It’s not right. What’s going on? Just seeing Kouki’s face makes me crazy. I’m going crazy. My heart is so hot, it feels like it’s about to burst. My mind is all over the place. When I think that he is staring at me, my chest becomes painful and I can’t speak. I feel like I’m not myself anymore. …… I feel like something in me is breaking down, and I get scared and want to run away. –I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or not, but I’m not sure.
It wasn’t like this …….
I feel safe just by being near him. I want to be with him all the time. That’s what Kouki was. That’s why I fell in love with him.
“Oh my God, …… what is wrong with me!”
As soon as the door opened, I whined like that.
“Really,” the person laughed, sounding a little annoyed. He looked at me with a gentle gaze, somewhat reminiscent of Kouki, his eyes softly narrowed behind his glasses. “What’s wrong, Honami chan? Holding a bowl of yakisoba noodles?”
Remembering this, he holds out a plate of yakisoba noodles.
“I have no idea what’s going on.”
As he said it, Hiroyuki san laughed, as if amused.
Surely, that’s right – I know, right? I felt embarrassed and shrank back, holding the plate in both hands.
To suddenly show up with yakisoba. It’s natural to be bewildered. It’s abrupt,……, I think.
I ran into Kouki a while ago, and I was so confused that …… I found myself running into Kouki’s house. I didn’t even ring the intercom. I just opened the front door and jumped inside. “You came back already Kouki ? You’re in such a hurry!” I finally came to my senses there …… where my eyes met those of aunt who came running out of the living room.
I have used a duplicate key to come in many times before, but only on weekday evenings. I have snuck in when aunt and uncle are not around – and when Hiroyuki san is probably not home yet.
So it was the first time for me to run into aunt at home.
I felt my blood start to boil. I felt …… like I had been found out for all the bad things I had done over the years.
I was in a completely different state of impatience and confusion than when I met Kouki, and I was in a hurry to apologize. I was sorry for entering without permission – and bowing at the door, aunt was not angry …… at me, but said happily, [Welcome to my house,] and invited me into the house, saying, [Come on up, come on up]. She invited me into her house.
I was happy that she would bring me up to her house without saying, [What’s wrong?] even though I still felt a little guilty …… since I was a child.
But my relief was short-lived, as soon as I took off my shoes and went up to the house, she said, “Kouki is out, why don’t you wait in the living room?” I was startled. Just the mention of the name “Kouki” made my whole body heat up and my stomach clenched, and I couldn’t help but scream, “No, no!” I couldn’t stand it and shouted, Aunt said in a dazed voice, “Ara, okay ……” in a strange manner.
“Oh yeah, on the way, aunt told me to bring this”
While accepting the plate as if for the time being, Hiroyuki san frowned quizzically.
“On the way to see you……”
When I answered in a whispered voice, Hiroyuki san finally agreed with me and glanced at the room next door – Kouki’s room.
“You’re meeting at Kouki’s room today? That’s unusual. What’s up?”
The look in his eyes that suddenly came back to me had changed to his usual look.
I found myself blushing like a match being lit.
“Is there something wrong…… wrong with ……, what is it!? I have no idea!”
“So easy to understand~” Hiroyuki san gives me a thumbs up and walks back into the room with the yakisoba noodles. “My headphones are noise cancelling. It’s alright”
“What is alright?!”
Why, all of a sudden, talk about headphones! As usual, I can’t read the story – but that’s not the point now.
In a moment, Hiroyuki held the door that was about to close with his hand, and
“I’m not okay at all! That’s why I came to see Hiroyuki san! I’m crazy! I can’t even face Kouki anymore, I don’t even know how to talk to him, and just seeing him makes my body and my mind so crazy …… I’m afraid I’m going to break down! I’m scared!”
I finished in a single breath, as if I were winding up, and suddenly came back to myself.
In the quiet room, Hiroyuki san was staring at me with his thumb raised in the air. Where was his smiling face, full of composure? He rolled his eyes as if taken aback.
“Stop that calm reaction-!”
I feel like my face is going to catch fire – I’m so embarrassed.
I was so embarrassed I couldn’t stand it. I covered my face with both hands and crouched there.
I wish he would laugh it off or …… make fun of me like he always does!
“I didn’t mean to say …… this ……, I just came to ask you …….”
As I mumbled something like that, the appetizing aroma of sauce wafted through the air, and I felt Hiroyuki san crouching down right beside me.
“Honami chan,” Hiroyuki san cut in again, “it’s love.”
“I know !”
Without thinking, I look up and cut him off, and I see Hiroyuki san’s satisfied smile. Oh shit – I immediately realized my blunder.
I felt hot and thought my whole body would burst into steam.
“What are you making me say!”
With a smile on his face, Hiroyuki sat down against the slightly open door. Placing the plate he was holding gently on the floor, he said, “I knew it too. I’ve known for a long time. –So I’m surprised why you’re so surprised after all this time.”
His tone was gentle, but his analysis was so sharp that it made my heart ache as if I had been hit by a spear. I felt a prick in my chest as if a spear had been pointed at me.
Naturally, my face became tense and I turned my head down.
Yes. I knew I was in love. I knew …… that I was in love with Kouki. For a long time now. Kouki is a man and I am a woman. …… I was surely in love with Kouki from the time I started to notice the difference.
He was always willing to go along with my selfishness, even though I was appalled by it. …… He was kind in spite of his bluntness, and he was very attentive even though he was annoyingly insensitive. He is serious and nagging, but after complaining about everything, he forgives me in the end. –I’ve loved that kind of Koumai since I was a child.
That’s why I’m puzzled.
“I didn’t know,” I said, crouching down on the ground. “I didn’t know that Kouki liked me. I didn’t knew that he had been holding out for a long time.”
I was so happy when he confessed to me. I was so happy to hear his confession. But I didn’t jump at the chance. I couldn’t say, “I love you too”. I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t know he was the kind of guy who would say something like, “From now on, I’m going to make you fall in love with me for real.”
Just remembering this, I felt a tightening in the back of my tail, and I let out a painful breath.
“He looked like a different person …….”
When I blurted this out, Hiroyuki san responded with a vague “ah,” and then said
“He told me.”
I was so off the mark, you know? I was so giddy that a funny voice jumped out at me.
“Congratulations, Hinomi chan !”
Hiroyuki san started to clap in a flurry of drinking. I looked up and saw
Hiroyuki san rolled his eyes and froze behind his glasses.
That’s right. You’d be surprised.
“I had no idea why I was so mistaken, and I thought …… Hiroyuki san might know something about it, so I came to ask him…….”
After a moment of blank staring, Hiroyuki san scratched his head and said, “I came to ask you a question, you know.”
His expression was unusually hard. I wonder if Hiroyukisan has any idea what I’m talking about.
As I stared at him with a clinging feeling, Hiroyuki san let out a sigh and said, “For the time being.”
“You really shouldn’t have come to see me.”
“Hmm,” Hiroyuki san said, his head reeling. “Well, if I’d known that, I probably wouldn’t have made that mistake in the first place. Honami chan, you think I’m just a neighborhood uncle who gives you candy once in a while right.”
“unc …… uncle ……?”
“Even uncle is a strong man who has fought many battles in his life.”
“What …… are you talking about?”
“Anyway, you should ask Kouki directly about such things, not me. He’s in the next room.”
“He’s not here right now. ……”
For some reason, I muttered a relieved “Oh, thank goodness,” and Hiroyuki stood up with a plate of yakisoba in his hand, saying, “Well, then.”
“Just Wait in the living room as usual until he gets back. I’m not busy either. My report is due tomorrow and I haven’t even started on it. I’m probably in more of a pinch than Honami chan.”
“Yeah, ……, but wait.”
In a hurry, I got up too.
“That’s not all!”
“That’s not all?”
“Sada san ……!” I say the name with intention. “Kouki told Hiroyuki san that he likes Sada san!”
“The day before GW…… Hanpenman’s doll, Hiroyuki san san gave it to me, I came back to get the key. Then I happened to hear Hiroyuki san and Kouki talking. ……”
Just remembering this, I feel a sinking feeling, and my gaze naturally falls as if I were being dragged along.
“I was so surprised when I heard Kouki tell Hiroyuki san that there was someone he liked at school,…… and that he liked Sada Mayuko, who was in the same class with him,…… that I was so surprised…. I left my keys and ran away. I hadn’t been in touch with Kouki since then,…… but just now he came to deliver the key to me and we met for the first time in a while. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or not, but I’m sure it’s a good idea. He told me that from now on he wants me to see him as a man,……, but–“
I get choked up and can’t speak.
It’s like my whole body is rejecting the rest of it. Not wanting to say it. Not wanting to admit it. Because if that had been the only confession, …… I might still have been able to stay cheerful ……. I’m sure I could have fooled myself into thinking that I had a change of heart during GW.
I clenched my fists tightly and looked up at Hiroyuki san, feeling a gradual burning in my eyes.
“But, Kouki said, [I’ve always loved you] [ I don’t even know what kind of girl Sada-san is]”
Lies – and just spitting out the word seemed to rip my throat out. It was something I thought Kouki had no connection to. He was clumsy, insensitive,……, but he was also incredibly earnest and sincere. I only know Kouki like that. I don’t know any Kouki who would lie and try to deceive me.
I was so uncomfortable with Hiroyuki san’s quizzical look, as if to say That’s absurd. I quickly looked away.
“I don’t know why he’s lying like that. …… I have no idea what Kouki is thinking. ……”
Oh, no. I’m going to cry in front of Hiroyuki san
I bit my lip to hold back the tears that were about to spill out.
“So what did you come to ask me, …… Honami chan?”
What, …… that’s what I thought I was talking about a lot. I didn’t get it at all!
I looked back at him with a startled look.
“I don’t know what you’re thinking,” Hiroyuki san said, smiling and cowering. Ask him. “I’ll pass.”
Is that possible? No. …… no. If I am taken in by Hiroyuki san’s pace, I’ll be rounded up.
“I can’t ask Kouki, so I came to ask Hiroyuki san!”
“Then you shouldn’t go out with him.”
Quietly and easily, it was as if I had been pierced in the chest with a …… something.
I was shocked, but Hiroyuki san gave me a kind of pity smile and said, “I’m sorry.”
To my astonishment, Hiroyuki san turned to me with something like a pity smile and said
“What are you thinking, you shouldn’t be dating someone who can’t ask you honestly face to face. Anyway, you are going to break up soon.”
It was an unexpected “answer” given in a soft tone of voice.
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