Chapter 2:


Tomorrow is Closed

“You ‘threw up’?”

Yukimura Kiku stood in front of me, tie fully pushed up and double-knotted, arms crossed around her chest, eyebrows completely furrowed and voice whiny. From this distance, coupled with the added pressure of her arms, it made her chest look comically huge. (There is simply no tasteful way to say someone has big boobs. I would know. I spent three hours speculating with my editor friend how it could be done. It can’t. It’s impossible. Boobs.)

“What’s with the weird intonation?”

“I’m just saying it how you said it.”

“That couldn’t possibly be true. You see, I don’t sound like a stuck-up bitch.”


“I am not a ‘stuck-up bitch’, Mitoma-san.”

“What’s with the weird intonation?”

“What’s with your complete lack of effort when it comes to academics?”

“It’s funny you say that, because I could swear you just slammed your print-outs against my poor desk moments ago. Isn’t this presentation worth ten percent of our Social Studies grade?”

Yukimura scoffed at that statement. Or laughed, I don’t know. If I had to make a genuine attempt at describing it, she made a noise which made me want to shove her into a box and ship her to South Korea as an idol trainee who can’t speak the native language and is therefore completely estranged from friends and family since they control the hours of the day you can access the internet alongside constantly policing your social interactions so you end up dropping out with post-traumatic stress disorder related to gaining weight. That kind of sound.

“Fifteen percent,” she corrected. FiFtEeN pErCenT. Somebody please tell this dollar store Yukinoshita that nobody cares. “And these aren’t my print-outs. They’re yours, actually.”

She unfurled her makeshift percussion instrument and smugly laid out some sheets of paper in front of me. Surely enough, the header on the paper corresponded to my section for the presentation: The Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment.

“I don’t know what this is.”

“I typed it out for you.”

“I don’t want it.”

“Too bad. You have no choice.”

“I don’t consent to this.”

“The printing fee was 180 yen. I accept cash or credit.”

“I didn’t ask for this.”




“Mitoma-san. With all due respect, please stop being such a difficult, annoying virgin.”

“Yukimura. Disrespectfully, I have sex. Tons.”

“K-Kaoru-kun? Kiku-chan? Maybe we should all relax? The whole class is watching the two of you bicker like—”

Our arms flew out faster than either of us could say ‘strawberry girl’.

“Not now, secretary.”

“O-oh, okay then…”

“This is ridiculous,” Yukimura spat. “I can’t believe this joke of a class voted you for vice-chair.”

“You forced me on the ballot, so you really only have yourself to blame.”

“No, I put us on the ballot. Me, Tsujimoto-san, Kamada-san and you.” I didn’t particularly like the way she shuddered after saying ‘you’. It was too genuine. “And only because there are four positions in the class committee and nobody else wanted to run aside from me.”

“So what? Democracy won. I’d say that’s an example of a fair election.”

“No, ‘Tsujimoto-san having anxiety issues when it comes to labels and openly telling everyone not to vote for her or she’d cry’ won.”

And you still forced her to be on the class committee?

“Then how do you explain Daichi?”

“Because I told all the girls to not vote for Kamada-san. Otherwise I’d lose.”

“So… basically, you got what you wanted, but now you’re complaining about it.”


“I’m done discussing this, Mitoma-san.”

“Finally. I was beginning to think you’d never be.”

“Just study your section and be ready for the presentation.”

“I won’t. And don’t call my sister, she’s 12.”

To my abject surprise, instead of trying to get the last word in, Yukimura obediently slunk away to her corner of the classroom and began typing on her laptop with a scowl. Perhaps she was angry. It’s hard to say, because I’d never actually seen her with an expression other than a scowl. Maybe she was contemplating the fact there will never ever be a female Prime Minister, rendering her ambition to be a politician in the future absolutely pointless in the grand scheme of things, lending credence to my argument that she should stop being a high-strung bitch all the time.

Who knows?

I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. “K-Kaoru-kun?”

“What’s up?”

Mari kept twirling her bubblegum pom-pom earrings around as she sputtered. “A-are you okay? You’ve been prickly ever since you got to school… is something wrong?”

“Yeah. I puked this morning,” I said flatly.

“This is more than just being sick, Kaoru-kun. I know you and Kiku-chan don’t get on well… or maybe you and Kiku-chan get on too well—but I’ve never seen you being this mean to her for no reason. Did you guys break up?”

“What the hell? You need to stop talking to Daichi. Shipping culture is toxic.”

“H-huh? Daichi-kun didn’t say that exactly… I-I mean, Daichi-kun didn’t say anything to me at all.”

“You’re dumb.”

I flicked a look at the guy in question. Blonde hair parted exactly in a 7:3 ratio, diamond earring, and an entire clique of girls mauling his table (that included the so-called Elite Four #2, Sakura Emi). Typical Kamada Daichi stuff. Also banged anything that wore a skirt and had dyed hair, which was why Yukimura was safe. In theory.


“Look at me, Mari,” I said, cupping both her cheeks and turning her to face me.


“What are you right now?”

“A-an idiot sandwich?”

“Uh… sorry. I meant to say ‘what are we’.”




“O-okay, friends. I can work with that.”

“O-okay,” she replied.

“So we’re good friends, right?”


“Then since you’re my good friend, you need to trust what I say.”

“I don’t trust anything you say at all.”

“...Mari, please.”


“Even if it sounds stupid.”

“Everything you say is—”



I took a deep breath.

“Today is the 7th of May, right?”

“No..? It’s the 6th.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes… I would take out my phone to check, but I know for sure today is the 6th because it’s—”

“Yukimura’s birthday.”

Mari’s jaw dropped despite my clapping… cupping of her cheeks. “No way. Was Daichi-kun actually telling the truth about you two? You knew it was her birthday and you still acted like such a—”

“I don’t know what Daichi told you, but he’s insane and wants to smash you and definitely made it up. Anyway, ask me how I know Yukimura’s birthday.”

“How do you know?”

Mari’s eyes were wide, wide open.

At some point, a man must come to terms with his own weaknesses in order to evolve. For example, I’d been diagnosed with ADHD ever since I was 12. That's a weakness. I was grossly addicted to Nyarupong to the point where I slept an average of 4 hours on school nights and had an attendance rate of 60% in order to make up the difference when the average was a cool 95%. That’s another. I was also pulling the wool over the eyes of my only remaining living family member and forging her signature for excuse letters to fuel this lifestyle. And now, somehow, my overzealous class president had direct access to her phone number.

But also.

“I dreamt it.”


“Last night, I dreamt that, somehow, you would tell me it was Yukimura’s birthday by accident. And you just did.”

“…Is this a bit? “


“You’re crazy, Kaoru-kun. Get your hands off my face.”

“No, not yet.”

“Please let me go, Mitoma-san.”


“Kyaa! Senpai, what are you—”

I squished Mari’s face even harder. I was not going to be derailed by irony.

“In my dream, I woke up and argued with Sumire. Then you rang the doorbell and I let you in, which made Sumire and I argue even more.”

“Ish that why youh didn’t let meeh in?”

“Sure, you can say that. Anyway, after that I wrote an angry text to Yukimura because I was pissed, which prompted her to call me. And then we argued.”

“And bwoke uhp?”

“And on the call she said, ‘I can’t believe you’d do this to me on my birthday. You’re usually always so nice to me. I love you.’”

Mari pried my hands off her cheeks. “That didn’t happen.”

“And yet you listen to Daichi?”

“Kaoru-kun, stop getting sidetracked.”

“Okay, okay. She actually said something else on the call.”

“What did she say?”

“I can’t say.”


“But anyway, Yukimura hangs up and calls my landline, which Sumire obviously picks up. And because of that—”

I froze.

Can’t breathe.

“And because of that..?”

Found you.

After a million years of eternity… we’re finally together again.

“Settle down, dickheads!”

The voice that boomed from the front belonged to my homeroom teacher Miyagi Yousuke—otherwise known as Mr. Miyagi, otherwise known as Miyagi-sensei, otherwise known as Miyagi.

“We’ll uh… we’ll pick this up later, okay?” I said to Mari.

I didn’t bother listening to her reply. Instead, I turned to the front and decided to blankly stare in Miyagi’s direction—because I’d come to the damning realisation I definitely had a wider assortment of undiagnosed learning disabilities than first expected.

My head hurts.

“So class, I know we were supposed to have our presentations today, but I got caught up in the staffroom because of some administrative hiccups.”

My head hurts. My head hurts. My head hurts. My head hurts. My head hurts.

“And uh… to be honest, I don’t feel like having student presentations today,” he continued, rubbing his bald head.

Miyagi came on time in my dream.

“Because I have something even better to present. Now, class, please welcome the newest of Kitagawa Academy, and the 29th student of Class 2-B.”

Why do I even care? I should just go to the hospital after this.

Miyagi nodded at the door—or rather, the mystery person that stood beyond the door—and it slid open effortlessly.

It almost reminded me of Okazaki Sumire’s grace.

Then she proceeded with audacious strides toward the teacher's desk, but with that slight touch of grace that rendered them captivating rather than forceful.

She was almost as beautiful as Yukimura Kiku.

Then, with the entire room silent, most likely entranced by her silver hair and amethyst eyes, she laid her gaze on the 28 original students of 2-B and spoke.

“Good morning,” she said, and her innocence—

“My name is Fukunaga Manami.”

—was nothing like Tsujimoto Mari’s at all.

“I am here to kill Mitoma Kaoru and save all of you.”

Tomorrow is Closed