“Shibasaki-san~, about those notes I asked you in LIWE last night...” My ears caught Hoshino-san calling me from her desk as I made a dart for the door shortly after our last class ended.
“Ah!” I glanced at her as my pace slowed down. “Hoshino-san, I am terribly sorry! I’m really pressed for time right now, so I’ll just send you the notes tonight through LIWE!” I bowed swiftly to her with my hands clasped. On the dot, I bolted out of the classroom without even waiting for her response.
Hoshino-san, please accept my sincerest apologies... I’ll make it up to you as soon as I can. I just need to deal with that girl who has been trying to sneak away from me!
Does she have something against me that I need to chase her around like this?!
After Kyashii revealed this mind-blowing information during lunch, I instinctively tried to tell her that it wasn’t a huge deal if she had a thing for girls. Having heard nothing further from her, I asked her if she would like to walk home together with me, implying we needed to talk more about that surprising fact, and she agreed.
She just stormed out of the classroom like a bolt of lightning in an attempt to run from me!
Grr! Seriously, what is wrong with her?!
She’s certainly taking advantage of her athletic prowess over me, isn’t she? We both know that if she starts sprinting at that speed, there’s no way I’ll be able to keep up with her!
“Excuse me, coming through….” I muttered as I raced down the hallway, walking past three students sauntering without haste.
“Yuyo, please don’t run in the hallway!” I heard Minori harrumph out of nowhere.
As I briefly turned around, Tomoka and Nazumi-san were with her. I thought they were another group of students. “Sorry, Minori... But I must get to the lockers right away. I’ll see you all tomorrow, guys!”
Given that Kyashii isn’t with them, I guess she means business about trying to get away from me, huh?
Ah, tch! Alright, Kyashii-chan, we definitely need to talk.
“Hold it right there!” I reflexively slammed the opened shoe locker door while I gathered my breath.
“Hyiieee!!” Kyashii made a squeaking sound after she slipped her outdoor shoes on.
Ooh… my… goodness!
Getting from the second floor to the main entrance in such a short length of time is by far one of the finest achievements of my high school years!
“Y-Yuyo… Umm… W-What is it?” Kyashii’s face twitched.
“Hey, Kyashii-chan... We were supposed to go home together, weren’t we??” I stared blankly at her with an irked smile. “But it seems to me that someone is making an effort to break that plan.”
“Ermm… Ha-ha… I… D-Did we?” Kyashii stroked her cheeks as she averted her gaze from mine.
What… Is she trying to devise a lame excuse for her action this time?
“Aah… I’m afraid I f-forgot about it. I... I’m sorry… Ha-ha?”
Yep… She gave her absolute best shot.
What a pain!
“Oh, well, I guess that’s that. Let’s pretend for a moment that I believe you there. So allow me to remind you that yes, we did….” I snatched her hand and stormed off to my locker, firing glares at her non-stop. “Bear with me for a minute.” I took off my indoor shoes with my other hand.
“Umm… W-What gives with the hands, Yuyo? It’s a little inconvenient to change shoes l-like this.”
“Consider it a natural handcuff to keep you from escaping me.” I changed into my outdoor shoes without letting go of her hand. “Are you seriously under the impression I’m going to take your excuse for ditching me just like that?” My stern gaze went straight to hers.
“Ahh… I… Umm…” Kyashii struggled with my stare and looked down dismissively.
This is really awkward.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say I’m blind to the reason for her actions. The truth compels me to admit that I also lack knowledge on how to initiate the conversation in that regard.
I filled my cheeks with air and blew it out in a big puff. “Alright… Come on. Let’s go...” Even with the slight easing of my grip, my hand stayed on hers.
“Umm… Are we going somewhere else, Yuyo?” Kyashii glanced at me with hesitation in her eyes.
“Would that be okay with you?” I softly smiled at her.
As uncomfortable as it is to broach such a delicate subject with Kyashii, I’d like to keep talking about it a bit longer. Moreover, I don’t think I can get any studying done tonight without having some sort of discussion about her sexuality.
“S-Sure…” A nervous smile curved over her lips as she nodded.
“Well, then... Let’s take a walk somewhere, shall we?” I gently squeezed her hand.
“Uhh... Kyashii, do you think it’s against the rules for students our age to stay out with friends instead of returning home after school straightway?” I broke the deafening silence between us as I leaned over the metal railing, staring down at the lake in this park near the Sakuranomiya station. We made our way to a quiet corner of this green space where there were hardly any other people.
“I… I don’t think so. For some, that may be true...” Kyashii muttered with her gaze pinned on the lake.
“Right... I wonder what it’s like for students not having the option to go elsewhere after school.” I scoffed as my sight turned to her face. “It would be nice if they were free to do as they pleased without worrying about breaking any rules, wouldn’t it?”
“Umm…. Yuyo... I’m finding it hard to follow where you’re going with that. B-Besides, isn’t there something more important to talk about?” She turned her eyes to me.
I smiled as I played with her hair strands blown away by the wind. “That was the point I was trying to make. Surely, it must be nice not to be bound by rules that keep you from doing what you want, right?” I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“Putting things into perspective, think about the fact that there is nothing in the rules of this life that explicitly states it’s not allowed for a girl to like another girl that way, Kyashii. Then again, we live in a cruel world, so you can expect society to frown upon it, but that does not mean it is wrong. We don’t have to cut the mustard, either. Regardless of what we do, others will always find fault in it anyway. We might as well live our lives as we see fit.”
“Y-Your words are reassuring... T-Thank you.” Kyashii bites her lower lip. “B-But what about you, Yuyo?”
“Uhm? What do you mean?”
“Don’t you hate me for keeping this from you? You... Aren’t you disgusted by the fact that I like girls?” Her eyes look damp as if she is struggling to hold back tears.
I can’t imagine how terrifying it was for her to admit that in front of us, but she did it anyway. She had to be very brave to do what she did.
Yeah... Kyashii is, without a doubt, a strong girl.
“Hmmm… Nothing has crossed my mind that may cause me to feel disgusted or hate you. So... Is it possible for you to hold back those tears for now?” I pressed lightly on the tip of her nose as I smiled at how anxious she had become. “That’s not enough to make me mad at you, Kyashii. I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again; your happiness means more to me than anything else. You will undoubtedly be happier if you are yourself, and that is all that counts to me. Actually, I’d rather celebrate your personal growth than hate it. Being brave enough to admit that kind of thing only shows you’re growing as a person.” I sent her a gentle smile.
“Yuyo... Uungghh...” Kyashii seems to have lost control of her emotions as she wipes her eyes with her hands. “Uwaaah... Hic!”
A soft laugh escaped me. “I told you not to cry... You cry-baby...” My arms instinctively slid around her shoulders and hugged her without a second thought. I just wanted her to understand that I don’t hate her just because she wasn’t upfront with me about herself. “Liking girls does not make you less of a person, let alone my best friend, Kyashii. Please try not to forget that.” I caressed her head.
Kyashii then wraps her arms tightly around me as she sobs. “I’m sorry, Yuyo... I really am...” Her voice trembled between tears as she uttered the words.
“I don’t need you to apologize. You did nothing wrong. It’s tough to admit something like that, and I get that. Honestly, I admire your courage in bringing this up to us.” Leaning against the railings, I gazed upwards. “In a situation where one is unsure of the reaction of others, sharing one’s actual self takes a lot of guts. I agree with what you said in the past; it can be scary for pretty girls whose straightness is often assumed to come out and say they like girls.”
“Ahh… Y-Yeah… At the time, I was making reference to myself.” Kyashii stepped out of my arms, blowing her nose with her handkerchief.
Even if she does look like an excessively ripe tomato, I still find her pretty.
“Heh~… That makes perfect sense... Yet, to be honest, what you shared caught me completely by surprise. That’s the one thing I didn’t see coming.” I chuckled. “My first instinct is to consider that a pretty girl like you must be straight. So, I suppose I should take the guilt for assuming that right off the bat without asking first.” The thought makes me shake my head. “It’s funny, though, since I’ve always thought you were quite easy to figure out, yet I failed to notice that.”
“Y-Yeah… How I wish you had noticed all of this right from the start.” She muttered.
“Eh?! I mean, yeah, you’re right… That’s probably because I’m too good at hiding it, Yuyo... Uhurm!” Kyashii made a sound in her throat. “But I think our friends picked up on it from the outset.”
“Huh? ...Do they?! How is that possible??”
“Ah… A-ha-ha! I mean, you saw how they reacted, right? There was no sign of surprise on their part. So, I have a funny feeling they already knew….” She chuckled nervously. “It’s just a hunch on my part, Yuyo.”
Yeah, come to think of it...
Those girls weren’t even shocked when Kyashii let the cat out of the bag. There was supposed to be a massive reaction from them, particularly Tomoka, but it never came. Kyashii’s admission seemed to stun no one else but me.
“. . . . .”
Is this to say that I wasn’t paying close enough attention to Kyashii that I missed all those hints while the rest of our friends caught on? How, specifically Tomoka and Minori, figure out she’s into girls? The two of them were not always with Kyashii. It’s likely that Nazumi-san already knows about it, but oddly, those two are also aware of it.
“. . . .”
How cocky did I sound when I said I could read Kyashii like a book?
The confession mix-up with that guy made me feel like I didn’t know Kyashii well and that I still needed to learn more about her. But, having realized that I had simply misunderstood the situation, I regained my confidence in my claim that I genuinely know her better than anyone else.
That’s not the case anymore, is it? Although I tried to understand more about Kyashii, everyone else seemed to know her better than I did.
But... How, exactly?
Why has everyone else noticed it, yet I am oblivious to it?? There isn’t much chance of Kyashii hanging out with other girls in the school, so it’s not like they can pick up on cues from her actions.
“. . . . . .”
Hold up a second…
“Err… A-About the person you like... Could this mean the one you like is actually a g-girl and not a guy, as I always thought it was??” An uncertain tone sneaked into my voice.
A deep, penetrating gaze emerged from Kyashii’s eyes. “You took a lot longer to figure that out than I expected, Yuyo.” Her smile faded in and out. “Yes, I’m in love with a girl.”Oohhh…