Volume 8 Chapter 21 Shirogane Aqua, You Bet
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
What’s your favorite subject in school?
If I were asked that, I’d definitely have an immediate answer.
After the fourth period, I take out the bento box I’ve been looking forward to. Toa notices and makes his way over to me.
”Oh, is that a homemade lunch today?”
”Yeah! I put a lot of effort into it today. Toa, would you like some, too?”
As I say this, for some reason, all the girls in the class stand up and gaze in our direction.
”Did he say he put a lot of effort into it today?”
”It looks like Shirogane-kun made it…”
”No, no, isn’t this Kanon-san’s work?”
”That’s Pegonia-san, isn’t it?”
”Look, Kanon-sama has a bento too!”
”Ugh! Pegonia-san is flaunting her lunch box in front of us~”
”Wait a minute, the patterns on both of their lunch boxes are the same, even though the colors are different!!”
”Look at Pegonia-san’s lunch box, it’s the same color as Aqua-kun’s, not to mention the same shape!”
”What if they accidentally switch their lunches?”
”I see, Pegonia-san is pretending to buy spare lunch boxes and planning for accidents like that…”
”As expected of Pegonia-san, truly impressive.”
”Kanon-sama, your biggest enemy must be that maid. Notice it!!”
”Well, isn’t that…”
”Does such a thing happen?”
”As expected of Shirogane-kun, even after getting married, he still manages to mess things up.”
I see. I can’t hear the details of their conversation, but I can tell from my classmates’ reactions. Haha, they must have been lured in by the delicious smell of my lunch. Cute, aren’t they?
”Oh, if you’d like, would everyone like to eat together?”
Basically, the food that appears on our dining table at home is prepared by Pegonia-san. Occasionally, Kanon also helps out. I had her homemade cooking for the first time last night. She seemed a little embarrassed because she had slightly burned the tamagoyaki, but her gestures were so cute that I couldn’t help but want to hug her. Cooking takes a lot of time and effort, so I’m grateful that she makes it for us. I was grateful even when I was at my parents’ house. So, today, I woke up early to make bento as a token of my appreciation. However, I ended up putting too much effort into it, making enough for three bentos plus about three tiers of osechi. I realized it was too much to make at an early stage, but I thought it would be fine since I was planning to go to the cafeteria with Toa and Shintaro today instead.
”I think I’m hearing things right now.”
”Don’t worry; your ears are normal. After all, I heard it too.”
”Don’t miss this chance; you don’t get it very often!”
”You calm down!”
”I’ve made up my mind. Even if I have to fight against all the women in the world, I will eat this bento!”
”What a coincidence. I’ll join you. So, even if I have to compete against the world, my chopsticks won’t stop.”
”Don’t you dare stop the movement of those chopsticks!”
”I have no regrets in my life!”
”Thank you, God. Aquaa.”
Hey, hey, there’s no need to be so intense; the lunch won’t go anywhere. Seriously, getting so worked up over a bento… I wonder if everyone was just really hungry? Well, we’re all in our growing years, after all. Yes, yes, eating a lot helps you grow. Oh, no, I didn’t mean it like that. I haven’t been thinking any naughty thoughts about the class’s average breast size being big or how everyone’s busts seem to have grown at least a size recently, or anything like that. Nope.
”Alright, let’s all eat together!”
First, hmm, let’s start with the meat! Meat solves everything. But going straight for the homemade hamburg steak might be a bit greedy. So, first, what I’ll aim for is Tako-san (octopus) Wiener.
”These mini hamburg steaks… each one is a different size.”
”Eh, wait a minute, could it be…?”
”Aqua-kun’s homemade hamburg steaks!?”
”Look, Kanon-san’s hand, the one holding the hamburg steak with chopsticks, is trembling.”
”Pegonia-san is deliberately showing off eating the hamburg steaks!”
”Twenty mini hamburg steaks, it’s not enough for the whole class.”
”By the way, Toa-chan just took two!”
”Leaving 18 behind, but I apologize; I’m going straight for the meat from the start.”
”It seems like my elegant chopstick skills, trained in etiquette, are about to shine.”
”Yesterday’s allies are today’s enemies, no hard feelings.”
”Hah, you kids. I’m aiming for onigiri from the start!”
”Aqua-kun’s salt onigiri (塩/Shio)… *gulp*”
”It’s not Shio onigiri (潮/squ*rt), it’s salt onigiri (塩/Shio), understood?”
Just before my chopsticks grasp the Tako-san Wiener, my smartphone, which I had kept in my pocket, vibrates.
Who could it be? I was about to start eating, so I was surprised when the phone rang. I answer the call without checking the caller ID.
”Ta-da! It’s Kohina Yukari-san, Aqua-kun’s big sister in the entertainment world!”
I flick the button on the receiver and hang up the phone. She was a bit annoying, so I hung up without thinking, but since it’s Yukari-san, it’s probably fine. Now, let’s eat! I’ll call her back later if necessary. But then, there’s another incoming call.
”Wait a minute! You just hung up on me, didn’t you!?”
”…The number you have dialed is currently not in service. If you have any business, please wait for the beep after the tone.”
”Hey, seriously! If you’re going to pretend, at least make it clear whether it’s not in service or voicemail! Sloppy, it’s all so sloppy. And you’re treating your big sister so carelessly!! Sob sob, Yukari-onee-chan’s crying.”
”…We’re having lunch together right now, can I cut it seriously?”
To be honest, if Yukari-san had called me like normal, I wouldn’t have responded like this. But from the moment I picked up the receiver, Yukari-san’s voice and way of speaking felt somewhat staged. Because that person’s tone is completely different during important conversations or regular phone calls. That sense of incongruity made me respond accordingly, playing along with her comedy act.
”Wait, wait, wait! Bento and me? Which is more important to Aqua-kun?”
I deliberately make a loud noise by clattering the lid of my bento box.
”Oh, oh, just now, I heard the sound of a bento box being opened! Is Aqua-kun seriously prioritizing his bento? Hmm, if that’s the case, should we do various things during the live broadcast? Big sister will make you regret not taking me seriously!”
A live broadcast? What’s going on? Doing a live broadcast in the middle of the day, Yukari-san, what kind of program is she appearing on?
”Nii-sama, please don’t be mean like that. Won’t you grant Sayuki’s request like you always do?”
”What are you talking about, Sayuki? There hasn’t been a time when I didn’t listen to Sayuki’s request, has there?”
From the other side of the receiver, I can hear several high-pitched cheers. It looks like Yukari-san is indeed appearing on some program. Risky. This person, even when I’m not prepared, she suddenly throws me into this. Transitioning from the face I had when I was grinning at the Tako-san Wiener just a moment ago to the Kazuya mode of the show is quite challenging!
”Well then! As expected of Nii-sama, desu~wa. I’ll hand over the phone now.”
Yukari-senpai is as free-spirited as ever. At this point, even a clueless person like me can figure out what TV show and segment this is.
[It’s okay to laugh!]
It’s a long-running program that airs every weekday at lunchtime. One of its segments, “Telephone Shock,” connects friends like celebrities, cultural figures, and sports stars to each other through phone calls, with daily changing guests. Wait, did Yukari-senpai have friends in the entertainment industry? Oh, never mind, I shouldn’t dwell on that. It’s probably just some adult thing.
And from what I’ve heard, usually, for this kind of thing, there would be prior contact with the talent agency, and appearances would be arranged well in advance. But typical of Yukari-senpai, she does things her own way. Maybe she didn’t bother to tell me because she’s acquaintances with Ako-san. Yeah, that’s possible, knowing that mischievous person.
”Hehehe, it’s been a while. This is Morita.”
”It’s been a while, Morita-san. Today, my sister Sayuki is in your care. She hasn’t been causing you any trouble, has she?”
From the other side of the receiver, high-pitched cheers resounded once more. The drama had just started, and being from the same broadcasting station, this kind of service was probably necessary.
”Wow, you’re amazing as always. You’re doing it today too! By the way, you mentioned lunch earlier; are you still at school?”
”Yes, I’m actually at school right now. It’s lunchtime, so the timing was just right. If you had called a bit later, I might have been in class and unable to answer.”
I can’t see the TV screen, but I can imagine Kohina-san sitting next to Morita-san, grinning at the viewers. D*mn, am I the only one getting irritated here?
”Wow, you’re actually going to school seriously. Impressive. By the way, don’t you have classmates named Nekoyama Toa and Mayuzumi Shintaro?”
Someone pats my shoulder. I turn to see Pegonia-san holding up cue cards. Is this is a studio!?
[You can switch to the speaker.]
Looking around, I see all my classmates nodding and covering their mouths. My bad… I should have realized something was off and left when I noticed the awkwardness. But this time, I’ll take advantage of everyone’s kindness and switch to the speaker.
”Long time no see, Morita-san. This is Beryl Entertainment’s Mayuzumi Shintaro. Thank you for last time.”
”Thank you very much, Mayuzumi-kun. By the way, did you change your glasses recently?”
”No, not really…”
”Hehehe, Mayuzumi-kun, you’re such a diligent student.”
Shintaro… Instead of that, when Morita-san asked, “Did you change your glasses?” you should have answered, “I don’t usually wear them,” or “What!? Morita-san, can you actually see them from there?” These would have been good responses. But, I can hear laughter coming from the smartphone, and it’s Shintaro-like, so maybe this is fine.
”Mayuzumi-kun, you like subjects like Japanese, right?”
”Yes, that’s correct, Morita-san. You’ve figured it out.”
”Well, Mayuzumi-kun, I think your fans probably know that about you. Yeah, yeah, keep up the good work with your songwriting!”
”Yes, thank you very much.”
After Shintaro’s conversation ends, Toa approaches the smartphone placed on the desk.
”Morita-san! It’s Nekoyama Toa. Thank you for last time… *munch munch*.”
”Long time no see, Morita-san. Oh? Toa-chan, weren’t you eating something just now?”
”Oh, yeah. Well, Aqua made too many bento, so I’m eating with everyone in class.”
Whoa!? The screams that followed were so high-pitched that I had to cover my ears.
”No way! Really? Is that Aqua-kun’s homemade bento?”
”Yeah, that’s right! *munch munch*.”
Again, I hear voices resembling screams. Well, it’s impolite to eat while on a call, even if it’s deliberate. He’s probably eating like that to show off since the studio audience hasn’t had lunch. I’d scream too if I were them. I want to eat Tako-san Wiener as soon as possible. Tako-san, even if you look at me with those big eyes, it won’t work. I’ve already decided I’m eating you first.
”Oh, by the way, speaking of classmates, isn’t Ayana-chan in your class too? Different class, maybe?”
Upon hearing Morita-san’s voice, Ayana, who had been picking at the Tako-san Wiener I was targeting, swallowed what was in her mouth and approached my desk.
”Morita-san, our members were in your care the other day.”
”You’ve been doing well lately, haven’t you? I heard eau de Cologne is releasing a new song.”
”Yes, we are. It’s also going to be used as the insert song for the Monday 9 PM drama, so please look forward to it.”
Ayana takes a brief pause and then changes the atmosphere completely.
”Sayuki, I won’t lose to you. Not in the election… and not in this hidden romance either!”
”Rina-san… Yes, I understand. But I won’t lose either, in the student council election… or in this secret love!”
Cheers and applause can be heard from the receiver. The Monday 9PM drama must have just finished its second episode. It’s a total of 12 episodes, so if there are no changes to the broadcast schedule, it should conclude in December.
The initial viewer ratings were quite good, I’ve heard, so I hope they keep rising.
”Wow, you’re all professionals. Your spirit of service is overflowing. Is Aqua-kun there? Isn’t he eating lunch?”
”Yes, yes, he’s here. Don’t worry; he’s waiting patiently without eating.”
Or rather, please hurry up! This segment is just one part of Telephone Shock, and they shouldn’t spend so much time on it! Please, let me eat my bento, especially that Tako-san Wiener right in front of me!!
”Okay, you understand, right? Tomorrow night, is that okay?”
”Well, if my schedule permits.”
I deliberately added the sound of flipping through a notebook and pretended to check my schedule.
”Alright, alright. We’ll be waiting with everyone, so will you come?”
”I’ll check with my manager later and call you back.”
”Wait a minute, isn’t it okay?! I’m sorry. My Aqua doesn’t really get it, so I’ll scold him properly next time.”
As expected, Yukari-san understands. She called me out on my third response.
”Morita-san, help me! Yukari-senpai is bullying me!”
”Aqua-kun!? It’s not funny if you say things like that, you know!?”
”Haha, just kidding. And…”
I once again switch from Shirogane Aqua to the character I portray, Satou Kazuya.
”As a big brother, I have to punish bad Sayuki for not consulting with me and calling out of the blue, right?”
Hehehe, take that! I can picture Yukari-senpai looking frustrated in front of the receiver.
”Aqua-kun, don’t bully me too much. She looked really regretful just now, so forgive her.”
”Yes, alright… Oh.”
Oh, I accidentally said “alright.”
”Hehehe, you’re still not quite there yet, Aqua-kun. So, everyone, our guest for tomorrow’s emergency special, the super-sized edition, will be Shirogane Aqua. Today’s guest was Kohina Yukari-san. Let’s give them a round of applause!”
Ugh… As expected of someone who has hosted this show for decades, she got me completely. I slouch in defeat. The one who won this battle wasn’t me or Yukari-san; it was Morita-san.
”Aqua, sorry for interrupting while you’re down, but we’re almost out of time.”
Oh no, it’s true. My precious lunch break is almost over. I quickly pick up my phone and start eating the rice from my bento.
By the way, for some reason, all my female classmates and Kanon alone are frozen, staring at me. Huh? What’s wrong with everyone? Thanks to that, the fifth period somehow turned into self-study because it couldn’t become a class. I leisurely finished the rest of my bento.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.