Later that day, I left as soon as school was over and headed to the train station. I was originally planning on heading to Akiba to buy a game that Naoya recommended to me, and then have a little fun with him, but the dumb guy forgot that he had cleaning duty so I was just going to the town one stop away instead.
I had school tomorrow so perhaps society would frown on my choice, but I didn't care. I was just buying after all, playing it would be on hold until the weekend.
As I walked down the street of the residential area that led to the train station, I felt a pair of eyes on my back. I glanced back but no one else was on the street. However, I couldn't simply shrug my shoulders and forget about it. For some reason this was happening more and more frequently lately, and I couldn't tell whether I was just paranoid or someone was actually stalking me. Fortunately, there was no other strange event occurring, but it still had me worried.
From school to the train station took me about twenty minutes. As usual, the place was sparsely populated so I could make it through to the subway platform with ease.
I didn't have to wait long before my train came. The train car I got on was empty, but I didn't sit since I would be leaving soon anyways.
Honestly, I was little worried about going to Shitou City, even though it wasn't my first time since that incident. Luckily, I was able to buy my game without any trouble.
As I walked out of the store with a white paper bag, I heaved a sigh of relief. It would have been easier to just go to a different city for this game, but using the excuse that I didn't want to waste time, that option was blocked.
I still felt nervous, but now that I had completed my objective, it was time to get the heck out of here.
On the way back to train station that was here, I thought I caught a glimpse of a certain girl, but when I hastily double-checked, she was gone.
'Did I miss her or do I need to see a doctor?'
However, I didn't want to make a fuss about this and have it somehow reach my parents. If that little gremlin back home heard about it, she would definitely hold it over my head until the end of time.
Therefore, the latter part of my thought wasn't actually an option.
'Eh, I'll just pretend I didn't see anything.'
By the time I got back to Hanakana, where my school was, the sky began to take a gentle shade of orange. It was earlier than the time I planned to be back so I walked towards the exit of the station with a satisfied feeling.
However, that satisfaction was quickly replaced by bewilderment and fear when I spotted her. She was the friend who Arisugawa always walked with. Her black hair, which had a single streak of purple, rested elegantly on her shoulder in a side ponytail.
Though not as much as Arisugawa, she also received several confessions but she would actually accept some of them. However, all of those relationships were short-lived.
Taking a glance was one thing, but normally I would avoid staring and just leave, but the situation I saw her in made it hard for me to look away.
What? Surrounded by mean-looking guys? Hahaha, of course it wasn't something so cliché, though in certain ways that would have been better.
In her hand was a black shopping bag. Like me, she seemed to have gone outside of town to buy something, but her item couldn't be compared to my game. At first, I didn't know what it was, but as she lifted it a little higher to admire it with blissful smile, I flinched.
I mean, how could I not? It was a freakin' whip after all! Like rumours that she was a sadist were pretty popular but I didn't hear anything about she being of the hardcore variety.
Was this why her relationships never lasted, did her boyfriends get tired of it? Or was dumping them once they got used to it a new type of play that she came up with?
'Damn it! I'm letting my imagination run wild here, I need to leave!'
Maybe I was completely wrong about what was in that bag and why she smiled while looking at it, but I wasn't brave enough to take any chances.
This wasn't a forest so I didn't have to worry about stepping on any inconveniently placed twigs. Before she noticed me, I turned around and tried to flee but,
"Uh, my bad. Did you get hurt?"
Instead of leaving, I bumped into a...huh?
The one I bumped into wore sunglasses, a hat and a face mask as well as a black long coat. Without a doubt a suspicious outfit. And I couldn't be sure, but when we collided I thought I felt something...
...Yep, don't ask.
When I glanced back, that girl was gone so luckily I was still able to survive.
"Ye-yes. I'm sorry."
"No, it was my fault so I should be the one apologising. Are you okay?"
As I reached out to grab her hand and pull her up, her high-pitched voice made me certain that this was a girl. Therefore, when she only stared at my hand but didn't touch it, I simply took it back. Yep, that didn't hurt my heart at all.
However, before I completely drew my hand back, she quickly reached out and finally took it.
"Ah, yes. I'm fine. Thank you."
When I helped her up, I couldn't help feeling slightly bashful at the warmth and softness of her hand, but I made sure to let go as soon as she was back on her feet, and then left.
"Well, I'll be going."
It seemed like she was about to say something, but my embarrassment pushed me farther and farther away.
After I left the train station, I went straight home to the apartment complex where I stayed. There was a school dorm, but when it became time to sort out my accommodations, I found out about how this school operated and begged my parents to let me stay anywhere else instead. Thanks to that I only got the bare minimum in terms of allowance, but it was worth it so that I could at least spend some time away from that school atmosphere. And considering the cringey stories I heard from Naoya, I was sure I made the right choice.
I took the elevator to the fourth floor where my room was, and took my key out of my bag while I walked to my door. I would only be going inside to change before heading out again, but I felt extremely pleased and relaxed just by returning home.
I used the key to unlock the door, but before I could even open it, she jumped out.
At the click of my lock, a woman with a bob cut and in a tank top and booty shorts, burst out from the room beside mine like she had been lying in ambush. I quickly dragged my gaze away from the valley of her upper chest area that was exposed, but I couldn't help grimacing at her lack of awareness of how dangerous it was to show off her well-endowed figure to a pubescent boy like myself.
Still, as surprising as it was, this unfortunate mature beauty was my neighbour, and my teacher.
"Ms. Aria, what is it?"
"...I'm going to change, just wait for a few minutes."
Like a small child, she obediently went back into her apartment but left the door slightly open. It was a risky move even though the security here was very good, but if I told her to close it she would just tell me to hurry up and enter so that I could do it myself.
I hastily entered my 1 LDK apartment and rushed straight to the bedroom to change to my casual clothes. Now, I wasn't hurrying up because I had the hots for my teacher or anything. Sure, I admit that she was very attractive, but I had my priorities set straight. After I lost my part-time job because of that incident, I got myself a new job as her domestic helper.
Once I finished changing, I went over to her apartment and sighed as I looked inside and then closed the door.
"Finally. Hurry up, my stomach, it's suffering."
"Didn't I leave you snacks for times like this?"
"I finished them at school."
"...Fine, I'll make some more after dinner but you'll have to be patient. I'll try to be quick."
Her apartment was as spacious as mine, but you would hardly be able to tell with all the papers and files scattered around. From a living area that could comfortably hold ten people it would now barely hold three unless we were willing to step on the documents.
'Looks like I won't be able to spend too much time gaming this weekend.'
As I took my mind off how annoying cleaning was going to be, I went into the fridge for ingredients. For some reason, she always trusted me enough to give me funds for groceries every week, but since I had my principles I made sure that all of it was spent on keeping her fridge stocked so there was nothing I needed that was missing.
Considering the time constraints, I went with curry and rice using curry mix, and to suit her preferences I chose the spicy version.
"Here you go."
Strangely, she acted more like a kid when we were alone than when she was at school. She raised her arms in celebration before digging in while seated on the floor. I sat across from her on the floor with an exasperated but pleasant feeling. I felt good because of how much she liked it, but I quickly shifted my gaze when I noticed that one of her shoulder straps had slipped off.
'Damn it. Clear your mind of desire, Haruto!'
To ignore it, I started eating as well. At first, I didn't eat with her since she was not only my teacher but also my employer, but Ms. Aria requested it. I remembered that being one of the few times she truly seemed like a decent adult in front of me, but considering how much it made my heart beat I was glad that she didn't act like that often.