Chapter 16:

And, just like that, Okumori Toshiro figures it out.


In the possession of Shiori’s small and dainty hands, were two hangers. And attached to the two hangers, were red panties, and a red bra. More specifically, they were a pair of red bikinis.Bookmark here

An astonished, small gasp exited my body as my expanded eyes set upon the outfit. There was a warm sensation that encased my head as I went absolutely motionless, completely at a loss of thought at what was in front of me.Bookmark here

What the hell? How did you even get that so quickly? Why do you even have that? Have you not comprehended the fact that I’m a male?Bookmark here

Miyake was dead silent. There were no sounds that I could hear from her as I motionlessly stood beside her.Bookmark here

Say something, you idiot! You’re just making it even more awkward!Bookmark here

I’d finally turn my eyes over to Miyake, and instantly learned the reason as to why she was speechless.Bookmark here

Her whole face was in the vibrant color of bright red, with her eyes enlarged and her mouth in the form of a flurried smile. Her hands were in front of her chest, and her fingers twitched every few seconds as she continued staring at the lascivious outfit. Only after a few more seconds of a tricky silence that was between all of us, Miyake would finally speak. Or, attempted to.Bookmark here

“Um… Er… I-I don’t- I’m not sure…” Miyake apprehensively said.Bookmark here

“Ehh? Are you sure, Miyake-senpai? It’s pretty cute…” Shiori examined it.Bookmark here

“N-No, it’s not that, Shiori-chan. I-I’m sure it’s cute, but, um, Ki-kun’s here.”Bookmark here

Shiori looked up at Miyake. It was unclear to what expression she had because of her concealed face, but if I had to guess, it was probably a poker-faced one.Bookmark here

“... Oh.”Bookmark here

“Yeah…” Miyake whimpered.Bookmark here

“But, what’s so wrong with that? Okumori-senpai has seen you naked before, right?” Shiori then said.Bookmark here

I gulped after hearing her bizarre question, then looking away from the two.Bookmark here

“Huuh?!” Miyake then instantly shrieked, her withdrawn attitude earlier completely disappearing in a matter of seconds. “No! He has not!” Bookmark here

In fact, it’s the complete opposite. I’m still not fully recovered from that incident, nor will I ever be. Bookmark here

Shiori paused.Bookmark here

“Y-You guys haven’t done the-”Bookmark here

“No! No, no!” Miyake frantically waved her hands.Bookmark here

I then moved my head even farther away from the two.Bookmark here

“We’re nothing like that, Shiori-chan!” Miyake then laughed. “I mean, I have seen him-”Bookmark here

In a nimble manner, I chopped the top of Miyake’s head from pure instinct before she could even finish. Bookmark here

“Owie!” She cried.Bookmark here

She placed her palms towards the area I had hit and rubbed it while sniffling.Bookmark here

Idiot.Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

We then both gazed over at her and noticed that she had been standing inertly. Bookmark here

“Oh…” Shiori weakly uttered again.Bookmark here

Eventually, the bikinis that were in her hand started to gently lower. I could only presume that the realization hit her, much like a truck.Bookmark here

“Sorry! Sorry, sorry! I’m so sorry! I thought you two were in a relationship!” She then subsequently yelled while bowing to us continually.Bookmark here

“Miyake-senpai said something about a harem! A-And I thought it meant that she had a liking towards Okumori-senpai! Harem is like, err, when multiple girls like a single male, right? I-I thought that’s what it meant! I didn’t know that it meant friendship! I’m sorry!” Bookmark here

You took that seriously? How naive are you?Bookmark here

I stared daggers towards Miyake right after hearing Shiori’s apology.Bookmark here

She’d seem to notice my glare, starting to scratch her head mousily.Bookmark here

“Haha… Mm… That… That was a joke.” Miyake stammered.Bookmark here

A stupid one, that was.Bookmark here

“That means you guys aren’t together, right? You don’t like Okumori-senpai?”Bookmark here

I sighed, then looking away once more in aggravation.Bookmark here

There was a faint grunt that I could hear from Miyake before her voice drastically changed.Bookmark here

“No. I don’t. Not even a-”Bookmark here

She then abruptly stopped, only letting out a small and indistinct gasp.Bookmark here

Shiori became silent, as I peered back over to Miyake.Bookmark here

… What happened to her, “Ohmigod! I was just joking! We’re just frieeeends!” tone? Now, it was just a blunt, and surly one. It was simply horrifying, because I’ve never heard this irascible tone of hers at all. Bookmark here

But, well, I know I probably shouldn’t be surprised. I don’t even know Miyake all too well, anyways. It’s only been a few weeks ever since we’ve known each other, so it’s obvious that we’d both be completely blind to each other's selves. Bookmark here

This is just normal, isn’t it?Bookmark here

Shiori stood tensely after hearing Miyake, then quickly bowed once more.Bookmark here

“I-Yes! Sorry!” She yelled. "Um! I’ll get another outfit now for Miyake-senpai! G-Goodbye!” Bookmark here

She waved at us, then swiftly ran off to other aisles, while me and Miyake continued to stand in the stiff silence. Only after a few more seconds, she'd finally break it with an obscene question that made me rather uncomfortable.Bookmark here

“... Hey, Ki-kun, do we really look like a couple to others?”Bookmark here

I stared at the floor phlegmatically and calmed down, starting to ponder her question.Bookmark here

“If you see a male and a female standing beside each other, it’s only reasonable to assume of it that way.”Bookmark here

People will assume the most inane things about others. Even without proof of their nonsensical belief, they’ll believe it, because they don’t have any other excuse. Until they are proven wrong, they choose to hold onto that ludicrous speculation.Bookmark here

But, why assume, if you have a mouth to spout out that thought? Bookmark here

Won’t you only damage yourself if you keep quiet about a surmise that’s most likely fallacious?Bookmark here

Miyake kept quiet, only letting out a timid nod.Bookmark here

“You think its jealousy?” She asked after her noiseless reaction.Bookmark here

I shrugged.Bookmark here

Why would anyone be jealous over this in the first place?Bookmark here

I breathed in and looked up at the luminescent, glaring light that was attached to the ceiling.Bookmark here

Well, jealousy is also dangerous. It’s just as dangerous as assumptions and rumors, if not worse. We’ll do anything for that desire, even if it means breaking our morals just to please us. People are very impatient, no matter who they are. It is built into us because we’re so used to the instant gratification from society. We’re so used to the thought of obtaining what we want almost instantly, so it shouldn’t be long for them to go to drastic measures just to get what they so crave.Bookmark here

For example, a man would rather enter a different restaurant if the previous one was full. He’d rather not waste thirty minutes of his time if there is another option that can please him just as well.Bookmark here

And, well, If a desperate man wanted Miyake, he can go to extreme measures just for that desire. Or, he can find another girl to crave for.Bookmark here

In much simpler words, we’re lazy.Bookmark here

But, still, why would anyone even want this relationship we have?Bookmark here

A relationship where don’t trust each other, where we hide behind walls to hide our thoughts and past, where we’re so distanced apart to the point we can’t even manage to have a decent conversation because of my hatred towards her; all of it. What is even remotely fun about any of that? Bookmark here

Do they just hunger and salivate by the idea of Miyake? Or Miyake as a person?Bookmark here

Miyake would note my silence, then clearing her throat.Bookmark here

“Well, not that I really care… People can think what they want to think, ya’ know? Plus, it steers me away from all the creepy guys.” Miyake giggled.Bookmark here

I directed my gaze back to Miyake with narrowed eyes.Bookmark here

You’re despicable. Bookmark here

She’d meet my sight, then smiling even wider.Bookmark here

“You know, sometimes, I don’t really mind if they make those assumptions. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really harm me, and it makes me feel safer. Especially with you around, I feel like you’d scare any guy who’s willing to attempt.” Bookmark here

I continued to stare at her in annoyance, then shaking my head and sighing.Bookmark here

… Ah. I see what type of person you are now.Bookmark here

“You say some pretty edgy stuff, though. Like, I feel like that you’d just seem weird to others if you told them your pessimistic thoughts…”Bookmark here

As if your statement about ‘perfection’ earlier was any different in terms of edginess.Bookmark here

“Also, you talked again! Does that mean you’re finally getting comfortable with me? Haha! That was quicker than expected!” She sparked with joy.Bookmark here

Hearing her ridiculous statement made me irritated.Bookmark here

“No. I just can’t keep my mouth shut when you say those idiotic things.” I sharply said.Bookmark here

Don’t get it wrong, you monkey. Just opening my mouth to say even a single word makes my body overflow with regret.Bookmark here

“Ehhh? I was sure that was the case…” Miyake groaned. “Oh well, I’ll take it anyways.”Bookmark here

Knowing I couldn’t argue with her already made decision, I only shook my head again in discontent. Really, how annoying can you truly be?Bookmark here

“U-Um… Do you like pastel blue, Miyake-senpai…?” A shy voice said ahead of us.Bookmark here

We both looked over and saw Shiori’s head peeking from the end of the aisle.Bookmark here

Everything that she had been using to mask her identity was now all absent, revealing her delicate, and round face. Her frightened, scarlet eyes was set upon us, and her chestnut-colored cowlick hair was perked up as she cowered behind a clothing rack. Her cheeks were cherry-red, with her lips in an unsure and shaky form.Bookmark here

Miyake seemed to disregard Shiori’s question, and was completely frozen in place. She’d raise her finger towards Shiori unhurriedly, and started to dribble on her words.Bookmark here

“Y-Y-You…”Bookmark here

I watched Miyake in perplexity, wondering why she was stammering so much. Her eyes were heavily expanded, directing over to Shiori’s face, and had a jaw-dropped mouth as she looked upon the idol. Bookmark here

“You’re so cute! I completely forgot how you looked! Oh my god!” She then remarked in a yelling voice right after.Bookmark here

“H-Huh?!” Shiori exclaimed.Bookmark here

She’d realize Miyake’s compliment, only to whimper softly with her cowlick sinking down, retreating back into the clothing rack. She connected her hands together and moved them around nervously, then opening her mouth.Bookmark here

“Thank you…” She weakly said.Bookmark here

Haven’t you already seen her, Miyake? Why are you so surprised?Bookmark here

“Ki-kun! Look! Look!” She faced me.Bookmark here

She’d lift her hands and set her right palm on my hair, and placed her left palm on my chin, then pulling it over, forcing my whole head to face the direction of Shiori. Her hands were cold, and very smooth as they connected with my skin, and it made me discomforted and irritated. I tried moving my head, but Miyake’s desperate hands were more powerful, causing me to lock my head in place l as I eyed Shiori.Bookmark here

I know what she looks like, you idiot! Stop it! It’s uncomfortable!Bookmark here

I growled and grabbed her wrists, clenching them tightly as I tried to pull them away. But, my attempt was to no success, because her grip was much like of a gorilla. Bookmark here

“Look! Are you seeing it?!”Bookmark here

I can see it clearly, dummy! Shut up already and let me go!Bookmark here

She’d then let go, only to wrap her arms around my neck tightly and getting in my face with happiness. I could feel her breath, smell her perfume, and even see my reflection in her eyes. She had inquisitive eyebrows, and a frown on her face.Bookmark here

“Ki-kun is very lucky, you know. You have two very beautiful girls that’s given you the privilege to be called friends! The other guys at school would kill to have this! Be happy, Ki-kun.”Bookmark here

I slightly reddened at her statement, but it disappeared in a second as she tightened the grip on my neck and pulled me down. She’d use her knuckle to scrape my head violently, giggling as she did so.Bookmark here

I didn’t ask for this ‘friendship,’ monkey! Stop it! It hurts!Bookmark here

Finally, she’d stop rubbing my head, but didn’t let go of me. I’d look up and watch her raise her hand, which was followed by an excited cheer. I froze, then giving my eyes back to Shiori.Bookmark here

“Also, I love pastel colors! Whaddya’ got?”Bookmark here

You didn’t forget about that after all, did you?! Did you just want to torment me even further?!Bookmark here

Shiori paused, surprised by Miyake’s excitement. Bookmark here

“U-Um.” She stammered.Bookmark here

She’d then hesitantly step forwards, and present the outfit she had picked out, all the while looking away timidly while the clothing in her hand wavered dubiously.Bookmark here

“I’m not sure if you’ll like it though…”Bookmark here

There was a white-pleated skirt that was in her possession, along with a crew neck sweatshirt that had the color of pastel blue on the middle section, creamy white on the right and left section of the torso as well as the shoulders all the way down to the elbow. The forearm section of the sweatshirt was the color pink, while the right was pastel blue, just like the front. Bookmark here

Finally, there were three cute cats on the chest area that had its arms and head peeking over, all in a cute, chibi style, with the one in the middle having a small adorable halo above it.Bookmark here

Well, that’s cute.Bookmark here

“How much is it?!” Miyake instantly spoke upon seeing it.Bookmark here

Shiori flinched at Miyake’s sudden yell, then stumbling upon her words again. She’d lift the hangers in front of her to conceal her, then muttering quietly. The hangers moved while she spoke, making it seem like they were the ones talking.Bookmark here

“I-It’s four-thousand seven hundred yen.”Bookmark here

There is no way Miyake is going to spend almost five-thousand yen just for an outf-Bookmark here

“I’m getting it! I’m so getting it! It’s so adoraaablee!”Bookmark here

Miyake rushed forwards, releasing me and grabbing the outfit from Shiori’s hands. She inspected it for herself, beaming at the sight, grinning and giggling contentedly as she eyed the clothes. Her eyes sparkled, and her voice got more high-pitched by the second.Bookmark here

“I’m going to try it on! Is that fine, Shiori-chan? Shiori-chan?” Miyake leaned close.Bookmark here

How is Shiori physically younger... But more mentally smarter than you? Bookmark here

Shiori nodded. “S-Sure!”Bookmark here

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Miyake hugged her.Bookmark here

“Y-Yes!”Bookmark here

“I’ll be right back!” Miyake said, pulling away from Shiori and running off, disappearing from our eyes.Bookmark here

H-Hey! Don’t leave me with the socially inept child, you idiot! Come back here!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.