＃ ＃ ＃
How many times has it been since I couldn’t spend my weekend leisurely? The third time?
It was surprisingly just a little.
Today, the meeting point was at the station near a famous university (I also put it on the list of universities I want to enter. It’s near my house anyway). When I investigated about it a little, it seemed like they were holding a festival in that university, and she might have brought me along for that event.
Even though the meeting time was at 12:30, I arrived at 12:05. I had been taught ever since I remembered it that I shouldn’t be late, so I couldn’t help coming this early since it was already my habit or even instinct. Especially, today there are people I never met before (It seemed like they are Kouhai-chan’s friends…), so I wouldn’t let myself be even one second late. Well, who cares anyway.
But then, of course, no one has come since the time was still 25 minutes early. It couldn’t be helped. Let’s just read books.
＊ ＊ ＊
「Senpai is early as usual, eh. Did you wait long?」
When I arrived at Hie Station and got out of the ticket gate, I immediately saw senpai who was reading while leaning against the wall.
「Well, I’ve waited long enough to read a book.」
Of course, I didn’t expect him to reply with something lenient.
「Is that so? But it’s senpai’s fault for coming so early.」
「I’m aware of it. But everyone will be happy if all of us come earlier than our meeting time, right?」
「That just means our actual meeting time become quicker. It’s even more troublesome, senpai.」
「Is that so?」
I looked around our surroundings. It seemed like they hadn’t arrived yet.
「It seems like the rest still hasn’t arrived, so senpai can continue reading your book.」
「It will be weird to have their first impression about me as someone who will immerse himself in a book before meeting…」
「Then why did senpai read it just now?」
「I thought you would call me out anyway.」
Senpai, just what kind of trust do you have in me?
When we were talking like this, a wave of people rushed to the ticket gate. It seemed like the next train had arrived at the station. …Ah, the other two people had also come.
＃ ＃ ＃
Kouhai-chan who was standing next to me suddenly raised her voice and waved her hands, making me surprised.
Among the people who were coming out from the ticket gate, there was a girl who turned her face towards us after hearing Kouhai-chan’s loud voice.
「Ah, you arrived already, Maharun.」
「Un, I’m gladー」
She was a fashionable girl who looked as dazzling as Kouhai-chan. Beside her, there was a young man who was walking together with her with their hands connected tightly. Unlike me who always just arranged my hair quickly, his hair was properly hardened with wax, making us look like a very different type of person.
Err, can I just go home now?
「Anyway, what happened suddenly, Maharun? For you to ask us on a double date…」
Yup. I had thought that it will become like this. I can feel that word is going to come today. That’s why, I could avoid making a surprised voice.
「Maharun, you also have a boyfriend. I wish you can just tell me immediatelyー」
「Well, well, let’s talk about it later~ Let’s go to the school festival now.」
After saying that, she took my hand, and started walking ahead. The other couple was walking behind us.
There were a lot of people around us, and if we kept our voices down a little, the two people behind us wouldn’t be able to hear us, right?
While feeling the softness of her hand, I talked to Kouhai-chan with a low voice.
「Hey, what’s going on here?」
「Even if you ask that, there’s nothing special… We are going on an outing. Isn’t it just a few more people than usual?」
Kouhai-chan’s voice tickled my ears, and it felt a little itchy.
「That’s not it. Why ‘double date’?」
「Isn’t it considered a date if senpai and I go out together?」
「That is… well…」
After making a great fuss before, we recognized the meaning of a ‘date’.
「Isn’t the couple behind us also going out together, and having a date?」
「Well, that’s true if we look at it generally.」
「Then if we add a date and a date, isn’t it a double date?」
「No no no!」
I unconsciously raised my voice a little. Since I just said ‘no no no’, it should be okay even though they heard it, right?
「Or maybe, senpai rather have a harem surrounded by three girls?」
「I don’t want that too.」
「That’s why I also don’t want to be surrounded by three boys!」
「Why do we even have to be surrounded anyway…」
I didn’t want to be a member of maniac circle.
「Well, even though I still feel quite reluctant accepting the reason, I understand now why we are pairing together. But why do we need to hold hands?」
Kouhai-chan glanced behind, and told me this.
「They also hold hands, so I just did it by instinct.」
「If we can make do with instinct, this world doesn’t need any logic and ethics anymore…」
「Oh well, isn’t it fine?」
「I can’t calm down.」
In a lot of meanings. Look, my hands are sweating, isn’t it uncomfortable?
「I also can’t calm down, senpai.」
Hey, if you said those kind of things suddenly, it’s bad for my heart, okay.
I couldn’t tell her to stop it, but please stop it.
＊ ＊ ＊
Senpai was really not honest as usual.
Ah, the event was at this classroom, right? There are posters stuck on the wall properly. The time was still a little bit early, but it should be okay.
「Excuse me, I am Maharun with the reservation at one o’clock.」
「The reservation under Maharun-sama… Ah, yes. Is the three other people coming together?」
「Yes, everyone is here.」
「Good. Then please wait here for a while.」
After confirming my reservation with the person at the reception desk, I turned back.
「With that, let’s wait here until one o’clock. By the way, senpai, how about introducing yourself first?」
「Ah, as I thought, all of you are already acquainted with each other?」
I already told him yesterday just in case, so senpai should already prepared himself well.
I wonder if he would be okay.
＃ ＃ ＃
Ah, she was telling me to introduce myself, right? Haa…
「Ahh, yes. Err, I come together with this Kouhai-chan here. I’m Iguchi, in second year. Please take care of me.」
「Are you from the same school as us? 」
The girl threw a glance to Kouhai-chan to confirm it. But, this sparkly girl is also my kouhai, eh. Ahhh, so complicated.
It feels unusually fresh for Kouhai-chan to answer a question that easily.
「Then, you are one year older than us! I am Sugiyama Kasumi, Maharun’s classmate. And then, this one is…」
「You should use honorifics there, Kasumi. I’m also a first year and her partner, Ikeuchi Kaito. Please take care of me, senpai. 」
Sugiyama and Ikeuchi. Alright. Since it’s just two names, let’s try to remember them somehow. I can remember it. Yeah, I can do this.
「Eh, but Kai-kun. This person doesn’t look energetic」
「Come on now, don’t say that in front of the person himself.」
「Look, his reply is also not really energetic, right? Let’s ask him something, Kai-kun.」
I met another eccentric girl again, huh.
She stretched her hand towards me, shook it exaggeratedly, and started asking me questions just like that.
「Okay, Iguchi-senpai… it’s so hard to pronounce, so tell me your first name? And then, how did you and Maharun meet~?」
「In the train? No, on platform?」
「You can just say that we meet in the train, senpai. Ah, senpai’s name is Keita.」
「Hee, both of you are quite similar, eh.」
No way, at what aspect?
「Who started the conversation first?」
「Ah, as I thought. Keita senpai, you don’t seem to have the courage.」
「But, who confessed first?」
This is bad.
Kouhai-chan glanced towards me. Did that mean I was the one who should answer it?
Anyway, why did she bring me into this situation where we had to disguise like a couple? Isn’t it strange? Why were they asking me things like the start of our romance or confession? What kind of privilege do they have to ask it? This is ridiculous.
I wanted to scream loudly, but I didn’t have the courage to do so. What came out from my throat is an ambiguous answer.
「Come on, senpai♡ Last week, you even said “I like you” that passionately to me.」
「Fufu, I see, I see! Your relationship looks pretty good?」
After asking that much, Sugiyama-chan turned back to Ikeuchi-kun, who sat in the chair next to her.
「Kai-kun, me too~」
「Yes, yes. I like you, I really do.」
Amazing, even though his lines were similar to mine, I could feel his overflowing emotions. He patted Sugiyama-chan’s head very naturally, and she also seemed very comfortable with it.
This is the real power of love birds…
「Nfuu~ Then, where did both of you go for dates?」
Did I have to answer this too? When I was about to open my mouth unwillingly, the voice of a savior came.
「I’m sorry to keep you waiting. It is now one o’clock, so please enter from this entrance. Before that, I need to tell you some important points, so please hear me carefully.」
The receptionist started to explain something.
「Thank you for coming to our performance,『The heart that wants to escape』, or for short,『Escape Heart』at this occasion. Four of you will become a team to solve the mystery, and the goal is to get out from the room.」
It was the explanation of a puzzle solving game.
Does school festivals even do escape games (though I only know about our school festival since I’m young)? 4 people for a group, meaning this is a team game. I wonder what would happen now…
Will this really be okay?
Well, I don’t hate mystery solving games itself. Rather, I like it. Let’s do our best to solve it as much as we can.
＃ ＃ ＃
Since spoilers are prohibited, I’ll just inform the result.
Thanks to Sugiyama-chan’s intuition, Kouhai-chan’s ability to analyze and understand the situation, together with us two boys who worked wholeheartedly, we managed to clear the mystery solving game.
But then, the university festival is really amazing. The game itself was no different from the one Kouhai-chan and I went to before.
In three years, would I become a student who can make that kind of thing? Would I even enter university in the first place? I didn’t really know how my future will be.
「We succeeded, yay~」
That is Kouhai-chan.
And that is Sugiyama-chan.
The boys team didn’t say anything. Maybe because I moved my body around, I felt tired.
「Let’s have a meal together! I’m hungry.」
「Both of you didn’t really move that much, though…」
「We moved our head enough~」
「Yes, yes. Then before that, I’ll go to the toilet first.」
Finding a pictogram pointing to the toilet, I headed towards that direction.
＃ ＃ ＃
「It’d be better to stop it, senpai.」
As I fully enjoyed my relaxing toilet time, I heard Ikeuchi-kun’s voice beside me.
「What do you mean by ‘stop’?」
「Your lover relationship. I have been with her ever since junior high, but I don’t recommend you to continue it.」
In the first place, we were not on boyfriend and girlfriend relationship, so should I tell him the truth about that?
「She, Yoneyama, is someone who will make a move on everything. Her study, hobby, play… and even people.」
She certainly had the versatility. That’s how I felt just by looking at her.
「Because of that, she also gets bored easily. Her interest will shift to other things immediately.」
Both of us had finished peeing. But I felt like I shouldn’t leave the toilet until we cleared this talk.
「In fact, I also dated her when we were still in the second year of middle school. How many days do you think it lasted?」
As I expected, he had the title of her「former boyfriend」, huh. Although I had predicted it, I felt somewhat irritated in the depth of my heart.
「It was only three days, you know, three days. I confessed to her, we go on a date after school. Then, when we went out for a date on our day off, she dumped me.」
What’s with that, how scary.
「How many times has senpai went on a date with her? She’ll surely dump you soon.」
Right, how many dates has it been?
「From her definition, I guess we have been on dates around twenty times?」
I felt that I’ve gotten to know just a tiny bit more about Kouhai-chan.
I also didn’t know about myself, and also about my relationship with Kouhai-chan.
However, I think that our situation was good for now.
As Ikeuchi-kun glances at me absentmindedly, I moved to the hand-washing area.
「Twenty times? Senpai, are you kidding? If that’s real, you already broke the record!」
「There’s a record? What the heck is that. Well, if you mean a date like this date, then this is the third time.」
「It’s still amazing.」
「Is that so?」
「Senpai is an interesting person, even with that kind of appearance, huh. Would you like to exchange your contact information with me?」
I felt like he was telling me something quite rude, though.
Today, a new person had been added into my LINE friends list.
＊ ＊ ＊
We ate lunch (a lot of stalls were open since it was a school festival), looked around, and returned by train.
That couple took a train in the opposite direction to us, and of course, Kouhai-chan took the same train as me.
「This is my『today’s question』. Senpai, how was today?」
Standing on our usual position, Kouhai-chan asked me so, while looking a little bit nervous.
「What do you mean by how…」
「About those two people, you know.」
「I don’t know what kind of intention you had for choosing that couple, but well… It was fun?」
「Is that so?」
She lifted her face neatly.
「Then, I’m glad.」
Her smile was dazzling.
「How was it today for Kouhai-chan as well? My『today’s question 』.」
「I also had fun today. Especially on my senpai observation.」
Her hobby was human observation. Yes, she said it herself before.
「You are really…」
In the end, she might have just been playing with me all along.
The things I knew about my senpai㉑
His hands were much bigger than mine.