Chapter 3:

Cool Oddball, Cheeky Character

Unconsciously Interested

Lunch break.

I rarely bring a bento mainly because I don’t want to inconvenience my brother about it, and I am not fond of making it either. I usually buy my lunch with Minori at the school cafeteria. Unfortunately, she won't join me for lunch today because of an important meeting regarding the student council elections.

I scanned the classroom to look for Kyashii, but she was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps she went to her usual spot for lunch with Nazumi-san?

Well, that's what you'd expect; Kyashii and Nazumi-san are a well-established duo, just as Minori and I have been since last year.

At times, I wonder if Kyashii and I really are best friends. It doesn't seem that we fit the mold of best friends who spend a lot of time together. And while it's probably more appropriate to refer to Minori as my best friend, I feel more connected with Kyashii. After all, that's what best friends are, no?

“. . . .”

Welp! I'm thinking about trivial things again. Whatever.

Anyway, I’m cool having lunch alone. Now then, let’s go grab something to eat at the cafeteria.

“Heading to the cafeteria, Shibasaki-san?” a husky yet gentle voice called to me.

I turned to see who it was since that voice didn’t ring a bell.

Behind me stands Hiro Ezaki, a tall and good-looking guy with smoky blue hair flashing a sympathetic smile at me. “Ohh. Ezaki-san, hello. Yeah, I am on my way to the cafeteria.” I casually replied.

“Do you mind if I tag along? I was about to grab my lunch too.” 

“Sure, I don’t mind at all. Let’s go then.” I replied nonchalantly.

He just smiled as we strolled to the cafeteria together.

Although I am not personally close to Ezaki-san, I don’t feel awkward in his presence. Besides being classmates since our freshman year, both of us are members of the literature club, thus we sometimes bump into one another. It wasn't surprising he approached me first today. Thanks to his friendly disposition, it has always been easy for me to talk to him.

Moreover, I think he is pretty smart. It was his ability to articulate his ideas during the club discussion that made me take notice of him. Plus, he has quite a following. It's not hard to see why, especially since he has a dashing, cool, and knowledgeable personality in addition to his good looks.

“I see you’re not with Kamiwaki-san today?” Ezaki-san asked.

“She has a few errands to run. What about you? Why are you not with your friends?”

“I don’t know about friends. All I have are acquaintances,” he casually said.

I chuckled. “You’re overthinking things, aren’t you? With a personality like yours, you can easily make friends.”

He stared at me intently. I could tell his eyes were saying something I couldn’t understand.

“What?” I asked.


What’s up with that look? Ezaki-san can be weird sometimes.


After buying lunch, Ezaki-san stayed in the cafeteria after a so-called acquaintance called out to him. However, I prefer to eat in the classroom, so I excused myself.

As I walked back to the classroom, someone wrapped their arms tightly around me out of nowhere!


"Yu-chin! I miss youuuu!"

"H-hey, Tomoka! Quit torturing me every time you do that! Are you really determined to make me suffer a heart attack?!" I've been tackled twice in a row today! I'm so abused, thanks to my friends.

Tomoka giggled at my reaction but made no attempt to untangle her arms around my shoulders.

 Jeez! This girl really takes pleasure in attacking me like that. 

This honey-haired girl who loves assaulting me like that is Tomoka Mizuno. She is also in my class and is known as "Congeniality-san" throughout the school. That's because she gets along well with just about everyone she meets. The amount of energy she has makes me wonder how she deals with serious life's challenges. To top it off, she's the only person who ever brings up my name in error and calls me by a moniker! I’ve made several attempts to get her to refer to me by my real name, but she always ignored it, so I just gave up.

"Still not used to it, Yu-chin?" she grinned.

“I get startled easily, so that’s out of question.” I glared at her. “Wait… Did you just get here? I don't remember seeing you this morning.”

"Ehehe! I slept in.”

“Figures. That's right up your alley.”

She just laughed. “Want some of my bread? I see you only got one."

"No, thank you. I'm fine with just one. Now, get off of me. It's hard to walk this way." I tapped her arms. She let go of me this time.

“Why are you alone? I rarely see Yu-chin by herself.”

Hmm? Rare, huh?

If anything, there are times when I would rather be alone. It’s just that most people I know take the initiative to hang out with me whenever they see me by myself, that’s why I’m constantly surrounded by people.

“Minori is off to a meeting,” I replied curtly.

“Oh, yeah?! I’ll keep you company since I’ve got you all to myself. That way, you won’t get lonely eating your lunch.” Tomoka hugged me again, wrapping her arms around my waist this time as we walked.

Uff! She sure loves skinship. I’ve been dealing with her like this from that moment we became friends, thus I’m indifferent to her behavior except for those startling attacks.

“Fine. But could you get off me? We’re still on the first-year floor, and some students are staring at us. You, walk straight!” I chided as I gently pushed her away from me.

“Owh!~ Yu-chin is feeling shy. I don’t mind them at all,” she grinned, keeping her hands around my waist.

“Well, I do mind! You’re making it hard for me to walk. At this rate, lunch break will be over by the time we get back to our classroom!” I snapped.

She chuckled but didn’t move an inch. 

Jeez! She’s taller than me, plus I’m not as athletic as her so I can’t keep up with her strength.

Ah, whatever! Let's just get back to the classroom before lunch break ends.


Tomoka is still chained to my waist, smiling from ear to ear as we walk into the classroom.

This girl! 


I’m totally exhausted! I’ve literally dragged her all the way up here.

Some of our classmates laughed at the sight of us entering through the second door. “How nice... You two are extremely close,” someone commented.

“Yep, you said it right!” Tomoka exclaimed as she let go of me. “It’s implied because Yu-chin is my wife after all,” she said in jest while puffing up her chest with her right hand. Our classmates just laughed at Tomoka’s antics as they were also not new to it.

I sighed as I took my seat—what a cheeky character. 

I don’t have the energy to come up with a retort to that wife joke as it feels like I just had my PE class. Besides, Tomoka has been making jokes about it ever since we became friends, therefore it’s nothing new to me. I felt awkward about it at first because endearments and callsigns aren’t near my wheelhouse. But then again, just like all of her other shenanigans, I eventually got used to it.


I suddenly noticed Kyashii and Nazumi-san were back in their seats when I caught a glimpse of Kyashii looking at us. When I gestured with my left hand at her, a frosty stare greeted me in return.

Huh? Is she in a bad mood?

“Here, Yu-chin. I’ll give you my bread. I know you’re tired.”

“Just who’s fault is it anyway?!” I snarled at a grinning Tomoka as I took the bread she offered. “Thanks!” My energy meter runs out just by dealing with this energy monster.

It's only the first day of class, yet I feel like I have already burned all my energy for the week.

Haah! A school day can be draining at times. But regardless, I am looking forward to a semester filled with both fun and learning.

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