Ch 17 First chocolate
It was Valentine’s Day.
There was a somewhat buoyant atmosphere in the class from the morning.
Some of them look around and secretly put their hands in their desks as soon as they take their seats with an air of “I’m not expecting anything at all,” while others laugh at the fact that there is nothing in their desks this year either, “No chocolate this year!”
It is probably not my imagination that the air seems to get slightly tighter every time a girl enters the room.
Amidst all this, Karen, who entered the classroom late, greets the class.
The boys, who usually expect chocolate from Karen, show no such signs this year.
Everyone already knows that Karen has started dating Toru Saijo, the ace of the soccer club.
No boy would want chocolate from a girl who has a boyfriend.
I stopped thinking about it and plopped down on my desk.
The morning classes are over and it is now lunchtime.
Students were heading to the cafeteria or purchasing, or to the courtyard with their lunch boxes in their hands.
I, for one, took out my lunch box from my bag and left the classroom.
I don’t have many friends, but I don’t have any in particular.
Of course, I have friends to talk to during recess.
However, since I had been eating lunch with Karen, I was hesitant to join any other community.
I will try to talk to someone when I move up to the next grade.
There are only a little more than two weeks left in this school year.
From the fourth floor, where the first-year students’ classrooms are located, I climbed the stairs to the roof.
These days, it seems that many schools have locked the doors to the rooftop for safety reasons, and our own Yodogishi High School is no exception.
However, the student council is currently appealing for the rooftop to be opened, so this may change in the near future.
I sat down on the landing in front of the door leading to the rooftop, took a breath, and opened my lunch box.
After taking a bite of the rice packed in a pan, I extend my chopsticks to a mini hamburger steak.
I feel like it’s not bad to eat alone…
There is no one around but me, and the hustle and bustle of the classrooms and school yard where I was just a few minutes ago sounds distant, as if in another world.
Maybe this kind of time is important for human beings.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending so much time with Ageha lately, but it makes me feel that way even more.
“Ah, there you are.”
As I was thinking about this, Karen’s voice quietly shook my eardrums with the echoes of the stairs.
She slowly climbed up the stairs toward me one by one, holding her left hand on the railing.
I finished chewing the omelet in my mouth and opened my mouth.
What’s the matter, here I am. Where’s Saijo-kun?”
“Saijo-kun seemed to be having a hard time with all the girls surrounding him…”
“You see, today is Valentine’s Day, right? So there are a lot of girls giving out chocolates.”
Certainly, if you are as big as Saijo-senpai, you have probably received more chocolates than you can count.
But I thought that was only until last year.
The fact that the whole school is aware of the fact that Karen has a boyfriend means that they are also aware of the fact that Saijo has a girlfriend.
… Would you normally give chocolate to a boy who has a girlfriend?
Well, I guess there is such a thing as “giri”.
“So you were looking for me because you had nowhere else to go?”
“Yeah, that’s part of it. You see, I haven’t given it to you yet.”
So saying, Karen took out a palm-sized transparent bag from the small cold storage bag she carried in her right hand.
The mouth was tied with a red ribbon, and inside were chocolate cookies and fresh chocolate.
“Yes, I’ll give it to you. Because it’s giri.”
“I know. Thank you.”
I accepted it with a wry smile.
Karen nodded and sat down next to me.
“You’re all alone.”
Karen said as she pulled out a small lunch box from her cooler bag.
“It’s a high hurdle to eat lunch with other people nowadays.”
“Why are you apologizing? It’s not your fault. This is my problem.”
I should just try to get into other people’s lives, even if it means I have to be more forceful.
I asked Karen, who still looked apologetic.
“I’m sure you’re the one who’s not eating with the other girls. Don’t you think you’ll be misunderstood if you stay with me too much?
“That’s true, but…”
When I responded vaguely, Karen frowned slightly.
I stared at her, not understanding the meaning of her expression, and she instantly looked up at me.
“Have you heard anything from Ageha?”
“I haven’t heard anything in particular.”
I wondered if she was talking about the best chocolate, but since there was no way Karen would know that, I guess she wasn’t listening to me after all.
When I told her, Karen laughed in amusement.
“This morning, I found some awesome chocolate in the kitchen–“
“Oh, I knew it. Don’t ask anymore.”
I interrupted Karen, who was about to speak happily.
I knew she was talking about chocolate.
She must be trying her best to surprise me.
I didn’t want to get the information in advance, since it might dampen her surprise.
When I interrupted her, Karen’s eyes widened in surprise, and then she turned her head away.
Her eyes were fixed on the lunch box that had just been opened, but I could tell from her expression that she was not looking there.
But she remained silent and didn’t say anything, so I took a mouthful of rice.
I hear the brass band playing in the distance.
It was probably the third-year students teaching the younger students in the back of the school building.
They are about to graduate and are trying to pass on something to the younger students.
Karen opened her mouth with a fearful look on her face.
At that moment, a chime rings to announce that there are fifteen minutes left of the lunch break, interrupting Karen’s words.
I looked at Karen, who looked up at me.
Again, Karen turned her head down, picked up her chopsticks in a panic, and began to eat her lunch, saying, “Oh, it’s so late, I have to hurry up! and began to eat her lunch.”
With Karen eating silently by my side, I decided to eat the rest of my lunch as well.
I felt like I was alone with Karen for the first time in a long time.
But for some reason, I didn’t have any flirtatious feelings inside me, just a sense of loneliness somewhere in my heart.
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