Chapter 7 – Is Breakfast the Reward?
After school that day, because Ryou wasn’t invited, he is returning home alone. Thinking that since he is alone today he can return slowly, he faced in the direction of the back street.
This back street has few pedestrians, and students of the same school are also seldom seen. This is because it is a detour on the way to the station.
However, occasionally students of a neighboring high school pass by. Perhaps the students of that school take this detour along this way so they can return while smoking, Ryou assesses.
In fact, Ryou has witnessed that scene several times. Though there is no one who quarrels with Ryou who doesn’t stand out, once in a while he sees students of his school being quarreled with. If that person is a man he ignores it, if it’s a girl, he’ll go help like he had twice in the past. Erika is the third time.
For such a reason, there are really few persons who go along this back street.
Because there was no invitation, he thinks the three would return on the main street as usual so he chose to go home along this back street. When he entered into the back street and had seen Erika standing there he received a surprise attack and felt uneasy.
Erika who notices Ryou, smiles pleasantly, approaches him and asked.
“Is it fine to return together?”
Meeting like this he thinks he can’t refuse, giving a reply of consent the two began to walk together.
A few minutes after they began to walk, the two were silent. For Ryou the silence was comforting and not a bad thing.
Perhaps, thinking his plain self is being shown, he glances at the girl next to him, their eyes meet at once.
When their eyes meet Erika goes, Hn?, and tilts her head looking at Ryou. Ryou, who became embarrassed, opened his mouth while flustered.
“Co-come to think of it, you, the day before yesterday you were alone on this street, don’t you three always return home together?”
“When it possible for us three to return together we do. Azusa’s been in the student council since first year and Saki’s in the handicrafts club, so there aren’t many times we three return together.”
“Heh? Student council and handicrafts club…, it suits, I guess. Did you not enter into any club activities?”
“Yes, I didn’t enter any. But I was invited to enter the student council in the second term by Azusa. Did Sakuragi-kun enter… ah, you don’t want to attract attention, that would be bothersome and unpleasant.”
When answering so, she said everything he was going to say, Ryou reflexively smiled wryly.
“Right, besides it’s not like I’m particularly fond of sports. …the student council seems to be difficult I would decline.”
“I don’t know whether or not it is difficult, Azusa likely will become the student council president next term, and said she wanted me to lend a hand. Oh well, if it’s difficult I’ll do my best.”
“That woman as student council president? ……, is that so, do your best.”
When Azusa becomes student council president, at that moment won’t the student council will feel like an evil organization, Ryou questions in his imagination.
“What aren’t you saying?”
Erika looks at Ryou inquisitively.
Erika smiles and chuckles towards Ryou’s brief reply.
When smiling she becomes more and more lovely, it’s quite a bit of a dangerous weapon, Ryou thinks so and recalls what he wanted to say.
“Even so, to go on this back street.”
“Hm, what is it?”
“Shouldn’t you stop returning alone? Students of other schools go along here and it’s not rare to get into fights on this back street.”
“Are you worried? Fufu, thanks.”
Because it was said while looking delighted, Ryou emphasized what he said.
“Did you really hear what I said? I hope you’re aware as you encountered it. Anyway, will you stop going along this street alone?”
“Ookay, I get it.”
Finding Ryou’s serious words amusing, Erika answered while smiling in a carefree voice.
“Do you really understand?”
Ryou asks doubtfully and
“I do understand, I only have to go along with Sakuragi-kun when I go through here.”
was replied. Ryou who heard that is lost on what to say because it certainly is safe going together with himself.
“Haa…, on that subject why were you alone?”
This was something which Ryou felt uneasy about since the day before yesterday.
A lone girl is rarely seen going along this street. Yet the day before yesterday Erika was alone on this street.
Erika answered while thinking a little.
“That is, perhaps the same reason as Sakuragi-kun.”
“I wanted to be alone, sometimes I get sick of being stared at.”
“…, I see.”
If such a girl walks alone, friends, classmates and former classmates, the people who know her scramble to call out to her. Especially men. Ryou who sympathized with Erika’s words to some extent, asked so as to poke fun at her.
“Are you self-conscious about being stared at?”
“Well, yeah. It’s not like I’m displeased with my own appearance. But sometimes I wish I could become invisible.”
Erika shrugged her shoulders and answered.
If the appearance is good, troubles such as that are natural. While Ryou is thinking so, Erika peeps at him and says.
“Therefore, don’t you want to occasionally return home together on this street?”
“Haha, I’m your cover.”
Ryou says so while smiling wryly.
“It’s somewhat for that, but not only for that.”
Erika denies it in a hurry.
“What do you mean?”
Ryou who thinks what is it then, asks again.
“Hmm, something like it’s calming?”
“Why’s that question?”
“Why is it I wonder?”
Erika says so playfully, and then her facial expression immediately changes and she says worryingly.
“Maybe because Sakuragi-kun acts naturally…? Something like that. There’s a composed atmosphere that’s transmitted. When I was saved at that time I felt relaxed straight away.”
“Is, is that so?”
Perhaps because of the shining praise he was strangely embarrassed and stammered. He himself thinks he isn’t quite calm.
“Yeah. That’s why, if it’s not unreasonable to talk like this together, it’s calming.”
“Heehh? That’s the first time such a thing was said.”
“Really, Then I’m glad…”
Erika who is really delighted says so, thinking what made her so happy, Ryou shyly tilts his head to face the other side and says.
“Well it’s fine if it’s once in a while. As a cover or as a relaxation room, make use of it as you like.”
“Fufu, what is that. However, thank you.”
Erika who says so smiles sweetly, for Ryou it was a strangely radiant sight.
When approaching the station Ryou made sure that Erika went in before him.
As for why she went ahead, is because he doesn’t want the students in front of the station to see them together. Ryou’s intention to not stand out was sympathized with.
Ryou, who made sure of that, faced the station after a short while to return home. He looked puzzled as Erika’s smiling face wouldn’t leave his head.
Two days later on Sunday morning 9 AM, crossing the five stations from home to get to the bustling school station, Ryou who was rubbing his drowsy eyes got off.
At one o- clock late at night the previous day (to be accurate it was 1AM today) a mail from Azusa was received.
The contents were for the sake of Erika’s reward, something about coming to this place.
As usual his part time work which disregards the Labor Standards Act, abruptly called Ryou the previous Saturday evening and was made to work until midnight. Asleep when the mail came, he was woken up by it. After confirming that it was fine, why does it have to be at nine!? Ryou retorted but there was no one to hear it.
On days off, Ryou would usually sleep until noon, all the more if he had to work until midnight the previous day.
Ryou, who came for the reward, wonders if it’ll be a meal somewhere. The juice idea which was denied came to Ryou’s mind.
Ryou who was directed to come in the morning at such a time, ‘is the reward breakfast?’ muttered to himself.
Ryou feeling fatigue and a lack of sleep from his part time work somehow raised his body, going towards the meeting place, he arrived before long.
While yawning, Ryou once again confirms the mail on his phone, the meeting place is the fountain plaza in front of the station.
Looking around and observing the fountain plaza, the person who is waiting was found in an instant.
Looking ahead, it’s as if one person was basking in a spotlight, the men looking at Erika whispering in a roundabout manner results in it being even more conspicuous.
Guessing that playboys tried to pick her up, Ryou goes towards that focus point putting aside his low motivation. Resolving to greet and join her before it becomes something complicated, he jogs towards Erika.
Erika is dressed in a light pink ankle-length dress with a simple flower pattern and a white cardigan, Ryou had seen that figure felt it gave off quite a feeling of coolness. Though there was a bit of a regretful feeling that the bare legs couldn’t be seen.
Erika cast her eyes downwards slightly to look at her watch, when Ryou runs up to her, she looks up at once. Opening her mouth about to smile, her eyes becomes points, and her half-open mouth stiffened.
Ryou seeing that state tilts his head, and notices that Erika’s hairstyle is different to what he normally sees.
Usually the long and soft hair is loose, but today it is tied up to the side in a tail over the shoulder.
(Side ponytail? I like this hairstyle. If a ponytail is number one, then this is the runner-up)
While Ryou is thinking inside Erika is extra lovely and looking in admiration, Erika opened her mouth which had stiffened.
“Sakuragi-kun…? Is it?”
“Eh, ah, what is it? Ah…, is it because I’m not wearing my glasses?”
“No, I’ve seen it before, though there is that. Apart from that your hair is completely different, for a moment I didn’t recognize you.”
“Heh? Ah…, it’s normally like this when I don’t go to school.”
Today’s Ryou who didn’t go to school, because Erika is aware of his ordinary self, he isn’t wearing his non-prescription glasses.
Usually he would use hair wax on his short hair so as to settle down his bed hair, but now it is standing up in several places.
His clothes are jeans, a white shirt with a plain black inner top, an appearance that was nothing special to the eyes.
For Ryou whose appearance doesn’t stand out at school this was suitable, in middle school this was his standard appearance. At the same time it was also insurance in case he was seen standing side-by-side with Erika by people from school. So he can decrease the chances of people noticing him when he’s next to Erika. Ryou thinks that from a distance he will not be recognized immediately. In any case, it’s not like a lot of people would recognize Ryou anyway.
Erika who is a little bit excited says.
“Your impression has changed a lot. It looks good.”
Feeling a bit of pressure from Erika’s straightforward praise, he thinks it’s not to that extent, and thrust out what was on his mind.
“No…, thanks. You as well, that hairstyle suits you. It’s lovely.”
Erika who was praised, probably because of embarrassment from him saying his true opinions, started to leak out tears.
In that moment, when Erika with a slightly red face and vacant look from shyness, said her thanks, the two stayed silent.
After meeting they praised one another and it turns into a strange atmosphere where it’s difficult to open their mouths, Erika spoke first.
“Sakuragi-kun, are you always like this on days you’re off from school?”
Like that Ryou understands right away she’s pointing out his hairstyle and glasses.
“Ah, when I meet the guys on days off from school it’s the same appearance as the one at school.”
“IS that so? Then, am I the first from school? To meet Sakuragi-kun in this appearance.”
“Eh…? Ah, that’s right.”
Ryou who recalled it being so nodded.
Erika smiles delightfully.
What is she so glad about, Ryou who thinks so is puzzled. Thinking about it shortly, today’s schedule was heard.
“By the way, what is it today? Is it breakfast?”
Erika who thinks differently raises her voice wildly. Then what is it, Ryou thought.
“No, I thought the reward was breakfast, because it’s the morning. By this situation it seems to be different.”
Erika who heard what Ryou was thinking let out a laugh.
“It’s different. It’s the first time I heard the reward was breakfast.”
“That is, I also heard it for the first time.”
Seeing Erika who laughed, Ryou was also tempted to laugh.
As it became a case of the two laughing, Erika said what she noticed.
“Huh? Sakuragi-kun, did you come thinking it was breakfast?”
“No, at the same time I thought it might not be.”
Erika, who heard Ryou’s words, tilted her head.
“……after this aren’t we going to a movie?”
This time it’s Ryou who raises a wild voice.
“Eh? Because Sakuragi-kun wants to go to a movie, isn’t it that I’m accompanying you?”
“……, the movie I want to go see, what is it?”
Ryou who is confused and thought he heard incorrectly, asked that.
“Err, Even if you ask me…”
Erika who is also confused said so.
Ryou folds his arms while thinking.
“…, by the way, did you come here with a schedule in mind on what will be done today?”
“? See a movie with Sakuragi-kun, at noon eat lunch, and afterwards look around the outlet mall together with Sakuragi-kun……, isn’t it?”
Ryou’s jaw could be seen dropping rapidly, Erika considered it a question.
What is this typical wholesome high school student date plan!? Ryou retorted in his mind. Not understanding what’s going on, he asked about the person who it seemed created this situation.
“By any chance…, did that scheming glasses say so?”
“…do you possibly mean Azusa? Azusa said she heard this request from Sakuragi-kun…, is it different?”
Erika who understood that scheming glasses is Azusa, for a moment almost burst out laughing, somehow stopped herself and said so.
“Ah, I haven’t spoken with that woman since Friday at lunch, I only got a mail yesterday at midnight which said to come here.”
Erika who heard that has a thoroughly surprised and bewildered face.
“Eh!? Then…, what? But wanting to go to movie, and then wanting to go shopping, isn’t it so?”
“Well…, I’m certain I didn’t come here with that plan.”
When Erika heard Ryou’s reply she visibly felt down. Ryou who couldn’t endure seeing that, thought about what to do. It is a precious Sunday, the weather is also pleasant. Getting up so early in the morning just to return home and sleep , has the feeling of being a waste…
“You, the plan was to go to movie then shopping was it?”
“? Yeah, that’s right but…”
Erika who was looking downwards raises her head.
“Then, let’s go.”
“Movie and shopping.”
“Eh!? …is it fine with Sakuragi-kun?”
Joy was expressed instantly on Erika’s face, but it was erased at once when she peeps at him and hears him.
“Ah, to return home as is…, though it’s aggravating to go along with that woman’s calculations…, of course, that’s if it’s fine with you.”
“Of course it is!! That’s what I originally came for…”
Hearing that Ryou laughs.
“Then it’s settled.”