Kengo was still moody when we stood next to each other in front of the long toilet. He asked me what I was doing, to which I responded truthfully that I was talking with Chisato-senpai. He followed up by asking what we were talking about, and I told him that it was about solving a puzzle.
After that, we had some safe, friendly conversation. Kengo wouldn’t bring out a dangerous topic with Osanai-san around. Not wanting to outstay our welcome, we took our leave.
It was still too early to be considered evening when we started the return journey. I recalled Chisato-senpai’s words.
—You’re good! I always thought you were smart when you were a little kid in elementary school, though.
—Kengo’s worried about you, although he’s strangely reserved and doesn’t say what he wants to.
—But it seems like it’s just needless worry. You’re totally fine.
—You’re good at playing along, huh. You were really immersed in the problem back there.
—Well, I hope you two get along. He’s just my idiotic little brother, though.
Good at playing along, and being immersed. Both of these are traits unbefitting of a petit bourgeois.
Osanai-san hadn’t spoke at all, and didn’t even try to make eye contact with me. Did I say something horrible, or did I do something that put her in a bad mood? The hesitance of a little citizen finally returned to me.
However, I actually knew why Osanai-san wasn’t saying anything.
We were now right in front of her apartment, and we would soon split up with just a solitary word of farewell. If I went off without saying anything, it would become all the more awkward on Monday. I called out at her small, retreating figure.
“It’ll be fine. We won’t do something like this ever again. It’s a Sunday, so we can think of this as letting loose for a bit.”
With a flutter of her long skirt, Osanai-san turned around. And then she smiled. It was a smile that contained no energy, although her smiles were usually weak, anyway.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“We have a promise, but that doesn’t place any restriction on what kind of person you will become. The Kobato-kun today was just like the one when we first met. If it’s more fun over there, you can just become that Kobato-kun. I don’t mind.”
Naturally, that was true. The promise of a mutually beneficial relationship we had was not so high in priority that we had to drop everything for it. Becoming a little citizen was our shared aim, but if one of us wanted to drop out, there would be no reason to stop them.
However, I didn’t want to drop out of our agreement just yet. I replied.
“It’s a Sunday. I just played around too much. That is all. I’ll stop showing off my wisdom.”
For a brief moment, Osanai-san looked at me. Just when I was starting to think that she was observing me, she nodded.
And then Osanai-san disappeared into her apartment.
As for me, I decided to walk around on the streets for a while more. I could certainly use a good stroll by the river.
Editors (Tier 2) : Joshua Fisher, Slush56, Jen Murph, _Maki
Assistants (Tier 1) : Karen Kronenberg, Definitelynotme, Rolando Sanchez, Kevin Kohn, Jaime Cuellar, Yazmin Arostegui
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