Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
T/N: I’ll be honest, this series is pretty damn hard to translate. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense, so I’m trying my hardest here.
It’s a secret that I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard her sudden voice.
I stood in front of the same convenience store as yesterday, but unlike then, she wore her uniform with a dumbfounded look on her face. Phone in hand, her long milky-brown hair danced a bit with the chilly wind.
Her attitude was blunt as ever, though even more than that, I couldn’t help but notice her short skirt. Too short. Her long, thin legs peeked out from the fabric, almost shining under the nightfall.
Since we barely face each other in class, I was taken aback by her almost shameless appearance. If I hadn’t nerves of steel, a creepy look would irk itself from my face. I would like to give myself a certificate of appreciation for my insurmountable efforts in keeping my composure.
Looking down periodically at her phone, she said something after moments of awkward silence. “Cold today, isn’t it?”
She had casually raised her hand while giving me a “Yo,” but I’m still annoyed at what happened yesterday. I won’t commit the same mistake. Well, sure, I should’ve given her some sort of greeting back immediately, but my annoyance was still fresh in my mind. Let my grievance be known, I’m not going to respond.
Moreover, this girl ignored me all day today. I don’t know what is going on in her head, but if she thinks gloomy people like me are always nice, she’s dead wrong.
Actually, there are quite a number of people with bad personalities, and that doesn’t exclude introverts. Some of them are even eager to enact “revenge” on these bright extroverts or whatever.
If a beautiful, stylish, yet cheerful girl approached you in a friendly manner, you may think that she’s coming onto you, or that she’s at least a bit interested. Such thinking will only come back to bite you later… I truly believe in these words.
Even if I got yesterday’s money back, it would still be too late. I may be pale as a sheet, and sometimes depressed, but I still get angry like any other person. I was deceived by the strange closeness of a cheerful girl, by her sweet perfume… Sorry, she’s just too pretty.
Then she rummaged through her bag while closing the distance between us in a flash. We were an arm away from each other.
What does she want, standing so close to me? I apologize, but seeing someone as drop-dead gorgeous as her being this close to me is enough to confuse whatever thoughts may have been running through my mind. This is too much.
In front of an unusually empty convenience store, despite her avoiding me like the plague at school, she stood there, right in front of me.
What on earth does she want now? I repeat this question in my mind.
The contrast between how she acted around me during school and now gave me some sort of whiplash. What’s up with this? I mean, this sort of distance is for couples… right?
Despite being so close, the gap between the two of us was so wide one could conjecture that there she and I were biologically different.
Stop. Any more and that clichéd misunderstanding will happen. Take a step back and keep an appropriate distance from me, please… Ah, this is why I’m not good with these extroverts. I can’t guess what they’re thinking.
Shaking off these mellow, romcom-esque fantasies that started to well up inside my brain, I repeated in my mind that this was all a ruse. Confusion took root in my head, and that’s when something bizarre happened.
I didn’t think it was possible. I really didn’t, but what she frankly and snidely held out to me was a cute little peach-colored envelope.
“Thanks for yesterday.”
It was dusk, and I could feel the cold bite my fingertips as she tried to hand me that slip of paper… What is this? What is this girl thinking?
Being shown something I didn’t understand, it was no surprise I found myself being a bit more defensive than I should be.
There’s only one thing that could be inside this envelope. Taking a closer look at the print, it was the slip of paper used to give New Year’s gifts to other people, so it was easy to imagine this being the leftover of something used in that time of year.
Despite that, what immediately came to mind was the possibility of this being a prank. Maybe one of her friends was hiding in the shadows nearby, ready to laugh at my every pathetic move. But, although I wondered so, there was no place for anyone to hide close by.
So, is this real? Is she really returning the money some random nerd lent her?
I reached out my hand fearfully.
If the money was indeed returned, I’d be grateful. Despite doubting her so much, and despite giving up the prospect of having it back, I’d be truly happy—I know it’s strange for me to be the thankful one, but still.
…Yeah, this is it. I get it now.
There’s no way that someone of her caliber would ever come in contact with a gloomy, introverted nerd like me in a place as public as school. I mean, there would be nothing to gain for her, right?
One single rumor and I could be attacked with jealousy, and envy, and even be vilified by others. Just thinking about these what-ifs made me sick to my stomach.
Oh God, forgive this rotten person that I am for thinking what I’ve thought… Amen.
All the ranting and raving I’d just done was a byproduct of all the negativity running amok inside my annoyed heart. It was all due to me not being able to trust this beautiful girl in front of me.
Finally, I’ll be able to return to normalcy. No extroverts anymore.
As I was about to finally grab the envelope, she suddenly pulled it back. “I have a favor to ask you,” she said, holding the little slip high up in the air while repeating some familiar words. Her face was rather coy, impish maybe.
For some reason—probably my twitching face—she wanted to laugh at this nerd getting flustered.
Normally, I would’ve reacted as I wished, but I inadvertently jumped at the dangling carrot in front of me in a cringy way, making a fool of myself in the process. If there’s a single soul out there that doesn’t mind being the butt of this joke, they’re a true m*sochist. No doubt.
Also, what kind of stupid idea is asking for another favor, huh? You must be thick-skinned. Listen, first of all, stop fooling around and return the money!
Even if you do give me my money back, I’ll never lend you another dime. Not even anything for that matter… Actually, I kind of hate this girl already. This kind of fooling around that the popular kids do with the unpopular ones always happens in front of me, and it’s nonsense.
I guess you’re such creatures after all, huh? Thank you for the BBC documentary.
“Hey, um…” She then opened her mouth with an anxious twinkle in her eyes, almost timid.
Yup, that isn’t like her at all.
What are you being so cautious about? There are only two people here, the bright girl and the gloomy nerd, right? Still, her thoughts are none of my business, and no matter what she asks of me, I won’t answer. I’ll listen and stay still as a rock.
Come on, what’s the matter shiny star? Look down on me from above like you always do, won’t you? You’re good at that, right?
I don’t know how she saw me, completely oblique and ready for battle, but she seemed to have made up her mind. After taking a deep breath—frankly exaggerated and out of place—she tried to hand me the envelope once again while looking me in the eye, finally saying what she wanted to say.
“Could you teach me how to play that card game?”
—Yup, she’s from another planet or something.
Then, she showed me a familiar TCG site on the screen of her phone.
“You’re good at this game, aren’t you?”
I thought conversations start somewhere and naturally go to their conclusion, developing logically along the way. Apparently, this isn’t how it works for her.
We stood in the road I walked home through countless times, in front of the convenience store I’d grown accustomed to, and the subject was the card game I played over, over, and over again. Despite all the usual things, that cute girl I never thought I’d see again talked to me once more.
My empty-brained gaze subconsciously fled to the waning sky above, almost darkening to the black of night.
“Don’t tell anyone though. This stays between us, okay?”
Her cheeks were licked red at that moment, her lips quivering slightly as she handed me the little envelope with faltering fingers. I felt those mellow fantasies creeping up on me again despite my shaking them off earlier.
Just the two of us.
As a romcom junkie, my consciousness was in a deep puddle of fantasies. These words were too powerful for someone like me, so all that was left was for me to try and communicate with the universe, confused.
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