Paradise Noise - Chapter 2
On a Sunny Morning in November
The Internet is a frighteningly convenient thing. When I searched for “Rinko Saejima piano” online, videos of her competitions came up immediately. Apparently, one video was uploaded, without permission, by the parents of another participant in the competition. Hanazono-sensei clearly wasn’t wrong about Rinko being famous; her videos were found by the dozens, each of them having over 10,000 views.
However, I’d say about a third of the comments on her videos were about Rinko’s looks, with even a few of them being outright expressions of lust. These people are incorrigible.
I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and listened to her performance.
The set piece was Chopin’s etude “Aeolian Harp”. The flowing arpeggios that were played by both hands continued to sway until the end, when the murmuring melody slowly faltered away.
I could only sigh. My accompaniments to choral pieces, ones I arranged with lots of passion, could not come close to her performances. When she performed a Chopin piece for her competition, the energy she put into it was off the charts.
I clicked around on the thumbnails that appeared in the related videos section and listened to a bunch of Rinko’s other performances.
Feeling fulfilled and happy, I decided to take a break. However, when I took off my headphones, I noticed that my hair was sweaty and matted. Moreover, when I tried to stand up, my waist and legs had lost their strength.
What an exhilarating performance.
What’s more, I didn’t even realize that my strength and energy were being sucked out of me while I was listening to the performance, mainly due to me being too absorbed in it. Her performance is like a narcotic that I couldn’t get enough of.
The question of why she isn’t currently pursuing a career in music becomes even more mind-boggling.
Or am I just underestimating the world of music? Is this level of performance not enough to become a professional?
Two days later, after school, I had another encounter with Rinko in the music room, so I asked her directly.
“Why did you come to our high school? With your skills, you should’ve gone to a school with a music department. Didn’t you ever think about going pro?”
Rinko mumbled in a low voice.
“I didn’t want to play the accompaniment because I didn’t want to be scrutinized like what you just did to me. I should have deliberately played poorly so that I wouldn’t stand out.”
Did she intentionally play poorly…?
“You didn’t, though, right?”
I couldn’t help but point that out immediately.
“…What?” said Rinko, blinking her eyes in surprise.
“You can’t play badly on purpose, right? I know this because I’ve played a few instruments myself. Well, I’m probably in no position to tell you, but, so…”
Unable to choose the right words, I stammered for a while, trying to think of a way to word it.
“Once you reach a certain level, you can’t purposely play badly. Your body has become conditioned like that, so your body refuses to play poorly even if you try.”
In the middle of my sentence, I became afraid that I was saying something extremely embarrassing and out of line, so immediately after I finished speaking, I kept my mouth shut while looking at Rinko’s face in fear.
A strange expression flashed across her face.
It’s hard to describe, but if I had to, I’d say it’s like the expression one makes when one loses an important photo that he or she’s stopped looking for and then finds it under the toilet mat he or she’s been stepping on every day.
Rinko let out a sigh and sat down on the piano chair.
“I used to think you were just a sex offender, but gradually, my opinion has been changing.”
“Then, thank you. Wait, you used to think of me as what…?”
Her first remark was a terrible minus, but I hoped the overall comment was a plus…
“Now you’ve been promoted to a special sex offender.”
“You haven’t changed at all! If anything, you’ve made it even more evil!”
“I wish I could be happier, as I don’t think there are any sex offenders who understand music as well as Murase-kun does, but I really can’t.”
“I wish I could understand what you’re trying to say right now…”
“Beethoven was a ‘master musician,’ but isn’t he also a ‘musical sex offender’? Isn’t that a noble title for you?”
“I wish you had compared me to Beethoven in other areas!”
“Like the part where you’ll never get married for the rest of your life?”
“Just get out, for God’s sake!”
Rinko got up from her chair and walked about three meters away.
“That’s not what I meant! If someone else were to see us from the outside, it would look like I was trying to attack you but you ended up screaming in a strange voice and backing away!”
“You’re almost correct. Though, Murase-kun was the one who screamed in a strange voice and I got away. That’s the truth.”
Indeed, that’s what it looked like. If I don’t want to be misunderstood, I should calm down. What were we even talking about in the first place?
“Maybe Murase-kun could…”
Rinko sat back in her chair and mumbled, her voice dropping.
“You’re probably just amazed at my skills because you’ve never experienced a live grand piano performance at a classical music concert. My piano skills aren’t not that big of a deal…”
“Don’t you see what I’m saying? Then let me rephrase it in a sexual way that you can understand. It’s like a virgin being surprised by her first time.”
“I still don’t get it!”
“I see. Because you’re a virgin, you don’t have any experience, so you don’t even know what it’s like to be surprised by your first time.”
“Why are we talking about me being a virgin? Can you please stop pulling me towards sexual topics every time? I mean, I knew exactly what you meant when you said it the first time! It’s true that I’ve never been to a classical music concert, but…”
I cut off my words and searched for a way to express my feelings. However, I couldn’t find a smart, witty way to say it anywhere in my mind. She was right, it was my first time.
“I know your piano skills are a big deal. I’d pay good money for you.”
Rinko stared at me in silence for a while, so I rushed to add.
“U-Um, when I say I’d pay good money for you, I meant it for a piano performance, not a sex trade.”
“I know that,” Rinko said with a disgusted look. “The fact that you had to add that information when I mentioned any misunderstandings at all means that you are aware that you are a sex offender.”
That was completely my fault. It was obvious to me that if I made any retort, I would be accused even more harshly. I guess I should just shut up and accept her brutal comment.
“You really shouldn’t mix sexual harassment remarks like that when we’re having a serious conversation.”
“I don’t need you to tell me that any more than anyone else in the world!”
I couldn’t just sit idly by and take it all in!
“Anyway, I’m not interested.”
Rinko said and stood up from the piano chair.
“It’s not like I’m aiming to be a pro or anything. There are a lot of people who can play better than me.”
After she left the music room, I continued to stare at the huge side of the piano, lost in thought. I could see my face distorted in the black, still mirror.
Is it my misunderstanding? Is it my overestimation of her skills due to ignorance?
I ask myself in the black mirror.
“No,” my squashed face seemed to reply.
I’m certainly not very familiar with classical piano. But I can’t lie to my ears or to the trembling in my heart. If her piano skills aren’t special, the feeling that’s stuck in my skull is caused by mayonnaise or something.
I want to hear more of her playing.
Once I became somewhat of a household name as a video creator, I was able to make many horizontal connections.
I have a social networking account named “Musa Boy”, and I have a number of followers who are friends that I met through various video sites. Neither do I know them in real life nor do I know what they look like. However, we do know each other’s music history and taste in music.
One of them, “Gureko-san,” is an active music student, and the arrangements of the songs he uploads are mostly classical. I thought he might be familiar with the world of classical music, so I asked him or her a question via direct message on SNS.
[Do you know Saejima Rinko? It seems that until a little while ago, she was a junior high school piano contestant who was a top performer in many piano competitions.]
I got an immediate reply.
[Yes, I know. She was famous for messing with the competitions. She even traveled to local competitions far away from where she lived, and every time she went to one, she would get first place, so people hated her.]
Is that something that would cause people to hate her? It’s not like she’s violently tearing down the competition; she’s just trying to compete and ended up winning, so it’s a legitimate result of her ability. These people were just jealous. I wonder if that’s why she got tired of the world of classical music and gave up her dream of becoming a pianist.
[What’s up with the sudden interest in Saejima Rinko?] Gureko-san asked.
I thought for a moment that I should be honest and tell Gureko-san that we go to the same high school, but since it was over text, I was able to stop myself. If it had been a face-to-face conversation, I might’ve actually told Gureko-san. I can’t exchange information that could lead to personal identification on the Internet.
[I found a video of one of her competitions by coincidence and liked it, so I was wondering what she’s doing now.]
That’s what I said. It isn’t a complete lie, but not the complete truth either. I feel a bit apologetic to Gureko-san.
[I haven’t heard that name in a while. Maybe she stopped playing piano.]
That’s what Gureko-san wrote to me.
[I think she missed first place a couple of times, perhaps due to a slump. Maybe that’s why she quit. Sometimes, that world is a pain in the ass, and so some people feel like abandoning it all together. I’ve been there.]
That world is a pain in the ass.
Yeah, well, I guess I can see that. Dozens of people who have devoted most of their lives to the piano gather together and are ranked according to criteria I don’t understand. The expectations of their parents and teachers are so tightly wrapped around every finger that I would be exhausted just playing one phrase.
I gave my thanks to Gureko-san, put my phone down, and laid back down on my bed.
She has been winning in that same pain-in-the-ass world.
The “1” in the pile of rankings kept stretching toward the empty sky like a thin tree trunk, but one day it snapped and fell, beginning to wither away.
I honestly think it’s a waste.
If she doesn’t need her talent, give it to me. I’m sure that I could get 5,000 views without having to resort to cross-dressing.
I clicked on the bookmark and played Saejima Rinko’s performance at the competition on the video site again. The original poster of the video doesn’t specifically give any other information, so I don’t know if this performance is from when she won, or when she missed the first place that Gureko-san mentioned. But since it was a junior high school student’s performance, I couldn’t believe that there were people my age who could play the piano better than this. It was said that she had been messing with competitions all over Japan, so I wondered if the possibility of running into someone of equal or greater ability was just that much greater.
Ranking music is a foolish thing to do. There are many people who say this, and I agree wholeheartedly; there are only two kinds of music: music that one wants to listen to again, and music that one doesn’t. That’s it.
So I got up, sat down in front of my computer and opened the browser. I clicked on the links to related videos and started rummaging through Rinko’s piano performances again.
My favorite discovery that night was her performance of Schubert’s “Piano Sonata No. 21”.
I have never really listened to the works of the composer Schubert until now. I didn’t understand the merits of the unfinished symphonic music that I had only heard briefly when I was a child, and I had no interest in the famous songs that came up in music class, such as “The Wild Rose” and “The King of the Demons”.
That’s why the first movement of No. 21, played by Rinko, is so compelling.
It’s a poignant song themed around a gentle young man who never stops smiling, but whose sickly, weak heart is beating faintly, and who sometimes embodies a heavy pain in his voice. It’s not a song for a competition by any stretch of the imagination. There aren’t particular parts to show off one’s technique. Plus, it looked very difficult and was very lengthy. The first movement alone is about 20 minutes long. Why would she choose such a piece?
In a related video, there was another girl playing Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 8”, which seemed to be from the same competition. The video description explained that she won the competition.
So Rinko’s Schubert was defeated.
No matter how many times I listened to it, I couldn’t figure out why she lost. Rinko’s performance is a hundred times better. Is it because the song selection is unusual for a junior high school student? Or is it because the performance is too passionate and tiring to listen to? Both of them are rather good points.
That reminds me. I took out my music notebook from my bag.
The next choral piece that Hanazono-sensei pushed on me was Schubert’s, I think.
It’s a four-part chorus in praise of the Virgin Mary. As usual, I was asked to play the piano accompaniment. This piece is in B-flat major, just like the “Piano Sonata No. 21”, isn’t it? In this case, the gentle theme of the molto moderato of the first movement could be incorporated directly into the accompaniment.
(TL: If you really want to know what all these terms mean, you would’ve googled it already. Now on with the story!)
(ED: just know how music works smh)
I put it into the sequencer and played it. At this point, I thought it was so beautiful that it made me tremble. I almost made the mistake of thinking I was a genius, but it was the composer who was the genius. Not only “Piano Sonata No. 21”, but also “Salve Regina” were priceless masterpieces. I’m really sorry, Mr. Schubert. From now on, I will kneel on the floor and listen to your works.
After printing out the accompaniment score that I had arranged throughout the whole night, I headed to school, rubbing my blearly eyelids.
Rinko, when she saw my arrangement, had an astounded expression on her face. She suddenly slammed her hands down on the piano keyboard. A dissonant and somewhat ridiculous sound, like all the mugs in the world shattering at once, echoed through the music room where the two of them were alone.
“…D Minor 11th on A?” I said fearfully.
“We’re not doing a chord guessing quiz,” Rinko said bluntly.
“…U-Um, why are you so upset?
“Do I look like I’m upset?”
Rinko’s expression is the same as always, a little feverish yet expressionless. The words that come out of her mouth are full of venom, as usual. I’m sure she’d be like this even if she wasn’t angry.
But— She still looked angry at the time.
“I’m not mad at you,” she said, her lips pursed. “I do wish you were dead, though.”
“You’re seriously mad…”
“I hope you live four times as long as Schubert in solitude in the corner of a nursing home where no one comes to visit you, day after day, hammering out tunes made of only minor chords on a sequencer, and then die of heart failure on a sunny November morning with a look on your face like you’ve suddenly come to reason.”
She described such a subtle and happy death that I could not immediately find the words to retort. Incidentally, Schubert died at the age of thirty-one. Rinko continued her denunciation of me.
“So, why did you use Schubert’s sonata for the accompaniment?”
“Oh, you know this? Of course you do.”
“Of course. I don’t know how many hundreds of hours I’ve spent on this song.”
“That’s right. It’s one of your competition pieces, right?”
Rinko raised an eyebrow.
“You knew it was one of my competition pieces and you used it? How did you find out?”
“I saw it on a video. Someone posted it on the Internet.”
Fuu, her deliberate sigh swept over the keys.
“I wish they’d all just go away.”
I guess she was talking about the original poster of the video, but it sounded like she meant something broader, which sent shivers up my spine.
“B-But, thanks to the video, I also learned how good Schubert was. I didn’t know he wrote such great music. Thank you.”
“I didn’t play it for you, and I didn’t give you the video.”
“That’s true, but…”
“I’d play ‘Beethoven’s Twelfth’ or ‘Chopin’s Second’ for you.”
Both are piano sonatas for funeral marches. I was so grateful that tears started to well up in my eyes.
She already thinks of me as an outsider anyway. It’s time for me to ask her directly to clear up my own confusion.
“Why did you quit playing the piano when you could play it so well?”
Her eyes fluttered for a moment, then her eyelashes dipped down and she closed the lid of the keyboard.
“I haven’t stopped.”
She stared at my fingertips as she said that plainly.
“Oh, yeah.” I let the words roll around in my mouth for a while. “I mean, you know, like entering competitions and stuff, serious piano…”
“Why is my participation in piano competitions so important to you? Why should you, a complete stranger, say things like my parents say?”
The way she looked and responded hurt. So, I guess that’s what her parents were saying to her. I shrugged my shoulders.
Why would a stranger…?
She was absolutely right. I used to think that ranking music was ridiculous. Logically, I shouldn’t care about piano competitions.
I glanced up at her.
I saw Rinko’s fingertips resting on the piano’s black, clear lid.
What a waste. That’s the only reason. If you have wings, you should fly. It’s a natural feeling for people who can only crawl on the ground and look up to the sky with eyes of admiration, isn’t it?
Rinko quietly says.
“I’ve told you before, Murase-kun. You’re just buying into it because you don’t know much about the piano. My piano skills are not a big deal. It’s just that my fingers turn a lot and I don’t make many mistakes. At most, I can win a competition at the prefectural level, or maybe not even that.”
She wasn’t looking at me. She was speaking to the soft pedal at her feet. So, there was no reason for me to shake my head and deny her claims.
“I’ve often been told. My playing lacks grace and elegance. I have no class. My tone is dirty and unrefined. There is a lot of excess noise. The performance quality is poor… and I think so myself.”
I couldn’t help but interrupt her.
“What do you mean by ‘tone’? Isn’t that, you know, up to the piano? It’s not the person playing the piano that matters… But when you hit the keys on the keyboard, there’ll be a sound… What do you mean by excess noise?”
Rinko finally looked up.The smile that appeared on her mouth looked terribly thin, and I was horrified.
Then she stood up and mumbled to the empty void.
“It’s alright. It’s no problem at all. Even if I do indeed make excess noise while playing, it’s no problem to play an accompaniment for a chorus. What more do you want me to do?”
After Rinko had left the music room, I plopped down on the desk in front of the piano and ruminated on her words.
What more do you want me to do?
It’s obvious. I want her to play more. I want her to let me hear it.
(TL: Kyaa might as well propose now. though imagine proposing by “I want you to let me hear it”)
(ED: hear her moans while… ok ill stop)
I mean, she said earlier that she hadn’t stopped, right? I should have asked her more questions. Why haven’t you stopped? You haven’t lost any of your skills, which means you still practice at home every day, right? If you dropped out of the tough competition tours, why are you still playing piano?
I sit up and weakly stretch out my hand to stroke the side of the grand piano. My reflection in the blackness is miserably thin and squashed by the gently curved surface.
Isn’t it because you left your heart behind in this?
Fifteen minutes later, I asked Hanazono-sensei, who had just come into the room, about if the tone of a piano can change based on the pianist.
“Oye. Musao references so many classical pieces in his songs, but he doesn’t know much about piano at all.”
“Yeah, well, I’m just ripping off something I heard before… and that I thought was cool.”
Another reason was that with classical music, I didn’t have to worry about copyright issues. I have no formal musical education, plus, I’m just a blockhead.
“I had only played electric pianos until I entered high school, and you know, no matter how someone strikes the keys, the tone remains the same. I wonder if it’s different with a real piano.”
“You can change the tone of an electronic piano by playing it differently.”
I was surprised at Sensei’s claim.
She demonstrated that by using the electronic piano in the music preparation room. She played Scarlatti’s sonata, first in a gentle, sparkling way, and then in a very hard, stiff way.
“Right?” Sensei looked back at me. “Did you notice the differences in the tone?”
“… Well, that’s not it,” I pursed my lips. “It’s just that the way you play it is different. You played softly and hard. The sound source is the same, isn’t it?”
“It sounded different in terms of the hardness of the sound, didn’t it? Isn’t that a difference in tone?”
I folded my arms and pondered for a bit.
“No, it’s… what’s really different is the intensity of the sound, the layering…”
“Isn’t it all about how it sounds? Isn’t that what music is all about?”
Sensei chuckled, hot on my trail.
“With a grand piano, the difference is even greater. A grand piano has a wider dynamic range, and plus, the strings resonate more.”
The dynamic range refers to the range of intensity of the sound, and a real grand piano can express everything from a fortissimo so loud that the earth and sky collapse to a pianissimo so soft that powdery snowflakes fall from the sky. More than 200 strings, stretched tightly inside the huge body of the piano, resonate in a complex way, producing rich and mellow overtones that can never be imitated by an electronic piano that merely samples sounds one by one.
(TL: I don’t think I mentioned this, but fortissimo is a term to signal really loud playing, and pianissimo is a term to signal really soft playing.)
“Plus, the bodies of pianos are huge, so the excess noise rings out proportionally loud.”
“What do you mean by excess noise? Are you talking about missed touches? I don’t think Rinko’s performances had any mistakes at all.”
“Even if you play it correctly, there will be excess noise.”
With that, Sensei turned off the electronic piano. She struck the keys of the silent machine in quick succession. Of course, there was no sound—no music, that is. Instead, all that could be clearly heard was a dry, muffled squeak: scrape, thud, thump.
The sound that the keyboard itself makes.
“Even just tapping the keys makes a lot of noise. The first is the sound of your fingers hitting the keys. The second is the sound of the keys being pushed to the bottom and hitting the body of the piano. Then there is the friction sound when the dented keys return. It’s quite loud. The sound is muddy because it is not covered by the sound of the strings.”
“Ehh… I’ve never paid any attention to that before. I mean, that kind of sound definitely comes out when you play, especially when you play louder notes.”
“The pianist works day and night to reduce it as much as possible,” Sensei says with a laugh.
My knowledge of pianos didn’t even include such a simple fact , which was probably why Rinko seemed to be making fun of me. Now, I’m feeling embarrassed about my previous conversation with her.
“It’s just that everyone perceives noise in a different way. Some people think that the sound of the keys hitting the body is too loud and percussive so it should definitely be eliminated. Others think it should be included when playing intense forte, because it gives a clearer ring of the note. Pianists like Richter, Horowitz, and many others make so much noise that you’d think the piano would break. I love their playing. When I was in music school, I tried to imitate them, but I couldn’t produce their kind of explosive sound at all, so I had no choice but to hit it with my elbow as hard as I could, which made my professor get really upset, but what were we talking about again?”
“We were talking about if the way one plays changes the tone…”
How did she graduate from music school? I can’t believe that she did.
That night, I looped through Rinko’s piano performances on various video sites.
I laid down on my bed with my headphones on, closed my eyes, and let my mind drift to the sounds that were born, broken, and dissolved into the darkness. Her performances of Schubert, Chopin, and Ravel shook me in exactly the same way as when I first heard them.
The only thing that matters is that one fact.
I got up and took off my headphones. The music abruptly cuts out, and all I can hear is the menacing exhaust of a motorcycle on the Shuto Expressway outside my window and through my curtains.
I stare at my hands, which are clutching the band of my headphones.
I’m going to drag you out. I have a plan. I’ve spent my early teenage years staring at the screen of my DTM software in a dark, closed room. I’ve already got an idea for the score in my head.
(TL: DTM stands for Desktop Music, so probably just his sequencer, or a DAW (Digital Audio Workshop) in America)
I sat down in front of my computer and put my headphones back on.
It was four days later, during lunchtime, that Rinko came to my class, Year 1, Class 7. I was so tired from working all night that my brain liquefied, so the moment I heard the chime at the end of fourth period, I fell down on my desk and fainted. Someone shook me hard on the shoulder, which finally woke me up, and I almost fell out of my chair, my body convulsing for no reason.
A strange sound came out. I looked up and saw Rinko standing in front of me.
I couldn’t immediately grasp the situation with my sleepy head, so it took me a few dumb glances around to realize that I was still inside my classroom and that my classmates around me were staring at me curiously.
But as my head cooled down, Rinko suddenly put her hand on my forehead, spread my eyelids with her fingers, and measured my pulse on my wrist. I was so stunned that I almost fell out of my chair again.
“W-W-What is it?”
When I shoved her hand away, Rinko looked very disappointed.
“You used to come to the music room every day after school but since you haven’t shown up for the past four days, I thought you might’ve gotten sick.”
“Well, u-uh, thank you very much for your concern.”
Rather than Rinko’s words, it was the reaction of my classmates around me that caused my dismay to swell. They all looked at me with suspicion and curiosity. I could hear them whispering to each other.
“She’s in class four.” “With Murase?” “You know, the accompanist for music class.” “Every day, just the two of them?”
“The music elective is such an event?” “I think I’ll switch from art.” “No, it’s just Murase.”
I don’t know where this conversation is going, but rumors are spreading, right?
“Even though Murase-kun has been having obscene conversations with me every time I see him, he doesn’t show up for four days in a row. Since I started to feel lonely, I came here to check up on him.”
Rinko says something outrageous, and my classmates get upset.
“Murase, what are you doing in the music room?” “Guidance counselor!” “Police!”
“W-Wait, wait! I wasn’t talking about anything remotely close to that!” I frantically tried to raise my objection while glaring at Rinko. “Will you please stop spreading your weird lies?”
“I’m sorry,” Rinko said nonchalantly. “The conversation was not obscene, but about piano. I wasn’t intentionally trying to frame Murase-kun; it was merely a slip of the tongue.”
“That was not just a slip of the tongue! You were brimming with the spirit of framing me!“
“Really?” Rinko furrowed her brow in disbelief. “Then try quickly saying ‘obscene piano’ ten times.”
“Why would I do that?”
“You’re sure I was intentionally trying to frame you, right?”
I never expected to be counterattacked in this way. But I have to take responsibility for my words.
“Obscene piano, obscene piano, obscene piano, obscene piano, obscene piano, obscene piano, obsce—h-huh?”
“You see, it’s common to have a slip of the tongue.”
(TL: Rinko first said “obscene conversation”, which is read “hiwai na hanashi”, and then she said “but [the conversation is] about piano”, which is read “piano no hanashi, and finally, she asks Murase to say “obscene piano”, which is read “hiwai na piano”, which is probably why he got confused and on the sixth repetition of “hiwai na piano”, he said “hiwai na hyaino” instead.)
“You have a point there, but at the same time, you’re wrong!”
“Murase, how can you say ‘obscene’ so many times in front of girls?” “You’re seriously talking obscenely now.”
I grabbed Rinko’s arm and forcibly led her out of the classroom, terrified as I felt the roots and leaves of rumors sprouting up.
“What were you doing in my classroom?” I demand to know from Rinko on the stairs, where no one else is around.
“I told you I came to see you because I was worried. Am I really that hard to believe? Have I ever lied to you before?”
“You’ve done it many times! The most recent instance happened just two minutes ago!”
“Let’s just call it a difference of opinion.”
I don’t think you can call it a difference of opinion when you almost ended my school life with that level of framing.
“I really came here because I was worried about you. What’s wrong?”
So, how should I start the conversation? I felt like that if I said it too directly, it would have no effect, so I put my hand on my forehead with a deliberate grin, shook my head, and mumbled.
“Would you believe me if I told you that I was preparing to take you down…?”
“I’d rather believe it. Murase-kun is the type to lock himself up in a dark room for four days and do something like that.”
“I’m not locked up, I’ve been going to school! I don’t even know how to react when you believe me so easily.”
“Then why don’t you pose and ask in a weird tone?”
You’re right! I want to cry now!
“Uh, yeah, whatever.” I coughed four times before continuing. “Anyways, let me borrow your face after school today.”
Rinko’s eyes twitched in surprise.
(TL: I’m already loving Rinko and the MC’s interactions! See you guys soon (hopefully) Also, join the discord, link is at the top of the website, to sign up for a chess tourney (deadline 7/22). Check in #announcements-and-updates once you join)