There’s only two weeks left until graduation.
It’s strange that I’m going to miss this filthy and smelly clubroom.
As I’m overcome with emotion, the club members are frolicking around me. They’re annoying.
Kinoshita-san has arrived. She’s wearing a pink dress, so the club members are saying that she’s a cherry blossom. They really are annoying.
I look away from the rowdy club members and see Michel reading a book in a corner. We make a bit of eye contact, but I look away in embarrassment.
He still seems bothered by what happened the other day.
「By the way, Noda.」
I’m busy, so I give a half-hearted reply.
Once I graduate, I won’t be able to maintain the karate club anymore. That’s why I’m writing some notes for Michel and Kinoshita-san so they can take my role.
「Why were you soaking wet the other time?」
「You were surprisingly energetic even though it was so cold…… ouch! Why are you throwing candy at me……?!」
I used a candy as a makeshift bullet, shooting it at his head. He seems to have noticed my intention, and stops talking.
Just as I’m about to eat some candy, I see the other club members fighting and scrambling over the candy that I threw. I can’t afford to be bothered, so I ignore them.
I can sense Michel staring at me. I pretend not to notice and focus on making notes.
I explained to him that I accidentally got drenched in water the other day, but I didn’t tell him any details.
I might spill the beans if I come up with a poor excuse, so I’ve decided to completely avoid the topic.
But I’m taken by surprise.
「Perhaps the girls who are in love with Michel did something to you, Noda-san?」
Kinoshita-san looks concerned at me while holding back her long, smooth hair.
I want her to keep quiet, but I can’t bring myself to throw candy at her.
Michel looks shocked upon hearing what Kinoshita-san said. This is bad. I signal for Kinoshita-san to keep quiet, but she doesn’t notice.
Michel presses the issue, and Kinoshita-san explains her situation in great detail.
Apparently, even though Kinoshita-san dated Michel only for a short time, she was also victimized.
They were the perfect looking couple, but not everyone gave them their blessings.
The club members were also jealous of Michel for a while. I wouldn’t doubt it if Kinoshita-san had a similar experience.
She looks gloomy and depressed over our experiences combined. The club members are desperately trying to comfort her.
「Sagiri-san, you were drenched…… Is it just as Yui said?!」
「Um…… Well, you see…」
Michel’s face is stiffening. I tried to play it off somehow, but I doubt I can pull it off.
「Even as a harassment, it’s nothing too serious. It’s my fault for going to such a secluded basement restroom in the B building in the first place……」
I’m making up excuses.
「Whoa, you went to that famed restroom? You’ve got guts.」
「That restroom is one of the Seven Mysteries in the school. Recently I’ve heard that there’s a pale-faced girl coming out of the well completely drenched. I’ve been getting really scared.」
「Well, I don’t really get scared. ……Actually, was that me?」
I’m trying to talk face to face with the club member, but Michel is grabbing onto my arm, making it difficult for me.
He mumbles with a stiff voice and facial expression.
Seeing a gentle person change so much is a little overwhelming.
「……Sagiri-san, do you mind if we talk outside for a while?」
「Uh… um, actually, I’m meeting up with Nonomiya-san. It’s almost time……」
I’m looking at the clock on purpose, trying to buy some time.
It’s not a lie. I’m meeting up with Nonomiya-san to pay her back for the stuff she bought at the convenience store.
「In that case, I shall take you there.」
He doesn’t give me a chance to refuse, and drags me out of the clubroom. I give up and tell him our meeting spot.
I don’t want to get there ahead of Nonomiya-san, so I’m walking at a snail’s pace. Sadly, that doesn’t work.
If I knew we were going to talk about that incident, I shouldn’t have made the empty classroom our meeting spot.
「Is it true that you suffered harassment because of me?」
「No, it’s not really your fault……」
He closes the door and cuts to the chase.
「Is it true?」
It’s too overwhelming.
The fact that I’m looking away in awkwardness makes it obvious. Michel droops his head in sadness.
「Did you choose not to tell me because I’m unreliable?」
「No, that’s not it, um…… It really wasn’t anything serious, and you would definitely be worried if you found out…… That’s what I thought……」
It really wasn’t anything so serious that Michel should have to worry about it.
I just ignore the insults, and I simply read the letters of misfortune without responding to them. Even when someone’s about to trip me or bump into me on purpose, I end up avoiding all of it by reflex, so it wasn’t all that serious.
Having water poured all over me is completely my fault for being careless.
I could have avoided it if I hadn’t gone to such a deserted restroom.
I desperately explained it to him, but his face turned increasingly sad.
「Um, I’m sorry. I’ll be a little more careful.」
「That’s not it, Sagiri-san.」
Michel drops his shoulders and shakes his head slightly.
「I’m just disappointed in myself for not realizing that you were harassed, and for the fact that you didn’t even talk to me about it.」
「Um, well, that’s……」
He couldn’t have noticed the pranks since they happened when he wasn’t around.
Plus, the girls are just like highly intelligent cats who won’t even kill a bug in front of Michel.
Even as I explain myself, he still looks downwards and won’t look at me.
「Whatcha guys arguin’ about this time?」
Nonomiya-san enters the classroom, looking like her usual self.
I’m relieved that she’s back to normal.
Perhaps because Nonomiya-san is here, Michel quietly excuses himself and tries to leave the classroom, but Nonomiya-san stops him.
「Why, ye look darn serious. Don’t mind me, continue talkin’. I’ll just listen in this corner.」
「You’re gonna listen?」
Nonomiya-san has a curious look.
I don’t want to let him leave with the conversation half over either, so I promise him that I’ll be more careful and let him know if anything happens.
Michel gives me a forlorn smile. It hurts just to see it.
He’s always gentle and smiling pleasantly. I really don’t like seeing him like this.
「I’ve always been so pathetic……」
「No, that’s not true.」
He cuts me off halfway, saying 「Yes, it’s true.」 with a dull voice.
Oh no. He’s becoming really negative.
「It was the same with Izu.」
「Huh? Izu? You mean the summer training camp??」
I really don’t see how this is related to the summer camp. All I remember is helping Katagiri-san with his clumsy reconciliation. I end up giving a wry smile.
「That night at the drinking party, there was someone from M University who kept trying to flirt with you. Do you remember?」
「……? Was there someone like that…?」
I’m furrowing my eyebrows.
I was preoccupied with Arioka-senpai and Katagiri-san, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the other people, but I know for sure that our club members got excited from the girls at M University as well as Kinoshita-san.
I tell him that I don’t think there was such a person, but he insists there was.
「Do you remember the guy who kept calling you over to read your palms?」
「Hmm…… was there such a guy?」
I don’t really remember, but I want to find out the details, so I just say that maybe there was such a guy.
Michel smiles gently as if it’s obvious that I don’t remember at all.
「I noticed that, but I didn’t do anything. Arioka-senpai was watching over you, and I had my hands full protecting Yui. But that night, Arioka-senpai told me.」
If you like Noda, then protect her.
You should have given her a worried look at the very least.
「I had already felt something special towards you when we were at that summer camp. However, Arioka-senpai’s words stopped me from confessing my feelings to you. His words rang true, after all.」
Michel suddenly stops talking, and turns his back on me while still looking downwards.
「If it happened right now, I would have chosen to protect you without a second thought. I love you more than I did before, and I want to be a proper man…… But I haven’t changed one bit, and I know because I couldn’t protect you this time.」
I notice his back quivering. I’m at a loss.
I can’t tell if he’s crying.
「I have to become a much better man……」
I reach out to stop Michel from leaving, but Nonomiya-san stops me.
「Noda-cchi. Stop. Let him go.」
Since Nonomiya-san was leaning against the classroom door, she probably saw Michel’s face as he was leaving.
I chose not to tell Michel about the harassment because I didn’t want to hurt him. But I ended up making him cry.
「It wouldn’t have worked out even with such a perfect prince, I tell ya.」
Nonomiya-san mumbles, standing next to me as I’m getting depressed.
Romance doesn’t always work out. That’s true.
Michel has been so honest about his feelings. If only I could have reciprocated.
Back when I fell in love with Michel, he didn’t feel the same way.
By the time he liked me back, my feelings had already changed.
If the timing was changed only a little, we would have liked each other at the same time.
「It’ll be a piece of cake for the prince too, when he turns his eyes to the next gal. That’s what I intend to do too.」
I was thinking about Michel, so I respond a little late.
She says in a cheerful voice:
「I’m movin’ on.」
She declares resolutely.
I show my amazement, but she ignores me.
「So Noda-cchi, don’t be worryin’ bout me.」
She smiles brightly and leaves the classroom, leaving me dumbfounded.
She seems to have changed her mind and completely given up on Mizuhara.
Romance is difficult.
I mutter to myself, and fall onto the ground in the empty classroom.