It was the second day after that training, and as I was making my way to the campus, I saw Chris get out of the car.
Several students ran over to her.
But Chris looked at me, and then said to the students,
“Do you mind letting me pass through?”
“Eh? But why? I came all the way here to see you, Chris.”
“Yeah. At least we can go to the classroom together…”
Chris showed a look of pity to the students, and then said with an icy voice,
“…Is there anything you’re unhappy with?”
“No-Nothing!” “Of course not!”
She didn’t look at the panicked students as she immediately moved straight towards me.
“Good morning, Shii. It was fun two days ago…did Hijiri say anything?”
“No, Hijiri seems rather happy, but are you really fine with it?”
“What do you mean?”
“The girls just now seem to find this a pity—”
Chris then says with a nonchalant tone,
“What’s wrong with that? Those girls definitely will be fine, even if I’m not around.”
“And I don’t know their weaknesses after all.”
Chris says half-jokingly.
“Right. If I know that, won’t I feel relieved when I’m with them? I definitely won’t be betrayed in that situation.”
I frowned, not understanding what Chris was getting at.
But Chris merely laughed it off.
I could tell, from the smile two days ago, that Hijiri had been happy recently, and I felt happy as a result.
It was Monday, but there was no club activity. Back when we were returning from the family restaurant, Chris said, “Everyone worked hard on a rest day, so we’ll have a break on Monday”.
And so, I arrived at the clubroom.
The Second Flower Arrangement club had always made Hijiri happy. So I headed there to clean up the room.
“…Eh? There shouldn’t be anyone in the room today. Why’re the lights switched on?”
As I felt intrigued by this, I opened the door–and at the same time.
Chris’ alluring voice rang inside the clubroom.
“Huh…? What’s with this voice…”
“SO CUTE~! KARIN AND HIJIRI ARE SO CUTE!”
Chris was rolling on the large sofa she brought up. Her short skirt was rolled up, and her snowy white thighs could be seen from time to time.
There seemed to be some sheets of paper scattered around her.
Chris squealed as she took them and rolled around.
Her pretty blond hair danced along with her movements.
“AHH, SO GOOD! SO GOOD! WHY ARE YOUR ABASHED EXPRESSIONS SO ALLURING! AHH! I DON’T GET IT AT ALL! I DON’T GET IT AT ALL!”
To me, you’re the one I don’t get at all.
During this time, there was paper coming out from the printer.
Chris tossed aside the paper in her hands, and took the new pieces from the printer.
“UN, *SMOOSH*, KARIN *SMOOSH*, KAEDE TOO*SMOOSH*!”
Chris continues to kiss the paper, and the tossed papers fly over to me.
“AH, SORRY, HIJIRI, YOU’RE CUTE TOO~. ARE YOU SHY? YOUR FACE’S ALL RED, YOU KNOW? ARE YOU FEELING EMBARRASSED?”
“…What are you doing?”
I muttered, but an unexpectedly loud voice echoed through the clubroom.
There was a moment of silence. Chris, lying face up on the sofa, stopped, and turned her face to my side.
The blond hair scattered on the sofa under the effect of gravity.
Chris then inhaled greatly.
“Ahhh! Wh-what’re you looking at, you pervert! Lecher! Idiot! Sex maniac! Stalker Voyeur!”
Chris’ upper body rose up, and held her body with her arms.
“You’re the pervert here, Chris! What are you using my sister for!? You’re one to talk here!”
“Wh-what? You siscon! It’s your fault! Your sister’s fault for being so cute!”
“Ahh, I do agree with that. Hijiri is cute, super cute, the cutest girl in the galaxy. However, that’s still not a good enough reason for you to do such a thing!”
“Shut up! Can you please stop yapping about such little things!? I like it when girls are shy, especially when they’re unable to hold it in. I really love the sight of that!”
Chris concluded without hesitation.
“You pervert! Huh…don’t tell me, the reason why you created this club…”
Chris gets off the sofa and stands up leisurely, her hands on her hips, looking very triumphant.
The clear blue eyes stare at me.
“Hoo, I guess it’s just as you expected.”
The way she proudly says these words cause me to feel a chill.
“Ho-How can such a person possibly exist…?”
“Whatever. It doesn’t hurt even if you know.”
“I’ll tell Hijiri, Karin and Kaede!”
“Humph. That’s a mook’s line! Can’t you say something like ‘I’ll settle this using my own power’?”
“…Damn you. Don’t you feel any shame from doing such a thing!?”
Chris closed her eyes and said gracefully.
“Of course not. I’m someone who marvels at the sight of something being flustered, and I created this club to see a girl being embarrassed.”
I feel a scorching sensation deep within my abdomen.
I never expected my little sister to become a tool of comfort for this pervert.
“In other words, you don’t have any incontinence issues…?”
“Of course. Who do you think I am? I’m Chris Ryusenji!”
“What’s with that self-confidence!?”
“Why don’t you try telling Hijiri and Karin?”
“Yo-You’ll regret that!”
“…That’s the what a loser would say.”
“Shut up! I’ll make you regret this!”
“Ah, hurry up and go if you have nothing else. I’m busy here.”
I was forcefully chased out of the clubroom.
And suddenly, once I look out of the window, I find Karin at the parking lot.
I hurry over, and found Karin squatting there, locking her bicycle.
“Fuu. The Protection Spell is complete.”
I call out from behind, and the black-haired girl jumped.
“Ahh, if it isn’t Shii? You aren’t going home even though there’s no club activity today? Ah, do you want to ride on my Schwarz Javelin? No can do though. The ancient dragon won’t approach others without my permission. Bu-But, if you really want to ride it no matter what…”
“Your Eighth-Grader Syndrome is still at work…”
“Ahh! You’re calling it an Eighth Grader Syndrome!! Please take it back!”
This conversation has developed in the worst possible situation.
Karin looks over at me, and curls her lips into a smirk.
And then, she starts swaying her body in a pretentious manner, her hand placed on her fringe.
“Uu, I see darkness in front of me…”
And then, she glances over at me.
…What’s she playing at now, seriously?
“…Are you alright? This really sounds like some Eighth-Grader line.”
At this moment, Karin suddenly puffed her chest out proudly.
“Ku, kuku, kukuku, haha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”
“Wh-What the? What’s with this laughter? Did your brain short-circuit from overheating or something?”
“That’s what I want to say, Shii, you know? It looks like you still don’t know. Ohoho. How laughable it is. Ah, really. We are really pitiful to have such a person as our senior in school and life.”
“What are you trying to say…?”
“You’re saying that it’s an Eighth-Grader Syndrome, but don’t you feel embarrassed if you’re wrong? Ohoho.”
Karin gave me a condescending laugh, seemingly making fun of me.
“Ah! Seriously. Just get straight to the point!”
“Then, Shii, please take out your phone.”
I don’t really understand what she means, but I fish out my cellphone as per her request.
“Please search using the search engine. If you don’t know what the URL is, I can send it to you.”
“…What do you want me to search?”
“Darkness in front of my eyes. I want to you search that.”
Tap tap tap. So I begin to search.
“…What…!? There’s actually…!?”
“Of course! Darkness in front of the eyes refers to dizziness or migraines after standing for a long time! It is a saying that truly exists! Aha! Now your ignorance is revealed!”
“Ugh. How can that be? It’s vexing.”
“Idiot. You’re really a fool, Shii♪”
“Oh. Don’t cry don’t cry. You’re really cute. Do you want this big sister to talk to you?”
Karin tiptoes, trying to pat my head.
“Nn, Nn. Hey, squat down a little.”
I ignore her, and she move her bicycle over to me, sits on it, and starts patting my head.
“Hoho. I love it when you’re being obedient, Shii. But you’re always being so snobbish.”
Then, she says “Please wait for a moment” and puts her bicycle back.
“What do you want from me?”
“Ahh, there’s something about the club I want to talk to you about.”
“I see. I so happened to have left something in the classroom, so let’s talk on our way there. You’ll come with me, right?”
“…That’s how it is. You and Hijiri are both fooled by Chris, Karin.”
“Hm…I really can’t believe it for a while there. If I have to say so, isn’t it your misunderstanding, Shii?”
“But I just saw it. Chris was holding your photos and saying some things I can’t say here.”
“Hm…are you mistaken? Ah, I do believe you, Shii, but I do believe in Prez too.”
“Bu-But she did some things to your photos, Karin, you know?”
“…Hm, isn’t that for the sake of treatment? I don’t think Prez Chris will do such a weird thing.”
“Even if you say so…”
“Oh, my classroom’s here.”
Looks like she doesn’t believe me.
“Okay. I got my printouts. Let’s go home together then.”
And so, Karin and I headed home together till the end.
Once I reach home, I headed towards Hijiri’s room. It had been a while since I last entered.
“Hijiri, can I bother you for a while?”
I ask from behind the door. “Please wait for a moment.” And after this short reply, the door opens.
“…Brother, is there something the matter?”
She tilts her cute head.
“I went to the clubroom today.”
“Eh? Aren’t we on break today?”
“…I had something. Anyway, I found Chris there too.”
“Ah, brother. You were alone with the President? …Have your relationship gotten better?”
That voice of hers sounded gentle; it seemed she was really happy that my relationship with Chris has improved.
Chris is really an unrepentant pervert. Suddenly, it had become impossible for me to say so.
“Erm…what do you think of that club?”
“It’s nothing. I just want to hear a serious answer from you. Sorry for asking such a weird thing so suddenly.”
Hijiri was silent for a little while, and opens her mouth slightly, her speech more fluent than usual.
“I am, very happy. Yes, there is something, I want to say, Shou.”
“I was, always alone. I always thought those with incontinence issues like me are the worst. I felt lonely when I saw that your bed-wetting was cured, brother. I was scared.”
Speaking of which, Hijiri and I were distant for quite a while soon after my issues were resolved.
“I thought…I couldn’t open my heart to those different from me.”
“So right now, I’m very happy. There is the President, Kaede, Karin, and you. Everyone is there to get well along with me. I’m really, really happy.”
Hijiri seemed to be happy about the present. Even if Chris is a pervert, I think Hijiri can continue to live happily if I can hide this fact.
What will happen if it is known that Chris does not have incontinence issues?
No matter what I do, I will ruin Hijiri’s happiness.
In that case, is it not better to not do anything?
No matter what Chris uses Hijiri’s photos for, is it not alright as long as Hijiri does not know?
I was still agitated that Chris has stained Hijiri’s photos, but it was my personal problem.
If I really want Hijiri to be happy, is it not better to remain silent?
“I see…ahh, yeah. I’ll be happy as long as you are, Hijiri.”
“Is there anything you want to eat?’
“I’ll go buy some then.”
And so, I left the room–soon after, I hear Hijiri’s mutter.
“My brother seems a little strange…”
Another three days had passed since that incident, but I remained hesitant.
I continued to put my head in my hands in the clubroom. Do I tell the truth and rob my sister of her happiness, or do I ignore Chris’ deception to protect it?
The three beautiful girls are chatting away around me.
“Hijiri, Karin, show me how you look when you’re holding it in next time. It’s part of treatment.”
“Even if it’s coming from you, it’s embarrassing.”
“Oh ho? You mean you want to even though you say you don’t want to?”
“…Prez, what kind of evil governor are you?”
“President Chris always likes to joke about.”
I remained seated on the chair as I listened in.
“Hey, Shii, aren’t you going to stop us? You normally stop President Chris whenever she pulls such dirty jokes.”
“Are you not feeling well, Shou?”
“Let’s just ignore him. He may be trying to hold his bladder right now.”
I continue to brood alone, choosing not to answer them.
There is still time to continue thinking, I thought.
I arrived at the clubroom the next day, and only Chris was present.
Once she saw me, she frowned unhappily.
“Have you not told Hijiri yet, Shii? Do you understand that nobody believes you?”
“…No, I don’t think the others won’t believe. It’s just that she seems to feel at home over here. That’s why I don’t want to destroy it.”
Chris let out a sigh.
“Shii, you do hate me, do you not? But I guess you are restraining yourself because of your little sister, no? …How stupid.”
I hissed back, and exhaled hard.
I was seething, needles ostensibly pricking at my gut.
But I still lowered my head towards her.
“I hate you, Chris, but there’s something I want to ask of you.”
“…What? I am hoping you do not ask me to go out with you.”
“Don’t be mistaken here. It’s about Hijiri. I hope you don’t reveal that you don’t have any incontinence issues.”
“…In other words, you want me to fool her completely. I have no issues with that.”
“Yeah. Please don’t betray her trust.”
“…Certainly. That is what I intend to do.”
“For me, my raison d’etre is to marvel at the embarrassed looks of pretty girls like Hijiri and Karin, especially when they are wetting themselves! I can do anything for that, but in fact, I do not think anyone is willing to do so, right?”
Chris was beaming away as she said such unabashed words.
Both she and I were a little too careless.
We actually had such a conversation in this place.
We were too careless.
There was a thud at the door.
An ominous premonition struck me.
I really did not want to turn my head around.
I hoped it was some other student.
But I understood very well that no normal student would come to this clubroom.
I slowly turned around…
…And found Hijiri standing there, emotionless.
She showed neither an expression of disbelief, sadness, bitterness, anguish, confusion, tearfulness nor laughter. It was completely blank; her usual expression was somewhat similar, but there is a decisive difference here. I understood this well, very well.
“Hi-Hi there Hijiri. Did you just listen in on our conversation? We didn’t really say anything important there.”
Chris tried her best to act calm as she said that.
If even I could tell she was panicking, Hijiri definitely could.
“Prez…I, see. You lied.”
“…So you heard everything, Hijiri.”
“I didn’t. I don’t want to know.”
“Hijiri, listen to me. That was a joke, a joke.”
“I am not.”
And then, Hijiri looked away from Chris as she turned to me.
“Please, Hijiri, listen to me. That just now was for your sake…”
“You too, Shou? You know that Prez doesn’t wet herself, and hid it from me.”
Hijiri hissed, picked up the bag she dropped, and ran out.
I immediately gave chase.
Hijiri’s small shoulders were right within range.
I reach my arm out and grabbed her.
“Let go. You’re an idiot, Shou. I don’t understand what you’re thinking.”
“That’s not it, Hijiri. It’s a place precious to you. I don’t, want to destroy it…”
“I don’t care, about that.”
Hijiri repeated, and pulled my hand aside.
There was nothing I could do to explain, and I could only watch her leave.
I returned to the clubroom, and found Chris slumped on the sofa, her hands on her face.
“Ahh, that was a failure. We actually talked about that thing in the clubroom. But I guess this is to be expected since I do not get any chances to talk with you outside.”
“Of course not.”
“I guessed so. Is this not something you will be delighted over? You saved Hijiri from this strange club after all.”
“It’s true if I just want her to escape. What makes me most happy is that Hijiri can be happy. It’s a complete failure.”
“You really are an unrepentant siscon…I think I would not have ended up like this if someone were to care for me.”
I heard Chris mumble behind me. Maybe she did not want me to hear her, but I did.
“It’s nothing. I said too much. Please forget about that.”
“Hm, I’ve no interest either.”
“You are right. Hijiri will not come back again. I am feeling a little regretful, but it is too late for that.”
Chris’ words seemed to indicate that she had no particular interest in this, and I did not like the sound of that.
“You made use of Hijiri for your own satisfaction, and discarded her once she’s of no use. What do you view her as!?”
“…What are you being angry about? Is that not the case? What else can we do right now? What else can I do other than to leave them alone? Is there anything else I can choose? If there is no point in working hard, why do so? Once you give up, look for another path; that is how I always lived my life.”
Chris said this, showing the loneliest expression I had ever seen on her face.
“I really can’t understand what caused you to have such twisted thinking.”
“No matter how I ask, papa and mama will never return. I only celebrated my birthday with my attendants, I was always alone, whether it was during school visits, sports festivals, or even my meals. That was how I spent my childhood. How about it? Are you satisfied now? Is it enough for that stupid curiosity of yours?”
Chris glared at me. It seemed she was rather agitated about this, as she had said unnecessary things in her impulse.
“Hijiri will never come back. Are you going to leave the club?”
I remained silent, “Hello!” and Karin arrived.
“Shii, do you want to play that battle game we haven’t played in a while? I thought of new skills
already, super cool ones! Eh, why’s the atmosphere so weird?”
“Nothing strange about it.” “Nothing strange going on.”
Both of us echo in unison, and Chris glared at me.
Karin did not notice our attitudes as she continued,
“Eh, Hijiri isn’t here today? That’s rare. It’s rarer to see Shii here. Will it rain tomorrow? I better prepare an umbrella.”
Karin was the only one yapping away in the clubroom on that day.
Once I reached home, I found that Hijiri had locked herself in her room.
I knocked on the door; there was no reaction. I tried opening it, and Hijiri finally reacted
“Don’t come in, Shou.”
So I did not enter the room. I stood in front of the door and said,
“Sorry about what happened today, Hijiri. Are you alright?”
“Did you intend to lie to me, Shou?”
“I didn’t want to…”
“Then what did you want to do?”
“I was worried about you—”
“I can’t believe you, brother.”
“That’s enough. Please don’t say any more.”
“Open the door! Hijiri! I never thought of doing anything that’ll hurt you! Be it now or in the future!
“…Then why did you hide it from me?”
“Th-That’s because…I thought it’ll be better for you.”
“Brother, you already knew that Prez is different from us, and you hid this from me…you’re too much.”
“Brother, you know that it’s an important place to me, right?”
“But that is just my wish. It is merely an illusion when reflected.”
“And recently, you have been caring only about Karin and Kaede, brother. You ignored me.”
“Wait, you’re always the number 1 in my heart—!”
“That’s enough. I am in pain. My chest hurts. I had enough of this feeling.”
“Listen to me!”
“I don’t want to listen to you again. Don’t talk to me.”
“I feel hurt because I trusted you. I won’t trust you again, brother.”
“I won’t cause any more trouble for you, Shou. Don’t worry about me. I won’t worry about you.”
“Hey, what’re you talking about?”
“Leave me alone.”
After saying this, Hijiri did not respond again. My words would no longer reach Hijiri.
What can I do exactly? No matter how I brooded over this, I could not think of a solution.
She’s just a discarded item. Think, what good is it for Hijiri?
What is Hijiri being angry about exactly?
One reason, of course, was that she was fooled by me.
Another reason, probably the most important of it all, was the fact that the president, whom she trusted, did not have incontinence issues.
This reason alone caused a major wound in Hijiri’s heart.
The more she trusted others, the deeper the wound was. The more it hurt, the bigger it got.
I recalled the matter between Karin and her friend Sayama. The latter was hurt greatly because she liked Karin, and even after Karin had said the truth, the matter was not settled at first. It was only because of me as a witness, and Karin working hard that this matter was solved.
However, Hijiri was truly betrayed.
There was no other way.
Maybe it’s fine after all. I suddenly had an idea.
It had a low chance of succeeding, and one must abandon his sense of shame.
What I am ready to do might be foolish, completely hopeless.
But as long as there is a chance for my sister to be happy, as long as the chances of it is not 0, no matter how impossible it may be, I guess I can try it out.
Did I not pull off a second-grader syndrome stunt for my club entrance test?
This is nothing!
The important factor here is Chris. If she is willing to do that…!
That is the one thing I need to do. If I do it, everything will change!
I pull out my cellphone, and gave Chris a call.
“It’s me, Shimizu.”
“…Shii, so it is you.”
“There is something I want to ask of you. It’s for Hijiri’s sake.”
At this moment, I paused.
“Hm. I shall consider once I hear what you have to say.”
Would she really be fine with what I have to say?
No, if I were to think through this, there was no way she would be fine with this.
But even so, I—!
“Please, wet yourself in front of Hijiri!”
“In other words, if you wet yourself in front of Hijiri, she will think it was a misunderstanding, you know?”
There was a short pause, followed by a gasp.
“ABSOLUTELY—NOT! Are you a fool? You seem to be a little numb in the head. I have absolutely no idea what you are thinking. Why must I do such a thing?”
Chris was completely outraged, and I pleaded through the phone.
“Please! There’s no other way now!”
“Do you not know that it is useless to do that!? Can you not act more like an adult?”
“I don’t think you have the right to say that about me when you created that sort of club for your own interests.”
“Ah, I see. You do not wish for me to help at all, do you?”
“So you intend to do it?”
“No. It is better for you to be more humble when requesting someone else.”
“So you will do so if I act humble? I’m willing to do anything then! Chris, no, My Lady. Please help me! It’s impossible to do this without your help!”
“Oh ho? Is that so? I see that I am so important.”
“That’s right. Without your help, My lady, I won’t be able to do anything.”
“Do your best then.”
The phone was cut off. I tried to redial, but got a reply ‘you are annoying’ from her before she hung up on me. I tried calling her many times, but she switched the phone off in the end.
The following week began, and so did my battle with Chris.
Whilst on my way to school in the morning, I head off to the black sedan Chris got off from. There was a crowd squealing away at her presence, but I passed by them.
“Did that man just call Lady Chris directly?” “How insolent!”
I ignored the voices around me and lowered my head at Chris.
“Please, Chris. You’re the only one I can ask.”
“No. Go look for someone else.”
Chris said this, and went off to the school campus. I watched her leave with my head still lowered.
During noon break, at Chris’ classroom.
“Please Chris, I beg of you.”
The people surrounding Chris were laughing at me as I lowered my head.
“Ah, how pitiful.” “You don’t understand your status as a commoner.”
Aren’t you a commoner too!? To prevent myself from retorting such words, I gritted my teeth.
“You are being obstructive. Please return, Shii.”
Upon hearing this, everyone present looked surprised.
“Eh, what? Did you just call a commoner affectionately!?” “What kind of relationship do they have? It’s frustrating!”
“…I’ll come back to ask again.”
And so, I arrived in the clubroom after school. It seemed Chris had yet to arrive.
I shouted as I entered the room. Chris was looking down as she sat on the chair, sounding annoyed as she yelled back.
“Ah, seriously. You’ll kill me if you’re not careful, and that’ll be troublesome. Be careful , you prick.”
“My bad, but…”
“Seriously, what is it? You’re really annoying. Why are you putting in so much effort into this? Just stop already…seriously, just stop.”
That soft voice however seemed to ring through the club room, and one could feel strong feelings, no, hatred in the voice itself.
Chris’ expression had changed.
There was none of the graceful expression she was showing up till now.
A gloomy voice came out.
“Shii. Why are you continuing to defy me…that goes for Hijiri too. Why wouldn’t she come back…she’s not in my hands now, or rather, she’s broken now, huh.”
“Do you know, Shii? I have all of Hijiri’s embarrassing photos. Wouldn’t it be interesting if I upload them all on the internet?”
What is this bitch saying?
“This way, that kid won’t ever recover, you know? So she’ll definitely be filled with regret after leaving me.”
Chris continued to murmur as she curled her lips into a smile.
“…Aren’t you the club president to Hijiri and the rest? Why are you thinking like this? Is it because you don’t like them…?”
“No, rather, because I like them, it’s OK for me to want to have them, no?”
“But why are you being so angry up till a while back…?”
“Shut up. I changed my mind. It’s your fault, you know?”
“…I see. You’re being superior now, huh? I’ll slaughter you if you dare do that.”
“That…that annoys me too.”
“…I’m so envious that my gut’s wrenching!”
“Huh? What’re you envious of when you have everything?”
“Shut up! Shut up! I do have everything! I have money, wits. B-But!…I don’t have what’s actually important!”
Chris said these words, paused briefly, and continued.
“I just want someone to acknowledge me.”
“Aren’t there a lot? There’re a lot of guys praising you not only in school, but everywhere.”
“They’re just praising me based on appearance, which isn’t what I want. I don’t have to be in the middle of that kind of attention, where anyone would do as long as that person is pretty, rich, has power and brains. Anyone would gain recognition and praise in the same way…I don’t need that.”
“Aren’t you being contradictory with your words? I don’t understand what you’re saying at all.”
“That’s why I always hoped to be acknowledged by anyone, even if that person is a homeless, the ugliest, or the dumbest person in this world! Someone who’s worse in everything compared to everyone else! I just want that person to acknowledge me. However, I don’t think such a person exists. Impossible! I could never have met such a person! But you appeared! I’m so envious of Hijiri. So envious!”
“I have no idea what you’re assuming.”
“Now then, what’ll you do? If, for example, Hijiri is worse than every single person in every single aspect, what will you do…you’ll continue to love her, right?”
Upon hearing my answer, Chris heaved a sigh of relief, seemingly relaxed.
“…I see. You’re being so overprotective of Hijiri because she’s so cute…I feel a lot better now. Thank goodness that someone like that doesn’t exist…”
“What’re you saying, Chris? Are you an idiot? How can Hijiri be worse than anyone else? Her existence alone is worth more than everything else in the world?”
“It’s fine as long as she’s herself.”
“It’s enough for me as long as Hijiri remains as herself.”
“What exactly, are…you…”
“She’s my important little sister no matter what.”
“I always hoped someone would see me as I am and acknowledge me! Someone like you who does the same to Hijiri…”
What is she saying now?
“I-It’s unforgivable after all! Fine! It’s too late for me to regret it!”
Chris pointed the cellphone she had been holding behind her at me.
“Once I press this button, all of Hijiri’s images will be spread all over the net!”
She’s been wondering how to put her hand behind her!
“! I won’t let you!”
The moment she had said this, I had already leapt from the floor.
Several chairs were sent flying, and a loud echo rang.
I pushed Chris onto the floor, and grabbed her cellphone tightly.
“You dare to upload those Hijiri photos!? I won’t let you!”
“Don’t get in my way!”
Chris and I rolled about on the floor as we wrestled over the phone.
“Why’re you doing such things!?”
I snatched Chris’ phone.
“Don’t you feel unhappy when you can’t get what is right in front of you…!? I want such a thing if it exists…! It’s too dazzling! In that case, I would rather…!”
“Stop joking around! You just mentioned everything you wish for, did you!? Then what did you do to get what you want?”
“What do you want me to do…?”
“What did you do to get what you want? You just messed around stupidly without the intent to get it at all! If you want something, reach your hand out!”
“How laughable. You say that I can get anything I want as long as I work hard? I won’t do that. That alone can’t get me anything.”
“Ah, it’s true that you might not be able to get anything, but you won’t gain anything if you don’t work hard. You won’t know whether you’ll succeed or fail until you try. Only those who tried have the right to shake the scales of success!”
“…That’s because you can’t succeed until you try, right? No matter how insignificant it is. In my case, I can do anything without trying.”
“But there are some things you can’t get even then, right? Why don’t you try? Hijiri hates on me all the same, but I am still not giving up.”
“…Are you…serious…? If you know what Hijiri’s…”
“So that’s why, please. If you find that Hijiri’s still important to you in some way…! Please. you can do whatever you want to me instead. So…!”
I lowered my head as I pressed her body down.
She laid on the floor, whispering.
Tears appeared in her eyes.
“…But it’s unfair. You only care about Hijiri.”
Chris spoke with a childish voice.
And then, she merely bit her lips quietly.
Only the sound of the clock’s second hand was echoing in the room.
Suddenly, I whispered,
“Speaking of which, what is it with all that bullshit just now?”
“Aren’t you yourself Chris Ryusenji?”
“It’s still plausible if there’s someone else inside you, but since that’s not the case…didn’t Karin like you because you liked her?”
I just said something I thought of.
Chris then turned her head aside, saying,
“If it’s just to ask Hijiri, I can do that…”
The next day, the sky was shrouded with ominous clouds. It looked as if it was about to rain anytime soon.
Hijiri still would not listen to my words. Once I tried to talk to her, she would look away as if I did not exist.
My heart was about to collapse. Chris too looked anguished.
And so, we asked Karin to call Hijiri to the back of the school after school.
Chris and I went towards the back of the school at the appointed time.
It was an empty place, and Hijiri had her back facing us as she stood lonely.
I walked towards her, and said,
Hijiri turned around, still looking stoic as ever. However, she seemed to be a little irritated.
“…You’re so annoying, Shou.”
“Please. Listen to what Chris and I have to say.”
Chris, who had never attempted to explain herself seriously up till this point, deliberately came forward. This probably is something of value to Hijiri.
She did not turn away as she looked straight at us.
“…I understand. This is the last time.”
“Hijiri. This was just your misunderstanding. I’m the same as you, you know?”
“…That’s what I thought at first. Not anymore.”
“Why do you think of that?”
“Because, you never had any instance of ‘that’ up till now.”
“That’s just a coincidence.”
“But Karin and I had so many cases of it?”
“That’s just a coincidence.”
“Hijiri. Just believe in her, Hijiri…!”
But Hijiri shook her head.
“And I don’t know what your trigger is…”
“…! It’s true that I never said it before.”
“Then, what’s your trigger?”
Chris was troubled. Of course, if she were to say anything now, she has to react when it happens. This is a situation where she can’t answer.
“…I can’t say that.”
“I guessed so.”
“But please believe me. I really like you, Hijiri. Karin too, and even Kaede. That’s why–“
Chris grabbed Hijiri’s shoulders forcefully.
But Hijiri swung them away with all her strength.
“No! Don’t! I don’t want to hear anything anymore. I don’t know why you lied to me, Prez, but I can’t stand anymore of this pain in my heart.”
Hijiri covered her ears forcefully.
“Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it. I don’t want to hear anything. Everything’s a lie. Lying. Everything’s fake. I’m alone. I don’t want to trust Karin for calling me here, my lying brother, and Prez for lying to me. Don’t say anything more.”
Hijiri continued to murmur these words over and over again, covering her ears tightly.
Argh, this is really bad.
We, no, I already pushed Hijiri to this extent. If we were to leave her alone, she might not be suffering so much.
But I can’t possibly leave her alone.
It’s because of this that I did something that would cause Hijiri’s wounds to never heal.
Even if the liar that I am were to be hated by Hijiri.
However, I definitely mustn’t allow Hijiri to end up being unable to trust anyone, to be unable to make any friends.
I definitely won’t allow that!
“Wh-What, out of a sudden…?”
I knelt on the ground and put my head on it.
“A-Are you…! Shii, you want me to do tha…!?
“Please! I can’t do it anymore. What you say can’t work either. Only through your actions we’ll be able to fix our reality!”
“I reject that reality!”
“I don’t care whether you hate me or not! I’ll do whatever you want me to do, so please! I beg of you…! Just this once!”
“No-No way! I can’t do it! Absolutely not!”
“Only you can help me!”
“What do you mean by that? You’re really a helpless pervert, bu-but! You still hold them dear to you, right? The club activities?”
“You may have evil intentions about it, but I can really tell! You really treasure Hijiri and Karin!”
“Th-That sort of thing has nothing to do with you, right?”
“You don’t like to work hard, yet you tried inviting Kaede many times, right? Isn’t that working hard?”
“…Th-That’s because! There was still a chance…”
“Now is a chance too! It’s small, but there is one!”
‘You were shameless at the family restaurant, but didn’t you feel happy in the end? Didn’t you say that it’s your first time being at such a popular restaurant?”
“And when Hijiri learnt about your secret, you didn’t try to find any excuse because you knew that you would hurt Hijiri even more, right? Though you lost your temper afterwards, it’s because you see Hijiri as an important person right? You were sad because you felt betrayed by her, right? Please, Chris. Just the final bit, a little more…! Just try a little more!”
I knelt on the floor, and again pressed his head on the floor.
The wind caressed my skin.
“Argh–! Goodness! I get i! You’re shameless! You’re really shameless!”
Chris forcefully dragged Hijiri’s hand from her ear, and shouted,
“Listen to me, Hijiri! I’m the same as you! So, just watch me!Watch!”
Icy water droplets pelted from above. It was raining. It was starting to rain.
“Shii, you’re not allowed to see it! Please look away!”
Chris yelled in the midst of the rain, and I hurriedly lowered my head.
“Ugh. Ugh…uu, ugh…ahh…”
All I could hear was her sweet voice.
And then, I heard panting, as if she was enduring the shame.
“…If I had worked hard back then, just for my birthday…no, what am I saying now?”
I seemed to hear Chris mutter this amidst the rain.
The concrete ground was slightly wet.
Puddles continued to spread as Chris released something she seem to be storing.
Is that Chris’–? No, that’s definitely the rain.
The icy rain of the early Summer fell onto us.
It continues to pour, seemingly washing away the rain Chris released.
We continued to remain drenched for who knew how long.
Amidst the rain, Chris’ voice rang.
“You can lift your head now, Shii.”
Chris and Hijiri were thoroughly soaked, facing each other.
Their uniforms have become transparent, and their underwear can be seen.
Looking depressed, Hijiri said,
“…Looks like this sudden act isn’t working.”
Hijiri continued to clench her fists as she showed that unmoved puppet-like expression.
“…We’re different afterall.”
Damn. This won’t do?
Chris then said forlornly,
But Hijiri opened her arms wide and embraced Chris.
“But you worked so hard for me to this extent, prez. For me…I,I…you did that in front of me, prez. I’m really, happy…”
After some hesitation, Hijiri continued,
Chris looked embarrassed, abashed.
“No. I should be the one saying that Hijiri. Thanks, and sorry.”
Hijiri nodded at these words, and turned to me.
“…Thank you, Shou, for doing all this for me.”
Those were Hijiri’s honest, grateful emotions.
I felt that this vindicated me for all my actions .
After the rain washed away our disagreement, it suddenly stopped.
And a warm sunlight shone in through the clouds.