Chapter 23: Discomposure.

Hmm, what should I wear?

Since it’s a day off, a uniform would be pretty weird.
Would a parka be better since it’s easier to move around in? No, no, we’re not going camping, so I don’t need to think about how “easy it is to move around”.
I’ll just go casual.

I picked up a jacket and white t-shirt combo, paired with jeans and normal sneakers.
Mhm, I won’t look weird with this fit no matter where I go.

As I started to put my clothes on, I thought about something.
Despite it being a club activity, when was the last time I traveled with my family on a holiday? I hope I won’t act weird since this will be my first BBQ…

After I was done preparing, I headed to the living room, downed a cup of water, and was about to head out early only to meet my sister.

“The BBQ is at the boss’ house.
Don’t bar me.”

“As expected of high schoolers.
Even your club activities are on a whole another level, huh? Actually, that’s not fair! I want meat too!”

“Huh? Weren’t you and dad going out somewhere for lunch today?”

“Wait, really?! Yay!”

Dad told me they were going to eat somewhere today while I was in the barbecue.
Thank God, she was giving me the stink eye ever since she found out I was in for some meat.
This should be enough to fix her mood.

“I’ll be back soon,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah, just go.”

“Off I go~!”

I arrived a tad too early, so I still had 40 minutes until the time of meeting.
Looking around, I pondered on what to do in the meantime


Hmm… oh! I’ll go kill some time at a café just close to the station.
If I come back until there are 5 minutes left, it should be fine.

“Welcome!” A clerk welcomed me.

“Um, could I have a small Uji Matcha Latte? Small.”

“Is it here or to go?”

“Here.”

After receiving the goods, I go to the back of the store and look for an empty seat.
Then, a familiar patch of blonde pops into my view, Yuki.
Hmm, what should I do? I thought.
Should I ignore her and take a different seat despite knowing her? She probably doesn’t even want to be talked to.
Being alone for myself is nice, too, so that’d be nice.

I picked a seat as far away from her as possible.

Oh, and by the way, Matcha Lattes are basically nectar from the gods.
I think this is one of the best milk-based drinks in existence.
While soaking in the afterglow of my matcha latte, I pulled out a novel I was still reading from my bag and engulfed myself in its words.
Thank the heavens I have a book cover over the usual light novel illustration, or else I’d be too embarrassed to read it out in the open.

“Takasaki, you’re early.”

After about 15 minutes of pure, unblemished reading, I was approached.

“Ah, teacher.
Good morning.
I think we still have about 20 minutes until rendezvous, right? So you’re early too.”

“Well, advisers can’t be late, can they?”

“You’re right.
Ah, Yuki is already here and she’s sitting over there.”

She turned around and, lo and behold, she was still there.


“Hm? Why are you guys sitting separately?”

“Erm, I guess you could say we respect each other’s space.”

“We’ll have a barbecue anyway,” the teacher started.
“It’s been only a few days since you met, so you haven’t gotten to know each other very well, have you? You should bring her here to deepen your friendship.”

“Are you going to sit there as well?”

“Is that a problem?”

“Nope.”

I gave in to the pressure.
I said we respected each other’s time, and to be completely honest, our distance was good for both of us.
However, from the standpoint of a teacher who cares about her students, this wasn’t something to be ignored.

Haah… I’ll have to call her here.
Oh, and she’s probably already noticed we’re here, so it’ll be extra hard to talk to Yuki after a while of ignoring her.
Oh well, there’s no use in stalling, so I’ll just go.

“Good morning, Yuki.”

“Don’t talk to me.”

Yup, knew it’d turn out like this.
This isn’t cute, y’know~?

“No, Mrs.
Tainaka is already here and she insisted I came here to get you.”

“Tch.”

Tongue in cheek, huh? Aren’t we going to have a barbecue together, girl? As I mused to myself, she reluctantly got up and grabbed her stuff.
I led the way and she sat with the teacher and I.

“Good morning, Yuki.
You’re early too.”

“Good morning.”

I want to see how the proposer deals with this conversation.
Go on, show me.

“…” Dead silence.

Please, I’m being serious here, teach! I know for a fact she won’t say a word to me, and I don’t want to take the initiative.
C’mon, heat up this frozen table!

“Are you guys on bad terms?” Mrs.
Tainaka finally broke the ice.
Honestly, she’s pretty unreserved, isn’t she?

“No, it’s not that.
It’s just…” I was about to deflect her question, but for some reason, the desire to get my revenge against this cold-a*s girl sprung up in my heart.
“She just hates me for some reason.
I don’t know why.”

Despite the sad look I was making, I was a gleeful mess of joy inside.
Her sharp glare was nothing but a sweet melody to my ears.

“Yuki, is that right?” The teacher looked at her.

“Yes.”

“Haah, you two… From now on, you’ll be clubmates and stay there together for a long time, you know? Get along a little better.
At least enough to hold small talk.”

“What?”

“I’m going to the restroom for a bit.
Use this time to talk, you two.”

What the— So you just drop the bomb and leave us hanging? What was even the point?!

“What the hell were you doing back there?” She turned to me as soon as Mrs.
Tainaka left.

Sh*tters, I dug my own grave.
I’m starting to regret my small vendetta.
Ugh, I want to take it back! I take it back!

“Erm, it’s not like I want to be friends with you.
I just want there not to be this deafening silence whenever we’re in the same room.
Y’know, since we’ll see each other a lot,” it was a bit awkward, but I believe it was an okay excuse.
Her relentlessness was still likely to prickle me though.

“And you said that with a smirk on your face? What you say and what you think doesn’t match, you know?”

H, huh? You could tell?!

I mean, it’s been over a year since I put on a poker face to talk to someone, but no one’s ever pointed out to me I was transparent.
I’m sure my classmate in middle school believed me when I told them “it was fine” after what they did to me, hence why they stopped with the guilty faces.

No, maybe she’s just conjecturing it due to the situation.
Yeah, she can’t read minds.

“Seeing you act mischievous almost made me puke.
Disgusting,” she spoke as though she could see through me.

Hey, but I’m sure everyone else on this planet wears some sort of mask, right? So why do you hate only me, huh? It’s not like I’ve done anything to hurt you, right? However, she raised the corners of her mouth without caring about my confusion.

“What is it with that surprised look in your eyes? I hope you don’t think you put on a good face, I mean, it’s so easy to see.”

I no longer understood her, or myself.

“How was it? Managed to talk things through?”

I didn’t know how long it had been, but the teacher came back.
However, I was so caught up in my own head, I forgot to respond and just stared at Yuki, confused.

Lost.

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