📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.
📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.

It Seems That Takane, the Current Girlfriend, Definitely Doesn’t Want to Lose to the Ex-girlfriend Chapter 2

The air around the two who just started dating is more noticeable to others than expected.


ACT 2: The air around the two who just started dating is more noticeable to others than expected.

On the day of the physical test, everyone in my class, 1-A, changes into gym clothes from the morning.

The 1-A classroom, where the girls change, is used by the boys from class 1-B. Entering a classroom I’ve never been in before was a bit nerve-wracking, but soon Takatera and Ogishima arrived as I started changing.

“Good morning. Man, yesterday’s episode was intense…”

“Oh, talking about the drama?”

I hadn’t missed recording it, so I could check if I wanted to. But I tried not to think about it too much.

“It was quite a topic, right? Kiri Asatani’s name was even trending.”

“I wonder if Asatani-san would feel embarrassed seeing searches like ‘Kiri Asatani Almost Kiss’ when she ego-searches?”

──It’s a bit embarrassing, but once I switch on, I don’t care about it.

──But I need to switch off properly, or I’ll get tired without realizing.

──Is it unfair to be with everyone to turn off?

Asatani-san’s words echo in my mind. She referred to changing between her roles as an actress and her public persona as “flipping a switch.”

“But Noarin’s role as the stepsister is too impactful… In the original story, she’s not the kind of character to go down the slide.”

In the story, a heroine who loses in love is sometimes referred to as “going down the slide.” In this drama, Asatani-san seems to be playing such a role.

The drama Asatani-san is in is based on a shoujo manga. My sister RyuRyu, who had read it, told me that in the original, the stepsister, who had a fleeting crush on her stepbrother, steps aside without confessing her feelings in front of the bond between the main characters.

The lead actor Fukagawa and Asatani-san, playing the sub-heroine, appeared on TV for promotion. There were speculations that the drama might diverge from the manga, giving the stepsister a stronger role.

“Even though she’s a celebrity, she blends in well at school. I thought there’d be strict measures if an entertainer was at school.”

“Maybe they agreed to keep it normal. If the agency interfered too much at school, Noarin would get tired.”

“Takatera is surprisingly considerate.”

“Yeah, he’s a thoughtful guy… wait, what’s your image of me, Chida?”

“Like a cheerful guy who loves idols and is a hidden fan of Asatani-san?”

Ogishima answers for me. Takatera looks slightly hurt but is obviously joking.

“Spot on. But I became a full-fledged fan only after we entered the same high school.”

Takatera seems to have a festival-loving personality. In middle school, he was known for supporting Asatani-san and discussing her TV appearances, not all of them favorable. Thankfully, Takatera’s not like that, so I feel relieved for now.

Relieved? Why am I thinking like this about Asatani-san?

Maybe because she called herself an “ex-girlfriend,” I feel it’s permissible to worry about her from the shadows.

──Being a celebrity doesn’t make her much different from ordinary people.

──If you think she’s different, it’s probably just a fascinating illusion.

I didn’t recall these thoughts during the spring break. Maybe it was the shock. Human memory is fickle, reviving more when you try to forget.

“Anyway, why are Light Music Club and Band Club different? Light Music is for girls, and Band for boys. I was deceived and now can’t back out.”

Takatera had joined the Band Club, seemingly motivated by a desire to be popular with girls. Ogishima continued with the Drama Club from middle school.

“I played baseball in middle school, with a buzz cut. Now in high school, I’m debuting in a band.”

“I joined a drum class while playing baseball. My dream now is to get popular at the cultural festival. And don’t mention the buzz cut; it was hard growing my hair out.”

“You’ve really thought about what you want to do in high school.”

“Not really, I’m pretty spontaneous. I chose this academic school because I heard a girl I liked was taking the entrance exam.”

“That girl didn’t end up attending, right? I find Takatera’s actions endearing.”

“Wha… don’t say that, you won’t get anything out of me.”

A male tsundere is somewhat amusing, but what’s more interesting is that Takatera knows about tsundere. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Have you decided on a club, Chida? You should join one in your first year.”

“I’m thinking of joining the Reading Club. I have other commitments after school.”

“Oh, does that include manga and light novels? I should’ve joined Reading Club too.”

“What do you learn, Chida? I did abacus, calligraphy, and cram school in middle school.”

“I go to a gym I know, to keep active.”

“I see, you don’t exactly have a ‘Reading Club’ build. More like… you look strong.”

“I wish I could build muscle too, but no matter how hard I train, it doesn’t seem to work.”

Ogishima is fair-skinned with a delicate voice, making it easy to imagine the roles he’d play in the Drama Club.

──As we finished changing and chatting, the teacher’s voice echoed in the hallway.

“The girls have finished changing, so boys, please move.”

The boys from 1-A start moving. Opening the door, the hallway is already filled with 1-B girls in tracksuits.

“Look at these gentlemen, not a single one jumping the gun.”

“Being a gentleman is normal, isn’t it?”

“Accidental encounters in changing rooms” aren’t something that happens in reality.

Still, I wonder if everyone has such fleeting thoughts. Seeing someone like Ogishima makes me feel somewhat ashamed.

The lace peeking from Takane-san’s collar during yesterday’s video call──I shouldn’t be recalling it, but the memory is too vivid.

Entering 1-A, the girls chatting stop to glance at us before returning to their conversation.

“Whoa… Noarin’s hairstyle is different today…!”

Takatera whispers in surprise. Long-haired students are advised to tie their hair up for PE, and Asatani-san, who had a side tail yesterday, now has her hair in two braids. Hairstyles have a magical effect, completely changing one’s impression.

But what concerns me the most in this classroom is──.

“…I can’t answer questions about what’s going to happen next. Sorry.”

“Oh, figured as much.”

“Asatani-san is amazing at acting. Everyone says she fits the image from the original story.”

Asatani-san glances at me but continues talking with the girls around her without changing her expression.

Takatera and Ogishima return to their seats, and I head to my spot in the second row from the window, at the very back──I had seen Takane-san talking to Watanabe-san at the back of the classroom as soon as I entered.

When Takatera was surprised by Asatani-san’s hair, I was captivated by Takane-san.

“Takane-san, thank you. I wanted to speak up sooner, but I couldn’t find the right moment.”

“No, I should be the one apologizing. I meant to talk to you earlier, but couldn’t find the chance.”

“Then let’s ask the teacher later about swapping seats.”

“Yes, let’s go together.”

Watanabe-san and Takane-san are discussing switching seats. Meaning, at some point today, Takane-san will be sitting next to me.

Starting a relationship and being next to each other──it’s honestly delightful to have more time together.

“…Good morning, N-Nagito-kun.”

“…G-Good morning.”

Takane-san’s hair was in a ponytail when she exercised. Her silky long hair was tied up, giving her a more active appearance than when it was down.

──That was just a comment I made in an attempt to stay calm.

To put it mildly, she was excessively cute. After greeting me, Takane-san took her seat──I found myself following her every move, reminding myself to exercise self-control.

Then, Takane-san glanced subtly in my direction.

Our eyes met, she smiled briefly, and then looked forward. While captivated by the swaying ponytail, I managed to shift my gaze forward just in time.

Soon the teacher would arrive. That was a mundane thought that crossed my mind at that moment.

──A girl walked right in front of me.

Asatani-san. She was definitely looking at me.

But her business wasn’t with me. Asatani-san stood beside Takane-san’s desk and lightly touched her shoulder.

“Good morning, Takane-san. Cute hair today.”

“Thank you. You look wonderful today too, Asatani-san.”

Takane-san replied without hesitation, as if she knew Asatani-san would approach her.

We decided to keep our relationship mostly private. Takane-san calling me “Chida-kun” was part of that.

However, Asatani-san knew about me and Takane-san. Whether it stayed a secret depended on Asatani-san’s discretion──as long as we didn’t tell her anything.

“I heard, Takane-san, that you’re really athletic?”

“That’s not really the case… I mean, I am good at sports.”

“You’re being modest again. A girl from your middle school said you could do anything, and you were amazing.”

It made sense that Takane-san was well-known, considering how such rumors had spread.

But if Asatani-san showed interest in Takane-san and even asked middle school students about her, things seemed a bit more concerning.

“I’m not great at studies, but I’m pretty confident in my physical strength.”

“Let’s both do our best. With everyone’s effort, I think we’ll achieve good results.”

“Yeah, let’s work hard. It’s going to be a fun day.”

A casual conversation, like between friends. There was some awkwardness since they were still new classmates, but it wasn’t a significant discomfort.

Yet, why was I so tense? I shouldn’t feel cornered or anything like that.

As Asatani-san returned to her seat, she didn’t look at me this time.

Their conversation was just about the physical test. Though it was about wanting to perform well, why did it bother me so much?

“Kiri-chan and Takane-san seem close.”

Watanabe-san, sitting next to me, muttered. To an outsider, they appeared to get along well──was I just overthinking?

But even though I was concerned, since activities were separated by gender, I wasn’t going to be with Takane-san and Asatani-san’s group.

It wasn’t until after we finished outdoor activities like the standing long jump and handball throw and moved to the gym that I saw Takane-san’s group again.


Arriving at the gym, there were quite a few students. Some were excited about their good results, while others showed disappointment.

“Hey, look, there are girls from our class.”

True to Takatera’s words, the girls from our class were grouped together, going through different measurement activities.

“Takane-san and Asatani-san really stand out, even drawing attention from the seniors.”

Takane-san and her group were waiting for their turn at the sidestep test, the last gym activity.

When we left the classroom, everyone wore tracksuits, but most had taken off the tops for easier movement. Takane-san, however, was one of the few still wearing her tracksuit top. Asatani-san was dressed similarly, though she seemed to remove it for measurements──I shouldn’t be looking too much.

Despite my restraint, I noticed some people watching Takane-san and her group from a distance.

“Those seniors are really staring, aren’t they?”

“Woah, they’re totally fixated… Are sidesteps that interesting?”

Takatera and Ogishima were taken aback by the seniors’ intense interest in Takane-san’s group──predictably, it was the tennis club’s senior boys.

“Hey, that guy…”

Two third-year boys with their class numbers on their backs. One seemed flustered seeing me, and the other looked like he’d seen something bad.

But realizing we were there for measurements, they relaxed and came over.

(They’re smirking… I hope they’re not up to anything strange, but it seems not.)

“Hey, you first-years are here for measurements, right?”

“We’ll be free soon for the sit-and-reach. We can help you guys.”

One of the boys attempted to put his foot on me, and another tried to forcibly stop Takane-san from grabbing her bag. Both were from third-year class D.

“Seniors usually teach juniors every year. Come on, this way.”

It appeared that the PE teacher had actually instructed this, and our group was directed to sit along the wall, three at a time.

My turn came──my “instructor” was the boy who grabbed Takane-san’s bag.

“Hey, you haven’t caused any trouble, right? We haven’t done anything.”

Being whispered to by a senior was unpleasant, and the content was worrisome──apparently, they were concerned if I’d report them to the school.

“What are you talking about? I don’t remember anything…”

“Good… then, if you’re fine, I’ll help you get a good record.”

I expected as much, but it was still disheartening to see it play out.

“Senpai, aren’t you not supposed to push from behind?”

“Chill out. Doing this once helps improve the record.”

Takatera tried to warn them, but the other third-year boy stopped him.

Pushing someone during the sit-and-reach is against the rules. Yet, the senior pushed hard against my back without restraint.

──But I remained unmoved in my initial posture.

“What are you doing?”

“Different… this guy…”

The third-year boy helping Takatera voiced his surprise.

Knowing what might happen, I wasn’t going to let it pass.

“Senpai, what’s the matter?”

“Hey, what are you doing! You can’t push like that in a sit-and-reach!”

“Oops… uh-oh…”

The teacher noticed and blew the whistle──the boy who was assisting me was scolded and sheepishly left the gym.

“Some kids always try such pranks… really, even in their third year.”

“No, I’m sorry for causing trouble.”

“If you have any problems, make sure to tell a teacher. Can you do the measurement again?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

The teacher smiled reassuringly and went back to overseeing the sidestep test. After the third-year boys hastily left, Takatera approached me, looking mortified.

“Chida, I’m really sorry… I couldn’t stop them because they were seniors…”

“I’m sorry too, I could only watch… Chida-kun, did you know those seniors?”

“Just a bit. Don’t worry, it’s fine, nothing really happened.”

“Nothing happened? You were being pushed around by those tough seniors, man… Or was it that they weren’t as strong as they looked?”

“I wonder. But now, we need someone else to do the measurement.”

“Okay, okay. If you were pushed that hard and didn’t budge at all… whoa!?”

Flexibility becomes a natural advantage when doing splits at the gym.

I bent down as far as I could, touching my face to my knees and pushing the measuring device well past my toes.

“How about that…?”

“How are you so flexible, man… an invertebrate or something?”

“No, my family is even more flexible.”

By family, I meant my sister RyuRyu, but it felt awkward to mention her. Don’t siblings go through phases of awkwardness about these things?

“Hey… the girls from our class are watching.”


Looking up, I noticed that girls from our class, who hadn’t seemed aware of us before, were now looking our way.

Among them were Takane-san and Asatani-san.

Takane-san averted her eyes shyly when our gazes almost met, while Asatani-san watched with a troubled smile, as if consoling a friend.

“Asatani-san’s kind, worrying about Chida being bothered by those seniors.”

“Well… maybe…”

I was too distracted by the tennis club boys to notice when they started watching, causing my temperature to rise.

More troubling was that Takane-san and Asatani-san were watching “together.”

(Are they getting along, or should I be relieved they’re not at odds? Have they become friends while spending time together?)

──Just a former girlfriend, right Nagi-kun?

──From now on, I’ll be dating Chida-kun, so I’m the “current girlfriend.”

Even though Takane-san and I weren’t officially dating at the time, it felt like a declaration of war from her.

But it was hard to imagine Asatani-san competing with Takane-san. Asatani-san had easily let me go, and I hadn’t expected her to claim being the “ex-girlfriend” then.

It seemed unlikely Asatani-san said that to stir us up. Even if she noticed Takane-san and I getting close, it’s hard to imagine her caring much.

Was her coming to the library a statement of intent? Imagining that she still had an interest in me seemed off.

“Chida, let’s move on to the next measurement. The girls are starting theirs.”

“Takane-san and Asatani-san are measuring together. Those seniors missed out on watching.”

It seemed Ogishima had thoughts about the seniors too. Takatera shrugged, seemingly interested in the girls’ measurements, but soon called others to join them for the grip strength test.

“Chida-kun, something happened with those seniors?”

“It’s amazing how you didn’t flinch under that pressure.”

It seemed my classmates were nervous around the seniors, but I was relieved not to stand out too much. If I had visibly reacted, I would have surely drawn more attention.

What did Takane-san think?──As I turned back while waiting for the grip strength test.

“Whoa, both Takane-san and Asatani-san are so athletic… And their figures, incredible.”

“Beautiful girls make everything look like a picture.”

I understood why Takatera’s vocabulary was failing him. In their gym uniforms, Takane-san stood out with her agile movements.

Asatani-san was also athletically gifted, keeping pace with Takane-san. Their competitive display was truly picturesque──it was no surprise everyone in the gym was watching them.

“It’s a mix of pride and jealousy having Asatani-san, our school idol, in the same class. Right, Chida?”

“Ah, yeah…”

“It seems like Chida-kun is more interested in Takane-san. Don’t double-cross, okay?”

“Wha… no, that’s not happening.”

Ogishima was probably joking, but I couldn’t help reacting──neither Takatera nor Ogishima seemed to notice.

After the measurement ended, there was a round of applause. Takane-san nonchalantly put on her tracksuit top, while Asatani-san waved graciously.

We were up next for the sidestep test, but Takane-san and Asatani-san left the gym for their outdoor measurements.

Takane-san looked back at me──and when our eyes met, she showed a shy smile.

She was about to wave, but Asatani-san waved at me instead.

“Hey… Noarin’s waving at me, right?”

“It’s definitely at Chida-kun. They must have been close in middle school.”

“Well, just normally… Don’t get too excited, everyone.”

“I guess it’s special having real school idols. Takane-san really stands out, even next to Noarin.”

“Ah, yeah…”

I realized too late that I hadn’t decided how to talk about Takane-san to friends. I can’t speak from a boyfriend’s perspective yet, so maybe as a classmate is best──if directly asked about our relationship, I’ll just have to be honest.

“It’d be good to interact with them since we’re in the same class.”

“Yeah… we have various events coming up.”

“Without being in the same club or committee, it’s hard to find opportunities to connect, right?”

“Don’t say that, I can’t change clubs now… I wonder which club Noarin joined.”

Asatani-san said she liked the Light Music Club, but had she officially joined?

I planned to join the Reading Club but hadn’t submitted the application yet. I promised to tell Takane-san once I decided, but how would she react to the Reading Club? And what club is Takane-san considering?


After the measurements in the gym, we had an early lunch break.

Takatera and Ogishima were called away by their new club seniors, so they went off on their own. Without them, I would have ended up eating alone, but──.

On sunny days, it’s possible to go out to the wooden deck from the cafeteria. There are seats for dozens of people, but I chose a spot where the sunlight didn’t hit directly and sat at the edge.

“Uh… sorry for keeping you waiting, Nagito-san.”

“No, it’s okay. I just got here too.”

As soon as Takane-san saw me waiting, she seemed incredibly touched.

When Takane-san messaged me while changing in the classroom, I thought she might mention the gym incident. But after a brief exchange, I understood her intent.

“I brought my lunch today.”

“If you have your lunch too, Nagito-san, would you like to eat together?”

I briefly worried about being seen by classmates or what they might think, but my happiness far outweighed those concerns.

“Actually, when I saw you in the gym, I really wanted to talk to you…”

“I wanted to as well, but it would have been too conspicuous.”

“It is still a class, after all, even if it’s a physical test.”

Even though we arrive at school together and are seen by other students, speaking openly in a crowded gym would have raised questions.

“Sorry about that… Did those tennis club seniors do something to you?”

“They remembered me, but nothing serious happened.”

“Right. You’re really flexible, Nagito-san. You didn’t budge when that senior pushed you, but when you actually measured… Asatani-san was surprised too.”

“Oh, that… I always do flexibility exercises at the gym to avoid injuries.”

“Asatani-san is also very flexible. I used to do ballet as a child, so I was confident, but we were about the same in the sit-and-reach.”

Asatani-san’s name came up naturally, but I hesitated to ask more. I was curious about Takane-san’s ballet background but didn’t want to seem too eager.

“Which event are you good at, Takane-san? You were amazing at the sidestep test.”

“That was because Asatani-san challenged me to compete…”

“Oh, she did? Asatani-san is quite competitive.”

“I was confident, but we ended up tying in the sidestep test. As for grip strength, I was…”

Takane-san hesitated. Realizing why, I commented.

“Maybe it’s because you played tennis?”

“Yes, I always used my dominant hand to grip the racket…”

“I have a pretty good grip strength too. It’s not much use, though.”

Takane-san might find it complex to have beaten Asatani-san in grip strength, but it seemed that was indeed the case.

“Shall we compare then?”

I didn’t expect her to suggest comparing our grip strength on the spot. That would mean holding hands.

“If you’re okay with it, Takane-san…”

“Just kidding… I just wanted to see your surprised face.”

Takane-san chuckled playfully.


She smiled joyfully while I awkwardly retracted my hand. It was painfully awkward.

“I’m not as strong as the boys, though.”

Looking at her smile, I couldn’t help but think that I might be in a situation where others would say “explode with happiness.”

“It’s nice to have a longer lunch break today. We can talk leisurely…”

“Me too… I have a lot I want to talk about. I’m glad you contacted me, Takane-san.”

“Yes. I also have things I want to discuss. Probably what you want to hear.”

What Takane-san and Asatani-san talked about. That wasn’t all I wanted to discuss, but I hoped to hear it.

Before the physical test, we had body measurements in the health room, together with Asatani-san and others in my group.

“Takane-san looks so cool, like a model…”

“Even in the same gym clothes, Takane-san makes them look different.”

Feeling a bit embarrassed by the comments, I quickly finished my measurements. While the other girls were being measured, the rest of our group chatted happily.

In the center of the group, Asatani-san smiled at me.

“Takane-san, which will you choose, the endurance run or the shuttle run?”

I was a bit nervous about talking to Asatani-san after yesterday’s incident, but her cheerful expression eased my worries.

I had checked some news about Asatani-san online. She’s a real celebrity, very popular.

“Which do you prefer, Asatani-san?”

“Me? I’m better at the endurance run.”

After saying that, Asatani-san paused for a moment, then looked at me intently.

Her presence was exactly as it appeared in the media. I understood why Nagito-san always seemed tense around her.

But her probing gaze made me a bit uneasy. If Nagito-san had been looked at like that, he must have had his own struggles.

──Yet, when Asatani-san asked Nagito-san, “I’m just an ex-girlfriend, right?”, her look wasn’t probing. To me, it seemed like she had another reason for saying that.

“Uh, well… I’m fine with either, but if Asatani… if Kiri-chan is doing the endurance run, I’d like to join her.”

“Yeah, me too. It’s better to be in the same group, right?”

Yamaguchi-san and Inagawa-san seemed a bit awkward. They were hesitant because they thought I had overheard them talking about Nagito-san and me arriving at school together. But it’s not right for me to dismiss their concerns either, and I’m not sure how to respond.

It’s not good to speak so loudly about such things, but I don’t think they meant any harm.

“I’m sorry about that time. We didn’t mean anything bad, just got a little startled.”

Asatani-san, perhaps intentionally, brought up the subject.

She hasn’t told her friends that Nagito-san and I are dating. Whether she’s doing it out of consideration for us or for some other reason, I can’t say for sure without talking to her again.

“Takane-san, you’re quite bold, aren’t you? Coming to school with a boy when the semester has just started.”

“I happened to meet him in the morning… We’re in the same class, so we went to the classroom together. I had things I wanted to talk to Nagito-kun about.”

“You both are from different middle schools, right? What were you talking about?”

“Maybe it’s because both are good at studying? Kiri-chan said Nagito-kun is serious and good at explaining things.”

I knew Nagito-san had shown Asatani-san his notes before, but if they had studied together in middle school…

(If I could study with Nagito-san too…)

Seeing Asatani-san being taught by him in the classroom, for the first time, I thought that.

If I could join their circle. If I could talk to Nagito-san naturally.

It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t remember our encounter during the exam. As long as I can become someone who can naturally talk to him as a classmate.

That’s what I thought, but now, just thinking about Nagito-san and me makes my face feel hot.

“…Takane-san, your face is red. Are you okay?”

“N-no, it’s nothing… You’re imagining things, Watanabe-san.”

Watanabe-san is concerned, but her intuition is too sharp for my comfort. I shouldn’t be reacting like this when Asatani-san is keeping our relationship a secret.

“It’s a dilemma whether to take off the jersey or not, right? It’s warm today… So, are we settled on the endurance run?”

“Yes, I agree.”

“I get stomach aches easily when I run…”

“Then I’ll drop out with you and walk together, okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, let’s all try to finish the race.”

Asatani-san encouraged everyone as we headed to the track. While waiting for our turn inside the 200-meter track, Yamaguchi-san and others were discussing whether to stretch or not. Asatani-san went to talk to another group and then came back with a girl.

The girl had slightly lighter hair, which she had explained was natural when asked by a teacher. She had introduced herself as coming from the same middle school as Nagito-san, but I had never seen her talking to him.

“Let me introduce you again, this is Yui Nakano. As I mentioned during our introductions, she’s from the same middle school as Nagi-kun and me.”

“Hi, Kiri-chan called me over. Takane-san, you’re really tall up close…”

“I-It’s not that much…”

Nakano-san’s comment wasn’t just about my height, but I always get tongue-tied on how to respond. I’m wearing a jersey to avoid standing out, but it’s okay to keep it on while running, which is a relief.

“Nakano-san, you’re friends with Asatani-san?”

“No, no, no, that’s way too much. I’m just a fan of hers. I may call her ‘Kiri-chan,’ but my heart is racing.”

“Nakano-san, you seem less nervous talking to Takane-san than me.”

“That’s because Takane-san and I are obviously on different stages of life. I even wonder if I’m worthy to breathe the same classroom air…”

“That’s not true. We took the same exam and ended up in the same class.”

Nakano-san, who tended to avert her gaze, looked surprised at my response.

I said what I thought. If I kept silent and vague, I might draw a line between Nakano-san and me.

I wouldn’t have been so straightforward in middle school.



“I like you.”

“Eh… um…”

“What are you saying, Yui-chan? You’re scaring Takane-san. You mean ‘let’s be friends,’ right?”

Before I could ask if that’s what she meant, Nakano-san took my hand.

“Phew, that was close. I almost said something weird…”

“No, it’s… sorry.”

“Looks like you got rejected, Yui-chan. Let’s leave the introductions at that.”

“Is it okay to wrap up here? Can I talk to Takane-san again next time?”

“Sure, sure. Look, it’s your turn, Yui-chan.”

Nakano-san took her position with the previous group and started running. Watching her, Asatani-san stretched next to me and then said,

“She was in the same club as Nagi-kun in middle school. They got along well, but they haven’t talked much since coming to high school.”

“She’s bright and energetic. Just talking to her seems energizing.”

“Yui-chan likes to praise others more than herself. She’s too modest sometimes. I think Nagi-kun noticed that too.”

A girl from the same club as Nagito-san, and his friend.

Nagito-san is incredibly modest, and it seems he would get along with Nakano-san. I wonder how they spent their time in middle school.

“I thought Yui-chan and Nagi-kun would be a better match.”

“…Is that without considering Nagito-san and Nakano-san’s feelings?”

“Yeah. Didn’t you think they seemed very compatible?”

Asatani-san smiled without any hint of guilt.

──As much as it pains me, Asatani-san is right. But Nakano-san isn’t at fault.

“I shouldn’t say this lightly, but I think I know some good things about Nagi-kun.”

This is a continuation of our conversation in the library, I realized belatedly.

“When Takane-san said she was dating Nagi-kun, I was initially surprised, but I didn’t think it was strange. It doesn’t matter if we’ve just started high school.”

“…I was… helped by Nagito-san.”

“He’s kind, isn’t he? Even to someone like me… no, he must have been angry, surely.”

I still don’t quite understand Asatani-san. I thought she was too busy with work or had some other reason for breaking up with Nagito-san.

But that wasn’t the whole story.

Just by talking like this, I could sense it.

How Asatani-san feels about Nagito-san. Why she introduced Nakano-san to me…

“I want to support you, Takane-san.”

But such a thing…

Even when said with the face of “Asatani Kiri,” I couldn’t simply accept it.

“…Is that okay with you?”

Asatani-san chuckles lightly. While redoing her hair tied to the side with a navy-blue scrunchie, she continues.

“What I wanted to say at that time, it was about this. But you two left quickly.”

“That time…?”

“Oh, so Takane-san didn’t notice. Well, maybe that’s for the best.”

“…Wasn’t that something you wanted to tell Nagito-san?”

Even if I ask now, she won’t answer.

But if Asatani-san is hiding something with her perfect acting, it must be her own feelings.

Even now, how she feels about Nagito-san. Asatani-san never reveals the core of her feelings.

“It’s almost our turn to run. I’m quite confident in running. What about you, Takane-san?”

This is just a part of the physical fitness test and unrelated to other matters.

When it was our turn and we started running, I, who should have been a cultural club member, was surprised at Asatani-san’s speed, yet I thought to myself.

Even if Asatani-san knows Nagito-san better than me as his “ex-girlfriend,” I can’t easily lose to her.


Takane-san told me what she talked about with Asatani-san during the fitness test.

“I want to support you,” Asatani-san had said. Hearing this, I was surprised, but it didn’t seem impossible.

“…Sorry, Nagito-san. While you weren’t there, I ended up hearing a lot from Asatani-san.”

“Oh… n-no, that’s totally fine. So, you and Asatani-san ran the endurance run together.”

I’m eating my lunch while listening to her, but the flavor seems less noticeable than usual.

Takane-san had prioritized telling the story over her lunch, which was still unopened — the inside was colorful and frankly adorable.

“Ah, um… I’m not used to this, it’s embarrassing but…”

“It’s amazing, Takane-san’s bento. It looks well-balanced and delicious.”

“…Ah, yes. Nagito-san’s bento feels very boyish.”

“I had to rush today, so I just packed some leftovers, and my sister made the tamagoyaki. Well, it was more of a breakfast thing.”

When we take turns making bentos, we figure out what kind of bento is suitable to bring to school. Not too simple, but not too fancy to exhaust ourselves. That’s the way of the Sendas.

Sometimes my sister gets enthusiastic and turns it into a character bento, which then requires me to discreetly open it. She insists on taking a photogenic picture and sending it back, which, to put it mildly, is a bit of a hassle.

“Is your sister’s tamagoyaki your favorite food?”

“It’s a classic for bentos. But I do like tamagoyaki that isn’t too sweet.”

“I see… then, um…”

Takane-san seems very cautious about where to steer the conversation. I want to help her relax, but just then, she took out a hair tie and held it in her mouth. She skillfully gathered her hair and used the tie to secure it, likely to prevent it from bothering her during the meal.

While it might be a routine gesture for her, for me — for some reason I don’t fully understand — I wished to see it again.

“In this bento… um, is there anything you like…?”

“Ah… sorry, I was staring… not at the bento but…”

“You can look… it’s okay. The vegetables are a bit wilted though…”

Takane-san didn’t notice that I was more captivated by her tying her hair than the bento itself, probably because she was too nervous.

Looking at the bento again, I saw fried items, sausages, and a variety of vegetables, all well-balanced and aromatic.

“These meat-wrapped rice balls are onigiri. I filled them with mochi rice…”

“That’s quite elaborate… How early did you wake up to make it?”

“…My mother helped, so it was just two hours earlier than usual.”

Her mother’s help meant Takane-san made it herself.

That means — those intriguing octopus-shaped sausages are also her handiwork.

“I remember those from childhood… Octopus sausages, rabbit-shaped apples, and star-cut vegetables. My mom often did that too.”

“…I’m glad. I wanted to make a cute bento, but this was as far as I could manage…”

Perfect in sports and studies, stunningly beautiful, without a single flaw. Takane-san wanting to make a cute bento is — more endearing than surprising to me, as her boyfriend.

“…It’s embarrassing, isn’t it? Making octopus sausages at our age. I’m sorry, I’ll make a proper bento next time…”

“No, no. I actually like sausages… and I’m curious about the meat-wrapped onigiri too.”


Takane-san tries to put away the bento, so I try to reassure her.

But it seems I was just in time, as her eyes are slightly moist. She’s not about to cry, but she was clearly under a lot of pressure.

Showing her bento meant that much to her. Yet she still invited me. And asking what I liked in it — answering that frankly makes me embarrassingly shy.

“…Is the sausage okay?”

“…Alright, maybe I’m being too formal.”

Takane-san smiles and offers me a sausage with her chopsticks.

She leans over the table, careful not to let her hair fall into the bento – which means she considered such details from the start.

Despite other students being on the terrace, Takane-san doesn’t seem concerned about them, and I wouldn’t think of stopping her.

Takane-san’s lips part. Perhaps she’s about to tell me to open my mouth, and at this moment, I’d follow whatever she says.

“–Is that Takane-san sitting over there?”


Both Takane-san and I react simultaneously – the familiar voice comes from the entrance of the terrace.

Takane-san, now seated properly, waves discreetly at the voice’s owner. And it’s Nakano-san, a member of the same club as me in middle school.

“Na, Nagi-sen is with Takane-san… My decision to come alone was right, it seems. That was close.”

“There’s nothing dangerous about it… What decision?”

“Ah, um, you know, like not making too much noise, and if we all came, it might be too intimidating.”

“Well, I guess that’s true…”

While I think she’s being too considerate, it must be an emergency for Nakano-san that I’m with Takane-san. Maybe it’s even weirder for me to be calm. Just starting high school and having lunch with a girl is unimaginable for the middle school me – until Asatani-san rejected me, I thought she might join us, but that was just a fleeting illusion.

Moreover, Nakano-san shouldn’t know about me and Asatani-san – unless Asatani-san told her. And as of now, my relationship with Takane-san isn’t widely known.

I wonder who should know about me and Takane-san.

Despite some suspicions about us, looking at Nakano-san, she’s changed a lot in appearance since middle school. It’s natural to dye hair back for exams, but her change is remarkable.

“Nakano-san, you can count on me as a vibe-checker.”

“…Thank you for that offer.”

“Eh… Takane-san?”

“It seems boys get flustered more in such situations. Nagi-sen was always weak with girls in middle school, it’s reassuring some things don’t change.”

Takane-san speaks politely to her, but casually to me, showing her hierarchy.

“Nagi-sen… because it’s Nagito Senda?”

“Ah, that too, but… I joined the reading club midway and started calling Nagi-sen ‘senpai’ since he was there first, but then some complications occurred…”

“I never agreed to that nickname, though…”

“Nagi-kun overlaps with Asatani-san, so Nagi-sen is just right for me.”

Her logic is unclear, but Nakano-san remains the same.

“Still, Nagi-sen with Takane-san… When did this connection happen? Did you bump into each other on a street corner with bread in your mouths?”

“We’ll keep that no-comment. Nakano-san, your friends are waiting.”

“Ugh, dodged my question. I’ll curse you with a stamp later… Takane-san, let’s hang out again soon! Bye!”

Nakano-san makes a threatening face at me but is quite obedient to Takane-san — she admires elegant women, so Takane-san fits her ideal.

“…So, Nakano-san is… quite an interesting person.”

“Yeah… she’d be happy to hear that.”

From “a bright person” to “an interesting person,” I wonder if this counts as a compliment upgrade.

After that, we continued eating lunch and chatting, but until the end, Takane-san didn’t offer me any more of her bento. Regrettably, I might need to curse Nakano-san back.


Takane-san left for her next class, saying she was on duty.

Before leaving, she looked intently at my face – I’m still unsure what that meant as I sit back, relaxing.

That’s when I’m caught off guard.



Suddenly addressed and lightly touched on the shoulder, I immediately know who it is.


“Hehe, are you full and relaxing? You seem unusually laid-back for Nagi-kun.”

“Well, I guess I’m no different than usual…”

“Really? Then it was just me you were always on guard around?”

Asatani-san’s hair is back in her usual style, flowing elegantly in a side tail. Despite different styling during the fitness test, not a single kink in her hair – it’s not because she’s a celebrity, but the unseen effort she puts in. She’s the one who’s always flawless.

“…Did Takane-san tell you?”

“That you’re supporting us…”

“Yes. Last time the atmosphere got serious. An evening in the library does have a vibe.”

Her voice is light. She must have known Takane-san was there and left first.

“You saw us from inside the cafeteria…?”

“Just the end part. When Takane-san had to leave, I thought it was my chance.”

“Ah, Asatani-san…”

“I wanted to tell you too. I’m supporting you and Takane-san.”

There’s no need to correct her that we’ve already started dating; she’d just smile anyway.

There’s so much I want to ask. We didn’t meet or talk during the spring break.

Why does it seem like Asatani-san is concerned about me now?

“Being supported by an ex-girlfriend doesn’t really help.”

“That’s one way to see it… but I wonder why.”

“Hehe… Nagi-kun, you’d make a good detective. You build up suspense in your speech, it’s atmospheric.”

Normally, I should respond to her teasing, but I can’t, as she doesn’t seem malicious.

“I once did a mystery drama on the radio, but the listeners couldn’t guess the answer. Too difficult is also bad; without hints, it’s no good.”

“That’s true. Too many hints don’t feel like solving it yourself.”

Asatani-san’s eyes widen slightly, as if impressed — perhaps surprised by my opinion.

In the past, I would’ve struggled to say this much. My time with Takane-san has changed my perspective. I want to speak my mind, not remain silent and ambiguous.



“Why did you decide to support us? Is it because of what happened before?”

Asatani-san smiles faintly, her gaze drifting to the empty seat where Takane-san was.

She’s probably thinking about Takane-san.

“I’ll tell you next time. Right now, I’m just happy to see you doing well, Nagi-kun.”

She pats my shoulder again and leaves.

Left alone, I think about what Asatani-san said. It’s not just about being supportive; there’s more to it.

And I have to figure out what that is.

“Maybe it’s all about the right amount of hints. If only I had known that…”

“…Asatani-san, I heard you’re going to be on the radio again.”

“Yes, there’s a public recording during the long weekend, coming up soon. A little while back too…”

“Back then” – If it’s about the radio, Asatani-san did guest appearances during the spring break. It was part of the promotions for the drama she was starting.

“──Nagi-kun, don’t you notice something?”


Suddenly asked – I think it’s related to the radio discussion.

“Three, two, one…”

Asatani-san mercilessly starts a countdown. There’s not enough time to think of an answer── and then.

“…Time’s up.”

Asatani-san reaches out and, to my surprise──.



She plucks a grain of rice from my cheek and eats it.

“Having a serious talk, yet you’re so adorable, Nagi-kun.”

“Ah, Asatani-san…”

“See you later then. I’ll be supporting you properly, so don’t worry.”

Leaving me behind, Asatani-san walks back into the cafeteria from the terrace.

“…Worry, what does she mean…”

Feeling awkward, I bury my face in the table. I hadn’t expected rice on my cheek – probably why Takane-san was looking at my face earlier.

If I had noticed and removed it myself, I wouldn’t have been toyed with by Asatani-san. Her ex-girlfriend’s casualness easily bypassed Takane-san’s hesitation.

(Being an ex-girlfriend doesn’t mean our relationship was long, and we were more like friends… is this normal behavior…?)

While pondering, I receive a message from Takane-san, suggesting I should head back soon. I quickly reply that I will.

There’s also a “cursed” stamp from Nakano-san, followed by a message.

“Nagi-sen, did you join the same club as Asatani-san?”

What this question implies – I can’t deduce. I take it at face value and reply, “No, different clubs.”


It was after the end-of-day homeroom when Takane-san swapped seats with Watanabe-san, who sat behind her.

“Watanabe-san, want to move a bit more to the front? Being too upfront might be nerve-wracking, though.”

“Yes, the second to last row is just right for me. Thank you, Takane-san.”

“No, I should be thanking you.”


“…Ah, that, I just prefer sitting towards the back…”

Overhearing, I feel tense – meanwhile, Takahashi and Ogishima approach me.

“Ah, I don’t think I can make it home without a bite. One-shot deal, maybe?”

“You mean a stop on the way? I’m free today, so I’m okay with it.”

Takahashi, rubbing his stomach – he rarely snacks, but maybe it’s not a bad idea.

Ogishima, who was speaking softly until the teacher left, nudges Takahashi’s bicep.

“Ogi’s always so earnest, even teachers would turn a blind eye.”

“What will you do, Senda-kun?”

“Well, I…”

I can’t casually check Takane-san’s plans. Is this what it means to date secretly?

Should I gradually let everyone know we’re just talking? When’s the right time to tell Takahashi and Ogishima, especially Takahashi who’s actively seeking a relationship?

“Ah, right. Senda, haven’t you decided on a club yet?”

“That’s true. Want to join us for a visit?”

“No, you guys have your clubs, I wouldn’t want to impose. Takahashi seems on edge.”

“Sorry, if I don’t get ramen in the next thirty minutes, I might die.”

“Wow… street food ramen, really? Well, okay. Senda-kun, let’s go together next time.”

“Yeah, see you tomorrow.”

First-year students without clubs can visit others.

“Nabe-yu, let’s head home together.”

“Yeah. Has Asatani-san left already?”

“No, she said she had somewhere to go. She got a call, probably work-related.”

“What should we do, wanna stop somewhere? I’ve got time.”

“Ah, thanks, Takane-san. You swapped seats for Nabe-yu, right?”

“No, it’s fine. I also prefer the back seats.”

Takane-san’s gentle response leaves the three – surprised, or more like spellbound.

In all fairness, they seem captivated.

“…Uh, um… why didn’t Takane-san run for class representative?”

“I’d say so too. You’d have won if you stood.”

During today’s homeroom, class representatives were elected. Initially, no one volunteered, and everyone expected Takane-san.

Eventually, Takane-san didn’t stand, and Sato-kun and Yamaguchi-san, who had previous experience, stepped up.

“Ah, maybe she’s aiming for a student council officer?”

“There’s no candidacy for officers, right? In the second term, two first-years join as officers.”

Candidates for officers start attending student council meetings for training in the first term. But Takane-san declined that too.

“In high school, there are various things I want to try, so I don’t plan on joining the student council.”

“Eh… Such a waste, someone like Takane-san not…”

“First, I want to do my best in the library committee activities.”

“I see… Yeah, balancing committee work and preparing for an officer role is tough.”

“Sorry, we just assumed you’d be a class representative because of your image… I felt a bit intimidated, thinking about it, especially with Asatani-san in our class, what am I doing being a class representative?”

“Don’t worry, everyone voted for Yamaguchi-san. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do; I’m a part of the class too.”

She’s like a saint, or maybe a goddess. Even the remaining students in the class seem purified by Takane-san’s words. I, too, shouldn’t just be listening; it’s time to leave.

“Um… sorry about this morning, I mean…”

“Doing things like that publicly is not okay, right?”

“Right, it was in bad taste, even if it was just a spur of the moment… still no excuse though.”

“Eh, what happened? Did you say something weird to Takane-san? I’m sorry too, I’ll take responsibility too…!”

Watanabe-san seems to have sensed the atmosphere, though I don’t think she was there at the time, and bows her head.

I thought there might be a faction forming among the girls in the class, but it seems not to be the case – or maybe it’s Takane-san’s aura that’s preventing it.

“Then… please apologize to Chida-kun, who was with me.”


Yamaguchi-san and Inagawa-san react in unison. As for me, I should’ve left earlier – but Takane-san’s feelings make me happy, yet I’m caught in a complex situation.

It’s not right to just sit here waiting to be apologized to, but Yamaguchi-san and Inagawa-san are already looking my way. I wish they wouldn’t just glance over at me like that.

“Um… sorry…”

“No, it’s… I don’t mind that much. If you’ve apologized to Takane-san, then that’s…”

The two seem relieved. Maybe I’m being too lenient, but saying “not that much” might have led them to feel even more guilty.

“We knew you were friends with Asatani-san… but with Takane-san, we thought maybe it was okay…”

So that was their reasoning. This throws me into confusion – I thought they were just ignoring me.

“But yeah, we’re in the same class. If we meet on the way to school, we might talk.”

“Well… it might be surprising that I talk to Takane-san, but…”

“Isn’t that… right?”

Yamaguchi-san looks for agreement from Inagawa-san. Honestly, it probably is surprising, and they seem to think there’s no way I’d have a connection with Takane-san.

“Then… from now on, we won’t make strange assumptions.”

“I also want to be like Takane-san, a woman with a presence.”

“You’re not reflecting at all… geez, Ina-chan.”

The three say their goodbyes to Takane-san and leave the classroom. The attention had been on Takane-san for a while, but when she clears her throat, everyone hastily starts moving.


A message arrives on my phone. Cautiously opening it so as not to be noticed…

“Can I join you for club visitation?”


I almost turn to look at Takane-san. I need to, but I can’t make myself visible.

Yet, I can somehow tell, even without seeing her, that Takane-san is typing a message beside me.

“Let’s meet in the corridor and go together.”

She’s considerate to this extent. I reply “Understood, see you outside,” and step into the hallway – without specifying where to go, but I guess walking slowly should be fine. However, there’s a limit to that, too.

Passing by other classes, some students are still inside. Some finishing studies before going home, others chatting with friends. Different scenes in each classroom.

In middle school, each time I passed the corridor, I’d search for Asatani-san in the neighboring class. Even though you can hardly see inside from the hallway, I kept doing it over and over.

Now, I’m about to make the same choice I made in middle school.

But it’s not because I want the same situation as in middle school. There’s no regular connection between the club Asatani-san joins and the reading club.

Before high school, I thought about joining the same club as Asatani-san. Should I choose a different club, considering she might not want such a clingy relationship?

It’s all in the past. Not so sentimental to call it a memory.

Just a misunderstanding on my part. Exchanging addresses saying “I like you,” making plans to meet during the spring break, not matching schedules.

Until she said “ex-girlfriend,” there was no substance to our relationship.


I thought I heard a voice.

I should stop. I just promised Takane-san – but.


A gentle tug on my uniform and a quieter voice reach my ears.

The hustle and bustle of the corridor returns. Voices from the sports ground, distant sounds of the brass band tuning, someone’s laughter.

I hesitate a little before turning around. I just agreed to meet Takane-san and here I am, thinking about Asatani-san again.

Nevertheless, I turn around. As naturally as possible, as if nothing happened.


She calls my name again. I know she should call me “Chida-kun” here, and she knows it too.

Yet, she calls me by my first name, and my heart tightens.

“I’m sorry, just following you out of the blue…”

“No… sorry, I am too.”

“It’s not something Chida-kun should apologize for…”

We end up apologizing to each other. I should have responded sooner – but.



Takane-san laughs. Seeing me so cautious about every move, now she’s wiping tears from her eyes, saying,

“It seemed like Chida-kun was about to leave me behind. I panicked… But then, realizing it wasn’t the case, I felt relieved… It’s strange, laughing suddenly.”

“It’s not. Thank you for pulling me back.”

“Ah… sorry, stretching the uniform again, I always grab the same spot…”

Just like yesterday, she pinches the hem of my uniform – and I think of her as a puppy.

“…Ha. Hahaha…”


“No… sorry. I’m just glad. Even if my uniform gets stretched. Don’t worry about it.”

“Yes… I should become more comfortable around you.”

“A relationship where we don’t have to be so cautious. But it’s still early in our relationship, we can’t be tense forever.”

“…But, I’m happy. Anything that makes Chida-kun smile.”

“Ah… well, it’s presumptuous to say… but if it makes you happy, I, um, Takane-san…”

“…Yes, me…?”

I’m not the type to say something like “you remind me of a puppy” with a straight face. And I doubt that Takane-san would be happy to hear such a comment.

But saying “I think you’re cute” is not something to be discussed in a school corridor – right, this is a corridor. We deliberately timed our exit to avoid drawing attention, and here we are, acting like a typical couple.

“Wow, she’s so beautiful… Just standing by the corridor window, Takane-san is like a picture.”

“Takane-san was first in the physical test, right? She had an intense competition with Asatani-san.”

“I heard Takane-san is a real lady, and she’s top in exams and also athletic? Isn’t that amazing?”

“Ah, I’ve been asked by a senior to recruit Takane-san to our club…”

Takane-san’s aura is so overwhelming that my presence hardly gets noticed. But I need to escape from the club recruitment hustle.

“Takane-san, let’s go. Can we walk a bit faster?”

“Yes, Chida-kun.”

“Oh, Takane-san is leaving!”

“If she’s in a hurry, maybe we should leave it for now? She might have already decided on a club.”

“Ahh, a once-in-fifty-years talent is slipping away…”

Dodging the voices chasing after us, we reach the connecting corridor leading to the second school building’s library.

The reading club’s activity room – I’ve roughly guessed what the club activities entail, having checked the club introductions in the enrollment guide.

“Yesterday I came to clean, but today, I’m here for the reading club visit. It’s a quiet club, but I think it suits me.”

“Making time for reading isn’t easy. Joining the reading club seems meaningful.”

Is there a better endorsement for joining a reading club than that?

“Let’s enter quietly then, just in case they’re in the middle of activities.”

Takane-san gestures with her finger to her lips. I smile, nod, and open the library door.

“…So, the light music club is also sharing space with the music club, and we’ve decided to have our meetings here in the library.”

“Oh, then just like in middle school, we might get to mingle again. Shall we make a splash at the cultural festival?”

“Yui-chan is always thinking about the cultural festival all year round.”

“Hehe, I’m flattered.”

“Yeah, I mean it as a compliment, but maybe you’re a bit too eager.”

The familiar voices make Takane-san and I exchange glances. As we move around the bookshelf near the entrance, we find Nakano-san at the table by the window, with Asatani-san sitting opposite.

Hearing Asatani-san’s voice and actually seeing her, words fail to come to me.

“Then, I should get going.”

“Ah… Kiri-chan, won’t you stay and chat a bit more?”

“No, I’m running late. Sorry.”

Asatani-san politely refuses Nakano-san’s plea, smiles at us, and leaves the library.

“Hmm, too bad. I thought we could all have fun like in middle school.”

“Nakano-san… And Asatani-san in the library means…”

“Asatani-san joined the light music club. She said we could use the library for meetings. Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll make sure it doesn’t overlap with the reading club’s activities. Yui-chan… will you join the club too?”

“Today’s an off day for the club, but I’ll try to show up at least once a week. The club advisor, also the librarian, Mrs. Kobayashi, will help you with the application. Chida-kun, are you joining too?”

“Yes, that’s the plan…”

“Thought so! I guessed you might. Reading club gets addictive, you know.”

“I’m not sure if that’s the case… well, maybe.”

“Ahaha, which is it? I got hooked on this promised land before I knew it.”

Nakano-san’s demeanor changes drastically depending on who she’s talking to – a bit like a middle schooler around me. It’s a bit embarrassing in front of Takane-san.

“Ah… why is Takane-san in such a remote place…?”

“It’s not remote, we’re still within the school grounds…”

“Such an earnest response… I’d have no objections if Takane-san rebuked me in court.”

“Um… I came for the club visit, but if the other members aren’t here, maybe some other time…”

“Chida-kun, you’re still going to the gym, right? Then reading club is perfect for you. If you work out any more, you might break.”

Nakano-san had messaged me earlier asking which club I was joining, but I hadn’t mentioned the reading club.

“Chida-kun, have you been going to the gym since you were young?”

“Yeah, kind of. I’ve been going with my sister since I was a kid to train both mind and body.”

“To train mind and body… I also practiced martial arts for a while. I’m embarrassed to compare myself to Chida-kun…”

“Wait… Takane-san, something happened between you and Chida-kun?”

“No, I just… Chida-kun helped me when I was in trouble.”

Nakano-san looks at us, but I don’t know how to explain it. Takane-san is just stating the facts, but it’s embarrassing to hear it put that way.

“Chida-kun, always doing cool things… Did that lead to joining the same club?”


I let out a sound involuntarily. Turning to Takane-san, she smiles slightly and nods.

I had thought Takane-san would join a club for some special reason, given her challenging situations and popularity in various areas of school life.

“I will also join the reading club.”

“Really? Takane-san, in the same club as me? Can something like this even happen?”

For once, I am at a loss for words with Nakano-san, feeling almost the same as her.

“…Chida-kun, may I join you?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Thank you. Let’s submit our club applications on the way back… Oh, sorry.”

Takane-san suddenly leaves the library, apparently receiving a phone call.

Left behind, I notice Nakano-san crossing her arms – a habit she has to support her chest, apparently. I remember overhearing her talking about it once.

“…Chida-kun, you always rise to the occasion, don’t you?”

“Am I really that predictable?” he wondered, questioning his own image.

“Of course, it’s a compliment. But I heard that Takane-san was the student council president at Kitachu and the ace of the tennis club, right? And now you’re in the reading club? Are you sure that’s what you really want?”

“I think it’s fine. After all, choosing a club activity is a matter of personal freedom.”


He suddenly realized something, feeling a sense of déjà vu.

“Yeah, you’re right. Club activities are a matter of choice. Even if our lives and stages are different from Takane-san’s, it’s fine to deepen our friendship through club activities.”

“You really admire Takane-san, don’t you?”

“Absolutely. I admire people who possess qualities I lack. Kiri-chan, you too… Oh, wait. Nagi-sen, can I ask you something?”

Ms. Nakano took something out of her uniform pocket and showed it to him. It appeared to be a ticket for something.

“It’s a ticket for the public recording of Noarin’s radio show. I got a few to distribute to friends, but I’m not sure if I can go myself. Nagi-sen, you’ll go if I give it to you, right?”

It was for Noa Kiriyama’s radio show recording, just as Asatani-san mentioned during lunch break, scheduled for the upcoming holiday.

He had applied for it online a while ago during the spring break but didn’t win. He hadn’t planned on going either way.

“Consider it a gift, whether you can go or not.”

Without waiting for a response, Ms. Nakano slipped the ticket into his pocket. Before he could refuse and take it out, Takane-san returned. Ms. Nakano quickly stepped away from him, sensing Takane-san’s presence.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. Did something happen between you two?”

“We were just talking about getting along with Takane-san and Nagi-sen. Oh, I’ll go back to calling you as usual. It feels more natural.”

“There’s no need to be so tense, please relax,” Takane-san soothed.

Ms. Nakano seemed deeply touched, perhaps her admiration for Takane-san growing even stronger. Each time he saw a new side of Takane-san, his heart was moved, even if only slightly.

That’s why he had to return the ticket to Ms. Nakano. He couldn’t go to Asatani-san’s radio show—it wouldn’t be right.

“Then… both of you, please submit your club application forms to the staff room. Takane-san, please take care of Nagi-sen.”

“What will you do, Ms. Nakano?”

“I have some things to take care of here. Nagi-sen, let me know if you find any interesting books. I’ll tell you about the interesting ones in the library.”

Ms. Nakano didn’t let him talk about returning the ticket, as if she knew what he was about to say.

Originally, he became a fan of Noa Kiriyama, or rather Asatani-san, through Ms. Nakano. She, too, was a fan of Asatani-san, the entertainer.

Ms. Nakano didn’t know about his relationship with Takane-san. He believed that being a fan of “Noa Kiriyama” and being close to Takane-san in club activities were not mutually exclusive.

It was possible to balance both. Asatani-san had said she supported him and Takane-san, so supporting her as an entertainer was like returning the favor.

While lost in thought, he reached the crosswalk. The sun was already setting, casting a dazzling evening glow.

“Nagi-san, are you upset about the secret I kept until we reached the library?”

“No, not at all. I was surprised, but being in the same club…”

Both he and Takane-san stopped. She was waiting—there was no time to be embarrassed.

“I’m really happy. So happy that I wonder if it’s really okay.”

“Is it… really that much for you?”

“Yeah. Takane-san is amazing, so I always thought I needed to try harder to be with her…”

“That’s actually my sentiment.”

Takane-san took his hand—her hand was cool to the touch, perhaps from nervousness.

“I always think about what I should do to be with you. I even became a library committee member in case we couldn’t be in the same club.”

He had thought Takane-san chose to be a library committee member out of a sense of responsibility, wanting to hold some position.

But it was all for being with him, even though there might not be much interaction between the library committee and the reading club.

“I’m sorry. It’s a bit overwhelming to hear you say that.”

“I need to work harder because Takane-san went to such lengths. But I’m frustrated not knowing what to do right away.”

The only thing he could do immediately was to warm her cool hand.

“Your body is warm, Nagi-san. It feels nice.”

“Takane-san, you have cold hands but a warm heart… maybe?”

“Do you really think so? I always feel like I’m showing my childish side to you.”

If it was a side she showed only to him, he didn’t mind seeing it as much as she wanted.

When other students came into the corridor, they let go of their hands and walked as if nothing had happened, only to hold onto each other’s clothes again.

Walking side by side might still be embarrassing, but someday… With that thought, they descended the stairs in the evening twilight.


After submitting their club applications together, they officially became members of the same reading club.

The club advisor, Ms. Kobayashi in the staff room, appeared to be a woman in her late twenties. She looked strict in her crisp suit, but she smiled happily when she saw them.

“I’ll accept these club applications. We’re planning to start activities next week, so please be prepared.”

“Thank you. We’ll take our leave now.”

After greeting her together, they left the staff room. Waiting for Takane-san at the entrance, she came out in her changed shoes, looking somewhat lonely.

“I got a call from home. They’re sending a car to pick me up from school.”

“I see, so today…”

“Um… Nagi-san, would you like to ride with me? I can drop you off at your house.”

“Really? Ah… but I have my bike.”

“Oh… sorry, I completely forgot… Then, let’s walk to the bike parking together.”

Before, he would have politely declined out of courtesy.

But now, he was able to accept, despite feeling it was too much to ask.

The fact that she wanted to spend even a little more time with him, with no hidden motives, meant a lot.

“We’ll be in the same club from next week.”

“Yes, I’m looking forward to it, Takane-san.”

“Tomorrow and the day after, we’ll still be sitting next to each other.”

“Yeah, when I think about it, we’ll be spending a lot of time together…”

Having such a conversation made him feel warmer—wondering how Takane-san felt, he glanced at her.

While walking, she twirled a lock of hair that fell over her chest around her finger. Her ears were red, and she peeked at him, then looked away when she realized he was watching.

“Nagi-san, does being together too much make you… uncomfortable?”

“Well… it’s just that we haven’t spent much time together, so just seeing each other’s face is…”

“Is it because of the time…?”

“…Because we’ve just started dating… I get nervous when I consciously think about it…”

After spending the entire afternoon together, one might think it’s odd to say such things now. But indeed, Takane Nozomi was so beautiful that walking beside her felt like a dream.

“If Nagi-san feels the same… then, it’s okay… I’m also nervous…”

“Eh… Ah, Ta-Takane-san…”

As she took my hand, I wondered where Takane-san was leading me. It felt too soon for such intimacy, a place where our heartbeats might resonate too closely.

“Wait… we’re still at school, that’s…”

“I’m sorry, I acted on my own…”

While I didn’t mind her taking my hand, it seemed Takane-san had become bolder in her approach.

“You think… it’s too sudden, don’t you? We just started dating.”

“Not sudden, but… I’ve been so passive, and you’ve been taking the initiative…”

“It’s not that… I’m just being presumptuous.”

“Presumptuous…? No, that’s not it at all, Takane-san.”

“I wonder… if you held hands with Asatani Kiri… when you were alone at home, I find myself imagining…”

The truth was, “Yes, we did hold hands,” but not as lovers. Such moments did exist.

“We did hold hands…”

“How was it like?”

“Well… more like escaping. When Asatani-san became famous, there was a time we were recognized in a crowd…”

“I see… but that’s different…”

“It wasn’t like we held hands because we were dating…”

I wondered what Takane-san might think. Talking about what one did with an ex isn’t something people usually want to hear.

But this wasn’t about what’s “usual.” Takane-san was different from anyone else.

“If that’s the case… holding hands while dating…”

“You’re the first, Takane-san. I wonder if it’s strange, being in high school and all.”

“That makes me happy. It’s exciting to be the ‘current’ girlfriend who gets to experience firsts with Nagi-san.”

“I did confess to Asatani-san, but I was never really boyfriend-like. So…”

“Then… I have to try harder to make Asatani-san think I’m not taking Nagi-san for granted.”

Asatani-san would probably support us with her perfect smile no matter how close Takane-san and I got—I felt it.

It wasn’t about showing off, that had no meaning. More than anything, I was happy about Takane-san’s feelings.

“I’m glad I met you, Takane-san.”

“That’s not good… saying it like that makes it sound sad.”

“Oh… then, um. I’m really happy to be Takane-san’s boyfriend.”


Maybe if I had more time to choose my words, I wouldn’t embarrass her like this.

I lacked experience in relationships far more than Takane-san might think. So I had to try as hard as she did.

“Saying such things suddenly… it’s surprising.”

“Ah… maybe it doesn’t suit me, that kind of thing. Not my character.”

“No, that’s not it… it’s not bad… I’m just happy about it…”

“That’s not something you call ‘presumptuous.'”

Expressing affection and having it be received happily was something I couldn’t have known before.

I knew.

From her words, I couldn’t discern any nuance of happiness or dislike.

It was just not a rejection. Being in the same high school, having a good relationship—that was it.

There was no step forward between us and Asatani-san, not knowing much about her—that was probably for the best.

Reaching the bicycle parking, I lifted the stand and started walking.

“Hm… Takane-san?”

Instead of walking right beside me, Takane-san seemed to follow a step behind. But when I looked, she wasn’t there.

“Can I ask you something?”


Bracing my arm to keep the bicycle steady, Takane-san sat sideways on the carrier. The wind blew, streaming her long hair.

“Riding together is forbidden, but I’ve always been a bit enchanted by it, like in the movies.”

Just inside the school grounds, for a short distance. I pedaled the bike with Takane-san on board.

Neither of us seemed to care if someone saw us.

Before reaching the gate, Takane-san touched my back. When I stopped the bike, she got off and walked ahead.

“Riding together like this is so fun.”

“I’m surprised too. See you tomorrow, Takane-san.”


As Takane-san asked, I smiled, and she smiled back.

“I’ll contact you tonight.”

“Okay. I’ll be waiting… Be careful on your way home.”

Watching Takane-san walk away, I thought for a moment—what if something happened and I couldn’t contact Takane-san?

(To want to live even a second longer… I guess that’s a serious thought.)

I used to think being love-struck was something unimpressive, but I’ve come to see it as not so bad, realizing how much I’ve changed.


On Thursday, and today, Friday—since I started dating Takane Nozomi, we’ve had moments during class where we’d be seated next to each other and even paired up for activities.

It’s been really enjoyable, and today at lunch, we ate together on that terrace. Takane-san mentioned she makes lunch about twice a week, so I decided to align my bento days with hers. When I’m with Takahashi and the others, we usually go to the cafeteria or buy from the school store.

“Do you have any plans for the weekend, Nak-kun?”

During dinner, my sister Ryuryu asked. Tonight’s menu was hamburger steak—the “Sister’s Handmade Hamburger Steak” she presented with pride, which seemed daunting at first bite, but turned out to be delicious as expected. Her hamburger steaks are unbeatable.

“Sis, I was thinking, if Nak-kun is alone, maybe I could buy him some clothes for Golden Week, or maybe next week. Oh, does next week start Golden Week for you?”

“No, this time the holidays aren’t consecutive.”

“We can’t afford to take extra days off to extend our holidays, can we?”

“Maybe… I guess I’ve been influenced by watching my sister.”

“What, you’re saying that because I offered to buy you clothes? Or is it because you’ve mellowed out since you got a girlfriend?”

“I didn’t think it was such a big deal… but Ryuryu, you should eat too.”

“Okay. So, what about your plans?”

“Nothing special… no, it’s not like Takane-san and I had a fight or anything. We just haven’t talked about it yet.”

“So, you might suddenly have plans.”

Ryuryu seems to think it’s likely I’ll have sudden plans with Takane-san, but since we really haven’t discussed it, it’s more likely I’ll have a day with nothing planned.

“I’d like to greet Nozomi-chan too, but joining my little brother’s first date as a sister would be too much, right?”

“I won’t say it’s impossible, but I’d prefer if you didn’t… and ‘Nozomi-chan’?”

“Takane-san’s surname is lovely, but I prefer calling her by her first name. It’s cuter.”

“Well, meeting her might be quite far off.”

“Are you planning to date Nozomi-chan long enough that I might end up calling her sister-in-law?”

“Make that kind of confession when you meet her directly.”

“Directly… I’m not ready yet, can you wait a bit?”

I decide not to point out her sudden change of heart. Ryuryu is bolder with me than she is outwardly.

While Ryuryu was in the bath, I sent a message to Takane-san. After a while, she called me back.

“Good evening, Nagi-san. I just finished my tasks and was taking a break.”

“Good job. You don’t leave your assignments for the weekend, huh?”

“Yes, I try to do them on the day they are given.”

“Maybe I should finish mine today too, following your example.”

“No, no. Nagi-san should do it at a time that suits him… but I’m happy.”

“…Did something happen, Takane-san?”

I casually asked, sensing a slight stiffness in her voice.

“…Are you going to be home tomorrow, Nagi-san?”

“Yeah, that’s the plan… why?”

“Just asking… if you’re going to be at home…”

“What’s up, Takane-san?”

“…Well, if Nagi-san is going to study now, maybe I should play the piano.”

“Wait, you have a piano there?”

“Yes, in a soundproof room for lessons. It’s to avoid disturbing the neighbors.”

She has a soundproof room at home—Takane-san’s house must be quite large, considering she also mentioned having a study.

“I was thinking of playing the piano as a break… I thought you might like to listen.”

“…I can’t.”

“Oh… sorry, if it’s not a good time…”

“It’s not that. I haven’t given anything back to you. You’ve done so many nice things for me.”

“No, it’s okay… I’m doing it because I like to… oh, I mean…”

Could it mean something else? But that’s probably just my overthinking.

“…I mean it in the way I said… but I know, I shouldn’t say such things…”

“I don’t think either is wrong. I should stop saying ‘no’ too.”

“Okay… I’ll try not to run away so easily. It would be a failure as a ‘current girlfriend’ if I kept saying I’m embarrassed.”

Is that okay? If Takane-san gets too bold because she’s competing with Asatani-san…

“Do you have any song requests, Nagi-san?”

“Anything is fine. I’d like to hear your recommendations.”

“Then, I’ll play something with a calm melody to help you concentrate…”

I hear a faint sound. Switching my phone to earphones, Takane-san begins to play the piano.

It feels like we’re in the same room. Even though she’s not here, I find myself looking around.

I’m lucky to be able to study in such an environment. My concentration improves tremendously—once I finish my tasks, I can just listen to Takane-san’s piano.

📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.
It Seems That Takane, the Current Girlfriend, Definitely Doesn’t Want to Lose to the Ex-girlfriend

It Seems That Takane, the Current Girlfriend, Definitely Doesn’t Want to Lose to the Ex-girlfriend

Takane no Hana no Imakano wa, Zettai Motokano ni Maketakunai you desu / 高嶺の花の今カノは、絶対元カノに負けたくないようです
Score 7.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: , Artist: Released: 2020 Native Language: Japanese
As he graduated from junior high, Nagito Senda began dating Kiri Asatani, but he got dumped when they started high school. While recovering from his broken heart, he saw Nozomi Takane, a girl in his class, being harassed by a pushy club recruiter, and decided to help her. The two quickly grew closer as they sit together in class and go to and from school together. One day, as the two were cleaning the library, Kiri comes up to Nozomi and asks, “Can I borrow Nagi-kun?” When Nozomi asked Kiri about her relationship with Nagito… “I was Nagi-kun’s ex-girlfriend” “Well from now on I’ll be his new girlfriend.” Now that both girls have declared themselves, what will be his real intention? Sparks will fly in the game between the ex-girlfriend and the current girlfriend.


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