I entered a fast food chain restaurant located away from the station.

It was lunchtime, so I ordered a lunch set and, holding my tray, looked around to see if the person I was meeting was in the restaurant.

“Hey, long time no see.”

I spotted Aizawa in one corner of the restaurant. He raises his hand and calls out to me.

“Aikawa, you got a tan, huh? Did you go somewhere?”

Aizawa pointed out that I had gotten quite a tan, because the other day I had gone to a leisure facility with Watanabe san.

“Aren’t you the one who got sunburned a lot?”

Aizawa’s skin tone had darkened since I last saw him.

“After the fireworks festival, my uncle asked me to help him out on a moment’s notice. I was working part-time there again.”

“So that’s why you didn’t answer me?”

I give Aizawa a probing look.

“Well, that’s not really it…… Fishing is pretty interesting, by the way. I caught quite a few fish with the help of my uncle.”

Aizawa’s story continues. He talked about how he was getting hit on while working part-time and how he caught a high-end fish while fishing, topics that I would have bitten into and delved deeper into if it weren’t for the current situation.

“So, about that fireworks festival.”

I interjected just as the conversation was interrupted. Aizawa looked at me with a surprised expression on his face and chuckled.

“What the heck, are you that kind of person who pokes your nose into other people’s affairs?”

He showed an attitude that included some rejection. I knew that if I tried to cut me off in a serious manner, he would just give me the light shoulder.

“Yeah, if it’s the normal me, I’d probably just let it go by without asking any questions.”

Aizawa’s assessment is correct. I had been thinking that I didn’t want to get involved in other people’s affairs ever since I entered high school.

“But, Aizawa. You’re my friend.”

Aizawa was surprised by those words. I had never said those words before.

I had always had a cold personality, so when Aizawa introduced me as a “friend,” I neither confirmed nor denied it.

Now, at this moment, I’m clearly declaring Aizawa as my friend. Aizawa was at a loss for words, as if this was a surprise.

“You’ve changed, haven’t you?”

Aizawa suddenly laughed and rested his elbows on his cheeks, giving me a friendly look.

“I’m pretty sure I thought you were an interesting guy from the first time I saw you. I started hanging out with you partly because I was comfortable with you maintaining an appropriate distance from me.”

Aizawa tells me the reason for his friendship with me.

“If that’s the case, you don’t need me now?”

I ask Aizawa. I wonder if he can’t be friends with me now that I’ve changed.

I look at Aizawa with serious eyes.

For a while, Aizawa fell silent. When Aizawa opens his mouth, I may lose my friend.

Nervously, I wait without averting my gaze from him……

“How could I possibly cut ties with an interesting guy like you?”

Aizawa said to me with a laugh.

That is nothing but the words that Aizawa will continue to interact with me.

“Don’t scare me too much.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that.”

Aizawa laughs, looking as if the prank has succeeded.

He was the usual Aizawa that I’ve been dealing with.

I glared at Aizawa reproachfully and remembered that I had one more thing to say.

“I want you, Ishikawa san, Sawaguchi san, and Watanabe san, to keep in touch each other.”

It is Watanabe san’s wish and mine, too.

Aizawa is a good guy with a good heart, and Sawaguchi san is not only cheerful but also a mood-maker who brightens up those around her. Ishikawa san is a calm and indispensable person who stops Sawaguchi san from going too far.

I was thinking that we should all get together again, because if one of us was missing, the group would be completely different.

“That……might be a little awkward.”

Hearing my words, Aizawa made a strange expression and averted his face.

“As expected, is it awkward to be with the person you rejected?”

I was curious to know what he was really thinking, and I was curious to know if he was still in the same state of mind.

I want to know his true feelings, so I stare at Aizawa.

“No, that’s not what I mean. I have clearly rejected Riho’s confession. I try not to say anything that might make things more awkward between me and the person I rejected. If Riho wants, we can continue our relationship as before.”

Certainly, Aizawa would do well in that area. It is said that he has been told by many women that they like him, but some of them have continued their relationships as friends even after being rejected.

“If that’s the case, I don’t see the problem, do you”

If only Aizawa was okay with it, the group would be back together, and we could continue to interact on good terms after the summer break, I thought with such hope in my heart…….

Aizawa let out a sigh of resignation.

“This is between you and me. Don’t tell anyone, okay?”

Aizawa put on a more serious expression than ever before and reminded me.

“I’ve never divulged my true feelings to anyone before. Aikawa, I’m telling you because I trust you.”

Those words brought me joy, and I knew Aizawa was serious.

“Yeah, I’ll never tell anyone.”

Our conversation here is a secret between men. When I made up my mind not to divulge it, Aizawa told me an unbelievable secret.

“Aikawa kun. The rod is pulling, you know?”

I hear Watanabe san’s voice from the side.

“Eh? You’re right……”

The rod tip bent, and as I spun the reel, I could feel a definite reaction of resistance from the fish.

In my panic, I put a lot of pressure on the reel to reel in the line in a hurry and……

“Ah……it got away.”

As a result of my attempt to forcefully pull the line, the line broke and the fish escaped.

I let out a sigh, pulled up my rod and gave her a wry smile.

We were now at the same ocean fishing facility we had visited earlier in the day.

The other day, when Aizawa and I were together, Watanabe san was also there with Ishikawa san and Sawaguchi san.

We were to report our feelings about whether we could get the group back together, and when it came to where we should discuss, Watanabe san suggested that we go to this previous location if we wanted to, since we had not fished there yet during the summer vacation.

So I prepared, we met up, and started fishing side by side like this…….

“What’s the matter, you don’t look well?”

Watanabe san leaned over from the side and looked at me.


“You’re sweating so much.”

She pointed out, and I hurriedly looked for a towel. The temperature is high even though it is morning, probably due to the sunny midsummer weather, and sweat is pouring down just by sitting still.

Normally, I would wipe it off with a towel, but I had forgotten to do that today.

“Excuse me.”

Watanabe san gets the towel ready before I do and puts it on my face. It feels nice and wet with water, and it takes away the heat. As the breeze blew softly and the floral scent wafted from her, I naturally became aware of Watanabe san.

When she finished taking care of me, she gently moved away and smiled.

“I can do this much……”

I feel shy when I feel a kind of sweet air between us. It’s not that I don’t want to, but the anglers around me look at me warmly.

“I just do it because I want to. Aikawa kun is usually so firm that you wouldn’t let me take care of you if it weren’t for times like this.”

I can feel my body temperature rising at Watanabe san’s words. This caring attitude is her way of communicating.

“I can’t help but notice that you’ve been out of your mind since a few minutes ago. Perhaps you are not feeling well?”

Watanabe san looked into my face and checked my condition. I’m not in bad shape, but I’m sure that I have been thinking about it and have been in a daze.

If it is true, I should probably tell her about it, but there are still some things I’m not clear on, so I’m unable to divulge them carelessly.

“No, I’m fine, let’s just keep fishing.”

I turn my eyes away from the sea to replace the hook, put on the bait, swing the rod, and drop the hook into the sea.

As I face the sea and watch the waves rock, my mind gradually calms down.

I cast the hook far out to sea and reel it in. Repeating this constant motion, I felt as if all my worries were being released and all my thoughts were melting away in the sea.

“Whoa, you’re catching fish again…….”

I reeled in the line and found that I had caught a Japanese whiting

It was bigger than the one I had caught before, and its body surface was shining in the sunlight.

“Amazing, I can’t lose to you either !”

Watanabe san, who had a competitive spirit toward me, swung her rod with great enthusiasm.

We seemed to encounter a large number of Japanese whiting, and they began to bite, and we continued fishing in a hurry for a while.

“I can no longer catch fish.”

After a while, the fish had gone away and the rod did not respond at all.

It was not yet noon, but we could see some people leaving.

Fishing under the blazing sun is very strenuous and many people get sick.

If you want to continue fishing for a long time, it is best to take it easy.

“Shall we go home, too?”

It must be hard for Watanabe san, who is not used to fishing, to be under the sun like this. In fact, she was breathing shallowly and holding a plastic bottle against her cheek.

“I’m sorry, even though Aikawa kun is having so much fun.”

Watanabe san apologized with a pained expression on her face.

“You don’t need to worry about that. I care more about Watanabe san’s health.”

“Ugh……such a surprise… not fair.”

Watanabe san shook her head. It seems like she was really close to her limit.

“I’ve caught enough today, let’s go home.”

Fishing for Japanese whiting in the summer is a good way to catch a few. Watanabe san and I had caught at least 50 fish together, which was enough for the day’s catch.

“Watanabe san, you don’t need the fish you caught, do you?”

She told me that her family didn’t know she was fishing, and that she had been refusing to accept the fish because she would be questioned if she brought them home.

A Japanese whiting this big can be eaten as sashimi, and it is absolutely delicious as tempura.

The best part of fishing is eating the fish you catch, so I felt it was a shame.

“About that, may I be selfish?”

“Hmm, what is it?”

After we started dating, Watanabe san gradually began to express her true feelings toward me. If it’s a cute girl’s request, there’s no reason to refuse. I nodded my head and urged her to continue.

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to go over to Aikawa kun’s house now.”

I open my eyes wide and ruminate over her words in my head.

Watanabe san squeezed her hand tightly around her chest and looked at me with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension in her eyes.

To be honest, I’m not at all prepared to welcome a girl with such a cute gesture to my home…….

I look at her, who is about to smile a dry, resigned smile because of my silence,

“Of course, it’s all right.”

I answered as quickly as I could.

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