Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love
"W-w-what did you just say?!" Yousuke asked surprised as he stood up from his seat and slammed both of his hands on the table.
"Shhh! Relax, Ikari-san!" Kazuma said embarrassed and put his finger on his own lips to signal Yousuke to be quiet.
"Ah, ahem, sorry..." Yousuke cleared his throat and apologized.
He calmed down but his face was a little bit red after he embarrassed himself.
It was a rainy Sunday noon when Kazuma and Ikari Yousuke were eating lunch at a family diner.
"Ehm, did you just say that you've found out the location of the leader of 'The Owls of Tokyo?'" he whispered while he was leaning closer on Kazuma.
"Well, how should I say... I know where he will be but not when..." Kazuma replied as he scratched his head awkwardly.
"Huh?" Yousuke was confused.
"But don't worry! Today I'll know the date. I just need to wait for my slav-"
"I just need to wait for my henchman." Kazuma corrected himself.
"Were you just about to say slave?" Yousuke asked awkwardly.
"Don't concern yourself with details." Kazuma ignored his question.
"It's highly possible that the elite of the gang will show up on that date and location. I will send you more details if I know more." Kazuma said in a serious manner.
"Fine. But could you tell me how you were able to pinpoint the location? And who is your accomplice?"
"Seems like I have to start with my accomplice. Well, let's just say that he owed me a huge debt and somehow managed to infiltrate their ranks under my command." Kazuma told him only half the story.
There was no way that Kazuma could tell Yousuke that he found the one who organized the whole kidnapping and beat him up before blackmailing him. On top of that, the person was Kirisaki Ken. If the police ever caught wind of it, it would be more than just a huge scandal. In the end, it would also only hinder his plan to catch Shinya.
Therefore, Kazuma decided to protect Ken for the time being.
"And the location?"
"A gut feeling."
"..." Yousuke was perplexed.
"Ah! Speaking of the devil! My henchman is calling me."
Kazuma's phone was ringing.
"Fine, go ahead." Yousuke signaled him to take the call.
Kazuma picked up the call.
"Yo, what's up?"
[Don't act cozy with me!] Ken reprimanded him.
"Fine, fine. Now what did he say?" Kazuma asked as his tone went serious.
[Today in two weeks. Usual time and place. That's all.]
"Heh, seems like he took the bait. Good work." Kazuma snickered.
[Could you leave me alone no-]
Kazuma ended the call before Ken could finish his question.
"Two weeks, huh?" Yousuke was in thoughts after he overheard their call.
"Yeah, I'll send you the details on a later date. Let's finish our lunch before it gets cold."
"Oh, right. Fine."
Thus, they finished eating lunch before both of them went their separate ways.
While he walked home, Kazuma noticed that he received new messages.
[Are you really sure with taking them on?]
Surprisingly, Ken texted him.
[You worried or what?] Kazuma wrote back in a mockingly way.
[Watch your mouth.]
[Shinya seemed pretty pissed off after I relayed your message.] Ken added.
[And that's my intention.]
[Shinya knows who I am. If I piss him off, then he won't hesitate to assemble the core members to get fight me.] Kazuma explained.
[But why do you want to pick a fight with the main force?]
[Because my main goal is to eliminate the whole gang. If the main squad gets defeated, then the whole gang will quickly start to crumble.]
[Well, my job's done right? Am I free now?] Ken asked shamelessly.
Kazuma sighed again before he put his phone back in his pocket without answering.
"Now there's only one thing left to do..." he mused.
With the date and place for the confrontation with Shinya and the others being confirmed, Kazuma only had to wait. However, there was still a matter that was lingering in his mind. It was a topic which he wanted to get off his chest for weeks.
It was his past. He wanted and promised Yui to reveal everything. And yet he always hesitated. He was scared.
What if she would distance herself from him? The thought of being losing someone important again made him shiver.
With a depressed and thoughtful demeanor, Kazuma finally reached the street of his house.
"Oh, Kazuma-san! Good day!"
He looked into the direction of the voice and saw Emma who was wavering her hand to him.
"Emma? What are you doing here?"
"I was on my way to to Yui-san's house."
"Oh, you're visiting her?"
"Yes, we wanted to try on some yukata for the fireworks festival next Saturday!"
"I see. That's why you have a suitcase with you." Kazuma said as he pointed at her suitcase which was big enough to contain enough stuff for a one week trip.
"Well, We have a lot of them at my house. So I thought that it would be a waste to not try them all on, hehe..." she laughed awkwardly at the amount of yukatas she brought with her.
Kazuma wore a smile that did not reach his eyes which tried to hide his worries.
"Is something wrong? You seem worn out." Emma remarked.
"Oh, n-no. Nothing is wrong." Kazuma waved his hands in denial.
"Hmmm..." she stared him straight into his eyes as she leaned closer.
Token by surprise, Kazuma had to take a step backwards.
"Are you sure? Does something worry you?" she asked him again.
His eyes widened after she guessed correctly.
"Bullseye! Call it a woman's intuition!" she smirked triumphantly while she crossed her arms.
Kazuma heaved a sigh again.
"Yeah, you're right..." he admitted as he looked down with a melancholy smile.
Emma turned serious and came nearer.
"Do you want me to listen to your worries?"
"It's fine. I don't want to bother you with my worries." he replied and started to walk away.
She grabbed his hands before he could walk away.
"As a friend, I want to help you!" she stated with determined eyes.
Kazuma took a deep breath and relaxed his body.
"Fine. Let's talk while we walk." he suggested with a still half-heartedly smile.
Emma nodded her head and also began to walk.
"Well, I have a cousin whom I'm really close to. He sent me a message yesterday to seek for advice concerning his best friend. His best friend is someone he sees almost everyday. They would hang out every time they see each other and have lots of fun. He feels relaxed and comfortable in his friend's presence. And as time went on, my cousin could not imagine a day without hanging out with his friend." he began.
"However, my cousin did something horrible in his past. He often tried to reveal his past to his friend but the words were always stuck in his throat. It was his anxiety. He feared that his best friend would leave him after hearing it. Therefore, he asked me what he should do. Should he try to tell his friend or should he just stay quiet about it?" Kazuma continued.
"And to be honest, I don't know which answer is correct." he finished.
"I see..." Emma said as she was in thoughts.
While Emma was thinking silently, Kazuma noticed that they almost arrived at Yui's house.
"That's a complicated question... But if I may add my opinion, then he should take into consideration if his friend is truly a person who would leave him after your cousin entrusted him with his past." she said thoughtfully.
"I mean, they spent a long time together, right? A bond like that shouldn't be underestimated." Emma added as her usual smile returned on her face.
Kazuma was speechless as his mouth opened a little in astonishment.
"I see... the bond..." he muttered.
"Yeah, that's it!" he said as his voice became more vivid.
Kazuma grabbed Emma's shoulder tightly.
"Thank you, Emma! That's the answer!"
This time, his smile came from the bottom of his heart when he thanked her.
"N-no problem! I-I'm glad I was able to help!" she replied clumsily.
Not noticing that they already stood in front of Yui's house, the door was opened.
"Oh, Emma, there you are! Huh, Kazuma?" Yui, who opened the door, greeted them.
Emma, who noticed that they arrived after Yui greeted them, was still embarrassed due to Kazuma holding her.
"Ah, Yui. Seems like we already arrived. Well, I'm going home then. Have fun." Kazuma said and let go of Emma's shoulders.
"Leaving already? Why don't you stay here? It's your chance to see two beautiful girls holding a fashion show for you, hehe." Yui joked.
"Nah, I'm good. Maybe next time. I have to call my cousin!" Kazuma replied instantly.
Then, Kazuma ran to his own house and vanished from the sights of the two girls.
"Cousin? He doesn't have one." Yui stated as she tilted her head in confusion.
"Hehe, seems like he is a bad liar, huh?" Emma, who saw through Kazuma's story, giggled.