“Not getting involved” is not acceptable
I heard that when you have the flu, you have to stay out of school for about a week.
This means that I won’t see Shiho for a while.
I have been taking it for granted that I would be with her recently, so I feel sad as though a part of me has been ripped away.
But maybe this was just the right opportunity.
I am now almost dependent on Shiho. I was on the verge of becoming someone who couldn’t do anything without her… Let’s use this opportunity to look at ourselves again.
The first thing I wanted to do was to regain the ‘strength’ to be okay with being alone like I used to be.
Well, since there is no one to talk to in class other than Shiho, I am basically alone even if I don’t try to be careful.
Spending the day in silence.
The only time I opened my mouth was during attendance, and the rest of the time I didn’t really talk to anyone.
That was also somewhat eerie.
(Somewhere, though, I had a feeling that Kurumizawa-san was going to talk to me…)
It bothered me that she was sitting next to me and was silent the whole time.
I guess she’s not ignoring me because she’s disillusioned or disappointed with me and dislikes me, that’s too convenient a reason to ignore me.
The evidence was that she was looking at me all the time.
I felt her gaze on me during class, during breaks, and even when I went to the bathroom.
It was annoying because sometimes when our gazes met, she would give me a small smile and wave her hand, and even when I looked uncomfortable, she would stare at me without a care in the world.
The expression on her face looked like she was planning something …, so I thoroughly avoided contact with her.
When school was over, I ran out of the school to escape. My aunt was probably waiting for me, so I thought I would get into my car and head home as quickly as possible.
But today, things were a little different.
“Huh? Aunt, your car looks different from usual…”
First of all, the car she was driving was not the usual one.
It was not a cigarette-smelling white car, but a luxurious-looking black car.
“I was out with a client just a few minutes ago. I’m on my way home.”
“… I see.”
That’s, well, understandable.
This is the way it happens sometimes.
But this was not the only unusual thing.
“…It’s unusual. You aren’t smoking.”
My aunt, who was a heavy smoker, was not smoking anything. No, in fact, she didn’t even smell like cigarettes. She probably hadn’t smoked in the last few hours.
“Yeah, so it’s driving me crazy, but I can’t afford to offend the… partners I’m dealing with, can I? So I’m holding back.”
Does that mean she still has a business meeting after she picks me up and drops me off?
That makes sense when I think about it, but I thought it was indeed strange that we didn’t leave anytime after… my arrival.
Furthermore, the fact that she was standing outside instead of getting into the car also didn’t make sense to me. It was cold and I wanted to at least get inside the car, but my aunt was looking toward the school gate as if she was waiting for someone.
“Why don’t we go? You’re busy, aren’t you?”
I asked, and Aunt shook her head.
“I can’t go. Because I’m meeting with an important business partner right now… Look, they’re here.”
It was right after she said that.
“It’s our business partner, the lifeblood of our company.”
Prompted, I looked toward the school gate.
There she was, the … pink girl.
I almost stopped breathing.
My head was dizzy from the unexpected appearance. I leaned against the car and my aunt explained the situation to me.
“This is the daughter of a major conglomerate, Kururi Kurumizawa-sama, of the ‘Kurumizawa Zaibatsu’ … Kotaro, you don’t have to be so rude, do you?”
I couldn’t stay out of it.
She was not afraid to step into the sanctuary of after-school hours.
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