1. After the stardust
When I turned into a high school student, did I ever have any dreams in this world?
Surely, I was expecting and dreaming of high school life more than anyone else at this time.
And that feeling gradually kept growing, until I didn’t know when, but I forgot to face reality.
It was very scary, because while it was happening, I didn’t care about the evaluations of the people around me, and ended up increasing my own dark history without realizing it.
What was even scarier, out of nowhere, I regained my sanity back, quite easily, and faced reality once again. What happened to me after that… it was just… hard to put it into words.
Underneath the morning sun, many high school students were walking along the street full of trees quietly. Meanwhile, two noisy students stood out among them.
“Oi, wait a second, Aika!”
“No, stay away from me! Stop being persistent!”
A red-brown-haired schoolgirl was walking fast while a boy with brown-dyed hair was chasing after her. From an outsider’s perspective, they looked like a quarreling couple, but in reality… the two weren’t in that kind of relationship.
The girl’s hair that was floating in the air looked red under the sun. She was rushing to sneak in between other students with a grim expression, but usually, she was recognized as a beauty. Despite her delicate look, she was a strong-willed girl. No matter how many times the brown-haired boy tried to grab her arm, she shook it off with all her strength.
On the other hand, the boy was still trying to catch her. His name was Wataru Sajou, a man who put effort into his fashion, and also the same as the other boys… he liked cute girls.
The beautiful girl… Aika Natsukawa, he was in love with her since middle school. That was why he confessed quickly and pressed her for dating him, but his heart got slashed in two. He was rejected but, that alone didn’t make him give up. He would rush to her on a daily basis and keep approaching her with his enthusiastic approach.
Aika Natsukawa was a perfect girl. That was why, she got accepted into a high-level private high school, and Wataru, who knew it, studied desperately while continuing to approach her, and in the end, successfully entered the same high school as her. As one should fear, the power of love!
“Hahaha, those two, they’re at it again.”
“Right? Why don’t they just be a couple already.”
From the perspective of other schoolgirls, it was a charming sight.
If Aika had been only popular, she would become a target of other girl jealousy, but the two stood out like that, since they enrolled in the school, so they just looked like a couple to others. Even the other boys, accepted the fact that Wataru was the boyfriend of Aika Natsukawa, and as a fellow man, they didn’t attempt to do anything.
And today, as usual, Wataru was chasing after her without giving up.
“Heyー, when will you finally become my girlfriend?!”
“As if I would, you Idiot! Please just stop this already!”
“Why are you that surprised now!?”
Well… As one could see, this was the reality. There was a saying, ‘The moment when hundred years of love cooled down’? It meant, ‘after seeing and hearing the bad side of the person you fell in love with, it makes your feeling toward them dies at once’.
But in this case, it was a little different. The boy, who was fascinated by the perfect girl, kept dreaming and was trapped in that fantasy world, and without him noticing it himself, he had forgotten to see the reality.
Now, what would happen if he abruptly regained his sanity and was dragged back to reality? Well, this moment would soon unfold to see.
“Hey, could you walk more slo….!?”
Before Wataru could finish his words, suddenly, an explosive sound like an explosion of gunpowder could be heard.
Passing in front of Wataru, the soccer ball that hit the wall at a high speed made a loud noise and bounced off, and just like that the ball returned to the soccer club. At the same time, his sense of reality which he left behind many years ago gave ‘feedback’ and sent it to his mind.
Wataru wasn’t injured or anything. Just that, at this very moment, he had ‘returned to reality.’
Aika and Wataru Illustration
“H-Hey, are you okay!?”
Aika, who was as expected surprised, approached Wataru. She looked from his feet to the tip of his head. After confirming that there were no injuries, she let out a sigh and complained in an amazed manner.
“Listen, no matter how much you want to get my attention, you don’t need to make such an overreaction!”
“Good grief…. I wasted my time worrying about you! Anyway, don’t be so persistent in chasing after me anymore!”
Aika went ahead after glaring at him. On the other hands, Wataru stood there in a daze and kept looking at her back as she left.
After the distance was beyond the reach of his voice, he finally opened his mouth.
“Y-yeah…. my bad….”
But when he said that, Aika’s back wasn’t in sight anymore. But still, Wataru didn’t start walking, just standing there in a daze.
I had come to myself… If someone suddenly said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’, I wouldn’t be able to retort, but this was the perfect word to describe my current situation.
I really didn’t know what had happened.
A sound of loud noise like an explosion struck me, and when I saw something rolling, I finally realized that it was a soccer ball. It should have been a normal echo sound, but my head stopped working there as if it got numb from an electric shock.
Eh? Eeeeh? What is this?
Not that this feeling is strange at all. Just that, it’s like I’ve been reborn… Wait a minute, this is a big deal, isn’t it?
D-did I suddenly remember the memory of my previous life? No, that’s not the case. And what I spoke and did until now, I can remember why I thought like that, and why I did that. It’s not like I’ve been possessed by anything either.
…Is this the influence of reading too many light novels? No, the last time I read it was when I was in middle school.
I wonder what it is… Just the scene in front of me right now looks very realistic. Until now, somehow, it’s more like….. fluffy? Something sparkling like stardust, was what filled my vision up until a moment ago… What am I saying? Seriously, I’ve no idea what the hell am I saying.
Then, I could hear the sound of a bell echoing from the back of the school building.
“Ah… I need to hurry.”
It was the same day as always, my usual everyday life. It should feel the same… and yet, everything in my vision now seemed different from usual.
That was why I kept hitting my cheeks as if to keep myself while running to the classroom. Otherwise, I probably couldn’t even reach the classroom.
When I reached the floor where my classroom was located, it was just right before the morning assembly.
That’s strange… I think I arrived at school quite early to match Aika, but…
“Alright, one second too late.”
“Ugh, I didn’t make it in time?”
I managed to jump into the classroom, but my homeroom teacher entered the classroom right a little faster than me. Apparently, I wasn’t in time.
It was the first time I was late ever since I enrolled in this school (※Sad).
“It’s because you keep chasing Natsukawa-san’s ass… hm? Natsukawa-san has already at her? How rare, did something happen?”
“Eh? No, nothing in particular. I was simply late.”
“Really? Simply don’t be late then!”
My head got hit by the binder, and the whole class was laughing at me.
Aika was sitting in the middle of the class and glaring at me. While glancing at her, I felt something off and tilted my head.
“Anyway, get to your seat already.”
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
My seat was next to the so-called famous beautiful girl.
While I was walking to my seat, the other students were teasing me and poking me. I casually looked at Aika, but she grumpily turned her face away.
If I talk to her now, it’s just gonna wake up the sleeping lion and stir up more trouble for myself, right?
So, without saying anything, I sat and listened to the teacher speaking over the table.
“Hey, you, did actually get hurt, right?”
“Hm? Nope, I didn’t… Maybe.”
After the morning assembly, Aika came in front of me. She asked me to stand up. She was going to give me some money─── Of course not. She looked around from bottom to top to see whether I was injured or not.
Why is she suddenly so kind to me… Ah!? Maybe, just maybe, does she actually like me?─── No, that’s impossible… come to think of it, she desperately rejected me every time, didn’t she?
“Then, in return, I’ll do the sa───”
I was jokingly trying to check on Aika in return for her kindness, but she suddenly pressed my chest, pushing me away. My balance was off, and I barely fall back into my seat. Too bad, I just got to see her toes.
Hm… Hmm? Again, my eyes are flickering for an unknown reason…. this isn’t something dangerous, right? Well, I guess it’ll eventually be healed by itself.
Then, while looking at Aika’s back who was leaving, her voice, ‘I wasted my time worrying about you!’, was echoing in my head, and for some reason, I could see her charming aura coming out from her. So, I kept silent and waited for the stardust in my field of vision to disappear.
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