Chapter 22 – The GW and the Part-time Job and the Ojou-sama (5)
One way or the other, the result was that we fell at the preliminaries for the basketball match.
Izumino Gakuen Basketball Club is actually skillful enough to be in the best-16 of the prefecture so the reason we lost was because I dragged them down.
Of course, it wasn’t that everyone who participated in this match were part of their starting lineup. However, Soutarou was the Basketball Club’s starter and Kaname was omnipotent at sports. There were two 1st-year bench players but even they were skillful.
No matter how I think about it, the reason for our defeat was because I sucked at basketball.
“Really…… I’m sorry……”
“It’s okay, it’s okay. Besides, I was the one who forced you to join. I should be thanking you instead.”
“Soutarou…… I’m sorry……”
A smile that was completely unclouded. As I thought, Soutarou is kind. It’s precisely because he’s kind that I felt even more apologetic and want to disappear.
It wasn’t that I was extremely unathletic. I feel that I’ve gotten more muscular and even my stamina improved ever since becoming male.
I didn’t strongly refuse because I thought I could do it if I tried harder. Perhaps I was being conceited, but I wanted to be of help to them.
It’s because I had been thinking this way that all the more I still feel ashamed to have failed so badly at the game.
“Mako-chan, you Travelled a number of times, huh. The way Mako-chan’s face turned red and flustered was incredibly cute.”
Travelling, and then getting agitated over that, I ended up Travelling even more.
Just recalling that made me embarrassed and I felt like crying.
“Sheesh, Kana too, won’t Mako be pitiful if you say so much? It can’t be helped that Mako is a beginner.”
“I wasn’t really making fun of him, you know. It’s just that it’s rare for Mako-chan who can flawlessly handle anything to make a blunder. So even Mako-chan has things he’s not good with, huh, was what I was thinking.”
Even I’ve things I’m bad at. In fact, just a month ago I was a frail girl.
I don’t find insects and snakes repulsive・and I’m also fine with touching frogs. Haunted houses and jet coasters are fine too. Dark places and tall places, those are also completely fine. I don’t hate studying and while I don’t particularly like athletics, I wasn’t bad at them either.
But, ballgames alone, to a devastating extent, I can’t do them. By the way, I digress, but I also lack the sense for arts and music.
While in theory I understand ballgames, arts and music, I can’t do it if you ask me to try them all of a sudden.
“I’m really bad at ball games…… Though, I didn’t think it would be this bad.”
It was a match where everyone was earnestly contending. No matter what a light-hearted feel this practice match had, they no doubt had the sentiment of wanting to win.
And I trampled all over that sentiment.
Maybe it couldn’t be helped that my shoot didn’t make it. However, I should have at least been able to not drag them down.
I feel that the more I think about it, the more I fall into darkness. Letting out a small sigh, I sat while grasping my knees.
“It was Mako who said that it’s not embarrassing to have things you’re bad at.”
Directly before my eyes, Soutarou stooped down and gently stroked my head.
“I’m sorry for teasing you. But, it wasn’t that I wanted to make fun of you.”
Kaname’s voice sounded troubled.
Even I’m the same. I’m at fault, and even though I didn’t have the intention to, I ended up troubling these two with my sulky attitude. I also didn’t have the intention to take on an attitude as though I was beaten when I’m already down.
Much less, I didn’t want them to comfort me so leniently.
“I’m sorry. I……”
It can’t be helped that I feel down. It’s because they’re excessively compassionate. Thinking like that, I raised my head only to have my head hugged by Soutarou with a squeeze.
And it naturally became that my head was buried into Soutarou’s chest.
“I prohibit you from apologising anymore.”
“Ah, just Souta, that’s unfairー. Me too, me tooー. I want to “hug” Mako-chan tooー.”
Usually he’d say that we’re embarrassing or that we’re flirting, but just today I’m allowed to soak in the tenderness of these two.
“Soutarou, teach me basketball next time. It was, incredibly mortifying to lose.”
“Sure thing. Mako’s reflexes aren’t bad, I think you can surely become good at it.”
Without any strange intentions, I placed my cheek against Soutarou’s chest. Like a certain time back then, I saw the two beauty spots lined up on his left collarbone.
A soft floral fragrance mingled with the smell of sweat, he had a scent like that of young woods. I suppose a similar smell was also coming from me.
An antiperspirant-like citrus scent drifted from Kaname who hunched over and hugged Soutarou and I. Although Soutarou also used antiperspirant, the scent was much easier to detect from Kaname.
But somehow it feels embarrassing to have our skin touching while we’re all sweaty.
“Mako-chan, thanks for the good work!”
With her pleated skirt fluttering, Mitsuki jogged towards me.
My face turned blue thinking that, this time, some misunderstanding will definitely arise when she sees three guys embracing each other like this.
But the absent-minded and airheaded Mitsuki, without behaving like she was disturbed to see three guys embracing, directly reached my side.
Just as the two who were embracing me let go, with reddened cheeks she grabbed both my hands.
“Mako-chan, you were really cool! You were more cool than anyone else. As expected of Mako-chan!”
“Un! Mako-chan, good work. Do you want to have the bento now? I made the atsuyaki tamago salty for Mako-chan.”
Mitsuki’s honest eyes didn’t contain any malice.
Mitsuki wasn’t trying to comfort me. She simply expressed her honest thoughts frankly.
I can feel that she truly, from the bottom of her heart, thought my figure when playing basketball was cool.
“If you’d like, everyone can eat too? I made a lot.”
I think that the sight of Mitsuki carrying the 5-tiered box which reached her face was by far the most cute.
“I also want to eat Mitsuki’s bento-nyaー?”
The one who hugged Mitsuki from behind was Junya.
To think you hugged my cute Mitsuki, truy unforgivable.
I started standing up while making a stern face, but he quickly separated from her so I ended up in a half-risen posture.
“Didn’t you say you won’t hug Mitsuki? I won’t let you eat her cooking!”
“‘ow mean. If I can’t hug Mitsuki-chan, then I’ll hug bunny-chan.”
Immediately after speaking, he clung onto the waist of me who had half-rosen and pressed our cheeks together. Furthermore, he buried his nose in my temple and started sniffing with a whiff whiff.
I want to know what’s so fun about sniffing my body that stinks of sweat from the match.
“Kaichou, kindly get away from Mako!”
“Ehー, don’t wannaー. I’ll eat Mitsuki-chan’s bento while hugging bunny-chan tightly.”
What’s this, so bothersome.
While being watched by Kaname who’s inappropriately laughing and Mizuki who’s inclining her head with a blank look, Junya is hugging me and Soutarou is trying to save me. A very surreal situation has taken place.
Good grief, I don’t even have the time to feel depressed.
Honestly, though I do think it’s bothersome, surprisingly I can’t deny that a part of me felt very happy.
In spite of myself, I burst out laughing at the change of my state of mind.
“Let’s eat Mitsuki’s bento, everyone. Mitsuki’s bento is delicious, you know.”
The morning matches will be ending soon.
Then we’ll borrow a space somewhere and enjoy Mitsuki’s bento. It’ll definitely be fun.
“Junya. You’re supposed to eat my bento. Isn’t that right?”
A very feminine and dignified voice. But like a cold and chilly icicle, it directly pierces into one’s heart.
It’s like cold water being poured onto the head.
The owner of that voice was undoubtedly the person I was most afraid to meet. I slowly lifted my head.
As I thought, there stood the Ice Queen……――Yukinoshita Madoka.
“Madoka-chan, is your condition okay already? Weren’t you just discharged from the hospital?”
“Even so, there’s no way I won’t come and cheer my Yasuchika on when he has a match.”
She emphasised the “my” portion with a studied tone.
Madoka gave an absolute zero icy glare to Mitsuki.
Mitsuki seemed like she had no idea what’s going on, and looked to me seeking help. As a onii-chan, there’s no way I won’t help Mitsuki when she makes such a face.
This time I stood up, blocking Mitsuki like I’m trying to protect her.
“What will you do, Junya?”
“Madoka, let’s eat with bunny-chan and the rest, then. Call Chika-chan too.”
“Don’t mess around, Junya. I want to eat with only Yasuchika and Junya. I don’t need anyone else. You are different.”
Then, for the first time, Junya gave a troubled smile.
“There’s no one here who’ll hurt Madoka-chan.”
It probably wasn’t the reply she expected. Madoka’s face distorted, as though she was about to cry, as though she was angry.
If I recall, I heard that Madoka was a 20 year-old 2nd-year at University but she looks much younger than that. It’s as though her growth stopped in elementary school.
“That’s enough. I’ll just invite Yasuchika. I don’t need Junya anymore.”
Junya chased after Madoka who left the scene like she was sulking.
But before he left, he lowered his gaze just once towards the ground, looking in our direction. It can be seen that he’s troubled.
“Sorry about Madoka-chan. That person, she’s immature. Prone to sickness, she didn’t have many friends. She also doesn’t attend school much so she doesn’t know how to communicate well. So, I hope that you’ll forgive Madoka-chan. I’m sorry. Let me have Mitsuki’s bento next time, okay?”
Saying up till there, Junya went to chase Madoka.
Madoka was certainly immature. The reason was as Junya said, prone to sickness, she doesn’t attend school much and doesn’t have many friends. But there’s no way it’s okay for her to continue using that excuse even into the future, and she can’t either. There’ll be a need to fix this someday.
But if Yasuchika really plans to marry Madoka, is it okay to for him to leave things be and support her for the rest of his life?
Thinking it’s okay to hate everyone else as long as that special person is kept close by, I feel that it’s an extremely wasteful way to live.