X-Day — First Part
Just as Sana said, Hiiragi-chan was busy. Before winter break, there’s Christmas, but at the same time, there’s tests.
For a few times in the past, Hiiragi-chan has always been busy right before tests. She would continuously live out a period of one to two weeks, where all she would do after going home was shower and then sleep.
That’s why it should be the same this time as well. Recently, she hasn’t really been able to make calls at night and her lunches are often spent in the staff room.
Is she eating while doing work?
… As such, in order to meet with Hiiragi-chan, I arrived at the staff room.
When I checked her seat… there she was. She was just quietly staring at her hands. From what I can see, I have no idea what she is doing.
She let out a weird shout.
“Are you doing alright? You haven’t been coming to the club recently.”
“I might not be alright… There’s so many things I’m busy with…”
Ahahah, Hiiragi-chan let out a dry laugh.
Hmmm. She really does seem busy. Moreover, she seems really tired. This is what it means to be busy as a working part of society I guess.
“I’m sorry for bothering you. Anyways, hang in there.”
I placed a can of milk coffee that I bought at a vending machine on the way.
“Ah… Thank you.”
Seeing Hiiragi-chan smile and wave, I waved back at her.
It can’t be helped since tests are coming soon, but when Hiiragi-chan, who normally acts all flirty, becomes like this, it feels like something is missing.
My cell phone vibrated in my pocket, so I took a look and found that a text came from Hiiragi-chan. When I checked the contents, I found a mysterious screen filled with heart and kiss mark emojis.
“I have no idea how to respond.”
I subconsciously chuckled to myself.
A few days later, on a Thursday night. It just passed 12 o’clock midnight, and the day turned into Friday.
Someone knocked on the door of my room, and Sana quietly poked her head in.
“… Is now okay?”
No matter what I say you’ll still come in, right?
Just as I was thinking about sleeping, I ended up letting Sana in.
“Nii-san… here… birthday… present.”
I thought that might be it—however, for her to actually give me one…
Sana handed me the box that she was carrying under her arm. It has the proper wrapping for gifts.
“Can I open it?”
“The cashier said he would do it, and so… Sana picked out a more celebratory wrapping paper… it’s only because I just happened to find the DVD that you said you wanted…”
So, it’s fine for me to open it, right? She’s so embarrassed she hasn’t even answered my question.
After being unwrapped, I found the DVD box set that I said I wanted the other day.
“Ooh…! I-is it really…!? This should have been pretty expensive…”
For a JK NEET with a budget of about 2000 yen——It can’t be… did she ask for her allowance in advance?
“I-I just happened to have enough money to buy it in my wallet…”
“The money you saved up… are you perhaps—”
“Geez, be quiet already! Isn’t it fine? Stop worrying about Sana! Just be happy already!”
“I am happy. Thanks, Sana.”
I patted her on the head.
She hit me in the chest. Oof. You really do like to hit people in situations like this. She took a short glance at me with upturned eyes and then returned to looking down. Both your cheeks and ears are red.
“Sana hasn’t used her right that she earned at the sports festival you see…”
The right she earned at the sports festival? What was that again?
“You forgot? During the competition Sana had with Sensei, you said you would listen to anything asked.”
“Oh yeah, that did happen… What are you planning to do to me…!?”
“Still thinking. It’ll probably be used sometime soon.”
The longer it goes on, the scarier it seems to get.
“Well, thanks for this anyways. Let’s watch it together sometime.”
She once again hit me. It hurts…
She muttered something quietly before leaving my room.
Or so I thought, but she immediately returned.
“Don’t eat too much for lunch tomorrow, okay?”
“Just do it!”
Saying just that, she went back to her own room. What was that about?
After that I sent Hiiragi-chan a birthday message, and at the same time, the same sort of message came from her. Looking at the timing, it seems like we sent it at the same time. I saved her text immediately.
How should I hand over the present tomorrow…? I haven’t really done something like that before, so I really have no idea. I guess for now, let’s make sure I don’t forget it.
The next day, during lunch break.
“Sanada! It’s your birthday today, right!?”
“Why are you being so noisy? Stop making a fuss next to me… Well, what about it?”
“Let’s go to the cafeteria. I’ll treat you to anything you like.”
“It’s fine, I’ll make do by myself.”
“Don’t refuse so politely! It somehow hurts even more that way!”
“Sana ended up telling me not to eat too much for lunch. So, I can’t.”
Fujimoto firmly grabbed my shoulders.
“It’s fine… you can eat a lot. It being your birthday means that you’re king for one whole day…! Don’t you get it? Do you understand?”
“Don’t repeat something with the same meaning.”
“It’s fine, just come.”
Since Fujimoto was being very persistent, I had no choice but to follow him to the cafeteria. I already have my own bento, but I guess this is how he wants to celebrate. As such, I ended up just getting one serving of soba (160 yen).
“Thanks for the soba.”
“My gift—you, my———! There’s no way that would be enough for a male in his prime.”
“I have a bentou, don’t you get it by looking?”
Even if I head to the home economics room, it was just Sana and Kanata there, so I guess I’ll eat with him for today.
“Sanada, you’re in your growth period…”
As he seemed to feel like he didn’t treat me enough, I ignored Fujimoto’s appeals to get me to eat more… does it seem like his portion is a little small today?
Fujimoto grabbed his glass and swirled it with a serious face. It would have been fitting if this was the counter at a bar and the contents were whisky, but instead of whiskey it was water, and instead of the bar counter, it was the school cafeteria.
“Being unable to celebrate Sanada with a happy birth, what kind of close friend am I?”
Don’t abbreviate happy birthday!
“Since when were we close friends?”
Just like that, as I continued to play along with Fujimoto, lunch break passed by in an instant.
After that, I went along with classes in the afternoon until the end of the school day.
Confirming that I had the present I prepared for Hiiragi-chan, I went to the home economics room.
Just as I was about to arrive at the room, Kanata came out from inside.
“… Seiji-kun, here. Happy birthday.”
What she handed to me was an assortment of sweets. They were similar to the ones that would be distributed at a meeting with the neighborhood association. Uwaah, it’s plain but it does make me happy…! There’s quite a variety, so I don’t think I’ll get tired of them…!
“Thanks. I’ll eat them while playing games or something.”
“… Yeah. I’m happy that you like it.”
As I tried to pass by Kanata to get to the home economics room, she moved back in front of me.
“… There’s another present… here.”
She held out a bag that came from a nearby bookstore.
“O-oh. This too? Thanks.”
When I looked inside, I found a paperback book.
“… It’s an interesting novel that’s rated highly. If you’re up to it, try reading it.”
I looked at the title. A Sign of Affection.
Even I, who doesn’t read that much, am able to recognize such a famous romance novel. If I remember correctly, it got some sort of award at some point.
But this… it’s about a student and teacher relationship…
Does she know? Does she know? Did she give me this present because she knows? If that’s the case, I’ll go mad. The end of this story is supposed to be a bad end, right!?
“… There are some places where it’s a bit roundabout, but if once you get used to it, it becomes quite enjoyable…!”
Ah, if it’s like this, I guess she really does just genuinely like it. She’s just giving it as a present while recommending it at the same time.
“O-okay. Thanks. If I read it, I’ll let you know what I think.”
“I guess, I’ll head—”
“…Wait. She’s still preparing.”
“Eh? If that’s the case, I should also be helping.”
“… No, that’s not the case. Just wait a bit more.”
Kanata completely blocked me off, so I stopped forcing my way through and ended up waiting in front of the entrance.
“… A Sign of Affection, the teacher is childish, and a little bit airheaded, but the male protagonist that supports her is mature—”
Is this about Hiiragi-chan and me? That’s not it, right? Right?
After Kanata professed her enjoyment of the novel for a bit, Sana poked her head out from inside.
“It’s all good now. Come in. You didn’t eat too much for lunch, right?”
“I did as you asked me to.”
Kanata entered the room first, and after Sana waved me in, I entered last.
At that moment.
The sound of crackers rang out,
Everyone shouted together.
Hiiragi-chan, Sana, Kanata, Rei-chan, and even Fujimoto.
… Why is Fujimoto here? Well, leaving that aside.
Why is Hiiragi-chan on that side?
“Sensei is supposed to be on this side, right?”
“Eheheh. I also wanted to celebrate.”
The home economics room was decorated modestly, and there was karaage on the table… still, this was an acceptable amount.
After that, I got stuck not knowing what to say. I almost felt like crying after having my birthday celebrated like this.