Chapter 27:

Pride and Impersonation

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)

The waiter, dressed in a very western-style coat and tails, shows Koi and I to the table requested for our booking.

Or should I say, Sakura’s booking.

The only time I’ve ever seen someone dressed like this is in anime that are styled around Victorian-era butlers; pair this with the very authentic-looking maid café and I think there’s a theme going on right now.

Our waiter’s attire matches the grandiose nature of the restaurant, even if this entire place isn’t themed like last time. The warm lighting shines on all the very angular tables and chairs – only sat on by people who are dressed even fancier than the pair of us.

Despite sporting a dress shirt, I feel as if I don’t belong in a place like this at all and everyone here knows it.

They have no idea I’m a degenerate shut-in who works part-time shifts at a small convenience store, but something inside me says they do.

It’s like all eyes are on me, even if I can’t see a single person looking my way.

Turning to Koi for some moral support, I notice that unlike the superior aura she sported before, she now has her head down as her whole body shakes.

Her eyes are transfixed on her feet, soulless and empty while she mutters something incomprehensible under her breath.

Like she’s casting some sort of dark spell.

We’re both hopeless introverts!

This reminder quells my anxiety, there is a feeling of camaraderie in the air as we continue our walk through the restaurant.

It’s larger than I had anticipated, with our table seemingly being situated in the far reaches of the venue.

There’s a good chance this is just what was available, but I’d like to think that Sakura chose a table that both Koi and I would be comfortable on – far away from the windows and crowds.

Although I’ve managed to settle a bit, I want to help out Koi as much as I can. We aren’t exactly close enough for me to wrap my arms around her fully in this context, even if it’s something I’ve done before.

Do I hold her hand?

That seems a little excessive, but also my brain is just sending me warning signs about the possible rejection that could ensue from that.

My hand reaches out and just lightly nudges hers – I’m not sure what the intention is but I hope that maybe it will pull her out of her funk.

The incoherent mumbling stops as it feels like the whole restaurant goes silent.

Loud thumping noises originating from my heart can be heard above all other things in the vicinity – at least to me that is.

Koi’s neck twists in an almost disfiguring sense, like in a horror movie as her dead eyes lock onto me – questioning my intentions behind that hand stroke.

In an awkward gesture and honestly because I have no idea why I even touched her in the first place, I smile.

This probably makes me look so creepy, but my hopes are that seeing me comfortable may quell her anxiety.

After all, I think she knows I’m more of a lost cause than her.

“Sir and Madam, your table is here.”

Look out Koi, someone else is spouting lines as dramatic as yours!

The waiter gestures over to the table furthest away from the entrance, hidden in the back of the restaurant.

I could probably get used to being called sir more often, maybe I should go and see Chika after this – she’d undoubtedly be interested in all these developments.

It is when we get seated and the waiter leaves us that I realise how much my fears were benefiting from a third party being present.

Koi and I just sort of sit awkwardly with our hands on the table, twiddling our thumbs and looking around the room.

Racking my brain, I try to find some point of conversation to bring up. I want to talk about what Sakura mentioned earlier relating to the adoption, but I don’t think that’s quite the date-friendly conversation starter.

Even I have some tact!

In trying to find some sort of topic, I realise that we don’t really know much about each other's interests other than the fact we are both otaku; even then, our preferences inside that generalization are unknown.

Except for vtubers, I guess…

As I think back to our first interaction after all those years, back at the restaurant, one thing stood out amongst the rest.

Koi’s very good impersonation of Mayu; actually, throughout the entire time we’ve been interacting she has been using some elements of Mayu’s personality in different ways.

It’s not like full-blown chūnibyō, but more of an imitation.

“Did you catch the end of Mayu’s stream?”

The girl sitting across from me snaps out of her awkward disposition as her entire body tenses up; a part of me feels like I can see every hair on her body stand on end.

Okay, the implications of that sentence feel kind of inappropriate.

Get your head out of the gutter!

Oh, just me?

I really need to go outside more often…

“Isn’t there a pot of gold at the end of a stream?”

That’s at the end of a rainbow and I think we are talking about different kinds of streams.

“The end of a stream is called the mouth.”

“So you’re asking me about a girl’s mouth?”

“I’m asking you about a vtuber!”

Finally, I feel like our dialogue is making progress.

“Never heard of it.”

Why is she being so resistant to this idea?

I’ve heard a lot of people have a certain apprehension when it comes to vtubers, even those who are already immersed in the surrounding culture.

“Dun! Dun! Dun!”

My entire existence crumples up like paper as I try to impersonate Mayu’s sound effects in real life.

It sounded so much better when she did it.

Koi winces at my attempt, trying to hold back her laughter.

“That was the saddest version of that I’ve ever heard.”

So you do know what impression I’m trying to make!

As I look up at her, I’m hit with a familiar sight – she has one hand over her mouth, looking down on me like I am trash.

Like I’m vermin.

“Dun! Dun! Dun!”

In a second attempt to reclaim my dignity, I end up losing it further instead.

“Are you feeling okay?”

To be quite honest, not really – I’m sort of just in shock right now over two failed attempts at a Mayu impression in front of a girl.

“Sorry, my pride was hurt.”

Dropping her hand, Koi lets out a visible smile.

“And you thought that was the best way to rectify it?”

Look, you have a solid point there.

My body tires and I slump back into my seat – my head held as low as is humanly possible.

“I thought it couldn’t have hurt to try.”

“Well you’d be wrong, that was painful.”

Hearing you say that doesn’t help at all, you know!

“But you admit you know who Mayu is?”

She’s been skirting around and deflecting every attempt at acknowledging this fact, but I want a friend I can talk about Mayu to so I’m not going to drop this.

I want a full confession!

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon