Chapter 9:

Memories 1

Game Gyaru

“That was a lot of fun.” Shiuka was still living off the high she got after their team up at the arcade. Even after a full day had past and the pair were now at home after school. Personally, Hakuta tried to move on from it. All he was focused on was starting up his Toystation to go check out some possible titles to download.

While he was not one to rely heavily on digital copies for his favorite games. His current situation meant building up a physical library was impossible. Aside from space issues, at least with downloads there were also free-to-play games. So he could not worry about costs. “We should do that again.” She suggested.

“No, we shouldn’t.” He reminded her that it was best they try and avoid having their friends be friends with each other. As weird as that may sound. Not to mention that he also didn’t want to continue to get closer to her either. “Stop acting like we’re buddies because we’re not.”

“Come on, why not?” She pouted at him, arms placed onto her hips. “I know I was a bit cold to you at first, but you’re not that bad.”

“Well, that’s nice and all, but I don’t care about what you think of me.” He responded.

“What’s your problem?” She asked him in a tone of annoyance. “I’m trying to make this work and you’re being fussy.”

“Because I didn’t want any of this in the first place.” He countered her point. All Hakuta was focused on was trying to get through his teen life as peacefully as possible. “Sure, you’re having fun with this, but this is my life we’re talking about. So he aired his frustrations out to her with a long winding monologue not worth listening. In essence, it was easy to tell how he was feeling. “Even if my old life sucked, I still liked it better.” At least back then there was more variety to the games he could play.

So back to his gaming time. Hakuta decided to download a free game called ‘Trip Gals’ where matches were done with dozens of people tried to advance through obstacle courses before a certain number of others did so.

“I’ve heard of this game.” She sat down besides him and tried to pull away the controller. “Can I play?”

“Don’t just yank that away from me.” He scolded her as he ripped the controller back under his control. “I haven’t even tried it yet, and we don’t have any other controllers either.” Not that he’d want to play with her. Not only was this Shiuka he was talking about, but split screen didn’t seem like a fun idea with a game like this.

“Fine.” She got up and stormed out. Not to her room, but instead straight out of the house. While that was an odd reaction to him, the boy didn’t care about that. As soon as this game was done downloading, he’d be enjoying what he did most. After some time of waiting, all that was left was to matchmake into a lobby.

It was absolute chaos as he attempted to navigate the level while competing against the 50 or so other people. Not the world’s biggest challenge, except for how floaty the controls were. How was this something enjoyed playing so much when the developers couldn’t get that tightened.

Still, he was able to pass through the first level in the top ten. So despite not having played this before, the boy was capable of doing well in it. Not a surprise given his years of experience had trained him to be able to learn quickly on the concepts of different games.

“I’m ba~ck!” While he was going through the next level, Shiuka had made her return. She seemed to be quite cheerful, so he wasn’t certain why she left in the first place. “And I got this.” In her hand, there was a plastic bag where she produced another game controller for the Toystation. “So now we can play together.”

“What?” In his shock, Hakuta made a mistake and his character ended up getting killed. So he was eliminated from the match. “Darn it.” The boy quipped as he was loaded back into the main menu.

“Great, since you’re ready to start another game. Can I join?”

“No.” He rejected her without a second of hesitation. “And why would you? I thought you didn’t care about video games.”

“You’re always on that game console.” She informed him that it would be weird if he continued to separate from her in this manner. So she decided to join him.

“Never mind.” He got up and handed her his controller. “You can play on your own, I’m going to my room.”

“You’re never any fun.” She pouted as she took the controller and turned off the console. “Whatever, I’m going to cook some dinner. How about you make yourself useful and clean up the place?”

“I’m not supposed to be the maid.” He remarked, but did as she asked. At least while he was living here, it would be best not to allow it to fall into a pigsty. So he began at the simple spots, such as his room and the bathroom. While going through the hallway and taking care of dropped clothes from her, a lot of which included panties he really wished he didn’t have to deal with. That only left one place left on the second story. “Are you fine if I go into your room?”

“Go ahead, I’d love if you cleaned all of it up.” She yelled from the kitchen. Her voice was hardly audible from how far they were. There was no way he would do all the work she should be doing. In fact, he didn’t ask for the sake of cleaning for her. This was just so he could go in and grab her homework. While he was here, there was no way she was going to shirk on her duties.

So the boy slowly opened up the door to her room. It was just as bad as the first time he set foot in here. How did this girl live in such a terrible room. While he hated to admit it, she was absolutely stunning in appearance, so how could she remain that way when she slept in a place like this? Was makeup that powerful, or was there something about this girl he couldn’t understand?

As he tried to walk through all the trash, the boy scanned the room for anything that resembled homework or a school bag. On her desk, there appeared to be a large book, so that must’ve been it, he figured. When he went to grab it, Hakuta opened it up to take a look at the materiel only to realize this wasn’t some school project.

It was something related to school, but not what one would consider academic at all. Instead, it was filled to the brim with photos of her and her friends goofing around and having general fun. To him, it was a bit weird to have them printed up in a book like this. Aren’t girls like her supposed to be oversharing themselves on social media?

Then he turned over to the next page. Somehow, despite not caring for what he was seeing, the boy was a bit engrossed in seeing what was next like reading a book. Perhaps it was just a force of habit as he peered to what was after this, which was what brought about surprise to his face as his eyes lit up.

The following pages were not of her and her friends. Instead, they were laced with pictures of the many classmates they had, all candid shots of them living their high school life as normally as possible. There were his friends, helping out the class representative with a comment written by her about how they’re only doing it because she’s a girl. There were a lot of comments next to each picture of students with commentary from Shiuka. Despite what he viewed to be her selfish and air headed nature, she seemed to be insightful about the people around her.

Finally, he landed on a photo that gave him pause. After all, this was him sitting alone at his desk. The caption read, ‘There goes Hakuta playing video games again… Does he ever think about our time here?’. This wasn’t a recent photo either, it had to have been taken early on in their school year seeing as he was playing on his handheld gaming device.

“Actually, there is something I need to grab from my room…” His actions were interrupted as she walked in unannounced. Fair, since this was her room after all. When she saw him with the book, she gave out a loud scream and rushed past all the junk towards him. She was so quick, he had no time to react before she ripped it away from him in embarrassment. “What are you doing, going through my stuff?”

“I just thought that was your homework.” He defended himself. This was a bad look for him, appearing as though he was snooping around for blackmail material. “I wasn’t trying to be weird or anything.”

“It’s just kind of embarrassing if you’re going through my personal pictures.” She held the book tight to her chest. Shiuka’s demeanor had taken a major change, as she seemed much more reserved in his presence. “I like keeping memories of our time in high school. You know… To remember our youth by.”

“Well, I guess that fine.” He spoke in a manner to downplay the idea. For some reason, there was something about viewing those photos that made him feel funny. The boy had no way of explaining as to why his heart was tight after seeing her scrap book, as well as seeing her in this manner. “Not like our youth is that important, or worth saving.” Carefully, he stepped aside to get past her and out of the girl’s room.

“Of course our youth is important.” She replied. “How can you not care about something so precious?”

“Of course a gyaru would feel that way.” His words were piercing as it was his turn to sound different than usual. “For girls like you, this is your peak.” With that, he left her in silence as she now stood alone in the room.

“Why would you say something…” Shiuka hugged her book of memories tightly. Tears began to form in her eyes and were it not for her arms, the book would’ve gotten wet. “...So mean?” 

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