Chapter 17:


Third and Final Time

“Hey, Aki?”Bookmark here

“…What?”Bookmark here

“Akane’s changed a lot, hasn’t she?”Bookmark here

“From when?”Bookmark here

“W-well, since we’ve known her?”Bookmark here

“What, so like, a few weeks?”Bookmark here

“No, no, no - I mean, since she started school. I mean, barely anyone calls her the Lonely Ice Princess these days, and everyone seems to really like the new her.”Bookmark here

“Well, she’s cute.”Bookmark here

“And smart.”Bookmark here

“And athletic, a traditional Japanese beauty and-”Bookmark here

“Aki.”Bookmark here

“Hmm?”Bookmark here

“…She said she hated boys, right?”Bookmark here

“…Yeah? Wait…Hayato, seriously, don’t think about-”Bookmark here

“Not me, idiot! I’m talking about Ryuuji!”Bookmark here

“Oh…hmm, surely not, though, right?”Bookmark here

“Why not? It’s possible, isn’t it?”Bookmark here

“What makes you say that?”Bookmark here

“Firstly - ever since we all met up at the pool, Akane has started hanging out with us guys a lot more, right?”Bookmark here

“Right.”Bookmark here

“Not only that! When we were all playing volleyball together, she seemed to get really competitive and got super into it, right?”Bookmark here

“I mean, as much as anyone else, except Ryuuji.”Bookmark here

“Right?! Secondly - there’s something I’ve noticed lately.”Bookmark here

“…What?”Bookmark here

“Well, whenever we’ve been hanging out as a group, hasn’t Akane been constantly looking at Ryuuji?”Bookmark here

“…You noticed that too?”Bookmark here

“Right?! So, I’m not going crazy! I thought for sure she was staring at him a lot and turns out I was right!”Bookmark here

“That might mean nothing, Hayato - if anything, it seems more like she’s just trying to get alone with us one at a time. You’ve seen how she is with Rei, right? That didn’t happen overnight, and even now they’re only barely friends.”Bookmark here

“But, Aki, think about it! Whenever we’re in a group, she keeps looking at him. Not you, not me, not-”Bookmark here

“Definitely not you.”Bookmark here

“Shut up! You know what I’m trying to say, right?”Bookmark here

“That Akane could have a crush on Ryuuji? A decent theory based on thin facts, and that’s forgetting the fact that she said she had a crush on a girl.”Bookmark here

“That was ages ago, and she said that she was bi-sexual. That means she can like both boys and girls, so what if she had a crush on someone, got rejected or gave up, and then started developing feelings for someone else?”Bookmark here

“We wouldn’t know unless we asked the person in question - not that it’s any of our business, you know?”Bookmark here

“And I wouldn’t ask her anyway - not to her face, I mean. She’d probably get really uncomfortable if I asked her, right?”Bookmark here

“Rei could-”Bookmark here

“He’d cave my skull in.”Bookmark here

“Key word - ‘my’, IE you.”Bookmark here

“Aki!”Bookmark here

“Look, it’s not like I haven’t thought the same thing. If anything, I hope that’s the case. Ryuuji’s had a big crush on her since the first day they met, and I’ve seen how happy he looks when they’re talking, and-”Bookmark here

“That’s my third point!”Bookmark here

“…What?”Bookmark here

“Whenever we talk to Akane, she meets our eyes, right?”Bookmark here

“Yeah.”Bookmark here

“She doesn’t with Ryuuji.”Bookmark here

“…You think she’s shy?”Bookmark here

“Or embarrassed.”Bookmark here

“That…no, I mean…that’s just seeing what we want to see.”Bookmark here

“So let’s make it a reality!”Bookmark here

“How?”Bookmark here

“We’ve got the cultural festival coming up, so, what if we help Ryuuji prepare the perfect stage to confess to her on? What if we make it so perfect, so romantic that she’d be swept off her feet and couldn’t possibly refuse?! And, and! We could try and get them to pair up and stuff, or work on the same projects, or walk around together, and-!”Bookmark here

“Her group of bodyguards won’t like that.”Bookmark here

“We can make this work, Aki, I know we can. Don’t you want to see Ryuuji happy?”Bookmark here

“I do, but I don’t want to upset the others either. Hayato, if we do this and you’re wrong, you know-”Bookmark here

“I know, and, if that’s what happens, I’ll take all the blame.”Bookmark here

“…You’re an idiot.”Bookmark here

“I know.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“…So, what’s the plan?”Bookmark here

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