art didn’t waver for a second.

“Don’t mind it,” I answered.
“I messed up as well.
I had these selfish expectations, and as soon as they weren’t realized, I felt angry and betrayed all on my own.”

“But I’m the one at fault here…”

“…Okay.
I accept your apology, and I’m sorry for my selfish attitude.
Can we just move past this now?”

I didn’t need her apology, but that wouldn’t make her feel better.
If accepting it does the trick, so be it.

“Um, are you sure? Isn’t it too easy?”

I guess it’s easy because I don’t care about this whole thing anymore.
Well, I can read the room enough not to say that.

“It’s fine.
There’s no point in living in the past.”

“… Got it, thank you very much… Although, I guess that means ‘we’re’ in the past now…” I heard her sad mutter, but I could do nothing about it.
She spoke the truth.

After hour-felt moments of awkward silence, I felt a sudden strength surge within her eyes.

“Can I ask you a question?”

“What is it?”

“Who was that girl you were walking with yesterday?”

Yesterday? Oh, did she perhaps see me walking with Risa?

“Ah, that was Risa.
You know, Kenichi’s sister.”

“Oh, that girl is her? She’s really cute now.”

I agree.
Not only does she look cute, but she has an adorable attitude to match.
As I thought about those things, my face inadvertently relaxed.
Maika noticed as much and her eyes tightened.

“I told you I liked you earlier, but you were easily swept away… Could I have any hopes?” She said, and I looked straight into her eyes.
I need to be as clear as humanly possible about this since it’s rude to take this whole situation lightly.

“To tell you the truth, I was planning to confess my feelings for you on your birthday,” I started, and her eyes shot wide open in response.
“But before I could even do that, you told me we were just friends, and for me to stop acting like your boyfriend.
You even said you’d never date me… That day, I was rejected before I could even say I liked you.”

“W, what then?”

“That’s what I meant when I said earlier I had these selfish expectations of you and felt betrayed all on my own.”

“That’s…” She was at a loss for words, but I had to keep going.

“I’ll be honest here.
I think of you as an old childhood friend, but not as how a man loves a woman.
Not anymore… And, as you saw it, I started dating Risa.
I’m sorry for being kinda heartless about it, but I can’t lie.”

“Is that… so… Ugh,” tears started to fall from her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I… I must’ve hurt you a lot.
If only I had been more honest, all of this wouldn’t have happened… But, but… I hate myself the most for feeling like some sorta tragic heroine…” She looked down.

I don’t know how to say these things due to my limited life experience, but I’m not going to lie or deceive.

“From now on, I’ll treat you as an old friend.
If you don’t want that, I’ll just keep my distance…”

“No, I want to be treated as a friend.
It would be too painful if you just cut me off like that…”

“Okay.
I’ll leave you alone now.
I’m going home since I have friends who are very worried about me.
I’ll see you around in school.”

“Mhm.
See you…”

The talk we had turned out heavier than I’d expected, but I’m glad I was able to clear things out with Maika.
I felt bad for her, but I didn’t want to drag any possible misunderstanding out and cause unnecessary worry for Risa.

T/N: Very mature way to handle it.

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