It happened during summer vacation, when I was in my second year of middle school.
I finished eating dinner, returned to my bedroom, laid on the bed, and let out a long sigh.
I recalled the first date in my life that happened days ago.
I wore a yukata and attended a festival with Irido-kun.
It’s all I could express in words. It felt completely surreal.
After all, after all, it’s been ten days or so since I could talk to him properly.
And then we ended up having a date at the festival. What happened to my life? Has the time come? Is this my time? Has my time come!?
And then, and then—
Coming out from the mouth pressed under the pillow was a laugh even I found to be disgusting.
I got lost, and cried into the phone, and that was when Irido-kun found me.
My mind was so filled with negative thoughts, thinking that I would surely be hated, but he told me, ‘I’m more than happy with whatever troubles you cause me’.
Haaa ~……I like it!
I like him, I like him, I like him! I like him~~~~~~~!!
I flailed my legs on the bed.
So humans were such creatures who could act like this in a short period of time
Not too long ago, I felt a little hostile towards him as a rival.
But at this point, my heart would thump whenever I thought about Irido-kun, and my head felt all fluffy. I couldn’t do anything about it.
I wanted to meet him sooner…I wanted to talk to him.
It seemed it would be until tomorrow.
He said he wouldn’t be able to go to the library as he had some urgent matters.
So two days later, I would be able to meet him…
I laid sideways on the bed and saw the phone I put by the pillow.
I exchanged contacts with him, so if I wanted to talk, even at this time …
It’s …it’s okay, right? It wouldn’t trouble him, right?
It’s the middle of the night…would he find me annoying?
I-i-it’s alright, right…I was probably more annoying back during the festival date. He forgave me for that, and it’s just a call in the middle of the night…
I hesitated while I reached my hand out for the phone.
At that moment,
The phone, which I hadn’t touched, rang.
It was a default message tone, for I didn’t change my settings.
I frantically pick up the phone, and check the caller.
Wh-whywhywhywhy!? Was this telepathy?
I was about to call him, but he actually called…!
Th-the time has come, and so have I…! God must be in a state where he’ll grant me any wish I made…I’m scared of paying a price in the future…
Anyway, if I didn’t pick it up…! He’ll hang up on me!
“Hello! …hello hello~…”
I was a little too forceful, and my voice was a little too loud.
Once I realized that, I hastily adjusted my volume, but for some reason, it sounded like a wake-up call program.
The volume mixer of my throat just broke down like usual…this scrap…!
Irido-kun’s voice didn’t sound good. Was it due to a bad signal?
“Is it…okay now?”
“Y-yes…! It’s fine, completely fine! I’m super free now!”
I felt like I was being a little agitated. Calm down!
I went into the topic, wanting to cover up my anxiety.
“Wh-what ? Is there something urgent …?”
“Not really…not really urgent.”
“Ah, I see …?”
“Yeah…I just want to talk to you, Ayai.”
My heart suddenly raced, and I made a weird sound.
Wi-wi-wi-wi-wi-with me!? Eh, what did he mean? What did he mean!?
“E-erm…I too …”
Don’t fall back. Gas gas gas!
“I…too want to talk to you now, Irido-kun.”
I-I said it~!! I said it! I, said it!
“I see…looks like we feel the same.”
We talked about the books we read, the books that were stocked in the library. The circle of friends we had was really small, so we didn’t really have anything to talk about other than novels. Despite that, we had so many things to talk about.
“I think the era of winning through tricks is over after all.”
“I think so too. Mystery novels these days generally tend towards a competition of how clever the logic is. like they’re competing through the cleverness of logic. That’s why there are more and more books with a special setting—“
And then, I heard the rustling of trees from afar.
I couldn’t help but look out of the window, but I was in an apartment. I couldn’t really see trees.
“Is it windy out there?”
I felt something was amiss about Irido-kun’s answer, but I didn’t have the chance to pursue the matter further.
“Yume~? Are you awake ~? I’m coming in—!”
The door opened with a creak, and mom entered my room.
I hastily snuggled under the blanket and hid the phone at my chest.
“I’m here to collect the trash from the bin—”
“Y-you should have knocked …!”
“Ehhh~? You never said such things up till now. Is this the rebellious phase at work?”
Th-that was close …!
If mom knew that I was chatting with a guy in the middle of the night, she’d tease me for eternity!
So mom dumped all the trash into the large bag and left…or so I thought.
“Ahh~ seriously. Why are there tissues here …”
Mom lectured me as she reached for a ball of rolled tissues under the table.
Right when I was chatting with Irido-kun.
“I said to throw this into the bin, right? You’re always so lazy on the bed and just want to lie down, right? You don’t have that—”
Wh-what are you saying!? Irido-kun may be listening!!
I stuffed the phone under the blanket, and leapt out from it.
“I wasn’t lazy!! That ball of tissue just so happened to land there—”
“Ehh~? Yume, aren’t you always clumsy with that? The last time you put the tissues in the toilet bo—”
“Shuuuttt uppppp ~!! Get out if you have nothing else to do!!”
“Ahhh—it’s the rebellious phase! Your rebellious phase is here, Yume!”
Mom nearly said something really incredible, and I hastily chased her out.
I returned to the blanket, and fearfully put the phone, still on call, at my ear.
“S-sorry….my mom’s here …”
“No, it’s fine.”
“…Did you, just hear that …?”
If he did, it’s really all over for me.
I really loved mom up till then, but starting for this day, I might start to hate her. This might be a declaration of my rebellious phase, a day of reckoning.
I readied such a tragic resolve, and waited for his reply.
“No…nothing, nothing at all.”
“I-I see …”
—Right when I felt relieved.
“…Though I could hear your heartbeat initially.”
I recalled my actions.
I remembered, yes—
—I hastily dug under the blanket, and cupped the phone at my chest.
—I cupped the phone at my chest.
—Cupped at my chest.
I had…the phone receiver at my chest …?
Did my heartbeat…actually reach, Irido-kun……?
“Ah, ahh …uuahhhh, ahhhh—”
“No, no no no! I don’t hate it! I just heard it, I’m sorry!”
“Y-you didn’t, hate it …?”
“Well…when I think about how you’re living, Ayai…existing…I feel at ease…woah, this sounds a little disgusting, right? Sorry!”
“Uu …uu ~……!!”
It-it’s so embarrassing …!!
Was it that embarrassing to have the heartbeat head …!? It feels different from being seen naked or in the underwear; it’s like he peeked into something even deeper…!!
“I-I’m …not weird …?”
“Not at all…though if I have to be honest, the heartbeat feels a little fast, I guess.”
“It’s normal in that situation! Very!”
Ahhh~ he consoled me~! He’s so kind~! I love him~!
“…You’ve worked hard, Ayai. Be confident.”
Once Irido-kun suddenly muttered this, I was taken aback, and nearly buried my head into the pillow.
In the darkness, I could hear Irido-kun’s breathing through the phone.
And in this situation, the words naturally slipped from my mouth.
“Ca-can you say that again?”
“You’ve worked hard.”
“And—why does it sound like there’s some weird sound animation coming from there?”
I giggled, and so did Irido-kun on the other end of the phone call.
Irido-kun’s not here…I couldn’t see his face…but I felt our hearts were linked.
Suddenly, my name was called.
“Hm? What is it?”
He sounded lost.
“Actually, my phone’s running out of power.”
“Ah, I see…”
The dreamlike time was almost over.
I felt a little reluctant, but I didn’t want to be too clingy.
“Irido-kun. I’ve already worked hard…can you talk with me again next time?”
“Yeah, of course. I’ll be at the library in two days.”
“Yes, I’ll be waiting, for you.”
“That’s it then…”
After a silent few seconds, the call ended.
I stared blankly at the phone screen while under the blanket.
The phone call took 43 minutes and 45 seconds.
August 12th, 7.59pm.
I peeked out from beneath the blanket, looked up at the ceiling, and let out a long sigh.
Can’t the day after tomorrow come sooner?
That feeling was more intense than it was 43 minutes ago.
…It’d be great if he could charge the phone and chat with me.