On that fateful Sunday.
The three of them are headed towards a large commercial building in Ikebukuro.
“Wow…….there’s a lot of people.”
“Well it’s a Sunday after all. It will be crowded wherever you go, it’s normal.”
As expected of Ikebukuro, it’s filled with people. Looking back at how calm Ruri is, Kazuma was mentally exhausted and stopped unconsciously.
“Ah…..is everything alright Misaki-san?”
“Sorry, I am just a little surprised……….”
It’s seems that Honoka was overwhelmed by the number of people once again. She held tightly onto Kazuma’s clothes with her slender fingers.
“Umm……Can we stay like this for a while?”
With their bodies pressed closely together, Kazuma could feel something soft on his arms.
As his heart skipped a beat,
“Hey! Stop thinking about lewd stuff! It is forbidden today!”
“It wasn’t! That’s a false accusation!”
Kazuma desperately tried to plead innocence, but Ruri doesn’t buy it and sent a gaze with her eyes half closed as if to say “yeah right……”
He never thought he would be hanging out with the two representative of beauty of his class.
Today Honoka is wearing a knitted one-piece with an established design that really describes her, together with the monotone color tone and her conspicuous presence.
Whether it’s the atmosphere or at a glance impression, both of them are a wonderful contrast. Despite that, both of them are very cute without question; which perfectly describe the situation ” A flower in each hand”.
Thanks to that, he was feeling awkward, embarrassed and painful from the looks he got from the surrounding.
“It’s a nuisance to be standing in front of the entrance so let’s move aside for now. Have you been here before, Misaki-san? If there is a store you wish to visit we could go there.”
While Kazuma was leading the way, Ruri asked Honoka.
Originally, the main purpose for coming here today is to buy Honoka’s clothes and the one who wanted to come here was her anyways. So they thought there was a particular store she wanted to visit.
“……..No, I am here for the first time.”
Ruri knitted her eyebrows a little after hearing Honoka’s reply.
“Hmm…..Now what? I guess Misaki-san is the girly type……..I’ll look around so you guys just stay here and kill some time over there.”
After saying that, Ruri head towards the information board, probably deciding where to go.
“Err, well then, since Ruri put it like that, let’s take a look around shall we?”
As soon as he tried to walk off, Honoka1 lightly tugged his sleeves.
“Eh? What’s wrong?”
She pulled his arms prompting him as Kazuma followed closely behind.
“………Eh? E-Err Misaki-san?”
No matter how far they walked, Honoka showed no signs of stopping. At first Kazuma silently went with her but soon started to panic as she turned to the corner of the aisle. If they moved too far apart, they might lose sight of Ruri.
“W-Wait Misaki-san! I think it’s about time we head back──”
“…..We are here.”
Finally stopping her feet, Honoka turned around.
“Odagiri-kun……I-I……wanted to come here.”
Kazuma stared at what Honoka was pointed and said: “This is……”
Lace, frills and ribbons. The store interior has a cute atmosphere that highlights the femininity in the front. The identity of store that stubbornly block a man’s approach with it’s mysterious pressure is without a doubt……..
A lingerie shop. With the words “Women’s underwear store”
In other words, it’s a store that sells bras and panties et cetera.
As a matter of fact, those product are prominently displayed on the show window facing the roadway, as if to threaten any male customer approaching.
……….Come to think of it, the other day when they playing eroge, there was an event about coming to a lingerie department during a date.
“Well then……..L-Let’s go in, Odagiri-kun.”
As she grabbed his arms, his senses came back to reality. At first glance, Honoka’s face was scarlet read as she head towards the lingerie store with Kazuma.
“N-No! hold up Misaki-san! Going in is a bit…….! If you want to go in I’ll be waiting outside for you……!”
He desperately tried to hold his ground without luck and before he knew it, Kazuma was already inside the store.
No matter where he turns, women’s underwear fills his vision. The atmosphere which filled with female staff and customers were so different that even Kazuma’s breathing became hazy.
“O-Odagiri-kun……..Which underwear, do you, like…….?”
Kazuma became rigid. Honoka took one of the displayed product in her hand and said something unbelievable.
What Honoka showed him was a white laced brassiere with a mature design. If she wear that thin fabric, it will made her skin color transparent and would probably look erotic. Thus, Honoka was looking at Kazuma with her cheeks dyed in embarrassment as she held it in her hands.
He can’t help but imagine. Honoka wearing it.
No, I can’t look at this.
Kazuma mustered what’s left of his senses and turned away from Honoka’s eyes.
“Y-You don’t like lace……?”
“T-That’s not it………!”
I rather much like it! I think that if the neatness and obscene could perfectly coexist would very wonderful!
“T-Then, how about this…..this….T-T-back? It once appeared in the eroge—!”
“Y-Y-Y-You don’t have to say that here!!!!”
Kazuma twisting his neck as much as he can, desperately trying not to look at Honoka. If he looked, he would probably ran into the toilet in shame.
“──Ah! Finally found you──!!”
The sounds of footsteps rattling approaching.
Then, the next moment his cheeks were slapped.
“Argh……! Ouch……! What are you doing!?”
“That’s my line! What were the both of you thinking coming to place like this!?”
Seeing Ruri shouting like that proves she is angry. Shouting with much vigour is making Kazuma remained silent unable to explain himself.
“You too, Misaki-san! You can’t bring a boy to a place like this! You can’t just show your undergarments to anyone, even if it’s your boyfriend!”
“…….That is not true. You are having a misunderstanding Shinomiya-san.”
Honoka swiftly went in between the both of them as she stared intently at Ruri’s face.
“I don’t hate it…..If it’s Odagiri-kun, I wouldn’t mind it at all…….B-Because…..I’m buying it for him to see……!”
After saying that, Honoka took a peek at Kazuma with her face red all the way up to her ears. No doubt she felt embarrassed saying that.
Nevertheless she didn’t avert her gaze from Kazuma, looking at him wholeheartedly.
Kazuma felt his heart throbbing painfully upon seeing her admirable figure.
“I’m happy you said that, but this kind of things are still too early…….!”
“T-T-That’s right! It doesn’t matter whether you are dating or not!”
Continuing after Kazuma, Ruri admonished her.
However, Honoka not only didn’t budged, she stared back at Ruri at her strong-willed eyes.
“………….Uhh, excuse me but I’m afraid you are bordering the rest of the customers, so please keep your volume down.”
Suddenly, the three of them became petrified on the spot.
As they nervously turned around, the people in the store were staring at them a peculiar look.
When they apologized, the clerk left by saying the usual greeting: “Please take your time.” Perhaps she didn’t want to get involved with them.
“…..H-Hey, Can we go now?”
If they stay here any longer, they would feel more ashamed. Although it’s not to a level where their sanity would be reduced.
Honoka grabbed Kazuma’s arm as he head for the exit in a hurry.
“T-This is enough….! A-Actually there was another store I wanted to go…….!”
Bringing along Honoka, They had arrived at──
“This is………a cosplay shop?”
Right after stepping foot into the store, Kazuma was round-eyed with amazement.
Although it’s their first time here, the more surprising thing was the variety of assortment. From the standard maid clothes, to the ones so striking that you have no idea how to wear. There are in fact tons of clothing for cosplay but the overflowing of clothing are all stuffed in this particular store. There were a few characters’ outfit which Kazuma was familiar with and that naturally raised his excitement.
“So this is where it was, I’m surprised you knew about this place Misaki-san.”
“I heard it, from the chief.”
His excitement has dropped to a questionable degree. Kazuma had a bad feeling upon hearing that it was the chief that told her about this place.
(Let’s stop setting up flags…….the chief isn’t always scheming something I suppose……)
Despite telling himself that, Ruri was making a distressing face, looking around restlessly. For an non-geek like Ruri, this kind of space does not feel familiar but probably rather awkward.
“H-Hey Misaki-san, what do you plan on buying here……..?”
“A cosplay costume, naturally.”
At that moment, Ruri face went red till her ears as if it were boiling.
“Y-You can’t!! Cosplaying is such a perverted thing…!”
“I-I see nothing with it….! Cosplay is the same clothing any ordinary clothing. I am just wearing the clothes that the characters wore in the anime or manga…..!”
“Fueh…..? Eh, is that how it is?”
“Well the otakus called that ‘cosplay’ though.”
Ruri has probably associated “cosplay sex” with high school girl and nurse clothes. Although they are clothing for cosplay but to the otakus, they are considered as quite a normal hobby. And Kazuma thinks that it’s bias to think that “it’s cosplay that’s why it’s indecent.”
“Eh? Eh………? A-Am I the weird one……?”
Denied by both Kazuma and Honoka, Ruri shook her eyes in wonderment.
At the point, Honoka’s voice pierce through the sky like an arrow.
“I……want to have with Odagiri-kun so I want to try and cosplay…………how about you, Shinomiya-san?”
Because of their usual instigation and retaliation, Honoka was staring intently at Ruri.
“O-Odagiri-kun……S-Sorry to keep you waiting……..”
“…..L-Look at that!……Isn’t this okay?!”
The curtains of the dressing room were drawn.
Upon taking a peek at the spectacle, Kazuma unknowingly muttered.
“H-Hey…….! Why don’t you say something! I-It’s embarrassing you know……….”
“H-How…..is it……Odagiri-kun……? I hope I wore it properly……..”
Ruri scowled with teary eyes as if to show a mixture of shame and anger. Thus, Honoka bravely sent her gaze while looking down in embarrassment.
Naturally, they are wearing the cosplay outfit in the store………..
However, as a result it was overwhelmingly different from Kazuma’s expectations.
That’s because the both of them──are wearing the eroge heroine’s costumes.
Firstly, Honoka wore a white-theme outfit which is precisely like an admirable heroine who fights for justice. Meanwhile, the questionable outfit she wore looked more erotic than usual. The outfit has her upper chest and cleavage exposed, which was completely a no-no. On the other hand, speaking of Ruri, her’s is simply and frankly put, sexually arousing.
Although she is cosplaying as the villain in contrast to Honoka, her clothing-like strings wasn’t sufficient to high her abundant bust but were surprisingly revealing most of her pale white skin. Because of the habit of shyly hiding her body makes it more like an eroge and irresistible.
This is bad.
The clothes used to suppress virgins are just unjustifiable.
His head was burning into ashes when he thought a store filled with only women was better.
“A…..Arghhh!!!! I can’t take this anymore!! Are you girls done?! Hurry up and change so we can go somewhere else! You too Misaki-san!!”
“B-But I haven’t──”
“NO! IT’S OVER! WE’RE LEAVING!!”
Ruri interrupted her by forcefully closing the curtain as Honoka tries to protest.
That was a relieve. If That time lasted for another second, Kazuma would most definitely be dead……..No, maybe he is dead before realizing it.
Because that was an incredible sight to behold.
──At that moment,
The curtains of the fitting were drawn slightly with Ruri’s head poking out.
Kazuma stood up, worried about Ruri’s perplexed expression and voice.
“Did something happened? I’ll call the salesperson if you want.”
“T-That’s not it……….come a bit closer.”
“Just come here!!”
“I got it I got it, stop shouting!”
Unable to stand the ruckus that she was causing, Kazuma did what he was told and approached the fitting room.
“What on earth did you wa…!?”
Just as he thought he had reached the front of the fitting room, an arm suddenly stretched out and arduously grabbed Kazuma’s body.
Before he knew it, Kazuma was suddenly inside the fitting room.
“H-Hey! What are you thinking……!”
Kazuma tries to complain about the rough treatment he being given.
However such a thing had disappeared from his head the moment he took a glimpse at Ruri’s appearance.
The demarcated space is clearly cramped for two people to enter. The childhood friend in front of him was in her underwear.
Although Ruri was wearing pants, she is wearing nothing but a brassiere on her upper body. Furthermore, upon a closer look, the hook her bra is on the verge of coming off. Despite covering with her arms for the time being, her voluminous breast are by no means easily supported by just one hand and her underwear looks like it’s about to slip off too.
“Y-You……….What are you…!”
“H-Hey! S-Stop staring at me….!”
Ruri yelled in tears as her face turned bright red.
But that’s impossible. If you are looking from this distance, you can’t help but to look. And furthermore, despite saying that, Ruri was holding his arms tightly with no intention of letting go. As a result, Kazuma can’t leave the dressing room and unable to distance himself from her so he has no choice but to avoid eye contact.
(W-W-Why!? Why is Ruri is not wearing clothes…!?)
His heart is beating his chest with tremendous momentum. When he swallowed his spit, He could feel Ruri was exerting pressure in the arm that she was squeezing.
“I-I’m telling you! I can’t hook it at the back and I……..I’m telling you to do it….!”
Kazuma was startled upon hearing that absurd request that exceeded his expectations.
“Y-You idiot! No way I can do that!”
“I don’t want this either! B-But I don’t have a choice…….! I couldn’t find the usual ones I wore so I wear this, but this one was brought previously and the size is small so my hands can’t reach for the hook………!”
“That’s because I never thought I would be taking my undergarments off! Enough talking, hurry up!”
“Okay okay I get it, stop making so much noise…!”
Can’t afford to think about anything anymore, he reached out in a hurry.
Ruri faced her back towards him. Kazuma gently pinched the end of the hook while carefully avoid touching her skin.
(E-Err, this must be the hook……..)
He tried to fasten as he was told but it’s not working. The hook can’t reach the other side with just a light pull.
“H-Hey uh, it looks like this thing can’t reach though….”
“I told you, the size is too small! I-It’s not as if my breast are big……..!”
“I didn’t say that right?!”
He truly didn’t have any ulterior motive. If she willfully certified that as sexual harassment, he won’t stand for it.
“Then……..I’ll try and pull a little okay?”
After confirming that Ruri nodded, he slightly pulled the hook so that the edges would overlapped.
At that moment,
[Ah]. Saying [Ah] like it’s an eroge.
Kazuma’s body began to sweat profusely. Aware the situation once again, the hands that are pinching her bra are shaking tremendously.
Removing every thought from his head, Kazuma became a machine that only holds the bra’s hook.
Although his fingers kept slipping due to sweaty hands, Kazuma eventually released his hands after managing to somehow finishing his work.
Ruri nodded slightly as Kazuma turned his back. Is her neck red because of embarrassment? Kazuma turned away because looking at it seems strange.
“So, I’ll be leaving first okay?”
While listening to her soft voice, Kazuma escaped the dressing room.
After that he exhaled greatly as soon as he stepped outside.
He was getting dizzy due to his heart was probably thumping too fast. Kazuma leans on a nearby wall as he took a rest.
At the next moment, Kazuma drooped behind the wall he leaned on.
“Ow! W-What the…….!?”
──Knowing later, what he thought was the wall was actually just a partition. The store’s fitting rooms are not a single room, it seems like the space inside the store was divided appropriately by providing partitions in the open space.
In other words, what Kazuma tumbled over previously was the dressing room where Honoka and the rest are changing.
Not knowing what happened, Kazuma stared at the spectacle before his eyes in a daze.
It seems like the both weren’t sure of what had happened either. Both of them were looking down at Kazuma who fell on the floor without screaming and dumbfounded. The both of them have forgotten to hide their bodies and the fact that they are in the middle of changing.
Not a single word. Neither from Kazuma, nor from the both of them.
However before long, their absentminded faces began to turn red as they looked on.
Having the fallen partition restored at the speed of light. The both of them covered their bodies with all their strength.
What is going on with me?
This was supposed to be a normal shopping. When he thought he was going see some clothes, he was being led into a lingerer shop for some reason and then a cosplay store.
To top it off, there was that.
Every dating event that happened up till is unbelievable let alone in an eroge.
Could it be that I’m miraculously lucky, or lethally ill with misfortune? As he reflect on his daily actions in his heart,
Suddenly, someone tapped his back.
“………Excuse me, can I have a moment of your time?”
Smiling with that flawless customer service smile, Kazuma twitched his cheeks on reflex.
After that, Kazuma and the rest were taken further back to the store where a fierce looking uncle who is known as the manager inquired them to “not cause a racket” and was severely scolded by the staff.
It’s really lucky that they didn’t get barred from entering this store.
When they left the cosplay store, it was exactly noon.
Since it was a good time for the three of them to have lunch, Honoka brought the both of them along by saying 「there is a recommended shop」and was taken to the shop in question.
When they reached their destination, Ruri was dumbfounded, looked at the store’s signboard, then did a double take.
It was a ramen shop. Furthermore, it’s not the kind of shop with an elegant feel like 『Ramen that attracts women』that one would often see on television. Located in an elaborate alley, there is a small and little worn-out shop.
Ruri was wholly surprised because of Honoka’s recommendations which was quite different from her image.
On the hand, speaking of Honoka, her eyes sparkling brightly ignoring Ruri.
“What a relieved. Good thing it’s not crowded yet……Let’s go, if we don’t hurry, there will be a queue at lunch time.”
“Come on, let’s go Ruri.”
Chasing after Honoka, who was dashing through the curtains, Kazuma entered the shop while pushing Ruri from behind.
Although there wasn’t a line outside, but inside was packed. Honoka said that 『it will be crowded during lunch time』so this shop must be pretty popular.
Fortunately, some customers have left once they were done eating shortly as soon as they went in so they will able secure seats without have to wait for too long.
Then, after ordering this and that, it became a pleasant lunchtime.
Ignoring the noodles stretching out in front of her, Ruri was taken back and stared at『that』which Honoka ordered.
The ramen shop’s signature shop is called『Special Miso ramen』。A bundle amount of soup is poured into the bowl, on top of that, thick and curly noodles, and ingredients such as char siew* and menma* were literally making a mountain.
Even for the guy like Kazuma, is full just by looking at that size but Honoka was unfazed. On the contrary, that expression of holding the bowl with care uncontrollable was filled with delight and excited and slightly flushed.
Carefully placing her hands together, Honoka split the chopsticks in half with an experienced gestures.
Then she started slurping her stack of noodles as if she was attracted to it.
“Hmm…….delicious…….I’m in bliss………”
She slurped the noodles in one breath, together with chewing the ingredients. While her cheeks inflates like a squirrel, she smiled with a face that seemed to have gathered happiness from all over the world.
Ruri was staring with intense concentration at her profile.
Looking at Honoka’s appearance, Kazuma suddenly realizes.
Honoka’s glossy black hair. Since it was a bit of hindrance when she was eating despite it being long and beautiful, Honoka had to regularly slid her hair behind her ears.
However, it seems that if she look down a little, her hair would drooped from her ears. Because of that it makes a little harder for her to eat.
Just before Kazuma was going to say “Isn’t your hair in the way?”,
Ruri muttered. Towards Honoka who looked blankly sideways, she pull out a colorful hair tie from her bag.
She then stood up and went behind Honoka’s back.
“It’s fine! Just sit still!”
The troubled Honoka was push against her will, then Ruri tie her hair in one fell swoop.
“L-Look, it’s dirty if your food has hair in it………I don’t like that. T-That’s it.”
When Honoka turned around, Ruri looked the other way. The both of them haven’t open their hearts to each other yet so they probably didn’t know what to do in this situation.
Maybe it was the same for Honoka, she look away from Ruri as if she was lost for words.
“………..It’s nothing to be thankful for though.”
As if to ignored the awkward atmosphere, Honoka went back to eating her ramen. Ruri also return back to her seat and started eating her own ramen.
However, while doing so, it’s clear that the both of them care about each other.
Among the unprecedented mood, the three of them ate their ramen in silence.
……..On the side note, Honoka had consumed the previously mentioned ramen all of it’s entirety including the garnishes while leaving the bowl spotless.
“………..That’s a surprise.”
There is a small park near the ramen shop. Kazuma and Ruri sat on a bench as they waited for Honoka who went back to the store because she forgot something.
“Surprised?………..You mean Misaki-san?”
“Yeah……I didn’t know that Misaki-san have such a big appetite. Besides, when she eats, she have a completely different complexion that usual.”
While agreeing with her, Kazuma felt a little sense of triumph. Because, for Ruri, it was 『unexpected』to that side of Honoka and that was the norm for Kazuma.
He himself knew more than anyone, a little more about Honoka. That made him so happy that Kazuma unintentionally said how merry he was.
“That’s what makes Misaki-san cute. I really like watching her eat.”
Ruri suddenly gazed downward.
And then, she remained that way and didn’t raised her face.
When Kazuma who was wondering that was something odd about her and called out to her by saying: “Ruri?”
“Ruri? What a coincidence!”
The one who ran towards them was a girl in the same class as them who is often with Ruri. There are also several girls from their class behind her as expected. Apparently, it seems the chum group was hanging out and have fun.
“…………Wait, ah what? You’re with Odagiri-kun? Eh, what? You’re on a date?”
“Eh!? No way! Seriously?!”
“So you are dating after all! Geez, I wish you can tell us!”
The girl called Anri slightly titled her head, comparing Kazuma and Ruri. When the other members who came later started to get excited, Kazuma and perhaps Ruri became greatly flustered.
“I-I told you it is not like that! Kazuma and I are not──!”
“So you keep saying thatー!”
“You always one thing and another but you don’t look discontented at all. Just admit it, Ruri.”
“Yeah, we promised not to tell anyone for you.”
Because of their easy-going relationship, Ruri’s friends seemed to think that Ruri who was vehemently denying it was only acting 『shy』. Kazuma stood up in a hurry knowing that thing will go sour if this keeps up.
“No, you’re wrong. We are not alone in the first──”
Ruri’s voice drowned out Kazuma’s words.
Beyond that line of sight, Honoka was there before they knew it.
“Ah, M-Misaki-san……! It’s not like that, this isは──!”
“Eh?! No way, Misaki-san?!”
Ruri tried to say something but was interrupted by Anri and the gang.
Honoka just returned and probably wasn’t clear about the situation. With a perplexed face, she looked alternately at Kazuma and Ruri, then to the group of people.
“Misaki-san, you might think that dates and boyfriends are a bad idea but the both of them are serious. So don’t disturb them.”
“Since it is a mutual love, it’s not good to disturb them. Let’s leave them alone.”
“Please! Do it for your classmates!”
Apparently, the girls thought that Honoka would say something harsh with regards to 『Kazuma and Ruri dating.』
Everyone thinks that Honoka is honest, stern and………..a girl that is hard to get along because she is a honor student.
Then, Honoka who was pressurized by the girls, was unable to clear up the misunderstanding and looked down in silence.
Ruri was alarmed, standing besides Kazuma.
“You’re wrong! I beg you, please listen to me!”
He couldn’t remain quiet any longer. Kazuma ran over to Honoka and raised his voice to the limit.
“It’s not a date! Misaki-san was with us from the start! Ruri──Shinomiya and I are not dating! It’s a misunderstanding, all of it!”
Anri looked at Ruri for confirmation. As soon as Ruri nodded awkwardly, the girls have an uncomfortable look on their faces.
“Ah I see. I thought for sure that it was a date.”
“Sorry for jumping into conclusions. You too, Misaki-san.”
“Ah, well, I’ll be going then. Looks like we are disturbing you guys. Bye, Ruri.”
Ruri’s friends tied to leave in a hurry feeling unpleasant as one would expect.
The ones that were left behind were three people, Kazuma, Honoka and Ruri. The gentle atmosphere a while ago was a lie, now it’s gloomy and stifling.
“…………Sorry, I remembered I have something to attend.”
Ruri said that all of a sudden, looking down not seeing Kazuma and Honoka.
“I’m going home……….Sorry. I’m really sorry……….!”
Ruri sped off in a blink of an eye without having the time to stop.
Kazuma couldn’t chase after her while suspicious of her sudden behavior. That’s because he can’t leave Honoka alone in this situation.
Kazuma reluctantly put Ruri aside and called out to Honoka.
“I’m really sorry………… I didn’t explained fast enough………”
“No……..it’s not your fault, Odagiri-kun………”
Honoka said that, but her despondent expression clearly shows that she is still concerned about the words the girls said.
That’s why Kazuma used all his courage and energy and gently took Honoka’s hand.
He knew that Honoka’s body trembled a little.
“………..Isn’t time for a snack? Let’s go and eat something sweet. Together.”
Kazuma pulled Honoka’s hand and walked slowly even though he was so nervous his leg seemed to be trembling.
──Afterwards, Kazuma parted from Honoka and called Ruri, still worried about her.
However, she didn’t answer no matter how many times he called.
Since that day, Ruri has never show up in the club room after school.
It’s Friday at the end of the week. It has been five days since the three of them went out.
Lunch break. Kazuma stood up from his desk as his classmates were imaginatively eating lunch.
He was heading exactly towards the middle of the classroom. Where his childhood friend is unfolding their bento.
As soon as Ruri noticed Kazuma is approaching, she ended her conversation with her friends and stood up all of a sudden.
“S-Sorry. I need to use the restroom………”
Kazuma then rushes to chase Ruri who left the classroom as it is.
Slipping past the hallway, her distant back went beyond the toilet and head to a scarcely populated area in a blink of an eye.
“Hey, wait! Ruri……!”
Ruri eventually stop around the passageway leading to the club room building.
“………Why are you running away? Why are you avoiding me………”
“…………I’m not avoiding, you.”
“You are avoiding me. After all──”
──You stop talking to me.
Not only that. Even if Kazuma tries to talk to her, she would end up running away. Just like before.
After all that, she still saying such a terrible lie like 「I’m not avoiding you」.
Ruri didn’t look back. Kazuma repeated his words towards her back that has sunk in silence.
“Besides you didn’t come to the club room anymore. Aren’t you going to keep an eye out for Misaki-san so that I won’t do anything weird? Are you fine with that?”
“………It’s fine. Because I won’t be going to that club room anymore.”
” [Anymore]…………? Why so sudden……”
“Because………..if I’m with the both of you, it will cause a weird misunderstanding again.”
He remembered the incident that happened the other day.
Perhaps Ruri felt responsible for that incident more than Kazuma thought. So is she trying to be considerate to Kazuma and Honoka and keeping a distance?
“You can say that it’s just a misunderstanding. It’s really nothing.”
“…….Yeah………just a misunderstanding………”
Ruri tightly squeezed both her hands. As if she is trying to resist.
She finally turned around. However, Ruri put it bluntly without looking at Kazuma’s face.
“…………Kazuma, you already have Misaki-san. So you can leave me alone.”
“You just said it, Kazuma. There is ‘nothing’ between us.”
A figure of speech. Even though he tried to say that, Ruri forcefully interrupted him.
That was really a casual tone.
However, Kazuma clearly felt the intent of 『rejection』included in her words. Kazuma wasn’t able to find the words to say any further.
Leaving behind Kazuma standing stock-still, Ruri left the place without looking back.
Surprised, he raised his face.
It was the familiar sub-culture club room. Honoka is beside him. Apparently he was zoning out before he knew it.
“Sorry, Misaki-san……….even though you are with me, I was day-dreaming.”
“…….It’s okay but………..what’s wrong?”
She looks at him anxiously, which made him lost of words for a moment. That’s because he wasn’t sure to talk to Honoka about Ruri.
However, Honoka seemed to have guessed the circumstances from that moment of silence.
“……….Is it about Shinomiya-san?”
Thinking back, Honoka is in the same class as Kazuma and Ruri. It’s obvious that their relationship has turned sour just by looking at them.
“To be honest………I am having a little squabble with Ruri.”
No, that expression might not be accurate.
It’s not like they were arguing with each other.
He just didn’t understand what is Ruri thinking.
“Eh……?! Why are you apologizing, Misaki-san?!”
There is no way Honoka is at fault here. If anyone needs to apologize this time, it’s probably Kazuma. That’s because if he could properly understand the feelings of his 『childhood friend』, this wouldn’t have happened.
However, Honoka looked down with a pale expression and didn’t try to raise her face.
TL: Chari siew is a popular way to flavor and prepare barbecued pork in Cantonese cuisine. It is classified as a type of siu mei (燒味), Cantonese roasted meat.
TL: Menma is a Japanese condiment made from lacto-fermented bamboo shoots. The bamboo shoots are dried in the sun or through other means before the process of fermentation. Menma is a common topping for noodle soups, notably ramen.