[Hinagi Suzurikawa’s PoV]
While I was talking to Kamishiro-san, I was remembering my junior high school days. The past I want to erase. Those rumors are still haunting me. If I had been more honest, a completely different future might have been waiting for me. At least I wouldn’t have hurt anyone. Even my sister, Hiori-chan, might not have spoken out about her feelings.
I can say that my big fight with Hiori-chan had been continuing until recently. Since then, Hiori-chan has become bitter towards me. When I first heard about her feelings, I was astonished. Even though she had closed her own first love in her heart and supported us, I felt that I had betrayed her. I can’t say anything if my sister puts her own love first, and I’m not qualified to say anything. Even so, she did a lot of things to repair the relationship between me and Yukito. She is too good a sister for me.
“I don’t deserve it, Kamishiro-san. If you received it, then it’s yours.” (Hinagi)
Shiori Kamishiro. When she called me, I wondered what she was going to say, but what she said was unexpected. The brooch she was holding. Was that what Yukito was trying to give me at that time? But I was the one who denied him. I had no right to accept it.
“Are you okay with that, Suzurikawa-san? Yuki was planning to give this to you…….” (Shiori)
“Yeah. I couldn’t take it from him after I rejected him. Besides, he figured you deserved it, so that’s why he gave it to you.”
“I don’t know if this is okay….” (Shiori)
“I don’t care if you’re wearing it.” (Hinagi)
Kamishiro-san had a complicated expression on her face. It is true that it would be difficult to deal with a gift was supposed to be yours. And from her point of view, she might be concerned that by putting it on, she would be showing it off to me. I think she is aware that it is a mean act. She is a good person. She’s not the type who would do such a nasty thing. She is the exact opposite of me, straightforward and cheerful.
It’s my fault that I couldn’t get that from him. But that’s why I’ll never make a mistake again. I won’t lie to myself about my feelings. I’ll make Yukito turn his head to me.
It was determination that kept me walking in the dark for nearly two years. I continued to wander through a tunnel in hell with no way out. But I kept walking because there was something I could not give up. There were words that I wanted to say again. Kamishiro-san opened her eyes. I wondered if she could understand my feelings.
“I won’t, I won’t lose!” (Shiori)
“You’re my rival afterall.” (Hinagi)
“Haha, I think I have too many rivals. You know, Suzurikawa if you want, will you be my friend?” (Shiori)
“Are you sure with that? I won’t give up on Yukito.” (Hinagi)
“Not only do I want to be friends with Yuki, I want to be friends with you!” (Shiori)
An innocent smile. The charm that she originally possessed was there. That’s why I know that Yukito’s presence must be so big for her that it clouds it.
“Fine. From now on, let’s fight fairly as rivals in love.” (Hinagi)
As friends. If Yukito chooses her, will I be able to congratulate her honestly? I don’t think so. There is no other priority in my mind than Yukito. Since that day, that’s the only reason I’ve lived until today.
Come to think of it, I’ve been neglecting my friendships since then. I didn’t have the time to worry about that. I was so depressed that I didn’t even look outside. There was never a day that I felt happy. But now, maybe I need to broaden my horizons a little more. In order not to make the same mistake again.
I shook the hand that Kamishiro-san held out to me.
That’s right. For the first time since that day, I have a friend.
I was running lightly. Physical exercise helps me to organize my thoughts. Especially running, with its constant rhythmic movements, is the best time to think. Gradually, my body began to burn, but not so much that I couldn’t catch my breath. I am Yukito Kokonoe, a man who thinks about global warming and the heat island phenomenon separately. I kick the asphalt on the ground, but if it were dirt, the temperature would be much lower. And it’s hard on my knees! I glanced next to me and saw that Kouki was following me closely. This guy is really good. ……
What’s been occupying my thoughts lately is my awareness of the problem I’m in.
Apparently, I’m well-liked. Or rather, from what I heard from them, I think they like me. I’ve always thought that people hated me, but it seems that’s not the case. At least I now understand that there are people who will be sad if I try to disappear. But that’s why I’m facing a problem.
“What do you mean with…… like ……?” (Yuki)
I have to make up for what I’ve lost. Even if these girls are giving me their “favors”, if I don’t understand it, it won’t take shape. What was it like to love someone again?
I couldn’t remember the feelings I used to have when I was in love with Hinagi and wanted to confess it to her. If I didn’t find it, I wouldn’t be able to answer anyone’s feelings. That would be cruel. All the people who had told me their feelings so far had summoned up the courage to do so. No matter how I responded to their feelings, I had to be able to match them.
Would I ever be able to understand that?
Holiday, Sakurai and the others had gathered in front of the station a little earlier than the appointed time. The test was over, and it was decided that they would go out for fun at the launch. The members of the group that had gathered were all different. Since the school hierarchy had collapsed early in class 1-B, there was little sense of a specific group. It’s because of that guy.
“Miki, are your bangs okay?” (Sakurai)
“Yes, yes, cute, cute. I’m starting to get nervous too.” (Miki)
“What’s with this weird …… vibe?” (Takahasi)
“Because ……? (Kouki)
Kouki and Takahashi are smiling bitterly. Ito was also here. With Suzurikawa and Kamishiro also present, they formed a very outstanding and gorgeous group, but there was a sense of tension on all of their faces. The atmosphere was tense, despite the anticipation. That was to be expected. Yukito Kokonoe had agreed to go out with them today. That was a big deal.
“Is Kokonoe really coming? I can’t believe it, or rather, I have a hard time feeling it, but what is Kokonoe like in normal life?” (Ito)
“Whatever you say, I think …… Yuki is just normal…..” (Shiori)
“If it’s normal, does that mean we’ll make it out alive today?” (Ito)
“Is Kokonoe a natual disaster or something!?” (Miki)
Yukito Kokonoe is the most famous student at our school, a man who continues to cause havoc in our ordinary lives. Just the other day, he was suspended from school, but the suspension was immediately lifted, leading to a huge commotion. Since then, the principal has been coming to class 1-B to see how Yukito Kokonoe is doing. If Yukito Kokonoe was going to visit the school, it was inevitable that he would be wary of what might happen.
“I wonder what kind of clothes he’ll be wearing.” (???)
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was wearing camouflage.” (???)
“Is there any chance that he’s extremely fashionable?” (???)
“It’s possible. But there’s also the possibility that he’s wearing a strange T-shirt or something.” (???)
“Yuri is beautiful and seems to have good taste.……” (???)
As they waited and waited, Miho’s phone rang.
“Huh? Yukito. —– What’s wrong?” (Kouki)
The chatter stopped for a moment. They were all listening in.
“Ha!? What are you talking about? …… Oh. So, yeah. Are you okay with that? Are you hurt? Police? How did that …… happen? Seriously? …… So?” (Kouki)
“All I’m hearing are disturbing words. ……” (Hinagi)
“Kokonoe, what did you do?” (Sakurai)
Kouki hung up the phone. He had a mysterious look on his face. He pondered for a moment how he was going to tell them, but in the end he decided to tell them straightforwardly.
“I’m sorry, but Yukito can’t make it.” (Kouki)
“Is he in trouble!?” (Hinagi)
“I heard that a female college student who was riding a bicycle with headphones on and a phone in one hand hit him. The police have arrived and are examining the scene.” (Kouki)
“Is Yuki okay?” (Shiori)
“Oh. Yeah, he’s fine. The police are telling Yukito to file a report, but they’re also talking to the college girl.” (Miho)
“I’m glad he is not hurt.……” (Shiori)
An awkward atmosphere prevailed. It was Mineta who opened his mouth.
“Look, it’s true, right? It’s not because he doesn’t want to play with us, is it?” (Miki)
This was something that all of us in the room felt for some reason. However, it’s too big an excuse, but no matter what he does, it’s important for Yukito Kokonoe.
“He’s not the kind of guy who would lie about something like this.” (Kouki)
“Yukito would never lie.” (Hinagi)
“You’re right. I’m sorry!” (Miki)
Then Kouki received another notification from Yukito Kokonoe on his phone. This time it was a text message.
“What is it this time? It was …… from Yukito. He wants everyone to have fun together.” (Kouki)
“Having fun? …… In this atmosphere…” (Miki)
“Does he do this all the time, even on holidays?” (Ito)
“It’s not his intention. It’s just his nature.” (Kouki)
“What kind of days has he been living ……?” (Ito)
“I want to ask, but I’m too afraid.” (Kouki)
A heavy feeling of gloom enveloped us.
“I- it can’t be helped! Kokonoe seems to be okay. Let’s just switch it up and have fun!” (Sakurai)
“I guess you’re right. I’ll ask you about the details at school. Then let’s go.” (Kouki)
“I was looking forward to it.” (Shiori)
“The …… ecology of baboons remains a mystery. …… Baboons. Mysterious.” (Miki)
“Oh, who is that? A new character?” (Kouki)
The group begins to walk around in a buzz. Mineta and the others’ fears were quickly put to rest. It was reported on the evening and night news, and in the newspaper the next day. After the vacation, the school was to be alerted.
After the holiday, Yukito Kokonoe went to school without any problems.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it even though you invited me.” (Yuki)
“That’s fine, but are you sure you’re not hurt?” (Kouki)
“Just a scratch.” (Yuki)
“Did you file a report?” (Kouki)
“They insisted I go to the police, but her parents came too. The parents came to see me, but when they cried and apologized so desperately, I was in trouble.” (Yuki)
“Kokonoe was in the news, but if he had been seriously injured, the other party would have been ruined, right?” (Kouki)
“Oh. I heard that they’ve become especially strict lately. In some cases, the punishment is severe, like manslaughter by gross negligence. You’ll be imprisoned and fined more than you can pay. I heard she didn’t even have insurance. Even though it was the other party’s fault, it wouldn’t feel good to have them bear the brunt of it. I decided to settle the case, but they gave me some money.” (Yuki)
“It’s all over the papers. I didn’t feel like living all morning.” (Kouki)
“It’s business as usual for me. Don’t worry so much.” (Yuki)
“That’s what I’m worried about! It’s not normal!” (Kouki)
“So, Yukito, what’s this about your call yesterday? You said something about not bringing lunch all of a sudden. In case you were wondering, I sent it to all of you like you said.” (Kouki)
“Kokonoe, I told my mother not make lunch today, so I really didn’t bring anything, is that okay?” (Sakurai)
“That’s fine. That’s fine. I made you all worry about me after I skipped out on my promise. I received some money from the other party, and I ordered pizza and sushi for thirty people for lunch today. Let’s all eat together.” (Yuki)
“Yukito Kokonoe, come to my office after lunch!” (Sanjoji)
Needless to say, after lunch, I was called out on air by Ryoka Sanjoji-sensei and scolded profusely. By the way, we ate all the pizza and sushi with our classmates. We’re all big eaters!