Not a Confession, but a “Penance”
The sun was already setting.
It was late December, the sun was setting early, and it was already dark.
The temperature had dropped so low that even with a coat on, the coldness of the outside air made one shiver.
In such a state, she had been waiting for me for nearly six hours.
“I’m sorry I’m late…”
“No, you don’t have to apologize. I put the letter in your bag so that you wouldn’t notice it. If anything, if I have made you to feel sorry, that’s exactly what I’m apologizing for.”
Kurumizawa-san smiled softly.
It was as though something had blown over, and she had a kind expression on her face.
(It’s different from that time…!)
It was totally different from that time a few days ago when she was talking with Shiho behind the school building.
The Kurumizawa-san, who had a pale face and an expression of no composure on her face, was no longer there.
“Thank you for coming.”
The same … as before, no, more than ever, Kurumizawa-san’s expression is gentle.
I kind of felt like she was relaxed. She was talking to me in a natural way, without any tension on her shoulders.
I was still a little puzzled because I had never seen such a situation before.
“No, I’m fine… isn’t it cold?”
“I’m cold, but it’s better than warm. I’m more comfortable being cold right now.”
“… Uh, what do you mean?”
“Nakayama doesn’t need to know. This is the punishment I have imposed on myself, so please remain ignorant of it.”
Kurumizawa-san had clearly changed.
Before, she never had such a relaxed expression on her face.
I think Kurumizawa-san had a more passionate or innocent and enthusiastic expression on her face.
But now, it seemed somewhat more mature.
I feel that she has the presence of mind to deal with any event in a calm manner.
It’s been about a week since I finished my contract as a tutor. In such a short period of time, her mindset has changed drastically.
In the event with me, nothing happened.
Nothing happened to change her.
(After all, something must have happened with Ryuzaki…)
That guy did something.
By the power of the protagonist-sama, something twisted her.
I know because I’m a mob character.
I’ve seen many girls like this before.
(Azusa, Kirari, Yuzuki, Mary, followed by Kurumizawa-san…)
She became Ryoma Ryuzaki’s little torch.
I have felt it firsthand. Even if I don’t say it, I am aware of it.
If that is the case, what is the purpose of this meeting?
I don’t think she has anything to confess at this point.
No, but can I deny the possibility of a … confession?
There is a possibility that she will try to keep her feelings for Ryuzaki bottled up and continue to like me after meeting him.
If Kurumizawa-san is a stout-hearted person, it would not be surprising if she did so.
In that case – it would be very troublesome.
I can’t respond to her confession lightly either.
I would have to reject it clearly and with a determination to hurt her.
Otherwise, no one will be saved.
A half-hearted relationship should make both of us unhappy, so … it’s no use if that happens, but for Kurumizawa-san’s sake, I will have to shake off her feelings.
I don’t want to do that if I can help it.
But I have to.
(In order not to hurt Shiho any more than I already have…)
I put a lot of pressure in my fist.
Then I finally decided to put an end to the romantic comedy between me and Kurumizawa-san.
“So, why did you call me?”
I cut straight to the chase.
Any further chit-chat was just an afterthought. The warm-up for me and Kurumizawa-san was over.
Now it’s time to get down to business.
I will receive her thoughts and feelings.
With that in mind, I asked her the question.
Finally, she told me her true feelings…
“I fell in love with Ryoma Ryuzaki.”
This is not a confession.
“I’m sorry I set you up like that and caused you so much pain, I’m sorry. I think I fell in love with someone who isn’t … you.”
This was a ‘penance’ for one’s sins…
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