Friend After School
Two weeks had passed since the part, and the midterm test were no safely over.
May was coming to an end, and they were about to enter the rainy season quite soon.
These days, a certain rumour that [the drugs circulating inside the capital were very quickly decreasing in number] had come to Francesca’s ears as well.
After school, Francesca left her classroom alone and sighed while heading to the bottom of the stairs.
(It really seems like the drug trafficking incident is close to being resolved since the night of the party huh…….)
This was more or less how it happened in the game as well.
(These last few days, I’ve been brooding over that stuff a bit too much. It’s really not good for my mental health. At least before and during the exams, I was too busy studying to waste time over these things but………)
While thinking of such things, she left the school building. Among the crowd of fellow students from different classes happily chatting away and walking, she found the figure of her little bro.
“Young miss………..you’re finally here.”
A sulking Graziano was standing there while being surrounded by a bunch of schoolgirls.
(Are they first-years girls, I wonder?)
While almost shooing away the girls that seemed to be mostly annoying him, he began to walk towards her with long steps. The girls around him looked a bit disappointed to see him leave and dropped their shoulders.
“Graziano-kun if you’re busy today then we’ll take our leave now too. Graziano-kun, bye bye!”
“Graziano-kun’s elder sister as well, goodbye!”
“Huh Me!?……….Oh, uh, yes, goodbye……!”
Surprised and happy from suddenly getting talked to, Francesca blushed and also energetically replied.
They seemed to be all really nice girls, and were cute. Seeing them leave giggling and chatting away happily from behind, did make Francesca feel a bit envious though.
“……….must be nice eh, Graziano. To be surrounded by such energetic friends………”
“Haah? Why would I? having all these girls crowd around me is just plain annoying………that all aside..”
Graziano bent over close, and peeked a look at Francesca.
The girls around them made a noise seeing them close, but it seemed like most of them had already deemed her as [Graziano’s elder sister].
“Look look, those two siblings get along so well always!”
Their surroundings seemed to be smiling warmly at the sight, although Graziano only seemed to sulk even more.
“You refused the carriage ride back today, didn’t you? And you left before me in the morning as well. Why?”
“Didn’t I already tell you? For some time, I’d like to go to and fro from school with my [friend]. In fact, I leave the house before you’re even awake.”
Graziano squinted at her, which made Francesca falter back a little.
And then her cheeky little bro, spoke out frankly as always.
“………young miss, did you actually make a friend?”
“WHY!!? YES I DID!!?”
Why was he making such a legitimate [I don’t believe you] expression?
It was vexing to see his reaction but, Graziano only seemed to doubt her even more.
“In that case, why won’t you let me come with you? I’d like to meet this friend and go to and fro from school with them as well.”
“Graziano you just barely wake up in time to reach school with a carriage no less.”
Graziano was weak in the mornings. Part of it was of course the fact that he would often have family business related work to do late at night, but still, he was really slow in the mornings.
In her mind, Francesca would often call a just woken up Graziano , a [Mochikinchaku that stayed too long in the nabe pot Mode]. (T/N: just google these terms. Japanese food related)
She felt it was a very apt analogy. Mochikinchaku was not something that was available in this world so no one would really understand her comparison however.
“……….Okay mornings may be impossible, but we can at least go together after school right?”
Francesca sighed, put her hands on her hips, and then looked up towards her little bro.
“Stop being selfish. When I say I can’t go with you means I can’t, Graziano. Because……..”
“Oi, the first year over there.”
Hearing a low voice, Graziano grimaced.
The man walking towards Graziano was a silver haired, red eyed young man. It was of course, Ricardo.
“I believe you have been told to attend supplementary lessons. I said this yesterday as well but, you are to head straight to the third school building as soon as normal classes end.”
“See, Graziano? You should listen to what Serranova-san says.”
Graziano muttered in a dull tone. Apparently he had even slept through some of the midterm exams as well, leaving a bunch of his classmates and teachers completely lost for words at his attitude.
Thanks to that, his scores were horrible, and he was instructed to attend supplementary classes. And so Ricardo would come directly to take him to said classes or else Graziano would have definitely run away.
“I apologize on his behalf for causing you such troubles, Serranova-san. I leave Graziano in your care.”
“C’mon lets go, and walk briskly. If we move at your speed, you’ll be fifteen minutes late to the class by my calculations.”
Grabbed by the scruff of his neck like a cat, Graziano was basically dragged away. Before leaving, Ricardo turned to look at her just once.
And he gave a serious and sincere bow towards Francesca, before leaving.
(Ever since the party incident, Ricardo seems to be acting like he’s greatly in my debt or something but……)
From what she could tell, he had indeed figured out that Francesca was the daughter of the Calvino family after all.
But Ricardo had made no attempt to talk about it or alluded to it, and had seemed to not have even mentioned anything to his father.
Feeling relieved, she pulled herself together as she began to walk towards the school gates once again.
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(I’m a bit late, I should hurry up!)
Breaking into a quick jog at first, she quickly accelerated to basically a full dash.
Leaving the school, she ran across the brick coloured city, and quickly made it to their meeting spot.
Panting as she finally reached her destination, in front of a flower shop on the corner of the street, her [friend] from school was already there, waiting for her.
Leonardo raised his hand near her face height.
Francesca’s expression instantly lit up brightly, as she quickly struck his hand with her own palm, doing a high five with him.
(Amazing! That was so friend-like…….!!)
Feeling moved by their little interaction, she quickly first apologized for making him wait.
“Sorry, I got caught up a bit!”
“Did you really run here? It’s not like we’re in a rush. You don’t have to go that far you know.”
While laughing, Leonardo stretched his hand towards Francesca.
“See…….your pretty hair is all messed up now.”
Francesca quickly pouted and grabbed his hand and stopped him.
“Hold up! That was not very [friend]-like!”
“oops, guess I wasn’t able to trick her there.”
“……..? Did you say something?”
Francesca stared at her, as Leonardo grinned again.
“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it. And I apologize, it’s just a instinctive habit towards pretty ladies.”
(……..Leonardo is definitely………..even with a friend, he’s the type where he’d end up flirting with them if they’re a girl huh. That’s sad……)
Francesca was astonished.
While they had become [friends], Leonardo’s bad habits were too deeply ingrained and he always seemed to act more like a boyfriend than a [friend].
“Well, you promised me remember. We are not lovers, we are friends. And I haven’t yet given up on annulling our engagement either.”
“Of course. I’m well aware. Though I can’t promise the engagement breaking part.”
(Even after becoming a friend, he still hasn’t given up on his [scheming] side huh…….)
Ever since Leonardo became her friend, like they promised that night, they had been going to and fro from school together.
Taking a detour to the bakery on the way back, getting taken to the general store, she had been truly enjoying a very fulfilling [life with her first friend] together with him.
But today, their objective was slightly different than usual.
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