Chapter 221: Longing For the Smile I Saw On That Day
(Rain…… I wonder if it is going to rain all the way to tomorrow……)
I think so to myself while watching the raging rain outside of my window.
The weather forecast predicted that a typhoon was on its way here, and the accompanying storms were supposed to be so severe that they could last for an entire day or two, which would result in a forced school holidays.
What arrogance…… I would like to say, but I am well aware that I am in no fashion perfect or anything like that.
But this is this, and that is that.
Even though I was an honor student, the sheer amount of homework assigned by every single teacher from every single subject was more than enough to make me let out a deep sigh.
And judging by this heavy rain and strong winds outside, it could be guessed that this area right now was right in the middle of the worst part of the typhoon.
I am still good, even with this kind of severe weather.
I have already contacted my parents, so if I wait here for long enough, a pick-up car is going to come for me in a bit.
I know I should not feel good about myself because of something my family possessed, but I just could not stop to feel pity towards all the people how were unaware of this weather condition and forgot their umbrellas today, which would result in them going back home drenched in rain.
(Melancholy…… I wonder why they did not let us go home without any homework needed to be done in the first place Ahh, and I have my practice for today as well…… I wonder if I would be able to skip them just for today)
I think that, but I am more than sure that a request like that simply won’t do here.
Being a woman is not an excuse to be powerless.
According to those words, which were also a family motto, not only her, but her two older sisters were frequenting extra courses on martial arts and various form of self-defense.
And she was sure that neglecting the training would not be allowed, even on a rainy day.
(I knew it…… Nothing but melancholy……)
Apparently, even someone blessed with both money and well-situated family was able to partake in the feeling of melancholy and share it with their peers.
With bitter thoughts feeling my head I headed towards the shoe rack at the school’s entrance.
Even though it was a rare custom in this day and age, this school still practiced it.
Once I was close to the entrance…… It was then that I noticed that.
「Hmm, will it be okay The water should not get inside, right My wallet and mobile terminal are safe inside of my bag, and my clothes…… Oh well, let’s just hope that Iwamaki-san is going to forgive me after laughing at me for a while, yeah.」
Right at the school’s entrance, a lone boy student was standing.
He was standing right outside of the entrance, where he was not inside of the building, but he was still sheltered from the rain because of the small roof.
Looking by the uniform that boy was wearing, they were the members of the same year, and she had a feeling that maybe they were even classmates.
(Hi…… No, Yo…… Tsutome Really Was there someone in our class going by the name Tsutome)
She surely remembered that there was a rather specific kanji in that person’s name, and that it was surname ever rarer than “Sato” or “Suzuki”.
…… Was it perhaps “Hizutome” She could not be sure.
The boy’s school bag was put into a transparent plastic bag, so that it would not get damaged by the water.
The boy was also stretching in place and looked rather displeased while gazing upon the pouring rain.
And since he did not have neither a cape nor umbrella on him, it was more than apparent that this presumed Hizutome-san was completely unprepared for today’s harsh weather conditions.
(It seems that he’s in quite a bind with all of this rain pouring down……)
It was also more than apparent that his idea for getting through the wall of water was simply to dash straight home right in the middle of the downpour.
Without an umbrella, or a cape, or whatever could possibly shield him.
She had no idea where his home could possibly be, by she was sure that by the time he gets there, he would be completely drenched.
And even if he manages to return home quickly, getting thoroughly drenched like that could end up in nothing good for his health.
She thought that the boy right about now must have been drowning in despair, but……
「Alright! Time for me to go!」
But he was smiling.
He jumped straight into the rain and took on the assault of the wall of water that waited for him.
His bag must have been burdening his arms, since it was filled with textbooks and printed home assignments, and there was that plastic bag as well.
But he was still smiling nonetheless.
And he was making a mad dash.
In the midst of this heavy rain, the screams of a certain “Hizutome-san” were gradually starting to get farther and farther away.
Going back to this moment many times over, there was always this one question that was coming to her mind:
「Why Why was he…… smiling so happily…… like that……」
That was their first actual encounter, although she heavily doubted that he was aware that she was even there at that time.
Ever since then, she has witnessed that boy’s radiant smile many more times.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…… He was always smiling, even on that day when he had a nasty accident during the P.E lesson and had to be taken to the Nurse’s Office as a result.
「Alright! It’s finally here…… Since I got that mail, I need to hurry up and get there to receive the thing! Let’s pull another all-nighter……!!」
He always go home with a huge smile on his face.
At some point I started to wonder just “what” was making him smile so radiantly like that Or to put it in another words, “why” was he able to smile like that no matter what
That is why on one day she decided to follow him.
After doing some research she got to know where he was living and what was his usual route back home after school.
Now it was only the question where exactly he was taking his detour.
Interestingly enough, at the time she had no idea that what she was doing could easily be considered “stalking” in modern law terms.
It was then that she was brought in front of a small, probably privately owned game shop.
「Rock Roll…… But shouldn’t it be “Rock ‘n Roll”…… Hyah!」
「Fufufufufufu…… Finally! It is finally here! Survival Gunman……!!」
The manual front door opens up suddenly, and the one to emerge from inside of the store was none other than the boy she was following.
She also managed to remember the boy’s name: Hizutome Rakuro.
She hid behind the building’s corner so that he would not be able to see her.
「Hm Was That a cat…… Oh well, doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that I managed to get my hands on this piece of work! Now to hurry back home and try it out!」
(Ahh, there it is.
That smile again.)
At school he was certainly not a sloppy student.
He takes his studies seriously, has good grades and has a good amount of close friends.
However, the way he smiles at school is never quite as radiant as the way he was smiling just now.
It was the sight of Rakuro running away with a smile on his face that gave her one final push to open the door to that shop and enter it herself.
At that time she didn’t even think that the owner of the store would so easily point out the true nature of the feeling she was harboring inside of her.
She also didn’t think that the shop’s owner would become her ally just like that.
「Summer vacation…… Is it really, over……」
From the day of that downpour, time flew by extremely fast.
And today, she was aware of that fact more than ever before.
She had a feeling that it only managed to start…… And before she even knew it was already over.
And just as she woke up, Saiga Rei knew that the time has come for her to make a move.
According to her friend Iwamaki Mana, now was the time to raise that particular flag, most suitable after the summer vacation were over.
「Young Lady, the car is ready and waiting.」
「…… No, I’m sorry.
Just for today, I would like to go to school on foot, on my own.
Call it a change of pace to celebrate the end of the summer vacation.」
「I see…… I understand, if that is what you wish, Young Lady.」
After I eat breakfast I put on my uniform, give my hair a one last enthusiastic check in front of the mirror and get ready to head out.
「Well then, I am going to head out.」
「Please do take care, Young Lady.」
Although she was usually drove by car, she had the road memorized to the very last detail.
But for today she decided to go to school via a completely different path.
Perhaps for today…… She just had a feeling like that.