I Became the Manager of the First Galactical Idols
The rest of the afternoon flew by and the last lecture of the day began: Business Administration. As always, Fuku-sensei gave a fun and impeccable class. I stayed after it ended just to talk with her.
"Great lecture, Fuku-sensei," I said as I approached her at her desk.
"Thanks, Miyahara-kun. How is your project going?"
"I wanted to tell you about it. It's going nicely. I improved the document with the tips you gave me after my presentation and I found the girls for the group. We already came up with a name and everything."
"And what is that?"
"What a cute name!" she squealed. "And you'll be surrounded by girls, too. You're a lucky guy."
"W-Well, I don't want to mix my personal life with work that much. And three of them are too young, so I'd rather not. Two of them actually study here."
"Interesting. Let me give you a tip: even though you can avoid mixing personal and work life for a while, eventually, it will get you. But it doesn't matter, just be professional about it."
"But if I get too involved with an employee, it will affect my decision making. Even if it's subconsciously."
"A good manager can and will overcome that. To thrive, you need a strong mind."
"You believe you can do that?"
"I do. I believe in you. Gather experience and you'll find out."
We stared at each other for a moment in silence. She never stopped smiling, while I probably looked like an idiot.
This is why I like her.
"Summarizing, you can date them if you want. Only one at a time, of course."
"No, no. I only like you—"
My hand shut my mouth on its own, but it was too late. Fuku-sensei stared at me. For the first time in three years, her gentle smile disappeared.
What did you just say, dumbass?!
After an eternal silence, she snickered.
"That's sweet, Miyahara-kun. But you're my student and I'm your professor, it wouldn't be right."
I moved my hand away. "But… didn't you say it doesn't matter as long as you are professional about it?"
She was speechless for a second before smiling. "You got me fair and square. Still, it would be weird. And I'm ten years older than you. Oops, I just told you how old I am."
With her belongings in her hands, she walked towards the door.
"Let's stay like this for now, okay? Don't hesitate to ask me anything if you have questions about your business."
After a kind smile, she left the room.
I'm an idiot, I just ruined our relationship…
Embarrassed and defeated, I walked out of the room.
Wait, she said for now. She never said no, did she?
My spirits rose again strangely quickly, yet I stopped myself from fantasizing. After calming myself down, I headed to my apartment. I continued making the documents for the registration and relaxed for a bit before visiting Aki. Though it was impossible not to think about Fuku-sensei.
Even though the building where Aki lived was five minutes away at most, I was ready to go out half an hour before the time she told me to come over. I showered and put on decent clothes: a white jacket with black stripes and a gray T-shirt underneath, accompanied by a pair of black jeans and white shoes.
I finished getting ready and only then did I realize what I was doing.
Why am I dressing like this to visit her? We are just going to talk for a bit. I guess it doesn't matter.
With fifteen minutes remaining, I put on my glasses and headed out of my apartment. I took the elevator down to the first floor and stepped out of the building. I walked to the building next to it and got in the elevator. Her apartment was on the twentieth floor, the last one.
There were almost ten minutes left when I arrived at her door, but I rang the bell anyway.
"Come in!" she answered right away.
The door was unlocked, so I stepped inside and closed the door behind me. Her apartment had outfits everywhere I looked, but they looked more like costumes instead of ordinary outfits. Piles of drawings also hung on the walls or on top of tables. The tiny apartment was cramped with colorful things, yet everything seemed organized.
"I'm showering!" she shouted at my left.
I looked into the corridor of the apartment. She peeked out from inside the bathroom with her loose hair dripping onto the floor. I snapped my head away.
Are you serious?!
"Give me a couple of minutes," she added.
She got inside and closed the door.
I can't believe it…
Suddenly, a strong smell hit my nose. In the same corridor, there was a cooking pot on top of the stove.
It smells delicious. Wait, is she cooking for us?
With nothing to do, I looked for a place to sit down and wait, but there was no space anywhere. The two chairs in the room had clothes or drawings. Even the bed was practically full. Only the floor had a bit of free space, enough to walk through the apartment, but I wasn't going to sit on the floor.
I leaned against the wall and used my glasses to distract myself. I read some news, modified documents, and thought about Fuku-sensei.
Five minutes later, she came out of the bathroom. She was already dressed in a long, loose T-shirt. Her hair was still loose as well.
Looks like she didn't think too much about her outfit. Still, she's pretty…
"You stood there for two minutes?" she asked.
"Five. And yes, I couldn't find a place to sit."
"Sorry for that, it's very embarrassing," she giggled. "I arrived later than I expected, so I barely had time to start cooking dinner and shower."
"Don't worry, my place isn't much better."
She smiled. "You could've just moved stuff around to sit."
"I didn't dare touch anything."
She crouched down and picked up a pile of clothes; a pillow appeared underneath. She did the same on the other side and then cleared the table.
I hadn't noticed that there was a table to sit at.
"Please take a seat," she said.
I sat down with my legs crossed, whilst Aki returned to the corridor to check on the food. We glanced at each other a few times without saying anything.
"I see you got well dressed," she said.
"Yeah… I didn't know what to wear. It's the first time I've come into a girl's apartment, you know?"
"Seriously? I would've guessed the opposite."
Is she implying I'm good-looking?
"And don't worry, those clothes are fine. But, can I give you a little tip?"
"Try wearing something more colorful. Since we are going to be famous, you should worry more about your looks. I can help you."
"But I won't be on stage or anything like that."
"It still matters."
"Okay, I'll work on that."
She snickered. We stayed silent for a brief moment.
"Aki, I wanted to tell you something."
I took a deep breath. "You said you like me, but I'm not looking to have an intimate relationship with any of my employees. I'm avoiding it, actually. I don't want my decision-making to be affected by it."
Aki sighed. She stopped stirring the pot and sat at the other side of the small table.
"I expected something like that. The problem is, I like you. I haven't felt like this in years and I won't give up that easily." After a moment of staring at each other, she asked, "Kaito, do you like me?"
The question took me by surprise. "I… You're attractive. Very. But I don't know if I like you."
"Do you like someone else?"
I opened my mouth to answer, but I hesitated.
"You do. But I told you I'm not going to give up that easily, didn't I? It's not like I'm going to cheat or anything; I'll beat her fair and square. In the end, it's your decision. Let's both take our time."
Easy, huh? If only I wasn't this doubtful…
Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Aki stood up and ran to the bathroom. She came back with her glasses on.
"Sorry, I need to answer," she said.
She walked behind me and opened the door, whilst I remained sitting.
This is not going as I planned.
"What is it, Aunt?" Aki asked. "It's quite late."
"I'm sorry, I just came back from shopping. There was a sale, so I bought groceries for you. You can pay me later."
Wait, that voice…
I turned around. The door was barely open, I couldn't see behind the door. Aki probably didn't want her aunt to see a guy in her apartment.
"Thanks! But at least you could've called to ask me if I needed them," Aki said.
"My bad. I will next time, I promise."
No, it can't be.
"It's fine. Well, see you tomorrow."
Aki tried to close the door, but her aunt stopped her. She started pushing the door open.
"Why such a rush? Can't I stay for a minute—"
The gap was finally big enough to see behind.