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Incidentally, Reika graduates from primary school soon, so let’s have one chapter every 15 minutes until she does.
Winter came, and Oniisama entered the home stretch of his exam prep.
The department that Oniisama wanted to enter only admitted a small number of students and was strict with its selection, so he probably had it tough.
But he never displayed anything less than composure. As expected of Oniisama.
I wondered if I could do anything to help him, so I decided on the late-night snack after all, but the maid said that it would disrupt his rhythm and stopped me. She persuaded me that it was best just to pray in my heart for him.
Praying, huhh. Mm~mm, should I do the thing where you walk back and forth a hundred times while praying in front of a shrine?
When I went to Japanese and Maths cram classes as usual, Akizawa-kun who was supposed to be next to me was absent, and instead it was just Fukioka-san by her lonesome.
Hm? I wonder what’s going on.
As I wondered that, Fukioka-san noticed my presence and gave a small bow. And so I returned the bow, and walked over to her.
“Gokigen’yoh, Fukioka-san. Is Akizawa-kun not with your today?”
“Gokigen’yoh. Takumi is down with a cold today. He even had a fever, so he’s bedridden at the moment. He should have been absent from school as well. Did you not know?”
“Akizawa-kun and I are in different classes, and so I did not know about his absence. But a cold, is it? Just when did he catch it?”
“It began the day before yesterday. After that, apparently it got worse and worse. It doesn’t seem to be influenza though. Ah-, if you’d like, please sit down.”
Saying that, Fukioka-san invited me to sit by her side, so I decided to take up the offer.
I wonder if I can stay here for the duration of class too.
“Even though it is so very close to winter break, Akizawa-kun caught the cold. What dreadful luck. A number of my classmates are absent due to the cold and influenza as well.”
“My class is the same.”
After that, we chatted lightly about our own classes, before Fukioka-san fell into silence. And then,
“…Um, I’m sorry.”
“Umm, what might this be about?”
“…I didn’t want Takumi to be taken away from me, so I was malicious with you. Even at cram school, you had always been next to him, but I took that seat from you and made you sit by yourself, right? Even though Takumi told you to sit with us, because I looked unhappy…”
“That is nothing to worry about.”
I’m saying that for real.
At first I felt a little lonely, but I started going to the convenience store, so I immediately got used to it.
Fundamentally, I’ve always been a person who never really stays angry about anything. I was like this in my past life too. Except when it comes to food.
Speaking about it in reverse, when it comes to food, my wrath is terrifying.
And well, I wasn’t angry with Fukioka-san to begin with. I just thought she was a little scary, that’s all.
“Takumi explained that you were just a friend from cram school, but once I thought about how you knew Takumi in a school that I knew nothing about… I’m sorry. Today without Takumi, I felt incredibly forlorn. And I realised that you must have felt the same way all this time.”
No, I didn’t really feel forlorn or anything though…
“Please do not mind it, truly. As a rule, I am generally quite fine with being alone.”
“You’re strong, aren’t you, Kisshouin-san.”
Fukioka-san looked at me with eyes of respect.
When a Japanese-style beauty looks at you like that, it’s kind of embarrassing.
“You know, I was very worried about whether or not Takumi liked you, Kisshouin-san. No, rather, even now, I still worry. I mean, you’re so cute.”
Eh-, me, cute!?
Oh geez~ I don’t think that’s true at all though. Ehehe.
“I do not think something like that would ever happen though.”
“…You think so?”
“I do. I too have never thought of Akizawa-kun as more than a friend, after all.”
But he is a really good person. And he’s kind too.
But he’s not really the type that gets my heart pumping, hey?
Thinking about it, he’s actually pretty close to my ideal, so I wonder why. I’m sure it’s the difference between ideals and reality huh?
“You truly, won’t come to like him?”
She smiled in relief.
Such a worrywart. What’s the saying again? No husband so desirable as his wife is jealous? Basically, women tend to think of their men as much more popular than they actually are, huh?
Ah, no, it’s not like I’m saying Akizawa-kun isn’t popular, okay?
He’s got a cute face like a squirrel after all.
“At school, are there any other girls that Takumi is close to?”
“I wonder. We have never shared a class together, after all. Occasionally when I spot him in the hallways, only boys surround him. Neither have I heard any rumours about him, or any word of girls who have fallen for him, you see~”
Relieved huh? Thank goodness, thank goodness.
“To begin with, our school has a preeminently popular duo, after all. The other boys get very little attention.”
“Ah-, I’ve heard about that from Takumi. And I hear rumours of them at my school as well. Apparently they’re incredibly cool.”
Rumours about them even in other schools? That’s amazing.
Fukioka-san’s Yurinomiya Girls Academy is a Catholic style school so it’s a little different from Zui’ran, but it’s famous as an ojousama school. The rumours might have spread through the network of high class girls. They’re all ‘gokigen’yoh’ comrades, after all.
“Could it be that you like one of the two, Kisshouin-san?”
Fukioka-san asked me with an excited expression.
Maidens in love all apparently have great interest in the love stories of others.
“I do not feel anything like that in particular. I have nobody like that.”
And then she looked a little bored and let-down.
Sorry for failing to meet expectations.
But still, don’t think that everybody is just like you, and it’s somehow natural that they have somebody they like.
“Even though you’re going to a co-ed school…”
Even if I’m going to a co-ed, people unrelated to this stuff just aren’t related.
Like me, in my old life.
Ah-, tears are…
“Huhu, somehow you’re quite different from my first impression, Kisshouin-san.”
“Mn. When I met you at the recital, you had a more unapproachable atmosphere. Like the very model of a Zui’ran ojousama. ‘Takumi is definitely going to get taken from me!’ I panicked.”
“Unapproachable… So it truly is because of my hairstyle?”
“Rather than your hairstyle, it’s more like the atmosphere that you exude all around, perhaps. There are girls like you in Yurinomiya as well. But once I tried talking to you, you were completely different. I think I understand why Takumi became friends with you. …Um, would you become my friend as well?”
Eh-! Suddenly, ‘Friend GET’!?
Whoa, but still, I bet more than half of the reason is that you want to use me as an information source, right?
Even though I should’ve already retired from being a spy~
“Umm… I truly am in a different class from Akizawa-kun, so I really do not know how he is at school, you know?”
“Ah-, you think I’m trying to use you, Kisshouin-san? That’s not what this is. I just wanted to talk to you more. And well, if you did tell me stuff, I would be happy though. Huhu.”
In that case, I guess being friends would be fine too.
I’d find it more fun as well, being friends rather than ignored.
“Then, let us become friends.”
Seeing her smile as she clapped her hands before her chest, I really did think that this was the type of Japanese beauty that you’d want to protect. She’s cute. I want to learn from her.
After that, we chatted about our schools or Akizawa-kun and the like.
She and Akizawa-kun were neighbours, so their parents were close as well, and apparently they had been together since before they could remember. Akizawa-kun would always pull her hand and take her out to play, and she first started liking him in kindergarten.
But apparently Akizawa-kun wouldn’t notice her feelings at all. “Akizawa-kun is really thickheaded,” she said. Yeah, I thought that too.
But that thickheadedness is seriously on the straight path to your standard childhood friend route, huh~
Fukioka-san didn’t want to be separated from her beloved Akizawa-kun and wanted to go to Zui’ran as well, but because her Okaasama was an alumni of Yurinomiya she had to go there and so she bawled in front of Akizawa-kun.
And also, even though Yurinomiya is a Catholic-style school, Fukioka-san’s family has always been buddhist, so apparently she feels like a reverse-hidden Christian.
Apparently when she first enrolled, her heart was pounding all the time from the fear of being exposed and tried as a witch.
She’s a totally different type to Aoi-chan, but I managed to make a new friend.