One on One
“Didn’t we learn how to ride a bike together in the park?”
“That was during elementary school.”
When we first began learning how to ride a bike, Hinagata fell off the bike the first few times and cried like a baby.
“Ryunosuke, you’re pretty bad at this.”
“Ehh, it’s my fault? It’s because you struggle.”
When I finished speaking, her arms tightened around my waist.
“No… It’s Ryunosuke’s fault….”
I realized that she was not talking about that time, but about something else.
I pedal my bike aimlessly.
I thought we might as well be walking with how slow we were moving.
That’s what I thought to myself.
“That’s not true.”
What she said was ambiguous.
I don’t know, but it’s not the same.
We live in a country town so there wasn’t really anyone outside during the night so I never get punished for violating traffic rules.
“Ah, elementary school.”
I suddenly noticed a nostalgic school building, which was indeed the alma mater of Hinagata and me.
Only the staff room was lit, but the rest of the school was completely dark.
“I want to go there.”
“You can’t go in there.”
“We can go to the playground, but we can’t go into the building.”
I came to the school half-heartedly and was allowed into the playground as Hinagata had said.
It may seem like a noisy place, but I guess that’s how safe it is.
The place hadn’t changed since then, and I felt nostalgic for the back nets in youth baseball, the basketball goals, the swings, the seesaws, and any other things that seemed so small now.
I parked my bicycle at the entrance and walked into the school grounds, where I found a ball lying in front of the gym equipment room, which I had forgotten to put away.
The ball was placed neatly in the corner, as if it had been “forgotten”.
Hinagata, holding the ball in her hands, bounced it with the same hands which were on my waist.
The sound of the bouncing echoed well in the quiet ground. Bong, bong, bong.
“Let’s play ichi-ichi.”
“Okay, let’s do it.”
Hinagata has been calling one on one basketball “ichi-ichi” since elementary school.
“Kura-chan got Sugiuchi to buy her juice.”
“You want to bet, juice?”
Fortunately, the court was lit by the lights in the staff room, so it didn’t look like it would be too dark to see.
Hinagata ran happily to the court and made a spectacular layup shot.
I’m not taking her seriously, but I wonder if I can win…..
I’m too worried that my pride as a man will be dented.
“You can’t lose to a girl who’s exhausted after club activities, right?”
I’d like to put up a good fight so that I can at least look cool.
Five games in a row.
Loser buys juice. We played rock-paper-scissors to decide who would go first.
I got to go first.
“I guess it’s time for me to show my power and physicality that the girls don’t have.”
“Ryunosuke is actively raising the flag for losing.”
I passed it to Hinagata standing across from me, who passed it back to me.
My turn begins.
I dribble towards the goal, out of Hinagata’s reach.
That quick-witted thinking of her that read what her adversary wants to do, made her repel the ball that was supposed to be in the strike zone.
Bong, bong… and the ball rolled away.
“Pususu…… fufu~…… foreshadowing recovery, fast ……”
I managed to hold it in, but Hinagata, she was laughing so hard.
“Don’t you have any idea what it’s like to be an amateur with… flowers?”
“The game is ruthless.”
Oh, I see.
I went to get the ball, and when I came back, I was on the defensive side this time.
Hinagata passed me the ball, and I returned it.
As if skipping, she bounced the ball once and started dribbling low.
This girl’s serious!
I quickly tried to keep up with her, but as I blocked her direction of travel, she pivoted and created an opening to shoot.
The moment she shot the ball, I extended my hands and my fingers grazed the ball.
The ball hit the ring and the board, and fell downwards.
I was relieved, but not for long.
I jumped at the same time to pick up the rebound, and even though my position was bad, I managed to get it.
Oh, that was close–.
It was a good thing there was a height difference, if she had been a little taller, I would have lost.
“My childhood friend, it’s time to teach you what physicality is.”
“That’s not fair ……Before physicality, there’s a height difference of over ten centimeters between Ryunosuke and I.”
“The game is ruthless, you know.”
Muu~ She puffed up and took out her shorts from her bag and put them on under her skirt.
“They’re not supposed to be seen today.”
Hinagata, the way you say it, it sounds like they are to be seen, okay?
Hinagata’s defensive skills were high as she went into competitive mode, and she wouldn’t even let me, an amateur, get a shot off.
I struggled on my own, but I was able to get three shots off.
At that point, I was already breathing heavily, and I felt like I should have lost.
As if to show that I had lost my mind, she easily took the rest of the shots and I lost the game completely.
“I know, I know…”
Unlike me, Hinagata wasn’t gasping for air.
She’s really serious….
“I don’t feel comfortable putting too much pressure on a girl.”
I don’t know if I should say that there is a softness unique to girls that boys don’t have, but every time our bodies collide, I’m made aware of it, and I’m a little hesitant.
I am a bit of a loser though.
Hinata pointed at herself, so I pointed at her too.
“It’s you, you.”
“….Glad to hear it.
Treat me like a girl.”
As if embarrassed, Hinagata bit her lips sweetly in a embarassed manner.
“Hey! Who are you? What are you doing here──?”
It seems that the sound of talking and basketball had been heard in the staff room, and one of the teachers came out.
I ran out and grabbed Hinagata’s hand, who was puzzled.
“Ehh, ahh, yes.”
And then the teacher came after me.
“Are you angry…?”
“Maybe─ if I get caught!”
We graduated from this elementary school, but I don’t think it’s going to end in a peaceful manner like “Is that so, hahaha.” The teachers were in the mood to scold the students playing at such times.
I walked over to my bike and was lucky that I forgot to lock it, so I was able to start pedaling right away as soon as Hinagata got on .
I pedaled with full power, which was different from before, and in an instant, the teacher’s footsteps and voice were far away.
Of course, words of caution flew at me about riding with two people.
“Oh, that’s dangerousー”
I said, catching my breath.
I took several deep breaths, trying to calm my heart, which was pounding in many ways.
Then, behind me, Hinagata let out a burst of laughter.
I thought you’d be mad at me!”
“Ahaha, What’s so funny,?”
I was laughing too as I said it.
“Because Ryunosuke’s face, your serious face, it’s funny.”
“Don’t laugh at people’s serious faces, okay?”
“HAHAHAHA,” Hinagata laughs, unusually aloud.
“Huh, it’s crazy.”
It was a satisfying murmur, as if she had just eaten her favorite food and said, “It’s so good.”
In addition, her arm is tightly turned around the waist.
It felt tickling, comforting, and mysterious.
“An after-school date with Ryunosuke.”
I was a little nervous, but I replied as if it was nothing.
“It’s pretty late after school.”
“Tomorrow, you’ll buy me juice.
After that, I want you to take me out to town on a day off from club activities.”
From the way she was laughing, it seemed that Hinagata was very excited right now, and she started to say things that she normally wouldn’t say.
Though I don’t mind.
But you have someone else you like, don’t you?
I was about to say that, but I pushed it to the back of my throat.
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