OFF's eBook will come with 2 bonus chapters:127Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ0RhaK9nCvh
a direct continuation to chapter #37 and the typical, anime beach episode!
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Edited by RedPandaChick
Saturday was an intense day. We voted on the menu we were going to have at the fair and practiced nonstop through the afternoon. I returned home and the rest of the boring day passed by. Suzuka and I chatted a little. Among the topics, I brought up the fact that I still didn't know how to play the instruments she played. She admitted not knowing how to cook the menu we chose very well. We both agreed to practice as much as possible until the fair. And we began the next day.
I suggested to Suzuka that Yoshimura-san could bring her, but she refused. One hour before noon, she arrived. The gate bell rang. Sakakibara-san headed to the door when I stopped him. I wanted to be the one to receive her. Smiling, he nodded.
I approached the ringer screen beside the door. Suzuka looked very confused in the camera as she waited for a response. I unlocked the gate by pressing a button beneath the screen and pressed another one to talk.
"Step in. I'm coming."
Unable to avoid smirking, I walked out and headed to the gate. I arrived after a minute. Suzuka waited inside in front of the gate, looking around. Her guitar case hung around her chest.
"Hi," she smiled.
"Did you have any problems on the way here?"
"I didn't. Why do you ask?"
"Having that on your back looks uncomfortable."
"It is, but it wasn't troublesome."
"Great. Let's head inside."
We began walking on the stone path that led to the garage situated on a slight slope. Suzuka followed me a little behind. She wouldn't stop moving her head around, glancing at the pines, the fountain, and even the second floor. On top of that, she seemed somewhat uneasy.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes. I'm just amazed by the size."
"You were here a few weeks ago."
"But it was completely unexpected. And I was astounded by everything that happened that day. Now I'm here by invitation."
"Well, as big as it is, it's a normal home. Or that's what I want to think."
"I see," she giggled.
We kept following the path in front of the mansion. Fujisaki-san opened the front door as we arrived. I let Suzuka step inside first.
"Welcome to the Araki family manor."
"Please take off your shoes."
Suzuka complied. I, also, took my sandals off—which I used to go to the gate. Fujisaki-san took the shoes from the floor and put them on one of the racks near the door. I asked Suzuka to follow me to the door on the left, where Moriyama-san stood. She opened the door and bowed as Suzuka stepped into the living room. I stopped in front of Moriyama-san.
"Make sure that Fujisaki-san doesn't spy on us."
"That goes for you as well."
"I wouldn't do something like that, Araki-sama."
After staring at her in silence, she promised she wouldn't do anything. Even if they tried, half of the door was made of glass. We would notice them peeking through it.
Suzuka stood still in front of the door, staring at the room. By her reaction outside, I guessed she went through the same once again.
"It's amazing! There's so much stuff. Bookshelves, vases, plants, sofas, tables, and there's still a lot of space left. Wait, you have a piano?"
"Yes. It hasn't been used in a while, though."
She approached it and walked around it, even touching it to inspect it thoroughly.
"You never told me you had one."
"Technically, it's not mine. And we haven't had a conversation where I could mention it."
"True," she giggled. "It could be even more expensive than the one at the club. Can I play it?"
Excited, she left her guitar on the sofa and sat behind the piano. I stood in front, curious about what she wanted to play. After a minute of random but melodic notes, she began playing a song. Instead of sounding classic, it sounded familiar. The more she played, the more it resembled one of my favorite songs. Slow yet epic at times. However, the subtle notes she added made me feel like I was listening to it for the first time. It brought back memories.
The song ended after four minutes. I knew it from head to feet. Then Suzuka looked at me, beaming. My chest became warm. No words formed in my mind. I merely stared back at her, not even knowing if I smiled too.
"Did you like it?" she asked.
I took a moment to reply. "Sol Moonata, isn't it?"
"You know it?"
"It's one of my favorite songs."
"I was right, then," she smirked.
"You knew I liked it?"
"Since you like games, I chose the only song I know from a game soundtrack. And it is the perfect song to use to teach you how to play the piano. It's one of the four songs our band will play and it's easy."
"It didn't sound easy at all."
She laughed. "I might've added some notes here and there. I'll teach you the normal version. By the way, you didn't answer."
"I loved it."
Suzuka's cheeks flushed and her eyes widened. Then she smiled.
"Glad to hear that. We should begin. I brought the guitar because I forgot to ask you if you owned an instrument. Since you have a piano, it will be faster."
"How would you have taught me if I didn't have one?"
"We would've asked for practice time at the club. Or you could've paid for classes. I guess you could've even bought a keyboard," she giggled.
Suzuka moved aside to make space and patted the piano bench.
Careful not to touch her, I sat down. She grabbed her phone from her skirt's pocket. Only then did I realize that she wore the same outfit as on the date. Except for her white shirt. I couldn't remember the color of the shirt she wore that day.
"What are you looking at?" she asked, turning her body away from me.
"Your shirt. You are wearing the same outfit as on our date, except for the shirt. I was trying to remember the color."
"Oh. It was white with pink stripes."
"I see. Sorry if I made you uncomfortable."
"It's fine. I mean, it's not fine to look there, but… Forget it."
Even she's confused.
She scrolled through a catalog on her phone. There were many song titles with instrument icons. Then I noticed that her eyes didn't move to read, she just kept mindlessly scrolling.
"Ah. Sorry, I zoned out. I already skipped the letter," she giggled.
"Were you thinking about something?"
"Is it bothering you?"
She sighed. "I don't want it to, but it is."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
She stayed silent for a long moment. She turned toward me with a firm glare.
"What do you think about sex?"
My mind emptied. The world became silent. I blinked with confusion.
Her entire face was painted red. "N-Not like that! I'm just curious about what you think about it. Because two friends…"
Hashimoto-san and Rem-san.
She let out a deep breath. "Why am I trying to hide it? You're going to figure it out right away."
"You found out about Hisa and Rem before me. To be honest, I felt disappointed."
"Is that what is bothering you?"
"No. After they told me they had been going out for a couple of years, they confessed that they had tried… things. And I didn't expect that at all. I didn't know how to feel. Happy, nervous, scared, worried… all at once."
"I don't blame you. It is very unexpected."
"I know. I acted curious when they told me and then changed the topic as soon as possible. Then, when I returned home, I searched on the Internet to try and learn more about it. But nothing I read helped to calm me. That's why I wanted to hear your opinion."
Thoughtful for a second, I replied, "It's not like I have more experience than you. And I haven't searched anything about it. I think everyone's different. Everyone will want to try things at different points of their lives. That's fine as long as they are careful."
"Yes, that's one of the things I read…"
"Sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear."
"Actually, hearing you say it has calmed me down a bit. But I guess it will take some time to process it."
The conversation came to a halt. I gave Suzuka the time she needed to think about it. A minute later, she inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly.
"I feel better now," she smiled.
"By the way, I've seen you looking at me a few times since we met. Were you curious about my other clothes as well?" she grinned.
"I'm just teasing you. Let's start the class!"
After evading her own question, she began teaching me how to play the piano. She started with a little theory. Then she followed it up by making me learn my favorite song. I struggled to remember the notes, but she followed my pace to help ensure I got it down okay. She explained everything I asked about in detail while keeping it simple. I worried she would get desperate to reach a certain end, but she seemed to enjoy every second it took for me to get it. She was one of the best teachers I'd had, if not the best.
Three hours flew by and we were finally feeling hungry. Instead of asking Sakakibara-san to make something, I asked him to teach us how to make the meals that the Cooking Club had chosen for the fair. Then I noticed the difference between teachers. Even though he was very good at both cooking and teaching, Suzuka had more passion while teaching music. After making some of the meals and trying them, we returned to our piano practice for another two hours.
It began to get dark, so Suzuka called home to tell them to pick her up. Almost forgetting it, I ran upstairs to my room and grabbed the gift I had bought for Yu-tan; a tablet for kids. I came back downstairs and gave it to Suzuka. She seemed dumbfounded, even about to reject it, but she giggled and thanked me.
Suzuka's ride arrived half an hour later. I walked with Suzuka to the gate, where the car was parked. Suzuka didn't seem very happy saw the car. I was tempted to ask her about it, but she beat me to it as she bid me goodbye. We waved before I watched the car drive off.127Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡhMB1lHCLVA