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Amikura suggested that we enjoy a little karaoke, but I had to go to the bathroom before that. Although the meeting took an unexpected turn, Kanzaki and the others showed signs of growth during the discussion, which was a big plus.

The only thing left to do was to invite Ichinose out to talk about the circumstances of her leaving the student council.

It’d be preferable if Kanzaki and the others could handle this, but I didn’t recommend Kanzaki and the others to do so, as it may only cause chaos in the class.

I’d like them to stay friends with Ichinose.

I didn't regret taking on the task itself, but the difficult part was getting Ichinose to accept the invitation. It was unavoidable that she’d become suspicious if I invited her out during a time when two major events occurred in a row—that being the reveal of a major special exam and her leaving the student council.

Should I just straightforwardly ask her and confirm the reason? 

No, it was probably better to check on Ichinose's mental state first before deciding what to do. 

If asking her bluntly would lead to negative consequences, it would be pointless.

“Hey, Ayanokōji.”

Watanabe followed me in a hurry to the men's restroom.

I thought he urgently wanted to do something, but it seemed that wasn’t the case.

“You know… You're meeting with Ichinose next time, right? I have a favor to ask you on another matter…”

“A favor? I hope it’s something simple.”

I finished using the restroom, washed my hands, and returned to the hallway.

“It's probably simple, but I'm not sure… Um…”

Watanabe, who usually spoke clearly, became very brusque.

However, he thought it wasn’t good to be absent from the group for too long, and he started to talk.

“Well, what is it?”

“Um... it's about Amikura.”

“Amikura? Is something worrying you?”

I was sure that Amikura was the most upset by our earlier discussion.

She didn't seem to be in need of care after that, but Watanabe may have sensed something.

“No, that's not it. Well, it's a concern, but it's not that.”

His words were incoherent, but I let it slide.

“I was wondering whether or not there's a guy she likes right now. I thought Ichinose might know. If you’re willing to, can you ask her…?”

“I see.”

I was slowly beginning to understand the circumstances, feelings, and actions of love.

I could understand the meaning behind Watanabe's words as he told me this in a stilted manner.

“You have a crush on Amikura.”

“Hey, hey, hey! Don't be so blunt here!”

“It's okay. There's no one here right now.”

The only thing leaking out into the hallway was the background music playing inside the restaurant and the singing from the karaoke rooms.

Rather, Watanabe's loud voice and panicking would be the problem.

“Even if that's true!”

But you never know. I didn't realize that Watanabe liked Amikura.

“I was cool even when we were in the same group. Especially during the school trip.”

“You're not an elementary school student, you shouldn’t show your feelings in such an obvious way.”

Come to think of it, didn’t he say that he was shopping with Amikura today?

It was interesting to find out that fact, and a connection began to emerge.

“Did you ask her out on a date today by any chance?”

If that were the case, then Watanabe would be quite a capable person in his own right.

“What? Ah…Well, I was aiming for something close to that. I woke up early and got ready. And then we met up in the lobby of the dorm. I was so nervous.”

Looking back on their encounter, Watanabe spoke with a bitter look on his face.

“But when we started walking together, we couldn't talk at all. Usually, when I'm with a lot of people, we can talk well together, but suddenly the words just didn't come out. It was kinda hell until we got to Keyaki Mall.”

It was good until he asked her out, but after that, it didn't go well.

“You didn't like being alone with her?”

“I don't mind. But I got irritated with myself for not being able to talk well, and I thought bad things like, 'Amikura must not be happy to spend time with me.’ Then I heard Kanzaki and Himeno talking about meeting you as they walked by.”

This may have been a thread of salvation for Watanabe, who was in a difficult situation.

“We were in the same group during the school trip, so I asked if I could go with her.”

It may have been a decision to run away from the situation without retreating completely.

“I see, so that's how it was.”

It would’ve been a shame to lose the two of them alone, but there was nothing worse than a date that didn't turn out well. No, I don't think Amikura even considered it a date.

“I was a little scared. I didn't think we were going to start talking about something important, but… I'm glad I found out in the end. I think I understand what Kanzaki and Himeno are thinking.”

With what I had seen of Watanabe's character so far, if Kanzaki and the others had moved earlier, they may have been able to get him on their side quicker, just like Hamaguchi.

Perhaps, such students were lying idle in Ichinose’s class.

“So… Can you please probe about Amikura?”


“You're meeting with Ichinose next, right? I'd like you to casually ask her about it.”

“I don't know if I can ask Ichinose since there's no guarantee she knows about Amikura's love life in the first place.”

“No, she would know. If Amikura liked someone or was dating someone, Ichinose would definitely know.”

Watanabe answered with considerable confidence, although I didn't know where it came from.

“Is Ichinose some kind of girl's information network?”

“I don't think Amikura is the type of person who goes out with a guy without consulting someone about her love life. If Ichinose knows about it at all, that would give me a chance.”

“I see. So it's been confirmed that Amikura doesn't have a specific guy she likes?”

Watanabe nodded with a grin.

“Well… Actually, what I really want is for my name to come up somehow, but there's been no sign of that at all. I guess I'll just have to keep pushing forward since I don't have any rivals right now.”

He analyzed the scenario and concluded that he didn't have a lead on the situation. Watanabe couldn't really grasp his own feelings when it came to romance, so he couldn’t be sure of anything. However, he felt indebted to Amikura for taking care of him during the school trip.

It would be difficult to ask classmates to help with this kind of thing.

I was glad to know that Watanabe had a positive attitude.

“I'll try to find out casually, but don't get your hopes up too much. If I push too hard and make her wary, it'll be disadvantageous for both of us.”

“Oh, that's totally fine.”

Watanabe looked embarrassed, but at the same time, he looked happy and pleased.


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