Episode 22: Ranko the Narcissist
During that morning’s homeroom, I spent the entire period staring at the lustrous black hair in front of me and indulging myself with my delusions. Once homeroom was over, I got out of my desk and spoke up to the girl who sits in front of me.
“What is it? Are you here to ask me about joining your club again?”
She readily responded to me, but her eyes never left the book she was reading.
“No, I just thought I wanted to be friends with you.”
Once I said that, she finally looked my way. Her eyes have a mysterious, vacant quality to them. It doesn’t seem like she’s doing it maliciously though. Honestly, her face is so beautiful and cute it probably comes out that way naturally.
“I had a lot of fun talking about books with you yesterday. So I thought we would definitely get along.”
When did I start talking like some young pick-up artist? Well even if it is cliché, there’s not much I can do about it. I’m really poor at socializing with people.
And I ended up getting a cold response. No wait, she’s always like this. In which case I should push ahead.
But what can I talk about that will make her want to be friends with me?
“What are you reading today? Is it the continuation from yesterday?”
I can’t escape the routine――I was kicking myself on the inside. But I bent low to get a look at the cover as I asked.
“No, I forgot yesterday’s book at home. This is the previous work.”
“I assume you’ve read it?” That silent question was written all over her face.
“Um, that’s the one where she was pregnant for two years right?”
“Yes, it was an imaginary pregnancy.”
She easily described a plot-point you wouldn’t normally see in real life. Uhuhu, while digging around in my memory, I came up with a good idea. A fun little trick…….
“Ah~! Spoilers! I’m sorry, I haven’t read that one yet.”
She was visibly confused. Since it’s the previous work, it’s only natural you would assume I had read it. It didn’t cause a big change in her expression, but that slight change by itself was irresistible.
“Sorry. As an avid reader, I usually do my best to never give out spoilers…….”
Hoho, a wonderful spirit……. However as if playing with that honest policy…….
I dismembered the heavy atmosphere and trampled it underfoot. Improvisational jokes should be clarified quickly after they are given.
“…….you surprised me.”
“Sorry, my bad. I just wanted to tease Ranko for a bit.”
Oops, did her eyebrows just narrow? It seems like she is high in pride, so that might have been a mistake. However,
“Ranko’s surprised face is awfully cute?”
I weathered her glare and whispered into her ear. She was still glaring at me afterwards, but her cheeks did turn a slight shade of red. It seems like I managed to shake her heart.
She hesitated for a moment beneath my gaze, but noticing the disorder in her own heart, she quickly returned to her usual cold expression.
“Enough with the jokes.”
“Fufu, it’s true though”
I smiled and made sure she knew I was serious.
She cheerily snorted before looking out the window as if she were sulking. Her ears are still red though, so I’m certain she is still thinking about me.
“Well our hobbies match, so let’s visit a bookstore together some time. I want to see what you’ll recommend for me.”
I brought the topic back onto books. I bent low and leaned on her desk, forcing myself back into her line of sight.
For a moment, Ranko once again turned her face away from me. However after mulling it over, she soon turned back towards me with the corners of her mouth pointing ever so slightly upwards.
“Do you care that much about my hobbies?”
That much? I thought she was being too self-conscious there, but when I thought about how hard I’ve been attacking, I guess it’s only natural she would think that.
“I do~. Because I really love Ranko~”
A sudden confession――isn’t what I’m aiming for here. It’s a girl-specific kind of love friends often use with each other…….at least, I’m pretty sure friends do that kind of stuff together. Since it doesn’t seem like Ranko is used to dealing with other people, I thought this would be an effective measure for her……
But just as I was wondering what she would do after closing her eyes, she merrily laughed aloud and ran her hand through her long hair. What happened?
“Well, I am beautiful after all. I suppose it is only natural for you to be interested in me.”
Woah! A narcissist! I was so entranced my brain went blank, and my eyes stared out towards the empty void for a second there…..what a dangerous child she is……”
Did you think I would be turned off!? On the contrary, I welcome it! She’s so cute I have to cover my mouth with my hand to hide the gigantic grin on my face! A mature, handsome looking woman with the attitude you would expect from a teenage girl is monstrously cute!
“Fufu, Ranko really is cute.”
My honest feelings are leaking out.
“T-That’s right. I’m beautiful.”
“I’m more beautiful though.”
I’m not budging on this. Just what is with this child~? How could anyone be this fun to play with? A high-handed, narcissistic Ranko is crazy~
“Do you want to exchange contacts for now?”
“Hmph, it can’t be helped……..hm?”
She obediently pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, only noticing the sudden turn in the conversation after she did. I ignored her confusion and pressed on. It’s a strategy of using the momentum to get what I want and not give her a chance to say no.
“Here, this way~”
She timidly held out her phone’s screen to me so that I could copy down her information. Her registered icon is a rose, a cross, and her self-portrait…….. A chuunibyou narcissist. Just like I thought.
However that’s not what I was primarily focused on. Below her number and address……..was another set of numbers.
“Hm? Something wrong?”
“No, nothing at all.”
I only got my own cell phone relatively recently, but they sure are convenient. Even modern day humans with no knowledge of the past could be amazed at just how convenient cell phones can be.
This ‘information’ will be useful later…….
“Yosh. The registration is complete. I’ll be sure to send you love every morning from now on.”
“That sounds annoying, so don’t.”
“Eh~? I was turned down. I wonder, am I hated? So sad~”
“H-Hated isn’t really…….”
I prodded her to repeat what she just said since her voice trailed off halfway through.
“It’s nothing. The bare minimum amount of contact will be enough.”
Before either of us could say anything else, the chime of the school bell filled the room. Oops, have we been talking for that long?
“All right, let’s do our best in class then.”
I make a fist and lightly shake it. After hearing a short reply from her, I turned around and sat back down in my desk.
The classroom door opened a second later. It was our health science teacher, coming in for class right on time.
“Now now, everyone get to your seats. Stand.”
The signal for class to start. Our class president Saki’s voice rang through the room as she led us through the greeting.
After my classmates and I gave a resounding, “We look forward to working with you,” we sat down all at once. Over the past couple of days, each of us had the occasion memorized down to a habit. If there was one part about this particular greeting that stood out…….
Saki had been staring at me the entire time.