＊ ＊ ＊
When I went to the station as usual, there were a lot of people at the platform. The amount is twice, no, maybe three times more than usual?
「Due to the customer trouble that occurred earlier, there is a delay in both of the upper and lower lines. We are sorry for the inconvenience. We would proceed with the transference, so please use it as well.」
I arrived at my usual waiting place among the flocks of people. Senpai was also there as well, playing with his smartphones. How unusual.
「Oh, you came. Morning.」
Isn’t it rare for senpai to call me out first? Or maybe, this is the first time he did so?
「Well, as you can see.」
「I wonder what did they mean with the customer trouble?」
Senpai lightly showed his smartphone screen towards me.
「Who knows? There’s no official information about it, but it seems like there was a molester false charge.」
「Why did they accuse him first anyway?」
「Who knows, I’m a male anyway.」
By the way, is it okay for us to have this kind of conversation now?
We would usually be on the train thirty minutes before the class starts, but now that there was a delay, we might end up late. If it was in the route everyone used, the teacher would excuse it, but…
This train was excellent, and it never had a notification of delay ever since I started riding it. For me as someone with little experience with trains, I didn’t know how long until the delay finished.
Let’s ask senpai about this.
「Senpai. This might be sudden, but here’s my『today’s question』.」
It was unusual for me to ask it before we were on the train.
「Senpai, what will you do from now on?」
「What do you mean with what… Do you mean what will I do to go to school now?」
＃ ＃ ＃
It was really unusual for her to ask me the question before the train arrives. (Although she would definitely ask on the train if there was no delay.)
And then, the question was「What will I do from now on」.
Since I had something I was curious about, I tried asking it to her.
「Hey, can I ask you something before that? This is also my『today’s question』while we’re on it.」
「What is Kouhai-chan going to do with my answer?」
「I think I will follow senpai with your decision.」
It jumped out of my mouth so naturally, but isn’t this just asking her to make fun of me?
「Just for today, senpai. No way.」
It seems like she didn’t pursue it anymore, good. But even if she pursued it deeply, it would just end up with us destroying each other mutually.
「Don’t you have your own decision for this kind of situation?」
「I don’t. This is the first time for me to experience delay.」
「So is the metal plate in your hand just a decoration?」1
Kouhai-chan laughed when she heard those words.
「Isn’t it troublesome for me to search all over again? Senpai also looked on it that much already anyway.」
She continues by saying that it would be easier for her to follow my information. We were certainly looking at the same information anyway, so there’s no helping it.
「You are really…」
「Isn’t it reasonable?」
「Well, it certainly is.」
「Then, senpai. What will you do?」
Even though I already concluded what I should do from now on, as a final confirmation, I’ll consider it again while uttering my thoughts.
「Looking at Twitter, that customer trouble happened around forty-five minutes ago. Since they said there would be delays, I think it has been quite some time. And even if we use the transfer train, it is the same with taking detours.」
It’s not like the route will be an equilateral triangle, but maybe like one or two sides of an isosceles triangle. The “Hamakyu Line” we use doesn’t have any parallel lines.
「That means, the delay should be over soon, and we should just take the regular train. In the worst case, we can ask for the train delay evidence.」
「Then, I’ll do it like that as well.」
「What a prompt decision.」
「Oh my. I might like acting like this, but I trust senpai, you know?」
＊ ＊ ＊
After standing up for around five minutes, the train came.
It was full. The people were squeezing for a place. In other words, the train was packed.
When the door opened, only a few people got off the train, and everyone who has been waiting on the platform got on the train all at once.
Now that I think about it, I rarely got on a「crowded train」. The other time should be when I went home from Disneyland, which I persisted there until closing time. At that time, there were many families, but now, ninety percent of the passengers were office workers. Everything was black.
「Come on, let’s get in too.」
I follow senpai’s voice.
There were even a lot of people at the door, and there was no more space for me to lean there.
When senpai found a slight gap, he murmured his apologies towards his surroundings, and got on the train while facing my back. Even when I looked around, it seemed like there was no place for me to get inside.
Looking at me who had stopped in a daze, senpai made a strange face. The departure bell rang on the platform, and it seemed like the train would leave me as it is.
In the end, I ran straight into my grave.
I squeezed myself to the only familiar person in my vision. That was of course, senpai.
＃ ＃ ＃
Kouhai-chan was strange.
Since there was a delay, of course the train would be this crowded. She look startled when the train arrived, and she was dazed when I called her. Since the train will depart if the situation keeps going like this, I called her once again, and the strangest things happened.
She squeezed into my belly. Or maybe my chest.
That difference wasn’t important, so let’s ignore it for now.
The train door closed the moment Kouhai-chan slammed into me, so with that momentum, it looks like I was hugging Kouhai-chan who is in front of my chest.
「Oi, are you okay?」
「I might not be that well.」
She added that she rarely took a crowded train with a small voice, and made a forced smile.
「But, senpai will protect me, right? I am in senpai’s arms as well.」
Even when she herself has no composure, she could still tease me like a little devil at this kind of time.
In the end, I did my best so that nobody in this train could touch this little devil’s (devil girl?) thin and delicate, yet soft and warm body for who knows why until the majority of people got off at the terminal station half way on the school route.
＃ ＃ ＃
「Thank you very much.」
After the train finally become emptier, Kouhai-chan who was standing in her usual position thanked me. I hope she hasn’t noticed how my heart was racing on the way. It was really hard.
「Hey, can I ask this as my『today’s question』?」
「By all means.」
「Do you have any trauma on a crowded train?」
「I just want to make fun of senpai… but it will be a lie if I say that.」
If she was acting before, she surely was an amazing actor.
「I don’t like『men』. But『Boys』are still alright.」
「In other words, the salarymen uncles in the packed train have a very different age with me, so I don’t know what they are thinking, right? There are also some molester news airing sometimes too, right?」
Even I don’t know what a molester wants to do or people who are the social risk want to achieve though.
「So they are the same as『animals』that may harm me, and the ones who I can’t read what their thoughts are. Maybe.」
「I understand what you’re saying, but…」
She was saying pretty cruel things again.
「Then, how about me?」
「Senpai is… senpai. You are not a『man』or even a『boy』.」
「What’s with that way of speaking that I’m not even sure whether you’re complimenting me or not?」
「I am. Senpai is interesting.」
＊ ＊ ＊
「I am the stupid one for believing in senpai.」
「Don’t say that it’s stupid for following me! The one on fault is the railway company… or not. It is the customer who caused the trouble!」
「But I thought we wouldn’t be late after following senpai’s decision.」
「Aren’t we running now so that we won’t be late!」
In the end, the train arrived at the station five minutes before our class starts. (Our school starts at nine o’clock.)
It is usually a seven-minute walk to reach the school from the station.
It means, if we don’t want to be late, we have to run.
That’s why both of us are currently running, set on the only road to reach the school back gate.
If we were going to be completely late, we can just get the certificate of lateness issued by the railroad company, and walk leisurely.
Why are we doing this so half-baked?
I could see the school now. It is also two minutes before the bell will ring. If we hurry, we might make it on time.
There’s no way we can do our usual habit of not knowing each other today. I run in line with senpai through the back gate just like that. This is really tiring.
I yell to senpai who is running beside me.
「Please give me something sweet tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow!」
「Won’t you get fat?」
「You shouldn’t say something about being fat at girls, senpai.」
「Please feed me with sweets as exchange for the calories I have spent for running right now.」
「Then calculate it properly.」
「What should I calculate…」
「The calories you spent for running. You’ll surely know it with multiplication.」
When we were exchanging words, we finally arrived at the shoe box.
Not just us, but the other late students also are changing their shoes in a hurry.
It seems like this is it for today’s conversation.
「Then, see you tomorrow.」
The things I knew from my senpai㉗
It seems like he is also thinking of meeting me tomorrow.
- He refers to Kouhai-chan’s smartphone in case it’s not clear. ↩