I Became Friends with the Second Cutest Girl in My Class - Chapter ???
Chapter ??? – My First Love
At first, I thought that he was just a shy boy… Like me…
Maehara Maki-kun. We had been in the same class since we were in our first years. Now, we were best friends… Or at least, I thought so.
Just like Umi and Ninacchi, he was a dear friend to me.
However, back when I first entered school, he never even entered my sight. I was aware of his existence as my classmate because his name was on the attendance list, but he was never the kind of person who’d take initiatives to participate in class events. Not only that, he always went straight back home after school. I never had the chance to talk with him.
It was only in September, half a year after I enrolled in high school that the chance came to me.
And the person who gave me that chance was my best friend, Umi. I wasn’t the kind of person who could adapt easily to my surroundings, and I got depressed easily whenever I was alone. It was her who came up to me, became my friend and helped me regain the smile that I lost.
She was strong, smart, cute and a hard worker.
What happened back then was, a senpai confessed to her, and Maki-kun happened to be there.
I didn’t remember much about our first conversation, but my first impression of him was that he was a strange person. Since I went to all-girls schools from grade to middle school, I’ve never really had the chance to talk with boys my age. He was unlike others who tried to talk to me; It was as if he had no interest in me.
He didn’t talk much, but I could tell that he was quite considerate to both me and Nina, who still treated him rudely back then.
That was enough for me to know that he was a kind person at heart.
…And that was why, I figured that as long as he didn’t hate me, maybe I could get along with him. He never had any presence in class, so I thought that I could help him out in that regard.
Just like her back then. I wanted to do the same thing as she did.
Thinking back, my decision to immediately give him my phone number was probably a little bit too hasty; I mean, even Ninacchi reprimanded me back then. Though, in the end, he never contacted me even once.
That outcome was pretty much a given, though. As at that point, he had already befriended my best friend.
…As usual, she was always ahead of me.
I had no choice but to yield the chance to become his ‘first.’ Then came the Cultural Festival, and by the time it was over, he became one of my ‘friends.’ …Too bad the feelings weren’t mutual. Back then, he still treated me as a ‘friend of a friend.’
Yes, a friend of a friend.
To me, he was a ‘friend,’ but to him, I was only a little closer than an ‘acquaintance.’ At the time, I was a little annoyed, but since it was the first time I’ve ever been treated like that, I actually enjoyed it a little since it was a refreshing feeling.
Then, after a certain incident on Christmas. Finally, he treated me as a ‘precious friend,’ together with Ninacchi and Nozomu-kun.
And at the same time, his relationship with my best friend had changed into that of an ‘irreplaceable lover.’
Of course, I wasn’t jealous or anything. I thought that he deserved it, since he was the one who took care of my best friend when she was feeling down and hurt because of my own actions. It was also him who mended our cracked relationship, restoring it to what it was.
There were times when I thought that it was unfair of him to steal my best friend away from me, but each time that happened, I was reminded how I owed him more times than I could count. Then, came the realization that he indeed deserved all that happiness.
And so, I took a step back from those two. Leaving her to his care entirely, watching their relationship developed, sometimes from the shadows, sometimes right by their sides.
In return, I had to spend more time in my loneliness, but that didn’t matter. As long as my friends were happy, I felt happy too.
…I thought this would continue. Until a certain day came, during my second year of high school.
* * *
It was the incident that happened after our class match that made my view of him change.
To understand the situation, for the first time in my life, I was separated from my best friend, who had always been in the same class as me ever since grade school, and I had to make do on my own most of the time.
I was prepared for this, that was why I had been trying to be careful with my words and attitude… But, it seemed like my best friend’s influence on my surroundings were bigger than I thought, as I got into a quarrel with a girl in my class rather quickly after the school year started. That was a memory of old. That girl had long become my friend and we always had a pleasant talk together. But back then, whenever our eyes met, the surrounding atmosphere would turn tense, as if a fight was about to break out.
At that time, it was him who supported me. He always took the initiative to intervene and mediate whenever things were about to get out of hand. Not only that, he even shouted to cheer on us during the class match, even though that wasn’t supposed to be something that he was used to doing.
Even some of our classmates started to recognize him after that. They knew that he was a reliable person and that they could count on him.
Well, I knew that this might sound like I was gloating about my best friend’s boyfriend, but…
…If it wasn’t for him, I didn’t know what would happen to me.
That was why I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible around me. The karaoke party that I planned after the class match was my way to repay him and my best friend for always having my back whenever I needed them. And it was also out of my desire to help him that I lent him my shoulder to sleep on.
What I didn’t know back then was that… It was the worst thing I could have done.
It was the first time I’ve seen his sleeping face up close. I could still remember how hard my heart beat back then.
Even when I tried so hard to forget it, I couldn’t. Because, it was my ‘first time.’
But at that time, I didn’t understand what it was. When Ninacchi came back and saw us like that, I almost jumped from my seat. Even after we broke off, my heart refused to calm down.
When I asked my mom about it, she only smiled at me and patted my head… Now that I understand what was going on, I knew that she had a hard time trying to come up with something to tell me. I probably should apologize to her later.
And while I was confused about my feelings, those two had grown closer than ever. They had done a lot of things together, from going to birthday parties, going on a trip together, spending their summer vacation together— According to Ninacchi, they even had done things that they couldn’t just say out loud.
My best friend had left me one step— No, two steps behind. If I weren’t careful, the gap between us would grow even wider.
That being said, it wasn’t like I hated seeing those two getting closer. On the contrary, seeing them like that also made me happy.
…But, at the same time, my heart ached.
At first, I thought that the pain came from my anxiety over the fact that they gradually started to leave me behind. My anxiety over the fact that after our graduation, we’d inevitably go our separate ways.
In reality, that wasn’t the thing that I was worried about. Yes, I would be sad and lonely if I were to get separated from them, but it wasn’t like our friendship would end just like that. They’d definitely come and hang out with me if I were to send a ‘I miss you’ to them.
Deep down, I probably knew the real reason all along. I had never experienced it, but I always longed for it. If I were to give it a real thought and not try to avert my eyes from the truth, I would probably come to the true answer sooner.
Yet, I didn’t. For months, I pretended to not now, running away from reality, all while bottling my feelings inside my chest.
I ran away from the fact that my eyes would always be drawn to his side.
While I might be inexperienced in romance, I knew that this was inappropriate. I liked both of them, they were my ‘precious friends,’ I wanted those two to be happy. But, when he was there, my eyes were always drawn to him.
Even though I knew that I wasn’t even in his line of sight. That spot was reserved for her, ‘my best friend.’
If possible, I wanted to be a little more selfish—
No. No way.
I had to bury this feeling deep inside my heart. No one must know about it.
What would happen if my best friend were to find out?
Nothing good could come out of it. It was thanks to those two’s efforts that our relationship was mended, returned to what it once was. I should never even think of doing anything that could ruin it.
…Still, I couldn’t help but complain. Why did I have to fall in love?
I used to be insensitive towards this kind of thing, but now… As dense as I was, I realized that I…
Had fallen in love with my best friend’s lover. Maehara Maki-kun.