Episode 12 – Everything was different and together at the same time.



“What’s with you …… are you Shirasagi by any chance?”

A too-early reunion with Maejima, It was Kasumi who stood in front of this guy who was saying that what happened with Kuramochi san was my fault.
I can’t see his expression because his back is turned to me, but I can tell from his mood that he is very angry.

“Hey, hey, hey, you guys started hooking up again? How long are you going to be kids?”

Maejima looked at me and Kasumi and snickered.
 ……Yes. I hated this face. I was only by her side because we were childhood friends, but he laughed at me just for being with her. I was not happy about it a while ago, and I left Kasumi because I didn’t want to be laughed at.


But, on second thought, what’s the big deal?
Regardless of what the people I didn’t get along with thought of me, the fact remains that Kasumi, who had always been by my side, was more important to me than the others. If that was the case, I should have stayed by her side all the time, so she wouldn’t have had to worry about it.

I chuckled at myself for now realizing such a simple thing.

“Hey, why are you laughing?”
“Ah no. I just realized something important after all this time.”

I replied to Maejima.
Kasumi stands as if to protect me. …… It seems as if our positions have reversed from that time. But there’s no need to deal with this guy. The first thing to do is to make sure that he has a good understanding of what is going on in the world.

“I’ve told you, but it’s no use. We’ve grown up since then, and we can talk to each other properly. So whatever noise we hear is meaningless.”

In the past, Kasumi just looked down. Maejima must have been surprised to hear her say it back to him. Kasumi was standing next to me and leaned in close, holding me gently by the arm.

“I’m not like back then. I’m not afraid anymore. If I did nothing because I was afraid, my precious things would fall out of my palm. …… I don’t want that, because I’m afraid of that. That’s why I won’t let go of this hand anymore.”

She can’t hold my hand because she is holding a shopping bag. Maybe that’s why Kasumi put her hand on the back of my hand. Maejima looked at us as if taken aback, but soon came closer as if he had regained his composure.

“Don’t talk nonsense! Shirasagi! Don’t get smart with me!”

I was about to stand in front of Kasumi when I got to the stage of swinging my arms up, but Kasumi shook her head saying it was okay. I wondered what she was going to do, but she just swung her legs up so fast that I couldn’t see them. I thought I heard a whoosh, and the sole of her foot was right in front of Maejima.

“It’s okay. I’ll play with you if you want.”

There was a coldness in Kasumi’s voice.
Her legs are swung up so that her underwear should be visible because of her short skirt. Still, there was no room to look there at all, and Maejima was visibly frightened by Kasumi

“Kasumi, let’s go home.”

When I said this, Kasumi immediately put her feet down and lined up next to me.

“Kasumi has said most of what she wants to say, so I’ll just say one thing. I’m going to stay by your side from now on. No matter what happens, I’ll always be there for yo—“

……huh, Why do I feel this way …… in the first place?
Because Kasumi is a childhood friend? Because she’s important to me? How do I think its important?

“Kazuki, we have nothing more to talk about. Let’s go.”

With our backs to Maejima, who was no longer speaking, we started walking.
We walk down the road to my house without saying a word to each other. Then Kasumi opens her mouth.

“We did that thing we talked about in school about showing off right?”
“…… Ah, I knew that was the intention.”
“Yeah. That was part of it, and part of it was a statement that this is how I feel.”

Kasumi smiled as she said this
Lately, Kasumi has been smiling more often, I thought. I felt my cheeks heat up when I saw her smile, which should have been the same as her occasional smiles.

“Kazuki? Your face is red?”
“…… Well, it’s evening.”
“I see”

After that, Kasumi said nothing.
On our way home, I glanced at Kasumi and saw that she was also looking at me. When I couldn’t avert my gaze, Kasumi looked away.

“…… say something.”
“You don’t have to apologize.”

I know, why did I apologize?
I went straight home after that and ate the dinner Kasumi cooked for me as usual. I always find Kasumi’s cooking delicious, but at the same time I felt some warmth and slowly chewed on it.

“Hey …… what’s really going on?”
“……, no, I don’t really understand it either.”

Kasumi seemed to find this strange and asked me many times what was wrong with me. After a while, when it was time to go to bed, Kasumi came into my bed as usual and we had a little chat.

“A lot has happened today, but that’s my declaration.”
“I know. I feel the same way.”
“…Fufu ♪ Hey, Kazuki.”

After a short pause, Kasumi continued with these words.

“If, Just if…..we didn’t split up back then, what will happen?”

we’ll be together all along, or so I thought, but I wonder if that’s actually the case.
Kasumi also laughed at the thought of it, but said she was glad to be away from it now.

“I think it’s because of that that I was able to change. I don’t think I could have said that dare today if Kazuki had only been protecting me.”
“Is it?”
“Yeah. Well, that doesn’t make it a mortal sin to be separated.”
“Which one is it then?”

I couldn’t help but laugh.
Kasumi also said that she finally smiled at me. Apparently, she was concerned about my condition, which had been strange ever since I got home today.

“Perhaps you cared for me?”
“Of couse that’s true. But it looks like we’re all good now, doesn’t it?”

I nodded.
Well, I couldn’t sleep at all after getting into bed, probably because of all the talking we did. It seemed that Kasumi was the same.

“Well, it’s only about ten o’clock, so why don’t we play a game?”
“I like it. I mean, I haven’t played games with Kasumi in ages.”
“Yes. To tell you the truth, I was looking forward to it.”
“Don’t cry, okay?”
“……I’ll take that word right back to you♪”

So it was suddenly decided to play a game.
We got out of bed and turned our attention to the TV with the controller in our hands. Then I remembered something and suggested something like this.

“Kasumi, don’t you ever sit on my knees? Didn’t you used to do that all the time?”
“…… yeah. I did, but …… eh?”

In the past, when I used to play games with Kasumi, she would basically be in a position where she would be on my lap and lean her back against me. I suggested this, but Kasumi didn’t seem to be into it, and I was a little sad to see that she had changed.

“Well, you can keep it that way—”
“I’ll sit!”

Kasumi settled on my lap as if she were a rabbit bouncing on my knee. I missed it, and the warmth of Kasumi’s body felt so good that I put my arms around her.

“……I miss this feeling of fitting in so snugly.”
“Do you want to stop being so childish?”
“It’s okay! Kazuki…… is still a formidable opponent.”

And so, for the first time in a long time, we played video games until close to bedtime.

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