met you.”
“Yup, that’s why I was so happy to have fun with you for the first time. To be honest, I’ve been overthinking what to wear, and I couldn’t really decide on anything, so I just went with the safest, plainest option…”
She looked down at her dark, minimalist outfit.
“Rikka recommended something prettier, livelier… She also told me to wear a mini-skirt, and to change my hair, and change my glasses to something with a bit more glam… But in the end, none of those things worked out.”
She sighed heavily.
“Shirahato-san is so cute in her normal outfits… She’s also so careful about which shampoo she uses, and so many other things. It’s amazing. Though, in comparison, I really feel helpless…”
Her gaze drops and she stares at her hands.
“And, um… You like pretty girls, don’t you? You’re definitely not interested in plain girls like me.”
“Well, it’s pretty normal to prefer beautiful or handsome people over the norm.”
“T, That’s right… Haha, I’m just stating the obvious, aren’t I? I’m sorry… I’m not going to talk about this anymore—”
“—But for me at least, appearance is secondary.”
Akina looked up at me, trying to understand my words.
“Looks had nothing to do with how I and Yuki got along either. She just happened to be very cute. I can’t help but think about what’s on the inside, and I do it a lot.”
“What’s on… The inside?”
“Yeah. You may not know this, but when I met Yuki back in elementary school, I had never actually seen her face. It was on the day of the high school entrance ceremony that I found out she was such a beauty.”
“W, Why didn’t you know what she looked like?”
“Well, Yuki had a lot going on when she was little, and I can’t go into details. In any case, I got to know her for what she was, never even seeing her real face. Eventually, I wanted to get to know her better… The same happened to you, Akina. We sat next to each other, you started talking to me, and we quickly became friends. I never placed how you look before what you were. You’ve been so kind to me, and that’s why I wanted to get closer to you as friends, knowing you’re the way you are.”
“So you… Appreciate who I am on the inside?”
“That’s what I mean. Besides, your current outfit was chosen after you put a lot of thought and worry into it, wasn’t it? I would never make fun of someone for their hard work. I thought you understood that about me after getting to know me.”
“Y, You’re right, you’re this kind of guy,” she said. “I should’ve known that but… I apparently misunderstood something important today. I did a big mistake after seeing Shirahato-san looking so gorgeous by your side.”
She stared through her glasses.
“I knew you were different from other guys. All of them make fun of me, calling me ugly, hideous, and other names… They won’t even talk to me anymore—You, however, are different. You’re the only one who sees what’s going on inside someone and tries to take care of them.”
“Told ya, so don’t worry about how you look. We’re friends, aren’t we?”
“Yeah, friends… You’re a really nice guy, and that’s why I’m gonna start to work harder. You got to know Shirahato-san’s inside and outside, and on top of that, she’s extremely pretty. Haru, you’ve seen me for who I am, and you’ve decided to know me better, and that’s as far as I’ve come… In order to take the next step, I have to be like her.”
“Be like Yuki? What is it, Akina?”
She stood up.
“I have to get better and better, otherwise I’ll never win. That’s why I’ll do my best. I want you to watch me change.”
“O–Okay. I’m glad you’re motivated too.”
She sat back down and reached for a spoon on the table.
“I’ve felt so ashamed of all the trouble I’ve been going through… But I’m so much more at ease now that I’ve confided in you, and well, I’m starting to feel hungry.”
“I don’t think Yuki and Rikka are coming back still, so we can eat first.”
“Guess so. Then I’ll sneak a bit in first.”
She brought the parfait to her mouth, exuding a happy aura. It was the first time we were both alone outside of school.
I kept watching her eat the dessert with a fresh feeling in my heart.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to comment your opinions below!
And, if you liked my translation and would like to buy me a cup of coffee, click on the button below.