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“I think Urushibara san might have a new boyfriend.”

“Eh !?”

On the way home from school, Makabe’s sudden words almost made me drop the frankfurter I was holding.

Yua has a boyfriend? When did this happen? She didn’t give any indication of such a thing. I didn’t hear anything about it.

“What are you upset about?”

Makabe gave me a suspicious look.

That’s right, what am I  panicking about? If Urushibara san  has found a boyfriend, all I have to do is congratulate her for being able to get back on her feet.

“N-nothing. More importantly, what kind of guy do you think her boyfriend is?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is he the rumored one?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Did you ask Urushibara san directly?”

“No way. I don’t have any contact with her. But I can guess.”

“Why?”

“Because she changed.”

“What about?”

“Urushibara san.”

Said Makabe after taking a bite of fried food.

“Her hair,  make-up, accessories…”

–……Hm?

Surely, she has changed. But I know that the change is not because she has a boyfriend.

“She seems to be matching her tastes with men’s. Before, she was a full-fledged gyaru, wasn’t she? Even before that, she was kind of sporty or American-like.”

“H-hee……”

“At first I thought she was just changing her image because of a broken heart, but even so, she seems to be having a lot of fun.”

“Hmm……”

“Why are you suddenly so quiet?”

Shocked !

“N-no. Relationships are something that I’m not familiar with…..”

“That’s kind of true.”

“Deny it, even if it’s a lie…….”

“But it’s not like they’re nonexistent. It’s just that you’re a lot more cautious than most people.”

“I’m more bewildered when you support me…”

“Support? I’m just being honest.”

And so, he smiled with his usual faint smile.

“Besides, being cautious can be an advantage. It means that you can see what’s going on around you and who you’re talking to, right?”

 “I guess.”

“Yes, it’s a definite advantage. –But only if you’re good-looking.

“Don’t throw a punchline…!”

He’s playing with my feelings.

Makabe continued to talk as if nothing happened.

“I heard that her lip color and cologne smell have changed recently, too. Maybe that’s just her new boyfriend’s taste.”

“That’s not true.”

That’s Yua’s color, Yua’s smell.

–Ah

After I said that, I was taken aback. Makabe was staring at me.

“Why do you think so?”

“Oh, ah~……. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make assumptions.”

“I’ve been making assumptions from the beginning.”

“I guess you’re right…….”

It seems as if I’ve been digging my own  grave for a while now, and then digging another grave to try to fill that hole.

“Come to think of it, Urushibara san’s fashion looks like something that you would like, Izuma.”

Throbbed !

“W-what makes you think that?”

“Didn’t you raised a character like that in a smartphone game that you used to like ?”

“T-that’s just a deduction. There’s no way I’d bring it into reality.”

That’s right, I didn’t intend to bring it into reality. I never thought this would happen.

“And let me tell you, it’s not ‘I used to like’. I still like it !”

“Huh?”

“I mean, you know a lot about Urushibara san, don’t you?”

“Because Izuma, you were concerned about her. So I gathered information about her. By the way, I heard that she’s doing well. I bet you’re happy.”

Makabe patted me on the shoulder and left with a big smile on his face.

“I’ve been marked by Kii chan.”

During lunch break, I received a message from Yua on a chat app with a tearful emoji.

“Kii chan?”

“My friend.” “I feel like I’m being watched.”

Perhaps her friend, like Makabe, suspects that Yua has found a new man.

“I can’t eat lunch with you today.”

A bunch of tear emojis are being typed.

 I typed in reply saying “I’m sorry to hear that (tear emoji),” but I felt like I was giving off too much of the [cheerful people feeling in the chat], so I hurriedly erased it and sent a sticker of approval.

Lunch break is over and the fifth period class begins.

I can’t concentrate. For some reason, I suddenly think of Yua’s face. I listened to the teacher’s words, telling myself I shouldn’t, but then I realized I’m thinking about her again.

The bell rang, signaling the end of the class. I had only copied the words on the board, but I could hardly remember any of it. I knew that it’s not good, but at this rate, the sixth period was going to end the same way.

And then, the phone in my pocket vibrated. A notification from a chat app. The sender was Yua.

“Can you come over for a minute now?”

“Where?”

“The stairs at the back of the special classroom building.”

“Wait for me.”

I left the classroom while replying to the message. I’m always alone during recess. So I can respond immediately to sudden calls. As you can see, I’m very flexible.

…There’s no point in saying that. Let’s just get out of here.

The special classroom building is quite far away. Considering that I have to go back and forth, I can barely make it in this short break time. In other words, I’m walking fast because of that, not because I want to see Yua’s face as soon as possible. No, really.

I went downstairs to the first floor, entered the special classroom building, passed the audio-visual room and the library, and reached the stairs at the back of the building.

There was no single popular crowd. No one would come all the way here at this time of the day.

Yua, who had been hiding in the space next to the stairs, glanced at me. The moment she saw me, her face brightened up.

“Seita kun.

“What’s wrong, all of a sudden?”

I asked her while catching my breath.

“I’m sorry. I really wanted to see you.”

[I really wanted to see you.]

I swallowed Yua’s words. I was so excited to hear her straightforward expression  that even my guard was lowered.

“Then as usual, here I come.”

“As usual–Ehhhh !?”

Yua hugged me. And moved away soon after.

It was only three seconds. Or maybe it was longer than that. Anyway, it felt very short.

“Okay charging complete~Seita kun, did you get charged too?”

“……Eh? Y-yeah.”

“To be honest, I’m not satisfied, but I don’t want to take too much time.”

She ran up the stairs and turned around.

“If I call out to you again, will you come?”

“…… of course.”

Yua smiled reassuringly, waved her hand, and left.

I looked up at the stairs where she had disappeared. Somehow, my chest feels strangely empty.

–Am I also, not satisfied……?

No, no, no, that’s absurd. I’m only giving her hugs because she asked for them, not because……

The bell rings.

“Oh no.”

I ran back to the classroom.

Needless to say, I was even less focused in my sixth period class.

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Krozam
Krozam
11 months ago

He’s done for. He might be in denial now, but he’s not truly dense, it’s only a matter of time before he realises it himself.