Chapter 13:

Stealth Tactics

Game Gyaru

This was bad. As in, really bad. Or in terms of someone like Shiuka, totally the worst. Of all the people to be here right now, the two definitely didn’t want Hakuta’s friends to be standing here. Those guys would surely want to hang out with a gyaru given the chance. Especially one who they were already closer to due to the time spent at the arcade.

Everything about this spelled trouble to and for Hakuta. First because those boneheads were going to get in the way of the pair trying to return home. Surely they were going to want her to join them, but perhaps that could work out since separating from the girl would allow him free rein out here in public. That said, there was a second thing bothering him about this situation.

Those two were his friends, so why was he the one pushed down to the ground? It would’ve been easier if he was the on talking to them. Now the boy was stuck under this table while the conversation dragged on.

“It’s funny running into you here.” Said Yuusen. “Especially since your friends aren’t here.”

“It’s no biggie.” She replied nervously, knowing her secret could come out in an instant. “I was just looking around, maybe going to grab a bite to eat.”

“Then maybe we could all get something to eat together.” Said Itsuku, seizing the opportunity before him. Hakuta was hopeful she’d say yes. That was likely the best option for her to choose given their circumstances. He could only hoped she felt the same way.

Though meanwhile, as he hid under the table. He did admittedly not want her to join those two boys for lunch. Sure, they were his friends and those two were open about finding this girl attractive given her gyaru status. However, a sense of jealousy surged within him as they spoke. Probably due to the fact the pair agreed on it first before this got in their way.

Either that, or because he was getting nearly a peek of her underwear as he stayed crouched under the table. Even with his open dislike of gyarus, at the end of the day he was still a boy. And something like this dangling before him was too much temptation.

“I don’t know.” She responded to his friends. “I wasn’t planning on sticking around here.” That was odd to him. Surely she couldn’t be so dense to not be aware of the opportunity to keep their secret was here. Unless, her problem was that she didn’t want to hang out with his friends? A part of him felt sorry for the poor saps, but why would she be against it anyway? Shiuka seemed fine with them back during the arcade visit.

“Maybe we can come over if you’re still up for hanging out.” Itsuku offered instead. While Hakuta had no concern they had any malicious intent, given his long history with the pair. It would still serve an issue for him and her if they came to her house. At this point, it was unlikely she’d come to their place.

“Really, it’s fine.” Under regular circumstances, she might be fine with them coming over. After all, unlike with Hakuta, she had a positive relationship with his friends before he ended up moving into her home. However, things had certainly changed a lot after everything that had happened in the past couple of weeks.

“I need to get out of here.” Hakuta figured. She was likely trying to get those boys to leave so that they could continue their original plans on getting some food to eat. She really must’ve wanted to do that, even if he was unsure of why she’d care so much. So this boy needed to find a way to make his escape without anyone seeing him.

Now that he was surveying the situation. Something about this reminded him of something. The video game he was playing had scenarios like this. Sure, in the game, it was a matter of life-or-death. However, the concept of not being seen was still the same. All he had to do was sneak out from under this table without those two guys seeing him and they’d be home free.

So that’s what Hakuta did. Thankfully, those boys weren’t paying attention to their surroundings. Fair enough, seeing as they wouldn’t expect him to be hiding from under this table for no apparent reason. That said, he still needed to avoid areas their visions landed on, so that they wouldn’t notice him around.

Admittedly, once he got some distance from them, it wouldn’t matter if they saw him. The only important matter was to not be seen hanging out with Shiuka, as that would raise questions. Every them they’d have to lie or come up with an excuse meant more risk to being found out. So the pair wanted to keep that to a minimum.

Hakuta scanned the area around them. There were also dozens of people at the mall. They were simply going about in their business, so it was unlikely anyone was paying enough attention to care about him. That said, if he was seen sneaking around, then someone could call security as it would appear like he was acting as a suspicious individual.

As he crawled from under the table, using a moving cart as cover. He also had to admit this was pretty fun. Being able to act out things from a video game in real life gave his heart a major rush. Perhaps in the future, when he had more money and the technology was there. The boy would purchase and finally have the chance to experience the wondrous world of virtual reality. Until then, he could only use these experiences to find some trills.

After sneaking into a crowd of people, who didn’t seem to pay him any mind. He was able to walk around the water fountain in the middle of the mall and out of sight from his friends. There, he was able to breathe a sigh of relief of being able to get out of that sticky situation. “Hopefully she noticed I’m gone now.” He commented to himself. “Then she can ditch those two bozos.”

“Well look at who we have here.” He was caught. Well, he wasn’t caught in the context of being with Shiuka, so it wasn’t a big deal. However, someone suddenly speaking up behind him got the boy to jump up in fear.

“Ahh!” He screamed, nearly falling into the fountain. Thankfully, the person who surprised him grabbed his hand and prevent a wet splash. Unfortunately, the person who was here with him now was Rouko, the other one of Shiuka’s friends.

“Whoa there. You really are one jumpy fellow, aren’t you?” She said with a grin on her face. Hakuta didn’t like the look on her as she pulled up back onto his feet. “It’s kind of weird seeing you here all by yourself. Got a date or something?”

“Uh, actually I was just about to go home.” He tried to escape as quickly as possible from this situation. Sadly, that was not to be as she step in his way every time he attempted to get away. “Really, I’m just going back.”

“So, how was she?” Since he didn’t deny having a date, she continued to push the line onto him. “Honestly, I bet she’s totally ugly because you’ve got the worst taste in the world.”

“I’ll have you know I have perfectly fine tastes.” He argued back at her. A bit weird, considering that he was standing up for a nonexistent girl. Unless one were to take his time with Shiuka here as a date, which most likely wouldn’t.

“Whoa, I didn’t know you were going to be at the mall.” More problems compounded over and over. Since he yelled loudly before nearly taking a plunge into the fountain. Yuusen and Itsuku both heard and came over as quickly as they could. Of course, Shiuka also followed them here to ensure he was okay. “Why didn’t you call us? We could’ve hung out.”

“Wait, do you have different glasses?” Asked Itsuku.

“That’s why I’m here.” Hakuta replied. “I was getting my old ones replaced because they broke.” A quick glare was sent Shiuka’s way after he said that.

“I knew there was something different about you.” Said Rouko. “It looks kind of cute, I bet your new girlfriend must’ve picked them out for you.”

“Well, she clearly has good taste.” Said Shiuka. This caused him to glare at her in a deadpan manner over her clearly bragging about herself again.

“I already said, I don’t have a girlfriend.” He denied her accusation. It was untrue and he’d rather not have to be known for something that was obviously a lie.

“Also, I heard about your new boyfriend from Ninka.” The girl continued to ignore his protests. “Lucky you, maybe…” Then, she grabbed Hakuta by the arm and pulled him close to her. “...I should get one too.” The insinuation here being she’d be perfectly fine with having him for a boyfriend. Even if it was only not to fall behind her friends, and even though she didn’t hold any romantic interests in him at all.

“When did I ever say I wanted to date you?” He looked at her bewildered on this move.

“Let go of him right now.” Then, the mood of the conversation changed. He turned his head to see Shiuka’s demeanor had taken a dark turn. This sight was one she didn’t like at all. “Can’t you see he doesn’t want to be with you?” The tone of her voice sent shivers down his spine. It was clear when looking at the other boys they were afraid of her too.

“What are you going to do? Take him from me?” Meanwhile, Rouko didn’t seem distressed at all from her. Instead, she challenged the girl to go after her.

“M-maybe I will get going.” His voice trembled in fear. Hakuta tried to brush her grip from his arm. There seemed to be bloodshed about to occur and he’d really rather not be at the center of it.

“Are you going to let go of him?” Shiuka continued on, taking one step forward.

“Sheesh, I was just joking.” Rouko laughed as she let go of the boy. “As if I’d ever date him in a million years. You’re really funny sometimes, you know that?” Once he was free, it seemed Shiuka calmed down. Perhaps she was only using that odd mood of hers to try and get them out of this situation. Even though he was confident he’d be able to handle himself without her help. “I’m going home now.”

“Are you sure?” Hakuta’s friends still hadn’t given up. “If you’re hungry, maybe we can grab a bite to eat...”

“I think I’m just going to go home.” Said Shiuka, who sent over a wink to him. This was a clear signal that she was still up for grabbing some lunch together.

“Yeah, me too.” He winked back, silently responding to her offer. The pair went their separate ways, but they’d soon be meeting up again. 

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