Chapter 30:

Giving Up

Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love

Today was the last school day before the summer holidays.Bookmark here

"G-good morning!"Bookmark here

"M-morning!"Bookmark here

The two greeted each other awkwardly.Bookmark here

A few days passed since the fireworks display.Bookmark here

Since the kiss, Kazuma and Yui tried to pretend like nothing happened but it was more than visible that they still had it in mind.Bookmark here

"N-nice weather today, right?" Kazuma said.Bookmark here

"Y-yeah."Bookmark here

Since then, they only talked about superficial matters every time they met each other. Today was no exception.Bookmark here

Emma, who was always eating lunch with them, noticed that something was off but did not find an opportunity to ask.Bookmark here

Just like the last few school days, school ended with nothing special happening.Bookmark here

"Y-yo! I'm going ahead. I-I have to pick up Rika!"Bookmark here

"S-sure!"Bookmark here

Yui walked away in a fast pace, leaving dust behind her.Bookmark here

Bonk.Bookmark here

Kazuma hit his forehead against his table.Bookmark here

"Since when is my life a rom com manga..." he muttered.Bookmark here

He was in thoughts.Bookmark here

"I need to talk with her about it... But how?"Bookmark here

Kazuma lifted his head so that his chin rested on the table.Bookmark here

"Aaahh!! I don't know!"Bookmark here

He pulled on his hair as he searched desperately for an answer.Bookmark here

"Kazuma-san? What are you doing here?"Bookmark here

Emma passed by his classroom.Bookmark here

"E-Emma? I could ask you the same."Bookmark here

"Well, I was on duty for cleaning the classroom today. After I finished and left, I heard someone yelling and checked who it was. Now I'm here, hehe." she smiled wryly.Bookmark here

"I-is that so? Wait, is it that late already?!"Bookmark here

He looked hastily at his surrounding. Everyone left and the sun was setting.Bookmark here

"Crap, I didn't even realize how long I was in thoughts!" he cried out loud.Bookmark here

"In thoughts?" she tilted her head.Bookmark here

"N-nothing!" he waved his hands hectically.Bookmark here

It was silent. Only Emma's footsteps echoed in the room as she came closer to Kazuma.Bookmark here

"Emma?"Bookmark here

Kazuma looked puzzled at Emma who wore a stern expression.Bookmark here

She took a chair and sat down beside Kazuma.Bookmark here

"Kazuma-san. Did something happen between you and Yui-san?"Bookmark here

Kazuma's body reacted to her question.Bookmark here

"W-what do you mean?" he forced a smile.Bookmark here

"Please stop pretending like I didn't notice. Since the fireworks something felt off. When I saw Yui, she was all red on her face and was distracted by something else. The same could be applied to you after you joined us."Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

He sighed. His forced smile turned into a melancholic smile.Bookmark here

"You sure are sharp. Alright, I will tell you."Bookmark here

Thus, Kazuma told Emma everything that happened. He told her about the kiss with Yui.Bookmark here

"Whaaat?" Emma could not believe her ears.Bookmark here

She covered her mouth with her hand as she blushed even more than Kazuma currently did.Bookmark here

"Shhh! Not so loud!" he warned her.Bookmark here

"Oh, sorry!"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

His face turned redder.Bookmark here

For him, it was also embarrassing to tell it Emma. However, he was even more embarrassed by his stupidity. Kazuma forgot for a moment that he just told his crush that he kissed another girl.Bookmark here

"So you don't know how to approach her, right? Seeing you two interact lately, I noticed that there was something like a invisible wall between you."Bookmark here

"Yes..." Kazuma agreed.Bookmark here

"I... I want everything to be normal again." he looked at her with determined eyes.Bookmark here

But Emma could only avert her gaze as she bit her lip.Bookmark here

"That's reasonable but..."Bookmark here

"But?" Kazuma was confused.Bookmark here

"It's complicated... Especially with you two." she stated as looked down.Bookmark here

"What do you mean?"Bookmark here

"Kazuma-san. What is Yui to you?" she looked him in the eyes.Bookmark here

"Huh?" he looked at her dumbfounded.Bookmark here

"Yui is my... my friend..." he said hesitatingly.Bookmark here

Internally, something felt off. But he did not know why.Bookmark here

Yui was of course his friend. But she was also the most important person in his life. Since he entered high school, the two would always stick together. Now, he could not imagine a life without her.Bookmark here

Was she really just simply a friend?Bookmark here

"No... I don't know..." he corrected himself as he had a thoughtful expression.Bookmark here

"I see." Emma replied sternly.Bookmark here

"Just remember that she's also a girl, okay?"Bookmark here

Her usual smile returned as she tried to stand up.Bookmark here

Thinking about what Emma just said, Kazuma also stood up. But he did not see that Emma was also standing up.Bookmark here

Due to the narrow space between the seats, Emma and Kazuma, who both stood up simultaneously, were close to each other. They were so close to each other, they could even feel the breath of the other one.Bookmark here

"Oh, sorry!"Bookmark here

Kazuma distanced himself quickly from her.Bookmark here

"I-it's fine!"Bookmark here

Emma also took a few steps back from him.Bookmark here

Their faces were red and their hearts also beat faster than usual.Bookmark here

Kazuma touched his chest.Bookmark here

"!"Bookmark here

He realized something. In comparison to Yui, his heart did not beat as fast. Of course, there was a huge difference between the two situation but his heart still beat less faster than he anticipated.Bookmark here

A few months ago, his heart was about to explode when she was in his vicinity but now his heart was not as excited as back then.Bookmark here

"S-should we go now?" Emma suggested shyly and still embarrassed.Bookmark here

"Sure..." he said with a casual smile as he was still in thoughts.Bookmark here

As the two walked to the shoe lockers, they saw a group of boys harassing a boy.Bookmark here

"Is that everything you got on you?"Bookmark here

"Don't screw with us!"Bookmark here

It was Ken and his usual companions.Bookmark here

Ken watched indifferently how his friends bullied the boy.Bookmark here

"He-"Bookmark here

Emma, who could not bear the sight anymore, was about to meddle but was stopped by Kazuma. He stretched his arm in front of her to hold her back.Bookmark here

"Kirisaki." Kazuma said with a playful grin.Bookmark here

"!"Bookmark here

Ken was visible shocked by Kazuma's appearance.Bookmark here

"Tch." he clicked in tongue, knowing what Kazuma tried to say.Bookmark here

"Let's go, leave the boy alone." Ken ordered the others.Bookmark here

"Hm? Why?"Bookmark here

"Is it because of him?"Bookmark here

"Let's just beat him up like last time."Bookmark here

"Don't make me repeat myself." Ken said in an annoyed tone.Bookmark here

The others nodded silently and vanished with him.Bookmark here

"T-thanks!" the boy, who was harassed, bowed his head in gratitude and walked away.Bookmark here

The hallways were silent again.Bookmark here

"W-what did you do, Kazuma-san?" Emma asked confused.Bookmark here

"Nothing in particular." he shrugged his shoulders.Bookmark here

They began to walk again.Bookmark here

"You see..."Bookmark here

Emma tried to say something as the two arrived at the lockers.Bookmark here

"Ken wasn't always like that." she stated as she smiled melancholic.Bookmark here

"Hard to believe." he remarked carelessly.Bookmark here

"Back then, he was kind and always smiled happily."Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

"There was a time, when I was isolated from the others in elementary school due to my sudden transfer. I spent my days alone until Ken reached out to me."Bookmark here

"And since then, he was always by my side, even until our second year in middle school..." her smile slowly vanished.Bookmark here

"What happened in your second year?" Kazuma asked.Bookmark here

"He suddenly distanced himself from me and turned to the person he's today..."Bookmark here

"I felt incredibly sad... He was the only friend I had..."Bookmark here

She bit her lip.Bookmark here

"Do you know the reason why he changed?"Bookmark here

Emma shook her head in denial.Bookmark here

"I see..."Bookmark here

Kazuma took a deep breath.Bookmark here

"Do you want him to return to his usual self?"Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

She nodded her head slowly after she thought for a while.Bookmark here

"Understood. I will help you."Bookmark here

Kazuma had a stern look on his face.Bookmark here

"What?" she looked up to him with a baffled expression.Bookmark here

"You helped me with my problem. Now it's my turn to lend you a hand. After all, that's what friends do, right?" he borrowed her words.Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

She just stared baffled at him for a moment.Bookmark here

"Thanks, Kazuma-san! I appreciate it!"Bookmark here

She had a smile that was beaming with more happiness than the previous ones.Bookmark here

"Yeah, leave it to me."Bookmark here

Despite wanting to flash a reassuring smile, he looked indifferently ahead.Bookmark here

"I have to go left. See you then!"Bookmark here

"Yes, let's hang out with Yui-san sometime!"Bookmark here

Emma waved energetically her hand at Kazuma, who faced her with his back as he turned away. He only raised his hand as a farewell.Bookmark here

They parted ways.Bookmark here

Kazuma heaved a heavy sigh.Bookmark here

"I'm so stupid..."Bookmark here

He was dejected.Bookmark here

"Why did I suggest helping?" he muttered.Bookmark here

Of course, Kazuma wanted to help her but he wished that it would not involve Ken. Now he had to give Ken a change of heart.Bookmark here

But in the end, it would just damage his chances to win her heart.Bookmark here

"She sure misses him..."Bookmark here

During the entire duration of her talk about Ken, she looked sad.Bookmark here

"What would happen if Kirisaki returned to his former self?"Bookmark here

Kazuma got a headache, thinking about the scenario, where Ken and Emma made up.Bookmark here

"Hahaha..." he laughed self wryly.Bookmark here

Kazuma would basically help his crush to get together with her former love interest.Bookmark here

"It was an impossible romance from the start..."Bookmark here

He realized that Emma had her eyes at Ken from the very start. There was no space for him. He was just a friend.Bookmark here

He touched his chest.Bookmark here

"Why doesn't it hurt?"Bookmark here

A few months ago, his heart would have been shattered, hearing her talk about Ken, but this time the pain was non-existent.Bookmark here

Then, the image of a certain person flashed in his mind as he touched the place where his heart was.Bookmark here

"No way..." his eyes widened.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.