Kei finds out that Kiyo is going to meet Ichinose alone
Year 2, Vol. 9 Chapter 3 Part 5
TL: Pudding, Alisa, GPMS
As I was walking with Himeno towards the dorm, I found Kei sitting at the bench and using her phone.
"Then, see you later."
Immediately reading the atmosphere, Himeno left my side and started walking in hurried steps.
She gave a small bow to Kei who was sitting on the bench, and headed back to the dorm.
"What are you doing here? Didn't you return to your room?"
"What am I doing, you say? What does it look like?"
"You're waiting for someone."
"Correct. Then, who is the person I'm waiting for? 1, Ike-kun. 2, Minami-kun. 3, Kiyotaka."
Saying that, she raised a finger each time and gave me a quiz.
"That's an extremely difficult question. The first choice feels the most probable but..."
"There's a penalty game if you get it wrong."
"Can you give me the details on the penalty game before I answer?"
"Well—— Maybe I will write ‘Kei-chan Love' with a permanent marker on your forehead. Then make you go to school like that."
"Alright, I'll pick number 3."
"So fast! Did you not want to get punished that badly!?"
She stood from the bench and lined up next to me despite being a bit angry.
"So? The girl just now was Himeno, right? Why was she walking with you?"
She was smiling, but she put a strong pressure on me to tell her the reason.
"Didn't I tell you that I was going to meet Kanzaki? Himeno was one of the people there."
"Hmm? But Kanzaki and the others weren't with you."
"We split up already. And I just happened to run into Himeno on my way back and we just had a light chat."
"Hmm? Hmm? Well, I'm your girlfriend, so I guess I'll trust what my boyfriend says—?"
Although she said that, it didn't seem like wasn't suspicious at all.
"It seemed like you were getting along well."
"I doubt it. You couldn't tell that much in this darkness."
"Ugh... T-That's true, but. There was something about it! Though I don't care anymore!"
She twines her arm with mine as if to say that my side is her rightful place.
"Let's talk about something fun."
"Then let's go to Keyaki Mall together tomorrow. Christmas is close after all."
She invited me, and grinned. An expression as if to say ‘You know what I'm talking about, right?'.
"Sudou's confession did fail after all. It's a Christmas present, right?"
"Correct. A surprise present isn't all bad, but going to buy what I want with my boyfriend isn't bad at all either."
There's no doubt she will be happier that way than if I worry about it on my own, so it's better for me as well.
"I'd like to do as you wish, but tomorrow is a bit impossible. Make it next week."
"Eh—? Perhaps you have other plans again?"
I did tell her in advance about meeting Kanzaki and the others today. Because Kei has neither connection with Kanzaki's group nor does she know much about our relationship, she didn't really seem to think much about it, albeit being puzzled...
"Can't you spare even a little bit of time? What's the plan you have for tomorrow?"
I'll spend time with Ichinose. It's easy to not tell her that and evade the question. However, just like how I told her about meeting with Kanzaki's group, the drawback of hiding the truth from her is massive.
Ichinose already draws a lot of attention by herself. If I was by her side then there would be disturbing rumors.
Besides, Kei has lots of friends, and those students would serve as her eyes and ears.
"I will meet Ichinose."
"... Meet Ichinose-san?"
Kei stopped walking, her reaction was clearly different from when I told her that I was going to meet Kanzaki.
"Will anyone else be there? Like Kanzaki-kun or Himeno-san?"
"No one else for now. Just Ichinose."
"What is that? I don't really get it. You are going to meet a girl alone on your day off?"
It was clear her mood had deteriorated, but it was understandable.
If the situation were reversed, a normal boy would have had a similar reaction.
"That's how it is."
I watched the state she was in, and she looked back at me with a glare as if to surmount mine.
"Normally, you would properly explain the reason, right? Like, even if we're meeting alone, don't get the wrong idea, or that there is this circumstance. It's definitely not good to make your girlfriend anxious, right?"
"That's certainly true. There are several reasons for meeting with Ichinose, but one of them is that Kanzaki and the others asked me to."
"... Kanzaki-kun and the others asked you? What?"
Kei was a bit relieved when Kanzaki's name came up.
"It hasn't been made public yet, but Ichinose has resigned from the student council. There is confusion over that right now."
"H-Hold on a sec. Is that so? I don't really understand, but why?"
"Isn't it strange? Kanzaki and the others want to know the truth. That's how much of a plus to the class being a part of the student council has. Especially now that they have fallen to Class D and want to earn as many points as possible, it's natural for them to be shaken by Ichinose's resignation."
Even with just this explanation, it was likely that the anxiety felt by Kanzaki and the others was roughly conveyed to Kei.
"But they are afraid to ask Ichinose directly for her reason. They can't bear to hear from their leader that she has given up on aiming for Class A."
"So—— You will find out the reason for them instead?"
"That's the plan."
"I understand the situation now, but... Why are you involving yourself with Ichinose-san's class? Can't you just leave them alone? If you help them out carelessly, they might become our rivals again."
It was a reasonable question to ask. This was not something that could be told to Horikita and the others.
"There's a reason why I'm doing something like helping an enemy in their time of need. But now I still can't say the reason, even to you."
"You can't tell me...? Do you think that I might tell someone else about it?"
"That's not it. I know very well that you can keep a secret. But it's just that I don't feel like talking to anyone about what I'm trying to do at the current stage."
Kei's expression became a little tense when I intentionally spoke to her in a stern, dismissive manner.
But it's natural Kei has things she can't just accept honestly.
It seems like she tried to hold back for a moment, but right after she expressed her thoughts.
"I understand that Kiyotaka is considering a lot of things. I'm sure you have been helping the class in places unknown to me, and that there's a reason for you to try to ask Ichinose-san about what her situation is after hearing Kanzaki-kun's group's request. I thought I understood. But, even so... I don't like it, Kiyotaka meeting alone with a girl on your day off... Somehow, I don't like it. Couldn't you at least do it at school, or during lunch break, or something like that? Isn't there some other way?"
As if she was sulking, Kei's lips pouted and she faced the other way.
This would be simple if I just say that I'm sorry and that Kei is the only one important to me.
I have already learnt that telling the other side not to worry is important when it comes to love matters.
So what if I did the opposite? Even if I can assume the answer, I can hardly say that I understand it unless I actually derive it.
"Then are you going to get in my way? You can just barge in while I'm meeting Ichinose on my day off."
"You won't do it, right? There isn't any benefit to doing that. Then, this is the end of this topic. We will go buy the Christmas present together next week. This way there should be no problems."
Just by not saying gentle words, the atmosphere became much heavier all of a sudden.
The Kei who was waiting happily for me under the cold weather had disappeared.
"That's enough. Kiyotaka has Kiyotaka's own thoughts. I also don't have the right to say anything."
Not just her expression, even her feelings became distant.
"I, will stop by the convenience store a bit before going back. You can go back first."
After saying that, she ran toward the convenience store without looking at me.
But although Kei's pace seems fast it's slow, I could tell from her back that she was hoping for me to chase after her.
All I had to do was to immediately chase after her and say that I'm sorry and tell her that I'll think of some other way to meet Ichinose.
If I do that, her mood will probably return to how it was just before.
But I decided to break my gaze away from her back and headed back to the dormitory.
By doing so, the rift between us would deepen.
What kind of reaction and attitude would Kei show?
And how would I feel and act in response?
It would be a good opportunity to experience all of those things.