Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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The familiar bell rang.
It signalled the end of the morning lessons and at the same time, the start of the lunch break. My classmates, who were waiting for the teacher to declare, “Class dismissed”, rushed out of the room in excitement.
It’s the usual scene. But I wonder. Many academy students seem to be acting quite different today.
……In addition, it is directed towards me.
“Monica, I hope I am not excessively conscious, but aren’t they staring at me too much?”
“Isn’t it because of your notorious boyfriend? They haven’t seen you having lunch alone, so isn’t it impossible not to notice?”
When I asked my approaching best friend as I put away my reference materials, she replied candidly. Even if they call him “notorious”, it was not a pleasant incident at all and it will be troublesome if they pay attention to such strangeness.
Whether they could read my mind or not, it does not mean they are coming to talk to me just because I am meeting their gazes. If they want to say something, it would be easier to tell me directly though.
“Well, thanks to Senpai, you got used to being noticed, right?”
“It’s not like I got used used to anything. I don’t want to be noticed even by my classmates.”
“Is that so?”
With a bitter smile, Monica looks like she can’t help it either. I was hospitalized for two days, okay? I don’t understand their curiosity but I want them to let me adjust a bit more.
“My weak body can endure other people’s stares.”
“Whatever. By the way, it seems Mr. Kralvane* is late today.” [T/N: Monica said “Kralvane-shi” in the raw. It is the a more polite honorific than “-san”.]
When we glanced at the wall clock, the time was a few minutes after the sound of the bell.
……It was only a few minutes.
“Well, Monica, I think the sixth year’s classroom is somehow far. He also has lessons.”
When I replied in surprise, for some reason Monica gasped with an even more surprised expression.
“He would come here at a high-speed in the past, may I remind you? Every day, without fail. Weren’t you also surprised?”
I was indeed surprised at the beginning. Because he quickly came to pick me up before I can desperately run away. That’s exactly how a superhuman moved.
But that was before. I will not run away now, so there is no need for Senpai to hastily pick me up.
“It’s fine if you don’t mind. But Senpai was always already here, you know?”
As she kept on reminding me, I noticed that he was really late. Whether my classmates were also concerned or not, they would constantly peek at the door and there is also someone who would open the door and check.
“Perhaps he had another practical exam.”
“I don’t understand your situation but . . . I just want to make sure. You guys are getting along just fine, right?”
“Of course . . .”
I wanted to affirm her but the words became unexpectedly stuck in my throat. Today, I have overcome various things that occurred yesterday. I feel like I am doing fine . . . but I am not confident at all. Is it because I still have an inferiority complex? Or maybe because I was only told about the significance of my constitution yesterday? I don’t know.
Maybe the word “late” made me anxious.
“………Wait, I’ll take a look outside.”
“O-Okay. I hope Senpai will come.”
When I stood up to evade her question, my best friend waved me away as she gently laughed. Somehow worried . . . I mouthed a word of thanks to her, who was probably rooting for me, and opened the door.
It was the familiar hallway. Academy students were passing cheerfully, but Senpai is not there.
He didn’t come, I guess.
Wondering if I am also worried like the others inside, the female students leaning against the wall in the hallway threw me an inquiring look. N-No, it’s not that I am worried or anything! I don’t remember the sympathetic gazes they gave me.
It’s because Monica mentioned that he was late that’s why I became bothered.
With a light sigh, I moved to a corner so as not to obstruct the door. Maybe he didn’t know that I was discharged from the hospital. Because he ran away yesterday.
…But I met Barrett-sensei who is in-charge of the higher year levels. He looks like a prudent person and it’s difficult to believe that he failed to notify the authorities.
Then, what’s wrong?
A student passed by . . . and my eyes were trained on a tall guy. Such a handsome man, I cannot mistake him with someone else.
Touching my lips, I drew another breath. Looks like he was fretting over what happened yesterday after all.
We should have progressed. I got well, and he should have been craving to meet the lover he is yearning for today . . .
Snapping out of my pessimistic thinking, I rubbed my eyes when the scenery felt strange. The last pillar from the door created a blind spot. Something was sticking out of it.
No, maybe I was just seeing things. It was a light purple uniform which everyone is wearing. The shoulder part is jutting out of the pillar. And that shoulder part is that of a tall person . . .
“………You’re sticking out, Senpai.”
Looking with mixed feelings, Senpai is really there, waiting. As usual, this person’s enigmatic actions do not change. “What are you doing?” I tried to use tsukkomi on him, but the desire to tease him vanished when I saw his face.
“Your face is bright red.”
Senpai’s face was surprisingly bright red. He covered it with his hands out of shame but the blush on his ears cannot be concealed.
It is out of character for the popular Gilbert Kralvane. What should I say to him?
“Sorry, I have been waiting here for a long time to pick you up. But I don’t know how to face you.”
He murmured in a very soft voice. Who is this cutie? It is really true that he is “late” just as Monica said, but the reason he gave me was surprising.
“Are you saying you did not want to see me?”
“Wrong! That’s impossible! It’s just . . . how do I say it, that I was embarrassed?”
It was said by the man who pinned down a woman he met for the first time and coolly ordered her “to give birth to his child”. The expressionless and indifferent Gilbert Kralvane said something out of ordinary.
“So Senpai can also feel embarrassment.”
“Yeah. I felt this for the first time. That’s why I don’t know what to do.”
When I unconsciously said those very cheeky words, Senpai nodded in reply. The harshness of his appearance and his usual cold aura were blown away by the wind. What to do? This man is so cute.
Senpai caught me staring, and the blush crept up to my face and I suddenly averted my eyes. We are just going to have lunch together, but what are we doing? Moreover, in the corner of the hallway.
When I cautiously looked back at him, Senpai was also watching me from the gap of his fingers. My idiotic face was reflected in his golden eyes. And perhaps, his idiotic expression was also reflected in my eyes.
We looked at each other silently for three seconds and eventually, both of us burst out laughing. He took away his mands from his face and reached out to me, holding my hands tightly.
“Haha. It’s no use. I can’t stop grinning.”
What was he really doing at a place like this? But it filled my heart with so much warmth and fluffy feelings.
“There are so many thing I’d like to talk about but we can do it while eating, right?”
“Of course. We should hurry, or else the daily meal set will be sold out.”
“Yeah. But wait for at least ten seconds. I will fix my expression.”
“…I may not be able to fix mine.”
That’s because right now, it feels so fluffy that my feet are about to float. Various things happened. I also got badly hurt. There were also people who disappointed us, but everything has resulted to our happiness.
I will confidently tell Monica later. That we are really in love with each other and our relationship is harmonious.
Later, Senpai was not able to fix his expression at all…… Instead, a tender smile was pasted on his lips and it was always directed at me. Those people who are only acquainted to his expressionless face would notice it, but this time I am not worried. With the warmth of our clasped hands, I don’t mind what others would think when they see us.
Overcoming the crisis, our bond deepened. Returning to our every day life, it was filled with so much happiness.