Honma Konatsu (Part-2)
ChiriChiri, The bicycle that Sugiuchi was pushing made a small sound.
“Honma? Oh, that Honma-chan?”
And just by mentioning the name, Sugiuchi immediately thought of someone, apparently.
“She joined us? Huh.”
Well, that’s the normal reaction, isn’t it?
After that, Hinagata left for her club activities in silence, and I was left in the classroom, when I received a message from Sugiuchi.
He said, “You’re still at school, aren’t you? I’ll be there on my bicycle, just wait for me.” So, about 15 minutes after receiving the message, he showed up at school in his uniform.
“What’s with all the bacen again?”
Bacen for short.
It’s the nearest one, and I have to go to the next town over, so it takes about 20 minutes by bicycle.
“You’re not busy anyway, are you?”
I sat on the back of the cycle where no one seemed to be looking and asked Sugiuchi to paddle.
“She’s cute, isn’t she, that Honma-chan?”
She had the appearance of a prep school idol and was as popular as Hinagata in our junior high school.
Maybe Honma was more popular than Hinagata, because she was more open with others.
“You couldn’t even buy Uchinokura-san a juice, Sugiuchi.
Do you even have any money for Bacen?”
“It’s just that I didn’t have it on hand that time.
I have it with me now.”
This guy seemed to think that he had no time to waste while waiting for Uchinokura-san, so he wanted me to join him to pass the time.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Bacen.”
“Oh well,” I replied absent-mindedly.
After a short time on the back of the bicycle, we arrived at our destination.
I was worried that I would get marks on my butt from sitting on the back of the bicycle, but if I left it alone, it would go back to normal.
There was only one janitor in the old facility, and Sugiuchi and I were the only guests.
“Shall we get on with it?”
I sat down on the bench behind Sugiuchi and watched as he went to bat.
“Argh!”, “God damn it!” It’s hard for Sugiuchi, who’s noisy even when he’s alone, to get a good hit.
“What kind of girl is Honma?”
The arm of the pitching machine whirled with the ball on it.
“Well, don’t ask me that since you already like someone!”
A foul-tipped ball was caught in the net and rolled under Sugiuchi’s feet.
I guess the rumor is true.
“Left field’s open.”
I sat up, took off my jacket, picked up my bat and walked into the batter’s box next to Sugiuchi.
I put two 100-yen bills into the machine, and the machine roared… and a red light came on to indicate that I was ready to start pitching.
The weight of the bat and the stance felt strangely nostalgic.
I’ve only been away for a little over three months.
The first pitch.
I struck out at the wrong time, and Sugiuchi laughed at me.
The second pitch.
As I swung, I heard the distinctive sound of a softball hitting the ground.
I caught the ball, and it flew at a different angle to the direction from which it was thrown.
“It doesn’t matter that Honma-chan enrolled in our school.
But why did Tonomura come to our school, which isn’t very strong in baseball?”
Sugiuchi, who had finished practicing, asked me over the net.
Distance is important, right?”
He replied as absent-mindedly as I had done before.
Sugiuchi was burning through his money fast.
A few hundred yen for batting.
The reason for this was that he had spent a lot of money on UFO catchers at the arcade attached to the building.
As a matter of course, I went back the way I came while calming Sugiuchi who kept complaining about the bumps on the road.
By the time I got back to school, it was almost seven o’clock in the evening.
“I think Shiori is still there.”
That’s what Uchinokura-san told me when I ran into her.
“Hey Uchi, how’s it going back there? I just got my bike… I’ll help you reach your destination…?”
Sugiuchi pointed with his thumb at the back of his cycle.
So that’s what this guy was going for, huh?
I can’t ride with two people.”
Sugiuchi’s plan was shattered in an instant.
It’s easy if you try it, but sometimes people can’t ride on the back.
Uchinokura-san walked away at a brisk pace.
Sugiuchi, who was pushing his bicycle, began to chase after her, his wheels chirping.
He parked bicycle in the parking lot, and I was wondering what he had gotten himself into.
“Here! Give it back later!”
He threw the key of the bicycle at me, which was just baggage now.
“I don’t need the bicycle-”
By the time I caught the key, Sugiuchi, who had been chasing Uchinokura-san, was already a long way away.
I should just leave it at the bicycle parking lot and give him the key tomorrow.
“What a hectic guy…”
I looked next to me, and before I realized it, Hinagata was there.
“Ryunosuke, did you wait for me again today?”
“It might be more accurate to say I was forced to wait for you.”
The grumpiness was washed away and the mood got softer.
“Sugiuchi lent me his bicycle, do you want a ride?”
“It’s against traffic rules for two people to ride together.”
I knew she would say that.
“Well, I guess I’ll just go home.”
As I put the keys in my pocket and started to walk away, she tugged on the hem of my uniform.
“Riding together is against traffic rules.”
Don’t repeat the same lines like you’re an NPC or something.
I just heard.”
“But…I want to ride…in the back.”
You want to ride in the back?
Maybe Hinagta could ride in the back.
I did it a few times for fun when I was in elementary school.
“Sneak up quietly and don’t get caught…”
As I walked to the bicycle, I thought about the deserted street that leads to my house.
I unlocked the bicycle with a click and stepped onto it.
A few moments after leaving the school gate, I took Hinagata’s bag and put it in the basket.
After making sure she was seated on the back, I started to pedal slowly.
I chose a road with as few cars and people as possible, and ended up going down a very dark road with sparse streetlights.
Hinagata, who hadn’t said a word, was still holding the hem of my uniform.
“A little more….
She was just too scared to speak.
In response to the request, I pedaled leisurely.
If I get found out, I can just pretend that I was seduced by her.
When Hinagata’s house was almost at a distance, her hand left the hem of my uniform and her arm went around my waist.
“…We’re almost home, right?”
When I came within sight of the lights of the Hinagata house, I felt warmth from my back.
I couldn’t see her face even if I just turned my head around.
Apparently, her head was attached to my back.
“More….a little… like this, is it fine…?”
Passing Hinagata’s house, I continued to pedal into the night.
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