Chapter 31:

Make Life Complicated

Unconsciously Interested



How do I get this in balance again?!

I just rented a bicycle and am trying to get around the hostel on it, but... I’m struggling to keep my balance!

It’s already five o’clock, and we’ve just returned to our hostel from the first day of our school trip. There’s still time to spend around here before we retire for the day. However, when I asked Kyashii if she wanted to try riding those bikes with me, she told me she needed to talk to Nazumi-san for a minute about something important before joining me. At the same time, Minori has to attend a short committee meeting, and Tomoka is nowhere to be found, so I assumed she was back in her congeniality mode.

That being the case, I’m by myself behind the hostel, trying to blow away the cobwebs of my biking skills.

Well... Not that I’m the only one in here since some other students are also hanging out in this little patch of woods. It looks like they’re taking in the tranquility of this place.

Alright, Yuyo, let’s figure out this biking thing again.

I gave it another go at maintaining my equilibrium as I got both my feet off the ground to start pedaling, but I couldn’t even last two seconds before having to put one foot back down. I have trouble gliding without touching my feet down.


Welp! Forget it...

Without a doubt, I can’t ride this as well as I used to. Back when I was a kid, though, bike riding was pretty easy for me. So… What has happened to that skill? Has it revolted against me and alienated me to the core?

How annoying…

In any case, I still have time before I need to turn in this bike. Uhm… It might be a good idea to wait for Kyashii and let her use the rest of my rental time. I’ve got to know how well she rides a bicycle.

“. . . .”

Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.

Just as I positioned the bike under a ginkgo tree, I caught sight of Ezaki-san beneath another tree a short distance away. Sitting across from him are three girls gazing at him constantly. Hmm…? They seem to have a crush on him, yet he doesn’t seem to care since reading something has taken over his attention. Even so, the girls just keep squirming and squealing right in his face.

Yep, that’s right… I’m quite a ways off, but I can still make out those squeals.

Heeh... Ezaki-san’s mental focus is impressive, given how loud everything is around him. Or is he used to such reactions and clamors, owing to his significant following since then?

That, I suppose, comes as no surprise. In all fairness, I find Ezaki-san to be handsome and cool. He’s also pretty tall, astute, and well-read. The guy is easy to like, especially since he has that never-ending smile for most people.

Then again, all things considered, he remains an oddball in my eyes. He’s fun to talk to and joke around with when he’s in a friendly disposition, but he never fails to weird me out once his expression towards me shifts into something I can’t place.


As I stood leaning against the tree, my gaze inadvertently fell on those girls. Looking at their reactions, I can tell they are attracted to the guy in front of them. It doesn’t take much stretch of my imagination to figure that out.

If only Kyashii acts the same way toward her crush, maybe I’ll be able to glean some details about him without asking her.


Why does she have to keep even his name a secret? I’m her best friend, and I was hoping she could just—

“Kenji-kun, you idiot! How dare you!”


Instinctively, I covered my mouth to silence my shriek as the sudden, loud voice from behind the tree I was leaning on totally surprised me!

Jeez! Why in the biosphere is someone wailing in such a quiet place?!


Alright… I guess I can just ignore her, whoever she may be. For now, I need to collect myself. I could not help but have my heart skip a beat when I heard that.

But… Right after calming my rapid heartbeat with a deep breath, I was startled again by another shrill sound behind me! “You dummy! You’re not the only guy on earth!” The girl squeaked.

“. . . .”

If that’s the case, stop hollering already! You’re scaring the living daylights out of me!

Guhh! That’s it!

I can no longer endure her jarring noises for more than a nanosecond. Even my ears can’t bear it.

I turned around and tried talking to the squeaking girl. “Errm… Excuse me, could you just—”


I interrupted myself, seeing who was sitting behind the tree. It was that gyaru from our group.

What the… What’s up with my terrible luck that I keep bumping into this girl?

“Whaa—!” Even the gyaru looked surprised when she saw me pop up behind her. “You… What are you doing here?!” She groused.

Her tone made me wrinkle an eyebrow. I’m the one who ought to be annoyed by her constant shrieking. “That is what I’m supposed to ask you. I was already here when you started screeching and disrupting my stream of thoughts.”

She then shot me an angry look but didn’t say anything. But… The simple reality that she was sniffling and trying to hold back her tears didn’t dawn on me for a while.

Ah-oh… I think my timing is off here…

This is becoming extremely awkward.

“. . . .”

Alright... I should just get the bike and move elsewhere to wait for Kyashii. In no way do I want to prolong this encounter any further. “Err… S-Sorry for cutting you off. I’ll take my leave now.” I slowly retraced my steps backward.

“Aren’t you glad I look so utterly pathetic to you right now, Shibasaki-san?” That unexpected remark from the gyaru made me stop in my tracks.

Whoa, what is she on about? “I beg your pardon?”

“What… Come on, isn’t that the truth?” She sneered at me as she got to her feet. “I think you’ll be pleased to hear now that the same guy Mikami-san turned down also rejected me.”

“Haah?” As if it matters to me who turns her down. And how can I tell she’s blaring about the same guy Kyashii rejected if I don’t even remember his name? “Look, gyaru-san… Why would that even make me happy? In the name of candidness, I couldn’t care less if someone turns their nose up at you since I have no care whatsoever about you.”

“W-What?! Hey, you! Do not assume that I’m saying you care for me when I am certainly not suggesting that in the slightest! I just thought that perhaps you feel that I deserve this!” She hollered.

“Why are you yelling at me yet again?” I asked with a stern gaze. “It’s not my problem if you think that way about me. Those are your thoughts, not mine. Don’t try to put words into my mouth because, at least from what I can tell, you don’t have access to my thoughts.”

“But I’m right, aren’t I?! You probably think I deserve this kind of rejection!” She said in a more normal tone.

Seriously… My patience is wearing thin with this gyaru. I can’t believe this girl is trying to make life so complicated for me.

Haaah... What a problematic human being!

“No, you’re dead wrong. That is not how I think... What I think is that rejection’s a completely natural part of life, something that everyone will face at some point, whether it’s for a job, dating, or friendship. So, you just have to accept your rejection and stop taking it personally. And don’t try to pin this on me either!” My eyes squinted at her.

“Wha—” The gyaru seemed unsure how to react. “You! Why do you have to make it sound so easy?! …Ah, tch! This is why I hate people like you!”

There’s definitely some bad blood between us. “Hey, gyaru-san…” I said in a steady voice.

“What?! And quit calling me gyaru-san! I have a name, and it’s Ayase Komatsuda!”

“Yeah... Fine... It’s not like I’ll say that name all that often. It’s also a long name, making it tough to remember.”


“Anyway, what I wanted to say is that we’ve already settled what happened a few days ago, right? Thanks to my best friend, I got caught up in a web of entanglements with you. However, we’ve resolved the issue between us, so don’t go spitting in the wind. As I’ve said before, I only care about my best friend, not you, alright?” I remarked offhand.

“Fine! I get it! I don’t need to hear that over and over again. More than that, I don’t care about you either! Take as much care as you wish for your best friend!”

“There’s no need for you to say that. She’s all I care about.”

“Again?! Haah! It doesn’t even look like you are best friends. Are you sure you two really are?” There was a cold calculation in her eyes.

Huh?? Just what does she mean by that? “I am… While it may not appear so to others, Kyashii and I are unquestionably best friends. Maybe you can’t tell since you don’t seem to have a best friend.” I trenchantly smiled.

“Whaatt?!? Who told you?! You…! You are quite big-mouthed for someone who happens to be stoically cool on the outside, Shibasaki-san!”

“Ahemm! Is there any problem, ladies? My ears have been picking up loud noises around here for a while now.” We were suddenly interrupted by Ezaki-san, who emerged from behind me. “I hope you’re not in that kind of situation again, Shibasaki-san?” He’s holding out a friendly smile at me as usual.

“Ahh... No, nothing like that, Ezaki-san. I was just clearing things out with gyaru-san.” I returned his friendly smile.

“I told you my name is Ayase Komatsuda, not gyaru-san!” She snarled at me.

“And I told you I don’t plan to keep your name in my head,” My cold reply went. “It’s too long.”

“Say what?! Hey! Komatsuda and Shibasaki share the same phonetic unit! How could you possibly mean that?!”

“Yeah… Yeah… Whatever. Anyway, I think it would be best for me to leave you here. I can’t stand how loud you are. This space is all yours.”


“Hey,” I turned to Ezaki-san, who went silent as he watched us argue. “This girl seems like she could use some company. How about one?”

“No! I don’t need anyone! I want you two to leave me alone!”

“Well, that’s what I was going to do regardless...” I shrugged and stepped back to get the bike when I heard her suddenly howl.

“Aww! Ouchyyyy! There’s something in my eye! Ungh!” She held her left eye as she started to break down in tears for real. “Gosh darn it!! This is my worst day ever! Uwaaah…”

I focused my gaze on Ezaki-san in the hopes he would comfort the gyaru, but all I got was a puzzled look in return.

Ehh? For what reason are you staring at me like that? Don’t just stand there. Do something… You’re the guy here, for goodness sake!

“Uhh... Ezaki-san, why don’t you give her a hand and take a look at that thing in her eye?” I whispered as I suddenly felt uneasy hearing her soft cry.

“Huh? Why me?”

“What… You’re the guy here. Wait... Are you saying you have no concept of gentlemanly type?” I looked at him with glazed eyes.

“But don’t you think it’s inappropriate for me to bring my face close to a girl? I hardly know her.”

“Uhh… No? After all, you’re just helping her, right?”

“Oh! Maybe you should do it, Shibasaki-san? Doesn’t it seem more appropriate for a girl to look another girl in the eye?” He smiled dazzlingly.

“. . . .”

Is it?

Hmm? Undoubtedly, it looks pretty fitting, but it’ll be horribly uncomfortable.

I stared at the gyaru again, and I could hear her sniffling. There’s a part of me that feels sorry for her. I can only imagine how distraught she must be after being rejected; even some things are going south for her right now.

Haaah! Sheessh…

“Fineee... I’ll do it...” I let out a long sigh. “Hey, gyaru-san... Let me take a close look at your eye.” I reached for the pocket-size tissue in my pocket. I always carry one with me.

“It’s just dust! I’m perfectly fine!”

“Ooh, all well, then. There’s no need for me to insist. At least I don’t have to use my tissue.” I said despite myself.

“You’ve got one?” She asked with her hand covering her eye.

“Yeah, right here.”

“Ah… O-On second thought....” Her voice was calm as she sniffled. “P-Please take a look. I-It still hurts.” She moved her hand away from her eye.

Ah... There’s already a red tinge to that eye. “Okay... Could you please sit down?”

Without a word, the gyaru obliged. Hmm... It would probably be easier for me to deal with her if she could keep her loud mouth shut.

I brought my face closer to her eyes and gently pulled on the edges of her left eyelid. The look on her face reveals how unsettled she is with me, but whatever... I’m just trying to help her out here.

Taking a closer look into her eye, I noticed a tiny dark spot on the inner surface of her lower lid. “Ahh… It appears that a small insect has invaded your eye.” I muttered.

“Really?! So that’s why I can’t seem to get some relief from this pain! Dang! P-Please, take it out.”

“Then just stay still and bear with me.” With the tissue covering my fingertip, I gave it my best shot at removing that tiny insect. The sound of her whimpering lasted for a few seconds until I managed to get rid of it from her eye. “There… I think it’s all right now, yeah?”

“Well, the pain is still there, but t-thank you.”

“That pain will subside shortly. I no longer see a thing in your eye.” Nonetheless, for my peace of mind, I bothered to recheck her eye to ensure nothing foreign particle remained in it. “Hmm… Yeah, nothing’s th—”

“Yuyo, what are you doing??” The sound of Kyashii’s voice surprised me. Within a flash, I turned around, and there she was, standing next to Ezaki-san.

I get to my feet right away. “Aah… I w-was just helping her.” I chuckled awkwardly.

Kyashii’s expressionless face makes me nervous out of thin air, all the more so when her eyes keep darting back and forth between me and the gyaru.

“With what…” Kyashii maintained a stone-cold voice as she stared at the gyaru behind me.

Uhh… It was more of a glare, actually.