In a couple minutes, she finished the plate of curry and sat with her back on the couch behind her and her hand on her stomach.
"Ah, that was good," said Ms. Aria.
"I'm glad you think so."
"Seriously, I know you have your own worries but, why don't you try confessing to me? I wouldn't mind having a husband like you."
In response I snorted, "Oh please, I don't even want to take that risk with people my age, why do you think I would challenge a mid-boss like you? I bet you just want to brag to the other teachers about how many students confess to you."
At our school, teachers could also be the target of confessions, but the rules were different for them. If a student's confession succeeded they were guaranteed to graduate no matter what troubles they caused, but the teacher would 'voluntarily resign' with a decent amount of compensation. However, so far only one student had ever succeeded and I didn't think that was likely to happen again, especially not to me.
"Aw~, that's too bad," she replied without looking very disappointed.
As she relaxed with her back on the couch, her defence seemed to lower even more until even her belly button was starting to peek out so I hurriedly finished my meal and reached for her plate so that I could flee to the kitchen.
While I took care of the dishes, Ms. Aria spoke to me from her spot at the table.
"Oh, Haruto, can you do-"
"Huh? I didn't even finish yet."
"Sorry, that was instinct. What is it?"
"Could you do a favour for-"
"Wait, wait! Please hear me out first!"
I really didn't want to since I sensed trouble, but considering how much I owed her I decided to listen.
"You know how there's not a lot of co-ed cultural clubs or cultural clubs in general, right?"
"Yeah. I heard they all failed because of love problems."
"That's right. With the nature of our academy, it's normal for students to be more open with their feelings, which also happens to cause more friction."
"I can imagine."
I simply wasn't interested in any clubs, but just the thought of what would happen if I stepped into one with a love triangle left chills down my spine. Although that possibility also existed in single-sex clubs, it wasn't as likely.
"The athletic clubs are still okay, but the school wants to increase the number of co-ed cultural clubs as well."
It didn't sound like a ridiculous proposal, but considering this school's policy it didn't sound very convincing.
"It has to do with school politics and the wacky plan of the headmaster, do you still want to hear it?"
"Never mind, I'm good. So what does that have to do with me?"
I got down to the main question.
"I want you to join a club that the staff is setting up and try to keep it from failing."
"No, sounds like a job I'm not fit for. Shouldn't you ask the student council for like this? Besides,"
"I'll pay you."
"When does it start?"
You could call me whatever you wanted, but I felt no shame in handling the chore if I would be paid for the trouble. I didn't have anything I desperately needed money for, but who knew when that thing might appear.
"Huh? Isn't that too abrupt?"
Although I agreed to it, I turned to look at her in confusion. She was now sitting on the couch with a more 'at ease' aura, but her attire was still a little sloppy.
"No, I was sure you would be on board so I didn't see any need in telling you earlier. Besides, it's not like you have other plans right?"
"And how would you know that?"
"Well, I am your teacher and employer so I believe I have a good idea of your schedule. But you do have a point, so, do you have any other plans?"
Her expression didn't seem to doubt for a second what my answer would be, and I couldn't prove her wrong.
"Tch, you're right."
"By the way, what's the club about?"
"We decided to let you guys choose. We're already forci-, I mean suggesting that you join after all."
I really wanted to ask what she was about to say, but since I would be getting paid I was better off than the other suckers that would have to join so I decided to let it go.
Once she told me when and where the club would meet, Ms. Aria went to take a bath. After washing the plates, I quickly made sandwiches and salads that she could eat as snacks as well as her lunch for tomorrow before leaving.
I could have done more if I stayed, but if I waited until she came out of the bath then there was a chance she would walk out in nothing but a towel just to tease me.
Tease her back? No, no, no even though I had her consent to be here one call was enough to accuse me of illegal trespassing and even worse things.
Besides, I couldn't do anything to betray the trust she had placed in me. Even if she seemed to like testing the limits of my principles.
I went back to my apartment and placed my new game among the collection under the television in the living room, before sorting out my homework and taking a quick shower.
As I dived into bed after going through my phone, I felt sleep dragging me in like quicksand. Little did I know that this would be the last day of my peace at Yorukobi Academy.
The next day, lunch break.
With a curry bread in hand, I walked down the busy hallway. I would usually bring my own lunch, but I somehow forgot about it despite making one for Ms. Aria.
"Well, still tastes good though."
As I took another bite I headed towards a vending machine so that I could get a drink to go with it, but then I saw I spotted Naoya rushing in my direction.
"The roof! Let's go!"
Without any explanation, he grabbed my free hand and dragged me away.
"Wait, wait, what is it?!"
"Someone's confessing to 'the queen' on the roof."
"What?! You should have said that sooner!"
I shook off his hand and ran with my own two feet while gobbling down the rest of the bread. Unlike when I watched Arisugawa's rejections, I felt only anticipation and excitement when I thought of what I would witness.
'The queen', Sachiko Amakawa, was the sadist I saw at the train station yesterday, so I was even more interested than usual.
Like, I didn't know why people kept taking the challenge of confessing to her, but confessions to her had a different appeal than the rest. I couldn't explain it well but it felt satisfying in a forbidden kind of way.
The me before high school would probably be disgusted by how excited I was to peek on the sacred act of confessing one's love, but though my core principles remained I had been corrupted by the mindset that if they were making a show out of it, I might as well watch.
"Ah man, we're too late."
"I guess we'll just have to watch the stream."
When we reached the roof, students had crowded the area beneath the stage that was set up here, and the entrance was also stuffed so we wouldn't be able to watch it live. Therefore, Naoya and I took out our smartphones and went on to the school's network to catch the stream. The Wi-Fi was good so in under a minute I could see the two who stood on the stage in HD.
One was the pretty girl who I saw yesterday, Amakawa, who exuded the dignity of royalty. While the one facing her was...
"He's fat. Will he be okay?" I wondered.
"Don't worry about it. Since he decided to confess to her he obviously wants the abuse. Who knows, he might even have a shot at her," Naoya responded.
I nodded in agreement. From what was publicly known, Amakawa was very whimsical when it came to accepting a confession. Tall, short, thin, athletic, girls, basically any one had a chance with her which was why even those who weren't masochists would also shoot their shot if they were at least interested in her.
[Hello, my fellow students! Boy, do we have a spicy show here. On the girls' side we have, 'The Que-]
As soon as Amakawa glared at the loudspeaker, the announcer immediately paused and corrected himself. I didn't know if anything had happened between them, but honestly I probably would have done the same.
[Ehem, Miss Sachiko Amakawa. And as the challenger from the boys' side we have, Fat Victim!]
Wow, he actually said it.
Once the announcer finished the usual introduction, the confession began with the, uh, round male.
"Uh, my name is-"
"Stop right there, who gave you permission to speak? Let me say this just to make sure you're not having any stupid thoughts. The only reason I'm here is to make sure that you don't crawl out of whatever pigsty you came out of to keep bothering me."
The cold tone Amakawa used was so piercing that even I got shivers, and I was just hearing it from my phone, so I couldn't imagine how that guy was feeling. However, he didn't seem to be in pain at least.
While breathing heavily with an euphoric expression, he replied, "Ye-yes."
[Ms. Amakawa, quick to strike him with her words, but he seems to like it! Not gonna lie, that's pretty creepy but to each their own.]
Amakawa continued with slight disgust in her expression, "Ew, why are breathing like that? Are you trying to pollute the air with your foul smell? And your head is too high, what if I accidently catch a whiff of the stench coming from you. Drop to your knees immediately."
Without hesitation, he kowtowed as if he was worshipping his ancestor.
[On his knees already! Looks like this will be quick.]
"Better. But pigs shouldn't talk. Oink for me."
The pity I felt for the fat guy quickly vanished as I saw how eager he was, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen either as the climax was approaching. Amakawa slowly walked over to the kneeling boy and gently rubbed her foot on his cheek.
"Hmm, as I thought. Nothing but a pig."
Amakawa then walked off the stage, making it clear that the fat boy had been rejected. But as I saw him shivering while touching his cheek, I seriously doubted that he was crying or feeling ashamed.
[Oh, looks like he wasn't lucky this time. I wonder who will be next weird lad or lass to attempt to earn Ms. Amakawa's favour.]