Chapter 37:

Yori-chan doesn’t understand her feelings, cries, and then it gets weird?!

My childhood friend ran away from home and now I have to share a room with her?!

Feigning sleep is no longer possible as the weight of the girl becomes distinguishable through my mattress. Several alarms are going off at once as Koyori crawls across my large bed, closing the distance between us. Suddenly, I feel like I'm stuck in a nuclear reactor that's about to have a meltdown.

Koyori?! What is she doing here?!

The girl is crossing borders I thought I already tore down. My panic skyrockets. We're sharing the same bed; this is bad. Seriously bad!


Koyori has reached my side of the bed now, prompting me to startle into an elevated pose. Her voice sounds sleepy and tired but the way she pronounces my name also hints at the troubled state of my friend. It is only thanks to this that I don't jump out of bed immediately.

"K-koyori?!" I exhale sharply, failing to hide my panic. "W-w-what are you doing?!"

In the relative darkness of my room, I fail to make out the expression on her face, otherwise, I would have been able to determine the sheer amount of trouble she's wearing on her facial features. I'm on my knees now, ready to flee if the situation calls for it.

"Yori-chan kind of feels like hugging you…" she whispers quietly. Not even awaiting my answer, the girl hurls herself forward but she's hurling herself right into my arms blocking her attempt.

Not on the bed!

Feeling terrible, I shove her away from me, feeling my face burn up in guilt and embarrassment.

"N-not here," I stutter much to the girl's dismay.

"Kei-kun," she whines, clearly disappointed. "Why not?"

I had a feeling Koyori wouldn't understand the situation if it ever came to it. It doesn't matter if she's just here for a quick hug. Sharing the same bed rises so many red flags that, even if I allowed the hug, I couldn't commit to it.

"T-there's a reason I'm not sharing my bed," I attempt to explain but Koyori clearly doesn't want to hear it.

"There's a reason Yori-chan would like to be embraced too…" my friend argues, clearly sulking. "Earlier, Kei-kun was just fine with it so why not now?"

Koyori's voice quivers considerably as if she's about to cry.

If she wants to hug me so badly, I'll just have to get up.

A sense of worry mixing into my anxiety, I crawl out of my bed, gesturing towards the girl to follow my example.

"Kei-kun… " the girl moans before following my example. She climbs out of my bed and then scrutinizes me.

"I do not understand. Yori-chan is confused now…"

"S-sorry, Yori," I mumble awkwardly as the shock of the girl entering my bed slowly subsides. I feel like I'm unable to explain the matter at hand in a manner Koyori might understand so I'm instead referring to the shortcomings of Sir Keiichi.

"Remember what I said about the knight? About him often doing something stupid because he doesn't understand himself sometimes?"

"Mmh hmm," the girl hums at me, though she's crossing her arms in obvious disappointment.

"It's… just like that."

"Mmh hmm."

Shit, did I actually manage to make her mad?

Koyori's expression is hard to read in the dark but I already know what I need to do now. Koyori wanted to hug me and I denied it. We're no longer in the bed but standing beside it. Therefore….

"You can hug me now if you still want to," I offer her calmly, meeting her eyes only to see a single tear trickle from her cheek.

"Yori-chan does," she affirms and immediately hurls herself into my outstretched arms with such force, that I'm crashing against the wall behind me. I hold her close to me as the single tear clinging to her cheek gets smeared across mine. Thankfully, no more tears follow for now.

"Sorry about that," I mumble quietly when she finally lets go of me a few minutes later.

"Yori-chan is sorry too," the girl says much to my surprise. "Kei-kun said no sleeping together and Yori-chan should have known. She should have asked before hopping into Keiichi's bed uninvited…"

"No need to sweat it," I assure her, attempting a weak smile.

"Actually, Yori-chan wanted to talk about something," the girl discloses, remaining very close to me. I'm taking note of the girl entirely using Yori-chan to refer to herself right now. Usually, she's doing that whenever she's trying to be cute but she's clearly troubled right now. Could there be more to her knack?

"Yori-chan feels all weird inside but she doesn't know why…"

That's a familiar feeling.

"When she woke up, she could only think about Kei-kun. When she was reading manga, she could only think about Kei-kun. Even in her dream, she… "

The girl couldn't finish her explanation but the fact alone that I appeared in one of her dreams says more than a thousand words about her mindscape.

"Yori-chan always knew that she liked Kei-kun but it never felt weird before. So why does it feel weird now? Yori-chan doesn’t understand…”

Koyori seems to be on the verge of crying again, her eyes swimming with unshed tears.

“Now that Kei-kun finally starts liking Yori-chan like he used to, it suddenly feels weird that he likes her. It’s not fair!”

A wave of tears pops from her eyes as the girl blinks at me in her troubled state.

“What’s going on with me, Kei-kun?” she cries quietly as her tears start falling regularly. For a moment, I can only stare at her like an idiot, unsure whether to be supportive or laugh at her sudden inability to understand her own, blatantly obvious feelings. As the first sobs begin to break her composure, however, I realize that she’s a lot more serious about this than she lets on, having thoughts that go far beyond the things she disclosed to me, verbally or not.

“Come,” I whisper quietly, sitting down on the edge of my bed, motioning for her to follow my example. Koyori hesitates, prioritizing dealing with the onslaught of tears by sucking them up with the sleeves of her pajama. Finally, she plops down next to me in a dejected manner, waiting for me to wrap my arm around her before nestling up with me.

“Silly Yori-chan,” I coo into her ears in an attempt to combat the sobs emanating from her petite body. “There’s no reason to be sad, or did I miss something?”

The girl buries herself so deeply in my chest that it gets really close to a lap pillow, prompting me to use my other arm to wrap around her trembling body too in a half-hug, half-lap-pillow pose. In spite of everything, I’m smiling from one corner of my mouth to the other. Not only do I enjoy the intimacy between us but, if anything, Koyori’s sudden outburst is the last hint I needed to conclude that our feelings must be mutual. Besides, there’s something strangely exhilarating about comforting her.

Nevertheless, my concern grows when her sobs do not cease.

“Are you sure you’re just confused about your feelings?” I interrogate her softly, wiping the odd tear or two from her cheek - the one that’s not buried in the depths of my stomach, that is. “Honestly, Yori, after struggling so much myself, I didn’t think you’d be denser than I was…”

I begin to stroke her cheek in a gentle, regular movement. Koyori slips a few more choked sobs before attempting to explain.

“Yori-chan has been b-burdening y-you,” she tells me between heavy sobs, each of them accompanied by a tear flowing across the cheek I’m stroking. “N-now that Yori-chan understands w-why Kei-kun acted so weird, she feels t-terrible about it…”

“And that’s why you’re crying?” I deadpan, trying hard not to chuckle about the silliness of it all.

“Yes and no,” she moans sadly. “Yori-chan feels so weird inside, s-she doesn’t know what’s right or wrong anymore…”

She’s so silly when she’s sleepy, honestly…

“What’s wrong about liking each other then?” I offer, now resorting to a light headpat to calm her down. “Just because you learned something new about your feelings, it still doesn’t change the core of them, does it?”

“Yori-chan knows that,” she sighs into my stomach. “But… Yori-chan liked her feelings a lot better before they were weird…”

I chuckle at her honesty, relieved to see that the headpat session is finally doing the trick. Her sobs go down considerably and her tears fall less frequently now.

“Kei-kun was being a weirdo because he didn’t understand his feelings either and Yori-chan didn’t notice. Silly Yori-chan…”

“Silly Yori-chan,” I agree, patting her ribbon as if telling her she did a good job figuring me out. “Yori-chan is almost right. I knew I liked her a lot but that made everything suuuuuuuuuper awkward. It’s the other way around for her though,” I state matter-of-factly.

“And there are so many things she still doesn’t understand…” Koyori sighs, having recovered enough to unwind from my embrace, drying her remaining tears and then seeking eye contact. Even after crying, Koyori simply looks beyond adorable. Her big, sparkling eyes are full of unspoken questions.

“Sometimes Kei-kun likes Yori-chan and sometimes he does not,” she pours forth her troubles as she sits next to me in close proximity. “Just when Yori-chan thought Sir Keiichi wanted to be hugged, he wanted Lady Koyori to let go of him…”

Yes, because you were shoving your boobs into my face!

“And, just now, when Yori-chan thought she could surprise Kei-kun with a hug, he threw her out of his bed…”

“About that,” I gulp, “If you don’t understand why sharing a bed is weird, then I probably don’t need to worry about it for now.”

Koyori looks at me funnily, indicating that she didn’t understand at all.

“In general, you’re not really aware of your body yet so it’s no surprise,” I explain awkwardly as I reminisce about certain memories. “You walk around in panties, don’t mind me touching you in weird places… sharing a bed is on the same scale - actually, it’s way above!”

“Yori-chan thinks she understands yet she doesn’t,” the girl tells me honestly, leaning a little against me though not without embarrassment. “Like, why did Kei-kun share the bed when Yori-chan cried a little even though he said beds are weird? Kei-kun does not make sense at all. But Yori-chan needs to know what Kei-kun thinks of her, what Yori-chan may do, and what she mustn’t do… Otherwise, Yori-chan doesn’t think she can figure herself out…”

Well, I hate to say it but she caught me off-guard there…

Sighing, I rise to my feet, tugging at Yori’s sleeves to communicate that I want her to follow my example. Once the girl is on her feet, I plant my pranks firmly on her shoulders before staring into the depths of her big, questioning orbs.

“For now, there are only three things to remember,” I say, first gesturing at my bed, then at Yori, and lastly, at myself. “First, no sleeping together because that’s too weird. Second, Yori-chan likes me really really much, and third…”

I break my stare, putting some pressure on her shoulders to guide her petite body into an affectionate embrace.

“I like Yori-chan really really much as well.”

I feel an odd deja vu as Koyori is suddenly stunned into petrification, falling like dead weight into my loving embrace. Only several moments later, she manages to snap out of it, returning the hug in an unusually gentle manner by her standards.

“Kei-kun is better than the bestest best in the world,” she mumbles sillyly into my shoulder, allowing herself to relax for a while before some questions hang from her lips.

“Does Kei-kun like Yori-chan like he wants to marry her?”

Normally, this question would have caused a freakout on a gargantuan scale. Right now, though, it merely makes me grin sheepishly.

“Honestly, Yori-chan, you should be able to tell by now,” I toy with her, stroking her back a little as long as she’s holding onto me. “What about you? Marrying someone takes two people liking each other after all…”

“Yori-chan won’t tell,” the girl riposts, punishing my indirect answer with an even less informative reply. Considering her loving embrace, however, she may have very well said nothing at all and still get the message across.

“Then… what about me, Keiichi?”


I loosen my grip on the girl just enough to be able to observe her expression directly. Koyori isn’t really smiling, her expression trembling between uncertainty and fear.

“What about me, Keiichi?” she repeats, more urgently. “Do you like me like you want to marry me too?”

What’s going on? Did Yori-chan need to take a piss or why did she snap back to normal talk all of a sudden?

“How does that even matter in the first place?” I begin, sighing a little as Koyori, too, breaks free of our hug to eye me with even more anxiety.

Don’t tell me… would her secret be…

“Did you roleplay as Yori-chan all along or what?” I deadpan, regretting it the moment I say it.


A sudden choke predates the inevitable. Without warning, my friend bursts into tears, turning away and storming not only out of the room but out of the house.

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