That means you like Akihara-kun, doesn’t it?
Carrying a heavy backpack stuffed with textbooks, I stood in front of the entrance to my classroom.
I arrived early, so I had about 20 minutes before the first period started, but once the period started, it was going to be another boring day as usual.
I thought so, but when I opened the door, I felt a different atmosphere.
A crowd had gathered in the seat farthest back from the window.
Quite a few of my classmates were gathered there, and even the students sitting farther away were looking in that direction.
That was Mikoto-san’s seat.
Surrounded by many classmates, Mikoto-san had a troubled look on her face.
It was a rare sight, as Mikoto-san doesn’t socialize much.
I stopped at the entrance.
I looked around and saw Hashimoto-san, the class president, sitting nearby, smiling at me.
She is a girl with a refreshing personality, tall and stands out wherever she is.
She was a rather easy person to talk to, and she and I were not on bad terms.
I asked Hashimoto-san.
“Good morning, Hashimoto-san. What’s going on?”
Hashimoto-san noticed me and smiled.
“Oh, it’s Akihara. You’ve come a long way. We’ve been waiting for you.”
Hashimoto-san deliberately spread her hands and raised her voice.
At the same time she said that, all classmates turned their heads to look at me.
Most of their stares were curious and unusual, but some of them seemed to be malicious and sharp.
Hashimoto-san said pleasantly.
“I heard that Akihara is living together with that goddess?”
I was startled.
Who could have said such a thing?
I looked at Mikoto-san and saw her eyes.
She looked at me with her blue eyes as if asking for my help.
I don’t know how it happened, but it seems that they know that Mikoto-san and I live in the same apartment.
There is nothing I can do about that now, but the misunderstanding of “living together” is not good.
I tried to keep my face as calm as possible.
“Who said we were living together?”
“You might have an idea.”
Hashimoto-san looked into my soul as if she could see right through me.
If I had any idea, it was the possibility that either Kaho or Yuki had let the secret slip.
“Me and Mikoto-san do indeed live in the same home.”
My classmates gasped.
Then I paused for a moment.
After getting their full attention, I continued.
“However, Mikoto-san and I are just relatives, so I guess it is correct to say that Mikoto-san is staying at my home.”
“You say that, but Akihara is dating the goddess, correct?”
Hashimoto-san said without hearing my side of the story.
The other classmates nodded in agreement.
I was in trouble.
Hashimoto-san and the rest of my classmates all wanted to assume that Mikoto-san and I were dating and living together.
Everyone is busy.
They are all busy gossiping.
Aside from me, Mikoto-san was the goddess of the school and a solitary person who no one had ever been able to get close to.
Everyone would love to have a story about such a person having a relationship and also living in the same home as a classmate of theirs.
“Umm, Hashimoto-san? Do you really think me and Mikoto-san are compatible?”
“… Hmmm, maybe not so subtle. Akihara would be too good for the Goddess.”
Hashimoto-san said jokingly.
I was on board with that.
“I’d like to say no to that, but I think so, too. Everyone else, do you really believe that I’m dating Mikoto-san?”
The classmates looked at each other.
If you put it that way, there is no way that Mikoto-san likes an ordinary guy like Akihara.
And many of my classmates seemed to think so, even if they didn’t say it out loud, but they thought so inwardly.
In other words, the classmates were a little bit convinced.
I got it.
Now all I had to do was to keep pushing this line of thinking.
We might be able to clear up the misunderstanding.
“Akihara seems unreliable. He doesn’t stand out much.”
Hashimoto-san said with a sly grin.
I can say that because we’re comfortable with each other, and I would normally be pissed off and say something back, but not right now.
I feel good about it.
I’d appreciate it if she’d say bad things about me more and more.
Then they’ll know that Mikoto-san doesn’t like me.
One of the boys whispered.
“Well, I guess Akihara isn’t good enough for the goddess.”
As I expected, several classmates nodded their heads. Among them, Kaho looked like she wanted to say something, but the majority seemed to agree with what the boys had just said.
I was going to say, “That’s right,” too.
“No, that’s not true!”
It was Mikoto-san who said that in a beautiful voice.
Everyone looked at her at once.
Mikoto-san looked away, blushed, but said in a clear voice.
“I think Akihara-kun is kind and cool. I’m not a goddess… and I’m constantly causing trouble for Akihara-kun… and I don’t deserve to be treated kindly. It’s me who is mismatched.”
The classroom fell silent.
I looked up at the heavens.
This meant that my “There’s no way I can go out with Mikoto-san” strategy had failed.
But Mikoto-san was probably saying this for my sake, as I was being belittled.
It was Hashimoto-san who broke the silence.
“That’s a bold statement to make in front of everyone! That means the goddess likes Akihara, right?”
Hashimoto-san smiled with increasing amusement, holding up her index finger.