It Was Bothering (part 1)

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Not without—

 

Not without…..

The one Hinagata likes, there’s a possibility that it could be me….

Since last night, that’s all I’ve been thinking about.
Because of this, I had quite a bit of trouble sleeping today, and I think it was around dawn that I was finally able to sleep.

In fact, I wanted to praise myself for waking up at the usual time.

I changed into my uniform and headed for the dining room, where I found my mother’s note and breakfast on the table.

But there was no bento box in sight; none to be seen.

Well, I guess I’ll just go to the cafeteria or buy something at the store today.

After eating, I prepared myself.
I left home quickly and went through a road with a few people and cars passing by.
The view was clear, so sometimes I could see a girl who looked similar to Hinagata walking in the distance.

But perhaps I left late, and I couldn’t see her today.

Nonetheless, I spotted a figure behind the vending machine.

I thought she was peeking at me, but then she quickly hid in the shadows again.

“Hinagata?”

She was standing there and was not noticeable from the street.

“We’re gonna be late, okay?”

“Ehh.
Ahh, yeah…..”

There didn’t seem to be anything special going on, and as I started to move on, she lined up next to me.

“Go-Good… Morning.”

“Good morning.
What have you been doing out here?”

“Uh….”

….Was she waiting for me?

No, I’m overthinking this.
I don’t always overthink.

Since I’ve realized that I might have a chance, I feel like I’ve been looking for any favoritism in Hinagata’s actions.

“Mom said it was leftovers from yesterday, so, if you want it….”

She pulled out a lunch box wrapped in a blue handkerchief from her bag.

“Oh.
That would be great!”

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When my mom has night shifts, she tends to forget to make lunch.
I don’t remember the last time I told Hinagata’s mother that.

“My mom would often forget to make lunch when working at night.”

“Yeah.
I remembered you saying that before.”

Even if the cost of lunch was only 400 yen, it would be nice to have that money saved. 
[PR: Around 3€/4$.]

I asked Hinagata to relay my thanks to her mother, and we went to school together without having any worries.

“But still, what were you doing at the vending machine this morning?”

“Eh….”

During the lunch break, Hinagata and I spread out our lunches on our desks without rearranging them.

There was not much of a ‘feeling of eating together’ as there was no need to stick desks back and forth, borrow the seat in front of us to eat at one desk, or do any of those things since we always sat next to each other.

Sugiuchi had gone away again today, and when I noticed, he had already left the classroom.

It’s a little lonely because of that…

The same went for Hinagata’s friend Uchinokura-san.

I casually asked  while separating the two stacked lunch boxes and opening the lid.

Hinagata, still at a loss for words, was looking left and right, right and left, and was having trouble responding.

“Oh, you don’t have to answer it.
It’s nothing important.
I was just wondering what was going on.”

“It just happened.”

That’s right.
Yes Yes.
Of course it just happened.

“……”

So it just happened….
What kind of situation would make one hide behind a vending machine?

No, I’m not going to ask any further.

It would be a problem if the story was something that boys shouldn’t ask casually.

“Suzuka kept asking me in the morning if Ryu-kun was coming today.”

Remembering, Hinagata opened up her bento while laughing softly.

I compared the contents of her bento with mine, and found out that they were the same.

Deep fried chicken, fried egg, sausage, boiled broccoli….

But you said it was leftovers, didn’t you ……?

These were not on the table yesterday.

The same could be said for my mom’s and her mother’s bentos.

She was so used to making them that most of them looked like frozen meals, but today, it didn’t look like that at all.

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I grabbed an omelet with my chopsticks and threw it into my mouth.

It was a little thick, but it went well with rice.

“……”

Hinagata was watching me with worried eyes.

“What’s wrong?”

“No, it’s nothing.

“Hey, you know…”

“W-what is it?”

Hinagata tightened her shoulders and asked fearfully.

“Tell your mom it’s delicious.”

“Uh-huh! I’ll tell my mother!”

Hinagata’s cheeks flushed and she ate her own omelet with joy.

“I’ll give one to Ryu….Tonomura-kun.”

She put one of her omelets in my lunch box.

“Oh, thank you.”

Each time I spilled out my impressions of the other side dishes like this, Hinagata shared one of them with me.

Ma’am, you don’t understand the difference between girls and boys.
If you make the same amount of food as for a girl, it wouldn’t be enough for a boy.
But Hinagata was aware of this, wasn’t she? Since she shared the dishes with me, I didn’t have any issues.

“By the way, uhhh… Suzuka and Ayahi seem to want to see Tonomura-kun.”

Using her sisters as an excuse, she was trying to invite me to her home… Well, it’s not that I won’t listen to her requests even otherwise.

Also, the feeling that the bento might be made by her, well, it might not be wrong to claim that ‘There’s a chance it could be me.’

My childhood friend, who has been in the same class for the first time in two years, likes me—

That’s a bit of a fantasy, isn’t it?

“Ayahi is a good girl, but if Su-chan is waiting for me, I have to come.”

“Tonomura-kun, you’re still sweet on Suzuka.”

“I’m an only child, so I’m a little jealous of the Hinagata sisters.”

“But they’re quite noisy, you know?”

Especially Ayahi.
I mean, only Ayahi.

“Yeah, it’s like asking for what you don’t have, and that’s fine by me.”

“Is that so?”

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I’m sure being an older sister to Ayahi and Su-chan is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

I finished my lunch earlier than Hinagata and put my hands together to say,

“Thank you for the food.”

“Thank you for the food”
[TN: Originally it was “お粗末様でした” (Osomatsu sama deshita) which expresses “thanks for having the food.” but I changed it to “Thank you for the food.”]

“I’ll wash your lunch box, over here,” Hinagata said, collecting the empty lunch box.

I feel bad for letting her do it, but I guess that’s how childhood friends should be.

We casually went to each other’s houses, had dinner together, and went to school together in the morning.

I got out of my seat and headed for the bathroom.

When I was in junior grade school, we would visit each other’s home whenever we wanted to and played together with similar things.
When I became a middle school student, I joined baseball and she joined the basketball club.
Since our club boasted one of the strong teams in the prefecture, the activities of our club were quite strenuous.
Without a doubt it became hard to stay in contact with her on a regular basis and thus the time we would spend interacting with each other also decreased remarkably.

As for me, I had a very strict club that lasted until December of last year.

“That’s nice.”

As I was washing my hands, Sugiuchi came in and passed behind me.

“What is it?”

“Hinagata-san.”

“What’s with Hinagata?”

“Hinagata-san, the most beautiful girl anyone wants to be stepped under or kicked by, but when she’s talking to you, she somewhat has a different vibe to her.”

He’s got a weird image of her.
This guy.

But if you ask her, she’ll surely kick you with a strange look on her face.

Hinagata at school didn’t talk much and tended to be expressionless, so it wasn’t hard to understand why it appeared that way.
It was probably because of this gap that the atmosphere around her seemed different.

“Do you want to get kicked by Hinagata?”

I looked at Sugiuchi, who was doing his business with half-lidded eyes, and he smiled sarcastically.

“Sort of.”

What’s with that face?

As I left the restroom, I saw an unfamiliar third-year boy entering our class.

I peeked inside curiously and saw that he was talking to Hinagata about something.

Someone from the soccer team, I believe.

It was oddly quiet in the classroom, and I could tell that all the students inside were casually listening to the conversation, just like me.

I couldn’t hear the conversation clearly, but Hinagata’s expression was a little tense.

‘What are you talking about?’ I didn’t have the guts to intervene.

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“What are you doing? Come on, go in.” Sugiuchi said to me as I turned around.

“I’m kind of in the middle of something.”

“With what?”

“It’s okay.” “What do you mean?” As we were exchanging words, the third-year student walked out of the classroom.

Even though until some time ago, I was quite a bit nervous there, the ambience loosened suddenly.

When I walked in and returned to my seat, Hinagata was preparing for our next class.

“Ahh—.
Ahh, Hinagata.”

“?”

This was the first time I’ve seen such a scene up close, but I’m sure it will be the first of many.

“If you’re going to say no, I think it’s fine to say no right here on…”

“What?”

“Because you, you know, already have someone you like….”

Why am I the one who’s nervous?

“You got called out after school, right?”

“Yes.”

I knew it.

“I want to talk to you.”

Maybe he’s that guy.
That’s the only way.
Or he won’t come all the way to the second year’s classroom to have a chat.

The expression on her face just makes me wonder, but she doesn’t seem to understand much.

“This insensitive woman.”

“I don’t want to hear it from you, Ryunosuke.”

“Why is that?”

She turned away with a peck.

What was with that reaction?

“I’ve already said I’ll be in front of the tea room, so I’m going.”

The reply given by Hinagata sounded somewhat stubborn.

I wish I could have said, “Don’t go.”

But I didn’t have the right to do that.
I was a little sad about that, and even if I said it, Hinagata had no obligation to obey.

I know she’ll turn him down, but I’m sure it makes me feel uncomfortable.

I didn’t even know why I was feeling so bothered, which made me feel even more bothered.

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