Chapter 3:

Best Friends...

Skipped a Beat

8th April 2019. I started to change. After meeting with Sachi, I wanted to change myself. I will change myself. After all, my hatred towards women is slowly fading since I'm sitting with a girl right now, alone. Bookmark here

"Oh yeah, you haven't told me yet about why you hate relationships so much" (Sachi)Bookmark here

"It was just something that happened to me in first year of middle school"Bookmark here

"Tell me"Bookmark here

"Do I really have to?"Bookmark here

"Please…"Bookmark here

"Ahh…. fine"Bookmark here

"Yayyy, story time"Bookmark here

"…"Bookmark here

(1st April 2015, Wednesday, Takahashi is 12 years old, A first year middle school student)Bookmark here

Yes! As always, the first name in the list, Class 1 - C. This is great, if I can also maintain Top scores in middle school too. Maybe I'll get some kind of reward or something. It's 08: 30, I should hurry, or I'll be late for homeroom.Bookmark here

(While sitting in the class, after homeroom ended)Bookmark here

Huh… A girl just came in class running… She can't seem to catch her breath, for how long has she been running? Oh, the teacher just came in too.Bookmark here

(After school ended, Takahashi just went home)Bookmark here

(The next day, 2nd April, after homeroom)Bookmark here

It's that girl from yesterday, she's coming towards me… does she want to talk to me? Wonder what's it about…Bookmark here

"You are Takahashi Tanjiro right?" (the girl)Bookmark here

"Yes… you are?"Bookmark here

"I'm Aiko Sakata, nice to meet you"Bookmark here

"N..Nice to Meet… you too..."Bookmark here

Man, I'm shivering, can't even speak right. What should I do? She's so pretty, talking to me… why?... I should ask her thatBookmark here

"Haha, why are you so nervous, I'm not going to eat you!" (Aiko)Bookmark here

She's so cheerful, get your shit together Takahashi or she'll think you are weird and leave…Bookmark here

"Ha..ha..ha.. You know… you are so pretty; I can't seem to control my excitement that someone like you is talking to me"Bookmark here

Shiiiit, what did I just say… now she's going to think I'm a weirdoBookmark here

"Haha, I like you; you are so honest… want to be friends?"Bookmark here

The hell… just like that?Bookmark here

"Ha..ha… ok, I would love to be your friend, so… what did you come to talk about ?" Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah, I wanted to tell you that I'm right below you, in scores. I wanted to see what that person is like, the top-class student"Bookmark here

"Now you know… haha…."Bookmark here

"Yeah!" (smiling)Bookmark here

(After school)Bookmark here

"Hey takahashi! want to walk home together?" (Aiko)Bookmark here

"But I don't know if your home’s in the same direction as mine"Bookmark here

"Me neither, but we'll find out if we just start walking together, when one of us takes a different turn, we'll say goodbye"Bookmark here

"Yeah… Ok, that's great!"Bookmark here

(They both start walking together and when they step outside the school gate)Bookmark here

"Huh… My home's this way (Takahashi pointing left)"Bookmark here

"And mine's this way (Aiko Pointing right) "Bookmark here

"haha…" (Both Chuckled)Bookmark here

"I see, so our little experiment ends here. Well, that's unfortunate, but that's that" (Aiko)Bookmark here

"Yeah, well then, I'll see you tomorrow, Goodbye!"Bookmark here

"Even though I wanted to walk a little bit more… but Goodbye!"Bookmark here

"Me too!" (Takahashi smiling)Bookmark here

(Present, 16: 25)Bookmark here

"That's a lovely story, and you sound like a totally different person from now" (Sachi)Bookmark here

"This was my first interaction with that Bitch!"Bookmark here

"Oh… So that's the person that changed you?"Bookmark here

"Yeah..."Bookmark here

"She sounds like a nice person, what did she do? "Bookmark here

"It's not just what she did, it's also how and when…"Bookmark here

"Continue… I'm listening"Bookmark here

(13th May 2015, Takahashi's birthday)Bookmark here

It's been a month since I have been friends with Aiko. Today's my birthday and I invited Aiko to my party. I wonder if she'll come. If not, then there are other friends I invited to my party too… What if she thinks it's weird to have birthday parties at this age…? Well, nothing can be done if she does think like that. Because I invited her already. Ah! someone's at the door...Bookmark here

"You came!" (Takahashi to Aiko)Bookmark here

"Of course, I would have"Bookmark here

"I thought I was a boring person..."Bookmark here

"If you were, I wouldn't have stayed friends with you"Bookmark here

"Right!... Everyone, my room's upstairs, let's go up to my room "Bookmark here

(Now, everyone's in Takahashi's Room, the party lasted 5 hours, it's 20: 00 right now, everyone's leaving)Bookmark here

Man, this was great. Sad that it has to end… huh… what's Aiko doing to my bag?...Bookmark here

"What are you doing?" (Takahashi from outside the room)Bookmark here

"Nothing, just… I'm coming"Bookmark here

"Ok… what's in that paper bag you are holding?"Bookmark here

"Nothing, just some DVDs I have to deliver to a friend on the way home"Bookmark here

"Of what?"Bookmark here

"Anime"Bookmark here

"Oh… so you watch anime"Bookmark here

"Yeah, do you?"Bookmark here

"No, I only read novels when I have some free time"Bookmark here

"It's Soul for a Soul, it's really good, I'm sure you'll like it. Give anime a try too sometime, ok?"Bookmark here

"Ok… maybe… sometime"Bookmark here

(After this, Aiko left)Bookmark here

Now I have to study for the maths test for tomorrow, it's easy but I should study anyway, it's not like I have anything to do. (Takahashi opens his school bag). Huh… what's this? A DVD… "Soul for a Soul"...Bookmark here

"It's Soul for a Soul, it's really good, I'm sure you'll like it. Give anime a try too sometime, ok?"Bookmark here

So… it's that "Anime" Aiko was talking about…The cover looks so cool. This must be my gift, maybe I should give it a tryBookmark here

(Puts in the first CD)Bookmark here

(After this, Takahashi forgot that he had a test tomorrow. Instead, binged the whole anime. This was his first-time watching anime and staying up all night)Bookmark here

Wow… that was amazing… Now what...? What was I doing before starting Soul for a Soul…? Oh yeah, I have a math test tomorrow… wait… what time it is … OH SHIT! It's 08: 15, school starts in 15 mins, I have to get ready, or I'll be late… and the maths test is TODAY not tomorrow, I stayed up all night, didn't even know that it was the next day already…Bookmark here

I'm late so I should take my bike to school, don't want to be late...Bookmark here

Yes! It's 08: 30, I somehow made it in time, didn’t even have time to eat breakfast. I feel so sleepy and tired…Bookmark here

"Hey Takahashi!"Bookmark here

"Oh… Hi, Aiko..."Bookmark here

"Did you get the gift I left for you last night?"Bookmark here

"Huh…? The anime ? Yeah…. I watched it… last night… complete... it was amazing"Bookmark here

Aiko thought to herself: Yes! He's completely sleep deprived now. I knew it, Soul for a Soul would work. Now… let's see how you perform on your maths test now Takahashi… heh...Bookmark here

"I know! right? That's why I told you to watch it, I knew you would like it"Bookmark here

"Yeah..."Bookmark here

(During maths test)Bookmark here

Aaaah…. My head hurts… what's this? I have to use the Pythagoras theorem? What was it? I can't remember the formula… dang it! Now what? I should have prepared for the test instead of watching anime… now I can't get full marks on this___Bookmark here

(Takahashi collapses from the lack of sleep)Bookmark here

"Sir look, Takahashi just collapsed all of a sudden" (classmate)Bookmark here

"He seems unconscious, take him to the nurse's office immediately" (teacher)Bookmark here

"Yes Sir!"Bookmark here

Aiko: huh… I didn't think he would lose consciousness because of lack of sleep. I guess he was just too weak to pull an all nighter.Bookmark here

(Present, 16: 40)Bookmark here

"Oh, now I get it… she was just jealous of you, getting 1st position every time" (Sachi)Bookmark here

"Yeah, she never intended to be friends with me, she just wanted to fuck up my life so that she could get the 1st position"Bookmark here

"Why was she so obsessed with 1st position anyway?"Bookmark here

"Apparently, in her elementary school, she was always first. But in middle school, I came in her life and took that position for myself, because of which she always came second in every test we took"Bookmark here

"That's her problem, I mean work hard Bitch!"Bookmark here

"Yeah..."Bookmark here

"But aren't you a little bit glad that she introduced you to Anime?"Bookmark here

"Well… you could say that, but what she did is unforgivable"Bookmark here

"So… what did she do?"Bookmark here

(14th May 2015, After Takahashi collapsed)Bookmark here

(It's been 5 hours since Takahashi collapsed. He's sleeping on a bed in the nurse's office right now. It's 14: 10)Bookmark here

Nurse: it's been 5 hours and he's still sleeping, he must have tried too hard to study for the test today, he looks like such a good boy but careless, when he wakes up, I'll tell him to take care of himself too, not just the studiesBookmark here

(Takahashi wakes up at around 15: 00, Aiko is there too.)Bookmark here

"For how long have I been sleeping?"Bookmark here

"Almost 6 hours..." (Aiko)Bookmark here

"Oh… so the maths test?"Bookmark here

"You Didn't complete it, you collapsed midway… geez, who told you to binge it in one night, you should have slept too, you know how weak you are, don't try crazy stuff on your own, I was worried sick you know"Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, I won't do that again, now I have to retake Maths’s test, this is the first time I'm going to retake a test"Bookmark here

Aiko: shit, what if he doesn't watch any anime after this, but I can't just say that don't stop watching anime, I want him to ask me more about Anime, that way I know that he's actually interested, and it won't affect my planBookmark here

"There's a first time for everything!"Bookmark here

"Yeah"Bookmark here

(After School)Bookmark here

Man, today was a disaster. But Soul for a Soul was Worth it. I should ask her if she can recommend me some new Anime Bookmark here

"Hey Aiko, do you have the DVDs of some other anime that I could watch? I really liked Soul for a Soul"Bookmark here

Aiko: Yes! He hasn't given up on animeBookmark here

"Yeah, I'll bring them tomorrow if you want"Bookmark here

"Great, what's their title?"Bookmark here

"I have 2 anime that I want you to watch, one's My Dream and the other one's Days Well Spent"Bookmark here

Thank God I asked my friend in advance, any anime to tell him in case he asks about my favourite ones. I don't watch anime anyway Bookmark here

"They sound interesting"Bookmark here

"They are!"Bookmark here

Days went by like this and first term exams came nearBookmark here

(13th July 2015, A week before exams)Bookmark here

I guess I should go back home, exams are near, and unlike previous times, I haven't studied much this term because of Anime. But I'm not that stupid to pull another full nighter now… for the studies of course.Bookmark here

"Hey, Takahashi! You are going home? " (Aiko)Bookmark here

"Yeah"Bookmark here

"Do you want to study with me? "Bookmark here

"Ok… but where? Some Café outside or library here? "Bookmark here

"At your place!"Bookmark here

"What?? No way, that's not good, having a girl alone in a boy's room"Bookmark here

"Nah, it's ok. If it's Takahashi, it's ok. Because I know he won't try to pull anything funny on a girl even if alone, right?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I won't but..."Bookmark here

"But…? "Bookmark here

"Fine…"Bookmark here

Aiko: Ok… everything's going according to the plan, I have emptied my bag, put my belongings in the gym locker. I'll get them back tomorrow. For now, I only have maths stuff, which I'll suggest that we study so that he won't find out that my bag's actually empty…Bookmark here

"We should study maths today; I have a lot of stuff I want to discuss together"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I wanted to start with mathematics too"Bookmark here

"Great!"Bookmark here

After this we walked home together, first time, yay!Bookmark here

"I'm home" (Takahashi)Bookmark here

"Welcome Back! Oh, you have brought a friend, what's your name?"Bookmark here

"My name's Aiko Sakata"Bookmark here

"You guys are going to study for the first term exams? "Bookmark here

"Yeah"Bookmark here

"Ok, I'll bring snacks later"Bookmark here

"Thanks Aunt!" (Aiko)Bookmark here

"Ok, let's go upstairs, Aiko"Bookmark here

Takahashi's Mom thought: oh, he calls her by her first name, they must be really close, maybe even girlfriend… sigh*... children… they grow up so fast!Bookmark here

"Ok"Bookmark here

As I'm walking upstairs to my room, my heart won't stop pounding, because this is my first time having a girl over, I Don't want to screw it up. I wonder how she's feeling about this…Bookmark here

Aiko: Ok… revise my plan… Now I'm going into his room, after this we'll study, and I'll insist on studying till late because I want him to fall asleep for my plan to workBookmark here

(After sitting in the room)Bookmark here

Takahashi: This is awkward, she isn't saying anything. I have to start talking, I have to break the ice...Bookmark here

"So… let's start!" (Takahashi)Bookmark here

"Yeah, so just as planned, mathematics"Bookmark here

"Time's around 16: 00 right now, we'll study till 20: 00 and then watch a movie maybe or you can go if you have something to do"Bookmark here

"This is fine, let's go with this"Bookmark here

It's 17: 10 right now, we just had the snacks mom brought for us. Aiko's actually really good at maths. Well, I'm too but I started watching anime this term, So I haven't studied much. She watches anime too Right? How does she do it? Anime and studies.Bookmark here

"Hey how do you watch anime but still get time to study? Ever since I started watching anime, I haven't been able to study properly."Bookmark here

"You have to organize your schedule; do you make a schedule?"Bookmark here

"No, I don't. I have only done nothing but study in my life, so a schedule seemed pointless to me"Bookmark here

"Well, if you want to get a number of things done in time, make a schedule, that's the rule. Also, you don't have to binge every single anime you watch, you can get up and do your homework when necessary, you know"Bookmark here

I didn't think that he would get so addicted to watching anime, this is great!Bookmark here

"I know, it's just that it bothers me 'what will happen next', when I get up to do something, so I have to complete the series before doing anything else"Bookmark here

"Start watching those normal highschool anime, that way you can watch anime and it won't bother you if you get up to study"Bookmark here

Aiko: I have otaku friends too, so I have heard some things about animeBookmark here

"But those are no fun, I like mystery and action"Bookmark here

"Yeah, but you have to study for the exams, you don't want to fail, do you?"Bookmark here

"I have an idea! I'll just stop watching anime for now until exams end. Man, why didn't I think of that in the first place"Bookmark here

"Try if you can"Bookmark here

"I think I can, No I will"Bookmark here

"We haven't studied much, let's continue"Bookmark here

"Yeah"Bookmark here

It's 22: 20 now, and we are still studying. I told her that I'm feeling sleepy and that you should go home too. It's really late Now, but she said that just this exercise, the last one… for the 4th time. I don't know, what is she trying to do, maybe she doesn't want me to fail? Well, that's obvious because she seemed worried about me… I can't stay awake anymore… I'm at my limits…Bookmark here

Finally! He's going to sleep. I'll act like I didn't notice and wait till he's completely sleeping. Then I'll execute my plan.Bookmark here

It's 23: 00 right now, weird that his mom didn't come upstairs, asking that I have stayed too long or something. Well, not my problem, gotta focus on what to do now, Takahashi looks like he's asleep now. Ok, I grab his bag, put every single book from his bag to mine. Ok. This is actually scarier than I thought, what if he wakes up. Bookmark here

Whatever, my plan is complete, now I just have to walk away from here quietly____Bookmark here

"Aiko, you are leaving? You should have woken me up"Bookmark here

"You were sleeping so soundly; I didn't want to wake you up"Bookmark here

"Oh ok, wait, I'll come down with you. Wait how are you going to go home now, it's really late"Bookmark here

"I called home; someone has come to pick me up"Bookmark here

"Oh, ok. Great! I'm still sleepy, so don't mind me… haha"Bookmark here

Bookmark here

He went to sleep again. What a weak kid. Guess I'll just go home. Thank God he didn't wake up earlier or I would have been busted. Now there's still some time till my dad comes, what should I do… maybe I should complete my plan here. No, he'll find out, I have to do the rest at my home. Goodbye, Takahashi Tanjiro. The time I spent with you… SUCKED!Bookmark here

Real Aire
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