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 festival had finally ended, and the ordinary took control of school once again. Sizzling cold, the atmosphere inside the school was tense. The boys, previously enjoying the festival in nice costumes, and the girls, previously roaming the corridors with sweets in their hands, all leaned forward at their desks while concentrating on their classes.
This sudden change in demeanor was due to the second-semester mid-terms coming up. All students had only brief moments to enjoy the afterglow of the festival, and from today onward their minds flipped and they started working hard on their student duty.
I was able to get an average score last exams, and my grades have been rising steadily since then. I feel great since I’ve done everything I can for these tests, and I even hope to beat my previous record.
Despite all that, my main concern wasn’t the tests. What was on my mind bothered me more than the midterms—Yuki’s birthday is coming up.
I haven’t celebrated her birthday since elementary school. It’s been a few years since we last celebrated it together, so I wanted to make this one count. I’m currently figuring out what I should give her as a present. The ones I gave her in the past were enough for back then, candies and key chains. I could tell even through all her bandages that she was happy with them.
However, I don’t think that Yuki, now a high school student, would be satisfied with just that. Her wants must’ve changed since then, and I have no clue what a girl her age wants. That’s why I’m currently looking at “gifts for girls” on my phone, but none click—a necklace from a popular brand, an expensive-looking purse, etc. I looked even through pages such as “The gift my high school GF would like,” but still couldn’t find a thing. I sighed.
Akina, who sat in front of me, noticed my sigh. “Haru, what’s wrong? Something seems to be troubling you.”
“Yeah, I’m just thinking.”
“Is it the midterms? If there’s something you don’t understand, I can help.”
“I’m probably fine with the test. In fact, I’ve been doing well lately.”
“Hm? What is it then?”
“Well, it’s, uh…”
I glanced at the empty seat next to me. Yuki was called by the council president and wasn’t here at the moment. This is the perfect time to talk to Akina about it.
“It’s almost her birthday.”
“I see. So you’re worried about which present to give her?”
“Yeah, that’s the thing. I have no clue what to get her.”
“You and Shirahato-san have been friends since you were little, right? Can’t you just give something you’ve always gifted her?”
“We haven’t celebrated since she went overseas… And I can’t just give her the same thing I gave back in elementary school, can I?”
“Ah, got it. That’s definitely true.”
“I have no clue what she wants now. Actually, I don’t know what, um, any girls my age like.”
“Maybe just ask her?”
“No, I want to keep it as much of a surprise as possible. Yuki’s sharp, so if she hears even a little snippet of it, she’ll probably guess.”
“Surprises are nice. I also like people who go out of their way to celebrate stuff that way.”
“My mom’s like that, too. Maybe that’s why I also love surprises.”
“Wow, your mom’s the same as me.”
My mother loved to surprise me by coming over without any prior notice, and she always made the effort to catch me off-guard on my own birthday. Thanks to that, I’ve learned how to make others happy in that sense. I believe she had a positive influence on me.
That’s why I wanted to take advantage of what I learned and prepare various surprises for her—Something came to mind and I looked at Akina.
“That’s right! With your help, we can get a nice present for her.”
“Me? If you want help, I’m willing to do whatever you need.”
“Well, I have a favor to ask you. I’m sorry this is happening close to midterms, but could you help me pick out a present for Yuki?”
“…Does that mean we’re going shopping together to get her a present?”
“I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to find the best present for her if I went alone, so I was hoping you’d help me choose while discussing any possible ideas for her birthday.”
“Shopping with Haru, huh…” She excitedly leaned over to me, her red eyes glistening as a flower that just bloomed. After a second of huffing and puffing, she looked away and replied calmly.
“I–I’ll help you if you’re okay with that. Even though tests are coming, since you’re asking for help, I can’t say no.”
“I’m glad! Yuki’s birthday is this Sunday, so what about meeting up on Saturday?”
“Mhm, it’s Saturday then. Let me know the details later.”
Saying that, Akina turned around and straightened her posture. I noticed her shoulders slightly quivering, and I could swear she was happy.
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