Chapter 6:

A Smile Like That (Part 1)

Unconsciously Interested


“It's a pleasure to meet you all. Please look after me...”

You’ve got to be kidding, right?

Of all the students who expressed interest in joining, why is she one of them again?

“. . . .”


Oh well, forget it. There’s nothing wrong with her. It’s just that I don’t feel that comfortable around her.

“-Yo! Hey, Yuyo!” I lost my train of thought when Minori patted my shoulder.

“Huh? What?”

Minori furrowed her brows as she looked at me. “I was asking if you had anything to say to Takashi-san.”

“Oh! Yeah… No, nothing noteworthy,” I replied. Then I turned to Laughing-san. “Welcome to the student council, Laugh– err… Takashi-san!”

Oh, my goodness! I almost called her Laughing-san out loud! That name has become ingrained in my mind.

I guess she didn’t notice, righ–?

Ah-re? Laughing-san smiles at me with an amusing expression on her face. She noticed it, then!

Anyway… Let’s not linger too much on this. It’s just embarrassing for me to call someone else other than their name, and worse, we are not even friends. Even though she recently gifted me with gummy candies days ago, I still think of her as a stranger.

“Thank you, Shibasaki-senpai.” Takashi-san said with a sweet smile.

I simply nodded in response.

Yeah, that’s right. She’s not Laughing-san, but Takashi-san. I need to correct my brain on how to address her properly.

“Well, Takashi-san, thank you for joining the student council. I want to welcome you here. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.” Minori said.

“Thank you, Kamiwaki-senpai. Serving the student council is definitely something I will enjoy.”

“I am delighted to hear that. It will be a great pleasure to work with you.” Minori smiled warmly at Takashi-san.

These two certainly get along.

I then turned my attention back to the laptop I was using for student council work, and started working on a couple of documents about upcoming class trips next month. I need to get my task done so that I can leave early. I have to go the convenience store to pick up groceries and my food for dinner.

From the corner of my eyes, I can see Takashi-san looking my way. I disregard it and continue to work. This underclassman still makes me uncomfortable. It may have something to do with how we first met or her way of speaking or looking at me?

Although I am uneasy around her, she seems to be a good-natured person. I can’t quite get used to her yet, but maybe one day, I’ll get over my initial apprehensions and start to feel comfortable around her.


“Thanks for the hard work. I’ll be taking my leave now.” I walked to the door as I waved my right hand to Minori and other student council members.

“Do you have literature club today?” Minori asked.

“Hmm? None, only on Tuesday and Thursday. Why?”

“It seems like you’re in a hurry today.” She looked at me inquisitively. She sure has a keen eye for detail.

“I just need to get some groceries, you know,” I have to leave early since shopping for things at the convenience store always takes me a while.

“Oh, I see...”

“Well then, have a great day. I’m out. See you later, guys.” I said as I opened the door.

“See you, Yuyo.”

“See you later, Shibasaki-san.”

I grabbed my phone from my uniform jacket to check my shopping list.

As I scrolled my phone, I noticed Kyashii had left me a message on LIWE. Hmm, I wonder what is it about?

Yuyo, what time do you come out of the student council?” Kyashii asked. Based on the time stamp, her message was sent 30 minutes ago. What was she up to?

I typed my response. “I just got out. I’m heading home. What’s up?” And send.

Now then, let me get back to my checklist since I don’t expect Kyashii to respond right away. It’s unlikely that she’ll reply immediately anyway.

Ring-! Ring-!

Yeah, right! On the contrary, she’s the type to call right away.

“Yuyo! Where are you?!” Kyashii asked as soon as I picked up the call.

“Uhh… I’m still on my way out of the school grounds. Where’s the fire?”

“What?! What fire?’

“Well… You sound as if you’re in a life-or-death situation. So, what is it?”

“Hmmph… Anyway, I was wondering if you were going home right away? Let’s meet up right now. I’m still here in the shopping district.”

“Huh? Class ended 45 minutes ago, yet you’re still not home? It doesn’t seem like you’re doing any shopping, does it?”

“Haha… You knew? Yeah, I happened to run into one of my middle school classmates who invited me for a snack. I called home to let them know I would be late.”

“Ah… I see.” She must be close friends with that former classmate.



“Let’s meet. I’ll wait for you here. Could we hang out a little, please?”

My first thought was to decline her invitation since I still had grocery shopping to do and I’d just spent the weekend with her. But if I meet her in the shopping district, I can also buy groceries there after we hang out. In a sense, this is killing two birds with one stone, isn’t it?

Yeah… Let’s just put it that way since I find it quite difficult to say no to this pushy friend of mine.

“Alright. I’ll just do my grocery shopping there. Where exactly are you? I’m on my way there.”


Uh-oh... Am I lost?

I’m unfamiliar with the café that Kyashii has mentioned, so I went online to check the map. However, I’m having trouble finding it since, umm... I have a terrible sense of direction! It took me five minutes to check the signages, but there was still no luck.

Jeez! Where the heck is that café?! Is it invisible or something?

Okay! I’m done with this. I’m really lost—the dread! Even worse, this place is too crowded, making me feel ill at ease!


I’ll just send message to Kyashii, then. I think I’m lost. I’m in front of the yyy teashop. Could you please just come over here?” And send.


Quite a fast one there. Kyashii replied with a sticker.

I stood there for a few minutes, randomly looking both ways to see if Kyashii was within my sight. Not long after, I caught a glimpse of her talking to a guy.

Hmm… that's the classmate, huh? It seems like they’re pretty close to each other. I had trouble recognizing faces from a distance, so I couldn't figure out what he actually looked like. In fact, it’s Kyashii's familiar features or perhaps her presence alone enables me to identify her at a distance.

Kyashii rushed towards me after they parted ways. She seems to be happy after talking to that guy.

“Yuyo… Sorry, did I keep you waiting for too long?” Kyashii's smile is radiant as she holds my arm tight. She always clings to my arm as if it were a natural reflex.

“I thought you were meeting with a former girl classmate. I didn't expect it to be a guy.” I replied despite myself not paying attention to her remarks.

“Hmm? Yeah. What’s wrong? You look bothered,” she’s still smiling brightly.

Huh…? Am I?

I didn’t realize I was, but I felt odd nonetheless. It was as if I had lost an immense amount of energy. I wonder if it’s because the crowd has become overwhelming for me. I usually feel anxious and unbalanced in crowded, noisy places, so I tend to steer clear of them if at all possible.

“I’m fine. So, where to?” I asked Kyashii with a reassuring smile. Considering how uneasy I feel right now, I should stay away from the crowd for the time being.

“Are you not planning to stop by the grocery store? I’ll tag along.”

“Wait, you invited me here just to go to the grocery store?”

“Eeh…? Could it be that you really want to hang out with me after all?” Her smile grows wider.

“Your mood seems awfully happy. Has anything good happened between you and your friend?”

“Huh…? None at all! Let’s just say I’m happy that we’re hanging out again. We should do this often, Yuyo!”

“You mean hanging out in busy places like this?”

She pouted and whispered something that I didn’t catch since it was a little lively around us. “Fine! We’ll go to a peaceful place next time,” she said.

I couldn’t help but crack a smile. She’s so into hanging out these days. “Sure. Yeah… alright.” 

“Really?! Do you really mean it?”

I stared at her. “Yes, Mikami-san. I just agreed, didn’t I?”

“Hmp! Your word is your bond! Make sure you keep it!”

I don’t seem to have her trust with regards to hanging out, do I?

I chuckled. “Of course. Anyway, I’m hungry. Do you know of a less packed café where we can eat? Ahh… Wait, would you be able to eat more?”

“I’d love to! I’m still starving!”

“Have you not eaten enough while you were with your former classmate?”

“Since I was planning to invite you to hang out later on, I just had a small slice of cake.”

“You’re quite confident I’ll say yes, huh?”

“Uh-hum?! It turns out you can’t seem to resist me most of the time!”

Oh my! Look at that smug look on her face. I simply laughed as it’s hard to argue with that. It’s almost like that’s an established fact. “You’ve got a strong sense of vanity, just in case you’re not aware of it.”

She sneered at me for a moment, then smiled.

There’s something soothing about her smile. It’s as if seeing Kyashii smile is enough to make me feel more at ease. That’s something I noticed last time.

Well, we really are best friends after all.

Such a thought gives me comfort, and I can't help smiling when I think about it.

“What?” Kyashii asked.

“What?” I asked back.

“You’re smiling out of nowhere. What’s up with that?”

“Oh… nothing. I’m just thinking about how good it makes me feel when I see your smile.” I casually replied.

I feel Kyashii’s grip tighten around my arm within an instant. My eyes darted to her, wondering what was going on.

I saw her face is a little red, and she has her hand covering her mouth.


What’s going on with her?! Is she feeling sick all of a sudden? “What’s wrong?! Do you feel sick?! Would you like to take a short break?” I frantically asked.

“A-Ahh… No! No. I’m fine!” Her face is still beet red.

“Are you sure? Your face looks really red!” My palm touched her forehead to feel her temperature. She doesn’t seem to be feverish. “Don’t cover your mouth so you can breathe properly! You already look like a boiled octopus.” I pulled her hand away from her mouth.


“Yeah, octopus!” I reiterated. “Take a deep breath. What’s wrong with you? My stomach is in knots because of you!” I narrowed my eyes at her.

“I’m fine… Thanks. Don’t worry.”

“Oh, good. Then, let’s go to this café. Thanks to you, I’m getting even more hungry.”

“Well, I’m sorry!” She pouted.

I simply smirked at her as I opened the café door and motioned for her to enter first.