Chapter 23: You’re not alone.
We’ll be happy together.
The day after the incident with Kotone, I had parted from Ayana, with whom I had eaten lunch, and came to the rooftop.
In most high schools, the doors leading to the rooftop are usually locked, but the rooftop of this school is basically open to the public and anyone can visit.
If we wanted, Ayana and I could eat our lunch together while admiring the view from here.
Taking a comfortable position to lean my body against the railing, I think back to yesterday.
I was hurt by Kotone’s words that she wished I had died, and for a moment I thought about giving in to my anger, but Ayana got angry on my behalf.
If I had been there alone, I wonder what I would have done.
I am confident that I would not have done such a thing, but I would have said a lot of abusive words.
I might have blurted out everything I was thinking, including about Shu who wasn’t there.
Although it felt like Ayana had taken away everything that I had kept hidden and exposed my anger to others, I realized that she really protects and supports me.
I also want to save Ayana and take action, and she helps me in her own way.
We have an equal relationship where we exist not just to help each other, but to help each other equally… Yes, that’s the most important thing.
My phone trembled in my pocket as I was twilighting while looking at the scenery.
I took it out and looked at it and found a message from Ayana, saying that she was worried because I hadn’t returned to the classroom yet.
It’s been less than 10 minutes since we parted,……, and Ayana might not be happy about it, but her concern is so cute that I can’t help but let out a giggle.
With about 20 minutes left until the end of lunch break, I thought it was a good time to go back to Ayana and was about to leave the rooftop when he—- Shu, appeared on the roof.
Well, that imagination of mine was unfounded.
I thought Shu was going to come straight at me, but he stopped at some distance and opened his mouth, looking straight at me.
“Towa_……, why did you lie to me?”
I couldn’t help but hear Shu’s words back to me.
Shu glared at me sharply and continued his words.
“You said you would support my relationship with Ayana! And yet …… why are you going out with Ayana?!”
I let out a sigh as I wondered what he was going to say.
I guess he didn’t like the way I was looking at him, because his eyes became even sharper.
I opened my mouth as I stared back at him.
“I told you back then that I was sorry about that…I feel bad about what happened.
You probably liked Ayana more than I did.
But I couldn’t just sit back and watch Ayana keep getting hurt.
So I made up my mind to tell her how I felt and to protect and support her.”
When I conveyed my own feelings, wishes, and determination to him directly, Shu backed off, visibly shaken.
I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help feeling that Shu looked pathetic.
He probably had his own feelings when he came here.
But just hearing my will made him waver like that, with such a half-hearted feeling, I couldn’t be moved by it.
Anyway, I have no intention of letting go of Ayana.
“What the hell is that…I love Ayana too.
If I had confessed first…Ayana would have…”
“And would she have accepted you?”
Shu bit his lip and looked down.
Seeing Shu like that…no, hearing his words just now, I couldn’t take it anymore.
In the end, he was the same as Kotone and Hatsune-san.
He ignored Ayana’s will.
He could even think of disregarding her thoughts.
It might be a bit harsh to say, and maybe I’ll lose my relationship with Shu from now on.
Even so, I didn’t stop.
“Shu, you can never make Ayana happy.”
I told him that it was impossible for him to see even a fraction of Ayana’s true nature, and I meant it as such.
When Shu heard my words, he was taken aback in surprise and became speechless, but soon regained his composure and retorted.
“What the hell…how can you know that!?! I love Ayana too! More than you! From a long time ago! I can make her happy!”
Shu shouted that he loved Ayana more than me and that he could make her happy.
But Shu, do you realize something? All the words you’re saying are only about yourself, and you’re not thinking about Ayana at all.
Perhaps this was the first time I had ever felt so much anger toward Shu.
My heart was in the right place and I spat out words at him.
“YOU’VE BEEN ONLY THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF THIS WHOLE TIME, DON’T YOU KNOW THAT?! YOU’RE NOT THINKING ABOUT AYANA AT ALL! DO YOU THINK YOUR HAPPINESS IS THE SAME AS AYANA’S HAPPINESS?! STOP BEING SO SELFISH!!”
I lashed out, not giving him a chance to interrupt me.
Perhaps this was the first time I had ever shown my anger like this, and for Shu, he had never seen me in such a state before.
That’s probably why he was speechless when he saw me.
I glared at Shu while panting heavily.
He had lost his momentum and could only squeeze out a few small words in a last-ditch effort to resist.
“…..Well…..Well, so what? Do you think you can make Ayana happy?”
I nodded firmly in response.
“I’ll show you.
I’ll definitely make Ayana happy.”
There was no need to hesitate.
This was my true feeling.
Certainly, at this stage, I didn’t know what the future held.
Only God knew that.
But so what? I would definitely make Ayana happy…
As I thought about it, I shook my head suddenly.
“… No, this is wrong.
This is not right.”
I muttered softly, causing Shu to tilt his head in confusion.
I had forgotten something important in the heat of the moment.
That was the shape of happiness I had been thinking about since coming here, an equal relationship where we would help each other.
“We’ll both be happy.
Not just one of us, but both Ayana and I.
We’ll make each other happy together.
Shu, that’s my determination.”
Not just one of us, but both of us would be happy.
That’s what I was aiming for, and it was the determination I wanted to convey to Shu in the end.
Shu was frozen with his head down, as if he had nothing more to say to me.
I returned my attention from my conversation with Shu to the time on my phone and saw that class was about to start in about five minutes.
As I walked past Shu on my way off the rooftop, I asked him a small question.
“…… Don’t be late for class.”
…… I said a lot of things, but I hope these words won’t be the last between us.
I entered the school from the rooftop and was in the process of descending the stairs when I saw someone I wasn’t expecting.
The student body president, Iori Honjo.
She was there, leaning against the wall.
Iori smiled and opened her mouth when she saw me.
“I was grateful for the presence of people who treats me normal.
Even though it was work, the only one who didn’t mind when I invited him and acted like it was bothersome was Shu-kun.
His attitude was refreshing to me, and I began to like him as I saw him master the job.”
Slightly taken aback by Iori’s sudden disclosure, I couldn’t bring myself to cut off the conversation due to her delicate atmosphere.
Although she still gives off her usual cool impression, what I feel the most is… resignation?
“But… I think I understand it somehow.
As long as Shu-kun doesn’t overcome it himself, Otonashi-san will continue to remain in Shu-kun’s heart.
So even if my feelings were accepted…I don’t know how to put it.
The future where things go well seems to disappear.”
I see, so Iori really did like Shu.
I also agree with some of what Iori said.
With the way things are, Shu might continue to pursue Ayana’s illusion for a long time.
If that were to happen, any woman who loves him would inevitably be paired with someone else…there would undoubtedly be no happiness in that.
“I thought it was a chance when I saw you and Otonashi-san holding hands.
Fufu…love is something that doesn’t always work out, right? Maybe it was a good experience before going to university.”
I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her smile, which was too beautiful for words.
At the same time, I remember that she may experience a tragic fate in university even without Ayana’s intervention.
Even if I were to point it out to her, from her perspective, she might not understand what I’m talking about.
“…Senpai, about university–“
So I was about to speak vaguely about the club, but what I heard from Iori was unexpected.
“I haven’t told Shu-kun yet, but I plan to change the university I’ll attend.
I chose a nearby one just because I want to be close to him, but I’ll go to a slightly farther one.
Also, the level of study for what I want to do in the future is higher there.”
“….Is that so?”
….I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel the usual anxiety that I usually feel when I think about something.
I had a feeling that Iori, who had found something new she wanted to do, would be alright.
Thanks to that, I felt a little more at ease myself.
“Senpai, I hear there are some shady clubs in college, so be careful, okay? Please study hard.”
I’ll tell her at least this much, though I’m sure she’ll be fine.
Yeah, thank you.
But suspicious clubs, huh …… Yeah, I’ll be careful.
“If I go to college,…… I wonder if I’ll have a nice boyfriend like you.”
“Fufu, I’m sorry I gave you trouble with my response.
Well then, Yukishiro, don’t be late for class.”
Saying this, Iori left with a fluttering wave of her hand.
…… What can I say, people are so strong.
They can walk forward like that.
“Shu, you too, must move forward properly.”
Even if he didn’t hear me, that’s fine, that’s good enough for now.
I was satisfied on my own and was about to go back to the classroom again when my phone shook again.
I took out my phone without thinking anything of it, and I couldn’t help but let out an audible gasp.
There were a few messages there from Ayana.
It’s true that I said I’m leaving now and it’s such a last minute thing …… I have to hurry back.
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