Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love
It was the final day of Kazuma having to rest in the hospital. And like always, he spent his day in the hospital reading manga while he laid in the bed just like Shiho.
"Finally I can leave! But I have to wonder... Why exactly do you still have to rest here? I thought you only had some minor bruises." Kazuma asked her.
"W-well, I don't know... Maybe because I'm a girl?" she explained clumsily.
Shiho had to find a good excuse so that she could hide the fact that she was actually stabbed.
The excuse was nowhere near good. Kazuma looked baffled at her.
Suddenly someone knocked at the door.
"Can I come in?"
Kazuma recognized the voice immediately.
"E-Emma? Eh, uhm... Y-yes!" he stuttered in panic.
Thus, she entered the room. But her expression was anything but happy.
Her eyes were fierce and her mouth was not formed in her typical smile.
"E-Emma... H-how did you kno-"
"Ken-kun told me everything." she cut him off.
"W-what did he told you?" Kazuma asked nervously.
Before the fight, Kazuma made sure that Emma and Yui would not find out about his brawl with Shinya and the others.
"You took on an entire gang, again."
In his mind, he wanted to berate and punch Ken but he had no time.
He heaved a sigh.
"Lying would be useless at this point, huh?" he lowered his shoulders.
"So? Why did you ask Kirisaki about me?"
"Do you have your phone with you?" Emma asked.
"My phone? It's he-"
Kazuma completely forgot. He left his phone at home.
"I guess I forgot it at home, hehe..." he laughed it off.
"Thought so. Yui and I were worried about you. For the last couple of days, you didn't reply to our messages and calls nor did you call us." she said.
Emma took the empty seat beside Kazuma's bed.
"And do you want to explain yourself, too? Why were you involved in a fight again?"
His facial expression turned grim for a moment but soon changed into an awkward one.
"W-well, I bumped shoulders with someone and it turned into a fight suddenly. And as time went on, I was surrounded by a crowd of delinquents." Kazuma explained.
He considered telling her the truth which also involved telling her his past but in the end, he decided against it. There was no need for it for now.
"Somehow I have the feeling that you like attracting delinquents to you..." she commented.
"I have to agree sadly." Kazuma smiled wryly.
In the meantime, Shiho pretended to be asleep but in reality she tried to hold in her laugh.
"But I'm glad that your injuries aren't as bad as I imagined." Emma said as she smiled slightly.
"Yeah... I was lucky, I suppose."
The two looked downwards while still wearing a small smile.
Their conversations began to die.
"Whatever. Let's talk about something different, shall we? How did you spent the last few days?" Kazuma changed the topic to not make the atmosphere between them awkward.
"Sure. How I spent my last few days? Let me see..."
Then, she flashed a toothy smile. Kazuma never saw her this happy before.
"You see, Ken-kun suddenly appeared one day and he apologized to me!" she began to recollect.
"Apologize?" he interrupted her.
He asked her despite already knowing the reason. At this point, Kazuma could also predict the future actions Ken took until today.
However, he chose to play dumb in front of her as he watched her talk happily about Ken.
"Yes! He apologized for his behavior and even said sorry for leaving me alone for the past few years. You won't believe how surprised I was!"
"And on the same day, he took me away to hang out somewhere just like the old days. Since then, he visited me every day and each time, we went somewhere else like..."
Kazuma only listened to hear talking about her fun days with Ken. The entire time, he only nodded his head with a content smile to show that he was still listening.
"... I even suggested to visit you together so he could also apologize to you but he declined immediately. Truly a shame..." she sighed.
"Y-yeah, truly a shame, haha..." Kazuma laughed forcibly.
Sweat started to form on his forehead when he realized that Ken still did not tell Emma anything about their meetings.
"But I wonder why he had this sudden change of heart." she said while she pointed her finger on her chin.
"Who knows. Maybe his parents caught him acting like a delinquent."
"Hehe..." Emma let out a giggle.
"Just kidding. I already know why."
"Really?" Kazuma asked as he tried to act indifferently.
"Yes and that's why I also want to thank you, Kazuma-san."
Pretending not to know would be no wise choice. Therefore, Kazuma dropped his act.
"You're welcome." he responded with a comforting smile.
"You really are a great friend!" she said with a beaming smile.
Her phone vibrated.
"Oh, I got a message from my father."
"Seems like I have to go now." she said as she prepared to leave.
Kazuma stared at her intensively. His smile vanished and his eyes were filled with determination.
Emma started to get embarrassed as her face reddened a bit.
Before he spoke, he took one last deep breath.
He gripped his blanket tightly but let it go instantly.
"Do you want to go out with me?" he asked her with a stern expression.
Unlike the other times he confessed, no sign of embarrassment or fear were visible on his face.
And unlike the other times, it took her a moment to answer.
Then, she stood up.
"I'm sorry but I'm already in love with someone else." she answered as she bowed her head slightly.
His smile slowly returned.
"I see... Well, do you mind if I ask who the other person is?" Kazuma asked as if he read out the line of a script.
"His name is Kirisaki Ken." she said with a smile.
Her smile reminded that of someone who was finally freed from her shackles. She could finally admit with confidence and pride that she was in love with Ken.
"Kirisaki, huh? I wish you luck then."
"No, I should thank you for rejecting me one last time." Kazuma stated.
Emma was baffled for a second but shortly began to understand his message.
"I see. Then I wish you luck, too." she said.
"Thanks. Let's hang out when everyone of us is available."
"Yes! See you then!" she waved her hand before she left the room.
He took a deep breath again.
Instead of feeling dejected by the rejection, he felt freed and satisfied.
Kazuma did not confess to her out of love, he only confessed her to put an official end to his pursuit of Emma. He felt like he could only put an end to this by getting rejected for the final time.
Emma understood it, too. After all, in spite of all the other confessions, this time he did not mention that he liked or loved her. He left this part out on purpose.
His feelings for her were already gone which was also confirmed by their talk today.
Even though she talked about Ken and how much fun she had with him all the time, his heart did not hurt at all and his mind was completely calm.
He felt absolutely nothing romantically towards her anymore.
Kazuma heard noises from the other side of the room.
"Haha! I can't anymore! Did you really go ahead and confessed to someone even though you knew that I was here? Hahaha! Ouch!"
It was Shiho whose belly started to hurt from all the laughing.
Kazuma totally forgot about her. He remembered his lines and turned all red.
"Aaaah! How could I forget!" he rolled in his bed out of embarrassment.
"Hahaha! Ah, it hurts!"
"Stop laughing, idiot!"
"Haha, sorry! I try my best!"
It took them both a few minutes to calm down.
"And? How do you feel?" Shiho asked with her back facing him.
"What do you mean?"
"Do you feel depressed about the rejection?"
"No, not at all. I feel happy."
"Is that so?"
"You sure are a weird one." she mocked him.
It was silent again.
"Was she your first love?"
"I don't know."
"I love you."
His face still remained blank.
"I liked you, too, back then." he answered.
Shiho harbored feelings for him since back then but never had a chance to confess.
Knowing that it may be already too late for her, she mustered up her courage to confess now.
She expected that she would get rejected and was prepared for it and yet it hurt her more than she thought.
On the other hand, Kazuma realized that he possibly had feelings for back then but he only realized it as he matured. Now it was too late.
The silence returned and dominated for the rest of Kazuma's stay.