I’m glad for Mallow, yokatta yokatta
Chapter 42 : The Selfish Girl
The next day.
Aoi had left home early in the morning and went to school.
She knew that Ai always went to school early.
Thus she went to school as early as possible.
But, Ai was nowhere to be found in the classroom.
Well, there were times like this sometimes.
They didn’t make an appointment in the first place.
Moreover, the time when Ai arrived at school wasn’t always the same.
Aoi only knew that Ai went to school early, but she didn’t know the exact time when Ai would come.
Aoi wondered how long she would wait for Ai.
Anyway, she was sure that Ai always went to school early. So, most likely she didn’t have to wait that long.
………..Aoi thought like that at first. Butー
「………Eh? Why is she taking so long?」
5 minutes had passed.
10 minutes had passed.
And finally, after it was past 8 o’clock, Aoi began to think that something was weird.
At this time, other students started to attend school and started to chat with each other in the classroom.
But, Ai was still nowhere.
When it came to this point, Aoi began to worry if there was something happening to Ai.
She didn’t think Ai had an accident though.
Perhaps she was just resting at home because she had a cold or something.
Aoi thought she would call Ai by the phone just in case, but she chose to not do that in the end.
Because she didn’t want Ai to think of her as a worrywart who worried about her just because she didn’t come to school early.
Therefore Aoi chose to just be patient and wait.
Well, it would be impossible to talk right before the class started though…….
In the end, Ai arrived at school when HR was about to start.
「I, I’m sorryー I was oversleepingー!」
Aoi felt a little relieved after seeing Ai who got inside the classroom while bowing her head.
But, it was rare that Ai overslept.
Maybe something happened?
When Aoi could ask her, it was at lunch break after all.
Because at the interval break between classes, Ai was taking a nap at her desk. Aoi didn’t want to bother her.
「Aaahh~ Yesterday, I was doing a persistence live streamー」
When asked by Aoi, Ai just answered as if nothing happened.
In one of the classrooms that was empty, they were facing each other, eating their bento while talking.
「Persistence live stream?」
「Yeap, persistence. I won’t end the stream until I get a very rare drop item. But, my luck was just horrible. It didn’t drop until 4 o’clock, you knowー」
「4 o’clock? You mean 4am in the early morning?」
「Ahaha. Thanks to that, my mom gave me a lecture. She allowed me to live streaming, but I need to have a good balance between academics and streaming as a condition. Oversleeping because of live streaming until too late is just inexcusable」
「I agree with your mom……Don’t push yourself too hard, okay?」
「Nah, don’t worry. I’m still young. I still can stay up all night for a few days」
「Uhh… I don’t want you to do your best in that course of action to be honest」
「By the way, it’s been a while since you asked to have lunch together, right Aoi?」
「I, Is that so?」
Aoi behaved strangely.
And Ai said to herー
「Yeap. Usually, I’ll be the one who asks you first, right? So… what’s wrong? Something happened?」
「It’s not like something happened to me. But… how should I say it」
There was a lot to say, but she couldn’t find the words.
The more she looked at Ai’s face, the more she couldn’t say it.
It was the first time she had felt this way.
………No. Actually, it had been a very long time, so she felt like it was her first time.
「Actually… I have… a request」
Her mouth opened and closed. Words didn’t come out easily from her mouth.
But, she tried her best to be brave and finally talked to Ai somehow.
「Wo, Would you like… to come to my place today?」
Ai dropped her octopus-shaped wiener from her chopsticks.
「Aahhー It’s really been a while since the last I came to your home, Aoi」
Aoi immediately took Ai along with her to her home.
「D, Don’t look around my room too much, ‘kay? I haven’t cleaned up much」
「Nah, that’s not true. My room is way more dirty than yours」
「It’s not the matter of which is better. Just because my room is cleaner, that won’t make it an okay thing to not clean up, you know?」
「Is that how it goes?」
「That’s how it goes… Ah, wait a minute, I’ll go grab some drinks」
After Aoi denied Ai’s word, she walked towards the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.
What she took out was a condensed lactic acid beverage (calpis).
She poured it into a cup, mixed it with water, and then put some ice cubes on it.
When she brought the beverages to her room, she found Ai peeking into her table.
Oh crap! The table hadn’t been cleaned up yet.
Aoi noticed her own miss.
「Wait… Nikaidou Ai san…. What are you looking at?」
「Aoi… You’re still writing music…? I see」
Ai turned around and she looked somewhat happy.
「Un. That’s a good thing. I’m relieved」
「T, That’s still unfinished, you know? It’s embarrassing if you look at it」
「Aaー Sorry, sorry. I was just curious」
「Jeez. Here. Your drink」
「Wow~ Peace on the body, Cal-Peace!*」
Ai took her drink joyfully and then gulped it for about half of the cup at once.
*/ a commercial yell of ‘Calpis Water’ brand, 体にピース! means “Peace on your body!”, you can watch this for reference.
「Puaahhー I really miss Aoi special calpis」
「Special? I’m not making it with any special way though?」
「The thickness is great. What a deluxe!」
「Well, if you make calpis too thin, it won’t be tasty, right?」
「Too bad, at my place, we always make thin calpis because it’ll be a wasteful if we make it thick」
Said Ai while shaking her cup slowly.
And then silence flowed between them for a while.
The room had become quiet.
But this silence didn’t make them feel uncomfortable.
「You have something to tell me, right?」
「……..Why are you thinking so?」
「That’s because, Aoi, you suddenly invited me to your place after a long time. It’s been one year, right? So I thought that you might have something to talk about with just two of us」
「Well… That’s….. Un. You’re right」
And then she moistened her lips with a gulp of calpis.
She had decided the words that she wanted to say.
But, that just wouldn’t come out of her mouth easily.
「（Uhh, I’m a wimp as usual）」she thought.
Even so, she tried her best to gather all of her courage and say the words to Ai.
「I…I wanna apologize to you, Ai. Because… I’ve been neglecting you this past year」
「Well… that’s… This past year, I was full of myself. I wasn’t even trying to hang out with you」
Ai, who finally caught what Aoi was trying to say, nodded.
And then, she looked into Aoi’s face with half-opened eyes.
「Aoi… Did you think I’ll be bothered with that?」
「Well, indeed. To be honest, that had always been bothering me this past year tho」
「Because, my friend had become a loner. It was impossible for me to not think about you, you know?」
And then Ai also said 「Well but… it was also my fault tho」
「Actually, I was the one who should have invited you that time, Aoi. I should have become a bit selfish and forcibly taking you to go hang out with me. *Sigh*… It was my fault for being a good girl too much this past year」
「But that’s… Don’t blame yourself too much, Aiー」
「Moreover, I was irritated with myself and tried to do the live streaming to calm myself. But, it made my time with Aoi even less. What a failure……. Aa. But, that doesn’t mean that I regret for becoming a streamer, you know? More or less, I’m having fun doing a live streaming」
「But… That’s a truth that I was being a coward and left Aoi alone that time」
Haa, Ai sighs.
Aoi who looked at her friend like that, didn’t know what to say to her.
She thought that she only had to apologize to Ai this whole time.
But, Ai also felt guilty about it. She felt that that was also her fault.
And Aoi didn’t even know that fact.
She didn’t even try to know.
Really, Aoi once again thought that she was an egoist selfish girl.
「But still. Ai. The one who should apologize is me」
「Aoi…To be honest, I don’t want you to apologize to me tho」
「I know it’s just my selfishness. Butー even though I always being selfish, let me apologize to you this time」
「I’m sorry Ai. I was full with myself and ended up neglecting, ignoring you, my friend」
「Aoi…. I see」
Ai nodded honestly.
「Okay then. Enough with the past. Shall we talk about our future?」
「I hate melancholic and gloomy things. So, why don’t we talk about cheerful things? Well then, from now on, what are you gonna do, Aoi?」
「Hmm, let’s see…」
It took courage for her to say this.
The words that she could never say until now.
But, she felt like she could say it this time.
「I want….. I wanna play together with Ai again like old times!」
Ai nodded strongly.
The words that Aoi just said was the word that she wanted to hear all this time.
「Okay then, let’s play right now, Aoi!」
「Eh? Right now?」
「You have some games here, right? A board game will also do」
「Ahaha…… Well then, it’s been a long time. But, let’s play that racing game. I’m not played this game for a year. So, it’ll take time for me to remember how to control it」
「Oh! That’s a good choice. Let’s play it!」
They looked into each other’s faces and laughed together.
『Lonely Persistent Girl』is cleared.
Next stage is coming soon……….