Chapter 6 – The conflict between the four

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With summer vacation just two weeks away, Maki says to me:

—How do you feel about going to summer camp?

We were in the club room after the morning classes were over.

The reason was Miki-chan, and the restoration of the club without her permission.
We borrowed her name as an advisor when we brought our club to life, and even created a history of activities in which she participated.

But she found out about it, and got mad at us for doing that.

—What kind of camp would that be?

—Hmm, how about looking for mysterious things? Then we can record it and upload it to the internet.
It’s a good way to get your name out there.
And you can stay for free at a hot spring hotel.

Then Maki shows me the website of an old hot spring inn on her tablet. 

—It’s a publicity stunt.
If we film a short film about an inn and upload it to a video site, we can even get free accommodation.
In addition, the number of people visiting these places in summer is very low, so there will be plenty of rooms available.
It’s a good opportunity if you think about it.

The idea sounds good.

—Do you like the idea?

—Sure.

—Why are you whispering?

—For some reason my head hurts.

—Well, anyway, remember we have to do something great.
If we don’t show something that justifies the activities of this club, they’ll take it away from us.

—Thank you, you just gave me another headache.

—Well, you have no choice but to take it seriously.

Maki was more than willing to do so, since, deep down, he wants to be a film director.
He had even asked Yamanaka-kun to make a storyboard for him. 

—We should look for actors.

—And the script?

—I’ve given it to Tachibana.
She seems to be good at that sort of thing.

—I see, then I’ll talk to her.

—Why? Do you have something in mind?

—Not really.
By the way, Tachibana has been absent from school lately.
Do you know the reason?

—She has a piano recital coming up, so she’s focusing most of her time on practicing.

That’s true.
Although to be honest, the relationship between Tachibana-san and I lately hasn’t been good.
Ever since I refused to kiss her, we’ve been drifting apart a lot. 

—Hmmm, what happened between you two now?

Maki says with a smile from ear to ear.
For some strange reason, she has a good intuition.

—Although I guess it doesn’t matter if the relationship between you and Tachibana is ruined.
After all, you have another girl as a backup.
If this were to come out, you’d be the envy of the whole school.

Maki looks outside the school.
In the distance, she sees Hayasaka-san standing at the back door.

—Are you going to walk her home?

—Maybe.

I stand up and get ready to leave.

—Things may be going well now, but you’re going to have a lot of problems in the future.

Maki says as he thinks.

—What do you mean?

—I’m not going to tell you.
But you’ll know soon enough.

Surely, he must have heard something from Miki-chan.

—Well, let’s go to summer camp.
If we don’t, they’ll take away our club.

—I know.

One thing bothers me, though. 

—What will I be doing?

—Kirishima, you’re not very good at acting.
Although… I’m sure you can play a great role as a corpse.

—That’s the role you plan on giving the club president?

Although, I couldn’t help but imagine such a situation.
Being in a dimly lit wooden room.
Tachibana-san dressed in a Yukata slowly kills me.

—Well, maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

—Don’t get carried away by your perverted fantasies.

I must give preference to my first love.

I would also like to thank Hayasaka-san for all her support.
But there are times when things get out of hand.

—I’m sorry about the other day.
I’ve been meaning to tell you…

On the way home, Hayasaka-san apologizes for what happened.
This was all about the emotional test performed by Tachibana-san the other day.

—I was competing against Tachibana-san, and I didn’t want to lose.

—Did you know that she had my tie all the time?

—Yes.
Because Kirishima-kun always wears a tie, even in the summer, but this time you didn’t. 

—I know I should have been more careful.
But still, I couldn’t help but feel jealous at that moment.
Sorry.

She looked so listless that I took her hand.

—Hayasaka-san.

Her face lights up at this situation.

It’s nice to be able to make someone happy by simply caressing their hand like this.
It’s a beautiful thing, and at the same time, it makes me uncomfortable to know that what I do has such a big impact on her.

—People tend to think of jealousy as an unpleasant emotion.

This is especially true in love.
I’ve heard many people say that jealousy is unbecoming of a man.

—But it’s something that comes naturally when you love someone, isn’t it?

We all want to be exclusive, and we all want to be special.

—I’m jealous because I like you.

Maybe when I’m older I’ll be able to think differently, but for now I can’t.

—But, I got jealous of that person you love the most.
That means I’ve been a nuisance, doesn’t it?

—It was our mistake for underestimating the feelings of a love like ours, even though we were supposed to be lovers.

My emotions for her are so strong that I can’t control them.
Deep inside, I want to stay with Hayasaka-san.

—Your jealousy is just proof that you are in love with me.

—And is Kirishima-kun jealous too?

—The day Hayasaka-san went to see her senpai, I was so upset that I wished you wouldn’t go.
He was my opponent, so to speak, and seeing the girl who I’m in love with move away from me made me feel sad. 

—I’m happy.

Hayasaka-san looked at me and said,

—I’m happy that Kirishima-kun is jealous because of me.
I don’t know why, it’s weird.

—No, that’s good.
I’m happy about that too.

Having a secret relationship with a girl, when your goal is to fall in love and be with another woman, makes jealousy chaos on both sides.

—Kirishima-kun, I want you to be more jealous.
When I was gone that day, it seemed like you didn’t care at all.

—It’s okay.

—Well, now that our feelings have subsided, I must say that, during the match, I bumped into senpai, and he was very kind.

—I don’t think this is a good time to talk about it.

—He gently touched my thighs when he asked how I was doing.

—Don’t go on.

—I… I was so glad he cared about me like this.

—I don’t mind, I think it’s great that you guys are so close!

—Kirishima-kun, how do you feel now?

— I feel like I’m dying.

Hayasaka-san is my girlfriend and I wish I could hug and kiss her.
But she also wants her senpai to do those things to her, make her feel special, take an interest in her, and give her the necessary attention she requires. 

It’s inevitable… After all, he is Hayasaka-san’s favorite.
While I was writhing in jealousy, Hayasaka-san smiled happily.

—When Kirishima-kun was making out with Tachibana-san, I felt that way too.

—I’m sorry.

—I don’t mind.
After all, we’re testing our feelings.
This is the real test that we love each other.
Right…? Hey, I want to feel more jealous.

When Hayasaka-san said that, I told her about the rainy day that I hadn’t told her about before.

—Tachibana-san had asked me to do a Kabedon for her.

—That snake.

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—And when I did it, she said she was happy.

—Why did you do it? It’s not something to be done lightly.

—Her face was so close to mine, it made me nervous.

—It doesn’t matter!

Hayasaka-san is jealous, but somehow happy.
So I said to myself, it’s my turn now.

—I wish I could go to the music room next door and play the songs I’ve always wanted to play.

—No way! It’s a really bad idea for Kirishima-kun to go there!

—And at lunchtime, we were in the club room and exchanged lunch dishes.

—I don’t want to listen anymore…

—Tachibana-san even downloaded all the albums from my favorite bands.

—Well, I’m happy for you!

When I told her about my relationship with Tachibana-san, Hayasaka-san squeezed my hand tightly, looked me in the eyes and clung to my arm. 

After that, we bragged about how close we were to each other’s crushes and became jealous of each other till we were exhausted.

—It’s not easy being the lover in a relationship.
But I overlook it because it’s with Tachibana-san.
If you did that with another girl….

—If I did what?

—I don’t think I would get mad at Kirishima-kun.
I think I’d get mad at the other girl.
And I’d say something like; «Don’t you dare mess with my boyfriend again.»

—Hayasaka-san, you’re really nice to me.

—Hehehehe

—But Kirishima-kun, you’re very close friends with Tachibana-san, aren’t you?

—Speaking of which…

I proceeded to tell Hayasaka-san that Tachibana-san had no intention of breaking off her engagement.
So that means she’s all I have left.

—Hey, Hayasaka-san…

—I know, you’re worried that I’ll take pity on Kirishima-kun and give up my first love place on purpose.
Don’t worry about it.
I know you don’t like those things. 

Tachibana-san looked at me seriously and continued talking.

—I don’t want to do anything that you don’t want to do, so I won’t lose by my first love on purpose.
I’ll do whatever you want, Kirishima-kun.
I think it would be good if that happened.
I’m Kirishima-kun’s girlfriend.  I want to be a good girlfriend to you, Kirishima-kun.
If there’s anything you want to do, just say so.
I’ll do everything for you and arrange everything.

—Uh, yes.

—When summer vacation comes, we’ll go on many dates, to the beach, fireworks, summer festivals…

Hayasaka-san says in a squeaky voice.

—So let’s be real lovers in the summer vacations.
Let’s make some memories.
Let’s go and do what everyone else is doing.
I don’t care if I’m the mistress, I want to be a good girlfriend to you.
As long as it’s just the two of us together, that’s good enough for me.
And that’s because you’re always there to support me when I need you, Kirishima-kun.

Hayasaka-san squeezes my hand tightly.
I feel a strong pressure.

—Hey Kirishima-kun, we are lovers, right?

— Y-Yes.

—Then I want you to do to me what you did with Tachibana-san.

— You mean the Kabedon?

—Yes

Hayasaka-san nodded her head as she said those words.

—Okay, but where do we do it? Do you want to go back to school and use the club room?

—No, that place smells like her.

—Where then?

—I’d like to go to my room, but my mother is there now.

Then why mention it?

—There’s a shrine a few steps from here.

True, there is a shrine that is not very crowded.
At the back of the compound is the forest surrounding the shrine, where the trees grow thickly.
There are rumors of couples having sex there at night.

—It’s too risky to be here, besides, someone might see us.
Are you sure?

—Yes.

She said with an embarrassed face.

—I’m excited to do it.

—Look at me.

Hayasaka-san stands in front of a large cedar tree and leans against a wall.

—Yes.
I’m just looking at Kirishima-kun.

Hayasaka-san hugged me without hesitation and pressed her whole body against mine.
From the moment we entered the shrine grounds, Hayasaka-san was completely aware of everything.

—It’s been a long time since we’ve been alone together.

What did she say? Maybe it’s a reaction to the fight with Tachibana-san.

—I mean, Hayasaka-san, I’m sweating a lot.

It’s so hot, even though we’re in the shade.
Even the cicadas are buzzing around us….
Aaagh, I’m sweating a lot.
Although, she didn’t seem to be bothered by it.

—It’s okay, I’m sweating too.

As my sweat mixed with her perspiration, the boundary between us seemed to disappear.

—I… I’d like you to do the Kabedon for me.

—You’re not supposed to ask me.

—I-Really?

—I’m surprised at how embarrassed you get in this situation.

I enjoy the subtlety of distance.

—Well, then I’ll act.

The next thing that happened is that Hayasaka-san pulled my tie, making it stretch and pulled me close to her.
The next moment, she gave me a kiss on my lips, and even stuck her tongue in my mouth.
Then she let go of my tie and hugged me very tightly to continue concentrating on kissing.

She kissed me for so long that saliva dripped off the edge of my mouth.

—I think I like ties now.

—Me too.

—What’s the difference between me and Tachibana-san?

—I still haven’t kissed Tachibana-san.

—I want you to compare me with Tachibana-san.
I think it would be very nice if you compared me to her.

Hayasaka-san, aren’t we going in the wrong direction?

—Tell me, how was the Kabedon you did with Tachibana-san?

—Tachibana-san is… Very skilled. 

—And you got excited?

—Yes…

—I see… I wish I could say that I don’t mind.
You and Tachibana-san did a lot of things that were written in that notebook, right?

When Hayasaka-san asked me what I wanted to do, I thought for a while before answering.

—Yes.
I played a game with her callec «Secrets in the Ear».

—Well, let’s do it.

—Hayasaka-san, you’re not much of a mystery book reader.

—Then let’s play with national book titles.

While standing, I tried to get close to her to whisper in her ear.

—Botchan

—Natsume Soseki

—The Restaurant of Many Orders

—Kenji Miyazawa

After a few questions, Hayasaka-san couldn’t keep up, and I let out a laugh.

—What’s so funny?

—Nothing

The game of Secrets in the Ear or the game where you can’t use your hands becomes interesting depending on the player’s intentions.
So Tachibana-san’s imagination made it go to irrational extremes. 

—This game is supposed to make men and women feel closer, how can I do that?

As Hayasaka-san was confused, I had no choice but to tell her what Tachibana-san had done.

—The point of these games is for us to get aroused in the process, and then start hugging each other, or licking each other’s ears.
And I say that as something I’m imagining, it’s not like I did it with Tachibana-san or something.

—Lame, uh…

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Hayasaka-san puts his hand behind my neck.
And he’s getting closer to my ear.
Therefore, her breathing changes drastically.

—That’s… Stupid.

Her eyes are wide open and her mouth smiles faintly.

—We’re lovers, aren’t we? We don’t need a game to get to know each other.

—Hayasaka-san?

—We don’t need excuses like that to do it, there’s no need to trick each other like that.

Then Hayasaka-san started licking my ear.
My brakes were completely broken.

Hayasaka-san shamelessly presses her breasts against me.
As she did that, I felt myself getting more and more excited.
I felt myself getting stronger and stronger, and my breathing getting heavier and heavier.

—Hey, Kirishima-kun

—Huh?

—How does this compare to Tachibana-san?

—I’ve never done anything like this with Tachibana-san.

It’s a dirty lie, but I have no choice but to do it.

—At least try to imagine it, and I want you to compare me to her.

—…Hayasaka-san’s tongue is hotter, wetter and more pleasant.
More than Tachibana-san’s.

When she heard me say that, I could feel her joy being transmitted from her breath in my ear.
I can feel Hayasaka-san’s happiness all over his body.

To be honest, Tachibana-san is more skilled, more educated, more versatile, and because of our unusually good chemistry, I feel more physical pleasure with her.

And even though Hayasaka-san is clumsy, she is also hardworking, serious, and there is a sense of peripheral pleasure in knowing that a girl likes you so much.

—Come on, lick my ear too.

I stroked her head while licking her ear.
Hayasaka-san’s body began shaking.

—A—Aah…!!!!

—Hayasaka-san….
Your voice…

The sound of Hayasaka-san’s lovely voice also makes me feel strange. 

I thoroughly and relentlessly licked her ear.
She was getting happier and happier, so I didn’t stop.
The moment I placed my tongue at the back, she screamed loudly.
Her thighs were covered in sweat, and it began to spread beyond her legs….
Or maybe it wasn’t sweat. 

—Hayasaka-san, it’s time.

—Kirishima-kun, let’s do it again!

Maybe it’s not about licking each other’s ears, but something else.
Hayasaka-san’s eyes are unfocused.

—No, there’s a rule about kissing.

—I don’t want that anymore.
I’m Kirishima-kun’s girlfriend, remember?

—Yes, I remember.

—There’s something I thought when I saw Tachibana-san wearing your tie.

—And what was it?

—I was wondering how things went with her.
Will she become his girlfriend if he confesses? But at that time, there was no difference between me and her.
I was supposed to be your girlfriend, and despite that, I was losing to her.

—That’s not true.

—But it’s okay, because I knew I could have you with me regardless.

Hayasaka-san grabs my hand and pulls it to her chest.
Her disheveled hair is strangely sexy, and her underwear was visible due to her sweat.
When my hand went to her chest, Hayasaka-san’s face lit up with joy.

—No, wait a minute, if we’re going to do what boyfriends do, why are we doing it here?

—Why…

Hayasaka-san says while pressing my leg between her thighs.

—I think it’s okay for Kirishima-kun and Tachibana-san to be together.
But I want Kirishima-kun to remember that I’m his girlfriend.
That’s why I want to do a lot of things that you can only perform with me.

That was Tachibana-san’s level of seriousness.

—I want to do it here, and now.
There’s no pressure.
Because, you know, I’ve been….
I feel hot and tingly… Kirishima-kun, don’t you want to help me?

I try to think of something to say, but then I feel Hayasaka-san’s body pressing against mine.

—…Yes, I would like to.

—Good.
I want you to do whatever you want, Kirishima-kun.
I want you to touch all the parts of my body that you haven’t touched yet.

Hayasaka-san’s cheeks are flushed.

After those words, I squeezed her breasts tightly.

—Aah, Kirishima-kun….

A moan escapes from her.

Hayasaka-san reacts in an interesting way.
Her facial expression changed, and her voice was agitated.

Then I touched her hips, and then her thighs.

—Kirishima-kun….
Aaah….

Then I started kissing her lips.

I had never seen her expression and reaction like that.
I wanted to see more of that, so I touched Hayasaka-san’s body. 

I wanted to keep hearing that voice and her moans, so I proceeded to put my hand under her skirt.

—Are you sure?

—Yes, I…

That’s when it happened.
Her phone started ringing.

—Give me a minute.

Hayasaka-san squats down and reaches out to grab it.

—I’m going to turn it off, because I don’t want us to be interrupted.

She pulls out her phone, looks at the screen and freezes.

—Hayasaka-san?

Her phone was still ringing, but her gaze was still fixed on the screen.
So I walked over to her, and looked at the screen, that’s when I realized the situation.

I see.

That was what Maki had been talking about.
After all, he is the student council president, these things he should have known in advance. 

So, I proceeded to look at my phone as well. 

The same message that Hayasaka-san received was also sent to me.
It was Yanagi-senpai

«I’m transferring to your school, Kirishima, it will be a pleasure to study together!»

—I hate that guy!

It was lunchtime, and Maki spoke with a bitter look down the hall.

—It’s not fair that he’s suddenly so popular and all the girls like him.
I’m the student council president, and I worked hard to earn respect and admiration.
Then that guy comes along, and out of nowhere he takes that place away from me. 

Yanagi-senpai is in third year, and he had to transfer to another school, which became a hot topic in our high school because he is a very cheerful, cool and charming guy.

—Don’t be like that.
You were the same way when you came here.

—I know, I know, I know, I know.
But I’m unique! I’m the president of the student council! Do you know what happened today? A girl came up to me and asked me if I knew him, she wanted to know if she could join the council.
It’s crazy!

When the girls found out that I got along with Yanagi-senapi, they kept questioning me, asking me questions like, «What’s his favorite food? What kind of music does he listen to? Does he have a girlfriend?» 

—It’s the whole package.
The fact that he was part of the student soccer team, and then quit due to injury, makes him more influential.
Girls love guys with tragedies….
Hey, Kirishima, where are you going?

—I promised Senpai I’d show him around.

—So you’re going to be his slave now?

I left Maki whining and headed for the third grade classroom.
I immediately recognized the third graders because they were taller than me.

—Hey, Kirishima.

Yanagi-senpai sees me and approaches me.
As we walked down the hall together, everyone had their eyes on us.
It’s inevitable when you’re friends with someone very popular.

During the walk, I explained which room belonged to which subject.

—I’m surprised by your sudden change of school.

—Yes, I’m not very good at exams and I wanted to change to a more advanced school as soon as possible.

—There are also summer classes.
Although, don’t you want to play soccer anymore, Senpai?

—No.
There are already many boys who play better than me.
Besides, Kirishima, you don’t have to use honorifics with me.
I’ve already told you many times.

—You know I can’t do that.

While we were talking, I suddenly realized that Sakai was standing in the hallway in her nerd mode.

—You must be Yanagi-kun, the new kid in school.

Sakai is not afraid of Yanagi-senpai.
The people around us were very surprised.

—Well, I have something to do, I’d better go.

—Eh? Why?

—Something tells me I’m not the one you guys want to talk to.

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Hiding behind Sakai’s back, Hayasaka-san was watching us.

Sakai pushes Hayasaka to stand in front of her.

—Hey, Hayasaka-chan

Yanagai-san couldn’t help but be surprised.
Hayasaka-san’s face turned red instantly.

—H-Hello!

Then she looked at me and became nervous as she said:

—Kirishia-kun….
Hello.

Apparently, Hayasaka-san becomes more awkward when she’s in front of senpai.

—Senpai, Kirishima-kun is showing you around school?!

—Hayasaka-chan, what’s wrong with you? You look so red.

—It’s too hot today.

—You look a little bad.

—Yeah, well, I’m still not used to the idea of seeing my Senpai at school, hahaha.

As they talked, Hayasaka-san became more and more relaxed. 

—Hayasaka-san, why don’t you finish showing Senpai around?

—Huh? Me?

—Yes.
I got a bad grade on the last exam.
So I have to prepare for the make-up exam.

—How is it possible for Kirishima-kun to get bad grades? Oh…

After a moment, Hayasaka-san understood what I was trying to do.

—Oh well, I’ll take care of it.
I’ll do my best.

—Great.
Then, I’ll let you take care of it.

I tried to walk away quickly.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that.

—Come on, don’t be so stiff, Kirishima, let’s go for a ride together, the three of us.

Yanagi-senpai prevents my impromptu escape.

—If you want to study, I’ll help you out later.
Just like in kindergarten.

«Besides,» he says, whispering in my ear.

—Kirishima, you like Hayasaka-chan, don’t you?

—No, not at all.

—Don’t be shy, I’ll take care of it.

I know you’re trying to help me, but the thing is, I already have a secret relationship with Hayasaka-san.

In the end, the three of us decide to take a look at the school building.
Hayasaka-san walks awkwardly in front of us, so Yanagi-senpai approaches her and speaks to her in a whisper.

—As far as I’m concerned, Kirishima is the one.

—What makes you think so?

—Hayasaka-chan, you’re so embarrassed.
He’s definitely the one you’re attracted to.

Yanagi-senpai.
You’re so insensitive.
It was the same in high school when we’d go to the convenience store after school for ice cream, and the girls would stare at you, but you never did anything about it.

—Kirishima, you’re very popular, aren’t you?

—Not in a billion years.
Unlike you, Senpai, no one notices me every time I walk.

I looked at Hayasaka-san and saw how nervous she was.
She probably feels disappointed not to be alone with her senpai….
That, or she feels uncomfortable because all eyes are on her for walking next to the most popular guy in the place. 

The relationship between her and Yanagi is materializing so fast it seems unbelievable. 

So I approached her and spoke to her in a low voice.

—Hey, you have my full support.

Hayasaka-san smiles and clenches her fist.

—Thank you, I’ll do my best.

—You’re a bit of an idiot.
You look like a juvenile delinquent.

Sakai says.

I was in the bike yard.
I was skipping class because I didn’t feel like going inside, and that’s when she saw me.

—Is this about Akane?

—No, I was looking for Yamanaka-kun.
Maki asked me to cut the storyboard for the short film.
And I kept thinking about the script.

—The script will be done by Tachibana-san, so you don’t have to worry about it.

I had finished my conversation, but Sakai was still standing in front of me.

—Akane has been too clumsy lately, so much that I can’t stand her.

—That’s not the point here.

—I made cookies in the cooking class.
Since I had some left over I gave them to Akane.
Didn’t she give them to you?

—No.

«I’m going to give it to my Senpai,» she said happily.
He didn’t seem to care about me at all.

—So, does that mean she’s already won him over?

—How should I know? She’s so clumsy that before she left, she stumbled while walking.
It’s getting harder for me to process her attitude.

—Why don’t you try talking to her in the classroom? Or on the way home?

—Impossible.
She’s distracted all the time in class, and when I suggested we go home together, she left me stranded. 

—That’s classic Hayasaka-san.
You must know how she is, is she so different with me than when she’s with Senpai?

—I’m standing beside the man who got discarded.
What does that tell you?

—Did you come here to make fun of me?

—Not at all.
But there’s something else.
Akane hasn’t forgotten about you.

—She hasn’t?

—In fact, she was very worried about it.
Weren’t you the one who made it possible for her to go on a date with her senpai that day at the soccer hall?

That’s right.
I kept it a secret for a long time, but now it turns out that Yanagi and I were really close, so that truth came out.

—Akane was talking to herself again.
«I made Kirishima-kun do terrible things just because I like his best friend.
I feel so guilty… He probably hates me,» that was what she was saying, as she was on the verge of bursting into tears. 

—I did it because I wanted to.
She doesn’t owe me anything.

Even Hayasaka-san helped me by leaving an umbrella when I was alone with Tachibana-san that day.
I want her to be really happy with Yanagi-senpai.

—I think Akane is confused.

—Is she? I get the impression that she feels better now that she’s close to the person she loves the most.

—That’s because Akane is trying to be considerate of you and is trying to fit into the scenario you drew for her.
Feelings manifest from the person you interact and spend time with the most.
And that was you.
But seeing that you and Tachibana get along, she is now forcing herself to be with her Senpai.
After all, this is Akane we’re talking about. 

Saki tilted her head and looked at me seriously.

—After all the barbarities you guys have done together, she was this close to falling completely in love with you, and suddenly your best friend shows up, so she has no choice but to be together with him.
Do you think a person can change their feelings so suddenly? 

—I’m still the second one.

—In Akane’s mind, maybe.
But in her heart, you’re the first.

—What are you trying to say?

—If you ask Akane to do something, she’ll do it. 

—How do you know that?

—Hmm.
As long as there’s no change in the rules, things will take their course.

—What?

—Aagh, you’re the one who’s always supporting her and insisting on doing something.
She will act according to your wishes. 

—Tch, let her do what she wants.
I won’t regret what happens between them.

Sakai’s advice on love had an effect on me after school.
I was the last in the class when a smiling Hayasaka-san approached me.

—Senpai asked me out.
He said we should go to a new pancake store together.

—…Good for you.

It was probably Sakai, who had the courage to influence Yanagi.
That girl is really cunning.

—I’m glad you’re finally going on a date alone with him.

—Yes, then Kirishima-kun, let’s go together.

—What?

I don’t understand anything she just said.
But Hayasaka-san says it with a really unmistakable smile.

—I’m no good without you, Kirishima-kun.
Please stay by my side forever!

Sakai was right after all.
Hayasaka-san is too confused.

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—Why do the senpai and Kirishima-kun get along so well?

Hayasaka-san asks, and senpai replied.

—When I was in kindergarten, there was a camping trip organized by the local government.
We had to sleep in the open and cook our food on the campfire.
And, by chance, Kirishima and I were partners.

—True, I pitched my tent on the sandbank because it looked like fun.
But in the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of the river running.
It had rained a lot, and that caused the water to rise, causing the river to swell.
We were forced to leave the place, but I fell into the water….
Then you saved me.

—Oh, come on, you’re leaving out the most important parts.

—Really?

Hayasaka-san asks in a matter-of-fact tone.

At the pancake store she was able to have a smoother conversation than usual.
Whenever she heard senpai’s voice, Hayasaka-san looked like a girl in love.

But when my knee and Hayasaka’s knee collide under the table, she looks at me and makes an embarrassed face.
But I remembered that I am with senpai, so I tried to keep my composure.

From time to time, she would look at me with a puzzled expression.
She was having a hard time coping with this situation.

—When Kirishima was asleep, I was outside the tent gathering my things.

—And when I woke up, I hadn’t seen you anywhere, so I hurried out.
A piece of wood that was in a tree fell, and so that’s how it happened.

—Indeed, that’s when I jumped into the river to help you.
It’s not every day that a man jumps into the river to save someone else’s life.

—Well, it’s because Senpai is such an amazing person.

—And that’s how Kirishima and I saved each other’s lives.
That’s why we used to be together in high school. 

The relationship between Yanagi-senapi and me is very natural, like two brothers who love each other.
But, the reason why I feel uncomfortable is because of the relationship I have with Hayasaka-san.
It’s not natural, nor healthy.

—Well, I have some things to do.

Senpai stands up after saying those words.

—Now it’s up to you two.

That’s all he said, then he paid the bill for us and left.
Surely it was in his plans for Hayasaka-san and I to be alone at some point.

—Did your date turn out to be pleasant? I’m sorry I couldn’t help you in a better way.

Despite my words, Hayasaka-san remains silent with her head bowed. 

—What’s the matter?

—…I’m sorry too.
I’m sorry for bringing Kirishima-kun here when I was with Yanagi-senpai.
Now that I think about it, I did something terrible.

—No problem.
You’ve done a lot for me, haven’t you, Hayasaka-san?

—I didn’t want Kirishima-kun to do this.
I’m a bad person.

Hayasaka-san starts to cry.

—Hayasaka-san, you must be very tired.

After a while, Hayasaka-san remained silent, crying quietly.

I looked out the window and it was pouring rain.
I leaned my elbows on the table and watched the water pouring down over the city.

When the sun peeked through the clouds, Hayasaka-san raised her head.

She had a smile on her face that made it hard to look at her.

—I’m going to confess my feelings to Senpai on the last day of school.

One or two confessions are a guarantee of failure.
It may sound dramatic, but it’s like quitting a game halfway through.

After the end of the school day, she was sitting alone in the classroom.

Hayasaka-san is now heading to the third-year classroom to confess her feelings to Yanagi-senpai.
A few days ago we talked about such a situation again in the cafeteria.

—It’s very difficult for me.

Hayasaka-san said, taking a sip of her tea.

—When I’m with senpai, I can’t help but be awkward.
But when I’m with Kirishima-kun, I feel like myself.

—How hard can it be?

—In front of senpai, I act like I don’t have a boyfriend.
But that’s kind of fake knowing that I have you.
It was easier when senpai was studying at another school, and having him in the same place makes everything more complicated.

The fact that Yanagi-senpai and I are in the same place makes her feel more confused than unusual.

—I’m not cut out to be an actress.

—Well, we can both agree you’re bad at acting.

From that moment on, Hayasaka-san didn’t listen to me and said a series of words to herself.

—I must confess my feelings to him….
I don’t know what I’m going to do if I don’t… It’s not that I want to do it on a whim, I want to do it because I have to.
Although, that’s the reason Kirishima-kun hates me, isn’t it?

I can’t say anything about it.
Hayasaka-san has a tendency to not budge when she makes up her mind about something.

And on the last day of class, I was waiting for the result of Hayasaka-san’s confession.
But, unfortunately, I was feeling very impatient.

Yanagi-senpai thinks that I like Hayasaka-san.
So he will never accept her feelings.
He’s the kind of man who respects other people’s love lives.

To be frank, it would be more convenient for me if Hayasaka-san was rejected.
This way, I’ll be able to be with her if things with Tachibana-san don’t work out.

Hayasaka-san is a perfect insurance policy, and the chance of heartbreak is zero percent.

More importantly, I don’t have to hand over that cute, sweet, cuddly girl Hayasaka-san to anyone else. 

I got up from my seat and proceeded to leave the classroom. 

I want Hayasaka-san to be happy.
So, even if it doesn’t suit me, this confession, the success rate of which is almost zero, has to be put to an end.

I have to make her tell the truth, that she is in love with someone else.

If things don’t turn out the way I think they will.
The chances of Yanagi-senpai falling in love with Hayasaka-san are high.
And the reason why I want to do this is because I really like Hayasaka-san.

I don’t know if I would have cheered up if I had been the first one, but I’m a little sad about it.
When I got to the third-grade classroom, I saw Hayasaka-san.

She was standing in the hallway, holding her hand to her chest and taking a deep breath.

—Kirishima-kun, what’s wrong?

It was then that Hayasaka-san saw me.
Just then, Yanagi-senpai came out of the classroom.

—Huh?

Hayasaka-san and I said in unison. 

The reason is that, behind Yanagi-senpai, there was an unexpected person.

—President.

It was Tachibana-san, it seemed that she had returned from her competition.
Then she looked between me and Hayasaka-san with a suspicious look.

—What is going on here?

—Nothing is going on, Tachibana-san.

Seeing me in a daze, Yanagi-senpai nods his head.

—Kirishima, what’s wrong?

—Senpai, do you know Tachibana-san?

—Yes

Yanagi-senpai scratches his head and looks at Tachibana-san.

—Can I leave?

When senpai asked, Tachibana-san said, «Okay.» Since they don’t use honorifics, you can tell they’ve known each other for some time.

I have a bad feeling about this.
I don’t want to listen to anything he says.
I just want to get away as quickly as possible.

Tachibana-san looks at me, but her gaze drifts diagonally downward with her usual coldness.

A somewhat sad attitude convinces me that my hunch is correct.
I need to mentally prepare myself for the emotional impact.

I turn my head with the intention of sword, but before I could move my body, my senpai stops me in my tracks.

—I’m engaged to her.

—What?

—We’ll get married after we graduate.

Yanagi-senpai and Tachibana-san are getting married? What kind of response do you give to these situations?

—Oh, umm… Congratulations?

—It’s still too early to say that.

My mind can’t keep up with the situation. 

What should I do now, and what could I do.
Am I now involved in a love picture where Tachibana-san, Hayasaka-san, Yanagi-senpai and I are all part of it?

I look to my side and see Hayasaka-san smiling calmly.

She can’t think of anything.
She has an enlightened look on her face.
It would be easier if I could act like her.

—By the way, Maki talked to me.
You don’t have enough people to make a short film, do you? I’ll help you with that.
Let’s work together, Hayasaka-chan!

Hayasaka-san nods while keeping a buddha-like smile on her face.

I’m trying to think of something, but I can’t get my head around the camp.
First of all, I have to put the situation in perspective.

At times like this, it’s good to go through repetitive daily motions to calm the mind.
I’ll start sharpening pencils when I get home.

By the time I sharpened the eleventh pencil, I should have regained my composure… Or so I thought.

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