Chapter 8:

Superficial Cafe Date - Part 1

The Cute Girl Sitting Next to Me is a Manipulator but I'm Smarter

I once again entered the silent classroom early in the morning.

Like the previous day, Fujiharu-san was already seated and was reading through To Kill a Mockingbird. Based on what I could see, it looked as if she was getting pretty close to the end of the novella. I guess she did some serious reading the previous night. I made my way over to my seat as she looked up from her novel to greet me.

"Morning Mizuhara-kun!"


"What did you have to do yesterday?"

"It's a bit of a long story."

"Aw~ come on, tell me."

I didn't really want to explain the entire thing to her since it would take quite a long time. I decided to just make up something to smooth this conversation over.

"I had a mandatory conversation with the principal about my enrolment here."

"Oh, why did you need to do that?"

"Uh, it's because it was about my scholarship."

"Ah, is there any problem?"

"Nope, it's just a regular thing."

It was somewhat of an odd excuse but it worked out in the end I guess. I placed my bag on the ground and took a seat. After a little bit of silence, Fujiharu-san looked over at me again and quietly said something.

"So are we going to the cafe today?" She asked.

"Yeah, if you want to."

"Of course I want to~"

She smiled and placed To Kill a Mockingbird on the table.

"I've just finished reading this, it was a little boring but I liked the court scenes."

"Ah, that's good."

"So what are you reading now?" She asked.

"Murder on the Orient Express."

"Oh yeah, I saw you reading that yesterday."

"Yeah, it's a nice book."

She took To Kill a Mockingbird off the table and got up. She pulled some of her stationery out of her bag and set up her desk for the day. After that, she looked over at me.

"Look after my stuff okay~ I'm just going to the library."


With that, she walked out of the classroom.

I opened up the crime thriller novel and continued to read through it. It was around the same length as To Kill a Mockingbird so I predicted that I'd be able to finish it by tonight, after that, I'll get another book from the library. As I got myself lost in the novella, I was brought back to my senses by the sound of students entering the room.

I guess class was starting soon.

Fujiharu-san still hadn't returned so I assumed that she was taking her time in the library. As I placed Murder on the Orient Express on my desk, I thought about what happened with Tachibana-san yesterday.

She was the daughter of the founder of the Ideal Human Project. I didn't really get to interact with her that much but I heard that lots of the other Outcomes had time to play with her. I had talked with her a few times and we seemed to get be getting along alright, however, ever since that incident, she has held a grudge against me.

I doubt that I'd ever be able to make up with her.

After a few minutes, Fujiharu-san returned with a copy of Murder on the Orient Express.

"I'm back, luckily someone just returned this so I managed to get it."

I was pretty close to finishing the book already though...

"Ah, that's good news."

"How far in are you?" She asked.

"I'll probably be finished by tonight."


Just as she heard that, she quickly opened the book and began reading.

Why was she doing this?

Finally, the teacher entered the room and began the lesson for today. She pulled up something on the television and grabbed a book from under her desk. It was the play that we were studying for English, Shakespeare's Macbeth. I had already read it before so I was pretty prepared.

"Did everyone bring their copy of Macbeth?" The teacher asked.

A few students raised their hands and she handed out a few paper copies.

As she walked back up to the front, she looked at Fujiharu-san who was thoroughly reading Murder on the Orient Express. She was usually the ideal student so the teacher was quite confused by her lack of attention today.

"Fujiharu-san, do you have your copy of Macbeth?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah I do." She quickly grabbed the book out of her bag.

"Just make sure you pay attention."


Her reading was momentarily interrupted by the class. I guess she was trying really hard to catch up to me in the novel. 'Fair is fowl and fowl is fair,' the contradiction between one's appearance and one's true nature is sometimes a sharp pill to swallow. Only when people finally see the world for the dark place it really is, when someone can finally see through all the masks.

In the end, a '...false face must hide what the false heart doth know.'

I looked around at the students around me. Most seemed to be completely zoned out, not intaking any of the information being shoved into their faces. Literature has its own charm which cannot be appreciated until you finally reach a point where you understand it.

Oh well.

I was going to be going to a cafe with Fujiharu-san tonight. I wonder what we'd do. Maybe just for a few hours, I'd turn off my constant analysis of everything. Maybe just for a few hours, I'd experience what other students my age got to experience. Maybe just for a few hours, no matter how superficial, no matter her ulterior motives, I'd pretend as if I was really enjoying it.

I wondered, is the way I live my life really the right way?

In my programming was a constant analytical thought process. In every situation, and every interaction, I would predict and calculate the behaviours of others, I would account for every possibility. I would always make the pragmatic choice, the path of least resistance.

As a result, I never got to experience the spontaneousness of life.

That's why I liked to read novels.

They showed me something that I couldn't see.

The thoughts of the characters.

The friendships, the love, the heartbreaks and the despair.

I wonder, what did it feel like to be normal?

There was a chance that I'd never get to find out.