My intuition had been off the mark. I’d thought that the note had been written by a male, but the person waiting for me after school in my classroom was a female student.
The sunset had lost the intensity that was painful on the eyes, and it was promptly going dark. That female student was standing by an open window. The wind outside was apparently quite strong, for her summer scarf was swaying in the wind that was coming in.
I knew that girl, she was a classmate of mine. My deduction had been spot on in that regard. However, I didn’t know her name. As I wondered why she would call me out, the girl spoke.
“Five thirty, right on the dot. You’re quite punctual, huh.”
It was a smooth, mature voice that I’d heard before. It sounded like it came from someone who had been in the same class as me since the beginning of high school.
I didn’t think it would be anything dangerous, but I was relieved when I found that my companion was just one female student. The thought of me brazenly accepting the invitation, only to get denounced by multiple people, had certainly crossed my mind.
“It’s a long-awaited invitation. Of course I’ll observe the civilities.”
I replied, causing the female student to laugh, close the window and walk a few steps towards me.
“Sorry for getting you to wait for me for so long.”
“The time flew by in the blink of an eye.”
Silence followed, so I gave her a prompt, “So, what did you call me for?” The female student took one step, two steps forward, then placed her hands together in front of her body.
“There’s something I want to ask of you.”
I didn’t think that that anyone would want to ask the current me about anything, since I’d already stopped sticking my nose into others’ troubles. I could feel a fretful ripple somewhere in my heart.
… But, well, perhaps I could lend my wisdom if I’m asked to. So, what did she want to know? Something a little more complicated would be good. When it comes to other people, I would want them to bring me difficult requests that are not immediately solvable.
However, her question was wholly unexpected.
“Kobato-kun, you’ve broken up with that girl, right?”
I immediately understood who she was referring to.
Osanai Yuki, who had been my comrade in becoming a member of the petit bourgeois until recently. We neither had a romantic relationship nor a codependent relationship, but instead had a symbiotic one. Osanai-san and I would look out for each other, to prevent the other from wandering off the path of the petit bourgeois.
However, that relationship had been dissolved in the summer holidays. Only know did I think of it as natural. I would go by my own way, and Osanai-san by hers, but we would become petit bourgeois, slowly and steadily. But how did this classmate know?
I gasped. There was only one thing that came to mind.
Breaking up with Osanai-san was the result of an incident, one that involved a lot of people, some of them even breaking the law. I thought they were all rounded up, but…
As the link formed in my head, I shrank back. Could that girl be part of that group?
I had unconsciously assumed a defensive posture, but all the female student did in response was to widen her eyes.
“What’s the matter? Don’t be so surprised.”
“I’m not surprised, but I’m wondering, how did you know?”
“…I could tell just by looking. I’ve never seen the two of you together since the summer holidays ended. My friends said the same thing, too.”
That was it?
I observed the expression on her face, but it seemed that she meant it. That was, indeed, all. I felt embarassed for having such an overblown reaction, so I tried to laugh it off.
“I see. You’re right, you can certainly tell from that.”
“So, you two broke up, right?”
“Yeah, we broke up.”
I answered with a grin. In response, the female student slightly tightened her fists for some reason. I still didn’t know how the two of them were related, or if they were related at all. Wondering if I could figure it out, I was about to slip into thought, when the girl whose name I didn’t even know spoke in a manner one would take when asking what’s for dinner.
“So, will you go out with me, then?”
“Let’s go out with each other.”
I properly looked at her for the first time.
She was tall compared to Osanai-san, although you probably wouldn’t find a girl shorter than Osanai-san unless you went to an elementary school.
It was quite dim in the classroom, so I couldn’t read her expression, though she seemed to be putting on a stiff smile. She had quite a long face, and long, wavy hair with curls. Funado High School did not have very strict rules, but that didn’t mean it had no checks on hairstyles at all. She probably had naturally curly hair. The corners of her eyes were low, or perhaps you could say that she had drooping eyes. She also seemed to have quite a thin neck.
I didn’t think her to be an extremely flashy person, but she was definitely not plain. She had a fairly pretty appearance, and seemed to be enjoying her youth to a moderate extent. That was the feeling she gave off, anyway… In other words, she was probably the type to live the high school life I was envious of deep in my heart.
Her eyes sparkled impishly.
“So, Kobato-kun, your given name is Jougorou, right?”
“Can I call you Joe? That sounds cool, doesn’t it?”
I grinned and immediately made a declaration.
I firmly refused. The girl withdrew, but my answer seemed to have swallowed up the topic of going out with her. Could that be part of her strategy?
Of course, even I knew that being confessed to by a girl is an honor.
As a male high school student who subscribes to the beliefs of the petit bourgeois, there was no need to refuse as long as there were no exceptional reasons.
Thus, I started going out with that girl.
But there was just one problem.
“I’ll be in your care from now on, Kobato!”
Even after being addressed like that, I could not reply to her. I would have to start by finding out her name. But what should I do?
That should be settled with the name tag on her shoe locker, I believe.
Editors (Tier 2) : Joshua Fisher
Assistants (Tier 1) : Definitelynotme, Rolando Sanchez
Thank you very much for all your support!