📢 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 I Reunited with my Ex-Girlfriend on a Dating App Chapter 6

Bright People Often Have Many Worries.

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NOVEL WISHES


Chapter 6: Bright People Often Have Many Worries.

I have always lived my life trying to read others’ facial expressions.

It wasn’t something I consciously decided to do. It was more about not wanting to be disliked, a feeling that naturally developed because I thought so deep in my heart.

I believe my family environment was probably the reason I lived this way.

We were a family of four. There was my mom and dad, my much older brother, and then there was me, the younger brother.

Both my parents worked, so they weren’t home very often.

Because of that, my brother was like a parent in their place.

When I came home from elementary school, no one else would be there. Not my mom, not my dad, and not even my brother, who was busy with club activities at middle school. Until his club activities ended, I was always alone.

When he came home, my brother would clean and make dinner.

I wanted to do something too. It felt wrong to always rely on him. But he would always say the same thing.

“Enji, you’re still a child, it’s okay for you not to do anything.”

Once, I tried to do all the things my brother usually did before he came home.

But to put it bluntly, it didn’t go well.

I tried to clean, but ended up messing everything up, and when I tried to cook, I cut my finger with the knife.

I just couldn’t do it like my brother.

“What are you doing, Enji?!”

I cut my finger with the knife and got scolded by my brother when he came home.

All I wanted was to make him happy. To give him some time to rest. I didn’t want to be a burden to him.

“Don’t worry me, Enji, you don’t need to do anything.”

When he said that, I realized that I was just a burden, someone he had to take care of.

My mom and dad, they would come home late at night during the week and leave early in the morning. I’d get scolded for staying up late, so I could only see them on weekends.

I was alone.

“In cooking class, Kaede-chan from my class said, ‘When using a knife, handle it like a cat’s paw. Nyaa~'”

Even though she said that, I’ve been in the same class as Kaede since first grade because our school had few students.

Kaede had always been somewhat adult-like, a big sister figure to me, even though we were the same age. Her childlike moments and somewhat absent-mindedness were endearing to me.

“Nya, nya~. Like this?”

“That’s right~. Well done~. Nyao~n”

I’ve liked Kaede since I don’t know when.

She was kind, always looked out for me, and invited me to play.

We mostly played things girls liked, but it was still fun.

Playing house.

“Okay~, it’s time for dinner~. Today we have grasshopper tempura~”

“Eh… I don’t want that…”

Playing with dolls.

“For you, Mr. Muscles, I’ll put on this frilly dress~”

“Isn’t that combination weird?”

Drawing.

“What did you draw~? Pikachu?”

“Mickey… but…”

I wanted to play soccer and tag like the other boys, but if I said that, Kaede probably wouldn’t play with me anymore.

I didn’t want that more than anything.

That’s probably why I get along with girls and understand their feelings better now. It was fun playing with Kaede, so it’s fine.

Kaede was good at cooking, so she taught me.

I practiced a lot at her house and one day, I tried it at home.

It went well, and I waited for my brother to come home.

I wanted him to praise me. To understand that I could do it. But no matter how long I waited, my brother didn’t come home.

A phone call came. It was from mom.

“There’s something important.”

I didn’t quite understand her words as I was still young, but it seemed that I would never see my brother or father again.

It was about my parents’ divorce.

I was too young to understand why my last name would change.

The parents decided to respect the children’s wishes about which parent to follow, and it seemed my brother chose to go with dad.

My mom was crying so much on the phone, so I decided to go with her.

Honestly, I didn’t want to be separated from my brother.

I hadn’t told him that I could cook dinner yet. He hadn’t praised me. He hadn’t recognized me as an adult.

I hadn’t proven that I wasn’t a burden to him anymore.

I loved both my mom and dad, but my brother felt like my real parent.

After it was just the two of us, I spent more time with mom.

She seemed to have changed her job. When I came home from school, she was always preparing dinner and would welcome me home.

I wasn’t alone.

But my heart felt incredibly empty.

“Enji, you’re amazing, you can make your own meals.”

My mom praised me with a kind smile. But my brother wasn’t there anymore.

“We might not see each other again.” That’s what they said.

“Then, let’s go see him!”

“Go see him!? But, we don’t know where he is…”

“Are you just making excuses?”

“A pun…?”

Kaede told me that, so I decided to look for my brother.

I snooped through mom’s phone and found emails with my brother.

I didn’t have a phone, so I couldn’t send an email. But from the email content, I learned that my brother and dad were now in Kobe.

On a holiday, Kaede and I took a bus with the little pocket money we had.

“Ah, we don’t have enough.”

When we got off the bus, the driver pointed out that we didn’t have enough fare. But an unknown elderly lady behind us paid for us, allowing us to disembark.

I was a bit panicked when Kaede-chan tried to figure something out by saying, “I’ll pay with my body…”

We didn’t have enough money for the bus ride back. But it was okay if we could meet my brother.

Even though we had no idea where he was, the two of us wandered around Sannomiya Station.

By eight o’clock at night, we were so sleepy that we just sat down on the side of the road.

Soon, two police officers came running towards us from a distance.

“Are you Ichinose Enji? And the girl next to you, is she Hiyori Kaede?”

Taken to the police station, we waited until my mother arrived, accompanied by a woman I didn’t recognize. The woman, crying, slapped Kaede on the cheek. Ah, she must be Kaede’s mother. I realized that immediately.

In contrast, my mother just hugged me while crying. It was warm, but my heart felt cold.

I couldn’t meet my brother.

Overwhelmed with fatigue and despair, my mother kept repeating the same words over and over again.

“I’m sorry.”

Why is my mother apologizing?

Why is she crying?

I was the one who should be apologizing for going to Kobe on my own and causing worry. I was the one who wanted to cry for not being able to meet my brother.

From that day, my mother stopped smiling.

In middle school, my desire to see my brother gradually faded.

Years had passed, and he must have forgotten about me. Even my memories of my brother had almost disappeared.

It was just a childhood memory, after all.

At home, conversations with my mother were minimal. The 1000-yen note she left on the desk every morning for my school lunch had become the norm.

During adolescence, I stopped playing with Kaede-chan.

Our school on Awaji Island was very small, and naturally, we were always in the same class, but I avoided playing with girls because of teasing from others.

Kaede continued to care about me, but I chose to hang out with my male friends.

Going home started to feel like a burden, but in front of my mother, I played the part of a ‘good son.’

I made sure to come home before nightfall, cooked dinner for both of us, and did all the cleaning and laundry.

I didn’t want to be alone.

Always gauging my mother’s mood to ensure she wouldn’t suddenly disappear, saying she didn’t need me.

A friend, Kusano-kun, once said I was unsociable.

“Today we’re all going fishing at the sea. You’re coming too, right?”

“Ah, yeah! Of course, I’m in! Include me too!”

I desperately tried not to be disliked, playing an unfamiliar character.

Being disliked meant being alone.

And I didn’t want to be alone anymore.

“Icchi, have you been forcing yourself lately?”

“What are you talking about? This is just normal for me.”

I couldn’t even tell Kaede-chan, who was worried about me, how I really felt.

“Mom, look. I became the student council president. …Amazing, right…?”

“…Yes. That’s great, Enji.”

Even when praised, I felt empty.

Maybe I’ve always been empty.

“Icchi, can I talk to you for a second?”

“What, what is it?”

I was called behind the school building by Kaede-chan and thought maybe she was going to confess her feelings. I got a bit excited, especially since my classmates were teasing me about it.

“Icchi, you’ve been acting strange lately.”

“What do you mean? I’m just normal.”

Right. I should be the ‘Ichinose Enji’ everyone expects me to be.

“I don’t like the current you. Go back to how you used to be.”

“…Shut up!! What do you know about me!! You, who are cherished by your parents and have lots of friends, don’t understand anything about me!!”

I spoke harshly.

I was the worst.

This is how I lose friends and family, one after another. A pathetic person born under such a star.

The day I lashed out at Kaede, my mother disappeared. In her note, she only wrote, “I’m sorry.”

Now, I was truly alone. No one to rely on, no one to help me.

No one around.

After that, I met my father for the first time in years.

It was decided that my father would take care of me. But I was already a third-year middle school student, and I had chosen a high school to attend in the spring.

Even if I lived with my brother now, I didn’t know how to interact with him, and I was afraid that he might have forgotten about me.

Abandoned by everyone else, the thought that meeting my brother would end my loneliness, that he would accept me again, was what kept me sane.

I was terrified of losing that last remaining connection, so I didn’t want to know. I chose to live alone, as per my father’s suggestion.

“Icchi”

I was on the brink of breaking.

It was Kaede-chan who saved me.

“Icchi, you’re not alone.”

Despite what I had said to her, Kaede-chan gently embraced me from behind as I crouched down, hugging my knees.

“If it’s tough, it’s okay to cry. If you’re lonely, it’s okay to seek comfort. I’m here for you.”

All the emotions I had been holding back came pouring out.

“Uwaaaaah!! Why does everyone leave me alone!! Why does everyone disappear!! I’ve been a good boy, haven’t I!!”

“Yes, you’re right, Icchi. You’re a good boy. You’ve been holding it in all this time.”

“That’s right!! I’ve always been good!! Despite the pain every day, I’ve endured!! I’ve been desperately living without crying!! I’m an adult now, so I can’t cry, I’ve been trying so hard!!”

“Icchi, you’re still a child. Just like me. So, it’s okay to cry when you want to. Even adults can escape from tough things. I’ll be your escape.”

While embraced by Kaede-chan, I cried in the rain in front of our house until I fell asleep from exhaustion.

Years of pent-up emotions were released.

When I woke up, I was in the house I used to live in with my mom, but I wasn’t alone.

“Good morning, Icchi.”

My vision was a bit narrow, perhaps from swelling.

Even in my narrowed vision, there was light.

“Good morning, Kaede-chan.”

Kaede-chan’s eyes were red too, maybe she had cried with me.

I was no longer alone.

No matter what, Kaede-chan was there. So, I wasn’t alone.

I became a high school student.

Every morning, Kaede-chan came to pick me up, and we went to school together.

On weekends, I went to Kaede-chan’s house, and her family welcomed me like their own.

This had become my place.

“Hey, Enji, you’re close with Hiyori, right? Are you guys… dating?”

My classmate Mizoguchi-kun asked me in a low voice.

I’ve always liked Kaede-chan, but we weren’t dating.

“…No, we’re not.”

“Really? That’s good! I actually like Hiyori… so…”

“…If it’s okay with you… I mean, I can support you.”

Kaede-chan probably thought of me as a brother. So, I thought we’d never date.

But that was okay.

What changes if we become lovers? What can we do that we can’t do now? Like… kissing? Maybe even more…

But I was afraid that if I confessed and got rejected, our relationship wouldn’t be the same.

Kaede-chan was all I had.

Her friends were nice, but it was different.

They all tried to be friends with me, but I kept a wall in my heart.

Because if I trusted someone and got rejected, it would hurt.

So, I could only trust Kaede-chan, who I was certain would never leave me.

But, not wanting to be disliked, I always played the part of “Ichinose Enji” that everyone wanted. It had become a bad habit.

So, not wanting to be disliked by friends…

“Today, I’m going to confess…! So, Enji, could you call Hiyori to the rooftop…?”

I couldn’t refuse.

“Kaede-chan, can you come to the rooftop after school today?”

“……! Y-Yes, okay.”

I watched from the shadows.

“H-Hiyori, will you… go out with me?”

“……”

I couldn’t see Kaede-chan’s expression from where I was.

“I’m sorry. I can only see you as a friend.”

Kaede-chan said that and left quickly. Mizoguchi-kun, unconsciously or not, reached out his hand and frowned.

Honestly, I was relieved.

It was the worst of me as a friend. I said I’d support him, but…

After that day, Kaede-chan started avoiding me.

Maybe she thought I would confess like Mizoguchi-kun. Maybe she wanted to avoid that inconvenience.

And once again, I was left alone.

◆◆◆◇◇◇

One day, the last name of Kuraki-kun in my class changed. He became Ichinose-kun.

I was in elementary school at the time and didn’t understand why, so I asked my mother.

“Last names can change. But, it’s not good to ask why.”

I didn’t really understand, but I wondered if my name could change too. If it did, I hoped it would be something cute.

After his name changed, Ichinose-kun’s smile started to look artificial.

He was forcing himself to smile. Even though he wanted to cry, he suppressed it, only showing a polished surface.

It reminded me of how my mother would stuff unreasonable things into the closet.

Since then, I started to worry about Ichinose-kun.

For some reason, I couldn’t leave him alone, thinking of him like a younger brother.

When I became a middle school student, I realized that my feelings for him were love.

But by the time I realized it, Icchi wasn’t the Icchi I knew anymore.

In a word, he was scary.

His gentle expressions, tone of voice, and way of talking were all gone. Still, I couldn’t leave him alone and tried to talk to him a lot.

“……Shut up!! What do you know about me!! You, who are cherished by your parents and have a lot of friends, you don’t understand anything about me!!”

Those words have stayed in my head even now that I’m in college.

I was sad. Still, Icchi always looked like he was crying, so I couldn’t leave him alone and kept talking to him.

Indeed, I didn’t understand Icchi at all.

I only began to understand why Icchi’s last name changed when I became a middle school student, and why he was separated from the brother he loved so much.

I wanted to know more about Icchi. I wanted to be there for him. If he was crying, I wanted to wipe away his tears. I wanted to be by his side.

When I thought this, Icchi truly became alone.

His mother seemed to be gone.

In Awaji Island, the community is close-knit, and neighborhood matters quickly become rumors.

I saw a man who looked like Icchi’s father talking to Icchi, and then he left, leaving Icchi behind.

Where are you going? Why don’t you take Icchi with you? Why are you leaving him behind, making him alone?

That’s enough.

Then, I won’t leave Icchi alone.

“Mom, please. Let’s make Icchi part of our family!”

My mother was troubled, but she knew Icchi’s family situation and was acquainted with Icchi’s mother, so she accepted.

When I was still in elementary school, I went searching for Icchi’s brother with him. That’s when my mother met Icchi’s mother.

I wonder where Icchi’s mother went. Even my mother didn’t seem to know.

After Icchi started coming to my house often, a few years passed.

We were, of course, attending the same high school.

“H-Hiyori, will you… go out with me?”

A boy named Mizoguchi-kun confessed to me.

Honestly, I hadn’t talked to him much, and I didn’t feel the same way.

Besides, the one I liked was Icchi.

On the rooftop, I could see someone’s reflection in the fall-protection barrier behind me.

After rejecting Mizoguchi-kun and leaving the rooftop, I saw that person. It was Icchi.

Why was Icchi there?

Curious, I eavesdropped after closing the rooftop door.

“I’m sorry, Enji. Even though you supported me…”

“No… it’s a pity. But you confessed without any regrets… wasn’t it good?”

Icchi had been helping Mizoguchi-kun with his confession. He was supporting him.

That meant Icchi was fine with me becoming someone else’s girlfriend.

I think I’ve lived my life quite optimistically.

I’ve been happier than most, without any major worries or dissatisfaction. For someone like me, even a single heartbreak could easily shatter my heart.

Since that day, I felt pain whenever I saw Icchi’s face or heard his voice, and I started avoiding him.

Still, Icchi was in the same high school, on the same Awaji Island, so there were inevitably times we met.

I decided to go to a university in Kobe, to escape from the pain.

There were many people in Kobe, lots of club activities at university, part-time jobs, and many boys. Many boys confessed to me, but I couldn’t forget Icchi.

This can’t go on. I decided not to see Icchi anymore. That’s why I came to Kobe. But I couldn’t forget him.

I gathered courage and started using a dating app.

I met many boys. Sometimes I was almost forcibly taken to hotels, stalked even after refusing, and had a tough time.

Still, I thought meeting other people would eventually make me forget Icchi.

Time would surely fade my feelings. That’s what I believed.

I met Shou-kun and found out he was friends with Icchi. I couldn’t resist asking.

“Ah, I said that, but can you please let me see Icchi again?”

I wanted to see Icchi again. I didn’t even think about what to do when I met him. I just wanted to see him.

“Icchi.”

“Kaede…chan?”

I saw Icchi again.

Icchi must have resented me for suddenly avoiding him.

I was so happy to see him that I almost cried, even though I had tried so hard to forget him.

But it seemed Icchi resented me.

He got angry at Shou-kun for trying to bring us together and left without saying anything to me.

Will I be unable to see him again?

Will I have to live with this sad feeling again?

While thinking this, Shou-kun asked me.

“I want to know about Enji. I want to be useful to Enji. If Enji is troubled, I want to help him. But, I don’t know anything about Enji. I just realized that… wait, what was I trying to say…”

He seemed similar to me.

But different from me.

Unlike me, he was trying to take action.

Thinking about Icchi, trying to rescue him from the darkness he couldn’t escape, I met him. Because of that, I also…

I won’t leave Icchi alone.

◆◆◆◇◇◇

Being alone was painful.

Unable to endure the loneliness, I fled to Kobe.

When I decided to go to Kobe, my father offered to live with me. But I chose to be alone.

Even if I met my brother now, he wouldn’t be the brother I knew then.

He probably doesn’t even remember me anymore, and I barely remember my father.

When my mother disappeared, when I decided to go to university in Kobe, I met my father. But he was just like a stranger to me.

So, I chose to be alone again.

In Kobe, the university was full of people, but even there, I continued to play the role of “Ichinose Enji” that everyone wanted.

I started using Connect because people paid attention to me there.

Even when messaging someone on Connect or being with someone, my heart felt lonely, but at least someone was there by my side.

It eased my loneliness a little.

I started working part-time at a café.

I chose the café because I knew many university students worked there. I thought making friends there might alleviate my loneliness a bit.

And that’s where I met Shou-chan.

My first impression of Shou-chan was that he was someone I couldn’t get along with.

His language, values, lifestyle, likes, and dislikes – nothing matched.

People I met at university or through Connect praised me for being cool, and girls always did what I wanted. But there was always a reason or purpose behind it.

They wanted something in return.

But Shou-chan was different.

I always tried to be likable, playing the part of a friendly person. That worked with most people.

I’d say what they wanted to hear, behave how they wanted, and become the “Ichinose Enji” they desired.

“Don’t you get tired of that act?”

But Shou-chan saw through me immediately.

“Don’t come with me for just a bowl of gyudon.”

His blunt rudeness was somehow pleasing.

He interacted with me honestly. Others often seemed to be gauging my mood.

Gradually, I became interested in Shou-chan, and after a year, he was making me genuinely smile.

At some point, Shou-chan started to overlap with my brother in my mind.

With Shou-chan, I wasn’t alone.

I still couldn’t forget Kaede-chan, but love isn’t everything. Having important friends is enough. That’s what I thought, but then.

“Icchi.”

“Kaede…chan?”

Painful memories resurfaced, and I couldn’t maintain my usual “Ichinose Enji” persona, exploding in anger at Shou-chan.

Now, I was truly alone.

No family, no loved one, no friends.

Yet Shou-chan still reached out to me.

Jelly wrappers and empty sports drink bottles sat on the low table for days.

I couldn’t throw them away.

Discarding them felt like losing my last connection to Shou-chan.

I felt much better physically. I had to return to being everyone’s “Ichinose Enji” from tomorrow.

It’s painful and hard, but it’s better to have friends, even if just superficially.

I was about to break. I felt like I was losing it.

Then, a LINE message came.

“Can we meet? I have something to discuss about Shou.”

It was from Hikari-chan.

They were slowly restoring their relationship, just as I planned.

I didn’t want Shou-chan to end up like me, so I tried to get them back together.

“You’re regretting your love life, so you set up a meeting with Hikari to make sure I don’t end up like you, right?”

I remembered Shou-chan’s words.

He was right.

Yet, I called his actions meddling. I was doing the same thing.

Truthfully, I was happy to see Kaede-chan after so long.

I knew she didn’t like me, but still, seeing her made me happy. That’s what it’s like to like someone.

Even now, I can’t forget about Kaede-chan, so I started using Connect, hoping to fall for someone else. But it didn’t work.

It’s rare for Hikari-chan to message me, so she must be really troubled.

Shou-chan and Hikari-chan meeting, confronting each other with their true feelings, and being together again is what I hope for. I want to help them with anything about the two of them.

But after saying such awful things, am I really okay to do that?

“Can you really listen to my problems? Can you come out now? I’ll come to you.”

Just seconds after I read her message, another LINE from Hikari-chan arrived.

“Okay. I think I can leave in 20 minutes.”

I replied and went to the washroom to wash my face, having been in bed all morning.

I felt surprisingly light, considering I was just recovering.

As promised, I left my apartment after about 20 minutes and headed to the location Hikari-chan specified.

A park just a three-minute walk from my home.

No one is there at night, but in the evening, it’s crowded with elementary school kids, as there’s a school nearby.

Hikari-chan didn’t seem to have arrived yet, so I sat on a nearby bench.

There was no message from Hikari-chan yet, so it might take a while. Just when I thought that, I heard someone’s footsteps.

The sound of walking on sand, getting slower as it approached. I felt something was off and looked up, even though it might be a stranger.

“Hey, are you feeling better now?”

“……Shou-chan, why are you here?”

I was initially surprised, but I quickly realized that Hikari-chan and Shou-chan were connected. But why did she go through the trouble of using Hikari-chan?

“I thought you wouldn’t come if I called you, especially after what happened.”

Shou-chan immediately sensed what I wanted to know and explained.

Indeed, I came without any doubt because it was Hikari-chan.

If it had been Shou-chan who called me, I would have been wary, thinking Kaede-chan might be there again.

“Pretty clever for you, Shou-chan.”

“Ha, shut it, don’t provoke me every single time.”

He rubbed his nose with his finger, a smile unsuited to his harsh tone on his face. That gesture is one people make when they’re nervous. Shou-chan was nervous. So was I.

Things had been a bit awkward since that day.

His visit to the hospital made it a bit better, but we still couldn’t go back to how it was before.

Shou-chan sat next to me and offered me a can of coffee.

“Enji, you drink hot coffee in summer and iced coffee in winter, so I didn’t know what you’d drink in spring. I chose iced because I’m having iced… Is that okay?”

“You believed that? It was just a joke. Thanks.”

“Huh? Of course, I knew it was a joke.”

Shou-chan took a sip of his lightly sweetened coffee.

“I went to Awaji Island with Hikari.”

“Why are you telling me that?”

Shou-chan probably still had something in mind regarding me and Kaede-chan. I guess he went to the island because of that, but what could he understand just by going there? It’s a small island if you live there, but it’s impossible to see everything in a few days or so, and the only person who knows about my past is Kaede-chan, as far as I know. Even she doesn’t know everything.

“From now on, well, forever.”

“……?”

“Talk to me honestly, everything.”

Shou-chan said and took another sip of his coffee.

“I heard about your past from Kaede-san.”

“You went and did whatever you wanted again…”

“Sorry. But after hearing that, I still don’t think it was unnecessary to bring you two together. You should have met and talked once.”

“I told you to leave me alone.”

I’m tired of the pain, the hardship, and the sadness.

“You told me not to regret, right? That’s because you ran away without confirming Kaede-san’s true feelings and regretted it yourself.”

“I’ve told you before, it’s not like that.”

Please, don’t dig it up again.

“You were unconsciously on the defensive, avoiding deep involvement with anyone. You kept superficial but broad relationships because you didn’t want to commit to anyone.”

“Stop it…!”

“I won’t. Even if you say it’s a nuisance, I’ll act to fulfill what you truly desire. You’ve been suppressing your feelings for self-defense and regretting it, so if that’s the case…!”

“That’s enough! I’ll forget someday! A day will come when I can be at ease! I just have to endure until then!”

“It’s not that simple. You know that. It took you two years to forget about Kaede-san. I know that because I was the same. So, I understand. If you’re afraid of being alone, I’ll be there for you. So, why don’t you act on your true feelings?”

“Leave me alone. It’s none of your business…”

“──It is my business!”

“It’s not…! There’s no reason for you to get involved…!”

“──Because we’re friends!”

For the first time, he said that.

Shou-chan had never called me a friend before.

I didn’t need to keep a moderate distance from him. He always seemed annoyed by me, and I never had to butter him up, making him special compared to others.

I thought he was a friend I could be comfortable with without any worries.

I thought Shou-chan disliked me. I felt safe knowing that even if he thought badly of me, it wouldn’t hurt. But realizing how important his presence was after our quarrel.

“You only heard about me from Kaede-chan. You haven’t actually seen me.”

“Yeah, I don’t know the you from the past. But I know the you now. Sensitive to people’s feelings, able to get along with anyone, liked by everyone at university and work for being capable, but you’re actually childish and selfish, like pranks, even copy my assignments, but you’re also more considerate than anyone else, saying thank you before sorry, I know all that.”

Stop it, Shou-chan, that’s not like you.

Act like you’re always annoyed with me.

I’m scared to lose you.

“You always seem cheerful, like you have no worries, but you’re actually quite negative at times. You control your emotions so you’re ready for anyone to leave at any moment. It’s okay now.”

“……”

“I’m here. Enji, you’re not alone. Your thinking that everyone will leave is wrong. I won’t go anywhere.”

“……Shou-chan.”

“So, talk to me with your true feelings. I’ll also speak my mind to you. Let’s be real friends.”

I didn’t know when it started. By the time I realized, I was looking down, and the back of my hand was wet.

“Shou-chan, I still like Kaede-chan. I’ve always liked her. But I ran away. I can’t go back to how it was before. Even if you help, the two years have built a wall I can’t overcome. I’m scared to approach her now.”

There must be a reason Kaede-chan avoids me.

She’s not the kind of person to do that without reason.

But I can’t make calm judgments about Kaede-chan, and I can’t see through her thoughts.

Shou-chan is hard to understand, but Kaede-chan is even more so. Maybe because I like her.

“Then, confirm it.”

“Eh…?”

Shou-chan looked towards the entrance of the park.

Emerging from the nearby bushes were Hikari-chan and…

“Kaede-chan…!”

“Hey, hey~ Long time no see, Icchi.”

Kaede-chan, scratching her cheek and looking somewhat evasive, came closer.

“Sorry for eavesdropping. But this was my request. Shou-kun isn’t to blame.”

That didn’t matter. If she heard us, then she must have heard me crying and saying I still like her.

“I’ve always wanted to apologize to you, Icchi.”

“For what…?”

“For avoiding you. I said I wouldn’t leave you alone but broke that promise… I’m sorry, okay?”

“It’s alright now. I have important friends now.”

Saying that, I looked towards Shou-kun, who was blushing and chugging his coffee. Such a heroine-like reaction.

“I also liked you, Icchi.”

Kaede-chan said, shyly.

It was surprising because I couldn’t predict her thoughts at all. I thought she always saw me as a younger brother.

“So when I heard you were helping Mizoguchi-kun with his confession, I was sad. Maybe I also didn’t want to get hurt, so I avoided you…”

“So… that’s how it was.”

Indeed, after the Mizoguchi-kun incident, Kaede-chan started avoiding me. I thought she was avoiding me because she would be troubled if a close friend like me confessed, but now that I know the answer, I don’t understand why I thought that.

If I had just spoken my true feelings at that time, all these detours wouldn’t have happened.

That’s the same for Shou-kun and Hikari-chan. I wish they could resolve things sooner.

“But thanks to Shou-kun and Hikari-chan, we’re meeting like this again, and I could express my true feelings. I could apologize for that time. So—”

“Wait a minute.”

“……Icchi?”

“What comes next… I should say it…!”

A confession. If it’s going to happen, it should come from the man. I want Kaede-chan to see that I can be manly too.

“Ah, um… so… well…”

“Let’s go back to how we were before.”

“──Eh?”

What did she just say?

So, I just got excited for nothing, and Kaede-chan never intended to start dating…

It makes sense when you think about it. We hadn’t seen each other for two years. It’s unrealistic to meet again and start dating right away.

Embarrassing, so embarrassing, I want to bury myself.

“But it won’t be exactly the same as before.”

“Huh?”

“From now on, I want to know more about each other. Not just as friends or like family, but… maybe as potential lovers?”

“……Haha. Yeah, let’s start over. I won’t run away anymore. I’m really sorry, and thank you.”

As I said that, Kaede-chan let out her usual fluffy, shy laugh.

“It feels kind of embarrassing, huh~ Ah, Icchi, your face is red~”

“No, it’s not! It’s because I cried earlier!”

Shou-kun and Hikari-chan were standing behind us, looking both amazed and relieved, smiling at each other.

Next, it’s Shou-kun’s turn.

I know he still has feelings for Hikari-chan. But whether he wants to get back together, I don’t know, and probably neither does he.

Hikari-chan probably feels the same.

Neither of them yet knows what they want from each other.

First, they need to make that clear.

Thanks to Shou-kun, I could meet Kaede-chan face-to-face again and make true friends with whom I can share my feelings. It might take time because I’m used to it, but I can stop being the “Ichinose Enji” that everyone wants.

I have Shou-kun, and I have Kaede-chan.

“Shou-kun, I’m sorry for saying terrible things. And… thank you.”

“……Yeah. Me too, sorry. And… take that!”

“……? What do you mean?”

“Leave me alone. It’s none of your business, Enji.”

“Hey~! Don’t talk like that~!”

“Just imitating you!”

“I don’t talk like that!”

“Yes, you did! I’ve been waiting to say this after all this was over!”

“Man, you’re petty.”

“Really.”

“Hikari, don’t join in making fun of me!”

“‘Cause it’s true.”

“They’re so in sync!”

Finally, I think I’ve completely made up with Shou-kun.

It’s still a bit embarrassing, but I’ve truly reconnected with Kaede-chan.

Maybe I’ll visit my brother too. I’m not scared anymore.

Things are looking up. And it’s all thanks to Shou-kun.

Thank you. Let’s keep it up.

📢 Maybe you see "V2" or "V3" and so on in the NOVEL TITLE, it means what VOLUMES the NOVEL is.
I Reunited with my Ex-Girlfriend on a Dating App

I Reunited with my Ex-Girlfriend on a Dating App

I Reunited with my Ex-Girlfriend on a Dating App, マッチングアプリで元恋人と再会した。, 在交友軟體上與前任重逢了。
Score 9
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Artist: Released: 2022 Native Language: Japanese
No matter what happens, they are still attracted to each other!The newest student romcom connected thanks to a dating app!A friend recommended me a dating app. However, the person I met was actually my own ex-girlfriend, Takamiya Hikari!And what’s even weirder is that I was also matched with a beautiful girl from the same university as me, Hatsune Shin!Who should I date?With my old love or with my new love?

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