The curtains opened, showing a strange scene of an early morning in C class. It looked like a disturbance had occurred, coming from the girls that formed a circle with Kei Karuizawa as their center.
“You’re coming quite late today to school, Ayanokouji.”
With these words, Suzune Horikita butted in 5 minutes before the bell signaled the beginning of the class.
“I fell asleep.”
“Really-” Replied Horikita uninterestingly.
Differently from our non-emotional conversation, the other group was chattering excitedly.
“It looks like Karuizawa-san broke up with Hirata-san.”
“That’s why she’s so unusually restless. Is it a big couple’s break up?”
“The story goes around the class so it got stuck into my head even though I didn’t want to.”
Being fed up with it, Horikita sighed while continuing: “You seem to be close with Hirata-kun and Karuizawa-san, didn’t you know about it?”
“There’s no way for me to know. It’s a private thing.”
Although it seemed that she didn’t break the ice with Hirata during our training camp, in reality their relationship was moving. Being a remarkably noticeable couple in school, the width of their influence was amazing. So to hear about their break up was a big surprise to the others. However, the bond between Kei and Hirata was disappearing at the outwards at this point.
Nevertheless, that didn’t cause Kei to lose her role of being the centripetal force of her girl group. She wasn’t pushed aside, even after she became a true partner that had Hirata’s heart. Even if the girls would made light of Kei, Hirata would have stop it before anyone. If he wouldn’t, then it would mean that Hirata went as far as becoming a fake couple just to save Kei.
“So, who dumped who?” Horikita asked me. I myself didn’t know this part either, so she couldn’t doubt me.
“It looks like it came from Karuizawa’s side.”
“That’s unexpected. I thought dating a good guy was some kind of status.”
“Right. At least that’s what I thought…”
She was looking at me painfully for an instant, but soon turned away. There was no way she could have obtained the information from my facial expression. Even Horikita started to understand that well.
But still, that Kei was the one dumping Hirata? It was a fake relationship that was originally started by Kei. Essentially, it doesn’t matter who dumped who. However, there was probably some persuation from Hirata that it would be better for Kei to be that way. If Hirata had been the one dumping Kei, Kei’s position could have been in danger as someone with problems in the relationship. Anyhow, you could understand well from the surroundings that the split of the two was shocking for C class. The brave thing about Kei was that she talked about her love situation so openly.
“What, what? She has split from him even though she doesn’t have a new boyfriend!?” Shinohara’s whisper echoed. It was clear that she eavesdropped on the conversation Ike, Sudou and the others had had. “I too thought the reason was that she wanted an upgrade. It’s easy to get attention from Yousuke-kun and it made her think about various things.”
The breakup of the big couple had an influence not only in class C, but on other classes as well. The competition between the girls surrounding Hirata clearly happened.
“You become curious about love. Thinking of this school’s rules, the fact that there’s no guarantee for tomorrow doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
“Because there’s no guarantee for tomorrow, we should enjoy today with all our might.”
“If that’s not going to deprive others of tomorrow, there is no reason to be insecure. . .”
Contrarily, one of our conversation’s topic Yousuke Hirata was sitting surrounded by students with his kind facial expression as always. He didn’t leave any wretched impression even though he was dumped by his girlfriend. It was amazing that Ike and Sudou didn’t go make fun of him. Nah, perhaps… Should I say that they have moved on from it already? They had somewhat of an interest in the story, but I couldn’t see them sneakily gossiping behind his back. Horikita and I had way more coarse conversation. This special trial and the previous training camp were starting to make a little change to the people who were immature, but it’s not like we had grown all together.
“Oi, Hirata~. I’ve heard Karuizawa dumped you. Don’t worry, don’t worry!”
I thought you could read the atmosphere of the place, but Yamauchi was different. He foolishly came closer and pat Hirata’s shoulder. Seeing this, Ike and Sudou showed some discomfort and each grabbed Yamauchi by both sides as they approached him.
“Oi, what’s that? You too, let’s console Hirata together. Even ikemen can be dumped!”
“You’re having a bad taste. Stop it.”
“Huuh? Ikemen being dumped isn’t something you can often see!?” Yamauchi was objecting even with Sudou chiding him.
“Sorry, Hirata. I’ll take care of him immediately.”
“It’s okay. It’s true after all.” Hirata didn’t want to show that he cared even in a situation where it wasn’t strange to show discomfort.
“Speaking of it… What do you know about Ichinose-san?” Unexpectedly, someone from Horikita’s side brought up a topic concerning Class B.
“I’ve heard there was a slander against her here lately.”
“Wasn’t that about a lie that she was being jealous of popular people? Perhaps it was someone’s strategy to trick B class. What was the slander about?”
“… I’m a little bit opposed to saying it.” Saying this without being specific, she took out a notebook from the inside of the desk. She then wrote a few words and showed it to me. “An act of violence occurred”, “Looked for acquaintances to receive support”, “Robbery happened”, “Prohibition of drug use” etc. etc. Unpleasant things that probably had not all happened were lining up one after another.
“You scattered a lot of bad rumors here.”
“She doesn’t really look like that kind of student, however…”
“Because you can’t charge someone just based on spread rumors.”
“It’s not like that. The defamation was real, regardless of the rumors… Since it is a situation indicated by unspecified majority, it is possible to complain.”
“In a society that would be valid enough.”
But this was high school. In a closed space between students who were minors. It’s not like it’s written all over the internet and dispatched to the whole world.
“Ultimately, we can’t charge her.”
Although the social punishment was impossible, there was a possibility of punishment by the school’s discretion. However, the problem here was the person responsible for releasing the rumors. If they said it wasn’t them who spread this type of rumors, but that they heard them by hearsay in an everyday conversation, that’s all there is to it. The situation becomes ultimately unsettled without deep investigation from the school’s side as well. At most, we could only be careful about carelessly spreading rumors from then on.
In any case, the only certain fact was that the strategy of crushing Ichinose was steadily carried out. In all probability, the one pulling the threads behind was Sakayanagi. However, at that time there were not many people knowing the truth.
“What was Ichinose’s reaction to this?”
“I don’t know that much. I’m not that close with her. Moreover, we would be suspected as the one starting the rumors if we make a bad move.”
“Well, truth to be told, the smartest thing is to remain a spectator.”
“But… I wonder if a cliched strategy like this will hold good to Ichinose.”
“What do you mean?”
“Even if bad rumors were made up, the damage they bring along stay. Even I know the reputation Ichinose-san has inside of the school. All of this to happen because of the envy mentioned before is too much of a harassment.”
“So, the tactic was a mistake.”
“Right. But, you could also say there’s no smoke without fire.”
“You mean, Ichinose being a violent recidivist and using drugs?”
“Even if not everything is true, there could be at least one thing, right?”
Of course, the possibility was extremely low, but… I asked. Certainly, as Horikita said, there was no proof that everything was lies and rumors. There might have been some truth in it since Sakayanagi made hints.
“Well… I can’t think of an answer. Leaving that aside, have they revealed the current situation of each class based on the results of the training camp? Can we see it?”
“Uh, I’m not-”
“I know you’re not interested. I just want to check them out.”
“… Let’s do it.”
I tore off the page of the notebook that was on my desk with all my strength.