Shamer - Chapter 4 Part 6
“So tired today.”
After the soccer team’s practice was over, I was walking home alone.
The tournament was coming up soon, so practice was getting pretty hard.
I was getting used to the club activities, but my muscles were still sore all over.
When I got home, the front door was unlit and the living room was dark.
I then remembered that my father and mother both had to work late today.
“…Shoot. I forgot to buy dinner.”
At times like this, I had to go to a convenience store to buy one.
…Whatever. I’ll just go buy it now.
Just as I was about to open the front door, the intercom rang.
“? Who would come here at this hour?”
With a question in my mind, I put my hand on the doorknob.
Then, I opened the door to find a person that I wasn’t expecting standing there.
“Good evening. Kinu.”
A fresh voice. A person tall enough to look up at. A handsome face like a model.
My former best friend — Saitomiya Touya.
“No, I came here in the afternoon, but no one answered. So I came back now… and this is a surprise.”
Touya looked at my uniform carefully. Then he continued his story.
“I never thought that Kinu was attending a high school.”
“…I’ve just recently started attending. I stopped going to school during middle school.
“Heeh, I wonder who bullied you?”
Touya said in a mocking manner.
And there were feelings that welled up deep in my chest, but I managed to suppress them.
I’m the one who started it all in the first place.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to make fun of you.”
“Then go home.”
I immediately replied, and Touya laughed in an amused manner.
“I’m just kidding. I came here to tell you something.”
“What do you want to tell me?”
I asked, and he nodded. After all this time, what was it that Touya wanted to tell me?
Was he boasting that he already got a regular spot in the “Teijo High School” soccer team or something?
With Touya’s ability, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case at all.
While I was thinking like that, unexpected words came out of Touya’s mouth.
“I broke up with Ruri.”
I was so surprised that I could not speak immediately when Touya revealed it to me.
“You look surprised.”
“Well… Isn’t that expected?”
Me and Touya have been through a lot, but I know from him that he has been in love with Ruri since they were in elementary school.
So I couldn’t believe that after a year or so, they broke up.
I thought so, but then I heard even more shocking words from Touya’s mouth.
“I dumped that boring girl.”
When I tried to get emotional, he tried to quiet me with his hands.
“Don’t be so angry. Listen to what I have to say.”
He smiled and continued his story.
“She’s terrible, that girl. She doesn’t even look happy when she goes on a date with me.”
“…Touya, stop it already.”
“I’ve been going out with her for about a year now, and she won’t even hold my hand, let alone kiss me. That’s not a good girlfriend.”
“…Stop it already.”
“Yeah, I should never have gone out with that girl.”
“I told you to stop already!”
I shouted, and finally Touya stopped talking.
“Touya… why are you saying that?”
I said, barely managed to get it out.
I was so sad that my best friend, no, my ex-best friend, who was the nicest and coolest person to anyone — was saying such horrible things.
“Well, that’s because… I don’t like Ruri in the first place.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
When Touya said something I didn’t understand, I asked him back.
To this, Touya responded with a half smile.
“I’ll repeat it, I never liked Ruri in the first place.”
“…Then why did you confess to Ruri?”
“Because I hate Kinu.””
The same words that he had said to me in middle school.
But even after hearing such an answer, I still could not understand it.
“Why would you want to go out with Ruri just because you hate me?”
“You are really obtuse. It’s harassment, harassment.”
I was so shocked, and he put his hand on his forehead and added.
“I actually knew that you liked her even before I asked you if you liked anyone.”
That was the first time I had heard that.
So, knowing that I had feelings for Ruri, did Touya have me help him and Ruri get together in middle school…?
“So I wanted to go out with Ruri, whom you like, and harass you.”
“Did you really go out with her just to do that…?”
When I asked, Touya nodded.
“That’s right. That’s how much I hated Kinu.”
He smiled at me.
I couldn’t tell what he was feeling now.
“But I broke up with her because I didn’t want that boring girl anymore. Kinu and I went to different high schools, and there was no point in harassing you anymore.”
“You, stop talking like that—!”
While I was saying this, I suddenly realized something.
Immediately after, I stopped what I was about to say to Touya.
“Kinu, you can do whatever you want with Ruri.”
He was talking in a tone that said he was no longer interested in her.
It was a statement that was hard to believe coming from the man who had been so incensed by my later confession to Ruri back in middle school.
“Aww, she really was a boring girl.”
Touya muttered to himself.
He seemed to be a bit lonely like that.
“Oh, and you know, it wasn’t Ruri who told me about your confession to her in middle school.”
Touya spoke as if he had just remembered.
“! But you said you heard it from Ruri at that time…”
“That’s a lie, a lie. The truth is that a classmate happened to see your confession and told his friend, and I heard it.”
Touya said in a lighthearted manner, and in addition, he conveyed another message.
“While I’m at it, I am the reason why Ruri didn’t do anything for Kinu when you were going through a tough time.
“Touya was the reason… what do you mean?”
I asked back, and he answered with a wicked smile on his face.
“I threatened Ruri a little. I told her that if she tried to help Kinu, she might end up in the same situation as Kinu. Then she got scared and stopped trying to help you.”
“! Why did you do that…?”
Touya was at a loss for words.
“I just wanted to harass Kinu. That’s all.”
In the end, he said it clearly.
Then I realized something else and said nothing more.
“This is all I wanted to tell you. Whether you confess to Ruri or go out with her from now on has nothing to do with me.”
When he finally told me that, he spun around and turned his back to me.
“That’s that, then.”
He walked away from me little by little.
His back looked so lonely, somewhat similar to me when I was in a depressed mood.
When I called his name, he turned around.
“What? Is there something you want to say to me?”
“Yes, there is.”
“Go ahead. Cuss me out or whatever you want.”
Touya stood there proudly, as if he would accept any words I had to say to him.
I’m sorry to say this, but the words I’m about to say are not abusive.
“Thank you, Touya.”
When I thanked him, his eyes widened in surprise.
Then he chuckled and said
“You idiot. What are you thanking me for?”
“I guess you’re right.”
I laughed a little too.
“You really are an idiot… and so am I.”
Touya looked up at the darkening night sky and said sadly.
Then he turned his back on me again.
“Oh, see you again.”
But there was no reply, and Touya left.
I was the only one left.
“…He’s too bad at lying.”
There were times when Touya was lying when he was talking to me.
When he was talking about dating Ruri in order to harass me.
And when he talked about how he threatened Ruri so that she wouldn’t help me when I was being bullied, he grabbed his pants.
It was an old habit of his when he lies.
In other words, he was going out with Ruri because he really liked her, and he threatened her because he liked her.
If that was the case, then he must have lied about everything he said about Ruri, even though he said terrible things about her.
Still, he went out of his way to tell me that they had broken up.
Probably so that I could approach or confess to Ruri at any time in the future.
After all, just like in the past, Touya remained kind.
“…Well, he wasn’t lying when he said he hated me.”
I had a feeling he had his own reasons for that too.
Otherwise, he wouldn’t have come to my house to tell me that he and Ruri had broken up.
“Really, thank you.”
I thanked him again, turning to Touya, who was already gone.
And then I thought.
I wish I could be best friends with him again.
For some reason, I was sure we could work it out.
Even though I have no evidence at all.
But I felt it would be so strangely deep down.