ayu, who just learned about this whole incident for the first time, muttered so in disbelief.


Hearing about it from both the teacher and me, my father silently mulled over it as if chewing on especially hard meat.
Then, after a short silence, he finally opened his mouth.

“The teacher thought you did something wrong, so he approached you with the nuance of making you apologize, but you haven’t done anything wrong.
Is this correct?”

I definitely didn’t, and wouldn’t do anything like that, dad.”

I almost let my anger for that selfish teacher heat to a boil but suppressed it, looked straight into the apple of my father’s eyes, and answered so clearly, certainly.

“I understand.”

“I can’t believe it! There’s no way you’d do something like that, Yuu! It’s Toudou and Yamamoto-senpai, right? What kind of grudge do they have against you?!”

I was stunned; while I wanted my family to believe in me, I was also scared of them not.
I didn’t expect my father and my sister to believe in me so undoubtedly.

Oh, I see… It’s not that no one believes in me.
There are people out there, like them, who see me for who I really am and believe my words.
I felt my cracking heart, almost breaking from others’ distrust, being saved from total shattering.

That gave me hope.

Hope that there are others who still believe in me.

Father’s POV.

My phone buzzed and rang inside my pocket.
Pulling it out, I glanced at the unfamiliar number before answering.

“Hello, this is Takasaki.”

“Hello, my name is Watanabe and I’m Yuu Takasaki’s homeroom teacher at Matsunagi Junior High School.
I take it you’re his father?”

“Yes, I am.”

It was a call from school.
Why did they ring me directly? With unease bubbling in my chest, I listened to Mr.
Watanabe’s explanation.
What he told me was so out of pocket, it seemed I had lost my hearing.

In summary, my son’s suspected of ripping a female classmate’s clothes and trying to force her.
Yuu, meanwhile, stubbornly refuses to admit it, but there were even witnesses and they were all sure it was him.
So I, as a parent, was supposed to tell my son the seriousness of the matter and make sure he apologizes to the other party.

…My Yuu attempted r*pe?

After my wife passed away, I tried to raise that boy to the best of my abilities.
I’m not one to talk much, and I had to spend a long time out of home working to support my children.
I know that wasn’t the perfect environment for raising children, but he grew up to be a kind person.
I believe so.

So, did he have some dark side to his heart I’ve never seen before? That thought crossed my mind for a moment.
It’s impossible for one to understand another completely, even if they are a family member after all… That’s why I’ll just have to trust the son I’ve seen up until now and not some tentative image.

First, I’ll go home and ask him what happened.
I couldn’t stay at work any longer, so I asked for permission to leave.

As soon as I got home, I called my son and asked him about the incident.
What he said was completely different from what the teacher had inferred, and I didn’t see any lies in Yuu’s eyes.
My daughter who listened along agreed.

That being the case, I had no other option but to protect my son in my own way.
But what should I do?

I’m supposed to go to his school tomorrow, but there’s nothing I can do to prove his innocence as far as his story is concerned.
At any rate, I will deny my son’s involvement in any of that, but I don’t think they’ll be convinced.
Depending on tomorrow’s discussion, I may have to consult a lawyer.

—All these thoughts ran laps inside my head until the dispute took place.

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