＃ ＃ ＃
I had this kind of exchange with Kouhai-chan before going to bed yesterday.
Iguchi Keita ：Kouhai-chan is in the second period tomorrow, right?
Iguchi Keita ：I am in the first period
Iguchi Keita ：…We don’t have to match our time, you know
I think that if it was Kouhai-chan a long time ago, she’ll forcibly match her time with me, whether on the test day or not.
I also didn’t match it at the cultural festival. At that time, I was slower, but this time the Kouhai-chan’s side was late for one period.
Even though she can go to school early, but would she take a train that is one or two periods earlier than her test.
Maharun♪：I have a habit to go earlier in the day of test
Iguchi Keita ：Is this a coincidence?
Iguchi Keita ：Me tool
Iguchi Keita ：Anyway, isn’t that normal?
Maharun♪：Senpai, please tell me which train you will take
Maharun♪：Both you and I don’t have to do such useless effort, okay
Both of us who are always commuting to school at the same time, will now especially go early because there is a test. However, one person will start the test one hour earlier than the other, so he will take the train that matches his schedule. What is the probability that they will get on the same train?
…Of course it’s low.
I don’t want to make her get up early on the day of her test just to accompany me.
Well, to be honest, there is no doubt that she will say, “I will study on the day of the test!” She is Kouhai-chan after all.
That’s why it’s too tempting to say “I can’t accompany you because I have to cram my lesson.” First, last-minute cramming is not very useful. Even if I stick my eyes to the textbook, I can’t remember it anyway.
If someone asked me whether I want to see her or not, it is true that I want to see her. It’s not about feelings, but I have something to do with her.
With that said, let’s check the schedule for the time being.
Iguchi Keita ：Okay, I get it
Iguchi Keita ：Kouhai-chan won’t have the test until the second period, right?
Iguchi Keita ：After that you are free, right? Other than studying
＊ ＊ ＊
Tomorrow’s final exams will start from the second period for first-year students. In other words, I don’t have to go in the first period.
However, even if I don’t have to go, I think it’s okay for me to go early.
I asked senpai what train he was going to ride because his test would be earlier than mine, but he made this suggestion.
Iguchi Keita ：Let’s go home together. How is it?
Even though I went to school on the train with senpai every day, we didn’t really go home together.
It was nice to have this exchange via chat. If it was a call, it would have been awkward, or my voice would be shaking, and I felt my face was a little reddish. …Just a little, though.
Iguchi Keita ：Both of us have nothing to do after school anyway
When I wasn’t able to respond, an additional message appeared on the screen.
It seemed like senpai was also panicking over there. If that was the case, it’s interesting.
Maharun♪：Let’s meet at the station
Iguchi Keita ：’Kay
＃ ＃ ＃
I finished the test without any incident.
No, it’s not over yet. There are still three days left. I’m tired. I want to take a nap.
I give a sideways glance to the leisurely guys who are going out to eat lunch as I leave my classroom, walking towards the station.
Even if I change my walking speed today, it might be meaningless.
When I thought about that, I heard loud footsteps sound from behind me.
It was Kouhai-chan.
「We didn’t need to wait for each other, eh.」
I scratched my head and started walking again.
「It’s natural since the time doesn’t change, though.」
「Senpai’s head is not working, eh.」
「It’s not, so let’s quickly go home.」
「Are you going to sleep…」
As we talked about the test feedback, we arrived at the station in no time.
「Taking a test is really tiring, eh.」
「Yeah, I know.」
Kouhai-chan unusually agreed.
I was surprised because I didn’t expect her to honestly agree with me.
「Why are you surprised?」
「I’m just surprised at a surprising thing. It’s okay, right?」
「It is, but…」
To put it in a very rude way, Kouhai-chan doesn’t have an image of「using her head」, or specifically「racking her brain over something」.
Even though she is not studying (or maybe because she is not studying?), she’ll get tired if she uses her whole brain for 50 minutes x 2 periods.
The train came over when we were talking about things that didn’t make much sense.
Unlike the morning rush hour and returning hour, the train is empty now.
If I’m alone, I’ll sit, but what should I do now…
When I was troubled, Kouhai-chan was leaning in her usual position, so I stood with her.
I gripped the handrail.
The door closed with the train’s peculiar pshhh sound, and somehow, I felt like the floor was a little uneven.
Kouhai-chan is staring at my face, hiding her expectation for something behind her eyes.
I can only give it to her now. That’s right. Well, it’s already clear that she knows it, huh. It’s because Kouhai-chan knows, that’s why she is giving me silent pressure like this, huh.
I feel a little embarrassed now…
＊ ＊ ＊
The train was vacant, but I decided to face him at the usual place since it has been a while.
When I was staring at senpai, he also returned my gaze and called my name.
「No, Yoneyama-chan? Yone-chan?」
His last word was about half an octave higher than the previous words.
What are you doing so suddenly? Even though senpai always called me “Kouhai-chan” all the time…
「Or maybe, do you prefer『Maharu-chan』?」
The moment senpai called me like that, I felt that my heart was pounding for some reason.
My face may have turned red. I can’t bear to look straight at him. I want to speak abusive words to make sure he doesn’t know how agitated I am, but I hold it back.
「…Whichever is fine.」
「Then, I’ll go with Kouhai-chan. I’m more used to this one anyway.」
It’s a bit disappointing. But if he calls me any more than this, I feel like my heart won’t be able to take it, so it might have been just right.
By the way, what kind of reaction will senpai make when I call him “Keita-kun”? Let’s try it someday.
Senpai took a paper bag out of his school bag and gave it to me, smiled, and said this.
「Yes, Kouhai-chan. Happy 16th birthday.」
「16 years old… I can legally marry someone now.」
It’s 18 years old for a boy.
But more than that, there’s a part that I’m interested in.
「Nn? Senpai said『I can’t yet』, right?」
「I said『I can’t』. Don’t add my words as you like.」
「Are you conscious of it?」
「That’s my line. If I say that I can’t『yet』, it’s as if I’m your fiance, isn’t it?」
I’m sure that I will eat my own bomb if this keeps going, so let’s change the subject.
「Unfortunately, I wouldn’t accept any fiance application.」
「This is the first time I heard that.」
「I decided it just now.」
Let’s go back to our previous conversation. Senpai was still holding the present, making that gesture since then.
「By the way, I already told you that it’s okay even if you don’t give me the present today, right?」
「Isn’t this fine?」
「Well, of course it is. Anyway, thank you very much.」
I shook the bag he handed me and checked first with senpai.
「Can I open it?」
When I peeled the tape and opened the bag, there were two items inside.
One is a cookie in a small box. It looks delicious. Let’s eat it later.
And one more thing.
A faint cherry-colored scrunchie was stored in a clear plastic package.
「Senpai also knows about scrunchies, eh~」
「At least I know about hair ornaments.」
Even so, senpai probably didn’t know the name before I said it. Well, fine.
Since there was a test today, my hair was completely flailing around now. It’s just right.
＃ ＃ ＃
Kouhai-chan took out the scrunchie and held it on her right hand, moving her other hand to the back of her head.
As I wondered what she was doing, Kouhai-chan loosened the hair she had arranged.
Kouhai-chan put the gift that I gave on my palm and said this in a little provocative tone.
「Please tie it as senpai likes, okay?」
It’s as if she was saying that if I can tie it, try to tie it then.
She turned around and faced the window. Her glossy brown hair fluttered in front of me.
I’m an only child. I don’t have a sibling. So this is my first time touching girls’ hair.
Well, of course it’ll be a ponytail. Some idol groups also sang “Ponytail to Shushu”[1. AKB48]. I think I could at least make a ponytail. Here I go.
I gently gathered her hair on the backside, making sure I’m not pulling too much.
I should tie the scrunchie here. I understand that much.
Well… tying it one time will make the scrunchie fall, right? It’s too loose.
What about two times? Even if I release my hand, it doesn’t seem to fall. I don’t think it’s enough because her hair is fluffy, though.
However, when I tried to make it three times, I couldn’t make the hair tied well. What should I do with this?
It’s not like I can just untie it, so this should be okay… right?
「How is it? It’s just a ponytail, right?」
「That’s what I want to ask.」
When I gave up, Kouhai-chan lightly touched the knot and checked the condition.
Rather than repairing it, she took out her smartphone with a satisfied face. Eh?
「You won’t fix it?」
「I’ll just go home and study now, so it’s okay.」
「Is that so?」
With this and that, as I gave my gifts and we did various things, we arrived at the nearest station to our houses in no time.
We spoke face-to-face before leaving the ticket gate at the station platform. There are usually a lot of people in the morning, but it’s quiet and a little strange now.
「Let me say it again. Kouhai-chan, happy birthday.」
「Even if it’s in the middle of the test, thank you very much for coming to meet me.」
「No, no. It’s me who feels apologetic to give it to you this messily.」
When we walked toward the ticket gates, I thought we were going home now, but Kouhai-chan still didn’t move.
「Uhm, senpai. I want a birthday present addition, or rather, a request…」
Her enunciation is strangely bad. What’s this? Is she being shy?
「Err… Here’s my『today’s question』, senpai.」
What will she ask? There’s not much to be embarrassed about right now, you know. Maybe.
「Will you go home with me again tomorrow?」
Kouhai-chan averted her gaze, her ears were a little red as she asked me this “question”.
「Before I answer, can I ask you my『today’s question』first?」
「Kouhai-chan, do you want to go home with me?」
It’s a『today’s question』that she won’t just tell me honestly if we are talking normally.
She became stunned and even more embarrassed as she responded with an even smaller voice.
「Well, it’s nice if we can go home together… Really, what are you trying to make me say, senpai.」
She was so embarrassed to the point that even I became embarrassed as well.
That’s why I took out my ticket case and turned to the ticket gate so that she couldn’t see my red face.
「Thank you. Then, let’s go home together tomorrow.」
The things I knew about my senpai 87
He tied my hair for me. He was terrible, though.