Chapter 6:

ambush

Convergence. Eli and Ama.


"What... What were you thinking? I'm glad it was just a lie, but seriously, why did you come up with that weird statement?" Mitsu reprimanded Anna in a soft tone, yet ensuring her words reached Anna's ears by leaning closer.

"And why are you calling it a strategy? I still don't get it," Mitsu, sitting next to Anna, chimed in.

"Yeah, same here" I calmly continued to partake of my packed meal, accompanied by Amaya, who savored her food with grace. “Just stay quiet, you hot-headed guy!" Mitsu and Kawahara shouted at me in unison. I deserved it, so I kept my mouth shut.

Anna spoke up, attempting to quell the tension. "Just calm both of you," she began. "I can't fully explain it right now, but trust me, it wasn't just about my ego."

"...Anyway, let's just eat the food Amaya made for us. She's so thoughtfully prepared for us. After all, she exerted herself for our sake," Anna continued, relishing her meal. Her words seemed to kindle a contented smile on Amaya's countenance.

"If you say so..." Mitsu and Kawahara relented and joined in, expressing their gratitude and receiving grateful smiles from Amaya in return.

"You can say that... but what about the other student thinks? Won't I be labeled as... you know, a despicable and abusive boyfriend?" I voiced my concern.

"Listen, when we're in a relationship, people tend to keep their noses out of our business," Anna replied nonchalantly. Her two companions sitting beside her wore skeptical expressions, accompanied by disapproving glances.

"Anna... You've never been in a relationship before, have you?" Mitsu remarked.

"Yes, you'll just attract those insincere playboy types who try to approach you with false sympathy," Kawahara added, adjusting his glasses.

"Indeed, and I'll miss out on the chance of having a genuine relationship in the future," I added.

"You don't deserve a girlfriend!" Once again, Mitsu and Kawahara synchronized their yelling, directed at me.

Suddenly, the rooftop door swung open, revealing a student with an armband that indicated that he’s a member of the student council.

"Huh? I thought there was some mischievous student using the rooftop without permission, turns out it was Anna... Well, if it's you, Anna, then I guess I’ll allow it," the guy's voice boomed, laced with a hint of flirtation. He walked with a swagger, stealing glances as he approached Anna and her group. For some reason, his presence reminded me of a snake.

"Just be frank, Hebi, if I'm breaking any school rules, just say so, and we'll leave," Anna replied with equal firmness.

"No, no, there are no written rules about using the school rooftop without a specific purpose, and I won't blame Anna for wanting to enjoy the fresh breeze of this new season," he sighed deeply as if proving his point about the refreshing breeze. "Especially..." he continued, "...when it's enjoyed with a guy you've beaten to a pulp like this." Suddenly, Hebi placed his hand on my shoulder. "Oh, what's this? It looks delicious," he remarked, grabbing a sausage from my lunchbox and closing it just as the school bell rang.

"Alright, since your time is up, please go back to your respective classes!" Hebi clapped his hands.

As we walked toward the exit, Hebi added something to Anna in a hushed tone, "I won't report this to your sister, so.." and he smiled.

---

Before entering the classroom, Amaya gently tugged at my sleeve. "I'll take that," she said, pointing to my lunchbox, requesting that I return it to her.

I slyly slipped my hand into the lunchbox and grabbed the last piece of sausage, munching on it in front of Amaya. It was my way of showing gratitude, hoping she'd understand how much her kindness meant to me.

Amaya responded with a soft chuckle, and it filled my heart with relief.

"I'll do my best too," she declared.

"You've already done so much," I said, pointing to my cheek where some sausage was still stuck. Amaya shook her head playfully, "...to assist you in your endeavors," she added.

Amaya always has this amazing strength—I could see her hand trembling when talking to strangers, but she’s never without a doubt telling her unwavering determination to help someone like me.

"I'm counting on you," I said gently.

This time, Amaya nodded and said her goodbyes as she headed to her own classroom.

After watching her go, I opened my palm and found a small piece of paper that I had discreetly taken from my lunchbox earlier. It was a note left behind by Hebi, the one who shamelessly snatched a portion of my food on the rooftop.

Unfolding the paper, my footsteps involuntarily came to a halt. The words written on it filled me with regret, making me second-guess the impulsive words I had uttered to Amaya just moments ago.

---

As the school day came to an end, I noticed a gathering of students in front of the school bulletin board. Curiosity piqued, I made my way towards them, my steps accompanied by the fading chatter of my classmates dispersing in different directions. The sight that greeted me was a notice, boldly announcing the repercussions of yesterday's incident. It seemed like everyone else was quick to retreat, leaving me alone to absorb the contents of the announcement.

"Elias,... will not face suspension... nor any specific punishments within the school premises. Instead, Elias is required to report to the student council room and assign his new roles as council members starting from Monday, the..." My voice trailed off, a tinge of skepticism coloring my tone. "What kind of strategy is this?" I muttered, my words barely audible.

"You don't have to thank me," a voice suddenly broke the silence, catching me off guard like a ghostly whisper.

I turned around to find a figure before me, her hair as white as snow, elegantly styled with a regal hair tie. Despite her slender frame, her shoulders exuded a certain strength, while her folded legs added a touch of feminine allure.

"Thank goodness, right? You can join the student council now, before officially declaring your intentions..." she remarked with a voice that resonated as if surrounding me in an ethereal aura.

"Right, Elias?" she asked once again. "...or should I say... my future anarchist brother-in-law?"

minatika
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Syed Al Wasee
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