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They knew

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When she came back to the hospital, she sensed something was wrong.

She came to her daughter’s room and she was quietly lying in her bed, looking at the roof almost motionless.

“Aya?” she called her. When she heard no answer coming from her, she approached her. She noticed she was wearing her pajamas and her hair was damp. “What happened? Are you okay?”

“… Kawamoto-senpai didn’t come.”

“What?”

“Though I knew, deep inside, he wouldn’t come, I still…” she closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m such a fool… waiting in the rain like this…”

“Aya.” She called her again. She touched her hand and squeezed it affectionally. “Why didn’t you tell me? You could have caught a cold!”

“It’s fine. Asou-kun brought me back to the hospital.”

“Eh? Asou-kun?”

Aya sat up and looked at her directly in the eyes.

Okaa-san… I… I told him.” She said, her eyes shining with new unshed tears.

“Told him, you mean…”

“I-I told Asou-kun about my disease.”

What?

“… Why?” she whispered, too shocked to raise her voice. She could feel a knot forming in her throat.

“I-I don’t know… I just… I was so disappointed… so upset… Kawamoto-senpai didn’t show up and, instead… Asou-kun came to get me… to let me know senpai wouldn’t come…”

“He only came for you to tell you that?”

She nodded, smiling bitterly.

“He even brought an umbrella to protect me from the rain…”

Aya could still feel his hand grabbing her wrist gently to stand her up and drag her back to the hospital. He didn’t say anything; he didn’t even look at her. Once she was safe in her room, he silently let go of her and left.

Shioka, on the other hand, she was… genuinely surprised. She was sad her daughter got so disappointed in her first date, but… she didn’t think another guy would come to look after her.

Why would Asou do that?

“… Did he say something?”

“He didn’t say anything after… I told him.” She half-lied. Aya didn’t want to tell her mom about her breakdown, though she was almost sure she already knew. She was her mother, after all.

“So… what are you going to do now?”

“I really don’t know. It just… I needed to get this out of my system. When I needed someone the most… he was there… I’m sorry, okaa-san.”

Shioka shook her head and embraced her.

“It’s your decision who you tell, Aya. I don't have the right to judge you. Besides, there should be a reason, right? There must be something… in Asou-kun that you can rely on when we’re not around, right?”

She kept silent.

Her husband would be so upset if he heard any of this…

Call it maternal instinct or whatever… but she knew.

Why would her daughter confess her condition to a random classmate?

She wouldn’t.

Asou was special.

Since then… she knew.