The next day at the Oritachi Station turnstile.
Aoba and Taiyou arrived 15 minutes before the appointed time, but Akiha was already waiting.
Taiyou was a little surprised, but Aoba didn't really seem to notice, as the two ran up to each other.
Akiha was there with her usual smile of wild abandonment and Taiyou didn't miss seeing the slight dark light that seemed to radiate from Akiha's eyes.
He didn't miss it, but he didn't identify it either.
Something like that Taiyou simply let go as having another meaning.
「Good morning Akiha, did you wait long?」
「Good morning. I did wait, about 11 or 12 hours.」
「I couldn't wait since you called me last night! Light the night before a field trip? 」
「Ah, you were there from then.」
At first Aoba was surprised, but then she noticed it was Akiha's joke, and then was relieved.
The close friends both laughed lightly at Akiha's joke, and Taiyou joined in after the joke.
「Sorry after all that happened the last day, and you being tired, to call you here so suddenly.」
「It's fine, I wanted to go out somewhere anyway.」
「Well it's a weekday holiday since the holiday fell on the weekend, right? Pretty rare thing so I'm not going to just stay cooped up in my house.」
「Yeah, that's true. About as common as getting a day off on another school's day of establishment.」
「But, Akiba, you usually skip cla.s.ses and go somewhere anyway.」
Aoba said suddenly, while Akiha turned pale, laughed, and said:
「That's not true, I'm an honors student with a sparkling record!」
「An honors student doesn't go on the school roof and walk on the fence!」
「Shhh, that's a national secret!」
「Some cheap secret!」
「You can't let anyone else know about what I do there, okay!」
「I know about it.」
「Oh geez, now I have to erase the evidence.」
Taiyou, Aoba, and Akiha.
All exchanging occasional light smiles, Taiyou bought the tickets, gave one to Aoba and Akiha, and they all pa.s.sed the turnstile onto the platform.
The platform was clear on this weekday after rush hour. There were a few students in regular clothes ready to enjoy the day off, but otherwise it was quite empty.
The three walked to the front of the platform and waited for the train.
「Even so, you've got some husband, Aoba.」
Aoba said with a flushed face.
「He's your husband, right?」
Aoba nodded, and in that instant Akiha's expression changed a bit, as Taiyou decided to watch the two.
Akiha didn't notice that Taiyou was watching and simply continued.
「Yesterday's exercise festival. There were some betting among the students, and one bookie made a lot of money, you heard? There was a huge dark horse that showed up and won the individual first place award.」
「The dark horse…you mean Natsuno-kun?」
「Yeah, everyone bet on that Nyooooo girl and the sister-lovin' boy that ended up second and third. Last year's festival, the Nyoooo girl won first and the sister lover won first at the middle school. There was only one guy that bet on Natsuno.」
「What, one bet on him?」
Aoba's surprise was understandable. Up to six months ago, Taiyou had only been playing games and was pretty much accepted as a gamer nerd. That reputation had changed bit by bit, but not enough that someone would bet on him right before the sports festival.
But still, someone did. Aoba and Taiyou had both been very surprised when they heard about it before Akiha told them.
「That's where this money for the trip comes from, girls.」
「What? So you bet on yourself, Taiyou?」
Aoba was surprised. It was a predictable thing, but it wasn't Taiyou.
「No, it wasn't me, it was Kohaku that bet on me.」
「Yeah, she thinks very carefully. Even though she's only just transferred, she knows far deeper about that school than me.」
「I see, sounds like Kohaku though.」
「Kohaku is that lot.i.tlooking student?」
Taiyou corrected her statement.
「She's nearly 90 years old.」
「You know about the Eternal Little?」
Taiyou explained about the Eternal Little to the surprised Akiha.
Growth ends at 10 years, and life continues as is for such a woman.
Only one in a million have such an existence, but the negative is living as an 「Old Maid」, Taiyou explained to Akiha.
「Wow, are you eating up a woman like that too?」
It was a straight and raw expression from Akiha, but the expression wasn't making Taiyou uncomfortable.
Instead of eating, it seems more like Taiyou was the one getting eaten, at least the impression was much stronger that way.
It was like that since they met, the time that she suddenly attacked his lips.
Without any prior embrace, she just attacked him.
「I was surprised to hear that was the first kiss.」
「What? Did you say something?」
Taiyou turned his neck and tried to play it off.
He tried to turn the conversation away from Kohaku and to himself.
「Well, even so, you must be happy to be thought of as so awesome. I want to be someone that everyone can be proud of.」
Taiyou pointed at Aoba.
Aoba, and the other wives that weren't there.
That was the 「everyone」he was talking about.
As they talked on the platform, the train came, and the three boarded it.
「So, where are we going today?」
The door closed, as Akiha asked as if she just remembered.
It wasn't that she forgot what she wanted to say, she just never said it.
Even if she asked at first, she thought she would go with them and the topic would become cloudy again, so she just went along without asking any details.
(Maybe because Aoba is here?)
Taiyou thought so, but after looking, it didn't seem so.
It was the way Akiha asked questions, looked. She wasn't challenging their relationship.
He didn't know where, but there was no point he saw there.
Yeah, it was written on her face.
Instead of a challenging appearance, he simply smiled and answered her.
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