Chapter 7: I’m fine with being the second girlfriend

I'm fine with being the second girlfriend

It was the first morning of August and I was on the express train to Hakone. I was on my way to the summer camp organized by Maki.

Those who will be there to participate in the short movie are Tachibana-san, Hayasaka-san, Sakai-san, Yanagi-senpai, Yamanaka-kun, Maki, and as an advisor, Miki-chan. 

-Are you okay, Senpai?

I asked Yanagi-senpai, who was sitting next to me.

-I had to study for my exams.

-It doesn’t hurt to take a few days off to rest, and you could have brought your study materials with you. 

-Yes, but it’s also a good thing because now I’ll have time to make some good memories with Hikari.

Yanagi-senapi calls Tachibana-san by his first name.

Speaking of which, the person in question was sitting next to Hayasaka-san two seats in front of us, chatting with her about the script they were going to use for the recording. 

-Tachibana-san, the script you wrote is really good. 

-Really?

-Yes. Even though Kirishima-kun dies first, his body appears in the first scene, whose idea was that? Maki-kun’s?

-No, it was actually my idea.

-Aren’t you ashamed to admit it?

-No, he’s more useful to us as a corpse.

It’s good that Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san get along so well.

-Kirishima, thank you very much.

-But I didn’t do anything, it was Maki who organized everything.

-Even so.

The real reason why Yanagi-senpai moved to the new school was because of Tachibana-san. Since he is her fiancé, he only sees her once a month, and they hardly spend any time together.

So before they get married, they have to get along better as a couple. 

-At first, I only met her because my parents told me to. I had the impression that she was a very unsociable girl. 

Senpai started talking about how he met Tachibana-san. I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous that someone else might overhear us.

But Tachibana-san seems to be enjoying the sweets she bought at the station. She and Hayasaka-san are having a great time. 

-After meeting her a few times, my impression of her changed completely. She was willing to accept a marriage proposal for her mother’s sake. She didn’t want her to suffer for raising her alone. Don’t you find that surprisingly old-fashioned? 

It’s unusual for Yanagi-senpai to express himself like that. And I can already imagine what he’s going to say next. Honestly, I don’t want to listen to him. I wish someone would come and interrupt us so I don’t have to listen to him. 

But Sakai-san and Yamanaka-kun’s seats are far away from us. Even Miki-chan and Maki aren’t even in their seats…. Speaking of which, where are they?

-And then I realized… I had fallen in love with her.

I immediately looked at Hayasaka-san in front of me. I didn’t want her to hear these words.

Luckily, Hayasaka-san had stopped at the candy cart and was concentrating on picking out lots of goodies. I wonder if she’ll be able to eat it all by herself. 

Yanagi-senpai likes Tachibana-san, whether he is married to her or not. It’s much more real to hear it in person.

A love triangle has materialized.

-Senpai, do you want to join the Mystery and Research Club?

-Don’t worry. It’s bad enough that I transferred to your school so suddenly. 

-But after school, it’s just the two of us.

-I trust you, Kirishima. I know you’re not the kind of guy who does strange things to girls.

-I see.

He doesn’t know that Tachibana-san and I have been pals since we were kids, and until recently, we used to play the naughtiest games in the club room.

My senpai trusts me unconditionally, but I hide things from him. 

-I am in love with her, and I want to be as close to her as possible.

I tried to say something, but I preferred to remain silent and looked through the train window.

I noticed that Tachibana-san and Hayasaka-san were quiet. It seemed like they were eating the candy they had just bought.

I put on my headphones and put on some music.

After a while, Hayasaka-san and Tachibana-san left their seats and came over here.

-What is going on?

Hayasaka-san replied when I took off the headphones.

-I thought I’d go to the candy cart, I’m in the mood for ice cream.

-Really? Don’t you think you’ve eaten enough? If you keep this up, you’ll get fat. 

-Kirishima-kun, what did you say?

Oh, I think I messed up.

Tachibana-san said nothing and went to the candy cart.

-I know she doesn’t like me.

After the girls went to the next cart, Senpai spoke.

-But I also know that I have to be patient.

-To make her fall in love with you?

-Yes. She’s one of those girls who doesn’t want any man to touch her. I’ll have to wait a lifetime for her to let me do it, or for her to want to do it with me. I’m going to stay with her and try not to be a bother. I know it’s crazy, but I really like her a lot.

Senpai and I are polar opposites. 

He tries to be uncompromising in his love for the girl he loves the most. There is no fear of giving up, nor of what might happen if his feelings for her end in vain.

I, on the other hand, rejected the fantasy of pure love and embraced the reality of being second best. I’m still the same way, but I can understand why people like the idea of pure love so much. It’s a bit of an illusion. 

-Everything will be fine.

I meant those words. When I found out that Tachibana-san’s fiancé was Yanagi-senpai, I gave up.

It is true that I felt some affection for Tachibana-san. But there were too many factors, such as the responsibility she has to her mother and the relationship between Yanagi-senpai and me.

So before the camp, Tachibana-san and I talked about our relationship. And now we don’t talk much.

-I’m sure things will work out between you and Tachibana-san. 

-Thanks, Kirishima, you’re a great guy. If you ever get into trouble, let me know. I’ll do anything for you, after all, we saved each other’s lives.

Senpai smiled friendly after these words.

I always knew that I wouldn’t be able to be with the person I love the most, and that’s the way it’s going to be. I don’t have to get depressed because things didn’t turn out the way I expected. That was always a possibility.

It doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’m grateful that I was able to avoid the complications of falling in love with an engaged girl.

-By the way, Kirishima, you haven’t eaten your Pocky in a while. 

-Oh yeah, I forgot.

The silver bag is on my lap. I bought it at the convenience store at the train station.

-For some reason, I don’t think it tastes very good. 

Senpai takes a Pocky stick and eats it.

-Strange, it tastes normal to me.

-Really, you don’t feel that something is missing? You don’t think it’s wrong that the cookie isn’t moist? I wish they were, it’s not the same….

-Kirishima?

Seeing my reaction, Senpai looked at me suspiciously. I decided to eat a little more to avoid any misunderstandings.

***

-You gave up too quickly just because her fiance is your senpai.

Maki said.

-Although, come to think of it, I was also indebted to Yanagi-senpai when I was in high school, so I understand Kirishima’s feelings. But Tachibana is your first love, right?

-That is correct.

It was evening, and Maki and I were taking an outdoor bath.

The first day we didn’t do any filming. We just went to a museum, ate hot buns, and had a lot of fun looking around. Then we went back to the lodge, had dinner, and are now taking a bath in the hot springs.

-I see. Wouldn’t it be better if you asked Tachibana to break off the engagement? Have you already tried?

-No, I can’t do that.

-Why not?

-It would be very selfish of me.

Since there’s a promise between Tachibana-san and me, it would be very foolish of me not to take advantage of it. I could use it as an excuse to influence her feelings and make her stay with me. But…

-If this causes the agreement between Yanagi-senpai and Tachibana-san to fall apart, the economic stability in Tachibana-san’s household will no longer be the same. Then her future will be affected.

And when she comes to her senses, she may regret her decision.

-So this is no longer a simple high school romance. This is about the future.

-Exactly, it is no longer about simple feelings.

I don’t want to make Tachibana-san unhappy. 

-Besides, I can’t betray Senpai.

-Well, Kirishima, if that’s what you’ve decided, there’s nothing else to be done. Besides, Tachibana and her boyfriend make a nice couple.  

When we went sightseeing in Hakone, Tachibana-san walked beside him the whole time. And when we had dinner at the inn, she sat next to him the whole time. It was quite an unusual thing for her to do.

-What did you do to make her distance herself so much from you?

-Nothing, we both decided that.

-Really? How is that possible?

-Well…

It happened a week ago.

During the summer vacation, club activities are suspended. But on that day, Tachibana-san and I met in the club room. The purpose was to come up with a scenario for the movie we were going to make at the camp.

***

-I want us to use anagrams.

-That is not a good idea, Tachibana-san. It’s not something that has much effect on movies. Let’s use narrative tricks instead.

This is about the mystery method of filming. Tachibana-san and I have the same hobbies. We like late night radio and mysteries.

But with some contrasts. In terms of radio, she listens to the Japan Broadcasting System. I listen to Japan Cultural Broadcasting.

And as for mystery books, she loves anagrams, and I love narrative tricks.

-No, I want the anagrams.

Anagrams are tricks with letters.

It is a technique in which a string of unintelligible letters appears, and when the letters are rearranged, an important fact of the story is revealed.

-But Tachibana-san, how can you use anagrams in a short movie?

-It has a certain charm, and it will make the end of the movie special.

Tachibana-san, you are more clumsy than I thought.

-No, Tachibana-san. Anagrams are not interesting in a movie.

-Since you put it that way, even your narrative tricks are only viable in novels.

-Like a girl who calls herself me, or an old man who calls himself young. However, some of them have been made into movies and have been successful.

The essence of the narrative trick is to exploit the reader’s or viewer’s lack of understanding. And when the truth comes out, that’s when the viewer realizes how wrong they were.

-And that’s why in the first scene we have a corpse.

-Hmm. Well, for a short movie, that’s probably a good idea.

Tachibana-san took notes to outline the story.

-Very good. We’ll use a narrative trick. But you let me name the characters.

-Sounds good to me.

And so the direction of the script was decided. But the problems came later.

-President, since we’re here, let’s do this.

Tachibana-san had taken out the love guide again.

-I want to try more things.

-We can’t.

-President, I see you are in a bad mood. 

-Just because I refuse doesn’t mean I’m in a bad mood.

-All right. I won’t ask again.

Tachibana-san prepares to go home, as she usually does in these situations, and leaves the club room.

In the past, this was the part where I would stop her and agree to play, but I can’t do that anymore. 

When she opened the door, Tachibana-san turned and stared at me.

-President, are you sure you don’t want to do this?

-No.

-Then why?

-I don’t have to tell you.

-Is it because I am engaged? Who decided that?

-I won’t play your game anymore.

Tachibana-san is no longer just a deluded girl. She knows many things now.

-Is it because I’m marrying your boyfriend?

-Exactly.

We stared at each other for a while.

We always pretended to be insensitive to things and enjoyed a delicate relationship together.

But I can no longer ignore this fact. The sun has set. It’s time for me to go home. We can’t keep playing these games, and Tachibana-san can’t risk ruining her and her mother’s future.

And I cannot betray Yanagi-senpai.

-I also feel sorry for Yanagi-kun. I wish I could fall in love with him. I wish I could love him as much as I would have liked to touch him and have him touch me. …. But that’s something that’s not going to happen. Because I can only do these things with you. I tried many times not to, but I failed…. I only like you. 

-I’m sorry.

-It’s okay, it doesn’t matter… But I’d like to know, were you really in love with me when we were kids?

-First love is never forgotten.

-Yes. But you won’t choose me at the expense of everything around me, will you? Well, I don’t really like you either. I was just curious what love was like. 

Tachibana-san turns around again and says something before he leaves.

-I will pretend that the promise we made as children and the memories we made together never happened… …. Goodbye, Kirishima-kun.

***

-Maybe it will be better that way. But what about Hayasaka-san?

-I think she hasn’t given up on conquering Yanagi-senpai yet. …. But it will be difficult for her.

Hayasaka-san is not the kind of woman who can seduce an engaged man.

-You’re right about that.

It was back to square one. It was only natural that Hayasaka-san and I ended up together. 

-It was very predictable.

-Yes, that was the plan from the beginning.

Even if we end up second, we have to be able to say that we did our best to be the first among us. And that we have no regrets about what we did.

-This camp is a rite of passage for them.

When this trip is over, the bond between Hayasaka-san and Yanagi-senpai should be complete.

Maki has a very different idea.

-People’s emotions are not a puzzle. They don’t always fit together.

***

-Let’s get started!

I give my encouragement before we start shooting our short movie. 

We had finally started shooting the project. We were supposed to be done yesterday, but we deviated a lot from our main plans.

-I’m pretty sure he’s 100 percent dead.

Said Tachibana-san, who was wearing rubber gloves and put her hand on my neck.

I was playing the role of a corpse in a large bathroom. 

-But is he really dead? Hey, hey, hey.

Tachibana-san is playing a dangerous character. She seems to be having fun, but most of all, I felt that the force of the punch he threw at me contained personal feelings. 

And if the punch wasn’t enough, she also threw warm water on me, a method she used to change the estimated time of death. I know it’s a movie, but is all this really necessary? 

-Maybe it’s too hot? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, after all, he’s dead. Fufufu. 

And to finish it off, they put me in a sack of rice and dropped me down a hill behind the inn.

-And… Cut!!!

The first scene ends with Maki’s voice.

-Are you okay?

It was time for a break, and Hayasaka-san approached me excitedly. 

I was sitting in the backyard of the lodge, checking the spot where the shooting of the first scene ended. I actually fell from that spot, and it hurt a little, but not enough to bruise where I landed. 

-Is that scene supposed to be part of the story?

-Yes. We are going to show that scene at the beginning. That way, we’ll make the viewer think that Tachibana-san killed me.

But the reality is that there is another real killer. Tachibana-san is just getting rid of my body. 

From now on, Tachibana-san will commit more murders to protect Yanagi-san, the real criminal.

-The script Tachibana-san wrote is amazing. However, her sense of naming is a bit mysterious.

-I think the reason my character is called Kirinji Kiriyama is because I like the band Kirinji.

-Then why is Yanagi-senpai’s character called Ishikura Morishi?

-Probably the nickname of his favorite soccer player. He’s retired now, but there was a player on the Japanese national team named Morishita.

Sakai’s character is Wakui Shea, and Yamanaka’s character is Tezukayama Beret.

-And why am I Muneko? I don’t even know what that means.

-Well, it refers to your big breasts. (NT: Mune is Japanese for breasts, tons, you know :v)

-Is that what it means? I don’t know if I like that name very much.

Hayasaka-san gets angry for a moment, but it was in a playful tone, so she calmed down right away. 

I saw Yanagi-senpai in front of me. A little further away, Tachibana-san was standing next to him. She seemed to be having trouble opening the lid of a jar, so Senpai was helping her.

It was the classic scene of a man helping his partner.

-Do you like Yanagi-senpai?

Hayasaka-san nodded her head when I asked her about it.

-Tachibana-san is lucky. She is wanted by Kirishima-kun and Senpai. She is the most perfect girl I have ever met.

-Don’t say that, Hayasaka-san. There are many people who are very attracted to you.

-Maybe so, but when I’m with her, it’s different. Tachibana-san is special. Do you know when her birthday is?

-Yes, January 1st.

-Right. Tachibana-san was born on the first day of the year. No one can beat her, and no one can match her. But I will still do my best.

Hayasaka-san expressed while clenching her fist.

-I will find a way to take Senpai away from her.

Until recently, her love for him was confused and she couldn’t help but panic. And when she found out that Yanagi-senpai was Tachibana-san’s fiancé, she went into complete shock. But she recovered slowly.

-You don’t have to try so hard…. Remember that you’re not that kind of person.

-Yes, I know I can’t beat her under normal circumstances. But this time it’s different.

-What are you trying to say?

-I hate Tachibana-san.

Those were really strong words from Hayasaka-san.

-Although she did not want to break off her engagement to Yanagi-senpai, she was hitting on Kirishima-kun.

So Hayasaka-san did not like the fact that she was playing with my feelings and senpai’s feelings.

-I won’t hold back this time. It’s going to be a tough rivalry, hahaha. I feel like a bad girl. Besides, it’s good for Kirishima-kun if Senpai breaks up with her, right?

Hayasaka-san’s feelings seem to be focused on me and Yanagi-senpai.

I wonder if she’s lost sight of her true feelings. I’m a little worried.

I looked back in the direction where the two of them were. I saw Tachibana-san wiping the sweat from Senpai’s brow with a towel.

Hayasaka-san watched him for a while and then looked at me.

-Hey, Kirishima-kun, let’s kiss.

-What?

-I want to kiss you here and now before anyone sees us.

I think it’s a bad idea, but Hayasaka-san’s expression was blank. I feel like there’s no way I can get out of this.

-If the two of them can be so affectionate, we should be able to kiss.

Hayasaka-san’s eyes were fixed on me.

So I hurried to kiss her without anyone seeing us.

-It is fun to do bad things. 

Hayasaka-san’s expression is very sexy. And she behaves worse and worse. But she quickly regained her girlish expression and said cheerfully:

-I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I will still be by your side as your second girlfriend. And I will be until the end.

***

By the time we finished shooting, the sun was setting. 

We finished editing the short film that evening and decided to show it on location. Frankly, I am amazed at Maki’s speed in editing.

We were in a large room with a large screen on the wall where the movie would be projected. 

Throughout the shooting, Hayasaka-san had been moving her chips to get closer to Yanagi-senapi.

But she was still too clumsy and shy to do anything about it.

Hayasaka-san sat next to me on the tatami mat, and in front of us were Senpai and Tachibana-san.

-Let’s get started.

Then the room began to darken. 

Yamanaka-kun took control of the computer and played the movie. 

The title of the movie was “The Mystery of the Hot Springs”, and right after the title there were some big words that said “Directed by Shota Maki”. It was something that made everyone in the room laugh. 

In my case, my eyes were not on the screen, but on Tachibana-san. Her hair was up and I could see her thin, fragile neck. 

-I guess it didn’t look too bad as a commercial, after all, it’s set in the same inn. 

-Yes.

Yanagi-senpai and Tachibana-san were talking in a whisper.

The short movie is 15 minutes long, so it reached its climax quickly. It was the last scene, and everyone was impressed with Tachibana-san’s acting skills during the filming.

Tachibana-san defended Yanagi-senpai, who was the real culprit and had been discovered by Detective Maki, and before turning herself in to the police, she told Yanagi-senpai that she loved him. 

Her performance was so realistic that everyone present thought she was actually confessing her feelings to Yanagi-senpai.

Even Senpai had a smile on his face. I don’t know if I want to see that scene on the screen again. And then the climax of the movie begins.

Hayasaka-san took my hand in hers as if to say, “You have me.

Good thing the room is in total darkness and no one can see us. Thanks to that, I decided to hold her hand tighter.

Tachibana-san appears on the screen with a sad face and her thin lips moving.

-I like you, Morishi Ishikura. No matter what happens, I will always love you.

Her facial expressions and lines were beyond acting. It seemed that Tachibana-san had made a serious confession in that scene.

At the end of the screening, I felt like I had watched a romantic movie.

***

People have different tastes when it comes to fireworks. Hayasaka-san likes colorful things, and Tachibana-san likes simple things.

In the evening, we set off fireworks in the courtyard of the inn. It was a way to have good memories of this trip, and Miki-chan had prepared everything.

Each person had their own hand-held sparkler and watched the sparks fly. The combination was natural.

-I’m glad it’s over.

Hayasaka-san says.

-It was a good short movie we all made today.

-Yes, and the title of the movie was good too.

-And the scene where Tachibana-san tells Yanagi-senpai that she loves him was very good.

Tachibana-san was with Yanagi-senpai a little further away from us, and they were lighting other fireworks. They looked like a couple.

-We seem to have missed our chance.

Hayasaka-san says.

-At first I thought Tachibana-san was trying to make Kirishima-kun jealous. But she didn’t even turn around to see you.

-I know.

-I don’t think she’s interested in you anymore.

-I know.

That’s when it happened. I could hear the conversation between Tachibana-san and Yanagi-senpai.

-Here’s the garbage bag.

Tachibana-san was tugging on the hem of Senpai’s shirt. For someone like her, this was a very advanced act of physical contact between a man and a woman.

Even the expression on Senpai’s face showed how shocked he was by such a situation.

-Hikari-chan, why don’t we go for a walk? I think there is a promenade.

-Good.

The two of them came closer and closer. I could no longer watch such a situation, so I just concentrated on watching my own fireworks.

-I wonder why Tachibana-san doesn’t choose Kirishima-kun instead of Senpai. Why do such a cruel thing in front of us? 

Tears fell from Hayasaka-san’s eyes. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad after watching this scene.

-It is sad that the only person who can make Kirishima-kun happy is Tachibana-san. Even though she’s standing next to Senpai, Kirishima-kun doesn’t stop looking at her. That… This is too sad.

After wiping away her tears, Hayasaka-san looks exhausted. Her eyes are empty, and she is unable to improve her expression.

-Still, I will try my best. I don’t want to give up. I just want to be a good friend to Kirishima-kun. The second best friend. That’s why I want to be good for Kirishima-kun, I want to be useful to Kirishima-kun.

-Hey, Hayasaka-san. You’re out of fireworks.

-Ah, you’re right.

The light returns to Hayasaka-san’s eyes.

I lit some new fireworks and handed them to her. In the darkness of the night, sparks of many colors sparkled. The light was intense, but in a way it was also sad. It seemed that our emotions were materialized in the sparks. 

I like Tachibana-san. I like Hayasaka-san. And I like Yanagi-senpai a lot.

The emotions that arise are all real, even if they are terribly contradictory. You can’t have it all. And yet I can’t explain how I feel.

But in a way, I think that’s what love is like.

A lot of emotions swirling around, changing colors, changing shapes, and exploding on the spot. 

That is why the actions and thoughts of those in love become incoherent. And yet, conversely, they become incomprehensible.

There is no logical love in the world. We get carried away by the real emotions of the day, we lose ourselves, we worry, and sometimes we even forget how we really feel.

Sometimes we forget what we’re really feeling in the moment, or we don’t realize that our feelings have changed since the past and we’ve been left behind. 

That’s what happened to Hayasaka-san, so she’s still confused.

-Hayasaka-san, I owe you an apology. 

-Why?

-Because you’re not the only girl I love.

She deserves that I love her and no one else. That would be pure love. Instead, I pushed her to such an extreme that she became unstable.

-No, that is not the case.

Hayasaka-san shakes his head.

-I’m not a good girl. That’s why I was so happy when you asked me to be your second girlfriend. 

-Still, you are very confused about your feelings right now. I don’t think you know what you’re doing. 

-What do you think I should do?

-You need to get your feelings in order.

-Are your feelings in order, Kirishima-kun?

-I have already given up on Tachibana-san.

The moment I said that, Hayasaka-san looked confused, but then her face lit up and she became happy.

-Hmm, do you think it’s okay if I’m happy about it? I feel like I shouldn’t, but I really feel very happy.

Her eyes went blank again.

-I’m sorry, I think I said the wrong thing. I’ll go to my room.

After saying that, she entered the inn. I guess I’ll be alone with the fireworks. 

After everyone finished, I was going to pick up all the trash.

-Kirishima, I will help you.

The person who spoke to me was Yanagi-senpai.

-Did anything interesting happen?

When asked, he wrinkles his nose in embarrassment.

-I think Hikari and I have taken an important step in getting to know each other.

-I’m happy for you.

-And how did it go with Hayasaka-chan? You two seemed to get along quite well.

My phone started ringing after Senpai asked me that question. So I reached into my pocket and picked it up to take a look.

“Come to my room.”

It was a message from Hayasaka-san.

-Things are going well with Hayasaka-san. Let’s talk later tonight.

I replied in my voice to see what expression Tachibana-san would make, but she was still far away, concentrating on cleaning. She didn’t seem to hear me.

Even though I said I had given up on her, I expected her to have some kind of reaction to hearing that. I still have mixed feelings about that. 

Well, I guess it’s best to leave things as they are.

***

Since it was the season when there were almost no guests, the inn gave us rooms for two.

And we were divided as follows: Maki with Yamanaka-kun, Hayasaka-san with Tachibana-san, Saki with Miki-chan, Yanagi-senpai and myself. 

Taking advantage of the fact that Tachibana-san had gone out with Yanagi-senpai, Hayasaka-san invited me to her room. 

-Hayasaka-san.

-Come in.

Hayasaka-san was wearing a yukata and sitting on a chair.

-I will make some tea.

Hayasaka-san poured hot water from a kettle and made us two cups of green tea. I sat down in front of her and drank my tea in silence.

-I feel calmer now. And I wanted to talk to you about something…

-It is okay. It’s true what I said, I’ve given up on Tachibana-san.

It’s time for us to be official lovers. This is the way it should be. Tachibana-san with Senpai, and me with Hayasaka-san.

But just before I proposed. Hayasaka-san interrupted me.

-No.

Her tone is soft, but her will is strong.

-I don’t want this kindness.

-It is not kindness. I’m serious, I like you, Hayasaka-san.

-I know, but I don’t want it like that.

So that was what she was thinking when she came here.

-If Kirishima-kun was my first love, I wouldn’t give up so easily. It’s true that Tachibana-san and Senpai are engaged. But it’s an arrangement that hasn’t been finalized yet, so anything can happen.

Hayasaka-san is right. It was not time to give up yet. Sexually speaking. If I gave up now, it would be a dramatic but narcissistic love story. 

I think it is much more sincere to be patient and wait for the next opportunity to overcome this situation. It would be absurd to give up because of every obstacle I find in my path.

Happiness must come from such patience and calmness.

-It’s my fault, isn’t it? Since you saw me weak and confused, you’ve given up on Tachibana-san.

Yes. I can’t bear to see you break down like this, Hayasaka-san.

-But it is also Kirishima-kun’s fault.

-My fault?

-It is your fault that my heart is broken. But I’m not saying that because you’re my second.

-Then why is that?

-If your relationship with Tachibana-san doesn’t come true, it means that you and I will be together, right?

-Yes.

-You say that now. But what if we don’t? 

That made me uncomfortable.

-Even though we are official lovers, I think your love for Tachibana-san will still remain somewhere in your heart.

-I see, is that how you feel?

-Yes.

Honestly, I don’t know how I would feel if things didn’t work out with her. What do you do with unrequited love? That’s the real question.

-I feel like I’m getting lonely. Kirishima-kun and Yanagi-senpai are only attracted to Tachibana-san.

-I like you, Hayasaka-san.

-Then make me believe it.

Hayasaka-san stands up. He then sits down on the futon on the tatami floor.

-Convince me that you will come back to me if my relationship with Yanagi-senpai fails. I want you to assure me that Kirishima-kun will be my insurance policy if my love doesn’t come true. Then I will be able to do my best. I will be able to pursue the person I love the most.

After saying that, she opened her arms as if to invite me to come over.

I went over to the futon and hugged her. I thought this would calm my emotions, because hugging Hayasaka-san feels too good.

But… Hayasaka-san fell backwards, and I was still clinging to her. If anyone saw us, they would think that I had attacked her.

-Hayasaka-san?

-Hey Kirishima-kun, we’re lovers, right?

-Yes.

-We really are sweethearts, aren’t we?

-Of course we are.

-So let’s do things that lovers do.

She probably wants more than just a kiss.

-I want to be a real friend to you.

The part of her chest where the yukata should be is exposed. And Hayasaka-san doesn’t even bother to adjust it for a moment. 

-I don’t want you to go. I want you to really show me that you like me.

I couldn’t help but swallow after hearing those words. We should have made a rule, but she doesn’t even try to follow it. 

But looking back, I’m the one who pushed Hayasaka-san to do such a thing to make her feel safe. This is what it means to be serious with a girl, and I think I’ve been running away from it.

-Are you sure?

-Yes.

-If we do that, things could change drastically.

-I know, I’m an idiot. This could make Kirishima-kun the only person I want to love.

It is true that if that line is crossed, the order of preference might change. And she could also take Tachibana-san’s position. And subconsciously, she tried not to think about that. 

-If that happens, can I take advantage of your kindness?

-Yes.

-And if I become your favorite, can I be as heavy as I want?

-Yes.

-Kirishima-kun.

She closed her eyes and lifted her chin.

I’ll let myself go in this situation, so I’ll go over and kiss Hayasaka-san. I’ve been holding back my feelings until now, so I’m going to pour all my desire into her.

I feel the warmth of her body, the sound of her heart and the softness of her breasts.

Everything happened in a single moment. Suddenly the door of the room opened.

The situation had changed completely. I tried to excuse myself, but Tachibana-san spoke first.

-What are you doing?

She had a worried look on her face.

***

Hayasaka-san and I were sitting comfortably on the futon. A little further away, Tachibana-san was sitting cross-legged.

It was an awkward situation. Tachibana-san had come back at a bad time.

-Didn’t you say you were going for a walk with senpai?

-Yes, but the plans changed at the last minute.

Tachibana said with a confused look.

—More importantly, are you two in a relationship?

-No.

It was Hayasaka-san who replied immediately.

-Hmm.

-I like someone else.

-Then why did you two try to kiss each other?

After that question, Hayasaka-san fell silent. After a short pause, she replied:

-I wanted to practice with Kirishima-kun. 

-It didn’t look like practice.

-Yes, it was practice. Kirishima-kun is just my “practice boyfriend”.

This time it was Tachibana-san who was silent. But her silence did not last long.

-What do you mean?

Well, there is an acute and unique set of emotions in this room, very different from the relationship between the three of us before.

Hayasaka-san’s excuse about me being a training friend is not bad. It seems to me that she was trying to minimize the damage after being found out. But it was clear that she had a prickly attitude towards Tachibana-san.

-I don’t care who you kiss.

-Right. After all, you have Yanagi-senpai.

With the exchange of glances after those words, they could share a lot of feelings between them.

-But Hayasaka-san, do you really kiss for practice?

-I do.

-I would not be able to do that.

-I understand that. You are a bit childish.

Hayasaka-san is more belligerent than ever. 

From her point of view, Yanagi-senpai and I have been brainwashed by Tachibana-san’s charm, so her feelings towards her are aggressive.

But Tachibana-san is not one to sit back and let others do the talking.

-I want you to kiss him

Tachibana-san said while looking at her.

-What?

-I want to see you kiss the president. Can you do it?

That seemed to annoy Hayasaka-san, just as I expected. I’m confused because I don’t feel like letting anyone kiss me either. 

-Tachibana-san, is it okay if I kiss him in front of you?

-I don’t care, like you said, I have Yanagi. Besides… I only like one guy. I’m not like someone who has more than one affair. So I don’t get excited when I see other people kissing. I don’t fall in love easily from a single affair.

Slightly ironic words. 

On the other hand, Hayasaka-san did not change her expression, but seemed to have lost her temper.

-Kirishima-kun, let’s do it.

Then she kneels down and brings her face close to mine.

-Wait a moment, Hayasaka-san.

-Tachibana-san wants to see us kiss. Let’s show her.

-I refuse.

I looked at Tachibana-san, her face still blank as usual.

-President, do it. 

Why do you want to see this? I don’t need to get involved in the emotional conflicts between two women.

Before I could say anything else, Hayasaka-san grabbed my neck with both hands. I have no escape now.

-Tachibana-san, take a good look at this.

Hayasaka-san pressed his lips to mine. At first, the kiss was discreet and I was aware that someone was watching me.

But Hayasaka-san looked sideways at Tachibana-san and saw that her expression hadn’t changed at all. He started kissing me more aggressively and changed her angle. 

I am not fascinated by the idea of someone seeing me kiss Hayasaka-san. 

But I know the intention of the kiss. She is trying very hard to surprise Tachibana-san in some way.

So I decided to play along. I hugged her and put my tongue in her mouth. Hayasaka-san started to feel ecstatic, so she stuck her tongue in my mouth soon after.

-Kirishima-kun, I like your spit.

I think Hayasaka-san is going beyond the normal level of ecstasy. She goes into a full trance. She’s trying very hard to make Tachibana-san jealous.

But the effort was in vain, as Tachibana-san still had his expressionless face. But…

“Show me more.”

That’s what her eyes told me. They want to be jealous, just like I was when I saw her pictures with her fake boyfriend on social media. 

My kiss with Hayasaka-san made the three of us in the room excited. I want Tachibana-san to feel the same way.

I want her to be jealous of me as I was jealous of her. 

Hayasaka-san was no longer acting as number two, but as my girlfriend in front of Tachibana-san. So I was just releasing all the emotions that I had been suppressing.

This was Hayasaka-san’s revenge for having Yanagi-senpai, the person she loved the most, as her fiancé. And this was nothing more than Tachibana-san testing my feelings by forcing me to kiss Hayasaka-san.

At the moment, she was just staring blankly while twirling her hair with her finger. This is one of the few habits Tachibana-san has when she doesn’t like something.

Eventually, the ecstasy dissipated. Hayasaka-san was the first to regain her senses. 

-I’m an idiot.

Was she embarrassed because she kissed me in front of someone? Or was she disgusted with herself for listening to Tachibana-san?

Hayasaka-san’s face turns red as she adjusts her yukata.

-I’m going to freshen up a bit.

Before she leaves the room, she turns to Tachibana-san.

-I just want to make it clear, I did it because I wanted to, not because you asked me to. Kirishima-kun only does what I tell him to do. It’s all my fault. He doesn’t do anything wrong.

Tachibana-san remains silent. Then she leaves the room, leaving us alone. Then she continues to make tea as if nothing had happened.

-Would you like some tea?

-Yes.

Everything feels strange. Why doesn’t she say anything? Why does she act like everything is fine?

Without another word, I drink my tea and decide to go back to my room.

-I’m off, see you tomorrow.

Just for tonight, let’s pretend this never happened. But as soon as I got up, Tachibana-san attacked me.

She collapsed on top of me, knocking me off balance as I fell backwards. Tachibana-san fell on top of me and grabbed my chest with both hands.

-You are so disgusting.

She said with a straight face. She is unusually emotional, it seems she is very angry.

After saying that, she came over and kissed me.

The impulse was so strong that our teeth clashed and the inside of my mouth hurt a little. So I turned my face away from her.

I start to feel blood in my mouth.

-I’m sorry. It’s my first time, I’ve never kissed anyone before. 

While saying that, Tachibana-san pressed her lips against mine again. Then she did it again and again.

Her kisses were painful. She continued kissing me roughly for a while and then sat down.

-I feel like a bad girl.

She had a satisfied look on her face.

-Tachibana-san, it’s not right for you to do this to Yanagi-senpai….

-Don’t say it. I don’t want you to say those things anymore. If you really care about Yanagi-kun, if you really want to stay away, then you shouldn’t have listened to the short movie.

-What do you mean?

-There is no point in playing dumb. You can’t possibly be that oblivious. 

The atmosphere was eerie, and I remained silent. Tachibana-san looked into my eyes and said nothing.

I can hear the clock ticking. 

-You used an anagram trick.

Tachibana-san giggled like a naughty child and said.

-I see you got the message.

Yes, the movie does have a hidden message. Hayasaka-san’s confession in the short movie was directed at me.

***

The names of the characters in the script written by Tachibana-san are all slightly different.

Kiriyama Kirinji, Wakui Shea, Tezukayama Berebo. And there is only one name that was really intended.

石倉モリシ (Ishikura Morishi)   

It was just a matter of rearranging them in the alphabet.

桐島司郎 (Kirishima Shiro) 

In the play, Tachibana-san confesses her feelings to Morishi Ishikura, played by Yanagi-senpai.

“I like you, Ishikura Morishi. No matter what happens, I will always love you.”

Because he said it so seriously, everyone thought that Tachibana-san had a real feeling for Yanagi-senpai. But now I see it from a different perspective.

“I like you, Ishiro Kirishima. No matter what happens, I will always love you.”

It was a full confession coming from her. After all, Tachibana-san can be a genius when it comes to love.

***

Tachibana-san is still on top of me, and judging by her expression, she is enjoying it.

-You really like me, don’t you, Shiro?

My feelings for her were written all over my face.

-I love you very much, Shiro-kun. You know that, don’t you? You always took care of me. No matter how cold I was to you or how close I was to Yanagi-kun. You always cared about my happiness. 

Tachibana-san began to caress my body with both hands.

-Stop, I told you, you can’t do that.

-If you really care about Yanagi-kun, if you refuse to accept my feelings, then we shouldn’t have made this short movie. And you should have just changed everyone’s roles, or at least changed the names of the characters. Now that I’ve confessed my feelings to you, Shiro-kun, I can’t stop myself. I want you to like me very much… Hey, did you like that scene? Did you like seeing me open up about my feelings for you?

It was the best feeling ever.

Tachibana-san is a problem. She exposed all my deceptions and made me reveal the injustice I hide deep inside. Yet she accepts me as I am. 

At that moment, I was overcome with such a special feeling of joy that I couldn’t care about anyone but myself, because she had done me an incredible favor.

-I’m sorry I was so hard on you before.

Tachibana-san traced my lips with her finger.

-You did it on purpose because you were angry.

-Yes.

-Can I kiss you again?

Before I could answer, Tachibana-san’s lips were close to mine. And this time, the kiss was very gentle.

After our mouths met, Tachibana-san’s tongue slipped inside. And the next thing she did was to carefully lick the wound she had given me with her teeth.

-You taste of blood

-Yes, it’s not pleasant.

-How many times have you kissed Hayasaka-san?

-I’ve lost count.

-Mmmm

After that, she kissed me again and again. I could barely catch my breath. When I looked away, Tachibana’s expression was one of satisfaction.

-Hey Shiro, do you like Hayasaka-san?

For some reason, Tachibana-san is facing the door that leads to the hallway. And her gaze seems to go even further.

-It’s okay if you don’t answer, Shiro-kun, I’ll do as you wish. I’ll remain Yanagi-kun’s fiancee.

It seems that she does not want to betray her senpai, nor does she want to be responsible for the destruction of her family.

-And also… You can still have your relationship with Hayasaka-san.

It’s pretty scary. Otherwise, she will fall apart, and I will be responsible for ruining her life and hurting her a lot.

-So you can continue to be friends with your senpai and be affectionate with the other girl you like. Not to mention, you’ll be able to possess me and do whatever you want with me. It’s a good idea, right? You don’t have to hide it. It’s what you want.

I couldn’t say anything, it was as if she had read my mind.

-I will make it all come true. I promise to keep my mouth shut, Shiro-kun. Let’s hide from everyone and do a lot of bad things together.

After saying that, Tachibana-san held up two fingers and said:

-I don’t mind being your second girlfriend.

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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