“Is your foot alright now?”

“—It’s fine.”

“Okay, I’ll call you later.”

“–Okay, I’m waiting.”

[See you later !] Yua walked away and went up the stairs.

In the morning, the sun was still low in the sky at the school entrance, but the air was freezing. I looked up the stairs where Yua had disappeared.

–She’s been a little strange lately.

As an expert of Yua’s facial expressions, I would say that her smile was only at 99 points for the past few days. She is smiling, but there’s a cloudiness in her smile. Like a drop of ink in the hot water of the bathtub, I don’t know much about it, but it seems different.

And her response seems a step slower. Not even a second. Perhaps in zero-tenths of a second. Normally, Yua is quick to respond. For a moment, there was a pause, as if she was sorting out her words.

–I knew it was from that day.

A date based on the concept of a mysterious young lady character. At first, I thought she was just trying to make it more elaborate, but she seemed more desperate or rather, she was feeling hasty. If she were a normal girlfriend, she probably wouldn’t have put up with an injury for the rest of the date.

Her desperation and sense of urgency reminded me somewhat of Yua when we had just met. The same Yua who had tried to devote herself to me in order to be liked by me.

Although I’ve tried to find out about it, she kept denying it, saying it was nothing. If it was really nothing and I was just thinking too much, that would be good. But I had no way to find out for sure, and the nagging feeling remained stuck in the back of my mind.

But the clue came from the other side that day at lunchtime.

“Izuma, let’s go eat lunch.”

After the class performance at the school festival, I was often approached by male classmates.

We were eating lunch together, with our desks pulled close to each other.

“Izuma, you’ve changed.”

Said Akimoto kun, who seemed to be a bit mischievous. He was the original cast for “Hayato” , the character I played at the school festival. His twisted ankle seemed to be better now.

“You used to look like a buddha statue.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. You always look frozen, so I thought I shouldn’t talk to you.”

I don’t think a Buddha statue is frozen, and I don’t think you shouldn’t talk to me, but I understand what he’s saying. I have been avoiding people myself, and I may have been giving off a “don’t talk to me” aura.

“Did you get yourself a girlfriend?”

I’m not accustomed to talking about love and relationships everyday, so I stumbled and said [Umm…].

“Oh, are you for real?”

“No, it’s not like that…….”

I’m embarrassed to say that myself, so I’m not saying.

It’s true that Yua isn’t really my girlfriend. But she treated me like she was my girlfriend, and I’m interested in her. Why did I say [It’s not like that]?


Makabe called me and I turned around.

“Did you do something?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, because–“

He indicated the doorway of the classroom with a chin tuck.

There was Ishimizu san standing with her arms crossed.

“She’s calling for you. –do you think she’s mad as hell ……?”

He whispered.

Indeed, the stern look in her eyes, the unfriendly expression on her face, and the piercing atmosphere she exuded might have given that impression.

“S-she’s a yankee. You’re going to get shackled, aren’t you?””

“I don’t think so.”

“Bumped by such a beautiful girl….. I-it’s not like I envy you !”

“I told you that’s not it !”

I know. Even though Ishimizu san looks like that, she’s very friendly.

I got up from my seat and headed for the door.

“What’s up?”

I asked her with a smile, and she pointed with her thumb to the end of the hallway and said bluntly,

“Come to the back of the gym for a minute.”

–Hm? Am I going to be shackled after all?

I turn around as if to ask for help. Makabe and Akimoto kun looked down.

–Those guys……!

Ishimizu san wrinkled her brow.

“What are you doing? Come here quickly.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I replied obediently and followed her.

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