Chapter 8: Favor
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.
I woke up to the sun’s warm rays peeking through the small window. I hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep in a long, long time, so I felt my body light as a feather.
“Welp, time to make some breakfast,” I announced to the morning, trying to plop myself up only to be met with resistance. Something held its dear life onto my left arm—Someone. I had forgotten just who I was sleeping with.
“Morning, Akito. Glad you got a good night’s sleep.” Turning to my left, I saw Saki coddling my arm while still wrapped as a burrito inside the futon.
“Morning, Saki. Would you mind letting go now?”
“Nope~! I haven’t had enough yet,” she tangled herself with my arm even more, a tender grin spread across her face.
“If you don’t, I won’t be able to cook our breakfast,” I tried reasoning with the burrito.
“Oof, can’t be helped then. In this case, I’ll ask you for a do-over in a bit.”
“I’ll make you~!” She bantered through smiles.
Around six o’clock, I started cooking our food. I also asked her to put out the dishes as soon as I was over. Well, I say “cook,” but all I had to do was bake and butter some bread while preparing the leftover potato salad from yesterday. As soon as she finished, she sat down at the desk and began reading one of the textbooks. Apparently, she tried to copy my speed reading, though I could see from the scrunching of her face she was having a bad time. I baked the bread while happily watching her.
“‘Kay, here you go.” I served her breakfast.
“Mm, thank you.” Still concentrating, she gave me a blank reply before plunging the papers onto the table in frustration. “Ugh, I can’t anymore. How do you even do this, Akito?”
“I mean, it’s not something I learned overnight.”
“Right…” Though her answer was positive, she still glared unconvinced. A glint in her eyes told me she had the willpower to definitely learn the skill, though eventually. “First things first, breakfast. We can study later.”
“Agreed. Food comes first.”
She took a second before getting off her slump. Then, we ate breakfast in silence.
“Shall we begin then?”
Not long after, the study was due. The way it would go would be to take a good rest every hour of studying. Saki mentioned a study that said the maximum amount of time a person can concentrate is one hour and a half. And since today would be a long day, we figured it wouldn’t do good to burn it all early. That’s why we’d study through the day in one-hour bursts.
Moreover, I had to put a sticky note with the scope of the test written somewhere in advance. I didn’t want to commit last night’s mistake, after all.
With the same speed I’d always used, I picked up the physics textbook.
One hour later, I smiled, realizing I’d finished within the scope. The sticky notes were a godsend, and I didn’t commit the folly of reading the entire thing. However, the scope of the test was less than the whole textbook, so it had taken me about 20 minutes to completely skim over it. Bored, I did about three rounds of the mock physics test.
Finally clicking off the timer, Saki turned to me.
“How did you do?”
“Well, I finished the mock test.”
“Y, yeah? That’s great,” she flinched before complimenting me.
“Though, sleep really is important. I noticed my mind worked a lot faster than usual,” I said. My body felt light as clouds, and my head was clear. Whenever one of the hardest problems came my way, the important formulas came easier to mind. Good stuff, really. “I guess this is all thanks to you teaching me all about the importance of sleep, Saki.”
“Rather than that, I’d like you to tell me how it felt to sleep with me.”
“Whoa. Damn cheeky, Akito.”
After that, we spent the next hour, and a couple more studying and resting, all while having good banter.
“Phew, everything’s done for the tests.”
It was just past eighteen o’clock, and I had completed the entire scope for the tests. An overwhelming sense of fulfillment washed over me like a tidal wave. Studying is so much fun…
In stark contrast to my appearance, however, Saki looked aghast.
“What’s wrong? Gassed out?”
“No, no. It’s just I can only sigh at your genius, Akito.”
“I-Is that so?”
“That is so,” she rubbed her forehead while putting away her own material. “First you come up with some speed-reading spiel, and now ‘visual memory’? I just asked you to write down the Japanese history timeline to see if you weren’t playing with me. And you did it perfectly to boot! Do you think this is something normal people do?”
“And if that isn’t enough, you can speed-read English! Stop with the bull!”
“Didn’t I spend two extra hours on it just to get the vocabulary, though?”
English was a frustration for me. I tried to read some long texts, but I couldn’t get anything since I didn’t know the words. That was the only setback I’d faced during our cramming session. Still, despite my sharing my grievances, she glared at me through half-lidded eyes and didn’t stop.
“Half of it is just memorizing words, right? And do you know how I felt when you muttered, ‘Aw, this will be easy soon’?”
“S-Saki? Are you angry?”
“No, I’m not angry. Just stun-locked.”
Her sighs crashed down like a waterfall. As soon as she laid it out, I understood I really was abnormal. Perhaps my previous mother’s brainwashing was finally — albeit slowly — coming undone.
“But, how are you coming along for the tests, Saki?”
I knew it wouldn’t do us any good to keep talking about me, so I tried to change the subject. Then, Saki’s disheveled face smoothed over to one of brimming confidence.
“Easy. I mean, I finished all the high school courses last year, so it’ll be a breeze,” she paused, an air of meekness ensuing. “…If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to teach you how to study. Though, I don’t think it ended up being necessary.”
Still, I just did what I had to. Well, it’s fine either way.
“Welp, let’s have dinner. Is there anything you wanna eat, Saki?”
“Ah, I’m sorry. I’ll have to go home today.”
I thought for sure she was going to spend the night again. Though, thinking about it calmly, staying at a man’s house for several nights was not a good idea. Against logic, however, I felt a gaping hole in my chest.
“Stop… If you keep making that lonely face, I’ll end up not wanting to leave,” she giggled.
Her spelling out my innermost feelings like nothing left me stunned. So much so, my voice quivered. “Um, Saki, I’m not lonely. Okay? I mean it…”
“Hehehe, if you say so.”
With that, she started getting ready to leave. Still, the luggage she brought here wasn’t big in the first place, so it didn’t take long.
“Well then, I’ll have to go. Although we reviewed everything for the tests, you still have a lot of work to do, okay? You can never be too careful.”
She put on her shoes, then left the front door wearing the uniform, just as she had when she got here.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to walk you home?”
“Mhm. I appreciate your concern, but I’m fine. Really.”
In spite of my offer to accompany her, she still refused. If for some reason Mikiko ended up seeing the two of us together, it wouldn’t end well. So, I decided I’d walk her to the neighborhood, at least.
“I’ll see you at school.”
She had council work to do Sunday, so the next time we’d be able to see each other would be at school. While I thought of these things, Saki started crossing the street. But on the way, she stopped as if she had forgotten something, and walked back. What is it? I mused to myself.
“I almost forgot. This is yours.”
“…Is this a phone?”
She took one out of her bag and handed it to me. I didn’t have one since Mikiko would never allow it under the pretense it was a luxury item.
“Mhm. I bought it for you, Akito.”
“Oh. Oh, sorry. At least let me pay for it.”
“It’s fine. Rather, I just wanna hear your voice even when we’re apart…”
That kind of line is unfair, I grumbled inwardly. If I didn’t accept her gift now, it would only leave her embarrassed and with an extra phone, so I reluctantly accepted it.
“If that’s the case, I’ll accept it. Thank you, really.”
“Mhm! Well, I didn’t do it in exchange for anything, but I do have a favor I wanna ask of you.”
She bought me a phone. Any request would be too little.
“Of course,” I nodded.
“Okay. Then, won’t you call me every day? That much should be just enough.”
“Sure, but is that all?”
“Mhm. I want to feel connected to you even when you’re not there,” her face heated up as she announced her moving request. A beat later, “I’m off home then. See you at school!” She waved a tad shyly below her waist.
“Mhm. See you there!” I watched her until she was out of sight, and returned to my own house. Opening the fridge, I scoured for ingredients to make my own dinner, but there were none to my dismay.
Is this a cup ramen day? I chuckled to myself. If Saki were here, she would quip me for being unhealthy. Though, since this would be one of the last lazy things I do, I apologized in my mind before putting some water to boil. As I waited, my new phone went off. Needless to say, the caller was Saki. Scrambling to get used to the new tech, I scraped to answer the call.
“Hello? Can you hear me?”
“Yeah, I can hear you.”
“Okay. Hey, since you took a while, I was nervous thinking you were ignoring me,” her voice quivered ever-so-slightly.
“That’s an exaggeration…”
She must’ve been talking on her phone while walking. Sure, I should’ve warned her it was dangerous to do so, but I was also lured by an odd sense of pleasure. I put hot water in the cup ramen.
“So, Saki? Isn’t it too early to call? I thought I’d wait at least until you got home.”
“Yeah, I was going to do that, but I forgot to tell you something.”
“And what is that?” I scanned the room with my eyes to see if there was something wrong, or if she left something here. Meanwhile, I set the timer of my cup ramen for three minutes.
That’s when the bomb dropped, “I love you, Akito.”
“There’s a strange embarrassment when you tell someone you love them through a call…” She mused, unabashed.
“S-Sure is…” I scrambled a response, though my heart raced a mile. It thumped so hard against my chest, I was afraid she’d notice it.
“Good night then. Sweet dreams~!”
“Mhm. You too, Saki,” I hung up the call before covering my burning face with my hands. Sure, the room was empty, but I still couldn’t help hiding myself from it all. “That last one was cheating…”
I was so taken aback by her cuteness, I blundered.
“My ramen will get soggy!”
I had forgotten the ramen, and it stayed submerged in boiling water for over three minutes. In the end, I slurped soggy ramen while agonizing over how cute she had been over the time she spent with me.
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4 comments »
Julian RobertMay 26, 2023 at 3:51 am
ynluccaMay 26, 2023 at 4:08 am
GattsMay 26, 2023 at 5:14 am
Thank you for the chapter !
depressedBitch_55May 26, 2023 at 8:37 am
so much sugar