Chapter 5:

Three Model Idiots Celebrate Summer Break

Why Does Nobody Find Us Attractive?

The school day had ended, and Juzo was standing next to Nikko's desk waiting for him to pack up his things. Bookmark here

"Hurry up, I wanna get going."Bookmark here

Nikko was trying to shove everything into his bag.Bookmark here

"Yeah, just wait a sec."Bookmark here

Forcing all of his things into the bag, he desperately tried to close the zipper. The bag swelled as if it was about to burst, but the bag did close.Bookmark here

"Yes! Alright, let's head out."Bookmark here

"Don't go yet! Wait for me!"Bookmark here

A few desks over, Reina called over to them as she clumsily pushed everything off her desk into the bag. Seeing her frantic actions, the two boys kept going towards the door.Bookmark here

"Did you hear something, Juzo?"Bookmark here

"No. It's probably nothing."Bookmark here

Reina finished closing her bag and ran after the boys.Bookmark here

"You bastards!"Bookmark here

Suddenly, the teacher called out to them.Bookmark here

"Hey, you three! I know you guys like to slack off, but the term exams are starting in a bit more than a week. You got summer break afterwards, so just spend some time studying, okay?"Bookmark here

Nikko gave the teacher a thumbs up.Bookmark here

"You got it, coach!"Bookmark here

The teacher sighed.Bookmark here

"Don't call me coach."Bookmark here

"Yeah, whatever you say coach."Bookmark here

After arriving at Nikko's house, the group gathered in the living room. They just chatted for a bit, then Reina brought up an issue.Bookmark here

"We really should study for the exams. We barely passed last year, and there's even more pressure now being our last year."Bookmark here

Nikko whined.Bookmark here

"Aww, but studying is so boring. Can't I just be allowed to enjoy my last year?"Bookmark here

"But if you don't study, this won't be your last year. Do you really want to be known as the guy who had to take an extra year to graduate?"Bookmark here

"Fine, whatever. How do you feel, Juzo?"Bookmark here

Juzo sat comfortably in his chair.Bookmark here

"Uh, it doesn't bother me. I'll get marks higher than you guys anyways."Bookmark here

Nikko instantly recognized the challenge.Bookmark here

"Oh, really? Wanna bet on it?"Bookmark here

"Hell yeah."Bookmark here

Reina raised her arm.Bookmark here

"Me too!"Bookmark here

Nikko settled everyone down.Bookmark here

"Okay, then. The bet will be whoever gets the lowest score will be forced to receive a punishment chosen by the others. Are you guys fine with that?"Bookmark here

The others responded in unison.Bookmark here

"Yeah!"Bookmark here

"Okay, let's get to studying."Bookmark here

The days leading up to the exams were used for only essential tasks, which prevented the group from doing anything fun and stupid. However, all three were prepared for when exam week arrived. The gruelling week took every bit of energy and motivation of the trio to withstand its punishing tests and essays, but all three successfully made it to the other side. Following the final test's completion, the group visited a restaurant to have a celebratory dinner. Once they received their food, Nikko raised a toast.Bookmark here

"Alright everyone, we did it! For the first, and probably only time, all three of us actually worked hard for something. Good job everybody!"Bookmark here

"Cheers!"Bookmark here

They all dug into their feasts; Nikko inhaled his mackerel, Reina horfed down tempura, and Juzo shoveled down chicken curry. After finishing their meals, Juzo started a conversation.Bookmark here

"So, what do we do now?"Bookmark here

Reina looked at him, confused.Bookmark here

"What do you mean?"Bookmark here

"Well, we won't get our marks back until we go back to school, and we got a month off. How are we gonna spend our break?"Bookmark here

Nikko scratched his head.Bookmark here

"Dunno. I guess we can do anything we want now."Bookmark here

Reina shot her arm up.Bookmark here

"Ooh! How about we go out somewhere fun tomorrow?"Bookmark here

"Like what?"Bookmark here

Reina thought for a while before finding an idea.Bookmark here

"Ah, I know! I went to an aquarium in Matsuno a few years ago, and it was pretty cool! Wanna go there?"Bookmark here

Juzo processed the idea.Bookmark here

"Yeah, if we take the Yodo line from Uwajima station, the trip shouldn't be too long. Okay, let's do it!"Bookmark here

Nikko supported the idea.Bookmark here

"Alright! Meet up at my house in the morning and we'll go to the station together, okay?"Bookmark here

Reina nodded.Bookmark here

"Aww, man, I'm so excited!"Bookmark here

She glanced at the clock on the wall to see that it was almost 9:00pm.Bookmark here

"Damn, it's getting late. I'm going to head home and get ready. Okay, I'll see you guys tomorrow. Don't be late!"Bookmark here

Reina got up and started to leave, waving at the two as she got to the door. Juzo and Nikko waved back, then started to get ready to leave themselves. Bookmark here

The next morning, Juzo packed a bag with some snacks and drinks. Once he checked to make sure he had everything, he said goodbye to his family.Bookmark here

"Hey, I'm heading out now. I'll be back in the evening."Bookmark here

A chorus of voices called back in unison.Bookmark here

"Bye, Juzo!"Bookmark here

He opened the front door to leave and stepped out. To his surprise, Reina was standing just outside the door.Bookmark here

"Jesus! What are you doing!?"Bookmark here

"Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to scare you."Bookmark here

A voice called out from the house. Bookmark here

"Is everything okay, Juzo?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, Reina just scared me."Bookmark here

"Oh, Reina’s here?"Bookmark here

Another chorus of voices bellowed from the house.Bookmark here

"Hi, Reina."Bookmark here

"Hello, everybody."Bookmark here

Reina turned to Juzo.Bookmark here

"How many people are in your house again?"Bookmark here

Juzo took a moment to count.Bookmark here

"Um, let's see… ten people."Bookmark here

"Good lord."Bookmark here

"Well, let's get going. We don't want to be late."Bookmark here

The two reached Nikko's house after a short walk. Upon arriving, they found Nikko outside playing with a bouncy ball. Once he saw the two enter his property, he whipped the ball at Juzo.Bookmark here

"Hey! What was that for?" Bookmark here

Nikko made a pouting face.Bookmark here

"You guys have kept me waiting for over half an hour. We gotta hurry or we're gonna miss the train."Bookmark here

Adding Nikko to their ranks, the group hastily jogged to the station, getting onto the train with only a couple minutes to spare. They entertained themselves with various stories until they reached their destination. They stepped onto the platform and figured out their route to the aquarium. As they walked, Nikko brought up a question.Bookmark here

"Have you ever been to an aquarium, Juzo?"Bookmark here

"Not in a while. I visited one in Osaka during a trip when I was little, but that's it."Bookmark here

"Did you like it?"Bookmark here

Juzo stared directly at Nikko with a most serious expression.Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

Juzo's strange behaviour confused Nikko.Bookmark here

"...okay."Bookmark here

Soon, they arrived at the front gates. After buying their tickets, Juzo went to the bulletin to check out the events.Bookmark here

"Ooh, they have both penguin and otter events! We gotta check them out!"Bookmark here

Reina pointed at the board.Bookmark here

"We gotta wait an hour before any of them start. Let's go look around first."Bookmark here

The group entered the exhibit surrounded by walls of fish and other creatures. While Reina and Nikko just casually viewed the displays, Juzo stared in wonder at each and every organism. As he passed through the smaller exhibits, he eventually reached the giant salamander. Bookmark here

"Woah, you're one big dude."Bookmark here

"Yeah, he is."Bookmark here

Juzo spun around to see a girl standing near him. She had a shorter stature with tidy black hair tied in a ponytail. Looking up at her face, Juzo saw her lively brown eyes and excited smile. Juzo's surprised reaction caught her off guard.Bookmark here

"Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to frighten you. You just seemed so fascinated with the salamander."Bookmark here

Juzo realized his mistake.Bookmark here

"Oh, there's no problem. I was just surprised someone was talking to me."Bookmark here

The girl's smile returned.Bookmark here

"If that's the case, would you like to look around the place with me?"Bookmark here

Juzo shrugged.Bookmark here

"Sure."Bookmark here

The girl did a little celebration. Bookmark here

"Awesome! I'm Shinobu Nakamura. Please call me Shinobu. It's good to meet you!"Bookmark here

The girl outstretched her hand to Juzo, so he shook it.Bookmark here

"My name is Juzo Kawahara."Bookmark here

"It's good to meet you Juzo, let's go this way! The tunnel section is over there."Bookmark here

Juzo followed the girl down the hall. Meanwhile, Nikko and Reina watched the entire encounter. As Juzo left, Reina stared at Nikko.Bookmark here

"Did he just…"Bookmark here

"Get hit on? Looks like it. Let's follow them."Bookmark here

Reina nodded, and they followed Juzo's trail.Bookmark here

And so Juzo's first date began, though it was completely unbeknownst to him.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.