Chapter 12:

Don't Think This Means You've Won!

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)

After our hands meet for that moment in time, Koi regains her composure and continues walking confidently in the direction of the arcade.

Her stride is long and fast and her face beet red – a fact I’ve learned to ignore, at least out loud.

Don’t say it, I swear to god - don’t say it!

As she struts several paces ahead of me, I try my best to stay close, but it seems every time I speed up, the gap is still the same between us.

If I try to close the distance any more, I will end up looking like a creeper chasing after a pretty girl as she sprints away!

Not quite the image I’m looking for.

I slow down my pace a little as I think about the extreme disconnect between Koi’s actions and expressions.

Sometimes she looks flustered but acts cool, like just before.

Sometimes she berates me with one insult after another yet looks as if she hasn’t broken a sweat.

Okay, maybe that last one can be explained if she was a sadist.

Even now, despite almost running away from me, I can still see her checking behind her shoulder every now and again, making sure that I’m still close behind.

Are all girls this confusing?

I’m not saying this as a general statement or anything, please don’t come after me. I genuinely have no idea; she is the only girl I’ve ever had this kind of relationship with.

This kind of relationship being the purely platonic one, of course.

Of course.

Our eyes meet during one of her backwards gazes, only if for a second as she quickly jolts and starts staring forward again. I can’t see her face right now, but I can imagine what it looks like.

Rosy cheeks.

Finally, we reach the arcade, or should I say, I reach the arcade.

Koi hasn’t noticed that I’ve stopped and continues strutting down the street. I get to the glass door of the clean block allocated for the stockpile of machines and wait there for a moment until she realizes she has gone too far.

Did she forget where we were trying to go?!

It is only during one of her backwards glances at me does she notice that I’ve completely halted and ends up stopping herself; standing with her head cocked to the side for a moment before an almost visible light bulb appears atop her head.

She comes running down the street.

All of that cool air Koi has generated since we first met today has dissipated in a moment.

Even if someone has had the upper hand in every conversation and interaction over the course of the day, if they fumble once, they fumble hard.

Koi’s hair is ruffled as she approaches me, with strands of her pink highlights having become intertwined with the rest of her black locks. The perfectly strung-together outfit of denim shorts and an anime long-sleeve are dishevelled, yet somehow, the rough look works better for her.

It’s cute in a sort of ‘bad-girl’ kind of way.

Now that was one of the most embarrassing thoughts I’ve had in a while; I feel like an old man trying to describe the fashion trends of the kids these days.

Although - I feel pretty perceptive today, I must say.

Maybe when our hands touched, it changed me, you know?

Like, as a man.

“You look pleased, something good happen to you?”

Koi’s comment takes me off guard, but I can’t deny the fact that a pleased look is not something you’d find on my face very often.

“I like seeing you take the extra effort to stretch your legs, really getting that work out in, even if we’ve already arrived.”

“I’m going to ignore that comment about you liking seeing my legs being stretched and just say that I like to get ahead with my fitness; something that can’t be said for the both of us.”

I wince at my harmless comment being transformed into something lewd and shame myself under my breath for not picking up on it before it exited my mouth.

Do normal people think about what they say all the time?

That sounds exhausting.

“And ahead you got, very, very much ahead if I do say so myself.”

While cheekily winking at Koi, I go to open the door.

This is my power move, a mix of making a snarky comment, a cool gesture and then leaving the scene.

It sounded cooler in my head.


Koi’s voice booms through my head as I enter the arcade, still pushing against the door to let her in.

“Don’t think this means you’ve won!”

The line, used in a plethora of anime over existence, conjures up the idea of a friendly rivalry turned relationship for both main characters, as is the norm in such tropes.

If that’s how this story turned out, I think that’d be pretty nice.

Koi winces at me menacingly as she enters the door I’m graciously holding out for her.

And they say chivalry is dead!

As I allow the door to close and admire the square room filled with arcade machines, I am hit with a euphoric feeling of nostalgia.

The games may be slightly different, but most of the same series are still here – the titles have just been changed to add a few more cool words on the end to make it sound new.

As I look around the store, trying to locate the rhythm game that we used to play, I lose sight of Koi.

Add her to the list of things I’m searching for too.

Snooping around the room, suddenly a head appears and peeks out of what I had initially thought was a wall.

“This way!”

This is starting to feel like a horror movie.

Koi’s voice fills the customer-deprived arcade room as I walk over to the parting in the walls. Walking through the parting leads to a small and dark room, filled with only the one rhythm game we were looking for.

“Sorry, I haven’t been here since we last came here together, I sort of forgot my way around.”

I don’t ever remember seeing this room, just being here is making me question my sanity slightly, but Koi seemed to know exactly where it was, so it must’ve been here since back when we were kids.

“Nah, that’s okay. This room was only added in after we were here.”

That doesn’t sound good!

The way she said that and the way she meant that may be very different, I’m not sure. The way she said it makes me think that we were the reason they put it in this isolated room all by itself!

It’s like when you see a new rule in a place you frequent and wonder if you’re the reason the rule exists. In this case, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit, Koi and I always got very heated playing this game.

I’d say it was probably the one place where she would lose her well-mannered behaviour and get fiercely competitive.

That’s what made it such a great way to blow off steam.

Koi is over at the machines, getting them set up by putting coins in them and selecting the game mode. Despite the new machines and even the new layout of the place, she seems very comfortable with everything.

“Do you come here often?”

Without taking her eyes off the screen or even turning her body an inch, she replies.

“Oh-uh, like every now and again.”

That was a guilty reply if there ever was one!

I don’t know if Koi is being so timid about this because she doesn’t want me to think she played without me too much, or she’s trying to trick me into thinking that she’s still as bad at this as she was back then.

Let me just say, she was not good, not good at all.

Turning back to me finally, she stares into my eyes with intense determination and flare.

“Let’s begin!”