Shimotsuki-san likes the mob Chapter 325

I Can Endure as Much as Needed

“I was just lazing around at home, and suddenly I heard Azusa’s voice coming from the next-door neighbor’s house… I thought I wanted to see her after such a long time, so I was waiting.”

Shiho Shimotsuki and Ryoma Ryuzaki were childhood friends, and their houses were right next to each other.

So, it wasn’t strange for Azusa’s voice to reach his house.

Especially when Azusa tended to speak loudly when she was with Shiho. Probably because Shiho always prompted her to say things.

“Even though it’s so cold, you waited?”

Mid-February. Despite wearing gloves, a scarf, and a coat, the cold still penetrated through the exposed skin, making it a chilly season. Nevertheless, it seemed Ryoma had been outside for a while.

“I couldn’t calm down… I remembered that I hadn’t talked to Azusa since the second semester started.”

Ah, that’s right.

Since the time Azusa got rejected during the school trip, she had been avoiding Ryoma, so it was natural that they hadn’t spoken.

(You didn’t notice… Ryoma-kun really doesn’t care about Azusa.)

-She thought that right after.

“Or to be precise — since you confessed to me during the school trip and I rejected you… yeah.”

Unexpectedly, Ryoma brought up that topic, and Azusa was surprised.

“You remembered?”

“Of course. Well, maybe… I just recalled it. I’ve been reflecting on the past a lot recently. In the midst of that, I remembered that Azusa was ‘special’.”

… Up until now, just hearing those words would have brought great joy.

However, Azusa took a step back as if to be cautious.

“Special? No way… Azusa is just ordinary.”

“Not ordinary. Because Azusa was the first person to confess to me.”

Ryoma Ryuzaki replied, narrowing his eyes as if reminiscing about the past.

At that gesture, Azusa felt a sudden sense of discomfort.

(Somehow…Ryoma-kun, has he changed?)

The atmosphere was different from before.

That excessively confident and domineering personality now had a shadow.

“Until now, there were many people who hinted at affection, but I always denied it, saying, ‘I can’t be liked that much.’ However, Azusa was the first to clearly say she ‘liked’ me. I couldn’t deny those feelings.”

“… What are you trying to say?”

“Well, I’m not trying to say anything significant. I just, you know… I suddenly remembered, what would have happened if I had accepted Azusa’s feelings back then. It’s just a passing thought.”

“So, what?”

“That’s it, I mean… it might take a while. It’s cold here; why don’t we go inside? Let’s talk slowly like before.”

The moment he said that, Azusa unconsciously responded.

“…Don’t confuse Azusa anymore.”

It was a clear rejection.

She didn’t muster the courage to say it.

It wasn’t something she intended to say; it was the spontaneous expression of Azusa’s true feelings.

“‘Like before’ is impossible.”

She tightly gripped her hand in her pocket.

In that palm was the chocolate she had made earlier.

The self-made chocolate had a faintly crushed feeling.

It allowed her to stay grounded without losing herself.

“It’s too late now. Even if you say ‘special’, how am I supposed to react? The Azusa who waited for those words is no longer here.”

The twin-tailed girl was gone.

Rather, Azusa now had a short bob hairstyle, and she appeared much more mature compared to the beginning of the semester.

Still, the change in appearance was only to the extent of going from an elementary school student to a middle school student. For her, it was a significant growth period.

That’s why Azusa fiercely resisted Ryoma, who was trying to hinder her development.

“I can endure the cold as much as I want. Compared to the pain at that time, Azusa can endure anything. ―― More painful than when Ryoma Onii-chan casually rejected Azusa’s confession, there’s nothing.”

It was fine if she got rejected.

She was prepared for the relationship of being close friends to break.

It was unfortunate to be disliked, but that could lead to new emotions.

However, at that time, Ryoma didn’t even bother to face Azusa’s sincerity.

He casually rejected her, trampled on her, and treated her roughly.

Because of that, Azusa was deeply hurt, and for a while, she couldn’t recover properly.

She hasn’t forgotten that…

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