The next day, Houtarou mindlessly walked towards school, not paying attention to his surroundings and almost getting run over.
’ Why.. ’ he could only such things.
He was still in shock about what Eichirou told him.
“ Did the time we spent together amount to nothing to her? Did she enjoy hurting Ei-kun? Is she enjoying hurting me, now? I thought.. we were friends. “
He decided to avoid Ame.
“ If ’ torturing others ’ is the true Ki-kun, the I don’t want anything to do with her. “
Not going around searching for her, ignoring her when they met during lunch break.
It only lasted a few days before a sense of ’ guilt ’ in Houtarou’s mind was formed
“ But.. maybe.. maybe there is a reason she did what she did? “
He did not want to give up the memory of the three of them happily chatting together.
No, he couldn’t give it up.
He didn’t want to accept it.
Because if he did, then the only thing that supported him would have vanished.
He would have to return to that empty home of his, and face reality.
His family did not come back her because they missed this place, but his parents divorced. His father remained in that city to work without distractions, namely his wife and Houtarou, while his mother decided to come back her.
It certainly wasn’t an uncommon situation, but that did not make it any less painful.
And it was then that he remembered Eichirou and Ame.
He thought that at least them would never change.
But reality wasn’t that kind and they too, separated.
“ Why can’t people get along with each other? Why don’t they care about the feelings of other people? Why do such things have to happen? “
Those questions continued to torment him. He had to know why Ame betrayed Eichirou, else he won’t be able to live normally anymore.
Mustering all the courage he had, he left a note in Ame’s locker.
’ Meet me on the roof after school, or do you want me to tell the whole school what you did to Ei-kun, you traitor? ’
He waited there, sitting on a bench. He watched, no, tried to watch the students leaving the campus, to see if Ame bailed out or not.
“ Maybe I was a little too mean? ..But you reap what you saw. She deserved it. “
The rooftop ’s door slowly opened, leaving a creaking sound hanging in the air.
Houtarou turned his head to watch the figure of the person who was coming.
It was Ame. But she wasn’t alone. Ame’s left hand was on the door knob while her right was tightly grabbing onto another girl’s hand.
“ That girl.. isn’t she the one who is always with Ki-kun? Why is she here? “
Houtarou frowned, since he did not pay enough attention to Ame, he missed seeing her expression. It was not a normal expression. It was similar to the one she had that night on the rooftop of her middle school during the festival three years ago. But this time she was not alone, this gave her strength. The strength to be the “normal” Ame, the Ame of many years ago that could easily fake her expression.
When Houtarou returned his gaze on her, Ame was fiercely staring down on him.
“ S.. she really is a delinquent.. ! “
He could not stand such a strong stare and averted his eyes. Nonetheless, it was him who called her out, so he had to say something now.
‹ H.. mph! So you came, and here I thought a bitch like you would chicken out and flee? ›
Hearing those words Ame tightened her hold on Saya’s hand.
“ So he really knows about it..? “
Saya was really concerned about her dear friend, but she knew that she, too, had to maintain a fearless aura.
‹ ..What do you want Houtarou? Why did you call me here? ›
’ Ignoring provocations sometimes is the best move ’ was Ame’s firm conviction.
At that, Houtarou dropped the smug look he had unconsciously put up
‹ I called you here because I want to know something.. why.. why did you cheat on Eichirou? Was that ’ Makoto ’ guy so handsome that you couldn’t resist him?! Or did you just want to make Eichirou suffer?! ›
Numerous emotion suddenly revived inside Ame, but the more clear ones were shock and fear. She was even unable to hide those emotions because of the confused state she was in.
“ Wha.. what is he talking about? Cheating? I wasn’t even going out with Eichi–! .. I see. It was him. He lied to Houtarou “
She recomposed herself and began to think an answer for those questions
“ Even if.. even if I tell him what really happened, would he really believe me? He called me a traitor, is that how you see someone who cheated on your best friend? No. It’s how you see people who backstab you, not others. In other words.. he doesn’t really care about ’ what ’ I did, but something else? I need to know what that is. Maybe, just maybe, we could go back to being friends.. ”
The silence was becoming longer and longer, so she had to say something, or things could go wrong
‹ I.. I did not cheat on.. Ei-kun ›
Ame wanted to unveil Eichirou’s lies one by one, suddenly saying things like ’ we were never going out together, he raped me! ’ would make him think that she was just using excuses.
“ Mh? He isn’t asking me why he should believe me? Was I right before? “
‹ Makoto and I were only friends, he had a girlfriend and just helped me mix in with the others in class.. besides, I was not really interested in love or boys.. ›
Houtarou’s expression became sharper
‹ Then, why were you going out with Ei-kun? ›
Cold sweat run down Ame’s back, he already started doubting her
“ Shit! Did I mess up?! .. No, calm down. I had to say this to him sooner or later, so it doesn’t change much from what I thought of saying.. “
‹ That’s right, I was not going out with Eichirou. We hang out together sometime, but we were just friends ›
Houtarou was a little surprised of what she said, but not because he didn’t expect it
‹ Tsk, you really are a slut. Eichirou told me you’d say something like that. ›
‹ …Eh? ›
Ame jerked a little, barely maintaining her composure.
“ How?! How could Eichirou brainwash him? How can he trust Eichirou so bad?! “
She tried to held Saya’s hand once again but noticed her hand was missing
‹ ..? ›
Ame turned and saw Saya completely enraged but at the same time on the verge of crying. It was the first time she was her like that.
Her hands tightly grasping on her skirt, trembling. She was biting her crimson lips so hard, it was surprising blood was still not coming out. Her cheeks where slightly red, more probably because she was upset than because she was about to cry, a thing clearly visible if you glanced at her moisten eyes.
Ame was so lost in thoughts that she did not see what happened next, the only thing she knew was that a loud noise brought her back and now Saya was standing in front of Houtarou, who was facing left, immobile, with his left cheek bright red.
The thunderous sound of her slap still echoed in the air, making the frozen time helplessly move forward.
‹ Stop talking shit about Ame-chan! What do you really know about her?! You are just blindly believing in a person you met after seven years! Have you considered the fact that he could be lying?! ›
Houtarou recomposed himself slowly, launching towards the two girls a sharp gaze. He had no intention of believing Ame since the beginning. It was like he had been “reprogrammed” by Eichirou to hurt Ame even further.
He was about to open his mouth but was interrupted by the approaching Ame, as if she did not want him to speak any more hurtful things. As if every words he further muttered would grind her heart again and again. As if watching her old friend being controlled brought forth immeasurable pity and desolation.
She took out of the pocket in her skirt a small triangular white object, and showed it to him.
‹ ..Houtarou, do you remember this? It’s the pin tha— ›
‹ Enough. ›
Houtarou slapped Ame’s hand, making the pin fly over the rooftop’s fence, while he began walking towards the door.
‹ I’ve had enough of you ›
‹ Uh.. uuuuhhhh.. wh.. hic.. why.. ›
Once again tears filled Ame’s face.
With her hands trying to push away those detestable tears she could only wonder how such a thing happened.
Was it because he met Eichirou again?
Was it because she ignored him?
Was it because she didn’t greet him properly when she first recognized him?
It did not matter.
It was already too late.
From that moment on even if he won’t ignore her, he will not believe her.
To him, Ame was a liar.
To him, Ame was a traitor.
To him, Ame was a mons—
‹ Don’t worry ›
Those words whispered by Saya blocked Ame’s train of thought.
Ame suddenly realized that she had been hugged by her dear friend all this time and that she had made Saya’s shoulder wet with her tears.
‹ Even if he has left you, I’m here. I’m here, Ame. ›
Tears started to fell once again.
Saya gently patted Ame on the head, comforting her with everything she had.
Ame tightly gripped Saya’s back while moaning in pain and joy.
The joy to have finally found someone that will stay by her side, to support and protect her, no matter what.