My Feelings Are Strong…

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Mio’s POV



(Ugh…this is not good.
I can’t let Toma-kun have all the control.
I can’t just let him get the best of me…)

Now, as I walk home with Toma-kun for the first time, I feel like I’m letting him take the lead even though I’m older.
In the bar, I was in a position of power and could tease him, but this situation is different.

Maybe it’s because we’re in a private setting, but Toma-kun unconsciously stimulates my buttons.
He says things that make my heart skip a beat and only speaks words that make me happy…

(This is not fair.
It’s too unfair…)

It’s as if all the teasing he’s done to me before has been canceled out in just one day…I feel like someone I don’t even know has knocked down the dominoes I’ve been building for days, and I can’t help but feel upset.

(I’m so frustrated…especially since I was the one who invited him…)

I can tell that my vocabulary has clearly diminished compared to usual.
I can feel my emotions taking over.

It’s all Toma-kun’s fault.
He takes control without thinking about it…

(And…there’s something else…)

I glance down at Toma-kun’s feet, trying to be discreet.
I noticed this a little while ago.

Unknowingly, he has been matching his stride to mine.

Unknowingly, he has been walking on the side closer to the road.

He even looks back to check if any bikes are coming before me.
It’s a perfect response, and I can’t even find fault with it.

I couldn’t have thought to be so considerate.

(This is not something that someone who isn’t popular can do… definitely.
Only those who are used to it can do it…)

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Because I’ve never been in a relationship with anyone before, I couldn’t implement Toma-kun’s thoughtfulness beforehand.
I couldn’t even notice it immediately.

On the contrary, Toma-kun can do this behavior precisely because he has had dating experience in the past.

Thinking like that is a natural thought.

If we were in a relationship, there’s also information that asking about the person’s love life is a red line.

(What a great opportunity.
Since we’re not in a relationship, I want to ask now…)

I’m curious.
About Toma-kun’s dating experience…

“Toma-kun, can I ask you something?”

What is it, Mio-san?”

“Um… could you, just for now, call me Sasaki-san?”

Yes, from here on out we’re going to have a serious talk.

I want to avoid getting my feelings stirred up by Toma-kun calling me by my name… I want to get used to it quickly, but it will still take time.
For now, this is the only measure I can take.

“Huh? Call you by your last name? Ahh, okay… Sasaki-san.

(Why my last name?)

Toma-kun, who doesn’t ask such questions, is really something… He must have understood my feelings well and didn’t want to pry.

As I thought… there’s no way he’s not popular.

“I wonder how many times you have been in a relationship with a woman so far…”

“W-What’s with the sudden question…”

“The only thing I know is that you don’t have a girlfriend, so it’s okay if I ask a little more, right? Besides, I’m interested in the romantic experiences of people I know.”

By being called by my usual name, I was starting to regain my composure.
I was able to push Toma-kun around with my words like I did when we were in the bar.

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“Well, there’s nothing interesting to tell.”

“That’s okay.
I just want to know.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you then… I was confessed to in high school and we dated for a while.”


A feeling of discomfort stirred in my heart upon learning that Toma-kun had been in a relationship with another woman before.

It was natural that I felt that way because I wanted to have Toma-kun all to myself.

“But we broke up after a month.

“What? After just a month? Was there a reason?”


Toma-kun hesitated for a few seconds, then let out a slightly pained voice…

That’s why I need to act like I always do.

“What are you doing… Toma-kun? That’s a despicable act, you know? If I were your girlfriend, I’d beat you up.”

“Oh, no no.
It’s not like I was two-timing.
It was my ex-girlfriend who…”

“Hehehe, I’m just kidding.
I know you’re not the type to do that kind of thing.”

“Oh, if you say so, it makes me happy.”

Toma-kun’s face cracks a small smile as he scratches his cheek bashfully.

If Toma-kun were the type to cheat, I think I would lose faith in humanity.
It’s only been a year since we started dating, but I trust him that much.

“Is there anything else?”

“That’s all.”

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“I see… There really wasn’t anything interesting.”

“But didn’t say it was okay, Sasaki-san?”

“That’s right… I’m sorry.”

I knew it was insensitive, but I tried my best to hide my excitement.

After all, my crush has only been in one relationship before… And it only lasted a month.

Maybe they held hands, but the chance that he’s kissed his ex is low.
The chance that they’ve done anything more than that is even lower.

And, there isn’t much difference between me who has never been in a relationship and Taiga-kun who has been in a one-month relationship.

(I’m so happy…)

I can’t say such things even if my life depended on it.
I can’t tell anyone.

Toma-kun’s consideration doesn’t come from his experience in love, but from his experience working at a part-time job, a bar, and I have come to that conclusion.

“So, that’s why I still have some anxiety.
This is the first time I’ve told anyone, Sasaki-san…”


A thin film resembling mist covers Toma-kun’s face.
At this moment, “happy” is overlaid with “want to comfort” Toma-kun.

I’ve never seen Toma-kun with this expression before…

“If I were to date someone, I’m worried about whether she might two-time me again…I have no intention of dragging my past with me, but it just keeps coming back to me…”



Silence falls…the first silence since we arrived here.

“I’m sorry for bringing up such a dark topic…”

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“Toma-kun, this is the first time you’ve told me this, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Well then, I should tell you something too.
It wouldn’t be fair otherwise.”


I gathered my courage here…

Toma-kun had confided in me his anxiety for the first time, so I wanted to do something in return… That’s what being older is about.

“I… I’m completely devoted to whoever I’m with, to the point where I won’t be beaten by any other woman… I won’t even consider two-timing.
Instead, I’ll..
make sure my partner is completely mine.
I’ll make them unable to imagine being with anyone else but… me…”

With my handbag on my back, I smiled at Toma-kun.

“So, Toma-kun, why don’t you try to catch a girl who is as faithful as that? There must be girls who think of you in that way.”

I gently put my hand on Toma-kun’s shoulder and took two, three steps forward, avoiding looking directly at him.

“That’s it then, Toma-kun.
I’ll be going now.”

“Huh, ah, I’ll…I’ll see you off.”

“It’s okay, I’m fine here.
You should go back and rest both your body and mind.
I had fun today.
Let’s meet again at the bar.”


I don’t know what kind of face Toma-kun made while listening to me… He might be thinking I said something weird… I’m scared to look back…

I turned the next corner at a speed comparable to that of the cat from a certain Ghibli movie, and ran on the sidewalk like a cat burglar.

My face is so hot that it feels like it’s about to burn.
I’m probably turning red.

“Why, why, why am I such an idiot…? How embarrassing… How could I have tried to act so cool…?!”

That day, Mio, in her desperation, finished drinking black coffee for the first time at home.

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