Shamer - Chapter 4 Part 7
After telling Kinu everything. I ── Saitomiya Touyawa ── was walking alone in a residential area to go home.
“Thank you… that idiot.”
I muttered to myself as I remembered what Kinu had said to me earlier.
I’ve done a lot of terrible things to him….but he really is an idiot.
I was thinking that, and suddenly I remembered something from the past.
When I was in elementary school, my father was constantly being transferred for work, and I inevitably kept changing schools.
I was shy and didn’t talk much, so I wasn’t the type of person who could make friends.
Then, in my fourth elementary school I transferred to, I met Kinu and Ruri.
I was shy and had trouble communicating with them, but they were kind enough to talk to me over and over again. Especially Ruri, who invited me to play with her many times.
I think I had already fallen in love with her by then.
At the same time, I began to envy Kinu.
He is a childhood friend of Ruri and always made her smile.
I envied him and… gradually disliked — or rather, loathed — him.
I like Ruri, but why are you always with her?
I’ve selfishly arrived at that conclusion.
Then one day. While I was waiting at the park to play with Ruri and the others, some boys who were my classmates from another class came to the park.
They were famous for their bad reputations.
“Hey, we’re using this place. Get out of my way.”
So I was alone, and one of the boys unleashed a relentless stream of words.
“B-But… I’ve promised to play here too.”
“Hah? I think you’re the one who recently transferred to this school, aren’t you? Don’t get carried away, stranger.”
The boys were glaring at me.
I was scared and tried to run away.
But at that moment, I suddenly heard a voice from behind me.
“Don’t get cocky!”
I looked and saw that Kinu was talking to the male student.
Next, the boy glared at Kinu and said
“Kenji, it’s you again. It’s time for you to stop this.”
“That’s our line. Don’t keep the park to yourself, you idiot.”
“Idiot…! I’m going to beat you to a pulp again today.
“Show me what you can do. Come!”
Kinu beckoned to him as if to provoke him.
The gesture seemed to be very familiar to him.
“Do it, boys.”
Immediately after that, the boy who was talking with Kinu and me shouted out, and the other boys followed.
Next, all the boys jumped on Kinu at once.
Then, a few minutes later. Kinu, who had been beaten to a pulp, was lying on the ground.
—He is so weak, what the!?
“Are you okay, Kinu?”
I was worried about him.
I called him by his nickname, but to be honest, at this point I had no choice but to call him that because Ruri was using it.
I really didn’t want to call someone I didn’t like by his nickname.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. It happens all the time.”
Kinu replied with a laugh as he got up.
“Kinu, are you always doing this kind of thing…?
“Oh. Because those guys always try to monopolize the park and it pisses me off.”
“But that doesn’t mean they have to beat you up every time…”
I thought from the bottom of my heart that he must really be an idiot.
He should just leave those guys alone…
“But you had other reasons for being here today.”
Suddenly, Kinu started to say that.
Then he didn’t look at me, and as if it were a matter of course—
“They were trying to hurt Touya.
Hearing Kinu’s words, I was a little puzzled.
“Are you trying to help me?”
“It’s natural. Me and Touya are, well… friends.”
Kinu said shyly.
I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t think straight for a moment.
“…Me and Kinu-kun are friends?”
“Eh, we’re not? I thought we were… but, are we not?”
Kinu turned his face down sadly.
He was covered in cuts and scratches on his arms, and to think that it was all for my sake—
I found myself holding both of Kinu’s hands.
“No, me and Kinu-kun — no, me and Kinu are friends!”
At this moment, for the first time in my life, I voluntarily called him Kinu.
And I made an irreplaceable friend for the first time in my life.
From then on, my days were full of life.
I played around with Ruri and Kinu and had a lot of fun.
One day. I started to play soccer with Kinu, and it seemed I was suited to the sport.
Kinu was also very good at passing the ball, and playing soccer with him was really great.
I thought that the days would go on like this for a long time, and that the three of us would spend our days together.
—But at the same time, an evil feeling started to creep into my heart.
When the three of us are together, I can’t help but feel it.
The special bond that exists between Ruri and Kinu.
We had been together since childhood, and we had built a relationship that no one else could enter.
I still liked Ruri, but I couldn’t really break into the relationship those two had.
So, although it was fun to be with them, it also became harder and harder to be with them.
These feelings gradually grew, and when I was in the third year of middle school.
I had reached my limit.
I thought about breaking off our relationship.
But more than that, I wanted to make Ruri my girlfriend, to make her my own.
So I first asked Kinu if he liked someone else.
If he mentioned Ruri’s name, I was going to step down peacefully.
…No, it’s not fair to say it this way.
To be honest, when I asked the question, I was thinking that Kinu would not mention Ruri’s name because he was thinking of the three of us, including me. That was how much he cares about Ruri and me, and I knew it.
Sure enough, Kinu told me that he didn’t like anyone, and I decided to use that as an excuse to make Ruri my girlfriend, no matter what.
So I told Kinu that I liked Ruri and asked him to help me with my approach.
I thought that since Kinu was so kind, he would not be able to approach or confess his feelings to Ruri.
Next, I aggressively approached Ruri and even asked her out on a date.
Every time we went on a date, she turned me down, but I told her indirectly that I liked her anyway.
And I confessed my love to her.
…but she turned me down at first.
She said, “I have someone else I like.”
Someone she liked. Of course she liked Kinu.
But I wasn’t going to back down just because of that.
So I said to Ruri.
“I don’t think Kinu has anyone he likes.”
“I asked Kinu and he said he didn’t have anyone he liked. And when I asked her to help me make things work with Ruri, he gladly accepted.”
“I-Is that how it is…?”
Ruri was clearly shaken.
She probably thought Kinu liked her a little too.
I didn’t miss the wavering of her heart.
“Is it okay for Ruri to remain in love with Kinu?”
“What does that mean…?
“I mean, you’ve been with him since you were kids and he still doesn’t like you, right? Then wouldn’t it be better if you went out with me?”
“What are you talking about, Touya-kun? I don’t think so.”
Ruri looked as if she wasn’t buying it.
Still, I didn’t back down.
“I don’t care if we just go out on a trial basis. That’s how much I like you.”
“I don’t want to even if you say that…”
Ruri stubbornly refused.
I knew that doing things the usual way was not going to get me anywhere. With that in mind, I decided to change my words a little.
“I’m sure Kinu will be happy if Ruri and I go out with each other.”
“Yes, I’m sure Kinu will be happy to see me and Ruri go out. Don’t you think so?”
There, for the first time, Ruri showed a gesture of hesitation.
Then she showed a determined look.
“I understand. I’ll go out with Touya-kun.”
Thus, Ruri and I became lovers.
I felt happy, but I also felt a sense of emptiness, wondering if I could have such a relationship with Kinu involved.
But this is good.
I would just have Ruri fall in love with me little by little.
A few days later, however, something unexpected happened.
Kinu confessed his feelings to Ruri.
I didn’t think that Kinu would do such a thing after knowing how his best friend felt about her.
Ruri turned down his confession, but I was extremely impatient.
I thought that if I didn’t do something, he would take Ruri away from me.
So I attacked Kinu thoroughly.
I just didn’t want to lose the person I love.
But Ruri tried to help him, even though she knew his best friend liked Ruri and confessed to her, knowing that Kinu was at fault too.
I threatened her a little the same way that I told Kinu.
And so, as a result of my continued attacks on Kinu without anyone interrupting me, he stopped coming to school.
And at this time, I finally realized what I was doing.
I had done something irreversible.
…But it was already too late for anything.
I was thinking that, when Ruri told me that she wanted to break up with me, it was only natural.
…But I took advantage of Ruri’s kindness and continued seeing her for a long time without breaking up with her.
Even though we never held hands, never kissed, and for that matter, even though she didn’t seem to be enjoying herself when we were on dates. We kept dating.
There was nothing I could do about it.
When I had given up on everything, I saw a movie called “Freedom.”
I saw an actress named Nanase Rena in the movie, and I was moved.
She was the most lively actress in the movie, regardless of the role she played.
I felt that she was acting in a way that made me feel that she loved acting from the bottom of her heart.
Nanase-san was the complete opposite of me, and she was so vibrant.
And I wanted to live like her.
After seeing the movie, I looked at the pamphlet and found this in her interview page.
“Living life as you are is definitely the most enjoyable of any life!”
Seeing those words, I thought about living my own life in my own way.
I decided to do so.
At least, I knew I couldn’t live my life as myself if I continued to date Ruri.
On the day we went to the movie theater, I told Ruri that we were breaking up.
Ruri tried to tell me the same thing, but I had created this twisted relationship, so I thought it would be the least I could do to end it.
Today, I told Kinu everything.
“Let’s start again from here.”
I lost everything, but I deserved it.
I have to accept my sins and start again.
Maybe I don’t even deserve it…
At that moment, I received a call on my phone unexpectedly.
When I answered, it was from Matsunaga-san, the coach of the soccer team at Teijo High School, where I go to school.
“Hey, Touya! How long are you going to stay out of practice? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
He suddenly shouted angrily. This guy was a kind person before he entered the school, but once I joined the club, his tone became rough. …Well, it’s not hard to see why the coach is so angry.
Because for the past month I haven’t been going to practice with the soccer team.
The reason was that while I practiced and played games at a strong school, my ability was not good enough at all.
I was shocked because I had confidence in my abilities… but now I don’t have any such feelings anymore.
“I’m sorry. I’m going to start tomorrow.”
The coach was surprised when I said simply, “R-Really? I’m counting on you!” And with that, he hung up the phone.
I’ll work hard starting tomorrow. Soccer and everything. Give it all I’ve got.
If I do that, I’m sure I’ll be able to live my life as myself someday.