The morning with Ryoko.

We left the hotel and boarded the train at the same station where we got off yesterday.

It was during commuting hours, but there were plenty of seats available since it was the last station. We boarded the train waiting on the platform for the departure time and sat side by side like we did last night.


Ryoko let out an exaggerated yawn. It’s cute and funny because she’s so beautiful, but she does it with such a dour expression on her face and with no makeup on.

I’ve seen her on campus as a cool, flawless beauty, so it’s a nice sight to see.

“You look sleepy.”

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep at all last night.”

“Eh, really? I thought you were asleep.”

“You’re asleep.”

“Thanks to you. Ryoko, are you the type of person who can’t sleep when there is a pillow change? Is that why you couldn’t sleep?”

“……Whose fault is it that I couldn’t sleep?”

She glared at me with a steady glance. Why are you looking at me like that?

She was muttering something in, but it overlapped with the train departure announcement so I couldn’t hear it clearly.

“Ryoko, what did you just say?”

“……Nothing ! I might go to sleep, so wake me up when we get there. Don’t sleep.”

Which one of us slept last night?

I was a friend, but it was understandable that she would be upset if a guy was sleeping next to her.

With a wry smile on my face, I agreed and surrendered myself to the swaying of the train as it started to run.

Soon the train was speeding up and taking us toward the city center.

I had nothing else to do, so I just kept my eyes moving and looked at the inside of the train and out the window.

Looking at the scenery, the expressions on people’s faces, and the way they act, I can’t help but think of the lyrics to the song. It is a habit I have had for a long time.

The train rattles and shakes.

A strange landscape flowing by.

The houses and countryside are gradually changing into an urban setting.

People getting off and getting on at unknown stations.

Tired office workers in the morning.

Office workers taking their naughty childs to kindergarten.

Ari san staring at me with a blank stare.

A high school boy staring at his reference book.

A schoolgirl chatting.

…………Ari san !?

Am I dreaming? Why is Ari san here?

I’m half asleep thinking about this. I’m on public transportation, so it’s not surprising that I know someone there. And it is a weekday commuting time. It would not be surprising if high school students started school a little earlier than usual.

Ari san looks at us curiously. She probably can’t believe that Ryoko and I are riding the train side by side in the morning.

But then, perhaps convinced that it was the us in front of her, she came up to us with a look like a dog wagging its tail.

“Kingo ! It’s Ryoko san next to you, isn’t it !?”

“Hey, Ryoko, wake up. Ari san showed up.”

“Hey, Kingo !? Don’t say my name like I’m a monster !?”

An encounter on the morning train.

“Eh, Ari chan?”

Ryoko was woken up by me and sleepily rubbing her eyes, she looked at the face of the person standing in front of her.

She couldn’t immediately tell who it was because of her sleepy eyes, but her face lit up when she recognized Ari san.

“Good morning, Ryoko san !”

“Ari chan, good morning ! Are you going to school now? Your uniform suits you, it looks cute !”

Ryoko is admiring her Atago Girl’s Academy school uniform. The checked skirt, blazer, and ribbons that make up the charm are said to be the dream of every girl in Hokusei, and Ryoko is no exception to the envy.

“I love Atago’s uniform. I wish I could wear it too. Our high school was public, and the uniforms were so lame that it was hell. I wasted three years of my life.”

“Ehehe, you want to try it on next time? I’m sure Ryoko san would look great in it.”

“Yeah, let me try it on ! I want to take a picture !”

They hold each other’s hands and make a big fuss in the morning. Are they friends, or  are they sisters now? You guys are really close, aren’t you?

“I’ll bring the uniform to Ryoko san’s room next time.”

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it !”

She left me behind and arranged a photo session with Ryoko.

Ryoko in Atago uniform……. Ryoko was cute enough in her old school uniform, so I guess she would be even cuter in Atago’s uniform. She’s nineteen, so it wouldn’t be weird for her to wear a school uniform, and I’d love to see a picture of her……ehehe.

“By the way, why are you two on the same train this morning? Your houses are at completely different stations, right?”

Ari san’s high-spirited voice suddenly dropped.

I was struck by a chill as if I had switched from the everlasting summer of Okinawa to the harsh winter of Mt. Hakkouda, and I finally understood what was happening.

Yes, Ryoko and I were on our way home together in the morning. Even if we were friends, it would not be surprising if we were mistaken for a couple from an objective point of view.

“You don’t have to say that you guys went out early in the morning and going to go home now, okay? Did you stay somewhere last night?”

“Ari chan, calm down, okay? You misunderstood something.”

“That’s right, Ari san? It’s not like something happened to us, alright?”

Ari san asked with a grin and a mischievous look on her face. It was a vicious smile, like a cat that has found a mouse and believes it has the right to smite it to death. And by the way, her mouth was like this [ω].

“Ehhh〜, there’s nothing to hide, is there〜? You two are good friends, and you don’t have a lover, do you? Then you must have a fling or two, right? Now, where are the reports of Kingo and Ryoko san’s love affair !?”

Ari san sniffs and pushes in on me. Is it a woman’s nature to react to love stories?

Or rather, are you a paparazzi?

“There’s no such thing as a fling. Last night, we were having drinks at my high school friend’s room, and we all fell asleep together.”

Ryoko’s plausible fiction. Since college students are allowed to stay out overnight, it is quite common for them to have a party at a friend’s room and sleep together without leaving the room.

But how could she come up with such a lie?

Well, let me get in on the act.

Apparently, hse doesn’t seem to be uncomfortable just because suspicions of a romantic relationship have surfaced. In fact, she seems to be enjoying it.

However, since it is the time of the year, you should be careful about what might shock her spirit. I can’t tell her that I overslept and had no choice but to stay at a love hotel. It would be embarrassing.

“Geez, what a bummer. Boring.”

Ari san’s lips pouted in dissatisfaction. But I’m glad to see that she pulled away so easily.

“Ah, I’ll get off here. See you at campus, Kingo. See you this weekend, Ari chan.”

When the train stopped at the station, Ryoko got off. Ari san was able to squeeze into the empty seat instead.

“Ehehe, It’s like I’m going to school with Kingo.”

“I’m getting off at the next stop, though.”

I was tickled and smiled shyly.

It feels kind of strange. My friend Ari san is next to me, but I’m uncharacteristically nervous.

Could this be the uniform effect?

It seems that Atago Girl’s Academy’s uniforms have a magic that increases a girl’s cuteness by 30%.

It sounds ridiculous, but I see, she does have a point.

Ari san is cute in plain clothes, but in her uniform, she exudes an aura of neatness and intelligence. Above all, the added status of being a “High school girl,” young and dainty, doubles her cuteness, not to mention 30%.

Atago is… cute !

But my time with Atago chan was short-lived, as Ryoko and I were only one station away from each other, and the time to get off the train came quickly.

“I’m gonna go now. See you on the weekend.”

“Yeah, see you on the weekend !”

I felt like pulling my hair back, but there was no way I could stay with her. Ari san has school and I have college.

If I could, I’d love to take a walk with her in her school uniform at Joshi Park, but I’ll pass on that.

“Maybe wearing a uniform at my home……that would be impossible.”

What kind of play is that, asking her to come to my house in a school uniform?

Let’s get rid of the stupid idea. I’m a hard man and a gentleman.

I inhaled the cool morning air to cool down my brain and proceeded home in a relaxed manner.

When I arrived at my apartment, I rummaged in the freezer for something that would make a good breakfast.

“I have to finish things properly and go to campus.”

Ding dong–

Just as I was about to heat up some frozen Neapolitan, the doorbell rings.

Who could it be? Delivery service? But I didn’t order anything……

“Yes, who is it,…………?”

I open the front door and answer the visitor. As soon as I saw her face, I froze.

“Ehehe, I’m here♡”

There she was, high school girl Ari chan.

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