Chapter 1: The false confession.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
TL Note: I’m translating names as if they were western, meaning the first one you’ll see is the first name, and the other one is the last.
I’m doing that for intuitive reading, but forgive me for any mistakes.
I’m just another humble MTL translator.
“You’re just a childhood friend, stop acting like you’re my boyfriend! Well, I’d never date you in the first place.”
Since we were basically neighbors, and our parents knew each other, it was a given that I, Kyohei Wada, and Maika Ayatsuji would naturally get close to each other.
She gave off tomboyish vibes with her slender build and short hair, but she was still quite pretty, having even some hidden admirers at school.
Due to her charms, no less than a few people stared daggers at the scrawny, gloomy guy walking next to her, namely me.
I had always liked Maika, and just the thought of another guy having her, even though she’s always been by my side, churned my stomach in disgust.
Thus I made up my mind: I would tell her I love her on my birthday, two weeks from now.
However, just as I was set on doing so, her words cut me like sharp knives.
I was rejected before I could even confess…
“I’m not acting like your boyfriend,” I answered.
“I’m just saying that, with your grades as they are, you may not get into a good college…”
Recently, she’s been acting like this every time a word comes out of my mouth.
No matter what I say, she always shoots me with a harsh attitude.
However, today’s words cut deeper than any others.
I’d never date you, she said.
Despite being heavily upset, I managed to scramble out a reply.
“You’re being unnecessary,” she continued.
“Where I go to has nothing to do with you.”
If you say so, I can’t do anything about it.
“I know, it’s none of my business.
Sorry, I won’t say it again,” I managed to spit out a response.
She’s been hating me for some time, I see.
I thought we were good friends, knowing the amount of time we spent together.
“Welp, I’m going home,” and I did exactly that.
The next day, I left home earlier than usual and walked to my morning classes.
I always walked along with her, but that was merely a coincidence given where we live, and we didn’t make any promises.
Moreover, since she hates my guts, it’s better if we stop going together.
As soon as I arrived at school, I found nobody there.
Hmph, I’m probably too early, I had thought.
Maybe I’ll just do my homework early.
Though, before I could even start, I heard the door open and a girl entered soon after.
“Oh, you’re early today,” she started.
“Where’s Maika? Isn’t she usually with you?”
She’s Aya Shindo, a beautiful girl with long raven hair and well-endowed features.
Maika and her often hang out together along with another friend of mine, Kenichi Saito.
He was my best friend in elementary, but since he started getting into trouble in high school, he stopped getting talking to me that much.
He happens to be a handsome guy and a boob junkie.
That last part is a secret, but it’s pretty darn obvious.
“I woke up early today,” I answered.
“And being childhood friends doesn’t mean we’ll always be together.”
Without anything else to talk about, I went to my seat.
After a day full of nothing, I started to pack my things to leave.
Then, something happened.
“U, um, Wada-kun, do you have a moment? I want to talk with you.”
Tsukushi Hirano, another girl in my class, started to talk to me.
I barely had any interactions with her though, so I could only wonder why.
Well, she’s pretty cute, but I still don’t know what kind of person she is.
“Come with me, it’s kinda hard to say it here,” she said, leading me to an audio-visual room that was barely used by any faculties.
“Um, I really like you! Please go out with me!”
What the—? She likes me? Eh? But, I have Maika… No, I’ve already been dumped.
“Erm, I don’t know you that well,” I answered.
“We can know each other more once we start going out, right?”
She’s kind of aggressive, and this is scarily easy.
“Could you give me a day to think it over?”
“Huh?” She gave me a really weird look.
“Is that a no?”
“Erm, it’s fine.
Sure,” she ultimately agreed.
“Well, that’s that.
See you then.”
I strode away from that room, though I could barely overhear something like the click of a tongue… Was it just my imagination?
The day after, just as school was over, I approached Hirano to tell her an answer I thought over and over to get.
“What?” She answered, weirdly curt.
“Um, about yesterday…”
“Yesterday… Oh, that false confession I did as a punishment,” she started.
“I ‘confessed’ my feelings to a shy guy like you, so I thought you’d give the OK right away.
Why on earth did you need more time?
She continued, “Oh, you have bags under your eyes.
Did you seriously mull it over all night long? Ahahahahaha! Did you hear that, girls? He spent his whole night worrying over a joke of a confession!”
What’s up with this? Why are these girls just giggling at me? I thought.
At that moment, I noticed Maika, and she looked at me and laughed.
Laughed with them. Don’t tell me… Is she in on it too? What did I do to make you hate me so much, huh?!
“Why do you have to do this to me!?” Seeing Maika laughing with them, I couldn’t help but raise my voice in anger.
“What the hell was that?”
“Is this a joke?”
I could hear the boys around me, and they were livid.
“You girls are pitiful, playing around with people’s feelings,” Kenichi, my old friend, talked smack to Hirano.
“The other girls joined the circle too, I saw it.
You all laughed at him.
C’mon dude, grab your bag.
“‘Kay,” I answered, following right behind him.
We left the classroom, followed by the other boys who witnessed the scene.
“It really does.”
The guys started saying things like that, but isn’t it just my fault everyone’s in this mess? However, for some reason, we ended up all going to karaoke after that, just me and most of the boys in the classroom.
“I’m sorry, Kyohei, I butted in without being called,” Kenichi started.
“I just couldn’t stand it.
Everyone else here probably feels the same.”
So he said, but what about the other guys? And why, even? We barely talked and stuff… As I thought so, they started saying what was on their minds.
“I mean, whenever I ask you something about studying, you teach me in a polite and easy way dude.”
“You say you’re gloomy or whatever, but you have plenty of other nice points other than studying.
You know a ton about games, sports, shows, and even novels.
You never get tired of talking about them!”
“The guys really do care about you, bro.
In a good way.”
“Come to think of it, weren’t you ranked third in a global competition for an FPS? It was in the duo category if I remember correctly.”
“H, how did you know?” I was surprised.
“It’s because of Kenichi,” they all answered in unison.
One of them continued, “We were watching the game live at his house.
That was one hell of a match.”
“Erm, my duo did a lot of carrying for me though,” I blurted.
“Still, it was amazing to watch.”
The guys were so excited they didn’t even sing.
All this time, I thought I was being just another gloomy stain on the wall, unremarkable in everything I did.
But despite my own complexes, they all looked at me with warm eyes.
I couldn’t even believe they watched that competition.
“We barely talked over the last few days, so what’s going on with Ayatsuji?” Tanaka, one of the guys, asked me so.
Were you paying that much attention?
Okay, I’ll go from the top and tell them everything.
“The other day, when I was talking with Maika about colleges and stuff, she told me it was none of my business and that I should stop acting like her boyfriend.
She also said she’d never date me, and… Well, the truth is I was going to confess my feelings for her on my birthday, but she rejected me before I could even say anything…”
“Oh, I see… Sorry for making you bring up such a topic, bro.”
“No, it’s okay.
When I saw her laughing along with those girls about that false confession thing earlier, I lashed out, but I’m cool now.
I just feel so stupid worrying over it last night…”
Actually, this whole confession thing really came out of left field,” he looked at me.
“If you say you’re over your childhood friend Ayatsuji, I’ll introduce you to another girl.
I’m not lying, and in fact, there’s one who really cares about you.”
So he says, but I don’t know if I want a relationship right after all this trouble.
“I appreciate your concern, but I’m just not in the mood…”
“I think it’s okay if you start out as friends, then you think about it slowly.
I just hate that the girls think you’re some shady schmuck, so let’s show them you have some game.”
“No, I’d feel sorry for having you deal with all that.”
Even with everything they said, my self-loathing didn’t stop clawing at me.
“Don’t worry bro,” Kenichi continued.
“My sister doesn’t care about any of that.
She’s more than willing to help.”
“Eh, by a girl, do you mean Risa-chan?”
She’s been looking at you for a long, long time, but it was pretty obvious you only had eyes for Ayatsuji.”
Risa is his younger sister, and we also played together sometimes in elementary school.
She used to call me big bro and was pretty cute.
She’s almost the same age as her brother and is currently in her freshman year.
Despite that, I haven’t seen her ever since we enrolled here.
“Well, just come visit my house sometime, just for fun.
Then you can think about what you’re gonna do.”
…I have really good friends, and he’s right.
No one ever got anything from whining and being a wuss.
“Thank you, I’ll visit you sometime.
And thank you guys for hanging out with me today.
I’m still angry for being lied to, but you’ve all helped me keep my cool.”
“It’s nothing,” they all said in unison.
“It’s nice to hang out like this again,” I noted.
The boy’s club is hot and bothered, but it’s probably just for now.”
“You feel the puberty in the air?” Someone teased.
Thanks to the boys, I feel alive again.
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