Chapter 16 – Understanding and love (7)
Translator – Vodka
Chapter brought to you by Vodka (not me Vodka, the Vodka Vodka). Vodka makes it possible. Salutations to Vodka.
“You’re wrong……the person called Minato Shinra wouldn’t give such a boring answer.”
Kirasaka communicated clearly.
Her gaze was sharp. It was as if directed towards somebody else.
“The Minato Shinra that I and Kanzaki-san……also Ogiwara-kun know is a person who is at least honest with himself.”
“……I am being honest with my words here too, you know.”
I didn’t intend to lie or anything.
I didn’t make up the stuff I said earlier. I had thought them through.
However, Kirasaka shook her head again.
“There is a part of me that is satisfied with that. However, it doesn’t sound like something the Minato Shinra we know would say……It doesn’t sound like something the Minato Shinra I have come to like would say.”
She was looking at me, a faint trace of loneliness afloat in her eyes.
Which version of me was she comparing the current me to in her head?
Unaware, did I also change a bit?
Did I end up changing in a way they wouldn’t want me to?
“The Shinra-kun back then would have seen the students who flocked to us and said, ‘Not everyone thinks in the same way……at the very least, I don’t believe in living a life swept along by trends’……I don’t think the person in front of me can say those words.”
Did I ever say something like that?……
However, the person I was before could certainly have.
What kind of person was I in people’s eyes?
No, what kind of person did I think I was?
A person with no motivation. Someone who considered himself an observer to events that transpired around him, looking on from the sidelines.
Add some boredom into the mix. A somewhat twisted personality with an element of obstinacy.
That kind of personality?
Hey hey, what kind of a pain in the ass character are we talking about here?
I have a feeling that we could never be friends.
As she said, it was perhaps unimaginable that such words should escape my mouth.
Kirasaka didn’t cut into my thoughts. She remained silent.
We walked next to each other down the main street of the shopping district, cutting our way through the pedestrian traffic.
People’s gazes were gathered on Kirasaka, but I paid no heed and continued with my steps since I had already gotten used to it.
“Lately, Shinra-kun has been strangely worried about things. I can somehow sense it. I know it involves Kanzaki-san’s confession, your relationship with Ogiwara-kun, and myself to no little extent.”
“Don’t say ‘strange’……”
It would seem that she just won’t feel satisfied unless she can nonchalantly take a dig at me huh.
She seemed to be warning me for having interjected with narrowed eyes.
“……I am gonna be upfront about this. Those are pointless worries.”
Saying flat out that people’s worries are pointless – so very like her.
I wondered if I should ask her about the reason, but I realized it was unnecessary the next moment.
“In the first place, you don’t have any other friends other than Ogiwara-kun. What do you need to be so mindful about?”
……Was that an honest question, or was it a continuation of the remark from before?
It had to be the former.
Kirasaka was being serious.
She was saying that it had be fine for me to continue as it is, and she meant her words.
True that my surroundings had drastically changed in this short period of time.
My class changed when I advanced to the second year. I joined the student council and even became well acquainted with popular figures in the school year.
The only friend I had, ended up with unrequited love, and my childhood friend confessed to me.
Now, the girl before my eyes said that I was special to her. It was all so new to me. Perhaps, that was why it all felt so out of place.
That was why I only had negative thoughts.
It was because I had no experience that I didn’t know how to react to things. That was the reason I was showing such disgraceful behaviour.
There had indeed been changes to my surroundings.
The number of things I didn’t know how to react to had increased.
However, it wasn’t the end of the world.
The other party had simply put their feelings into words. It wasn’t as if they had changed or anything.
In which case, as Kirasaka said, didn’t the person called Minato Shinra not have to force himself to change?
It was because the people around me were only those who knew the old me and still decided to get acquainted.
From a different perspective, it could very well be construed as no more than a selfish interpretation.
It was a selfish line of thought and no more than an expression of my unwillingness to change.
However, let me have my say here.
Why must I need to change? Why must I need to adapt to my surroundings?
The old me would have certainly said something along those lines.
I wasn’t living my life, trying to get people to like me.
I didn’t desire popularity, friends or a lover.
I just wanted to have a normal life.
It was because I wasn’t born with anything special that the ordinary me wanted to lead a tranquil life.
Evade any problems that came my way and live life as noncommittally as possible.
And besides, wouldn’t it be fine to just give them honest answers? Be it to Shizuku’s feelings or Kirasaka’s words.
I let out a sigh and looked up at the sky.
It was neither sunny nor cloudy. What half-baked weather it was.
“Did you get an answer?”
Kirasaka, next to me, seemed to have been assessing the situation before dishing out the question at the apt moment. Similar to the first time we met, an enigmatic smile hung from her lips.
Why I wonder……it feels like it had all gone according to her calculations.
“What answer? There was never a problem, to begin with, was there?……”
“Ara, is that so?”
She played quite the fool and immediately turned her gaze forward.
She seemed to be making a satisfied expression, her gait lighter.
With a step separating us, I followed her from behind when I heard her mutter.
“I was a little bit anxious you know……it’s true that I wanted to confirm my feelings today. However, ‘What would happen if Shinra-kun ended up changing because of that?’ is what I thought.”
I suddenly thought of something when I heard her.
The me from a few minutes before was susceptible to change.
However, it would be no big deal once you have come up with your answer.
Once Minato-kun has made up his mind, he would become as stubborn as a mule. That was where his merit laid.
Like an Amanojaku, he could even end up doing the exact opposite of what someone asked him to do.
[TN – Amanojaku is a demon-like creature in Japanese folklore. It is described to be a being with an extremely contrary nature. If they were ordered something, they would do the opposite.]
“I am relieved. It would seem you already have an answer.”
Having said that, Kirasaka turned around. She had a very beautiful expression.
The sun peeked through the clouds, illuminating her like a spotlight. She shone resplendently.
However, that lasted for only a moment. The sun quickly went into hiding thereafter.
What remained was the evil grin plastered onto her face.
“Well then, let’s go on a date next week too, ok?”
“Like hell we are……having me come out like this two weeks in a row is too corrupt of you.”
[TN – reference to black companies in Japan that make you work your ass off. Holidays are only concepts, not realities.]
Recently, there had been a lot of companies who ignore the labour standards.
It goes without saying that I don’t have the slightest intention of giving up my holiday two weeks in a row.
I conversed a bit with the old man from the fish store before leaving the shopping district. With that, the date was brought to an end.
The old man’s teasing remarks got a bit on my nerves. So, I decided to buy some marine consumables tomorrow from the supermarket across.
Kirasaka’s footsteps came to a stop when we approached the residential district. We usually walked a little more before parting ways.
“This is my stop for today.”
“Is someone coming to pick you up?”
“Well, something like that.”
Having issued what sounded like an evasive answer, she turned on her heels and started walking.
However, after a few steps, she abruptly turned around and returned.
“Now that I think of it, I had a present for Shinra-kun.”
“……I am having a bad feeling about this, so thanks no.”
I mean, there is something about her expression.
She was making the kind of expression she made when she was scheming something.
I took back a few steps in an attempt to distance myself from Kirasaka, who was closing in on me. However, in a moment, she grabbed my arm and pulled me.
A gentle and sweet aroma invaded my nostrils.
My head was sort of like in an embrace, being firmly held in place by her arms, buried in her chest.
The sudden turn of events petrified me, but I soon came to and distanced myself from her.
Kirasaka’s lips curled to form a suggestive smile.
“This is the fee for today’s date……but, as expected, it would seem I wasn’t wrong about my feelings.”
“……Wh, what are you saying?……More importantly ––––“
“Well then, this time, it’s goodbye for real. I had fun.”
In my befuddled state of mind, I was trying to think of what to say.
However, before I could, she muttered a few words and left.
Suddenly, it was all silent.
“What a character……”
I was sweating, and my body temperature had risen, and it wasn’t exactly because of the weather. I fanned myself with my hands.
I wondered what she was going to do, but this was unexpected.
As I thought, predicting her actions was beyond me.