Chapter 9:

Some Sort of Divine Charisma

For When Morning Comes and the Sun Doesn't Rise

“Inoue, ready?”Bookmark here

Okada looked over at me as soon as class ended, an unreadable expression was spread across her face. Tomio and Kimura approached, Tomio in particular looked extremely excited.Bookmark here

“Yeah, did you decide if you wanted to go to the home-ec room or the dorm community kitchen?”Bookmark here

“We’d need to reserve the home-ec room,” Tomio raised his hand as he spoke. “I asked Kobayashi-sensei earlier, but since we’re not an official club yet, we can't.”Bookmark here

Tomio was technically our club president, it felt odd thinking that so I often forgot.Bookmark here

“That leaves the community kitchen.”Bookmark here

On our way to the dorms, my hand was constantly on Tomio’s head, a reminder to him that our goal was to go to the dorms, not the cafe. When we arrived, the kitchen was empty.Bookmark here

Okada pulled the ingredients she purchased out of her bag and laid them out on the counter. While she did that, the rest of us pulled together utensils and pans.Bookmark here

“Okada, have you ever made chocolate before?”Bookmark here

Not sure why I even asked, she was trembling and nervous. It was obvious that this whole thing was new to her.Bookmark here

Kimura took Okada’s hands in hers.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, we’re here to help.” Her gentle voice hung in the air. An angel had come down from the heavens to deliver her heartfelt reassurance. Okada felt it as well. She took a deep breathe and settled her nerves.Bookmark here

Surprisingly, Tomio was really good at making chocolate. I always pegged him as the consumer-only type. Yet, he looked like a full-on chef the way he danced around the kitchen. His usual clumsy self was no where to be found. Kimura as well was a natural, coming in to aide Okada. I was very much adequate, I knew nothing about sweets in general, even though I cooked for my drunk bastard of a grandpa back home.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Okada was… A complete disaster. Not only did her chocolates always come out burnt, it seemed that she had no experience in cooking at all. Out of six or so batches, only one was actually edible. Bookmark here

I took a bite out of one of her chocolates.Bookmark here

Edible, is a very vague term to describe these chocolates…”Bookmark here

“Shut up! I’m trying.” She retorted. Bookmark here

If this were a more casual activity, I would’ve been on the ground rolling in laughter, but to Okada this was serious. Maintaining my composure, I tried not to pick on her too much.Bookmark here

“You’re making progress though, Okada.”Bookmark here

My finger gestured to the lined up trays of her past batches, each of them less burnt than the last. Covering my mouth and turning away, I attempted to muffle the chuckle that was impatiently escaping from my lungs. Bookmark here

Shortly after, a foot entered my lower back, knocking me over. When I turned around, my eyes met with that of the devil—I mean Okada— Her devious glare shot me down as she towered over me. Raising her right arm, pan in hand, she issued what could only be presumed as a death threat.Bookmark here

“Did you say something, I-no-ue-kun” She sounded out my name slowly, while tilting her head. The corners of her mouth were stretched to the sides of her face creating an extremely wicked smile. A chill went down my spine as the words rolled off her lips. Bookmark here

“N-Nothing… This isn’t as bad as I thought!” I shoved the rest of the “edible” chocolate into my mouth, almost gagging as it went down my throat. I let out a nervous chuckle while scratching the back of my head. Bookmark here

I need to be more careful around her… One day she might actually kill me.Bookmark here

After several hours, Okada had finally produced decent chocolate. That may actually be an understatement. Her chocolate was actually really good. After receiving the Tomio stamp of approval, she went ahead and started working on presentation. With the help of Kimura, they were able to create both tasty and visually appealing chocolate.Bookmark here

The post-cleaning process was pretty quick, mostly because there were four of us. We went through several trash bags though, mostly filled with Okada’s burnt waste. All the extra chocolate ended up going to Tomio, who ended up pulling out the “Club President” card, even though the rest of us didn’t want any more.Bookmark here

“All that’s left is to give it to him tomorrow.” I gave her a friendly pat on the head.Bookmark here

Um, Inoue, thank you… For helping me…” Her tone was a lot softer than usual.Bookmark here

“I didn’t do anything, you should be thanking them.” A quick twirl of my finger gestured over to both Tomio and Kimura.Bookmark here

“I already thanked them…” She paused. “I-I wanted to thank you for telling me to do this, instead of going with my plan…”Bookmark here

“Haha, you’d have to be crazy to go with yo-“ My lips sealed as soon as her eyes met mine. For a split-second the demon returned.Bookmark here

Um, A-As a thank you, please accept these.”Bookmark here

She handed me a small bag, it was identical to the one in her other hand which was for her crush. Her gaze lowered, a rosy-red flushed across her cheeks.Bookmark here

“Th-Thanks…”Bookmark here

With that, she darted out of the room.Bookmark here

“Thank you everyone, see you tomorrow!” She smiled, the door closing behind her.Bookmark here

Tomio let out a large yawn. I’m not even sure if sugar affects him, he might’ve built up a tolerance to it. Although, his whole personality was a sugar high. There’s no way to tell really.Bookmark here

“I’m gonna get going Kazuki, Kimura. See you tomorrow!” Skipping out of the room, he hummed a tune.Bookmark here

Turning to look over at Kimura, my mouth uttered words on it’s own.Bookmark here

“I’ll walk you home.”Bookmark here

I’m not sure what it was, but it was the first thing to come to mind when she came into my sight.Bookmark here

“So, what’d you think?” I asked her.Bookmark here

It was late. The two of us continued our walk under the starry night sky. Above us, the sky was clear, not a single cloud in sight. Our walk took us through the darker portion of the town, making it easier to see the individual stars. I couldn’t help but look up while walking.Bookmark here

“I had a lot of fun,” she chuckled. “Each of you have your own distinct personality, Tomio is overly enthusiastic about sweets, he’s way passed borderline addicted. Okada is a tsundere through and through, I was trying really hard not to laugh when she had it out for you!” Her chuckle had evolved into a full-blown laugh. Somehow, she still maintained her angelic composure.Bookmark here

“And, me?” For some reason, I found myself speaking whatever was on my mind when I was around her.Bookmark here

Her cheeks turned a light pink. An angelic blush?Bookmark here

“I’m not exactly sure how to explain it, but you’re you.Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“You’re incredibly sarcastic and funny even though you poke fun at everyone, like when Tomio zoned out from his own chocolate and you swapped it with Okada’s burnt ones.”Bookmark here

We both laughed.Bookmark here

“So are you joining?” I asked.Bookmark here

Hmm, I’ll have to ask my dad, but hopefully.” She smiled, giving me a thumbs up.Bookmark here

Her house was located on the Eastern part of the city, just outside of the market district. Since the markets closed at dusk, it was especially dark out.Bookmark here

“The stars are really pretty,” she pointed out.Bookmark here

“Oh, yeah, you said you like stars right?”Bookmark here

Nodding, she replied.Bookmark here

“See that constellation directly above us, it’s called the Triangulum Astrale…” She continued, enthusiastically explaining the several different stars that made up the constellation.Bookmark here

My gaze found itself resting on her eyes rather than the sky. A fluorescent reflection, they were beaming. A starlit pond stood before me, the deeper I gazed into them, the more stars I could make out.Bookmark here

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a/nBookmark here

Stress from school has set my writing back a bit so I'll be playing catch-up all the way up to the deadline. Cover Art and other illustrations should be uploaded.Bookmark here

Thank you for your continued support!Bookmark here

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