Chapter 8:

First Step To Come Closer

Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love

“She must be kidding, right...” Kazuma groaned while  he was still rubbing his forehead.Bookmark here

“Maybe it was something really important?” Emma tried to justify Yui's action.Bookmark here

“Well, whatever. Let's enjoy the pizza without her.” he shrugged his shoulders.Bookmark here

Bzz.Bookmark here

Suddenly, his phone vibrated again. It was Yui again.Bookmark here

[Nice assist from me right? Use this chance to get closer to her! Oh, and did you see her outfit? So beautiful! Try complimenting her, OK?]Bookmark here

“Tch, that little...” he muttered as he was clearly angry and annoyed.Bookmark here

“I-is something wrong? Did Nagisa-san write anything?” Emma asked shyly.Bookmark here

“N-no it was noth- Ah, I mean, yes!”Bookmark here

Kazuma had an idea. Wanting to execute his revenge he leaned over to Emma's ear.Bookmark here

“You know, the flower picking? Well, it was sadly too late...” he said with a sympathetic expression.Bookmark here

If he could, he would have given himself an award for his acting skills.Bookmark here

“O-oh my! Does she need help?” she asked with a shocked face.Bookmark here

“No need. She wrote that she was fine and that we should continue without her.” Kazuma answered with a stern look.Bookmark here

“I-I see. Well, as long as she is fine, I guess...” Emma said despite still having doubts.Bookmark here

In that moment, the waitress came to their table taking their orders.Bookmark here

Now having to wait again until their food came, Kazuma and Emma began their chitchat again.Bookmark here

“Uhm, I've been wondering all the time but you and Nagisa-san are pretty close given that both of you call each other by your first names, aren't you?” Emma stated with a smile.Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, well, I don't know... Hmmm, I guess we are? We're neighbors, therefore we talk a lot with each other.” Kazuma replied uncertainly after thinking for a long time.Bookmark here

“I see! How lovely! I wish I had someone in my age I could also be close to...” she said.Bookmark here

Emma still wore a smile, however, in her eyes a hint of sadness were visible.Bookmark here

“Huuuh?! Aren't you quite popular at school? I thought you would have plenty of friends.” Kazuma raised his voice a little due to being shocked.Bookmark here

At school, Emma was always seen with a crowd of girls and boys who were following her everywhere she would go. It was as if she had her own fan club.Bookmark here

“Ehm... how should I say... To be honest, I have no one whom I could talk to easily. Everybody just keeps their distance from me and just views me as an unapproachable honor student...” she explained.Bookmark here

“I see...”Bookmark here

Emma was right. Every student kept their distance from her as she was an honor student who excelled in everything. In addition, she had the looks of a model and the personality of a saint. She was like their goddess, therefore they saw themselves as unworthy to even consider themselves as someone close to her.Bookmark here

Even though both were honor students, Kazuma was isolated from his schoolmates because of him being too serious and only being focused on his studies what made him also unapproachable.Bookmark here

However, many people at school kept their distance from him because they were scared. They feared him due to certain rumors saying for example that Kazuma was a member of an infamous gang or that he murdered someone.Bookmark here

Despite not knowing if the rumor was true or not, everyone believed the rumor.Bookmark here

“How about hanging out with Yui and me during school, for example during lunch time?” Kazuma tried to cheer her up.Bookmark here

“Really? Can I really join you?!” she exclaimed in joy.Bookmark here

She was so happy that she even jumped out of her seat and leaned over the table to Kazuma to hold both of his hands in hers like an innocent child.Bookmark here

As she held his hands, Kazuma began to blush.Bookmark here

“Y-y-yes, of course!” not only did he stutter but even his voice rose multiple pitches.Bookmark here

“How wonderful! Thank you so much! But is Nagisa-san fine with that?”Bookmark here

“Don't worry. Yui will be as happy as you when she hears that you will join us.” he answered with a confident smile.Bookmark here

“Hehehe, I'm so happy!” she finally returned to her seat and then held her cheeks with her hands in happiness.Bookmark here

Kazuma could only watch her reaction with a smile on his face.Bookmark here

After that, their food arrived.Bookmark here

Thus, they began to eat while chatting with no care for their surroundings and the time. They talked about school, hobbies and trivial topics.Bookmark here

It was the first time in years for Emma to have such a fun time whereas it was the first time in years for Kazuma to openly talk with someone else his age besides Yui.Bookmark here

When they finished eating, they paid for their food and left the restaurant.Bookmark here

“This was delicious!” Kazuma commented with a smile as he stretched his body.Bookmark here

“I can only agree with you!” Emma replied.Bookmark here

“Well then, should we head outside and grab some fresh air?” he suggested.Bookmark here

“Sure!”Bookmark here

After exiting the mall, they noticed that the temperatures dropped down a little bit and that the sun already began to set as the sky was colored in orange.Bookmark here

“Wow, how beautiful!” Emma commented the view of the sky.Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

Kazuma, however, did not pay attention to the setting sun anymore but to Emma.Bookmark here

“Are you fine?” she asked while tilting her head in confusion.Bookmark here

Not noticing how long he stared at her, Emma realized his stare and began to worry.Bookmark here

“Oh, n-no it's nothing...” he waved his hand in front of her.Bookmark here

Yet he remembered something. He thought about Yui's last message. Thinking that this might be the perfect time, he mustered up all his courage again and tried her advice.Bookmark here

“Well, it's just... I thought that you looked beautiful, especially with today's clothes...” he scratched his cheek with his index finger.Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, ehm, t-thank you...” she blushed madly while playing with her hair shyly.Bookmark here

Both of them only stood in front of the mall blushing.Bookmark here

“Y-you also l- kyaah!” Emma tried to say something but someone who exited the mall bumped into her making her fall.Bookmark here

“Oh, sorry.” the passerby said.Bookmark here

“!”Bookmark here

Luckily Kazuma was fast enough to prevent her from hitting the ground. He pulled one of her arms to himself and grabbed her waist to stabilize her.Bookmark here

Now, both of their faces were close from touching each other. They stared each other in their eyes deeply. As a result, their faces were redder than before.Bookmark here

Both of their hearts beat faster than before.Bookmark here

Emma was completely overwhelmed with this situation. Were they about to kiss? In her entire 17 years, there was no moment where her face was this close with that of a boy. She was not ready yet, especially with Kazuma whom she got to know for real today. Should she push him away? But that would only make it awkward between them again. That was something she tried to stop due to her finally having real friends she could hang out with. Not knowing what to do, she could only stare into his eyes.Bookmark here

Kazuma was lost in thoughts. With their faces so close to each other, should he kiss her? Of course he should not but as a boy in that age, he could not win against reason. The fragrance of citrus coming from her was tickling his nose, making it more difficult to resist her. However, deep down, he tried to resist. A kiss would only ruin his entire efforts from today. He did not want to get rejected again and to make it awkward between them again. Starting from zero again was the worst case scenario. Not knowing what to do, he could only stare into her eyes.Bookmark here

Then, after a long time, Kazuma snapped back to reality.Bookmark here

“Ah, I-I'm sorry! Are you alright?” he let go of her abruptly and moved away a bit to create distance between them.Bookmark here

“I-I-I'm fine. Thank you for saving me from falling!” she stuttered.Bookmark here

“N-no problem!”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

The silence returned.Bookmark here

“I-I-I have to go now. Someone will pick me up now!” she stuttered while still having a red face.Bookmark here

“A-alright, see you at school then!” he waved his hand.Bookmark here

“Yes, see you then!” she waved her hand back and then walked away.Bookmark here

When she was nowhere to be seen anymore, Kazuma also decided to walk home.Bookmark here

During the time he walked home, he did not notice that he wore a smile for the entire way back.Bookmark here

Finally at home, Kazuma quickly made himself ready for bed.Bookmark here

Being in his bed, Kazuma took out his phone and wrote Yui.Bookmark here

[Hey, Yui. Nice assist!]Bookmark here

[I know right?] Yui replied right away.Bookmark here

[Did you also took my advice and complimented her outfit? Girls love to hear when someone praises their looks!] she continued.Bookmark here

[Yep, I did. Thanks for the advice!]Bookmark here

[WHAT! I didn't expect that you actually had the courage to do that! I'm proud of you!]Bookmark here

Kazuma did not know if he should be angry or proud after reading her message.Bookmark here

[How lowly do you think of me...] he wrote.Bookmark here

[Good night!] she dodged the question.Bookmark here

“That sly fox...” he said to himself while his eyebrows twitched due to being infuriated.Bookmark here

He put his phone away and decided to go to sleep. However, he remembered something yet again. It was something he wanted to say all the time but always forgot to say.Bookmark here

Kazuma took his phone again and was typing a message before he went to sleep.Bookmark here

Meanwhile in the building next to Kazuma's house, Yui, who was also in her bed and ready to sleep, got a notification from her phone.Bookmark here

“Hm? Another message from Kazuma?” she said to herself.Bookmark here

She proceeded to open their chat to read the message.Bookmark here

[By the way, you also looked nice today.]Bookmark here

As she read the message, she began to blush a little bit and put her phone away before hiding her face in her pillow.Bookmark here

“D-don't surprise me like that, idiot...” she muttered with a reddened face.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.