Just the two of us (1)

I knew Natsuki’s words were a joke.

I understood that they were provocations meant to agitate me.

Even so, ugly, throbbing feelings welled up from deep within my chest like a sticky flame.

You don’t want to hand over Kazemiya to him? How arrogant of me to think that Kazemiya belonged to no one.
I would dare to say that Kazemiya Kohaku would belong only to Kazemiya Kohaku.

But then I thought.

—I would like to make Kazemiya Kohaku my own.

Natsuki laid bare that emotion inside me with a single word.

“…You’ve done a terrible thing.”

“I want you to be happy, Kuota.
It’s not good for you to be unhappy by running away from your feelings.
Above all, it’s the long-awaited summer vacation, right? Instead of running away, I want you to quickly get together and enjoy the summer with your girlfriend.”

“Are you my guardian?”

Actually, Natsuki had been taking care of me quite well.

“It’s not quite a ‘guardian’ per se.
If I had to say, it’s…”

I never heard Natsuki’s further words.

“Hey, look at that.”

All I could hear were the words of someone around me.

What had filled the area just a few moments before was a series of incoherent conversations.
But now, it was clear that the very atmosphere of the surrounding area had changed and was unified into a single consciousness.
Not just the air and the words.
I noticed that the gazes of everyone present, except for me and Natsuki, were focused on one point, one spot.

Two girls in swimsuits were in a place that had just become the center of the world.

Needless to say, they were—Kazemiya Kohaku and Raimon Shiori.

Kazemiya was wearing a white swimsuit bikini and her long beautiful golden hair was pulled back.

Unexpectedly, my heart beat slightly as I saw her hair in a different style than usual.
If there was such a thing as an angel in this world, it might look just like Kazemiya …….
Such a silly thought passed through my mind for a moment.
It seemed that Raimon-san chose a black swimsuit in contrast to Kazemiya’s.
She was wearing a pareo around her waist, giving her a somewhat mature impression.
Perhaps because of her imposing behavior, one might be fooled into thinking she was older than she is.

“Aren’t those two super cute?”

“Are they models? Are they celebrities?”

“Maybe I should talk to them…”

Neither of them seemed to have noticed it yet.
They were walking toward this palm tree, the meeting place, while looking around, but just walking normally, they were attracting all eyes around them.
Some of the men were looking dizzy and attracted to them…like a flock of moths attracted to the light.

“Hey, you two.
Are you two alone? Are you free? Do you want to play together?”

“No, we’re not free.
You can tell by looking at us.”

“I’ll buy you dinner or something.
Then, after we hang out…”

“I have a friend waiting.”

She must be used to this kind of invitation.
Kazemiya brushed off the guys’ invitations with thorough skills that displayed her proficiency.
That was the cool beauty blizzard I saw in the classroom during the first semester.
Raimon-san, who walks next to her, also looked the same.


The looked in her eyes was a complete change from the extreme cold that blows in the middle of summer.

As soon as Kazemiya’s eyes met mine, she smiled softly, as if she were comfortable sunlight.


Kazemiya rushed to us, casually avoiding the men around her without allowing them to come in contact with her.

“I’m sorry to keep you both waiting.
It took us a while to get dressed.”

“We’re fine.
We didn’t wait that long.”

Bad timing.
Maybe it was because Natsuki revealed my true feelings earlier.
Kazemiya, who was usually so cute, looks 30% cuter today. I can’t stay calm…I need to calm down.

“If anything, you could have taken your time.
It’s a man’s job to wait for a woman to get ready.”

“Oh, Inumaki-kun is quite used to going out with girls, huh?”

“Well, I’m actually a playboy.”

Raimon-san, who had walked at her own pace, joined us, and now all four of us were together.

“Now that we’re all here, let’s get going.”

As he said this, Natsuki turned his eyes to his surroundings.
Although he had only looked away for a moment, the population density had clearly increased around this meeting place.

“I’m going to drown in a sea of people before we even get to the pool at this point.”


I took Natsuki’s reasonable suggestion and quickly left the palm tree.

Unfulfilled gazes were drawn to Kazemiya and Raimon-san, and a piercing gaze filled with jealousy and resentment pricked at my back and Natsuki’s.

“Should we move on to the outdoors? There’s a lot more fancy stuff there.”

This Ritsugami Water City was divided into an outdoor and an indoor area.

The indoor area had attractions that could be enjoyed by young children and people of all ages, while the outdoor pool had many large water slides and other flashy attractions.

“There’s also an outdoor pool that you like to play in, Natsuki.”

“We can do that later.
We should all enjoy the fancy ones while we still have the energy.”

“Then there’s an attraction I’d like to ride.
Can we?”

Which one do you want to ride, Raimon-san?”

Raimon-san pointed her straight index finger at a point.

“That one.”


Snake Escape.

This was the main attraction at Ritsugami Water City.
The attraction was a two-person rubber boat ride through a long course with a snake design, and it was very popular.
In fact, there was a long line of people waiting for their turn.

We quickly became part of the line and waited our turn while chatting.

There was no option to leave without enjoying the main attraction, and it was Raimon-san’s wish, too.
Above all, time flies when the four of us were chatting with each other, even if we were waiting in line.

Sorry, is it okay if I leave for a minute?”

As the line was nearing its end, Natsuki cut in apologetically.

“Hm? What’s wrong?”

“I’m hungry~.
I remembered I hadn’t eaten anything since this morning.
My stomach is rumbling.
I’m going to get something light to eat.”

Without any further time to stop, Natsuki took off from the line like flowing water.

Well, his personal goal was to “ride on a float and sway in a flowing pool”.
I guess the water slide didn’t appeal to him that much.

I couldn’t force him to do it, since it was also my way of thanking Natsuki today.

The other thing I could do was pay for the hot dogs that Natsuki would enjoy.

—But then, a few minutes later.

“I’m sorry, you two.
Do you mind if I leave for a bit too?”

“You too, Shiori? Why?”

“I’m feeling a little dizzy.
I think the heat is getting to me.”

“Eh, are you okay? Can you walk? If you want to go to the emergency room, I can…”

“I’m fine.
I’m not really good in the summer.
It’s always the same, and it will stop once I get in the water and cool off.
It’s not worth going to the emergency room.
So, you two have fun for me and Inumaki-kun.”

Before Kazemiya could worry anymore, Raimon-san also left the line.

…She had a very steady gait for someone who said she was feeling dizzy.



Now there were only two of us left, me and Kazemiya.
We looked at each other.

This Snake Escape’s rubber boat was for two people.
At first, the plan was for me, Natsuki, Kazemiya, and Raimon-san to ride separately as boys and girls, but considering the number of people remaining, the combination would be…me and Kazemiya.

“…What should we do? Inumaki-kun and Shiori are gone.”

What should we do, I wonder…No, what should I do.

“Okay, next please.”

Before we had time to think about it, we were told by the staff that it was our turn to go.

Can I ride alone? If I were to run away, what would…Kazemiya do? Ride with someone else? Behind us are…two men.
Then, if I ride alone here, will Kazemiya ride with the guy behind me?

“Next one, please.
What’s wrong?”

That’s it.
I decided.

“Let’s get in.”

—Absolutely disgusting.


Kazemiya seemed surprised, but perhaps because she had jammed the order, she was led somewhat forcefully by a female staff member, and the two of us boarded the rubber boat as we were asked to do.


“…if we stop riding too, it’ll make that two uncomfortable.”

I was making excuses.

“And you know what Raimon-san said.
We should enjoy ourselves too.
So let’s have fun.”

Let’s have fun.
For both of them.”

The more words I piled up, the more they sounded like excuses.
Fortunately, Kazemiya accepted my excuses.

I was in the back and Kazemiya was in the front, so I couldn’t see her face.
I think her ears were a little red…


I noticed it too late because I was focusing on the faintly red ears.

Today, Kazemiya’s hair was pulled back.
And I was sitting behind Kazemiya.
The white nape of Kazemiya’s neck, which was usually hidden by a golden veil, came into my view.

Was it because of the summer heat? The drops of sweat, shining transparently in the sun, flowed down the line of the nape of her neck, following gravity.

…Oh, no.
This is not good.
I have to take my eyes away. My whole body was numb with a sense of immorality as if I was seeing something I shouldn’t be seeing.
Not only that.

A sweet, sloppy, ugly possessive desire rose up, and I wanted to make a mark on her white neck.
A mark to prevent anyone from stealing it, to prevent it from being handed over to anyone else. What is this? Was I such an uncontrollable person?

Then, here goes–”

Immediately after the staff member’s voice brought me back to myself, the rubber boat began to run in the course with the current of the water.



It was surprisingly fast.
And the repeated curves stimulate a subtle thrill, which was interesting.

“Ahaha! This is so much fun!”

“Yeah! It’s awesome to get your mind off things!”

No, really.
It was just the right attraction to distract me from this weird mood.

I wish it could have continued until my head cooled down, but we soon came to an end.

Finally, after passing through a cascade of water, the rubber boat landed in a small pool.
I hurriedly get out of the boat before I feel weird again.

“Narumi, were you bad at this kind of thing?”

“Not really.”

“Really? You seem to be in a hurry to get off the boat.”

“…There’s a lot going on.
This one too.”

She didn’t even know what I was thinking, and she was so carefree.

“Hmmmm? There’s a lot going on, huh?”

“…I mean, when you’re the one in behind you could get out quickly, so you’d better get out too..”

“Okay, okay.”

As it was, I climbed out of the Snake Escape pool with Kazemiya.

“Then, let’s meet up with Natsuki and Raimon-san.
He said he was going to buy hot dogs.”

Anyway, the sooner we met them up, the better.
Before I felt weird again.

Since we’re here, why don’t we go in the other pool for a minute?”

Unaware of my difficulty, Kazemiya called out to me as if to stall me.

Her hair dripping in water.
Her faintly red cheeks.
The upward glance was caused by the difference in height.

“Just the two of us…”

Unfortunately, my spirit was not strong enough to refuse this invitation.

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