The Lying Counselor’s Eloquent Reasoning - Chapter 3
On the following day, Tomomi attended her high school as usual. In the morning, as far as she could tell, her classmates’ behavior was fairly ordinary. When she said “good morning” to them, they all parroted back the same greeting. However, there was a certain tenseness and awkwardness in their expressions. All the girls seemed to be taking care to avoid looking at the gloves and scarf that were obscuring Tomomi’s skin.
Ever since her body assumed this state, it has always been like this. The whole class was distant towards her. It was as if they were treating her like a swelling object. Even though it was a bright and sunny morning, Tomomi began to feel gloomy.
However, only one girl exhibited a different attitude towards her.
“Good morning, Tomomi. You’re in the same hot and stuffy outfit as ever. Winter is too far in advance.”
It was Fujikawa Akane, a classmate of Tomomi. She was slightly petite, had a short bob haircut, and unlike Tomomi’s quiet appearance, she seemed to have a lively atmosphere.
“Good morning, Akane. You’re still as noisy as ever.”
After exchanging a few words with her, Tomomi felt much better. Although she was in her second year of high school this year, she had been in the same class with Akane since their first year, and they often had conversations over anything. She was the only one who treated Tomomi the same way as before, regardless of her current constitution. You could say she is a friend that one could feel at ease with.
Eventually, lunchtime approached and they left the classroom and had lunch together on a bench in front of the flowerbed behind the school. This was where they always spent their lunch.
“Oh, today’s lunch is really good too. Your mother is a culinary prodigy, isn’t she?” Akane said as she filled her mouth with one side dish after another from the lunch box on her lap.
“This meat, it’s beef, right? Do you eat this kind of meat every day at home, Tomomi?”
“Not really. I wouldn’t eat anything made by that woman.” Tomomi replied indifferently as she tucked into the sandwich she had bought at the cafeteria. On the other side of her hand was a carton of strawberry milk.
“But it’s beef? In my household, it’s always chicken or pork. We only have beef a few times a year!” While eating the beef unreservedly, Akane rambled on quickly. From her mouth, grains of rice flew out. “Tomomi, why don’t you enjoy this delicious bento? It’s your mother’s homemade meal with love.”
“Mother’s homemade meal with love? Don’t say creepy things like that. She’s a stranger.”
“Hmm? Well, thanks to her, I can have a delicious bento every day and save money on lunch, which is good.”
Despite her words, Akane seemed to want to say something.
“Anyway, I can’t stand the fact that she’s sitting at home acting like a mother! There is only one mother for me in this world! She’s not that person!”
Tomomi exclaimed and poured the strawberry milk down her throat with a straw. Then she choked. Akane laughed at it.
Yes, Tomomi’s real mother had passed away two years ago. And the person she was living with now was her father’s second marriage partner. The remarriage took place a year ago. From Tomomi’s perspective, it only took a year for her to acquire a new mother. Naturally, it was not something she could easily tolerate. Furthermore, half a year ago, her father was unexpectedly transferred to a new post, and she ended up living alone with her stepmother. For Tomomi, the situation was beyond uncomfortable.
“I can understand how you feel, Tomomi. But you know, the new mother didn’t do anything wrong, right? She only married a man with a child, and she seems to be doing her best for Tomomi. Like this bento. Can’t you make her feel a little better about herself?”
“I didn’t request for such a thing. She’s doing it voluntarily. I bet she doesn’t consider my feelings at all.”
Tomomi was obstinate to the core. She was brimming with the feeling that nobody would ever acknowledge her as a mother.
When she had finished her lunch, Tomomi collected her lunch box from Akane and said, “Well, I am going to leave early.”
“Leave early? Why? Are you ill?”
“Not really. I have to drop by the hospital with that woman. The usual physical checkup.”
“Hmm? Going to the hospital together with the new mother huh.” Akane suddenly chuckled. “You’re always saying this and that, but unexpectedly you’re counting on your new mother, don’t you know?”
“Don’t be silly! This is only to cure my body! I would never wish to be accompanied by her! But according to her connections, she found a good doctor, that’s why…”
“Haha, that’s fine. You don’t have to deny it with such a red face.” Akane was still laughing. Then, suddenly, she remarked in a sincere manner. “You see, you may look like a mature, beautiful young lady-type in appearance, but in reality, what you’re really like is completely different. You have a child-like mentality.”
“W-What’s with that!”
“No, I’m not making fun of you. I just found that part of you to be quite endearing.”
“No way. You’re definitely making fun of me.”
She glared at Akane with a disgruntled expression, and simply left the place.
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