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“Was it Yua…..that Kingo was dating?”

A stunned voice with no inflection.

It was a weak and feeble murmur that would have been defeated by even the ripples of the sun, but it had the power to drown out all the sounds of the outside world.

As a result, my consciousness turned completely white in an instant, and my entire body was covered in disgusting sweat.

“H-how did you……?”

“No, you just said that !?

“Who !?”

“You, Kingo !”

“How !?”

“You said you met Yua’s eyes and kissed her !”

I felt a thunderbolt strike my brain.

Wow, I’ve done it !

What the hell, did I just expose my own love life in the band?

I had no intention of telling her who I had kissed, but I got carried away and mentioned her name!!

“Forget it.”

“No, no, no, I can’t !?It’s shocking news that my idol I’ve been chasing is in love with the singer of the band !?”

Ari san’s bite was unbelievable.

The only people who know about the relationship are relatives and close friends. It’s not exactly top secret information, but it’s not something I would share with a complete stranger, so I haven’t shared it with anyone. It’s no wonder that my fan, Ari san, didn’t know about it.

“Whoa〜, what a surprise〜. I see….Yua……heh……”

“Ari san? Get a hold of yourself ! Why are you fading? You’re withering !”

Didn’t you say earlier that you won’t hate it if your idol is in love?

No, she doesn’t hate it, but she is just simply surprised.

“Ha !? It brought back memories of the first time I went to a live music club……”

Ari san shakes her head and pulls herself back to consciousness. How many years of memories did you go back to?

“I mean, you were dating Yua and then you broke up with her, maybe that’s how you left Lyconess? But when you told me before, you said, [Because I’m dragging my feet.]……”

Come to think of it, I told Ari san the exact reason why Nobuhiko told me I was fired.

Thanks to that, it looks like I lied. I have to clear up the misunderstanding somehow.

“It wasn’t a lie. Nobuhiko told me that day at the band meeting and kicked me out of Lyconess.”

“Didn’t Yua cover for you then?”

Ari san asked in a timid voice, as if touching something fragile.

I was at a loss for an answer. I was about to say, [Yua wouldn’t cover for me] but  I stopped when I realized that the conversation wasn’t going anywhere. 

The timeline was not connected in Ari san’s mind. Could she have imagined that Yua and Nobuhiko were already dating at that time?

What can I do, the tangle of philandering within the band is really vivid.

When I hesitated,  Ari san grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly.

She did this because she saw through my attempt to use a trick.

She was determined to know the truth.

That’s what I perceived.

At the same time, I wanted to tell her the truth.

Just as I had confided the truth and my painful feelings to Ryoko, I wanted to confide them to Ari san.

I wanted the girl who was watching me from afar to know this.

I squeezed back Ari san’s hand, which was wrapped around my fist.

“Actually…..”

I told her the whole story in a halting manner. I tried to keep the conversation as raw as possible, but I told the truth as much as I could.

When I started attending university, my misunderstandings with Yua increased.

I could no longer devote as much time to my band activities as I had in high school.

But my hard work paid off and I was approached by a production company in Tokyo.

Nobuhiko was getting closer to Yua behind my back.

And they had both left me and moved to Tokyo.

“Looking back on it now, I think that Nobuhiko was just using his spirit and ability as a pretext to get rid of me and move on with his life with Yua. As a lover, as a fellow band member. He thought it would be awkward to have me, her ex-boyfriend, there, so he gave a good reason to get rid of me. Well, it’s a very prideful thing for him to do.”

I ended my memoir with the utmost contempt.

“I’m sorry it’s come to this. You’re disillusioned, aren’t you? You’ve learned about Lyconess’ disgusting inner life.”

Ari san remained silent throughout the conversation. She listened to me all the way through with a pained expression on her face.

I knew I shouldn’t have told her.

She devoted her youth to Lyconess. So I should have been–no, we, Lyconess, should have been a rock star to brighten her memory forever.

To show weakness as a human being is a failure as a performer.

I had such regrets.

“Kingo…..it was hard, wasn’t it?”

Ari san’s voice was unsteady and shaky, as if she was about to lose her equilibrium at any moment. It wasn’t just her voice, but her eyes were full of tears, and I was worried that the slightest breeze would cause them to overflow.

I knew I shouldn’t have confided in her.

My role is to cheer her up, give her courage, and make her smile.

I shouldn’t have done such a miserable thing by telling her about my painful past and trying to get her to feel sorry for me.

“N-no, it’s not that it’s hard……. Rather, I feel strangely at peace being alone…….”

I desperately tried to cover it up. 

“That’s not true !”

For some reason, I was taken aback. A single tear ran down from her eye at that moment.

“How could you not be bitter about being betrayed by your girlfriend and friend, being shot down just before your debut, and not being able to make your dream come true ! How could you not have regrets ! That’s why you looked so sad that night, isn’t it?”

“Ari san…..”

Everything was predictable. In the first place, I was seen looking like an abandoned cat the day I was chased away from Lyconess.

 

I feel like an idiot.

“No, you see….. I can’t let Ari san see me looking bad, or so I say……:”

“You don’t have to ! It’s natural to feel pain when you’ve been through something terrible ! If you’re in pain, say you’re in pain ! If you’re depressed, it’s my job as a fan to do everything in my power to cheer you up !”

It was like being hit with a hammer.

It was the moment I realized how shallow I had been, thinking only of dressing up.

I’m sure there was no need for me to be shy with Ari san, who was trying to understand my pain. It was rather rude of me not to be sincere with me.

“Aren’t you……disillusioned?”

I was still a little scared. The wound of being betrayed by the person who had been your lover and best friend was unexpectedly tingling.

“I’m not disillusioned ! It’s not Kingo’s fault !”

Ari san assured me. In addition, she was on my side.

That made me very happy.

“Yua is terrible ! Kingo worked so hard to go to college so he could have time for his band. It’s her role to support you as a girlfriend ! I hate her already !

Ari san was furious, blowing steam out of her head. I’m glad she’s mad at me for my sake, but it’s a little funny.

“I-I made Yua feel lonely, so we’re even. She’s pretty lonely.”

“But that doesn’t mean she should cheat on you ! Nobuhiko too. He’s an animal to make a move on his friend’s girlfriend !”

“That’s exactly what I mean ! I really can’t tolerate that guy !”

There is no disagreement here. He must have been a hyena or a vulture in his previous life.

“Fufu, Kingo, are you feeling better?”

Ari san smiled when she saw that I made a loud noise. I was embarrassed, so I started to laugh as well.

“Well, a little.”

“A little, huh? Let’s play one more game to cheer you up !”

“One last game.”

Now I had no more secrets left. So there was no reason to be frightened.

Ari san flips a coin and catches it.

“I’ll take tail.”

“Then I’ll take head.”

The coin came out….head. Three times in a row.

“I won. So, Ari san, truth or dare?”

“Dare !”

She made her choice with a bullish expression on her face. Just looking at the expression on her face that seemed to be determined to overcome any difficult task seemed to energize me.

But what should I ask Ari san to do?

As I was pondering what to ask her to do, she opened her mouth and said.

“If you can’t find a subject, may I challenge myself?”

“Yes, but what will you do?”

“I’m going to sing a song ! Kingo, give me your guitar !”

“Haa, go ahead.”

As my permission is granted, Ari san grabs an acoustic guitar from the stand and slings the strap over her shoulder.

Ari san sings live, huh. But has Ari san ever played the guitar before?

As I looked at her with suspicion, she began to pick away at the guitar.

“Wow~, Kingo, please get well soon~♪ A depressed Kingo is not Kingo~♪ Laser beams suit you~♪ Tragic spotlights don’t suit you~♪ I hope for the day when I can reunite with you on stage ~I’ll be waiting~♪”

The outro of Ari san’s improvised original song ended with a crisp [Ta-da].

She sang a crazy song with no notes, rhymes, chords, or anything else. If she were to perform such a song in front of the station, it would inevitably draw the ridicule of passersby.

But I was happy even with such a song. My fan is trying her best to cheer me up by singing this song. It was impossible for it not to touch my heart.

“Are you cheered up?”

There was no tension or shame in Ari san’s expression as she asked me. It was bright and cheerful, filled with sincerity for me.

“Yes, I am. Thank you for the wonderful song.”

“Ehehe, likewise.”

It was a truly wonderful song. It made me feel like an idiot for dragging out the recollections forever.

“Hey, Kingo, I’ll share more of my energy with you in the spring !”

“Thank you. But I was happy enough just now.”

“But that’s not enough. It is not even one percent of the energy you got from me.”

That’s an exaggeration.

“Then I look forward to spring.”

“Yeah ! Let’s have lots of fun after the exams are over and I become a student at Hokusei University !”

That’s….I’m looking forward to spring coming.

I smiled again.

I wonder what kind of college life with Ari san will be like.

“I’m gonna go to school now. Thank you for accompanying me even though I suddenly barged in.”

“It was a fun morning.”

Ari san puts down my guitar and gets ready to go to school. She picked up a coin she had left on the table and tried to put it back in her wallet.

But my hand slipped and the coin fell from my fingers and rolled to my feet. I picked it up out of reflex.

“Don’t touch that !”

I don’t know why, but Ari san stopped me with a desperate look on her face. But the coin was already in my hand.

And I was so dubious at being told such a strange thing that I just stared at the ten-yen coin.

It was nothing special, just a ten-yen coin. It is slightly darkened, but the head is engraved on the front. On the reverse side is…..

“There’s no…..tail !?”

I thought the obverse would be engraved with the face value, but to my surprise, head is also on that side.

It is an error coin. It was a coin in which an error had occurred during the minting process.

“I’m amazed ! I’ve heard of angular misalignment and reverse transfers, but there is such a thing as the same engraving on both sides. How could such a mistake happen? I mean, double-sided obverse means……”

Suspicion rises.

The odds of winning a coin game are one in two. But if both sides are face up, then, of course, if you predict the face up, you will always win.

In other words, Ari san was cheating.

I pursued her with a stern gaze.

Then Ari san smiled a disarmingly deceptive smile and swept her gaze away. But when she saw that my gaze showed no sign of relaxing, she said,

“Teehee☆”

She tried to deceive me !?

She poked her head and flicked her tongue out in a pretentious gesture.

Grrh, I can’t really blame you for posing like that.

I have no intention of blaming her.

In the last game, Ari san chose the wrong side and lost on purpose. I’m sure she was planning to sing as a challenge.

Her kindness touched my heart so deeply that it almost canceled out the cheating.

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