Chapter 21:

Supplementary Lessons (Part 4)

Stars of Aoba

On a hot summer day, there’s really nothing that beats hanging out in a sweets shop, surrounded by the cool and breezy ACs while having the chilling sensation of ice cream on the tip of your tongue.

Well, at least, that would have been the case. Unfortunately for the four teenagers gathering around the left-corner table, their lives couldn’t be more miserable.

It’s me. I’m one of the four teenagers.

“So, remind me again why we have to meet up here?” Sitting opposite to me, a girl in sunglasses, face mask and hat asks in an irritated voice.

“Sometimes it’s better to organize things directly,” without hesitation, I answer. Not to say that I’d prepared this reason for this exact kind of question, but I had. At least my words are completely true though – calling them might be more convenient, but it’s best if all five of us are in the same place.

“Okay, so why here?” The girl continues. “Shouldn’t the library be a better place?”

“Denied,” next to me, a pink-haired boy crosses his hands and shakes his head repeatedly. “That place still hasn’t had any aircon installed. Going there right now is like going into a furnace.”

“Actually, how did you even get our contacts?” Next to the girl, a boy in a black-and-white checkered shirt raises his voice, though his eyes are still firmly glued to the manga in his hands.

“I have… sources,” I answer, trying to avert their gazes – well, not a really hard thing to do since one isn’t looking at me while the other doesn’t even show her eyes at all. It’s true though; I have sources. A certain redhead with all the information on everyone at school, to be precise.

“I… see,” the girl hesitates for a bit. “Fine, now can we get to the point?”

“You both know what I’m calling you here for.”

“No, we don’t. We’ve just established that.”

“It’s a figure of speech,” unfazed, I turn to my bag and take out the items I’ve prepared. Laying out the table every piece of note I could gather from Tsunagi, Hayato, Michinari and myself, I continue.

“Sakaki Kagefumi-san, Mikami Eita-kun, we need your help.”

The sight of the study notes has managed to get their attention. The girl quickly takes off her hat and sunglasses, while the boy drops his manga almost in an instant.

“Are these for the supplementary lesson exam?” Sakaki’s eyes widen.

“Yup. But they’re not enough.”

“Not enough? How come?” Mikami jumps into the conversation as well.

“As of right now, we only have notes for Math, English, and Science,” Michinari continues. “Taken and written by me, Suzuki-kun, and H… wait, where’s Hayato-kun? Did we ask him to meet here like an hour ago?”

“Hold on, lemme check the messages…” I let out a disappointed sigh and open my phone. Hayato disappearing on us has been unfortunately a normal occurrence as of late. The guy never gives his reason, too, but at least there shouldn’t be anything for us to worry about.

[Sorry, I have some urgent business to attend to. I’ll catch you guys later today.]

“Yup, he ditched us again,” with a shake of the head, I show the rest of the group the message.

“Again?” All four of them sound. But while Michinari’s is a shocked, I-can’t-believe-he-would-do-it-again kind of tone, the other two sound a lot more uncertain and weirded out.

“Don’t ask,” I answer. “But long story short, yes, he did also help us with these.”

“Then you’re here because you wanted to give us these notes?” Asks Sakaki.

“Sorry, Fumi-chan,” Michinari chuckles at the question. “But Suzuki-kun here isn’t so nice to just give things out for free, is he?”

“I can do without the sarcasm, you know. But yes, I’m not that nice of a guy.”

“Prez has been rubbing off on you a tad too much.”

Anyway,” I make a fake cough to change the subject back to where it matters. “As you can see, there are still two missing – Japanese and Social Studies. And I hope that you two would be able to help us with the case.”

“We’d love to help, but…” After a moment, Mikami is the first to speak up. “You do realize we’re in classes D and E, right? Even compared to you class C folks, we’re not up to part…”

“Oh, don’t worry. I made that same mistake once,” giving him a pat on the shoulder, I try to let out a reassuring smile. However, I can’t seem to get nice things.

“You know that only makes you look creepy, right?” Sakaki raises her brows.

“Again, I can do without the sarcasm.”

“Pinky here is right. The President has been rubbing off on you too much.”

“That sounds very wrong, so I’m not talking about that. But, I can guarantee that you guys are better than us at these subjects. As a reminder, I only got 52 and 51 for Japanese and Social Studies for the entrance exam. After the last test, those got down to 46 and 48, just barely above the failing mark.”

“And Pinky?”

“60 for all except Math. That’s back in the entrance exam, by the way.”

“… And now?”

“Ehe…” Michinari playfully sticks out his tongue as he scratches his head in embarrassment. Well, that can’t be good.

“What do you mean by ‘ehe’?” On the other end of the table, Sakaki is exclaiming with a question that could very well end up with us getting sued.

“I got, uh… zero.”

“Zero? Zero what?”

“Zero… as in… everything was zero, except Math. I ranked dead last out of all freshmen, by the way.”

“Wait, really?” the sheer ridiculous nature of the claim is enough to send me jumping. “The other three, I can understand… somewhat, but why Science too? Isn’t Math also a big component in it?”

“Haha, let’s just say I… didn’t want to look at another physics formula for a long time after that…”

“Well, anyway, there you have it,” I conclude. “So whatever your scores are, there’s not much chance of them being worse than us.”

“What about that other guy?” Asks Mikami. “Hayato, isn’t it?”

“I don’t remember his exact scores, but it’s below average,” I answer. “So? What do you say?”

“How about… you take a look at our scores first?” Sakaki answers by showing us her phone, in the same vein that I turn my phone over to show them Hayato’s message.

I might not be one to believe in the supernatural, but at this moment right now I’m damn hoping that there’s a god up there looking out for us.

“38-36-44-43-45…” I mutter. If I have to be honest, I’m just looking at stars right now.

“Mine too,” Mikami’s voice calls me back from the land of the dead, only to push my spirit back down again.


How in the world that, against all odds, I’m the one with the highest average out of everyone here?

If Sakaki was in the Literature Club, how was Japanese her second-lowest score?

I thought Mikami was a movie fanatic, but his Social Studies score is of the same fate?

“So, yeah…” Sakaki and Mikami both take their items away and conclude. “We’d love to help if we can, for real, but as you can see… we’re barely keeping ourselves afloat, let alone trying to help others.”

“You’re not even keeping yourselves afloat, by the way.”

“Not helping, Michinari.”

“I have to play the tsukkomi once in a while!”

“That’s still the boke!”

That’s it. We’re officially screwed. All that’s left for us is to wait for the sweet release of death.

Which is…

I glance at my phone once more.

In three days.