We Are ☆ Star Club!
As soon as class was over, I hurried towards Maria, who was still putting her pink pencil case away.
"Let's find Erica," I urged her.
"That sounds fun, but why?"
I looked around the classroom. Most of the other students were either walking out, or talking to their friends. Still, I lowered my voice.
"We need another member so our club can continue, right? And Arisu can join us now officially."
"Oh, that's a wonderful idea!"
It was enough noise for Arisu to come over.
"So, what's the plan?"
"Find Erica, fill out the application, join the club. That should be easy enough, right?"
"Me too," I sighed.
Still, we looked at each other with newfound determination.
"Oh, this is going to be fun!"
Maria clapped her hands together with a big smile.
"So, let's go, girls!"
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.
"Ow ow ow..."
I rubbed my head, but it seemed like none of us were injured. We were just a mess on the dusty, dirty floor.
"Oh, sorry, I got a bit too excited there."
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.
"Do I look alright?"
"Like we never fell," I grinned back at her.
Still, she had a nervous look about her, looking around.
"There are no boys around, if that's what worries you."
She really looked relieved, then gave me a pleading look.
"I'm really easy to see through, huh?"
What am I supposed to answer to that?
"Kinda? But, like, in a cute way."
"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?"
Suddenly, we all remembered why we were here again.
"You're right. Let's hurry," I agreed.
"Do we really need to hurry?"
"Well, the quicker we get this over with, the better, right?"
"I guess," she yawned again.
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?
But it was here that we found Erica, leaving the art club's room.
"Wait- you're not leaving the club, right? Are you abandoning us?"
"What? No." She shook her head, confused. "I was just getting some things for the weekend, and..."
She went silent.
"Anyways, what do you girls want?"
"Oh, I'm glad," sighed Maria.
I pointed at Arisu.
"She's joining our club. That should fulfill the member requirements, right?"
She still sounded very serious. But her eyes weren't on us, like she was lost deep in thought.
"Yes, I want to join." Arisu stretched out her hands. "So, where's that thingy I need?"
"Right. The application."
Erica looked around in her bag and finally took out a crumpled piece of paper.
"Sorry. I had already given up on getting someone to join. Especially with today being the last day to sign up."
"You need to hurry. I hope the school president is still here... but usually, she stays up quite late even after her classes."
I took a deep breath. We need to focus here. If I understand Erica correctly, we don't have much time left!
"Arisu, here. My pen."
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.
"Do I really need to fill out everything?"
"Yes. Otherwise, the application will be rejected."
"Urgh. Can't we just do something fun instead? They will see me with you all, isn't that enough?"
Erica shook her head.
"It's not enough. And while I don't want to rush you, you should hurry."
"Fiiine," Arisu whined.
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...!
"Is this good?"
She waved the paper in front of our face. I couldn't follow it with my eyes, but Erica apparently could. She nodded.
"It looks fine. Take it to the president, now."
"Chore after chore after chore...," Arisu mumbled.
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.
"Hey, how about we celebrate with getting ice cream after this?"
I didn't say it just to make her happy. I also glanced at the others.
"It would be fun for us all, I think, if you're up for that."
"Oh, that sounds wonderful!" Maria was trembling with excitement. "I know a great little café with the cutest parfaits and..."
"I can't." Erica shook her head. "My evening is already full. But I wish you all the best of luck."
I nodded slowly. It sounded like Erica was always doing something.
"Is that ice cream thing tasty? You make it sound tasty."
"It is," I assured Arisu.
"Then we should get it."
"After we bring this application to the president."
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.
"The sooner we finish this, the sooner we get ice cream. It will be worth it, I promise."
"Hm... Alright. I trust you."
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...
"We don't have time for this when there's ice cream waiting," mumbled Maria.
She stepped forward and knocked.
"Come in," a voice answered.
Again, it was Maria who went in first, taking Arisu's hand, while I closed the door softly behind us.
"What do you want?"
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.
"What is it? I don't have all day. This festival doesn't plan itself."
"Ah, we have another member for the astronomy club."
Maria smiled her brightest smile, and slightly pushed Arisu forward with her.
"Please excuse the late application."
It didn't sound like the president wanted to excuse us at all.
"Here," Arisu said with a voice just as annoyed as the president sounded.
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?
"I don't like making exceptions."
She looked at the clock, relentlessly ticking forward.
"But, somehow, you still made it in time. I guess I will accept this."
I couldn't help but sigh with relief. We did it!
"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."
"Of course," we said, nodding along.
"Good. Now go."
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.
"Whew," I sighed after the door closed behind us.
"We did it," Maria whispered back, a smile on her face.
"We did it!"
"And you know what that means?" Arisu asked, grinning widely, "Ice cream!"
We all started to laugh, happiness and relief filling us.
"Of course, of course," I said, "I wouldn't forget that."
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.
All in all it seemed like the start of a most fantastical school year.