Chapter 11:

Clear Mind

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.Bookmark here

"Great lecture, Fuku-sensei," I said as I approached her at her desk.Bookmark here

"Thanks, Miyahara-kun. How is your project going?"Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"And what is that?"Bookmark here

"Blostars."Bookmark here

"What a cute name!" she squealed. "And you'll be surrounded by girls, too. You're a lucky guy."Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark 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."Bookmark here

"But if I get too involved with an employee, it will affect my decision making. Even if it's subconsciously."Bookmark here

"A good manager can and will overcome that. To thrive, you need a strong mind."Bookmark here

"I see."Bookmark here

"You believe you can do that?"Bookmark here

"I… don't."Bookmark here

"I do. I believe in you. Gather experience and you'll find out."Bookmark here

We stared at each other for a moment in silence. She never stopped smiling, while I probably looked like an idiot.Bookmark here

This is why I like her.Bookmark here

"Summarizing, you can date them if you want. Only one at a time, of course."Bookmark here

"No, no. I only like you—"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

What did you just say, dumbass?!Bookmark here

After an eternal silence, she snickered.Bookmark here

"That's sweet, Miyahara-kun. But you're my student and I'm your professor, it wouldn't be right."Bookmark here

I moved my hand away. "But… didn't you say it doesn't matter as long as you are professional about it?"Bookmark here

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."Bookmark here

With her belongings in her hands, she walked towards the door.Bookmark here

"Let's stay like this for now, okay? Don't hesitate to ask me anything if you have questions about your business."Bookmark here

"Sure…"Bookmark here

After a kind smile, she left the room.Bookmark here

I'm an idiot, I just ruined our relationship…Bookmark here

Embarrassed and defeated, I walked out of the room.Bookmark here

Wait, she said for now. She never said no, did she?Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I finished getting ready and only then did I realize what I was doing.Bookmark here

Why am I dressing like this to visit her? We are just going to talk for a bit. I guess it doesn't matter.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

There were almost ten minutes left when I arrived at her door, but I rang the bell anyway.Bookmark here

"Come in!" she answered right away.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Where's Aki?Bookmark here

"I'm showering!" she shouted at my left.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Are you serious?!Bookmark here

"Give me a couple of minutes," she added.Bookmark here

"S-Sure."Bookmark here

She got inside and closed the door.Bookmark here

I can't believe it…Bookmark here

Suddenly, a strong smell hit my nose. In the same corridor, there was a cooking pot on top of the stove.Bookmark here

It smells delicious. Wait, is she cooking for us?Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I leaned against the wall and used my glasses to distract myself. I read some news, modified documents, and thought about Fuku-sensei.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Looks like she didn't think too much about her outfit. Still, she's pretty…Bookmark here

"You stood there for two minutes?" she asked.Bookmark here

"Five. And yes, I couldn't find a place to sit."Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

"Don't worry, my place isn't much better."Bookmark here

She smiled. "You could've just moved stuff around to sit."Bookmark here

"I didn't dare touch anything."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I hadn't noticed that there was a table to sit at.Bookmark here

"Please take a seat," she said.Bookmark here

"Sure, thanks."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"I see you got well dressed," she said.Bookmark here

"Yeah… I didn't know what to wear. It's the first time I've come into a girl's apartment, you know?"Bookmark here

"Seriously? I would've guessed the opposite."Bookmark here

Is she implying I'm good-looking?Bookmark here

"And don't worry, those clothes are fine. But, can I give you a little tip?"Bookmark here

"Yes?"Bookmark here

"Try wearing something more colorful. Since we are going to be famous, you should worry more about your looks. I can help you."Bookmark here

"But I won't be on stage or anything like that."Bookmark here

"It still matters."Bookmark here

"Okay, I'll work on that."Bookmark here

She snickered. We stayed silent for a brief moment.Bookmark here

"Aki, I wanted to tell you something."Bookmark here

"Yes?"Bookmark here

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."Bookmark here

Aki sighed. She stopped stirring the pot and sat at the other side of the small table.Bookmark here

"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?"Bookmark here

The question took me by surprise. "I… You're attractive. Very. But I don't know if I like you."Bookmark here

"Do you like someone else?"Bookmark here

I opened my mouth to answer, but I hesitated.Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

Easy, huh? If only I wasn't this doubtful…Bookmark here

Suddenly, the doorbell rang. Aki stood up and ran to the bathroom. She came back with her glasses on.Bookmark here

"Sorry, I need to answer," she said.Bookmark here

"Sure."Bookmark here

She walked behind me and opened the door, whilst I remained sitting.Bookmark here

This is not going as I planned.Bookmark here

"What is it, Aunt?" Aki asked. "It's quite late."Bookmark here

Aunt?Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, I just came back from shopping. There was a sale, so I bought groceries for you. You can pay me later."Bookmark here

Wait, that voice…Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Thanks! But at least you could've called to ask me if I needed them," Aki said.Bookmark here

"My bad. I will next time, I promise."Bookmark here

No, it can't be.Bookmark here

"It's fine. Well, see you tomorrow."Bookmark here

Aki tried to close the door, but her aunt stopped her. She started pushing the door open.Bookmark here

"Why such a rush? Can't I stay for a minute—"Bookmark here

The gap was finally big enough to see behind.Bookmark here

Fuku-sensei?!Bookmark here

Cel T.
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