Chapter 8:

Definitely Not an Intersection

We are Supposed to be the Side Characters

"Are you okay?" I ask Noa as soon as the coast is clear.

"That’s my question" she replies.

"No... I mean, you fell earlier."

Noa covers her face. "Yea... don't remind me of that embarrassing moment."

"Already getting lovey-dovey?" Suddenly, Miya's voice chimes in from beside us. "Geez, what's wrong with you? Picking fights with them..."

"This is all your fault, you know!" I retort.

", what were you doing, kicking the seniors in the school hallway?" I continue

Miya pouts, "...Well, they started it..." This girl instantly switches to cute mode.

"Anyway... I'm going home," I say, getting up from my lying position. "Just tell your friend that I can't participate in the doubles ping pong tomorrow because of a backache." At this age, jumping through windows really drains my MP. Well, I'm still 16 after all.

"Hahaha... if both of you withdraw due to a backache, the competition committee will get suspicious," Noa says.

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"I met Pii-chan earlier. Turns out, she has a backache from falling on her way to school, and she said she can't participate in the competition tomorrow. I thought that's why you skipped practice today?"

…I take a deep breath.

Damn it.


On my way home, I had to think about finding a replacement for my ping-pong partner.

But who among the girls in the class hasn't gotten a chance to participate in the competition?! Should I ask each one of them individually? That would make me look like a flirt! Or should I sneak and watch their practices and see who's not participating? That would make me look like a stalker!

…if only I had paid more attention in class back then.


"Nikki..." "Nikki...!" I half-whisper and half-yell at Nikki's desk, separated by about a meter of empty space in front of me, in the middle of an ongoing class. This is the only way I can talk to him in class without drawing the attention of his fanatic fans.


Miya, sitting next to him, starts to get annoyed with me. She grabs Nikki's head and turns it towards me. His eyes… i thought they were focused on the teacher just now, but they're empty!

I throw a crumpled piece of paper with my request written on it over there.

But it ends up hitting Miya's nose instead. The glare she gives me when the paper smacks her face shows her anger.

"Kai!" The teacher notices my mischief. I retracted from this plan.


The breeze… is refreshing.

I enjoyed the afternoon wind from the classroom balcony during break time.

"Kai!" Miya's voice approached.

"Are you really allergic to talking to girls in class? Why even ask Nikki to get such information about the girl who hasn't participated in the competition," she taunted, holding the paper in her hand.

"Why did you read it?! Where's Nikki?"

"He's being fussed over by the girls over there," she said without looking.

Eugh. I didn't really want to see that sight either. But, truthfully, it's the perfect situation to ask for help.

I slapped my forehead.

Still, I am awkward after all.

Miya sighed.

"Fine, I'll be your partner."


"Consider it a favor for what happened last week. I also felt bad leaving you all alone like that."

"Well, that does make sense..."

"Then why do you seem so dissatisfied with that?" Her eyes widened and then squinted.

"No, it's just...."

"What are you two talking about?" Suddenly, Noa joined our conversation. Her face looked squeezed as if it had been polished.

"Why do you look like you've just been acquitted of your sins?" I asked.

"Well... Nikki was so obedient in accepting the food from those girls, it's like he's a cat..."

I sighed, "'s about my replacement partner for my ping pong match. Miya will be taking her place. Please let your friend know."

"Okay then, I'll leave first. We'll practice later, Kai," said Miya as she left.

"Hmmmm," Noa just stayed in place.

"What is it?" I asked.

"No,” “it's nothing..."


The sports festival day arrived, and I sat in the classroom wearing my regular school uniform. Until my scheduled match approached, I would remain a normal student here.

"Miya, what event are you participating in?"

"Ping pong, in the mixed doubles category."

"Hee... I want to watch that."

"Me too..."

"Can i invite my friend…?"

Miya's voice and her friends' passed by the classroom.

"Kai!" Noa approached me.

"What are you doing here?"


"So you’re one of those, huh?"

"One of… What do you mean?"

"Well, you're wearing your uniform and sitting here alone, so you stand out more compared to other students outside, like.."

"Oh." Damn, she's right.

"How was your practice yesterday?" she asked

"It was fine, nothing really happened to advance the plot in the main story."

"What story?" she asked,

I raised an eyebrow. What story?

I stood up from my seat.

"Huh? What is it?" Noa seems startled that I even move an inch

"I just.. I thought it wouldn't hurt if I didn't stay in the classroom..."

"Hey, there you go. Okay, let's go."

I walked out of the classroom, and Noa followed me.



Even though we walked side by side, we didn't exchange a single word until we arrived at the gymnasium where the volleyball match was taking place. It turned out that our class's girls' team was getting ready to play. From Noa's left side, I could see her resigned gaze as she watched their preparations.

Ah, right, she's just a substitute player.

"Is volleyball fun?" I asked.

"I don't know... watching them play seems fun, but..."

"Say, if you had to participate in another match that gave you a chance to play even if it's not your expertise, would you take it?"

"Of course!"

I chuckled, "You really are that kind of character."

"What do you mean?"

We parted ways at that spot. From afar, as Noa went to the area where the extras were gathered, for the first time, I saw Noa shining brighter than the others.

Maybe this is a sign that I've been focusing too much on her. It's time to distance myself from her.


Just an hour and a half later after leaving the gymnasium, I found myself running back there.

Damn, why does this always happen? One event after another... always leading me to her.

But this time, I... this time...


I found her sitting by the side of the court, watching the main team play.

I held her arm, making her turn her face and look surprised to see me.

"You can still do it! Just be with me!"

The loud outburst made the volleyball drop without anyone anticipating it.

Everyone’s eyes are now fixed on me and Noa.