Episode 43 – Shuraba ⑦

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https://kakuyomu.jp/works/16816927861803370576/episodes/16817139554809264367

After being freed from the three, I had a blast of sleep and woke up early the next day.
Then I take a shower, eat breakfast, and get ready.

This was the day I was to run with Aki, whom I had promised to run with for some time.
I promised and forgot, but promised to run again yesterday.

She informed me that she left the house before 6:30 a.m. to pick me up at my apartment.
I found myself a little excited because I haven’t done much early morning running.
However, Aki seems to run every Saturday and Sunday, club activities plus running from this time, and I was impressed that our high school’s big ace is indeed energic.

Still, I wonder if …… it will be okay, even though it will be a fair amount of running just to get here.

After a while, the chime rang with a ding dong.
I had already changed into my jersey, put on my shoes at the entrance as I was, and opened the door.

“Good morning. Youta. Looks like you are ready !”

There stood Aki, slightly sweating in her jersey, as she had been yesterday.

“Morning. Ah yeah perfectly. Let’s go !”

I ran straight outside with Aki.

I was not sure if I could keep up with Aki, I don’t usually run, but she kept up with my pace and ran alongside me.
I felt sorry that this would be a good practice, but she said she usually runs only lightly in the mornings, and this pace seemed to be fine for her.

I’m sure she was just trying to look out for me, though.
Aki was very attentive in teaching me how to do muscle training and how to run efficiently while I was running, which motivated me even more.

The running course is a road along a nearby riverbed.
Aki was also a little happy to be able to run with a different view than usual, as she doesn’t usually come to this area to run.

“Fiuhh. Let’s take a break.”
“HaaaHaaaHaaa….yeah let’s…Haaa.haaa.haaa”
“Thanks for the workout. I guess for someone who doesn’t normally exercise, You ran pretty hard.”
“….Is it? How good am I?”
“Hmm~About four kilometers?”
“Is it….?”
“Yeah. well…”

What a subtle reaction…….
It’s true that I’m already exhausted, but Aki still seems to have plenty of time to spare.
She has club activities later this morning, and she will run more there as well.

I’m feeling sorry for myself, to put it mildly.
I’m not sure how much exercise I can do compared to Aki,……, but as a man, I’d like to show my determination.

Should I run after school?

“I’m going to get a drink from the vending machine. Wait there.”
“Yeah, I’ll get one too.”
“It’s okay. You must be tired. Just sit there and wait.”

Aki ran lightly again to the vending machine in the distance.
I decided to sit on the riverbed and wait for it, as Aki urged me to do.

“Fuuuh”

Breathe and feel good, get a breeze.

“Ichikawa san, what is she doing right now ……”

I have not received a reply from Ichikawa san since I received a call yesterday informing me that she would be absent from school.
Come to think of it, my phone was shaking just now. Maybe she’s getting back in touch with me.

“I wonder if her father is home? I wonder what he’s like.”
“Would you like to meet him?”
“Well, I’d hate it if he was scary….”
“Not really.”
“Well, that’s relieving…..Eh !?”

I turned my head hurriedly to the side.

“I-Ichikawa san? Why?”
“Why, you may ask, because this is where I walk every morning.”
“W-walk course?”
“Well I only go for walks on weekends.”

Ichikawa san was dressed in running clothes and had a lead in her hand.
Beside that lead is.

“Wan”

There was a cute little puppy.

“So you had a dog.”
“Yes. Isn’t she cute? she says, [Youta]”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Yes, I’m just kidding”

For a moment, I thought she was treating me like a dog.

“It’s Mame”
“Ooh, Mame chan. So cute. So what kind of dog is she?”
“It’s a pomeranian”

I approached the Pomeranian mame and petted her.
Mame was not afraid of me, either, and leaned in toward me.

“Fufu. Mame seems to like Komiya kun, too.”
“That’s good”
“So, what are you doing here, Komiya kun? I saw you running.”
“Oh, Aki invited me to go running …….tss”

Ah, bad.
I never told Ichikawa san who I was running with now.

“Aki? Did you say Aki?”
“Ah, eh, no…that’s….”
“Haa……..”

I was caught in a deep sigh.
And I feel a cold stare.

It’s my fault for not telling her all this.

“Hey, Could you please stop threatening Komiya kun?”

Just then Aki returned with a plastic bottle.
It is the worst possible timing.

“Ara, Good morning, Mitsushima san.”
“Good morning. Ichikawa san. Are you scaring Komiya kun again?”
“Please don’t say bad things about a person. He’s not afraid of me.”
“Heee. But I think he is scared”

Just like that day, hot sparks fly between the two of them.
……deja vu.

“Why is Ichikawa san here?”
“As you can see, I’m going for a walk. Why are you running with Komiya kun?”
“That’s because Komiya kun asked me to run with him”
“………Is he”

Don’t look at me like that, Ichikawa san. ……

“Then I’ll give you a break for today.”
“Give me a break? What do you mean? I promised him that we would run together on Saturday and Sunday mornings. That’s why I’m planning to run with him tomorrow. Besides, he said he doesn’t get enough exercise and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to keep going by himself.

Their argument intensifies.
I meanwhile was petting around her Pomeranian’s mame.

This fur is soft.

“But Is it not enough for you who are involved in club activities, including track and field ? I don’t think you need to go out of your way to match Komiya kun’s pace.”
“But I made him a promise. This is my role once I’ve undertaken it.”
“Then you don’t have to. Because tomorrow I will run with him. I think it would relieve you of that responsibility.”
“I don’t want you to decide for me.”

This is bad. I had a cat at home, but I still like dogs too.

“It’s Peaceful~, Mame.”
“Wan”

This fluffiness is addictive.

“Isn’t Ichikawa san supposed to be walking that dog, too? You don’t have to.”
“Can’t? I can walk Mame again at another time. Even in the evening, for that matter. Unlike you, I’m not involved in club activities, so I have extra time.”
“Heee. I see that you are free, Ichikawa san. If that’s the case, I’d like you to give me the morning hours even more so. Ichikawa san can run another time.”
“You know, that would mean Komiya kun would have to run twice a day, wouldn’t it? Do you think he has the stamina for that?”
“Heyy, is this the most comfortable place ?!!!”
“Kuu~nn”

Mame looks pleasantly surprised when I rub her body.

“…… So let’s ask Youta. Which one of us would he like to run with in the morning?”
“I guess so. That’s probably for the best.”
“Hey. Youta”
“Which one do you want to run with?”
“Whoa! Mame, you’re ticklish…….──What?”

As Mame was licking my face, they suddenly looked at me.
I was so engrossed in Mame that I missed what they said.

Huh? What did she say? I didn’t hear it. ……

“Eh, ah~, no, et-to…”
“………….”
“…………”
“Wan”

They are staring at me.
I’m starting to feel like I can’t say anything bad about it.
What is this being asked of me?

“Et-to…..what is it?”

I couldn’t help but be respectful.

“Who do you want to run with in the morning, me or Ichikawa san?”
“Come on, pick one quickly.”
“Pick one….”

I compare the two of them.
On one side is my girlfriend and on the other side is the friend who accompanied me on my run this morning.
Normally I would have chosen my girlfriend, but I also owe a debt of gratitude to Aki for running with me today.
What a choice. …….

I still thought I was a slacker in not being able to make a spastic decision.
But still……okay.

I take a deep breath
And then…

“Oo——”
“Well, even if I don’t get picked, I’ll be in front of Youta’s house at the same time every morning.”

I was about to say something when I was interrupted.

“…… you, that’s not fair.”
“What? I just happen to run the same course at the same time of day.”
“If you are going to do that, I would do that too.”
“If that’s the way it is, I don’t blame you.”
“I see. I don’t like the idea though”
“……………?”

What does that mean?
Does that mean I don’t have to choose between the two anymore?

“Okay, then.”
“Shall the three of us run?”
“Eh……..?”

Wait a minute! This is serious!
I don’t think I can stand this atmosphere every Saturday and Sunday morning. ……?

So, in the end, with no time for me to refuse, the running was to be done by the three of us, Ichikawa san and Aki.

“I mean, in the end, what kind of relationship does Ichikawa san have with Youta? I don’t understand why Ichikawa san is so interested in Youta.”
“And that goes for you, too.”
“I-I’m not really. I just wanted a friend to run with, I guess you could say……. Don’t worry about me. Come on, answer me!!!!”

Embarrassed, Aki hurriedly returns to the question once more.

Oh, she finally asked it.
Well, she doesn’t have to hide it anymore, and it’s time to say it. ……

It’s kind of hard to say, though. Ichikawa san is appealing to me with her eyes…….

“I-It’s”

When I was about to tell her about my relationship with Ichikawa san.
A tinny alarm sounded from Aki’s side.

“Wait a minute! Oh, no! It’s already that late! I’m going to be late for club activities. Okay, I’ll go then! Thanks for today, Youta. Bye!”
“……………”

Gone.
I guess I stayed too long
But thanks to it, I didn’t have to say it.

“You are a slob.”
“I have no words to reply.”

Ichikawa san was furious.

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