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Published at 20th of April 2023 11:16:48 AM


Chapter 66

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Act 2 - Summer Break

17 Confession

"I can't believe...... that Rintaro is being Otosaki-san's neighbor." (Yukio)

Yukio, sitting on the sofa in my house, says this with a somewhat absentminded look on his face.

There are currently two other people in my room beside me.

One is my best friend, Inaba Yukio.

And the other is our idol, Otosaki Rei.

Yes, today I finally decided to tell Yukio the whole story.

"I probably shouldn't tell anyone, but I thought I'd tell you only. After all, it's not much of an exaggeration to say that you're a relative of mine." (Rintaro)

"I-I'm your relative......... that's a very nice thing to hear." (Yukio)

Ehehe, and Yukio scratches his head.

Seeing him like that, Rei tilts her head.

"Rei, what's wrong?" (Rintaro)

"...... Is he really a boy?" (Rei)

"What are you talking about? He's certainly got a slender body, but he's a boy." (Rintaro)

For some reason, Rei does not seem to be convinced by the explanation I have been giving her.

Well, I can understand why she might not believe it at first, but it's been a while since the three of us have come into contact and I'd like her to believe it. 

The reason I am explaining the situation with Rei present is not only because it makes it easier to explain, but also because there is another reason.

It is to help Rei with her summer break homework.

It was already past August 10 when we returned from that trip.

There are only three weeks left. It would be fair to say that there is still time to spare, but unlike us, Rei has a tough schedule of lessons and work to do. If she doesn't finish them when she can, she won't be able to finish them by August 31.

"What are your grades, Otosaki-san?" (Yukio)

"About the middle." (Rei)

"Eh? Around that? I think I saw your name in the upper ranks of the periodic tests when you were a freshman." (Yukio)

"My grades started to drop in the second half of last year. That's when I started getting busy." (Rei)

"Aah, I guess it can't be helped then." (Yukio)

Listening to Yukio and Rei's conversation, a question comes to my mind.

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"Come to think of it, you've already become an idol when you were in middle school, right? And, our school is rather preparatory, so you didn't have to go to the trouble of aiming for a school with a higher difficulty level, did you?" (Rintaro)

"As for why I aimed for the school I'm in now――――Yes, it's a secret. So I won't tell you." (Rei)

"What? Well, if there's something you don't want to tell me, it's fine." (Rintaro)

I wonder if the reason she is reluctant to say it here is that her father told her to go to a good school or something like that.

If so, then her circumstances are similar to mine.

"You must be having a hard time too. ......" (Rintaro)

"......Maybe you misunderstood something, but that's all fine for now." (Rei)

We each spread out our respective homework assignments and started working on them.

Although I say I would help Rei with hers, I don't mean that I will solve her assignment for her or anything like that.

I will just summarize and teach her the material she couldn't come to class for work, and if there is a problem she can't solve on her own, I will teach her that as well. And while she is working on her assignments, Yukio and I are also going to work on the rest of ours.

As for ours, it will be over in an hour or so.

We have already finished most of the assignments on the first day, and the remaining problems are all the ones we neglected because we were taking them lightly and thought, "I can finish them anytime later". And this kind of thought will make the assignments remain untouched until the deadline.

"You can ask me about science and math subjects. When it comes to humanities subjects, Yukio is better at teaching than me, so you can rely on him." (Rintaro)

"Okay." (Rei)

And so we quietly begin to work on our assignments.

Rei, as one expects from her ability to concentrate, is solving the problems at a very fast pace, as if she is making up for the class she has been falling behind

――――To be honest, there are a few problems that she solved carelessly, but I have nothing to complain about under the current circumstances where the priority is to finish the assignments.

Two hours have passed since I started seriously solving the problems.

Both Yukio and I have already finished our assignments, so we are left with nothing to do for the rest of the day.

"......I'm gonna go make some coffee." (Rintaro)

"Need help?" (Yukio)

"No, I'm fine. Just read something on the bookshelf." (Rintaro)

"Okay then." (Yukio)

I move to the kitchen, relaxing my stiff body.

I moved to the kitchen, relaxing my stiff body.

Then after making a cup of coffee to suit their taste, I set them down in front of the two of them.

"Here, Rei. I made coffee for you." (Rintaro)

"Mmm, thank you." (Rei)

Rei, who has been concentrating on her assignments, puts down her pen for the moment and sips the coffee from her mug.

Yukio, who is watching this, looked dissatisfied for some reason.

It's strange, although I brewed it to his liking.

"Did I brew it wrong, Yukio? If so, I'll go brew some again......" (Rintaro)

"No, it's not that. I just thought that Otosaki-san's mug and Rintaro's mug are matching." (Yukio)

"Hmm? Ah, Rei is buying the tableware and such things for us. We went shopping together before." (Rintaro)

"......Unfair." (Yukio)

Suddenly, such a word comes out of Yukio's mouth.

"I don't have anything matching like that either!"

'You don't need,...... such a thing between you and me. Even you didn't buy the pair of mugs intentionally, did you Rei? It was because it was cheaper as a set, wasn't it?" (Rintaro)

When I ask Rei that, she turns to me and tilts her head.

"I bought these because I did want matching ones, you know?" (Rei)

"See! I knew it!" (Yukio)

So you bought them on purpose――――.

There's nothing wrong with that, but somehow this mug suddenly starts to have more importance to me.

"And I don't understand why that mug is so natural to have in here. Shouldn't there be one for me, then?" (Yukio)

"That's why...... look, there is one, right?" (Rintaro)

"It's plain among plain things! I want a matching one too." (Yukio)

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I don't know what he's getting so worked up about.

However, he's usually not a selfish person, so I'm vulnerable to Yukio's whining.

It can't be helped. Lately, I've been giving Rei a lot of attention, so I'll spoil him for now.

"Okay. Let's go buy a mug for you next time. You're going abroad again for a family vacation, right? I'll make time for you after that." (Rintaro)

"Ugh...... I'm sorry for being selfish." (Yukio)

"It's okay. It's rare to have you want something from me like this." (Rintaro)

It is surprisingly nice to be depended on by a friend.

Of course, it is not a compliment to be depended on regularly, but I don't remember being depended on seriously by this guy because he can do almost everything by himself.

The only time I have ever been depended on is when he was the victim of a stalker. In addition, Yukio has become less reliant on me now as a result of the debt of gratitude he owed me at that time,

"...... Even though it should have been my privilege." (Rei)

"What are you competing with, guys?" (Rintaro)

Somehow, sparks are flying between Rei and Yukio.

Although it doesn't lead to a fight, it seems that a feud has somehow developed between the two of them.

"――――Hmm?" (Rintaro)

As I'm trying to think of a joke to somehow ease the situation, my phone suddenly shakes.

A bad premonition runs through my head.

When my phone shakes at a time like this, I usually have the impression that nothing good has happened.

I wonder if troubles will occur again this time. I take out my phone and look at the screen.

"...... Mia?" (Rintaro)

I had received an unpleasant Line message from Nikaido before, but this time it is coming from that Mia.

[Can you come out to the hallway now?] (Mia)

Hmmm, well, there doesn't seem to be any sign of trouble.

I'm a little worried about leaving these two alone in this room, but it'll be a little troublesome if they don't get along with each other in the future.

For now, let's let them deepen their friendship. They are classmates, after all.

"I wonder if you know how cute Rintaro's sleeping face is, Otosaki-san. I've slept next to him a few times, so I know." (Yukio)

"I know. I have stayed in Rintaro's room too before, so I have seen it." (Rei)

"What!? You have stayed in his room!? Tell me more――――" (Yukio)

As I thought, I should just leave them alone.

I excuse myself from their passionate conversation and go out into the hallway.

Then, I spot Mia, who is leaning against the wall, looking bored.

"Hey, sorry to call you out of the blue." (Mia)

"Ah, I'm fine. It's just that I have a friend coming over, so we can't talk too long, okay?" (Rintaro)

"No problem. This won't take long." (Mia)

She lowers her eyes once and looks at me with somewhat moist eyes.

Then she grips the hem of her dress and looks hesitant, exhales, and opens her mouth.

"Will you――――go out with me?" (Mia)

"......Huh?" (Rintaro)

My mind goes blank.

It seems I have exceeded my brain's capacity to understand the words that were supposed to have just been said.

"......That's all. I'd like to hear your reply next time." (Mia)

――――Well then.

With those last words, she returns to her room.

It seems that the peace that I had sought has once again fled to some faraway place.



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