Chapter 31:

On a Job with Her (3)

Confession Games

After that inspirational line from Arisugawa, we went down the stairs and took a left turn to reach the staff room. The task we needed to complete was the same as usual, just carrying some materials from the staff room to other places and vice-versa. We started off each holding a box of folders that needed to go to one of the labs on the third floor. The box was only a few kilograms in mass, but I felt like this was my chance, so once we were out of the staff room I told Arisugawa that I could carry her luggage if her arms got tired.Bookmark here

"I'll be fine, but thanks," she replied.Bookmark here

Knowing her, she would never give up on her duty unless there was no other way, so I was aware that even if I directly told her to give me her box, I would probably be glared at like a nuisance. And that was a nightmare I didn't want to experience.Bookmark here

The two of us carried the box silently towards our destination, took what we were supposed to carry back and returned. Little words were exchanged during this process, but I was happy as long as she was here with me. On our second trip, we went to the third floor, this time to a storage room. I knew from experience since I came here before with Zakushi, but when I opened the door to the storage room, I still grimaced from the wealth of dust. I was surprised by how much dust was in here when this school was so recently built, but there seemed to have been a consensus that this room would never be cleaned.Bookmark here

"Should we have brought extra equipment to deal with this?" Arisugawa pondered.Bookmark here

"Hmm, maybe we should get the club together to clean it as a service to the staff," I suggested.Bookmark here

"That's a good idea. I'll try to work it out after this."Bookmark here

Slightly blushing from her praise, I stepped forward into the storage room, rested the box I had on a dusty desk near the wall and bravely faced Arisugawa.Bookmark here

"Let me handle this."Bookmark here

As I expected, she was quick to shake her head in refusal.
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"No, we should both do this since we came here as a pair."Bookmark here

I nearly grinned when she called us a pair, but I swiftly restrained myself and used my planned reasoning.Bookmark here

"That's true, but I don't think this is the right environment for the two of us to work together," I said while pointing at the cluttered mess that was this room. The lightbulb didn't seem to be working so I could only barely see enough space for one person to move around.Bookmark here

At my urging, Arisugawa eventually accepted my proposal.
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"Fine, I'll wait for you to finish. Make sure to call if you need help."
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"Got it."Bookmark here

Glad to be useful as the vice-president, a role that I sometimes forgot I had, I quickly got to working. If I was by myself, I would have just pushed some things out of the way and dropped the boxes, but since Arisugawa was here I tried being a little thorough.Bookmark here

I took out the face mask which just so happened to be in my pocket, don't ask, and started organizing the items in the room as quickly as possible. I would have liked to say that I had a tougher job cleaning Ms. Aria's apartment, but that would be taking it a tiny bit too far.Bookmark here

In a couple minutes, my work was almost complete, so I took a look to see if Arisugawa was bored, but drew my head back as soon as I spotted him in front of her.Bookmark here

'Why the hell is he here?!'Bookmark here

Standing before Arisugawa, wearing a blue tie with a smile radiating confidence and a dangerous yet appealing aura, was the enemy boss that I had to defeat, Daiki Hiroki.Bookmark here

I panicked as I wondered if he came all the way here for me, but as I eavesdropped on their conversation I realized that I was wrong.Bookmark here

"What do you think?" Hiroki asked.Bookmark here

"Not even worth considering."Bookmark here

I wasn't sure what the topic was, but I gulped when Arisugawa gave a firm refusal. I knew I didn't have to worry about Arisugawa, but I clenched my fist and paid very close attention to Hiroki's movements, just in case.Bookmark here

"Wow, that's pretty harsh, you know. I already told you that I can handle everything as long as you agree, and surely you know that I can be a valuable asset, so why can't you give me a chance?" Bookmark here

Hiroki said this with a pleading tone, but not once did his proud expression fade.Bookmark here

"It's simple. You're not worth the trouble. I have no need for conflict between club members. It may happen regardless of my wishes but I can't be the one to facilitate it."Bookmark here

Once I heard her response, I started to comprehend what they were talking about.Bookmark here

'Damn it, that guy's trying to squeeze himself into the club. Good thing Arisugawa's against it.'Bookmark here

Relieved that he wouldn't be able to force himself into the club, I cleaned my ears out for his reaction.Bookmark here

"Hehe, so that's why. Do you really think that kid is a better option than me?"Bookmark here

Without hesitation, Arisugawa answered, "Yes," much faster than I would have.Bookmark here

I didn't expect her to have such a high opinion of me, so much so that I wasn't even sure how to feel about it. Of course I should be glad but, I couldn't help questioning if I was a match for the person she saw me as.Bookmark here

"Hoh~, looks I've underestimated that kid. To think you of all people would defend him, 'critique princess'."Bookmark here

"My evaluation of my suitors and my evaluation of my associates are separate."Bookmark here

"Is that really so? What do you think, kid?"Bookmark here

My name wasn't called, but I flinched since I knew that he had pointed me out. After thinking about it for around two seconds, I came out of the storage room and approached.Bookmark here

Arisugawa didn't seem to be surprised that I was listening to them, so the first thing she asked me about was work.Bookmark here

"Are you finished?"Bookmark here

"Well, mostly."Bookmark here

"Hmm, then we'll stop here for today since there's an unwanted guest."Bookmark here

Arisugawa then turned around and headed straight for the stairs. I blanked out for a second at the sight of her shiny hair waving in the air as she moved, but then I nervously looked between her and Hiroki.Bookmark here

'Should I really leave now?'Bookmark here

However, the moment Arisugawa said, "Akishiro?" I erased Hiroki from my sight and went after her.Bookmark here

"I look forward to hearing your answer to my question."Bookmark here

I also stopped whatever he was saying from affecting my heart. Bookmark here

When I caught up to Arisugawa, there was silence, but as we went down the stairs I found the courage to speak to her.Bookmark here

"Um, Arisugawa, could I ask you something?"Bookmark here

"What is it?"Bookmark here

"...Why did you make me Vice-President?"Bookmark here

I had thought about this question many times before, but because I was afraid of what the answer would be, I never said it out loud. However, after witnessing Arisugawa defend me, I felt like I could ask this without fear of it destroying our relationship.Bookmark here

Before she answered me, Arisugawa glanced at me, and seeing her well-sculpted face this close caused my heart to skip a beat. Dark eyes that could see through me, snow-white skin untouched by the troubles of nature and light pink lips that enticed me. At this range, where I could almost feel her breath, my limit was only a few seconds. After that, I awkwardly looked away from her. Bookmark here

Once I broke eye contact, she also moved her gaze away and replied, "That's why."Bookmark here

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"Though I can trust Sachi, I knew she wouldn't accept an official position. Kanami was also not an option because although she's a sweet girl who can follow instructions, I couldn't see her as the type to stand her ground against other clubs. As for Zakushi, I like that he can find the flaws in my plans and provide helpful suggestions, but I doubt that he would ever be obedient. Therefore, I chose the boy who I knew wouldn't refuse since he liked me."
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"Huh?!"Bookmark here

I flinched and shouted in panic at the fear that Arisugawa knew about my feelings.Bookmark here

'This isn't good. I'm not prepared! My heart isn't ready for her evaluation!'Bookmark here

Scared that I would be a crying mess soon, my hands trembled. Luckily, Arisugawa wasn't that perceptive.Bookmark here

"Calm down. I can tell when someone has a good impression of me but I don't know if it's romantic feelings or just fondness. And even if I was sure, it's my policy to never respond to someone's feelings unless they express it themselves. But if you do want to confess to me, please wait until after we finish this request."Bookmark here

Listening to how relaxed and confident her tone was, my heart calmed down. There was even a wry smile on my face. Bookmark here

'It's kind of refreshing how unmoved she sounds.'Bookmark here

"No, I'm good. Was that the only reason?"Bookmark here

I could understand her basis for making me vice-president, but I still hoped that there was something else. Bookmark here

"No, if I had to say it, I was also curious like the rest of our schoolmates. No matter what role you were placed in our club to play, I wondered why you, out of all of the students were chosen."Bookmark here

"And, did you find the answer?"Bookmark here

"No, but at the very least I don't think the teachers made a bad decision."Bookmark here

It could barely be considered a compliment, but it was enough for me nod with a faint smile.Bookmark here

"Thanks."Bookmark here

"You're welcome. In exchange for answering your question, could you do me a favour?"Bookmark here

I raised an eyebrow in curiosity and responded, "Sure."Bookmark here

"Make up with Kanami."Bookmark here

That was her order.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.