Chapter 2:

02

Extracurriculars 怪獣教師


"Yo, dude, you there? Earth to Inotani!" Shouted my classmate with all his vocal capability, permeating my eardrums. I didn't know a single thing about the person trying to grab my attention, nor did I care to try to get to know him from the countless times he's snapped me out of my 'hypnotic state'. In reality, I was just spacing out. I assumed I had made it painfully obvious that I didn't want to be bothered, but the guy didn't ever get the memo. Every day, around the same time, he would walk over to my desk and 'snap me out of it'. As agitated as it made me, I figured he thought he was looking out for me by doing it, so I never voiced my irritation. Each time, I thought to myself what I wanted to say, but didn't out of respect.Bookmark here

『Go away. You're a nuisance. I'm bothered by your presence. Go pester someone who will acknowledge that you're there, because I won't.』Bookmark here

『Now that's rude. How would you think he'd feel if he heard that?』Bookmark here

『Be quiet. You're not real, you don't have a say in anything I think or do.』Bookmark here

『True, I do exist only in your head, but that's precisely why I do have a say in the things you think. Right now, I'm influencing your choices and actions.』Bookmark here

『That may be. But I, an individual capable of free-thinking, will not sit idly by and let that happen. The day where I am controlled by a branch of my own subconscious will never come.』Bookmark here

『Oh, you said that as if I have a will of my own.』Bookmark here

『That's impossible.』Bookmark here

『Who knows? Maybe I do have my own will. Perhaps I might find myself existing outside of your subconscious someday. I don't know if I'd want to though. If I did, I'd probably have to give up living in your head, and then I wouldn't be able to hear every one of your pricelessly idiotic thoughts. Oh, and by the way. For someone who claims to be an individual capable of free-thinking, you sure are obsessed with that teacher of yours.』Bookmark here

Akua likes to chide me on any little thing she can. I don't know where she came from, or why she exists. I just started hearing her one day, and she started hearing back. She's useful for keeping information straight, and for having someone to talk to, but more often than not she's just really annoying with her smart-ass demeanor. It's a good thing that no one can hear her, since she's a voice in my head, and doesn't exist.Bookmark here

But she's picked up quite the attitude these days. Who could she have gotten it from? Certainly not me.Bookmark here

"Could you please leave Inotani alone? It looks like he's thinking hard about something and doesn't want to be bothered." Said a girl with a smooth and moderately stern voice. She was half right and half wrong. I absolutely didn't want to be bothered, her intuition there was spot on- But at that point, I don't think I had ever thought hard about anything ever. Throughout my life, all information that went in and out of me was on a need-to-know basis. And as far as I was concerned over just about everything, I didn't need to know. That is to say, I didn't care.Bookmark here

Whether she was half right or half wrong, though, didn't matter to me in the slightest, because the owner of the voice was none other than Ms. Kamiya, my homeroom teacher whom I was enamored with.Bookmark here

『Looks like that girl you fantasize about dating just did you a solid. You should thank her, or else she might leave you, even in your imagination.』Bookmark here

I was unpursing my lips, ready to say thanks, but she beat me to the conversational punch.Bookmark here

"Inotani, can you stay after school today? I need to talk to you." Ms. Kamiya said with a concerned expression.Bookmark here

I can absolutely stay after school today.Bookmark here

I dropped everything was going to do that evening, and rescheduled it all.Bookmark here

I actually didn't have any plans, but if I did, I would've dropped them for Ms. Kamiya regardless of what it was. Also, I would seem much cooler if I really did have plans, and dropped them for the girl I love. A little devotion never hurt anyone, right?Bookmark here

"Oh, sure."Bookmark here

Some time passes while I do nothing, and the bell rings. Students flock out of the classrooms, pour out into the halls, and eventually walk out the front gates. I would normally be one such student every day except Thursday, but I stayed behind that day. Not because it was Thursday.Bookmark here

The bell had rung past, and the only people remaining in the classroom were Ms. Kamiya and I. There was an awkward silence, and the tension was tangible. Ms. Kamiya spoke up, seemingly to both remove the tension(which you could cut with a knife), and to get on with the reason she's holding me up in the first place. Though she wasn't holding me up one bit, because I enjoy every moment that I'm in her presence.Bookmark here

"Inotani, I'm worried about you. You always show up to school and attend all your classes, but your grades are incredibly lacking. I don't mean to belittle you, and I don't want you to think of me as a mean teacher for putting it this way, but this is a dire problem so I'm going to say it. Your grades are horrible. You're failing all your classes."Bookmark here

It's true that my grades were subpar.Bookmark here

Twenty thousand leagues below par, even.Bookmark here

But it's not like I could tell her it's because I'm constantly thinking about her. Such a direct approach would only drive her away. What girl wants to hear that from a guy they aren't even on acquaintance level with? I would like to think that I was at least there with Ms. Kamiya, but the truth was that I was even lower than that; on the purgatory of relationship dynamics, the student level. I was resolute in my mind that's all I was to her.Bookmark here

"I don't know why though. You space out between classes and during lunch, but you're always paying attention during my classes. Your eyes are glued to the front of the room."Bookmark here

Again, I couldn't tell her that I was focusing on her, and not her lessons. She might be a little flattered at that one, but it's still likely that she'd just be creeped out. She could even get insulted that I wasn't paying attention to her teaching, or question her own teaching abilities because she couldn't draw my attention. And making Ms. Kamiya doubt herself was the last thing I wanted to do.Bookmark here

"Sorry for letting you down, Ms. Kamiya. I just can't really find the motivation to do schoolwork or anything for that matter. It all feels pointless. My life in general just seems like it has no purpose. Because of that, I can't really enjoy life."Bookmark here

"...Then, how about I take you sightseeing to some places this weekend? I'm sure you'll see how great life can be then."Bookmark here

Ms. Kamiya is suddenly bold and friendly with me. Not that I minded one bit. Her displayed behavior was just extremely out of character, given her usual caring and strict yet somehow cool and casual self. The difference between her at that moment and her every other time I've seen her is stark. It's definitely there, but as much as I'd like to, I wouldn't call it gap moe. She's definitely just moe though.Bookmark here

"I look forward to it then."Bookmark here

『Congratulations. You scored a date.』Bookmark here

On Sunday.Bookmark here

I met up with Ms. Kamiya in front of the train station closest to my place. While I wanted to look dapper, I did not want to seem like I spent a bunch of time getting overly prepared. As such, I settled on a t-shirt and khakis, with a blazer over top. My attire for the day was unusual, as I normally opted for a hoodie and sweats when out and about (not that I go out much), and my lazily put on uniform on school days. My outfit for the day was a perfect balance. It showed that I put effort into my appearance and hygiene for the day, but not too much.Bookmark here

Ms. Kamiya, on the other hand, looked like she spent days perfecting her look. I could do the same, but the difference between me and her is that she could make it work. Her hair was as beautifully fuschia as ever, but she must have put extensive care into it because even from a distance I could tell how silky smooth it was. Her attire was much different than how she dresses at school. She had a stylistic t-shirt on and wore intentionally ripped denim jeans. If your first impression of her was in that, you wouldn't think she's a teacher. Her shoes were low-top sneakers, instead of the usual heals she wears, but she hadn't seemed to lose any height.Bookmark here

Short or tall, it didn't matter because the woman in front of me was drop-dead gorgeous regardless.Bookmark here

"Are you ready, Inotani? I've got some places I want to show you. I think seeing them will help you get some more enjoyment out of life, or maybe just appreciate it more."Bookmark here

"Yeah, let's go. By the way, you look really pretty."Bookmark here

Her cheeks turned bright red. It didn't occur to me then that I had flustered her, so I just went on with the day like I didn't say anything.Bookmark here

"T-thank you. Also, I'm doing this for the well-being of my student, but don't tell anyone about today, okay? I'm technically not supposed to do things like this."Bookmark here

"Got it. Won't tell a soul."Bookmark here

『Who would you even tell? You have no friends.』Bookmark here

『Please stay in the back of my head for today.』Bookmark here

『You gooot ittt. Whoosh, I'm gone.』Bookmark here

Ms. Kamiya and I went to our town's shopping mall and did some sporadic window shopping. A little this, a little that.Bookmark here

"Ms. Kamiya, what's with the blood bag-looking thing? Any reason you bought it? It's just a little peculiar, that's all."Bookmark here

"Oh, I, uh, have a friend who's a medical practitioner. Her clinic is inside her home, so she often buys medical supplies from stores. Her clinic is legit and everything, and she's a licensed medical professional. She's really busy all the time though, so I help her out by grabbing some of the things she asks for when I get the opportunity. She wanted me to get this for her when I'm able to."Bookmark here

"Oh, okay. Is she a good doctor? You should introduce me to her if I get sick."Bookmark here

Ms. Kamiya's voice deepened a little, and she spoke monotonously. She said it deadpan, and entirely serious. Intimidatingly serious. I felt a shiver.Bookmark here

"I absolutely will not introduce you to other girls. I won't allow that to happen."Bookmark here

"Ms. Kamiya?"Bookmark here

"Ah, uh, sorry. I just spaced out for a second."Bookmark here

No doubt about it, something was off about Ms. Kamiya. I wasn't sure what it was though, or why, but I wasn't totally unnerved. I knew that a teacher doing anything with a student unprofessionally and off the record was somewhat unethical, so I understood that she may be tense, or uneasy, or whatever else. Even so, I really wanted her to enjoy herself.Bookmark here

"It's fine. So, where's the next place?"Bookmark here

Truthfully, I wasn't enjoying being out in the world, but I did enjoy being with Ms. Kamiya more than anything else in it.Bookmark here

"Wanna grab some food?"Bookmark here

We sat down in a booth at a trendy restaurant that locals were raving about. When I tasted my curry, I was thoroughly disappointed. It was neither 'innovatively delicious', nor 'a whole new experience', which I heard all over that it was. Ms. Kamiya seemed to enjoy it a whole lot more than I did.Bookmark here

"This is delicious, Inotani! I've never had curry better than this."Bookmark here

"Is it? I don't think it's all too special."Bookmark here

"It's better than most food I've ever had, actually."Bookmark here

"Well, I guess it's special because I get to eat it with you."Bookmark here

"D-don't flatter me so much, Inotani."Bookmark here

"Oh, sorry."Bookmark here

"It's fine. I appreciate it. It's just that for a moment it felt like we were a couple."Bookmark here

Did it? I certainly felt tension, but I didn't feel any sort of blooming romance. I had hoped for that though.Bookmark here

『Way to go, playboy. Nice and smooth.』Bookmark here

『Shut it.』Bookmark here

"Yeah, a little."Bookmark here

We finished up at the restaurant, paid, and went to the aquarium to view some aquatic life. By the time we were done there, it started to get late. In preparation to go our separate ways, we walked back to the station.Bookmark here

"I had a great time today, Ms. Kamiya."Bookmark here

"Me too, Inotani. So, do you enjoy life a little bit more now?"Bookmark here

"Hmm... I don't really know for sure yet. I already knew, but today helped me remember that life is always bright when I'm with you, no matter the situation."Bookmark here

Ms. Kamiya looked down at the ground, and the encroaching night shrouded the upper half of her face.Bookmark here

"Well, I appreciate you spending time with me today. It was special to me, and I can appreciate life a little more because of it. See you at school tomorrow, Ms. Kamiya."Bookmark here

Feeling tired, and under the impression that my day was coming to an end, I turned to face the direction of my home and began walking. I didn't get even four footsteps in before I got interrupted.Bookmark here

"Inotani."Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

"Can I come to your place?"Bookmark here

『Once again, congratulations.』Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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