Year 2, Vol. 4.5 Chapter
TL: Pudding, Blade, Alisa
When I was surfing the internet while waiting to feel sleepy, I received a message.
“I want to give you a call now, okay?”
It was a message from Kei.
It had been some time since messaging was allowed, but we usually chat about once a day.
Today she didn’t use any stamps or face emoji’s, so I was guessing she had something important to talk about.
‘I’m in my room right now, give me 3 minutes.’
It was still not close to curfew yet, so leaving the room wasn’t all that difficult.
After sending my reply, I quickly got up from my bed.
“I’m going to get a drink.”
Using these convenient words which can be used at one's own convenience, I exited to the hallway.
Since it was already around 9pm, the chances of running into another student were unlikely.
Then I exited the night deck and checked my surroundings just in case.
After making sure no one was around, I gave Kei a call.
“Sorry for the urgent call, but I really wanted to call you today.”
She said some cute words like a girlfriend would.
Maybe this was one of those: “I just really wanted to hear your voice” requests from your lover type things.
“Hey you know—”
Without so much as a few words, Kei started to talk.
“I've heard some terrible rumours regarding you? You are going to explain them to me right?”
Hmm? Words that I wasn’t expecting came flying out. In fact, it seems Kei was in a bad mood.
The silence continued with no reply.
Not able to take it I asked a second time, but all I felt was frustration with no reply.
Rather, by repeating the same words again, it was probably even more suspicious.
“Does anything come to mind?”
“Nothing comes to mind.”
Although I replied without hesitation, a few incidents did come to mind.
First and foremost had to be the situation with Ichinose.
Nagumo, who witnessed the exchange between myself and Ichinose, would have been able to surmise it wasn’t an ordinary exchange.
Moreover, with the combination of him knowing about my relationship with Kei, that situation being passed around would not have been very strange. Other things that came to mind were my pairing up with Satou who had previously confessed to me and Matsuhita and I chatting.
“Is there really nothing that comes to mind?”
With a moment's delay, she seemed to want to confirm it once more in order to lower her suspicions.
Even so, I replied that I have no idea what she is talking about. If I knew with certainty the situation Kei was “thinking of,” whether it was what happened with Ichinose or Satou, I would have confessed. But since I couldn't be sure what situation this was about, if I say anything carelessly the problem might become bigger. This was one of those situations where I had to lose the battle in order to win the war, I guess.
… Wait, wasn't this supposed to be a sweet conversation? How did it end up like this?
I called her name to urge her to say something. With what seemed like trembling lips she finally said.
“You, seducing a kouhai, I’m talking about that rumour!!”
The details of the rumour reached my ears, but I was not able to comprehend it and tilted my head.
Of all of the situations I was expecting, this was not one of them.
As expected, not saying something carelessly was the right choice.
“How did you even catch wind of a rumour like that?”
“I don’t know! But somehow I’ve been hearing that you kept being seen with a first year girl!?”
First year girl. The only person that came to mind with a bang was Nanase...
Indeed, I had repeatedly run into Nanase and talked with her during this holiday.
I wasn’t discreetly trying to meet her so there probably have been many witnesses.
Having understood the situation, this would be quick.
“She is just a normal kouhai.”
“I understand that! If she wasn’t, that's an out for you!”
“Also! You didn’t tell me you were pairing up with Satou-san for the treasure hunt!?”
Oh, looks like Kei also had realised one of the things that had come to my mind.
“It’s true I didn’t tell you but, since it’s Kei you would have known about it shortly after right?”
During the treasure hunt there were lots of witnesses as I walked around with Satou. Even Matsushita knew about it.
“I mean, I knew about it but… I knew about it! But you know...”
Her dissatisfaction slowly spilled out as she mumbled some words I couldn’t catch.
“Even though I really wanted to pair up with you.”
“I understand your feelings but, that would mix up the order wouldn’t it?”
“By the way, how did you and Mori do?”
“… You are asking me that?”
The atmosphere had become worse, so let me not do anything to make it worse. I could have continued asking foolish questions but since the topic of Satou had come up, I decided to broach a new topic.
“You already talked with Satou about what's going to happen, right?”
“Eh? Ah, ah yeah. In any case I wanted Satou-san to be the first to know.”
“Well, that’s probably all right. By the way, did you have that conversation by phone or message?”
“No way. Something like this has to be done in person. It was at a cafe.”
“At a cafe. Do you remember who could have heard you?”
“At the least I was making sure to be careful. You don’t have to worry. At least there should have been no 2nd year students who could have heard it.”
For Kei, definitely the 2nd year students would be the ones to keep an eye on.
The 1st and 3rd years normally didn’t display interest in the love lives of people in other years.
If the object of affection was someone like me, even more so.
However, these 3rd years were the opposite, if I was the topic then, it wouldn't be surprising that they were interested.
“Ah~ but there were some 3rd years who came to sit next to us and it became harder to talk.”
In order to add to her answer, Kei thought back to the time of her meeting with Satou.
For Kei who didn’t know about the situation, it was impossible for her to be able to expect that she was being marked by the 3rd years.
“If she understood then that’s good.”
“Yeah, but is it really okay? If we were to be open about dating?”
“Of course there’s no problem.”
Rather, it was clear that it would be a necessary action sooner or later.
The more we pushed it back, there would be more annoyances to be dealt with.
“Well, even though we say open, it’s not like we will be proclaiming it in front of the class. We can just naturally let it spread from our friends, and people will learn about it at different times.”
There would be lots of reactions in the days after, but that wouldn't be a big problem.
“But you know… Kiyotaka you are popular.”
“Is that so?”
“Uwa, that attitude of you not knowing is super annoying butー”
“If that’s the case there isn’t a need to talk about it right?”
“Uh, yeah that’s true too but, even though I know it, I ended up asking cause I’m worried!”
It wasn’t like I didn’t know what she wanted to say, but there were some contradictions in her words.
“Isn't the declaration supposed to get rid of the bugs who are in the way?”
When people thought that the person they liked didn't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, they might attack you fiercely. To avoid this, you had to make a big deal about the fact that you were dating someone. If you did that, most people generally would give up and stop attacking you.
Of course, I fully understood that there would always be exceptions…
“Even then I’m still worried…”
These exceptions were the invisible enemies that Kei was fearful of.
“You may not know it yet, but there are girls who are passionate about stealing someone they have fallen for, even though the guy already has a girlfriend.”
“You get it? If you cheat on me, I won’t forgive you!”
For a dependent type like Kei, she would never allow her boyfriend to cheat on her.
I knew this before we began dating.
“Don’t worry, I won’t do something like that.”
We went back and forth with what appeared to be a meaningless banter.
But in the process of love, this meaningless banter was just one of the ways to express your affection.
“Do you... love me?”
I checked my surroundings just in case.
Of course at this hour, there weren't any students who wanted to come to the dark deck.
“Yeah, I love you.”
Having made sure there was no one around, I could say the words without hesitation.
“What’s with that creepy laugh?”
I thought she would definitely be happy and reply similarly, but instead got laughed at.
“It’s just interesting, when I think about you saying those words while worrying about your surroundings.”
It seems Kei was able to see through what I was doing.
“I’m gonna end the call.”
“Ahh wait, wait a bit! Say it again.”
When she requested for me to say it again, the words got caught at the back of my throat.
“I said I was going to get a drink, so it’s about time for me to go back.”
“Wait! Say you love me!”
“I said it earlier.”
“I want to hear it one more time!”
How self indulgent. No, even though they were the same words, the weight of them may have changed.
“... I love you.”
“ ... pffft.”
In the end, Kei, who had been trying to contain her laughter, couldn't do it and the sounds of laughter spilled out.
“Yup, as I thought you are the best… I’m never giving you up to another girl.”
I just told her that she didn't have to worry about that, but it seemed her worries had become even greater.
“Is it alright if you don’t ask me to say it too?”
“If I asked, would you say it though?”
“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Wait! Now is the part where you should ask me!”
How should I put this, just now she seemed to have given me a choice but there was no choice.
“Then say it for me.”
“You're just throwing it out there! It’s like either way is fine with you! I can’t take it~!”
“... Please say it.”
“Eh~? What should I do~”
I held back what I wanted to say and waited for Kei’s reply.
“... I love you.”
While short and laughing a little, no, also with embarrassment, Kei replied.
“Good night Kiyotaka.”
“Yeah, good night.”
After I ended the call, the sound of Kei saying I love you resonated within my ears.
“This isn’t bad at all.”
The thing called love was really interesting.
I thought that as the night passed by.