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The day after Valentine’s, the thing with Yukino’s chocolate had, as expected, been completely misunderstood.
“Reika-sama’s real interest was in Enjou-sama!”
“I was so sure it was Kaburagi-sama!”
“But Enjou-sama is broadminded like she is, so don’t they go well together?”
“And I’ve seen them talking to each other a lot recently.”
Even my own group was using me as a topic for gossip.
Ayame-chan, the Enjou fan in our group, suddenly took my hand.
“I’ve admired Enjou-sama for a long time, but since it’s you I’ll cheer you on, Reika-sama!”
I mean this: you really don’t need to.
“I have mentioned this before but those chocolates were for his younger brother. Not for Enjou-sama himself.”
“Geez, you’re so shy, Reika-sama.”
The girls all smirked at me teasingly.
Hey, my stomach is really starting to hurt so please stop that.
“I am not being shy. The chocolate was for his esteemed brother, Yukino-kun. I am making at least that much clear!”
These baseless rumours needed to be crushed.
There was only about a year left until graduation.
If because of these Enjou rumours I somehow became even more unpopular it would be a nightmare.
Like, what if – and I really just mean what if – but what if there was a boy who secretly had a crush on me?
If that boy heard that I liked Enjou then wouldn’t he give up on me?
That would be a huge problem!
“…Well, if you’re that serious about it, then we’ll just take your word for it, Reika-sama.”
They seemed to sense my discomfort because they let it drop.
“Will you help me clear up the rumours?”
“We will. If anybody asks, we’ll say that you said it was just for his younger brother.”
“Please, please do, okay?”
Everyone acquiesced to my desperate plea.
I’m relying on you guys!
It wouldn’t be funny if the boy who secretly had a crush on me heard weird rumours and gave up just as he was thinking of confessing.
Don’t give up!
Speaking of confessions though…
It was the dream, wasn’t it?
Being asked to meet after school, and then pretending not to know they wanted to confess…
‘I have something I’d like to talk about, so could you stay back?’
‘Hmm? What about?’
And then in the empty classroom, illuminated by the evening sun…
‘The truth is, I’ve always liked you.’
Waah! That sounds so nice!
I wanted to experience it too.
“Speaking of which, Kaburagi-sama doesn’t seem too lively today.”
“Apparently he was sighing by himself in class. I wonder what happened.”
So you were looking forward to a chocolate from Wakaba-chan, and then got depressed when you didn’t get some?
Spring is ever distant, isn’t it, Kaburagi.
In the manga the two of them were already attracted like crazy by now, but reality was harsh.
It must have been irritating though, having the most salient kid in your class moping and sighing.
“But the feeling of melancholy he gives off is dreamy too.”
“His expression really plucks at the heartstrings.”
So as long as you were hot, gloominess would transform into melancholy in people’s heads?
The world was so unfair.
The rumours about my Valentine’s chocolates gradually died down thanks to my complete denials and Enjou’s own answers to people who asked.
A few days later, Yukino-kun himself came to the Pivoine’s salon.
“Reika-oneesan! Thank you for the Valentine’s chocolates!”
This was just more evidence.
Yukino-kun is really such an angel!
I was worried about him though.
Maybe the air was too dry, because he coughed from time to time.
“Are you all right, Yukino-kun?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Is your cold better, Reika-oneesan?”
“Yes. I am very well.”
I didn’t have the most robust body, but I never got really sick either.
“I hear you were admitted to the hospital a little while ago. Try not to overdo it, all right?”
He smiled happily as he blew on the hot tea in his hands.
The other members of the Pivoine were all enraptured by him too.
They gathered around our sofa and asked him this or that.
The former President Youko-sama was there as well.
Even after retiring, Youko-sama was still the radiant centre of the Pivoine.
Kaburagi didn’t do much as President, so Youko-sama still held a lot of influence.
What was troublesome was that our salon was host to both members from high school and middle school.
Because of that, the high school first years were already very familiar with her.
Not that I don’t think Kaburagi could bring them under his own influence if he could just be bothered to use his charisma.
The guy himself was useless due to lovesickness though.
You know, Kaburagi, Wakaba-chan still irritates Youko-sama.
If you became the president to protect her, shouldn’t you get your act together!
“Reika-oneesan, is something wrong?”
“You expression looked a little scary for a moment.”
“Oh goodness, I apologise. I was distracted for a moment…”
I guess without realising I had been glaring at Kaburagi.
I mean, he was just sitting there carefree, reading some book.
I quickly put on a smile for Yukino-kun.
It must be nice, relaxing over there, oblivious to everyone else’s worries.
What was he reading, anyhow?
Don’t tell me it was another poem anthology!?
God, what if it was Heine again?
I sealed the last one away because it had the stench of being dumped.
I wonder if having it nearby was the cause of my love troubles.
Maybe there was a better way of disposing of it.
Oh, maybe I could give it to Tsuruhana-san.
She’d always been fond of Kaburagi, after all.
I bet she’d be overjoyed.
But despite being his fan, apparently she gave chocolates to a whole slew of boys.
Some upperclassmen confessed to her too.
She had such a bad personality, so why was she so popular!?
Did nobody care about youur personality as long as you were a beauty!?
So boys were all like that after all!
And why not me…!?
Oh gosh. Did I make a scary face again?
Ah well, whatever.
While everyone was caught up in romance, I was going to study my butt off and make a come-back on the ranking board.
Just watch me!
Tonight I was studying past midnight.
For supper, I’d have red udon for good luck.
Anyhow, after Yukino left with Enjou, I stayed back at the salon for a bit before heading to the carpark.
Katsuragi was glaring at me there.
“Did you really give chocolates to Enjou-san!?”
You don’t have to shout. I can hear you just fine.
And wow, is your information network slow.
“They were for his brother, Yukino.”
Since it was cold I just walked right past him.
“Enjou-san already has Yuiko-san! You got that? Don’t get in the way!”
Aah, shut up already.
That was something to think about, though.
There was a chance that Yuiko-san might have heard about the chocolates too…
What a pain.