Chapter 3

Shirakawa-san was popular among the classmates, both males and females.

Of course, that meant she also talked to guys a lot.

It’s an otherworldly scene I didn’t particularly care about before but now that I’ve become her boyfriend, seeing her doing that in break times made my heart tingle in no small way.

Not to mention if the other party was a regular member of the soccer club, good-looking cheery guy.

But I didn’t have the right to interfere with Shirakawa-san’s circle of friends. A sadistic good-looking guy from a shoujo manga would probably say something like “Don’t look at other men but me”, but it’s not something I could possibly do.

Besides, it’s not like I wanted Shirakawa-san to change.

If I really thought about it, the Shirakawa-san I fell for was a popular person surrounded by many friends, both males and females. I would never think that she, just because she dated me, should become similar to me…. a gloomy person who only had several friends and only of the same sex.

“But that soccer club member, lately he really comes to talk to her a lot, doesn’t he….”

I, who was a Shirakawa-san watcher before we started dating, had somewhat of a good grasp of her hangers-ons. That soccer club guy in question was a new face that had suddenly approached Shirakawa-san in the past week or two.

It was then, Shirakawa-san who was talking to the soccer guy, casually turned to me and our eyes met.

“Ah, Ryu….”

She smiled and was about to open her mouth to say something, but then she noticed the eyes of the soccer guy.

“What’s wrong?

When asked by the soccer guy, she said “It’s nothing” and lightly shook her head. Then she smiled lightly again, and looked away from me.

Because she followed my wish of not talking at school, I had no complaints about her attitude.

But if I can say “Shirakawa-san is my girlfriend” in front of everyone, I wonder if these small murky feelings will disappear, that’s what I would think at times like this.

“Hey…. as I thought, It’s better to leave it as a secret, right?”

While us three were having lunch as usual, I dared to ask them.

“What’s the matter, buddy?”

When Ichi looked at me and asked, Nishi also opened her mouth in a concerned manner.

“You mean that you’re KEN’s Kids? That’s a given. KEN is like a god inside us, but to the general public, let alone an unknown, he’s an ex-pro of a game that shoots people which is not much different than a professional killer. Coming out will only make your classmates feel weird about you”

“Not that. Oh, and don’t use game terminology”

Nishi was the most hardcore devotee of KEN among us three and yet, he said some terrible things to god.

“I didn’t mean that…. It’s about me dating Shirakawa-san”

I told them in a hushed voice and their shoulders jerked up. After that, they took a glance at me and exchanged glances with each other, then lowered their brows in a regrettable manner.

“Kashi…. You’re still going on about that, huh”

“Well, I guess he can’t help it. That’s how virgins are”

“What the hell does that suppose to mean? Rather, you guys are virgins too”

Not caring about my remarks, they shrugged their shoulders as if to say, “good grief”.

“Look, Okay-ing Kashi’s confession is a first-class joke by Shirakawa Runa”

“That’s right. To think that you take a cheery person’s joke seriously and still think you’re dating her, it’s beyond pathetic it’s laughable, Kashi”

“Eh, Eeeh….!?”

I wanted to object to them, saying that we’re regularly sending LINE messages everyday and even had a date on Saturday, but there was no sign they’d listen to me.

“If you have the spare time to keep dreaming foolish dreams, don’t you think it’d be more constructive to aim for the top Kids like us?”

“True that. A woman in flesh would stop contacting us immediately, but KEN never betrays us and posts new videos every day, right?”

Uhuh, have you ever really been in contact with a real woman in flesh? I wanted to complain but if I said anything now it seemed like I’d only be given pitying looks so I had no choice but stay silent.

“….Fine, geez”

I made a small grumble and then focused on eating my lunch.

They said having good friends was a blessing but if they didn’t even believe in the fact that you’re in a relationship, there was no way to consult with them.

What made me bothered about the soccer guy like this, and started to think to make my relationship with Shirakawa-san known was a small incident that happened on Sunday.

On Sunday…. In other words, the day after our date and as usual, Shirakawa-san sent a good morning through LINE.

I sent a reply to that but different from usual, it didn’t get read. Of course, there was no reply and then a few hours passed. It was four hours later that I finally got a read and a LINE from her.

Moreover, she didn’t tell me afterwards about what happened during that time. I kind of couldn’t ask her but then I remembered what she said

──I have plans on Sunday, but I’m free on Saturday

I was sure that was what Shirakawa-san said when I asked her out on a date.

What was this plan….? What on earth was this “Plan” that made Shirakawa-san, who always replies through LINE immediately, not able to send a reply for four hours.

Once I started worrying about it, I couldn’t stop.

After I got home from school, I laid down on the bed in my own room and agonized over that matter.

Even if it was true, it’s not like I mind that Shirakawa-san was out with her male friend on Sunday. Well, I actually am…. more than a little bothered but, I want her to be honest with me.

That way, it’d be much better than the sloppy-made secret that we have now. The boyfriend, the best man for her is me…. I can at least think that.

“….Again”

Pathetic. I still don’t have confidence in myself after all.

I’m not confident that Shirakawa-san likes me as a boyfriend.

I knew from the start that my feelings for her were always much stronger than hers. Shirakawa-san didnt know anything about me, she only “likes me a little” because I confessed to her.

But, the fact that she made me her “boyfriend” should mean that she thinks I’m more special than a “male friend”. I’m the one who doesn’t feel it.

It’s wholly due to my lack of confidence….

“….. Ah, geez! But I can’t act like a boyfriend and ask Shirakawa-san ‘What did you do on Sunday?’, can I!?”1

Then it happened.

The phone I placed on the bedside rang, and when I looked at the screen, it’s pop-up for LINE.


☆LUNA☆

Can you get to the station now?


“Eh?”

Now? What’s this…. I’m getting nervous

“It’s not about breaking up, right….?

I went to K Station while feeling nervous and found Shirakawa-san inside the ticket gate. She seemed to have returned home once and was dressed in her casual clothes, wearing a miniskirt and bare-shoulders top.

I went in with my commuter pass and approached her.

“Shirakawa-san, what’s wro….”

“Ta-da!”

Before I could’ve finished speaking, Shirakawa-san held something that looked completely like an inro2 in front of me.

“Eh….?”

When I looked at it, it looked like a phone case. A familiar character was printed and scattered on the whole surface. It’s a rabbit character with a strange face Shirakawa-san often used in LINE.

“It’s an Osausa3 phone case! It’s a limited edition sold in the store opening of a chara shop in Harajuku, with a limit of one per person”

“Osausa?”

“You don’t know? ‘Old man rabbit’. Super cute right?”

“Cute….?”

I was thinking it’s a rabbit with a face similar to Gol●13’s,4 though….

“Well, since you like it, I’m glad you got one”

“Yep! And here!”

Shirakawa-san said that and pushed the phone case towards me.

“What?”

“I give it to you. This one’s for Ryuuto”

“Eh? Why….”

It’s a limited edition of only one per person, and she went all the way to get one, didn’t she?, and as I was puzzled, she took out something and showed it to me.

“Look look, it’s a match!”

It was Shirakawa-san’s phone housed in the same case.

“I asked Nikoru to get in line with me. We played games since morning and the battery ran out before the store opening, so I couldn’t open LINE until I got home”

“Ah….”

I was flabbergasted when I realized it was about Sunday.

 Shirakawa-san smiled when she saw me like that.

“If I’m gonna get a new one anyway, I wanna have it match with Ryuuto. You remember? Today, is the one-week anniversary since we started dating”

“Ah….”

Now that she mentioned it, it’s indeed exactly a week ago I confessed my feelings.

I don’t get the sense that a week is an “anniversary”, though.

“Tha-thanks….”

I couldn’t say my thanks properly because I was so moved that I felt dazed.

I could feel the murky feelings I’d been carrying since earlier slowly going away.

“….Looks like you’ve troubled Yamana-san, huh. If you told me I’d have lined up with you, though”

“Nope! I wanna give you a surprise present today”

Like that, Shirakawa-san smiled.

“You didn’t notice right? Was the surprise a hit?”

When I saw her happily smiling, the feeling of affection welled up from deep in my chest.

“Yeah, I was surprised….”

I was worried about a number of unusual things though, like when she ran out of battery so she couldn’t get in touch and she didn’t explain the reason for that.

Looking at Shirakawa-san’s carefree smile, it appeared that there’s nothing to be worried about.

A week ago, I started the relationship with her being afraid that she okay-ed the confession to make fun of me, or she’d do the same thing the beautiful girl who rejected me in the past did to me. The reason why the thing about the soccer guy bothered me, or why I couldn’t claim “We’re seriously dating” to Ichi and Nishi when they didn’t believe it, is because I don’t have the confidence as a “Boyfriend” myself.

But perhaps, Shirakawa-san cares about me more than I thought she did.

──If I’m gonna get a new one anyway, I wanna have it match with Ryuuto.

It was the first time I felt that way when I saw the smile on her face when she said that.

“….What’s wrong, Ryuuto?”

I was surprised when I got called by Shirakawa-san. I was so deeply moved I ended up thinking about many things even though she was right in front of me.

“Do you not like the phone case? Do you not wanna have this kind of thing?”

I shook my head in panic seeing Shirakawa-san looking worried.

“No, I’m happy. Thank you. I’ll take care of it”

Setting aside whether Osausa is cute or not, I’m honestly really happy…. that Shirakawa-san gave me a matching present for our anniversary(?).

“Really? I’m glad!”

Shirakawa-san smiled happily.

“Then, why were you somewhat lost in thought just now?”

“Eh? Umm….”

I tried to find something I was just thinking about that I could share.

“….I …in the past, confessed to a girl, you see….”

“Eh, what’s that!? When?”

Shirakawa-san’s eyes suddenly blazed up and she took the bait. Looks like she likes to talk about romantic affairs.

“When I was in the first year of middle school”

“What’s she like? Was she similar to me?”

“No, not so much…. She’s a quiet, black-haired girl”

“Ah, a neat and proper type, I see. Totally different, right”

Shirakawa-san was immediately convinced.

“So, did something happen with that girl?”

“I was rejected. She’s been nice to me and everything, and she even said about liking me so I thought that that girl definitely had a thing for me and yet…. I was mistaken”

Shirakawa-san was listening to my story in silence.

“Ever since then, I’ve always been unsure about girls. It’s not like I’ve had that much from the start anyway…. That’s why, it’s unbelievable to me that a pretty girl like Shirakawa-san took me as your boyfriend”

Shirakawa-san blinked her eyes in surprise.

“Eh, what’s that. The one who confessed was Ryuuto, right!?”

“That’s right, but…. I should say I truly didn’t expect you to be willing to date me”

I haven’t been able to tell her yet that it’s a punishment game with my friends because I thought it’d be rude.

“Even though it’s been a week, I still find it hard to believe…. That’s why, the fact that Shirakawa-san made a surprise for me like this, I’m really happy”

“….I see”

Shirakawa-san, who was staring at me intently as I finished my story, smiled softly after a little while. When Shirakawa-san, whose face was in the beautiful category, smiled, she became as innocent as a little girl and that made her even cuter.

“Ryuuto, has confessed to a girl before too, I see”

She said that, and showed me a small teasing smile.

“I thought I was the first”

“Uhuh, but it’s just a black history, really”

“But well, we’re now dating thanks to that girl, right. We should be grateful to her”

“Eh?”

As I was wondering what she meant, she smiled towards me.

“I mean, if that girl said okay and even now Ryuuto still dated her, you wouldn’t have confessed to me right?”

“Hmm, well…. but, romance in the first year of middle school doesn’t last that long, you know”

“That’s not true! I mean, my dad and mom started dating when they’re in the first year of middle school”

“Eh, Seriously!?”

As I was surprised, Shirakawa-san deeply nodded.

“They’re both each other’s first boyfriend and girlfriend, and in the third of high school mom had onee-chan in her belly, and they got married right after graduation”

“Heeh….”

Wow…. the family is a normie since the parent’s generation, huh…. Rather, she has an elder sister, huh. She must be beautiful.

“I thought.. that would happen to me too, though….”

Suddenly Shirakawa-san looked at the ceiling and muttered.

It’s a rush hour period of people leaving from work and the station premises were full of people coming up from the platform, all going through the ticket gates in a quick pace and heading home. In the midst of all this mess, we were lined up along the wall. She sure is able to be deep in talk in a place like this, huh, and I thought to myself.

“Mom was confessed by dad in the first year of middle school. She didn’t know much about dating but she’s happy getting a boyfriend so she said okay, she said. That’s why, when I was confessed to before the summer vacation in the first year of middle school, I wondered if I’d ever marry this person”

“I see….”

“That’s why I gave the okay, though~…..”

I guess I get the details after that.

“….”

The thought of Shirakawa-san’s ex-boyfriend still stirs my heart. This is my problem.

A week has passed, and little by little, I’m starting to think the fact that I’m dating Shirakawa-san is a real thing but, as I thought, I end up thinking whether it’s okay to be me.

I have to be strong. The one Shirakawa-san is dating now…. is me.

“….We should be grateful, to Shirakawa-san’s ex-boyfriend”

I muttered to myself to get myself together and Shirakawa-san looked up at me with an “Ah”.

“That’s a copy of mine~!”

When Shirakawa-san smiled sheepishly and made a quip, I smiled back.

“I just thought that it’s a nice word”

“Sheesh~, I should’ve kept the patent~”

Shirakawa-san was jokingly regretful.

Just now was a bit of an empty line, though.

One day, until I can sincerely thank Shirakawa-san’s ex-boyfriends without any mixed feelings…. until that time, it might still be okay.

When that time comes, surely, my heart will be filled with confidence that Shirakawa-san loves me, and I will be able to say that I’m Shirakawa-san’s boyfriend with pride.

I hopes that such a day would come

“….Well, you know”

And there, Shirakawa-san began to talk as if muttering to herself.

“My dad and mom ended up breaking up too, don’t they”

“Eh… I see“

There’s still a lot I don’t know about Shirakawa-san’s family circumstances. It’s certainly not something you’d tell a friend so casually so it may be obvious, but I have never heard any of that sort, even through the grapevine.

However….. she went through the trouble of talking about something else, and then went back to talking about her family.

When I was in silence thinking about Shirakawa-san’s ex-boyfriend, I wonder if Shirakawa-san was thinking about whether or not to tell me about her family circumstances.

Thinking about it made her even more lovable.

“So, are you now with your mother?”

“No. I live together with my dad and grandma. Onee-chan used to live with us until the year before last but now she lives with her boyfriend”

“I see”

I’m not sure what to say at times like this. I come from an ordinary nuclear family and live with both of my parents who are not particularly in bad terms either, so I’m not sure what the right answer is.

“Well, it’s a good thing the sisters didn’t get separated”

Then, Shirakawa-san’s complexion changed.

“Eh….?”

She looked at me with a surprised, caught off-guard face.

“Eh?”

So, I was surprised to see the opposite too.

Did I say something bad? I thought it was a relatively safe comment, though…. And when I was thinking that, Shirakawa-san quickly looked away and nodded with a smile on her mouth.

“Ah, yep. Well, I guess so….”

“….?”

I wonder. What’s that supposed to mean?

The source of discomfort I felt at this time, however, was to be unveiled at a later date, not too far away.

Then, from that day on, I began to have a matching phone case Shirakawa-san, and a school life where it was difficult to take out my phone at school.

Then something even more outrageous happened to me.

“Starting today, this class will have a new member”

One morning, a short comment from the teacher in charge of the homeroom set the whole class abuzz.

“Seriously!? A transfer student!?”

“A guy? A girl? Which one!?”

Instead of answering it, the homeroom teacher opened the door of the classroom, and beckoned towards the hallway.

Then the whole classroom gasped for a moment when they saw the figure that appeared.

She was an amazingly beautiful girl.

The big eyes that looked moist with plump eyebags, rounded rosy cheeks, well-shaped lips with raised corners of the mouth…. Such a perfect adorable construction then, enhanced by a straight shoulder-length black hair that shone charmingly.

She was short and slender, and her whole body gave off an aura that made men want to protect her.

“Wow….”

“Normal person? She looks like someone from the Sakamichi Series”

“Isn’t she too cute”

My classmates were abuzz but there was yet even more surprise for me.

“Kurose…. Maria….”

As if to confirm the fact, I muttered the name that the homeroom teacher had written on the blackboard.

I knew this girl.

It’s because.

──I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that….

The confused-like tone of voice, even now still stuck in the back of my ears and won’t leave.

──I think of Kashima-kun as a good friend, though….

No doubt.

The transfer student was the beautiful girl who rejected me back in the first year of middle school…. Kurose Maria.

“Kurose-san left the area three years ago but due to family circumstances, she came back and transferred to our school. Please get along with her, okay”

“Of course!”

At the homeroom teacher’s words, a flippant cheery guy raised his hand with wild breath.

It’s not just him. I could tell by the atmosphere that every guy in the class was itching to talk to her.

Except for one person, me.

“Kurose-san, please introduce yourself”

Being told by the homeroom teacher, with a “Yes”, she opened her mouth.

“I have come back to this area after three years. I don’t know much about this school yet, so please do tell me about it, everyone”

“Yess!”

A few blokes’ hands went up, including the flippant one from earlier.

“Thank you. Please treat me well”

Kurose-san looked around the entire class room with a slight bashfulness, and in the middle of it…. her eyes met mine.

“….”

The expression instantly disappeared from her face as her mouth was slightly open.

I quickly looked away and lowered my head but it seemed like she had noticed me.

Too awkward.

To think that the one who rejected my confession in the past would be transferred to the same class as me. Moreover, I was completely sure she also liked me back, and got so excited that I confessed my feelings to her, but the result, I was rejected in a disgraceful manner.

Well, now I have Shirakawa-san, a lovely girlfriend to the point she’s wasted on me, so the trauma has healed somewhat compared to before, though.

As far as the other side was concerned, she probably didn’t necessarily need to be reminded of what happened with me, so I decided to try to avoid getting involved with Kurose-san as much as possible.

And yet.

“Do you mind if your seat is here, Kurose-san? A place where you can easily ask the teacher questions until you get used to the class should be good one”

By the discretion of the homeroom teacher, Kurose-san’s seat was to be in front of the teacher’s desk, and the students in the row next to me shifted back one seat at a time.

In other words…. Kurose-san’s seat was next to mine.

“Nice to meet you”

After taking her seat, the first thing Kurose-san did was calling out to the guy next to her opposite side of me.

“Ye-yeah…. Nice to meet you”

He turned slightly red and stared at Kurose-san with dazed eyes.

I know well how he feels. After all, she’s a beautiful girl that’d put a real idol to shame. I would’ve probably reacted the same if it hadn’t been for what happened in the past.

After finishing her greeting to him, Kurose-san then turned her head towards me.

Here it comes….

I casted my eyes downwards, pretending not to notice her while preparing myself mentally.

Kurose-san was staring at me motionlessly for a few seconds in silence. There was a sign, “I don’t think I’ve seen him, but”, coming from her.

“Umm…. Kashima-kun, right?”

Thus, I reluctantly raised my face and looked at her.

Wow, she’s really super cute…. Of course, I’m all about Shirakawa-san now.

“Nn…. yeah”

I couldn’t just ignore her, so I gave a quick nod.

Then, Kurose-san smiled pleasantly. If it was me from two weeks ago, I’d probably fall for her again, in an instant. It’s such a super cute killer smile.

“I can’t believe we’re sitting next to each other again, what a coincidence. Please take care of me”

“Hm…. likewise”

I answered briefly again, then looked down.

As soon as Kurose-san turned her face to the front, the girl seated behind her immediately poked her back, then spoke something to her.

“….Yup, that’s right. We went to the same middle school”

Apparently she was asked about me.

I made the right decision. Everyone wants to get to know this beautiful transfer student. There’s no guarantee that some topic of conversations wouldn’t lead them to finding out about my past confession.

I thought it was a good move to keep as much distance from Kurose-san as possible.

However, Kurose-san repeatedly began to talk to me after that.

“Kashima-kun, good morning”

She always greeted me every morning. Sometimes it’s a little touch on the arm, with body touches.

On a certain day.

“Kashima-kan, please eat this if you like. I made it yesterday”

And she even shared with me one of her cookies from a tupperware.

Then it was one day during math class. She said, “I’m sorry, I forgot my textbook. Can I see yours?”, and we were sharing a textbook by sticking our desks together.

“….Hey, Kashima-kun”

The teacher went to the staff room to get the teaching materials, and in the classroom that started to get noisy, Kurose-san leaned in closer to me. A faint smell of soap tickled my nose.

“Wh-what?”

I asked while startled, and Kurose-san whispered with an apologetic face.

“About that time, I’m sorry”

“Eh….”

I think it’s about when she rejected my confession. As I was watching her with this in mind, she continued to speak.

“I didn’t hate Kashima-kun, you know. But back then, I didn’t really know what dating was….”

She said that, and she moved even closer to me and whispered.

“If it’s now, I maybe understand. Kashima-kun’s goodness”

“Eh….?”

Surprised, I jerked away from her reflexively.

What’s that supposed to mean?

I don’t think that’s the case but, Kurose-san likes me….?

No, but hold on. Think about it carefully.

What Kurose-san said was, “If it’s now I understand Kashima-kun’s goodness”, furthermore it’s phrase insured with “maybe”. If I make a mistake here, it will be like the first year of middle school all over again.

Rather, what’s with making a mistake. I’ve got Shirakawa-san now. There’s no need for my heart to be misled.

Kurose-san was staring at me with most eyes. Perhaps it’s her natural face however, in order to cut off any worrying thoughts, I spoke with as little expression as possible.

“Thank you. But I have a girlfriend now”

In that instant, the light from her large black eyes disappeared and her expression stiffened.

Immediately after, she immediately smiled again and asked me, leaning forward.

“Eh, is that so? Who? Someone from this school?”

“Uhmm, well, that is….”

I averted my eyes and wondered what to say. I didn’t expect to be prodded there.

“Hey, isn’t it fine. I won’t tell anyone, so tell me”

“…..”

Certainly, Kurose-san has just transferred school and hasn’t made any close friends in particular yet, and I don’t think she has anyone she might tell.

If she knows that my girlfriend here is the super beautiful gal, Shirakawa-san, she might become reserved and stop talking to me.

It was at the juncture…. that my heart wavered thinking that I should just tell Kurose-san.

“Sorry, kept you waiting, huh”

The math teacher came back and that was the end of our idle chat.

Then it was break time.

I could feel Kurose-san’s gaze from the seat next to me.

Should I tell her if she asks again?

It was at the time I was thinking about that.

“Hey, you’re Kashima Ryuuto, right?”

The voice of a girl filled with a sense of intimidation made me wince, even though I didn’t remember it.

I turned around, and found a girl standing imposingly diagonally from behind my seat.

“Y-yes….”

I knew about her.

That’s right. She’s Shirakawa-san’s best friend, a tough-eyed gal called “Nikoru”, Yamana Nikoru.

“There’s something I wanna talk about”

“Eh….!?”

What on earth, does she want from me….?

That day, after school.

I was in a fast food restaurant in front of the station, facing Yamana Nikoru, drinking a milkshake.

“…..”

Since earlier, Yamana-san has been eating fries in silence and staring hard at me.

She had light-colored dyed hair that was lighter than Shirakawa-san’s, a necklace on the opening on her chest, piercings in the ears, flashy nails, and her fashion was that of a gal but she had sharp eyes that gave her the air of a yankee(delinquent). If I was called for a one-on-one, even if it’s a one-on-one match, I’d end up getting cold feet.

Because she hasn’t said anything even after waiting for a while and I was unable to stand the atmosphere, I finally opened my mouth.

“….Uhm, umm, excuse me…. did I do something wrong….?”

I know that we’re classmates, but I just can’t help but speak politely.

Then Yamana-san knitted her brows and stared at me.

“Huh?”

I trembled under that dreadfulness, and was driven by the urge to grab my bag and leave this place.

However, Yamana-san spoke to such a me.

“Just so you know, it’s not like I’m mad at you or anything. I was born with this bad eyes”

“Eh….”

Now that she mentioned it, her eyes look sharp, but there was nothing particularly grim about her expression.

“When cold, fries taste like crap, don’t they. Can we talk after I eat?”

“Ye-yeah….”

Thus, I slurped my milkshake (Contrary to fries, the milkshake needed to be left alone because it’s so frozen it’s almost undrinkable) while waiting for Yamana-san to finish her fries.

Finally, when the container for the fries was empty, Yamana-san wiped her fingers with a paper napkin and once again, looked at me.

“By the way. Do you know it’s Runa’s birthday next Sunday?”

With that brief comment, I suddenly lost for words.

“Eh….”

Seriously? So you didn’t know after all“

Yamana-san looked at me with a somewhat dumbfounded face.

“Things like a birthday, isn’t that the first thing that concerns you when you start dating? Well, I expected that you probably didn’t know, though”

“Eh? What does that mean….”

When I asked her, Yamana-san glanced at me. I know she isn’t angry but her sharp gaze is nothing but terrifying.

“You, don’t look like a smart guy after all”5

“….”

“Ah, it’s not like I’m trying to disrespect you, okay. Smart guys cheat on their girlfriends”

So that means Yamana-san thinks that “I’m a guy who doesn’t cheat”, huh. If she means that then, well, I guess I don’t feel bad….

“So, you get it? Runa’s birthday. You should go do something to celebrate it”

Yamana-san told me and I nodded.

“Ah, yes….”

“Anyhow, that’s how it is. I wanna talk about this without Luna”

In a panic, I called out to Yamana-san who was about to stand up with her own tray after saying that.

“Ple-please wait!”

Yamana-san stood there with the tray in hand and looked at me.

“What?”

I spoke while getting cold feet because of her sharp eyes.

“Could you please tell me what Shirakawa-san likes? I want to give her something for her birthday”

Yamana-san then frowned a little.

“Why don’t just ask her yourself? You’re her boyfriend so isn’t it faster that way?”

“That’s true, but….”

I looked down and stared at my phone (inside the Osausa cover) placed on the table.

“….This phone cover, was given to me by Shirakawa-san”

“I know. I went with her after all”

As Yamana-san replied curtly, I bowed my head very deeply.

“Shirakawa-san didn’t say a single word to me until the day in question, in order to give it as a surprise to celebrate our first week of dating. That’s why, this time I want to give her a surprise”

Hearing this, Yamana-san gave me a worrying look.

“Can you do it? You’re not very good at that kind of thing, aren’t you. Even if you’re not forcing yourself to do that, Runa will be happy if you celebrate it normally”

“I don’t know if I can do it or not but, I want to give it a try. I mean, I think Shirakawa-san is the kind of girl who always tries to make her boyfriend happy after all”

Ever since we started dating and she tried to have sex with me, Shirakawa-san has been consistent.

“That’s why, the surprise with this phone cover too, was something she thought of to make me happy…. And that means, Shirakawa-san herself is the type who will be happy to be surprised, that’s what I think”

Hearing that, Yamana-san’s expression softened. And instead, she gave me a probing gaze.

“….Maybe it’s like what Runa said. You are.. a little weird6. I thought you’re just a dullard, but aren’t you saying some pretty nice thing”

I don’t know if I’m being praised or spoken ill off but, Yamana-san appears to be smiling with the corners of her mouth raised a little.

“Alright”

After saying that, Yamana-san put the tray on the table and sat back down.

“I’ll tell you about Runa. That’s why absolutely make her happy, okay”

“Ye-yes!”

Thus, I had a secret meeting with Yamana-san and was able to get a lecture on things Shirakawa-san liked.

The next day.

In the morning, as I was about to go to school, I saw Shirakawa-san standing at the ticket gate of K Station.

“Morning, Ryuuto”

“Eh!? Morning…. Wait, why….?”

“I mean, I can’t talk with Ryuuto at school, right?”

Then after light greetings, Shirakawa-san showed me her phone.

“This is?”

It was a LINE chat screen.


Runa Yuna Akari (3)

Yuna    Nikoru had a date with a plain guy from class in Mc● LOL    Read 2

Akari    Seriously? Totally funny    Read 2


When I saw the photo “Yuna” uploaded, I exclaimed a small “Ah”.

What displayed was the back of Yamana-san and me talking at a fast food restaurant yesterday.

“You’ve been meeting Nikoru?”

“Aah, yeah….”

Looks like you haven’t told Shirakawa-san, huh, Yamana-san.

“…Shirakawa-san, are you free on next Sunday”

“Eh, what are we talking abou?”

Shirakawa-san looked confused.

“Hey hey. Anyway, answer me. What were you talking about with Nikoru?”

Shirakawa-san’s face became impatient.

“No, that’s why, I mean, are you free next Sunday?”

I was desperate too to move the conversation forward.

“Eh, Sunday? I’m still free but, what is it?”

“Then, would you let me celebrate your birthday on Sunday?”

Shirakawa-san’s eyes widened at those words.

“Yamana-san told me about it. Shirakawa-san’s birthday”

Shirakawa-san was silent for a while with her mouth wide open. Her face suddenly turned bright in a flash.

“So that’s what it was!”

The impatient look on her face from earlier disappeared all at once.

“Oh, sheesh. Then you should’ve told me that earlier”

“Ah, sorry…. I thought if I was going to talk about birthdays, I’d have to first invite you”

I couldn’t talk unless I followed the plan I had made in my head, and my bad habit of being introverted came out.

“Nn, well, that’s fine”

Shirakawa-san’s expression had completely returned to her original good mood.

I bowed to her once again.

“I’m sorry… I was such dullard and didn’t even ask when Shirakawa-san’s birthday is”

“No, I’m sorry too, for ambushing you like this”

As she said that, Shirakawa-san picked up her school bag and pointed her feet towards the escalator.

“Then, I’ll go to school first, okay. It’ll be bad if someone sees us together, right?”

‘Ah…. yeah, thanks“

As I hurriedly gave my thanks, she waved at me a little and disappeared into the crowded station.

“….I wonder what it was, Shirakawa-san”

Alone, I pondered as I headed for the platform.

I recalled Shirakawa-san’s face as she showed the LINE screen.

And the look of impatience on her face when she thought I had deflected the conversation.

Her expression didn’t look like her usual self. Was she angry….. No, it’s not quite the same thing, it was a face that was holding something not clear.

──You’ve been meeting Nikoru?

──Hey hey. Anyway, answer me. What were you talking about with Nikoru?

Could it be…. jealousy?

“….No,  there’s no way”

There’s no way Shirakawa-san would be jealous of me. Well, if she eventually likes me enough to be jealous then, I would be happy.

 No rush, be steady. I’m going to deepen my relationship with Shirakawa-san.

And for that reason, I want to make her happy on her birthday date next week. I have one more week to work out my perfect date plan.

While burning with hidden determination, I boarded the train that was stopped on the platform together with the crowd of people.

Finally, it’s the day of Shirakawa-san’s birthday.

I’ve done everything I could in the past week to prepare for today.

Using what Yamana-san told me about what Shirakawa-san liked as a reference, almost everyday after school, I went downtown alone and actually had a look around and prepared for the date.

Last night precisely at 00:00, I also sent her a congratulatory message through LINE.

On our first date, I’ve entrusted the destinations to Shirakawa-san, so this would be my first date where I’d be the one escorting.

“Morning, Ryuuto!”

I met up with Shirakawa-san at A Station’s premises. If she was on a phone call last night with Yamana-san until late, she would’ve been lacking sleep, so I decided our appointment to be at eleven o’clock.

Even today, Shirakawa-san was cute. Her pink mini-length tight dress was high-necked and yet, the chest area was opened in a diamond shape, showing her cleavage, which was the so-called aggressive design, and her thick soles high-heeled sandals and silver handbag also gave off a strong gal feel.

“Where are we going today?”

Shirakawa-san asked me as we moved to the platform.

“Nn, I’m thinking of going to Harajuku but, what do you think?”

Shirakawa-san’s eyes lit up when she heard that.

“Really!? I wanna go there so bad! I love Harajuku so much~!”

Seeing the happy Shirakawa-san, I remembered what Yamana-san had told me.

When it comes to Runa, it’s Harajuku after all. If you’re troubled where to go, you should go to Harajuku or Shibuya and her tension will explode.

She’s right….

I immediately began to feel the response to this date.

We arrived at Harajuku and I headed to one of the stores first.

It’s a cafe with a small frontage, located in the back alley off Takeshita Street, which was filled with young people.

“Here you go”

What I handed to Shirakawa-san outside of the store was a bubble milk tea, one of the highlighted items on the menu.

“Thanks! ….Nnn~ yummy~!”

After taking a sip, Shirakawa-san’s eyes sparkled.

──Runa likes bubble milk tea so much. She said she could drink as many bubble milk teas as she wanted. Well, we don’t have a lot of money, so we can always only have one drink, though.

“Bubble milk tea is really the best! Thanks, Ryuto!”

As Yamana-san said, Shirakawa-san was very happy.

“How much was it? I’ll pay for mine”

I stopped her with a hand gesture as she tried to take out her wallet from her bag.

“Ah, no, it’s fine. I’ll pay for it”

“Eh, but”

“Today is your birthday so…  a celebration from me”

At my words, she wrinkled her brows and made a troubled expression for a moment, then.

“….Then, thanks for the treat! Thank you, Ryuuto”

She thanked me with a happy smile.

Seeing her like that, I took out a piece of paper from my shoulder bag.

“Nn? What’s that?”

“Shirakawa-san, how was your bubble milk tea just now?”

“What’d you mean how… it’s tasty, you know?”

And there, I unfolded the paper.

It’s a printed out map of Harajuku. Among them, I selected only the bubble milk tea stores, circled them in red. I’ve actually gone and tried the drinks, and written my analysis of the tastes and my impression in the blank space. I could’ve done it on my phone but doing it on paper felt more like a research project and more satisfying.

“Wah, What is this, amazing!”

Looking into the results of my tears and blood, Shirakawa-san was surprised.

I had no idea how many bubble milk teas I’ve had drunk in the past week. I spent a lot of my New Years’ gift money on non-commuter transportation to Harajuku and drinks. I brought the rest of it for today.

“The bubble milk tea we just had is rich in milk but also has a strong tea flavor, and the size and the springy feelings of the bubbles are just right, so it has the best overall balance. That’s why I had you drink this one first”

I wanted to show the results of me doing my best in the past week as soon as possible, so I started talking rapidly. I kept thinking of stopping because it’s creepy but the more I thought about it, the faster and faster I got.

“Based on this, if you prefer more sweetness overall, I’d recommend ‘Bubble Monster’, and if you prefer milk tea with a light flavor that makes the most of the tea flavor, it’s ‘Aroma Tea House’. If you like chewier bubbles, it’s a bit of a walk but we should go to ‘PRUPRU’. If you don’t care about milk tea, I also recommend the rich brown sugar milk at ‘Tiger Cafe’”

This is bad. I’ve got the weird switch of my gloomy otaku side turned on. It’s creepy and I wanted to stop, but when I got to this point, I started to feel compelled to show off all of my knowledge.

“To begin with, I wonder, is it really the milk tea that goes best with the bubbles? The bubbles have no flavor to begin with, and even if you dipped it with, and if you could add flavor by soaking it in brown sugar or something, it would be difficult to penetrate to the center, right? In addition it’s elastic so you have to chew it many times, right? In other words, there’s a moment when you absolutely cannot taste it in your mouth. And to make up for that, I think it’s designed to be drunk together with the liquid called milk tea but, there’s a limit to what a milk tea can do. I mean, milk tea itself is a complete drink that tastes good on its own right? You can’t make it a little sweeter or thicker with milk, but you can’t completely deviate from its original form, or rather, It’s just that it’s only in the range of ‘It’s also tasty to drink as milk tea’. I mean, it’s ‘milk tea’ after all. As long as it’s marked as ‘milk tea’, there’s a pride in being a milk tea. However, a drink that really goes well with the bubbles I think is one that is more tongue-tingling, thick, and sweet. In that sense, I think coconut milk with the bubbles, which was popular in the 1990s, is a more perfect dessert. I found out about it this time, too, so I went to the supermarket and tried it, but the coconut milk in that one is thick and sweet, and the bubbles are small, so it works as a nice accent. The role is similar to that of croutons on top of soup. They’re almost tasteless too, but when you get tired of the uniform taste of the soup, you can eat them to neutralize the saltiness, and they have a fun texture, right? Compared to that, I think the bubble and milk tea in most bubble milk teas are not the best partners for each other. I think brown sugar milk is the best of the bubble drinks that are popular right now. The fresh milk mixed with the melted brown sugar is so sweet that it’s almost too much, but the brown sugar-soaked bubbles become tasteless as you chew it, so it’s just right in the end. It’s my top recommendation this time around, okay”

I was looking at my own cup of bubble milk tea and going on and on about it, then I came back to myself and realized. When I raised my eyes, I saw Shirakawa-san with her mouth gaping open.

‘Ah….”

I’ve done it.

Oh no…. It’s already beyond creepy, isn’t it. I was dragged halfway around the world….

As I paled at the thought, Shirakawa-san forced a smile to her mouth and began to speak.

“Tha-that’s…. Amazing, Ryuuto. Do you like bubble tea that much?”

“Eh? Ye-yep…. ah, no”

It wasn’t worth lying about, so I decided to answer honestly.

“I heard that Shirakawa-san likes bubble tea so…. I’ve studied for today. In this area, there are too many bubble tea stores after all. So I wanted to take you to a store of your liking….”

“Eh, then, you’re doing it for me?”

I felt Shirakawa-san’s eyes sparkled for an instant as she said that.

“Ye-yeah…. But, I guess I’ve gone too far….”

“You’re really right!”

I was startled when she said that, but when I looked at her face, Shirakawa-san was smiling.

“It’s funny, though. I mean, you’re turning into a bubble tea reviewer! Do you usually go that far?”

Comparing the map to my face, Shirakawa-san laughed aloud.

“Bu-but, I couldn’t go to all the stores I marked after all, so I used some review and blogs as a reference, you know?”

“But it was still hard, right? It’s fine if you didn’t have to go that far”

She asked with a lingering laugh, and I too chuckled.

“Yo-you’re right. I think so too…. but”

I had a much more purer motive for going this far after all.

“….I wanted to actually like at least one thing Shirakawa-san likes”

I went a little bit too far…. and I made a reflection in my heart and looked down.

After a while, I looked up, concerned why I wasn’t getting any response. And then I thought, “Oh no”.

Shirakawa-san froze, looking at me with her mouth slightly open. The expression on her face looked amazed and dumbfounded, or looked like she’s surprised by something.

What to do…. Maybe she was taken aback by my virginity-in-all-its-creepy-glory-like remark.

I wonder if it’s such a heavy remark…. I wonder if it’s better to dress it up as a joke now.

As I was watching over her with a racing heart and with that thought, Shirakawa-san’s expression changed after a little while.

Her cheeks were flushed and her mouth broke into a happy smile.

‘Eh….?“

You weren’t taken aback?

When I was still feeling restless, Shirakawa-san smiled and began to talk.

“Really? Getting told something like that…. It’s my first time”

She said shyly, looking lovely and innocent, disproportionate to her strong fashion.

“….Thank you. Ryuuto”

I saw her saying that as if it was a murmur, and my chest overwhelmed with emotion and was released from unease.

Shirakawa-san gave me her best smile.

“I think today’s bubble tea is the tastiest I’ve ever had!”

After that, we went around the Harajuku area and visited different bubble tea stores.

In regards to bubble tea, Shirakawa-san was truly bottomless and she could drink any full cup of bubble tea drink from any store completely.

“Hey hey, Ryuuto won’t drink?”

“I.. already had one from the store earlier, so….”

“But, this one is tasty too, you know?”

“Well, my stomach is already all water”

She’s wearing such a tight dress and yet, how can Shirakawa-san be fine? Where’s all the water she just took in getting absorbed?

“Nn~ it can’t be helped. Then, I’ll give you a sip of mine”

With that, Shirakawa-san offered me the plastic cup of bubble tea she’d been drinking.

The mouth of the straw that had been stuck into it was coated by red gloss with fine glitter.

The sudden arrival of a chance for an indirect kiss made my heart rate explode.

“….You don’t want it? Are you already that full?”

Since I didn’t budge, Shirakawa-san asked me.

“N-no…. I-I’ll take it. Thanks”

I hurriedly received the cup and sipped through the straw.

“How is it? Cheese and rock salt are godly, right? You were really right about toppings!”

“….Ye-yeah, I guess so”

To be honest, I was so nervous I gulped it without really tasting it.

Shirakawa-san received the cup I’d returned and sucked through the straw again.

Waah, a mutual indirect kiss….

But, I guess I’m the only one who’s conscious of this kind of stuff. For Shirakawa-san, this is maybe something she does unconsciously even with her male friends.

When I thought about it, I felt a little depressed.

Shirakawa-san looked at me and grinned.

“It’s an indirect kiss, isn’t it”

“Eh…. Eeh!?”

Time delay isn’t fair, Shirakawa-san!

“Ah, Ryuuto, you’re so red~!”

Shirakawa-san laughed and teased me who suddenly became embarrassed.

The combination of Shirakawa-san, a hot looking gal who looked like she just came out of a gal magazine, and the plain me might be seen as a mismatch by the people downtown.

But now, I’m extremely happy to be together with her

Before we noticed, we had skipped lunch and mid-afternoon snacks, and had visited about six bubble tea stores. Amazingly, Shirakawa-san ordered and drank a full bubble drink by herself at all the stores.

“Aah, I’m so tapped out! Thanks, Ryuuto!”

“You don’t want more bubble drinks?”

“Yep, I’m full of it. It’s my first time being this satisfied~”

Shirakawa-san truly smiled satisfyingly as she spoke.

Before we knew it, it’s already dusk and almost six o’clock. We went to get bubble drinks not without difficulty and to varying degrees, we had to wait in line at every store. We even had to walk close to Shibuya, so it seemed like we spent a lot of time there.

“Then….”

Just like last time, the date was decided to be until before nightfall. We were both still high school students and minors after all, and I felt it’s one of the shapes to “cherish” Shirakawa-san.

I really do want to do lewd things but…. yeah, I should’ve done it in Shirakawa-san’s room…. such regret still marched on even now.

But, today is Shirakawa-san’s birthday, so I’ve decided to just let her do as she likes. First was drinking bubble drinks….

“Ah!”

Then I remembered.

“What’s wrong, Ryuuto?”

“….”

The present. I still haven’t bought a present.

──For the present, it’s fine to just ask Runa about it, buy it then give it on that day. Each person has different tastes, like, in accessories or small articles. That’s why it’s even hard among girls to choose a present that they’d like. Well, it’s a different story if you have a great confidence in your own sense, though.

Of course, since I didn’t have any confidence, I followed Yamana-san’s advice and decided to let Shirakawa-san choose one herself.

I thought of having her enjoying bubble drinks to her heart’s content first…. that’s what I thought but, I didn’t expect we’d go around visiting bubble drinks stores until this late.

Furthermore.

I opened my wallet to check the budget from Shirakawa-san’s blind spot, and the remaining money was already a little more than a thousand Yen.

“No way….”

I left home with ten thousand Yen with me and yet, how did this happen…. Bubble drinks are too expensive.

“He-hey, umm…. Shirakawa-san”

I called out to her timidly.

“I’m sorry…. I wanted Shirakawa-san to choose your birthday present yourself but…. I have only a thousand Yen left. If you’re fine with me buying you something around a thousand yen, then ….”

It was uncool but I told her honestly.

“Eh?”

Shirakawa-san’s eyes widened in surprise.

“I’ve already got one, right? You treated me to bubble drinks”

“But, you know, something more tangible….”

“Then, can I have this? I think it’s nice to have”

Shirakawa-san told me that and took the paper in my hand.

It’s my handmade bubble drinks map I’d been walking around and referring to throughout the day today.

“This one is amazing, you know. And it’s the only one in the world. All the bubble drinks I had today were super tasty. And it’s all thanks to Ryuuto’s investigations”

Looking at the folded map, Shirakawa-san smiled happily.

“Having something like this done to me, it’s the first time so…. I want to keep it as a keepsake, you see. That Ryuuto was doing your best for me, is the sign of your love, right?”

Those words made my chest hot.

“Shirakawa-san….”

“I’ll treasure it so, can we have another bubble drinks date together?”

She looked at me with upturned eyes and I strongly nodded.

“Of course…. Ah, I’ll make updates when that happens. There could be a new store or something”

Shirakawa-san laughed when she saw me answering happily.

“Thank you, Ryuuto”

Then, she gave me a sparkling smile.

“It was the best seventeenth birthday ever!”

Thus, the birthday date ended in success.

On Monday, at the beginning of the week, my head was filled with Shirakawa-san’s more than usual.

Shirakawa-san who said “Tasty!” with a melting smile after drinking the bubble tea. Shirakawa-san with a slightly embarrassed smile. The many expressions of Shirakawa-san she showed only to me….

Shirakawa-san really smelled good. Smelled just like her room…. Aah, I knew I should’ve had sex with her at that time….

As I was absentmindedly thinking such things, the lesson had ended before I knew it and break time was coming.

As expected, I was too absentminded. It’s the first time for me…. And it happened at the time I was on my seat and fretting over it on my own.

“Heyy, Kashima-kun”

Getting called out from the seat next to me, I looked over there and found Kurose-san looking over here. She was resting her chin on both of her hands so the overly long sleeves of the cardigan on top of her summer uniform stood out cunningly cute. I wonder if it’s because of her small build.

“What?”

I asked her and she smiled seeming to imply something.

“Who is Kashima-kun’s girlfriend? I’m still curious so tell me”

“Aah….”

So it’s about that.

Last time I was about to tell her but the teacher came back so I missed the chance, though.

“Actually….”

At that moment, I suddenly remembered the LINE screen Shirakawa-san showed to me.


Nikoru had a date with a plain guy from class in Mc● LOL



Seriously? Totally funny


“….”

Apparently, a guy like me getting along with a hot girl is “funny” to those girls.

So that means, if it was found out I’m dating her.

If it were to be made public, Shirakawa-san would be laughed at.

It’s more painful to me than being labeled “mismatch”.

“….I can’t tell you after all. Sorry”

I apologized to Kurose-san and got up from my seat.

I shouldn’t tell Kurose-san what I don’t want everyone to know.

I cannot afford to trouble Shirakawa-san for my own self-glorification.

That’s what I thought.



TL Notes:

^1. Orginal line = “あ〜もう! でも、俺ごときが白河さんに『日曜何してたの?』なんて、彼氏面して訊けないよな!?” not sure if I got that right

^2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inro

^3. https://line.fandom.com/wiki/Cony This should be the rabbit. and Osausa should be a short version of ossan usagi = uncle rabbit/old man rabbit. or chief rabbit. Or it actually could be its name in Japanese. So I’ll leave it there

^4. Golgo 13

^5. Original line = “あんた、気ぃ利かなそうだし” I have no idea, what’s this upposed to mean.

^6. You know, in the prevous chapters Runa’s been saying Ryuuto is “different” right? tbh those can be translated as “weird” or “strange” or “unusal” too. Now it bit me back in the ass. I guess technically, that Ryuuto is different is not wrong. considering how her exs have been so far. And being strange can also mean being different. well this is just a reminder for that. Too lazy to change the ones from the previous chapters.


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13 thoughts on “Chapter 3

  1. This chapter was adorable! I am really enjoying this novel and I can’t thank you enough for the translations. Thank you so much for your hard work!

    Like

  2. Thank you for the translation!
    Keep up the good work

    Great to see the MC being proactive about how relationship with shirakawa

    Like

  3. Holy fuck, 6 bubble teas. The average 16 oz(medium size in US)bubble tea have about 200 calories(not counting the extra stuff she ordered) that would mean at least 1200 calories of just bubble tea. With the extras it’s probably even more, I estimate around 1500 total calories
    Keep in mind that the average total calories for women is 2000…
    Not to mention the amount of sugar in every drink… holy crap. Bubble tea isn’t something you want to have 6 in 1 day
    To be fair, this is fiction so who cares, got to see an adorable date

    Thank you for the chapter

    Like

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