Chapter 10 Part 2: Akina’s Introduction

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The meetup time was 11:30 AM.
We planned to meet up and talk somewhere less crowded.

I looked at my phone, thinking about how close to the appointed time it was, and just then I received a message from Akina.

“Where are you?”

“The bench near the station.”

“Found it, on my way.”

After reading her message, I look up to see Akina and her friend approaching us.
Yuki waves her hand amicably, and we both get up from the bench.

They both stopped in front of us.
This is the first time we see Akina in her casual outfit, which was generally dark, and kind of mature.
It showed a little bit of skin, and it was almost similar to her school uniform.
Well, guess she doesn’t like to wear flashy clothes.

“Haru, sorry I’ve kept you waiting.”

“I just got here a little early, don’t worry about it.
More importantly, who’s that girl next to you?”

“Of course, let me introduce her.
This is the girl I’ve been wanting you guys to meet for some time, Rikka Takanashi.”

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I look at the new girl.
She had brown hair done up in twin tails, and she was a tad shorter than me.
With her round black eyes and dignified face, I’d say she was cute.
The way she dressed was akin to a gal, or rather, her personality was just as cheerful as it seemed.

When her eyes met mine, she smiled lightheartedly.

“Yo–ho~ You must be Akina’s friend, Hinakura-kun! Nice to meet ya!”

“I–It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Akina had told me that she was the complete opposite of our type.
She certainly gives the impression of being energetic and active, and she seems to be a different type of woman from Akina, who is quiet through and through.
The difference in their personalities seemed to be reflected in the way they dressed.

Rikka stood in front of Yuki after greeting me.

“Uwa~! The real Shirahato-san is so close to me! Nice to meet ya, and thanks for making time for me today!”

Rikka bowed her head, and Yuki followed suit.

“Nice to meet you, Takahashi-san.
I’m Yuki Shirahato, nice to meet you.”

“Same! As Akinacchi introduced me, I’m Rikka Takahashi.
I’ve been her friend ever since elementary school, and I’ve always wanted to talk to you, but couldn’t find a chance to.
So I asked my friend here, who’s in your class, to help me for a long time!”

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“I see, well, I hope we can have lots to talk about today.”

“Of course! I really looked forward to today!”

Besides Yuki, who looked nervous, Rikka smiled without any reserve.
I turned to Akina and whispered.

“Yup, she’s your complete opposite.”

“Well,” she said, “I guess.
I told you we were like water and oil, but we’re still good friends.”

“I’ve never heard ‘Akinacchi’ before.
I didn’t know people called you by that nickname.”

“Do you want to call me that, too? I don’t mind.”

“No, no… I’m too embarrassed to do that.”

“I don’t care.
It’s just you and me.
C’mon, c’mon.”

“A, Akinacchi…”

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“It sounds kind of sweet when you call me that.”

They must’ve heard our whispered conversation since Rikka looked at Akina and smiled.

“Ehehe~ I can hear you, y’know? Hinakura-kun is really good friends with Akinacchi, isn’t he?”

“You have good ears, Takanashi-san.
I can’t believe you heard them just now.”

“Pretty much, but it’s really strange, y’know? I can’t believe Akinacchi has been making friends like crazy after she started high school.
Hinakura-kun, did ya ask her how long we’ve known each other?”

“Eh…? Ah, she said you’ve known each other since elementary school.”

“Yup, yup.
Akinacchi often tells me we’re like water and oil, and because of that, we went well together, though it took us a long time to really get along.
But you and she have gotten close pretty quickly, y’know?”

“Oh, well, yeah.
We’re very similar… At least that’s what she says.”

“Akinacchi, when we’re talking, you always talk about him.
I mean, haven’t we been talking only about him lately? Something like, ‘Today, Hinakura-kun forgot his textbook’, or ‘I showed him my notebook’, things like that, and—Oof!”

“—Come on! Rikka, you’re very—!”

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“E, Ehehe… I talked too much.
Sorry, Akinacchi!”

Akina then looked up at me, red up to her ears.

“L, Let me explain.
I talk to Rikka from time to time, and since we don’t have much to talk about, we tend to talk about you… T, That’s it! There are no other connotations with that there, and, um…”

Her eyes darted around, almost swimming like a fish.

As I watched her fumbling and frantically denying it, she turned around and kept mumbling in a small voice.

“L, Let’s stop standing and talking, lunchtime is almost here.
Let’s move somewhere else.”

“But I’d like to talk more with Shirahato-san!”

“Yup, and we will.
Well then, Haru-kun, guys, let’s go together.”

“Okay, I’m right behind you.”

Akina created this social opportunity for us, and I followed after them, hoping to have a lot of pleasant conversations with all of them.

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