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https://ncode.syosetu.com/n5018if/69/

“You’re always so close to Ryoma, …… so I was wondering if you like Ryoma.”

“Yes, I like him.”

She said bluntly.

Is that really the case? In that case, like Shizuku said… I have to tell Hiiragi-san.

“I-I like Ryoma too!
I’m in love with him.”

“…. Arisa-chan…”

Hiiragi-san kept staring at my face with her eyes blinking.

I wonder what kind of response I will get.

But I certainly think it’s better to say it. I’m not going to let my love for Ryoma get the better of me.

“I see! To be liked by such a beautiful girl, he is indeed my childhood friend”

“Hee?”

This time I stopped because of the unexpected reaction.

Instead of being upset, I didn’t expect that she would be happy.

“Didn’t you like Ryoma too?”

“I do like him. Ah! You know, I don’t mean that …… I like Ryoma.”

Hiiragi suddenly started to panic. Her face turned a little red…and she looked dazed.

Maybe I was wrong.

“I… well, I don’t really understand what love is. That’s why I like Ryoma, but… I don’t think I like it as love. Maybe it’s similar to how Arisa-chan loves Shizuku-chan.”

“That’s what you meant when you said you liked him…… .”

“The only boys that I’m close to are honestly Ryoma and Reo. I’m sure I like Ryoma the most out of all the boys,……, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about,….Arisa chan”

“Thank god …… I guess.”

It was kind of a letdown.

If this was the case, I wouldn’t have had to say that I liked Ryoma,……?

“I was worried because you appeared in front of Ryoma,…….”

“Ah. That’s right. But no one can win against Arisa-chan. Yeah, I’m jealous of Ryoma.”

Hiiragi-san’s expression becomes gentle again like before.

It doesn’t seem like she’s faking it or anything.

“Are you going to confess to Ryouma?”

“I! I can’t do that! Ryoma only thinks of me as …… a friend.”

I think we are getting along well, but I still feel a wall from Ryoma at this very moment.

I can’t get any closer to him …… , I can see such a wall.

“I envy you. You can always be by Ryoma’s side.”

That is true. The same way I can always be by Shizuku’s side or Kokoro’s side, this girl is allowed to be by Ryoma’s side all the time.

They have a special relationship as childhood friends.

“Hey, Arisa-chan.”

Suddenly, Hiiragi-san put her hand behind my hand.

I’m going to be attracted by her pure black eyes.

“If you want, I can help you, too. I can help Arisa chan and Ryoma get to know each other better.”

“Is that okay?”

Hiiragi-san laughed.

“I’m a good judge of character. I’m sure Arisa chan will make Ryoma happy.”

“Hiiragi-san.”

“But …… may I make one condition?”

Hiiragi-san continues to speak.

“I want you to allow me to stay by Ryoma’s side as his childhood friend. I can’t bear not being by Ryoma’s side.”

It’s a straight word. But I think there’s a real sense of emotion in that tone of voice.

This is probably the most important thing to Hiiragi-san.

Normally, it wouldn’t be fun to have a childhood friend of the opposite gender by the side of the person you love, but… I can’t refuse that.

“I’m not going to deprive you of being a childhood friend. Well, I’m gonna envy you, and maybe I’m jealous.”

“Fufu.”

Hiiragi-san clasped her hands together.

I’m glad we could talk after all. I think I understand how this girl feels.

“Can I call you …… Tsumugi?”

“Ah, ……! Yes, you can call me by my name, Arisa chan!”

Tsumugi gave me the biggest smile of the day.

I felt like I could have a proper friendship with her thanks to the way I told her how I felt.

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