Early this morning, when I went to have breakfast with Takeru-kun, he proudly insisted on the name he was registered under on my phone.
In fact, since around 5:00 p.m., there had been a few messages from Takeru-kun via SMS.
The message attack started with:
“When do you finish work?”
“I’m coming to pick you up”
“Hey, answer me”
“Are you still working? I’m going to pick you up”
“Answer me, you raccoon dog bitch!”
“I’m not done yet! How long are you going to be here? You slow wimp!”
Like this, the messages that started out as one every 30 minutes ticked up to one every 20 minutes, then one every 10 minutes, then one every 5 minutes as time went on, and from around 9:00 p.m. onward, I started getting incoming calls to go along with the short messages.
But I am going through it with aplomb.
Because I really don’t want to reply.
I don’t even want to answer the phone.
Of course, I’m going to let this incoming call go too.
I want to stay in the office for a little while longer. I want to blend in as a part of this unchanging scene. That’s what I was thinking…
“Raccoon dog, come down quickly. Hurry up and come down.”
I was desperately trying to take my eyes off my phone, but as soon as the incoming call was cut off, the notification message that appeared on my phone screen with a light sound inadvertently entered my vision, and a small scream involuntarily leaped out of my mouth.
It was only one line, but the pressure, the pressure was great.
“I just finished! I’m leaving the office right now!”
I hurriedly picked up my phone and replied at a speed that was one step ahead of my cramped fingers.
If there was a competition between the speed of a phone’s reply and the speed of a human reply, I bet I would have set a time record to contend for the championship.
I immediately turned off my computer, cleared off my desk with a zap, grabbed my bag, and quickly left the dark floor.
Oh no. I’m sure he knows I worked late on purpose. And he’s probably angry.
I racked my brain for an excuse as I hit the elevator button… but my not-so-great brain wouldn’t let me come up with a good idea.
Stupid, really stupid! Meiko, you idiot! Why did you waste your time working overtime! Didn’t you consider that the situation would get worse?
Because I didn’t want to go home!
Don’t use things like that when you’re in your mid-20s!
Oh, stop it… Let’s not fight in my head….The contradicting voices in her head.
Without being able to think of anything, I walked out of the minimally lit entrance at the fastest speed of my life with my breath hitching, and scurried around the area.
Although my office has a main street in front of it, there are few cars and people in the area at this time of the day, and if someone is there, I can easily find them.
With that statement from Oniichan, it seems that Takeru-kun is already around the office…or maybe he is too.
I shuddered as something creeped up my spine, and as I rubbed my arms, a voice called out to my back.
This fresh and pleasant voice could it belong to Oniichan?!
Well apparently No, it’s not….
Reflexively, I turned toward the voice and saw Shinjo-san and Fushimi-san standing in front of the building I had just left, cuddling up to each other.
Huh? This beautiful couple standing there, looking like they could win this year’s Best Couple Award, I think I saw them just recently….
Ah! It was during Christmas Eve.
I did see them, I remember!
It’s that day when I went to the restaurant thinking he was going to propose to me, but he rejected me, and I was in tears and got into trouble after drinking a lot of alcohol!
Oh no! Oh my God! Meiko! You can be so forgetful!
…Because of the intense events that followed, it feels like a long time ago, even though it happened the day before yesterday.
I can’t help but look at them with a faraway look in my eyes.
But why are these two here, even though they left the company quite some time ago? Were they in that dimly-lit entrance until this late?
“Uh, can I help you?”
I can’t think of anything that would make them call out to me all the way here.
If there was something important, I wanted him to tell me as soon as possible.
Each minute of my time was a downward spiral for Oniichan’s mood. If this is how day traders feel when they watch the stock market on a daily basis, it is worthy of respect.
Shaking my body restlessly and looking around, I hurried my reply to them.
They looked at me and for some reason a subtle expression appeared on their faces, but they seemed to quickly regain their composure and moved closer to each other with smiles full of happiness that could have appeared in a marriage information magazine.
“We’ve decided to get married next spring.”
Shinjo-san hugged Fushimi’s shoulder gently and smiled at her showing a beautiful grin, and I was momentarily taken aback by the unimportant news.
I opened my mouth for a moment, and then Fushimi-san smiled with satisfaction at my dumbfounded expression. I reflexively came back to myself with the thought that I had to tighten my face when I saw that look.
“Oh, I see! Congratulations!”
Shinjo-san is getting a promotion, isn’t he? It would be better for him to have a wife and children.
Congratulations…but does the report have to be made now? Why couldn’t you just tell me tomorrow, or even today, while I was at work?
I would get nervous at the occasional sight of a car driving down the street or a figure glancing off the edge of my field of vision.
I tried to be careful not to neglect my congratulations, but I wonder if I did. I was so nervous that my beating heart threatened to burst out of my chest if Oniichan saw me standing here talking so attentively.
Sweat was slowly seeping from every nook and cranny of my body.
Maybe it was because I had run as fast as I could from the floor where my office was located and stopped, but it was like my sweat lines were busted, especially my underarm sweat.
My eyes are scurrying, my feet are huffing and puffing on the spot, and I’m acting completely suspicious.
I asked him, “If that’s all you want to talk about, can I go now?”
I send a glance to the two of them with the utmost thought of “Are we done here?” I’m sure Fushimi-san, in particular, will notice my feelings because she was a woman who could understand a thousand things while only needing to hear one in terms of work.
“I’m so sorry!”
For some reason, Fushimi-san crouched down on the spot, covering her little face with both of her neatly-nailed hands.
Somehow, Shinjo-san also crouched down and leaned over to embrace Fushimi-san’s shoulder.
They kind of apologized to me.
Does that mean they’re sorry for holding me back? No, there was no need to apologize.
I managed to turn my head, which had been slowed by the fear of the unknown to the point where it wasn’t even spinning fast enough, and then, wham! I was happy to hear the answer.
I smiled with a big smile on my face.
“Oh, it’s okay, it’s okay. You don’t have to apologize! Well, I’ll just…”
“I’m really sorry! I fell in love with Shinjo-san. You were supposed to marry him Tanuki-senpai, but I just had to come in-between you two.”
“Reiko! You don’t have to apologize! It was my fault! It’s my fault for choosing you over Meiko.”
“What, what, what?
The foot that was going to turn back on its heel stopped with only one step back, and the hand that was supposed to be waving for adios stopped at the halfway point.
“Tanuki-senpai, you have been acting strange all day today. You seemed to be absentminded when I tried to talk to you, and you forced yourself to take more work…it was as if you were running away from your reality through work. It must be because I have robbed you of your happiness of getting married!”
“No! It’s not Reiko’s fault! Meiko… Why are you holding your hand like that? If it will make you feel better, hit me, not Reiko!”
A man with good looks, holding the shoulder of a beautiful woman whose long, slender, beautiful eyes are framed by long, shining, quivering lashes, kneeling on one knee and staring bravely at you…it’s like a knight protecting a princess.
In the darkness of the night, illuminated by the spotlight of a street lamp, the two were like the protagonists of a story….
Wow, isn’t that romantic…!
“What? No, eh? Eh?”
It’s true that I was using work to escape from the nightmarish reality that I had been experiencing since the night before yesterday, but I wasn’t thinking about marriage, happiness, or anything of the sort.
If anything, I had even forgotten about being dumped by Shinjo-san until just now, and I would have responded to Fushimi-san’s words, even though she may have spoken to me while I was at work.
I couldn’t respond to the glances she was giving me as if she wanted to say something, but I believe I would have responded to her had she tried talking to me.
Besides, this hand was in the process of saying good-bye, and I had no intention of slapping either of them in the slightest.
|↑1||The contradicting voices in her head.|