When the bell rang, the three of us stood up and decided to go to the cafeteria. I forgot to make a lunchbox and I was starving, so I needed to buy something to eat. Ryo saved the day by offering to show me the cafeteria. Kouma had brought her lunch from home, but she insisted on coming with us (and I'm betting that she doesn't want me to be alone with Ryo) instead of going directly to the rooftop, where they told me they usually eat. We were just about to leave class when...
"Koukishin-kun, come here for a minute."
...our teacher decided to talk to me.
I looked around to tell the girls to wait for me, but they had already vanished.
"Yes..." I said, and then remembered that I was in Japan and honorifics were the thin line between being polite or not… which was probably the reason my teacher was staring at me with that evil look in her eyes. "...sensei?"
Ms. Reikoku proceeded, apparently satisfied.
"Because of your sudden transfer, you are the only student in this class I haven’t had the chance to home visit yet. Still, I need to finish writing down the report on all students currently attending my class for the meeting tomorrow morning." She paused for a second, and I noticed that she looked a little bit angry. Probably because my transfer ruined her organization scheme. She seemed to be someone that liked everything in perfect order and freaked out when they weren't. "Without further ado, I'll be at your front door tonight by eight post meridian, also known as twenty o'clock. Any questions?"
I tried to think of something to say, but nothing came to me.
"Good." She waved her hand and her gaze went back to the notebooks on her desk. "Dismissed."
I bowed and walked out of the room. Ryo and Kouma were waiting for me in the hall, but after seeing my face they must have decided that it wasn't a good moment to ask about my conversation with our teacher.
We went downstairs and then moved to another building, where the cafeteria was located.
I ordered Gyudon by pointing.
We came back to the first building and went upstairs to the same floor where our class was located.
After walking through the hall we reached another stairway, which led to the rooftop.
We sat on the rooftop and started eating silently.
I put my chopsticks down and breathed deeply.
As I screamed after being completely silent for several minutes, the birds on the rooftop flew away and the world seemed to stop moving. It was almost a cinematographic scene, but I didn't feel like I was going to get a golden statuette for demonstrating my despair in public.
Since I used all the air in my lungs, it took me a while to regulate my breathing. Kouma and Ryo just looked at me with curiosity in their eyes, but they did not seem shocked.
"...I guess I'm ready to talk now."
I sat down, calmer than I was a few seconds ago but still full of tension.
“Go on, it will be good for you. Talk to us." Ryo said, but quickly corrected herself after looking at Kouma, whose attention seemed to be completely drawn to her udon. "Talk to me."
"Reikoku-sensei will pay me a home visit tonight, but I haven't unpacked yet and there is so much to do that I don't think I could do it even if I skipped classes." I sighed, hopelessly. "Which is probably what I'm going to do."
"You shouldn't skip classes, Shin-tsu!" Ryo seemed genuinely angry. "It's your first day at school!"
"Why all the drama?" Kouma said, suddenly joining the conversation. "Can't you just call home and ask your parents for help?"
"No, he can't because..." Ryo stopped herself.
"It's okay, Ryo." This little detail was going to show up sooner or later, so I'd better just say it and end the subject. "I can't ask my parents for help because I'm living on my own now."
There, I said it. Now what comes next is a long, awkward silence and then a subject change...
"We'll help you."
...not. Ryo surprised me by subverting the common flow of the conversation.
"We will help you unpack and tidy up." Ryo seems pretty excited about this, but I can't think of a reason why. "If it's the three of us, we'll probably make it and..."
"Wait a second, Ryo-chan." Kouma interrupted. "I never said I was going to help, so don't include me in this cleaning group out of your own will."
"Oh, come on Yon-chan..."
I make a hand sign to Ryo, telling her to stop talking. I think I have a plan.
"I guess it can't be helped if Kouma-san doesn't want to come." I make a calculated pause in my speech. "Don't worry, Ryo; even if it's just the two of us, all by ourselves the whole day through, in a big flat without adults to supervise us and a romantic and astonishing view of the city, we might be able to finish tidying up." I smile maliciously at Ryo. "Unless we lose track of time while engaging in... other activities."
For a split second, I thought my plan had failed miserably, but Kouma raised her hand without looking at me.
"... I'm coming."
After saying that, she resumed eating her udon silently. I kind of felt bad for having to tease Kouma like this.
No, not really. And it's not like I did it just for fun (not entirely, anyway); there's a lot to do and I certainly need all the help I can get. So, my ends justify my means (especially when it's fun).We kept quiet for the rest of the meal, mostly because I knew that if I looked at Ryo's face, we would start laughing and ruin everything. We suppressed the laughs that wanted to be set free, ate and went back to class.