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Daily Archives: March 26, 2016

Energy! 24/6 [Book 1: Chapter 3]


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I didn’t realize that the week had ended until I was up in bed Saturday morning staring at Azusa’s notebook with only my willpower and human decency keeping me from opening it. I should’ve returned it. Now I was going to have to go all weekend convincing myself that it would be a huge invasion of privacy to open it and look inside.

I set it down on the only empty corner of my nightstand and tried to convince myself that they were just notes, but that thought was distressing as well. What if she needed them? It’s not like I could go to her house and give them to her. I don’t even know where she lives.

“Big brother!!” A voice too big for her tiny body entered my room a good minute before my little sister. She neatly danced into my bedroom, an order about her from her straight cut hair to her knee high socks.

“What do you want, Miyuki?” I rolled my eyes.

“While you have been in bed,” She pointed at me. “I have been making a delicious and healthy meal for us to share! Aren’t I wonderful?”

“Let other people tell you that.” I climbed out of bed and started off toward the bathroom. “And anyway, I’m going out. Just eat with dad.”

“But… I made it for you.” I didn’t have to look to know she was pouting. “And dad takes forever to wake up!”

“I’m sure he’ll get up if he smells food.” I couldn’t see her anymore. I didn’t want to know what kind of face she was making. Instead I got ready and left as soon as I could. I knew Kazuto would be waiting for me like he always was.

As I walked through the brisk morning I listened to the sound of my footsteps blend in and out of the little foot traffic on my street and realized that that might be the only peace I was going to get. Between my plaguing thoughts and Kazuto’s big mouth I was sure I’d go home with a headache. Sighing, I resigned myself to that thought as I reached the small café where Kazuto and I hung out on weekends. Our usual table was empty, but I didn’t have time to wonder why.

“KOOOOIIIIIICHIIIIIII!!!!” Kazuto raced at me, nearly tackling me down on the sidewalk.

“Wh-what the hell, man?” I tried to look passed my own embarrassment at the scene to express my concern at his clear distress. “What happened?”

“Free Music Club, Kou!!”

I know I made a face that anyone else would’ve thought was a death glare. “What the hell is that?”

“Remember that game I was playing with that was half dating sim, half rhythm game?”

“You mean that Otome game?” I meant to tease him, but he was unfazed.

“Don’t hate because you suck at rhythm games.” He glared. “Anyway there’s a limited addition special release of it coming out today that I didn’t know about it until exactly 10:45 this morning and since it’s amazing—don’t give me that look—it will definitely be sold out if we don’t leave right now!!” His eyes pleaded with me and I suddenly regretted not taking that offer for breakfast.

“But I’m hungry.” I whined.

“Why didn’t you eat breakfast at home?” He glared accusingly at me for a moment before raising an eyebrow. “Did you run away from Miyu again?”

I looked away and kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t exactly something I felt like admitting to, I mean, he made it sound like such a bad thing.

Kazuto sighed. “As much as I’d love to lecture you on the many cons of ignoring a cute little sister, I don’t have that kind of time right now. You have to come with me, Kou.” He looked at me very seriously then. “If you don’t come with me I’ll look like a creep!”

“Won’t we just both look like creeps?!”

“Come with me and I’ll buy you lunch.”

I struggled with temptation until my stomach growled and I was forced to hang my head in defeat. “Fine!”

I hated that area, that creepy otaku shopping district filled with N.E.E.T.s in glasses that looked like they’d be more than willing to come on to a boy if he was as attractive as me. I mean. I’m just being realistic. Anyway it didn’t really matter how I felt about the situation. I would no doubt be forced to come here again in the future as long as I was friends with Kazuto. So I sucked it up and perused the store, always within earshot of him.

It’s not like I didn’t like anime, I did. But that’s not who I was anymore. I was a literature man. That’s what I thought as I caught a glimpse of a familiar looking girl who seemed like she was probably really curvy under all of her layers of clothes.

“Ko-i-chi!” Way too excited hands clasped my shoulders and I tried not to freak out.

“Dude!” I turned to Kazuto’s sneaky smile and glared. “What the hell?!”

“Are you checking out girls in a game store?” He seemed touched for some reason. “You’ve grown, my son.”

“Shut up!” I shoved his obnoxious green eyes out of my face. “Are you done?”

“Yeah, yeah!” He griped. “For some really bizarre reason there were plenty of copies left. I guess people haven’t heard about the sale.”

“Or they were turned off by the impossible gameplay…” I mumbled. He pretended not to hear me.

I only looked back for a moment to find that girl again, but she was gone. For some reason she made me think about Azusa.

I think Kazuto noticed after like thirty minutes of ranting about that stupid game that I had other things on my mind and finally decided to comment on it. It was kind of a surprise considering how self-absorbed he was, but I think he was just irritated that I wasn’t paying attention to him. We were back at that café—where I wanted to be in the first place—eating some remaining fries when Kazuto stirred the ice in his drink aggressively.

“Did you, like… fall in love at first sight with that frumpy nerd at the store?”

“That’s rich, Kazu.” I couldn’t help but laugh considering the desperate display he showed this morning over the ridiculously packaged game in the seat next to him. “Aren’t you also a huge nerd?”

“Yeah but look at me.” Kazuto gestured vaguely up and down his body and stared at me as if I was supposed to be on the same page. He didn’t offer me any extra explanation when I didn’t get it. He simply said, “Respect yourself.”

I couldn’t stop my heavy sigh. “I didn’t fall in love with that random girl. I just felt like I’d seen her before around Amamiya.” I didn’t mean to say where I’d seen her and I instantly regretted it when I saw Kazuto’s leering eyes. “What?”

“Amamiya again?” I wanted to smack his stupid waggling eyebrows.

“It’s not like I’m thinking about her all the time or something! It’s just that there was this thing. And then I thought we were gonna talk, but the library was empty and then this dude showed up and then Amamiya came outta nowhere talked him down like she thought I couldn’t handle myself in a fight—shut up—and then I kind of got mad and I’m not sure if she’s gonna ignore me again, but she dropped her notebook and I was too chicken to give it back so now I have it and I wanna look inside, but also I don’t and I don’t know why it’s bothering me so much!” I took a breath, rubbing my hair in frustrated confusion.

Kazuto looked way too excited. “You have Amamiya’s notebook? Koichi! This is a perfect opportunity to learn more about her. Why don’t you look in it?!”

“I don’t want to violate her privacy…”

“Yes you do! Violate it! Violate her as soon as possible!” He leaned passionately over the table and I’m pretty sure my face was catching on fire.

“Shut up!” I smacked my hands over his mouth and sat him back in his seat, scanning the area for people who might’ve taken notice. “I’m not going to do that! Do you even know how you sound right now?”

“Ugh! You’re so exhausting.” He sighed. The irony wasn’t lost on me. “You sound like you have a huge ass crush on her. Why are you being so tsundere about it?”

“I’m not! I just… I don’t even think she wants anything to do with me. She’s been avoiding me… I think. I don’t know.”

“If she’s not interested and you’re ‘not interested’ in her,” The air bunnies were a bit unnecessary. “Then what’s the problem? Just ignore her back. Aren’t you the one who said you weren’t going to date anyone you weren’t friends with?”

“But if we were friends, then…” I stopped myself, realizing what I was about to say and felt that annoying leer on me again. I shook my head and took a huge sip on my melon drink. “I mean, yeah! She’s got a horrible personality. There’s no way I’d be interested.” I stood up, probably a bit too suddenly. “I’m just going to return the notebook and never talk to her again!” I took that as my cue to leave Kazuto with the check before he could find a way to trick me into paying for it despite his promise.

I don’t know why I ran home. I just had all of this energy all of a sudden and my body moved on its own. Before I knew it I was back in my room with nothing to do so I sat down on my bed. That’s when my knee hit my nightstand and knocked over Azusa’s notebook. It fell open at my feet and I tried to will myself not to look, but my curiosity won out. I stared at the open pages filled with writing and realized that they weren’t for school. This was something a little more disturbing.

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