“You’re not gonna study?!”
“I’ll study when I get home!”
“Mouu, you’re just saying it..”
I ran outside, ignoring my mother’s words.
The past few days had been a choking time for me.
I knew I hated test periods. Club activities are cancelled, and all I do is study, study, study …… study!
I’m not a very good student, but if I don’t move my body, I feel like I’m going to get out of control.
So I call this a break!
I stuffed the ball in my backpack and went outside in my basketball shorts and sports T-shirt, just like I always do for club activities.
“Oh. The sky’s beautiful …… okay!”
I looked up at the starry sky and then, fired up, I set off on my run.
My target was a park with a basketball ring, a rarity around here. I decided to run there, do some light shooting practice, and then head home.
The sprain in my left foot and the tension in my right calf were already completely better, and I had no trouble exercising at all.
That time. I can’t thank Arase-kun enough for the advice he gave me, or I would have suffered a serious injury.
I am also grateful for the fact that he took me to the infirmary.
I haven’t thanked him yet, come to think of it. ……
The traffic light turns red and I stop. The temperature has been hot since the beginning of the Golden Week holidays, and I am sweating profusely.
“I said I’d thank him, but what am I supposed to do ……?”
I don’t know what the standard is in these situations. I’ve never thanked a boy before,……,hmm~ I’ll ask Natsu next time.
[He~, thank you? that, you can just ask him out on a date!]
“……Since it’s Natsu, I’m sure she’ll say so. ……”
Hmm, I can’t rely on that. I’ll ask other girls or something. …… I’m not sure if there is anyone I can ask about that.
“Ah, ….I-I’m sorry.”
Not realizing that the light at the intersection had turned green, I was honked at by a stopped car, put my head down, and started running again.
I’ll think about it again…..
I decided to think about the thank you thing again later, and I just kept running mindlessly to the park.
When I arrived at the park, I took a ball out of my backpack.
My body was already warmed up, so I started to play with the ball without any preparatory exercise.
The ball makes a pleasant sound as it hits the ground and returns to my hand.
During the test period, I missed the ball because I didn’t have any club activities. It’s nice to touch it at home, but I still need to be able to dribble it as hard as I can like this!
I shoot toward the ring and the ball goes parabolic,
It struck the ring.
“Ah~, I’m already slowing down! Hoi!”
Then I lost track of time for a while and immersed myself in shooting practice.
After leaving Kurase’s house, I decided to take a little detour to go back home to relieve my hunger.
Although it has been more than a month since I came here, I am still not familiar with the geography of this area.
So sometimes, on my way home from somewhere, I take a detour on purpose and go for a walk.
I wondered what would happen when her father came out, but I’m glad things turned out alright.
I was choking to death.
That kind of minimal courtesy, I’m a little uncomfortable with that kind of thing.
“But what can I say, it was like a wedding greeting.”
Kurase was next to me, and he’s my father-in-law. Please give me your daughter! like that.
Kurase is the bride, and what kind of a happy-go-lucky girl is that? There are some things missing, but mostly she can get away with just being cute.
My face got hot again, remembering what happened at Kurase’s house.
─ ─ Dum dum, dum dum.
Then I heard a balling sound coming from somewhere.
I looked for the source of the sound and found a slightly larger park.
I read the plaque attached to the entrance.
“Deep Mountain Park?”
And as I walked in, I saw someone shooting into a basketball ring.
“Hee, they have a basketball ring? That’s unusual.”
Street basketball is not that popular in Japan.
So it is rare to see a park with a ring.
From a distance, I could tell that the person shooting was a girl, judging from her height.
I felt nostalgic.
“……, could that be her?”
“To! …… ah!”
The girl’s shot hit the edge of the ring, and the ball rolled toward me with great force.
“Ah, excuse me,…… is that you, Arase-kun?””
“Suika. I’m not sure what to expect.”
The ball came to my feet and I picked it up and tossed it towards Suika.
“And. You’ve been out for a walk?”
“Something like that.”
“Don’t you have to study?~”
Suika makes a mischievous face.
“Unfortunately. I’m on my way home from studying at my friend’s house.”
And in an instant, her face changed to one of impatience.
“Suika didn’t study?”
“Ugh,…… my ears hurt,…… I thought I found a friend,……”
“Suika, perhaps you can’t study very well?”
“Does it look that way to you?”
“It seems so.”
“Rude! It’s true, though…!”
“Sorry, sorry. But if that’s the case, don’t you have to study even harder?”
“W-well, it’s like that huh? Always studying is suffocating, isn’t it? So this is a bit of a break!”
“By the way, what was your rank last time?”
“D-Don’t look at me like that!”
I can’t react to that.
There are a little more than 30 students per class. That’s 191st/240th. That’s not so bad, is it?
But this is not the time to relax.
“Shouldn’t you go home and study?”
“B-Because, you know..”
Suika seems to really dislike studying.
I know because I don’t like it either, but this is just an escape from reality.
“I-I’ll be home in a little while, don’t worry!”
“Well yeah? I mean, it’s not my responsibility to tell you what to do.”
“Hehe, thanks! I’m going to go sweat a little more!”
With that, Suika quickly dribbles toward the ring again.
“She’s like a child.”
Like an innocent little kid who touched a ball for the first time and fell in love with it. I guess she really likes basketball.
“If you want, I can help you rebound?”
I found myself calling out to the back of her. Suika stopped and turned around.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I don’t want to go too far to pick up the ball, so just be precise, okay?”
“Hmmm! Don’t be amazed at Sui-chan’s precise and brilliant shooting!”
“I thought you missed it earlier so you came over here to get the ball?”
“…………. Earlier was earlier. You see, just watch from there, okay? Hou!”
The ball arced beautifully and went through the net. The ball made a beautiful arc, went through the net, and made a pleasant sound.
The innocent look of the girl who looked back and laughed was dazzling.
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