Chapter 29:

On a Job with Her

Confession Games

After breakfast, I left the dishes to Naoya and took a bath. Then, when he went to bathe, I went over to Ms. Aria's apartment. Though I only notified her a few minutes in advance, she had the money ready the moment I entered.


Facing her without any of her usual carefree aura, I nervously accepted the paper bills and verified that it was the same amount as last week. In other words, my work in keeping the club together was still accounted for. I hesitated about taking this money at first, but then I changed my mind and looked straight into her eyes.

"Uh, I-I'll make sure to, carry out my job."

I was worried about if my intentions came out properly, but her gentle smile that warmed my chest reassured me.


With this, the last chain around my heart was broken. Regardless of whether or not I could come up with a good enough plan, I would definitely make it through this. 

For the rest of the day, against his wishes, I helped Naoya catch up with what he missed in class. Although I wasn't a straight-A student, I always made sure I had a decent comprehension of the topics being taught in each subject.

During our study session, Arisugawa posted the pairs who would work together on Monday.

{Club request - Ryuuto Zakushi & Kanami Kirisaki}
{Staff request - Hinata Arisugawa & Haruto Akishiro}
{Standby - Sachiko Amakawa}

Even though I knew that it was at random and that my partner might be different next week, I couldn't stop the joy that overflowed when I saw my name next to hers. However, at the same time I was reminded. If I didn't overcome my problem then this could be the last chance for me to be this close to her. 

'I must win.'

As cringey as it sounded, I felt the power of love strengthening my determination.

"Hey, Haruto, what's with that grin on your face? Are you looking at something dirty?"

"Oh shut up and finish that algebra!"

The next day, Naoya and I left for school together. There was no need to worry about bumping into Ms. Aria since she left earlier than we did, but I still made sure that we didn't have to pass by her door on our way out.

The scenery on the way to school felt a little different with Naoya by my side, but the glares were the same as before. Maybe I should be glad that my treatment wasn't noticeably worse, but things changed now that they had a valid reason to criticize me.

"Can you believe him?"

"He's not even in it because he likes volunteering."

"What a skirt-chaser."

"His friend's the same too."

I thought I could endure it like before, but I felt a chip in my heart's wall once they started berating Naoya as well. I sent a vicious glare at the perpetrators but they only snorted and turned away. As I kept staring at them, Naoya tapped my shoulder and turned my attention back to him.

"What are you looking at? There's nothing there."

"But they-"

"They, who? I can't acknowledge the presence of someone who only whispers. If all they can do is talk, then let them. If they have the balls to get in our way and say it to our faces, then we can make quick work of them."

I gasped at his fearless attitude and immediately tried to adapt to this advice. I had to remember, there was only one enemy I needed to focus on. Everyone else was just an extra.

It didn't really fit my personality, but as I tried to counter their malicious whispers with contempt, I could feel my steps getting lighter. 

'Just because I can be a coward doesn't mean I have to mind other cowards. If they really hate me then they'll take some action. Otherwise they're just part of the mob. The mob rife with jealousy.'

"Fu..." I exhaled a steady breath as I perfected this new perspective.

"Wow, and I thought I was the actor here," Naoya commented.

I felt a little proud that I won Naoya's praise, but I quickly humbled myself.

"No, I can only do this because none of them are too close. I'm sure I'll be as nervous as before once we get to class," I replied with a wry smile.

"Maybe so, but you shouldn't worry," Naoya puffed out his chest and continued, "I'll be there to protect you."

"Yeah, than-"

"Unless it's the KKFC, then you're on your own."

"You damn traitor!" I shouted.

However, I understood the terror of the Kanami Kirisaki Fan Club (KKFC). One of their most horrifying tales was about how they forced a guy to quit school after he stole a book that Kirisaki had and threw it away. While he was a bully, everyone was at least a little sorry for him once they saw that clip of him running home in nothing but his underwear after the KKFC ripped his uniform off. 

No one knew how the fan club was never caught, or how Kirisaki was oblivious to the truth of the incident to this day, but no one was daring enough to challenge them.

I got to school and faced a larger number of hate and envy filled gazes, but I could now ignore them to a near perfect degree. Unfortunately once I got to class, things were just as I predicted. I tried to block them out as best I could, but as soon as I took my seat, Kenta and his group came.

"Oi, I heard you're only in that club so you can go after a girl. Don't you feel ashamed?" Kenta asked with disdain.

Now, let's backtrack for a moment. I felt frustrated inside and outside class because of the whispering and minor acts of bullying, as well as the restrictions placed on my own actions. However, maybe due to the leftover superiority I was pumping myself with, I chuckled when Kenta came over to bother me. 

If I could give an example, it would be like I was being teased by mosquitoes which I couldn't catch, and then I found that one ant biting me.


"Hideo, don't-" 

Naoya got ready to defend me, but I raised my hand to stop him as I suddenly got a good idea.

'Why don't I get some practice on him?'

As Kenta, Hideo or whatever stood in front of me, I realized how little I feared him once he was this close. He couldn't be compared to Hiroki, but stress relief seemed like enough of a reason to use him.

"Ashamed? Why would I be ashamed?" I asked with a daring smile.

Kenta looked confused for a moment before barking back.

"Huh? Because you're obviously only in the club so you can watch that poor girl. You damn stalker."

"Hmph, listen closely monkey."


"Assuming I do, why should I be ashamed for liking one of them? Aren't all of them exceptionally beautiful girls with great personalities?"

"Uh, that's..."

Kenta flinched and looked back at his friends for help, an obvious sign of his incompetence. Still, I didn't plan on drawing this out so I continued with my offense.

"Explain it to me. I got into that club because of a recommendation, and even if I did like one of them, and that's part of the reason why I want to stay, what's wrong with that? Are you really going to preach to me as if everyone should only have one hundred percent pure motives for being in a club? A matter of fact, you aren't even in a club so what right do you have to lecture me?"

I could feel my enjoyment growing from seeing their stupid, panicking faces, and so did my courage. As I leaned back in my chair like a tyrant, I watched him spout out his last words.

"Bu-but, you're still a stalker!"

"Wow, did you really just use your own imagination to blame me? Where's your evidence? What are you, an over-jealous girlfriend who saw that in a dream? Tell you what, monkey, why don't you and the ape gang go back to your seats and we end things here?"


Enraged by my taunt, the monkey reached for my collar, but this was fine too. I was feeling better after slamming him with all of the arguments I had bottled up, but if he wanted to activate my trap card and get himself suspended that was fine too.

However, perhaps he still had enough brain cells to recognize his disadvantage, as he stopped himself and stomped away with the rest of the group.

"Too easy."

"Not bad man, I got everything on camera," Naoya said.

I didn't get it at first, but once I did, I swung my head in Naoya's direction.

"Wait, what?!"

"And, post."


I was only able to say all of that stuff because I used up all of my built-up frustration, but now that I was in my normal mind, I realized how arrogant and crazy I was a while ago. I immediately stretched out my hand to grab the phone out of Naoya's hand, but by then it was too late.

'Damn it! Curse this school and its high internet speed!'

"Calm down. Trust me, after people see this video they'll have to think twice before messing with you," said Naoya as he tried to smooth things over.

"While that would be nice, I would rather it not result from my already bad reputation getting worse."


Naoya scratched his head and acknowledged his mistake so I only sighed and looked at the video he posted on the school forum thinking, maybe it wouldn't be that bad. However, as I watched the video that captured the profiles of Kenta and I, I was absolutely certain. 

'I'm the villain here, aren't I.'