「You mean……you knew me a long time ago？」
「Wellll, not quite that either」
Taiyou tilted his head.
Not metaphorical nor literal. Then what could it be? He was certainly justified in wondering that.
「Yeah, I don’t get what I mean either. I just feel like I’ve known you for a long time ago」
「That’s just like you though」
「Not a compliment?」
「In a good way」
「Were you always so difficult to communicate with?」
「You’re no different though」
Briefly gazing at each other, they both burst into laughter.
「Aha, ahahahahaha. This is so weird」
「Heheh, yeah, it sure is」
「Thinking about it, we haven’t talked like this in a while. Vague conversations without substance」
「Did we used to？」
「Yeah, Kohaku-san likes this sorta thing, but Youran dislikes this sorta thing――」
Taiyou stopped, tilting his head.
「Oh, no, that’s not it, huh? Yeah, that’s not it」
Taiyou looked straight ahead.
He gazed at the townscape from the vantage point of Tsugaiyama’s peak.
He hadn’t realized it until now: Talking like this, he came to the realization that he truly had changed.
「What what, stop teasing me and speak up」
「It’s nothing important」
「Then tell me! Here, coochy coochy」
Akiha tickled his side with her finger.
He felt both ticklish and in pain. It was a strange sensation.
「He-, hey quit it, stop it」
「Then tell me! Poke, poooke」
「Who are you trying to act like? Seriously, it’s nothing important. I just got more used to being straightforward. I can now say openly what I like」
Akiha’s eyes widened, then she made an odd face.
「I guess once I started honoring the promise to love everyone individually, I just started naturally saying “I love you” and it started affecting me」
「Maybe your girls are happy. Always hearing that from you. Usually people don’t say it」
「You don’t either？」
「It’s harder in my case. I can’t just……speak so casually to Aoba after all」
「But I might envy that aspect of you. Cause there are times when I feel like vocalizing it too much leads to it having less of an effect」
「Aw maaan, I just totally got comforted by my rival」
Akiha said, dangling her feet from the trailer.
Taiyou pondered what it was like to not feel frustrated in these situations.
He attempted to deduce something, but quickly stopped.
「……Do you not like reassurance?」
「I do not」
「Then I won’t do that. In exchange…」
Inhaling air, he said it over again.
「I like you」
「Sounds a bit hollow」
「You may be right. But I intend to take a fierce lead from now on」
Taiyou waited for Akiha’s answer.
It would be easy for him to insist.
Both physically and emotionally. He could force it, but he chose not to.
He already took her out of that room, so he didn’t force it……nor did he want to.
After a bit, Akiha looked straight into his eyes.
「I still like Aoba」
「Whatever you say, I like Aoba, I love her. For the rest of my life. No matter what happens, that will never change」
「Hey, wanna hear a story about Aoba？」
「Bragging about her？」
「Yeah, let me brag」
「I’m not even surprised」
Taiyou chuckled, shrugging his shoulders.
「Let’s hear it. Or, please, tell me. About Aoba in the past」
Akiha began speaking.
Her encounter with Aoba, how they became close, and their lives after becoming close.
And then, their everyday lives after she began viewing her romantically.
She told him in great detail.
On top of Tsugaiyama Peak, Akiha spat out the feelings she had harbored for so long.
Soon, Akiha began speaking less, but her emotions grew stronger.
She expressed the contents of her heart in rich detail to Taiyou.
The sun descended in the west, and their surroundings were enveloped in darkness.
Not even an outstretched hand was visible.
As soon as she stopped speaking, he felt the sensation of lip touching lip.
A wet noise hit his ears, and the sweet scent of her nasal cavity tickled him.
Taiyou quickly understood that was a kiss.
But he was perplexed.
Why did she kiss him? That girl, standing right next to him…
This time, her fingers touched his lips.
「Don’t say anything」
He shut up as he was told.
And then the lips grew heavier.
It was no mere kiss. It was……a kiss that pushed strong feelings onto him.
His arms hanging, Taiyou responded with his own lips, putting them between hers.
Until……the kiss broke.
Their lips separated――along with Akiha.
Gripping her wrist as she moved away, he pushed her down.
He pinned her down on the trailer.
And kissed her.
Holding her body down and pushing his lips into hers.
He pushed his own strong feelings onto her.
Thank u always for ur great work…