Chapter 1:

Kicking Off A New School Year

Unconsciously Interested



CHAPTER ONE

PART ONE



They say that time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. While some believe that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Taking all that into account, is it too much to wish for a power that could freeze time, allowing it to stand still? What if you had a time machine that allowed you to relive your favorite moments with your loved ones? How wonderful would it be to be able to do so, right?

These are the thoughts that keep running through my mind as I continue to gaze at the four corners of my room while still lying on my back. I wish I had the power to freeze time because–

“Yuyo, wake up! We're going to be late for school, you brat!” my older brother Sanji shouted as he pounds my room's door.

That! That’s precisely the reason why I wanted to freeze time for I am not ready to go back to school yet. Gahh!

“I got it. I'm up already! You don't have to break my door, sheesh!” I shouted back lazily.

It's April, the beginning of another academic year, and the start of my second year in high school. My lazing days are over, and a truckload of hectic school days is speeding towards me. School days were back before I knew it. 

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

I sighed in resignation as I sluggishly strolled to our dining room for breakfast. “Haah~ My precious spring break is over.” I mumbled.

My brother glares at me as he prepares our breakfast. He usually cooks for both of us because he has some trust issues with my cooking skills. Well, it's not that I'm a horrible cook; I think that my basic cooking skills are pretty decent, thanks to those guides I find online. What’s more is that he’s just too fussy about his food, which is understandable given his culinary skills.

My brother and I live by ourselves in our house here in Osaka prefecture. The reason we don’t have our parents with us is because 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.

“Hurry up, you slowpoke! If I run late, I will leave you behind.”

Hmph! Do university classes usually start this early? How does he get so pumped up for the first day of school anyway? 

I am three years younger than my brother. He attends a university and works part-time at a restaurant. He sometimes drops me off at school on his motorcycle whenever he feels like it or whenever I ask him to. Earlier this week, he offered to drop me off on my first day of class. I usually commute by train to school.


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“Thanks for dropping me, onii-chan. Take care,” I waved at my brother as I walked towards Gakoumori High School’s main entrance.

“Yuyo, I might be running late for tonight. I’m going to meet some friends after class. Make sure to buy your dinner before you go home,” he casually said as he began to drive away. I simply smiled and nodded in agreement.

Given that we’ve pretty much lived on our own for quite some time now, I'm used to buying my own food in situations like this. Taking care of me like food matters is not something I want to burden my brother with. That’s something I can handle on my own anyway.

So how about we kick off this new school year with–

Hmm, with what again?

Haahh– 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.

As I made my way towards the campus ground, someone suddenly grabbed my right arm from behind and clung to it. I flinched for a second as I turned to the person who tackled me at such an early hour.

“Good morning, Yuyo!” Kyashii’s beaming smile greeted me.

“That surprised me! Could you not keep on doing that?” I glowered at her, and her smile turned into a goofy grin. 

It appears that someone has gotten up on the right side of the bed, huh?

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

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

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.

This cute girl holding on to my arm is Kyashii Mikami, my best friend since my freshman year. She regarded me as her best friend and forced me into accepting her as my best friend as well. 

Yeah, that’s right. I’d say she really forced me back then. There's nothing I dislike about it, though; she was just too pushy at that time.

Furthermore, she’s incredibly cute or rather beautiful. She has long, silky, and wavy almond brown hair, a pair of alluring round eyes, an elegant nose, and rosy lips. She’s also a little bit gyaru-ish. It's easy to see why Kyashii is popular with male students at our school or even with the outsiders.

In that regard, I am the complete opposite of her. My style is pretty simple; 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 wear eyeglasses sometimes since my reading habit has left me with a slight eye problem, but I usually wear contact lenses.

While our appearances are markedly different, Kyashii has become quite clingy ever since the two of us became friends. I've also noticed that whenever we walk side-by-side, people tend to look at us as if we were an odd pair of friends. It might be that Kyashii is just too good-looking, so they wonder why she's friends with someone as plain as me? 

I wonder about it sometimes, although honestly, I'm not particularly bothered by it. 

Besides, as a student council member, I was pretty involved in its work, so I couldn't hang out with her as much as friends do.

“Hmm, are you still busy this semester?” Kyashii’s goofy smile faded.

“Yeah, I guess so. There’s already so much spinning in my head from everything Minori assigned me through LIWE the night before,” I sighed.

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

I playfully chopped off the top of her head with my left hand. “Careless as ever, huh, Kyashii-chan? You know I can't do that. It pleases my mother that I am doing well at school. Even our teachers, who regard me as a dependable student, expect nothing less of me. You already know the rest of the story.”

She simply shrugged, “It's because you don't seem to enjoy doing those stuff at all, might as well quit.”

Hmm... I suppose she's not totally wrong there. 

To put it bluntly, I'm not a huge 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 was a hardworking student doing well in my academics and believed I might be a good fit in it. 

In response to her recommendation, I signed up for the student council without much of a thought. Back then, I believed that the experience of serving on the student council was helpful for me, both academically and personally. My mother was tickled pink when she learned I joined; thus, I kept up with it. 

With that being said, I'm not as enthusiastic about my involvement in the student council as I should be.

On the other hand, the literature club appealed to me because I am into psychology and logic books. While it’s obvious that the two have little in common, but our school does not have a book club, and I think the literature club is the closest thing to it; that's why I joined.

“Hey, Yuyo...”

“Hmm?” My gaze turned towards Kyashii, who was intently staring at my hair, I think? What, is it messy?

“Have you grown taller since I last saw you? I notice you're a bit taller than I remembered you to be.”

“I'm not sure. I don't keep my height in check. Or could it be that you just shrunk during spring? Just to be sure, we should have your height checked at the school clinic.” I smirked.

“What a meanie! I'm making an effort to compliment you here!” Kyashii grunted and squeezed my arm she's been holding onto. My uniform will get creased, you!

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

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

Heh~... She’s already making a big fuss out of my height. This girl can be so childish sometimes. Kyashii is usually a little childlike when she’s with me most of the time. Interestingly, she comes across as more mature and reliable when she’s with other people. 

Hmm... I wonder if she’s just being honest with herself when around me.

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

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

“Ouch! That hurts! I'll tell you who is really mean here.” I glared back.

“Good morning, you two!” a cheerful voice popped out behind us. “Aren't you two so close as always?”

This girl with a single pigtail on the upper right of her amethyst hair is Minori Kamiwaki, our class representative and our mutual friend. She’s also a member of the student council and a candidate for the position of president. Our involvement in the student council meant that we spent a lot more time together than Kyashii and I did in our first year, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. 

So to speak, Minori and I are a sort of duo. It's also worth noting that she caused my headache the other night.

“Minori, morning,” I greeted her back with a simple smile.

“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 smug about? She just hurt my arm. “Good morning, Minori. I miss you. You look great as always,” she continued.

Minori glomped Kyashii, causing me to pull my arm free from her grip. "Ohh! Kyashii-chan, how I miss your sweetness and honesty. Unfortunately, I don't miss your stoic best friend here." She scowled at me.

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

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

When Kyashii heard my retort, her face curled into a frown. Why is that? I don't think my retort is that harsh at all. Or could it be that she wanted to free herself from Minori's embrace?

Minori must have noticed it because she let go of Kyashii and walked over to me. She then punched my left arm lightly.

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

“Quit your whining, Yuyo. I can't wait to wield my authority over you and order you around, future vice president of the student council.” Minori snickered. 

I couldn't help but shake my head as we entered our new classroom.