Episode 9 

Source

https://ncode.syosetu.com/n3174ip/10/

[Onii san, I did it. It looks like it was done well.]

Lunch break. I was having lunch alone on a bench in the courtyard, and I received such a message from Alice.

[I just talked to my classmates about the morning again.]

[Everyone understood. I think that maybe it will not be that way anymore.]

[I did it. I’ll try my best to keep this up. I don’t want to cause any trouble to Onii san anymore.]

My smartphone vibrates intermittently and Alice sends me messages one after another.

It pops up while I’m reading, so I can’t keep up with what I’m reading and my replies are inevitably delayed.

Apparently my sister was even quick to type. It’s a simple story, but I get a sense of the breadth of Alice’s relationships in places like this.

I’m new to these things, so it takes a bit of time to think about and hit the text. There may be a simple difference in mental ability or manual dexterity, but I’ll leave that aside for now. Even if I think about every detail, there is no end to it.

[That’s right. Thank you, Alice.]

The message I barely squeezed out and sent was simple and tasteless.

It immediately marked as read, so there’s no doubt that it reached Alice, but I’m a little annoyed that I was the kind of person who can’t say anything clever at a time like this.

I was like this when I was dating Amane, so I guess this just means I’m not an interesting person anymore.

Amane had never complained about that, but I wonder what Alice would think.

When I was thinking about such a thing, Alice replies.

[No, it was my fault. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.]

[You don’t have to apologize. Because I was really saved.]

[I’m the one who was saved. I’ve always been helped by Onii san……]

…The reason for this is not clear.

We just thank each other and apologize, and there is no time to round up the story.

By now Alice would be having breakfast in the classroom surrounded by friends, including Shiramine san, and it would be bad to keep staring at her smartphone forever.

[That doesn’t matter. I’ll leave it to Alice for today. If there’s something you want me to do, you can tell me.]

I made up my mind and typed the message again.

Immediately, the message is marked as read, but there is no reply from Alice. I waited a minute or two, but no reply came.

“I wonder if she is troubled.”

If it’s not the other way around. I have a lot of opportunities to talk to alice.

When I put my smartphone next to me, I spread a lunch box that was still untouched on my lap.

My sister’s homemade bento is colorful and all the side dishes are well-shaped.It seemed to represent Alice’s scrupulous character, and I smiled a little bit.

“Well, let’s eat……”

I put my hands together and tried to eat lunch again, which was a little late, but immediately after that my vision became dark.

“Guess who.”

A voice that was familiar. A warm feel that covers the eyes.

As soon as I thought someone had blindfolded me, my mouth opened and I said one of the names.

“Amane……?”

“Yeah, correct answer”

My visibility was clear. I turned around from behind, and she immediately showed up.

“It’s been a while, Hidetaka kun.”

A smiling Amane stood in front of me.

“Yeah, hi. Amane”

“……You don’t sound surprised.”

“Somehow, I thought you might come.”

I knew Amane had entered the same high school as me.

However, we hadn’t talked until now, and since we were in different classes, we hadn’t had a chance to meet each other face-to-face.

I was hoping that time would solve it, but I knew that since I had direct contact with her, she would come to see me herself, so it was no surprise.

Rather, there was a stronger sense of relief that Alice was saved from coming to see her in the morning.

Perhaps sensing my feelings, Amane made an indescribable expression. She had a very strange expression on her face, like she was troubled or angry.

“Hidetaka kun……did you not want to see me?”

“It’s not that I didn’t want to see you, but rather…..It’s more correct to say that I didn’t have a face to show you.”

I don’t think I have the qualifications to stand in front of the girl I dumped, my childhood friend who has always been there for me.

“I wanted to see you. I always wanted to meet Hidetaka kun again and talk to you like this.”

“…………”

“Waking up Hidetaka kun in the morning, going  to the station and getting on the train. Then we come to school, and we meet during recess. At lunchtime, we eat together. It’s the same thing we did in middle school. I thought it would continue into high school.”

That’s the same for me. At that time, I was just vaguely thinking that such a life would continue.

“I wonder why it became like this.”

There was regret in Amane’s voice.

The sky is clear and blue, and the wind feels so good, but the air that surrounds us is just dark and heavy. As much as I wanted to comfort Amane, I didn’t have the qualifications to do so.

All I can do is accept her words

“I just wish that was all I needed.”

A line of tears spilled from Amane’s eyes looking at me who did not say anything.

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