but I didn’t care about that.

“……”

After a few moments, I went to check the mailbox of the apartment.

“203 Hoshimiya” was written on it.
I suddenly remembered.

——Ayana-chan, you live alone, right?

Ayana-chan stands out in the classroom.
Even without being aware of it, I had heard a conversation between Ayana-chan and Kana-chan, and I heard that they both lived alone.
But that’s not what’s important right now.

“Riku-chan and Ayana-chan…so they are dating.”

I muttered in a stunned, powerless voice.

But…Maybe he just stopped by.

Believing in such a fleeting possibility, I continue to wait for Riku-chan to come out until the sun sets.

The next thing I knew, the area was filled with darkness.

And, of course, the time is now 9:00 pm.

I stood under a streetlight with a burn-out bulb and patiently waited for Ayana’s room to be opened.
But there was no sign of it opening at all.

On my phone, I received a call from my mother, who was worried about me.
I didn’t have time to reply and continued to stare at the apartment in dismay.

“Hey, Riku-chan…Are you staying at Ayana-chan’s house?”

I asked Riku-chan, who was supposed to be in Ayana-chan’s room.

“It’s this time of the night and you are alone…? What are you two doing together right now?”

———You just told me that you love me.

The next moment, my vision blurs.

Something hot focused on my eyes and it spilled down on my cheeks with a hollowness.

Tears were overflowing———

“Huh? Why…tears?”

I wiped the tears with my hand.

Tear after tear came one after another, no matter how many times I wiped them away.

“………!”

The presence that was by my side became hazy.

A sense of loss.

A hole in my chest.

He was always there for me and I took it for granted.

Such existence has gone to a woman other than me———

“Ah, ahh…no……no!”

I was going to be able to congratulate Riku-chan if he got a girlfriend.

No———That’s wrong.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that he would never get a girlfriend.

Because Riku-chan was very attached to me.

It was natural for him to be by my side.

He didn’t even talk to any of the girls except me.

We’ve known each other since childhood, so we’ll always be together……

I didn’t think anything of it because I subconsciously assumed so.

We’re childhood friends, so we’ll be together———That’s not it.

I, myself, wanted to be with Riku-chan.

When I first saw him befriending the opposite sex other than myself, I finally became aware of it.

I want to be the only one who is special to him.

“I…love Riku-chan…”

I’ve been taking it too much for granted that the person I care about was by my side.

What, I guess I was mistaken.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve known each other since childhood or not.

I felt safe and accustomed to having Riku-chan by my side.

I can’t believe that I finally realize how I feel after he leaves me……

It’s natural to be annoyed at those two.

The guy I love is befriending a girl who isn’t me……!

“It’s already…too late……Even if I realize it now…it’s too late…!”

I sink into regret.

However, this feeling soon turns into anger.

“Riku-chan…isn’t it funny? You started dating Ayana-chan right after you told me you liked me…? Isn’t it too soon…? Y, you could have…waited a little longer! Then I…would have noticed…!”

As I let out a mixture of regret and anger, I suddenly remembered our exchange this morning.
Riku-chan looked like he was about to cry like a little child when he was yelled at by me.
What does that mean…?

“…Do you…still like me?”

I look up and stare at Ayana-chan’s room.

“…Is it not too late…?”

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