Chapter 4:

Gift From A Kouhai

Unconsciously Interested

PART THREEBookmark here

“Good morning, Yuyo.” Bookmark here

“Morning, Minori...” I greeted back languidly.Bookmark here

It’s Saturday, and there are classes scheduled for this weekend. Our school has half-day Saturday classes every other week. The timetables for Saturday classes are announced during homeroom on Fridays.Bookmark here

Considering my mood today, I just wish there wasn’t one today. Bookmark here

“It’s still our first subject, but you sound as if you’re already on the last one. Are you alright?” Minori asked.Bookmark here

“Naah… It is just that I’m feeling drained for no particular reason.”Bookmark here

“Did you stay up late last night?”Bookmark here

“No... Besides, I get this feeling a lot for who knows how long. Anyway, enough about me. Is there anyone else interested in joining the student council?”Bookmark here

“We haven’t heard from anyone yet. Our adviser’s also asking around to see if anyone’s interested.”Bookmark here

“Heh~ It would be great to have someone join us this semester. We’ve got a lot on our plates with the election coming up.” I sluggishly muttered as I rested my head on my desk. Bookmark here

What’s up with me? Why am I down in the dumps for no apparent reason?Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. We will definitely find someone. Cheer up, Yuyo.” Minori smiled and caressed my head before returning to her seat.Bookmark here

Aww~ She’s really nice. It’s comforting to have such a caring friend like Minori.Bookmark here

“Morning, Yuyo!” Kyashii took the seat next to me.Bookmark here

“Oh, Kyashii. Morning...” I lazily replied. Bookmark here

“What’s going on with you? You’re looking gloomy.” Kyashii asked, her eyes filled with concern. Bookmark here

“Nah, nothing. Just a mood swing, I guess. What is it?” I can tell by the look on her face that she has something to say. Bookmark here

Besides, every time she took that seat next to mine, it meant that she needed something. Otherwise, she should just be standing next to my desk.Bookmark here

“Well, it’s weekend. I’m going shopping with Hana later today. You wanna tag along?”Bookmark here

I really don’t feel like going anywhere after class. Aside from my lousy mood, Nazumi-san and I have never been close, and that’s something Kyashii is well aware of. Inviting me may not be necessary, so I wonder why she’s even asking me. Bookmark here

I stared at Kyashii with lazy eyes. Bookmark here

“What... You don’t want to?” Kyashii’s eyes narrowed as she pouted at my reaction. Bookmark here

Her response made me laugh in silence. I don’t know if it’s just my quirk, but I find Kyashii adorable when she’s upset over petty things. Her tantrums never fail to amuse me.Bookmark here

“You know I’m not really close to Nazumi-san, right?”Bookmark here

“So?” Kyashii raised an eyebrow at me.Bookmark here

“What do you mean by so? I get a little uncomfortable shopping with someone I don’t know well, and I’m assuming Nazumi-san feels the same way.” I said, lifting my head from my desk. Bookmark here

“But I’ll be there with you two, so that should not be an issue,” she insisted. Bookmark here

How do I put this? Kyashii can be quite insensitive at times. Bookmark here

“It's still uncomfortable. Maybe I’ll go if it’s just the two of us.” It’s just an excuse I came up with since Kyashii won’t let me off the hook so easily. Bookmark here

Besides, the two of them will probably take their time shopping, it’s unlikely that Kyashii will consider it today.Bookmark here

“Really?!” Kyashii’s eyes sparkle with excitement. “Then, do you want to hang out with me after Hana and I get our stuff? You won’t have to wait too long,” she asked with anticipation.Bookmark here

“. . . .”Bookmark here

Ah-re?? This is not what I had in mind. She’s actually going for it?!Bookmark here

Sigh. Bookmark here

I’d feel terrible if I say no to her twice, and looking at how excited she is, I just can’t turn her down. Bookmark here

“S-Sure... Let me know when you’re done shopping with Nazumi-san.” Bookmark here

That’s it. I just threw in the towel in the end. Bookmark here

"Yay!" A triumphant smile adorns her face as she clapped her hands in delight. "I'll send you a message later," she said in a cheerful voice.Bookmark here

I just smiled as I watched her return to her seat. That's how simple her happiness is sometimes. Bookmark here

Oh well, if that makes her happy, then it won't definitely hurt to hang out later, right?Bookmark here

Hmm? I guess my mood seems to lightened up a little bit. Looks like I'll have to thank my pushy best friend after all.Bookmark here

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It’s break time, yet this terrible mood I felt this morning has not dissipated. I'm struggling to concentrate on our lesson. At this point, all I want to do is slump here at my desk.Bookmark here

“Shibasaki-san, an underclassman is here to see you,” my classmate informed me from the main door.Bookmark here

“Huh… Me?” That's odd. Who could it be, and why are they looking for–Bookmark here

“Shibasaki-senpai!” There's the familiar face with a cheerful tone waving at me from the main door.Bookmark here

Huh?! Bookmark here

What is Laughing-san doing here? And why does she sound like she's so friendly-dilly to me?Bookmark here

I approached her with a puzzled look.Bookmark here

“What is it this time?” I asked sluggishly. It's hard to deal with someone I barely know when I'm feeling like this.Bookmark here

Laughing-san becomes flustered for a moment but quickly returns to her cheerful demeanor. “Are you in a terrible mood, senpai? You seem rude to me.”Bookmark here

Ops! I didn’t mean to come across that way. It was a spontaneous expression on my part. This is embarrassing! I’d better get my act together. Remember, this is an underclassman. Be a good role model, Yuyo.Bookmark here

“My apologies. I wasn’t trying to be rude. I’m sorry if I came across that way. I was not just feeling very well.”Bookmark here

“Senpai! Are you alright?” Her hand reached for my forehead without warning, causing me to reflexively back away from her!Bookmark here

That caught me by surprise! I never would have guessed that! Bookmark here

What’s with her touching me when we barely know each other? She also seems surprised by my response but smiles nonetheless. Bookmark here

Why is she acting familiar to me? Bookmark here

“I'm fine. Thank you for asking.” I regained my composure. Bookmark here

“I am glad to hear that, senpai,” she said with a smile.Bookmark here

“Anyway, what brings you into our classroom? Does it have anything to do with the student council? If that is the case, I suggest you ask Minori instead, but she’s not available right now, so you may have to wait.” I said it all at once. Bookmark here

Seriously, I just want to end this conversation and return to my desk to slump.Bookmark here

Laughing-san opened her mouth slightly, as if surprised, but that quickly turned into a smile. “Ohh... It doesn’t have anything to do with the student council, senpai,” she responded.Bookmark here

“Huh? Then what is it? I presumed that you’re here to ask about the student council application, but if it’s not the case, may I know what can I help you with?”Bookmark here

“Is everything about the student council to you, senpai?” She asked with an amusing expression on her face.Bookmark here

Her question was not incorrect. It's as if I've been programmed to anticipate that anytime some students I hardly know approach me, the conversation would inevitably revolve around the student council. It's something I get a lot throughout my first year.Bookmark here

“I cannot think of any other reason why you would be looking for me if it were not for the student council.” I flat replied. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, but this underclassman seems to be catching my attention.Bookmark here

“Oh, it’s nothing important, senpai. Here...” She held out her left hand, holding a packet of gummy candies. Bookmark here

Huh? Bookmark here

Is that candy pack for me? Or does she want me to pass it on to someone on her behalf?Bookmark here

“Uhh… To whom should I give this?” I asked instead as I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I never had someone give me candies before, so I’m not going to assume this is for me. Should that be the case, she could just say “for you” right away, right?Bookmark here

The shocked look on Laughing-san’s face was unmistakable. What?Bookmark here

“Se-Senpai? Are you not into sweets?! Don’t you like gummy candies?” she asked in a depressed and embarrassed tone.Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

“Ah! No, no! It’s not that I don’t like gummy candies. I just thought you wanted me to give it to someone else. You didn’t specifically say that this is for me, so I just asked.” I quickly explained. Bookmark here

But why is she giving me candies? This isn’t a prank, is it? This sure feels strange.Bookmark here

I then heard a familiar sound when I first met Laughing-san. This time, the laughter is light.Bookmark here

“What?” I asked as I furrowed my brows. Truth be told, I’m losing my ability to use keigo because of this girl!Bookmark here

“Nothing, senpai. I’m sorry,” she smiled after laughing. “This is for you, senpai. I simply wanted to thank you for your hard work on the student council. I hope this isn’t too much trouble for you,” she continues to extend the candy packet.Bookmark here

Despite my reluctance, I accepted it with an awkward smile. I got confused over that reason. I’m not sure if I will buy it. Bookmark here

Even so, is that even a good enough reason to give your upperclassman some treats?Bookmark here

“Uhh… Thank you for this. That’s extremely thoughtful of you. But you don’t have to because it’s my duty. Moreover, Minori is the one who puts in the most effort. Doesn’t she deserve this more than I do?” I have mixed feelings about this. Bookmark here

“Well, senpai, you see. I’ve already-”Bookmark here

“Yu-chin! Here you are! I’ve been looking for you...” Tomoka launched a hug attack from my side. “Oh, what’s this? Am I bothering your little chat with a cute underclassman here?” Her smile extends to Laughing-san, who looked surprised when she saw Tomoka.Bookmark here

“Oh, no, not at all, senpai. I was about to take my leave. It won’t be long before the break is over,” Laughing-san smiled casually at Tomoka. “Then, I’ll be going now, Shibasaki-senpai.” Bookmark here

“Thank you once again for this. I appreciate it a lot.” I replied.Bookmark here

She nods and smiles before she walks away. I suppose she's a nice person after all, isn’t she? Bookmark here

“Eh? Did you gain a fan among our underclassmen now? It looks like the number of my rivals keeps increasing, huh?” Tomoka grinned as she shot me a teasing look. “But you’re too bold to cheat on me right in my face, Yu-chin!”Bookmark here

“Quit it. That underclassman isn’t a fan, and she’s just trying to be nice. You’re really good at putting your own spin on everything. Get off me already.” I gently smacked her head resting on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“Ow-ow! I could use this as grounds for divorce, you know,” she teased as she unwrapped her arms around me.Bookmark here

“I’d appreciate it if you could file it right away. I’ll be waiting.” Tomoka followed me as I walked back to my seat. Bookmark here

“How mean! Now that you’ve just gained a new admirer, you’re willing to leave me?” she wailed. Urgh! She’s into this again. “Anyway, could you share some of those candies with me, or is it too much to ask since it’s a special gift?” Bookmark here

Something special? Why is that?Bookmark here

“I don’t mind at all. You know that I don’t have a strong taste for sweets. Here, open it yourself if you wish. But don’t eat all of it.” I tossed the candy packet at her.Bookmark here

“Just like that?” Tomoka looks baffled.Bookmark here

“What? Didn’t you say you wanted some?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. But it was given to you by someone. Isn’t this supposed to be something special?”Bookmark here

Huh? What is she talking about? I don’t think I’m following it at all. Bookmark here

“Is that how things are? But you’ve asked for it and I’d like to give you some as well.” I don’t think it’s a big deal if you let someone open a gift you received. Bookmark here

It’s not like I’m going to disregard it. And I’m grateful that someone felt the need to give me a gift even if I don’t think I deserve it.Bookmark here

“Aww~ You must really love me, Yu-chin!” Tomoka hugged me and rubbed her cheeks against mine.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah. Please stop it already and open the gummy candies. Breaktime is about to end.”Bookmark here

“Yosh! Thank you so much, Yu-chin!” Bookmark here

Somehow, I noticed Kyashii seemed to be watching us intently. Does she also want gummy candies? Bookmark here

I suppose I should offer her some then.Bookmark here

“Tomoka, take your fair share. I'll give some to Kyashii as well."Bookmark here

“Got it!” and she poured nearly half of the candy pack onto her palm.Bookmark here

“I said fair, you greedy gummy candy monster!”Bookmark here

Tomoka handed me the nearly empty pack while laughing. Bookmark here

Oh, whatever! Let’s just go and give some to Kyashii.Bookmark here

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“Would you like some?” I offered Kyashii.Bookmark here

As Kyashii rested her head between her palms on the desk, she stared at the candy pack for a moment before turning her eyes towards me. Bookmark here

“Why are you giving me an opened pack?” she asked in a flat tone. Bookmark here

“Huh? You seem to be interested in it while Tomoka’s feasting on it back there.”Bookmark here

“I’m not! Someone gave you that, right?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. It was an underclassman, although I’m unsure of the reason for it.”Bookmark here

“She didn’t tell you?”Bookmark here

“She did. As she put it, it’s an appreciation for my hard work in the student council. But it just seems odd to me, don’t you think so too?”Bookmark here

Kyashii opened her mouth and was about to say something but decided not to.Bookmark here

“What is it?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Nothing. Anyway, I don’t want that,” Kyashii shifted her gaze in front of her. She seems as if she’s sulking or something.Bookmark here

“Are you upset about something?”Bookmark here

“Oh? I’m not!” she grunted. Her tone certainly gave her away.Bookmark here

“Oh yes, you are. That tone. Why are you upset? Is there something wrong?”Bookmark here

“Nothing. Make sure that you don’t cancel our plans for this afternoon!” I get a piercing glare from her. Bookmark here

Uhh? Why am I even getting these glares again? “Why would I do that? Just send me a message beforehand.”Bookmark here

“Okay,” she responded without even looking at me.Bookmark here

I decided to get back into my seat. What’s going on with her? I initially thought she was fine this morning, but now she seems to have caught my poor mood. Bookmark here

Argh! Having to deal with such a variety of personalities has totally sapped my energy.Bookmark here

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*keigo means the polite or formal way of Japanese speech.
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You can resume reading from this paragraph.