Chapter 10:

Blindsided

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)


Exiting the apartment, I turn my mind away from Mayu and onto the girl I’m about to go see. I should probably apologize to Koi for the roundabout methods of getting her phone number, although in actuality I’m not sure of any other way I could’ve done it.

As I walk through the city, I’m unable to escape the sea of billboards and screens advertising Mayu and her friends in Doki Doki Demons, the virtual talent agency for which Mayu is the poster girl.

Poster-girl?

Did Sakura mention something about people requesting her to be the poster girl for a gang? I have to wonder how much of that conversation with Koi’s hot-headed younger sister was fabricated to get my blood boiling.

It’s a well-executed technique when entering a verbal battle of wits with someone, getting them angrier and angrier so they lose sense of what they’re saying. Maybe that girl isn’t as dumb as I thought.

I can feel my heart rate rising amongst the waves of sadistic girls entering my mind all at once.

When did I become so popular?

Bringing myself back to the moment, I focus on the pavement and the placement of my feet.

Yes, it turns out I haven’t learned anything from last time.

Everyone else can get out of my mind.

I’m thinking about Koi. I’m thinking about Koi. I’m thinking abo-

A familiar voice emerges from behind me.

“Hiya, Aki!”

I spin around before my mind can catch up.

“I’m thinking about Koi.”

Shit.

Koi is standing directly in front of me with her head cocked to the side, looking at me as if I just said the strangest thing on the planet. Which I just might have.

For a moment, my mind is completely transported from the situation – maybe it’s a self-defence mechanism, maybe it’s because I’ve noticed that she looks really freaking cute right now.

Her long-sleeved, vintage anime shirt is tucked into her ripped denim shorts. It’s the belt that ties the whole outfit together that makes me realize that it is a crime against every poorly dressed otaku like myself to look this cool while wearing anime merch.

It’s not allowed!

“You’re being pretty weird right now.”

Snapping back to reality, away from the wide-eyed anime character with stars in their eyes and returning to a shut-in that’s just seen a pretty girl for the first time in a while.

“Ahah. Yea.”

This conversation keeps getting more awkward by the second. Divert, Akira, divert the conversation.

Koi looks unimpressed as she crosses her arms together and slightly leans into me.

“You’re thinking dirty things, aren’t you?”

As she whispers her accusation, she puts a single finger on my chest and stares up into my eyes.

That one finger, that singular purple painted nail feels as if it’s piercing my heart and pressing it to a pause.

The crowds of people rushing by us freeze in an instant; businessmen going to work, school kids coming out for their lunch break, and the chaos of random strangers in a myriad of different attires all come to a halt.

I look into Koi’s face, and I can see only one thing…

“You’re blushing.”

A gust of wind approaches as cherry blossoms fall from the sky. Only the two of us are animated in this time, her hair blowing backwards with the grace of a model.

The picturesque moment from a romance anime, the height of all my fantasies. For just a moment, everything is peaceful.

Why must all good things come to an end?

The world starts turning again, this time maybe even faster than before.

Before I can process this new speed at which reality is moving, Koi’s fist buries itself deep into my abdomen, squeezing every last bit of breath out of my lungs.

My arms stretch out in front of me as I fall, but before I reach the ground I feel a tugging on my hand as Koi reaches out and pulls me along the sidewalk.

Slowly, I drag my feet behind her, trying to catch my breath and walk at the same time. She isn’t going slow for me either.

I feel like a soldier being hauled back from battle, only in this situation I was randomly assaulted and then my assailant decided to walk me along.

Maybe I’m being taken to an alleyway so she can get rid of the evidence.

Pushing myself firmly back onto my two feet and gathering my bearings, I inhale a large gulp of air as if I’ve been submerged underwater for too long.

I can’t let this be the end of Aki, the Greatest, Conquerer of Worlds and Women.

What has Sakura planted in my mind? What have I become?

“Are you okay?”

Koi’s tender words come as she faces back to me. We are standing at the entrance to the diner we were supposed to meet in for our date.

Or meetup? Or hangout? Or hell, apparently sparring session?

“Yeah, yeah. I think some random person in the street just tried to mug me or something.

“No, that was me.”

I have a confession from the perpetrator!

“A little warning is nice, like maybe a signal or something.”

“I was just testing your-“

“Yeah, yeah. Testing my reflexes, like last time.”

“Thank god I did, you’ve obviously been lacking on training lately – you got completely blindsided.”

She’s aware that it took me completely off guard and almost off my feet!

Koi looks down towards the ground and twiddles her thumbs for a second. She goes to grab the handle to enter the diner, but pulls back at the last moment and faces me.

“I-I’m sorry.”

I step back in shock and grab onto my heart; this time not because I think I’m about to die from oxygen deprivation.

I just got an apology! Has this happened before? Is this a learning moment?

“It’s oka-“

“But just so you know, it’s really not my fault your technique was sloppy – you’ve been spacy as heck since we met up today. Get your head in the game!”

What are you, a football coach?

Koi regains her composure. Her cheeks red.

“You’re blu-“

I don’t know if I stop myself mid-sentence or she stops me with her finger pressed up against my lips – maybe a mix of both.

“Sometimes, you should probably keep those thoughts to yourself.”

Koi pulls back and reaches for the door handle again.

“Shall we go in?”

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