Jaku-chara Tomozaki-kun - novelonlinefull.com
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Today there would be a lesson held in a different cla.s.sroom. In other words, if I were to visit the library during the break just before that lesson, I would end up alone with Kikuchi-san.
Just like in the previous two days, ever since the school day had begun I'd had the occasional chat with Izumi, reviewing various AtaFami matters with her. It was now the aforementioned break. I headed towards the library as per my usual routine, but in a state of mind that differed from usual.
When I opened the library door, Kikuchi-san was already there. Noticing my arrival, she shot me a smile which resembled an elegant springtime breeze. A beauty. Her gaze then quickly returned to the book she was reading. My task here would have been a lot easier if she had begun speaking to me about — who was it again? Andy? But instead I realized the task of starting the conversation fell upon me. While keeping the sound of my footsteps at a moderate level so as to not startle her, I walked towards Kikuchi-san. As soon as I was right next to her, with extremely beautiful movements resembling those of a sacred dragon, Kikuchi-san turned around to face me.
「Hn……? Is something the matter……?」
As always, a voice that would make one question if a drop of an angel's tears had fallen in their ear and was now permeating their eardrums.
As I said「Ah, there's something I want to talk about……」, I pulled up a seat next to Kikuchi-san. After first adjusting its position so it was at a suitable distance, I then sat down. After all, were a trueborn hiriajuu like myself to bask in the holy aura of a beauty at point blank range, their body would dissolve into light and evaporate.
「Is something wrong……?」
「Ah, well……」Even though her pupils should have been black, for some reason, they now seemed like they were a deep green, as if infused with elf magic. Being looked at by them, my resolve was on the brink of wavering.
「Remember our conversation about Andy the other day? About that……」
The light living in Kikuchi-san's eyes began to shine even brighter. However, I steeled my resolve.
「Actually……」Going straight to the point, I told her the answer I had decided on.「The thing about me liking that author, it was a lie. In fact……I haven't even read a single one of their books!」
With an innocent tilt of the neck, the white ermine — I mean, Kikuchi-san, blinked in surprise.
Despite being shaken all the while, not just by the air about her resembling that of a fairy or an angel, but also by her ability to even emit the innocent aura of a very young child, I continued to speak.
「It's the truth.」
「Eh……? But I saw you actually reading……」
A justified question. Seeing me open the book every time I visited the library would make anyone think that to be the case.
However. The reality was slightly different.
I told her about how I really, really like AtaFami. How that meant I would set aside time for it at times when I'm free. How me coming to the library was due to myself disliking the atmosphere present when moving to the next cla.s.s too early. ……And finally, how I had only been pretending to read books, and had actually been a.n.a.lysing AtaFami tactics.
「That's why, I…… forget liking that Andy person's works or anything, I haven't even read a single one of them. It's just, I didn't really know how to explain it, so in the end I tried to cover up that fact.」
Kikuchi-san's expression was one of neither reproachfulness nor forgiveness, but simply a genuine look of disappointment.
「Is that……so? But, what about the good luck charm……?」
「Good luck charm……? Ahh! Ebi Daite, you mean?」
「Un……it appears quite often in the book you were reading at that time…… ‘Goodbye, let us meet again’, that charm……」
「Ah, so it appears quite often? Though now that you've mentioned it, that's right, it was also written on the pages I had open back then. I thought that was the best way to get through the situation, and kind of gave you a reply on the spur of the moment.」
「Oh, is that what happened……」
「Yeah, that's why, um, I think there might also be something wrong with the promise to read the novel you've written. Since it was a misunderstanding…… rather, it was a promise that resulted from my lie……. Sorry.」
「Is that so……I understand.」She then let out a small sigh.「Please don't worry about it.」
As if washing away my feelings of guilt, Kikuchi-san gave me a forgiving smile. a.s.suming I wasn't just getting carried away here, it also seemed somewhat lonely.
Now came the question of what to do from here. It was only at the very last minute that I had made this decision. That is, this decision on whether or not to invite her to the movie after apologizing. I lightly touched the advance screening tickets that were in my pocket.
「……But, you know.」I began to speak, all the while aware of the loud beating of my heart.「I think I'll still come to the library, so……next time, I want to have a normal talk with you, unrelated to your favourite author or anything. The books by that author Mich.e.l.le Andy, I've been thinking about giving them a try as well. ……If it's fine with you, how does that sound?」
In response to my proposal Kikuchi-san blinked a few times, her long eyelashes swinging up and down. Then, with an air befitting of a young girl girl as opposed to the usual air from a fantasy setting, she laughed happily.
「……Ahahaha! Tomozaki-kun. It's not Mich.e.l.le, but Michael, you know? ……It would seem that you really don't read his works.」
「Ah……. So it was Michael. Right, ahaha.」
「Uh, but, that's the gist of things. Umm…… is it fine if I come again?」
In response, Kikuchi-san, with a smile of human kindness that was as warm as sunlight filtering through the trees, said the following.
「……Of course, please do!」
Becoming instinctively embarra.s.sed by the expression on her face, with a mere 「That's a relief. See you.」, I left the library.
Then, I quickly walked off towards the Home Economics Room.
I thought inviting her to see the movie in that situation would be sly. Since I had just told her about the lie, Kikuchi-san would probably still be feeling the aftereffect of the excitement of sharing the same favorite author. If so, then I would need to wait for everything to reset before inviting her since otherwise I felt it wouldn't be sincere. Which is why I considered it the right decision to leave things at that.
In that manner, I brought the matter with Kikuchi-san to a close in my own way. For the rest of the school day, pa.s.sed the time feeling refreshed. During breaks, I would casually talk to Izumi about AtaFami, after which she would join the riajuu group near the windows at the back, leaving me alone in my own seat. It had settled into such a routine that when such a thing happened, it was progress even I could recognize. The self-confidence would also follow as a matter of course.
──It couldn't have been a worse time for an incident to take place.