Chapter 3: Final test

Final test

During the time after finishing the school festival, I looked for a part-time job. The place I decided to join was a live bar near the train station, which was located in the center of the city. The bar offers a place to listen to jazz music while you can enjoy a good meal and drink alcohol. The school strictly forbids students to have part-time jobs, so I thought I would look for a job in a place where I was sure that no one would go to, I did this by evaluating the place, and the prices that are handled to be able to purchase their foods and drinks.

It was in the afternoon, I had left school as usual, and I took a train to my part-time job. Arriving downtown, I turned away from the main road into a small alley and went down some stairs until I reached a metal door. The bar space was so large it was hard to believe the place was a basement. It had a stage, tables, and a bar where patrons could approach and drink all kinds of beverages. The restaurant area was not yet open, so the shortage of customers was noticeable. I changed from my school uniform to my work uniform. 

The next thing I did was to put on an apron and head to the kitchen. I washed my hands and walked over to a bucket full of potatoes with a peeler. I then proceeded to peel each of the potatoes, and during the process, the chef took several of them and prepared a delicious dish called ‘Potato à la Hasselbacken’ or more commonly known as ‘Hasselback Potatoes’.

When I was halfway through the bucket, a pink-haired woman approached me wanting to help me with the work.

—Shouldn’t you be at the bar?

—I have nothing to do until the customers arrive.

The girl bent down, and started peeling potatoes next to me. Her name is Kunimi Naru. She’s 20 years old, and she works part-time at this place while attending college in Tokyo. Her facial expressions are like that of a cat, and the size of her breasts are between those of Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san… I’d say it’s between 50 – 50, something quite balanced in terms of size I must admit. Her way of expressing herself and the way she dresses are usually quite casual. But when she’s wearing her work uniform, it’s like her attitude changes completely, it’s like being with a different person. The pink color of her hair and the silver earrings in her ears give her a strong contrast to this place, and make her stand out in the dark restaurant we usually work in.

Kunimi-san started talking to me about a book by Hermann Hesse that she was reading on her way here. She mentioned a lot about how intellectual she felt about having read such a literary work, although if I had to bet, I’d say she put the book down after reading a couple of pages, and looked up a summary on the internet.

After a brief exchange of ideas about the book Kunimi-san read, she took out a small notebook she had on her back clutched between her pants, and began to write down said ideas. Not only does she write things about what she reads, she also has instructions on how to prepare some drinks at the bar or the dishes on the menu. 

—You seem to carry that book everywhere, Kunimi-san.

—This is where I write down all my ideas~.

After putting the notebook back on her back, she again peeled the potatoes with great skill, causing the peels to jump everywhere of which several of them had stuck to my face. After a while, the restaurant opened, and Kunimi-san returned to the counter. I stayed in the kitchen washing dishes, but since there were not enough employees, I was asked to take customers’ orders as well. I put on my vest, and walked around each table with a notebook in my hand taking orders. I then went to the bar to order a beer to serve, Kunimi-san took a glass and poured the beer with great skill, making the right amount of bubbles. 

—How do you like the music today? — she asked, as she tilted the glass and operated the lever with a serious look on her face. 

—I don’t know anything about jazz. 

—I don’t either, but that’s the whole point of this restaurant… Well, here you go. — she replied as she placed the beer on the tray.

The amber liquid poured into the glowing glass was illuminated by indirect light. It looked like some kind of work of art. I took the glass to the customer, then returned to the kitchen for the food. I repeated this process many times, the hustle and bustle of work makes the sound of the saxophone and piano white noise in the background and I couldn’t take the time to enjoy it. Everything around me had a rather adult atmosphere, indirectly making me feel like one too. After all, it wasn’t just the restaurant, but the people I worked with too.

But that wasn’t the reason I had sought out a part-time job. Closing time was approaching, and the restaurant was nearly empty, save for one woman sitting at the back table.

I walked over to her and brought her a poured glass of Hoegaarden, a Belgian Wheat Beer, that Kunimi-san had previously made.

—It’s quite comforting to see a guy who enjoys the classics.

—I don’t like classical music.

—I didn’t mean the music. I mean that you’re working here for a present for your girlfriend, that’s quite a classic male thing to do. 

The woman I was talking to was Rei-san, the owner of the establishment. She was wearing a thin knitted sweater and tight pants. Through her long curly hair, I could see gold earrings. She had the image of a very mature and elegant woman.

—I’ll give you a raise.

—Why?

—I want you to buy something nice for your girlfriend.

—But are you sure? I’ve only been here for a few days.

—Because I want you to feel comfortable being here. When you started working here, I told you that I spare no expense, if I want this business to prosper, my employees must be happy. 

And for that reason alone, Rei-san wanted to raise my salary. That made me happy, it feels good to be acknowledged by an adult. The reason I looked for a job was because I wanted to buy Christmas presents for Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san. And now, I’m starting to like this restaurant, maybe I’ll consider staying.

My whole life is in constant change. My relationship with Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san, the new friendships I make, my work, everything makes it all feel different, and comforting.

**************

The work at the restaurant was over, and Kunimi-san and I were walking towards the train station, though not as I would like to, as she had me by the arm, twisting her arms between mine, so much so that I could feel her breasts.

—I don’t think this is a good idea.

—Huh? Why? Aaah, I get it, you’re afraid your big breasted girlfriend will see us, right? Well too bad, I’m cold, besides… I didn’t think you actually had a girlfriend.

—So you didn’t believe me.

—I thought you were joking — Kunimi-san replied with laughter. — It’s a pity, if you were single, I’d let you touch my breasts.

After those words, I couldn’t help but involuntarily look at her breasts. Now I can’t make out their size because of the thick coat she was wearing, but from what I could see while working, the white uniform shirt always tightens around her breasts.

Kunimi-san realizes that I’m imagining something like this and starts laughing.

—You’re blushing!

—Don’t make fun of me.

—Well, anyway, surely you must have already done it with your girlfriend, besides having lots of sex.

—….

—Why are you quiet? Oh, don’t tell me… You haven’t done it with her?! That’s so sweet…

—I don’t want to talk about it.

—Well okay, fine… What do you say we go to the arcade?

—Tomorrow I have to go to class.

—What about the weekend?

—Hm… Okay.

My conversations with Kunimi-san are simple and straightforward, we say things without any fear of the other possibly getting angry or offended. I like that.

—I wonder if it’s time to change the color of my hair?

—I think you look good like this.

—Really? Then I think I’ll stick with this color for a while longer.

Conversations like these began to come up one after another during our trip to the train station. We stopped at a stoplight to wait for the crossing light to turn green. It was then that I panicked.

My eyes fell on the two girls in front of me. One was wearing a camel-colored coat, and the other a dark blue coat. Both girls turned out to be Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san, who seemed to want to go to the store where we went to eat parfait last time…

After that, I tried to run away, but it was useless…

—Huh? Kirishima-kun?

Hayasaka-san had noticed my presence after hearing my voice, and turned around towards me. The first thing she noticed was my arm being held by Kunimi-san. I tried to excuse myself for the unfavorable situation I was in, but Kunimi-san spoke without noticing Hayasaka-san’s presence.

—Hey, what’s Kirishima’s girlfriend like? Is she fun to be with? Well, I hope so, since being someone who doesn’t allow you to have sex with them, doesn’t give them many plus points.

What a timely topic Kunimi-san wanted to touch on. Hearing those things, Hayasaka-san became furious.

—Although in a way, that makes it quite cute~ — Kunimi-san added.

Her attempt at a compliment was unnecessary at this point, as Hayasaka-san was looking at me with an angry expression, and nothing I said would change her mind. 

—So, to you I’m a narrow-minded girl who doesn’t want to have sex with you, huh? Kirishima-kun… Well then, let’s do it, and this time, don’t run away.

********

—Why do I have to be kicked out of the student council room? I don’t understand, couldn’t they have held their meeting somewhere else?

Maki was complaining during lunchtime on the roof of the building. It seems that when he was doing his council related tasks, Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san told him that they needed to use the room very urgently.

—Although I could tell it was a subject that they didn’t want you or any other students to hear about. When I left the room, I stood by the door to hear what they were saying.

—That’s rude.

—Really? In that case, you’ll be pleased to know that they were mad at you… What did you do now?

—I was seen walking arm in arm with a woman.

—It can’t be!

—There’s no need to be alarmed. She’s just my senpai from work, and she’s a college girl, there’s nothing going on between the two of us. 

In spite of that, Hayasaka-san wasn’t very happy to hear from Kunimi-san that I have a girlfriend who won’t let me have sex with her, and on the other side was Tachibana-san, who didn’t say anything about it, but she was upset because she didn’t like the idea that I was touching other women.

Luckily the situation calmed down after I explained to them that Kunimi-san was just my co-worker, and that I had started working because I wanted to buy a Christmas present for the two of them. But that didn’t mean that she had stopped being annoyed with me.

—I heard them say that you had cheated on them with her.

—That’s not technically correct.

—And I also heard one of them say; “I will not allow you to refer to me again as the girl who doesn’t have sex with her boyfriend.”

—I don’t like the sound of that…

It was a pretty decisive statement. I wonder if it will actually happen, and I also wonder if the three of us will be able to have a good time without conflict involved. The last time we went out, it ended up being what Hamanami predicted, a war between monsters. If it fails again this time, I’ll probably be forced to spend Christmas with one of them.

—Kirishima, you don’t want to choose one of them, do you?

—…Maybe.

—Then why don’t you spend the day with one, and Christmas Eve with another? 

—They both want me to be with them all day long.

—Well, I guess they don’t want Kirishima to choose one of them either. Both Tachibana-chan and Hayasaka-chan think that if they let Kirishima choose, one of them runs the risk of being discarded, so they prefer to share with each other. I guess you have thought about the pain of someone being rejected, right?

—You’re right, I think I’m pathetic.

—But if you think about it calmly, they especially don’t want you to choose one. You three are accomplices, you want to propose a topic that is inevitable. And sooner or later, you’ll have to make a choice.

—I know.

The three of us maintain this relationship blindfolded. We don’t know how far it will go, I don’t even know if it’s a good idea to continue this relationship. I don’t think anyone will understand, but the truth is that we can’t stop now. 

—I don’t care what you do, Kirishima, and I don’t care if Hayasaka-chan and Tachibana-chan treat me as a secondary character just because I’m your friend, but I can tell you one thing… I miss those days when you, Yanagi-senpai, and I went out of high school every afternoon to play at the arcade — said Maki while leaning on the railing and looking at the winter sky. 

—The feeling is mutual, Maki.

*******

School had come to an end, and I was on a train with Tachibana-san. 

The two of us headed to a soccer stadium. The Japan national team was going to play a friendly match, because it was not an official match, tickets could easily be purchased at convenience stores.

Hayasaka-san was going to join us later, this would be our final test to see if the three of us can have a good time together without any problems in between.

—Tachibana-san, what are you doing?

—I want to check something. — I answered as she picked up my phone.

—Besides you and Hayasaka-san, I don’t have any other girl’s contact… Except for my sister.

—I’m an open-minded girlfriend, I’m not going through your contact list.

—What are you doing then?

—Shirou-kun, why do you only listen to girls’ songs?

—Female voices have the ability to reach high notes. And I like that.

—Every time you talk about other girls… you make my heart ache…

I discovered that Tachibana-san had launched the music subscription app on my phone and was deleting albums and songs by female artists from my library one after another.

—From now on, whenever you want to listen to a woman’s songs, you’ll ask my permission first.

—Don’t you think you’re being a little strict?

—Do you understand? Idol songs are strictly forbidden.

—Do you suspect that I’m in love with them?

—Hmm, I’m going to check your contacts.

Didn’t you used to be an open-minded girlfriend?

Tachibana-san checked my phone book, and when she didn’t find what she was looking for, she handed it back to me.

—You don’t have that college girl’s phone number written down somewhere else, right?

—No, and I told you she’s just my co-worker.

—Do you want me to dye my hair?

—No. I like you just the way you are.

—Okay.

Tachibana-san shakes my hand. Then, without saying anything, she lightly steps on my slippers with her moccasin. She seems to want to say something, but something stops her. Likewise, I would like to ask her what’s going on, but I ended up doing nothing but hold that desire inside of me. Finally, the train arrives at a station with several lines and Hayasaka-san gets on. The train carriage we were in had also been arranged beforehand. Since we were far away from the school, the girls were sitting one on each side of me without fear of anyone seeing us.

—I already checked Shirou-kun’s phone.

—Thank you!

Both girls give each other thumbs up through me. It’s good that they’re getting along. Or so I thought, until the inevitable happened…

—Tachibana-san, your hand.  — Hayasaka-san said while looking at my hand intertwined with Tachibana-san’s. — Have you forgotten our rule?

—…You can take Shirou-kun’s other hand if you want, Hayasaka-san, it’s free.

—Even so, I want to object.

Since we were on a train, we couldn’t create a bad image in public about a guy holding hands with two girls. Because we were on the train, creating the perverse image of a high school boy holding hands with two high school girls next to him was something we absolutely mustn’t do. Or that’s what Hayasaka-san was trying to explain. 

But on the other hand, Tachibana-san refused to want to let go of me, which caused her to hold my hand tighter. This provoked Hayasaka-san’s fury, and she tried to make Tachibana-san’s hand let go of mine.

—Stop it, Hayasaka-san!

—No! It’s not fair! Well… If you’re not going to let go, then I’ll do the same.

As a result, Hayasaka-san ended up taking my hand, and since I was aiming to fulfill the wishes of both girls, I unquestioningly gave in to their wishes… Although that little scene caused the rest of the passengers not to watch. They were all office workers on their way home, and judging by their expressions, they looked a little confused by the scene the three of us were having. 

Faced with this fact, Tachibana-san decided to think of a way out that would stop arousing suspicion at our strange relationship.

—…Onii-chan.

Onii-chan…? Oh, I get it, so she’s trying to make people think we’re family and that’s why she held my hand.

—Onii-chan, I love you. — Tachibana-san said while pressing her body against me.

Hayasaka-san watched that scene, and puffed her cheeks, clearly, she didn’t want to be left behind, so she decided to also play along with Tachibana-san’s game. 

—Ki — Kirishima onii-chan! Me too!

—…What kind of girl calls her onii-chan by her last name?

At that answer from Tachibana-san, Hayasaka-san turned red and pressed her face into my body trying to hide her embarrassment. After that, the train ride was a little quieter. I thought that at any moment, that suffocating tension in the atmosphere would go away. But I was wrong, things clearly got worse.

It happened in the dusk when I was walking through the crowd of people towards the stadium.

—Tachibana-san has been flirting with you at school! So, it should stop now!

—Hayasaka-san, ever since you’ve been with Shirou-kun you haven’t stopped using your body to keep him close to you.

—Don’t talk about me like I’m a slut.

—Oh, so you’re not?

As usual, the fights continued to be present. It’s a pity, I had hoped that there would be an atmosphere where the three of us would have fun, but clearly Hayasaka-san was very overwhelmed.

—It’s not fair. I only have Kirishima-kun, instead you’re still seeing Yanagi-senpai… Uhm… I mean… I… I… I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean it like that…

Hayasaka-san’s words were like a bucket of cold water for the three of us. The fourth person we had been trying so hard to ignore appeared out of nowhere above us. That presence brought everything crashing down, making reality hit us in the face. 

—It’s okay, Hayasaka-san. What you said is true. — Tachibana-san replied.

The cold of winter, the wave of people heading to the stadium, the white lights on the street, this whole environment that felt alive and moving at a high speed, suddenly came to a standstill, and as if painting a picture that is still fresh, the colors start to dissolve from around us.

We didn’t know what to do from now on, or how to take up this appointment. Those words reminded us how stupid our relationship truly was…

—I’m looking forward to the game, aren’t you? — I said, trying to raise my spirits.

I tried my best to pretend that nothing had happened. But Tachibana-san didn’t seem to want to just hide it anymore. So, she let go of my hand and apologized to me.

—I’m sorry, Shirou-kun… The truth is, I’m still seeing Shun-kun. 

The look on her face was clear, she didn’t know what to make of her feelings. 

—I did something terrible to Shun-kun, I felt too guilty. So, I just couldn’t leave things like that with him.

Even though Yanagi-senpai saw Tachibana-san and I kissing on the stage in front of everyone. He said that he wasn’t going to tell his parents anything, but he wanted to continue to be with her for a while longer.

It’s fair that Yanagi-senpai is angry with us and despises us, but, his feelings of love for Tachibana-san still remain strong. And with this, he is just trying to stop being in love with her. 

I can’t imagine the sentimental conflict he must be going through.

—You don’t have to apologize, I’ve done horrible things to senpai too.

After that, my feeling of excitement has completely dissolved. Instead, the feeling of guilt and pain that I felt after the school festival came back to me. I didn’t know what to do anymore.

—I’m sorry, Tachibana-san, I said something I shouldn’t have.

—Hayasaka-san, how come you know that about me and Shun-kun?

—We’re still playing indoor soccer together… But it’s not all your fault, if I’m still by Kirishima-kun’s side, it’s because of you. You don’t just think you’ve hurt Yanagi-senpai, but me too, right? That’s why you let me share Kirishima-kun with you. I know exactly what you’re going through, and I’m grateful for that. That’s why, I don’t think it’s all your fault… All three of us, we’re all responsible for this. 

After that, Hayasaka-san let go of my hand while looking at the crowd.

—Hey, Tachibana-san. I think it would be better if the three of us don’t spend Christmas Eve together.

—Yes, I think it’s for the best. 

The final test to see if the three of us could spend time together without any problems had failed. We simply spent what time we had left together. The soccer game turned into a time when the three of us were digesting everything that had happened. We looked like the walking dead around the many people who were screaming with excitement about the game. Each of us was absorbed in our own world and with no expressions on our faces. It was very difficult to determine what was going through our minds.

—I don’t like that. It’s our last date, and I don’t want it to be something depressing. I want it to be something fun, and nice to remember. It would be unfortunate to be with the person I like and not enjoy the time with him. — Hayasaka-san said during the break in the game. — I’ll go get a drink.

—I’ll go with you.

Both girls got up and went to buy drinks. They were probably thinking of something that would be fun to do. Which is ironic, since the more they use their brains, the more clumsy they are. 

After several minutes, they both return with drinks in hand.

—Here you go, Kirishima-kun.

Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san sat down at the same time, looked at their glasses for a moment, and with a determined look nodded, and sipped the contents in one gulp, after putting the glass down, they put a pained expression on their face.

I looked at my glass and began to doubt the contents, but decided not to pay much attention, and took a sip. The moment I swallowed the liquid, I knew exactly what it was.

—Hey, this is beer! 

These girls are willing to do anything to have fun…

*****

When I started working at the restaurant, I learned that not everyone gets drunk when they drink alcohol. Some people get sleepy, some people get depressed, and in my case, I get a headache.

—My vision… It’s starting to distort.

But in the case of Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san, they were both very drunk.

Quite childish behaviors and out-of-place remarks were being uttered left and right. As soon as the game was over, we left the stadium and headed for the train station. But as expected, more problems arose.

Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san were arguing with each other again, one Tachibana-san was hiding behind my body like a frightened child begging for help from an aggressive Hayasaka-san.

But even I am not so reckless to get involved in an argument between two drunken girls.

—I’m not doing anything, Akane-chan is the one cheating! — Tachibana-san expresses while using me as a shield. — It’s not my fault that Shirou-kun wants me and wants to be with me.

—Silly excuses… Maybe your promise with Kirishima-kun when you were children prevents you from other men touching you, but if there was no such thing, you would have already been with other men and Kirishima-kun would be all over me instead of you!

—A—Akane-chan, you dummy〜!!!!

—You’re the dummy!!!

Hayasaka-san hits me with her body, using me as the object that will receive all the blows for Tachibana-san. And naturally, the girl who used me as a shield, hid behind my back as she vents against her rival.

Even in a fight between the two of them, I’m the idiot who takes the blows.

—Akane-chan is using her body now! That’s how you seduced Shirou-kun!

—Don’t talk about me like I’m a slut!

—It’s because that’s what you are, you’re always like that with Shirou-kun.

—Oh… It’s not my fault that Hikari is too shy to want to do such a thing with Kirishima-kun. That’s why that college girl was laughing at you calling you ‘the girlfriend who won’t let him have sex’.

—It’s Shirou-kun’s fault! Yes, I’m ashamed, but… I wouldn’t mind doing it if he makes me. I’ve been preparing a lot for it… You know?

At Tachibana-san’s words, both girls turned to look at me at the same time… Oh no, I’m going to be put in another difficult situation again…

—Shirou-kun, I’m not a girlfriend who won’t let you have sex, right?

—Kirishima-kun, why don’t you? Everyone does it. Let’s go have sex. 

These girls are so drunk that they keep saying incoherent things. They pulled both my arms, and shake me back and forth trying to get me to go with one of them. My head hurts, and my vision starts to blur. 

Still, I have to get these two girls home properly. With that in mind, we started walking. But things took such unexpected turns that… The three of us ended up going to a love hotel.

I could hear Hamanami’s nagging in my head, telling me just how stupid I really was…

I’m fine with being the second girlfriend

I’m fine with being the second girlfriend

わたし、二番目の彼女でいいか
Score 8
Status: Ongoing Author: Artist: Released: 2021 Native Language: Japanese

Kirishima and Hayasaka are two classmates who have a secret relationship in public.

In their school life they pretend that they don't know each other, but behind the scenes there is much more to them than people can imagine. The two get into a relationship that is difficult to break and ends up being impure, unhealthy, and complicated, as the relationship between them was nothing more than an affair that simply created a love triangle before Kirishima's first love and his second love.

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