Episode 15 – be expressed




I woke up in the morning and contorted my face into a headache.

It wasn’t that bad of a pain, but it was depressing from the first morning.

(Today, I guess that’s why. …….)

I tell Sakurae that I need to talk to her about something and she is supposed to come over to my house.

What I’m going to talk about is my trauma, and I’m sure Sakurae knows that.

[Whenever you’re ready, okay? Oh, if you want, we can start now!]

[There’s been a lot going on today, and I’m sure Sakurae’s tired too. It’s late too, so let’s call it a new day.]

[So, …… tomorrow?]

[……, don’t you have plans or something?]

[Mom said relatives are coming, but it’s okay.]

[That’s not okay. …… Sakurae needs to explain the situation to Takagi and the others as well, so you can go after that’s done.]

[I’m going there now!]

[Wait, wait, wait! Let me at least prepare myself!]

I remember that time and smile on my own.

In the end, it was difficult for Sakurae to make plans with those two, and since I had plans for the Bon Festival as well, quite a few days passed between the two of us.

In the meantime, I managed to keep her from wanting to see me, even if it was only for a few minutes, by replying to her messages every once in a while. ……

The message included the fact that Sakurae had finished reporting to Takagi and the others.

Takagi seemed to be solemnly remorseful, but Kobayashi was expressionless, not knowing what she was thinking.

For now, I just have to trust Sakurae’s words, ‘I’ll never let her get close to Shota-kun again, so don’t worry.’

As I look back at it, my phone tells me that it has received a message.

[Good morning, Shota-kun. I’m so glad to see you today! I’m really looking forward to finally meeting you, Shota-kun.]

(It’s 6:00 a.m. ……)

The appointment was around 1:00 p.m. after lunch.

The message from Sakurae, which clearly shows that she can’t wait to see me, makes my cheeks loose again, even though I’m stunned.

[Good morning. I told you before, it’s dangerous, so don’t leave right away.]

I replied, and then added a few words after a bit of thought.

[Please take care of me today]

I was getting ready to greet Sakurae when the intercom rang.

[I came…]

I answered it, expecting it to be Sakurae, but instead I saw her smiling deceptively at me through the monitor.

I let out a sigh.

“I’m sure that’s what I’m talking about. ……. I’ll open it now.”

[Yes, please.]

I’m sure she couldn’t wait anyway, and I tightened a slightly relaxed expression before showing my face to Sakurae.

“…… Shota-kun, I missed you so much.”

Sakurae said this when she saw my face at the entrance and looked moved.

Her expression even seems to be tearful.

“You’re overreacting……Here, hurry up and get in.”

“Yes! I’m sorry to bother you.”

Sakurae carefully put her shoes on the floor and went up.

When I thought it was finally time, I nervously invited Sakurae to the living room, just like I did the other day.

“Here, drink this.”

“Thank you.”

I put out the barley tea again and sat down across from her.

After drinking the tea, Sakurae said,

“Phew. ……. I’m sorry I’m early, okay? I just couldn’t wait to see Shota-kun.”

(I knew it. ……)

I looked at Sakurae with white eyes.

“…… didn’t you come early to see me being sloppy?”

And Sakurae shook her head with a flustered look on her face.

“No, I didn’t! I would never do such a thing to Shota-kun!”

Seeing Sakurae’s behavior, I suddenly felt relaxed.

“……Well, I guess you’re right. I don’t know about it, but Sakurae wouldn’t do that on purpose.”


Suddenly, Sakurae’s eyes widen and she looks at me.

“…… Sakurae?”

When I call out to her, she narrows her eyes and smiles.

“I’ve missed …… you so much. I’m really happy to be able to talk to you like this, Shota-kun.”


I was momentarily taken aback by Sakurae smiling at me with her beautiful smile, and then I quickly turned my face away.

Seeing that, Sakurae laughed aloud “Fufu……”.

After a few moments of friendly atmosphere, Sakurae asked

“Hey, Shota-kun,…….”

“What’s ……?”

When I turned to Sakurae again, she turned her face down with a sad smile.

“…. why did you try to keep me away from you? I want to know what happened to Shota-kun.”

I exhaled heavily, ready to answer Sakurae’s question.

“…… you knew that, but that’s what I wanted to talk to you about today. It may be a long story, but will you listen?”

Sakurae’s expression didn’t change, but she looked up.

“Yes, I want to ask you anything about Shota-kun. Tell me……?”

I nodded at that and opened my mouth, wondering where to start.

“I don’t know if I can speak well of this, but I’d like to share it with you ….. I had a friend in junior high school who was the best friend I ever had. His name is Wada Tomoki.”

“Wada Tomoki……”

Sakurae recited the name as if it were etched in her head.

“Tomoki was an idiot, but a good-natured guy, and he had a lot of acquaintances. ……In short, a beloved fool.”

I remembered the Tomoki of those days and smiled nostalgically.

“On the other hand, I wasn’t really into it, but other than Tomoki, I didn’t really have anyone I could call friends that much. However, I’ve always liked reading books by myself, and I was satisfied with socializing without being disturbed.”

Sakurae was silently listening to me as I spoke, staring at me.

“There was a change in my relationship with these people around the time of my sophomore year. … …… Tachibana Rio. This is the start of it.”

The name Tachibana made my heart ache.

“Tachibana Rio …….”

Sakurae mentioned Tachibana’s name just like she did with Tomoki.

However, unlike with Tomoki, her voice was low and filled with hatred.

I was a little concerned, but I continued talking regardless.

“I had no contact with Tachibana for a while after I became a sophomore. Tomoki and I both disliked the group that Tachibana was in, or ……, to put it bluntly, we disliked her. But that changed when Tachibana and I became committee members at the fall festival of our second year.”

[Kokonoe-kun, what should I do with this?]

[Oh ……, give it to the guys over there who are getting ready. I’ll get the receipt.]

[Okay, thank you. ……Kokonoe-kun, you’re so dependable, aren’t you?]

Remembering those days made my heart hurt a little.

I take a sip of barley tea and continue.

“After the festival was over, Tachibana and I talked a lot. Sometimes a guy in Tachibana’s group seemed to be giving me the cold shoulder, but I didn’t mind, and Tachibana would talk to me whenever she wanted to.”

[Kokonoe-kun, tell me about this?]

[Kokonoe-kun reading a book is so picturesque, isn’t it? It’s kind of nice.]

I remember what Tachibana said to me.

“…that Tachibana’s group of people, what kind of people are they?”

Sakurae asked me anxiously, and I answered her.

“The guys were so bad that even I, a mere classmate, could see them doing things that were akin to bullying. I saw him several times when Tachibana was around to stop them,……, so I thought he was like the conscience of that group.”

[At that time, you know] I add.

“Tachibana was a person who gave the impression of being solid, and I think I was happy to be depended on by her. I knew that the guys in her group looked down on me, but she didn’t seem to mind, so I didn’t mind at the time.”

I tried my best to suppress my quickening heartbeat as I spoke matter-of-factly.

“In third grade, I was still in the same class with Tachibana. Around that time, the guys in Tachibana’s group started messing with me as well. I thought they were just goofing off and letting it slide, but now that I think about it, I never had such a miserable time. ……”

“Shota-kun ……”

Sakurae calls me in a worried voice.

I responded with a self-deprecating smile and drank the rest of the barley tea.

“Still, Tachibana talked to me as usual, and I talked to Tachibana normally, too. By that time, I had already …… become fond …… of her.”

The biggest mistake of my life.

Remembering that time caused another headache.

Still, as I was trying to somehow convey this to Sakurae, she got up from her seat, came next to me, and cuddled close to me.

“…… let’s take a little break,. It’s just about lunchtime and I can make you something simple.”

“……Yeah, sure.”

Sakurae takes my arm and supports me as we walk to the sofa.

I wasn’t in so much pain that I couldn’t stand up on my own, but I obediently followed Sakurae’s lead.

I was not able to see Sakurae’s expression because she was right next to me at the time.

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4 months ago

Don’t tell me that she did something despicable. But even so, I think what MC did is a bit of an overkill.