After the spring break, which I earned by working part-time at a coffee shop, the opening ceremony was over.

After listening to the principal, who didn’t really know what she was trying to say, and the beautiful student council president, who was saying serious things, the students, including me, were announced to change classes and started to move to our new classrooms.

After walking through the noisy corridor, I arrived at Class 2C.
On the window of the classroom, a class roster was posted, and my name, “Sugino Tomoki,” was clearly written on the roster.

After checking my name, I looked at the list from the top to the bottom.

“Keiichi is also in Class C? And–“

The first name that caught my eye was “Karakusa Keiichi”. We have been friends since elementary school, and I could call him a close friend, a comrade-in-arms, or even a fugitive.

Whatever the case, it is helpful to have a friend in the same class who is easy to talk to. We often hang out after school, so we don’t have to wait for the other classes to come to the end of the day.

And the next person I saw was Kohinata Asuka–I don’t know anyone else with the last name Kohinata, and …… it’s probably that girl . Apparently the small girl is a little bit too small for my taste.

I’ve only seen her up close once when I talked to her in front of a vending machine, and I’m not certain what kind of mood she’s in, but she certainly left an impression on me.

As I stepped into the classroom with my new classmates, Keiichi, who was talking with some guys, noticed me and approached me.

“You made it, Tomoki! We’re in the same class!”

I was embarrassed to see Keiichi’s joyful expression, so I waved my hand in a casual manner and replied, “Yes, yes.”

“Nice to meet you, Keiichi. And hello to those two over there, too – I’m Sugino, formerly of Class A.”

I exchange a brief greeting with my classmates and take my assigned seat.

Thankfully, I was seated in the second row from the right, in the very back. According to the seating chart, the order is basically aiueo-order, but it seems that those who have poor eyesight and want to be in the front rows have already been assigned to the front. It is not likely that they will change seats early.

As I stood at my elbow and gazed blankly at the students entering the class, a little kohinata with a tiny steps came into the room. That was enough to get the students in the class excited.
It seems as if the class mascot position has already been decided. Or perhaps it was already decided from the beginning.

“Kohinata-chan, we’re in the same class! Nice to meet you!”
“She’s so cute! You’re like a doll!”
“Kohinata is as tiny as ever, tell me if you have any trouble. Leave it to me to erase the blackboard!”

The men and women in the class all call out to her, as if surrounding her small frame.
The actual person in question, however, nodded her head a few times without changing her expression, then went straight to her seat and sat down on a chair. She sits three seats in front of me.

As I watched the students flocking to Kohinata, I thought to myself, “He must be in a tough spot,” and looked at her as if she were a stranger to me.

“Hey, is that where Keiichi’s seat is?”
“Didn’t you notice that on the seating chart? I was so happy to see Tomoki next to me!”
“I was just happy that I was in the last row.”

At my off-hand remark, Keiichi put his hand on his forehead and gestured “huh” as if he was taken aback. And in that vein, he sat back in his chair and plopped down on his desk.

I chuckled at Keiichi’s expression, which was so full of himself that I couldn’t believe he was working as a model, and then I returned my gaze to the front – and saw Kohinata playing with her phone, ignoring the people around her.

Ah, come to think of it. I haven’t reported this to him.

“Well, last year, the day before the last day of school, I talked to a girl.”

I’ve never reported it to him.

“—E-Eh, S-Serous? You were not spoken to, but you did it on your own?”
“Yeah. We talked for a while in front of the vending machine.”

I don’t know if I can call that “talking”. I think we were communicating with each other.

“Regardless of what you were talking about, were you okay?”
“Well,…… I might have been fine before I knew it. I’m sure it’s partly because I’m talking to Kohinata.”
“So it’s Kohinata——Wait, so you didn’t have a conversation?”
“If you just listen to the audio, it sounds like I was just talking to her one way.”

And all the responses I got back were body language.

“I guess so. But it must be a step forward! I’ll buy you a meal at the school cafeteria next time to celebrate!”
“Please, at a specific cafeteria.”
“You demand the most expensive one without a moment’s hesitation! Don’t you have any hesitation!?”
“No! But that’s what’s cool!”

This guy is more like a comedian than a model.
Well, maybe that’s part of his charm.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

~A girl’s conversation after school?~

[Eh? That vending machine guy was in the same class?!]
[…… (gulp)]
[What’s his name? Do you know him from the list? Do you think I know him?]
[Let’s see, …… Sugino Tomoki–! This is that guy! I’ve heard rumors about him! When I was in elementary school, he was said to have punched a girl in the face, harassed her in a very shady way, blackmailed her, and so on! My classmate said so!]
[I knew there was something wrong when I first heard about it! The teacher also said that the cafeteria area is not for students to clean, but for the ladies in the cafeteria! Asuka must have been deceived!]
[I’m sure he’s trying to patronize you and demanding terrible things from you. Even if he didn’t, he was just trying to look cool by lying like that to get Asuka’s attention! No, Asuka! Even if he seems like a good guy, you definitely don’t want to be this guy!]
[–not to mention that Asuka doesn’t seem to be interested in him at all,……, but I think you should try to avoid getting involved with Sugino as much as possible, don’t you? It seems you’re now in the same class, so you have to be careful …… what should I do ……. …… I’m in a different class.]
[……Okay, okay, I got it. I’ll take care of everything! I’ll protect Asuka!]

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