White Album 2 manga online
Volume 4, chapter 4
Haruki: I might not make it in time for the mass.
Setsuna: I told you, you don’t have to apologize.
Chapter title: SESSION20
Best Friend for Life
Setsuna: It’s just like you to end up taking care of somebody else in the middle of an overseas trip, anyway.
Setsuna: How is that person doing?
Haruki: Should be fine. There don’t seem to be any broken bones or anything.
Setsuna: Thank goodness.
Haruki: Anyway, I promise I’ll meet up with you later, okay?
Setsuna: Yeah. I’ll be waiting.
Narration: That was a lie.
Haruki: I got the first-aid kit.
Haruki: Can I come in?
Kazusa: I told you, you don’t have to go that far.
Haruki: But we have to disinfect it and put a poultice on, at least…
Kazusa: Fine, get in here. I’m cold.
Haruki: All right.
Haruki: Who are you here with?
Kazusa: Huh? Why?
Haruki: Well, this is a twin room…
Kazusa: …You really wanna know that badly about the guy I brought with me?
Kazusa: Hey, I’m kidding.
Kazusa: It’s my mom. She got dragged off somewhere yesterday.
Kazusa: What about you? You’re here with Setsuna, right?
Narration: I should have known this topic would come up if I asked.
Kazusa: Are you two, um… m-married, or…?
Haruki: …I’m planning on proposing to her soon.
Kazusa: No kidding… That’s great!
Narration: Suddenly, the ring in my pocket started to feel much heavier.
Haruki: Well, I guess I’d better…
Youko: Kazusaaa… Are you still asleep?
The mass is over already…
Youko: Oh, dear!
Youko: I hope I’m not interrupting anything.
Kazusa: Interrupt—no, he’s just treating me…
Youko: You’re looking a little happier than that.
Kazusa: Shut up!
Youko: I was a bit worried, but I suppose everything will be all right now.
Kazusa: What will be all right, exactly?
Youko: But, it was supposed to be tomorrow, Guitar Boy. Why are you here already?
Kazusa: What?! Tomorrow?!
Haruki: Kazusa-san was injured, and I happened to run into her on the way to the mass.
Youko: Hm. “Happened to”…
Haruki: I’m all done, so I’ll get going now.
Youko: See you tomorrow!
Kazusa: Wait, Haruki! You could explain a little—
Narration: In the end, I didn’t give Setsuna the ring.
I couldn’t even tell her I’d seen Kazusa.
Having finished my work, I returned to Japan, assailed by a murky sense of self-loathing.
Caption: Several days later
Haruki: Um… Yes? What is it?
Coworker: Something’s been weird with you ever since you got back to Japan.
Haruki: Sorry about that. I must be a little jetlagged still…
Coworker: It’s been a few days. Are you sure you aren’t just fatigued?
Coworker: By the way, about this interview with Kazusa Touma… You didn’t make up anything that you forgot to ask about, right?
Haruki: No, of course not!
Coworker: I figured. But, it did say that her next performance in Japan was unconfirmed…
Well, there’s just been an official announcement, and she’s going to be performing here in a month.
Haruki: But… I was sure…
Coworker: Well, she’s Youko Touma’s daughter. It really might have been a rush decision.
Coworker: Kazusa Touma is in Japan as of today.
Coworker: The plan is to meet with her at the concert for an exclusive interview.
Can we count on you for that, Kitahara?
Haruki: …No, I’m sorry. My workload is about to put me over the edge as it is.
Coworker: …I see. That’s too bad.
Coworker: With the incredible response your article about her drew, we were hoping…
Phone: Incoming call
Setsuna: Sorry to call you out so suddenly.
Setsuna: I just saw the news…
and I couldn’t sit still…
Setsuna: Did you see the announcement about Kazusa’s concert?
Setsuna: Isn’t it crazy? She placed in the Giovanni International Piano Competition!
Setsuna: Apparently, only eight Japanese pianists have ever placed in it!
Setsuna: And now that Kazusa is world-famous, she’s coming back to Japan to play piano… It’s like a dream…
Narration: Talking about Kazusa is making it hard to breathe…
I can’t hide it any more…
Haruki: Actually… I saw Kazusa.
Haruki: The night we were planning to go to the mass… At Strasbourg.
Setsuna: I knew it.
Setsuna: I mean, I kinda had a feeling!
Setsuna: I wish I could have seen her, too.
Setsuna: maybe I was the only one who felt that way?
Setsuna: I can’t quite get my thoughts in order right now.
Setsuna: …When I do, I’ll get back to you.
Setsuna: I’m gonna head home now.
Narration: I don’t know whether telling her the truth was the right or wrong thing to do.
But, I’m sure it was better than continuing to lie.
Haruki: Sure. I’ll be waiting.
Narration: Whether it was really for Setsuna’s sake, or whether it was just to make myself feel better…
Narration: When I’m at home, the self-loathing torments me more.
Narration: That day, I couldn’t make myself want to go home, so I fled to YcDonald’s to keep working.
FX: Vrrrt vrrrt
Kazusa: Haha. Sorry, it’s not Setsuna.
Kazusa: I knew I couldn’t rely on you.
Kazusa: What the hell was with that reporter? I told him to back off, but he kept following me…
Kazusa: I dropped my bag, I lost my phone…
Narration: In those words, muttered like someone having a nightmare, I got the feeling that something serious had happened.
Haruki: Hey, where are you right now?
Kazusa: Beats me… I mean, I seriously don’t know.
Haruki: Aren’t there any landmarks around?
Kazusa: Uh, I can see a YcDonald’s from here.
Narration: Without even thinking about it, I gave her a hand…
HarukI: …a Yac?
Kazusa: Food, Haruki.
Haruki: God, you had me worried for nothing!
Kazusa: That’s a hell of a thing to say to someone who’s sick.
Kazusa: Just shut up and make that nasty vongole rice soup.
Narration: According to Kazusa, the media were chasing her down, and then she got cold while she was running away, so she took refuge in that phone box.
Then she got a fever from being out in the cold that long, so I brought her home to warm her up.
…That wasn’t wrong, right? That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
Haruki: It’s hot, so be careful.
Kazusa: Disgusting as usual.
FX: Chew chew
Haruki: Oh, thanks.
FX: Chew chew chew chew
Haruki: And, suddenly, it’s all gone. Guess it was tasty enough.
Kazusa: Shut up.
Haruki; Hey, no! You need to lie down!
Haruki: I’ve put out a change of clothes for you on the bed.
Kazusa: I know, I know.
Kazusa: Hey, Haruki.
Kazusa: …Can I ask you something?
Kazusa: These are girls’ pajamas, right? Setsuna’s?
Haruki: …Eh, well.
Kazusa: I figured…
Haruki: Sorry. If I knew you were coming, I’d have woken her up…
Youko: How long has this been going on?
Haruki: Almost twelve hours now.
Youko: That long?!
Youko: Maybe I should doodle something on her face…
Youko: Hmm… Wow. This is really unbelievable.
Youko: …Hey, will you keep looking after her like this?
Haruki: Ha ha ha ha!
Haruki: Don’t even joke about that, Youko-san.
Youko: I’m serious.
Youko: Did you really turn down that exclusive interview, Guitar Boy?
Haruki: …I have too much else going on.
Youko: You really hate the thought of hanging around with her that much?
Haruki: That’s not what I…
Youko: Well, I want everyone to know…
Youko: the true face of Kazusa Touma.
Youko: As you know, the girl is frequently misunderstood.
Youko: I know she’s likely to have a lot of secrets dug up and exposed from here on out.
Youko: And, coming under blows like that… She’s timid and easily hurt. It’ll leave her completely ragged.
Youko: So, before that happens… I want you to show everyone, and Kazusa herself…
Youko: the side of her that appeals to you so much. The side she’s only ever shown you.
Youko: You can consider this job your farewell to her.
Youko: Please… Let her go.
Youko: Well, I’ll be waiting for your answer, Reporter Kitahara.
Narration: Like Youko-san said, I still haven’t cut Kazusa loose.
After the day we wept in each other’s arms at the airport, we never once promised to stop thinking of each other.
FX: Zzz zzz
Narration: If that’s been keeping Kazusa bound, then I have to let her go, and bid her farewell, for real.
Narration: After that, a strange, shared life began for us—what we would call “close coverage.”
Haruki: Don’t just eat the meat!
Kazusa: Shut up.
Tomo: Kitahara-saaan! Are you theeere?
Tomo: If I just put it through here, will he find it…?
Tomo: Honestly! Where could he be, this late?
Tomo: Ugh, whatever.
FX: Click click click
Envelope: Your girlfriend is going to be there! You’d better show up!
Kazusa: A ticket?
Haruki: I’m back.
Haruki: What’s wrong?! Did your fever come back?
Kazusa: I want you to tell me what’s been going on with you two for the past five years.
Narration: I had no idea why Kazusa had brought this up so suddenly.
But, from that serious look in her eyes, I knew…
that the time had come to tell her everything. No more lies.
Narration: How I kept hurting Setsuna for three years, and stole her song from her.
How the snow thawed, and she was able to sing again.
How, after we graduated, we both got so busy with work that the time we had to spend with each other lessened, and we couldn’t keep up with the change in circumstances…
and, still, together, we managed to overcome that difficulty so common among lovers.
Narration: After I told her all of it, Kazusa gave a small sigh.
Kazusa: Here. Your reward for spilling all that.
Kazusa: Someone slipped it through the mail slot.
Kazusa: I mean, you get to hear your true love sing, right? That’s great.
Kazusa: You should take a bouquet with you. Make sure you hold her real tight.
Kazusa: I know she’ll be happy.
Haruki: Oh, no, my work…
Kazusa: I’m gonna stay at the studio tonight.
Kazusa: Should be back tomorrow evening.
Kazusa: So don’t come after me.
Narration: I couldn’t possibly tell her right now…
Narration: but, for that matter, with the life I’ve been living lately, do I even deserve to show my face around Setsuna?
Narration: …When I’m done with work… No, when Setsuna contacts me… I’ll tell her.
Until then, I’ll deny myself her singing voice.
Haruki: I’m back…
Haruki: Wait, why am I even saying…
Kazusa: What’s with that face? I told you I’d be back in the evening.
Haruki: Well, I guess…
Hey, the ticket…
Kazusa: Yeah, I took it.
I wanted to see Setsuna, too…
Haruki: Did you talk to her?
Kazusa: Nah. Just listened from a distance.
Haruki: I see…
Kazusa: Setsuna was really sparkling.
Kazusa: When I thought about how there were three years’ worth of tears hiding in the shadow behind it…
Kazusa: I felt happy, seeing her smiling and singing, but… my heart hurt…
Kazusa: Do you remember what I said when I joined the Light Music Club?
Kazusa: She could be my worst enemy…
or the greatest friend I’ll ever have. One of those.
Kazusa: Well… The “best friend” thing may not have worked out, but…
Kazusa: even though that was my fault…
Kazusa: I don’t want to become her enemy now.
Kazusa: I can’t…
Kazusa: I can’t do that.
Kazusa: Make up with her, will you?
Kazusa: I’m sure she’s shaken it off by now.
She could forgive you before the day is over.
Kazusa: And when you do make up, don’t ever let her go again, okay?
Kazusa: It’s all right. After the concert next week is over, I’ll leave.
Kazusa: So bear with it until then, Haruki.
Narration: With that sad smile on your face… Which one of us is “bearing with it”?
Which one of us is struggling to endure?
Kazusa: And… And…
Kazusa: …I’m sorry.
Kazusa: Before you and Setsuna make up, please, just once, let me…
Narration: She was so sweet and pitiful that I…
Kazusa: We can’t, Haruki!
Kazusa: You have Setsuna…
Haruki: Only once.
Haruki: Don’t say anything. Do not say a word about this to Setsuna.
Staff: It’s time for the closing party!
Setsuna: Sorry, Haruki-kun.
Setsuna: Just hang on a little longer.
Phone: Haruki Kitahara
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