Volume 10 Chapter 9 Tsukimachi Ayana, After School Date！？
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
”Ayana, would you mind hanging out with me for a bit after this?”
As I was about to go home after school, Aqua called out to me.
”Well, actually, I forgot until just now… You know, the 17th is Kohina-senpai’s birthday, right? She keeps sending me emails, so I wondered why, and then I remembered that Kohina-senpai’s birthday was close to mine.”
Oh… That’s right.
I put my palm over my mouth that was half-opened with a look of regret.
”Could it be that Ayana also forgot…”
”N-No way! I was just about to choose a birthday present for Kohina-senpai! Let’s go then!”
I pushed Aqua’s back forcefully as if to cover up.
I couldn’t say that I forgot Kohina-senpai’s birthday because I was only thinking about Aqua’s birthday…!
”So, where are we going?”
”For now, let’s go to the several general stores in front of the station. If they don’t have it, we can go to the shopping mall, right?”
By the way, there are several cute general stores in front of the station. I’ve only been looking at them from outside on my way to school, but I thought it might not be a bad choice.
”Yeah, that’s fine. By the way, is Kanon-san okay?”
”She seems to have something to do over there.”
Oh, I see. I feel like she said she needs to prepare for Aqua’s birthday. I also have some ideas for presents, but I haven’t decided on anything yet.
Well, even if he receive a birthday present from me, he might not be that happy, but, well, we’re in the same industry, we’ve worked together, and we’re classmates, so it shouldn’t be strange for me to give him a present.
”Oh, it’s Aqua-kun and Ayana-san from class A…”
”Oh? Is it for the Monday 9 PM filming?”
”It’s already started!?”
”I, a Rina fan, am overjoyed…!”
”Take that, Kohina Yukari!”
As we walked out of school, the other kids from Otomezaki were glancing at us and whispering to each other.
Yeah, well, as expected. Although I don’t feel any signs of approaching, it’s not really pleasant to be constantly watched from a distance.
When I looked over there, everyone lightly nodded and started whispering with their backs turned.
Yeah, yeah, that’s fine then. I think it would be better if they whispered while looking at us, as Aqua would get distracted.
But still, Beryl’s fans are amazing. They can understand what I want to say just by looking at me. It’s said that Beryl’s fans have a high standard and are well-disciplined in this industry.
Maybe it’s because of Kirika Kotono-san, who is Toa-chan’s manager. She might be intimidating, but I think the bigger reason is the fan psychology of wanting Aqua to stay as he is, defenseless.
Even I think that way, so I thought fans would think it even more. Toa-chan, Kanon-san, President, and even Kohina-senpai all said Aqua is fine just the way he is, with a half-enlightened expression. They just want the other girls around him to grow.
”Oh, that’s not bad!”
I look in the direction that Aqua ran off to.
He’s usually so cool, but I guess her fans also like this innocent side of him.
”How about this?”
Aqua taps the head of a raccoon dog figurine.
It’s the kind of thing people often see at souvenir shops when they go on location shoots in the countryside.
”Doesn’t this guy… look a bit like Kohina-senpai?”
Come on, that’s not true at all! I can’t help but laugh!
I peek at the raccoon dog’s face with doubt.
No way, there’s nothing similar about them, I think…
”Look, these round and cute eyes, don’t they remind you of Kohina-senpai when she sees her favorite lunch box on set and her eyes sparkle?”
Huh? There? …Well, now that you mention it, I kind of see it.
Aqua makes a face like Kohina-senpai next to the raccoon dog figurine to show me.
”Haha, hahaha, stop it, stop it! Don’t make me laugh”
”Come on, come on, look, look!”
”Haha, no, don’t get closer with that face, it’s too funny, hehe, stop it already!”
Aqua is trying to make me laugh, geez!
If you do any more, I’ll tell Kohina-senpai!
”This is nice. Maybe I’ll buy one for my home.”
”You must be kidding!?”
”Well, somehow I’ve grown attached to it as I’ve been looking at it. Since Kanon might call it lame if I put it in the entrance, maybe I’ll display it in the office break room. No, actually it might be good to put it behind the streaming room.”
After Aqua finished paying, he asked the shop staff to have it delivered later. Look, even the store clerk is surprised because she didn’t expect it to sell. Wait, what…? It’s been left unsold since your Grandma’s time? You bought that…?
”Well, I made a good purchase. Let’s call it ‘Hina Tanuki’ as a tribute to Kohina-senpai.”
”You definitely shouldn’t say that in front of her. Even if she gets angry, I don’t know anything about it.”
I wonder if these eccentric actions are also liked by fans…
Speaking of eccentric actions, Shirogane Aqua, who appeared on a late-night show the other day, caused a huge buzz on the internet with the theory that he came from outer space.
Famous university professors, UFO researchers, paranormal researchers, and the editor-in-chief of magazine were all having a serious discussion.
Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I watched that show. It was a complete waste of time, I think.
They said let’s try calling Shirogane Aqua-san at the end, and they was spinning around on the roof of the apartment holding hands. It was totally a joke show. The performers were all serious, but the staff’s laughter was clearly heard.
”Ah, that might be good too!”
Yeah, yeah, which one? There’s no raccoon anymore, right?
I looked at where Aqua was pointing with a fed-up face.
A clothing store… Ah, that cute blouse?
Kohina-senpai is small, so she might look good in something feminine like that.
But then, Aqua picked up a completely different one and showed it to me.
”How about this!?”
There was a big design of white rice piled up in a bowl with furikake sprinkled on top, printed in a deformed way.
I burst out laughing when I saw it.
Wait, what is that T-shirt? No way… who would buy something like that…?
I felt sorry for the shop staff, but I looked closely at the T-shirt.
Huh? This is clearly a joke, right? I’ve never seen anyone wearing something like this outside.
When I looked closely, it was in the special price corner, and it was only 100 yen, and it was obviously a disposal item….
”Hey… Aqua, are you deliberately trying to make fun of me? Come on, at least choose something seriously. Kohina-senpai would cry, you know?”
”Ayana, what are you talking about? I’ve been choosing seriously from the beginning, you know?”
I look at Aqua.
Seriously…? Aqua may be an artist, but his sense of aesthetics isn’t that bad, right…? As I think about that, Aqua, seeing my bewildered expression, laughs mischievously.
”Hey, you tricked me! Geez!”
”Hahaha, sorry, I was kidding, kidding. I’ll do it seriously, I promise.”
I pout and turn my face away.
”But still, this could be fate, so I’ll buy this t-shirt. There’s also a men’s size, so I might as well buy one for myself. Pegonia-san might give me a cold look, and Kanon might call it super lame, but I’ll use it as loungewear.”
Normally, who would buy something knowing that?!
Is he mentally strong or just oblivious…? Anyway, poor Kanon-san.
Maybe I should send a message to her saying, “Right now, your husband is buying super lame loungewear next to me.”
She would probably tell me to stop with all my might, but sorry, I can’t stop Aqua.
”Oh, I had a great shopping trip. I’m satisfied.”
”The store clerks were also surprised because they didn’t expect it to sell.”
By the way, the remaining Yukari T-shirts sold like hotcakes to the Otomezaki students who were watching.
Oh, right, if we buy matching ones, we can have a matching look. The other day, I heard that Kanon-san and him were buying matching ones in a magazine…. Oh, wait… If that’s the case, Aqua and Kohina-senpai can also have a matching look, right?
Huh? Could it be that Aqua is… about Yukari-senpai, huh…?
Even though Aqua’s face doesn’t seem to be thinking about anything, it must be my imagination.
”No, it’s nothing.”
We’ve only looked at two places so far, but I feel really tired….
”Let’s take a break for a bit.”
”Yes, that would be very much appreciated by me.”
Now, the two of us enter a nearby hamburger shop.
Of course, the only people around are female Otomezaki students who stopped by on their way home.
”Oh… Aqua-kun? And Ayana-san too…?”
Aqua and I exchange glances and turn our faces towards Tsushima-san, our classmate, who is wearing the uniform of the hamburger shop, right in front of us.
”Ah… actually, I work part-time here. Today I have no club activities, so…”
I see… but wasn’t Tsushima-san the daughter of a big company called Tsushima Electric?
When I tilted my head, Tsushima-san answered my question.
”I’m working part-time to learn about society. It’s close to school here, and it’s on a main street, so it’s perfect even if it gets late at night.”
”Is that so?”
Our school has high academic standards, but it also recruits good players from all over the country by recommendation, so there are many strong clubs.
The cheerleading club is one of the popular clubs, and I heard they practice a lot.
I thought it was amazing that she was working part-time for social studies in addition to her daily studies and club activities.
”So, what would you like to order, both of you?”
Aqua and I peeked at the menu.
What should I choose?
”Then… I’ll have the teriyaki set with fries and cola. Oh, we’ll eat in the store, please.”
”I’ll have the fish burger set with salad and hot milk tea, please.”
Tsushima-san confirmed the order.
Aqua looked at her working and smiled happily.
”Ah, Aqua-kun, what’s wrong?”
”Ah… no, sorry. I was watching Tsushima-san work and I remembered working at a hamburger shop in Heaven’s Sword and felt nostalgic.”
Come to think of it, Tenga-san and Aqua were both working part-time at a hamburger shop. I think it was episode 8.
”Haha, I was also surprised when I saw that episode. I didn’t expect Aqua-kun to be working at the same burger shop.”
That broadcast was amazing. There was a huge crowd here too. I remember there were many girls who ate burgers for lunch at Otomezaki.
”Well, there was someone who taught me properly. That’s why I still remember it quite well.”
”Wow! Really? My senior also said that Aqua-kun could start working right away.”
Aqua cleared his throat lightly and took the same posture as Tsushima-san to serve customers.
”Tsushima-san, what would you like to order?”
”Uh…um…then, a smile!”
”Yes. One smile, right? Is it for takeout?”
”Yes. Thank you for your order of a smile.”
The young staff member who saw Aqua’s smile staggered.
The veteran staff member next to her caught young staff unconsciously, while making a surprised face.
The customers around them suppressed their urge to scream and endured by covering their mouths with both hands.
”Aqua-kun, a smile is not a lethal weapon, right?”
”Eh? Tsushima-san, did you say something?”
”No, it’s nothing. I’ll bring your order to the table later, so please wait with this number card on the table.”
Tsushima-san… as expected.
In her heart, she must be going through something difficult, but she doesn’t show it and does her job properly.
Even though we’ve been classmates for over six months and have built up some resilience, it’s not easy to have such strong mental strength.
Oh, wait. Now that I think about it, Kanon-san… Yes, let’s pretend I didn’t notice. They’ve only been married for about two months. I keep telling myself it can’t be helped.
”It’s been a while since I had a hamburger, not since the filming of Heaven’s Sword. But it still tastes good. I should come eat with Toa and the others next time.”
Toa-chan and the others!? Ah… I was just about to panic and consult Kirika-san via email. But…
”Hey, Ayana. You have tartar sauce on your cheek.”
I was so absorbed in thinking about Toa-chan and Aqua that I was spaced out.
I wipe off the tartar sauce from my cheek with a nearby piece of paper.
”No, not there. Over here.”
Aqua scoops up the tartar sauce on the opposite cheek with his fingertips and licks it.
”Yeah… Maybe I can order a fish burger once in a while.”
Uh, ah, huh…? So, that means, once in a while, instead of the usual teriyaki burger he eats, maybe a fish burger… he wants to try something different, in that sense, right?
Oh, what should I do? We’re not in a relationship, so we need c**doms, right?
The other day, Kohina-senpai bought the largest-sized c**doms at the drugstore just in case, but I should have bought them too.
By the way, when we opened them to check, we were so surprised by the size that both of us just stared wide-eyed. Wait, do those even fit inside a girl’s body? I’m petite, and Kohina-senpai is small, so we might end up breaking ourselves just by being inserted…
”Alright, then let’s head to the general store soon.”
Honestly, I can’t focus on that right now, but as long as I look at Aqua, it doesn’t seem like that kind of atmosphere is present.
Well, maybe I’m just overthinking this.
But just in case, I thought I should carry c**doms with me for such unexpected situations.
When Aqua and I entered the general store, the shopkeeper had a surprised expression on her face. Yeah, that’s normal, right?
”I’ll take this…”
Saying that, Aqua brought a wooden sword even though I don’t know where it came from. Huh? This is a general store, right? I look towards the shopkeeper.
”If you’re thinking of buying wooden tableware, I ordered the wrong item…”
Ah… I see…
”If it’s Kohina-senpai, wouldn’t this suit her if she had it?”
”It might suit her, but make it cuter. After all, Kohina-senpai is a girl.”
”Kohina-senpai is a… girl…?”
Aqua shows a puzzled expression.
”Hey, even if it’s on purpose, that reaction is too much!”
”Haha, caught me. I know, I’ll take this.”
The one Aqua chose was a cute animal slipper.
”When I went home before, my slippers were worn out so I threw them away. I haven’t bought new ones yet, so I’ll go with these.”
”Yeah, I think it’s a good choice.”
See, you’re able to do proper research! Geez, you were doing it on purpose just to tease me, right?
”In that case, I’ll go with this one.”
”I think matching blankets would be nice. Kohina-senpai is sensitive to the cold.”
I thought I would worry more, but when we came to the general store, it was decided immediately. What was all the fuss before….
Anyway, I decided on a present for Kohina-senpai, but I still haven’t decided on Aqua’s present.
Is there anything else? While the shopkeeper is wrapping the present for me, I shift my gaze to other products. Oh… this might be good!
While Aqua is looking at other products, I buy additional items.
”Ayana, thanks for accompanying me today.”
”No, it’s me who should thank you, because I decided quickly since I’m with Aqua.”
I take out the paper bag that I had wrapped at the general store earlier from my bag and hand it to Aqua.
”Huh…? For me?”
”Who else would it be for? After all, oh, it’s Aqua’s birthday too. Here, happy birthday!”
Aqua stares at the paper bag for a moment.
”…Can I open it?”
The present I bought Aqua is a longer scarf that the two people can wrap around themselves.
It used to be a trend among close girl friends to call it a friend scarf and wrap it together.
I haven’t seen it recently, so I forgot, but for some reason, I felt like Aqua would use it with Kanon-san.
”You’re going to school normally like today from tomorrow, right? I thought maybe you could use it with Kanon-san when you go to school…”
”Really? I’m so happy. Thank you!”
Aqua quickly wrapped the scarf around his neck and handed me a small paper bag from his bag.
”This is to thank you for today”
I was surprised and looked back and forth between Aqua’s face and the paper bag.
”Oh, thank you. Me too… can I open it?”
Inside was a small ribbon hairpin.
”Cute…! Thank you. But, are you sure?”
”Yeah, I thought you might feel obliged if it was too expensive, so I thought something like that would be fine. Ayana always wears accessories in her hair, right? And I wanted to give you something to commemorate our outing today. Look, you helped me out at the matchmaking party too, and you always save me.”
Aqua scratched his cheek with his index finger, looking a little embarrassed and shy.
I clenched the hairpin in my hand.
”Yeah. Then, I’ll use it without hesitation.”
”Yeah, here, let me.”
Aqua touched my hair gently.
Ah…it reminds me of that night.
Aqua always touches us girls so gently, like he’s handling a treasure. That part really makes my heart flutter.
”Look, how is it?”
”It’s… cute. Thank you!”
I smiled gently at Aqua when I looked at myself in the mirror.
”Well then, see you tomorrow at school.”
”Yeah! See you tomorrow at school!”
Aqua and I go in opposite directions to go back home. So we say our goodbyes near the ticket gate at the station.
As soon as I started walking towards the opposite ticket gate after parting with Aqua, I felt a little lonely. I turned around just for a moment and stared at Aqua’s back.
Then, he noticed my gaze and looked at me, waving his hand with a smile. Fool… If I hadn’t turned around, my feelings might have cooled off a bit, but instead, I fell even more in love.
I gently touch the hairpin Aqua gave me. But I have to work hard so that I won’t be left behind by Aqua. I, who lack talent, can only struggle and make efforts.
And someday… no, I will definitely stand next to Aqua as the heroine and create a masterpiece that surpasses Kohina-senpai.
So, this is not the time to stand still. I raise my head and take a step forward.
-This is the bonus from here-
”How about this T-shirt? It’s super cool, right?”
”Ahaha, yes… it’s very, nice… I think.”
Kohina-senpai, who was wearing a Furikake Rice T-shirt, showed it off to me with pride.
Huh? Kohina-senpai, I hope you’re not serious, but did you wear that crappy T-shirt from your house to here?
”Right? Hehe. He has a pretty good sense of style, doesn’t he? But if he’s going to buy one anyway, he should have bought one for Ako-chan and Ayana-chan too. Geez, he’s so inconsiderate!”
I just kept smiling and got through the situation.
I’m glad. Ako-san and I didn’t get hurt….
”Thank you too, Ayana-chan!!”
”N-no… by the way, Kohina-senpai, is that thing that popped out of your bag by any chance…”
”Oh! He gave me this too! Hehe, Ayana-chan, isn’t it great? My wooden sword, I’ve always wanted one too.”
Eh…. Oh, I see! These two are on the same wavelength, or maybe they’re similar. In their mysterious sense of style and stuff like that….
So maybe Kohina-senpai would have been happy with that raccoon figurine too….
Yeah, I stopped thinking deeply about that.
”Hey, Kanon! Isn’t this small tanuki figurine cute?”
”Huh? It’s lame…”
”Master, please don’t mess up the house with trash.”
”You’re kidding, right!?”
There may or may not have been such a conversation.
-And furthermore, as a bonus-
In the break room at Beryl headquarters.
”Who put this lame thing in the break room?”
”I-I did… *sniffle* I’ll take it to the streaming room.”
There may or may not have been such a discussion.
Please bookmark this series and rate ☆☆☆☆☆ on here!
Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.