Episode 25 – School’s Madonna Stares at Me With Her Cheeks Dyed Red

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https://kakuyomu.jp/works/16817330658028208231/episodes/16817330659185579983

Her flaxen hair fluttered in the wind, and her eyes, bathed in moonlight, swayed as they absorbed the light.

Watanabe san, who appeared somewhat fragile, continued to look at me without uttering a single word.

Several months have passed since we met. At the school, she and I rarely talked, but I think we shared some good times, going fishing, going to the aquarium, and this time, taking a trip.

Because I’m such a person, I can understand some things. I know that the expression on Watanabe san’s face right now is something I have never seen before.

She opened her small mouth and muttered.

“This is the first time for me to travel overnight with my friend.”

She brushes her hair out of her face with her right hand and stares out at the ocean.

“I went to an all-girls high school until middle school, so I never talked to many guys.”

“Is that so?”

I can’t imagine that from the Watanabe san I know now. The woman I knew was a sociable person who was always around someone and got along with both men and women equally well.

“Actually, even though I look like this, I still find it difficult to talk to boys.”

She suddenly tells me this information.

“But what about the boys you always hang out with?”

They seemed to be having a normal friendly conversation……. Watanabe san seemed to read my mind and she smiled.

“Usually, Riho san and Maho san are always with me. I’m still nervous when it’s just the two of us.”

She pursed her lips in a tight line.

What she is saying now must be the truth. I could not remain silent for long. I opened my mouth too.

“I’m not very good with girls in general, either.”

I’m just as bad with the opposite sex as she is. Although, I’m also not good with boys…..

I thought it would be good if we could develop a sense of camaraderie by sharing our weak points.

“In spite of that, didn’t you get along well with Maho san?”

She has a tone of voice that is slightly reproachful. She slowly approached me, her cheeks puffed out.

“That was because Sawaguchi san is a good communicator.”

I think it is her talent to be able to close the distance to the extent that the other person does not feel uncomfortable, but still be proactive. If Sawaguchi san had not spoken to me, it would have been impossible for me to have such an exchange.

“Sawaguchi san also said that I was like a ‘little brother’.”

I don’t want Watanabesam to misunderstand that. I quoted Sawaguchi san’s line from last night.

“From my point of view, Sawaguchi san is more like a ‘younger sister’ than an older sister. She’s a handful and it’s not like I see her as the opposite sex.”

In fact, it feels right when I say it. It’s fun while we’re talking over each other, but the feelings I feel for her are not romantic. I can assure her that it is something else.

“Is that right?”

“Yeah, definitely.”

Watanabe san gives me a probing look. If I falter at this point, the misunderstanding will deepen, so I confidently state.

“I believe you. Aikawa kun even complimented me on my swimsuit.”

She put her hand over her mouth and smiled. For a moment, I wondered what was wrong, but the gesture looked for a moment like Sawaguchi san’s. I wondered if she was intentionally imitating her.

“…..I hope you don’t tease me too much.”

I didn’t know how to reply to the words, which were different and a little meaner than before.

“It’s okay for me to rush in like Maho san, right? That would make me happier.”

“No, Sawaguchi san and Watanabe san are different.”

As expected, I don’t have the courage to react sloppily in front of School’s Madonna.

“It’s not fair. I got along better with you first !”

When I replied, Watanabe san glared at me and puffed out her cheeks. This attitude explained why she had been acting strangely so far.

Perhaps Watanabe san is jealous that Sawaguchi san, who is also her best friend, gets along with me all the time.

“I’m sorry, I’ll be careful from now on.”

When Sawaguchi san broaches the subject, I try to involve Watanabe san in the conversation.

“Really? Will you talk to me more from now on?”

“Yes, I’ll think of something so that Watanabe san and Sawaguchi san can talk more.

“Eh?”

“Hm?”

Somehow I feel that the conversation is not cohesive. We looked at each other.

We had been talking for quite a while, and before I knew it, the sky had brightened and the sun was beginning to rise.

“Oh, Watanabe san, I have a place I want to go……”

I remembered that there was a spot on this beach with a great view of the sunrise.

I had no intention of going there since it was quite a distance from the inn, but as I was walking, I was getting rather close to it.

“Eh? Which way is……?”

I don’t have time to explain. The sun was coming up.

“Just this way !”

“Kyaa !”

I hear Watanabe san’s surprised voice from behind me. When I felt her breathing behind me, I quickly headed for the place.

“Just in time !”

“Huff huff, w-what is it?”

Watanabe san is gasping for breath. I can hear her voice sounding critical,

“Oh, look at that. Watanabe san.”

I point ahead with my right hand.

“Beautiful…..the sun is rising between the rocks.”

The view was so wonderful that words cannot even begin to describe it.

The horizon was glowing white and the sun was rising.

Two tall rocks standing in the sea. The sun gradually emerges from between them, turning the sky blue.

The scene was fantastic, and Watanabe san’s profile in the sunlight was the most beautiful I have ever seen.

“Is this what Aikawa kun wanted to show me?”

Standing right next to each other, we shared the same sight and shared the same emotion. Who could have predicted this before I entered the school?

Who would have expected to stand side by side like this with the Madonna of the school and watch the sunrise……

“Yeah, this is one of the tourist spots, and the sunrise from here is one of the ten most beautiful views in Japan. That’s why I remembered it……”

Since we were running out of time, I forcibly brought her here, but she must have been satisfied with this spectacle.

“I-I see.”

Watanabe san glances at our hands as he says this.

“See, there are quite a few people coming around, right?”

I noticed that many people were turning toward the ocean to watch the sunrise. Families, couples, married couples, and others. I dimly thought that this sight with those close to me would be a memory that I would cherish forever.

Suddenly, I looked at Watanabe san and saw that she was not looking at the sunrise and had turned her head down.

I followed her gaze with my eyes and…….

“S-sorry !?”

I was holding her hand. Even though I was in a hurry that we might not make it to sunrise and I didn’t have time to explain, I had suddenly held her hand.

She was distracted by this.

Even though she just said she’s not good with boys…..

“Even though I was immersed, I’m sorry for giving you a bad time. I’ll let go of your hand now.”

I called out to her and relaxed my left hand. But…….

“Eh?”

As soon as I relaxed and put my left hand back, this time she tightened her grip on my left hand.

“I’m certainly not good with other boys. But if it’s Aikawa kun, I don’t mind !”

Her serious eyes stare at me. It’s not like the shy look she had earlier, it’s like she has something to say…… It’s a look of determination.

“With Aikawa kun, I can experience new things more and more. Fishing is one of them. Aquariums and swimming in the sea. I never knew I had such feelings inside me. I had a lot of fun today.”

Without a chance for me to interject any words, Watanabe san began to reveal her innermost feelings.

The hand she is holding becomes heated. I had held her hand myself just a few minutes ago, but now my heart is pounding.

In the meantime, Watanabe san continues to speak. We are already concentrating only on each other’s presence, not on the sunrise.

“Aikawa kun, I really–“

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