Chapter 26:

Our Last Time

Game Gyaru

“This is probably a good time to say the two of you are free of us for the rest of the day.” Kankichi said as Hakuta was still processing the news he received. “You know, so you can say goodbye to your friends.”

“Right…” He replied. “I guess we can all hang out later.”

“Don’t worry.” Shiuka seemed to be in an unusually upbeat mood at the moment. “I’m pretty good at arranging get-togethers on short notice.” It also helped they only had a grand total of four close friends between the two of them. So she didn’t need to do much persuading to get the others to meet them somewhere.

“Great, then the two of us will handle everything else.” Said Toukou, referring to the two adults handling all the packing and moving once the people tasked with removing the bugs were finished.

“Yeah, it’s a plan all right.” He said as the two pairs split off into their separate paths. As they walked to the agreed upon location, Hakuta couldn’t help but wonder why she seemed so upbeat now. Just moments ago, Shiuka didn’t want him to leave the town. But now that his fate was sealed, she seemed more than happy about things.

Was she truly happy for him to be leaving? It would make sense. After all, it was definitely a drag having a boy like him living over at her house. Their circumstances results in many limiting factors that surely a gyaru like her hated. Such as not being able to have friends, and probably being forced to hold back with boys she was interested in.

Though, shouldn’t he be happy about this too? There’s no reason for him to be feeling a bit down that he’d be leaving the Otari estate. Sure, there was also the issue of losing the two closest friends he ever had in Yuusen and Itsuku. But he did always complain about how unreliable they were for him. Maybe this new life could bring about a fresh start in relationships?

“This is going to be so much fun.” She said as they neared their destination.

“Say, before we get there.” He had one important things to say before their fun times were to begin. “Don’t let any of them know about me moving away.” Hakuta didn’t want to ruin their last night together with friends. Even if they had to learn the hard way, it was better than being sappy for the rest of the day.

“Sure, if that’s what you want.” She accepted his reasoning and promised to keep it a secret. “But, it’s kind of a special day, isn’t it?” Now that they knew he was leaving tomorrow. The pair were now acutely aware that everything they were going to do together was also going to be the last time they do so in that manner.

“Yeah…” As they got there, it seemed their friends got here first.

“Hey you two.” Yuusen greeted them first, taking note of the pair arriving at the same time. “Don’t tell me you’ve been hanging out behind our backs.”

“No, we just happened to run into each other.” Hakuta said in response. This exchange was bittersweet for him, knowing that this was going to be the last time he’d greet his friends like this. “Anyway, why don’t we all go enjoy ourselves today?”

Hearing her tell him how this was going to be the last time made him feel different on all the things they did. There was a feeling of melancholy upon considering that these handshakes were going to be the last greetings. That their teasing would come to an end. That the girls wouldn’t yet again lead his friends to things just because they were cute.

Somehow, despite most of that being things he didn’t care for during the everyday life here. They became things he would miss upon leaving to another town. Sure, they could try to see each other again sparsely. And of course, with Yuusen and Itsuku he’d keep in touch on the phone. But that was different than just living their lives with little care of the world around them.

Now he was sad thinking about it, but the boy refused to let them notice his feelings. They would find out the truth with some prodding, and he wanted his last moments to be happy ones. That was what Shiuka would want, he figured.

“Hey, how about we hit up karaoke?” Speaking of that girl, she came up with a suggestion for them. He felt a bit bitter about the idea, she should know he didn’t like that kind of stuff. Then again, since they never did that together before. Perhaps now would be a good time before they’d never get the chance.

“Sure.” He answered, bring much shock to the others. He had rarely been the type to be okay with anyone’s plans. And none of them expected he’d be cool with singing of all people. Well, he didn’t plan on singing, it wasn’t as if one were required to do so when in a karaoke room.

“Woo hoo!” Rouko did a bit of a cheer as they entered their private room. “I love singing.” That much was already known to them all. These girls went here often together for a reason after all. “Let me go first.”

“Go ahead.” He handed her the microphone from the table and allow the girl to look through the list of songs. Being a regular here, she knew everything available by heart. She also knew all of her favorites and started to load one up in record time. Considering how quick she was in navigating the menus, Hakuta was certain she’d make speedrunners jealous with her speed.

Though as she started to sing along, her talent left a lot to be desired. This would be the equivalent of him loving video games, but hypothetically being so bad that he couldn’t beat a single one even with the aid of online guides.

“Are you going to sing along?” Asked Itsuku as he cheered on the girl. “I don’t think we’ve ever heard you sing.”

“And you never will.” He replied, rejecting the suggestion of doing so. Though the sentence was a bit harsher to him thinking that they really would never get the chance to hear him out. “I had a long night gaming online yesterday, So, sore throat.” He hoped that excuse would be more than enough to get them to stop pestering him.

“If that’s what you say.” Said Rouko after she finished up her first song. “Then more for me.” Then she selected another song without caring for turns and began singing out of tune once more.

After a long time of getting everyone some turns with singing sans Hakuta, which took a while since that girl really wanted to have a turn in between everyone else. The group had found themselves tuckered out from a long day of fun. Him most of all since he wasn’t used to doing these activities for so long. Despite not even taking to the mic once.

“That was pretty wonderful.” Said Yuusen as they stumbled outside. “I wish we could do this everyday.”

“Yeah…” All their words hurt him more when they spoke them so nonchalantly. In just mere minutes, this was going to be the last he would be seeing of them. “It would be nice.”

“Hey, hey.” Shiuka grabbed everyone’s attention as they found themselves on the bride. The night sky was illuminated with the bright lights of the stars shining down upon them. “We should take a picture here.”

“Totally, it’s be perfect on my timeline.” Said Rouko. To most of the others, it was simply something to brag about online. However, He knew that Shiuka suggested due to her knowledge about him.

“I’ll take it.” Hakuta took her camera as they got themselves posed along the railing near a street lamp for the best possible light. “Now everybody-”

“You don’t want to be in the picture?” Asked Shiuka. This was supposed to be for him, so to her, it made more sense the boy would take part in it.

“Well, someone has to take the photo.” And he didn’t want to appear in it at all. This was supposed to be for all of them to keep. So the boy didn’t want to ruin the memory by them associating it so easily as it being his last night. “And beside, I’ve never been one for pictures anyway.”

“That just won’t do.” She stepped out of her spot and grabbed the camera away from him. “I can set a timer, now come on.” Using her assertiveness, Shiuka pulled him by the arm as they quickly got back to her spot. He stood closely besides her as there was little space for them.

“Heh, fine.” He smiled in a light joy as they looked towards the camera. “Now everyone, say cheese!”

“Cheese!” Once they spoke, the flash of the camera went off and this moment was captured forever.

“This will make for a nice memory.” After everyone had gone home, Shiuka and Hakuta were surprised to find that the workers were finished much quicker than either of them expected. They were actually able to sleep in the comforts of their own beds during his final night here.

The two were looking over the picture taken on the bridge. With everyone so happy in it, neither of them couldn’t help but smile. “I’ll make sure to get it printed and in my scrapbook as soon as possible.

“While you’re at it.” He wanted to make one final request from her before everything was over. “Could you… Make me a copy too? It’s fine if you want to send it in the mail, by the way.”

“Heheh, don’t worry I get you a copy too.” She assured him. “But I did email you the digital version, so it’s on your phone.”

“Thanks.” They headed to their respective rooms to head to bed. Right as he turned off the lights, Hakuta’s room was still slightly illuminated from his phone’s screen. The boy plopped himself onto his bed, eyes glued on the screen, looking at the picture once more.

He paid close attention to where he was standing, barely able to fit in right next to Shiuka. The silence in the room was broken as he muttered some words right before drifting off to sleep. “…And I think I’ll miss you the most…” 

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