Chapter 19:

The Cultural Festival

Third and Final Time

Why’d I agree to this?

“Akane, Akane! Look this way! Make a pose!”

“Looking good, Akane.”

“Wow, is that Akane Yuki?!”

“She’s so pretty.”

I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

All I thought I had to do was stand in the corridor, holding a sign, smiling whilst my friends called out customers and dragged them into the café.

Why there were so many people with cameras, I don’t know.


It was very embarrassing when people, especially my friends, asked for pictures of me in my uniform.

When I first heard about the maid café, I didn’t quite know what I was getting into.

Our outfits had been modelled on those you’d find in Akihabara, meaning that they were closer to an anime style of maid than an actual maid.

The skirt was short, the top left parts around my neck exposed, and it ended up having bright pink highlights to go with the black and white cloth.

It stood out, it looked cute and everyone kept telling me how adorable I was.

The girl who had been insisting I make poses was my girlfriend, still in her uniform, on her break.

I wanted to refuse, but.


There is not a being in this universe that can resist Hinata’s puppy dog eyes.

So, I started posing.

I posed for selfies, kabe-dons and anything she wanted.

Then…some other friends started asking me, and then so did some customers.

What was their payment to get me to do such things?

Of course, it was a vote for our class to win the big prize.

It was Rei’s idea.

As a result.

“Akane, I said I was sorry, and I didn’t think it’d get this out of hand,” he said beside me. I, of course, ignored him with flushed cheeks. “I’ll do anything to make it up to you, I swear.”

“…Wear a maid outfit for the rest of the cultural festival.”

“Anything but that.”

So, I sulked once again and Rei got the silent treatment.

“Hey, Rei, if you want, I could give you mine when my shift’s done.” Inori popped out from the classroom. “In fact, why don’t you hang out with us when we go on break in it? I bet that’d make it up to Akane.”

“I’ll pay you each ten thousand yen if Akane forgives me.”


“…I was kidding.”

“I wasn’t.” I held out my hand grumpily. “Hand over.”



Reluctantly, Rei went to his locker, grabbed his wallet and handed over the thirty thousand yen he’d been given by his parents just two days earlier for his birthday.

“Stupid grand prize,” he muttered.

Once Inori and I’s shift ended, we all went around the cultural festival for a while. Kana’s breaks didn’t line up with ours, so she was left alone in the classroom, which I did feel a bit bad about. Inori even offered to stay to keep her company, but Kana said we should go and have fun instead.

“We’ll buy her something nice to make up for it,” Hinata said.

We bought a few packs of her favourite sweets in the end.

I’d always wanted to go around the cultural festival with friends; it was a lot of fun. We did a little bit of everything we could, though we’d probably need half a day to see it all.

After an hour, Rei’s phone’s alarm went off.

“Oh, it’s time for Aki’s play.”

“Ah crap, I completely forgot about it,” Inori sighed. “Do you think there will be any seats left?”

“Who knows? We’ll just have to rush over and see.”

Thankfully, we were only a two-minute walk from the gym and there wasn’t a massive queue.


“What do you mean it’s full?!” Hinata exclaimed.

“Sorry about this, but we’ve only got a hundred seats and they filled out fast,” the student at the door told us. “If you guys are happy to come back for the next one later today-”

“Hachiman, those guys are fine!”


“Yeah, they’re the guys we asked to reserve our seats for.”

Rei narrowed his eyes. “You guys can reserve seats?”

“W-well, each member of the class can reserve a seat for a show, so I, Ryuuji and Hayato reserved three for you guys.”

“…There are four of us though,” Hinata pointed out.


“Don’t whoops me! Who has to sit-?”

“I will.” Rei’s hand shot up. “Actually, I didn’t really want to see the play; I just wanted to drop by and say hi.”

“Wow, thanks for the support, Rei.”

“Hey, I can just watch it from back stage after dropping by, right?”


“Sure, come on in, buddy!” Aki wrapped his arm around Rei and dragged him inside, pushing past the student at the door.

We three girls were then shown to the very front centre of the seats where our reserved spots were.

“How’d they manage to get the super sweet spot?”

“Probably because Ryuuji’s the lead.”

Once we were sat down, we had nothing else to do but wait as the actors and crew members did their final checks.

The doors were closed, the windows blackened with curtains, the lights dropped, and the stage was set.

Romeo and Juliet.

Shakespeare’s classic love story, one people often called his greatest work.

Personally, I prefer Macbeth.

I laughed a little bit to myself, too quiet for anyone else to hear.

Imagining Ryuuji as Macbeth had just been too amusing.

Then again, I reckon no school would ever have been able to produce Macbeth for a cultural festival.

Still, I’d never seen any Shakespeare plays performed on stage.

I’d only read the books until now, so it was rather exciting.

Ryuuji was a bit stiff in places but, overall, I think he did a good job as Romeo.

His partner, Sakura Amazawa however, was brilliant as Juliet.

She was the ace of the drama club, so it wasn’t a surprise, but I think everyone was wowed by her performance.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to perform the whole play.

They only had three forty-five-minute slots throughout the day to perform and so they had to cut down on some stuff.

“Am I missing something or-?”

“I’ll explain later,” I whispered to Hinata, who just nodded in response.

It was as I feared - the cuts had made things a bit too difficult to follow at times.

Still, there was quite a lot that flowed well and it was obvious that Sakura had had a hand in the edits for today’s play.

The famous death scene remained.

Once, I had thought of it as a truly upsetting scene.

Now, I was rather cold towards it.

If Juliet thought this was misery, she had no idea what she was missing out on.

The show ended and the audience gave a standing ovation, myself included.

I had to admit, I enjoyed it more than I expected to.

However, before we could leave, the cast came back onto stage for a bow. We clapped them as they bowed again, before a microphone was handed to Sakura.

“Thank you all for coming today; I’m the lead actress of today’s play playing Juliet, Sakura Amazawa. Thank you all for coming today and I hoped you enjoyed the play.” We all applauded again and then, “Before you all go, if I could have your attention for just a few moments.”

The houselights went down again and a spotlight shone on both her and Ryuuji.

“There’s something that our lead actor, Ryuuji Sakamoto, would like to say. Ryuuji.”

She handed him the microphone and he took a few steps forward, the spotlight following his every move.

I suddenly felt very cold.


Why did I suddenly get goosebumps?

What is this?

My birthmark ached.



Why does this hurt so much?

“Hello, everyone, and I’m sorry for taking up your time. I know you all want to get back to the cultural festival as soon as possible, but…there’s something I need to say, to someone very special to me.”



“She’s someone I really like a lot and that I can’t stop thinking about, someone who I love everything about. Her smile, her laugh, the way she tries her best at everything, and.” He smiled so warmly it made me want to vomit.

“Akane Yuki.”

A spotlight appeared on me.




The world started spinning.

“I’ve always liked you.”

My throat closed.

I can’t…


…my eyes…

“Please go out with me!”

I was alone.

There was only darkness and the spotlight.


Why did you…?



I felt myself slipping, but I remained seated.

I felt like I was drowning, but I couldn’t grasp for air.




Slowly, I rose on shaky feet and took two steps forward.

Then, I fell forwards and-