Chapter 3:

March 3: Building a Website and a Relationship

One Month to Figure out my Future

“Are you free after school?” I wasn’t expecting such a question, especially from a girl with a red face.Bookmark here

I didn’t want to lie, yesterday Rihoko appeared to be a nice girl, but at the same time, I just like to go home.Bookmark here

“Well… it’s not like I have plans, I should just study.”Bookmark here

“HAHAHAHAHA, more like you have to complete your daily quests for that videogame you play, isn’t it?”Bookmark here

I can’t believe this! Hayato just straight up threw me under the bus! I had to respond quickly to fix this rather awkward situation.Bookmark here

“You know Hayato, finals are coming up, I hope you didn’t forget it like last year.”Bookmark here

Hayato was ready to fight back but Rihoko stepped in before he could do so: “There is no need to argue, I’m really sorry I should have thought this trough a bit more before asking.”Bookmark here

She quickly vanished in a blink of an eye.Bookmark here

Now I could feel the disappointed stare of Hayato on my neck while I was trying to avoid looking at him in the eyes and simultaneously packing my bag.Bookmark here

“Come on Satoshi, you totally messed this one up!”Bookmark here

I knew it was coming and now I had to confront him again.Bookmark here

“Messed up what? I didn’t do anything! You are the one who was trying to act cool.”Bookmark here

“That’s the problem, you didn’t do anything! Listen, I’m sorry if I was a bit too over the line, but you had a great opportunity and you blew it up.”Bookmark here

I appreciated the apology but I wasn’t going to back down that easily: “Opportunity for what? You don’t even know what she wanted from me.”Bookmark here

“Maybe, but next time you should not reject without even considering.”Bookmark here

At this point I thought I could just end this pointless discussion and go straight home: “Sure, next time.” But, as usual, Hayato doesn’t give up that easily.Bookmark here

“That’s great! Now go find her.”Bookmark here

“What are you saying??”Bookmark here

“This time you are going to ask her what she wanted from you, even if it’s hard to think that a girl would want something from you…”Bookmark here

Now he is just playing mind games, easy for me to counter attack: “Sorry that doesn’t work with me.”Bookmark here

“You leave me with no choice than… Remember yesterday at the arcade? You said that the looser would owe the winner one, I guess now it’s the perfect time to use that trump card.” He was saying that with a pretty annoying smiley face.Bookmark here

I wasn’t expecting this, especially because I let him win just to boost his humor.Bookmark here

By now I lost any hopes: “Do I really have to? I don’t even know where she is, she might already be on her way home.”Bookmark here

“Remember what Miss Kamuro said? She is the president of the literary club, just look for the club room and you will be fine.”Bookmark here

I guess at the end of the day I was a bit curious to know what she wanted to say and that’s why I didn’t fight back anymore.Bookmark here

“For this time you win.”Bookmark here

He put one hand on my right shoulder and said: “That’s what happens when you go easy on me.” Then he also left the classroom. Bookmark here

Now I was left with the difficult task of finding the literary club, I knew there was a specific section of the school dedicated to the club rooms on the last floor but I had never been there. Once reached the last floor luckily there was a map attached to the wall with all the club rooms well labeled. I found the literary club name and walked to the corresponding room. On the other side of the door I could clearly hear various people talking and this made me even more uncomfortable because that meant that I had to interact with more people. I could still run away and tell Hayato some excuse but he wouldn’t let me get away with.Bookmark here

I finally knocked, and shortly after I heard a clear and loud: “Come in!”Bookmark here

Once opened the door I noticed there were seven people, most of which girls, but none of them was Rihoko, in either of her versions.Bookmark here

“Sorry to bother you, I was looking for your club president.”Bookmark here

One of the girls answered energetically: “That would be me, Megumi Takano, president of the calligraphy club, how can I help you?”Bookmark here

Crap, how did I mess this one up? I’m pretty sure the map lead to this room, maybe was the opposite side of the hallway, oh crap another awkward situation.Bookmark here

“Oh… I thought this was the literary club, I guess I read the map wrong, I apologize.” I was trying to get out of there as quickly as possible to avoid any eye contact with the other students.Bookmark here

“You don’t have to apologize, that map is not really up to date. Yes, this was the literary club room but because they are short on members the school decided to move them in a smaller room at the end of the hallway and give this room to us.”Bookmark here

By the way I could have figured it out way sooner just by looking at the papers and brushes they had on their tables but I guess I was to focused on the people in the room.Bookmark here

“I see, thank you for the info, I will leave you to your work.”Bookmark here

Finally I reached the actual literary club room at the end of the hallway; now my journey can have an end.Bookmark here

Or so I thought. After knocking several times I couldn’t get any answer. Rihoko probably already went home and I just wasted lots of time for nothing. Just to be sure I tried opening the door and, to my surprise, it was actually open.Bookmark here

I thought she just forgot to lock it and I decided to have a little peek inside since I was there. I noticed that Rihoko’s bag was still there, along with her coat. There was also a PC, and that got me really interested; I wanted to know the specs of that machine, not that I was expecting it to be something special but, regardless, I entered the room and I quickly reached the PC in search of some stickers that are normally applied to indicate the main components. Bookmark here

To my surprise the computer was unlocked and I could see that on her screen there was a website project created with a simple but rather powerful website creating tool which I was actually pretty familiar with. I didn’t know that Rihoko was also into this kind of stuff.Bookmark here

At the end I decided not to spy anymore at her work so I just waited outside of the room for her to come back and, sure enough, in a couple of minutes she showed up and she was in her long hair version.Bookmark here

“Oh Satoshi, I thought you were going home to study for the finals, why are you still here?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, about that. I should have acted differently before; I’m actually free so if you need something you can ask.”Bookmark here

“No need to worry, I know you don’t really want to be here, you are doing this just to be polite and I respect that. Now I’m fine you can just go home.”Bookmark here

That was painful, I wasn’t expecting such a backfire, if only Hayato had his mouth shut before, this wouldn’t have happened. In the meantime Rihoko was about to go back inside her club room but I decided to do something to truly redeem myself.Bookmark here

“Is it about your website?”Bookmark here

She was closing the door but she immediately stopped.Bookmark here

“I might actually be interested in helping…”Bookmark here

“How did you know?”Bookmark here

“Well, the door was open but you weren’t inside and I just had a little glimpse at your work, I didn’t mean to be too nosy.”Bookmark here

“Are you really interested?” The fact that she wasn’t even concerned by the fact that I sneaked inside her club room and looked at her computer was somewhat of a relief.Bookmark here

“Yes I am.”Bookmark here

She opened the door and let me in.Bookmark here

“How much of my work did you look?”Bookmark here

“Not much just what was on the screen, I didn’t touch anything. I could only notice that you are creating some sort of blog, am I right?”Bookmark here

Shortly her face turned into the usual red color: “Indeed… it could sound stupid but I want to make a “books review blog” where I publish my opinions on the books that I read. Unfortunately I’m not really good at it.”Bookmark here

This might actually be interesting, at the end of the day when it comes to computers I usually enjoy what I do, damn Hayato was right this time.Bookmark here

“When did you start working on it?”Bookmark here

“Actually just today, It was one of Miss Kamuro suggestions. Are you really sure you want to help me?”Bookmark here

“Yes, don’t worry I really don’t have anything better to do, but how did you know I could help… oh of course Miss Kamuro…”Bookmark here

Rihoko nodded with her red face and invited me to have a seat next to her in front of the computer and we started working of her website. It was pretty setting everything up; the pain was trying to satisfy the design ideas of Rihoko and her obsession to change color to pretty much everything.Bookmark here

In the end we spent two hours working, or should I say “I spent” but if was quite fun. It was quite late and we decided to call it a day.Bookmark here

“Thank you, thank you very much for your precious time and sorry for being too picky sometimes, you don’t know how much this means to me. I won’t bother you anymore; I think I have learned enough to be fine on myself.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean? I can come and help until we are finished, besides there is still some complicated stuff to do before putting the website online.”Bookmark here

“But your studies, I don’t want to be a weight to you”Bookmark here

Here we go again; she should really do something about her face turning red. By the way, yes, I was willing to help her again. What can I say? Sometimes I’m just too generous.Bookmark here

“I still have plenty of time in the evening, besides, the sooner we finish, the sooner we can both have more time to study.”Bookmark here

“I can’t thank you enough, oh wait a second.” And she vanished again.Bookmark here

She shortly reappeared with two cans of soda.Bookmark here

“This is for you.” She handed one of them to me “It’s just another way to say thank you.”Bookmark here

Look at that I even gained a free drink; I won’t tell Hayato otherwise he will endlessly say to me “I told you it was worth it!!!” No thank you, no more losing so easily to Hayato.Bookmark here

“Thanks a lot, I certainly needed a drink.”Bookmark here

I was still a bit curious about the situation of the literary club, was Rihoko the only member?Bookmark here

“I was wondering, how many members does the literary club have. I heard you got moved here to make room for bigger clubs even though it’s hard to believe that there are so many people interested in calligraphy.”Bookmark here

“Unfortunately I’m the only member. I inherited the club this year when the last members graduated at the end of last year. I haven’t been able to gather any new member so that’s why I tried many different things, from suggesting books to read, to creating a website to promote not only my reviews but also the club. My dream would be to graduate next year knowing that the literary club will be in the hands of someone with my same passion for books. I feel like next year is the most important one, that’s why I’m already starting preparations for advertizing the club during this year.”Bookmark here

That explains many things; unfortunately I’m not really the type who knows how to talk to people so I don’t really have any kind of suggestions to improve her recruitment campaign. To me, her ideas are all innovative and unique, hopefully they will work out.Bookmark here

“I see, I think that if you keep this up you will manage to find someone who’s willing to join the club.”Bookmark here

We finally got out of school and after other many thanks from Rihoko, I got to my underground station. One on the train I started thinking again about that damn paper Miss Kamuro gave us. It’s wired how much of an impact it had on me.Bookmark here

I guess Rihoko’s plans would be to work in the book industry, maybe as a publisher or something like that. My statistics still are proven true, it was almost certain that she was going to choose a path related to the liberal arts. I don’t know why she was so insecure about it and needed to speak with Miss Kamuro, I guess it’s in her nature to be a bit more hesitating.Bookmark here

Nonetheless I got home and guess what…Bookmark here

“Hey big brother, is it becoming a habit to come home late without even a heads up?”Bookmark here

Exactly, I can’t escape my nosy little sister, but this time it’s going to be different, I want to have some fun too.Bookmark here

“I thought you would be happy if I were out with a girl.”Bookmark here

“WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!?! Are you being serious? You sure you are feeling all right? Did you catch a cold? ”Bookmark here

“I’m all good thanks. You don’t have to react like that.”Bookmark here

“I have all the right to react like that, let me just write down the date you finally got out with a girl so that we won’t ever forget this day. Now you have to tell your little sister every detail. What’s her name? Is she cute? Cuter than me? Did you kidnap her?”Bookmark here

Even though she was clearly having fun of me, I was having my moment of glory but it couldn’t last for much longer.Bookmark here

“It’s not really what you think; I stayed at school to help the literary club president to build her own website. You know Rihoko, I told you about her yesterday.”Bookmark here

“It was too good to be true. Did she ask her for your help?”Bookmark here

“Yes, why you ask?”Bookmark here

“Well at least she had the courage to talk to someone like you; maybe all hopes are not gone yet.”Bookmark here

“If you are interested, the next days we will be staying at school again, so don’t expect me to come home early.”Bookmark here

“She must be really cute to convince you to stay at school many hours after the end of classes for more than one day, now I have to watch out for the competition.”Bookmark here

“You can stop the teasing now, I’m going to get changed so we can have dinner.”Bookmark here

I still had to fill in my sister about every single detail; it felt more like an interrogation rather than a traditional family dinner. But it was not over yet, tomorrow I had to face an even bigger opponent…Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.