I arrived at school with a dull headache and slight nausea, and plopped down at my desk until the teacher arrived.
I ended up missing my chance to sleep because it was dawn while I was thinking about it.
It had been a long time since I had stayed up all night to go to school, and it was mentally and physically demanding.
The reason I didn’t take a day off was because I had a test coming up.
(… No, but maybe I should have rested.)
I feel like I won’t be able to get anything out of class in this state.
As I meditate, trying to rest my head a little, regretting my early decision, I hear the classroom door open and the buzz in the room subside.
I managed to raise my heavy head at the distinctive air of the teacher’s appearance.
Standing at the podium, I looked around the classroom as I absentmindedly listened to the teacher begin homeroom.
It seemed that Karen had not come today either.
We managed to complete the day’s schedule and it was after school.
As per Saijo-senpai’s nyain, I headed to the usual coffee shop.
I enter the store with a clanking sound.
Saijo-senpai had not arrived yet.
Following the clerk’s guidance, I sat down at a table in the back.
I ordered a cup of iced coffee to wake up my drowsiness.
Considering the past few days and what I’m about to do, I should be nervous and anxious about meeting Saijo, but the sleepiness was erasing any room for such thoughts.
I put milk and syrup in the iced coffee delivered in front of me and put a straw in it.
I stirred the coffee and inhaled it.
The bitter and sweet tastes permeate the coffee.
After letting out a sigh, I rest my elbow on the picture frame of the bay window and rest my cheek on it while looking out.
The pleasant sunlight makes me feel more and more lightheaded.
The noise from inside the restaurant and the cars on the road outside gradually fade away.
“Haru-kun, let’s go!”
I heard a voice calling to me from outside the window, and I raised myself up from the bed.
Looking out, I see Ageha with her school bag on her back, waving her right hand in the air.
Next to her is Karen, who is holding on to her left hand with a troubled smile on her face.
I jump off the bed and run down the stairs to leave the house.
I and Karen follow in front of her as she runs.
She occasionally spins around to make sure we are following her, and we look at each other and give each other a small smile.
Seeing this, she rushes over to us with a sulky look on her face.
Eventually, the three of us were side by side.
When we arrived at the park, Ageha suddenly pulled out a colored ball from inside her school bag.
The three of us formed a triangle and threw the ball around.
It was like me and Karen were tagging along with whatever Yang-Hu wanted to do, but we were happy with that.
It was more meaningful for the three of us to be together than to do anything else.
When she was satisfied, we would change the game to something else.
After repeating this process four times, it starts to get dark.
The three of them were going home, with Karen quieting down the nagging of Ageha.
As on the way home, the three of us stand side by side, talking about tomorrow.
I hear crows cawing.
I looked up at the sky.
As I gazed blankly at the reddish evening sky, I felt a tug on my left sleeve.
I looked down and to my left, and saw that Karen’s figure was blurred.
She was smiling a smile that I was already familiar with.
I try to reach out my hand reflexively, trying to say something, but I keep silent.
Before I knew it, Karen’s figure had disappeared.
“Haru-kun, what’s wrong?”
I turned around at the voice of Ageha.
She is dressed in adult-like clothes and has long hair wrapped around her back.
When Ageha peered at me with concern, I shook my head saying “No…” and took her hand.
I was startled by the sound of the doorbell ringing.
I must have fallen asleep for a moment.
Ice melted in my glass, making a cool sound.
I looked toward the entrance and saw Saijo-senpai.
After looking around the store, he recognized me and quickly raised his hand in his usual soft manner.
However, his expression was somewhat stiff.
After exchanging a few words with the clerk, he approached me.
“Hey, did I keep you waiting?”
Hearing Saijo-senpai’s voice, even after all this time, I felt nervousness inside me.
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