Finally, finally! I'm starting to catch up with everything that piled up while I was out of commission!
This chapter is a full-length side story that is chronologically located right after Chapter 38. It's all about Utako, and a little about Maa-kun. <3
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The tagline on the cover page says "I don't like you anymore, not at all. So don't get so full of yourself!!"
As the chapter starts, Utako and some of her friends who she went to the same elementary and middle school with but different high schools (I think) are at a cafe looking at their old pictures. The friends remark on how pretty Haruka has gotten since they last saw her, and tease Utako about how she used to bully Haruka at first. In her thoughts, Utako narrates that she admires Haruka for not wavering in her feelings even though her love seems impossible.
Just then, they notice Maa-kun walking by and call him in. He greets Utako and her friends, Yocchan and Kumi-chan, who are surprised and happy that he remembers them from elementary/middle school. They make small talk about the pictures (Maa-kun recognizes another former classmate and asks how he's doing these days). Meanwhile, Utako narrates that Maa-kun is a sissy-man who is infatuated with Haruka and won't give up no matter how many times she rejects him, and that in spite of this, he always acts like he's really cool.
Utako teases Maa-kun by offering him a picture of Haruka and he glares at her and tells her he doesn't need it. The other girls can't figure out if the two of them have a really good relationship or a really bad one. One of the girls asks Maa-kun if he knows about Utako's new boyfriend. Utako gets irritated and tells her not to bring that up, and says that he's not really her boyfriend anyways. The girls complain that Utako won't tell them anything about him.
The scene changes and Utako and Maa-kun are walking home from the cafe. Utako narrates that she wants to move forward and not waste her time on a love that she knows won't go anywhere. Maa-kun asks if Utako's going to Shinichi's house but she says that she isn't because she didn't make plans ahead of time. Maa-kun tells her it's fine to just show up but she insists that's bad manners.
Then Maa-kun brings up Utako's boyfriend. He asks her if she's dating someone and she answers vaguely (Something like, "Yeah, I guess.") Maa-kun mentioned that the girls were saying Utako's boyfriend was a college student and finally she confirms that the guy she's seeing is her tutor's friend and classmate at university.
Maa-kun makes an off-handed remark, something like "I wonder if that's really okay?" and Utako angrily asks him what he means by that. Maa-kun says he doesn't mean anything by it, particularly, but he wonders if she can really trust that guy. Utako reacts offensively and accuses Maa-kun of having a complex about girls dating older men because of his situation with Haruka. Maa-kun coldly asks her what that has to do with this and Utako said it has everything to do with it because it's what's in his head. Then Utako accuses him of putting on airs and trying to act like an adult lately, because of his insecurity over the girl he likes choosing an adult over him. Once again Maa-kun calmly denies it and says he doesn't have any desire to act like 'that old man.'
Just then a voice calls out, chastising them for arguing noisily on a busy street like this. It's Oogaki with his wife and daughter, who appears to be around 5 years old and looks exactly like a female version of her father. Oogaki asks them where they're going and invites them to go out to eat. Maa-kun and Utako are hesitant at first to intrude on a family outing, but Oogaki's wife, who is obviously pregnant, explains that she and her daughter are on their way to her parents' house, where she will give birth to her second child. Apparently Oogaki is too busy with an unpredictable work schedule so she decided to give birth in her hometown where she has her family to support her and look after her other child which she's recovering.
In the end, Utako and Maa-kun end up going with Oogaki to a yaki-niku restaurant. Utako complains that the smell from the restaurant will get into her school uniform and Maa-kun tells her to go home if she doesn't like it (lol!) and he also says that if Oogaki's treating, of course he's going to pick a place that serves meat. Utako remarks that [it's impressive/unexpected to see] Oogaki is doing a good job as a father. Oogaki replies that when it's your own child, they're cute even if you don't generally like kids.
The turn their attention to the menu and Maa-kun starts ordering a whole bunch of meat, a giant bowl of rice, etc. Oogaki laughs and says that Maa-kun really hasn't changed. Maa-kun indigently protests that a person's favorite foods won't change just because they got older. Utako watches the two of them with an expression of wonder (?) on her face. Maa-kun turns to Utako and recommends the chilled noodles to her, which Satomi eats every time she comes to this restaurant.
As if she hadn't heard what he said to her, Utako tells Maa-kun "You should always be like this." I'm not certain, by my interpretation of this comment is that she prefers this authentic version of Maa-kun who is a little bit childish and acts like his real self over the version that he is always projecting lately, the 'cool' and 'mature' Maa-kun.
Maa-kun doesn't understand what she means and he and Oogaki stare at her until Utako snaps back to her senses and says it's nothing and agrees to try the chilled noodles. To herself, Utako says "Thank goodness, "Maa-kun" is still in there..." I think she thinks of the cool, mature and fake version of him as "Sugita-kun" and his true self as "Maa-kun."
The scene changes again and Utako is on a date with her boyfriend. He leans in really close and asks her if something good happened. Utako gets surprised by his nearness and jolts away. Boyfriend explains that she had a look on her face like something good had happened. Utako denies it, and her boyfriend changes the topic and invites her to go for a drive in his car for their next date. He tells her that he wants the two of them to have an chance to talk some more and he wants to hear her 'answer.' Presumably he asked her to be his girlfriend previously and she asked him for more time to consider it, or something. Utako agreeds to the date, thinking to herself once again that she wants to move forward and have a happy love.
The next scene takes place on the day of the promised date. Maa-kun is at the convenience store shopping for some caned catfood for Sakura when a flashy looking guy, Utako's boyfriend, walks by, talking on the phone. Maa-kun browses through the magazines and the guy comes to stand next to him, so Maa-kun can hear his conversation. Utako's boyfriend is telling his friend that he's going on a date with 'that highschool girl I told you about before.' He says that he originally was interested in Utako because she looked like an easy lay, but she's proven to be hard to crack, but he thinks he's almost there. Just then, Utako arrives and her boyfriend hangs up. Maa-kun is shocked when Utako and runs right up to the guy and apologizes for making him wait. His name is finally revealed, by the way; Utako calls him Yagi-san.
Maa-kun calls out to Utako, who is surprised to see him. Yagi-san asks if Maa-kun is an aquaintance of Utako's and she says that he's her friend. Utako drags Maa-kun off to the side and asks what he's doing here. He explains that he came to get food for Sakura. Utako blushes when she realizes how close they are and turns away. Maa-kun asks her if she's on a date, and if this means she has a boyfriend after all. Utako responds "So what?" and Maa-kun tells her to give up on that guy.
Utako is surprised and turns around and slowly asks him what he means. Maa-kun tells her again to give up on a guy like that. Utako says "Huh??" and Maa-kun explains, "I don't like him." Maa-kun makes an arrogant but handsome face, and Utako is blushing and angry at the same time. Utako asks why she has to be told something like this by him of all people, and he said that if that's what he thinks he has to tell her, because they're friends. Utako argues that being friends has nothing to do with it and Maa-kun insists it does. "Because we're friends?" Utako asks again. It's clear that she hates being reminded over and over again that they are only friends.
Utako says to Maa-kun "Even though you're one-sidedly chasing after someone, you're telling me not to...? You're the last person I want to hear that from." Yagi san is starting to get impatient and demands to know how long this is going to take. Maa-kun responds aggressively, "Sorry, but I'm not letting her go anywhere with you."
Utako is touched by these words, but when Yagi-san starts to angrily respond to Maa-kun Utako placates him by telling him to wait in the car because she'll deal with this and be right out. Yagi-san leaves, angry.
After Yagi-san is gone, Maa-kun tells Utako that you can see what kind of guy Yagi-san is from the way he acted just now. Utako explodes and asks him why he's intruding when she's trying her best to move on. She tells him that if he's her friend, he should cheer her on. Maa-kun won't budge and tells her it's impossible, "I don't want you to date a guy like that. I'm worried about you."
Utako is touched that he's concerned about her, but it also seems to draw her feelings for Maa-kun to the surface, which is painful. She tells Maa-kun to leave her alone and he says he can't. Utako yells at Maa-kun that if he can't leave her along, he should take responsibility by not leaving her alone. Utako starts crying and takes back what she just said, because she was just fooling around. Maa-kun gets a grave look on his face and Utako calls him an idiot for making a face like that and taking her seriously.
Maa-kun tells Utako once again that his feelings aren't going to change, so she should forget about him. In her thoughts, Utako calls Maa-kun a stupid, irritating man, and then she runs out of the convenience store with Maa-kun calling after her.
When Maa-kun leaves the store a little while later, he's surprised to see Utako standing just around the corner alone. He starts to ask her what she's doing there, but Utako says freely that she dodged a bullet. Maa-kun starts to say that he thought she'd gone with Yagi-san, but Utako says "As if I would! I can't stand that guy! He's arrogant and looks down at others. I knew that from the beginning!" Maa-kun is astounded but then bursts out laughing.
Then Utako tells him to take his punishment for his shoddy treatment of her like a man. While Maa-kun cringes and prepares for his punishment, a flick to the forehead, Utako tells him that even if he says that his feelings won't change, neither will Haruka's. When Maa-kun opens his eyes and starts to protest about being flicked, Utako surprises him with a passionate kiss.
Maa-kun is in shock, and Utako tells him that her feelings won't change either, then runs off, calling over her shoulder that it serves him right. In her thoughts, Utako admits that she really loves him. She narrates that he's stubborn and clumsy, but strait-forward, and she vows that someday she'll change his mind.
On the last page, Maakun smiles hopelessly, watching her go. Utako calls back to him to stop posturing and acting cool because it doesn't suit him, and she calls him Maa-kun. He yells back to her not to call him "Maa-kun."
// End of Chapter
Chapter 39 will be released 2/28