Chapter 2:

Opening Ceremony Distraction

Unconsciously Interested

PART TWOBookmark here

Our school’s ceremonial hall is already filled with students for the opening ceremony of a new school year. Kyashii and a friend of hers, Nazumi-san, had already made their way to the area designated for our class. Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Minori and I met with other members of the student council, who were already busy preparing for the official opening ceremony. Here in our school, it's the student council that facilitates the opening ceremony preparations.Bookmark here

My eyes were drawn to the area reserved for first-years. It dawned on me abruptly that there were now underclassmen. Bookmark here

Uhum! So, I’m a senpai now.Bookmark here

“Yuyo, why don't we go around and check if other class reps have arrived yet?” Minori suggested. Bookmark here

Our school has four classes for each year level, and unlike other schools, we do not switch classes every year. I'm stuck in class B with Minori and Kyashii.Bookmark here

“Wouldn't it be better if we checked our class first? Our representative isn't in the designated area, is she?” I asked in jest.Bookmark here

My playful smile was met with a scowl from Minori. "Whatever. Let's get going. I'll check the third and second year while you check the first year."Bookmark here

I nodded in agreement as I made my way to the first-year students' area.Bookmark here

Checking with freshmen in classes 1-A and 1-B, I learned that their class representatives had already arrived. Alright, let's check 1-C. Bookmark here

“Please excuse me, but could you let me know if your representative has arrived?” I asked one of the female students seated in the front row of class C.Bookmark here

Her response was given in such a timid voice that I had trouble making out what she had just said. I was about to ask her to repeat herself when another girl seated in the second row of the same class burst into loud laughter. I was so distracted with it that I squinted at her with furrowed brows despite myself. As soon as she realized I was looking at her, her face turned red as she placed both hands over her mouth. Bookmark here

That's a great way to start off your first year in high school, huh?Bookmark here

My attention shifted back to the student in front to reaffirm their representative's presence. It looks like the girl was about to say something, but she just gave me a nod instead.Bookmark here

Just when I was about to leave the area after getting the confirmation, I caught sight of the laughing freshman staring at me intently. When she realized we were staring squarely into each other's eyes, her eyes widened for a moment before she hurriedly averted her gaze. Bookmark here

Her reaction puzzled me as I walked back towards the rest of the student council members. Bookmark here

Hmm... I wonder what’s that for? Bookmark here

Well, it's not like it matters anyway. Let's just forget it and move on with the remaining class.Bookmark here

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I sat next to Minori along with other student council members. As the ceremony got underway, I grabbed my phone and decided to read one of my e-books.Bookmark here

“It doesn't seem like you intend to pay attention, does it?” Minori remarked.Bookmark here

“Naah. It won’t be much different from last year’s ceremony, so I better brush up on my e-books. Besides, I’m more interested in my books than in this particular event.”Bookmark here

Minori simply smiled and didn’t say anything more.Bookmark here

While I’m not particularly interested in such activities, it is still my responsibility to attend both as a student and a member of the student council. Bookmark here

Nevertheless, reading my e-books during an opening ceremony is not a big deal; besides, it's my way to while away the hours on short idle times like this. Bookmark here

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After the ceremony ended, we stayed to ensure that everything was in order before returning to our classroom. As we wrapped up, I noticed three freshmen walking towards me. Bookmark here

Ahh, I recognize one of them; it's Laughing-sanBookmark here

Oh well, that's what my brain named her following that incident. I'm not quite sure what they need from me though.Bookmark here

Just as they’re getting closer, they stop in their tracks as if they’re intimidated. Bookmark here

Err... Have I just given them a menacing look despite myself? Bookmark here

Laughing-san saunters towards me with an awkward smile painted on her face. Bookmark here

My eyes are glued to her as she stands before me. Hmm… The soft pink color of her hair goes well with her small face. She is just as cute as Kyashii, if I may say so myself. Bookmark here

Huh? Hold that thought! Bookmark here

Why did I compare her to Kyashii in the middle of nowhere? Bookmark here

Goodness me! I'm not even sure what I was thinking.Bookmark here

It seems like I'm staring at Laughing-san too much as her expression suddenly becomes uneasy, and she suddenly bows her head, fixing her gaze on the floor. Bookmark here

“. . . .” Bookmark here

Uhh? Has the cat got her tongue? This is really awkward.Bookmark here

“Senpai. . .” Laughing-san mumbled. Her gaze lifted back to me.Bookmark here

Finally, a word from her. “Yes? Is anything the matter?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Ahh-no. A-about earlier...” Her voice trailed off as she stammered. That amused me.Bookmark here

“Hmm. I take it you're talking about that time when you laughed, right? What about it?” Bookmark here

“Aah!” She exclaims in panic, her face flushed with embarrassment. I really get a kick out of her. What seems to be the deal of this freshman? "Li-Listen, senpai. It wasn't my intention to interrupt you during that time. I apologize for the way I behaved. I'm really sorry,” she said, bowing her head.Bookmark here

Honestly, I don't care much about that incident, but she made it sound like a big deal. It looks like she hasn't gotten over it since she approached me just to apologize for it. Bookmark here

Hmm? I think she might be a good girl after all. Bookmark here

“It's fine. I'm no longer bothered by it. You don't need to apologize. That sort of thing happens sometimes,” I said with a slight smile.Bookmark here

A warm smile lights up Laughing-san's face as she looks at me. Ohh, that is one happy smile there. Bookmark here

“No, that is really ultra irresponsible of me, senpai. Thank you very much,” she replied cheerfully.Bookmark here

Ultra what? Did she just say that? Bookmark here

Anyway, never mind that. I simply smiled and bowed at her to end the conversation. My class begins shortly, so I must be heading back. Bookmark here

“Is there something wrong, Yuyo? We should be returning to class soon,” Minori said as she approached us, keeping her eyes fixed on Laughing-san and the others. She may have wondered why there were still first-year here.Bookmark here

“Oh! Good morning, Kamiwaki-senpai!” Laughing-san enthusiastically greeted Minori. Considering Minori's popularity stems from her standing as the next student council president, it's not surprising that the underclassmen already know her. Bookmark here

Still, I'm a little surprised by how comfortable Laughing-san seemed to be around Minori. Do they know each other?Bookmark here

“Good morning to you, Takashi-san,” Minori smiled sweetly at Laughing-san. “Are you in need of anything from the student council?”Bookmark here

Yeah, they seem to know each other. Bookmark here

“Nothing important, senpai. I just wanted to say hello to Shibasaki-senpai here,” she said without looking at me. Bookmark here

So, she knows my name as well, huh? I suppose that's not surprising since I'm also on the student council. Some students already know me by my name, particularly those from my year level and those in their third year. Bookmark here

However, it can be a little surprising that some first-year remember my name right from the start of the semester.Bookmark here

“Ara~ Such a good girl you are, Takashi-san,” Minori commented.Bookmark here

“Thank you, Kamiwaki-senpai. Then, we will be taking our leave now.” said Laughing-san. She then turned to me. “I’ll see you around, Shibasaki-senpai,” she added with a smile. Bookmark here

Hmm? That sounded a bit strange to me from the way she said it. I just nodded in response as they left the hall.Bookmark here

“Do you know her, Yuyo?” Minori asked as we made our way back to class.Bookmark here

I turned to look at her while raising an eyebrow in confusion. “What do you mean I know her? That’s the first time I’ve spoken to her. I thought you two were acquainted.”Bookmark here

“Eh? I don’t know anything about her other than her name. I assumed you knew her.”Bookmark here

“Huh? How’d you know her name in the first place?”Bookmark here

“That’s because she’s their class representative. I noticed you were so absorbed in your phone that you must have completely missed the introduction of class representatives.”Bookmark here

“What?!” Bookmark here

Minori stared at me with a questioning look, but I gestured with my right hand to let her know it was nothing important.Bookmark here

It’s true that I’ve been reading the entire time but learning that Laughing-san is the class C representative completely caught me off guard.Bookmark here

So that’s why she made such a big deal out of it because she was “that representative.” It’s likely that when she heard us, she thought it was funny that I had to ask her classmate about her for the second time around. Bookmark here

That seems to be the case, isn’t it?Bookmark here

That’s it! I'm retracting what I just said back there. She definitely needed to apologize. I deserved it in the end. Hmph!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.