“Haaah~, I’m not happy that it looked like I’ve been completely one-upped but…. I wonder if this is what they called paying the piper”
Masachika, who had been seen off by Touya with, “Because it’s already this late, please come back tomorrow with the formality papers”, was walking towards the main gate under the darkness of the night together with Alisa who was also informed with “Your work for the day is already done”.
Masachika walked while grumbling and behind him, Alisa followed Masachika while slightly casting her eyes downwards without saying anything
However, at the moment they were about halfway to the school gate, she suddenly stopped in her tracks, “Hey”, and called out to him.
“Hm? What’s wrong?”
Masachika stopped walking and looked back, but Alisa said nothing. She was staring fixedly at Masachika’s face with complicated emotions projected in her blue eyes.
At such Alisa, Masachika also stared back with calm eyes.
“Are you really, going to join the student council?”
She stammered a little, then asked a question as if she had resolved herself.
“So that you can run for the student council president election, together with Yuki-san?”
“….And if so?”
Masachika returned Alisa’s question with another question.
“If so, what would you do? Are you gonna give up becoming one?”
At Masachika’s provocative question, Alisa closed her eyes for a moment as if to cast away her complacency, and replied with eyes harboring strong radiance.
“I will.. definitely be the student council president…. Even if.. the opponent is you. I’m never going to give up”
Masachika’s expression loosened at those powerful eyes.
I wanted to see this radiance.
I wanted to protect this radiance.
Longing for this radiance of her fragile, yet noble soul, I’ve quietly supported so it won’t ever get clouded.
So far, only from the shadows.
But, from now on….
When Masachika nodded with his eye closed, Alisa tightly pursed her lips. As Alisa slightly casted her eye down, Masachika suddenly opened his eyes wide and declared clearly.
“Then, I’ll make you the student council president”
Alisa looked up in shock. Staring fixedly at those wavering eyes, Masachika held out his hand towards Alisa.
“If you wish for it, I’ll make you the student council president with all my power. I won’t leave you alone anymore. From now on, I’ll be by your side supporting you. That’s why…. Just shut up and take this hand!” Alya!”
At Masachika’s words, all kinds of words came and went inside Alisa’s mind.
“Why?” “Why me?” “Not Yuki-san?”, many doubts arose. However, before Masachika’s unyielding gaze, it’s all dissolved and disappeared
(Aah, I see….)
Suddenly, Alisa realized. Masachika has seen through it. Alisa’s…. hopeless, stubborn nature.
That’s why he was telling her. No need for “Help” nor “Let’s fight together”. He just said, shut up and take this hand.
I have.. always been alone. I thought I would never have anyone to call an ally as I always regarded everyone as rivals, and only looked down on others.
But…. what if, there’s someone who would accept all of this hopelessness of mine, and become an ally unconditionally. If such a being exists, then….
I wonder what the emotion that welled up in my heart really is. Alisa did not understand.
It seemed to be all of those things and none of those things.
Waves of intense emotions attacked her, and for some reason, Alisa felt like crying.
However, no tears were shed.
She didn’t want the youth in front of her to see her like that.
And, It’s also because she thought he didn’t want to see herself like that either.
That’s why, she puffed her chest up in pride and looked forward.
She wasn’t asking for help.
No flattery, nor dependence. She just… held this hand as an equal partner.
“Yeah, I look forward to working with you from now on. Alya”
As if responding to her will, Masachika smiled slightly and nodded.
Only, as an equal partner.
At his nonchalant kindness, Alisa’s mouth naturally broke out into a smile as beautiful as a blooming flower.
From her slightly opened lips, a voice coming from the bottom of her heart spilled out.
Masachika’s heart leapt at the confession which she had not intended to make, and at the heartfelt smile he had never seen before until now.
At the same time, the nostalgic memory of those distant days…. and that girl’s smile surfaced in his mind.
(Wha-what is, this)
His heart was pounding fast. It was the fluttering sense of love which he thought would never be able to feel again for the second time since that girl disappeared.
(Ha ha…. Are you serious. These feelings… still inside me, huh)
I can’t take my eyes away from the girl in front of me. The hands clasped together feel hot. ….? Rather than hot…. It hurts?
“!? It hurts it hurts it hurts!! Why!?”
Before he knew it, the smile on her face had changed into a plastered smile unnoticed, and her hands were filled with a power similar to that of a vise.
Masachika raised a shout while bending his body down forward, and looked up, sending a questioning and protesting gaze. As his gaze was countered by an absolute zero gaze, Alisa calmly asked a question.
“Just now…. were you thinking about another girl?”
“How did you know!? Ah….”
He answered reflexively and then thought, “I’ve done goofed!”, but it’s already too late. At the same time, he broke out into cold sweat, realizing that he had done the worst thing he could’ve done.
(It’s bad it’s bad it’s bad! Thinking about a girl from the past after getting confessed is the second worst thing a protagonist of a romantic comedy could’ve done in a confession event!)
By the way, the first place was failing to hear the confession. You should never do this as it will greatly reduce the favorability of the readers, let alone the heroine.
(….wait, this is not the time to think about that!)
He forcibly brought back his thoughts that unconsciously tried to escape from reality by going to the otaku area.
But, as Masachika’s experience with love in real life hadn’t improved at all since elementary school, it’s rather difficult for him to think of a way to break out from this situation.
In the meantime he was wracking his brain, Alisa spoke up first with a cold smile.
“Earlier, ‘From now on, I’ll be supporting you’, you said that, didn’t you”
“Eh, aah, yeah. I did, say that”
It was quite embarrassing to be told this again, but what came before Alisa’s sharp and cold eyes was not an embarrassed smile, but a twitching smile.
“So right after you said that…. you were thinking about Yuki-san”
“No, I wasn’t thinking about Yuki….”
“Wai!? It seriously hurts!?”
The moment he said he wasn’t thinking about Yuki, his right hand, once again, was clamped down with a strength similar to a vise. Masachika screamed, “Why!?”, in his heart.
“If you want forgiveness…. Just shut up and accept this hand”
Seeing Alisa slowly raising her left hand, Masachika understood her intention and closed his eyes.
There was a fierce impact running through his right cheek immediately after and Masachika was blown away, and not in a metaphorical way.
“He, hehe…. Nice slap”
Masachika gave Alisa a thumbs up as he pathetically fell to the ground. She made an astonished face at such Masachika while offering her hand, putting her anger to rest as she had declared.
Masachika accepted her hand, stood up, and slapped his pants to remove the dusts.
“….Time to go home”
“I suppose so”
They then headed home side by side. Not too close and not too far apart, it’s a distance where they could naturally hold hands if they reached out to each other.
“Boy, that was my first time getting slapped by a girl. My experience as a guy has increased again, huh”
“Did you hit your head when you fell earlier?”
“There’s nothing wrong with my head, okay!?”
“I guess so, you have a disappointing head from the start after all”
“How dare you said that to this bright person once called a wonder child”
“Wonder child? ….Fuu~n”
“Ah, it’s the eyes that don’t believe that at all”
They walked a little closer than usual, while both of them feeling relieved they’re able to carry on their usual interactions with each other. And by the time they reached the front of Alisa’s apartment building, Alisa looked a little concerned.
“….is your cheek, okay? Do you want something to cool it down?”
Perhaps truthfully not minding it, Masachika spoke cheerfully with a wry smile.
“Yeah, it’s fine. I couldn’t feel my right cheek somewhat, but it’s nothing compared to the anesthesia I got from the dentist!”
“That’s not what you call ‘it’s fine’…. ”
Having her worry replied with a joke, Alisa shrugged her shoulders with a dumbfounded expression. And, with a face having realized something, she raised her head and reached out her index finger and gently stroked Masachika’s right cheek.
“Can you really, not feel anything?”
“Ah, well…. I was just joking. The sense a bit numbed is true, though”
Alisa suddenly smiled at Masachika answering while slightly flustered. In the next moment, Alisa placed her hands on Masachika’s shoulders, and got closer with a soft smile.
A soft sensation was pressed against Masachika’s right cheek as he froze at the sudden situation, and a kissing sound sounded in his ear.
Masachika opened his eyes wide in surprise and Alisa quickly stepped back, giving him a ridiculing look.
“What are you so shocked about. It’s just a kiss cheek”
“What do you mean ‘just’…. Isn’t cheek kisses usually just cheek to cheek….”
“That’s right? Actually it’s not a kiss, but just a sound I made with my mouth”
“No, but…. Hmm?”
The sensation just now…. wait, which is it!?
“Well then, see you tomorrow”
“Ah, yeah…. See you tomorrow”
With his mind distracted, he saw Alisa off walking into the entrance waving his hand. After he couldn’t see her back anymore, Masachika then crouched down on the spot with his head in his hands.
“Eeeeh~~? No, seriously which one was it??”
Stroking his cheek which was still hot, Masachika desperately tried to recall the sensation from earlier. However, no matter how much he tried to recall it, no definite answer came up.
“Alyaaaa~~ Please answer me in Russiaan~”
On the dark night street, Masachika’s pitiful voice resounded.
Aaaaaaand done. Took me 4 weeks. Not sure if I’m gonna read the next volume too. That’s what future me has to decide, not the current me.