Hellping

I was invited out by Minami-san to go shopping.

She said that since it’s been hotter recently, and asked if we could go check out clothes together. Amazing, she’s really acting like a girl, so I thought. Well, I was always born a girl, but my shopping preferences were always about premediated murders, locked room murders, or exchange murders, so basically, murder cases. In other words, shopping was a new experience for me.

 

The old me used to wear the clothes that mom bought for me.

I never picked my own clothes—if I had the money, I would use it to buy another book.

To be honest, that feeling hadn’t changed much, but I had to change since my environment had changed.

Needless to say, it was because I had a boyfriend.

 

When we went out on dates during our days off, I obviously couldn’t wear the clothes with incomprehensible English printed that mom bought for me.

I had no typical clothes to go shopping in, but I overcame that hurdle by using my middle school uniform, studying and scrutinizing the complicated notes as written in the unnamable fashion magazines, and gradually improving my fashion sense by watching his reaction—him, of course.

 

My efforts finally paid off, and I admit I could somehow choose clothes that would make me somewhat presentable, but I had to admit that it’s all a sudden patchwork. Thus, the chance to hear our Minami-san’s opinion was enough of a benefit to make me put off my reading schedule.

 

And so Minami-san and I went to the shopping mall in front of the station.

 

“Ah! This is so cute~! It definitely suits you, Yume-chan!”

 

Minami-san said as she brought a hangar of clothes, but to me, it looked more ‘cool’ than ‘cute’.

It’s a white camisole that emphasized the body lines. My impression of it was that it was something a city girl wearing sunglasses would wear when walking in heels like a model.

 

“Wouldn’t this outfit look better on someone who’s skinny or tall?”

“It’s okay, Yume-chan, you’re so skinny~! I’m too small to look good in something like this. I’m jealous…”

 

It’s true that Minami-san was about as tall as I was back in middle school. Unlike me who used to hunch and be such a blockhead, she’s as cute as a lively, jumpy animal.

 

“I think you look good in something more mature, Yume-chan!”

“Me looking mature…hm—”

 

I couldn’t imagine it.

 

“Ah. How about this?”

 

I so happened to spot a set of clothes, and showed it to Minami-san.

It was a top with fluttering lace, and looked very girlish and cute to me. It did have a refreshing, conservative impression, nothing too fancy.

I thought this would be acceptable, but Minami gave me a subtle look.

 

“Ahh—yep, looks cute. I think it’s very popular with boys…but.”

“But?”

“Yume-chan, …, do you want to be popular?”

“Not really?”

 

I tilted my head. I was sick and tired of having a boyfriend.

 

“H-hmmm…Oh yeah… “

 

Minami-san gave a stiff smile.

 

“(…I feel like a boyfriend giving a present to his ex-girlfriend for some reason…)”

“?”

 

I thought she mumbled something, but I couldn’t hear what she said.

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimately, we only did window shopping, and decided to check out the summer clothes another time, when the weather was hotter.

We left the shopping mall and walked past the library.

 

“—Ah!”

 

Suddenly, Minami-san looked back at the library.

 

“What’s wrong, Minami-san?”

“Ah, it’s nothing! I thought I just spotted an acquaintance! I was mistaken though! Anyway, where should we go next?”

 

Since it’s rare for us to go out together, I felt it would be a waste to just head home immediately.

I didn’t know many places to hang out at, so it might not be a bad idea to ask Minami-san to introduce me a few places. What kind of places would be nice then??

As I was thinking about it, I started had an urge to urinate.

 

“…Sorry, can I go to the bathroom first?

 

Ah, I’ll come along too, I imagined that would be her that she would reply, “Oh, I’ll go with you.

I couldn’t actually imagine so given that I was still a gloomy girl, but it’s said that girls and girls alike would usually go to the bathroom in groups.

Initially, I thought, “Why do they always invite their friends to go to the bathroom?” But at this point, I just accepted it as a natural phenomenon.

But,

 

“Ah, shall we act separately for now?”

 

Minami-san said with a glowing smile.

Huh?

 

“I just remembered that I had an errand to do. Just 20 minutes! Okay?”

“Sure…”

“Thanks! I’ll meet you at the square.”

 

Minami-san suddenly turned around to walk towards where we had walked from.

Why act separately…did I do something weird?

 

It’s still too early to meet up after I used the nearby restroom, so I sat down on a bench in the square where I was supposed to meet her.

I looked up at the blue spring sky, alone.

 

“Is there something wrong with my fashion sense…?”

 

I took my phone out from my bag and opened my photos folder.

I had a few folders locked, ensuring that they would not be seen by mistake. I opened up one of them.

 

It was a photo dating back to my middle school days.

It was a close-up selfie of a boy and a girl, their cheeks pressed together, just like a couple.

But neither of us was used to this kind of thing, so our smiles were so awkward and uncomfortable to look at.

 

In hindsight, it was a lot easier back then—I only had to care about his likes back then.

The etiquette of women’s society was truly way too complicated and troublesome compared to the romantic relationships between middle school students.

 

“I still have lots to learn…”

 

It’s hard being a normal girl…

I barely managed to swallow the sigh that almost escaped me.

 

“Sorry to keep you waiting! Yume-chan~!”

 

In a short time, Minami-san returned with a spring in her steps.

… Huh?

What’s with that strangely cheerful expression on her face?

 

“Are you done with your errand?”

“Yep, I’m fine! All relaxed now!”

 

Was it something that really bothered her? I tilted my head in confusion.

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