Chapter 35:


Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

“Ayane-chan, let’s get the dishes done.”


As she yelled, her entire body jumped in the air. As she quickly ran to the sink, we now stood next to each other as we washed the dishes. While I thought of something to say, I instead yawned, with Ayane making note of it.

“You look tired.”

“I probably am,” I responded as she yawned back.

“I guess they really are that contagious, huh.”

We stayed silent for a bit, with the conversation stalling completely. As I contemplated asking her what I wanted to, I scrubbed my sponge against the plate at a far faster rate. Closing my eyes and gritting my teeth, I felt at a loss, until Ayane held onto my arm.

“What’s wrong?”

As she gave me a chance to breathe, I dropped the plate I held, with our hands now touching each other.

“Well, it’s just that you didn’t respond to your parents earlier. What was that about?”

Ayane must not have seen this coming, as her face turned completely red. Looking to the other side of me, she coughed up every last one of her organs, only for her to attempt to turn around again. That attempt failed, however, so I faced her direction again, ready to continue speaking.

“If you want to have sex… I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

I could barely say it. While I faced her as long as I could, I could only do so as I held onto my neck. My face, burning to a pulp, could no longer take it, though. I didn’t want to look at her reaction anymore.

Regardless, she gave it, but only as she hid her face.

“Let me bathe, first.”

Before I could say a word, she sprinted to the bathroom in a panic. I guess in that case, I had to do the rest of the dishes on my own, but I didn’t have much left.

Finishing quickly, I had nothing to do. I just waited for my opportunity to get in the bath. In a desperate search for dopamine, I scoured my bag for my game console. What I instead put my hands on, though, was the light novel that Ayane wanted me to read. When I first read it in the library, I felt nothing. It didn’t connect with me at all, but now that I knew my love for her, I knew that now would be the best time to give it a second chance.

Catching myself back up, I was mesmerized. My eyes sparked as I could now finally see why Ayane enjoyed it so much. I finally saw her in the story. The main love interest is shy like her. She had big dreams like her, but couldn’t open up to anyone. I guess she always wanted someone who could swoop in to help her like what happened in the light novel. If only I could match someone like the protagonist. I wish I could be even half as handsome as him. Those were my thoughts as I finished reading the first volume.

I couldn’t marinate in them, though, as a quiet creak in the door was evidence that it was my turn to get in the bath. As she retreated to her room, only covering herself with her towel, I realized that I should probably grab a pair of pajamas to wear after my bath.

With that done, I sat in the bath after letting the water run. Now, without anything to distract me, I only had my thoughts to stand next to me. I didn’t want to stand with my thoughts, however. Trying not to acknowledge what was about to happen, I tried to exit the bath as soon as I could, realizing that wouldn’t fix anything only after I put on my towel.

I couldn’t turn back, though, as when I opened the door to Ayane’s room, my sweat began to drop more from my nerves, and less from my bath. With my heart rate increasing dramatically, I had no idea what to do. That was until I opened my eyes and saw Ayane.

The sight of her left me paralyzed. Her pajamas gave her a cute new look, along with how her hair was no longer tied up. I didn’t know if I was allowed to witness something that only the Gods should be allowed to see, but I saw it anyway.

“Yuuki-kun, can you turn off the lights?”

And throughout all of my monologuing, I never paid attention to her mannerisms. With her hand on her arm and her legs close together, she clearly had the same cold feet as me. If anything, we could only do… you know… if we couldn’t see each other.

Finally turning off the lights, I got onto Ayane’s bed, barely fitting inside. The only way I could make myself comfortable was by wrapping my arms around her. She lay right behind me, not looking in my direction. As I felt my heart beating, I felt hers too. I knew I had this looming anxiety for too long, so I finally said something about it.

“Ayane-chan… I’m not ready yet. I want to be, but I’m not.”

Even though I closed my eyes, even though I feared rejection for being unable to make the next step, I still felt Ayane turning around. After she did, she poked my forehead before wrapping her arms around me. With my attention now placed back on her, I heard what she had to say.

“It’s okay. I’m not ready either, but I know that I’ll love the day when I am.”

Now she was the one with her eyes closed. I guess I was just glad that she felt the same level of awkwardness over the subject as me. With that understanding having come, my heartbeat went back to normal.

“For now, let’s keep holding onto each other.”

Seeing Ayane’s smile before I closed my eyes, I finally felt the slightest bit of relief when I finally fell asleep.

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