It was the next day.
With my modest bento laid out on my desk, some noise suddenly drifted from the school speakers. The broadcasting switch was turned on. Since I was well-behaved and didn’t belong to a club, I couldn’t imagine that I was in any way related to the announcement that would follow, so I paid it no heed as I separated my disposable chopsticks. However, while the announcement was indeed directly unrelated to me, it was still related to me by proxy.
“Osanai Yuki-kun from Class 1-C, please come to the Student Guidance Office. I repeat. Osanai Yuki-kun from Class 1-C, please come to the Student Guidance Office.”
I don’t know what she was like in the past, but the Osanai-san now is a humble person. She doesn’t earn the ire of others, and doesn’t transgress or go against what is right1. Even so, she is not overly punctilious, and even seems to have a goal of living every day plainly, without drawing attention. I also call myself a little citizen, but I’m no match to Osanai-san’s devotion in that respect. If my immersion in a group is “moderate”, Osanai-san’s would be “invisible”.
Even with Osanai-san being like that, this would actually be the second time she is called to the Student Guidance Office. We haven’t been in this school for long, so Osanai-san would be nothing but disappointed for being called for Student Guidance twice already. That said, I do have an idea of what she’s being called for.
She might need my assistance for escaping. I quickly finished up my bento and waited for Osanai-san near the Student Guidance Office.
It seemed that she’d already entered the room and was undergoing Student Guidance. After less than ten minutes, the door slid open and out came Osanai-san. She bowed to the people in the office, and noticed me as she turned around.
We walked side by side, but to be precise, Osanai-san seemed to be half a step behind. As usual, she was looking down, but it was not because of her wariness, and because she had just received a shock, for her eyes were spacing out.
“Was it about the bicycle?”
I asked, causing Osanai-san to instantly look up, as if I’d hit the mark. However, her eyes instantly dropped to the ground again, and she nodded.
“Um… They said that it was found.”
“Wow! That’s great!”
I said that brightly with a smile, but Osanai-san didn’t give so much as a grin. Since she had been so concerned about it earlier, I could understand that it wasn’t just “found”. I was thinking of pressing her for more information, but she continued on her own accord.
“There’s a slope if you go straight where the highway branches right at Kitahamae. My bicycle was discarded on the other side of the slope.”
Where the highway branches right at Kitahamae. To be precise, that’s the area where the highway from the south branches east. Going straight from that would mean the narrow path at the T junction. Thinking about it, I immediately recalled what had happened the day before.
“Isn’t that the place where we saw Sakagami yesterday?”
“Yes… If I’d chased after him, I could have gotten my bicycle back yesterday.”
Osanai-san said that with a hollow voice, showing that she herself didn’t believe that she could have done that.
“Someone made a phone call, saying that it’s a nuisance that a bicycle with the seal of Funa High was discarded there. So, they were mad at me and said that I didn’t manage my bicycle well.”
I smiled wryly.
“You’ve heard that before, right?”
With the previous case, the Student Guidance Department should have known that the bicycle with Osanai-san’s bicycle license seal had been stolen. It was totally unfair for them to chide her for not managing her bicycle well. However, Osanai-san did not care at all about the unfairness, and that was only natural. Taking injustice without complaints can be said to be the first rule of being a petit bourgeois.
Adding the assumption that Osanai-san’s lack of cheeriness was related to the bicycle, only one thing came to mind.
“So, the bicycle was mostly broken?”
She glanced up at me for a while, then nodded.
“The person who called the school said that it had been run over by a car. I’m not sure how damaged it is, though…”
I don’t know the details, but if an unmanned bicycle was run over, that would make it a property damage accident, and I believe Osanai-san could even request for compensation. In the first place, I’m a hundred percent sure that the person who made the phone call did so to escape from the responsibility.
It was noisy at school in the afternoon. In a voice that was almost lost in the surrounding clamor, Osanai-san spoke.
“I’ll collect it after school. Could you lend me a hand?”
Our promise did not extend beyond securing a path of escape. Even so, I quickly accepted the request.
Editors (Tier 2) : Joshua Fisher, Slush56, _Maki
Assistants (Tier 1) : Karen Kronenberg, Definitelynotme, Rolando Sanchez, Kevin Kohn, Jaime Cuellar, Yazmin Arostegui
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