📢 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.

V2 At 9:00PM, Megami Senpai is Only Mine Chapter 3 Part 2

Asahi and Senpai Found Out

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NOVEL WISHES


Chapter 3: Asahi and Senpai Found Out / Part 2

Kanako, leaning on the terrace railing, was looking at Asahi, holding a cup of coffee probably brewed from the room’s coffee machine. Asahi was holding a bottle of water.

Feeling somewhat nervous, Asahi nodded.

“It feels strange. In such a place, talking across the terrace with Kanako just like at home… but even closer.”

“We’re on the sixth floor, so unlike at home, there’s no way we can cross the terrace. Though we could only meet briefly in between today, it was still fun. How about you, Asahi?”

“It’s been really fun… even now. Kanako, tomorrow is your birthday. It might be difficult with your mom being here, but can you make time tomorrow night?”

Kanako didn’t ask what he was planning.

Instead, she smiled happily.

“I’ll try. What about dinner then?”

“Matching our dinner times might make my mom overly suspicious, so I want to finish dinner before then.”

“Got it. Hey, Asahi, I’ll do as you say, but in return, can I ask for one pre-celebration favor?”

…Pre-celebration? Asahi only pondered for a few seconds.

Kanako walked over to the edge of her terrace. The sound of the waves continued as always. Below was the lit-up outdoor pool. Kanako, placing both hands on the railing, leaned out to a safe extent and chuckled again. Asahi, sensing her intention, felt his heart leap. But at the same time, his own words came back to him.

“Anything Kanako says…”

Asahi walked to the edge of his terrace, firmly gripping the railing, and leaned out as well. Kanako closed her eyes first. Amid the tension that made Asahi’s heart feel like it would burst, he kissed Kanako’s lips. They were so soft, almost making him lose his reason. He could taste the sweetness of her breath and the aroma of coffee.

As their lips parted, and Kanako opened her eyes, she looked at Asahi’s face and shivered slightly.

Kanako, with cheeks flushed like autumn leaves, said,

“Since that night we started dating, huh?”

Excluding the mouth-to-mouth ‘ahh,’ Asahi definitely wanted to repeat this countless times, and even progress further. …Why hadn’t there been a chance for a kiss since that night? It was because… Kanako had always been the one to put a stop to things. Every time Asahi made a move, he was halted…

Then, a voice called out.

“Asahi?”

His mother’s voice.

Asahi had left the window slightly open, about ten centimeters, to quickly detect his mother’s movements. Her voice seemed to be coming from the bathroom.

“Where’s the pajama?”

Startled, Asahi panicked. Kanako, still with a faintly red face, chuckled and suggested, “Why don’t you help her?”

The night grew later. The lights of the outdoor pool eventually went out.

“Happy Birthday 00:00”

Being able to send a birthday message to Kanako at such an hour and being in such a relationship with her is an honor. I hope Kanako’s new year is filled with happiness. I hope I can be part of that happiness 00:00

That’s awkward 00:00

But I’m really happy. Thank you 00:01

I’ll say it in person tomorrow. Goodnight 00:03

Yeah, glad I was awake. Goodnight 00:03

Goodnight 00:03

I love you, Asahi 01:18

Asahi, have you finished breakfast?

I’m alone at the beach now, can you come? 09:19

The temperature hadn’t yet risen fully, and on the pure white, arc-shaped sandy beach, there were only a couple of bathers. The beach parasols set up by the hotel weren’t opened yet. The tide had receded, and Asahi found the clear sky and sound of the waves breathtakingly beautiful.

Even more so, the figure of Kanako standing at the water’s edge.

Kanako was not in a swimsuit but in a resort dress, gently holding down her hair, which was being tousled by the sea breeze.

“Kanako, happy birthday.”

Kanako turned around, smiling, “Thank you.”

“Asahi, shall we go for a walk?”

Asahi nodded, “Yes.” They slowly walked along the sandy beach together.

Like in a myth. The wet sandy beach already had footprints of earlier walkers. Asahi thought, how many people had walked on this beautiful beach just this morning? Yet, walking alongside Kanako at this moment felt special.

Just because they walked the same path, it wasn’t the same as those who walked before.

Their walk with Kanako was filled with memories, a path, and a sense of uniqueness…

“What’s your mom doing now, Kanako?”

Asahi asked, and Kanako pointed towards the hotel’s garden.

“Over there. She’s doing morning yoga as part of the hotel’s program.”

“Ah… My mom was also considering joining.”

“So, she didn’t go? What’s she doing?”

“We were having breakfast together at the buffet until just now. Mom looked like she could eat more, so I left first and said I’d go for a walk. She’s probably enjoying a lot of fruit desserts by now.”

“Ahaha… Hey, Asahi. Despite everything, like the date with Tsubasa and other stuff, I’m really happy that I can spend my birthday with you like this. You wrote something similar in your message last night. …Now that it’s come to this, I’ll say it. I was initially disappointed.”

“Initially, do you mean when I asked you about my travel schedule? The day Aki was grumbling about not being able to join us…”

The day Aki suddenly appeared in a swimsuit, just like what Kanako did later.

A small crab scuttled by their feet.

“Yes,” Kanako replied.

“Like I said before, of course, you didn’t know my birthday. I felt embarrassed to suggest celebrating it, so I didn’t say anything. But somewhere inside, I was… somehow hoping we might spend it together, and even though nothing was decided, I didn’t plan anything else, waiting for you to invite me.”

“I’m sorry… I really should have asked you earlier about your birthday, Kanako.”

“No, that’s why I’m saying it turned out to be great that we can spend it here together. There were hesitations, but I’m glad I decided to go. That decision kept me motivated before this trip. Motivation makes a big difference. …Hey, Asahi… umm.”

Kanako started to say something but seemed hesitant. The sunlit sea turned into a gradient of emerald green and dark blue. A slightly larger wave approached near Kanako’s feet walking on the seaward side. Asahi guessed what Kanako was about to suggest.

As the wave receded, Asahi took the initiative and grabbed Kanako’s hand.

…Just like any ordinary couple in love.

Kanako looked down and gripped his hand back tightly.

“…Asahi. I think spending birthdays and anniversaries, well, any memorable occasions together is very important. That’s why, being like this now—”

Kanako was mid-sentence, but Asahi couldn’t wait.

Realizing this, Asahi hastily let go of her hand. The way he jerked his hand away seemed to make Kanako intuitively understand. She didn’t turn her head questioning, “Asahi?”

Instead, she naturally and calmly followed Asahi’s panicked gaze.

Asahi’s mother was standing there, looking surprised.

“…Oh?”

Even when Asahi’s mother opened her mouth, Asahi couldn’t immediately find the words to speak.

His mother was staring straight at Kanako, blinking rapidly with a face that showed she recognized who Kanako was.

“Asahi, are you walking with a girl? I thought and came over in surprise… and I’m even more surprised. Next door… umm,”

“Kanako Himi. Himi Kanako. Amaharashi-san.”

Kanako, with her characteristic ‘goddess-like’ smile, said,

“I happened to meet Asahi-kun, …Asahi, while walking. I was surprised too, so we walked and talked together. It’s like a miracle, isn’t it? Neighbors coincidentally going on a trip to the same place at the same time.”

If anyone from school saw Kanako like this, they’d see nothing out of the ordinary in her demeanor. But Asahi realized something. Behind Kanako’s crafted, gentle smile was something more. She seemed genuinely pleased to meet Asahi’s mother and glanced at Asahi… with a hint of amusement.

Oh man, that was thrilling 10:43

I got to greet Asahi’s mom on my birthday 10:44

I’m sorry. It was my carelessness with my mother 10:46

No, it was actually fun. Your face, Asahi 10:48

You were all flustered like ‘whoa’.

And your mom said I was very pretty.

It was good that we could pass it off as a casual coincidence. Going to the lounge together was the right choice 10:50

…It was Asahi’s mother’s idea. She had somehow excitedly suggested, “Why don’t we have tea together since we’re here?” Asahi thought it must be because she was slightly thrilled. Was there something between Asahi and Kanako?

Kanako immediately agreed with a smile.

“Not causing any trouble? In that case, such a coincidence is once-in-a-lifetime, so I’d love to join.”

And so, the three of them went to the tea lounge near the hotel lobby.

“Should we invite Miss Himi as well?”

“No, no need. I just sent a message to my mom. If she joined us, Asahi might feel like he’s back home during his resort trip.”

“Hehe, you say interesting things.”

While Asahi’s mother and Kanako chatted cheerfully, Asahi felt out of place. It was somewhat similar to when Aki had watched him from the balcony, but different because it was his mother.

With embarrassment, guilt, and a sense of duty not to show these feelings, Asahi couldn’t even taste the juice he drank.

“Kanako-chan, oh, sorry, may I call you Kanako-chan? Should I say Miss Himi?”

“Kanako-chan is fine. Miss Himi would be confusing with my mom.”

“Thank you. Kanako-chan, you’re in the same school as Asahi, right? A third-year? There’s not much interaction between third and first years, right?”

“But we sometimes meet on the morning bus. We chat too, so when I saw him on the beach, we were both surprised.”

“Eh. Asahi, you’re talking to such a beautiful girl? Bad move. Don’t get the wrong idea and fall for her.”

“…Mom, that’s embarrassing.”

“Kanako-chan, you’re so… like a model. Surely you must have a handsome boyfriend or two…”

“I don’t.”

Kanako interjected.

“Asahi’s mom. I don’t have the kind of boyfriend you’re imagining.”

“Eh, …really? Really? Wow, I’m surprised… Asahi, did you hear? Asahi wanted to hear this too, right? Great, Kanako-chan is free now!”

“Mom, I’ve always been free.”

“My my, that’s impossible. But Asahi, this is your chance… Ah. Kanako-chan, of course, I understand. It’s unlikely for someone like you and Asahi to match. But you know, who can tell what happens between a boy and a girl?”

Asahi’s mother, somewhat embarrassed, pat Asahi’s back. Asahi thought, why is my mom getting all excited and embarrassed? It’s so awkward, especially with Kanako in front of me. Yet, Kanako hid her embarrassment with a smile, but her eyes betrayed a hint of mischief.

Kanako sipped her guava juice, taking the straw with the lips that had kissed across the terrace the night before.

I’m relieved I didn’t leave a bad impression 10:53

With Kanako’s beauty and her pleasant demeanor, which parent wouldn’t like her? 10:54

Asahi also said I’m beautiful 10:55

Say it again? I’m pretty? 10:55

Asahi? 10:59

Are you embarrassed? 10:59

Hey, is your face all red right now? 11:00

…I was just talking with my mom.

Kanako, you are beautiful 11:03

Hey, what if. Just what if.

If Kanako and I, like couples in myths, took the usual approach everyone does, and started dating normally.

Would I greet your mom formally again someday? 11:20

Would your mom like me more?

Could I visit your house, have dinner together, hear stories about your childhood, and look at your photos? 11:24

Kanako, if possible, can you hurry to the lobby alone? 11:52

Asahi thought about it.

So far, the trip had been incredibly fun.

Without being disrupted by Kanako, not worrying about acquaintances’ eyes—well, they had to be mindful of their mothers, but still, it was a trip like in a love myth.

Trampled by countless predecessors… yet as brilliant as the midsummer sun and as clear as the sea on this birthday.

Asahi couldn’t help but think. What if this wasn’t a family trip coinciding in dates?

If Asahi and Kanako were here alone, just the two of them, authentically and genuinely like a legend, for a birthday trip at this resort hotel.

…What would they have been like? And he couldn’t help but wonder if Kanako felt the same. Were the same “ifs” swirling in her head?

On the terrace leading from the lobby, several chairs were set up, with people dressed up moderately, all seemingly happy even from behind. In the most wonderful spot overlooking the sea, a stage was set up. There, a groom in a white tuxedo faced a bride in a mermaid-line wedding dress with a long train, purer and clearer than the morning.

The pastor was speaking.

“In sickness and in health, in wealth and in—”

Then the regular hotel guests, including Asahi and Kanako, watched the ceremony from a distance. Adults and children alike, without any malice, witnessed one of the most wonderful moments in the couple’s life. The pastor asked the groom,

“Do you vow?”

“Yes, I do,” the groom answered.

The pastor then asked the bride.

“Do you vow to love and cherish him as your husband?”

“Yes, I do,” the bride answered.

The groom lifted the bride’s veil, and the two shared a kiss against the backdrop of the blue sky and sea.

“I just found out by chance,” Asahi whispered to Kanako standing next to him.

After leaving the tea lounge, Asahi had returned to his room, but then came back near the lobby to shop. That’s when he noticed.

“The seating arrangement might have been set up a bit earlier, but when I got here, they were laying down the virgin road, asking the guests around to make way. I asked the hotel staff, and they said a terrace wedding was starting at noon. So, I hurriedly contacted Kanako.”

“It’s wonderful,” Kanako said, gazing at the bride and groom.

Her eyes seemed moist. Was it the dazzling light from the terrace or the emotion of the moment? What was she thinking deep down?

“Yes, it’s beautiful… ah,” Asahi caught himself.

Kanako chuckled at his reaction.

“Even if you say the bride in her wedding dress is beautiful, I won’t get jealous. It’s truly beautiful, and they look so happy. I wonder how long it took them to reach this goal.”

Kanako’s expression turned melancholic.

“The happiness must have been immense. A romantic tale like a myth. But now, looking back at that place, does it feel like it all happened in the blink of an eye?”

Asahi recalled the words from the night they decided to date.

Standing on Kanako’s balcony, she had said to him, flustered:

“I didn’t want to put the brakes on Asahi, but on myself.”

“I need self-control.”

“I’m afraid of the emotions I’ve avoided acknowledging all my life.”

Maybe it had already sprouted in Asahi’s heart, becoming clearer as he saw how joyously Kanako behaved during this trip. Perhaps Kanako dismissed ordinary relationships as dull because…

“I just parted with my mother. I followed Kanako’s lead and suggested the spa to her.” 20:09

“I’ve finished eating too, so I’m free now.”

“I told my mom I’m going to the gym and sauna.”

“She drank a lot today, unusually, so she’ll probably doze off.” 20:13

“Please come to the hotel pier.” 20:14

…The night sky.

Even from the hotel terrace, it was different from the sky over Asahi’s city. As the catamaran yacht sped away from the pier and the surrounding lights dimmed, the stars became more visible. In the pitch-black sea darkness, the yacht staff dimmed the lights, making the stars even more vivid.

Kanako gasped as she looked up.

“Wow…”

The Milky Way.

Asahi, who had arranged this Planet Cruise, including the tips from Aki, lost his words at the sight. He hadn’t imagined it to be this spectacular. The hotel staff had said that the Milky Way might be visible tonight. In the local dialect, it’s called ‘tin-ga-ra,’ he learned.

He understood why it’s called the Milky Way in English.

Countless lights scattered, appearing like spilled milk of the gods due to their sheer number. Even knowing it, seeing it for the first time was overwhelming. The vastness of the universe, the world, was incomprehensible. Just like Orihime and Hikoboshi, separated by the river of stars in the sky, almost within reach. Just like Asahi and Kanako, usually separated by their balconies.

But now, Asahi and Kanako were different.

Shoulder to shoulder, they looked up at the sky.

A young female staff member brought non-alcoholic sparkling wine, included in the Planet Cruise. Kanako, surprised, looked at Asahi as the staff left. Trying to look cool and hiding his embarrassment, Asahi raised his champagne glass.

“Happy birthday again, Kanako.”

“Thank you… Asahi.”

In the near-darkness, it was clear.

Kanako’s eyes were brimming with tears. She might as well have cried. Although no tears fell, she lightly rubbed her eyes and sniffed once.

Then she finished her non-alcoholic sparkling wine, and they lay side by side at the bow of the boat, looking up at the Milky Way, chatting. About school, the summer holidays, this trip. There was another couple on the cruise, seated at the stern, so it felt like they were the only ones in the world, just like their balcony exchanges.

The difference was that they held hands the whole time.

Close enough for their breaths and heartbeats to merge.

“Wait a moment, Kanako.”

Halfway through, Asahi sat up, rummaged through his bag, and pulled out a package.

“I told Kanako about buying a stuffed toy as a souvenir for Tsubasa during our date. But that wasn’t true. I was actually going to buy the toy while Tsubasa was in the restroom, but couldn’t make it in time. To cover up, I bought other merchandise along with the toy and gave those to Tsubasa. I told her the toy was for myself. But actually—”

Asahi took out a penguin stuffed toy from the package.

Kanako, still lying down, looked at the toy without blinking.

“It’s for you, Kanako. I wanted to give it to you as soon as I bought it, but when I heard from Tsubasa about your birthday, I decided to save it for this moment. It’s your birthday gift. Please accept it.”

Kanako’s surprise was not just about the toy, but the cloth tied around its neck like a bow tie.

“Is that… a scarf, Asahi?”

“Yes. I splurged as much as I could afford. I’d be happy if you accepted it without hesitation.”

The scarf was not a large one but a narrow twilly scarf, befitting Kanako. Unable to afford a large one from a high brand, Asahi spent an entire day at a store during the summer holidays choosing it.

Which would suit Kanako the best?

Kanako hesitated slightly, then gently reached out, accepting both the scarf and the stuffed toy. She hugged the toy while lying down, then suddenly turned over, showing her back to Asahi.

“Kanako? Uh—”

“Please don’t touch me now.”

Asahi Amaharashi sensed her senior reaching out her hand and stopped her. Her voice was tense and urgent.

On the calm sea, the catamaran yacht swayed like a cradle.

Asahi’s Orihime realized that the Milky Way, which was supposed to separate them, was not in front of them but far away in the sky. Nothing was separating them now, and she involuntarily shrank her body.

She said with a trembling voice, “If you touch me… I won’t be able to stop myself from hugging you, Asahi. I’ll end up kissing you a lot, and I’ll never be able to say again that the myths of lovers are boring. At first, Asahi, I thought it was fun to play with you whenever I found an opportunity.”

During this trip. Under the summer sky.

“I thought how much more fun it would have been if this trip wasn’t with our mothers, but just the two of us. But now, it’s different. Completely different. I’m actually glad it’s a trip with our mothers. Because this is dangerous, really dangerous. Even though there are other people on this boat.”

A shooting star raced across the night sky.

“Even so, I want to hold you so much… I want to kiss you a lot. Something in my heart feels like it’s about to break easily. After this cruise ends, if I go back to the hotel wearing this scarf, still feeling this way, and if there’s no one there, not even our mothers, and if we end up going back to the same room… I have very little confidence that I’ll be able to control myself.”

Her senior continued in a voice so quiet, as fleeting as a shooting star in the tranquil night, “I want to be intimate with you, Asahi.”

Asahi Amaharashi forgot to breathe for a moment.

He felt as if his heart had stopped beating, but after a few seconds, it started pounding unbelievably fast. He could hear the sound of blood rushing in his ears. The words from his senior made him want to embrace her right there.

But Asahi noticed his senior’s body trembling slightly.

He thought she might be crying.

She continued in a weak voice, “But I’m scared.”

Asahi took a deep breath and then spoke with trembling lips, “I’ve been thinking… were you avoiding a normal relationship with me because you were scared? The night we decided to date, you told me not to climb through your window for a while. Isn’t it the same? You avoided normal dates and deepening our relationship normally because it was the most exciting… and unbearable for you.”

She didn’t answer.

“After we started dating, you felt like you’d get too flustered around me and suggested crushing me to deal with it. You said the myth of lovers wasn’t interesting not because you truly felt that way, but because it was too charming and dangerous, right?”

She didn’t answer.

Asahi moved closer to his senior, who had turned away slightly when he stirred in his sleep. He reached out to touch her shoulder without hesitation. She shivered but didn’t run away, just hugged her penguin stuffed toy even tighter.

Asahi gently stroked her shoulder.

“I wanted to enjoy the myth of lovers honestly with you during our dates and this trip. And I want to excite you, my senior. Even if many have walked the same path, if we walk it with our own will, it won’t be scary at all.”

After a long silence, his senior finally replied, “…Yes.”

The catamaran yacht began to turn around, heading back to the hotel pier.

Suddenly, his senior grabbed Asahi’s hand as if trying to etch this moment into her memory. So Asahi held her hand back and gazed at the night sky, vowing never to forget the Milky Way.

Even after the hotel came into view and his senior didn’t speak, Asahi said, “Don’t worry. If you get too flustered on our myth-like dates from now on, I’ll pretend not to notice.”

His senior sat up suddenly, her cheeks turning bright red, and said in a flustered manner, holding her stuffed toy, “A…sa…hi…kun!”

The catamaran yacht reached the pier.

Asahi escorted his senior to the pier with all his might. After thanking the staff, they walked onto the pale, ash-gray stone promenade. Asahi almost stepped on something in the dark. His senior, still holding his hand, asked if something was wrong.

What Asahi almost stepped on was a small crab, the same one they had seen in the morning. However, it was crushed, possibly run over by a shuttle bus running through the hotel grounds.

Asahi-kun. Thank you so much. I thought you’d come up with something because you’re quite sensitive, 21:45

But I never expected that. I was so surprised, 21:47

I secretly tried using it as a hairpin without my mom noticing, so I’ll send you a photo, 21:49

What do you think? 21:50

It suits you, and that’s a relief. You look very cute, 22:02

Good night, 22:02

Goodnight. Sweet dreams, 22:04

Asahi-kun, do you want to go for one last swim before we check out? 07:59

Do you want to slide down the pool slide together? 07:59

We didn’t get to slide together the day before yesterday because we ran out of time, 08:00

How about around ten fifteen? 08:09

The water slide was popular with children the first day they saw it, but now it was relatively empty. Asahi, who had decided to be brave, hesitated as he stood at the start. The slide wasn’t very long or steep. Asahi, who couldn’t ride roller coasters, wasn’t afraid of the slide.

“What’s wrong?”

“Wha, senior, wait─”

Asahi panicked. His senior sat at the start, legs dangling over the slide, and looked up. Naturally in her swimsuit─in that monokini. Her barely-covered or not-covered chest was vulnerably exposed right below Asahi’s eyes.

Turning his eyes away, Asahi heard his senior say, “If we’re going to have a relationship like the myth of lovers, you can’t struggle with something like this, right?”

Asahi was at a loss for words.

There was no room for argument. Despite the temperature not being too hot yet, Asahi sweated profusely and sat right behind his senior. He hesitantly moved closer and wrapped his arms around her, touching her stomach through the lace fabric. In the next moment, his senior caught his hand and pressed it tightly against her stomach, starting the slide. Asahi reflexively clung to her as they accelerated with the flow of water and gravity.

During the few seconds it took to slide down, Asahi thought about how sliding together with his senior was a sign of the path they were taking. Even a well-trodden path could be special if not just followed mindlessly. They both understood this after taking the long way around. Ultimately, there’s no better way to be together than this myth, for anyone.

…Really?

He had a lingering doubt, but the water slide was too fun and too quick for deep thoughts. Asahi and his senior splashed into the water, cutting off his thoughts. He stood up, wiping the water from his face, and looked at his senior.

His senior also wiped the water streaming down her beautiful face and smiled faintly.

It wasn’t the playful laughter of the first day at the pool.

I’m still a bit unsure, 14:07

That message came at the airport on the way back, while Asahi was selecting souvenirs he had missed buying with his mother. He waited for the right timing to reply.

What do you mean? 14:26

Asahi-kun, I just got home and finished unpacking. It was fun. I’m grateful to my mom for listening to my sudden whims, but even more so to you, Asahi, for preparing that cruise and gift. Ah, the reality of summer lessons awaits again. If you haven’t had dinner yet, is nine o’clock tonight too late? 19:53

◆◆◆◇◇◇

At nine in the evening, in Asahi Amaharashi’s room and his senior’s balcony.

His senior, who had appeared, began with a determined look, “Asahi, let’s go to the zoo after all.”

This was the conclusion of their first balcony conversation since returning from the trip last night. Both Asahi and his senior were too busy to meet at nine the day they returned.

This was their second meeting after the trip. Although stars twinkled in the night sky, they were nothing compared to the Milky Way they had seen on the Planet Cruise.

It was Asahi who suggested last night, “After your summer lessons are over, how about we go on a date before summer break ends? I’ve realized that even a well-trodden path is fine for us.”

His senior paused before agreeing, “…Alright. That’s fine.”

And so, they had considered the zoo and the aquarium.

His senior, sipping coffee from a cat-patterned cup, continued, “After all, you just went to the aquarium with Tsubasa recently… It’s not that I dislike it, but I thought you might enjoy the zoo more. We’ve had our fill of the sea on our trip.”

“But you prefer the aquarium, don’t you?”

His senior shook her head, “True, the aquarium is more fascinating, but I haven’t been to the zoo in a while, and I like it too. Especially feline creatures.”

“…I see.”

As Asahi responded, he looked up at his senior’s head.

When was it since then? The night they started dating? For the first time in a while, his senior wore cat-ear hair accessories. Noticing Asahi’s gaze, she posed like a cat, not holding the cup.

“Meow.”

“…Please stop being so adorably careless.”

“By the way, it’s tough to drink hot stuff with these hair accessories on.”

His senior joked and laughed. Asahi smiled back. But inside, he felt a sense of unease. They knew how to be together, so why didn’t he feel completely satisfied? Was it because they didn’t have the perfect understanding they had on the night they started dating?

Was the source of his unease within himself?

Or in his senior’s heart? Or both?

Or maybe it wasn’t something to worry about? Asahi was sure, and his senior seemed to truly enjoy the myth of lovers they experienced on the trip. Even a well-trodden path could be special, like the Milky Way they would never forget from the cruise.

If they couldn’t accept this, his senior would never have agreed to the “normal” relationship she had avoided. Therefore, his senior, who was moving forward with the idea of a typical zoo date, must have accepted what she once dreaded.

So why couldn’t Asahi shake off his doubts?

Is this really okay?

Asahi closed the window, went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, and returned to his room. He pondered all the while, then sprawled on the bed and reached for his smartphone. He noticed.

There were two missed calls from Tsubasa.

◆◆◆◇◇◇

Since the start of summer vacation, it seemed like the weather forecast had been nothing but sunny or slightly cloudy. Today was extremely hot, and despite being in the city, the cries of cicadas were relentless. Tasogare Shimaō entered an air-conditioned coffee shop and sighed in relief.

Wiping sweat with his sleeve, not a handkerchief, he bought a cold drink and went to a seat by the window on the second floor. With time before his appointment, he opened one of the books he brought but couldn’t focus.

He closed the book.

No help for it. He was lucky to have gotten this seat.

…The seat he had sat in with his senior at the end of July.

The day before, a senior girl, a mutual friend of Shimaō and his senior, had called him. Kanako-chan wants to know who Tasogare-kun is seeing, can I tell her?

The girl sounded excited on the phone, thrilled about a love story. Nearly everyone knew Tasogare Shimaō liked his senior, but it was unrequited, a one-sided love. He hadn’t even been able to tell her where they were going. Finally, progress, the senior girl had said.

Good for you, she added.

Tasogare-kun and Kanako-chan are a good match, she assured.

Tasogare Shimaō could only reply, “I still don’t know for sure.”

But he felt he did know, deep down. He had a premonition.

In the coffee shop, Shimaō sipped his iced coffee alone, cooling down. He decided to watch outside the window until his friend arrived. From his seat, he could see the sidewalk clearly. He would recognize him when he came.

While waiting, he reminisced.

When was it? Definitely a fall day during his first year… around mid-October, plus or minus ten days. He couldn’t remember every little detail about his memories with his senior, but he knew it was an exceptionally precious one.

Shimaō had walked shoulder-to-shoulder with his senior just once.

It wasn’t intentional. They happened to bump into each other at the school exit. The forecast was sunny followed by rain, so he hesitated but chose not to bring an umbrella. Coincidentally, his senior had one.

“Shimaō-kun.”

His senior had said in a voice like ringing bells.

Spreading her umbrella.

“Want to share it to the bus stop?”

Shimaō now understood more than he did then. His senior wouldn’t act in a way that could be misunderstood by others, especially with him. She didn’t want to give him false hope. Maybe she thought they looked good enough together to be misinterpreted. So, she probably wanted to ask, “Do you want to use it?” She wasn’t the type to mind getting drenched, but she knew Shimaō wouldn’t accept such an offer. So, unusually, she asked him to share it.

Back then, Shimaō managed a fake smile, not letting her see his wildly beating heart. He started a casual conversation and walked with her to the bus stop.

There was no shelter at the nearby bus stop. His senior waited with him, even though her bus came first. The sound of rain on the umbrella was gentle, but his senior was even kinder. She always was, even when rejecting Shimaō’s confessions, careful not to hurt him.

So until that day in late July, she must have struggled a lot.

He felt guilty for making her feel that way. Remembering her tears made him want to crush his own heart. Shimaō took another sip of his coffee to calm down and then noticed him walking on the sidewalk.

He got tanned, Shimaō thought.

Waving his hand, Tasogare Shimaō caught the attention of Asahi, who turned and waved back.

◆◆◆◇◇◇

After buying drinks, Shimaō headed back to the seat where Tasogare waited. They exchanged books they had promised to lend each other and talked a bit about other books they had recently read. Then, Asahi brought up, “I got a call from Tsubasa yesterday.”

Tasogare smiled, “Asahi, you really made up with Tsubasa… or rather, got closer. Considering how you used to clash, it’s surprising. It’s funny how human relationships can change with just one trigger. But I’m glad.”

“Glad? For what?”

“For Tsubasa’s sake. No matter how divine Kanako-senpai is, being obsessed with her to an unhealthy level wasn’t good.”

“Well, yeah. I didn’t do it for Tsubasa, but it seems she thought about it herself. It wasn’t exactly the trigger you mentioned, but maybe she felt it wasn’t right.”

“She used to carry around strands of Kanako-senpai’s hair, right?”

“…You knew about that?”

“Yeah. When I first realized it, it sent chills down my spine…”

“…………”

“…………”

The two stared at each other for a while before bursting into laughter.

“Ahaha. But she doesn’t carry them around anymore.”

“Kanako-senpai’s hair is indeed beautiful. But what was Tsubasa’s call about? You contacted me after that, right?”

“Well, that is…”

Yesterday’s call from Tsubasa. When Asahi called her back, she answered immediately.

──Hey. Sorry for calling out of the blue.

Tsubasa started like that. Asahi responded with an “Ah.”

──That’s fine. Sorry I didn’t notice right away. What’s up?

──Is it bad to call without a reason?

When Asahi was at a loss for words, Tsubasa laughed off her jest. Asahi felt relieved hearing her lively voice.

──I keep saying it, but I think I’m super cute, yet Asahi’s reactions somehow shake my confidence… Well, I guess it’s my fault. I do have a reason for calling. I met Tasogare Shimaō a bit before Kanako-senpai’s birthday.

──Oh?

──It was a coincidence, I was out in the city.

The natural bath product store where Asahi had randomly bumped into Tsubasa, who was carrying a paper bag. Tsubasa went into the shop and apparently spotted Tasogare Shimaō staring at a unique soap. She approached him and…

“Tsubasa was worried about Tasogare Shimaō,” said Asahi.

Tasogare Shimaō tilted his head, indicating more to prompt the story than to question, so Asahi continued.

“She said Tasogare Shimaō’s expression was odd. If I had time, she wanted me to check on him too. Since we had made a promise on the last day of school, I decided to contact him… though I hesitated a bit.”

──The soaps in that store aren’t cheap, and if you buy various types or quantities, it adds up, so it’s not something a boy would usually buy for himself. I realized that. Are you picking out a birthday gift for Kanako-senpai? I asked him. Then he asked me what I was planning. I said, nothing, just being proud of myself.

Tsubasa had made a resolution on her date with Asahi. To stop clinging to Kanako-senpai. As a line in the sand, she decided to only send a message this year for Kanako-senpai’s birthday.

──Then he said, ‘I’m doing the same thing,’ Tasogare Shimaō said.

Asahi was taken aback at the time.

──Last year, I gifted Kanako-senpai bath products from this store. But this year, I’m not doing anything. I was just thinking today.

──Thinking about what?

──I asked too. …You know, I think Tasogare Shimaō was kind of down. He was laughing, but the way he laughed seemed… almost like he was about to cry. Maybe I felt that way because Tasogare Shimaō said he wasn’t buying a present for Kanako-senpai like me? It started to bother me gradually after her birthday passed. Since you seemed to get along with Tasogare Shimaō, I thought I’d tell you…

──I see. Tsubasa can be surprisingly nice.

──’Surprisingly’, huh? …Well, that’s the story. Also, I hadn’t talked to you since summer vacation started, so it wasn’t bad to hear your voice. …Just kidding. Don’t look so troubled. Tasogare Shimaō answered my question like this. He was thinking about how to end a love he doesn’t want to end…

Tasogare Shimaō asked calmly.

“What about you, Asahi?”

“Uh?”

“Do you think you were worried about me after hearing Tsubasa’s story?”

Asahi struggled to respond. If he weren’t worried, he wouldn’t have hesitated to contact Tasogare. Asahi liked Tasogare. There probably aren’t many people who dislike Tasogare for reasons other than jealousy. Tasogare looked straight into Asahi’s eyes.

“I see. You’re kind, Asahi. You’re worried about me, but you’re unsure if you should be?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve been rejected.”

Asahi was startled, shifting his gaze back to Tasogare.

Tasogare was smiling as Tsubasa described, a smile that looked close to tears.

“Always getting rejected, right? True, I’ve been casually rejected by Kanako-senpai each time I confessed. But it wasn’t heartbreak. I’ve been immune to a broken heart… until now. When confessing, I made sure Kanako-senpai could easily reject me. I didn’t want to be disliked by her, that was the main reason, but maybe it was also a precaution. So I wouldn’t get hurt.”

Tasogare touched his hair, smiling bitterly.

“Looking back, it’s embarrassing. I was taking advantage of Kanako-senpai’s kindness, which never outright rejected me. I thought there would always be a next time, I won’t give up on Kanako-senpai, if I keep conveying my love, it’ll reach her eventually. I even convinced myself that it would be okay if she liked someone else. …But this time it’s different.”

Tasogare sighed.

Then his smile faded, and he looked at Asahi with a serious expression.

“You don’t have to say anything, Asahi. Whatever the circumstances, I just want to talk. Just listen.”

So this time, Asahi couldn’t afford to look away. He faced Tasogare directly, and Tasogare slightly lifted the corners of his lips.

Tasogare began to tell a story Asahi didn’t know, the conclusion of Tasogare’s and Kanako-senpai’s story.

Leaving the coffee shop, walking towards the bus stop. He had planned to shop after meeting Tasogare, but now he couldn’t muster the energy.

Asahi noticed a couple walking across the street.

High school students, probably. Despite it being summer vacation, they were both in uniform, intimately close, arms entwined. Their excessive closeness paradoxically hinted at their inexperience. Their relationship might be as new as Asahi’s with Kanako-senpai, or even fresher. They looked blissfully happy, singing the joys of spring, pleased just to be together. Surely in the midst of a love story.

A middle-aged couple passed by.

Probably out shopping together. They weren’t holding hands but walked close, chatting all the way. The husband might have cracked a joke; the wife lightly hit his shoulder and giggled. How many years they had been married was unknown, but they were likely of an age where a considerable amount of time had passed since their wedding. Yet, they looked content, chatting and laughing on a weekday afternoon.

An elderly couple was looking at a shop window.

Both seemed to be in fair health for their age. However, the wife, nearly eighty, held her husband’s hand tightly, worriedly. Asahi could only speculate. Perhaps the husband had some cognitive issues. But his smiling face and the wife’s firm grip, out in the city together, suggested a life of shared happiness.

Like the wedding Asahi randomly witnessed on the trip.

On a terrace of a beautiful resort hotel, between the sky and sea, with close family and friends blessing them, vowing eternal love to God. Undoubtedly, one of the best moments in the lives of the bride and groom. It was enveloped in love and kindness, like sunshine.

Speaking of the trip, Asahi saw Kanako-senpai’s mother clearly for the first time, from a distance.

She resembled Kanako-senpai in some ways, and not in others. She looked like a career-driven woman. Asahi didn’t know much about Kanako-senpai’s family; they had just started talking about them on the balcony recently. Kanako-senpai said it felt a bit embarrassing to talk about her family in their quiet world. Yet, from what Asahi saw of Kanako-senpai, it was easy to imagine she was raised in a warm family.

Asahi’s parents too.

Clearly in love, even from a child’s perspective. His father, who strived to be equal to his adored mother. His mother, who must have been deeply in love with his father. When his father died, his mother suffered more than Asahi did. After the funeral, before they moved – in the house etched with memories of his father – his mother suddenly ran to their bedroom. Behind the closed door, Asahi heard sobbing he had never heard before. Inaccessible even to a son. As much as Asahi and Kanako-senpai might love each other, they still don’t know what it means to love someone that deeply.

The number of happy or once-happy lovers and couples might exceed the stars in the Milky Way Asahi and Kanako-senpai gazed at that night. Yet, Asahi thought. Clutching the bag with the book borrowed from Tasogare. No, he scolded his foolish self.

No, no, no, no, no.

Understanding the destructive power of the myth of lovers, proving that Kanako-senpai was actually thrilled by it, consciously walking this path. Deciding that, was this really okay?

It couldn’t be.

“Damn it,” Asahi muttered.

Wiping off the sweat of the heat from his shoulder, he heard the cicadas.

Asahi had to devote more love and effort to Kanako-senpai than any other couple in the world. If Kanako-senpai had even a shred of doubt, he had to dispel it. He had to be prouder of making her happy than anyone else.

“You don’t have to tell me anything, Asahi. It’s okay not to say anything. If it’s like what Tsubasa was doing until recently, to avoid those risks, I understand it’s an internal thing. But just let me ask you one thing.”

Tasogare Shimaō’s final question etched deep in emotion.

“Do you think you’re fortunate, Asahi?”

Because I feel incredibly blessed.

I feel overwhelmed by anxiety and pressure.

I feel elated by hope and the beauty of the future.

The love between you and Senpai is the result of a buildup. Both you and Senpai were lucky to have built it up. If any element of will, whim, or chance had been missing, it might not have come to be. It’s not a destiny-bound love that would have happened no matter how many times repeated. It’s destiny-like that we’re in such a strong love, even though it’s not destined.

That’s what makes it so precious.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it ── I’m an idiot. Useless. Damn it. Think harder. Squeeze every last neuron.”

Luckily, because of Obon and Senpai’s summer lessons, our promised date is a bit away.

I have to figure it out by then. I understand what I want in a relationship. It’s not just about enduring the myth of lovers. It’s a bigger picture than these specific things.

To meet and exceed Senpai’s expectations.

That’s the kind of relationship I want with Asahi Amaharashi.

◆◆◆◇◇◇

Aki Amaharashi was doing sit-ups in her room at that time.

It would be embarrassing to give up, and in fact, she had given up her diet plans seven times in her life. So she hadn’t told Asahi or his mom. But, in fact, she was on a diet.

The first trigger was when Asahi pinched her stomach while she was wearing a swimsuit.

The second was when she begged Asahi to show her a photo of Kanako Himi in a swimsuit. She knew about Asahi and Senpai’s trip because her neighbor happened to be at the same hotel, as she heard from Asahi’s mom.

“What’s this?” she thought.

“Huh? What? Is this a model?” But Kanako wasn’t a model. She wasn’t getting paid for maintaining her figure, it was just her default setting. How? Kanako seemed too perfect when created by God. Why won’t my belly fat go away?

After barely completing ten sit-ups, she exhaled deeply, and her smartphone signaled a message.

Asahi or business, she wondered, reaching out. It was the former.

Sister Aki, I have something to discuss.

Any small idea will do.

I need help thinking.

Aki flopped onto her bed, sighing, “Ah, Asahi and his love life…”


Chapter 3 Finish >:

📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.
At 9:00PM, Megami Senpai is Only Mine

At 9:00PM, Megami Senpai is Only Mine

Gogo Kyuu Ji, Veranda Goshi no Megami Senpai wa Boku dake no Mono / 午後九時、ベランダ越しの女神先輩は僕だけのもの
Score 9
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Artist: , Released: 2020 Native Language: Japanese
9 p.m., 1 meter.That is the secret time and distance between me and the goddess. Yes, the goddess lives next door to me.“Asahi-kun, why do I like you?”Kanako Himi, a perfect girl, asked sweetly on the balcony. I shouldn’t get involved with the boring me for the rest of my life.But it started when I moved next door and when she said she liked me.Irreplaceable days of gathering precious time with overly cute seniors.In the world above the secret veranda near and far, there is only my senior goddess and I know in this world.

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