“Where are we going?”

“The usual place.”

Rika answered without hesitation.

The usual place is a cafe.

It is not the kind of place that sparkling high school girls go to. The price is about the same, but the customer base is higher class.

“It’s nice and quiet there.”

“There’s no shouting or laughing or anything like that.”

“That’s true.”

Neither Rika nor I are the type of people who have a lot of energy. We’re the kind of people who talk calmly and get involved.

“We’ll be there in a few minutes. Have you decided what to order?”

“The usual.”

“Iced coffee?”

“Yeah. It’s the same as before.”

“I guess I’ll have my usual, too.”

In Rika’s case, it’s hot cocoa. Summer or winter, it’s always the same.

“You just say the usual things.”

“It’s like we’re having a secret conversation.”

“It occurred to me that this is a conversation that can only be had between us.”

“There’s no need to communicate. A world just the two of us is wonderful.”

The world of just the two of us, huh?

While we were talking, we arrived at the cafe we wanted. The sign was old and the words on it were fading.


As soon as the doorbell rang, the master greeted us.

“Nagai kun and Rika chan ! It’s been a long time〜”

He looked at me while touching his beard.

The master was a middle-aged man. He was young for his age. His tanned, dark skin was impressive.

“It’s been a while. It’s been a few years since I came here.”

“I was lonely because you didn’t come. Please take your time today〜”

“Then, let’s order right away.”

I ordered my usual order. I wait for a while for it to come.

There were other customers here and there. The store is not as big as a chain store. We can hear the voices of the ladies seated nearby.

“Yesterday, I went home, and today, I’m at a nostalgic cafe. I feel like I’m back in the old days. It’s nice and fun.”

“Are you the type of person who gets lost in the good old days?”

“Not that much. Compared to recent days, the old days were better.”

“I like your honesty.”

“It’s time you learned to laugh it off. You can’t keep a wound open forever.”

I can’t just drag it out all the time.

The wound received is washed out and disinfected. After that, I wait until a scab forms.

Yesterday, Rika even disinfected the wound carefully. The task at the moment is to improve her own healing power.

“Don’t be in too much of a hurry. If you start moving too quickly, the scab will break.”

“I’ll have to consult my heart.

“Good decision.”

While we were talking, the drinks we had ordered arrived.

“Yeah, hot cocoa is definitely the way to go. It warms your heart.”

“You’ve got a good line. I’m a little curious.”

“Do you want a sip?”

“I’ll have a sip.”

I put my mouth on the cup offered to me.

I sipped from the cup. I tasted the sweet cocoa, and at the same time, I felt a faint scent of Rika.

“Is it good?”

“It’s a delicious taste that warms the heart. It’s not bad to try something out of the ordinary once in a while.”

“If it’s always the same, there’s no change. But it’s not always good to be different.”


Rika was also drinking iced coffee. It seems she doesn’t like cold things very much. She only had a few sip and then returned it.

“It seems like only I got the benefit.”

“There will come a time when I will get it. It’ll even out in the end.”

“I guess so.”

It wasn’t a gain or loss, but we have been helping each other. After spending so much time together, there is no such thing as both of us getting as much as we do. It is natural that there are waves.

After drinking half a cup of cocoa, Rika broached the subject.

“What do you do at the festival? What does your class put on?”

“A roller coaster and a booth. It’s pretty much done. What about you, Rika?”

“Of course we’re going to sell stuff, but we’re also going to have a haunted house. I’m going to play the role of a female ghost. I’m going to wear white.”

“I can imagine.”

“I tried running a haunted house in class, but one boy flinched just as I was about to come out. He screamed, I guess I’m pretty scary.”

I had to laugh when I thought about the situation.

“That’s terrible, he must be in shock.”

“You should feel like you have one more story to tell. If it were me, I’d burst out laughing.”

“You’re always taking it lightly. You’re terrible.”

“Sorry, sorry.”

“What about the night dance?”

A fastball hit right in the face.

“I had a partner. Things have changed. You know what I mean.”

“I knew it.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say.”

“It’s your fault for having a cold attitude, Masatoshi.”

“I forgive you. And I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you, too.”

It is not mandatory for men and women to dance together. Those who want to do it do it. It is customary for many men and women to dance, so those who do not participate are in the minority.

“You should leave during the festival.”

“What’s wrong, Rika?”

“In your current state of mind, you must be in a lot of pain. You’re in the same class as that woman, so you’re going to be involved with her even if you don’t want to be. Can you stand the pain?”

Today, the image of Kisaki Saki, who had been intentionally involved, came to mind.


“……I guess there’s room to think about it.”

“You have to be honest with yourself.”

“However, I can’t afford to cause trouble to everyone in the class. Things aren’t easy.”

I see, Rika said lightly.

Getting through the school festival–an idea I never thought of on my own.

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