Chapter 17:

Unconsciously Interested

Unconsciously [SHORT]

“Hana, do you mind if I hang out with you more often during our lunch break?” Kyashii asked her friend in the hallway during their break time.

“You’re not eating with Shibasaki-san and Kamiwaki-san for lunch?”

“I think it’s probably best if I cut back on how much time I spend with Yuyo from now on.” Kyashii’s voice echoed with melancholy.

“Huh? Why?!”

“It turns out you were right after all. I like her that way.” Kyashii smiled bitterly at Hana. “I’m gay, and I wasn’t even aware until now. It’s funny, isn’t it?”

“No, it isn’t. That’s all right, Kyashii... Interestingly enough, many adults in their twenties, thirties, and beyond lack a clear understanding of their sexual orientation. I think you’re lucky to have figured it out so early.” Hana smiled fondly at Kyashii. Although she’s glad Kyashii is coming to terms with her sexuality, it’s also clear to her that her friend will struggle to adjust after learning all those things.

“I’m not sure if that makes me lucky. It’s confusing to me, and honestly, I have no idea what to do. I only had one solution: spend less time with Yuyo. That way, my feelings will not get in the way of us being best friends. Considering she’s also pretty busy with school now, that will make things easier for me. If I spend less time with her, this may go away soon. Yeah... Maybe...” Kyashii stared off into space.

“You know, some say that the longer you suppress your feelings for someone, the harder you fall for that person.”

“What do you mean by that? That I should confess to Yuyo?”

“Roughly that. What keeps you from telling her? Who knows, maybe she’s interested in you as well?”

“Yeaahh… Right…” Kyashii’s expression darkened. “As if that were ever going to happen. Love isn’t her thing, and I’m not even sure if she likes girls either.” A sudden pain prickled her heart.

That stings excruciatingly. Urgh... There is no way I would have wanted things to be this way.

“Mmm... But I think Shibasaki-san finds you special in some way. You could interpret that as a subtle hint that she also likes you that way. Perhaps just like you, she isn’t quite able to put two and two together yet.” Hana smiled at Kyashii. She has nagging doubts about whether or not Yuyo feels the same way about Kyashii considering Yuyo is a tough nut to crack for her. Yuyo’s personality is just a bit of a question mark for Hana.

“In what way do you mean somehow special?” Kyashii’s befuddled gaze shifted to Hana.

“It’s obvious that she enjoys teasing you. Your enraged response amuses her. If she only behaves that way toward you, then I’d say that says a lot about how she sees you.”

“Isn’t that because she just likes to tease me the most?”

“That’s a possibility... But you seem to bring out such different expressions from Shibasaki-san whenever she teases you. So, if you’ve noticed that she acts differently around you than she does around Kamiwaki-san or anyone else, there might be something special about you. If that’s the case, don’t you think she’s a little more attentive to you than to others?”

“Huh?! By making fun of me?!”

“Is she being overly cruel with her jokes, though?”

“N-No…. I don’t think so at all. If anything, it’s more in a jokey manner.”

“Oh well, that’s it. She enjoys teasing or making fun of you because she may be completely at ease around you. As I mentioned, she pays closer attention to you, making it easier for her to pick up on what you would be confident and insecure about.” Hana smiled.

“Y-You think so?”

Is there a possibility that Yuyo feels something special towards me? Does she really pay more attention to me than to anyone else?

“I’m just saying what I think—take it with a grain of salt, though. It would still be better if Shibasaki-san said these things herself, Kyashii.”

“Heh~... Wouldn’t it be nice if you were right, Hana?” Kyashii’s heart flutters at the thought of even the faintest whiff of hope. “Even so, I think it’s best for me to keep my distance from Yuyo. I don’t want my feelings to get out there. If I’m truly special to her, I’ll wait until she figures that on her own.”

“And if she doesn’t?”

“W-Well... Umm... Maybe, if I notice any signs that I am special to her, then I might confess. Yeah... That’s the plan!”

“Are you sure about this?”

“Yeah… I don’t want to make any hasty decisions since my friendship with Yuyo is on the line. Going ahead and making a confession might blow everything up. My best bet is to get some unspoken confirmation before I confess. I will have the courage to confess if I do that. Besides, confessing to her wouldn’t matter if she wasn’t interested in me that way in the first place. I’d rather keep our friendship on good terms than risk losing her completely.” Kyashii gave Hana a ghost of a smile.

“Mmm… Isn’t falling in love with your best friend one of the most difficult things you can go through? It’s a scary and convoluted situation.”

“Right... Not to mention sharing the same gender. These feelings I have aren’t exactly what I was expecting, but I can’t help myself.” A cloud of melancholy sealed Kyashii’s eyes. “So, umm... Hana, would you mind doing me a favor?”

“Oh... Tell me.”

“Ahh... Do you think you’d be able to help me figure out what Yuyo might be expressing subconsciously? There’s no way I can tell if she really l-likes me and isn’t simply aware of it. I guess I’ll need your help since I’m not used to this. I know nothing about any of this. I might get things wrong if I try to do this on my own. Will you please help me?”

“Ohh~... I understand. Of course, Kyashii. I’d be happy to help you with this matter as far as my understanding allows. You can let me know how things are going with Shibasaki-san. Maybe we can figure out what she feels by the hints she sends you subconsciously.” Hana smiled reassuringly at Kyashii.

“Really?! I appreciate it so much, Hana! I owe you a great deal.”

“However, setting limits on the amount of time you will spend with someone you like will be tough. Almost everyone would rather be with someone they like.”

“It’s fine. She has her hands full with schoolwork and clubs. And since I’m the best friend, that role allows me to spend time with her whenever I want.” Kyashii smiled as she stretched out her arms above her head.


“On top of that, Yuyo has no interest in romance. Call me stupid, but I believe that will work to my advantage. That way, I can like her while having her all to myself. But... It’s not an h-honest friendship anymore on my part, is it?” Kyashii’s voice was shaky. “It’s... It’s just that I don’t want to punish myself by spending more time with her. Yet... I still want to be with her almost all the time. The thing is, I’m now conscious of how much I love Yuyo, and this is making me anxious I might reveal too much to her. Even if she doesn’t care about love, she’s still smart enough to notice things that could lead her to find out about my feelings.”

“I see… That makes sense to me. Whatever you decide about this situation, you can count on my support, Kyashii.” Hana smiled as she squeezed Kyashii’s shoulder.

“Thank you so much, Hana-sensei.” Kyashii jokingly bowed to Hana.

Gaah! Not again! Kyashii frowned as a few love letters fell from her locker. “Urggh! This is getting old.” She groaned as she picked up some strewn-about letters.

“Having a pretty face can be a struggle in some ways, huh?” Yuyo’s voice reached Kyashii’s ears.

“These letters are starting to bother me. I don’t want a boyfriend after all. Hmph!” Kyashii grimaced as she looked up at Yuyo, who was smiling while watching her pick up the envelopes. “Do you mind helping me rather than simply watching me?”

“I mind.” Yuyo’s eyes gleamed with amusement as she smirked at Kyashii.

“Haaah?! Are you just here to bully me again?”

“Well, I didn’t get to ‘bully’ you during lunch break, plus I don’t have after-school activities today, so yes, that’s exactly right.” Yuyo flashed a grin of mischief.

“Ohh… What’s this? You miss me already?” Immediately after getting up, Kyashii tossed the letters in the trash bin.

“How cold… Why don’t you try opening and reading some of them? Those people went out of their way to get it to you, you know?” Yuyo squinted at Kyashii.

“I’m not interested, so why bother?”

“Heeh... Hmm... Well, I suppose that’s good news for those boys. Those souls are safe from the clutches of someone like Kyashii.”

“Haaah?! And what’s that supposed to mean?!”

“I mean, it goes without saying that you’re pretty. But the only thing they know about you is your face. It might hurt a poor soul if you choose to date one of them, making it too late for them to realize your vicious nature.” Yuyo pondered thoroughly.

“Yuyo Shibasaki…. The mere fact that you’re looking all serious while you’re saying that makes me mad!”

“Ooh~... I guess I did well with my acting, huh? I owe my literature club some thanks for this.”

“Gaahh!” Quick as a flash, Kyashii swings her school bag at Yuyo, striking her in the thigh.

“Ouch! …See what I mean? That’s another red flag about you they need to keep an eye on. You’re a thug.” Yuyo chortled as she stepped back from Kyashii.

“Whatever! It’s not like those people can bring out the worst in me since you’re the only one who ends up making me act like this!”

“Hmmm… So I bring out the worst in you?”

“That’s right! You’re the one who’s forcing me to react this way, so don’t even think about complaining.”

“I’m not complaining, let alone I can only bring out the worst in you since there’s no best in you for me to bring out, Kyashii-chan~….” Yuyo winked as she dashed off to the main building entrance before Kyashii could hit her again.

“Yuyo Shibasaki! How dare you! Wait for me, you jerk!” Kyashii grunted as she hurried to catch up with Yuyo.

“Come on… Let’s walk home together.” Yuyo then smiled softly and reached forward to grasp Kyashii’s hand.

Kyashii’s eyes turned toward Yuyo’s hand before a soft smile unfolded on her lips. “Anyway, why don’t we go on a best friend date at least once for now rather than going home straight? Please treat me to some takoyaki, Yuyo~….”

“Best friend date? Such a thing exists?”

“Yes, it does! Where did you even come from that you didn’t know that?”

“Heeh... I see. Okay, let’s get something to eat before going home.”

“I’m asking you to treat me to a takoyaki. Hmph! What’s up with you always ignoring the important things I say?”

“Huh? I’m always paying attention to what you say, even when I don’t react to it. But is takoyaki that important?”

“Yes, because it’s my stomach we’re talking about!”

“Eh? What the heck was that? Kyashii-chan, you’re really pushy and needy.” Yuyo laughed. “Alright… I’ll spoil you, foodie. Let’s get going...”

“Ohh… O-Okay. Thank you, Yuyo.” Kyashii fondly smiled as she returned her gaze to her hand clasped with Yuyo’s.

I don’t know how long I can keep my feelings for you a secret, Yuyo...

But please allow me to enjoy moments like this. I’m sorry for liking you, but I won’t force my feelings on you. All I need right now is a glimmer of hope that someday you will see me the same way I see you.

Yet... If that day never arrives, perhaps one day, I’ll muster the courage to tell you that I love you.

So until then, please allow my love to flow through you. Do you mind if my feelings for you overflow? I wonder...

Kyashii understands how complicated it is to fall in love with her best friend and that taking risks is the only way if she desires her romantic story to end well. And yet, Kyashii decided to put off chasing that desire, at least for now, knowing her best friend is not particularly interested in love.

While Kyashii knows the road ahead will not be easy for her, she's willing to endure the struggles entailed by those feelings. The realization of her feelings for Yuyo will undoubtedly send her tumbling down an emotional roller coaster, but she's confident the ride will be just fine.

Umm… But maybe, I can tell you more about how I feel for you when the time is right, Yuyo. If and when that time comes, I hope I can already confidently tell from your actions that you're also unconsciously interested in me.

At least for now, let's just walk along together until we get somewhere. The little moments of happiness I'll find with you on this path will be enough for me. As long as we continue on this path, I'm sure our closeness will never become a thing of the past.

With a warm smile, Kyashii gazes passionately at Yuyo as they walk side by side with their fingers locked together.

❀❀❀ END ❀❀❀

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