When I returned to the classroom, I found Yuisa, a gal-like girl with bright blond hair and white skin, sitting in her seat playing with her phone.
“Yuisa, what’s up with staying late?”
“Good work on the club activities! I was waiting to go home with Hisa-kun! I thought you were going home alone!”
“You didn’t know when it was going to end, but you waited too long, didn’t you? You could have left.”
“Don’t be so cold. You’re my friend, go home with me.”
She comes up to me with a bang, taps me on the shoulder and says something like that. I had no problem going home with her, and if she herself had been waiting for me for a long time, it would be too rude to ask her to go home. I picked up my bag from my seat and walked home with her, side by side.
“By the way, the photography club works late, doesn’t it?”
“Today, the director of the club is taking me on a tour of the school building to show me some of her personal recommendations for taking snapshots and portraits. It was late because I had an introductory tour of something like that. But it doesn’t seem to be that late normally.”
“I see! Then let’s go home when we can together!”
“Yuisa-san, don’t you join any club activities? It’s not mandatory, but there are a lot of people who do.”
After muttering ‘Club activities,’ Yuisa crosses her arms in an exaggerated pose as if thinking about it, and while walking briskly, she lets out a troubled voice.
“Well, I guess it’s because there’s nothing I want to do. I might prefer a part-time job.”
“I see, a part-time job.”
It’s unclear what she wants to do to earn money by working part-time, but part-time work is definitely one of the new things that high school students can do compared to middle school.
“Is a part-time job a problem for you too?”
“Fufufu, as I would expect from you, Hisa-kun, you understand that I’ve already checked the school rules! Of course, it is not forbidden to have a part-time job. But…”
“If a student’s grades drop, like if a student gets a red mark or something, the teachers are going to give them a lot of criticism, and according to the school rules, the first thing they’re going to do is contact their parents about keeping the part-time job.”
“So there’s no way to force them to quit?”
“No, but if the student’s grades are still failing, he or she will be forced to accept assignments because there is no intention of improving the grades in the first place.”
“Yeah, it’s more severe than I imagined. It would be easier to understand if they said no part-time work.”
“Part-time work is a personal choice, so the school can force you to improve your grades, and if your grades don’t improve, you can’t stay in school! I think that’s tough!”
Since there is no power to control students, I certainly felt that the school has a lot of freedom when I looked at it this way. However, I thought that if I had been in this school when I was a member of the basketball team, just doing what I was told to do, I would have probably done the same thing I did in junior high school because I didn’t know what to do. Looking back on such a past was prickly and my heart ached as if it had been pricked with a needle.
“What do you want to do for a part-time job? If it’s common, a waitress at a coffee shop? Yuisa-san looks like she’d be at a chain coffee shop.”
“I can’t help it.”
“Boo! You can’t judge people by their looks!”
It was certainly a powerful statement coming from a female student at an advanced school with dyed blonde hair and a girly grooming. I giggled and told her that she was right. She responded in a deliberate manner.
We were both riding our bicycles lightly on our way home. The spring evening air felt colder than I had expected.
We reached a house with the name “Namazue” written on the nameplate, and I was going to leave her there, but she grabbed me by my clothes and stopped me.
“I’d like to talk a little more. Would you like to come up to my house?”
“Do you feel like you have plans after this?”
“There’s still plenty of time for dinner, and it’s only a stone’s throw from my house.”
“There’s a river lying there, though!”
It is true that I was a little troubled by what she said. It would be a little impolite for a man to come into the home of a girl he had no doubt just met this morning. Her parents must have felt uncomfortable.
Perhaps reading my feelings from her expression, she changes her grip to her hand and pulls my hand away.
“Come on up, come on up,”
As she smiles and tries to lead the way, a Shiba Inu appears from the dog house in the small yard and shouts “Woof, woof, woof!”
Seeing Kontarou, the Shiba Inu, happily clinging to my feet, she smiles broadly, as if to say that she now has an ally.
“Look, look! Kontarou is happy to see Hisa-kun, too, so by a two-to-one vote, Hisa-kun can go up to the house.”
When she said that, I said yes, even though I felt like I had no choice.
She unlocked the front door and welcomed me into the house. The house was quiet. She led me to a room on the second floor with the living room on the side.
The room was decorated with cute colored accessories and furniture, and a stuffed animal that looked like a shiba dog, similar to Kontarou. The room was completely different from that of Rinen, my childhood friend. The room seemed to embody the cute girl’s room that boys fantasize about. The smell was citrus-based, and the scent of an unfamiliar girl made me nervous.
“I’m going to make some tea, so sit down on the cushion there and wait for me! Tea, would you like some tea?”
She said, and immediately came back with tea and cookies. Even for a few moments I tried not to be strangely conscious of the girl’s room and became quiet as she came back. The only thing I hope you’ll forgive me for scurrying around.
I ate the cookies she had so graciously brought, and they melted comfortably in my mouth. They were delicious.
“Are these homemade?”
“Yes, they are!”
I told her that they were delicious. She smiled again and told me that she had been practicing during spring break and had gotten even better at it. She has been cooking since she was a little girl.
I felt a little dazzled by her as she told me about her first failed attempts and how much she enjoyed it.
Because the only homemade cooking I know from a girl is Rinen’s cooking, who had become a good cook before I knew. She learned cooking from my mother rather than Shijonawate’s taste, so Rinen’s cooking was my family’s taste. So it was fresh feeling for me that girl’s cooking was different from usual.
“Let’s eat these cookies, which are the accumulation of such experience, with all our hearts.”
“Ahahaha. You don’t have to be so enthusiastic about it.”
When I said that kind of thing in a pompous and pompous way, she laughed happily and retorted at me, wondering if my behavior was really strange.
As we enjoyed tea and cookies in quantities that would not affect our dinner, I talked with her about my spring break and how I felt in class today.
I told her about the places I had traveled to during spring break, and she listened enviously and happily to my stories.
As dinner was about to be served, I was about to leave when she suddenly remembered what I had said and said,
“Let’s exchange contact information!”
“Come to think of it, we haven’t done that yet.”
We exchanged contact information quickly, and she was pleased as if it was a good thing. I laugh and tell her that I’m not that much of a catch, and she tells me she’ll call me later that night!
So of course I remember to point a nail at her.
“You’ve got to study.”
“Mouu I know, I know! You have to study hard too, Hisa kun!”
We both laugh at each other, and then she points her index finger at my forehead in an exaggerated gesture. If she moved her face closer, I could smell the sweet scent of her blonde hair.
Her room had the air of a well-lived-in person, but the hallway as we left the house was chilly and I could feel the drop in air in Yuisa’s room. The house was quiet and her parents did not seem to be there today.
Then I left her house and rode my bicycle toward home.
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