Chapter 7:

Chapter 7: In Between Seniors

Becoming A Seiyuu? I'm In!

"How could he do this to me? I just wanted him to help me a little. Both of us are third-years, thus both of us have similar schedule. Nothing to brag about having no free time for being busy and such, plus it's just like natural talent to teach my subordinates. Is it wrong to ask him then?" - Mori.

A week has unconsciously passed since the incident when Aki and Tori registered themselves as the new members of the media club. All thanks to Hiro that Aki made up his mind, and it took the least effort to drag Tori into the club too. The three of them were the only first-year students of the club, hence they always sat together in a mini circle and discussed about the equipment, the requirement, and Hiro even showed them the draft of the project.

The end-school ringing bell resonated across the building, denoting everyone that the session for that day has gratefully come to its end. The teachers reminded the students to do their homework tasked, while the students packed up their stuffs to return home. Most of the class were full of chatters by those enthralled students, and a few of them ought to perform a cleaning duty too.

Tori was not excluded. He was one of the students in charge of the class cleanliness for that week. He and his girl classmate were assigned by Miss Maeko to initiate the classroom decoration, while their other classmates would just need to maintain the cheerfulness. It sounded unfair to Tori and her because it meant the two of them would have to do more work compared to everyone. However, the reward was handsome too.

“Just think of the gift, and you should be grateful, Tori,” Aki was more to inspiriting him.

However, to Tori, Aki was teasing him, strikingly when Aki kept on smirking at that girl classmate. She was quite shy, but she swept meticulously, therefore Tori’s job became easier with her help. Aki stared at the planning paper Tori and the girl have constructed, and gaped in amazement. There were only two people, but their planning should be done by the whole class.

“Only the time matters, Aki,” Tori said when Aki inquired him about their scheme. “For some reason, I can’t come to the media club room. Please send my regards to them.”

“Are you an old man who bids farewell to your son?” Aki’s eyebrows entangled to each other. Tori did sound like an old man just now. “Why can’t you? Didn’t you tell Hiro in advance?”

The girl entered the classroom after going out, merely to rinse the class broom with clean water. She nodded to Tori and Aki once before making her way to the utility locker at the back of the classroom, coincidentally located near to their seats. Aki subconsciously gazed at her movement.

“She’s a nice girl, isn’t she?” Aki propped his chin while his eyes were fixated on that girl. She was preparing brooms, soap, rags, and pails for their cleaning duty. “See? She didn’t say anything and just walk around.”

“It’s because she’s embarrassed,” Tori rose from his seat after packing up his stuffs and get a pail from her, leaving the teasing Aki alone. “I’ll start cleaning now. You can go to the club room. Please tell them that I’ll try finishing this today so that I can come tomorrow.”

Aki gesticulated a hand wave in the air, noting Tori to take it easy. Tori gave him a thumb up and went to a sink to fill up the pail with clean water. Aki wished her good luck and left the classroom so that he would not be the one feeling awkward around Tori and that girl. Meters after leaving 1 – 6, he just realized he did not recognise what that girl name was. Presuming that Tori would know, he decided to ask him later.

The lane along the corridor was quiet to the point that Aki could even hear his gulp. He sped up in his pace to get out from the terrifying silence and half ran down the stairs, as if there was someone chasing after him. He opened his eyes in halves and did not turn around regarding whatever sound emitted from behind.

And that included Hiro’s repetitive calling to him.

“What’s with that boy?” Hiro watched Aki basically dragging his feet as timidly as he could along the corridor. Aki never reacted to any of his calling, which intrigued Hiro to tail him instead.

The building where the media club located was different from their building class, hence students needed to walk there from the lobby on the ground floor. The lobby was where the shoe lockers were placed, thus there should be more people crowding the spot. Aki exhaled in relief as his assumption was correct, putting away the brief fear he just had, and being his usual self. Hiro frowned deeper as he saw Aki straightened his back again instead of hunching over.

There was indeed a real crowd, encircling something in the middle. Aki tiptoed to figure out what the crowd was all about, but the only ones he could recognise was the so-called handsome president of student association. Analysing the whole situation, he was confronting someone almost at his height, and Aki even compared their faces based on how good looking the opponent was. Personally, Aki would rather choose the opponent than the president – Firstly because Aki preferred low-profiled people and secondly, because Aki disliked the president since day one.

The rumour spreading through the crowd finally reached Aki as the most rear student among them. From what Aki has eavesdropped, the president was rejecting the opponent’s offer, yet the opponent did not seem to give in to the president’s reluctance. What offer did the opponent suggest? And why did the president reject it? Aki wished to be closer to the brawl instead of overhearing, but the crowd really shut him off from even slipping in.

“Aren’t you supposed to help me? You’re a president after all,” the opponent said. Judging from the tone, Aki could say he was gritting.

“I’m already busy with my current schedule, Mori. Please don’t force me,” the president was also clenching his teeth, but he did not face toward the opponent. He crossed his arms to his chest and was about to walk away, leaving the crowd and that opponent.

The opponent who was called Mori parted lips to say something out, however he seemed flustered. His grim expression displayed how disappointed he was. All he could do was to call the president back so that the latter would turn around and confront him. The odd scene was witnessed by literally the crowd and Aki (and the tailing Hiro a few meters from Aki), therefore the silence engulfing them was awkwardly petrifying.

“What’s that? Love confession?”

“So the guy with undercut was rejected after using up his strength to confess?”

“I feel sorry for the undercut guy.”

“But the president is probably dating someone, so that’s why.”

The murmurs were soft yet audible to the wondering Aki. Aki, undoubtedly, gaped in disbelief as he heard them. Realizing he has gotten himself involved in a matter he should not be, he secretly felt guilty for being there just to witness the opponent getting declined by the president. It must have humiliated him since there were many people anticipating the end product of the quarrel.

The Mori guy ducked his head in pure frustration. He bit his lower lip and clenched his fists to contain his disappointment (perhaps). The whispers among the students in the crowd loudened as there was no response in both president and the Mori guy’s sides. They believably supported the president than the Mori guy thanks to his popularity. Even to Aki, since he has not acknowledged who the Mori guy was, he would also choose to back the president up (forgetting the fact that he disliked the president).

Other than possessing a hairstyle a middle schooler should not have, the Mori guy had also fierce complexion – a pair of sharp eyes and deep frown on the forehead. If only he had a small scar, people might have mistaken him as delinquent. He was as tall as the president, yet he had wider chest than the latter. Somehow his fragility contrasted those strong man traits he owned.

While Aki was swayed by his own mind in the midst of quarrel, the Mori guy straightened his back and skimmed around. His widened eyes looked for someone before they ogled once the particular someone was detected.

“Hiro! Come here!”

The direction he concentrated his course at was where Aki stood, hence the younger was utterly petrified when the Mori guy suddenly called out a familiar name while facing towards him. Aki trailed where the Mori guy’s finger projected to, just to spot Hiro at his back. Hiro blinked in astonishment and laughed wryly while receiving squints by Aki.

Magically, the crowd split to give ways to Hiro, the mentioned student by the Mori guy. Even Aki stepped aside. He wanted to see how far this quarrel would last, furthermore there was an additional character inserted in between. How would a love triangle dissolve this? Aki focused on the debate again. The way that Mori guy carefully announced Hiro’s name was like they have already known each other.

“Hiro! Can you please explain to Kishi about our project?” the Mori guy clung his arm around Hiro’s neck.

Only then Aki could reminisce. Mori! That name alone was mentioned by Hiro on the day he and Tori visited the media club room for the first time. If his mind did not prank him (there were times our mind tended to recall wrongly, right?), Hiro subconsciously introduced Mori as the third year senior who drew for their animation project. That Mori guy was the only third year in the club, meanwhile there were another two second-year seniors and currently three first-year newbies. The media club had six students in total, which was overshadowed by other clubs in term of numbers.

“So Hiro does know that Mori-senpai is into that president, huh? Oh! Does he like Mori-senpai? I mean, in a romantic way,” Aki concluded to himself.

The situation was already grim, and the misunderstanding lingering among the crowd was utterly suffocating. Mori loved that president? This was really a shocking news suitable for gossips. He must tell Tori after this!

“Kishi-senpai, we’ve already prepared a storyboard and drafts for the whole project. Currently we have an illustrator who is Mori-senpai, two animators who are my brother Tani and his friend Ono-san. I’m in charge of voice acting, but I lack of experience. Thus, we come to ask you to teach us,” Hiro calmly explained.

“So, that president’s name is Kishi-senpai, hmm,” Aki propped his chin while paying attention to the free show.

The Kishi president took a glimpse at the first-year student who has just talked to him. He sent off uneasy stares towards Hiro, and based on Hiro’s reaction, everyone could say that Kishi’s irritation to him was undeniably noticeable. Hiro gulped and averted from meeting gazes with Kishi.

“All right, everyone. The meeting is dismissed,” suddenly, the Kishi president declared, stunning the crowd. “Please leave us and return home.”

As if that president was a homeroom teacher, the crowd instantly dissolved and parted ways, really leaving only him, Mori and Hiro. The weird thing was there was another student who remained without budge after the crowd dismissed. Aki’s widened eyes gave them idea that he just realized he was the only one standing there without anyone, or anything, to cover his presence there.

Mori and Kishi glared at Aki, assuming that he was really thick skulled. Aki fidgeted with his fingers, but he really did not want to leave the scene yet. He was on his way to go to the club room when he was caught in the scene where two of his club members arguing with a president of student association. Even though he and Tori were freshly recruited members, he could not just turn to deaf ears.

Sounded nosy? Probably.

“You!” Aki has expected the Kishi guy would yell at him, but Mori did it instead. “What are you waiting for? Leave now!”

The roar rumbled across the lobby, frightening the timid Aki at the moment. Aki never predicted that Mori guy was that fierce. As a junior, he immediately experienced terror, whereas he did nothing wrong in the first place. Aki’s flinch caused Kishi to tilt his head on one side.

“Perhaps, you’re the media club member too?” the president spoke monotonously but a smile was curved along. “Judging from your complexion, you must want to know what happened, I assume.”

From a very ferocious face, Mori turned sour as Kishi became more open minded to the first-year student than him. He became bitter as Kishi could estimate Aki was the new member of the media club. He swiftly shifted to Hiro at his side.

“You didn’t tell me that you’ve taken in a new member of our club!” Mori croaked in mixed humiliation and excitement.

Hiro squinted at the third-year. “I did. But it seems like you’ve misheard it, Mori-senpai.”

“See?” the president cut off. His convinced tone annoyed Hiro and Mori a little. “You were too obsessed to your dream that you even neglect Hiro, your subordinate! It has been a week after the registration of first-year students, but you had no idea that you’ve a new club member!”

“Two students, to be exact.”


“I’m sorry!” The Mori guy abruptly knelt before Hiro and begged for forgiveness. “It’s my fault for being too preoccupied with the work! I don’t mean to ignore you, but I really am sorry!”

Hiro panicked as Mori’s eyes became wet by threatening tears. He quickly brushed it off and requested for the elder to stand up back. He then made a gesture towards the baffled Aki, asking the latter to get closer so that they could converse much better. Aki nodded agreeing.

The president of student association crossed his arms while facing towards Mori and his club juniors, Hiro and Aki. Hiro was much composed compared to Mori, but this Aki guy had higher level of curiosity likened to Hiro. Despite being the most clueless one, Aki did not hesitate to be lumped together with Mori and Hiro.

“Get a grip, Mori. You have juniors in your club now. I’ve already rejected your project, but your insistence won that time. Don’t cause more trouble to other people especially to your club members.”

That short yet compact reminder subconsciously jolted Aki, yet Hiro and Mori just took it easy. They kept silent and just stared at the snobbish president named Kishi, like two cats bravely confronting a wild dog.

“I know that, Kishi.”

Later, the Kishi guy walked away, truly leaving only Mori, Hiro and Aki at the lobby. No one was there, even a passing by student. They exchanged looks among themselves before Mori as the eldest cleared his throat.

“First of all, sorry for the inconvenience, young men,” Mori scratched the back of his head while apologizing. “I was wrong for abandoning you. I’m sorry.”

He bowed a little before the juniors. The guilt in him must have brought him to such extend, and as a junior, Aki felt bad for letting him the only one bowing. He then bowed too, witnessed by Hiro.

“It’s okay, Mori-senpai. My friend and I were wrong too,” Aki tried to be more tolerable to this senior. As a first-year, he should also put some more effort to get to know the other members better. He and Tori never even asked about the seniors in the media club from Hiro. “How about if we make a proper self-introduction this time?”

“Sounds good,” Mori patted on Aki’s shoulder in gladness, “Let’s go to the club room then.”

The senior led them to the club room in the opposite building from the academic. The other two members should already be there while they were caught in that unwanted attention with Kishi.

“I was just lucky that this Mori-senpai is a dumb for believing me.”

The audible instinct by Hiro was heard by Aki since he was the closest to him. They purposely distanced themselves meters from Mori at the hind.

“Believing you in what?” Aki bluntly asked for confirmation.

Hiro smirked at Aki before replied, “Actually, I forgot to tell him about you and Tori.”

“So, it’s your fault then!”

Hussain Maknoon