Chapter 1:

Kicking Off a New School Year

Unconsciously Interested




It is the only thing we can never regain once we’ve lost it. It’s just — …gone. And there is no way we can go back in time to patch up the blunders we committed back then or relive our fondest memories.


With that in mind, wouldn’t it be handy if there was some way to make time stop? Isn’t it incredible to think about what it would be like if you could travel back in time to live those precious moments again with your dear ones?


These garbled thoughts are buzzing in my head as my gaze darts across my room while I’m still lying on my back. It would be pretty cool if there were a button I could press to pause time. I would do it without hesitation so—

“Yuyo, wake up! You’re going to make us late for school, you brat!” My older brother Sanji called at the top of his voice as he pounded on my room’s door.


That’s exactly why I wished to freeze time... I’m not ready to go back to school yet!


“I gooott it!” I put up a howl. “I’m up already! You don’t have to shatter my door. Sheesh!”

“Great! Come on down and eat your breakfast right away.”


I sighed in resignation as I dragged my feet downstairs to our dining table.

Once again, spring has arrived...

It’s April, and today marks the start of another academic year and, of course — my second year of high school.


My lazing days are over, and a truckload of hectic school days is speeding toward me! School days were back before I knew it.

How does time keep on flying so fast anyway? Is it always in a rush or something??

“Haah... My precious spring break has mysteriously disappeared in the blink of an eye.” I grumbled as I shuffled into my chair.

“What’s up with your mumbling? Eat your meal before it gets cold.” My brother then gives me the stink eye while preparing his breakfast. In the general run of things, Sanji-onii usually cooks for both of us for the reason that he has strong misgivings about my cooking skills.

Well... To be fair, it’s not that I’m a horrible cook; in fact, I believe my basic kitchen competence is acceptable, thanks to the instructive guides I find on the internet. Moreover, my brother is likewise extremely picky about what he eats, which makes sense, given the quality of his cooking.

“Thanks for the food,” I muttered before munching my pancake. “Hnngh... I’m not in the mood to return to school yet, Onii-chan.”

“But I’m all set, so hurry up, slowpoke... If I run late, I’m leaving you behind.” My brother generously offered to drive me to my school on the first day of class with his car. School is usually a ride on the rails for me.

“Hmp! There’s still time. It’s only six o’clock!” I grimaced.

“I have to get to school early.” Sanji-onii appeared to be in a high-energy state, in stark contrast to my sluggishness. “Quit whining and keep moving.”

Do university classes usually start this early? And what exactly is it about the first day of school that gets him so fired up?

“Yeaah... Yeah...” I can’t decide if he’s weird or if he just keeps his nose to the grindstone.

My sibling is three years older than me, so he is already in university and works part-time at a family restaurant. It is just the two of us living in our family house here in Osaka prefecture. We don’t have our parents with us since our mother manages a restaurant overseas, and in a tragic twist of fate, our father unexpectedly passed away when I was in the first grade.


“Thanks for dropping me off, Onii-chan... Take care.” I gave my brother a playful nudge as I headed toward Gakoumori High School’s main entrance.

“Right... Yuyo, I might be running late for tonight. I’m going to meet someone after class.”

“Ohh... That’s fine.” I simply responded with a smile and a nod.

“Make sure to buy your dinner before you go home, alright?” He casually reminded as he drove off.


We’ve been living on our own for a while now, so I’m used to picking up my food in convenience stores when I don’t have any at home. I do not want to burden my brother with taking care of me on food matters. I’m perfectly capable of handling that by myself.

Now then...

How about we kick off this new school year with—


With what again?

“. . . . .”


Forget it! It’s really tough to get myself pumped up for the first day of school, huh?

Well, whatever... Let’s just get going, Yuyo.

I had only taken a few steps towards the campus ground when I flinched out of nowhere as someone grabbed my right arm from behind!

“Good morning, Yuyo~!” Kyashii’s beaming smile greeted me as I turned to see who had tackled me at such an early hour.

“That surprised me. Sheesh...” I glowered at her. “Could you not keep on doing that?” I then watched her sweet smile slowly morph into a goofy grin.

It looks like someone has gotten up on the right side of the bed, huh?

This pretty girl holding tightly onto my arm is Mikami, Kyashii. She’s been my best friend since my freshman year. Truth be told, she regarded me as her best friend first and forced me into accepting her as my best friend as well.

Yeah, that’s right... I’d say she literally forced me back then!

Nevertheless, I disliked nothing about it, though; she was too pushy at that time.

“Ehh~?? Is that how you greet me after we haven’t seen each other during spring break? I miss you, Yuyo~!” Kyashii grabbed my arm more tightly as we headed toward the school’s main building. “Isn’t it great to be back in school again?”

“In response to your first question, yes... As for your second question— no, not for me.” I pouted at her. “Maybe for you, though.”

Kyashii let out a small laugh. Since she’s used to me, she isn’t bothered in the slightest when I’m a bit mean to her.

Well, it’s not that I’m actually mean to her. I just enjoy teasing her since I find her reactions adorable most of the time. They complement her incredibly cute... Oh, not just cute... rather, her gorgeous face.

Kyashii is one of the pretty faces here at Gakoumori High. Her small face blends beautifully with her long, silky, and wavy almond-brown locks. On top of it, that face is adorned with alluring indigo eyes, an elegant nose, and thin rosy lips.

She’s also a bit gyaru-ish, and her fashion sense is up to the minute. It’s easy to see why she’s popular with male students in this private school or, perhaps, even with outsiders.


In that regard, one can tell I am the polar opposite of her. Frills are not part of my dressing style. As for my physical appearance, I only apply some face powder and lip gloss. I prefer not to put myself over the trouble of taking care of long hair, so I keep my ash gray hair at shoulder length. I also wear eyeglasses sometimes since my reading habit has left me with a slight eye problem, but I usually wear contact lenses on school days.

Though our looks are markedly different, Kyashii has become quite clingy to me ever since the two of us became friends. The thing that intrigues me is that whenever we walk side-by-side, people look at us as if we were odd friends. It might be that Kyashii is just too attractive, so they wonder why she’s friends with someone as plain as me.

Oh well... I get confused about it at times, although honestly, I’m not at all bothered by it. Besides, as a student council member, I was involved in its work, so I couldn’t hang out with her as much as typical friends do.

“Umm... Are you busy again this semester?” Kyashii’s goofy smile vanished.

“Yeah, I guess so.” I let out a sigh. “There’s already so much spinning in my head from everything Minori tasked me through LIWE the night before.”

“Hey, Yuyo...”


“Why don’t you quit the student council and your literature club? Let’s be in the go-home club together.” Kyashii suggested nonchalantly.

“...Talking turkey as usual, huh, Kyashii-chan~...” I playfully landed a light whack at the top of her head.


“You see... That’s not an option for me. For starters, it pleases my mother that I am somehow doing well at school. Then, there are our teachers who expect nothing less of me. Hmmm... You already know the rest of the story.”

“Hmph!” She scowled at me with a shrug. “It’s because you don’t seem to enjoy doing those stuff at all... Might as well quit.”


She’s not totally wrong there.

To put it bluntly, I’m not a fan of participating in school-related activities, and I find school duties a drag. I only joined the student council since our homeroom teacher recommended it to me last year. As our teacher saw it, I appeared to be a hardworking student doing well in academics, and she believed I might be a good fit. I signed up for the student council without much thought in response to her recommendation. Back then, I deemed the experience of serving the student council would be helpful for me in both academic and personal contexts. My mother was tickled pink when she learned I had joined; thus, I kept up with it.

That being the case, I’m not as enthusiastic about my involvement in the student council as I should be. Meanwhile, the literature club appealed to me since I am into books about psychology and logic. While it’s a given that the two have little in common, our school does not have a book club, which means that the literature club is the closest thing to it.

“Oh... Yuyo... Wait...” Kyashii stares intently at my hair, I think?

What... Is it messy?


“Have you grown taller since I last saw you?? I think you’re a little taller than I remembered you to be.”

“Haah? I’m not sure... I don’t keep my height in check.” I shrugged. “Oh! Could it be that you just shrunk during spring break, Kyashii?” I smirked at her. “Just to be sure, we should have your height checked at the school clinic.”

“What a meanie! I’m making an effort to compliment you here!” Kyashii grunted and tightly squeezed my arm she’s been holding onto.

I’ll get wrinkles in my uniform... You...

“Is that so?” A teasing smile spread across my lips as I stared at her. “I wonder who would have noticed a slight change in height in just a few weeks anyway?”

“If you’re not sure who, that would definitely be me! Didn’t I mention it just now?! I’ve just said it!”


She’s already making a big fuss out of my height. This girl can be a bit childish at times.

But when I think about it, this is how Kyashii usually is when she’s with me. Interestingly enough, she comes across as mature and reliable with other people.

“Yeah, yeah, alright... What a pleasant surprise.” I smiled at her with my head cocking to my left. “Kyashii is a keen observer after all, huh?”

“Huh!? What’s that supposed to mean?” I suddenly felt a pinch on my arm as she glared at me.

“Ouch! That hurts!” I glared back. “I’ll tell you who’s mean here.”

“Good morning, you two~!” A cheerful yet graceful familiar voice popped out behind us. “Aren’t you two so close as always~?”

“Uhh... Minori, morning...” I greeted back nonchalantly after we turned around.

This refined-looking girl with a single pigtail on the right edge of her amethyst hair and seemingly innocent— though I can tell that’s not the case— is Kamiwaki, Minori. She’s our class representative and our mutual friend.

Minori is also a member of the student council and a strongly endorsed candidate for the position of next president. On the basis of her popularity, I say the election will only be a formality for her to take over as president by then.

Our involvement in the student council meant we spent much more time together than Kyashii and I did in our first year, which is unlikely to change anytime soon. So to speak, Minori and I had become a sort of duo.

Ohh... It’s also worth noting that she caused my headache the other night.

“Of course, Yuyo and I are always the closest!” Kyashii responded with a smug smile to Minori’s last remark. And what exactly is she feeling chuffed about? “Ooh! And good morning to you, too, Minori! You look amazing as always.” She added.

“Ooh~!” Minori abruptly glomped Kyashii, forcing my arm to slip from Kyashii’s grasp. “Kyashii-chan, how I miss your sweetness and sincerity~... Unfortunately, I don’t miss your stoic best friend here.” I could see her frowning at me.

While Minori’s remark made me chuckle, Kyashii seemed pleased with it. She typically enjoys compliments from others since my best friend has a bit of vanity in her, after all.

“The problem is I miss you, Minori.” I grinned. “You know how the sight of you doing all those student council’s works makes me so giddy inside.”

“Hmph!” Although more muffled, I caught Kyashii pouting when she heard my retort.


Why is that?

I don’t think my words are that harsh at all, right? Or could it be that she wanted to free herself from Minori’s embrace?

Minori must have noticed a change in the air around Kyashii as she slowly let go of her and walked over to me. “What a mean thing to say to a friend on the first day of class.” She then slapped my left arm lightly.

“Aww! All I’ve got in the first hour on the first day of class are domestic abusers pretending to be my friends. Tch-!”

“You should refrain from complaining, Yuyo~... Over the next few months, I might wield my authority over you and relish the opportunity to order you around, future student council vice president.” Minori winked.


It was hard to hold back a head shake as we entered our new classroom, abuzz with the ecstatic voices of our classmates.


Here it is, the real deal; I am again back in school.


I guess I’m in for a long day.