Chapter 57: Fake

Translator: Krrizis

Editor: Gold Swallow

First Published on Ainushi

 

「Ta-dahhhh! Look, look, Andou-kun~ For today’s lunch, the cafeteria is selling a limited kuroge wagyu beef curry that we can dig in for 800 yen! So, tell me. What are you going to have, Andou-kun?」

「The 130 yen cup noodles…」

 

Uwa, lame… (Momoi-san)

 

「Heh~ You don’t eat much for lunch, do you?」

「I guess…」

 

As ifffffff! It’s only because I don’t usually eat lunch alone with a girl that I’m feeling tense to the extent that I have no clue what to eat! Speaking of which, why is Momoi-san asking me, a『loner』to have lunch together with her…? (Andou)

 

「Ummm… Momoi-san, is there something you wish to speak to me about? Is it related to Asakura-san?」

「HEH!? Eh, h-how…? Nooo~ That’s not what this is about~」

 

Did he sense that I wanted to talk about Sakura? As expected, Andou-kun is not a simple ordinary『loner』… (Momoi)

 

Nope, it can only be that after all. I mean, there’s no other reason for Momoi-san to approach me unless it has something to do with Asakura-san… But, I wonder what it’s about?

『Bastard~ Don’t even think about getting close to my best friend, Sakura!』

 Maybe something along those lines? (Andou)

 

「Then, why did you invite me out to lunch?」

「Hmm, well you see. I just felt like speaking to you… Didn’t you select me yesterday to play the part of the narrator in the play? Like… why did you choose me for the role?」

 

Actually, I was wondering about that too. Certainly, I wasn’t given a part, but I wouldn’t have chosen a role as meddlesome as the narrator. (Momoi)

 

…Momoi-san, why are you asking me something that’s plainly obvious? That’s because— (Andou)

 

「Er, that’s because Momoi-san, you’re good at 『reading people』?」

「PFFFFTTTTT!」

 

Woah! Momoi-san spurted out her curry! Disgusting!! (Andou)

 

…Whaaaaattt!? What did this『gloomy loner』just utter!? (Momoi)

 

「A-Andou-kun… What can you ever mean by that? Ahahaha~」

「No, it’s just you go out of your way to chat with other people about their hobbies. You naturally distance yourself whenever a guy confesses to you. Conversely, if there’s a girl being ostracized, you’ll spontaneously pull her into your group of friends. Therein, acting in a way to avoid disrupting the class’s status quo? That is why I thought that someone like Momoi-san who’s good at『reading people』will be excellent as the『narrator』…」

「He…heh…」

 

Crap… Eh? Wait, does this mean Andou-kun knows my true nature? (Momoi)

 

「…?」

 

Hmm? Momoi-san’s face tensed up…? Oh! Maybe saying it outright is unwise? (Andou)

 

「S-Sorry, Momoi-san! I wasn’t trying to say that your『character was made up』or『you concealled your true nature.』I just mean that you’re really good at it, that’s all… okay?」

 

I-If I put it like this, it’ll cover up the blunder, right? (Andou)

 

「Hmm~ I see…Thanks for the compliment~」

 

Yeah, nope. My true character has somehow been exposed! (Momoi)

 

「S-Speaking of which… Andou-kun, when… did you realize that my『character was made up?』」

 

I’ve only been in the same class with Andou-kun since the start of our second year… Inconceivable! Saying that he already figured out my disposition, even though we’ve only been in the same class for less than two months, is— (Momoi)

 

「Eh, from the very beginning?」

「…」*snort*

 

I see…The moment I became a second year student, I was exposed— (Momoi)

 

It’s because I don’t carry any delusions that loners will have friends to talk with so to an extent, I observe the people around me as if they’re animals… Particularly Momoi-san who has voluptuous breasts and hangs out on various occasions with Asakura-san, the most beautiful girl in the school. With Momoi-san’s breasts standing out conspicuously against the beauty’s, and her breasts are the largest even amongst the other girls in school, she sticks out like a sore thumb.

 That’s why I couldn’t help but think『Ah, this person is impressive. She created a fake persona to interact with others around her~』whenever we passed each other by in the hallway when I was a first year student. (Andou)

 

「I see. So it’s been exposed, huh… Well, it’s inevitable since your character is fake too.」

「Eh?」

 

What are you inferring by that!? Do you mean to say that you’re done being courteous to a『loner』like myself?! (Andou)

 

Andou-kun’s pretty good at deducting things, huh? Perhaps he’s better at figuring out stuff than I am? If that’s the case, then he must have also noticed Sakura’s feelings! Hold on! That could spell trouble! (Momoi)

 

「Look, I’m just going to get straight to the point and ask. Andou-kun, are you in『love』with Sakura?」

「PFFFFTTTTT!」

 

Ew! Disgusting! Andou-kun spitted out his cup noodles! (Momoi)

 

… Um, what!? What did this『ginormous boobie ponytail』just say!? (Andou)

 

「Mo-Mo-Mo-Momoi-san! What are you talking about!? I have no such feelings for Asakura-san!」

「Oh? Is that so?」

 

What is with that overtly unnatural outburst? To hide his embarrassment? It’s so forced that on the other hand, it sounds fake… As expected, I can’t read him at all~ (Momoi)

 

「E-E-Even so, let’s say, should I actually harbor any unexpected feelings for Asakura-san… the most beautiful girl in school, that Asakura-san doesn’t see me as anything other than a『friend』. Therefore, there’s no room for such presumptuous thoughts… Ahahaha」

「Er, what did you say?」

 

…Huh? Hold on. (Momoi)

 

「Andou-kun… This is just me asking, but… you haven’t noticed Sakura’s feelings?」

「Huh? Momoi-san, what do you mean? Of course, I noticed it!」

「Ah! So as I thought—」

「Of course I am aware that she thinks of me as her precious『friend』! But, I’m fine! Nevertheless, should there be any misunderstanding that I『love』Asakura-san, as a『loner』, I wouldn’t go as far as to complicate things.」

「…」

 

I see. I finally figured it out… The source of why I can’t read Andou-kun.

Andou-kun has a lower『self-esteem』than what I imagined.

Yes, I’ve finally fathom a『loner’s』true nature~ (Momoi)

 

「Thanks, Andou-kun… I’ve been agonizing about this for such a long time that I feel like a fool~」

「Momoi-san, why are you crying?」

 

Because I’m languishing over the hardships I’ve suffered up till today… This means I have been overthinking it all this time? Ahaha~ I seriously just want to cry. (Momoi)

 

「Mo-Momoi-san? If there’s something troubling you, you can talk about it with me.」

「Thanks for the offer. I’m alright… I was just thinking what would happen if I didn’t have the『facade』that I’d made to deal with people. Ahahaha… Haa~」

 

Vaguely, I had an inkling. I, who have always fit in by reading people, have considered everyone to be no more than a『fake』even if they’re as popular as my best friend, Sakura. (Momoi)

 

「After all, I am only able to fit in because of the『made up persona』that I used whilst hiding my true nature of reading people so I’m a complete『sham』!」

「No, that’s different.」

「Eh?」

 

Andou-kun… How’s that any different? After all, my character is fake– (Momoi)

 

「I mean, don’t you have a lot more『friends』than I do? Sure, you hid your true self and did make friends with a『facade』but the『friends』that you made, they aren’t fake, are they? Then, wouldn’t you consider that the『bubbly classmate Momoi character』is one aspect of you?

 From the very start, I thought that the character you made to deal with people was『impressive』. I mean, would I expressively go to the lengths to be someone whom I’m not, just so I can read people in peace? That’s impossible for me… Well, that is why I’m a『loner』…  But if you think about it paradoxically, that means I find Momoi-san who’s able to do it amazing. People are attracted to that character of yours, and that’s why they are friends with you. So, you can’t say that the facade you put『effort』into acting as wasn’t genuine.

 After all, a person who reads the mood and resolves uncomfortable situations… is simply the best, no?」

「…」

 

Now I finally get it… So this is what attracted Sakura to Andou-kun. I see… Never in my wildest imagination would I have anticipated there would be someone who’d notice my act and say that I’m a『great person』… (Momoi)

 

「Ahaha~! Thanks, Andou-kun~ That somehow cheered me up! Well then, I’ll see you in class later!」

「Oh, okay…」

 

I wonder what’s going on with Momoi-san? (Andou)

 

*****

 

「I see~ So Andou-kun’s that sort of person, huh?」

 

Andou-kun is genuine about being together with Sakura. But, it’s different from Sakura’s feelings… He’s very observant about his surroundings. However, he really should have more confidence in himself~ Somehow, from what I gathered from the conversation, the source of their problems is that he and Sakura keep miss~~~~ing each other… Oh, right! (Momoi)

 

「…………Hello, class rep? Yea, I was wondering if we could join forces together?」

*****

 

Asakura-san at that moment

 

「Seriously! Where did Andou-kun disappear tooooooooooooooooo? Because he said he was going to head to the convenience store for lunch, I waited near the shoe racks to ambush him, but he didn’t show up!」 *stomach growling*

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