༺ Girlfriend ༻
Doah’s hands were really small.
My hands weren’t big, or at least I thought so, but her hands were so small that it felt like I was holding a child’s hand.
As I felt the warmth of her body temperature, the sound of saliva going down my throat sounded unusually loud.
Thinking that she’d let go of my hand when the time came, I decided to not say anything about it.
And about ten minutes passed just like that.
The hand that had been holding mine tightly slipped out weakly through the gaps between my fingers.
“Are you okay now?”
I ask worriedly. Doah nodded twice.
“No, what are you apologizing for? I’m the one who should apologize. You can’t handle scary things, yet I dragged you into it.”
I would have felt less guilty if I didn’t know who Luka was, but now I felt like a helpless bystander.
This meant she wasn’t acting during her stream… Sigh…
I was inconsiderate.
“Shall we grab something refreshing to drink?”
Due to the awkward atmosphere around us, I wished that we could just stop here and go home, but there were still some things that we had to do.
“But I can’t move my legs right now… Can I rest a little more?”
Forgive me… It was all my fault…
“Ah! Then I’ll go to that cafe over there and buy you a drink. You can just wait here.”
“Uh… You don’t need to trouble yourself…”
“Nah, I’ll be back soon!”
After rejecting Doah’s refusal, I quickly stepped into the cafe.
“What would you like to order?”
At the staff’s question, I looked at the menu.
I was planning to get some Iced Americano to begin with, so I didn’t need to choose. As for Doah…
“Iced Americano and strawberry yogurt, please.”
I’ll cheat just this once.
If I didn’t know her preferences, I’d just buy her an Americano, but that wasn’t the case.
「Americano? Why would I drink that? It tastes awful!」
I was supposed to buy a drink to soothe someone who hated scary things, it would be bad if she couldn’t even drink the drink I bought her.
“Your drinks are ready~”
With two cups in my hands, I walked over to the bench where Doah was sitting.
I offered the drink to Doah, who was half lost in thought, unaware that I had come back.
“…Ah. Thank you.”
Startled by my call, she jumped a little before grabbing the cup with both hands.
The light pink liquid defied gravity as it traversed through the straw.
Like a thirsty hamster, she eagerly sipped the drink with both hands.
But her expression was a bit…
As I watched Doah’s face, a grin crept across my face.
The difference in her expression before and after she drank her drink was just too obvious.
Just a moment ago, she seemed to be lost in thought, as if she had lost her connection to the real world, but now she was sipping the yogurt with a happy face.
“Ah. Was I… too much…?”
Doah asked sheepishly when she noticed my gaze.
“No, it’s just that I didn’t know what you’d like, so I bought you something sweet. Glad that you liked it.”
“I like strawberries.”
A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.
Followed by a strange sensation.
As if someone was gently tickling my heart.
“I can go now.”
Doah’s strength returned to her legs, and her mind seemed to have cleared up. She dusted herself off and stood up.
“Are you sure you don’t need more rest?”
“Ah, yes. But the previous thing was really scary…”
Well, it felt like something that would appear in your dream.
「When I see scary things, I keep thinking about them when I’m alone at night.」
「Oh… That’s why I didn’t want to spin that damn roulette wheel…」
「I’ve totally lost sleep for today~ Luka’s a wreck~ Good work~ I’ll take a break from streaming tomorrow~」
Remembering Luka’s words during her stream, I figured it would be better for us to do something else so that she could get rid of her lingering fear.
“Which one should we try now?”
“Let’s do that one.”
“The one with the guns?”
I was about to blurt out, ‘But you suck at this,’ but I managed to shut my mouth quickly.
People who are good at video games tend to be at least decent at every game they play, but Luka wasn’t that type of person.
The only games she was good at were rhythm games.
She was catastrophically bad at the rest, like FPS or MOBA games.
Nevertheless, Luka loved to play games.
And the sincerity she put into every single game she played was part of her charm.
There was one occasion when she got into a five losing streak and started an alcohol mukbang afterwards as she suddenly decided that she needed to drink some soju.
“…You don’t like it?”
Doah asked again, sensing my lukewarm reaction, and I shook my head.
“No. Let’s go and try it.”
After listening to the instructions again, we put on the headsets and picked up the model guns.
“Easy? Or hard?”
Know your limits, Luka-tan.
You’d die in less than thirty seconds if we go with hard.
“Let’s start with easy. It’ll be annoying if we start off with hard.”
VR FPS games were very realistic.
The effect of a bomb falling right in front of us was so lifelike that it actually made us instinctively close our eyes tightly.
“Oppa. Look up!”
Among the games I’ve played, this one looked incredibly similar to [Call of Duty], but holding a real gun and shooting made the gameplay completely different.
We made it through the first stage unscathed.
“Oppa, how are you so good?”
Doah’s voice pitch went up a bit, happy that we made it through.
“It’s just a shooting game, I’ve played a lot on my PC.”
And most people are probably better than you.
“Well, good luck with the next stage…”
Not even twenty seconds after she said that, Doah’s character was killed. Ten seconds later, I followed suit.
“You jinxed me! Why did you say things about the next stage and whatnot?”
Feeling embarrassed for blaming others, I looked up at Doah, who was staring at me in disbelief.
“…You’re blaming me for this?”
“Not really. But it’s true that you died first.”
“But that’s because the sniper shot came from up there…!”
“From the beginning, I told you to be careful because this could happen.”
“I’m not perfect! It’s possible that I didn’t see it, you know? Besides, you didn’t even tell me which direction it was.”
“I haven’t gotten that far yet, so of course I don’t know! This is literally my first time playing. Hmph.”
Even after we took off our headset, Doah still seemed to feel wronged, as she puckered her lips.
That kind of attitude. This kind of reaction.
Something about it felt so familiar, and after thinking about it, I came to a conclusion.
…Isn’t this just like Luka?
Of course I knew that Doah was Luka, it was just, I expected she’d act differently than when she was streaming…
Suddenly I felt a surge of excitement, as if Luka was alive and breathing right next to me.
“It seems like we’ve looked almost everywhere…”
As we tried various things like sports, rhythm games, FPS, horror games, and so on, and finished recording, before we knew it, the sun was already setting.
“Let’s go now. I think this will be enough.”
We left the Experience Center, and there were still a lot of people outside.
It seemed like everyone was also having fun, just like us.
“How will you get home?”
“I’ll take the bus.”
“Do you want to eat—”
Or not. It felt a little awkward for me to bring it up first.
During our games, it felt like we had gotten a little closer, but the wall that stood between us hadn’t crumbled down.
After all, this didn’t erase the fact that I had rejected her.
As I was unable to finish my sentence, Doah picked up where I left it off.
“Are you hungry, Oppa?”
“No, actually, I think I’m good.”
If I told her otherwise, she might take it as if I was asking her to eat with me.
So, I decided to brush it off and just go home quickly.
“Since you bought me a drink earlier, I thought maybe I should buy you a meal…”
“Ah, it wasn’t much. You don’t need to pay me back.”
“I wanted to try the famous hamburger at the place up ahead.”
“…Is that so?”
But, if she really wanted it, maybe…
“If you’re busy, you can go back without me, Oppa.”
“No, I’ll go with you.”
To make it clear, I only did this because Doah was the one who invited me.
Not because I wanted it or anything.
And so, I followed Doah into the aforementioned hamburger joint.
Looking at the neat interior, it seemed like it was recently opened.
Doah stood in front of the menu board, her actions resembling a prayer.
“…Didn’t you come here because there was something you wanted to eat?”
“That’s true, but…”
It wasn’t like there were many options to choose.
At most there were only five different burgers here.
“I want to try the mushroom burger, but I think maybe it’s better to have the signature burger.”
Well, that was a quite reasonable dilemma to fall into.
“Then you order the mushroom, and I’ll order the signature. We’ll split it.”
“Is that okay?”
If one could actually manifest the stars that appeared on an avatar’s eyes, that would probably be Doah’s expression right now.
“Yes. Get the knife and cut it so we can share half and half. Like this.”
After ordering from the menu and receiving a call button for the table, we sat side by side at a window seat.
Even after I had organized and uploaded all the photos I had taken with Doah to the group chat, there was still no sign of our food coming out.
I looked at my phone, thinking that the order was slow because it was the weekend…
I turned my head at Doah’s call.
“…Do you have a girlfriend now?”
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