CL: Chapter 19.5 – Third Wheel

(Title – 余計者 – Yokeimono – Third Wheel)

It’s Midori no Hi today. Kichirō-san, Ryū-senpai, and I decided to go to the Sapporo Factory[1] to do some shopping and watch a movie. Ken-senpai decided not to go with us because he was not feeling well. It was a relief for me but I felt like this is a disadvantage for me as well because I would be like the unwanted person.

([1] The Sapporo Factory [サッポロファクトリー Sapporo Fakutorī] is a complex that includes a shopping mall, office, multiplex movie theaters, and museum, located in Chūō-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan. The building was formerly a brewery that belonged to the Kaitakushi, the old government of Hokkaidō prefecture, and later owned by the Sapporo Beer Company, the predecessor of the Sapporo Brewery. Currently, the Sapporo Factory is run by the Yebisu Garden Place, a subsidiary of Sapporo Holdings Ltd., and a real estate company. The original brewery building was built in 1876, and after the brewery ceased to function in beer production, the operations were moved to a new location in Eniwa, in 1993.)

Ryū-senpai led the way. We bought some clothes first. He said that he needs to change Kichirō-san’s style to make him look more fashionable. I didn’t know that he was the type to care about other’s clothes. I felt a bit jealous because he got to buy gifts for Kichirō-san.

“I don’t want to buy clothes! I want to go check for mangas. Please, please, please!” Kichirō-san whined.

He looks cute when he acts like this. I just remained silent as I observe him some more. Sōka[2]! I forgot to bring my camera to get new photos of him. T.T I’m so stupid. All I have is my memory to rely on, ugh.

([2] Sōka [ソウカ] means “aha” or “I see”)

“No. Don’t waste money on trash like that,” Senpai lectured.

“It’s not trash. It’s my collection!” Kichirō-san sulked.

“I’ll go with you later once we get back to Kyoto if you want, Aniki,” I offered.

“Stay out of this,” Senpai harshly said.

“Hey, don’t be like that to my best friend,” Kichirō-san defended me. I’m glad he did.

Ryū-senpai knitted his brows and walked away. I could hear him mutter something but I could barely hear what he said.

After we were done buying clothes for Kichirō-san, we bought some snacks for the movie. Kichirō-san looked so excited because it was an anime film that we were going to watch. Ryū-senpai looked like he was forced to watch the film. I didn’t care, as long as it was Kichirō-san.

Both of them were walking side by side while I followed them from behind. My, I’m really the third wheel. T.T Senpai even wrapped his arm around Kichirō-san’s neck. I could feel that he’s intentionally walking faster to widen the gap between us. I tried to keep up with them. It’s a good thing that I’m almost as tall as he is.

I really wanted to pull Kichirō-san away from him. What did my best friend see in this guy?

It was just about 10 minutes before the movie was about to start. Looks like Senpai gave Kichirō-san the guilt-free pass today because he bought a lot of junk foods. Senpai really knows how to pamper my friend. I really wish I was the one doing that instead of him.

“Buy the tickets,” Senpai ordered me.

I bought the ticket for all of us while they bicker beside the entrance to the theater.

“Tickets for three,” I said to the lady managing the movie tickets.

“Here you are, sir,” she said as she hand over the tickets to me. “You’re payment please.”

I was staring at the two. Senpai was pinching Kichirō-san’s face. Kichirō-san was blushing. I guess Senpai is teasing him again. My heart sank seeing them like this.

“Sir, your payment?” the lady asked again.

“Oh, sorry. Here,” I was spacing out.

I approached them and Kichirō-san acted like nothing was happening. Senpai looked at me with piercing eyes, as if he wanted to dispose of me.

I did not comment and just gestured a “Let’s go” with my hand as I walked toward the entrance. We went inside the movie theater. I went on ahead to look for a good seat while they both decided to go to the restroom.

I hope I can survive this day without getting hurt. I know Senpai will continue giving me hints that I should leave. It was as if I’m a nuisance, a hindrance if you call it, with the development of their budding relationship.

There were a lot of people inside. I’m assuming everyone’s inside already, waiting for the movie to start. I started eating the Pocky[3] that I bought. I was thinking about doing a Pocky game with Kichirō-san. Oh my, why am I so lewd? I blushed thinking about this.

([3] Pocky [ポッキー Pokkī] is a Japanese snack food produced by Ezaki Glico. Pocky was first sold in 1966, and consists of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks. It was named after the Japanese onomatopoetic word pokkin [ポッキン].)

After a few minutes, the lights were switched off and the movie started.

I suddenly had a gut feeling that there’s something wrong. I knew that Kichirō-san was excited to watch this because he has been talking about this film all week. A sharp pain suddenly struck my chest, as if someone stabbed me.

I left the other food inside and went to the restroom to look for the two.

When I was about to enter the restroom, I heard Ryū-senpai talking. He was like whispering but I could hear what he was saying: “Come on, just one kiss, okay?”

I was stunned.

“You’re so shameless. Why does it have to be here?!?” Kichirō-san replied.

“Be quiet. Everyone can hear you, he he,” Senpai chuckled.

“Let’s go. The movie already started,” Kichirō-san tried to avoid the topic but then said: “Okay, just one peck on my cheek.”

“What? Just the cheek? Okay. Better than none,” Senpai agreed.

I sneaked a peak inside and saw that Kichirō-san was siting on top of the sink. Senpai was embracing him and was standing in front of him. He was about to kiss him on the cheek when I dropped the Pocky that I was holding. Both of them looked toward my direction.

I almost froze from where I was standing. Kichirō-san pushed Ryū-senpai away.

“Sorry to disturb you,” I said. I was trembling and my voice was shaky.

I immediately walked out and left them. I couldn’t hold onto my tears. I dashed toward the parking lot and looked for Tanaka-san to ask him to drive me back home. I know… I already expected this and I’m not in the position to complain because I’m just a friend; but I just couldn’t help but feel betrayed and be jealous. I’m his best friend. He should have been honest with me; but he was not. He never confirmed what’s their status is when I asked him.

The sky was getting darker and darker as the sun started to set. I can’t help but feel so depressed since I know that he would never like me in return. It may sound petty for others; but for me, this is a big deal.

When I was seated in the back of the car, I was staring blankly into thin air. A mixture of gloom, jealousy, and helplessness lingered within me. It’s like my world was about to end. I couldn’t hold on. My tears just started flowing and cried silently…

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