The tatami-floored room used by the tea ceremony club is located further away from the hustle and bustle of the club building, and has an atmosphere that combines tranquility and a girl’s typical daintiness. The door is not made in the rugged style of other cultural clubs, but is designed in the image of a sliding door. However, the club leader did not care about such things, but opened the door a little more politely and entered the room with an air of dignity.
“This is the photography club! As part of the Photography Club’s upcoming activities, I’m greeting each room, and I’ve come to greet the Tea Ceremony Club as well! I’m here to greet the tea ceremony club as well!”
She was a girl with a cute camera disproportionate to her petite frame. The girls wearing ribbons from the third and second year students were as if expecting her to show up, while the first year students were frozen with the question, “Why the photography club all of a sudden?”
Only Ageha had the same look as the seniors in the tea ceremony club because I had mentioned yesterday that we might be going.
“Hey, Marumiya. I told you not to come, didn’t I?”
“You did. Nice face, yes one. I’m sure all the things I’ve taught you guys over the past two years haven’t been in vain. So don’t worry about it.”
“Haaa of course. All right, all right, I’ll say hello, take pictures until you’re satisfied, and then you can leave.”
“Thanks for talking so quickly, then. Let me introduce you to a younger student, Orikawa-kun, a first-year student. He is one of the few young men in the photography club, which has too few members.”
“I’m not a good young man, but unlike the head of the club, I will work without causing trouble. Today, I got caught up with the club leader. I’m Orikawa, a freshman.”
“Wow, isn’t this junior awful to me?”
Ageha, in order not to get involved, somehow lowered her sitting position a little and made an effort not to be found as much as possible. While passing on the senior’s complaints and trying not to write any trouble to the girls in the tea ceremony club, she became a machine that just stood where the manager told her to stand and shuttered the camera without a care in the world.
After repeating this for five minutes, when the danger level was finally reduced with regard to their evaluation of us, Paan and the head of the club patted me on the back as hard as she could in a very dissatisfied manner.
“Orikawa-kun! Don’t you think it’s rude to shoot in such a state of emptiness?”
“Boss, haven’t you changed your character?! Wasn’t your character calm and mysterious?”
“It’s because Orikawa-kun came to this beautiful girl’s garden and just took pictures as he was told with a blank and empty face! I’m even making you lose your temper by disintegrating the character I’m creating for you in front of the juniors!”
“Eeeh, it’s scary.”
“That was a character, huh?”
“What is this character building that she’s talking about?”
“Shh, don’t look.”
“Shooting is about passion, right? There should be passion when taking portraits, Orikawa-kun! Who do you think is the most beautiful woman here?”
“Eeh? What is it suddenly ……?”
When I was stuck for even a moment in answering, the manager gave me a merciless slap on the back. It really hurts. Where did she get this kind of power in her petite body? The fact that she was holding a camera that didn’t suit her body was no joke. She has a passion for photography that I don’t have. It must be …… a hobby for her, after all.
I wanted to run away from the relentless pursuit of the “come on, come on,” but I was too far from the exit to do so. My eyes were drawn to the only acquaintance at the edge of my field of vision as I turned my attention to the exit. I look at the person who is almost one of the most beautiful women in this club, and I raise my name to her.
She catches my gaze and sees that my mouth is about to move, and she stiffens into a ball and waits for me to say something, unable to do anything.
“Ah, Ageha Suminodo san”
She replies to my name with a tremor in her voice that gives off a dignified air. The way she sits on the tatami mats is still beautiful, and if it were not for the scene where the girls sitting around her move away, it could have been the scene of an encounter with the heroine depicted in fiction.
“I see, so Orikawa-kun type is Suminodo-san huh.”
“Ah, back in character?”
“I’m asking you seriously, okay? It’s Suminodo-kun, right? what do you think?”
“Well, um, I’m friends with Hisanobu-san from the same class.”
“Hi-Sa-no-bu-san!? Orikawa kun, why are you being called by such a beautiful girl?”
“Eeeh, that’s what it means!?”
“What do you mean!”
The head of the photography club is surprised by the mysterious direction, and some members of the tea ceremony club who are acquainted with Ageha, who do not know what happened at noon, call out Ageha’s name in a surprised voice. Some of the girls who were in the middle of the day were looking at me to see if this was Orikawa Hisanobu. The girl’s judging gaze had the terror of being stabbed by cold ice.
“You’ve known each other a long time!?then…”
“No, we’ve known each other since high school.”
“It’s only been three days since we started school!!! Orikawa-kun! Aren’t you a little quick? Did I actually help you in the examination hall?”
“Nothing like that. We just happened to be sitting near each other and when we talked, we were on the same wavelength. Considering that we call each other by our first names when we get to know each other, once we’re friends, it’s no longer a problem to call each other that, is it?”
Until high school, I was limited to Rinen, my childhood friend, but Yuisa, whom I became friends with after entering high school, we immediately started calling each other by our first names, so this kind of thing would be good. In fact, I, by Rinen’s side, had no relationship at all that I could call a friend other than Rinen, just as Rinen refused to accept others as kicking them to the curb. Most of the boys who reached puberty had their minds swept away by Rinen’s well-groomed appearance. I was one of them.
“No, no, no, no, the distance between you is weird!”
The tea ceremony club girls around her nodded yes, but apart from that, the girls who were sitting near Ageha and had moved away earlier came up to her and whispered to her. Ageha glanced at me a few times and then tried to cover it up with an amiable smile, as if she was troubled.
Manager Marumiya, who looked like a girl who could have been mistaken for a junior high school student, now looked terribly desperate for something, pulled me along and headed for the exit. Before she leaves, she looks around at the members of the tea ceremony club and turns her slightly tired voice to the head of the tea ceremony club.
“I’m sorry, Manager san. I’m sorry my junior made a scene. I’ll take him home and we’ll talk it over, so please forgive me.”
“Ah, yes, but it was Marumiya’s arrival that made all the noise, wasn’t it?”
“Ah, um, Orikawa-san, what’s your relationship with Sumidono-san?”
The first year girl who asked this question hesitantly stung the sharp gazes of the seniors. The people who seemed to be acquaintances of Ageha were looking at me with great curiosity.
“I just met her, but now me and Ageha are friends. I’m sorry to bother you, Ageha, but I’ll call you when I return.”
“Uuuuu, yes, I understand. I will be waiting for you.”
“What is this?!”
“I knew it!”
When I closed the tea ceremony club room, which had become noisy again, I could still somewhat hear the high-pitched voices, but it was more soundproofed than I had imagined.
I walked towards the photography club room next to the petite manager Marumiya, who started walking slowly in front of the door, looking exhausted. I know it’s probably headed that way.
“Orikawa-kun, you are.”
“You’re a weirdo after all.”
“Manager who’s making a character is also a bit of a freak.”
“You’re the one who talks so much. My character building is nothing.”
The corridor of the club building was a little cooler than in spring, and the people in the corridor were listening to our idle conversation.
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