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“Ah, that was delicious.”

“Yeah, I haven’t had pizza in a while. It’s good calories.”

“Can’t you do something about the way you say it?”

I took a break after eating the pizza. I hadn’t eaten it for a long time, too, but it was delicious.

“Well, even so, you helped me. With this, I’ve already got a perfect score on the test.”

“Yeah ! I’m sure I can get a hundred and twenty points and surprise the teacher !”

“…..It’s good that you have confidence in yourself, but don’t forget to review.”

I said this and they both groaned.

“Are you fine with a red mark on the test?”

“….I’ll do my best.”

“M-me too.”

I gave a wry smile to them. Just as I was about to put it aside, a notification on my phone rang.

[Is it a good time right now?]

The other party was Shinonome. Seeing me looking at my smartphone, the two of them started grinning at me.

“Oh, judging by your reaction, is it the usual girl?  Well, I guess we’re off then.”

“Right, thanks, Minorin.”

“Y-yeah. You’re going already? Well, It’s getting late.”

It was just before 8:00 p.m. From my point of view, it was already late.

[Wait for a sec.]

I replied and prepared to see them off.

“Ah, should I throw away the pizza box?”

“No, that’s okay. I’ll take care of it. You haven’t forgotten anything, have you?”

“Oh, yeah, perfect.”

“Same.”

They put their bags away and headed for the front door.

“Well then, thanks a lot. You’ve been a great help.:

“You were better at teaching than Eiji !”

“I’m sorry I’m not a good teacher.”

I smile at the exchange. I waved my hand.

“Well then, see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah, see you tomorrow.”

“Let’s go have fun together again, Minorin.”

“Yeah, next time.”

Then they left.

I took out my phone while sighing.

[Roger that.]

I looked at the screen where Shinonome replied.

[It’s fine now.]

I replied. The next moment, I received a phone call.

Naturally, the other party was–

“What’s wrong all of a sudden? Shinonome.”

I said as I put my phone to my ear. I begin to hear a voice that sounds a little flustered.

[Well, um, you know. First of all, I’m sorry. I thought your friends had already left.]

My cheeks relaxed at her words.

“I don’t mind. Eiji and the others were just about to leave.”

I replied. 

And then, she became silent.

I’m not sure what happened. Would it be better if I spoke first? 

“…..Shinonome?”

The signal could be bad. I called her name and……heard a small voice saying, ‘Yes’.

[I-I’ve got a little extra time on my hands. So  I thought about calling you, Minori kun…….”

I was so excited to hear those words. 

What’s the reason for that cuteness?

 

“….U-um. Minori kun?”

“Nothing. I see, then let’s have a little chat.”

[Yes !]

I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to use a different method of communication.  I sat down on the sofa.

Shinonome agreed with my words. Even on the phone, she is still the same as usual, and my cheeks relaxed. I sat down on the sofa.

[How was your study, Minori kun? Have you made any progress?] “Right…..I was the one who taught them. I’m teaching them the basics. If I teach them, they’ll make fewer mistakes in the real thing, and it wasn’t a bad time for me either.”

Saying that. I heard Shinonome’s laughter.

[It’s very much like you, Minori kun. You’re looking at it positively.]

“Well, I have mixed feelings about it.”

Shinonome’s words made me a little embarrassed. So I returned it.

[Fufu. I think it’s still good, you know? I’m sure it will help you, Minori kun.]

“Yeah, I guess so.”

Not good, Shinonome’s pace is becoming too fast. I have to change the subject.

“Speaking of which. What do you have for dinner, Shinonome?”

[Me? …..Well. I had grilled fish earlier. It was very fatty, and it was difficult to grill it just right, but it turned out delicious with the garnish.]

It took me a moment to understand Shinonome’s words. 

“Did you cook all of it, Shinonome?”

[Now that you mention it, I didn’t. To be precise, it’s just me and my mother. As part of my training as a bride, I do all the housework with her.]

“……Amazing.”

I was about to say, I can’t even cook for myself. But decided not to.

[No. I’m used to it. Minori kun, do you have your mother make them for you?]

I stopped thinking for a moment. How much should I say? I’m not sure. I knew that it would eventually come out that I lived alone.

“…..I live alone. My parents left me in the countryside.”

[Is that so? ……Ah, I see. That’s why you could easily invite your friends over.]

“That’s what I mean. It’s easy for some things, but there are a lot of hard things too.”

Mainly food. I don’t have to worry about being unable to eat because of my allowance, and I don’t waste money basically, so I can live.

Three times a day. Even if I buy lunch boxes from the store, it’s honestly a hassle to cook twice a day.

[But it’s great. Living alone as a high school student.]

“Don’t praise me too much. I’ll get carried away.”

[….I’m a little concerned about Minori kun who’s carried away.]

“Give me a break.”

[I’m just kidding.]

My cheeks loosened even more at her pleasant laughter.

And the call went on longer than expected.

◆◆◆

[…..Minori kun. You have a test this week…….right?]

“Yeah, that’s right. You sound pretty sleepy. If you’re tired, you should get some sleep.”

The next thing I knew, it was around ten o’clock.  

[Fuwahh…I-i’m sorry. I usually sleep at nine o’clock.]

“Isn’t that too healthy? No wait, it’s a good thing, right? I mean, if that’s the case, you should go to sleep earlier. If you had told me first, I could’ve been more careful.”

Then over the phone….I heard a small laugh.

[It’s fun to talk to you, Minori kun. It made me regret sleeping.]

To those words again made me scratch my head.

And so, in the end. The conversation continued until Shinonome fell asleep. I’m glad I was able to get her to bed somehow.

“….zzzz, zzz….”

I could hear her little sleeping sound. I quietly pulled the phone away from my ear.

“Good night, Shinonome.”

[…..Whew, good night.]

Hearing that half-asleep voice, I hung up the phone.

“Sigh…….”

Then I let out a sigh with all my might. I fell back on the couch.

“It’s not good, somehow. I’m getting too into it.”

If that’s the case, I have to tell her to keep our distance. But this distance is so comfortable that I can’t get out of it.

Slippery, as if I had fallen into a bottomless swamp. I feel as if my vision is about to close.

“Like I said. For Shinonome…..I’m her first friend. It’s just that the distance between us is strangely getting closer.”

I told myself that. I put everything that had been accumulating at the bottom into my breath and let it out.

“For now. I need to take a bath and clean up the garbage.”

If I could just do what I had to do, I would forget about all this soon. I got up and went to change my clothes.

……But in the end. The strange excitement didn’t go away until just before I went to bed.

◆◆◆

“Good morning, Minori kun.”

“……Oh, good morning.”

I greeted Shinonome in the morning while rubbing my sleepy eyes. Shinonome looks just like usual…..just a little sleepy.

“Could it be. Minori kun is the type who sleeps at 9 o’clock? I-i’m sorry.”

“Oh, no, no. I’m just having a hard time sleeping. Besides, I’m not a morning person. Don’t worry about it.”

I shook my head and explained it to Shinonome. She looked relieved.

And then, Shinonome stared at me.

“U-um, Minori kun. I have another favor to ask you.”

”……What is it?”

While I had a bit of a bad feeling. Shinonome will not make an unreasonable request. On the contrary, her request is rather simple.

“I-I have a little bit of time before going to sleep. Can I call you like I did yesterday? Do you mind?”

My cheeks twitched. ……That’s not a bad thing.

“I don’t mind that. I just want to make sure. Is it every day?”

“Y-yes. ……Of course, if it’s too much of a hassle for you, Minori kun, please say no. I don’t want you to be burdened.”

I shook my head at Shinonome’s words. I loosened my stiffened cheeks.

Against Shinonome. There’s no need to make up for it.

“No, me too. I’m happy that way. I don’t mind talking with you, Shinonome.”

“……!”

At my words. Shinonome’s eyes lit up.

“T-then ! I’ll call you every day around 8:00 p.m !”

“Yeah. I’ll be waiting.”

I answered Shinonome who was a little excited and leaned forward.

We began to be swayed by the train.

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KLEPON
KLEPON
1 year ago

The pace of the story is good and I enjoyed it.
Thx for the chapter.