Chapter 1:

No More Holding Back

Vitriolic Life With My Ex-Girlfriend!

"No, more to the left."

Sakamoto Kouhei watched on apathetically from the corner of the room as he relayed his instructions. He cross his arms and leaned back on a nearby desk, creasing his blazer. It was already well into April and much too hot for a blazer, but Kouhei didn't seem bothered. It was not yet time to switch uniforms, so he saw no need to go against the grain and ignore dress code.

"Urrgh- Like this?"

From across the room, a black haired girl strained to move the desk in front of her. From Kouhei's viewpoint, her long straight hair covered up most of her upper body, stretching down beyond her shoulders and making its way towards an almost unheard of waist length. Kouhei took a moment to wonder what such a length of hair should be called before responding. Back length? Absolutely not. Elbow length? Good descriptor but strange to picture. Shoulder-blade length? Now that one's just weird. What were those muscles in your back called again? Anyway-

"Not there, you idiot. To the right."

Kouhei mimed a frown, but his voice remained as apathetic as ever. This drew an incredulous glare from the girl, and Kouhei could now see the familiar glare that he had become well acquainted with shot back at him. This girl's name was Ayatsuji Reika, his former girlfriend of three years during middle school, current vice president to his student council president, and massive pain in the butt.


Reika gritted her teeth and hissed in the loudest pianissimo ever produced by a human being. She stood quickly and, after a moment to compose herself, walked towards Kouhei with the same barely restrained anger palpable in every footstep.

"You do it then."

She growled, locking eyes with the boy, the implication of "you're screwing with me" communicated clearly and effectively without words.

Kouhei brought his hands together and tilted his head slightly, as if giving the idea consideration. He blinked once nonchalantly, then with a scrunch of his lips,

"No. I don't think I will."

"Great student council president we have here. Real role model."

"My job is to address student concerns, distribute club budgets, and plan school events."

"Mhm. And my job is to make sure the school administration kicks you off the role and you never set foot in any post secondary institution for the rest of your life."

"No, your job right now is to move that printer." Kouhei pointed to the new InkMaster 5000 sitting on the table across the room. "To the right, if you'd please."

Reika squinted her eyes, and with a huff, circled around to sit on the desk beside Kouhei.

"Then I guess neither of us is moving the printer."

"I guess we're not."

The two sat and stared at the desk with the new printer sitting on top of it. It was still partially blocking the entrance and right in front of the blackboard, making both nigh unusable.

"Why do you do this me?" Reika started after an uncomfortable 5 minutes.

"Me? Let me remind you that I am not the one who started this. You could've declined the vice presidency and made life easier for both of us."

"Yes, but I would've been giving up a great opportunity. And while we're on that point you could've declined the presidency."

"Why would I decline? I WON. You're the one who came second in the election and insisted on making my life a living hell. Sore loser."



Reika's outburst was interrupted by the door to the student council room being slammed into the printer desk that was still obstructing the entrance. A sheepish voice called out from the hallway.

"Sorry!" The owner of the voice, a blond girl named Takahashi Ayaka, poked her head through the partially open door. She wore her hair in two curly twintails, and the always curious expression on her face lent to the imagery of a pet hamster exploring its cage.

"Ah, Takahashi!" Kouhei jumped up from his seat and rushed towards the door. "Sorry about that, we were still making room for the conference desk over here. I was thinking we could move the whole thing back so we can put the printer right here."

As he talked, Kouhei dragged the desk with printer in tow into its rightful place. He spoke clearly and cheerfully, with none of the indifference that had colored his earlier remarks. Watching this scene unfold, Reika held back her desire to immediately scream about how Kouhei had been the one to sabotage the whole operation. Soon the two had finished their conversation. Ayaka, being the student council secretary, had been out disposing of the old printer.

"Sakamoto-san, why don't you drop the act?" Reika turned towards Ayaka. "You know he was the one who was refusing to move the printer, right? I was doing all the work."

"Don't listen to her, you know she has it out for me." Kouhei reassured Ayaka. "Ayatsuji-san, I know we've had our differences in the past, but can we please put them aside if we're going to be working together? If not for me, then at least for Takahashi and Ono."

"Oh please, you expect her to believe that you were the one pushing that thing around? With that jacket on?"

Ayaka looked up at Kouhei in confusion, gripping the long sleeves of her uniform tightly with both hands.

"Look, I didn't want to fight in front of our kouhai, but if you really were the one doing the work, then why were you sitting there on the other side of the room with me when Takahashi came in? You're still sitting there, in fact."

Ayaka glanced between the two with a concerned expression.

"Your word against mine." Kouhei shrugged.

"What's going on here?" Another girl walked through the door. It was Ono Misaki, the treasurer and final member of the student council. Misaki was one of Reika's classmates, and they knew each other well.

"Misaki-chan!" Reika cried out, relieved to have an ally. "He's doing it again! He thinks he's so clever. Fancies himself a manipulative genius."

"Oh Reika-chan! I'm sure it was terrible but you have to stop reacting like that! You know that's what he wants!" Misaki then turned to address a confused and apprehensive Ayaka, who was now hiding behind Kouhei. For his part, Kouhei didn't seemed bothered at the outright accusations being slung at him. "Takahashi-san, it's okay, don't worry. You know these two have bad blood between them, right? They can be a bit mean to each other but they won't actually break out into a fight or anything, okay?"

Ayaka nodded slightly from behind Kouhei.

Kouhei glanced briefly to the side, still wearing his poker face. Perhaps he had gone too far and strayed to the far side of the line. After all, if such open conflict resulted in the implosion of the student council, he too would be caught in the aftermath.

"Ok, I'm sorry for involving you guys in our argument. This isn't productive and it's not a good team environment." Kouhei looked around before continuing. "As a token of my sincerity, since we're all done here, let's all go get some ice cream. My treat; call it team-building."

"Really? Can we go to that new place by the station that just opened?" Ayaka's eyes lit up with excitement. "I heard they have this wasabi flavored ice cream? I really want to try it!"

Reika signed as she watched on. She couldn't help but notice that Kouhei had not apologized for lying or purposefully being antagonistic to her, but instead simply about involving the others in their quarrel. But still, she wasn't about to turn down free ice cream. That sounded pretty good.

Joe Gold
Arashi Sensei