Chapter 7:

The High School Life Assistance Club (HSLAC) (3)

Confession Games

Kirisaki's message ended up being the last message of the night. I was worried about the future of this club, but instead of wasting time staying up to see any changes, I slept so that I could be prepared for that thing known as school.Bookmark here

The next day, I was fully ready for club but classes came before that. Maybe even more than usual, my shoulders slumped at the thought of going through another day of school. When I got to school, I started looking around warily, but quickly found out that my fears were only in my head, for now at least.Bookmark here

I anticipated a big reaction once our club was revealed, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone talked about it to their friends and got it to spread like wildfire.Bookmark here

'Speaking of, what should I tell him?'Bookmark here

A couple minutes after reaching my class and taking my seat by the window, Naoya arrived.Bookmark here

"Hey, Haruto."Bookmark here

"Hey."Bookmark here

"By the way, where did you go yesterday? You left class early but I didn't see you leaving the school."Bookmark here

'Ah, here it comes.'Bookmark here

I would have been more stressed if this was suddenly sprung on me, but since I predicted the question I already had a response ready.Bookmark here

"Oh, I joined a club."Bookmark here

Since it would be revealed anyway, I decided to give him a basic idea of my situation. Bookmark here

"Really? What club did you join?"Bookmark here

'Ah crap, I didn't think about this!'Bookmark here

"Um, it's a new service club."Bookmark here

"Hmm? You finally joined a club and it's a service club? That sounds kind of..."Bookmark here

Watching as Naoya became suspicious, I hastily tried to think of an excuse I could use to get him to back off.Bookmark here

"Uh, what's wrong with me joining a service club? I-I like helping the community."
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"Then why didn't you join the other one before now?"
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'Damn it! Why are you so uselessly sharp at a time like this?'Bookmark here

Incapable of quickly coming up with a way to dismiss Naoya's suspicions, I decided to just keep my mouth sealed. After all, it wasn't like he could figure anything out if I didn't tell him.Bookmark here

Once I stayed silent, Naoya sat down in his seat which was to the right of mine, while still staring at me. He wasn't the type to obsess over a topic like this for too long, so I was sure that he would get bored soon enough. However, once more Naoya displayed a uselessly high degree of intelligence when I least wanted him to. Bookmark here

He smacked one hand on the other with a face that screamed realisation and said, "Oh, I know! There's a girl you like in it, isn't there?"Bookmark here

Immediately, I froze in place. Shocked by how abnormally on point his answer was, I couldn't even come up with a countermeasure. I could only clench my trembling fist and wait for him to say it.Bookmark here

Naoya continued, "And that girl must be,"Bookmark here

'Here it comes.'Bookmark here

"Your new crush!"Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

I was sure that he had figured out that I was in a club with Arisugawa, but his answer was more and more off as he went on.Bookmark here

"So, you finally moved on from Arisugawa, huh? Took you long enough."Bookmark here

"What? What makes you think that?"Bookmark here

"Well, there's no way you can be lucky enough to join a new club with Arisugawa in it, which means it has to be different girl. But why didn't you tell me you found a another crush? I always tell you about mine."Bookmark here

Once I was sure that his thoughts no longer matched the truth, I internally breathed a sigh of relief before rolling my eyes and responding.Bookmark here

"It's not like I ask you to tell me about them. I'm not that eager for your weekly report."Bookmark here

"Oh, don't be like that. Maybe I can help you."Bookmark here

"No, how about you keep that help until you can manage to date a decent girl for once?"Bookmark here

"Eh, that might be a bit..."Bookmark here

As Naoya scratched his head with an awkward smile, I wondered if I should tell him the truth but ultimately decided against it. He was a friend I could trust, but his ability to keep a secret wasn't something I thought highly of.Bookmark here

After that incident with Naoya, the rest of the day went by peacefully. There was a time when I passed by Kirisaki in the cafeteria, but thanks to my agility and quick reflexes I was able to flee the area before she could spot me. Before yesterday she had never talked to me, and even when she first did, it was when we were alone, but I wasn't sure if she knew how bothersome it would be for me to talk to her in public or if she had simply taken the opportunity that presented itself. I thought about talking to her about it in club today, but since I would basically be telling her not to talk to me outside of club, I was hesitant. After all, though I didn't mean it that way it was easy to imagine it sounding like I was ashamed to be seen speaking with her. No matter how far from the truth that actually was.                      Bookmark here

I continued to worry about this issue until school was over and I got up to go to the clubroom. I planned on going straight there, but then I noticed a certain boy following me.Bookmark here

"Naoya, why are you following me?" I asked with an exasperated tone.Bookmark here

"You're going to that club, aren't you? Let me come with."Bookmark here

"No, go home."Bookmark here

"Aw come on, I won't say anything, I just want to see the girl you like."Bookmark here

"Naoya."Bookmark here

"Please."Bookmark here

One look at his expression and I was sure that he wasn't backing down, so I adjusted my original plan.Bookmark here

I pointed behind him and asked, "Hmm, wait, isn't that the upperclassman you confessed to last week?"Bookmark here

"Huh? Where?!"Bookmark here

The moment his attention was drawn away, I ran away and hid myself behind a corner. Bookmark here

"I don't see her. Wait! Haruto!"Bookmark here

A couple seconds later, he realised that he had been duped and ran after me, but wasn't able to find me.Bookmark here

"Whew."Bookmark here

With him off my tail, I resumed my trip to the clubroom.Bookmark here

"Excuse me. Good evening."Bookmark here

"Good evening, Akishiro."Bookmark here

"!"Bookmark here

I was momentarily stunned by the one who greeted me when I entered the room. Sitting with her back to the door, was Arisugawa while Amakawa sat near to her on the right of the group of desks. Arisugawa was typing away on a laptop while Amakawa was fiddling with her phone, which also allowed me to get a better look at her light-purple fingernails. Despite how she acted during confessions, I hardly heard of her getting into any trouble and I doubted that most teachers here would care about her nails. Besides, more than her reputation I was worried about my own.Bookmark here

As I took a seat at the last desk on the left, I couldn't help wondering if I had made a mistake. I was sure that I didn't come late, but it wasn't strange for bosses to find fault in their employees for not coming several minutes early.Bookmark here

'Should I apologize for being late? But wouldn't it be too late now? Ugh, I need to do something.'Bookmark here

"Um, is there anything I can help with?" I asked nervously.Bookmark here

In turn, Arisugawa responded without lifting her head from the laptop.Bookmark here

"No, I've finished the paperwork and I'm having an acquaintance make our website so there won't be much to be done until it's up and running. I'll explain the rest when the others get here."Bookmark here

"Got it."Bookmark here

Maybe I would have felt better if given a task, but I would probably also be worried about messing up so I was neither relieved nor upset by her reply. However, like an awkward employee meeting his boss, I didn't know what I should do with this free time.Bookmark here

My heart fluttered at the fresh sight of a focused Arisugawa, but I didn't want to get caught staring at her so I reluctantly looked away. I then moved my gaze to Amakawa.Bookmark here

'Now that I think about? She doesn't speak very much.'Bookmark here

Within the bounds of the club, I couldn't recall hearing an input from Amakawa a single time. This didn't mean I saw her in a bad light or anything, it just seemed odd for 'the queen' to be so, quiet.Bookmark here

I continued to stare at her with a pensive expression, but the moment she paused her thumb that was tapping the phone screen, and I saw the tiniest movement of her eyes, I swiftly and subtly lowered my gaze.Bookmark here

'As expected, she's still scary!'Bookmark here

I didn't have the guts to go back to looking at either of them so the options left for me to pass the time were my phone and my homework. It was obvious which one I would prefer, but I hesitated.Bookmark here

'Would I seem lazy if I took my phone out?'Bookmark here

Amakawa might have been doing it, but would I be able to get away with it too? Could I really play the cool and apathetic guy here?Bookmark here

I continued to be troubled by this issue until our last two members finally arrived.Bookmark here

'Whew~, I should come up with a plan in case this happens again.'Bookmark here

Once they arrived, Arisugawa took her eyes off the laptop and told them the same thing that she told me. I thought that this would go without conflict, but I was too naive.Bookmark here

"Then is there a point to this meeting?" Zakushi asked.Bookmark here

It would be easy to interrupt his question as a sign of hostility, so I tensed up as I anxiously waited for Arisugawa's response along with Kirisaki. I was worried that I would have to sit in fear while the two waged verbal war, but fortunately Arisugawa didn't take offense to his question.Bookmark here

"Naturally, I have another item on the agenda. Take a look at this."Bookmark here

She turned around the laptop and showed us the template for a website.Bookmark here

"Is this how the club site will be set up?" Bookmark here

I was the first to ask about what was displayed on the screen to prevent any more conflicts that could start.Bookmark here

"That's right. If you're all satisfied with it, I'll send the final product over the weekend and we can have it up for school use by Monday."Bookmark here

"Sounds good. It looks fine to me," I answered.Bookmark here

"Me too. But it could use a few decorations to make it cuter," said Kirisaki.Bookmark here

"Decorations?" Arisugawa asked.Bookmark here

"That's right. Like flowers or ribbons, or maybe we can use the school crest."Bookmark here

"Hmm, that's a good idea. Let's talk about it more after club."Bookmark here

I was surprised by how Kirisaki was able to voice her opinion, but then again maybe I just found it too hard to go against anything Arisugawa decided.Bookmark here

Lastly, was Zakushi, well Zakushi and Amakawa but no one expected her to give a response.Bookmark here

"It's fine."Bookmark here

It wasn't much, but once he expressed his approval my body felt much lighter and relief filled my chest.Bookmark here

'The club survives another day.'Bookmark here

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