Arisugawa then explained how we would accept requests going forward. The plan was to select up to three requests at a time, but on average only two requests since there was no reason to stretch ourselves thin. We would generally accomplish requests in pairs when possible, preferably male and female pairs to emphasize the fact that this was a co-ed club. More than a few fantasies came to mind as I heard this part, but those dreams could be further explained at a later time.
The types of requests we received at the moment could be split into three categories, ones from clubs/societies, ones from the staff and ones from individual students, and since most of the requests from individuals tended to be about getting advice, Arisugawa suggested that we open a consultation service.
Zakushi nodded at Arisugawa's idea and added, "That doesn't sound like a bad idea assuming we can actually give good advice, but it should wait until we've gotten used to our workload."
Everyone agreed with Zakushi and so Arisugawa moved on.
"We'll start with simple requests that can be finished in a day, like serving as assistants for the athletic clubs and helpers for the teachers, but I'll be on the lookout for another major project like our first one."
"Sounds good," Zakushi replied.
The meeting continued for a little longer but that was basically everything that was discussed as it related to club. I thought we would end things there since there weren't any requests taken for today either, but then Arisugawa asked Zakushi a question that I was interested in hearing the answer of.
"Zakushi, can you tell us what will happen in the special class tomorrow?"
I considered asking this question, but since I didn't think it would be too important I didn't bring it up, but that didn't mean I could let this opportunity simply go by. Even Amakawa put her phone down and looked at Zakushi in anticipation.
Zakushi, unaffected by our eagerness, answered with his usual calm tone.
"Well, you don't need to worry too much about it as first years. The special class is just an event for us to get to learn more about those in different grades. However, I guess your experience can change drastically based on which teacher your group gets assigned. Most of the teachers won't really give work but there are a few who will."
At this moment, I couldn't help thinking of my math teacher, Mr. Takashi. It would suck to have to do classwork on a Saturday, but it didn't bother me that much since I had something even more bothersome planned.
After she digested this piece of information, Arisugawa asked another question.
"I see, is there anything we should look out for?"
"Hmm," Zakushi put his finger his chin to ponder before continuing, "Just keep your guards up. You can flaunt your strengths if you want, but be extra sure to conceal your weaknesses."
Zakushi sounded oddly serious but I didn't think much of it. No matter how annoying the special class would be, I doubted that it could be worse than my current issues.
Once club was finally over, I wanted to talk to Kirisaki but Zakushi had already booked an appointment. We left club together and he talked to me as we walked, while I took mental notes.
"Like I told you, I've arranged for someone to be your foil. His goal will be to make you voluntarily resign from the club. He won't use violence but that's only if you don't throw the first punch. However, he's got a talent for provoking people so you need to careful. Even if you win, a fight could easily be used to his advantage. And he's on the judo team so don't expect him to be a weakling either."
As Zakushi went on giving details about the person I would confront tomorrow, I had a strange feeling that this wouldn't go as I imagined, but I ignored that feeling as I thought it was inevitable for things not to go as planned.
When Zakushi was finished with his explanation, the first thing I did was thank him.
"Thank you for all the help, senior. I owe you one."
He replied, "Of course you do, but don't mind it too much. I'm just helping you to make sure the club stays up. Besides you seem like a good kid, I wouldn't want you to be crushed this early."
I cocked my head in confusion at Zakushi's words, but his next action blew away my questions like a subtle breeze.
"Never mind. Good luck," said Zakushi with a faint smile before walking off.
While his back faded away, I clutched my chest in fright as I remembered the soft expression he showed for a brief moment.
'Did my heart just skip a beat?'
I couldn't believe it, but I recalled a sudden tightening in my chest when he flashed that smile at me. Zakushi wasn't that good-looking, but when I saw that rare expression of his, I was speechless.
'No, no, no, I already have too many problems, I don't need to be worrying about my sexuality too! Just think about Arisugawa, just keep thinking about her. Maid, bunny girl, princess, knight... '
Like emergency medicine I relied on my fantasies of Arisugawa to stabilize my condition as I headed home. I may or may not have sensed a familiar gaze on my back on the way home, still, I ignored it as I couldn't be interrupted during this important treatment.
Later on, during dinner with Ms. Aria, she brought up the first major achievement of the Life Assist Club.
"Oh, I heard that the club finished its first job, well done."
"Thanks, but I didn't really do much."
I tried to be humble, but why did I think that would matter to her anyway?
"I would think so. The request was about the female dorm, wasn't it? I wouldn't want to have to call the police on my own student."
Faced by her suspicious gaze, I planned on shutting my mouth and keeping my eyes on the food, but she wasn't finished with me yet.
She asked so casually that I had to doubt my hearing, "By the way, when did you start playing for both teams?"
"What?! Where did you hear that?!"
"Well I heard from a few of my students that you have a boyfriend who confessed his love for you in public."
"How did they even twist it like that?!"
Frightened by how strange the story had gotten, I hurriedly explained the truth to Ms. Aria, who nodded in understanding.
"I see, so you haven't accepted his feelings yet?"
"You didn't understand anything?! You're joking with me, right? Please tell me you're kidding me!"
"Don't worry, I won't judge. Our school is fine with all types of love, you can feel safe here," Ms. Aria said with a gentle tone.
"Don't be acting like a saint! I don't swing that way, why can't you believe me?"
"Because it's funnier this way."
"So you were kidding me!"
I don't know why I took her seriously at times but she always knew how to push my buttons. Soon after, I picked up our plates and went to wash them while Ms. Aria went to take a bath, but she stopped before leaving the room. I thought she would just tease me like usual, but instead she warned, "Be careful tomorrow, that wacky headmaster has something planned."
She then left before I could give a response, leaving me with a feeling of unease.
'Looks like tomorrow won't be easy day.'
Once more, I realised that this Saturday would be rife with trouble.
After heading back to my apartment, I took out my phone and looked at Kirisaki's name on the messaging app I normally used. I considering apologizing to her through text or through a call, but with excuses like it wouldn't be sincere enough I couldn't build up the courage to go through with it. With the lie that I would apologize after finishing what I had to do, I laid down my phone and got ready for bed.
I woke up extra early on Saturday, not because I wanted to though. I wouldn't say that I was excited, but it was true that I couldn't wait to get this day over with. After getting myself ready, I checked at Ms. Aria's apartment, but she was already gone as she said she would be. Since this Saturday would be similar to a regular school day she had to leave early. Sometimes I would still be able to cook breakfast for her on school days, but most of the times she had to rely on cereal or toast.
Since I confirmed that she had left, I went straight to school. I picked up on more than a few pairs of eyes on me, but that was a normal thing these days so it didn't bother me as much. I was much more nervous about what would happen at school. The special class, the manuevers of the headmaster, Zakushi's plan, my apology to Kirisaki, there were just too many worries in my mind, but I had no choice but to confront them.