Chapter 5:

Fitting Room Hiccup

Unconsciously Interested

PART FOURBookmark here

Owh! ~ What a cute underwear!” Kyashii swings a pair of flashy underwear in front of my deadpan face.Bookmark here

Haah… What’s up with this?Bookmark here

We ended up in the lingerie section of the mall before I knew it. Why on earth am I being dragged here?Bookmark here

As we agreed earlier, the two of us will hang out after Kyashii and Nazumi-san have finished their shopping. We’re actually going to see a movie, but it’s still a while before the movie starts, so we decided to kill some time.Bookmark here

Then again, this is not the ideal place to pass the time, is it? Besides, Kyashii should have bought these things with Nazumi-san earlier.Bookmark here

“Don’t you think so, Yuyo?” Kyashii excitedly asked as if glitters were shooting from her eyes.Bookmark here

What’s so exciting about buying underwear anyway? I don’t get it.Bookmark here

To begin with, I shop for underwear on my own. I’m not comfortable buying underwear with friends or family members. And besides, underwear is usually hidden most of the time, which is why I prefer comfort over fashion.Bookmark here

“Yuyo! Hey?” Kyashii keeps swinging that bra in front of my face!Bookmark here

“Waah! Would you please stop that?” I hold her wrist to keep her from swinging that underwear on my face.Bookmark here

“What? You don’t think it’s cute?” Kyashii pouted.Bookmark here

“I don’t know about cute. But let’s not swing that thing on me. It’s embarrassing!”Bookmark here

“So, you think it’s cute?” she asked again. What is it with her and cute underwear?Bookmark here

“My taste doesn’t run to those types of underwear, so –” I hadn’t finished talking yet when Kyashii put the underwear back on the rack. “Ah-re? Don’t you want to try that?” I asked.Bookmark here

“You said it’s not cute.”Bookmark here

“I didn’t! Don’t change my words. All I said was I'm not into it.”Bookmark here

“Same difference.”Bookmark here

“It’s definitely not! Besides, why should my preference matter here? I’m not the one who’ll wear it. Wait… Are you perhaps –?”Bookmark here

“Hmmm?” Kyashii did not bother to look at me as she scanned the rack for another pair of underwear.Bookmark here

“Are you planning on buying me underwear?!”Bookmark here

Kyashii abruptly shifted her attention to me, her left palm resting on her half-opened mouth while her eyes appeared to be laughing.Bookmark here

What’s with that? It’s a logical question on my part.Bookmark here

I mean, if she’s not up to something, why should she pay attention to my preference, right?Bookmark here

“What?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Oh my, Yuyo! Please don’t think I forgot about you. I’m so sorry I have not been more generous with you. Could I get you one?” Kyashii seemed to be holding back her laughter. It’s totally leaking out of her face!Bookmark here

“Hold up! Hey, that’s not what I meant! I’m not in desperate need of one right now. Jeez!”Bookmark here

“What makes you think I’ll buy you one, though?” Her sassy smile isn’t fading.Bookmark here

“You’re considering my preference, that’s why. Your preferences probably differ from mine.” I pouted in response.Bookmark here

Kyashii has reached her limit. “Ahahaha!”Bookmark here

“. . . .”Bookmark here

Squinting, I waited for her to stop laughing.Bookmark here

“Ahem!” She finally calmed down. “Sorry… I think I laughed too much. You sure do look cute when you’re clueless sometimes, Yuyo.”Bookmark here

“Clueless??”Bookmark here

“Nah, don’t mind it. I just wanted to learn something about you, that’s why I asked about it.”Bookmark here

“And of all things, you want to know my preference for underwear?!”Bookmark here

“What’s the harm?” She cracked a grin.Bookmark here

“. . . . .”Bookmark here

Why does it matter what your friends like about their underwear? I have no interest in that sort of thing, so I don’t get it.Bookmark here

“What, you think it’s weird?” It was almost as if Kyashii could read my thoughts sometimes.Bookmark here

“In a way, I think it’s a bit strange.” I replied without hesitation.Bookmark here

She chuckled. “I’m not even sure if your lack of interest in other things, such as romantic relationships, is one of your strong points, Yuyo.” Kyashii said forthrightly.Bookmark here

“Huh? What’s up with that?” I was not expecting that. It was like a bolt from the blue.Bookmark here

“Nothing.” Kyashii scanned the underwear rack again.Bookmark here

I decided not to say anything as I stood there watching her.Bookmark here

What exactly does she mean by that? And what does it have to do with underwear preferences?Bookmark here

“. . . .” Bookmark here

Putting that aside, being indifferent to love, romance or relationships is not a weakness in my book. Bookmark here

Sure, I’m not into those things like other girls my age. That’s because it’s not my thing to talk about romance or love since I’m not really into those subjects. I’m more into philosophical topics, mysteries, documentaries of various types, and the like. Although I think I know what love means, I rarely consider the concept for myself.Bookmark here

But despite this, I still find it fascinating to listen to others' thoughts and stories about love and romance, mostly because I'm curious on how they deal with it. Rather than love itself, I'm more interested about the way how they handle love issues.Bookmark here

In other words, love and romance are not just one my favorites, so I don't think this is a weakness.Bookmark here

Does this appear to be a weak point to others?Bookmark here

“Hmm… What do you think about this one?” And just like that, Kyashii’s back to my underwear preferences again, swinging a lilac partial-cup bra in front of me.Bookmark here

She’s so insistent about this.Bookmark here

I checked out the underwear, and since lilac is my favorite color, so yeah, it’s pretty cute for me.Bookmark here

“Of course, it’s cute since… it’s lilac.” My lips were twitching sideways as I said that.Bookmark here

If something comes in that color, I’m hard-pressed to resist it.Bookmark here

“I think it’s too plain. And, I knew you’d say that because of its color, but isn’t that just your bias speaking?” Kyashii focused her gaze on the bra she was holding.Bookmark here

“So, your preference isn’t? Plus, simple appeals to me more.” I retorted.Bookmark here

“Very well. I’m trying this!”Bookmark here

“What?!”Bookmark here

Kyashii dragged me into one of the fitting rooms. “Come on in, Yuyo. Help me out.”Bookmark here

Wait... What?!Bookmark here

Hold on a sec! Do I have to go in there too?Bookmark here

“Help with what? You can handle that on your own, right? I’ll just wait here.”Bookmark here

I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of going inside together. It just seems a little weird to me since I haven’t been in a fitting room with anyone before.Bookmark here

“Ehh? You don’t want to help me?” Kyashii frowned.Bookmark here

“There’s a salesperson over here, just so you know.” My hand gestured in the direction of the salesperson who was just around the corner smiling at us.Bookmark here

“But I don’t want to trouble that Onee-san.”Bookmark here

“Hey, it’s her job! She gets paid for that.”Bookmark here

“Why are you fussing over this? I just want your help since you’re my best friend!” I can already see her glaring at me.Bookmark here

“But it’s only a bra! You can put it on by yourself.” I protested.Bookmark here

Honestly, what’s with this situation? What’s with her putting me in a spot like this?Bookmark here

She’s incredibly pushy! Urgh…!Bookmark here

Kyashii then let go of my hand with a sigh. “I’m simply looking for your opinion on whether this will look good on me when I put it on. Not good?” She then looked at me with puppy-dog eyes!Bookmark here

Wo-Woah! Is it even legal to have eyes like that?Bookmark here

Sigh…Bookmark here

T-Those kinds of eyes are just too cute to resist!Bookmark here

“Yeah, fine! Whatever! We’ll just do it your way again,” I sighed, raising my hands in resignation.Bookmark here

“That’s what I thought!” Kyashii glowed with a smile. “Now, come on in!”Bookmark here

She’s humming as she steps into the fitting room.Bookmark here

Hmp! It’s as if she’s a child and I’m like her, err - older sister?

Bookmark here

I turned my back on her while she stripped. Watching her remove her top made me uncomfortable, although she seems pretty comfortable with this.Bookmark here

Well, I’ve seen people strip in the locker room during our PE class but remain in their bras. This situation is on a whole different level! Even if I were in front of one of my closest friends, I would be embarrassed to do something like this.Bookmark here

“Uhm... What’s your take, Yuyo? Do you think it looks good on me?” Kyashii asked from behind.Bookmark here

I turned around so I could see her.Bookmark here

Thump!Bookmark here

Huh?!Bookmark here

In an instant, my right hand instinctively landed on my chest as I looked at Kyashii!Bookmark here

I suddenly get this feeling as if a heavy drum has pounded on my chest!Bookmark here

Whoa! It’s like my heart swelled into a mallet and struck my rib cage when I saw Kyashii's figure in that bra!Bookmark here

Wha-What's going on?!Bookmark here

Is it because I'm checking someone out for the first time to see if they fit an underwear? Or is it the fact that the bra is lilac that makes it so enticing to Kyashii and I find that exciting? That has to be it, right?! The lilac color has a certain logic to it. Maybe I'm experiencing some form of euphoria from seeing it in my friend's body?Bookmark here

My understanding of what I’m saying is somewhat hazy, but I can't think of anything else that could be causing my chest to feel strange!Bookmark here

“Yuyo?” Kyashii drew my focus back to her. “D-Don’t stare at me so much. I feel embarrassed,” she’s blushing all over.Bookmark here

“Ahh!” My senses were jolted back to life. “Sorry, my thoughts got in the way. My bad. I didn’t mean to stare at you for so long.”Bookmark here

Wait…! Huh?Bookmark here

I’ve been staring at someone’s body for too long?!Bookmark here

That is so embarrassing! Get it together, Yuyo!Bookmark here

“Uhh… Right…! I think it perfectly suits you, Kyashii. So perfect that I got excited and lost in my thoughts when I saw you wearing it! Aha-ha!” I laughed awkwardly as I scratched my cheek with my forefinger.Bookmark here

I’m trying to make myself sound more natural just to bail out of this embarrassing situation.Bookmark here

This is really awkward! What the heck is going on with me?!Bookmark here

“E-Excited?!” Kyashii seemed fidgety. Is she not pleased with my praises?Bookmark here

“Oh... Uhh… y-yeah!? That’s how I felt, so I ended up staring at you for a while. Sorry for that. B-Besides, anything you wear will look good on you since you’re pretty and stylish.”Bookmark here

Kyashii’s face becomes redder than it was a few moments ago as she fixes her gaze on the floor.Bookmark here

“Dummy,” she said softly, almost mumbling.Bookmark here

Huh? Dummy? Did I say something wrong?Bookmark here

Uhh… No, never mind that! Let’s just leave that alone for now.Bookmark here

I’m not even sure what’s going on anymore! All I know is that I need to get out of here right now! It’s beyond me why I cannot breathe properly in this place!Bookmark here

“I’ll wait outside for the time being.” I informed Kyashii, who merely nodded without looking at me. She’s still staring at the floor as I exit the fitting room.Bookmark here

Hooh…! I exhaled deeply as soon as I stepped outside.Bookmark here

I had no idea getting into a fitting room with a friend could be so nerve-racking! What a crazy experience!Bookmark here

I shifted my focus to the floor.Bookmark here

Hmm... Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, I can barely recall what I said to Kyashii. Because of the throbbing in my chest and my embarrassment, I could not properly praise her.Bookmark here

Jeez! What the heck was that anyway? I suppose I should follow up on my compliments later on.Bookmark here

Kyashii emerged from the fitting room.Bookmark here

“I’m buying this,” she said, smiling. Her face has returned to its natural color.Bookmark here

But wait, she’s actually going to buy that?Bookmark here

“Why squander your money on something that isn’t your style?” It’s my logical reasoning that kicks in.Bookmark here

Great! It seems I have recovered from the fitting room hiccup.Bookmark here

“I want to. Hmph! A-And you said I looked good in it.”Bookmark here

“Well, yeah. But if you tried any underwear according to your preferences, I’d still say the same thing.” I argued. This girl isn’t being practical.Bookmark here

“I already know that I look good in those. I’m buying this for a change,” she insisted as she walked towards the cashier.Bookmark here

We have a salesperson giggling behind us since she heard us bickering over an underwear. I awkwardly smiled at her before turning to whisper to Kyashii.Bookmark here

“You could just buy another pair of underwear in your preferred style. You said a while ago that was plain.” I’m still trying to make Kyashii change her mind here.Bookmark here

She just ignored me and paid for it anyway.Bookmark here

I sighed as I rolled my eyes.Bookmark here

Gah! What a stubborn and impractical buyer.

Bookmark here

We’re on the movie theatre’s main floor to see a horror movie. Kyashii and I share a common interest in horror films, so we chose one to watch today.Bookmark here

It will be half an hour before the movie starts. I figured we should get something to eat while we watch it.Bookmark here

“How about we grab a few snacks for the movie?” I asked Kyashii while she was sitting on a bench nearby the theatre.Bookmark here

“Can we bring snacks inside?”Bookmark here

“Huh? I think so. I always bring snacks with me to the movies, and I’ve never had a problem. Besides, I see some adults do it all the time, so I think it’s fine.” I shrugged.Bookmark here

“I didn’t realize you weren’t a stickler for rules,” she smiled.Bookmark here

“Well, from what I understand, snacks should be fine as long as they’re not smelly or bothersome. So, should we grab some?”Bookmark here

“Oh, sure.”Bookmark here

“Do you want me to buy you some popcorn, or do you want to tag along?” She seems tired after all that walking.Bookmark here

“Can you get me one? I’d like a corn potage popcorn, please?” Kyashii said with a beseeching smile as she clasped her hands together.Bookmark here

“Okay then. You seem a bit tired. Are you alright?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just that my feet are feeling a little tired. I walked around with Hana earlier today as well.”Bookmark here

“Oh, right… That makes sense. Then, what drink should I get for you? Matcha soy milk latte?” That’s her favorite drink.Bookmark here

“Will you treat me?” Kyashii grinned.Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure. Why not?”Bookmark here

“I love you, Yuyo!" Kyashii responded sweetly to my surprise. "Then, I'll gladly take you up on that. Thank you!"Bookmark here

“I see how your love is only worth a matcha soy milk latte.” While I was surprised by her unexpectedly passionate response, I chose to tease her instead.Bookmark here

She has rarely said anything like that since we became friends.Bookmark here

“Well, yeah! Just be thankful it’s like that. Hmmph!...” I got a scowl from her.Bookmark here

I smiled at her response and continued on my way to get our movie munchies.Bookmark here

It seemed as though Kyashii had gulped down a kilo of sugar, as it showed in her attitude earlier.Bookmark here

I couldn't remember if she'd ever uttered those words to me before or if I'd ever said them to her. As we do not share a friendship where we speak sweetly to one another, I find it tough to say cheesy lines like that simply because I’m not a sweet talker by nature.Bookmark here

Even so, it was heartwarming to hear her say those words to me. It was comforting.Bookmark here

Hmm…Bookmark here

Although Kyashii can be a little pushy and overbearing, my life is so much better with her in it.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.