Chapter 2: Kenji.

After having a blast with the guys at the karaoke, I walked home with my head in the clouds.
Unfortunately, though, I saw Maika standing there, right by my front door.
That was enough to bring my mood back to the ground, and I could barely keep a grimace from surfacing.

“Welcome home,” so she greeted, but I had nothing to say.
All I had was languid anger.

“Yeah,” I still answered, curtly, trying to whizz past her and not take a look at her face.

“Wait a second, about today…”

“What about today?” I realized my voice dropped cold.
Startled by my complexion, she fell silent.
“If you don’t have anything to say, I’ll walk in.
See ya,” and I did exactly that.


Tell me, what the hell is wrong with her? Is she trying to rub some salt in my wound? Whatever, I don’t give two sh*ts about her anymore, I’ll just try to move on and think positively.
C’mon, me.

For now.
I’ll just review some subjects and complete a few assignments, and by 10 PM, I’ll manage a few matches with Kenji in that FPS game I love, as usual.

“So, that’s basically what happened to me at school,” I talked with Kenji via voice chat while shooting away.
He and I became friends about half a year ago, and have been playing together ever since.
I was only able to win third place last tournament because he was my partner.

I don’t know anything about his real life, but from the way he talks, I just assume he’s older.

“Damn, that’s pretty annoying.” He’s a streamer, so he uses a voice changer whenever he’s in the VC with anyone.
Actually, he uses it all the time, even when it’s just the two of us.
Since we’re just internet friends, I don’t really mind, though he always gets my permission to use my real voice before he starts live streaming.

“But after that, a guy in my class stood up to the girls and invited me out to karaoke.
Most of the boys got together and goofed around, and it ended up fixing my mood.
Oh, and this happened right after I was rejected without even trying by my childhood friend.”

“Damn… But wow, that’s amazing! Bromance sure is something nice to see.”

“Hahaha! You’re right, I’m still so grateful… Truth be told, I always thought I was the gloomy kid, but the boys didn’t think so.
In fact, they were extremely friendly… Ah! So one of them said he’d introduce me to a nicer girl.”


“Is anything wrong?”

“No no, I just thought we’d have less time to duo together if you get hitched.”

“I don’t think so.
We are one hell of a duo: with you, I can play my best, and I can always confide about anything without hesitation.”

“…I’m glad to hear it.
Me too, man.”

And as usual, we ended our session at midnight.

The next day, I went to school alone and found Kenichi sitting in the classroom.
He greeted me, “Good morning, dude.
What’s up, you’re here so early.”

Surprised to see him up that early, I greeted him back.

“Oh,” he started.
“Wanna come visit my house this Saturday?”

“Sure, I don’t have anything planned that day.
Thanks,” it was a simple exchange, but that’s just how he is.
Whatever comes to mind, he says.

After that, more and more students flowed inside.
The guys who went with me to the karaoke greeted me as each one appeared.
I felt, once again, that I’d always been hiding behind that murkiness I called myself.
I’ve always looked away from my surroundings, and I’m starting to see that.

However, as minutes passed and as I looked around, I noticed an awkward atmosphere permeating the classroom.
In particular, the guys weren’t talking to the girls and vice-versa.

Could it be the boys are all pretty much on my side due to the prank fiasco from yesterday? If that’s the case, I’m sorry… Well, I can’t just bring the issue back.

With that thought, before I even knew it, all of today’s classes went by.
I didn’t say a word to Maika all day, but I found myself not particularly concerned about it.

Ah well, I’ll just go home.

After browsing through a variety of electronics at a store, ranging from PC parts to peripherals, I realized a 4K monitor wouldn’t do me well since my PC wouldn’t be able to run the games at that resolution.
My walk back home was filled with thoughts of my framerate and how I’d be able to improve it.
Maybe I need to add some more RAM, or even upgrade my GPU… Damn, I need money for that.

Oh, and Maika was in front of my house.

“Welcome home.”

“Mhm,” she’s been weird since yesterday, I noted.

“Hey, let’s go shopping Saturday!” She said without warning.
What the hell is she on about?


“C’mon, I know you’re not busy!”

“No, I am.
Even if I wasn’t, I have no reason to go there with you.
Why are you even asking me out in the first place, huh?”

“Why? I mean, we’re childhood friends! We’ve known each other since before we came to! We can at least go shopping together…”

We’re just friends like you said before.
So why don’t you call up your boyfriend to do that with you, hm?”

“You know I don’t have one.”

“Then get one! It’s none of my business, right? There are zero reasons for me to go with you.”

“What is wrong with you? I’ve never said that before!”

Are you crazy? You told me to stop acting like your boyfriend, that you’d never date me, and that I have nothing to do with what you do!

“No, no, no.
You said, and I quote, ‘Stop acting like you’re my boyfriend!’ and ‘Where I go to has nothing to do with you.’”

“T, that’s…”

“Actually, what are you on about, huh? You and all the girls laughed at me like I was some sort of clown, didn’t you?”

“N, no, that’s not what I…”

“It doesn’t matter now.
Just leave me alone already!”

Hearing me scream just at the front door, my mom walked out.
“Is something wrong, you’ve been shouting a lot.
Oh, Maika, how are you?”

“It’s nothing, mom.
I just got a bit carried away.
See you then.”

That situation was already too much for me, so I waved them off and went inside.
For the rest of the day, I played and talked with Kenji about the goofiest things imaginable, which only made me feel better.

After that, Maika always stood by my front door, but I’d already said my piece.
Though before I knew it, Saturday came around.

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