Chapter 7:


Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

The rest of the day went on as expected. Each period, a new teacher would teach a new subject, and by the time we made it to our last period, I found myself close to tears, not because something bad happened, but rather because of how bored I felt. Throughout each yawn, I saw a strengthened desire to keep listening. At any cost I could, I’d want to avoid Satou’s awful GPA, so I took all the notes I could, that way I’d do well on any given assignment.

Speaking of assignments, in my final class that day, the teacher would hand us all just that. I couldn’t be bothered to focus on it now, but I could tell Satoshi wouldn’t talk to me as he tried to speedrun his way past it. As such, I turned toward Ayane and asked her a question.

“Hey, Ayane-chan. How were the lessons?"


She said that without much struggle, although her voice remained quiet, and her head only pointed toward her desk. Despite this, I assumed she wanted to continue talking, so I carried on.

“I think everyone agrees with that. But hey, at least we have time to get some work done."

Nothing happened when I said this. I didn’t hear a response from Ayane, so I decided to carry on with my assignment instead. Ultimately, she had to decide whether or not to take the relationship seriously, since my life wouldn’t change either way.

To my surprise though, I eventually felt a tug on the arm of my blazer. Ayane held my arm with just two of her fingers. When I turned my head toward her, I noticed the obvious nervousness she felt. She did manage to look at me, but I could tell she struggled to do so. The warm blush on her face made that clear. Only when she looked down, though, could she say anything to me?

“Yuuki-kun… could you help me with my notes? There’s a part I don’t understand.”

To say this surprised me would be an understatement. I assumed that Ayane and I were loners for the same reason, so it struck me as odd that she genuinely seemed interested in talking to me. I didn’t know how to respond. I felt that same pounding in my chest that I did over the summer, but I had to ignore it. There’s no way I’d actually be into her, right? I just needed a deep breath though. That alone made it easy to respond.

“What subject are you struggling with?”


She hid her face when she said that. Odd.

“Oh, yeah, I could help with that.”

“Thank you.”

Once she said this, I saw her smile. That may have been the first time I saw it. I think I might have felt a mild smile on my end, although I doubted it, choosing to respond instead of putting any further thought into it.

“Let me see the assignment.”


With me now being prompted as a tutor, I saw her place her notebook on her desk. I think she expected me to either grab it or for me to unnaturally lean my body to her desk. Neither of these were convenient for me, though, so I moved her desk closer to mine. Once I did this, Ayane looked down at the floor, seeming reluctant to move her chair, staying still for a bit. But she did eventually move, even if her head faced directly against mine.

“This is awfully close, isn’t it?” she asked.

“I guess. This is just the easiest way for me to see your notes.”

I agreed with what I said. While I easily could’ve found an option less convenient for me, I ultimately didn’t feel like it. By the end of this all, she would’ve realized how worthwhile my help would be.

“So, you’re struggling with exponents?” I asked her.

“I am,” she said quietly.

“I can help with that then.”

For the next few minutes, I did nothing but help her. I’d like to think she grew more comfortable, but she didn’t smile. Not since that one moment had she done so.

Why did she smile at that point?

I hyper-focused on this thought to the point that I didn’t notice the sound of the bell ringing.

“Thank you for the help,” Ayane told me.

“Oh, you’re welcome. If you need any help during a lecture too, you can move your seat closer to mine.”

“I will. I didn’t know how efficient it would be.”

For whatever reason, she smiled.

Was it a feeling of relief? Was it genuine happiness? It wasn’t like me to question this stuff, though, so why did I do it? I didn’t want to think about this any longer though, so I had to say something.

Standing up and reaching out my hand to her, I attempted to confidently speak to her.

“We’ll need to make it to the drama club now. We may as well walk together.”

Despite this, I still felt a shred of embarrassment from how much of a dork I looked. Further giving me a reality check would be Ayane’s quiet laugh.

Although the smile created by the laugh stayed when she said, “Sure.”


In the crowded school halls, I found myself having to walk slowly to accommodate Ayane, who walked carefully as if being bumped by even the smallest breeze would turn her away.

I only noticed this, though, because neither of us spoke. I guess it made sense. I had no interest in talking to anyone, while Ayane couldn’t talk to someone even if she wanted to. While we both seemed like the type who disliked talking, our interactions today made it clear that this couldn’t be the case.

When I saw her, I felt like I saw someone who wanted to make her presence known. She seemed genuinely interesting, although cracking through her shell would still be a pain. For once, I felt like I could take Satoshi seriously, with his statement surrounding the difficulties of a relationship seeming to reign true as we finally made it to the door of the drama club.

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