Chapter 38:

Rawr-Rawr Amusement Park

Confession Games

Both Kirisaki and I were surprised to meet each other on this train, but unlike her who exclaimed in pure joy, I internally lamented.Bookmark here

'Looks like my alone time has been cut short.'Bookmark here

Even so, I made sure to wipe any reluctance from my face and acted the same as usual.Bookmark here

"Wow, I can't believe we took the same train. What a coincidence!" said Kirisaki.Bookmark here

Considering that we were going to the same place at the same time, it wasn't that strange for us to be on the same train, but I didn't want to be that guy.Bookmark here

'And by that logic, I wonder if Zakushi is here too.'Bookmark here

I replied, "Yeah, I didn't think I would see you before I reached Kimisato Town."Bookmark here

"I know right!"Bookmark here

I was fine with talking to Kirisaki, but I couldn't help noticing the sharp gaze her friend was giving me. It was different from the envy or killing intent that I was unfortunately accustomed to. It felt like she was my mother-in-law evaluating her son-in-law. As I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable under her gaze, I pushed myself to ask Kirisaki about her.Bookmark here

"Um, Kirisaki, would you mind introducing us?" I asked.Bookmark here

Once I brought it to her attention, Kirisaki opened her eyes wide in surprise and embarrassment as she turned to her friend.Bookmark here

She said, "Oh! I'm so sorry, silly me. Tohka, this is my friend and a member of the Life Assist Club,"Bookmark here

"Haruto Akishiro, nice to meet you." I added.Bookmark here

"Mhmm, and Akishiro, this is my best friend and roommate,"Bookmark here

Her best friend continued, "Tohka Hitsuji, same."Bookmark here

I might have been wrong but when Kirisaki called Hitsuji her best friend, she seemed to nod with a smug look on her face. Not that it would be strange if she did.Bookmark here

Hitsuji wasn't a breath-taking beauty like Kirisaki or Aris-, ehem, but she could still turn heads. Her hair was short with a small butterfly accessory on the right of her head, but besides that she seemed to care little about fashion. Unlike Kirisaki who wore a fluffy skirt and a colourful jacket that brought out her innocent appeal, Hitsuji only wore a t-shirt and jeans. Among the girls at school she would likely be above-average in appearance, but I had a feeling that she would rank higher in terms of charisma.Bookmark here

As I naturally found myself examining her, she eventually gave me a cold stare that sent a chill down my spine and made me desist. She didn't seem to like me very much, but neither of us wanted to make trouble in front of Kirisaki so we were polite to each other whenever she tried to get us to talk. This made for a rather awkward time until we arrived at our destination.Bookmark here

As I was closer to the exit, I left the train first and waited for them before all three of us went to the north entrance of the train station where we met Arisugawa and Amakawa.Bookmark here

The two of them dressed similar to Tohka, choosing practicality over beauty. However, I found myself frozen the moment I spotted Arisugawa in casual clothes. Bookmark here

'So beautiful...'Bookmark here

And then a second later, my chest tightened before I diverted my gaze. I couldn't remember the number of times I imagined what she would look like in casual wear, but when the chance finally came, it was ironic that I couldn't simply enjoy it.Bookmark here

I kept a sigh locked inside as we approached and waved at each other. I wondered if this was where you would normally say those legendary lines, but I knew I wasn't up to the task. Instead, Kirisaki took that role.Bookmark here

"Hey, Hina, Amakawa. Did you wait long?" Kirisaki asked.Bookmark here

"No, we got dropped off not too long ago."Bookmark here

Although Arisugawa said this, the can in Amakawa's hand and the similar can that was in a nearby garbage bin suggested a different story.Bookmark here

'Ah, the classic 'this is definitely a date' lines. To think I would witness it like this.'Bookmark here

I might not have been the one to say it, but I did feel like I could cross it off my bucket list now.Bookmark here

Kirisaki went on to introduce Tohka and the girls started talking while I, as the only guy, could only stay on the side-lines. And the fact that I was being stared at with envy here as well wasn't helping. However, there were times when they brought up topics that I could provide input on.Bookmark here

"By the way, where's Zakushi?" Kirisaki asked.Bookmark here

Arisugawa responded, "I'm not sure. I suppose I'll give him a call."Bookmark here

Though he wasn't too considered about punctuality, I knew that Zakushi hated wasting time so I expected him to be here by now since there was only a minute left until the time we were supposed to meet up. The rest of the club members thought the same so we waited in suspense as Arisugawa got on her phone. Bookmark here

It didn't take long before she connected, but soon after she ended the call with a mystified frown.Bookmark here

Kirisaki was the first to inquire.Bookmark here

"What did he say?"Bookmark here

"He apologized and said that he would be a little late."Bookmark here

"That Zakushi,"Bookmark here

"Apologized?"Bookmark here

Kirisaki and I were shocked that our senior would actually apologize. No offense of course, but even though I knew how much of a great guy he was, I couldn't imagine him needing to apologize for anything. This made me especially curious as to what held him back.Bookmark here

While we waited for Zakushi, Tohka suggested that we take refuge from the sun in a cafe where we would have a view of our meeting spot. At first, I was surprised by how quickly she integrated herself into the group despite rarely smiling unless they talking about Kirisaki, but then I hurt myself by comparing my progress to hers.Bookmark here

'It's just because they're all girls. Yeah, I'm going to keep telling myself that.'Bookmark here

As I tried to escape from reality, I bought iced tea and kept a constant watch of our meeting spot until he showed up. He arrived in simple clothes and not much different from usual, so it didn't look like he was fashionably late. After spotting him, we left the cafe and got the entire gang together.Bookmark here

"Hey, Zakushi. What took you so long?" asked Kirisaki.Bookmark here

In response to her, for the perhaps the first time ever, Zakushi looked embarrassed and scratched his head. I listened to the girls guessing all sorts of reasons for why he was late, from breakfast trouble to stopping a kidnapping, but the answer was so much more... ordinary.Bookmark here

"I... forgot to change the time on my alarm and woke up late."Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

No one said anything after that. We all turned around and silently decided not to comment on his excuse. However after turning around, I was sure everyone except Zakushi had the same thought.Bookmark here

'How unexpectedly cute!'Bookmark here

We weren't even at the amusement park yet but we now had a precious memory saved.Bookmark here

We got to our final destination by bus. Arisugawa offered to get us driven there, but Kirisaki disagreed by saying that she wanted the 'full' experience, whatever that meant. Bookmark here

"We're here!" Kirisaki exclaimed.Bookmark here

After getting off the bus, I could already hear the joyous noises and see the fun rides awaiting us, so once more I felt excited at the thought of being in there. I looked up at the sign and though I knew it beforehand, I chuckled once I read it.Bookmark here

'Rawr-Rawr Amusement Park, it's a funny name at least.'Bookmark here

The six of us were able to get in for free because of Arisugawa, but after that came our first challenge. At the front of our group was Kirisaki, who was eager to explore the dinosaur-themed wonderland before her. Bookmark here

"I'm so excited! The Great Crash roller coaster, the Jurassic Maze, the Scaly Wall, oh I can't decide!"Bookmark here

We watched Kirisaki with soft eyes as she seemed to express all of our excitement for us. She would likely pout if I said it, but at times like these I found it hard to believe that we were the same age.Bookmark here

In response to Kirisaki's worry, Arisugawa pulled out a map of the amusement park with a face filled with confidence.Bookmark here

"Don't worry. In order to ensure maximum enjoyment, I've plot the perfect course for us to spend the day."Bookmark here

As she presented the map to us, I had to be amazed by how detailed the schedule she outlined was. However, although she seemed to take the length of the lines into consideration, I could spot a glaring flaw. Before, I would have been troubled about whether I should reveal it or not, but now I could comfortably let someone else would take that role. Bookmark here

"Wait, you forgot about something important when you made this," said Zakushi.Bookmark here

As usual, Arisugawa grimaced when Zakushi pointed out a flaw in her plan, but she still allowed him to continue.Bookmark here

"Go on."Bookmark here

Zakushi explained, "While this schedule may seem possible, it disregards things like fatigue, preference and unexpected trouble. It's not bad as a guide but if we force ourselves to go along with this schedule it'll be hard to focus on having fun."Bookmark here

Arisugawa slowly nodded in agreement and thought of something else.Bookmark here

"That's true. Still, if we can't visit every attraction, that'll mean we need to choose by preference but..."Bookmark here

There was nothing wrong with the idea of choosing by preference, but it would inevitably result in us splitting up. Considering this was a club trip, I could understand her hesitation, but I still somehow found the courage to speak my mind.Bookmark here

"Isn't it fine? It's not like we're here on a team building exercise, it's just to have fun."Bookmark here

My heart still ached when I looked at her face, but the magic of this amusement park gave me the ability to talk to her. Bookmark here

However at the same time, I was ashamed of the real reason why I could talk to her.Bookmark here

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