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After the athletics carnival, Tomoe-senpai and I became a small topic of discussion.
“I had no idea you were so close to the former President.”
“To think he’d announce his victory and smile at you like that. Could it be that there’s actually something between you two?”
My friends loved talk about romance, so all of them were looking excited and expectant.
“I admire and look up to Tomoe-senpai very much, but we are not in the sort of relationship you are all imagining. If strange rumours caused trouble to him, I would not be able to face him…”
I made sure to quickly put out the fire.
“Ehhhh~ But you were cheering for him so passionately, Reika-sama. When I saw you two like that it sent my heart pounding, you know!”
“But gosh, the former President was so dashing~! And he was even Champion!”
“He really was cool! I actually found out that he won last year too! He’s the two-time champion!”
It looks like my heart wasn’t the only one pierced by his smile. Everyone was using our interaction as an excuse to keep talking about him.
Hmmmm~ What do I do. It was basically nothing, but a rumour was a rumour…
When I heard the same rumours at the Pivoine Salon, that was when I started to worry a little.
After all, his actual girlfriend Kasumi-sama was here.
“I had no idea you were close with that Tomoe guy,” started a third year upperclassman.
“Yes. He helped me a great deal when I was a class representative in middle school. I was made the vice representative of my class again this year, so he has been helping me once again.”
“Ah, I see. I’m begging ya, at least don’t tell me you like him or something.”
“Goodness. Tomoe-senpai is somebody I respect very much.”
Uuu, Kasumi-sama didn’t seem too offended, but…
I couldn’t imagine it was a good feeling to watch people gossip about your boyfriend and some other girl. I was rash.
Some of the older girls began talking about Emperor, so I used that topic change to get away. Kasumi-sama was sitting further away on a sofa, so I sidled down next to her.
“My, Reika-sama. Gokigen’yoh,” she said, meeting me with a smile.
“Ummm… I am unsure how to apologise for this, but…” I whispered.
“My! Huhu, don’t tell me you were worried about me? I’m completely fine.”
“Truly. And he’s honestly surprisingly popular so this isn’t even close to the first time this has happened.”
“Eh-, is that so!?”
“Yep. So don’t you worry, Reika-san. Senju was happily telling me about how you cheered for him, you know?”
Since she really didn’t seem to mind, I let out a tentative sigh of relief. I was like the homewrecker villainess by birth, so I was worried I might one day break up some couple by accident.
“More importantly, you really gave me a shock when you appeared in that rat costume. Whatever came over you?”
Kasumi-sama gazed at me worriedly.
“The girl who was supposed to participate injured herself, so I became the replacement.”
“I see. But a rat costume… You really take your role as the class representative seriously, don’t you, Reika-sama.”
Ummm… Kasumi-sama was looking at me heartbroken, like I was some tragic heroine. I really didn’t know how to respond. Was the costume really that bad? I thought it was pretty tame compared to the gaudy Cinderella and Prince costumes.
Speaking of which, my friends kept trying to cheer me up when I got back from the costume race. And even when people in my class joked about Iwamuro-kun, nobody ever mentioned me.”
“…Was my costume so strange?”
“Not at all! You were very charming! However, I can’t say I have really ever heard of a Pivoine participating in the costume race before…”
She was right, come to think of it. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that as a Pivoine member.
“Was it perhaps the wrong decision…?”
“I wouldn’t go that far, but…”
I think I could have done quite a few things better this athletics carnival. I made a note to reflect on it.
I happened to glance at my watch and realised it was time to be picked up by my chaffeur.
“I need to take my leave for today.”
“Yes. I have lessons soon.”
“I see. Gokigen’yoh.”
After packing up, I was about to leave when I passed Kaburagi and Enjou.
Our eyes met.
“Oh, the stupid mouse.”
The whole salon went dead silent.
I forced a stiff smile onto my face.
“…Gokigen’yoh, Kaburagi-sama, Enjou-sama. You must be excusing me.”
I was about to leave again when Kaburagi looked at me seriously.
“Where was your mouse nose? What were you even supposed to be? Put in a bit more effort next year.”
…Shut up, you athletics carnival lunatic! Who let you decide that I would even be competing next year!
They wouldn’t let me have the nose, and to be honest even I have a little self-respect!
I stalked down the hallway and headed for my car.
When I returned home from piano practice I found Imari-sama there for the first time in a very long time.
“Hey, Reika-chan. How’ve you been?”
“Very well. And you, Imari-sama?”
“I’ve been great too.”
Today he was wearing a suit. Wow, this was the charm of an adult!
“What brings you to our home today?”
“I had something I wanted to borrow from Takateru. Gee, you’re still as cute as a doll, aren’t you Reika-chan.”
He patted me on the head.
“Imari, stop touching people’s sisters,” said Oniisama after flicking off Imari-sama’s hand.
“Gosh! Your Oniisama is so scaaary, isn’t he, Reika-chan. But you’re like the little sister I’ve always wanted. My family is filled with nothing but brothers. I know! Reika-chan, why don’t you marry my little brother? Then you’ll be my little sister for real. Ah, but I’d be more than happy to marry you too, you know?”
“Marry you, Imari-sama? Why, that would be like a dream come true.”
“Wouldn’t it? I’ll marry you any time, Reika-chan.”
The two of us laughed together, but Oniisama looked irritated for once.
“…Imari, come to my room.”
“I’m sorry, Older Brother, it was just a joke.”
“Shut it and come. Now.”
Imari-sama was literally dragged away. It was nice to see that they were as close as ever.
Speaking of which, hadn’t I made up a story about being in love with Imari-sama? I had totally forgotten about it. I decided to tell them when they got back.
‘Apparently I’ve always been in love with you, Imari-sama.’
I was sure that he and Oniisama would find it a riot as well.
When Imari-sama came back to the living room he looked gaunt. Talking business must have been exhausting. He was probably buried in work. After all, he said,
“I don’t think I can come here for a while, again…”
All the art seen above was drawn by Rahakan.