I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Chapter 7
- I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble
- Chapter 7 - Fireworks Show And The Heart To Heart
It was the day of the fireworks show.
It was 5:30 p.m. and Yamato was at the station nearest to the meeting place.
The two people he was meeting were Seira and Tsubaki. He thought it would be a good opportunity for Tsubaki to express her feelings to Seira, so he asked both of them out.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Upon hearing a greeting, Yamato turned around.
There stood Tsubaki, her hair was tied up in a bun and she was wearing a yukata with polka dots on a navy blue background.
The design of the yukata made Tsubaki look a little innocent, but it also accentuated her pure image.
“That Yukata looks good on you.”
The mood was somewhat strange, perhaps because Yamato was unusually direct in his compliment.
It was awkward for the two of them to be alone like this, so Yamato was hoping that Seira would show up soon.
“Shirase isn’t here yet…”
Yamato checked his phone and found no new messages from her.
He tried calling her, but there was no answer.
Incidentally, it seems that Eita and their other classmates have been setting up the fireworks viewing spot for a few hours now, and they were all supposed to meet up at the site.
All because the fireworks display to be held today was one of the biggest in Tokyo, and it would definitely be crowded.
There was still plenty of time before the fireworks went off, but he felt bad about making Eita hold a spot for them, so he wanted to head over before the crowds reached their peak.
“Shirase, come on…”
Here and there, he saw what appeared to be visitors dressed in yukatas. They were probably on their way to the station where the event would be held.
Then, Yamato finally received a message from Seira.
『Sorry, I’m going to be late, so go on ahead.』
However, the message was not what he expected.
Yamato’s shoulders slumped in disappointment, and then he asked, 『No, I’ll be waiting for you. How soon can you come?』He thought it would be impossible for Seira to get there by herself.
But Seira replied, 『I don’t know, so you go ahead.』She was not willing to give up either.
“What did Seira-senpai say?”
“Shirase said she was going to be late. We don’t have any other choice, so I guess I’ll go ahead.”
“Well, is she going to be alright by herself?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell her to call me when she arrives at the station nearest the fireworks site. It would be bad to make Shinjo and the others wait any longer.”
The main event for Tsubaki was to confide her feelings to Seira. Therefore, a tinge of anxiety could be seen on her face.
“I want to see the fireworks with Shirase, too. I’m going to make it happen.”
As much as the trust she has placed in Yamato, he was still not used to being called that and it itched at him.
For now, he sent a message to Seira saying,『Call me when you get to the nearest station,』 and decided to take the train with Tsubaki.
The train to the fireworks site was already crowded, and the train was just about jammed.
This caused Yamato to be in the form of guarding Tsubaki with her against the wall.
The train shook, and their bodies came into close contact with each other.
The two blushed, which added to their embarrassment.
“Senpai, I’m sorry…”
“No, it’s me… Just bear with me a little longer.”
The girl in front of him smelled so good, perhaps the scent of shampoo, that Yamato’s heart was pulsing at a very fast pace.
(H-Hurry up and get there…!)
As he was pleading to God from the bottom of his heart, the train finally arrived at the station nearest to the fireworks venue.
Then, the passengers began getting off the train.
Yamato and Tsubaki, not wanting to be left behind, followed the line and got off.
“Yes, it is…”
The two were already exhausted from the crowded train, but even after exiting the station, they were still surprised.
There were loads of people. A large number of people, who could be classified as a mob, were heading toward the venue of the fireworks display at a turtle-like speed under the illumination of the lanterns.
“Well, it may be impossible for Shirase to come…”
“But by the time Seira-senpai comes, it might be a little more open.”
“I hope so. For now, we need to meet up with Shinjo and the others.”
Yamato and Tsubaki relied on their intuition as they made their way through the crowd, but luckily, they were able to exit smoothly.
Thanks to this, after 30 minutes had passed, they were able to cross the bridge and arrive at the viewing spot on the other side of the river where Eita and his friends were waiting for them.
It seemed that they had laid out a number of picnic blankets in the shade of the trees along the river and were using them as viewing spots. This was certainly a great place to watch the fireworks.
“Oh, here they come. This way, this way!”
Eita waved to them as soon as Yamato and Tsubaki came into sight.
There were about ten other people in the group besides Eita, but it seemed that a higher percentage of them were girls.
“Sorry, I made you wait. It looks like Shirase will be late.”
“It’s all right. Let’s just have fun with those who are here.”
“Kosaka-san! I’m glad you’re here! You look so cute in your yukata!”
Mei and the other girls gathered happily around Tsubaki.
All but Tsubaki, including Mei, were not wearing yukatas. Perhaps that was why Tsubaki was blushing with embarrassment now.
And when Yamato sat down on the seat, too, Eita grinned and squared his shoulders with Yamato.
“But still, Kuraki, you got tanned. You went to the beach, didn’t you?”
“Out of all people, I don’t want Shinjo to be the one who tells me that.”
Yamato had been wearing sunscreen when he went to the beach, so he was only lightly tanned, but Eita in front of him was so tanned that from afar, it was hard to tell who he was. It was as if he had been to a tanning salon.
On top of that, Eita was wearing sunglasses and a replica uniform of the Japanese national soccer team, so Yamato did not know who he was until he came closer. At first glance, he looked like a suspicious old man.
“Well~ I guess a summer man has to tan to look good. I was wearing oil and sunbathing, and here I am.
“Are you stupid…?”
“Hahaha, let’s enjoy the fireworks tonight, all of us!”
“I don’t want to be treated like one of you.”
However, it seemed that Eita was not the only one in a festive mood. Some had bleached their hair to a dazzling blonde, and others were even dressed in cosplay-like outfits, leaving Yamato at a loss on how to react.
On the blankets were snacks, bottled juices, and food that had probably been bought from food stalls, making it the perfect place to enjoy the evening’s fireworks.
Yamato’s contribution, by the way, was three large bags of rice crackers from home.
“Fukuku, you’re like a country grandpa!”
“You can’t just call me a grandpa, that’s rude. I’m still in high school.”
“Even though you pretty much are like one with the Saint?”
“I’m not! Don’t just make random assumptions!”
“Anyway, about that junior over there.”
Eita pointed at Tsubaki, who was being offered sweets and juice by the girls.
Yamato was relieved to see the friendly atmosphere from afar.
“Well, it is what it is.”
“But she’s changed a bit. She seems to be more adaptive than before.”
“You’re watching her very attentively. It’s like you’re her teacher.”
“Not like that, I can tell because I don’t watch her closely. You’re still inexperienced.”
“What’s with that? You’re talking like a grandpa.”
“I said, you’re talking like a grandpa.”
It had been a while since Yamato had such a casual exchange with Eita.
And Eita was right, Tsubaki had become more adaptive than before — or rather, more relaxed, as Yamato had sensed.
Perhaps she was able to make some progress because she had already made up her mind.
All that remained was to convey her feelings to Seira today. Since he had invited Tsubaki to this meeting, Yamato felt an obligation to help her with that.
While pondering on those lingering thoughts, he checked his phone, but there was no new message.
“As for you, you haven’t changed much. Still obsessed with the saint.”
“I’m going to ignore you if you don’t shut up.”
“Hey, hey, just kidding.”
“Hey Shinjo, I bought some bug repellent!”
It seemed that a few of the boys who had gone to the store earlier had returned.
Yamato thought that there were not that many boys here, but they had just come back from an errand.
A girl from the light music club hugged one of the boys.
“Hey, don’t do that in a place like this.”
“Ehhh, but I felt so lonely.”
The boy and girl who suddenly began flirting in front of them — a couple — have been lamenting the fact that neither of them had a lover before the summer break. And this was the result.
“Were they dating…?”
Yamato muttered in dismay, and Eita, who was watching the scene, nodded and put his hand on Yamato’s shoulder.
“Summer is the season of love. I didn’t think these two would get together either.”
“W-Well, it was unexpected, you could say.”
Then, the boy of the couple flashed Yamato a sign.
“Kuraki, why don’t you stop hanging out with those singles and share your memories with us?”
“Eh? Why me?”
“Because you’re dating the Saint, aren’t you? It’s summer, so you’re going to do a lot of things, right?”
“No, we’re not in that kind of relationship…”
At that moment, the air in the place completely froze.
Originally, Yamato had not been able to talk casually with boys other than Eita, so he had felt awkward when the shopping group joined them, but the current situation was not on that level.
Apparently, Yamato and Seira were already considered to be lovers by those around them, and he could feel that several of them were seriously agitated.
And that’s when Eita suddenly stood up.
“Hey, who the hell bought this mosquito repellent! We obviously needed the spray one!”
His shout echoed through the air, and the lively conversation resumed.
Among them, the boy from earlier said in a hushed voice.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t read the air. I hope you don’t mind what I said earlier.”
“No worries. …And congratulations.
Yamato scratched his cheeks in shyness, and the boy happily said, “Thank you!”
“The single people should get along with the other single people and watch fireworks together.”
Eita called out to Yamato again, and he nodded with a sigh.
“Thanks for your help earlier. Well, if Shinjo hadn’t talked to me, I don’t think the problem would have happened in the first place.”.
“You’re not being honest, partner.”
“Who’s your partner? Don’t take the liberty of making me your single partner.”
As they were bickering, another boy approached them and said, “I’ll have Kuraki and Shinjo to take care of the next shopping trip,” and he passed his role over without hesitation.
Eita, however, was not pleased.
“You guys don’t know how hard I worked to get this place, so you can’t treat me so poorly! After all, I’ve been here since 7:00 in the morning! Seven o’clock, seven o’clock! I got on the first train! And on top of that, everyone else was late!”
Eita desperately pleaded with his achievements, but it seemed that no one was interested in listening to him, so they spent their time chatting and laughing with sweets and drinks in their hands, or playing with their phones.
Like the boys around him, Yamato was about to play with his phone when he noticed that the girls sitting on the seat next to him were paying attention to him. They were all grinning and smiling.
Among them, Tsubaki was awkwardly smiling amiably, and Mei was pouting.
“Um, what is it?”
Yamato asked without regard to the two exceptions, and one of the girls replied.
“Hey, hey, Kuraki-kun, how do you address Kosaka-san?”
“What? Well, just Kosaka-san.”
The voices from the girls immediately rose up.
Now Yamato had somewhat guessed the situation. Apparently, this disturbance was caused by Tsubaki’s conversation with the girls, in which she called him “Yamato-senpai.”
And Mei, for some reason, was not amused by the situation.
Yamato felt like cowering his head, thinking about what’s to come.
Incidentally, it was Mei who was the most complicated problem, to say the least.
As he was thinking about how to get out of this situation, someone suddenly stood over his shoulder.
When he turned his back to see if it was Eita again, he found that it was an unexpected person— his classmate Nagayama.
Nagayama came at the puzzled Yamato and held him in place.
“W-Wait! What is this for?”
“You, you are all over different girls!”
“Ouch, ouch, ouch!”
The surrounding boys all seemed to be on Nagayama’s side and were cheering.
Eita, by the way, was still looking away from him, probably because he was still hurting from what had just happened. In other words, there was no hope for support.
Yamato knew he had no choice but to fight back.
He thought that with the small Nagayama alone, Yamato could manage on his own.
Just then, however, an even larger boy pinned down his leg.
There was no way he could resist. He was outnumbered.
At times like this, Yamato wished Seira were here. He feels a little ashamed of himself for thinking such a thing.
“Not done yet~! —Whoa!?”
At that moment, Yamato’s restraints were released.
And in front of him was Tsubaki.
“That’s too excessive, someone will get hurt, okay?”
“”Y-Yes, I’m sorry…””
Thanks to Tsubaki, his restraints were released.
From the fearful look on the faces of the surrounding boys, there was no doubt that Tsubaki had done something to them. But from Yamato’s position, he couldn’t see what she had done clearly.
“I appreciate your help, thanks.”
“No, I thought it was a bit much. I’m glad you didn’t think I was meddling.”
“Well, they probably didn’t mean any harm, you know. What did you do by the way?
When Yamato asked, Tsubaki smiled and said, “Nothing, I was just giving them a warning,” as if to cover it up.
─ ─ Hu~~…don!
At that moment, fireworks went off.
It was the start of the fireworks display.
Like Tsubaki, everyone around her was transfixed by the fireworks.
But only Yamato was checking his phone.
(Still no response. What in the world is Shirase doing?)
A blurry sense of frustration welled up in him.
It was probably a reaction to looking forward to watching these fireworks with Seira.
Yamato looked overhead after a pause, and saw the fireworks spread out like a flower in full bloom, glimmering in the night sky.
At that moment, the phone in his hand vibrated.
He checked and found that he had received a message from Seira.
『I’m here, there’s a lot of people』
As soon as Yamato read the message, he stood up with a start.
Tsubaki, who was sitting beside him, was surprised, but asked.
“Yeah. I’m going to pick her up.”
“Then can I go too? …It’s better than going alone.”
“Sure, come with me.”
Tsubaki immediately grabbed Yamato’s hand and stood up.
After saying bye to Eita for the time being, Yamato and Tsubaki headed toward the station.
They walked on, keeping their eyes fixed on the fireworks that were shooting off one after another.
Since the pace was faster on the way back than on the way there, they arrived at the station in about 15 minutes.
However, no matter how much they looked around, there was no sign of Seira.
They checked their cell phones, but no messages had come in since then.
Before heading to the station, Yamato sent a message saying, “I’m coming to pick you up, so wait for me in front of the station,” but maybe she didn’t see it.
For the time being, Yamato asked, “Where are you now?” Seira immediately replied, “At the bridge.”
“God…I told her to wait for me.”
Yamato sighed with his head in his hands.
Tsubaki chuckled, but pulled back the hem of his T-shirt.
“Let’s go. If we hurry, we should be able to catch up.”
“I guess so. For now, I’ll tell her not to move from the spot.”
And so the two of them headed toward the bridge.
The other side of the river seemed to be crowded, and the line did not move fast. The line was also crowded due to the large number of people who were standing around.
The sense of urgency naturally quickened his pace, and he made his way through the gaps between the people.
Since Seira has no sense of direction, she must have gotten lost. She said she was at a bridge, but they weren’t certain it was this bridge in the first place.
Yamato noticed that he had become quite distanced from Tsubaki in the rear.
She was a girl in a yukata and geta. It was natural she would be slow.
Yamato managed to wade through the crowd and return, taking Tsubaki’s hand and pulling her along.
“I’m sorry, Kosaka-san. I ran ahead of you.”
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry for being slow.”
He noticed then that there was blood on the edges of Tsubaki’s geta. Her attempt at walking fast caused it.
“I’m really sorry. We won’t get anywhere if we hurry, so I’ll walk slowly from now on.”
“Oh, yes, that would be very helpful. It would help me too…”
Tsubaki dropped her gaze while her cheeks turned slightly red.
When he was pinched and lowered his gaze, he realized he was still holding her hand.
Quickly, he let go of her hand, but Tsubaki gripped it back.
“No. If you don’t mind, please continue so we don’t get lost.”
For some reason, Yamato talked more politely, causing Tsubaki to chuckle.
From then on, they both kept pace with each other and proceeded slowly.
“”Somehow, I’m getting nervous thinking that I am about to meet Seira-senpai!”
“Me too… Don’t… Don’t worry. I’m sure Shirase will listen to you.”
“I hope so.”
Yamato thought of something to talk about to relieve Tsubaki’s tension.
“Come to think of it, does Kosaka-san have an interest in a part-time—nevermind, it’s nothing.”
Yamato was about to ask if she was interested in a part-time job when he realized he had made a mistake.
Tsubaki was critical of part-time work, so of course, she couldn’t be interested in it. First of all, she would not have time for it, being a ballet dancer.
However, when he asked her,
“What’s wrong with a part-time job? I’m not angry, so please tell me.”
Yamato was scared to speak because he was told so in a gentle tone of voice.
“I-Is that so? Well, I was wondering if you might be interested in a part-time job too, Kosaka-san. I’m thinking of working a few more times during this summer vacation, so I was going to ask you if you’d like to join me… I shouldn’t have asked. You wouldn’t have time for that if you are doing ballet.”
“Well, I’m glad you feel that way. Is Seira-senpai going to participate?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to try to invite her.”
“You’re not mad?”
“No. I was only critical of part-time jobs because I thought it would hinder Seira’s return to ballet.
“But you were also concerned about the Shirase family’s reputation, weren’t you?”
“Of course that isn’t completely irrelevant, but I am only working for my own reasons. Frankly speaking, anything that can get me out of this slump is fine with me.”
Her words were simple, but they were definitely her true feelings.
Hence, Yamato was surprised.
“I think Kosaka-san is really in love with ballet.”
“…I wonder. It’s like I’m continuing to do this because of my rivalry with Seira-senpai. I don’t know about that now, either.”
Looking at Tsubaki, who turned her head down as if she was troubled, Yamato regretted making another mistake.
He had intended to distract her, but he felt solemnly sorry because he had caused this bad mood.
Tsubaki said with a smile to Yamato, who was wondering how he should follow up his blunder.
“If I talk to Seira-senpai about all of this, I’m sure something will change. For now, I just need that perfect and hateful Senpai to take it all in!”
This girl is strong.
Yamato nodded his head vigorously, thinking so.
“Isn’t that Seira-senpai?”
After a while, Tsubaki pointed to the distance.
Yamato looked in that direction and saw a beautiful girl, easily recognizable amongst the crowd.
There was no doubt that it was Seira.
Her hair was pulled up in an updo and she was wearing a white kimono with a hydrangea pattern, which was elegant, pretty, and gorgeous.
Just looking at her from afar stunned Yamato.
He could not take his eyes off her.
He wished her expression could remain the same.
That’s how beautiful she was.
At that moment, Tsubaki, who was standing next to him, called him, bringing him back to reality.
Yamato had forgotten to breathe while he was looking at Seira, so he took a deep breath in a hurry.
“…Phew. Sorry, I was a little out of it.”
“I see. Since she’s here, would Yamato-senpai speak to her first?”
Tsubaki released her hand and nodded at Yamato with a straight face.
“Yeah, got it.”
Yamato stepped toward Seira.
Seira glanced at him as he shouted loudly.
She still looked alluring, and he felt his heart shrinking.
As soon as their eyes met, Seira immediately smiled innocently.
With a clank of her clogs, Seira rushed toward him with unsteady steps.
Yamato caught Seira’s body, which was about to fall forward.
At that moment, Yamato’s heart beat wildly as he smelled an indescribably sweet fragrance.
Then Seira looked up, and their gazes met each other.
At that moment, fireworks lit up the night sky as Seira’s eyes sparkled brightly.
Staring into those colorful, jewel-like eyes, Yamato felt drawn in.
Up close, Seira looked fragile, beautiful, and glamorous in her yukata. She was so alluring that Yamato was very tempted to hug her, and he would if he was not careful.
But even so, Yamato rallied his reason and managed to pull his body away from her.
“A-Are you all right?”
“Yes, you stopped my fall.”
“I told you to be careful… and you weren’t at the station.”
“I’m sorry, I just wanted to surprise you.”
Just from her smile, the irritation and frustration that Yamato had been feeling was taken away as if it were a lie to begin with.
“…You’re right, I was surprised. You look very beautiful in your yukata.”
“Thank you. Then, the operation was a success. —Let’s go.”
Seira said happily, then pulled Yamato’s hand.
But Yamato held her back.
“Wait, Kosaka-san is here too.”
“Eh? Ah, Tsubaki.”
Seira turned around and finally seemed to notice Tsubaki standing in the distance.
She rushed over to her, clanking her clogs as she pulled Yamato’s hand, and then grabbed Tsubaki’s hand as well.
“Okay, now we’re all good.”
The two of them are puzzled, but Seira said with a carefree look on her face.
“This way, we won’t get separated, right? —Ouch.”
Yamato, by reflex, hit Seira on her head.
This was an imitation of the punishment that Seira’s older sister Reika had previously given her. He didn’t think Seira would be sorry for such a thing, but it proved to be effective enough to distract her.
“If anyone should get lost, it’s Shirase. Anyway, why were you late today?”
“I couldn’t decide on a yukata. I was trying on different ones at home until I found the right one.”
The reason was more girly than expected, so Yamato couldn’t pursue the matter any further.
It would be best not to mention that he thought she had just overslept from sleeping in twice.
Perhaps it was because she was now in front of her rival. Tsubaki was nervous and kept a quiet expression on her face.
Yamato, therefore, thought about following up and put his head in the game.
“Hey, Shirase, are you hungry?”
“Yes, I’m starving.”
“Then let’s buy some things at the food stalls. There’s a good store across the bridge.”
“Heh, sounds good.”
Tsubaki tilted her head curiously.
If it was food, Eita and his friends were waiting for them at the spot where they would be watching the show with enough food for everyone.
Yamato immediately fiddled with his phone and sent a message to Tsubaki saying, “Let’s move to a less crowded place and talk there.”
He thought that he would be able to enjoy the fireworks with everyone if he got things done first.
Tsubaki checked her phone and nodded nervously.
They moved to a bench by the river.
This was the perfect place to rest, as there were only a few people around because the buildings were obstructing the view of the fireworks.
He told Eita in a message that it would take a little more time to get there, so there was no problem there either.
Seira, who had purchased a variety of foods such as takoyaki, candied apples, cotton candy, and roasted corn at stalls along the way, sat on a bench and tucked into her food with satisfaction.
A short distance from her, Yamato approached Tsubaki.
“Should I sit out?”
Tsubaki shook her head from side to side.
“If you can, please be present. …Umm, I know you are going to see something unflattering, but I’m anxious, so please stay.”
Seira blanky gazed at the two of them from a distance as they secretly held a strategy meeting.
Tsubaki, noticing this gaze, cleared her throat and then stood in front of Seira.
“Seira-senpai, there is actually something I want to talk to you about.”
Tsubaki said in a serious tone, and Seira swallowed what she had in her mouth.
“Well, um… ──I actually thought of senpai as a rival!”
Tsubaki shouted out loudly and expressed her feelings.
Although it was sudden, direct and abstract, it should not be mistaken as what she wanted to convey.
Seira, who had received those words, tilted her head slightly.
“In other words, you want to get into a fistfight now?”
“No, that’s not it! That’s not what I meant!”
“Eh, let’s see… as a ballerina, I have been thinking of Seira-senpai as a rival one sidedly…”
Tsubaki was a bit hesitant, perhaps because she had a bad start.
And in front of her, Seira smiled at Tsubaki.
“Is that so?”
“Is that so…? Are my feelings even being conveyed properly?”
“Yeah, I got the message. And?”
“Ah, yes, and—”
Tsubaki then recounted how she had seen Seira before, just as she had told Yamato.
Seira listened to her story while humming along nonchalantly.
(Shirase is actually a good listener. I remember the first time I asked her to listen to my story about not going to school.)
Yamato, who was keeping his distance as an outsider, was watching the two of them and recalling fond memories.
“I want you to go back to being a perfect senior like you used to be! And on top of that, I want to win!”
When Tsubaki finished speaking at one point, Seira replied in a curt manner.
Seeing Tsubaki’s disappointment, Seira smiled again and continued.
“But I’m sorry, but I don’t do ballet anymore. And other things, too. Unless I want to do it again.”
“Why not!? You’re so beautiful, so perfect, so well accepted by everyone around you! Don’t you think it’s a waste!?”
Tsubaki, in a state of emotional instability, asked that question with all her emotions.
Seira, on the other hand, answered without ceasing to smile.
“I don’t think so. It is enough for me if I am satisfied with it.”
“That’s too much of a waste… I wish I could be satisfied with it myself…”
“Ah, and recently I’ve been thinking that I want to do things that make Yamato happy. I don’t know, I feel like I can satisfy myself that way.”
Seira smiled innocently and looked at Yamato.
Since she said such a thing without embarrassment, Yamato blushed and looked away.
“…Senpai, do you like Yamato-senpai?”
After hesitating for a moment, Tsubaki uttered that question.
The hesitation was probably because she felt guilty for Yamato.
The unexpected question from Tsubaki caused Yamato to freeze up.
But Seira would surely have answered this question in a matter-of-fact manner—
“I won’t answer that question. I think that kind of thing should be told to the person in question first.”
Tsubaki and Yamato were also surprised by this unexpected response.
They had assumed that the answer would be something like, “It’s normal,” or “Yes, I like you (as a friend),” but it seemed that she had a good understanding of what that meant.
When Yamato had previously asked Seira about her romantic relationships, she had said she wasn’t sure.
But does that mean she understood now? The more Yamato thought about it, the more confused his mind became.
Yamato’s mouth moved.
Although he was supposed to be a bystander, an outsider, he was asking for an answer.
He went on to say it.
“Does that mean you can tell me?”
Yamato could hear his own voice trembling.
He didn’t want to know these things in this way.
Yet, he couldn’t suppress the urge to ask.
Seira stood up slowly and came toward him with her clogs clanking as she walked.
Yamato almost backed away, but he kept standing in place with all his strength in his legs.
When Seira stood right in front of him, they looked at each other.
It’s not too late, it’s not too late to stop her—These thoughts crossed Yamato’s mind, but Seira opened her mouth before he could do so.
Hearing those words, his thoughts instantly froze.
His vision shook and he lost his footing, even though he was standing still with all his strength.
I shouldn’t have done that. —That was the only regretful thought that popped up in his head.
But time moved on without mercy.
Seira, in front of him, smiled.
“I still don’t know much about love.”
A simple, confused voice spilled out of Yamato’s mouth, but Seira continued on without caring.
“I think I’ve told Yamato before, but those things still don’t ring a bell with me.”
“Eh, oh, that.”
Yamato’s brain was still not working properly, but he understood that the ‘sorry’ she just said did not mean that she did not like him.
With that, Yamato was deeply relieved.
It was a big relief.
“But I do wish that our time could last forever as it does now, as is often the case in manga and movies. So there is no doubt that I care about Yamato.”
“I see. I’m glad to hear that, thank you. I also enjoy being with Shirase and wish this kind of time could last forever.”
“Yeah, I know.”
They smiled at each other. Again, Yamato was deeply relieved.
Although his head still felt like it was not working properly, Yamato was genuinely happy. It was not often that he and Seira had an opportunity to talk about their feelings toward each other like this, so it was a little embarrassing.
Then Tsubaki interrupted.
Something was wrong with her. Her legs were wobbling and her face was bright red. It was obvious at a glance that she was agitated.
When Yamato called her name, Tsubaki glared at him sharply.
“You—no, this is not something I should be talking about.”
Tsubaki took a slow, deep breath, then turned to Seira with a calm complexion.
“But thanks to you, I understand now.”
“—Even Seira-senpai, whom I thought was perfect, has something she is not good at.”
The area became quiet at her words.
The reason was that, from Yamato’s point of view, Seira was never perfect. But for Tsubaki, it might have been her first realization.
She gets lost easily, has a habit of slacking off, and is often crazy, going out late at night…
And Seira herself was puzzled. She seemed to have no idea what was going on.
While the situation was getting strange, Tsubaki cleared her throat.
“I had no idea that Seira-senpai was so unfamiliar with romantic feelings. I think I have the edge in that area.”
“Heh, have you ever been in love, Kosaka?”
When Seira asked seemingly intrigued, Tsubaki replied with a muffled voice.
“…No, I’m not in a relationship yet.”
“Then we’re the same.”
“Please don’t lump us together. Unlike Senpai, I at least know whether I am in love or not.”
Tsubaki fidgeted with embarrassment but still continued to assert her superiority.
But now that she mentioned it, so Tsubaki has already been in love—
“Kosaka-san is surprisingly progressive…”
Yamato said, unintentionally impressed, and Tsubaki replied, turning her head down, her face bright red again.
“O-On that note, even Yamato-senpai must have his own thoughts on the matter, right?”
Yamato answered her question, feeling his heartbeat quicken again.
“That’s, well… I think about a lot of things too, but being cautious is not a bad thing, right?”
“Yes, if only to a certain extent.”
There was a thorn in Tsubaki’s words, but Yamato decided not to worry about it.
His feelings for Seira.
As Seira said, it is an important matter.
However, to give a name to those feelings, he felt that they were lacking in many ways.
Above all, it was as if he had experienced being “rejected,” albeit in a pseudo way, earlier. The regret and sense of loss he experienced at that time was more than enough destructive force to make Yamato cautious.
He also had a premonition that things would not turn out well if he went ahead on his own.
Tsubaki looked up and continued as if to regroup the conversation.
“I’m fine now. I know it’s rude of me, but I realized that I had overestimated Seira-senpai. —With this, the genius ballerina Kosaka Tsubaki is revived!”
Facing Tsubaki, who declared so with a smug look on her face, Yamato smiled and said to Seira.
“So? It’s pretty ragged, but is it okay? I don’t think I’ll be punished if I give you a deco-pin or two now.”
“I’m fine with it, as long as Tsubaki is back on her feet. Tsubaki’s smile is so cute, which is even better.”
“Really, Shirase, how can you say such embarrassing things without hesitation… It looks like that one comment is already lethal enough, and if that was payback, it was strangely effective.”
As he said that, Tsubaki, who was looking so smug just a few minutes ago, was now stunned.
Seira, who seemed to be unconcerned about her, picked up the rest of the food.
“Are we done here?”
Tsubaki then asked, turning serious again.
“I just have one last thing. —What did Seira-senpai think of me when you were a ballerina? For example, were we friends…”
The latter part of her voice was muffled, perhaps a sign of her lack of confidence.
Seira pondered for a few moments.
“Tsubaki is not what I would call a friend.”
Even though she had worked so hard not to cry up to this point, the words she just said caused tears to well up in Tsubaki’s eyes.
Perhaps she was hoping that Seira would consider her a friend, even if it was only a small possibility.
Seira’s honesty does not seem to waver at all, as she gave a harsh answer even when asked face to face.
Or so Yamato thought.
Seira told her with a straight face.
“At the time, I thought Tsubaki was my rival.”
It was cold.
The cold look in her eyes and the fighting spirit in her eyes made Yamato on edge.
Not only Yamato, but Tsubaki as well, trembled in place.
The fighting spirit in her face, which she showed only for a moment, was immediately replaced by her usual expressionless face.
“So, we weren’t friends after all, me and Tsubaki.”
Tsubaki remained frozen in place, perhaps unable to shake off her nervousness.
On the other side of the coin, Seira’s smile became softer.
“But I’ve already stopped ballet, and from now on I want to be friends with Tsubaki. So I hope we can be friends, okay?”
Tsubaki’s face turned bright red as she nodded her head in response to Seira’s words.
“I’m glad. It seemed like Tsubaki still saw me as a rival, so I didn’t know what to do.”
“…Senpai, you’re not fair. Goodness…”
Tsubaki started to run after saying that, and then jumped straight into Seira’s chest.
Seira accepted her and patted her head with a smile.
“Then we’ll be friends from now on.”
“Yes! I love you, Seira-senpai!”
(Perhaps, Kosaka-san’s love is just like that…)
Yamato, who was watching the scene, was trying not to say anything about such a statement.
“That settles the matter, I suppose.”
Yamato called out to them, as he couldn’t stay here forever.
“Yes, I’m sorry for making you stay.”
“Tamaki-san and the others are waiting for you?”
“Yeah. The fireworks will be short-lived, so let’s get back soon.”
And so the three of them returned to their classmates to find that the situation was noisier than they had expected.
The girls were talking about their love lives, and the boys seemed to be talking about a hodgepodge of topics, and it had already become more of a chatting session than a fireworks viewing.
“Sorry I kept you waiting.”
“Wow, the Saint is here!”
Mei, who was excited from Seira’s presence, shouted. The other girls were all smiling uncomfortably as they looked at three who had just arrived.
“You’re late, popular guy. Thanks to you, I had to go shopping all by myself.”
Eita was bitter and resentful. For some reason, the other boys joined in and glared at Yamato.
“Sorry, I’ll go next time.”
“No, that’s not good enough.”
Saying this, Eita pulled out a portable game console.
“What will we do if I don’t get rid of this grudge! We battle it out!”
“””””FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”””””
(These guys brought a game console to a fireworks show…)
A tournament of competitive games (the car racing type) began among the boys, and even the girls joined in the middle, which caused it to get heated.
As a result, the winner was Seira, and Eita was half crying, saying “I can’t believe it…”
And so the final fireworks went off.
Eita’s loud, out-of-tune voice rang out, and the fireworks show came to an end as everyone burst into laughter.