health care license to work in a general hospital or a university hospital, both public and private.
It’s a job that involves taking care of people who are disabled or sick.
If you don’t like taking care of others, it would be difficult to work there, and Mio probably wouldn’t have gone to this university if that were the case.

“Why do you always assume things like that? And how did you even come to the conclusion that I like older guys…? That bartender is only one year younger than us, you know?”

“Huh? Wait, what? He’s a bartender and he’s younger than us?! I thought he was supposed to be an elderly person or something!”

Not many people associate bartenders with being in their twenties.
They tend to imagine someone in their forties or fifties because it’s a job that requires expertise in handling alcohol.
Nanami was one of those people who had that image in her mind.

“He’s just a part-time worker there.
He’s been working at that bar for about a year.”

“I see, I see.
So that’s what you meant…”

“What do you mean?”

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“Well, Mio-chan, you’re interested in him, aren’t you? He works the Monday shift, and you always leave early on Mondays.
So it’s like you’re adjusting your schedule just to see him!”


Mio had no response to Nanami’s confident accusation as she leaned in closer with a proud expression.

“Th-this is not it… I was just lost in thought.”

“Oh, I see.
Then explain it to me.
You should be able to, right?”

“Um… well… “

Mio was good at connecting her thoughts quickly and speaking, but she stumbled over her words.
Nanami’s words had hit the mark… it couldn’t be helped.

And then… Mio thought of that person and lowered her face, fidgeting with her hands.

“Hey, you’re not saying anything! I thought you were just reacting strangely to the topic of your crush.
Oh, I see, I see!”

“That’s not it! I-I don’t like that person!”

“Well, well, it’s okay, it’s okay! You’ve got a crush!”

“Please listen to me…!!”

“But hey… You said you wanted to talk about your crush, and here you are reacting like that, Mio-chan.
You’ve already got a crush, haven’t you!”

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Nanami teased Mio, slapping her on the shoulder with a grin.
Anyone who saw her previous reaction would assume that she liked that person.

“That’s not… what I…”

“So that’s why you’ve been cutting guys off all this time, huh? Mio-chan, you’re in love with that person.”

They were best friends, so Nanami enjoyed teasing her with persistence.
But that was unavoidable.
Mio had never talked about love before.

Mio might also have a boyfriend… that was a happy topic for Nanami too.

“Come on, we have to hurry home, or you won’t be able to see that bartender! Hurry up and make time for him!”

“I-I don’t care anymore…”

Overwhelmed by the storm of teasing and questioning, Mio, who had turned as red as the setting sun, grabbed her bag and ran out of the classroom.

“Oh no, I teased her too much… I have to apologize…”

Watching Mio run away as if she were fleeing, Nanami muttered to herself and opened LAIN on her smartphone.
Then she sent a text message with a face emoji saying “Sorry about earlier!”

Feeling guilty, Nanami closed her phone and slowly sat down in her seat.

(But…  that man-slayer Mio-chan fell in love with someone…? I wonder what kind of person he is.)

She murmured to herself in her heart while waiting for a message from her boyfriend.

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