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A small shadow lost it’s balance and nearly fell over.
With it’s face hidden by the brim of a hat, it slumped down, timidly mumbled something, and tried to run away.
When I quickly called out to her, her back, which was carrying a small red backpack, stopped with a jerk.
The face that turned around and looked up at Yuuki had a terribly frightened expression.
“Ah, wh-what? It’s Yuuki-kun…”
Finally, Mizuna seemed to realize that the person she bumped into was Yuuki.
She hurriedly took off her hat and scratched her head with her hand and stuck out her tongue while smiling.
“I was out late because I was playing with my friends.”
“Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
“…I was having so much fun, I didn’t even realize.”
While saying that, Mizuna avoided Yuuki’s eyes.
instead, Yui, who stood next to him, glanced at Yuuki’s face as if she wanted to say something.
Yuuki slowly put his hand on Mizuna’s head, and patted it gently.
“I see. I hope you had fun. But don’t stay out too late next time.”
He used his usual gentle tone of voice while admonishing her.
But Mizuna kept her head down and didn’t say a word.
“Are you hungry? I bought gyudon, so let’s go eat it quickly.”
When he tried to pull Mizuna’s arm, who was still silently standing there, Mizuna looked up and stared straight at Yuuki.
Her eyes were filled with tears that were about to overflow.
“…I’m so sorry. It was a lie. I lied…”
Mizuna’s mouthed began to quiver.
“Friends… I can’t make any.”
Large tears spilled down her cheeks like a dam.
Mizuna did her best to wipe the tears away with her sleeve while sniffling and sobbing.
“I-I tried. I tried to talk to them…. at school. But…”
Nodding, Yuuki put his arms around Mizuna’s body and rubbed her back.
He could feel her body heat and her faint trembling. When her hat fell to the floor, Mizuna nuzzled her face into his arm.
Her shoulders trembled and she let out another sob, trying to stay as quiet as possible.
“Where have you been?”
“The park… and the toilet in the supermarket.”
“I didn’t even look in the bathroom.”
Maybe I was a little too impatient.
Mizuna’s words that assured me that she was fine already had me completely relaxed.
–Yuuki, look at the brilliance of this stone. It’s a very powerful one, that I got in Okinawa.
–How much did you spend? Don’t spend money impulsively. Mom would’ve said the same.
–No! I don’t want to eat it unless mom made it!
–I don’t want to go to school! I’ll stay with mom!
She collapsed suddenly and was rushed to the hospital in a matter of minutes.
There was no time to prepare myself.
-It was like a gear that had been misaligned due to the loss of a part.
It was an important, very important part… one that would never be restored and is irreplaceable…
I wondered how I got through it… maybe it can’t be helped.
(It’s okay… it’s okay.)
I told myself that and suppressed the dark feelings that were bubbling up.
It was going to be okay. It’ll be okay. I’ve been able to make it this far being like that.
It could have been my own personal beliefs. It just happened to work out. I just didn’t break.
But I couldn’t raise my own unreliable, pathetic voice right now.
Then he slowly inhaled and brought his face close to Mizuna’s ear and whispered softly to her.
“I’m sorry, Mizuna.”
“W-what is Yuuki-kun apologizing for…?”
“I won’t force you to make any friends.”
“But Yuuki-kun managed to get a girlfriend, and yet…”
“No, I didn’t. I’m the one who lied first.”
When he let go of Mizuna’s body, Yuuki looked towards Yui and then looked back into Mizuna’s eyes.
“That’s because Yui isn’t really my girlfriend.”
Apparently, Mizuna hadn’t suspected them in the slightest.
She looked up, surprised, and asked Yui, who was next to Yuuki.
“Yui-chan… is that true?”
I’m sorry for revealing our secret without permission, but it’s probably time to let it go anyway.
I tried to send Yui and apologetic look, and Yui looked at Mizuna, and then at Yuuki… and blurted out,
“Fufu… what’s that… What a weird joke that is. Are you trying to harass me, Yuuki-kun?”
I couldn’t help but notice that she used her usual, teasing tone.
Yui bent down and picked up the hat. She giggled as she put it on Mizuna’s head.
“You’re strange brother can’t get a cute five-star girlfriend like me. Don’t rush it, Mizuna-chan, just take your time and do your best.”
Don’t rush it, just take your time.
Those words of Yui, that were directed at Mizuna, felt as if she was also saying that to Yuuki.
With one sentence, Mizuna felt her strength was lost and she felt the weight in her chest being lifted.
-What in the world was she in a hurry to do?
I should have come here with that in mind.
As Yui stroked Mizuna’s head, she glanced at Yuuki, and secretly held up her index finger in front of her lips, winking, as if to say, ‘Don’t tell anyone’.
Suddenly his throat felt choked and he couldn’t say anything, and Yui said in a bright voice,
“Don’t look so scary, Yuuki-kun! Seriously! Yui-chan doesn’t like this kind of atmoshere~…”
Yui fumbled with the bag on her shoulder and pulled out what looked like a notepad.
I felt like it was familiar, but when I looked closely, it was the same one from some time ago.
Yui flipped through the notepad.
“I’m gonna give you a funny story. Ah, I found just the right one. Kerosuke’s high school debut was a success. But as the days went by, his friends left him one by one. Why is that?”
Yuuki and Mizuna looked at each other at the sudden start of a comedy.
Without regard to their confusion, Yui read her notepad in high spirits.
“The quack is obviously from a duck.”
“is it the end of the world?”
“It suddenly flew.”
“If you’re in trouble, say ‘I’m sorry!'”
“2D. I can’t out of my T-shirt.”
As Yuuki and Mizuna watched Yui, she became a little impatient.
“Frogs, but athlete’s foot! Bleeding hemorrhoids!”
It was becoming increasingly messy.
Just then, a young man and woman came from the entrance, glancing at Yui as they walked by.
“…a bleeding hemorrhoid isn’t funny.”
“N-no, I didn’t mean a bleeding hemorrhoid!”
Yui blushed and tried her best to excuse herself, and escaped after laughing at herself, ‘Ah haha…’ and letting out an affectionate smile.
Seeing this, Mizuna blew out a puff and started giggling, rubbing her red eyes.
Unbeknownst to Yuuki, his mouth loosened up and he laughed aloud at one point.
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