Chapter 10:


Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

Arriving at the library, I noticed Ayane outside. She looked like a doll; immovable yet fragile. Looking up at the snow she’d been covered in, she didn’t have any exaggerated expression on her face. Her eyes, pinpointed on the flakes above us, looked comfortable and content. While once breathless, holding my knees from the run I just took, I now felt like breathing would take me away from this sight, but when I eventually did take a deep breath and picked my posture back up, she turned her head toward mine, until quickly regretting the decision.

“I… didn’t think you’d get here so soon,” she told me despite that.

My eyes widened before the taps of my feet took over. I wouldn’t let them take over though, as I puffed up my chest and attempted to say, “Neither did I,” in confidence.

Unfortunately, the quieter tone of my voice resulted in me not looking cool as I’d hoped, with Ayane chuckling at my statement. I suppose she truly did have the same sadistic sense of humor as me. With my masculine sense of pride crushed, I was left stunned, allowing Ayane to open the door for me. This time, instead of a mocking chuckle, she showed me her genuine smile. I think this marked my second time seeing it, but I didn’t know why she did so. All I did know was that maybe she truly did want to learn more about me, although I still wondered why. What was so intriguing about me?

I couldn’t sit on that thought though, as I carried myself inside the library. Right next to the entrance, the librarian read a book in a small booth inside the large building filled with brown. The library, despite its large size, still gave a modest feeling since nearly no one could be found inside. Even though the building wasn’t loud in the slightest, the librarian didn’t seem to notice my presence at all. She didn’t need to, though, as what mattered most were the layers of bookshelves in front of us.

When Ayane, now inside, noticed me looking at them, she held my hand and quickly dragged me to look at the books. Struggling to keep up, her face puffed up with the smaller size of her eyes indicating her focus. I doubted that I could get through to her when she pulled me, with this continuing when we made it to the bookshelves.

Instead of talking like you’d expect on a date, Ayane instead looked at the books. Meanwhile, I did nothing, beginning to lose to the temptation of leaning back on the bookshelf. I couldn’t blame myself, though. I didn’t know how to communicate with someone so reserved, so I decided to break the ice by asking a question like Satou would.

“What do you like reading?”

Instead of continuing to look at the book she just picked up, she looked at me, and while she looked back at her book afterward, it wasn’t because she didn’t want to answer me.

“I mostly read light novels, although I’ll occasionally dabble into novels and manga too.”

“So it seems like you’ll read anything then. I’m not that different.”

“What’s your favorite work of literature then?”

“It’s hard to pick just one, but when I was a kid. I loved picking up Shonen Jump magazines. I hold a lot of those manga fondly.”

We didn’t say anything for a while after this. I expected Ayane to respond to me, but she simply picked up a different book. I didn’t want the conversation to die, however, so I asked another question.

“What about you?”

Ayane covered her face with the book she just grabbed, clearly embarrassed by not predicting that I’d ask her the same question. After a few seconds though, Ayane turned toward me and answered my question with full eye contact.

“My favorite light novel is one about a vampire who finds true love.”

“Yeah, vampires seem like a common occurrence in the medium. Is there a chance I could check it out?”

Hearing this, Ayane let out a smile.

“Yeah, it’s probably somewhere here.”


There she went, pulling my arm again as she guided me to where the light novel was.

“You seem really serious about this,” I told her.

I didn’t get a response from her. She was obviously too focused on finding the light novel to pay this much attention to me. Frankly, the fact that she turned out to be this much of a bookworm left me in shock. After bursting through the other side of the library, though, we finally found it.

“So this is what it looks like?” I asked.

“Yes,” she responded.

“I’ll make sure to read it.”

I mostly said this because I thought it’d make her happy. In reality, I’d probably just read a chapter before returning it in a few weeks. One of my predictions turned out right, though, as I got to see Ayane’s smile once again.

“I’m glad you’ll get to read it,” she told me.

“I’d say the same.”

The room went silent again, and while this was partly due to how no one talked in the library, it also showed itself as a sign that we’d run out of things to say. Ayane, however, did have a question.

“Do you go to libraries?”

“Not really. The school library is typically enough for me.”

While normally, the conversation would be killed by this point, my curiosity somehow got the better of me.

“Actually, I have a question now.”

“It’s rare for you to show such interest.”

“I was just wondering why you’d go here instead of the school library.”

“Well, there are more options. Plus, I tend to not know anyone here.”

“It certainly seems more relaxing that way.”

“It is.”

After this, our conversation died down once again, but I didn’t have anything left to add this time, so I figured I’d just read the light novel Ayane got for me. To do so comfortably, though, I found a table located inside the library. There were many wooden tables located behind the bookshelves, but it didn’t seem like anyone sat on the chairs next to them. Despite being made of wood, the chairs felt decently comfortable. Nothing extreme enough to change my expression, but that’s how everything was.

Now, looking at the light novel she handed me, I reminisced about how I might have seen the anime adaptation in middle school. I figured Ayane saw it too, although she didn’t make it clear if she liked anime or not. Enough stalling, though. I read the book.

With nothing interesting to say after reading the first chapter, I noticed that Ayane hadn’t sat next to me. Knowing her, she focused so heavily on reading the array of books available that she must not have even noticed my changing of location. That, or I was the unaware one for not noticing that she hadn’t sat next to me, and merely took a break to the restroom. If that turned out to be true, then I might have underestimated my investment in the light novel. That probably wasn’t the case, though. I mean, it wasn’t like I had anything better to do.

Regardless, all of this thinking took me out of the immersion, so I decided to take a quick stroll through the manga section located on the opposite side of where I found Ayane’s favorite light novel. Despite this, I saw something I didn’t expect.

“Satoshi-kun, is that you?”

Patreon iconPatreon icon