“Tomorrow, at the family restaurant like always.”
Past 12 o’clock midnight, when I was trying to fall asleep, that message popped up on my phone’s screen. It was from Ito-san, my boss.
“What’s the matter?”
While shivering in my bed on a cold night in October, I responded to Ito-san.
“Yamauchi’s manuscript is finally up, and I want you to check it.”
I accidentally yelled out when I read that message from Ito-san. I guess that makes sense. I’ve been looking forward to this manuscript for a while.
“Got it. I’ll be there at 6pm after school.”
I sent Ito-san that message with a light feeling in my heart. Holy crap, this is exciting! The character I came up with is becoming a manga! How could I not be excited?
I wonder. What kind of face will they have, and how are they going to move? Because I thought about that all night, morning came and I hadn’t slept much at all. But because of that excitement, I went through the whole day without feeling tired, and school finally ended.
I quickly left school and headed for the station. I didn’t feel like I was running late or anything, but because my spirits were so high, my pace naturally quickened. It was 5 minutes until the train would come. Of course I went too fast, but it’s better than being late.
I took a seat on a bench inside the station, and reflexively pulled out my phone. After a few minutes, I heard some footsteps slowly draw near. Seems like there’s someone else who’s gonna use the train at this time. Well, I guess there would be others, but I wouldn’t expect a lot of people at this time.
From school, if you don’t leave immediately after the last homeroom you won’t make it, so most people ride the train right after this one. I would have ridden it as well if I didn’t have such plans . While thinking about that, I looked at the source of the footsteps but I immediately looked away. The source of the footsteps was Mamiko.
Silently, I pretended to not notice and continued messing around on my phone. Mamiko sat on the bench I wasn’t sitting on. I was pretty upset that she didn’t sit next to me like I hoped she would. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m basically her ex-boyfriend, and that’d be awkward…
‘Cause I’m pretty awkward. I don’t know if just approaching her would be good. Honestly, I think confessing in a situation like this is unreasonable. Those weak thoughts steadily came to me. How pathetic.
I thought that, now, at the platform, with the two of us separated but alone in the station. My legs won’t move despite the perfect opportunity to confess. Even if I wouldn’t get another shot like this, that kind of courage just wouldn’t come. I surprise even myself.
I really like Mamiko, but I guess I felt like couldn’t confess there..
I don’t even think I have the confidence to sit next to her…
The moment I thought that, the train came as if to sweep those negative thoughts from me. I stood up and got on the train. It was just one cart, but the train was empty, and there were places to sit. But I didn’t really want to sit down so I just stood in a normal spot. Mamiko got on after me, and it looked like she was going to stand in a similar spot. I wish we could sit down…
Normally, I’d be happy to be close to Mamiko, but now its different. Probably because of what I was just thinking about. Due to those thoughts, I was going crazy. With those thoughts running through my head, I spent my whole time on the train on my phone.
After 20 minutes on the train, I got off one station earlier than I intended to. And upon doing so, Mamiko surprisingly got off after me.
In an effort to keep my surprise from Mamiko, I exited the station expressionless and walked to the family restaurant. But of course, I couldn’t get my mind off her. And I gazed on that beautiful sight. And there, next to the happily smiling Mamiko, was a tall, handsome, slender guy.
I couldn’t believe it for a moment. But after rubbing my eyes a bit, nothing had changed. It was apparent that he was real. Eh, wait a second. Did Mamiko get a boyfriend? No, it’s not necessarily a boyfriend, and it could even be a relative of hers. But, of course, no matter how you see it, they look like a couple. They look like they’re having a lot of fun together.
What is this? She had a boyfriend the whole time? What IS that? If you have a boyfriend, don’t make me expect anything! Just tell me that you don’t like me. How can I confess if she has a boyfriend? Confess? Impossible.
I think that, but my thoughts are just exploding. My feelings for Mamiko were running wild.
Those negative feelings weren’t absolute. Because I just saw her and recognized them again.
Of course, I love her. I don’t want her to be taken by anyone. Even if he’s better than me, I definitely don’t want to lose, I don’t want to give up.
Those strong thoughts made me feel empty. It seems I no longer feel like being reasonable. With those feelings in heart, I brazenly walked over to Mamiko and that guy. Of course, when they noticed me, they looked at me funny. But I didn’t stop, I didn’t give a damn.
I only have one feeling in me right now.
I don’t want her stolen from me.
With just these feelings, I walked right in front of Mamiko and grasped her hand.
“Mamiko, I really like you. I want you to give me another chance!”
And, surprising even myself, those words which I hadn’t said for half a month came out. At first, she had a puzzled look on her face, but after a second she gradually lowered her head.
“I- I can’t, I already have a…”
Mamiko said, as she turned her glance to the handsome guy beside her.
“… As I thought, he’s your boyfriend.”
“What are you saying, Mamiko?”
The guy said coldly. And then he looked at me.
“We aren’t really dating.”
He continued, “I’m going ahead of you,” and then he walked past me. Upon leaving, he spoke to himself.
“Don’t trust me…”
The voice sounded a little angry. Once he was gone, it was silent. I had no idea what to do with Mamiko. I decided to ask her what’s been on my mind.
“So you’re not going out with that guy?”
“Then why would you…”
I asked, but how clear her answer was.
“… Because I… didn’t want to go out with you.”
The words I was expecting came out of Mamiko’s mouth. Of course, according to her it’s as if I’m dead. I guess she doesn’t want to go out with me. Well, I should just quit. I’ve gotta quit. I should, I SHOULD, but I…
“Why not? If there’s something you don’t like about me, I’ll fix it.”
Even I thought that was creepy. Although it shook her, it spoiled the mood. Despite how painful it was to see her shake, I kept seeking an answer. But there’s nothing I can do. I just want to be with her. I want to spend time doing anything together.
“… There’s nothing wrong with you, Yoshiki-kun.”
“Well, then what-”
“There’s something wrong with me! Yoshiki, I still like you so-”
Tears started forming in her eyes. And they silently fell down her cheeks.
“I still like you, so when I see you with other girls, I get jealous! It’s painful, and sad! So I don’t want to…”
She couldn’t finish. Even I understand her reasoning. I understand her true feelings. They’re the same as mine. That was wonderful to hear, and I wanted her to feel better.
I kissed her through the tears. And embraced her. She tried to break away from me.
“It’s my fault. It’s all my fault. But believe me, I only love you. ‘Cause from here on, I’ll only look at you, I’ll only love you.”
I was trying to stop her from crying when I hugged her and said that, but she only cried more violently. But I ignored that and whispered into her ear.
“So, won’t you be my girlfriend again?”
And then I felt her arm wrap around my body. She hugged me with surprising strength but I didn’t mind. I was just happy that she even hugged me back. And then she said something that made me even happier.
“Yes! Please let me be your girlfriend again!”
The atmosphere elevated, and I kissed her a second time to draw it all in.
It was only for a moment, but it’s the longest kiss we’ve had, and it was so passionate that we exchanged saliva.
Afterwards we went to a nearby park together, forgot any plans we had, and kissed and hugged and held hands as if to make up for the month apart from each other. It was just like we were the only two people in the world, I was so happy.
And I swore in my heart to never let that happiness go.