Chapter 51:

Seen As a Win

Unconsciously Interested


Oh no! Oh my God!!


I k-kissed Kyashii!

“I’m sorry!!” I blurted out, gripping Kyashii’s shoulders and flinching away from her in an instant, my gaze fixed on the floor. “I di— Hic!” Aaahh! My nervousness has spiked to the point where I even get a hiccup! Come on, give me a break already! “I... I didn’t mean for this to happen, Kyashii! I’m sorry, really!” I keep my head bent as I slowly ease my grip on her. There’s a burning sensation on my face, and I can’t get my breathing under control!

Uhh, w-what the heck is wrong with me?!?

Something isn’t right here! This incident was remarkably similar to what happened to Tomoka and me last week, but... this one seems more confusing for some reason.

“A-Aahh… I-It’s fine, Yuyo! P-Please don’t w-worry about it.” Kyashii’s stutter has been going on for a while now. As I glanced at her, that pretty face was still beet red, but her eyes were undoubtedly smiling at me.


“Oh! R-Right!” I pick myself up right away. “Eer… N-Not only that… I’m sorry we lost out on the prize, too.” I managed to sneak an apologetic smile at her for a split second before pulling my gaze away to look down yet again.


I squeezed my cheeks together out of edginess.

Calm down… Calm down! Don’t get too worked up! Put your thoughts in order, Yuyo!

“I-It’s okay, Yuyo.” Kyashii eventually gets to her feet as well. “What comes out of the game makes hardly any difference to me.”

“Huh?! ...What?? Didn’t you say you wanted to win??” I tossed a stumped glance at her. With her face gradually regaining its natural tone, Kyashii enables a vibrant smile to radiate across her face.

Hmm… It’s astounding how quickly she bounced back from that.


Although Kyashii seems embarrassed and shocked to have been kissed in front of everyone, she doesn’t seem to be making a big deal out of the incident, right?

So... I was the only one who was acting irrationally here?!

“. . . . .”

Guhh! Whether I think friends can kiss each other, but clearly, my impureness for that kiss is just too overbearing to matter here!

“I mean, winning would be a nice bonus, but just having us play that game is a win in and of itself, Yuyo~,” Kyashii breathed into my ear with that whisper.

“Aahh!” I jerked back from her almost without thinking, instinctively covering my ear.

That tickles the hell out of me! She didn’t have to whisper like that. And when did she even get close?!

Without wishing to offend, having Kyashii inside my private space is the last thing I want on my plate right now. I get so antsy there and then!

Hmm... I hope my reaction to that didn’t cheese off Kyashii—

“. . . . .”

When Kyashii caught me gazing at her, she teasingly cocked her head with a puckish smile. “What is it, Yuyo~?”

Whaa— That’s it! My mistake... I’m too big for my boots, thinking I offended her when she teased me like that!

“Do you see that, Onii-san? Just like we said... Yu-chin and Mikami-san live in a world all to themselves every single time!” It was Tomoka saying something to my brother. “We can never just walk into their space without getting their attention first.”

“I guess that’s true... Hmm? Does anyone know if we have to sign up for an annual pass or anything like that to go in there without bothering them?” My brother strokes his chin as he trippingly stares at Kyashii and me.

These people…

They’re a pain in the— Welp! They’re absolutely annoying! “Onii-chan, I take it this detrimental game of yours is over, yes??” I flashed my sibling a ghastly look.

“Uh-um… It certainly is. There’s already a winning pair, and because Yuyo messed up worse than anyone can imagine, the result is as plain as the nose on my face.” Sanji-onii’s jerk smile was aimed squarely at me. “Do you have any words for the winners, Yuyo-chan?”

“I don’t!” I snapped at his taunting expression before realizing I hadn’t congratulated those two yet. “Ahh… No… I’m sorry.” I turned to Minori and Tomoka and made a slight bow. “Congrats on winning the match, guys.”

“Yoossh! I knew it, yeah?! It was clear from the start that Yu-chin was no match for me!” Tomoka chaffed as she walked up to Kyashii, draping an expectant arm over her shoulder. “But it seems tonight will be seen as a win for both of us, yeah, Mikami-san~?” She cracked an enormous grin at Kyashii.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mizuno-san~.” Kyashii gently prodded Tomoka on the flank. Yet somehow, I could see the effort she put into concealing a smile at the time she flipped a glance at me.

“Ohoho! Don’t be shy! Come on, come on~, Mikami-san... Let’s see some of your vanquishing energy here, yeah?!” Tomoka playfully ruffled Kyashii’s hair.

“Hmph! How about you get off me, Mizuno-san??” Kyashii scowled.

Hmm... I guess I’ll leave them be for now. “Onii-chan, you should hand out their prizes before they line up for the shower.” I glanced at my brother, who was simply looking at us from the sidelines. “You’re leaving early tomorrow, right?”

“Ah, yes, that’s right... I have the money in my room. Please give me a few minutes, girls.” Sanji-onii then hurried upstairs.

Alright then…

“Let’s take turns in getting into the shower, guys. I’ll be last in line, so please go ahead. Soaps, bath salts, and shampoo are ready in the bathroom; please use whatever you like.” My eyes focused on Minori and Nazumi-san, who had been quietly sitting on the sofa for a while now. Since I’m trying to avoid Kyashii’s gaze, I prefer talking to my muted friends here instead.

“Yes, we will do that~. Thank you, Yuyo~.” Minori’s calm and collected self stirred back to life.

“Uhm... If you need anything, I’m up on the balcony.” I think I need a bit of alone time with how things stand.



I let out a deep, lingering sigh as I gazed in lethargy at the cluster of streetlights illuminating the pitch-black nighttime. It’s only past nine o’clock, but the neighborhood’s serenity makes it feel like it’s already past midnight.

Ahh... All right... This is the right atmosphere for me.

Another depleted sigh came out of me as I steadily lowered my head onto my arms hanging from the balcony railings; my eyes shut on their own.

Unggh… What have I gotten myself into?

“. . . .”

It just occurred to me that I have grown overly conscious of Kyashii over the past few days. It doesn’t matter that my kiss with her was purely accidental; I still find myself increasingly awkward around her after that game.

Yet, for Kyashii...


Unmistakably, she’s embarrassed about what happened, but I doubt it matters much to her. She was simply getting a kick out of my extreme reaction, which made her tease me instead.

My reaction should have been like hers; unfortunately, I was muddleheaded enough to be rooted there with my tail between my legs.

Things sure have changed, eh? It’s Kyashii these days who teases me the most.


Why am I so in my head recently? I’m almost out of touch with myself. And Kyashii has occupied nearly all of my thoughts for the past few days. Guuhh! I would rather not dwell on these strange emotions I’ve been going through, all the more so with exams approaching.

But… How can I even resist them in instances like this? I have much to worry about in light of my emotional baggage, yet I also need to pay attention to my studies.


Haaahh... Now, even Kyashii’s voice rings in my head.

Would it be possible to get my brain to hold off on thinking about her until after the exams?

Tch! Who am I kidding?

It’s blatantly stupid of me to think I can put off confronting this inner turmoil; I’m not getting it done at all. “Ah, jeez! Come on, Yuyo! Stop thinking about Kyashii for the time being!” I mumbled under my breath in exasperation.

“Hm? I wonder what it is that you’ve been thinking about me...”


Having quickly looked up, I found Kyashii leaning on the railing next to me! Her amused smile still lingers on her face. “Kyashii! H-How long have you been there?!”

“Just a few moments ago. I tried to get your attention, but you didn’t even bother to glance up.” She maintained her smile as she rested her cheek on her wrist.

“Oohh...” There I was, thinking it was just another figment of my uncreative imagination. “A-Anyway… What’s up? Do you need something?”

“N-No. Nothing. I’m just bored since Hana’s in the shower, and Minori has another round of Mizuno-san’s antics going on.”

“Heeh… Hmm? I think Minori and Tomoka are really amazing. Despite not getting along too well, they must have synced up enough at some point to pull that game off, huh?” I muttered despite myself.

“Umm… Are you suggesting we’re out of sync since we ended up k-kissing instead?”

Aaahh! W-Why does she have to phrase it that way instead of simply saying we lost the game?!

“Err... No, I meant something completely different, Kyashii. Keeping in sync is not an issue for us. We fell short of winning because I got too tense right before it happened, making my timing off.” Suddenly, I find myself gazing over her soft pink lips, even with my best efforts to fight the urge. I guess I’m still trying to wrap my head around the reality that my lips brushed against my best friend’s alluring lips.


“. . . . . .”

And just like that, all at once, my heart rate spiked again!

Great! Just... great!

“Yuyo, d-did you find that k-kiss unpleasant?” Kyashii’s intense gaze locks on me. Her lips were no longer beaming with amusement.

“Eh?? N-No… Certainly not. It was all embarrassment. Plus, it’s because we k-kissed in front of everyone that I had such a crazy reaction.” I haven’t been able to keep my eyes off her lips for the past few minutes now.

If I were to think about it, I would wager a lot of guys would be overcome with joy if they had a chance to get a kiss on Kyashii. Reflecting on how well-liked she is at school, I wonder how many people wish they could be in my shoes right now.

Hmm? Does that make me lucky that I had landed one by accident?

“Errm... S-So... You don’t mind you kissed your best friend, Yuyo?” She seemed a bit on edge there.

At this rate, looking at her lips for much longer might send me into a trance. It’s almost hypnotic; breaking my gaze away is nearly impossible. “It’s not that you’re my best friend; I’m fine with it because it’s Kyashii, I guess....” My mind is whirling.

“O-ohh… I’m g-glad to hear that, Yuyo….” Kyashii’s voice sounded tenser and tenser to my ears. “I was worried you’d find it g-gross, and it’d be u-uncomfortable for us to t-talk about it… Errm… Umm…”

“It didn’t make me feel gross at all. Your sakura-colored lips make me want to plant another one….” I muttered. I’m not even sure I understand what I’m saying. I’ve hit a deadlock in my thought process. I can only feel my heart racing. More than that, the way Kyashii’s biting her lips feels close to my line of sight, almost making me want to bite it as we—

“Aah! There you are, Mikam—”


Tomoka’s perky voice flicked something in my head. My eyes instantly darted to the balcony door as though I had just realized I was actually in consciousness.

“Oowpps~! My bad! So sorry about that! I didn’t mean to disturb you guys! I’m just letting Mikami-san know it’s her turn to shower. Keep going~! Carry on!” Tomoka flashed a grin while clasping her hands. “You can come down once you’re done. Break a leg, yeah?!!” She vanished from the door at the speed of light.

“Done with what?” I wrinkled my brows and turned to Kyashii, but I almost squealed in surprise when I realized I was about an inch or two from her face!


W-Wait… It was me who was leaning forward, though!


Wait a second... Just now…

Was I going for ‘that’ again??!

Lord Grimm