Bizarre Love Triangle – VIII


“Wait, you’re into Io Mizusawa? I mean, yeah, she’s definitely one of the top three hottest girls in our year, but she’s so laid back. I don’t think she’s even interested in guys. Also, if you try to get too close to her, Iizuka’s gonna step in. Get past him, and Haruki Kitahara pops up. I heard he’ll just talk and talk at you and wear you down until you give up. And the guys who actually managed to ask her out get told something like, ‘Sorry, I’m just focusing on basketball right now.’”

 

“You wanna date Takeya Iizuka? Yeah, he does have a sweet face, for all the showing off he does. You’re probably cute enough that you could date him. But you won’t get him all to yourself. There’ll be other girls. Could you handle that? Also, you’d better not say anything bad about Io Mizusawa or Haruki Kitahara around him. He’ll dump you in a second, and he won’t be nice about it.”

 

“What? You’re interested in Haruki Kitahara? I guess you could be that delusional, if you weren’t in his same class… Look, since the day he got here, he’s consistently made the top scores on every school test, except for getting second-highest in English sometimes. He does also have the leadership thing, so that could be promising, but… I’m guessing you’ve never been on the receiving end of one of his lectures. They’re like concrete. I don’t think any girl could handle that.”

 

***

 

This is the story of one of the “fabled three” who are so tied with the snowy season, and the two who were outside of it.

The story of the two who exhausted our protagonist with their mutual love constantly (and equally mutually) stifled.

It is a story that has very little to do with the main tale.

But it is a story of the two people who, just maybe, accidentally honed our hero’s worst weapon—that of the lie, told for someone else’s sake.

 

For the next three years, Haruki, Io, and Takeya carried on in their “bizarre love triangle.”

Every time Takeya found a new girlfriend, Io felt a deep agony, and a number of times she tried to cut off the relationship. But, every single one of those times, Haruki’s maneuvers and persuasions moved her, and she held fast.

During their second-year school trip, Takeya once again asked Io out.

But Io had just been appointed the new captain of the girls’ basketball team, and was in a harried state over issues between team members.

Once again, he was rejected, harshly.

This discouraged Takeya considerably. Not bothering to hide it, he began womanizing again, even more rampantly than before.

Io, however, gradually grew used to Takeya’s relationships, always so brief, with girls. To the point that she managed to cheat her own feelings, thinking it might be best that she simply keep one eye on her flawed friend.

Meanwhile, in spite of Takeya’s extraordinary awareness of the ins and outs of human emotions, a certain problematic assumption of his—that there was one particular girl whose emotions he could never trust—only worsened.

And in the spring of their third year, Haruki, sandwiched between these two and their complications, was invited to join the Light Music Club by Takeya, in the interest of creating a few memories here at the end of their high school life.

Despite a lack of talent or musical sense, he began to practice the guitar.

However, petty turmoil among the other club members over a certain circle-breaking girl caused the club to crumble.

Left alone with the school festival right before his eyes, Haruki managed with record timing to get in contact with two girls.

One of them had been expelled from the Music Department, the one who sat in the seat next to Haruki’s for their third year, always either napping or grumpy.

That was the frustrated prodigy pianist, Kazusa Touma.

The other one wore the mask of a prim and perfect girl, and beneath that varnish was lonesome, terrified of being left out, pitiable.

That was Miss Houjou High, the queen of solo karaoke, Setsuna Ogiso.

In order to make their performance on the second day of the festival a success, the three of them rehearsed like crazy at Kazusa’s home studio.

Those brief but intense pre-festival days.

And the legendary show—the final and greatest day of them all.

That bittersweet season passed, and then came winter. Haruki found himself with two red threads wrapped around him—one connected to Kazusa’s little finger, the other to Setsuna’s.

Sewing him into the tapestry of that most dearly beloved, most deeply painful love triangle.

 

***

 

“For christ’s sake, could you two just pull it together, please…?”

Empty draft beer mugs, plates scattered with snack crumbs.

Tomo Yanagihara set her elbows on the bar table, looking at the drunk, dozing faces of Takeya and Io, and sighed heavily, muttering to herself.

A full three years had passed since Haruki’s graduation.

Haruki, Setsuna, Io, and Takeya were all seniors in college. Tomo was a junior.

Haruki, after many twists and turns, had begun dating Setsuna.

Io and Takeya, on the other hand, remained stagnant on that front.

“You could start dating whenever. Just do it. I know you say it’s for Setsuna and Kitahara-senpai’s sakes, but now I’m stuck in the middle while you go on and on trying to sound each other out…”

Tomo Yanagihara was the aforementioned “circle-breaking girl.” As a high school second-year at the time, she was desperate to snatch the Miss Houjou High title from Setsuna Ogiso, only to fall completely captive to her after seeing the Legendary Show. Through the use of complicated means and tricks, she became close friends with Setsuna.

In February of their third year, Setsuna and Haruki “made up” and began dating again. At that point, Tomo took over Haruki’s position with Io and Takeya, which brought many occasions for her to spend time with them.

“Granted, after they’ve been working for a bit, we’ll probably start hearing about Setsuna and Kitahara-senpai getting married… And once we get to that point, Mizusawa-senpai and Iizuka-senpai might not be far behind.”

Tomo’s analysis had led her to realize that, on top of Setsuna and Haruki’s love story, Io and Takeya had a “strange love” of their own going on.

“If Setsuna and Kitahara-senpai can make things work, their own relationship will probably go well, too. That must be what they’re thinking.”

          I don’t know about that, though. Letting Setsuna and Kitahara-senpai’s path have this much sway over them…

Tomo snorted.

“I mean, if she were to come back from winning second place in the Trusty International Piano Competition, who knows what would happen to Kitahara-senpai…? Whoa-ho, there’s a scary thought. But…”

          She’s practically a god, though. Probably no need to worry.

So Tomo told herself, chuckling and lightly flicking the napping Io and Takeya on their foreheads.

 

(End)


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