Chapter 15:


Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

Arriving quickly at the drama club, I sat at a brand new spot with Ayane. Unfortunately, though, Satou still found us. Slapping me in the back as hard as he could, he yelled his introduction to me.

“Goddammit, you’re always sitting somewhere new!”

“It’s to get away from you,” I said as I pushed him away.

“And you called me an asshole.”

I didn’t feel like talking to such a moron for much longer, so our conversation ended about as quickly as it started. Of course, though, it didn’t truly end there. Granted, you knew Satou well, so you also knew that my silence killed him inside.

“Dude c’mon! Start talking to me!” he said while grasping my shoulders.


Hearing my unenthusiastic response, Satou smiled, blushed, and put his hands on his chin. I couldn’t tell how to read this absurd list of expressions. Of course, though, he did eventually cut it out to ask me a question.

“So I’m guessing you won’t involve yourself in the play again?”

“You keep asking that question, yet my response is always the same. I’m a tech guy through and through. Acting isn’t my strong suit. Auditioning would just waste Rie-sensei’s time anyway.”

“I can see that. Someone as straightforward as you couldn’t act for shit.”

After giving that blunt response, though, he bent down to my level to finish speaking.

“You may as well try though. Auditions will be closing tomorrow.”

“How many times do I have to say no before I beat it out of your thick skull?”

Satou stood back to where he did before.

“Fine, I’ll stop.”

The conversation actually died this time. However, when I actually bothered to look at him, his pathetic puppy dog eyes made me feel bad enough to speak up again.

“So, are you gonna become the star actor again?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Why did you start acting anyway?”

“I act because I want the world to see me.”

He said this while standing up with his arms out in the air like a doofus.

“Seems kinda vague coming from you,” I retorted.

“It’s because you need to come up with your own interpretation of it.”

“Why am I friends with you?”

Immediately, Satou clutched onto me in desperation.

“I’ll think you’re serious if you say that again!”

“I said it because I am being serious, dumbass.”

Thankfully, Satou didn’t have the time to beat me senseless as Rie-sensei came in at the perfect time.

At the center of the stage, she didn’t need the microphone to speak loudly and clearly to everyone in the theatre.

“Auditions for our school festival musical play will be ending tomorrow. Come to me if you wish to audition. Anyone not currently auditioning will be promoting the play around the school.”

Hearing this, I needed to know something.

“Are you going to audition, Ayane-chan?” I whispered into her ear.

“I won’t.”

“I see.”

I didn’t have anything left to say. Our advisor merely gave the three of us chalk to draw the name of the play across the front of the school. It wasn’t a flashy thing to do, but at this point, I was used to it.


Satou, however, wasn't, stomping and pouting like a five-year-old once we made it outside.

“Goddammit! Why do I have to draw with this chalk like some dumb little kid!”

“Wow, I didn’t know you had the self-awareness to properly diagnose yourself.”

“I will slot a bullet through your head,” he said as he flicked my forehead.

“You can’t do that in Japan, idiot.”

“In that case, I’m moving to America,” he said as he pounded his chest in a desperate attempt to look intimidating.

“You’re certainly not moving with me,” I retorted.

“But you’re my only friend!”

As always, he said this as he grabbed onto my shoulders. Real original of him to keep doing the same damn thing every time I threaten the state of our friendship.

“So why would you want to kill me?” I responded as I pushed him away.

He stayed silent.

“You really are an idiot,” I told him to give the final blow.

Nothing more happened when we were there. I just tried to tune out Satou’s complaining. I knew I had to do one thing, though.


When the advisor dismissed us, I walked up to Ayane and took a deep breath before I let out my hand to her.

“Hey, Ayane-chan, I want to take you somewhere.”

“Like a date?”

“I guess you could call it that. Yes.”

“Where are we going?”

I grabbed her hand and dragged her along with me.

“I’ll be keeping it a secret.”

“O- Okay…”

I couldn’t see the look on Ayane’s face, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her head turned in confusion. Before, I would be embarrassed to do what I was about to do, but I now knew I had to do it, for Ayane’s sake.

Yesterday, I remember complaining about the cold air a lot. I couldn’t now, though. Even though the speed of the winds caused the brown leaves of fall to breeze away at the front gates of the school, and even though Ayane couldn’t keep up with my old speed, I kept on walking. At that moment, there was just one thing on my mind.

My date with Ayane.

I needed to find something out about her. My initial impression of her was nothing like what I ended up seeing. I knew she was shy, and even after dating her, I could confirm that was the case, but she had such an interesting side to her.

Why did she hide it? What was up with her? That was why I walked with such rigor. I needed answers.

To my surprise though, Ayane had something to say to me.

“I’m surprised you’re the one taking me somewhere.”

She said it breathlessly and quietly. I could barely hear her through the sounds of the winds.

Speaking of the winds, they were the only thing keeping us apart. The streets across us went silent. No cars or even students could be seen. I guess our club got out early then. I couldn’t focus on anything, though, until we finally made it.

As I heard more cars, I knew we were there. We’d just have to walk across.

“Here it is,” I told her.

“A karaoke bar? Why’d you pick that?”

“I have my reasons.”

Ayane sighed as I opened the door.

Inside, our first sight was the receptionist. Her face grew blue as she saw us. It didn’t come to my mind, but the way I dragged Ayane with me certainly raised more red flags than I would’ve hoped. My eyes, bloodshot, showed my determination more than anything else as I slammed my hand on the counter.

“We’d like to take one room for an hour,” I told her.

Even though she was baffled by the difference in our expressions, she complied.

“Of course. We’ll find you two rooms.”


Once one was found, we sat down. As we sat at opposite sides, I leaned forward with my elbows on my knees and my hands held together. I wanted to look composed, yet serious. Meanwhile, Ayane tried to hide herself as much as she could. Despite this, I wouldn’t be deterred.

“Ayane-chan, I want you to sing for me.”

“Absolutely not!”

I grabbed the microphone.

“In that case, I can give it a go. I don’t really listen to much music though, so brace your ears.”

“Then why did you pick a karaoke bar for a date?”


“Don’t play dumb!” she said as she stood up.

“Leaning toward me, her face got ever closer to mine.

“Alright then, I’ll stop avoiding telling you.”

“Why did you avoid it?”

I averted my eyes from her before responding.

“Because you would’ve run away.”

“Is it something perverted then?”

“What the hell!? Of course it isn’t!” I said with my back now against the couch.

With the tables turned, I let out a sigh that sounded more like a groan. It was with this that I finally felt comfortable telling her.

“I want you to audition for the play. Since it’ll be a musical, I want you to sing for me here.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because I love you.”

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