The room assignments have been decided from the beginning. There was no way to change it. There was only one time to get out of the room, after everyone was asleep.

Luckily, my roommates were exhausted. The four who had been playing cards on the bullet train, plus two others. They were exhausted from the day.

I was no different. Needless to say, I was physically exhausted. However, I felt that I would have more energy to meet Rika.

I saw that everyone had fallen asleep. I exit the room. Gently, quietly, so as not to make a sound.

If you go outside, you run the risk of running into a teacher on patrol. I knew that. I went to catch a little night breeze, but the toilet is broken. Anything. Whatever it was, if I went outside, I won.

Fortunately, I didn’t meet the teacher. After I left, there were signs that they had gone out to make their rounds, so I might have gotten there in the nick of time.

The meeting place was a pond just outside the inn.

“You came properly.”

Rika stood dignified in the light of the moon and stars. She brushed her hair back from her cheeks. It was impressive. Even in her jersey and nightclothes, her radiance was not dimmed.

“I’d run anywhere for you, Rika.”

“Aha, what a stupid line. But it’s okay. Because it’s Masa kun.”

“I knew you would say that.”

There is no wind.  The only thing that stands out is Rika’s figure. She was a ray of light in the darkness.

“My mind was made up long ago. I met Masa kun, and as I got involved with him, my distorted feelings swelled up. All I can see is Masa kun. Just like now.”

“There’s nothing more to say now. Rika’s actions were determined by only one goal. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“If you know, I want to know Masa-kun’s answer…you won’t answer right away, right? Then again, I dare to ask you. I want to be a family with you.”

She’s not asking to be my lover. We were already lovers. But we were also childhood friends. It’s a relationship where it can’t be either, or a relationship where it can be both.

There was no way she was going to ask me to go out with her now. I was prepared to do so if I was asked. It was as if she had already declared it during our late-night ride together. There was no need to panic.

“I have no intention of leaving Rika. There is one thing that bothers me like a small fish bone stuck in my throat. I’m wondering if we’re really in this together.”

“Are you scared?”

“Yeah. I’m suddenly afraid that we’re going to fall apart and I don’t want our relationship to fall apart.”

Day by day, Rika’s presence is growing larger and larger. I was worried only about what was waiting for us after the bloat.

“Such a thing doesn’t matter.”

“Such a thing, huh? For Rika.”

“Yes. You are the worst-Kisaki’s ex-boyfriend, Kisaragi, once said to me. Yes, I’m the worst. I’m a sucker for anything that I want. I hurt people without mercy. In essence, I am like Kisaki.”

“It’s not good to humiliate yourself.”

“Let me continue……my desires are tinged with black. And since I have been warming up to it for so many years, it is already sludge. For some reason, Masa kun never gave up on me. If it wasn’t for Masa kun, I would have been treated as a tumor long ago.”

My heart may have been shaken many times. Should I stay away or keep my distance? But in the end, I would return to Rika. I have accepted Rika.

“……I rest the case. I can come up with as many good reasons as I can think of.”


The past days came back to me.

The time of misfortune in elementary and junior high school and the Kisaki incident, Rika was there for me in the end when I was in a difficult situation.

I wondered if I could live without Rika. There was a time when we were estranged. But I was not sure if I would be able to live without Rika in the future.

“I can’t stay away from Rika, I think. We are attracted to each other like magnets. I can’t get away from you. That’s an impossible order. Rika tries to get close to me, and I want to get close to her. We end up being drawn to each other, and we end up being attracted to each other.”

“That sounds negative. Does it hurt to be with me?”

The answer is obvious.

“It doesn’t hurt. I’m happy. There are struggles along the way, but in the end I feel at peace. It’s a mystery. I don’t want to leave you, Rika, and I won’t let you go.”

“Masa kun is Masa kun after all. I think you have finally made up your mind.”

Rika took out a folded paper from her pocket.

“This is a marriage certificate. All of my fields are filled in. Now, all that’s left to do is for Masa kun to write it, and to wait until we’re old enough to get married. We’re almost there, you know? Our birthday is right after the start of the third grade.”

“We’ll be eighteen, huh?”

“Yes. I’ll give it to you anyway.”

The paper was already tattered. When I opened it, the letters were faded and slightly discolored.

“When did you write this, by the way?”

“It was so long ago that I forgot I wrote it. Since that day, I have always carried this with me. I never take it off me. I had been waiting for Masa kun’s mind to settle to a certain degree. You finally answered me, Masa kun. I can’t describe how happy I am ! The fruit is ripe. The flower has bloomed. Like a righteous and superior flower !”

Rika opened her hands and looked up to the sky.

She had won. The person who achieved this was none other than herself.

“I’m glad you’re happy. And I’m glad that I made up my mind. There are many things that have gone away from us, and will continue to do so. And they will continue to do so. But in the end, I hope it’s our world. That’s the way it should be. This night is the beginning. We’re having a sleepy night–isn’t that wonderful?”

Rika’s mood was completely contagious. Perhaps it was the marriage certificate in my hand. Rika’s huge thoughts and feelings that he had been working on seemed to have been absorbed into my body.

“Masa kun seems to have understood. Now, let’s go back to the bedroom. There is nothing to be afraid of. I’ve checked the spare room, the one that no one enters. It’s okay if we make a little noise.”

“Rika, I didn’t expect you to……”

She licked her lower lip and began to speak without hesitation, her face ecstatic.

“We’re going to get married, aren’t we? Then that’s enough, isn’t it? Exams are not my enemy. I don’t care how the world or my classmates see me. I don’t care how my parents see me. I can no longer suppress my emotions. It’s not a passing fancy, or a passing moment. I had been planning this moment for a long time. I am Masa kun, and Masa kun is me. Yes, we will become one. Ah, don’t you think it’s wonderful? As I said before, the result will be a life that is both Masa kun and me. As long as I can spend time with Masa kun and see him through, there is no need for anything else. The time has come. We can no longer be separated. We have no choice but to live together and depend on each other. My love, which has boiled over into a sludge, is like the vastness of the ocean. Masa kun has been drowning in it. From now on, you are going to drown yourself. There is no use in trying to pull away. It is too late for everything. You will bear my sins with me, won’t you? Because Masa kun–“

A suspense,

“–You’re a childhood friend who won’t disappoint♡.”

She whispered.

(End of Part 1)

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