Don’t Tell Me You Like Someone You Don’t Like
Under the cold winter sky, the sound of Shiho’s dry cough echoed in the deserted back of the school building.
She was having a hard time breathing because she had let out everything she wanted to say all at once.
It had been several days since she had recovered from her illness, but she still wasn’t in perfect physical condition. If nothing else, perhaps she would have missed school today.
But Shiho went to school because she was concerned about Kotaro Nakayama.
Her own physical condition was a trivial matter compared to Kotaro.
(Is that what real love is …?)
Kururi Kurumizawa saw Shiho’s pale face and questioned her own way of being.
She was dismayed at herself for being told that, but unable to refute it.
She could not refute anything. Because Kururi Kurumuzawa is now witnessing the ‘real thing’ from Shiho Shimotsuki.
“Don’t hurt Kotaro-kun any more.”
She was trying her best for the person she loved, and while she was an …… love rival…, she was beautiful.
(I kind of … feel like an idiot.)
It was as if cold water had been poured over her head.
A cold sensation flowed from head to toe, calming her thoughts at once.
She had been agitated a moment ago, but now she was calm.
(If I look closely, I can see she’s trembling. … You’re so timid, you confronted me?)
Shiho was clenching her fists threateningly against her chest, but upon closer inspection, her hands were shaking slightly and her expression was also intensified.
She was like a small animal trying to make herself look big and intimidating.
She was acting tough, but in fact she was overflowing – and Kururi Kurumizawa realized the depth of her love for him.
At the same time, she realized how shallow her own love was.
Because Kururi didn’t have the courage to do so.
Even though Shiho Shimotsuki had hit her head-on, she was unable to accept it and kept fumbling around.
That was the difference in their love.
There is a big gap between Shiho, who tried to keep her love alive even when they clashed, and her own love, which was always frustrated and trying in vain to get around it.
Watching Shiho Shimotsuki, she became more and more aware of this.
“After all, you chose… Ryuzaki-kun over Kotaro-kun, didn’t you?”
She doesn’t have the energy to talk back anymore.
Kururi let out a breath of contemplation and relaxed her cheeks a little.
With a wry smile, she lets out her honest feelings for the first time.
“… Maybe so, maybe so.”
“If that’s the case,… that’s fine.”
Kururi has done nothing wrong.
Shiho did not blame her for the fact that her feelings of love for him had simply shifted.
She just could not forgive the way she went about it.
“There is no point in going to the trouble of confessing your feelings to Kotaro-kun when all you have to do is tell him honestly how you feel.”
She had assumed that being rejected was the only way to end her love.
But that’s not true, Shiho complained.
“Don’t choose a method that involves him…, and don’t run away, but face Kotaro-kun properly.”
Being rejected in order to end love – she shouldn’t take such a shortcut.
She should admit her weakness and honestly tell Kotaro, ‘I’ve fallen in love with someone else’.
After all, Shiho was just saying that.
“Don’t tell me you like someone you don’t like.”
That act is an ‘insult’ to Kotaro Nakayama.
It was disrespectful to him, who earnestly strives to like other people.
“… That’s true, too.”
Kururi Kurumizawa nodded at that.
She smiled in resignation, admitting that she had been trying to take the easy way out.
“I won’t hurt him anymore.”
She recognized that this was the only “atonement” she could make.
She has hurt him a lot in the past. She forcefully signed him up as her tutor, spent a lot of time with him even though he didn’t want to be there, and ended up with excessive skinship with him.
As a result, she left a scar on Kotaro Nakayama’s heart and made him suffer from a sense of guilt.
Then, there was no need to add more sins to the list.
“I will tell him the truth.”
That’s what makes ‘sense’.
She’ll admit her weakness and feel miserable, but it’s also a fitting end to a half-hearted love.
She nodded, and Shiho smiled, … happily.
That smile of joy at being able to protect someone you love,
（It’s so beautiful…)
It was so dazzling that it made her eyes narrow…
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