Chapter 40:

Be Yourself, Satou-kun!

Be Yourself, Ayane-chan!

“Haven’t I made it clear already? It’s because I like Mio-chan, dammit!”

Those were the words that Satou told me. After trying to get him to go back to the clubroom, I was taken aback. As I made more steps away from him, the wall stopped me in my tracks. I had no idea what to think, or how to react. Well, maybe I did. With sweat dripping down on me, I finally realized my fears. Just like with Satoshi, I may have had to finally face the problems in our friendship.

I tried to deny it, though.

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“Exactly what I said,” Satou said with a raised eyebrow.

Surrounded by his confusion was the continuation of my disbelief, as I couldn’t stop questioning him.

“I didn’t know it was possible for you to actually like someone.”

“Don’t gimme that shit.”

Although Satou sharpened his eyebrows in frustration, he also sighed while he closed his eyes. As he continued to revert his attention from me, he slowly walked away before sprinting for the school gate.

Quickly catching up to him, we found ourselves outside. Gaining up on him, I hadn’t quite made it to him yet, choosing to yell something to him as a last resort.

“Where are you going!?”

As Satou looked his head back at me, he continued to run away.

“Out of the school!”

I sped up, even if the increasingly intense winds didn’t want me to.

“You need to show up to the club! You can’t keep refusing to practice this scene!”

“I don’t want my first kiss to be with a girl who doesn’t love me!”

By the time he said that we were already off campus. No matter how quickly I ran, Satou would resist harder with his increasing speed. I needed to save my breath, but I also needed to get him back. Not knowing what else to do, I kept trying to use words to convince him.

“Then don’t think of it like that!”

“I can’t… I- I love her, after all!”

He only got faster, as did I when I tried to catch up to him.

“Then tell her!”

“But she already rejected me, asshole!”

“Then be honest about your feelings! Don’t use some pickup line bullshit!”

Satou slammed the brakes on his feet once he heard that, allowing me to finally catch up to him. As he turned to face me, he gained up on me and tried to intimidate me with his greater height. With his teeth and eyebrows sharpened, the blood in his veins boiled as he clenched his fist, using that energy to say what I was afraid to hear.

“You only think that way since you’ve got that weird-ass girlfriend. It pisses me off how you think you’re some expert in love. You know how it ended up for Satoshi-kun. I don’t want to be rejected like he was.”

As he aggressively tapped my chest multiple times, I didn’t let it get to me. I stood on my tiptoes trying to get the upper hand in the argument.

“Satoshi-kun has nothing to do with this. He would’ve been rejected regardless. You have a chance! I’m just trying to help!”

“That just sounds like some shitty excuse to lecture me!”

“So what if it is!?”

With my yell, the two of us went silent as we attempted to collect a single breath. Not knowing what to say, Satou’s arms clenched as he closed his eyes, trying to think of something to argue with. Before he did, though, he took a deep breath and slowly opened his eyes before he quietly responded to me.

“That isn’t an argument, dumbass.”

With a fair point made, I needed to finally switch my approach, something I was able to do as my heart rate finally recovered.

“I’m not here to change your mind. I’m here to get you back in the show.”

“I’m not going back.”

Grinding my teeth, I thought about how obvious it was that this plan failed. I had no other choice but to say the same bullshit over again.

“You know, she’ll probably say yes to you.”

“You’re joking, right?” Satou said as he laughed.

Seeing him stray further from himself, sweat dripped down my face. Waving my arms around, I resorted to a monologue.

“You’re not a bad guy, Satou-kun. You’re a great actor, talented, attractive, and confident. You can be a bit of a dick, but we like that about you. We guys appreciate how forward you are with us. Why can’t you do that with women?”

“Do I have to answer that?”

While he looked down at the floor, I pointed at him sharply, declaring war.

“If you don’t want me to kick your ass, then yes.”

“Is this some sort of challenge?”

“Only if you make it one.”

“Fine then.”

Stepping back, we got into our fighting position. With us placing our arms in front of our faces, we were ready for any punch to come. While Satou stood mostly still, I jumped around in place, trying to psych myself up for when the combat would begin. It wouldn’t be that simple, however, as we tested our patience in getting the first blow. Looking for an opening, none of us found an opportunity to throw a fist. That’s why I needed to bait one.

Closing my eyes for just a second, Satou finally thrust forward with a fist. In the blink of an eye, it was just inches away from my face. This, however, was exactly what I wanted. Grabbing his arm at the last minute, only for him to comment on it.

“Satoshi-kun wasn’t joking when he said you were strong! That was the first time anyone’s blocked my fastest punch!”

“I don’t want to hit you, Satou-kun. Please just let me take you back!”

“It’s too late for that, Yuuki-kun. I’ve never been this exhilarated in my life!”

Now knowing what to expect, he threw a punch with his one freed arm. I dodged it, however, punching his gut with the free arm that I had left over. When it connected, Satou gagged, although he didn’t move much, instead pushing me away. Barely staying on my feet, I had to watch Satou spout another absurd one-liner.

“That punch sucked ass! You can do better than that!”

Not giving me the time to respond, he swiftly lunged toward me as he tried to throw another punch at me. That’s what I thought, although I ended up being wrong as he swept my legs and forced me to trip. Except I didn’t trip because I did a handstand and jumped back onto my feet while avoiding another one of his punches in the process. I then ducked down to avoid another punch from him and kicked him in the balls before using my right punch to leave him on the ground.

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