"Wakamiya-san, is this what you want to say to me?"
"No, I was just confirming that matter with you…"
"Um… I'm sorry."
Recalling the previous misunderstanding, Wakamiya laughed bitterly.
"Then what is it? Don't tell me… the punch line is that we're going to study right now?"
"It's more like a suggestion than a discussion, though. Ah, but we're still going to study."
"...Suggestion? And we're going to study… Are you serious…"
I sighed, but I actually felt happy. It's nice having Wakamiya watch my study. But more than that, spending time with her had been a bit fun these days.
Well, just a bit...
"First of all, I want to tell you what I think about Tokiwagi-san before I make this propose."
I glanced at her. Wakamiya was sipping her tea, her eyes downcast. As usual, she was sitting in a beautiful posture.
"I think Tokiwagi-san is unfriendly."
"Wow, you immediately get to the point… Yeah, you're right."
Wakamiya pointed out without choosing her words, piercing straight through my heart. Even I realized that…
It might have been better if I could be half as friendly as when I did my part-time job, but it's not that easy. If I had to act like I was serving a customer at school… maybe I would have one or two friends. But acting all the time was too tiring, so it's impossible.
"That's why I came up with this."
"What is it?"
"What's your bad points, and how can I make you able to pull out a normal conversation… But I might be too nosy."
"Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I believe my corrupted core is already deep-rooted within me, you know? I don't think we can change it overnight."
Having her easily affirming my words made me a little sad. I guess it's better than having her conceal her thoughts with beautiful words…
"So I wish we can fix it over time."
"Haa. It'll take a long time, won't it…"
"I think you should at least make an effort so you won't cause any problems when you get employed. If you won't, hunting for a job after graduation will be difficult."
"Isn't it too early to think about that!?"
"But you want to find a good job, right?"
"And I'm still in the first year of my high school life…"
"I believe planning is important. You will be able to see what you should do from now on."
"You sure are philosophical…"
Planning for the future in the first year of high school… Typically, no one would seriously do that, right? Some people gave it a thought, but it's mostly something uncertain like, "I want to be this~" "I want to have that~"
Well, that might be what separated Wakamiya from most of the people and made her perfect. I couldn't even see what tomorrow would bring…
"Wakamiya-san, since you are looking far ahead into the future… do you have life plans?"
"That's right. I have hopes and desires, you know?"
"Ohh. Can you tell me? Just as a reference."
"It's a secret."
"Just a little…"
"It's a secret."
"You're not even giving me a chance…"
Her eyes strongly appealed that she wouldn't tell me.
I sighed and shrugged.
When she's acting like this, I knew that it's impossible to have her yield.
"Tokiwagi-san is unfriendly, has no interpersonal skills, and completely blunt."
"That's kind of cruel."
"That's the fact, right?"
"Well, that's right."
"But you have some good points," Wakamiya muttered. Her voice was loud enough for me to hear, but I pretended like I didn't.
Don't praise me. I'm not used to it…
I snort moodily.
"So I would like to get rid of Tokiwagi-san's unfriendliness. You always act like you want to keep a distance from everyone."
"Getting rid of it, you say… It's impossible. The nature of a person won't change that easily."
"That's not true at all."
"No way. As long as there's no big impact, human values and nature won't change, okay? Doing it slowly and secretly won't make any effect."
"Fufu. I know that Tokiwagi-san would say that. So having an impact is important, isn't it?"
"I have a suggestion here. How about calling each other by the first name from now on?"
I lost my words at her unexpected suggestion. My head was confused, and 'why's filled my head, causing me not to piece my thoughts together.
"I think calling other people by their first name removes the barrier between people. I propose this as the first step."
"T-that makes sense, but…"
Wakamiya didn't wait for me to finish my words and took a small deep breath. She then said, "Then, I'll call you first."
She stared straight at me and smiled. That charming smile made my heart throb.
Wakamiya, who was always dignified, whispered my name in a soft, quiet voice. Her face looked unconfident. I could feel the pounding of my heart and my pulse getting faster.
"Then, it's your turn…"
"No… It's too hard…"
There's nowhere to escape anywhere. I inwardly clicked my tongue.
Her reply was not her usual clear voice, but a weak mosquito-like voice. She was slightly trembling like she was enduring something.
Silence filled the room.
I glanced at Rin. But when our eyes met, we turned away from each other. Then when I slightly raised my face again, our eyes met again. Then we quickly turned away again.
My face was hot.
Rin's face was red, like a boiled octopus. I'm sure my face was also bright red in her eyes. I knew that much, even without looking at the mirror.
Calm down, me.
I took a deep breath over and over again.
"H-hey. Calling each other by first name… Can we do it when we're alone?"
"...Why?" Wakamiya asked, sounding slightly sad.
She then put her hands on my lap and looked up at my face. Her clear, teary eyes caught me, not letting me go. As if I would be sucked in just by looking at them.
I turned my face away from Rin and dropped my gaze on the floor.
"No, um. Doing it right away is difficult… It's so embarrassing that I want to die. So… How about making this a secret between us?"
"Secret… A secret, huh?" Rin put her finger on her mouth and pondered for a while. "Okay. Then we won't call each other by our first name outside."
"...Yeah. Don't let it slip when we're outside. You definitely can't, okay?"
"You don't believe me?"
"No. I'm just making sure."
"I understand. Because it's a 'secret between us', right?"
I heard a strange implication in the secret part… but whatever.
Rin chuckled and smiled happily.
"Yeah… sure," I replied casually. I might sound unfriendly, but it couldn't be helped. I couldn't bear looking at her face any more than this…
After that, I pretended to change my position and looked away to escape her smile.
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