Chapter 10:

Math Problems

We Are ☆ Star Club!

 The next time we went to the café, it wasn't for a celebration, unfortunately.

"I just don't get this," I sighed.

My brain is just not made for math, I thought. All these problems and equations just didn't want to go into my head, and certainly would not stay there. With our first exam closing in, I was doomed.

"Hey, so, as an idea..." Maria tilted her head, "How about a study date?"

"What's that?"

Arisu didn't have problems with math. Apparently, it all came easy to her, so she spent most of the lessons either sleeping or goofing around with her hair. It really made me feel jealous sometimes.

"Oh, we meet up and go over the material again, together. And we can eat something while doing it."

"Like... ice cream?"

Maria laughed at Arisu's question.

"Sure. I wanted to suggest going to the café again, anyway."

"Whatever helps me pass." Then, I shook my head. "No, actually, that really sounds wonderful. So, when do we meet?"

"I'd say Saturday at 11 a.m., does that sound good?"


I gave her a thumbs-up, before I was bashing my head against my textbook again. I hate math.

That Saturday came sooner than I thought. And suddenly, Arisu and I were on our way to the café, talking and laughing. We only stopped when we saw Maria, talking to an unknown man.

"Who's that?"

"I don't know."

We exchanged a questioning glance. Did I mix up the date? Was something wrong? No, that couldn't be. And still...

Maria was lost so deep in conversation that she didn't see us. Not even Arisu's bright green hair or her colorful fashion distracted her from her chat. She was smiling, still not looking around even as the clock struck 11. We got closer, and I waved at her, awkwardly.

"Hey, um, Maria? Are we intruding on something here? I thought we had our study date today."

I tried to smile, but it only came out as a grimace. But it was enough for Maria to tear away her gaze.

"Ah, you're here! Perfect! Arisu, Sara, this is Gin. He's really good with math, and he volunteered to help us today!"

She beamed with excitement.

"Oh, um, nice to meet you, Gin."

Arisu next to me nodded. I couldn't quite shake off this weird feeling. This wasn't what we had planned! But at least it didn't seem like Maria had forgotten about us. And maybe it would really help to have someone explain it all to us - or at least, to me - who knew his stuff. Because I certainly didn't.

Arisu looked at the café behind us. I was pretty certain that her mind was filled with thoughts of ice cream. Not that I'd blame her for that.

"Hey," he answered with a small smile, but his attention was turned towards Maria.

I looked him up and down. He seemed nice, but in a detached kind of way. Did Maria say something about us? Or did he think he would just help her all by himself? Whatever it was, now all of us are here. I should not to be too harsh. He could just be a good guy. Someone who really wants to help.

Sensing the silence, Maria twirled around.

"Let's go find somewhere nice to sit and chat."

We all nodded and followed her. I stared at Gin's back, who went in right after Maria. Does he have feelings for her? Does she have feelings for him? Argh, this is all too complicated!

"Oh, we're going to get ice cream!"

I laughed at Arisu's exclamation. I really shouldn't worry so much.

"Yes, after we're done studying."


That probably wasn't what she wanted to hear. Oh well.

We went to a pair of small tables, pushing them together, so we could spread our textbooks and notes on them. Looking at the stacks of paper alone gave me a headache. How am I supposed to pass this exam? I shot a pleading look to Gin. Maybe he really is our last hope. Or at least, mine. I thought that Maria would do well enough, and for Arisu, it wouldn't be a problem. Gin sat next to Maria, looking over her notes.

"Did you... doodle during class?"


She was clearly embarrassed.

"It's cute." He coughed. "But if you want to understand the material, you should pay attention."

I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Great observation there, Mr. Math Man. No. Maybe I'm too harsh. But she's clearly uncomfortable... I opened my notes on a random page, and pointed at one of the problems.

"Can you explain this for us? I've been struggling with it for forever."

"Oh. Sure."

He smiled, looking over my scribbled notes and attempts of solving it.

"Okay, what exactly do you not understand?"

"I... don't know?" I shrugged. "Everything?"

"That's not helpful."

He sighed, ruffling his hair. That was enough for Maria to look at him again with her big eyes, blushing slightly. Hey, it's not the time to enjoy your crush! We're here to learn! Or, well, I am. He started going over the problem with me, step by step. For Maria, that was apparently interesting enough, but Arisu was bored to death. She sighed theatrically.

"I'll just do some stuff on my own."

With that, she started scribbling down some things, none of which I understood. But hey, I don't even get our assigned homework, so...

But Gin glanced over it, his eyes growing wide.

"Wait... did you just..."


Arisu looked up.

"C-can I see this?"


She gave him the piece of paper. He was reading it frantically, occasionally glancing at Arisu.

"Did you just... prove that a perfect cuboid exists?"

"Oh, that's what you call them?"

Arisu didn't seem impressed.

"That's not... this is..."

"I think you broke him, Arisu."

I sighed. While I didn't understand what was happening, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't get more problems explained.


With that, she took the piece of paper from him, and ate it. We all looked at her in shock.

"What?" She swallowed, licking her lips. "That stuff just made problems. I'm sorry."

"No, you can't-"

But it was too late. Whatever this grand discovery was, it was lost forever in Arisu's iron stomach. Gin slunk back into his seat, while I packed my notes and books up. As I had expected, there was no more talk of math problems. Even the cute, cat-shaped cookies Maria ordered to celebrate our study date weren't really enough to get Gin out of his mathematical experience. Only when we got up, as Maria gently took him by the arm, he managed to move again. He shook his head, smiling at us.

"I'm sorry," he said, "I don't think I managed to explain a lot."

I shrugged.

"Well, it helped a bit. Thanks."

With that, we left Maria and Gin alone, waving goodbye. The books were heavy in my backpack, but with Arisu at my side, the way home was going by quickly.

"So, do you understand math now?" Arisu asked.

I shook my head.

"Not in the slightest. It was a nice day, though."

Taylor Victoria