How sad. The rumor spread quickly after what happened at the lunch break.
This should be what they call as 'high school network'.
Fortunately, most of the rumors were that "Tokiwagi is financially dependent on Wakamiya Rin." They weren't necessarily wrong.
"Maybe they're actually dating?"
About this rumor... I almost didn't hear any of it. Seems like my response drowned out all of those kinds of rumors.
Instead, they started to gossip that my personality was the worst. My reputation kept falling like a stock market crash. It made me think if I would have to change from the D-group to the E-group.
But there was something more worrying than that rumor.
After school today, I hurriedly tried to leave school so I could head straight to the part-time job. Then, I met with Wakamiya when passing the school gate. She called my name out, but... I ignored her.
I felt bad for doing that. She had taken care of me, yet I was being unreasonable towards her.
However, there were many students who were leaving the school. What's more, the rumor just circulated today.
I had no choice but to treat her coldly like that.
"Thank you for your hard work." I entered from the back door and greeted the manager.
"Tokiwagi-kun! I'll have to depend on you too today."
"I will do my best for the money."
"Hahaha, you sure are honest~"
The manager operated the computer while laughing. It seemed like he was checking the shifts of part-time workers.
"You're going to work full shift today, right? Can you finish at nine o'clock?"
"Ah, manager. I want to talk about that..."
"What is it?"
"Can I leave one hour earlier than the usual?"
The manager slightly widened his eyes. He looked confused.
"Huh? That's rare. I thought you'll say, 'I'll stay until the store is closed'... Can I ask why?"
"Err. We're having tests soon, so I want to study at home..."
The manager checked the shifts again. As he pondered, he frowned, "Hmm. Well, it depends on the customers, but we're usually not busy on Mondays. And you've always worked hard, so I don't mind."
"Thank you very much. Then I'll change my clothes!"
"Ah. By the way, it looks like your friend is coming here again... You can talk to her before work, okay?"
"I understand. Thank you very much. I... I will do so if I feel like it today."
I left and went to the changing room. Faintly, I heard him saying, "Hmm? A lovers' quarrel? It's nice to be young~" But I ignored it.
One hour after starting my part-time job, Wakamiya, who had been sitting at her usual seat, stood up and lined up at the cash register. Only one cash register was open at this time on weekdays. She inevitably lined up at my place.
Wakamiya stared at me. I responded to her with my usual sales smile.
"May I have your order?"
"Please give me two donuts."
"Thank you very much!"
Wakamiya looked like she wanted to say something. It's like she knew that she shouldn't disturb my part-time job. But there's something she wanted to talk about. Or that's how I perceive it.
"Then, please wait on that side."
As a part-time worker, this was a normal response to the customer. But I might seem cold to act like that to my acquaintance.
Wakamiya sighed a little at my words.
And then, Wakamiya never lined up at the cash register again.
——2 hours later
"It's hard to give her the lunch box back...," I muttered while changing my clothes after the part-time job.
It was hard for me to approach her. After all, I was the one who tried to keep a distance from her. I wanted to wait until the rumors about us died down, but... that's a bit too much.
I made sure that the Goddess wasn't waiting for me in the back door.
...Apparently, she hadn't noticed the change of my shift.
I hurriedly ride my bike and ran at full speed on the familiar road. I guess it was the first time in a week since I walked down this road. Even though it was only for a week, it felt really nostalgic...
"Geez. What am I doing?"
This was my escape. Just a self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice.
Yes, I'm just being selfish.
I sighed at the night sky. It was a dark night without any stars.
It's like the sky was representing my heart.
I noticed someone was standing at the entrance of my apartment, making me strangely uneasy.
It wasn't the landlord.
And as I approached that figure, that uneasiness turned into a conviction.
"...I've been waiting for you, Tokiwagi-san. I want to complain to you."
A car passed by us.
Illuminated by the light of that car, I could see the appearance of the Goddess staring at me with clear eyes.
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