Chapter 7 – The True Heart [Part 1]
When I open the front door, the slightly damp air brushes against my skin. The sky is cloudy today. I think the weather forecast yesterday did mention it’ll rain from noon onwards. Perhaps I should bring an umbrella.
While it isn’t a『refreshing morning』, it isn’t blindingly bright either, and fits my current mood perfectly. Perhaps they are reflecting my listlessness; the soft curls that I should have curled properly are limp.
I was unable to sleep well last night. Because I repeatedly slept and woke, my head hurts. This is all Kagurazaka Aoi’s fault. … Anyhow, he’s probably here today too. With these thoughts in my mind, I turn the door k.n.o.b.
See, I knew it. He has his usual gentle smile on. Thank goodness.
What did I mean by『Thank goodness』? I reflexively make a comeback at myself. It’s no good; my head may have turned strange because I didn’t get proper sleep. I have to get myself together.
Just as I was thinking that, my gaze stops at his foot and I recall. His foot was sprained yesterday but…
“Senpai, your foot…”“Un, it’s fine. Thanks for the concern.”“Is that so. I wasn’t concerned at all, but… thank goodness.”
I purposely speak in a disinterested manner and walk pa.s.s him. I start walking in a quick pace that simply shouts『I want to walk alone』, but for some reason, he has a happy-looking expression as he walks beside me. My anger bubbles at both how my intention wasn’t transmitted and at that grin on his face.
I don’t like this『naturally, we’ll head to school together』feeling. I unknowingly let out a sigh.
“I have a favour to ask you, Kii.”“Do allow me to reject it.”“There isn’t an issue when I walk, but I doubt I’m able to chase after you if you escape. That’s why, can you give escaping a rest today? Besides, today’s the Friday that I tend to spend with you. I want to be together with you.”
I want to say, ‘First of all, listen to what people have to say’. It’s tiring to retort every single time, so I won’t say it though.
『Friday』, he says. It seems like I’d unconsciously say『Isn’t it because it’s the day the favourability rating raises easily?』so I swallowed those words. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want my mood to turn even gloomier than this. It will rain.
“Shall we go somewhere after school?”“I am not going.”“I’ll pick you up when cla.s.s is over.”“Like I said… can you hear me? Are your ears working properly? I am not going!”“I’ll come and pick you up.”“…”
He shoots me a smile the same time his words are fired. This smile that charms a large number of girls is nothing but a threat to me now. My cla.s.sroom has completely transformed into the opposing team’s turf. If I ignore this guy when he comes to pick me up, the favourability rating people have of me will be reduced again.
Ah… but, I wonder if the guys will cheer for me. Nah, even so, female friends are more important to me than male ones. Moreover, if I continue ignoring him as he pursues me throughout the day, it feels like I’ll get stabbed by the girls at some point.
“If you stay quiet during the other break times, I’ll accompany you if it’s just after school…”“Kii! Yes, I promise!”“… It’s just for today.”
Let’s treat it as thanks for shielding me from my fall off the stairs yesterday and endure it. We’ll probably go out of school when school ends so let’s take it that I’ve managed to protect school’s peace… yep.
The weather forecast is still off its mark at this point; it hasn’t rained. I stretch and loosen my body as I gaze at the cloudy sky beyond the window.
The morning cla.s.ses are over and it is now the long break time:『lunch break』. As that guy promised, he has yet to appear today. It’s been a while since I can spend my time in school undisturbed… at the instant I was thinking so.
The moment I relaxed, I encountered that guy in a totally unexpected place.
Perhaps it’s due to the lack of sleep; my head’s a blank. Hence I decided to take a nap and went to the backyard. An iron bench sits there, its coat of paint peeling off slightly. The bench isn’t exactly pretty, but it’s perfect when you want to lay down horizontally. Moreover, there’s a large tree by the bench. On top of the shade provided by the tree, it’s a little-known place people rarely drop by. I thought that there won’t be anyone here with the weather being so unpredictable today, but someone beat me to it. It’s that guy. What is he doing in a place like this? I hid myself and stealthily peeked out. He’s engrossed in reading a book. I’m curious about the book he’s reading so I strain my eyes but I still can’t see it clearly. I think it’s some kind of magazine…
“『Understanding her preferences』will give you a high evaluation. Your choice of the shop and your choice of the present is key…”
He’s scanning the page pensively while muttering about something. Does that magazine contains such complicated content?
“Present… nuh huh, what I have to take note is that depending on her mood when she receives it, it may feel oppressive or shallow… so the timing is important too. If it’s the previous Kii-tan, she’d like cute…-ish and girlish things, but the current Kii-tan seems like she prefers pretty and fashionable things, huh.”
I heard something about me from his mutterings? Or rather… is it me or it sounds like he’s thinking about what to give me for a present?
Watcha doing, to the extent of hiding in such a place!? For some reason, I grew embarra.s.sed; my face turned hot.
No, this isn’t due to bashfulness nor happiness. It’s because I was called『Kii-tan』again, such an embarra.s.sing way of calling my name…!
“Moreover, she seems to admire Shiori… should I ask Shiori for suggestions? I wonder if she doesn’t like accessories anymore… I didn’t manage to get her to accept it after all. Also, where should we go today? It’s so hard… ahhh, what should I do-jaaaa!”
『Ja』!?  Eh… is he actually ‘a grandpa who reincarnated’ on the inside, or something!? I wonder if he’s going all brouhaha because his body became young. If so… I think it’s forgivable. If I treat it like daycare, I’m not too unwilling to go for just a 1-day date y’know.
… Wait, it’s not the time for that. It was the same when he was murmuring by himself previously too, but this gives a different impression from the normal Kagurazaka Aoi. Is this the『true Kagurazaka Aoi』?
I realize the moment that came to my mind. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at senpai either. Just as how he wasn’t looking at my true self, I, too, wasn’t looking at the true Kagurazaka Aoi?
“Isn’t this harder than the bar exams…!?”
… Even though I was reflecting on myself seriously. I heard a line that completely cut the tension. Let’s give up on napping and go back.
“To think it’ll be so tough without the capturing data… I really had been enjoying myself so far, huh.”
He’s still muttering away, but I bet it’s something foolish. I think I’m starting to want to escape after school…
 She’s talking about her hair. Some j.a.panese add stuff to the end of their sentences (think Naruto’s “-dattebayo”). “-jaa” is a suffix a.s.sociated with the older generation.
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