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.
Without her bandages, Yuki was the most popular girl at school.
When recess rolled around, many classmates gathered around her, and she even got visitors from other classes, all wanting to befriend her in any way.
Due to her speech at the entrance ceremony, Yuki’s presence became known throughout the entire school. She was so lovely and exuded such charm, that people almost confused her with an angel. Her beautiful voice, clear as a cloudless day, and the reliability she emanated when exercising a leadership position, all gripped the students. Most were entranced by her charms.
She replied politely to every approaching student. With all of her charms combined, she had become sort of like an idol for the school.
The fact she returned from another country to Japan also attracted attention. During the three years she spent abroad, she had become fluent in English, and her pronunciation was so clear and crisp, others watched in awe.
I smiled as I watched the many people gather around her. Back in elementary school, Yuki and I talked a lot, but no one else ever join us. Maybe that was because they all felt repulsed by her wrappings.
Watching this same scene day after day, I felt happy as if I was Yuki herself. Knowing she was making so many friends warmed my heart.
“Shirahato-chan is really popular, don’t you think so too, Hinakura-kun?”
I sat on my seat once again today, watching Yuki with serenity as the girl next to me called out. Her name was Akina Kokuhou.
Her shiny, long black hair was done with a fluffy braid, and she stared at me with her crimson eyes, hiding behind the thick lenses of her black-rimmed glasses. Due to that, her face was not that well-defined.
My first impression of her was that of a plain, quiet girl, and even though I’m her seatmate, I’d never spoken to her before. Therefore, when she spoke to me out of nowhere, I was puzzled.
“Ah, I guess… So, what about it?”
“I guess she’s what they mean when they say the heavens gift some people more than others. Shirahato aside, I’m interested in you, Hinakura-kun.”
“You’re more interested in me, you say? … Is that good?”
“I don’t mind it if you interpret it that way, but the main reason I’m interested in you is that you and Shirahato-san are getting along so well. That’s what I’m curious about.”
“How do you know Yuki and I are close?”
“You could tell just by looking at your daily routine. You go to and from school together, at recess you both go somewhere together, etc… I saw these things many times.”
“Well, Yuki and I grew up together. We’ve known each other since elementary school.”
“I remember that Shirahato-san was a returnee, though…”
“She went abroad right after we graduated from elementary school. I was surprised she came back with her English so fluent.”
“I didn’t know that. Well, I guess it all makes sense since you both knew each other since elementary school.”
Akina’s gaze turned to Yuki and the many classmates that gathered around her. Even though it was a short break between classes, they all huddled around her. We could see a neat smile on her face in between the gaps in the crowd.
“Are you also interested in Yuki?”
“Of course. She’s the sweetest, nicest girl I’ve ever met. The other day, I dropped something in the hallway, and Shirahato-san, who walked right behind me, picked it up. When she handed it to me, she made the warmest smile I’ve seen, and that made even my heart flutter a bit, even though we’re both girls.”
“She made your heart flutter, hmm…”
“I’d love to be a part of her circle and befriend them, but being in the corner of the classroom, just like this, is more my style. I haven’t made a single new friend since I’ve entered high school… There’s a girl I’ve known for a while, but she ended up in a different class than mine, so it’s been very lonely.”
“You like being in the corner and you don’t have a lot of friends, huh… You and I are very similar, aren’t we?”
“Yeah… You know, when I looked at you I thought we’d get along well, and we seem to be. I’ve never talked to you before, but I gathered up a bit of courage to try it today.”
“I’m actually surprised you talk this eloquently, really… You’ve been sitting next to me the whole time, watching, huh…”
“Yeah. I’ve been thinking about befriending the introverts in class, just like me. And if possible, I planned on making friends with Shirahato-san through you…”
“Befriending her through me? Well, I think you’d get along well with her if you just talked to her normally.”
“You’ve known each other since before high school, so that’s easy for you to say. Shirahato-san seems to live in a different world than mine, so it’s hard to initiate something when you’re an introvert like me…”
Well, I didn’t know it was Yuki doing the speech during the entrance ceremony, so when I saw her, I felt like I couldn’t even approach. It was like she lived in a whole different dimension, and her existence itself was precious. Since Akina and I are so similar, it made sense that she’d find it difficult to talk to her.
“Well, we are seatmates, so let’s get along, Hinakura-kun.”
“Yeah, sure thing. Nice to meet you too, Akina.”
As I talked with Akina and gazed at Yuki, the chime rung to announce the start of class. The students that flocked around her all rushed back to their original places, and the teacher stood in front of the blackboard.
Yuki, who sat far away from me, noticed my gaze. She smiled warmly and waved at me. Sure, it was a small thing, but it made me very happy.
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