Let’s organize this state of affairs. First, I need to calm down. Let’s try to remember what Sasaki-san said one more time.
Kazuki must be Ichinose-senpai right? I can infer that from the flow of the conversation.
Apparently Ichinose-senpai doesn’t want to see me and since that makes me a hinderance to the student council I should go home. I was Ichinose-senpai’s lover but the truth is that Ichinose-senpai has someone he likes.
“…Why did Ichinose-senpai and I go out?”
“You’re going to ask that?”
Mikoshiba-kun was trying to stop Sasaki-san from laughing while Chiba-kun remained unconcerned.
If you think about it carefully it doesn’t make sense. Didn’t Ichinose-senpai have someone he truly liked? Then why did he go out with Aika-chan?
“I want to know.”
“This isn’t a very pleasant conversation you know.”
“But I think she eventually needs to hear what happened, right? If we tell her now I don’t think it’ll change anything.”
I really want to know but I can tell from this atmosphere that it’s not something that I should ask. But! After dealing with my family and my teacher I am pretty confident that I won’t be agitated by this. Alright, I’m ready for anything!
“You see, there’s this girl named Sakurako. Kazuki and her feel the same way about each other. But then last year a girl who fell for Kazuki suddenly appeared and teared them apart. She told him if he didn’t go out with her then she would bully Sakurako.”
“At first Kazuki tried to resist you know. Me and Kenji over there tried to persuade the girl too. But then that backfired and led Sakurako into isolation. When a girl bullies someone it’s very scary.”
Although he showed me a smile his eyes weren’t.
Also, Aika-chan, what a terrible thing you did—! People say those who get in the way of romance get kicked by a horse…. That didn’t sound very witty, okay.
“Bullying, you say?”
“I think it began with backbiting. Kazuki has a great face, a strong sense of responsibility, and is involved in both literary and military arts so he’s very popular. Rumors of Sakurako wooing him spread around. When girls who liked Kazuki began to exclude her, he got angry you know. He cleared up the misunderstanding and confessed to Sakurako that he liked her. And that was done in a public place too.”
This story sounds just like a romance manga. I didn’t know that Ichinose-senpai was that great of a person. I certainly want to meet him but he doesn’t want to see me so I can’t.
So then according to his story, it was Ichinose-senpai and Sakurako-chan that were together right? He basically declared their respective feelings to everyone. Then why did he end up going out with Aika-chan?
“It seems that people are simple beings that can easily change. Although you said you hated Sakurako that much with just one word from Kazuki you completely changed your attitude. Although you said “sorry” once I can’t believe that you’re going to act like it never happened. It makes me want to barf.”
I don’t know if he just recalled what happened but then he made a sour face like he had just crushed a bug in his mouth and lightly clicked his tongue.
“In reality, to match what others do is normal. Even when you’re doing something terrible, it relieves you if everyone else is doing the same thing. It’s easy to say that bullying is bad but if you’re there watching it happen it takes a lot of courage to point it out. I was lacking this strength.”
I had never gone to school before so I’ve never been a part of a collective behavior. All I was thinking was that everyone would be doing lots of fun things together, but I didn’t know that there was another side to it. I did see a lot of articles on bullying problems online. I thought it would just make me sad so I never looked at them though.
“….The atmosphere at school calmed down so I thought that it was all over . Then Sakurako fell from the stairs.”
“We were told that Sakurako had just slipped but several days later, Kazuki ended up going out with Aika-chan. He didn’t tell me the details on how it occurred. But if you think about it a little you can guess what happened, right?”
I saw Sakaki-san laughing beautifully but my head was full of thoughts about Sakurako-san.
“Was she injured? Did Sakurako-san get hurt in any way!?”
“I heard she got a sprain but she was expected to recover in a week.”
It’s good that it was a minor injury but sprains are nasty. If you don’t properly heal the sprain it could leave behind prognostic symptoms and sometimes become a habit.
“Does she have any prognostic symptoms?”
“No, she doesn’t. She’s healthy enough to run around now.”
No, it wasn’t that great! Next time I should go apologize.
Wait a second. While Sakurako-san was injured, Ichinose-senpai and Aika-chan began to go out. So that means….
“Did Ichinose-senpai have a change of heart?”
“Why would that happen. If you think normally, it’s obvious that you threatened him, Aika-chan. When the two of you began going out, the harassment towards Sakurako ended and Kazuki said that this would only go on until he graduated.”
Eh, that’s what happened!? I didn’t suspect that at all. But if that’s the case, then there is only one thing that I absolutely have to do.
“I know it’s a little late for me to say this now but what Ichinose-senpai should do is break up with me and become married for life with Sakurako-san.”
“Married for life you say…. So then is it really okay for you to break up with Kazuki?”
Also, if you tell me to suddenly become the lover of someone I’ve never met I’d have no idea what I should do.
To begin with, I’ve never even had any experience with love.
Except one time while I lived at the hospital, I was slightly attracted to this guy that I met online.
He was a very kind boy who cheered me up over and over again when I was suffering from my illness.
It’s been a long time since we’ve last contacted each other but I wonder if he’s doing okay. If I remember correctly I believe he was around my age. I hope that he’s healthy.
“Since you’ve finished talking why don’t you guys start helping? The authorization certificate for clubs and distributing the department expenses. From the schedule for the athletic festival to the equipment assignment, we have a mountain of things we need to do.”
“Ah, that’s right. Sorry.”
Chiba-kun who was working quietly without opening his mouth began to speak as if he were irritated. His angry face is cute too. I want to pat his head.
Sakaki sat down while utilizing his smartphone and Mikoshiba-kun also began to do student council work. I want to help out too.
“I want to help with something.”
“Okay, okay. Will you massage my shoulders? They’ve have become stiff from working so much.”
“There’s no way that’s true! I haven’t seen you even glance at the documents since you came here!”
“I’m have sort of a mental fatigue you know—? This tense atmosphere tired me out.”
“Whose fault is that!”
Unlike earlier it’s become a calm atmosphere. This is what the student council is normally like.
“Senpai, if you want to help please go sit there. We’re so busy that we would even welcome help from a cat.”
“Okay! What should I do!”
If I had a tail I would definitely be wagging it in joy. Earlier he told me to go home but now he’s letting me help out. I will work with all my strength!
“In that box are all sorts of prints. We will be using these at our upcoming meeting with the executive committee members about the athletic festival. Without messing up the pages, please staple each set of them together. There are a total of 35 sets so don’t forget to confirm them.”
“Leave it to me!”
When I opened the box I saw there were 8 bundles clipped together. I put them in order, removed the clip, and went immediately to grab the stapler.
This is my first time using the stapler. If I remember correctly, you put the paper right between it and push….. I think.
I certainly pushed the stapler but I don’t hear the sound of the staple. Did I possibly do it wrong? I timidly shifted the stapler and saw that there was no staple, just a small hole on the paper.
“There’s no staple!?”
“Ahh, that’s a type of stapler that doesn’t uses staples. It’s an extraordinary product that doesn’t leave behind any waste and you don’t need to spend money on the staples.
When I looked closely I saw that the section of the paper where the hole was bent into the back and kept the handout together. Terrific! To think that a stapler like this existed!
“It’s eco-friendly isn’t it!”
“Yeah thats true.”
What an environmentally friendly stapler this is. I’m moved to that our generation has progressed this far. Also,
“I got one done! Even I could do it!”
“….Of course you could do it.”
“Yeah, it’s not out of place and perfectly done.”
“You still have 34 sets left to do.Don’t stop working cause you still have much more work to do.”
I silently put the prints together using the stapler. It’s fun. It almost feels like I’ve become an office lady. When I took a look at the prints I piled up, a feeling of accomplishment welled up within me. Fufu—n, I feel like I can become a stapling master.
A moment later, I heard someone’s stomach growling.
“How could you be hungry despite eating so much today. Is your stomach bottomless?”
“I think I did eat a little too much. I almost got a sour stomach.”
Are they talking about food?
I kept working as I strained to listen through my ears.
“That much is normal you know. You must not have a big appetite.”
“Yakiniku meal with a large serving of rice, tonkatsu, and a croquette. On top of that I also got a second helping of rice.”
I’ve never had yakiniku before. Crisp and freshly fried tonkatsu and croquette. The second you bite, the juice comes out and the flavor of the potato spreads throughout your mouth…. Just thinking of it makes me drool. Slurp.
“Nn? Our schools yakiniku meal is delicious you know. Try it out next time.”
“I will do just that!”
“What did you eat today Aika-chan?”
The same thing that Tanaka-kun was eating yesterday. It was delicious with it’s sweet flavor and had plenty of big vegetables. The portion was huge so I didn’t get dessert.
“Ahh, the curry here is so tasty. I wish it was a little more spicy though.”
“I agree. Too bad the only options are either mild or medium.”
I’ve never tried anything spicy. The curry I ate was always mild because I was ill and they didn’t want it to stimulate me with hot spices. I’m a little curious.
“Do you guys have anything you recommend?”
“Meat again? You really are a meat eater.”
Gyudon. The food you can buy cheap on the street easily and has a perfect volume, Gyudon. It’s also at big chain restaurants, and it has always been my dream to say “So juicy!” while eating at one.
“What about you, Sakaki?”
“Yeah, I think if I were to pick one it would be the daily lunch. I never gets sick of it since it changes every day.”
My interest was focused on the standard menu so the daily lunch never caught my eye. Does he get sick of choosing from the same menu every day? Lets aim to conquest the entire menu! The food is so good anyways.
“I see. Next time I’ll look at the contents of the daily lunch.”
“Do you have anything you like to eat Akira?”
The clattering sound from his fingers typing on the keyboard stopped and he said,
“Mine has got to be gokoku mai.” (mixed grain and rice)
“Is that a girl!”
It’s great isn’t it, gokoku mai. It’s good for your body, it’s tasty, and it’s healthy. To think that they even have that kind of meal. I believe I will be able to try all of this school’s meals.
“Gokoku mai is very nutritious. Also, it’s much better than having a certain eating habit where you eat the same thing.”
“Are you an office lady! You’re young so you should be able to just eat whatever you want right?”
“It’s because I am young. I need to build a good body foundation while I have the chance.”
“Are you aiming to become an athlete or something Akira…..?”
He opened up my eyes. That’s right. Although we are healthy right now, we still don’t know what’s going to happen to us in the future. We should build a foundation now to protect against illnesses by maintaining a healthy body! Without having any likes or dislikes, we should be able to eat anything and become healthy! But I don’t have anything I dislike though.
“I’m going to follow your example Chiba and try to pay more attention to my health!”
“What, you’ve received an influence from that? Putting that aside, do you have a favorite from the menu, Aika-chan?”
I’ve only eaten twice from the menu so it’s a little hard to choose. Only omelette rice, curry rice, and pudding so far.
“I’ve still only eaten here two times so from now on I’ll try all sorts of things from the menu and eventually decide what I like most. Ah, but the omelette rice was pretty good.”
“Oh yeah that’s right, you lost your memories.”
“It’s not from the school menu but there is something I want to try.”
“Oh, what is it?”
It’s a food that every student has had before. Surely it is a food essential to student life, a common meal. In things like dramas there were scenes of students going to eat this after school and watching it made me feel jealous.
Someday I will too!
“Sorry I’m late.”
As if to interrupt what I was saying, the door to the student council room opened.
The second I saw that person in my field of vision, the colors around me faded. Then they were the only one that was shining brightly….
“You were pretty late.”
“Are you all right with your club activities?”
“Ah, it’s no problem. Right now I need to focus on my student council work anyways.”
He had a warm, pleasant voice and talked closely with the other student council members. Strangely, I can only hear his voice and I can’t take my eyes off of him.
“How far have you progressed?”
“It looks to me…. we have progressed considerably since yesterday. Senpai this stuff here needs your signature. It’s finished much quicker if someone higher up does it so I would like you to do it.”
“You work so fast it helps a lot Akira. Thank you.”
His gently smiling profile. Just looking at his face makes me feel like my chest is tightening to the point of being painful. It hurts but I can’t look away. My heart began to beat faster and my body temperature rose.
Whats happening to me?
He looked back at me. My heartbeat is so loud it feels like my entire body is my heart.
Since our eyes met I thought I should try to say something but I couldn’t think of anything. My head is blank. My palms got sweaty and I grasped my skirt tightly as I continued to gaze at him.
“Shinozuka. This person here is the student council president, Ichinose.”
I felt the blood rushing to my face. I starting getting faint as my head got dizzy and I had a sense of vertigo. It feels like if I let my guard down I’ll collapse.
“Is that so. Ever since you lost your memories has your condition gotten worse?”
One step. Right, just one step towards him and it would all be over. In hot haste I stood up from my chair and took a step back. If he gets any closer to me I’ll suffocate!
I don’t know if he thought I was being strange for standing up so suddenly but he slightly lowered his eyebrows. Uuu….what is this feeling, I’m becoming sad.
“What’s wrong, Shinozuka. You’re looking pale you know?”
I know that Mikoshiba-kun is saying something but sorry! Your voice isn’t entering my ears.
It may not be my real name but he addressed me. He actually said my name. He’s looking straight at me.
I felt like crying. I felt my shrunken chest hurt as if my heart escaped from me. This is a kind of pain I’ve never felt before. It hurts but strangely I can endure it.
“Umm, I, Umm…”
He’s going to think I’m strange. Oh no, I don’t want to be hated by him.
The more I panicked I got the more I couldn’t think of words to say. Now he’s peeking at my face that’s looking down.
He’s so close! I can’t take it anymore!
I lost all reason and threw the handout left on the desk straight at Ichinose-senpai’s face. My body that was so hot a second ago instantly cooled down.
Ahh, I’m such an idiot, how could I do that!
“I’m so sorry…”
Unable to endure it any longer I escaped from the room. Because I don’t know what I should do anymore!
I heard Sakaki’s laughing coming from the student council room but right now all I can think about is Ichinose-senpai. He talked to me with his smiling face and addressed me by my name. As if everything to do with him was scorched into my mind, I couldn’t forget him no matter what.
As soon as I remember my body temperature rises and my chest begins to hurt. Really, what’s wrong with me?