To be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t think that Ren had a car. But it makes sense because we have never used it once since my arrival. Also, we live in a big city. I guess one, driving is more difficult and bad for the environment so using it is not worth it. And two, there is a public transit system, so it’s probably cheaper to just use that instead of paying for gas.
But, the fact is that Ren has a car, and Bailey, Ren, and I are currently using it to get to another city. This car perplexes me the same way that Ren’s condo surprises me — Ren lives alone, but his condo is furnished as if another person was inhabiting the place. His car seems more suitable for multiple people. There are five seats, but I think that’s the minimum amount of seats a car has. But, the actual size of the car is big for someone living alone — bigger than a regular car, but smaller than a minivan. I asked Bailey what the model was, and she said that it was an SUV — a blue SUV. And blue? I think blue is a regular car colour, but it’s rather flashy compared to the common white, grey, and black colours… Hm… Oh well — I guess the larger size makes the driver feel less cramped.
With these things, I can’t help but wonder about Ren and his past. I mean, he lives a life that would seem suitable for multiple people; and he was like this even before I arrived. A high paying job only for a single person who only buys necessary things… Ren can splurge, so why doesn’t he? Is he saving money just to show it off? No, he doesn’t flex his wealth unless he goes around showing off his bank records… Hm…
Did he perhaps live with someone in the past? Someone he was close with… Oh, now I’m curious… However… I don’t think I should ask. I mean, what if his past was a tragedy? If so, bringing up sad memories wouldn’t be right…
We were currently on the highway. There wasn’t really anything noteworthy except other cars and buildings along the road… However, I did see a narrow-looking path that led to an exit and passed high above the highway — I thought it looked cool! There was also this sculpture that looked like a small paper airplane beside the road. Other than those, there wasn’t really anything…
I was currently sitting in the backseat of Ren’s car. And on the other side of me was Bailey. Why didn’t she sit in the front? Well, she wasn’t lying when she said that she hoped that we would get along. So, she wanted to sit with me to talk with me. She asked Ren ‘Hey, d’you mind if I sit at the back with Camryn?’. He obliged, but Bailey added something, saying ‘not that I need your permission or anything. I want to spend time with Camryn, so sorry if you feel lonely I guess…’. And she said that sort of coldly, so that’s kinda harsh…
“Hm… Hey Camryn, sorry, but I think this car ride will get boring…”
“Huh? Oh, n-no, it’s fine…”
“That so? That’s good then…”
I looked out of the window.
“B-Besides, I think car rides are fun! You know, there are the sights and it’s relaxing, so there’s that…”
In the past, I haven’t been on a lot of car rides… And when I am, I usually dislike it. Both the driver and the destination… I try not to think about the situation, even if it means retreating to undesirable memories.
“It’ll be relaxing for the passengers, but probably not so much for the driver… Hey Ren, um, you okay with driving.”
“Oh, I am fine with driving…”
Through the window’s reflection, I saw Bailey flip her head.
“Sure… A-And it’s not like I’m concerned about you or anything… I don’t want to be put in danger because you are tired…”
She sounded slightly annoyed.
Oof, how cold… Not concerned? No, that sounded like concern… Bailey can be cold to others, but I guess that’s just her personality.
I turned to look at Bailey and saw her leaning back in her seat.
“So Camryn… Um…”
She sounded slightly hesitant.
“S-So, what’s it like living with Ren?”
“O-Oh, living with him is fine…”
But I can’t think of anything other than ‘fine.’
“Ah, that’s good… Ren hasn’t made you do anything indecent I hope?”
“Huh? Oh, n-no… Ren’s been really respectful to me…”
She nodded and slightly laughed.
“Yeah… Hey, even if he weren’t nice, he’s too idiotic to do anything to you!”
Fake laugh, fake laugh, fake laugh! But seriously, that’s kind of harsh, isn’t it? Oh, I hope that she’s just playfully laughing…
I looked forward to Ren and observed him through the rearview mirror, and… Nothing. Just the normal expressionless face that I’ve grown to know… Is he okay with it because he knows it’s a joke? But even if it’s a joke, and I hope it is, it’s common courtesy to just react to it, right? Hm… Bailey and Ren have very strange tastes in friends.
“But Camryn, it must be pretty boring, right? I mean, work has Ren busy for the majority of the time.”
“Oh, n-not at all. I can keep myself busy without Ren.”
I say that, but I’m joining Ren on this business trip…
“Um… I have my academics to keep me busy… I can watch things on BluFilms, and I have a phone, so I can entertain myself on the internet…”
Why’d I neglect the most important part?
“Oh, and I have my own job anyway…”
“Eh, you have your own job? That’s really impressive considering your age… Where do you work?”
She knows Valerie, so she’ll probably know the place.
“Oh… Alente Bistro…”
She was surprised.
“Alente Bistro!? Camryn, that’s awesome.”
She excitedly leaned towards me.
“Ah, you’re so lucky. Isn’t the food there delicious? And isn’t the atmosphere relaxing?”
I nodded and smiled.
She leaned back.
“Ah, Alente Bistro’s a great place… If I weren’t working at Comeffecient, I might be working there instead! Hm… So you know Valerie Capperman, right?”
“I see… You know, Camryn, you’re very indebted to Ren. I mean, I assume you got hired relatively easily, right?”
“Ah? That’s right… Yeah, Valerie said that she hired me because she trusts Ren so much…”
“Yeah, that’s very true…”
Bailey crossed her legs and put her hands on the back of her head. She also smiled and closed her eyes — she looked reminiscent and nostalgic.
“And I take it you also met her husband Connie Capperman, right?”
“Y-Yeah… Although, it was through a chance encounter at Beattie’s Heart and not through Valerie…”
She winked jokingly at me and smiled.
“Regardless, you still met him. Man, I feel sorry for you — having to become acquainted with such a huge idiot!”
Bailey chuckled, and I nervously mimicked it. That’s also kind of harsh… I hope it’s a joke.
“But you did it!”
“See, you got to know all of Ren’s friends from high school.”
So these were all of Ren’s friends… Bailey… Valerie… Connie… They all seem to admire Ren very much, and I’m sure he feels the same way about them. Like, Valerie said that Ren helped her towards her desired fate, and Connie is Ren’s best friend. But for Bailey…
“H-Hey Bailey? Can I ask a question?”
“Okay… It’s about Ren… Bailey, what is your relationship to him?”
Her eyes widened and she sat up straight.
“Hey Ren, block your ears, alright?”
Ren did not change. But if he agreed to block his ears, I assume he’s just not going to listen to our conversation and ignore everything we say.
“Ah, sorry. It’s just…”
She shrugged and averted her eyes to the floor. I also saw her cheeks become slightly redder. She sounded a bit frustrated, but I did not sense hostility.
“I don’t know… Camryn, I just don’t want Ren to hear this… Anyways, my relationship with him, right?”
“Oh, y-yeah… It’s just, you seem very hostile towards him, but you say you’re friends…”
I wondered about this because of the things I witnessed. Their interactions while getting ready… Their interactions until this moment… She… She seems to hate Ren. But at the same time, I don’t sense animosity between them… So what?
“Ah, I see…”
She turned to me and spoke assuredly.
“Look Camryn… I know I come across as mean towards Ren, but I seriously don’t dislike him. I wouldn’t call myself his friend if I truly did. It’s just… Um…”
As Bailey was thinking, she turned her head from me again. She also slightly looked down.
“Um… Okay, Camryn, it’s just that our relationship is complicated, and I can’t explain it. Just know that we’re cool with each other despite how I treat him…”
A relationship with respect for each other, but one party is harsh… Gah, I seriously don’t get their relationship…
“We have good relations with each other, but I can’t act all buddy-buddy with him. It’s because…”
I confessedly looked at Bailey. She was smiling warmly.
“It’s because we’re rivals…”