Chapter 15:

Blossom Stars

I Became the Manager of the First Galactical Idols

Since the incident at Aki's apartment happened, I had only asked Professor Fuku questions about the business registration process. Today was the first time she called me to her desk after that happened.Bookmark here

"Yes?" I answered when I approached her at her desk.Bookmark here

"How's your business doing? Have you had any problems?"Bookmark here

"It's progressing well. I haven't had problems with the legal stuff. Thanks to your lectures, everything is familiar."Bookmark here

"I'm glad to hear that," she smiled.Bookmark here

After an awkward silence, I spoke, "About what happened at Aki's—"Bookmark here

"It's fine, you don't need to justify anything. You're both adults and can do what you want, as long as you're responsible."Bookmark here

"Yes, I know. But there's nothing between us. She's one of the members of the group I'm managing and she wanted to show me something."Bookmark here

"I figured as much. That's what got me worried. Did she tell you about her parents?"Bookmark here

"She did."Bookmark here

"Then you understand why I feel like that. I know she's an adult but, for my brother and his wife, she's still a kid. They won't stop protecting her. Do you know how hard it was to convince them to let Aki live alone?"Bookmark here

"Wait, is that why you live close to her?"Bookmark here

"Exactly, so I can watch over her."Bookmark here

"Okay, that's a bit too much."Bookmark here

"I know, right? I need and can afford a bigger apartment, but I'm doing it for Aki. Please don't tell her that."Bookmark here

"Don't worry, I won't."Bookmark here

We stayed silent again, but it wasn't awkward anymore. We glanced at each other a couple of times and looked away.Bookmark here

"It's fun talking with you, Miyahara."Bookmark here

My heart jumped. "I-I feel the same," I giggled.Bookmark here

"I'll tell you an embarrassing secret." She leaned forward and whispered in my ear, "I don't have many friends."Bookmark here

"Really?"Bookmark here

She nodded. "I guess that's why I enjoy chatting with you so much."Bookmark here

"But not even other professors are your friends?"Bookmark here

"They are more acquaintances than friends. You're the only one I tell many things about myself to."Bookmark here

"Now I feel special."Bookmark here

She chuckled. "Do you want to see a picture of me in high school?"Bookmark here

"Of course!"Bookmark here

"Quite eager I see," she laughed. "Allow me to send the picture to your glasses."Bookmark here

My glasses vibrated in my pocket. I put them on and accepted the request. A picture of four high-school girls appeared. I looked at it for a moment but was unable to recognize Professor Fuku.Bookmark here

"You don't know who I am, do you?"Bookmark here

"No, sorry."Bookmark here

"Why do you apologize? You're weird," she snickered. "I am the girl with the big, round glasses."Bookmark here

"Really?!"Bookmark here

I couldn't believe it. Her glasses were comically big and her pigtails didn't help at all. She had the typical nerdy look.Bookmark here

Her body developed really well after high school…Bookmark here

"I was the nerd of the class. My personality was… quirky, to say the least. To be honest, it still is."Bookmark here

"Is it? But you are so calm and gentle and… nevermind."Bookmark here

"This is just a façade. Obviously, I want to look cool in front of my students."Bookmark here

"I see. Now I'm curious about your real personality."Bookmark here

She smiled. "Do you want to walk together for a little?"Bookmark here

My breathing stopped.Bookmark here

Am I dreaming?Bookmark here

Professor Fuku's hand swayed in front of me.Bookmark here

"Hello? Miyahara?"Bookmark here

"Y-Yes, let's walk together!"Bookmark here

Following her chuckle, we stepped out of the room and headed downstairs. We walked through the gardens of the campus under the dark sky full of stars. Chatting about our teenage years, I was able to get a peek at her real, silly personality. It was a dream come true.Bookmark here

Suddenly, we were out of the campus and, in the blink of an eye, we already were in front of the apartment buildings. We stepped inside her apartment's block and used the elevator to get to the top-most floor. In what felt like five minutes, we had arrived at her apartment.Bookmark here

"That was fast," Professor Fuku said.Bookmark here

"I know. I… enjoyed it."Bookmark here

"Me too."Bookmark here

She grabbed the handle of the door and it unlocked automatically.Bookmark here

"I would invite you to dinner, but I don't think it's the correct thing to do," she giggled. "Also, my apartment is a mess right now; I'd rather you didn't see it."Bookmark here

"Understandable," I laughed.Bookmark here

"I guess that's it for today. Thank you for accompanying me."Bookmark here

"Likewise."Bookmark here

After exchanging smiles, she pushed the door to step inside, but she stopped.Bookmark here

"Miyahara, I have a question."Bookmark here

"Yes?"Bookmark here

"When you were describing my personality, you said I was calm and gentle, but you hesitated to say something else."Bookmark here

My heart skipped a beat.Bookmark here

"D-Does it matter?"Bookmark here

"I won't be able to sleep if you don't tell me."Bookmark here

I sighed. "Calm, gentle, and… s-sexy."Bookmark here

My face had never felt that hot before. I couldn't look at her. Suddenly, she started laughing in a silly manner, with a nasal sound.Bookmark here

"You made me reveal my embarrassing laugh," she giggled.Bookmark here

How much cuter can she be?!Bookmark here

She composed herself and continued, "I don't know how to feel about that. Thank you, I guess?"Bookmark here

"Y-Yeah…"Bookmark here

"Okay, that's it, for real this time. See you tomorrow at the lecture."Bookmark here

"Goodnight."Bookmark here

She stepped into her apartment and closed the door. I let out a deep breath.Bookmark here

Is all of this real? Anyway, I think it went well. Now I hope I don't run into Aki—Bookmark here

When I turned around to walk back to the elevator, I saw Aki standing in front of her apartment, staring at me with a suspicious look. She quickly unlocked the door and stepped inside the apartment.Bookmark here

You have to be kidding me.Bookmark here

I stood in front of her door. About to ring the bell, I stopped myself and resumed my walk to the elevator.Bookmark here

What are you doing? There's no reason to justify yourself to her. Just leave her alone. Leave her alone. Leave her alone.Bookmark here

As I told myself to leave her alone several times, my body moved on its own and walked back to the apartment to ring the bell. She opened the door a moment later.Bookmark here

"Yes?"Bookmark here

"I was just chatting with her whilst walking to her apartment."Bookmark here

"And why are you telling me?"Bookmark here

"I…"Bookmark here

This is what happens when your body ignores your brain.Bookmark here

"She's the crush you mentioned before, isn't she?"Bookmark here

I opened my mouth but no words came out. Instead, I merely sighed.Bookmark here

"I can't believe I'm competing against my aunt over a guy. And don't think it's as easy for you as letting everything flow on its own. I might like you, but I'm not going to wait until she rejects you; I'm not a backup. You need to make a decision. Goodnight."Bookmark here

Suddenly, her serious tone had changed into a smile. Then she closed the door.Bookmark here

With a bittersweet feeling, I left the building and headed to my apartment. I jumped into my bed and buried my face in the blanket. I let my emotions take over and a muffled yell came out. I didn't know how to feel. I had just walked with Professor Fuku alone under the stars and everything went great: one of my dreams come true. But thinking about Aki made me feel horrible.Bookmark here

Why? I like Professor Fuku, right? Then why? Is it guilt because I made someone feel bad? Or is it because I like Aki too? No, impossible. I've known Professor Fuku for almost four years, while I just met Aki. I shouldn't even doubt it. But then, why?Bookmark here

I spent the next several hours trying to find a reason, unsuccessfully. At some point, I fell asleep. I woke up quite late. After eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, I started playing and didn't stop until it was time to leave for the studio. All the time, I kept thinking about the previous night.Bookmark here

When I arrived at the studio, the girls were already practicing the part of the choreography we had planned the previous day. In fact, they were helping Astra get better at dancing. It had only been one day, but there were remarkable improvements.Bookmark here

Umi played the final version of the song for everyone; it was awesome. She said she wanted to make a few more little tweaks, but it was practically done. Then she would get started with the next song. At that rate, we were going to have enough songs for a small show in a month.Bookmark here

About to give ideas for the title of the song, Umi told us she already had one. In fact, it was the first thing she came up with: Blossom Stars. Everyone agreed it was perfect.Bookmark here

Again, we spent the rest of the day coming up with the second half of the choreography. By the end of the afternoon, we were content with the results. It was only a matter of practicing it frequently.Bookmark here

Whilst they worked hard on the songs, it was my job to get venues for them to perform at.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.