Chapter 20:

Leisure Time

Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~


“H-Haibara-kun… I’m begging you… don’t do this to me! Anything but that!”Bookmark here

“Sorry, senpai. It was inevitable.”Bookmark here

“Noo! Don’t come closer!”Bookmark here

I let out a shriek of fear when Haibara-kun took another step forward and coming closer to me. On his hands are some white thing and a bottle of cursed liquid that I hate the most.Bookmark here

“Don’t run away, senpai! I promise, I’ll be gentle.”Bookmark here

“That’s not the point!! You’re lying, aren’t you?! It will hurt!”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” he stopped for a moment and fell in deep thought.Bookmark here

On the other hand, I took a step back and prepared myself for my escape. Bookmark here

“I don’t want to do this but you left me with no other choice,” he mumbled with a dark expression on his face.Bookmark here

W-what is he going to do?! He looks scary! Bookmark here

“H-Haibara-kun… d-don’t do something bad…” I stuttered in fear.Bookmark here

The way he looks at me right now made it seem like I was a fugitive being cornered in a dark alleyway. Bookmark here

Then, lights will be flashed to my direction and officers will take me into custody. Uuu, why did it turn out like this?!Bookmark here

“Tsuki-senpai, Asahi-kun, please hold Terushima-senpai!”Bookmark here

“Eek!”Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai grabbed my left arm and Toujo-kun held the right. Bookmark here

“Stop resisting, Terushima-san.” Mashiro-senpai said while showing his disinterest. Bookmark here

“Sorry, Senpai-chan~! No hard feelings~” Toujo-kun playfully said with a wink.Bookmark here

“AAAAAH! LET ME GOOO! KUROKAWA-SENPAI! HELP ME!” Bookmark here

I yelled and begged Kurokawa-senpai who was also there. He was frantically trying to stop Haibara-kun in what he plans to do to me.Bookmark here

“A-Aoi-kun, we shouldn’t force Terushima-san… s-she looks afraid… can we think of other way?”Bookmark here

That’s right! That’s right! Please convince them, Kurokawa-senpai! You’re my only hope! Bookmark here

“That’s no good, Kaichou!” Haibara-kun rebutted. Bookmark here

“B-but…” Kurokawa-senpai looks down and fiddled with his fingers in anxiety.Bookmark here

Nooo! Don’t lose, Kurokawa-senpai! Bookmark here

“Kaichou, listen, if we leave her be, it will become more threatening. The worst case scenario is that she could die,” Haibara-kun seriously said.Bookmark here

“WHY ARE YOU EXAGGERATING A SIMPLE SCRATCH?! I WON’T DIE FROM THIS!” I snapped at him.Bookmark here

To make this situation clear, they are tending to the wounds on my neck that I got back on the last case. When the ghost strangled me, I struggled with everything I got and scratched myself which ended up with me being injured.Bookmark here

And Haibara-kun was the person in-charge of fixing my wounds. I was fine with it at first but…Bookmark here

It was a different talk if he will use THAT.Bookmark here

“S-sorry, Terushima-san… just bear with it please… you can’t die… okay…?” Kurokawa-senpai cried as he stared at me in concern. Bookmark here

Haibara-kun smiled confidently as if he was satisfied that he managed to convince Kurokawa-senpai that they will corner me like this.Bookmark here

I squinted my eyes at him. Bookmark here

I won’t die with a scratch! Bookmark here

“Pfft.” Bookmark here

I glared to the direction of the person who laughed and saw Mikejima-kun trying to hold his laughter.Bookmark here

“What are you laughing there, Mikejima-kun?!” Bookmark here

“Pfft… n-nothing.”Bookmark here

“You just laughed!”Bookmark here

“Pwahahahaha! What are you, a kid?! You’re still afraid of alcohol at your age?!” He pointed me while laughing out loud as if he’s enjoying himself insulting me.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to hear that from you of all people!” I retorted back.Bookmark here

Uuuu, please let me live. Anything but putting alcohol on my wounds. It stings like hell! It was more painful than the wound itself!Bookmark here

“Alright! Here we go!”Bookmark here

“Noooooo!!!”Bookmark here

I was held on both arms and no matter how much I struggled, they won’t budge an inch. Of course, there was a difference in strength.Bookmark here

Kurokawa-senpai was nervously watching at us, his conscience might be bothering him for abandoning me like this. Bookmark here

Mikejima-kun is leaning on the wall farther away and laughing at me with everything he got. That guy!Bookmark here

After what seemed like an endless hell of screams and suffering, they let me go. I flopped to the floor right away out of exhaustion.Bookmark here

Damn it, I’ll be careful not to get injured again. The people here make small things like this a big deal, I better keep that in mind.Bookmark here

“Senpai-chan, are you still alive?” Toujo-kun poked my cheeks while I still feel soulless from what I just suffered.Bookmark here

“I hate alcohol, don’t let me see that bottle again or I’ll pour everything out.” I emotionlessly mumbled.Bookmark here

“You must not waste like that, senpai-chan!” Toujo-kun pouted.Bookmark here

I feel horrible… Haibara-kun treated my wounds but compared to how he do it, the process is particularly draining.Bookmark here

Uuuu, I want to cry.Bookmark here

“A-are you o-okay, Terushima-san…?” Bookmark here

I was out of it to pay attention to the person who asked that so I just answered whatever comes to my mind.Bookmark here

“Do I look okay to you?” I said bountly.Bookmark here

In the blink of an eye, the atmosphere suddenly became suffocating as I felt hostility aimed to me. Bookmark here

Hmm? What’s going on?Bookmark here

I lifted my glance and saw Kurokawa-senpai, he was looking away with tears forming on the side of his eyes. He was trying to hold back his tears as he pressed his lips tightly to prevent a sob from escaping. Bookmark here

Wait…Bookmark here

My eyes widened with the sudden realization.Bookmark here

Crap… I messed up! I spoke bluntly to Kurokawa-senpai! Bookmark here

“S-sorry for asking… I… I’m just an insensitive senpai, right…? Uuu, I’m horrible…” he mumbled continuously as he started sulking in the corner of the room.Bookmark here

It completely slipped from my mind! I didn’t mean to put it that way! I mean… I may be blunt but… I don’t mean to be harsh to him!Bookmark here

“Hikari Terushima. Anything to say in your defense?” Bookmark here

F-full name!! It came again!Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai gave threats while smiling making it twice more frightening. I shivered in fear as I wished to shrink away peacefully. Bookmark here

Please don’t make it painful.Bookmark here

“I-it was a slip of tongue… I didn’t realize that it was Kurokawa-senpai!” I admitted.Bookmark here

“I see.” Mashiro-senpai casted a sharp glance to me as I feel like he’s looking down on me.Bookmark here

W-what is this pressure? It made me drench in sweat as if liters of water has been poured on me.Bookmark here

The way everyone looks on me as if saying, ‘any last words, Terushima?’ made me cry inside my mind.Bookmark here

In the middle of being pressured, the door opened as if a gift from heaven was sent to me. It was Irosaki-sensei.Bookmark here

“Alright, gather up. Save the chatters for later, we’ll have our meeting for the Sports Festival. We only have few weeks left.”Bookmark here

Oh… that’s right! We still need to prepare for festival. Also…Bookmark here

I glanced towards Kurokawa-senpai’s direction.Bookmark here

We need to do something about the phenomenon that mostly affected him. For some reasons, I really have a strange feeling about this.Bookmark here

Everyone decided to let me off the hook for now. Kurokawa-senpai also recovered over the time. And with that, we held our meeting in preparation for the festival.Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

“Here’s what we agreed upon, the third years are in-charge of hosting the whole festival, they will be leading the opening ceremony and all other events,” Irosaki-sensei stated. “Any objections from the third years?”Bookmark here

“Nothing.”Bookmark here

“N-none…”Bookmark here

It was a favorable choice. If the third years will lead the festival, their popularity will surely rise and we can do something about the recognition loss phenomenon around the school.Bookmark here

“Next, Mikejima-kun and Haibara-kun will be in-charge of gathering the list of participants in each classes. The two of you will also promote all over the school to make the event known to everyone.”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

“Understood, sensei.”Bookmark here

“Lastly, Toujo-kun and Terushima-san will be in-charge of technicalities. Part of your work also includes buying equipment, decorations, and preparing the prizes for the winners. You two will make a financial report of this event. Is it clear?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sensei.”Bookmark here

“Yaaay!~ I’ll be working with senpai-chan! Let’s do our best!” Toujo-kun exclaimed happily. Bookmark here

I just deadpanned at him. It’s not like we’re going to play around. Moreover, I’d rather work with the serious one if it was an official duty like this.Bookmark here

“If there are no other questions, that sums up our meeting.” Irosaki-sensei said as she dismissed us. “Also, Kurokawa-kun, follow me to principal’s office, we have something important to discuss.”Bookmark here

“U-understood…”Bookmark here

As the two left, the rest of us remained silent and exchange glances among ourselves. The atmosphere in the room suddenly became serious.Bookmark here

Everyone definitely has an idea of what’s going on here. Bookmark here

The fact that sensei calls Kurokawa-senpai frequently said it all, they are talking about something that shouldn’t be spoken inside the office. Bookmark here

Most likely, about Kurokawa-senpai’s condition that he doesn’t want to disclose to anyone. Bookmark here

And still, whatever it is remains a mystery to us. We still don’t have the true details of his circumstances.Bookmark here

‘When will you lean on others, Kurokawa-senpai?’Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

“Haah… I’m tired…”Bookmark here

I just returned to the office after asking help from the Art Club. Fortunately, they agreed to help so I’m thankful for that. Not to mention that they are also hyped for the event, our promotion seems to be working.Bookmark here

I entered the office and noticed that there’s no one here. Bookmark here

I wonder where the others went. Normally, I would meet one or two people here. Of course, one of them is Kurokawa-senpai working continuously as always.Bookmark here

However, he was nowhere to be found here. They might be outside since we started to get busy from preparing for the event.Bookmark here

Looking at the deserted student council office… feels a little lonely.Bookmark here

I got used to see others whenever I arrive from doing my duties outside, they would then greet me when I returned.Bookmark here

But now… there’s no one here.Bookmark here

Pull yourself together, Hikari! The student council will not disappear! We’ll do everything to keep things right!Bookmark here

I pinched my cheeks to wake me up from my dramatic daydreaming. It’s not like me to get emotional like that!Bookmark here

I walked over my table and put my things there. Just when I was about to take a seat, I noticed a paper on the floor. Bookmark here

Because the office is normally tidy, thanks to Haibara-kun, it must be a paper that fell from one of the desks.Bookmark here

I made my way to it and picked it up. If I’m right, it’s from the table closer to it. Bookmark here

Hmm? It’s from Mashiro-senpai’s desk…?Bookmark here

I stared at the paper, there was something written on it. I squinted my eyes on it, there was a drawing of a lily flower and a crescent moon on it. Bookmark here

“A lily and a moon…”Bookmark here

When I flipped it over, I found out that it was a photo.Bookmark here

“Oh! Is this Mashiro-senpai?”Bookmark here

It was a photo taken in a field of white carnation flowers. There was a young boy with a small smile on his face, his eyes has the bright light of childish innocence.Bookmark here

Oh! He looks cute! Compared to how he smiled at present, this innocent smile was so pretty. Bookmark here

Iyaa, he really looks beautiful even from his childhood. It will really hit you hard that you’re just a commoner compared to this boy.Bookmark here

“Hmm… there’s also a girl with him. Is this a childhood friend of his?”Bookmark here

There was a younger girl with brown hair holding his hand and smiling brightly. On her other hand, she was holding a carnation flower as she raised it up. Bookmark here

Un, she’s also cute, but maybe I just got too much intrigued about the young Mashiro-senpai that I didn’t notice the girl earlier.Bookmark here

Of course, even if I stood beside Mashiro-senpai, I will also be overshadowed. I can see it happening to me as well.Bookmark here

Anyway, he looks genuinely happy in this picture. Is this girl perhaps her first love? Hmm… suspicious.Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, the door opened. Bookmark here

I turned around, only to see Mashiro-senpai standing there, his eyes widened when he saw what I was holding.Bookmark here

“A-ah! I didn’t—”Bookmark here

I was just about to explain my side when he marched towards me with his brows furrowed, he was definitely angry.Bookmark here

I was caught off guard since I never saw him this angry before. I thought his normal angry face was when he was smiling and giving a cold look.Bookmark here

This time, his anger was like that of a flame. He was seething in rage.Bookmark here

He grabbed the photo on my possession forcefully and crumpled it on his hand. Bookmark here

My mouth agape as I saw the photo being wrinkled when he crumpled it.Bookmark here

Why…Bookmark here

“It’s fine. You don’t have to say anything, just don’t do anything unnecessary again. This better be the last time.” He coldly spoke. Despite that emotionless voice of his, I ironically heard feelings from what he said.Bookmark here

He was angry… and yet…Bookmark here

He was lonely.Bookmark here

I dropped the idea of reasoning with him that I didn’t touch it on purpose, it’s not like I was admitting my guilt. Bookmark here

I just felt like I shouldn’t pry further. Bookmark here

“Sorry…” I apologized sincerely.Bookmark here

He froze for a second when he realized what he just did.Bookmark here

“A-ah… I didn’t mean it that way. How should I put this…”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. It was my bad to touch other people’s things. Don’t worry, Mashiro-senpai has the right to be angry.”Bookmark here

“That’s not–“Bookmark here

“SENPAI-CHAAAAAAN!”Bookmark here

In the middle of talking, we were interrupted when Toujo-kun barged in shamelessly.Bookmark here

When he noticed that Mashiro-senpai is here, he blinked in confusion. “Did I interrupt you in the middle of something?”Bookmark here

“Ye–“Bookmark here

“No. Go ahead, Asahi. I just dropped by to get something.”Bookmark here

He grabbed some papers in his desk and nonchalantly left us. I just stood there as I watched him go out of the room.Bookmark here

Still, that photo was in a bad condition now. I don’t know if he’s angry that I touched it or something. What was that photo anyway? I thought it was important, and yet, he crumpled it without a second thought.Bookmark here

“Tsuki-senpai seems like he’s in a bad mood,” Toujo-kun commented. “Did you do something, Senpai-chan?”Bookmark here

“I did not… haha…” I said and looked away.Bookmark here

“You did something,” he squinted his eyes at me as he leaned closer.Bookmark here

“Fine! I admit! I might’ve touched a sensitive topic! You’re too close, Toujo-kun!”Bookmark here

He took a step back and stared at me suspiciously. I also deadpanned because he seemed like he’s planning something.Bookmark here

“Senpai-chan, go on a date with me.”Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

“What do you think, senpai?”Bookmark here

Is he hitting on me? Bookmark here

That was too fast! Bookmark here

“Thank you for the thought but I refuse.” I nonchalantly said and turn my back on him.Bookmark here

“Hmm? Is that so…? I don’t have a chance at all, senpai-chan?”Bookmark here

I turn around and faced him again.Bookmark here

“As I said, I refu–“Bookmark here

I stopped in an instant when I saw his cat ears slightly lowered, his tail is also wagging and he looks at me as if begging for affection.Bookmark here

W-what is this? My heart skipped a beat! It’s so cute! Aaaaah!Bookmark here

“Senpai-chan?” He tilted his head slightly and said to me with a pout.Bookmark here

C-cute!Bookmark here

“C-can I touch them?” Bookmark here

“Un! Would you go on a date with me just this once?”Bookmark here

“Deal!”Bookmark here

And that was how I was baited to go on a date because of the cat ears. I have no regrets. I got to touch cat ears before I go.Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

Toujo-kun said that this is a date but we just went to buy some materials needed for the school festival.Bookmark here

It’s not like I’m disappointed that this doesn’t seem like a date, it was actually on my favor. Bookmark here

Still, Toujo-kun really treats this as a date. That was more than enough. Bookmark here

“Say, Toujo-kun, I didn’t know that you could go out of school.”Bookmark here

We went to a 100-yen shop outside of the school, and I just found the fact that he can freely go out of school as he wants.Bookmark here

“Un. We could go out during the day but we must go back before the cat’s hour starts. It was part of the contract.”Bookmark here

“Cat’s hour? Isn’t that the term for the alarm that went off when a human met a supernatural within the school vicinity?” Bookmark here

“That was another way to put it for normal people to understand. But for us contracted by the god, it meant differently. That was the time where we are bound to school and not allowed to leave. It was just every night so we could still go out during the day.” He explained in a surprisingly easy to understand way. “By the way, what do you think about this baton, this one or this one?”Bookmark here

He showed two different baton to me, a red and a white one. We’re choosing a baton for the relay tournament, one of the events in the festival.Bookmark here

“I think the white one will do.”Bookmark here

“I think so too! Let’s go with this then!”Bookmark here

He put the baton on the cart and we walked to our next destination.Bookmark here

“By the way, when you said you can’t go out during the night, the others are also the same, right?” Bookmark here

“Un. It was the same, if I remember right, the third years never went on the class trip during their second year. This year, Tsukasa-senpai will also have to skip it… Ah! But don’t let it bother you! Senpai-chan could still go to the class trip if you want!” he frantically said.Bookmark here

“It’s okay. I’m not really interested in class trip. I never went to one as well, around those times, I will be transferred to another school again back in my middle school.” I said to reassure him.Bookmark here

“Oh… everyone is on the same boat then.” He smiled at me and pushed the cart. “Let’s make every school events great to compensate for what we didn’t get to experience, okay?”Bookmark here

I smiled back to him, “Yes!”Bookmark here

We finished buying everything we need there. Toujo-kun is the one carrying the shopping bags. He might be a playboy but at least he’s not a jerk to make me carry something heavy.Bookmark here

“We should head back now.”Bookmark here

“Let’s take a detour, senpai.” He said with a wink. Bookmark here

By now, I feel like I already build up resistance towards his advances that the wink doesn’t have any effect on me. But if there are cat ears, that was different. He’s using my weakness against me.Bookmark here

Sighing in defeat, I just nodded my head. “Fine, but let’s go back quickly, okay?”Bookmark here

“Yay! Our date is just starting!~”Bookmark here

Hmm? What does he mean by that?Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

Just as he said, it wasn’t over yet. Bookmark here

We went to a street near the school. There were all sorts of food and things being sold there. Street foods, fruits, vegetables, accessories, it was as if there was a festival.Bookmark here

“What are we doing here, Toujo-kun?”Bookmark here

“Hehe. We’ll have our date!”Bookmark here

Eh?Bookmark here

Despite my opposition, Toujo-kun dragged me into all sorts of stalls.Bookmark here

Strange enough, almost all people here knows him. With a little fanservice of his, the aunties and uncles gave us all sorts of things as a gift. Bookmark here

And before I know it, I was carrying a bag of fruits, vegetables and other street foods. Bookmark here

He was actually using his charm to get free foods! Not a bad idea!Bookmark here

“Here you go, Asa-kun, you look handsome as always.” The auntie praised him with a dreamy look and gave us a bag of oranges.Bookmark here

“Hehe! Arigatou, onee-san!~” Bookmark here

“My, Asa-kun, you’re flattering me, I’m not that young~ You’re making me blush~”Bookmark here

“Why not? You’re beautiful as well, onee-san!”Bookmark here

I just deadpanned at the two of them. I can’t believe that he’s flirting with an auntie in front of his senpai.Bookmark here

They just continued talking while I look around the area. This is such a nice place, it might not be bustling with people but everyone is approachable, not to mention that the warm light of the lanterns in the street gives off a cozy feeling.Bookmark here

In the middle of looking around, a particular billboard got my attention. Bookmark here

[KOMORI MALL SOON TO RISE! Bookmark here

Sponsored by: Takami Business Group]Bookmark here

“Are you curious, ojou-san?” the auntie asked which made me glance over her.Bookmark here

“Un.”Bookmark here

“Well, some good-for-nothing businesspeople are planning to build a mall around here. Of course, this street will also be affected once they start the construction, some land poachers are also pressuring us.”Bookmark here

“That’s cruel!”Bookmark here

“Right? They have been spreading lies on the internet and destroying our reputation so we will lose customers and be forced to give up on this place.” She said hatefully. Bookmark here

It was horrible! Why would those businessmen go so far to harass small scale vendors like the people here?! Just go find some other place!Bookmark here

I glanced over the billboard again, and I somehow got a glimpse of Toujo-kun looking at the same direction.Bookmark here

However, his expression darkened as he was staring at it.Bookmark here

“Tch.”Bookmark here

“Toujo-kun…?”Bookmark here

“Ah! Sorry? Are you saying something senpai?”Bookmark here

“Nothing.”Bookmark here

What was that reaction? He was looking at it with remorse, did it reminded of something bad? Bookmark here

On our way back, Toujo-kun started a conversation that I’m not expecting to come from him.Bookmark here

“Terushima-senpai, what do you think is the reason why a child is raised?”Bookmark here

I perked up with the way he addressed me. Is he the serious Toujo-kun now? But he’s not wearing his glasses, how could that be?Bookmark here

I just shrugged that for now.Bookmark here

“Isn’t it obvious? It was because the parents love their child.” I answered without hesitation.Bookmark here

“Hmm… must be nice if it was like that.” Bookmark here

He smiled solemnly, as the sun sets, its light casted a shadow on him.Bookmark here

“Thank you for going on a date with me, senpai-chan! Let’s go together again!” he beamed brightly as if he was a different person from earlier.Bookmark here

The anxiety that builds up inside my heart dissipated when he smiled at me brightly. Bookmark here

I smiled to him in return. “Sure! Let’s do that!”Bookmark here

“Hehe, how about–“Bookmark here

“No. I won’t be your girlfriend.”Bookmark here

“Boo~”Bookmark here

It was my first trip on the town where I leisurely spent with a friend. To be honest, I also enjoyed the shopping date with Toujo-kun.Bookmark here

I wonder if we could get everyone on a trip together someday. Bookmark here

Hades
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kazesenken
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Pearlyn.M
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-june-
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Bookmarked
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