When she said, "I want to repay the favor," those words also conveyed her determination.

The way she looked at me also appealed, I won't overlook even the least trouble I have caused.

It's like I was going to be swallowed by those big eyes. And once they caught me, they wouldn't let me go.

Being watched by such eyes almost made me succumb to my feelings, urging me to agree with whatever she said.

But—

"No, you don't need to," I said, pretending to be as calm as I could.

Dissatisfied with my answer, Wakamiya pouted a little and said curtly, "No, I need to repay you."

"Is that so?"

"Yes. I will repay the favor I have received. Don't you think this is a matter of course?"

"Well, I know what you're trying to say. But..." I took out my smartphone and checked the time. It was already half ten. "For the time being, let's talk as we walk back home. It's weird to talk here..."

"Why?"

"Hey, just look at the current situation objectively..."

At a dim alley, a young man and a young woman were facing each other. Not to say, it was already this time of night.

No matter how I thought about it, it wouldn't be good for us.

Right after Wakamiya noticed what I was trying to say, her face became flushed. Even her ears turned bright red.

"Strangers will think that we're having rendezvous. It will bother Wakamiya-san too, right? So let's change our location. But since it's already late at night, we can just talk on our way home."

"Talking on our way home? No, you don't have to send me home."

There was no piercing atmosphere full of wariness from her. However, she was quietly searching for my aim. Or that's how I perceived her expression.

...She was watchful in this kind of thing, huh.

But,

"Listen me out, Wakamiya-san. It's already rather late at night, and it’s dangerous if you're walking alone, right? In the first place, I think it's quite risky for you to wait in this kind of unpopular place until now."

"Uhh... I-I forgot about that..."

"Haa. For the time being, please contact your parents. They might be worried about you."

"Yes. I will do that."

Wakamiya took out her smartphone and contacted her parents. It would be rude to listen to her conversation, so I took a little distance from her and waited until she finished. Occasionally, Wakamiya-san twitched... Her parents definitely got angry at her.

"I got scolded..."

"As I thought. How should I say this? You're unexpectedly careless in some places."

"People often told me that..."

"Well, let's go. Once we're already near your house, just tell me. I'll accompany you until there."

I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable by thinking that I was a weird stalker who wanted to know her house. That's why I said, 'near her house'.

This should make Wakamiya feeling a little more at ease. Since we're not close at all, it would be hard for her just to stay with me.

"But how could I trouble you that much? It's quite a distance from here..."

"Then how are you planning to go home?"

"...On foot," Wakamiya awkwardly answered. Looking from her expression, she clearly felt apologetic.

Since Wakamiya already said that she was walking home alone, anyone would definitely tell her that they would send her home. Perhaps because she knew that, she looked like she was feeling guilty.

"It'll be troublesome if we're staying here even later than this... Let's go now."

"Yes..."

Wakamiya followed me from behind, her face still looked apologetic. She made a little distance from me, but since we were less than friends, I guess this was only normal.

I walked for a while, receiving Wakamiya's instructions such as, "Go right after this," "Go left after this."

And when we came near the high-rise large apartment house built this year's spring, Wakamiya's legs stopped.

"Ah, umm. I can go home on my own from here. I live in the apartment right there."

"I see."

Wakamiya pointed to the new high-rise apartment house.

To be honest, she didn't have to tell me that she lived in that apartment. She should be a little more alert to the person she talked to for the first time today... No matter what, she was too careless.

And it's surprising that her house was unexpectedly closer from mine.

By the way, I lived in the rundown apartment block nearby. I only had to take a short walk to reach there. There, I lived with my father who didn't come back home very often. Compared to Wakamiya's high-rise large apartment house, the difference was like the moon and the dog shit...

"You really have helped me a lot today, I..."

"Ah, it's okay. Don't worry about that. I'm the one who will feel bad for leaving you like that. So I'm doing it because I want to."

"Even so, thank you very much for that."

Her voice was clear and beautiful. Even so, this would be the last time I listened to it.

When such a thought came to my mind, I felt a bit reluctant to part with her...

"At least, let me repay you—"

"I don't need it," I said, having enough of that. "If you want to repay me because you're feeling guilty, that's just unreasonable."

"Eh... I don't have that kind of intention at all..." Wakamiya replied, hemming and hawing.

I continued, "I told you that it's fine. I'm not demanding your gratitude at all. I'm not going to ask that too if I have the chance. Not at all. It's just me being nosy this time. It's my self-satisfaction. No more, no less."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah. If you still want to thank me, I have received plenty of things from you. I could spend time with the beauty of the first grade, the famous Wakamiya. The guys from D-group will turn insane once they know this, you know? Rather, I should be the one who pays you additional fees."

"......"

Wakamiya looked on the ground. She looked like she was stumped on how to react.

I didn't know the true motive of her wanting to repay the favor this persistently. But since she wanted to repay it today, to the point of waiting for me until this late of night, she probably wanted to settle everything.

I didn't think someone would do this much just because they had a debt. I knew that this would be different for each person, but I'm sure she had a guilty conscience.

Perhaps, there were also guys who had approached her by emphasizing the favor they had done to her until now. Wakamiya's charm stood out from the crowd, so it's easy to imagine that happening to her. Well, this was just my guess, though...

So all I could do was assuring her by saying, 'You have repaid your favor. You don't need to do anything more than this. Rather, I received too much that I should be the one paying you back,' then pull myself away from her.

"So how about that? How should I pay you back? But then, I don't know how much this usually costs, and I'm currently in a tough spot this month. I can only hand you over what I currently have with me."

"N-no! You don't have to!"

"Right. Anyway, I got to spend time with a beautiful girl, and Wakamiya got a meal. From my perspective, I'm honestly the one who received too much... But you can say that this is WIN-WIN. No, let's just leave it like that. I don't have enough money to pay you back."

"WIN-WIN... Um, thank you very much..."

After Wakamiya murmured a little bit apologetically, she corrected her posture and turned to me

She was smart, so she should've roughly realized what I wanted to say. But well, that's fine. Let's go with that.

"Me too. Thank you, really," I said, bowing politely to make it seem like I was thanking her.

Then I smiled and turned my back to her before I briefly said, "See you." Then I walked in the opposite direction of her apartment.

I didn't look back at all. After all, our relationship would only last for today. We had a conversation by chance, and I sent her near her home by chance.

That's it. I'm sure we would return to another stranger who talked to each other a little bit. So I didn't have any strange misunderstandings or expectations.

I said that to myself many times, ended up arriving back home later than usual.


MC, what are you doing LOL

But then, I can understand Tokiwagi's feeling to some extend? Like if someone waited for me until I finished work late at night just to thank me for some cheap potatoes I bought for her out of pity, I would probably feel uncomfortable as well. Like, "What? This girl thinks I'm that stingy???" So I understand why he kind of exploded near the end. But that's probably just me not knowing how romance work these days. (laughs)


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