In a corner of the courtyard, which was bustling with second and third year students, we each brought our own lunch.
I ate onigiri (rice balls), Keiichi ate a sweet bun, and Kohinata and Saejima ate their own lunch boxes. We each sat on the four corners of the leisure sheet that Saejima had prepared for us.
“Let’s not worry about being seen. The food will be bad.”
I said as I held a rice ball with salmon in one hand and looked around.
“You say but you care.—It’s okay, it’s okay, Kohinata may be popular, but there’s nothing that Tomoki would be wary of, is there? It’s not like in a comic book, it’s not like someone is going to say, “I can’t allow you to get close to Kohinata!” It’s not like that.”
“Try telling that to the girl in front of you.”
I responded to Keiichi’s optimistic tone, while turning my attention to Saejima, who was sitting in a well-mannered position in front of me.
Saejima, who was asked to speak, let out a dry laugh as she pulled a face and said, “Hahah……:
“I’m very sorry about that–but I think I’m in more trouble than Sugino-kun and Karakusa-kun. Because, Karakusa-kun, you are an active model.”
It’s true, if you ask me.
I don’t go into his love life in depth, and Keiichi doesn’t try to talk to me about it either. But I have heard from him that he has turned down quite a few confessions.
Although he’s goofing around, it’s obvious to everyone that this guy is popular with the ladies.
“Ah,…… so maybe I don’t get as many nasty looks as I thought I would. Keiichi and Kohinata are probably equally famous, and people around them probably agree with that.”
So perhaps the two of them are fine.
And Saejima, who is innocent, sociable, and even better looking, would also be fine.
But is it really okay for me, a dull-looking guy with a bad reputation, to be mixed in here ……? Isn’t it too out of place?
Once again in despair at my low specs, Keiichi poured the pastry he was chewing on into his stomach and opened his mouth with a rather serious expression on his face.
“You know, it doesn’t matter what people say or think, does it? If it’s not a problem for us, that’s all that matters. I don’t want to be friends with people who are cynical and say nasty things about other people.”
Keiichi says this in a dismissive manner and puts the pastry in his mouth again. The cream is sticking to the edges of his mouth, should I keep quiet? I’ll tell him about it after school.
But this guy has really …… gotten stronger, hasn’t he? I’m not sure where the crybaby Keiichi from elementary school has gone.
“–That’s true, too. But, Kohinata and Saejima, if you have any problems, you can talk to me about it. They’re with me, who has a bad reputation, and some of them might start talking nonsense.”
Compared to Keiichi, this is a reality that makes me sad, even though I said it myself. I want to cry.
To me who said such a thing in a pathetic tone of voice,
“Haha, that’s exactly what I mean, don’t worry about it. And at least the people in class E are fine! I’ve already told them that all the rumors about Tomoki-kun were false information.”
“And the C class, too. I heard Takada clearing up misunderstandings and some girls also asked me about them.”
Saejima and Keiichi say such things.
I’m not sure if I’ve seen the C class thing myself, but …… Saejima, you were doing that in your own class? I had no idea.
“Saejima is a very nice girl, thanks …….”
“No, no~, it didn’t start out well, but I’m glad I got to know Karakusa-kun and Sugino-kun! Yesterday’s baby-making rush was the best ever!”
“Hey! Don’t keep digging that topic up! I’m not the only one suffering from psychological damage!”
With that, I looked at Kohinata, who was about to put the bright red octopus wiener into her tiny mouth that she had. She slowly closed her small, round mouth and put the wiener back in her lunch box.
And then she reached out her hand and smacked me on the knee.
“Eeeh! Was it my fault now?! Isn’t that unreasonable!?”
When I unintentionally uttered a word of protest, Kohinata turned her head away from me.
Whether she was angry or embarrassed is unclear, but I’m sure she was just being cute.
Everyone had finished eating lunch, and we were spending the rest of our break time on our leisure sheets, when the incident occurred.
“Well, you know, since then, Senpai and the others have been very sweet to Asuka. Well, I think Asuka’s cuteness can be conveyed to anyone, and I think it will eventually spread to the current first-year students as well.”
The incident – and I exaggerate to say this – was a tremendous amount of Saejima talk. He really talks a lot.
I’m not trying to interrupt her, so it’s not that she doesn’t listen to me, and her talk is neither opinion-pushing nor offensive.
So, I can say it’s relatively okay, but it sent a little shiver down my spine.
At least Keiichi seems to care about me, but perhaps this is part of overcoming my difficulties, and he doesn’t seem to be intervening in any particular way.
This is rehabilitation.
I told myself that, while listening to Saejima’s conversation with an open mind,
“And then… mugu!”
Without warning, Kohinata, who was sitting next to Saejima, covered her mouth as she continued to talk.
Mumbling, Saejima says something into Kohinata’s hand. Her eyes widen and she looks surprised.
But when she glanced at me, her expression instantly changed to a shrug like a puppy scolded by its master.
Saejima then bowed her head vigorously toward me when Kohinata’s hand came off.
“Sorry, I talked too much.”
“…… No, don’t worry about it. It’s not Saejima’s fault, this is just my constitution.”
I said this with a wry smile, and Keiichi got in on the act with a cheerful tone of voice.
“Yes, yes, I knew that and I didn’t stop. But I was about to go too far, and it was nice of Kohinata to stop me.”
Yes – that’s right. I was more surprised that Kohinata took action than anything else.
The reason Saejima’s light-hearted talk stopped was not because she controlled herself, nor did Keiichi stop her, but because Kohinata stopped her from talking.
She apparently remembered that I had told her before that she could at least cover her mouth.
I took a deep breath and thanked Kohinata.
“Thank you, Kohinata. Thanks to you, I’m fine.”
I’m not in perfect physical condition, but I can at least smile at her normally.
Kohinata heard my words, shook her head and let out a cute little “fusu” breath through her nose.
Then, she began to move in a way I don’t understand.
“………………W-What’s wrong, Kohinata?”
She moved her body and tilted her head in the direction of me, then returned to her position as if she had come to her senses. Then, a puff from the nose. Then she would start moving her body again, tilt her head, return to her position, and exhale.
She repeated this over and over again. I am truly sorry, but I have no idea what it all means.
Keiichi looked at Kohinata as if he was watching something interesting, and Saejima smiled kindly as if understanding the meaning of Kohinata’s behavior.
I would like to ask Saejima the meaning of this behavior, but more than that, I would like to take my time and look at this cute creature now.
That is what I thought.
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