Suki Kirai - Volume 1 - Chapter 10

A lively voice can be continuously heard through the AV room’s windows that were thrown open.
A week left until the cultural festival. 
Because of it, various points of the school building turned into a battlefield in the after school hours.

Might I add, I’m also spending my days in a state of sleep deprivation since I’m in the Home Ec Club and the Light Music Club at the same time.
That’s why I absolutely couldn’t afford to cut corners.
That Miku-san is! Because she’s coming all the way here for a concert.

“Len-kun sure is late…… I want to hurry and decide on the arrangement though.”
Lately, Len-kun was always getting personal talks from Sensei. 
Quick pace two days a week, since summer break began.
(The reason…… has to be that after all……)
When I glance at the clock on the wall, almost an hour has passed.

When I stand up from my chair, thinking that I’ll go and show my face in the kitchen, the door suddenly opened. 
Len-kun comes in, walking sluggishly and with an air of exhaustion about him.

“Good work. What did Sensei want today?”
“The thing is, she repeated eeexactly the same thing as last time. With a serious face, she said ‘Are you serious about going to Tokyo after graduating high school and making a living with a single song? Are you serious!?’”
“Incredible, Len-kun’s good at impressions!”
“……Sensei told me the same thing, too. With a self-satisfied expression, she said ‘It really is difficult to become a musician. In your case, isn’t there a possibility to first aim for becoming an idol or a performer instead?’”
“Aah, yeah……”

There might some reason in what Sensei is saying.
If I try and imagine it, it oddly sort of suits him.
As I’m thinking of that, Len-kun looks at me, displeased.

 “I’m telling you in advance, I absolutely won’t tie a hachimaki around my head or wear shorts and an athletic shirt.”
“……Excuse me? What’s that about?”
“Eh, you’ve never seen it before? Among the super-popular idols during the Showa period, there were people like that. Looking at it now, at second glance that’s rock, huh?”

Why, you’re surprisingly pretty into this, aren’t you?
If it were the me from before, I think I probably would’ve retorted like that.
But always looking at him from close by, I understood that Len-kun is serious about music, so I swallowed my words.

“And besides, it would suit Rin more to be a performer.”
“You’re awful!  If you say that, then it suits Len-kun a hundred times more!”

Even after becoming boyfriend and girlfriend, our banter-battles didn’t end.
Or perhaps I should say, I get the feeling that it’s gotten worse instead. In fact, it’s like a skit.
But I also figured out that that was Len-kun’s way of timing things.

“……Oh, by the way.”
See, there it is.
After briefly saying something idiotic and laughing about it, his voice suddenly becomes serious.
Somehow, I realize that maybe he’s about to ask me something.

“Rin, have you already narrowed down your candidacy to confectionary school?”
“……I’ve decided on my favourite.”
“A local one after all? You won’t come with me to Tokyo?”
“Len-kun, that’s……”
“It’d be fine if you’d do it while going to school. In Tokyo, the two of us, making music, try thinking about that, too.”

I thought it was a joke at first.
But inviting me whenever possible, I wasn’t so sure about it after a while.
(There’s no maybe, I guess he’s serious about it……)

Of course, I understand that it’s a hard thing to go to Tokyo and make music.
(That’s how it is, but, I do end up thinking that it would be fun if I was together with Len-kun.)
If I could sing by his side forever, like I have until now……
Even if I understand that it won’t be so easy, there’s a part of me who imagines dreamlike things somewhere in her heart.

“You don’t need to rush your answer.”
To the kindly smiling Len-kun, I nod my head a little.

I dare not put it into words, though.
The truth is, we both understand that we can’t delay it any longer.
It’s the autumn of our third year of high school already, depending on the examination methods, some places have already started accepting applications.
That’s why Sensei’s in a hurry to persuade Len-kun somehow, too.
(Frankly speaking, it’s faster to count Len-kun’s grades from the top in our grades.)
It seems that in the teacher’s room, our advisor Meiko-sensei is the only one who approves of Len-kun’s plans for the future.

Suddenly, I hear the sound of stilettos coming from the hallway. 
It’s impossible to mistake that steady yet powerful rhythm.
Speaking of the devil and all that, it’s Meiko-sensei.

“Ooi, Kagami and Otosaki! I brought someone here for you.”
Opening the door with vigour, Meiko-sensei said so in a high-spirited tone. 
Who is it? Why, I didn’t even need to ask.
When I saw who came in after Sensei, I couldn’t keep myself from screaming.

“Mi–, Mi-mi–, Miku-san……!?”

Indeed, the one who has descended before my eyes was Hatsune Miku.
(Incredible…… Just like I saw her in magazines and online, no! Her aura’s even greater~)
With her slim figure and small face, she looks just like a model.

“Nice to meet you, I’m a former student, Hatsune Miku. You must be Otosaki Rin-san, right?”
“Ah, yes! I’m sorry for screaming all of a sudden like that……”
“Oh, that was nothing. I was really happy that you knew who I was.”

Wow, what shall I do!
That Miku-san is smiling kindly at me!?

Looking at me as my face turned red and my voice won’t come out, Len-kun came forward with a wry smile. 
“I think you can tell from looking at her, but Rin is a huge fan of Miku’s. You know, her reason for taking Aisaka’s exam was that she wanted to go to the same school as Miku.”
 Hold on a sec, Len-kun! Of all things, why are you so blunt about that?
It feels like my head is about to burst into flames from the embarrassment and the awesomeness.
“’It doesn’t matter if we’re not there at the same time! The fact is that our alma mater is the same!’ or something like that.”

Standing beside me as I’m worrying, Len-kun keeps going enthusiastically.
Looking up at him that I won’t let him say any more, he stiffly raises his thumb with a smile.

Then, his expression suddenly turning serious, he held his hand out to Miku-san.

“It’s been a while, huh, Miku.”
“Woah! Len-kun, you’ve gotten taller, haven’t you?”
Miku-san shook Len-kun’s hand with an extraordinary smile.
Somehow, it was a lot softer than the ones she shows as a diva.

Len-kun, and Miku-san……
I was a little bit worried about their reunion.
But with these finest smiles before my eyes, my worries were blown away.

“Earth to Rin-chaan? It’s fine that your eyes turned to hearts, but it’s because of Miku, isn’t it!”
As I’m deeply moved by their reunion, Len-kun pulled my cheeks. 
“Sheesh, Len-kun! Isn’t that awful, making me do a weird face in front of Hatsune-san.”
“Don’t say that, Rin is always cute–?”
“I’m not gonna let you fool me, you know–!?”

“C’mon, idiot couple. Can we move on?”
To Meiko-sensei’s scandalised voice, I come to my senses with a start.
Bowing my head in a fluster, after I repeatedly say “Sorry”, Miku-san’s airy laughter resounds. 
(It’s breaking the rules how even the sound of her laughter is lovely.)

“F’real, how far did we get in the discussion? Uhh, this is Hatsune Miku-san……”
“I’m Miku’s manager, my name is Megurine Luka.”
She made a very beautiful bow, one that I couldn’t even compare to. 
A cool and husky voice.
A calm and somehow mysterious atmosphere is in the air.

“Otosaki Rin-san, Kagami Len-kun……” 
Calling our names to reaffirm it, my gaze meets her dignified eyes.
Quickly lowering my head in a slight bow, Megurine-san’s expression suddenly softens.
“It’s much better than looking at photographs and videos, right?”

I wonder what in the world she’s talking about.
As I tilt my head to the side in confusion, Len-kun suddenly starts talking too fast beside me.
“Ohhh! By the way, Miku and I–”
“Are acquaintances, isn’t that right? You lived beside each other, or something of the sort.”
“Yes, exactly. That said, it’s been three years since we last met like this, though.”
“Three years? So it was that long ago….. Is Kaito-senpai doing alright?”
“He’s coming back next year from studying at a university overseas.”

Like she’s taking the baton from Megurine-san, Miku-san joins the conversation.
Though the topic was something that only the two of them understood, I relax a little upon seeing that they seem to be enjoying themselves.
They’re being so lively that it’s hard to believe that they haven’t seen each other in a long time.

The area around my heart hurting, I put my hand over my shirt in surprise. 
(What could this be? Sort of piercing, sort of tightening……)

Indifferent to my bewilderment over experiencing this sensation for the first time, they keep up their conversation.
As I’m unconsciously listening to them, the phrase ‘new song for the cultural festival’ flies out at me.
“Can I hear that now? Even a little bit would be fine.”
 Len keeps talking on and on, in an unusually excited voice. 
Miku-san glances at Megurine-san, then she cracks a cheerful smile. 
One, two deep breaths.
In a blink, the place’s atmosphere changes completely.

“We’ve counted too much of the same time, huh?         It’s hard to forget
Your sound seems to have overflowed.”

It certainly felt like time had stopped then.
Though she didn’t even have a mike, her clear voice extended endlessly……
Something like an aura was released from Miku-san.

“For now, that’s as much as I can perform.”
Even after hearing Miku-san’s words, I couldn’t comprehend them right away. 
I finally return to the real world to the sound of Len-kun clapping after a short while.

“As expected of Miku, both the melody and song are the best.  Hey, Rin thought so too, right?”
I couldn’t put it into words despite Len wanting me to agree, at any rate I desperately nod my head.
“Really? I’m glad.”
Miku-san tries to smile bashfully as she says that, with such cuteness that you couldn’t look straight at.
Restraining my heartbeat that started pounding even faster, I opened my mouth to tell her my impression.

–– However, I was a moment late.

“You know, that song just now…… it’s also an answer song to ‘Crybaby Boyfriend’. So, I was thinking that I’d like Len-kun to sing it with me at the concert.”

The room became silent as a grave.
Meiko-sensei and Megurine-san, who were making arrangements for something, suddenly stop talking.
Speaking of Len-kun who was called upon, he stared in round-eyed wonder as he was taken aback.

‘Crybaby Boyfriend’ is the song that’s filled with memories of Len-kun and Miku-san. 
This new song that is an answer song to it, if they can sing it together on stage ––
When I thought that, my body moved forward on its own.

“Len-kun, well done. A chance like this, it doesn’t come often!”
“……That, may be so……”
“Let alone not coming often, it might never come again? You have to do it.”

When I firmly pat Len-kun on the back, I felt him slightly shaking. 
(Yeah, there’s no way he wouldn’t be nervous……)
Regardless, I want him to take this chance, so this time I softly push him forward. 
When I do so, his large back that usually wouldn’t budge slowly moves.
Facing Miku-san from the front, Len-kun quickly bowed his head.
“…….I look forward, to working with you.”

(Good. Good for you, Len-kun……)
Perhaps having heard me calling out to him in my mind, Len-kun turned around.
Then, taking my hand, he pulls me towards himself with all his might.

“Sor–ry, I forgot to say the most important thing.”
The line that I remember having heard before made my heart stir more than necessary.
Surely not, could it be, he must be joking?



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