Chapter 16: I don’t want to leave.


I was walking with Ayana on the road at dusk.

“Touwa-kun.”

“What’s wrong?”

“No, I’m just calling you.”

“……I see”

“Yes.”

……What can I say, Ayana has been too cute since we left the park.
To be more specific, she’s had her arms around me the whole time, never leaving me for a single moment, and she keeps calling my name and smiling, just like now.

I looked at Ayana gently after walking for a while—-

“……Ah.”

Our eyes met naturally and we both felt embarrassed, causing our faces to turn hot.
As for me, it’s still embarrassing to stare at each other, but Ayana seems to want to keep looking at me and doesn’t avert her gaze even when our eyes meet.
She smiled happily and kept looking at me.

“We’re still walking side by side…”

“No, can do.
I’ve been looking at Towa-kun all day♪”

I couldn’t strongly refuse her when she said such a cute thing… No, wait, it’s not just Ayana, but I myself am happy to be like this.

As we talked about our thoughts for the future with our arms crossed, a figure appeared in front of us.
Ayana and I stopped and looked towards that person.

“…Ah”


“……….”

 From the way the figure was breathing on my shoulder, I could guess that he had apparently run all the way here.
The person stared at me and Ayana’s crossed arms and looked into my eyes as if in disbelief.
His eyes were filled with astonishment, sadness, and perhaps anger toward me.

Just as Shu was about to open his mouth, Ayana opened hers first.

“I’m going out with Towa-kun now.”

“…Eh?”

Shu looked bewildered at Ayana’s words.

I also felt like I had to say something, but Ayana stopped me.
She whispered that she wanted me to leave it to her for now and turned her gaze back to Shu.
I realized that the eyes Ayana was using to look at Shu weren’t soulless, but ones that recognized him as a childhood friend… that’s right, as a “childhood friend.”

“I’ve liked Towa-kun for a long time.
Since we first met, even when we were in elementary school.”

Each time Ayana conveyed her words, a shade of sadness appeared in Shu’s eyes.
He didn’t want to believe it, didn’t want to accept it… His eyes conveyed that kind of emotion.
Then Shu spoke as if I had never existed from the start, his eyes only on Ayana.

“Why… Why! Ayana and I have always been together since we were little! We were together much more than you and Towa were!! You were always by my side… You even started making my lunches from the latter half of middle school… You were always there for me with a smile…!!”

It was precisely because they had been together as childhood friends that Shu had thought Ayana had feelings for him.
But Ayana and I had come to understand each other’s hearts… Of course, that was part of it, but it was also because I knew the truth: that Ayana didn’t have feelings for Shu from the beginning.
Ayana began making lunch for Shu only after I was hospitalized… in other words, what she had said in the park was the truth.

I’m not Shu, so I don’t know how he feels… But being told that the person you’ve always loved likes someone else is an unbearable pain.
I used to hate Shu in the past, but I can’t stand to see him like this now.

“……Right.
I’ve been with you the whole time.”

“Then–“


“That’s the reason”

“?!”

Ayana interrupted Shu’s words with her loudest voice.

“I’m not worthy, please find someone better than me.
Rather than someone like me who kept lying by taking advantage of your kindness… there should be a wonderful person beside you, Shu-kun.”

The thoughts that were put into those words were farewell and apology……huh.

  Ayana has a beautiful smile on her face, but from Shu’s perspective, the words she is conveying may seem cruel as well.

“What …… lies,…… Ayana,…… I’ll always,…….”

With tears in his eyes, Shu reached out his hand to Ayana, but she did not respond.
Ayana’s appearance made Shu realize what was going on, and he dropped his outstretched hand and turned his attention to me.
The hostility in his eyes was clear, as if he could hear that I was a traitor.

“…..You—-“

 When Shu was about to say something, it was Ayana who interrupted him again.

“Shu-kun!”

“……!”

 Ayana continued.

“Please don’t fall into the same kind of thoughtless behavior as those people.
Don’t act like a childish and embarrassing person who throws a tantrum when things don’t go their way.
If you do, then… won’t you just stay stuck in one place forever, Shu-kun?”

“……Damn it.”


Just as he was about to let his anger get the better of him, Ayana spoke to him as if to admonish him.
Shu turned away and ran away, not looking at me or Ayana any longer.
Ayana, who had been staring at his back, let out a small breath and leaned in close to jump into my chest.

“…… now I’ve moved one step forward.”

“Right.
I’ll have to talk to him one of these days.”

 I’m going to talk to Osamu myself.

I patted Ayana’s head as a sign that she did her best.
She looked up at me greedily, as if she wanted me to pat her head more.
I couldn’t help but find that gesture adorable, and with a wry smile on my face, I gently stroked her head.

 Then Ayana made this suggestion.

“Today I …… don’t want to go home.”

 My heart jumps when she says …… something like this.

 I mean, that’s it.
Today is Friday and tomorrow is Saturday,…… which means it’s our day off.

“My mom and I would be delighted.
…… Ayana, would you like to stay over today?”

“Yes!”

“As for changing clothes…”

“I have some clothes in the closet that Towa-kun prepared for me, so it’s okay.”

“……Yeah”

 Come to think of it, there was such a thing.


 I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with Ayana lately, so it’s been slipping my mind.
It wasn’t the first time Ayana had stayed at my place, and it wasn’t the first time she needed a change of clothes.
That was one of the reasons why Towa had a change of clothes for Ayana in his room.

“But what about Ayana’s moth—-“

“It’s fine.”

 Saying this, Ayana took out her phone, operated it for a bit, then turned it off and put it in her bag.
Ayana took my arm again.

“What did you send her?””

“I sent you that I’m staying at the house of someone I like? The rest is …..
my problem.”

“?”

“Fufu, Well shall we?”

 I was curious about the latter part, but Ayana took me by the hand and started to walk away, so I stopped thinking about it for the time being.
But you know what, …… this is going to be rough on Ayana’s mother.

 I have many concerns.
But for now, I will think about …… this person next to me.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve said this to you today, but I love you.”

 Her smile as she told me this was still beautiful.

“Me too.
Towa-kun.”

{I’m not going home today because I’m staying at the house of someone I like.
Also, I’m going to have an important talk with you when I get back tomorrow, so please leave some time for that.}

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