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.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“Hey, that’s Miyamoto… right?”
“He looks so cool! Almost like a model or something.”
“This isn’t at the level of your usual ‘summer vacation debut’.”
These sudden compliments didn’t get to my head. Thanks to everything that happened last month, I’ve learned to look at myself objectively. Well, my self-esteem wasn’t great to begin with, so that’s that.
…Regardless, even I can at least admit it. I’ve gotten a lot better during that month of summer vacation. Not wanting to waste even a second of my time over nothing, I made a grueling effort and used all of it to improve. I went to a hairdresser and got a nice modern haircut, I made the effort to learn more about clothes—even buying some with my own money—and started doing exercises to increase my muscle mass.
I was clueless at first, but fortunately for me, I started soaking in knowledge as a sponge absorbs water. Even if in appearance only, I stepped out of the shadows I dwelled in.
Looking around the classroom, I notice the boys and girls making some noise from afar. No one was brave enough to walk up to me and say something… well, except for one.
“Hey, is that you, Yuu?”
The owner of such a cool yet inflected voice was Yumi Asakawa, a childhood friend. She came up behind me and started talking. Her beautiful raven hair reached the hem of her shirt and was the result of her incessant care. She also had a well-defined face to match her efforts, with long slit eyes and a small nose that made her being Japanese a fact hard to swallow. Just by brushing her hair, my classmates swooned over her. Asakawa is a model, and her style is paramount to girls her age. Note; she was also taller than me.
Hearing all that may cause you to envy me for being a childhood friend to such a beauty, but what I didn’t tell you was that she’s also my ex-girlfriend. The lousy b*tch who cheated on me, forsaking all we were.
“Asakawa, what do you want?”
“Is that your ‘summer vacation debut’ or something? That’s so funny! The fact you look different doesn’t mean anything.”
While I calmly replied to her calling me out, she suddenly spoke with enough venom to kill an elephant. I wonder if the words of a beautiful person bear more weight than others’ and are capable of breaking anyone’s heart, not just mine.
However, I’ve grown enough to counter such blows.
“Yeah, I look different, but can you not assume that’s all there is to it? At least I’m heaps better than you now, who’s finished on the inside.”
I guess she didn’t expect me to fight back, returning a dumbfounded look with her mouth wide open, which ruined her beauty. Well, I’m different today. To be more specific, it’s as if a rundown ramen shop suddenly switched its owner to a more capable one out of nowhere.
As I’ve said before, we’re childhood friends, so we’ve been together for as long as I remember. Around the time we graduated from junior high, though, we began to be aware of each other in a romantic way. One year ago, in spring, we started dating quite naturally without a proper confession from either of us.
Around that time, she made her debut as a model and started making a name for herself with her great looks. I was proud to be the boyfriend of such a girl, while at the same time was consumed by doubts about whether or not I was man enough to stand by her side. I wanted her to approve of me and tried my hardest to become a man who could match her. One day, however, she called me to meet her after school so she could tell me something.
“Sorry, I’ve decided to date an actor I was on a photoshoot with. He’s funny and I feel comfy with him, unlike with you. So this is goodbye.”
I was shocked, of course. Apparently, I was the only one that thought of the other, though at the same time, I thought it was only natural. I was sure I didn’t try hard enough. That actor or whatever must’ve been a much better man than I was. So I decided to just go ahead and accept our breakup.
“I understand. Thank you for everything…”
“Huh…? You’re okay with that, Yuu? Don’t you ever think of getting angry?”
“I wasn’t charming enough, that’s all. There’s nothing to be mad about. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about this… Well, I wish you all the best.”
And so, I gracefully stepped out of the ring. I believed as long as she was happy, that was all that mattered… However, I heard she broke up with him in less than a week. After that, she started talking with me again as if nothing had ever happened.
The only thing that changed was that she started making fun of me. I used to laugh it off as something unavoidable since it was my fault for not trying to step up my game or something—but not anymore. Asakawa betrayed me. That was the only fact I took to heart. I don’t need her in my life.
So I talked back to her, so upset at my firing back that she even forgot to take her seat.
“I mean, why do you even bother to talk to me? We’re not friends anymore.”
“Y–you’re wrong! That’s not true!”
“What’s the difference? You cheated, stabbing me in the back.”
“T–that’s… I just wanted you to—”
“Stop. Don’t talk to me anymore. A complete stranger, that’s all you are to me now.”
The class began to buzz. I’d never mentioned the affair before, let alone the fact we were dating since I was afraid it’d intervene with Asakawa’s job. Even though it was in the past, word getting out she had a boyfriend in the first place would start a fire. But that concern has long since disappeared. What happens to her is none of my business now.
“What? Asakawa-san was having an affair?”
“Ugh, she’s the worst…”
“I guess it’s true beautiful women have the worst personalities.”
“G–guys… That’s not…”
I don’t know if it was sincere condemnation or pure jealousy, but my classmates seemed to be on my side. I guess that’s a normal reaction after all, and my feelings weren’t mistaken. Asakawa, perhaps unable to bear all the sharp glares, took only one look at me with tear-ridden eyes and ran off. She did not come back even after class started.
…However, for some reason, she seemed to be smiling.
Thus starts my new high school life. Asakawa’s the second person I cut off, which meant only one remained. Just one more and I could be truly reborn. I’d be able to meet the third after school.
Class started while I constantly suppressed my anxiety.
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