Chapter 3:


Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

Nothing of note happened before dinnertime. To say I minded this, though, would be quite the lie if it wasn’t easy enough to tell. As such, I lived content. Well, sort of. My heart rate wasn’t entirely calmed, as I still had to execute my top-notch plan.

I knew when to do so, though, when the alarm for our dinner and attendance came up. Walking with Satoshi, who shared my class, we all gathered up. While our teacher took attendance, I heard Satoshi trying to whisper in my ear.

“You know, Satou-kun will probably kill you if you don’t talk to her soon.”

“Don’t worry. I plan on talking to her on our way to the cafeteria.”

“In that case, I’ll give you two some space.”

With Satoshi cooperating, I now had to wait for our homeroom teacher to dismiss us, which she did shortly after our discussion.

Now strutting my way through the dirt, I had to wait. I didn’t want anyone in our class to gossip about the situation, and since I knew Ayane walked rather slowly, I knew that with time, we could be alone.

When that moment happened, I felt a slight pounding in my chest, but I largely ignored it. As our steps synchronized on the ever so slightly steep hill, we climbed together on, I took a breath with her right next to me as I finally began to speak.

“Hey, Ayane-chan. Meet me near my tent after dinner.”

Her body perked up and her face went red. She looked away from me as her mouth quickly moved without making a single sound. Her eyes closed as she seemed desperate to communicate her thoughts to me. When the tension she felt in her face relaxed, though, I got my answer.


She wasn’t loud, but I could hear her.

“In that case, I’ll see you then.”

Saying everything I intended to, I ran toward Satoshi. For whatever reason, that feeling in my chest only grew. It left me tightly shutting my eyes in confusion. I didn’t know what it meant, or why I ran so fast. All I knew was that Satoshi would be waiting for me at the top of the mountain.

When I arrived, I saw him sitting down in the cafeteria. To call it a cafeteria, though, would be a gross overstatement. It looked more like a series of benches with a quickly thrown-together roof on top and a kitchen next to it.

My complaining aside, it wasn’t like the instant food I brought to school would’ve lasted throughout this trip anyway, so I should’ve just shut up. Knowing this, I made sure to take my seat across from Satoshi, where he immediately asked me a question.

“Did you ask her out?”

I didn’t expect him to be interested, so it took me a bit to respond.

“I thought Satou-kun was more interested in that than you.”

While leaning forward before, Satoshi returned to leaning back with his hands crossed.

“I just need something to get my mind off this awful cafeteria food. I can’t believe you didn’t agree to go fishing with me again.”

Meanwhile, my elbows touched the table.

“It’s because Satou-kun was insistent on not doing it.”

“God, I wish I could see his reaction right now.”

“I never thought you’d want to share a class with him.”

“I don’t. I can just ask him about how much he regrets his choice once we get back to our tent.”

“I suppose you’re right about that.”

With nothing left to say, I returned to eating. Satoshi and I took our bites the same, as if we wanted to savor the meal we’d be giving to our roaring stomach, but couldn’t. Inconsistency in our bites could be noticed, as a result. Despite this, I eventually began eating faster, as even though the food could only be described with the most brutal of insults, it wasn’t like my opinion really meant anything.

Not once has a single meal amazed me. I didn’t mind missing out on this, though. Food only ever existed to keep me alive, after all. Really, the only thing that made me grateful would be the tranquility of this quiet moment. For the first time since our trip, I got to feel the pleasure of being alone as I closed my eyes to block out any other senses.

Unfortunately for me, though, this quiet wouldn’t last, as Satoshi remembered something, slamming the table with both of his hands in the process.

“You avoided answering the question! Did you do it!”

“Yes, I did!”

I tried to stay calm, not letting my body distort and make a scene, but that may not have carried through given how I yelled. Maybe it did, though, as Satoshi softened his tone.

“So, did she say yes?”

Satoshi failed to give me proper eye contact for whatever reason. He was more nervous about the result of this than I was. I suppose that came with being a friend, I guess.

“Sort of. I just told her to meet me after dinner.”

“I didn’t think you’d start dating so soon.”

“Well, she doesn’t know if my advances are romantic yet.”

Satoshi finally looked at me again, putting his hands on the table.

“Dude, you just asked her to meet you one-on-one at night. She’s totally into you if she said yes.”

“I don’t care for the way you and Satou-kun speculate about these things. She isn’t my girlfriend until she says yes or no to me.”

While the tension existed before this, I could see Satoshi trying not to rip apart his face as he tightly pinched his forehead with his fingers. Breaking out of it quickly, though, he took a deep breath before yelling at me again.

“That’s not how it works! She’ll be intimidated by having to make a big decision like that and say no whether or not she likes you.”

“That’s stupid.”

On the verge of an outburst with his eyebrows raised, Satoshi took yet another deep breath in preparation for his response.

“Yuuki-kun, look. Not everyone is like you. Most people don’t look at things for how they are. Social situations are more complicated than that.”

“Does that even matter though when you think that she’s already mine?”

Satoshi sighed.

“Yeah, I guess not. I’m just warning you for the future. If you want to keep this relationship, you’re going to have to change your mindset.”

“Yeah yeah.”

Since I had finished eating, I got off my chair and grabbed my tray, putting it back where it belonged, now having to face the fact that my confession was near.

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