(Interlude 2) If only she had done that then
She had not thought of crying.
But tears naturally welled up and she couldn’t stop them.
“Huh? Asakura-san? What’s wrong? Did I say something hurtful?”
Niou Futako was also perplexed. She was horrified to see Kirari who suddenly started crying.
But the most perplexed person is probably Kirari herself.
“N-No… Niko-chan isn’t bad at all, you know. It’s me who is to blame.”
Suddenly, the memories of the past flashed through her mind like a running light.
He read whatever books she recommended. He would tell her what he thought of them when she asked him, and sometimes they even had discussions. He always listened to Kirari’s opinions, and no matter what she said to him, he never looked down on her.
Ko-kun always accepted her feelings of affection for him.
It was only after losing it … that she finally remembered how happy it had made her…
She couldn’t help but suppress her chest as she realized that the thing that had always been by her side was her most treasured possession.
(I see… For me, Ko-kun was my best friend after all.)
The entrance ceremony of the high school. The first time she fell in love at first sight with Ryoma Ryuzaki and didn’t pay any attention to him.
No, no. Since she took it for granted that he was right there by her side, she never thought of valuing him.
Because of that, by the time she realized it, he had already gone far away.
A precious treasure was gone.
Crying over it now would not bring him back.
She knew that, and she would not do such a pathetic thing as clinging to him anymore.
She wiped away her tears with a rough gesture as if shaking off her unresolved feelings for Ko-kun.
“I’m sorry …, it’s nothing. It’s just a speck in my eye.”
She lifted her chin stoutly and smiled.
Then the fidgeting Niou Futako patted her shoulder as if in relief.
“I was puzzled because I thought I had hurt you…, whom I want to be friends with from now on. I am sorry for showing you how disgraceful I am.”
“You want to be friends with … me? I’m not sure what to do. You used to be so reluctant to talk to me before?”
It was strange.
Niou Futako is basically unapproachable to others. Not that she is shy, but she is a solitary girl who does not try to befriend anyone in particular.
And Kirari was also on the side of those who disliked her because of her familiarity… Niou Futako shook her head and shrugged.
“No, what can I say… you changed your hair, didn’t you? Maybe that’s why you look so much like you now… or maybe it’s because before, Asakura-san looked ‘fake’ and I didn’t like you. But now you look ‘real’ and I found you very fascinating, so I couldn’t help but talk to you.”
Apparently, there was a reason why she spoke to her out of the blue.
(Not a fake, but real…? She sounds just like him.)
She put Kotaro Nakayama on top of Niou’s statement.
She didn’t want to be recognized by her, but she was honestly happy that she was praised …
“Thanks. Well, if it’s okay with you, will you be my friend I’ll lend you a lot of my novels, so let me know what you like about them.”
“Yes, of course. By the way, what kind of story are you reading now?”
“This? This is the one that I love the most… It’s a romantic comedy about a simple boy who gets married to a beautiful heroine.”
The light novel in her hand was presented to Niou Futako.
She politely accepted it with both hands and bowed.
“I see. Is it that …interesting? From what I’ve heard, it sounds like a run-of-the-mill story.”
“It’s not that it’s interesting, or, umm, it’s just that I like … me, I guess. i would describe it as ‘beautiful’ rather than fun or hilarious.”
Kiraly said it is a very beautiful work.
The main character was just like him, … and Kirari remembered that it was this light novel that first made her talk to him.
(The main character in this work really resembles Ko-kun.)
In middle school, she had no interest in other people.
He was the only one who interested her.
She had forgotten such an important thing until now, and she almost cried again at her own shallowness.
(… If only I had cared more about him…)
Suddenly, she thought about it.
She didn’t want to think about it, but even though she didn’t want to, she envisioned it in her brain.
If she had not treated him with disdain like she does now, if she had cared for him in high school.
She could have taken a different path from the relationship where all she could do was resent him like she does now.
Thinking about that filled her heart with a sense of pride.
She shifted her gaze toward him, trying not to be obvious.
Lunch break. He was having lunch with Shiho Shimotsuki, who was sitting next to him.
Imagining herself sitting in Shiho Shimotsuki’s seat, she let out a small giggle.
(Already, it’s all too late.)
Still, she fantasized.
If only Kotaro Nakayama and her … had been best friends for a long, long time.
(It might have been me who was standing next to Ko-kun right now…)
[Asakura Kirari’s Epilogue End]