Chapter 8:


We Are ☆ Star Club!

As soon as class was over, I hurried towards Maria, who was still putting her pink pencil case away.Bookmark here

"Let's find Erica," I urged her.Bookmark here

"That sounds fun, but why?"Bookmark here

I looked around the classroom. Most of the other students were either walking out, or talking to their friends. Still, I lowered my voice.Bookmark here

"We need another member so our club can continue, right? And Arisu can join us now officially."Bookmark here

"Oh, that's a wonderful idea!"Bookmark here

It was enough noise for Arisu to come over.Bookmark here

"So, what's the plan?"Bookmark here

"Find Erica, fill out the application, join the club. That should be easy enough, right?"Bookmark here

Arisu yawned.Bookmark here

"I'm tired."Bookmark here

"Me too," I sighed.Bookmark here

Still, we looked at each other with newfound determination.Bookmark here

"Oh, this is going to be fun!"Bookmark here

Maria clapped her hands together with a big smile.Bookmark here

"So, let's go, girls!"Bookmark here

She took one of our hands each and began walking backwards, still smiling. So it took only a few steps before she tripped, taking Arisu and me down with her.Bookmark here

“Aaaaah!”Bookmark here

"Ow ow ow..."Bookmark here

I rubbed my head, but it seemed like none of us were injured. We were just a mess on the dusty, dirty floor.Bookmark here

"Oh, sorry, I got a bit too excited there."Bookmark here

"No problem."Bookmark here

Arisu pulled herself up with her hair, while I had to try and grab the nearest desk to stand up again. Maria quickly brushed over her clothes and smoothed her hair.Bookmark here

"Do I look alright?"Bookmark here

"Like we never fell," I grinned back at her.Bookmark here

Still, she had a nervous look about her, looking around.Bookmark here

"There are no boys around, if that's what worries you."Bookmark here

"Oh. Whew."Bookmark here

She really looked relieved, then gave me a pleading look.Bookmark here

"I'm really easy to see through, huh?"Bookmark here

"Eh?"Bookmark here

What am I supposed to answer to that?Bookmark here

"Kinda? But, like, in a cute way."Bookmark here

"Ahaha. Nothing has changed, then." She smiled again. "You would think it would be easy to find someone who likes you as you are when you're as transparent as me, but... oh well. We should probably go, right?"Bookmark here

Suddenly, we all remembered why we were here again.Bookmark here

"You're right. Let's hurry," I agreed.Bookmark here

"Do we really need to hurry?"Bookmark here

"Well, the quicker we get this over with, the better, right?"Bookmark here

"I guess," she yawned again.Bookmark here

We wandered around the school, without a real idea where Erica might be. She wasn't in her classroom, she wasn't outside or in the hallways... But it was also difficult for me to keep up, as I still had problems finding my way around the school. Aside from going to the classroom and the gymnasium, I hadn't really explored the school yet. I mean, for what? School is school. I couldn't have thought of a time-sensitive situation like this, right? But with Maria as our leader, I slowly understood the layout of the school better: where the cafeteria was, the teachers' room, as well as the other club rooms. And it was there that I understood how unpopular the astronomy club was: while our club was in the farthest corner of the school, the others had prominent rooms on the ground floor, decorated with things pertaining to their club's interests: dangling chess pieces, gorgeous artworks, delicate flower vases and of course, various trophies. Our club didn't have any of these things. It was doomed to fail, wasn't it?Bookmark here

"Oh. Hi."Bookmark here

But it was here that we found Erica, leaving the art club's room.Bookmark here

"Wait- you're not leaving the club, right? Are you abandoning us?"Bookmark here

"What? No." She shook her head, confused. "I was just getting some things for the weekend, and..."Bookmark here

She went silent.Bookmark here

"Anyways, what do you girls want?"Bookmark here

"Oh, I'm glad," sighed Maria.Bookmark here

"Here!"Bookmark here

I pointed at Arisu.Bookmark here

"She's joining our club. That should fulfill the member requirements, right?"Bookmark here

"Oh, great."Bookmark here

She still sounded very serious. But her eyes weren't on us, like she was lost deep in thought. Bookmark here

"Yes, I want to join." Arisu stretched out her hands. "So, where's that thingy I need?"Bookmark here

"Right. The application."Bookmark here

Erica looked around in her bag and finally took out a crumpled piece of paper.Bookmark here

"Sorry. I had already given up on getting someone to join. Especially with today being the last day to sign up."Bookmark here

"Wait, what?"Bookmark here

She nodded.Bookmark here

"You need to hurry. I hope the school president is still here... but usually, she stays up quite late even after her classes."Bookmark here

"Okay."Bookmark here

I took a deep breath. We need to focus here. If I understand Erica correctly, we don't have much time left!Bookmark here

"Arisu, here. My pen."Bookmark here

I gave her a pen, and she started scribbling down on the paper. Her handwriting was clumsy. Has she ever written anything before? Especially in our language? Probably not, I thought as I watched the little alien phone-thing fly from her shoulder towards the piece of paper, as if it was assisting her. Arisu pouted.Bookmark here

"Do I really need to fill out everything?"Bookmark here

"Yes. Otherwise, the application will be rejected."Bookmark here

"Urgh. Can't we just do something fun instead? They will see me with you all, isn't that enough?"Bookmark here

Erica shook her head.Bookmark here

"It's not enough. And while I don't want to rush you, you should hurry."Bookmark here

"Fiiine," Arisu whined.Bookmark here

We watched her fill out the rest of the form and waited. I could hear the clock in the hallway ticking loudly, each second making me worry more. We should have done this much earlier...!Bookmark here

"Is this good?"Bookmark here

She waved the paper in front of our face. I couldn't follow it with my eyes, but Erica apparently could. She nodded.Bookmark here

"It looks fine. Take it to the president, now."Bookmark here

"Chore after chore after chore...," Arisu mumbled.Bookmark here

She really didn't look like she was having fun, or wanted to hurry. I could understand that. This was stressful for all of us.Bookmark here

"Hey, how about we celebrate with getting ice cream after this?"Bookmark here

I didn't say it just to make her happy. I also glanced at the others.Bookmark here

"It would be fun for us all, I think, if you're up for that."Bookmark here

"Oh, that sounds wonderful!" Maria was trembling with excitement. "I know a great little café with the cutest parfaits and..."Bookmark here

"I can't." Erica shook her head. "My evening is already full. But I wish you all the best of luck."Bookmark here

I nodded slowly. It sounded like Erica was always doing something.Bookmark here

"Is that ice cream thing tasty? You make it sound tasty."Bookmark here

"It is," I assured Arisu.Bookmark here

"Then we should get it."Bookmark here

"After we bring this application to the president."Bookmark here

"Hmph."Bookmark here

It almost sounded like Arisu tried to get out of this. Well, too bad for her. She isn't going to get out of this. I want the astronomy club to survive, no matter the cost! And that only works if we can get this application in.Bookmark here

"The sooner we finish this, the sooner we get ice cream. It will be worth it, I promise."Bookmark here

"Hm... Alright. I trust you."Bookmark here

Arisu nodded, and we hurried through the school. During our search for Erica, I didn't look for some student president. But she shouldn't be that hard to find, right? And as I thought that, we stopped, right before the president's door. Thanks to Maria and her sense of direction. I looked from Arisu to Maria, and back again. What should we do? Should we just knock, or devise a game plan? Do we need a game plan? Is this scary? It feels scary. Ah, I'm getting worried again...Bookmark here

"We don't have time for this when there's ice cream waiting," mumbled Maria.Bookmark here

She stepped forward and knocked.Bookmark here

"Come in," a voice answered.Bookmark here

Again, it was Maria who went in first, taking Arisu's hand, while I closed the door softly behind us.Bookmark here

"What do you want?"Bookmark here

Behind a huge desk, with papers scattered all around, a girl glared at us from behind her glasses. When we didn't answer the second she finished her question, she scoffed.Bookmark here

"What is it? I don't have all day. This festival doesn't plan itself."Bookmark here

"Ah, we have another member for the astronomy club."Bookmark here

Maria smiled her brightest smile, and slightly pushed Arisu forward with her.Bookmark here

"Please excuse the late application."Bookmark here

"Hm."Bookmark here

It didn't sound like the president wanted to excuse us at all.Bookmark here

"Here," Arisu said with a voice just as annoyed as the president sounded.Bookmark here

"Hm."Bookmark here

Again, she didn't really say anything as she looked over the lines. I exchanged a worried look with Maria. What will happen now? Are we too late? Too rude?Bookmark here

"I don't like making exceptions."Bookmark here

She looked at the clock, relentlessly ticking forward.Bookmark here

"But, somehow, you still made it in time. I guess I will accept this."Bookmark here

I couldn't help but sigh with relief. We did it!Bookmark here

"But, that also means your club will have to present itself accordingly. With so many new members, I expect you all to get the club to its full potential."Bookmark here

"Of course," we said, nodding along.Bookmark here

"Good. Now go."Bookmark here

She waved at us dismissively, filing the form away somewhere in her chaos. Her attention was on the papers on her desk again. We certainly didn't want to overstay our welcome, so we went out as fast and quietly as we could.Bookmark here

"Whew," I sighed after the door closed behind us.Bookmark here

"We did it," Maria whispered back, a smile on her face.Bookmark here

"We did it!"Bookmark here

"And you know what that means?" Arisu asked, grinning widely, "Ice cream!"Bookmark here

We all started to laugh, happiness and relief filling us.Bookmark here

"Of course, of course," I said, "I wouldn't forget that."Bookmark here

"Good."Bookmark here

Together, we went out of the school. Hand in hand, as if it had always been this way. Maybe this was how the universe intended it to go for me. Maybe this was fate, tying us together. On our way to get ice cream. I smiled at the thought.Bookmark here

All in all it seemed like the start of a most fantastical school year.Bookmark here

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