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.
Getting out of the car, the fresh scent of a forest wafts through the air, and I deeply inhale it.
This was a vacation house in the mountains. A magnificent home built out of logs, owned by the Takahashi family, and located in a peaceful clearing surrounded by lush nature. The quietness softly interrupted by sounds of insects, along with the permeating darkness of an ending day, soothed my being.
A large light shone in the yard, illuminating the already set-up barbecue. It seemed that the servants of the Takahashi family had prepared it before we arrived, with round tables and chairs laid out and a charcoal grill set up.
“Hinakura-kun, you see… I have something I wanna show Yuki, so please go ahead, sit at the BBQ, and wait for us. Come, let’s go, Yuki!”
“Well, I’ll be off for a bit, Haru-kun.”
Rikka took her and went inside the villa. Meanwhile, I sat down and waited for both of them. She told us Akina had gone ahead, but I didn’t see her anywhere.
Sitting and chilling, I wonder if they’re done at the villa. The barbecue was all set up, so maybe they’re waiting for me there?
I pondered until someone stepped out of the back door of the villa. A girl I’d never seen before.
Her glistening hair swayed to the tender breeze of summer. Her black hair had a bob-cut, and her complexion was fair. Her white one-piece dress tied it all up, showing the right amount in the right places.
She exuded a sense of purity. Beautiful was the right word to call her.
When that girl noticed me, she approached with a smile on her face.
Who is she…? I thought I’d seen her somewhere, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was sure I’d never forget such a graceful beauty in the first place.
A feeling washed over me. Something I’ve felt back when I met Yuki on the day of the entrance ceremony.
Suddenly, that girl sat next to me without saying a word. “Why was she sitting next to me?” I thought, but only for a brief moment. She was so amazingly pretty up-close that I couldn’t help but just look.
The fact she’s here must mean she’s Rikka’s friend. I wonder if we were in the same class… Oh. That’s why I had a feeling I’d seen her somewhere before.
However, she knew I was staring. Her crimson eyes glanced at me, and a hint of vermilion tinged her cheeks. Her gaze was focused on the table in front of us, and her shoulders were a bit tense as if she was nervous about something.
She opens her mouth in a small gasp and puts her hands on her breasts, which bob up and down. Her white cheeks turned rose, and she muttered while looking at me up and down.
“… How am I?”
“Um… I told you already, didn’t I?”
“Don’t be surprised… I wanted this…”
“But, what do you mean—Ah.”
Her voice was familiar, and soon an image of a girl I knew so well overlapped with the image of this beauty in front of me.
With her cheeks flushed crimson, and her fingers intertwining shyly, her eyes looked up at me. This was how Akina looked underneath the glasses.
“Oh…? Could it be, you didn’t know I’m Akina?”
“W–What happened to your glasses?”
“Um, I’m wearing contacts.”
“And your hair…”
“I decided to go all out, so I cut it short.”
I couldn’t believe the sight right before my eyes.
The braided pigtails and thick black-rimmed glasses made too strong of an impression on me, and I didn’t realize that the girl before me was Akina, whom I knew so well.
I just couldn’t recognize the gorgeous girl in front of me as my friend, who repeatedly showed me her textbooks, and even after switching seats, turned around just to talk to me.
“I’ve told you before that I wanted to change too. Rikka helped me with my hair, and even taught me how to do my makeup… We chose my outfit, and I’m wearing it for you to see.”
“So that’s what you meant when you said you wanted to change…”
“Yeah, so I’d like to hear your honest opinion. How am I now?”
Her crimson eyes locked on mine, and I felt the seriousness. My heart started to race with such intense gazing.
What I feel now when I look at her, hair cut short and glasses removed, is that she was a lovely girl. A butterfly that broke out of its cocoon.
But as soon as I opened my mouth, the door to the villa opened. Yuki and Rikka stepped out and walked toward us. Akina stood up straight at the sight of them.
“It’s a shame. Looks like we’re out of time.”
“Out of time… Akina?”
“I’ll get your answer sooner or later. Until then, I look forward to it.”
I tried to stop her, but Akina ran straight to Yuki and Rikka, bowing her head and greeting Yuki. She was also surprised to see the change, going wide-eyed.
Yuki’s snowy-silver strands and Akina’s raven black bob-cut were an interesting combination. The two beauties looked even more dazzling under the starry night sky.
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