Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
T/N: Just a little bit of trivia. In Japan, public displays of affection are much less common due to their strict culture. Case in point, the MC is always resistant to it because he’s been socially conditioned to not like them as much. Plus, he’s a bit reserved. Well, I say all that, but it’s more of an educated guess based on real topics. Oh well, that’s it for “Ynlucca’s trivia bits,” enjoy!
“Let’s meet on the way and go to school together,” that’s what I told Saki as we parted ways yesterday.
As I walked to the meeting spot we’d arranged, it finally hit me. I had no hellish part-time job to attend to, and no tests to prepare for. After what felt like an eternity, I had an ordinary life once again.
“The weather’s nice,” I let slip. The sky above was cloudless and sunny, and it wasn’t too particularly hot either. Just right. Strolling while almost reaching the place, I could see Saki already there. “Early, aren’t you?”
Before I’d said anything, she fixed her appearance up with a small hand mirror. I found it quite endearing to see her struggle a bit with her slightly beddish hair. Though when she spotted me, she quickly hid the mirror away and rushed over to me.
“Good morning, Akito!”
“Morning, Saki. Sorry, I’m late.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Don’t worry. Did you sleep well?”
“Yup. Slept as a log.”
“Good, good. Now, let’s go!”
Finally having met up, she and I walked shoulder to shoulder onwards. However, once we reached any one of the secluded spots on the way there, she cling to my arm like there was no tomorrow. Being outside, I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious about our surroundings.
“Ehehe, I’m recharging my energy ♡!”
Still, she was so happy I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. Whatever, it’s fine. Thinking so, I decided to let her be herself. Still, I had to make one thing clear.
“When we get to places where school staff might be around, please let go,” I pleaded.
And so, we continued our walk for about five more minutes until we started seeing other students in uniform. Still conscious, I tried to tell her to let go of me, but before I even said a thing she was already off.
Quite the cunning one, isn’t she? I couldn’t help but admire her.
As we approached the school, we encountered other students on their way as well. I didn’t usually come at this time, so I was surprised to see such a large number of people commuting at once. However—
Hmm? I feel like I’m being observed. The gaze wasn’t malicious, per se. It was more akin to curiosity if my intuition served me right. No clue how these things work though.
“Is something the matter?” Saki peered at me with a puzzled look. At that moment, the murmurs around grew louder. That’s when I became certain — they were all looking at her.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I was just thinking that it must be tough for you to have all these looks directed at you, Mizumoto-san,” I called her by her last name.
“I see,” she replied curtly. “But, y’know, these gazes aren’t meant only for me.”
“Huh? What are you on about?” I asked inquisitively. In response, Saki picked up her pace a little, so I sped up to match her speed.
“So, Iwaki-kun… You did sleep well today, yeah?” She repeated the same question she’d asked a few moments prior, which made me a bit suspicious.
“Yeah, I slept soundly,” I decided to answer normally.
However, what I didn’t know was that it was all part of her strategy. She then looked at me with embarrassed eyes, then dropped a bombshell unbefitting the relaxed morning I had.
“Mhm. I mean, I couldn’t sleep at all because of your passionate approach!” She was loud.
“What are you saying?!”
“I couldn’t possibly sleep after being showered with so much affection from you!”
“No, it’s actually the other way around—”
As I tried to continue, an explosive clamor erupted that could rival the previous silence. I was genuinely surprised. Then, the students who had been eavesdropping on our conversation started whispering among themselves.
“Looks like the rumors were true after all!”
“What’s that about?”
“Apparently, the school’s biggest troublemaker fell head over heels for Mizumoto-san and topped the class to win her over!”
“Wow, that’s impressive! Seeing those two, it seems plausible!”
“But it looks like they’re not officially dating yet.”
What the hell?! I screamed internally.
Saki had been aggressively pursuing me, but the rumor turned it around, making it seem like I topped the class to win her over. By the way, it was Saki who confessed her love to me last night. If I hadn’t stopped her, we would have been on a call until sunrise.
In the midst of the swirling rumors, Saki let out an ostentatious sigh. Her attitude seemed to express exasperation at the intensity of her own advances.
“Iwaki-kun, don’t get carried away just because we’re tied for first place, okay? And not even because I’m giving you a chance to date me. Do you understand that?”
“What are you talking about, Saki?! Ah—”
I accidentally called her by her name, and loudly at that. Our relationship was completely exposed. The girls screamed in surprise, and the guys were in a state of shock. The screams from those who had feelings for Saki were particularly terrifying.
“Sigh. It can’t be helped that you called me by my first name. I’ll allow it, Akito,” she said, to which the cheers erupted once more.
The rumors were exactly the opposite of the truth, but they filled the gap of knowledge for the public perfectly. And so, with a contorted face, I said, “Y-yeah. Thanks, Saki.”
“Sure, now feel free to burst into tears now that you’ve been given permission to call me by my name,” she feigned haughtiness.
Amidst the never-ending cheers, Saki and I headed toward our shoe lockers. Then, we said goodbye to each other as we headed to our respective classrooms.
Because of her, I’d forgotten something quite important—what happened yesterday.
Come to think of it, there was a near-class disruption. I wonder, what happened to my classmates?
We had mainly focused on excluding Matsuyama, so I was worried it might have become a major issue. I looked around, somewhat concerned. However, surprisingly, I saw the usual scenery.
People were still gathered around Matsuyama, and his entourage was right there with him as always. When I listened more closely…
“I’m sorry, Matsuyama.”
Voices like that reached my ears. I expected Matsuyama to blow up in anger, but…
“Oh, it’s fine. Let’s just be friends again.”
Unexpectedly, it seemed that Matsuyama forgave them for what happened yesterday. My classmates were apologizing to him one after another. In response, Matsuyama was smiling and forgiving each one of them. It should have made me think he was generous, but for some reason, I felt a chill for a moment.
No point in gnawing myself over it, I guess,
Fortunately, there were no moves to harm me.
Maybe he had a change of heart after getting a taste of defeat in the test. A bit optimistic, but still.
While I pondered about that, our homeroom teacher arrived, and the usual class began.
The chimes signaled it was finally lunch break.
I let out a sigh as I carried my lunch and made my way to Saki’s classroom. During the test period, Saki would come to my classroom, so I would just wait for her. However, today was different. I received a message from Saki that said, “I want you to come and pick me up for a change.” I felt gloomy about it. Why? Because…
“Look! There they are.”
“Yeah, I heard he topped the class to win Mizumoto-san over.”
“Is that so? I heard she’s into him too.”
“Really? He’s heading towards her classroom, after all.”
So on and so forth.
They can hear everything, can’t they…?
As I battled with embarrassment, I headed towards Saki’s classroom, but on the way, I continued to be the subject of gossip. When I arrived, I peeked inside her classroom and saw her being surrounded by other girls at the center.
Oh yeah. I’ve never seen her talk with anyone other than me.
I decided to eavesdrop a little.
“Mizumoto-san, what was the name of that troublesome guy?”
“I think it was Iwaki.”
“Yeah, that’s right! Is it true that you’re dating Iwaki-kun?”
At that moment, all eyes, regardless of gender, were on Saki.
“Yes, that’s right. He begged me with such enthusiasm to date him after he topped the test. I couldn’t help but give it a try, so we’re dating as an experiment.”
Cheers erupted. Topics like this were of great interest to the girls. Saki responded to them nonchalantly as she fiddled with her smartphone.
“Iwaki-kun is quite impressive!”
“It must be nice for a girl to be confessed to in such a way!”
“Damn it! I should have topped the class too!”
“You? That’s impossible.”
Seeing that scene, I really wanted to turn around and go back. Then, a thought suddenly flashed through my mind. Isn’t this just like trying to enter the last boss’ den without proper gear? I truly considered turning around and leaving, but a ping! on my phone told me otherwise.
“Invite me quick!” She’d sent.
It seemed that Saki noticed that I was in the corridor.
I don’t have the courage to enter this classroom!
I asked a classmate of Saki who was in the corridor to call her for me. The girls around Saki looked at me with interest. However, among them, Saki herself was the only one who ignored me as she continued fiddling with her phone. Then, my phone pinged another time.
“Don’t rely on my classmates. Invite me directly.”
Being an order from the all-mighty queen herself, I couldn’t defy it. Mustering the quietest voice that could still reach her, I called out. “Mizumoto-san~”
Judging by the reactions of her entourage, it seemed that she had heard my voice. However, she still didn’t react.
“He’s calling for you, you know, Mizumoto-san?” One said.
Nice! I wanted to hug whoever it was and call them a god. However…
“Don’t worry about it.”
Wha— Don’t worry about it?!
I internally protested. While battling myself, another message arrived.
“Don’t make me say it multiple times. Come to me and invite me to lunch using my name! And use appropriate words befitting someone you love, or I’ll keep ignoring you.”
Her demands are increasing… With a mix of annoyance and embarrassment, I felt like going back to my own classroom. But before I knew it, there were many spectators around me. Aw, c’mon!
Even my escape route was blocked. I was truly cornered. The only option left for me was to take Saki to a secluded place. I made up my mind. I entered the classroom, and the girls who had been around her until then left. They observed us with curiosity, and so did the guys.
As I called her by her first name, a cheer of shrills and surprise erupted. Trying to ignore the onlookers, I focused solely on her.
“What is it?”
Shameless, this girl… I felt tempted to just retort, saying she was the one who went after me in the first place. But I suppressed the urge.
“Wanna go grab some lunch, Saki?”
Looking back on recent events, I’ve never asked her out myself. It feels a bit embarrassing, but at least this will put an end to this debacle…
“What should I do, I wonder? I have student council work during lunch.”
Still talking but with my phone in my hand, I could make out another message she’d sent. It read, “Invite me with more passion.”
To which I mumbled, “Pain in the a*s. Tch.”
“Did you say something?”
While she acted like everything was fine, her body language said otherwise. Restless, she seemed to be even enjoying this whole situation. Urging me to just be over with it and hurry up, I looked around and saw more and more students flooding in to watch.
I’ve made up my mind. “Saki, I really wanna eat with you! Please! I mean, I want to have lunch with the girl I l-like!” I stammered out, genuinely responding to her demands.
The mention of the word “like” was enough to trigger a reaction from the whole classroom. Even I felt red to my ears by saying I did, and I swear I saw her ears do the same. Still, she regained her composure, closed her smartphone, and looked straight at me.
“Haah, fine, I get it. I’ll make an exception and have lunch with you. It’s hard to refuse when you say you like me that much.”
She acts exasperated and puts on a show of reluctantly accepting. The classroom buzzes with praise and criticism toward me. I found myself exhausted beyond belief. It was almost comparable to all those tests.
“Seriously, I have student council work, and yet I prioritize you, Akito. You should be grateful.”
“Ah, thank you.”
I express my gratitude with a forced smile. Together, we leave the classroom. Thanks to her student council privileges, we head to the rooftop, a place I frequently use during test periods. When we reach the rooftop…
“Hehehe, Akito invited me~!”
Satomi embraces me from the front, looking extremely pleased. I look at her with a mix of exasperation and resentment.
“I just wanted to experience being chased by the person I love to death. Forgive me.” She stuck out her tongue like a mischievous little girl caught in the act. I found it cute, but what’s more exhausting is the gossip that’s been circulating about me.
I just wanna live a quiet life…
I could only guess that the source of these rumors was someone in my class. However, the story about her liking me was extremely far-fetched to everyone else. So, at some point, it got twisted to me pursuing and trying to win her over by topping the exams instead.
Realistically, the latter is the more interesting story of the two.
I gave up. Rumors tended to disappear in 75 days or so, as they said. I could only hope they vanished before that time. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Who even altered the rumors like that…?” I muttered resentfully.
“That was me.”
“What the f*ck?!”
I clutched my head at the realization of who the bad guy was. Even Holmes would be stumped by this conclusion.
“I told you before, I wanted to experience being chased by the person I love for once.”
“Besides, I told you, right? I’m serious. So, I’ll do whatever it takes to win you over.”
I averted my eyes from her determined gaze. That’s playing it unfair… When she says it so straightforwardly, it was hard to get angry.
“Hehe, stop making that scary face. As an apology, I made something delicious for you.”
“…Thanks, I’ll have it.”
“Hehe, say ‘aah.'”
She tried to feed me as usual. However, against all of her expectations, I was prepared! Now that I have chopsticks, I can avoid the airplane situation!
Feeling a sense of superiority, I tried to tell her about the chopsticks. “Saki, I brought my own chopsticks today, so—”
Right as I was about to say that I’d use my own chopsticks, they snapped in two. What.
A fragment of my poor chopsticks fell from her hand. She then looked at me with a terrific smile and asked, “Did you say something?”
“…No, it was nothing.”
“Hehe, don’t overthink things, silly!”
I gave in immediately, realizing the best thing for me would be not to make a fuss. Despite having thought I could avoid the embarrassment, it ultimately looked like I would spend sweet, sweet time with Saki as usual.
“Oh~? Saki-chan, you’re so bold~!”
“—!” Both Saki and I turned to the voice, surprised. There stood Ayaka Midou, the student council president, with a smile on her face.
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