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.
The classroom was noisy this morning.
The boys in the class in particular were looking pretty fidgety, and Yuki casually spoke to another girl in class with a neat smile on her face.
Why were the boys jittery? Simple, today our class would have a seat change.
It would be decided by lottery, and I could overhear them excitedly predicting who’d win the seat next to Yuki. That reminds me, back in elementary school, I was the only boy who said I wanted to be next to her.
The thought of her popularity today, in contrast to when she was ill, made me overwhelmingly happy. While I thought these things, a leisurely voice called me from the seat next to me.
“We’re finally switching seats, so today’s the last time we’ll be seatmates. I’m going to miss you.”
“You saved my life many times when forgetting textbooks and stuff, Akina.”
A girl with thick glasses and pigtails sat next to me. Her name was Akina Kokuhou.
Honestly, I don’t know if it was my usual shyness or what, but when we first met, we didn’t have much to say to each other. One day, however, we started talking a lot and now we’re good friends.
Whenever I forgot a textbook or missed something the teacher wrote on the board, she’d help me up and do a lot of helpful things for me. She was kind and reliable.
Akina smiled behind her glasses.
“Don’t worry about it, it goes both ways.”
“I would agree, but you never forget anything.”
“I’m a very prepared kind of gal.”
“Prepared, huh? Guess I’ll follow your lead on that, then.”
If Akina and I seat far from each other, I won’t be able to casually ask someone to show me their textbooks like I’ve been doing until now. I have to be careful not to forget anything from now on.
Akina gestured for her black-rimmed glasses to be put back on and shifted her gaze to the hustle and bustle of the class.
“Either way, it’s still funny to see how they’re all jumpy today.”
“For sure. I can hear them talking about how bad they wanna seat next to Yuki.”
“And how about you, Haru? Do you want to be Shirahato-san’s seatmate?”
“Yeah, that’s what I want, too…”
I honestly thought that I’d love to sit next to her, but I felt reserved. I would be too spoiled if I sat next to her even though we live together, spending time with one another day after day.
“Aw, don’t be shy. One should always hope for the best for oneself.”
“Hope for the best, huh… What about you, Akina?”
“Hmm… I guess so. To be honest, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to change seats right now.”
“It isn’t necessary? Do you like it here? Um, well, I’m sitting in the back, and it’s not too uncomfortable.”
“I think what the best place is doesn’t matter. It’s not about where you are, it’s about who you’re with.”
“Oh, so you mean sitting next to Yuki.”
“Haah… You’re kinda slow, aren’t you?” She sighed deliberately.
Behind the lenses of her chunky glasses, her crimson eyes stared back at me in astonishment.
“So, why am I always prepared for everything, taking care not to forget a single thing? I’d like you to understand my intentions, but I’m afraid that’s not gonna happen.”
“Eh, um… Because you get mad at me when I forget something…?”
She sighed audibly at my response, shaking her head and facepalming. Yup, seems like my answer was wrong.
“You’re a real piece of work, you know that?”
“Sorry, couldn’t think of anything else…”
“Well, that’s even truer for me… Forget it, let’s stop talking about that.”
She stopped herself from saying something and looked at Yuki, who was the center of the class’ topics.
“Well, sitting near Shirahato-san is not a bad idea to be honest. An old friend of mine, who’s in a different class than us, said they’d also like to be friends with her. If I can be Shirahato-san’s seatmate, it might be a good opportunity to introduce them both to each other.”
“Oh, a friend from another class? How long have you known them?”
“Since elementary. Well, my personality is their complete opposite, so I’ve always thought we were like water and oil. Though, even so, we’ve become friends and our relationship has been emulsified.”
“So they’re your complete opposite? Hmm, is it a boy?”
“No, you’re the only guy friend I have, so she’s a girl, and she wants to be Shirahato-san’s friend… I was wondering if you could help me out with that, since you’re probably the closest to her.”
“I’ll ask her about it next time. I’m sure she’d love to have more friends.”
Back when Yuki was ill, she had no other friends than me, and now that she was free from her past shackles, she became the object of admiration and an idol here at school. Well, because of her high status, not a lot of people seem to have developed a good friendship with her. She was too high above for them to get close.
That’s why I listened to Akina’s proposal quite positively. If her friend wants to become Yuki’s friend, that ought to be a good opportunity.
“Also, Shirahato-san seems to be very fidgety today, too.”
“So you’ve noticed that as well? She’s been like that all morning.”
As Akina said, Yuki was all fidgety today, ever since we woke up. Moreover, while we were having breakfast together, she stopped moving her chopsticks, and stared straight at me.
“Hey, Haru-kun… We’re changing seats today, right?” She had asked me that this morning.
“Oh, I’m not really sure.”
“Hmm, where would you like to sit?”
“Let me see… Anywhere in a corner is fine, but thinking about it… Nah, I’d say the best corner was by the window. I’m sure it’d be fine there, both at class and at recess.”
“You’re right! You’d have a panoramic view of the outside, and it’d be awesome when it’s sunny, to boot. Also, if you open up the window, you could enjoy the fresh breeze.”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that. I just thought it would be the most conspicuous seat, far from the teacher… By the way, which seat would you prefer? Like, a front-row one so you could focus on the class? Or a center one, like you’re sitting now?”
“I’d like… Well, don’t tell anyone. I’ll be sad if I make you get your hopes up and end up in a different seat.”
“Get my hopes up? Well, I hope we both get a good seat.”
“Yeah, I hope so too.”
Since that talk we had this morning, she’s been glancing at me a lot during school, and I’ve been wondering if something was different about me.
“Either way, Haru, we all want the best seat. Well, homeroom is about to start, so let’s hope we can both get a good seat.”
“Hope so too, Akina. Even if we sit apart, we’ll still be friends.”
After hearing my words, Akina looked down at her desk and turned away from me.
In the end, I didn’t get to hear what the best seat would be for Akina, and soon after thinking that, the chime rung to announce the start of homeroom.
After the usual morning routine, the main event of the day and the class’s long-awaited seat change began.
The homeroom teacher wrote the new seating chart on the blackboard, randomly assigning numbers to each of them.
All that was left was to draw lots from the boxes provided to us, and moving to the seat corresponding to our number.
Luckily, I got to draw my number pretty earlier. The sooner I did so, the better chance I had in getting a good seat.
I drew the lottery hoping to get a seat at the very back near the window.
“Ah!” I couldn’t help but shout.
It was a miracle! I never thought I’d be so lucky. Handing the paper to the teacher, my name was marked on the same exact seat I wanted.
Pulling the seat I wanted made me happy, so, so happy! It’s as if I’ve got peace of mind until the next seat change.
However, even though I was almost jumping in happiness, the other students’ attention was focused on something else.
Boys and girls alike drew their lots in hopes of sitting next to Yuki.
Her turn to pull would be quite late, so the students who drew prayed she’d be near their seats. The sad voices of the ones who were already sure she wouldn’t be on both their sides could be heard echoing the room.
Akina’s turn to draw her seat number came earlier, though.
She remained downcast the whole time, and after quietly drawing the lots, she handed her paper to the homeroom teacher. Akina had a smile on her face, budding as a flower blooms in spring.
“So Akina, where are you?”
“Well, it seems ou relationship is gonna last a while longer,” She smiled gently under her chunky lenses.
Soon after, her name was written on the blackboard, and her seat turned out to be right in front of mine.
“Oh, I see. So you actually preferred to be by the windowside as well, huh?”
“Haru, I told you. It’s not where, but who you’re with.”
After drawing, she was in a constant happy mood, and we watched the rest of the raffle.
Though, not where, but with whom… Maybe Akina always wanted to seat near me. Well, I don’t really know why, since I must’ve bothered her many times by forgetting my textbooks.
Well, if she could seat near me and smile, I’m sure it wasn’t bad for her. That made me happy too.
Finally, Yuki’s turn comes.
With all eyes focused on a single point, she was about to draw. Yuki shot a glance at me just before finally reaching and pulling the paper.
Eyelids squeezed shut as if in prayer, she resolved herself, and then opened her eyes to see the lottery ticket.
“Ah…” Her voice trailed off as she silently read the numbers.
Smiling, she handed the paper to the teacher as our classmates gazed with bated breath, wondering who’d be the lucky person—
—And I couldn’t believe it.
Yuki dre the lottery for the seat next to mine.
And thus, the seat change was completed without any major incidents, and the students said goodbye to their seatmates, soon starting to move on.
Sitting next to me, Yuki whispered with a soft voice, her eyes locked on mine.
“Hey, Haru-kun~ I got the best seat, too~”
Her eyes glistened as she said that.
So that was the reason why she was constantly shooting glances at me since morning, so restless… The best seat, the one she kept secret from me so she wouldn’t be sad in case it didn’t work out, was the one next to me.
Frankly, I had been holding off on the idea of being her seatmate, thinking I’d be too spoiled.
However, she was different.
All Yuki wanted was to get closer to me, so she always wished to sit right by my side.
Homeroom soon ended, and classes began in our new seating arrangements.
Yuki shot me one extra warm smile as she took out her textbook.
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