Please Tell Me How to Remember Love - Chapter 2 Part 2
Chapter 2 Part 2
It was a little after Takayuki suddenly rushed out of the bus. Aoi entered the art clubroom.
The moment she entered the room, the smell of various arts materials entered her nose, but it soon faded, carried away by the winds. It seemed like they had opened the window so that the air inside could change easily just for Aoi.
Seeing this level of consideration made Aoi concerned. The senpai who called her out here was someone who lacked any kind of consideration toward others. She was the same person who extended her paint-stained hand for a handshake while smiling innocently to her.
“Oh! Thank you for coming, Aoi! I honestly thought that there was a 30% chance that you’d ignore my request, but since you owed me something— Anyway, good deeds are always rewarded, I guess!”
“I’m regretting the fact that I didn’t take that 30% chance instead, Rinko-senpai.”
The one who welcomed Aoi into the clubroom was a second year student named Akanashi Rinko.
She was a petite, baby-faced girl with bob-haired cut and gray overalls. Her appearance made her look younger if you didn’t know her at all. The reason why she pulled that haircut was to make it easier for her to work. As for her overalls, apparently she had already turned at least fifty of them unusable, thanks to how much dedication she had toward her crafts.
“Ahahaha, you don’t need to act like that! I know that you’ll never abandon me, Aoi!”
“Right. I’ll do my best to remove that weakness of mine for the sake of a better future.”
“I don’t think that’s possible for you. I mean, you were the one who came to my house and took care of me without me asking you first back in middle school.”
“Only because if I didn’t do that, you’d definitely die back then. I didn’t have any choice.”
“Sure, sure, let’s leave it at that~”
“The tone of your voice is p*ssing me off.”
Aoi gave Rinko a beautiful smile while regretting her life’s choices.
Rinko was a senpai that she had known since middle school, but she was someone who was annoying to deal with for Aoi. The reason for this was because of how she treated Aoi in an unnaturally intimate way. It was only Aoi that she treated this way. With other people, she’d show them so much arrogance and smugness to the point that everyone around her treated her like a weirdo. Aoi wasn’t comfortable with this kind of treatment, but as she hadn’t done anything that Aoi truly hated, there was no reason for her to cut their relationship off.
“Haah, enough. So, what is it that you want to talk to me about? If this is another poor joke of yours, my low affection points toward you will become even lower, okay?”
“I’m serious this time, so don’t worry. Anyway, about that… Well, you see…”
Rinko paused for a moment before saying her next words without any kind of hesitation.
“I’m thinking of confessing to someone that I like.”
Her cheeks turned red as she suddenly put on an embarrassed face, like a maiden-in-love.
“…Someone that you like? You have someone like that, Rinko-senpai?”
Aoi was astonished by her answer that she involuntarily opened her eyes wide. Rinko’s words struck her like bolt out of the blue.
“Are you the same Rinko-senpai that I know? The Rinko-senpai who knows nothing about human interaction except when it involves paintings? The one who they called painting youkai who disguised herself as a human being?!”
“Yes. I fell in love.”
“D-Did you finally turn into a proper human being? Rinko-senpai?!”
“Yes. I’ve become a human.”
Despite Aoi’s harsh words, Rinko nodded in good-spirits. She was clearly amused after seeing Aoi’s reaction to her words.
“That’s… Um… I guess… Congratulations? …So, who’s the lucky guy?”
“Hehehe. I’ve fallen in love with Shuzou-kun! Well, actually, I’ve liked him for a while now, but recently I realized that I fell in love with him!”
“Shuzou-kun? Is his last name Iwanaga?”
“Yes, yes! The tall and expressionless dude!”
The corners of Aoi’s lips twitched as she looked through her memories, trying to find within it, who was the person who fit the description she gave her. Then, while hoping that her guess was wrong, she uttered a question.
“…Is he the art club’s advisor? Iwanaga-sensei?”
Seeing Rinko’s smile as she nodded in affirmation gave Aoi a headache. Sure, she didn’t have the right to criticize other people’s love affairs, but this one was a different story.
“This is what I want to talk about! I’m thinking of confessing my feelings to him, but Shuzou-kun’s personality is a little…troublesome, you see? But that’s part of his charm, so I won’t complain!”
“Please don’t get sidetracked. But, seriously, seeing you having this kind of conversation with me feels surreal. It’s like I’m watching a fish walking with two legs.”
“That’s not a fish anymore, but a monster! Anyway, let’s get back to the topic. So, I want to confess my feelings to him, but there’s a little problem…”
‘The fact that a student is thinking about confessing her feelings to a teacher is already a problem in itself! Besides, why are you even asking me about this?! You know I’m clueless about love!’ Aoi swallowed her words and decided to just let her continue talking. She had solved several love-related problems with Takayuki before, so she could wait until she gained more information about the problem before deciding on her course of action.
“You see, Aoi. I have a feeling that if I were to confess my love now, he’ll definitely reject me in a heartbeat!”
“…I can see that happening, yes.”
“Of course that won’t be the case! Do you think Shuzou-kun hates me that much, Aoi?! He likes me, you know?!”
“Why are you looking at me like someone who can’t face reality?!”
Seeing Aoi giving her a cold stare, Rinko began to make excuses for herself in a flustered manner.
“Hear me out! Shuzou-kun treats his students fairly, but there’s something different about the gaze he has when he looks at me. It’s obvious that he harbors hidden feelings for me! Also, ever since I joined the art club as a first year, he had been opening the clubroom earlier and he always tried to attend club activities with me whenever possible!”
However, rather than giving Aoi a real answer, she spouted her words as if it was decided that the teacher had fallen for her.
“Uh… Honestly, it feels like you’re just misunderstanding his intention, Rinko-senpai. I’m sure Iwanaga-sensei is just trying to do his best as a teacher… But still, if that’s what you’re really thinking…”
Rinko was speaking like a maiden-in-love. If the saying ‘love is blind’ applied to her, then it was certain that everything was just her misunderstanding.
However, Aoi knew. Despite everything, Rinko had exceptional judgment when it came to people.
“Glad to hear that you trust me, Aoi!”
“Your personality aside, I do trust your judgment when it comes to things like this. But still…”
In fact, Aoi had solved cases with her help a few times in the past. The case with Takayuki’s friend, Minoru, for example. She asked for her help and she had done a great job giving Minoru sound advice when he was struggling to paint.
And to prove that she had really given sound advice, Minoru himself came over and thanked her for it. There was no doubt that the advice had at least a positive impact on him.
“Well, I don’t think you have lost your touch… Okay, let’s assume that your words are correct and Iwanaga-sensei is fond of you. You two have feelings for each other and when you confess to him, he accepts your confession. In that scenario, what comes afterwards will be nothing but trouble.”
At Aoi’s words, Rinko stopped moving and started to mutter something under her breath.
“Previously, I told Shuzou-kun, ‘You love me, don’t you?!’ And he replied to me with, ‘Teachers don’t fall in love with their students,’ with a blank face.”
“You got dumped before you even confessed, huh?”
“B-But, he’s the kind of person who’d reply that way even if he has feelings for me!”
“Ah, I guess you have a point. Iwanaga-sensei is that kind of person…”
Aoi was familiar with the teacher called Iwanaga Shuzou. He was quiet, firm and was a rule-abiding person. He never raised his voice to warn his students. Instead, he’d approach them calmly and give them a lecture filled with logical reasons on why you should abide by the rules. The students recognized him as ‘A teacher that you should never offend.’
“Then, why don’t you wait until graduation? If you really love him, waiting for that long shouldn’t be a problem, no?”
“Ngh… Well, for personal reasons, I need to hear his answer now… Also, Shuzou-kun will definitely dump me if I were to confess to him after graduation. This is my only chance to confess.”
“I don’t understand the logic behind this at all… What made you think that you have a chance in the first place anyway?”
Aoi tilted her head, in which Rinko replied with a sly smile.
“I got him to promise me when we meet outside the school, just for once, he’ll reply to me honestly. Not as a teacher, but as himself.”
“…What kind of shady tricks did you pull to get him to promise you that?”
“Well, Shuzou-kun loves my paintings. So, I got him to promise that in exchange that I’ll paint him anything that he wants. Also, I told him, even if he refuses me, I’ll still paint for him. Except that I’ll burn it right in front of his eyes afterwards.”
The devilish glee she had befit the ominous words she spouted.
Reluctantly, Aoi asked another question to her.
“How could you say something like burning your own painting even if it’s just a bluff?”
“No, no, I could say something like that because it’s my own painting to begin with. I have a conscience, I won’t burn other people’s paintings!”
“What conscience are you even talking about?… Anyway, since you’ve made that kind of promise, why don’t you just go ahead and confess? Why do you even talk to me about it?”
To Aoi’s words, Rinko replied with a mysterious expression on her face.
“You see, Shuzou-kun never revealed anything about his personal life. Like, never.”
“Ah, well, that makes sense. He does seem to be the kind of person who’d separate his private and work matters.”
“On top of that, he commutes by car! I can’t even stalk him!”
“I’m at a dead end.” Rinko said, shrugging her shoulders.
“I see. In other words, you want to meet him outside of school to confess to him, but you don’t even know how to do that in the first place. That’s why you came to ask for my help.”
Rinko nodded with a big smile after hearing Aoi’s words. Her smile was filled with trust toward Aoi, who wasn’t in particularly a bad mood even though she realized that she had been dragged into yet another troublesome case.
However, before everything, there was something that she wanted to confirm.
“Rinko-senpai, can I ask you something first?”
“Alright, first of all… Have you truly considered everything before deciding to do this? Let’s say that he somehow accepted your feelings and you two are going out. But, he’s still a teacher. If someone were to find out about your relationship, he’ll definitely get into trouble. He might even get fired because of it.”
“Well, of course I’ve considered everything already! He’ll hate me if I don’t, after all!”
Although Rinko answered her question casually, Aoi knew that she was serious about her answer. Rinko wasn’t someone who’d consider common sense and rules, but if it was for the person that she liked, she could change that. In fact, the reason why she attended school every day back during middle school was because she didn’t want Aoi to hate her.
“I guess so, huh? You’re that kind of person, after all… Alright, then, have you considered the possibility that you wouldn’t get the answer you want from him?”
If that was the case, there was only one thing left for Aoi to worry about.
How would the weirdo who had just learned about love react to being heartbroken?
“Hm? Of course I did. Everyone who was about to confess did. It would be weirder if I didn’t consider that possibility in the first place, no?”
“Huh? Why did you react like that?! I didn’t say anything weird, didn’t I?”
“D-Don’t mind that, Rinko-senpai. B-But still, I’ve never expected that you, out of all people, would be so understanding…”
“Ahahaha… What, do you think I’d cry and be depressed about it for months if I were to get dumped? Well, I might cry about it for a while, but, Aoi, for me, this confession is like a turning point.”
“A turning point?”
Aoi tilted her head after hearing Rinko’s casual words.
“You see, an art dealer approached me. They offered me to do some work overseas.”
“That’s why, Aoi, this confession is a turning point for me. If he accepts my confession, I’ll do my best to devote my whole life to him. But, if he dumps me, then, I’ll take the offer and dedicate my life to being a painter instead.”
Aoi knew. Despite her casual tone, Rinko was dead serious. There wasn’t any trace of playfulness in her face, she was seriously considering the path that she would be taking in the future.
“Um… But… Can’t you do both of them at the same time?”
“No. There’s no third option for me. It’s either art or romance, there’s no in between. Both paths are difficult to tread on, so I don’t want to do both of them half-heartedly.”
While she was a high school student, Akanashi Rinko was still a painter.
Her talent had been recognized by not only the art dealer that gave her an offer, but also by various other people. Her peers might be unable to recognize her paintings and pen name, but anyone in the industry would recognize her as a monstrous genius, the kind of talent that would only appear once every thousand years.
“This is my choice, the path that I want to walk on. Whatever the result is, I won’t hold a grudge against anyone about it. That’s why, Aoi, can you help me? As a friend?”
“…No, this is too heavy for me…”
“I see. I guess so, huh?”
Unknowingly, Aoi managed to involve herself into the turning point of Rinko’s life.
* * *
It would be no exaggeration to say that Takayuki’s middle school days were filled with Yui’s abusive words. Especially during his third year, where Yui endlessly gave him hell for it.
“So that’s why you were late… But, still, are you for real? Sending a kouhai to the infirmary because they were anemic is fine, but do you feel the need to stay there to the point that you came in late?!”
Spring of the third year of middle school. Takayuki got scolded by Yui again.
During a short period of time between the homeroom and the first period. Yui dragged Takayuki out of the classroom and made him dogeza in the hallway. With an angry expression on her face, Yui folded her arms in front of her chest and looked down at him with a cold stare.
“Takayuki. I’m not saying that helping people is bad. But, ‘helping people without any regards for yourself’ is an extremely foolish thing to do. It’s borderline self-harming yourself. Do you understand what I’m saying? Helping people is fine, but keep it reasonable!”
“You’re right. Sorry, I’ll reflect on it.”
“Sorry? Reflect on it? Just how many times have you said those words to me, hm?”
Yui had the habit of pulling Takayuki’s cheeks each time she got angry. Not with force though, as she only pulled them lightly. But, the strength she put in was enough to show him that she was angry.
“…Haah. Do you really get what I’m saying?”
“Yes, I do. I understand that you’re worried about me, Yui.”
“Who’s worried about you?!”
As far as Takayuki knew, Yui never acted this way except with him.
Takayama Yui was someone who was calm, reserved and always paid attention to her surroundings. One could say that she was flawless. But, for some reason, she always lost her cool whenever she was dealing with Takayuki.
This fact made Takayuki feel ashamed. He felt that he was too lacking as her friend and he didn’t deserve the care she gave him all this time.
“Do you understand? The more you go out of your way to help someone out, the more they feel burdened about it. That’s why, try to gain some benefit from your actions. Don’t act as if you’re a saint. It’s better for you to act like a bad person, but still help out someone when they need to.”
“How do I act like a bad person, then?”
“For the time being, try to speak more bluntly. Change your tone of speech, dress yourself up to make you look more like a delinquent.”
“Yui. I got a feeling that your personal taste is involved in that advice.”
“You must have imagined it.”
Yui cursed him, but he just received her words willingly.
In their middle school days, the two of them spent their days together like that.
Even after they eventually got separated, they never denied that they once had that kind of relationship in the past.
* * *
Back to the present.
“I never expected you to do this. Seriously, I don’t know what to do with you, Satou-san.”
Takayuki was currently sitting on a bench while receiving a sermon from Karin.
Yes, a sermon from someone younger than himself. Takayuki had his own thoughts about this matter, but the other party was right, so he couldn’t really argue against her.
“…Haah, look at that face. No remorse at all.”
“Wait, Kuramori. I understand your dismay against me, but who are you sending that text to? Oh no, I have a bad feeling about this.”
Karin stared at Takayuki, completely ignoring his words as she operated her phone.
“So, why did you run out of the bus just to help that child?”
“You did the same thing after you saw me doing that.”
“I did it out of obligation. I’ll be disqualified as your caretaker if I just let you run off like that.”
Seeing her accusatory gaze made Takayuki feel uncomfortable. However, he didn’t feel that out of any kind of ill-feelings, rather he felt thankful to her. Just a few minutes ago, both Karin and Takayuki were taking the injured kid they helped back to her parents… After wasting a few hours of getting lost first though…
“Give me a proper answer, Satou-san.”
Since he felt indebted to her for accompanying him in the moderately hard work despite today being a holiday, Takayuki had no choice but to answer her.
“Well, I saw a child crouching from inside the bus. There’s no one around her. As a normal person, I should at least find out what’s going on.”
“A normal person wouldn’t cancel their plan just for something like this. Unless the plan is something unimportant. So, is cheering for your senpai with Kageyama-san unimportant to you?”
Takayuki involuntarily fell silent after hearing Karin’s words.
Her words hit a sore spot for him. In fact, what remained in Takayuki’s heart after rescuing the child wasn’t a sense of accomplishment, but a sense of guilt. Regret over the fact that he couldn’t abandon someone in misfortune and kept acting impulsively for them.
He didn’t regret that he helped that child, but he regretted not being able to cheer for Haruka because of it.
“The fact that you’re talking casually like this to me means that the match is already over, right?”
“…Yeah. They played against a strong opponent. They gave a good fight, but in the end they lost and got eliminated in the first round.”
“I saw you fiddling on your phone while looking for the lost child’s parents. You were probably either texting Kageyama-san or that senpai of yours to apologize, but along the way, she told you the result of the match.”
Karin’s guesses were correct.
Originally, Takayuki had contacted them to tell them that he’ll come over and join them after helping the lost child. However, along the way, he received the news that Haruka’s team had been eliminated in the first round from both of them.
“Were they angry at you?”
“Kageyama is still angry at me. She sent me, ‘I understand your situation, but you should know better.’ and other messages along that line for a while now.”
“I see. So that’s why your phone has been buzzing non-stop. What about the other senpai? The one who had a match.”
Takayuki frowned at his own foolishness before answering her question.
“She told me, ‘Yes, I might have lost, but don’t you dare take pity on me! I’ll beat you up if you do! It feels bad that you weren’t there to cheer on me, but your senpai isn’t so pitiful that she’d get sad for something like that!’”
“That person is a tough one.”
“Yeah, she is much stronger than me.”
“…Is she important to you?”
“Yes… She’s a good friend of mine…”
After a moment of hesitation, Takayuki said those words firmly. Haruka was his friend. Even after she confessed to him and kissed him, she was still a friend to him.
“If that’s the case, then this can’t go on.”
Karin hurled strong words of rejection toward Takayuki.
“Helping someone is okay. I won’t denounce you for doing it. But at the cost of yourself and someone important to you? Now, that is a different story.”
She got up from the bench and stood in front of Takayuki as she said that. Then, while looking down on him, she continued.
“Also, you’ll hurt the people you helped too. Just think about it. What if the girl you just helped found out about your current situation? Don’t think about how or why she got to find out about it. Just think about the possibility first. Do you think she’ll be happy if she were to find out that the person who saved her was actually hurting himself in the process?”
Despite her words, Karin wasn’t angry at him.
Takayuki could tell that. After all, she didn’t wear her usual expressionless face, rather, she seemed to be sad about something.
“I see. You’re right… Ugh, I had a friend tell me about the same thing a long time ago. I told her that I’ll reflect on it properly, but it seems like I haven’t changed even a little since then.”
That was why he spouted those self-deprecative words. He understood that Karin was being genuine and her words reminded himself of his past.
“Yes. You’re hopeless, Satou-san… A hopeless high schooler like you has no business in playing as a hero.”
“Did your collaborators tell you to say those words to me?”
“…Well, I can tell that much at least.”
Facing Karin’s grim look, Takayuki averted his gaze and smiled. Not with her usual fearless, irreverent smile, but one filled with self-hatred.
“If you know that I aim to be a hero, then you should have got what you wanted. I don’t live a decent life, you can stop observing me.”
“That’s for me to decide.”
“Don’t bother. I don’t know who’s the one who asked you to do this, but you should just forget about it. Don’t try to get involved with a failure like me. You know that the only person who’d wish to be a hero at my age would either be someone who’s all talk or someone like me, an idiot who couldn’t even tell his own self-worth unless he’s throwing his life away to help someone out.”
Karin’s frown became even deeper after hearing those self-deprecative words coming from him.
“They said that excessive modesty equals sarcasm, but what you’re doing, demeaning yourself just because you heard about someone else’s opinion of you, is even worse than that.”
“I don’t want to hear those words come from an idiot who hangs around a high schooler everywhere while calling herself as his fiancee for no reason.”
“My bad… I’m sorry. You were worried about me and I made you cry in return. I shoulda known better. Please forgive me.”
“I’m not crying. Dust got into my eyes.”
Karin wiped her eyes with the back of her hand before glaring daggers at Takayuki.
A middle schooler had already given him that kind of look, the only option for him would be to yield here. If he still didn’t yield then, he wouldn’t be a fool anymore, but a demon.
“Kuramori. I’m not trying to imply anything here, but I’m just curious… Why did you approach me while saying that you wanted to be an understanding fiancee for me? Is there some kind of circumstances behind it?”
His words were filled with genuine concern toward Karin.
“In the first place, you didn’t have to go out of your way to pretend to be someone who’s in need of a consultant. You can just approach me directly while telling me that you came because that certain someone behind you asked you to do this. Whoever that someone was, since they were asking you to do this, they must be closely related to me. It would be easier for you to mention their name instead. We wouldn’t need to have that kind of standoff back when we first met.”
Takayuki hadn’t mentioned anything about this until now because he expected that whoever it was behind her would eventually create an opening for him to exploit. He also expected that after finding out that Reina was someone who was connected to the supernaturals, Karin would eventually slip up and drag down the person behind her along with her.
But the situation had changed. She was seriously concerned about him, so he had to act in a good faith in response.
“Correct. I have my reasons.”
And Karin understood that his words were out of concern for her. So, she suppressed her irritation and replied with logic while putting away her emotion.
“Firstly, I pretended to be someone who is in need of a consultation because I want to see how you interact with your clients. Secondly, I didn’t tell you the name of the person behind me because I’m waiting for the right time to do so. One day, I’ll definitely tell you everything. And lastly, the reason why I told you I want to be an understanding fiancee for you…”
Karin broke off her words for a moment. Her eyes were still red, but she stared directly into Takayuki’s eyes despite that.
“Actually, let’s turn this into a trade. If you tell me the reason why you decided to be a hero, I’ll tell you the reason.”
This time, Takayuki didn’t run away from her gaze. After a few deep breaths, he answered her question.
“… Because I’m scared.”
Karin involuntarily opened her eyes wide after hearing his words. It was understandable as the words didn’t fit his appearance at all.
“Yeah. I kept saying ‘that’s what a normal person would do,’ but that’s just an excuse. The real reason why I kept helping people is because I’m scared. It isn’t like there isn’t any other drive behind my actions, but fear is the main reason behind it. I’m afraid that if I were to stop helping people, people around me will give up on me. No, rather, I’m afraid of being disappointed in myself if I were to stop…”
Takayuki said such weak words, words that he never uttered in front of Aoi and Yui. Words that described his true feelings that he had been trying to hide.
“That’s why I did all that. I don’t want anyone to be disappointed in me, that’s why I moved to help people without thinking twice about it. I know it’s a bad habit of mine and I’ve been trying my best to fix it, but it’s hard.”
“Even if you stop helping people, no one will abandon you.”
“True, but there’s still a possibility…”
His tone was weak, but Takayuki still forced himself to finish his words.
“That’s why I tried to be a hero. So that someday, I’ll be able to help people with a more proper reason instead of the pathetic one I currently have. I want to gain that reason and puff my chest proudly. I know it sounds like wishful thinking for a coward like me. You can laugh at me if you want to.”
“I won’t laugh at you.”
“Then, forget about it.”
Takayuki said with a self-deprecating smile.
“I will never forget it. I won’t forget the reason why you decided to become a hero.”
However, Karin rejected his words with a firm attitude.
With a determined look, Karin stared at Takayuki and said,
“I will never forget someone like you. Someone who works hard for his goals.”
“…Is that so?”
“After all, it’s sad when people forget about everything that they should remember.”
Those words hit home for Takayuki. As someone who was connected with the supernaturals, it was hard to find someone who could relate so strongly with him. Most of the people he met could only see him through the lens of common sense that distorted their views from the truth.
It was because of this that the existence of a partner was valued so highly by people like him.
“…Uuu… *sniff* I’m so happy… My Rin-chan has grown up…”
“Woah! S-Since when–?!”
Unknowingly, Karin’s words found their way to penetrate Reina’s heart, who had been hiding next to Takayuki this whole time.
“…Reina-san. Please stop sneaking around and eavesdropping on other people’s conversation.”
Her partner gave her a look of disapproval for her actions though.
“Hehehe. I’m sorry. But, your words moved me so much!”
“Haah… Sorry, Satou-san. It’s probably due to the side effect of her ability, but her presence is abnormally thin. Even I couldn’t find her if she were to go out of her way to hide like that.”
Meanwhile, Takayuki, who spoke out his true feelings, thinking that there was only Karin in this place, was feeling depressed because of this development.
“See? Your prank is in bad taste, Reina-san! Apologize properly!”
“Sorry for eavesdropping, Takayuki-kun. I’ll make it up to you properly later, okay?”
Karin then proceeded to hit Reina lightly with the force of a playful kitten. At that moment, her phone buzzed. Someone texted her.
“Mm, it’s time.”
After confirming the content of the text, Karin grabbed Reina’s hand and pulled her closer. It was supposed to be a heartwarming gesture, like a child pulling her mother’s arm, but Karin’s expressionless face made it hard to think of it that way.
“Alright, we’ll leave it at that for today.”
“No, wait. You haven’t told me the third reason yet.”
To Takayuki who tried to stop her, Karin replied curtly.
“It’s just sentimentalism. That’s the reason why I declared myself as your fiancee. A long, long time ago. During that ‘summer vacation.’ I wish that I met you during that time.”
“What did you mean—”
“It’s a secret. I can’t tell you about it now.”
“…That’s just unfair.”
Even though she received Takayuki’s dissatisfied look, Karin was unperturbed. Instead, she replied to him properly without losing any composure.
“Girls are sneaky like that, get used to it, Satou-san. Also, this is a cliche development, but you really should think more before you act. Especially when you know that there are people who’d never let you off easily when things like this happen.”
Then, with an expressionless face, she said,
“This is my payback for what you’ve done ages ago. Are you confused? Good. Be as confused as possible.”
When Takayuki tilted his head in confusion, both Karin and Reina had already left the park. Almost immediately, he got his answer to Karin’s ominous words as he saw two people entering the park.
“Oi, that idiot over there.”
Seeing Yui and Aoi, walking side by side, with the former wearing an angry face and the latter donning her beautiful smile, Takayuki realized that his fate was sealed.
““Tell me everything.””
And so, with flowers in both hands, Takayuki received a heart-wrenching scolding.