Cultural Festival (Part 1).
September 22. Friday.
Today is the first day out of the total of three days that the Haru High School cultural festival would be active and accepting customers.
I woke up at six in the morning. I took a light shower and gathered all the things I would need for my role in the cultural festival. My maid uniform was stored in the lockers at school, so all I had to carry were my make-up kit, water bottle, and some other necessities. I was not one for make-up since I didn’t have any pimples or oily skin, but still, just in case Takumi visits, I have to be ready to serve him. Wait, that sounds perverted.
After I was done with all the packing and cleaning, I headed downstairs towards the kitchen. It was about 7.30 AM, I was sitting at one of the chairs arranged around our dining table when I felt a nudge from my left side, it was my mom, and she was smiling from ear to ear. It wasn’t a smile that a mother shows toward her daughter, it was a smile that a sadist friend shows toward her friend in love.
“So… Cultural festival starts today, huh?”
I felt something wasn’t right. She was planning something. I don’t know if it a general thing or it just exists in my family, but all my older female relatives are way too interested in high-school romance than they should be, considering their age. I ignored her and continued eating my cereal, but she just couldn’t leave me alone.
“I’ll be coming to visit. Around 11-11.30. Kozu-chan will come pick me up. Be sure to keep your schedule clear during that time.”
“Eh! Brother would be coming too? Doesn’t he have work?”
“He got a few hours off.”
“Is that so…”
I can already imagine how the girls would react. My brother would most certainly be a target of the hormone rich high-school girls. They would be fawning all over him. Well… they are my family, so I can’t refute their decision to visit either. Rather, it would be fun to have my family around for my first experience with high-school cultural festival.
“What about you, Father?”
I asked my father, just in case. If they can’t be stopped from coming, I’d rather have the whole family together.
“No… I can’t. I would’ve liked to, but I guess I can only spare time on Sunday.”
My father let show an apologetic expression, it seems like he’s busy after all. So, it’ll be just my brother and mother today, huh.
“You won’t visit then?”
I questioned my father, I didn’t want him to be the only one who would be left out. I am quite proud of our maid cafe, so I want my family to have a look at it.
“No… We’ll visit again on Sunday.”
My mother said in my father’s stead. I guess I don’t have a problem with that. My parents are quite considerate and stylish, so it won’t cause me any embarrassment, I think.
“So… What about Takumi? Which class is he in again?”
My mother whispered these words into my ear, and I chocked on my juice. I knew it. I freaking knew it. She just couldn’t be that interested in my life. So it was this, huh? I wiped my mouth smeared with juice using a tissue, my mother was patiently waiting for my reply with an expression that conveyed her desire to meet him.
“Please don’t, Mother.”
If she confronts him in his class, it would be a catastrophe. She doesn’t know that Minami has a crush on him as well, and if she goes and does something regrettable in front of Minami, I am sure that she would be hurt.
“What are you talking about? I will just go and drop a simple hello. We did give him a five-thousand yen tip, you know?”
“Please don’t mention it to him. I beg you.”
We can’t be that petty. Honestly, I think he deserved that tip after how you treated him.
“Fufufu, I am just kidding. I am not that kind of person. All I am trying to say that there is no harm in trying to talk to him. He may end up being my son-in-law in the future.”
I raised my voice and my father and brother ended up getting startled because of it. I left my house at the usual time and picked up Chiaki on the way. We reached school a little early, only to find that all of our classmates were already present. Well… Not all of them could be described as being present, some were in a daze, some had a vacant ecstatic expression on their face, and some were even grinning creepily.
“What happened? Why are all the boys sitting on the ground like that?”
Our classroom ‘1-A’ was decorated, it wasn’t perfect, but we were satisfied. The chairs and tables were arranged, the partition for the kitchen looked natural, the plastic utensils were arranged on the tables, and the lightings were bright and cheerful.
“Ah~ You see Kobayashi-san… Looking at you wearing the maid uniform has sent the boys into a state of hyper-happiness, they’ve been like this since yesterday. You really shouldn’t have twirled and winked at them.”
I run my eyes through our classroom once again. Around twenty people were sitting on the ground, we weren’t able to get a carpet, so we just cleaned the floor and made it work. A half-smile on their faces, their faces looked like they had experienced the highest form of ecstasy.
“I think they masturbated too much~”
Somebody whispered into my ears, their hot breath touches my earlobe and sends a major chill down my spine.
I ended up shrieking loudly as a result.
“Fufufu, Miya’s reaction is the cutest.”
“Sakura!! What are you doing! Don’t whisper such things into my ear!”
Sakura, Ichinose Sakura. She is a nice girl, but she’s naughty to an excessive degree.
“That’s the truth though. I wonder if they would be able to do the heavy-lifting today…”
I averted my gaze and focused on all the girls discussing the same thing.
“Hey. Don’t avert your gaze! It’s your fault!”
Sakura grabs my cheeks and makes me look at the boys. I raise my hand and separate from her and run out of the classroom, Chiaki and Sakura follow me.
“I really wanna go to ‘1-E’.”
I say while covering my face with both of my hands.
“Why 1-E? Oh, you wanna see Minami-chan?”
“U-Um, something like that.”
“Well… They haven’t let anyone enter. Nobody knows what their classroom looks like. It’s gonna be a big reveal it seems.”
Sakura says so with a wondering expression. Yep, they haven’t shown anybody what their classroom looks like. During yesterday’s rehearsal, students were free to visit other classes and check out their projects, but only one class refused to reveal their interior to the outside world, class 1-E.
“It seems like their leader was Aoki-kun, but all the planning was done by Kawashima-kun.”
Chiaki explains to Sakura. I believe that Chiaki and I are the only ones who know what they’re doing, but even we are unaware as to ‘how’ they’re doing it. I honestly don’t expect much as it is a first-year class like ours. However, they have Aoki-kun, Minami, and… Takumi, so I am not sure.
“Anyway, let’s go… The guests will start coming from 9.00 AM, we have to get everything ready by then.”
Chiaki said so while making a guts pose.
We both reply enthusiastically and enter the class. All the girls splash water on the boys to wake them up. They reluctantly do so and change into their assigned uniforms. The boys head toward the lockers while the girls monopolize the classroom.
“Hey, Kobayashi-san, I was wondering, isn’t your waist too narrow for someone with such voluptuous assets?”
“Yeah, I was wondering about that as well. It’s like all your weight goes into your chest and hips,”
“She’s sexy though.”
“Hey!! Leave me alone! I am trying to get the Nakano-sensei figure!”
“Fufufu, Kobayashi-san, we are young, why are you stressing over it so much? You don’t have anyone you like either, right?”
“Yeah, she can get any man she wants!”
“Why would the Kobayashi Miya yearn for someone?”
“Yeah, she doesn’t need to maintain her figure for anybody!”
“Miya-chan, you don’t have anyone you like, right?”
Under the gaze of every girl in class, I couldn’t muster up the courage to decline. I looked over to Chiaki’s direction, she was in her underwear, she looks at me and raises her hand to her neck level, and moves it horizontally. You traitor!!
“Eh? Miya-chan likes somebody!!!?!?!?”
“What do you mean?”
“Didn’t you look at Yukimura-san’s reaction? It seems like Kobayashi-chan has already found someone!”
“Who is it? Miya, who is it?”
“Tell us! This is breaking news! Miya-chan already has someone she likes!”
“Aw~ The boys will be heartbroken!!”
“Or not! Maybe he is someone from our class?”
“No… All the boys from our class are meh. It has to be Aoki-kun!”
“Yeah, yeah, he is literally the male counterpart of Kobayashi-san!”
“They’ll look so good together.”
I slam my hand on one of the nearby tables, all the girls look at me, and halt their discussion.
“Fine! I like someone, okay!? However, it isn’t Aoki-kun! I can promise you that.”
“Who is it then?”
“You’ll know soon enough, Shiraishi-san.”
I show a bitter smile and urge them to hurry up as the opening time is fast approaching and we all are still in our underwear.
They give in, and hastily put on the maid uniforms, and shortly after, the guys join us as well.
“As I thought, Kobayashi-san wearing a maid uniform is the best!”
One guy said so in a loud voice, and all the others just shed tears while nodding their heads in acknowledgment. This is the reason why I don’t like the boys in my class.
“Yes, yes, if you work hard, we’ll have Miya-chan give you all a flying kiss.”
“We can die for that.”
Takumi… Where are you?
After that, we set up the kitchen and just waited for the guests to arrive, At about 9.15 AM, an announcement is made through the school speakers.
[It’s time students, I hope you all are ready to accommodate all the guests that would be arriving. Make sure to keep it clean and have fun! Let the Haru High School Cultural Festival begin!!]
I could hear the same cheer reverberating throughout the first-year campus, and I cheered with them.
At around 9.30 A.M, our class started receiving customers. As I was the ‘main attraction’, I guided them to their seats, and most of the men’s reaction was as expected, the females were entranced as well.
The business was going well, the kitchen was constantly busy with various orders, the waitresses, no, maids, were running all over with a smile and taking orders. The customers were all very sweet, and all the men under 25 behaved as expected, and for the males above 25, we had their girlfriends or wives to complain to.
The time was around 11.20 A.M, suddenly, one of the girls who were on break came rushing inside the classroom filled with guests, and while ignoring them, said in a loud voice.
“Hey! There is a super handsome guy outside! He’s coming here! To first-year’s building!”
They’re here, huh.
“There is also a super beautiful lady with him! And she resembles Kobayashi-san!”
Super-beautiful? She is in her late forties. Well… Whatever.
“They’re coming straight here! Look sharp, everyone!”
One of the maids says so while peeking out of the door. There are other customers, you know?
The people who were the most anticipated customers of the event stepped into our class through the class door and were welcomed by a line of maids on either side.
“Welcome back. Master. Lady.”
The whispering among the other customers and the staff commenced, especially the ladies. I just want to hide in a hole and disappear, and I would’ve done just that, if not for my mother noticing my presence.
“Miya~! Your mother and brother are here!”
Why did you have to announce it like that!?!?
The atmosphere of the classroom turned cold, nobody spoke, their gaze moving between my brother, my mother, and me. Finally, somebody spoke from the crowd.
“Kobayashi-san. Kozue-san, so you came?”
The awkward silence was dispersed thanks to the valiant efforts of our general Chiaki-sama.
“Ara, Chiaki-chan, you look really cute.”
My mother said so and had a maid lead herself and my brother to one of the tables.
“Kobayashi-san, is Miya-chan your daughter?”
“Of course. Do we not look like mother and daughter.”
“Honestly… No. You seem more like sisters.”
“Ufufu, is that so?”
Following the weird conversations and extremely embarrassing situations, I was allowed to leave on a break to roam around the festival with my family. We visited the other classes on the first floor before ascending the stairs. After they had refused to enter any class on the first floor, my mother insisted that she wanted to visit class 1-E, so I had no choice but to guide her to her requested destination.
My heart was throbbing violently in my chest, the first class which would come into our view would be class ‘1-E’ after all. However, my excitement, nervousness, and anticipation were blown away after witnessing a certain bizarre event. Many people were standing in line, on the stairs. There was a line full of people that led from the middle of the staircase to the second floor.
“Oh, Kobayashi-san? Do you wish to join the line as well? If that’s the case. It would be 100 Yen for 10 minutes.”
One of the male students from class 1-E came over while wearing a white shirt and black pants, and asked us in a polite tone. Wait, wasn’t their theme a cafe-cum-restaurant? What is happening here?
“Line for what?”
The boy whose identity remained a mystery said in a cheerful voice.
“It’s a line for our class’ restaurant of course! Since there are only eight tables inside, we-”
“Oi! Kazuma! Aoki says that the Kobayashi family gets preferential treatment, move them up the line, they’re the next one’s going in!”
A harsh voice came from a distance, I looked back at my family’s confused faces. Sorry guys, I don’t know what’s happening either.
“He’s getting a full harem and now he asks us to send Kobayashi-san in… Well, there’s Kawashima too, but still… Fine! Please, follow me.”
What the actual fuck.
We just wonderingly follow behind the guy that led us through the dense crowd of people. After a few second’s worth of walking, what we were standing in front of was the door that I had been so used to looking at that it felt like the gate that led my class- OR NOT!
The normal class door had vanished completely, the only thing visible now was a purple curtain, written on which were the words ‘Redundant Restaurant’. What’s with this naming sense?
After about a minute of waiting, two people suddenly appeared from behind the purple curtain, toothpicks in one hand, and the other hands resting on their bellies. It seems they were parents of one of the students in class 1-E.
“Please… Come this way…”
We move towards the curtain that leads to the interior of the class. Just before we were about to enter, the boy who was in charge of leading us from the start, whispered something to us.
“Please make sure to follow the instructions that the man in the middle of the room gives you.”
He conveys this and lifts the curtains to a certain degree, enough for a human to go through. My mother looks at me with an expression of worry, but I returned her gaze with a strong gaze of my own. Inside this room, beyond these curtains, I am sure that I would be able to encounter him.
“I am kind of scared.”
“Brother, that’s the first thing you said since you arrived.”
“Well… I just wanna express my honest opinion. It feels like we would lose something if we go through these curtains.”
“Let’s just go! This is exciting.”
Mother… You were the one who was the most worried a second ago. It seems like she realized who she’s going to meet on the other side of the curtain.
Resolving ourselves, all three of us pass through the curtains and what awaits us is a sight that we, no, none of the coming visitors could’ve expected.
September 22, Friday.
“Takumi~! Wake up! It’s the first day of the cultural festival!”
I could feel someone gently shaking my shoulders. I lift my eyelids slightly, only to spot Miyuki trying to wake me up while dressed in her school uniform. I raise my upper body and stretched, allowing Miyuki to stop her much-appreciated gesture. Looking closely, she was holding a food preparation utensils in one of her hands.
“What time is it?”
I asked while suppressing a yawn. I hadn’t completed my sleep. My eyelids felt heavy and my body was numb.
“It’s seven-thirty in the morning.”
That late. I believe that the alarm was set for five-thirty in the morning.
“Why didn’t Lily wake me up?”
She had a slightly angry expression on her face as she said.
“I dismissed all the alarms after I woke up. Don’t worry, I’ve given Lily all the necessary commands. That scumbag helped me with it.”
“Why? Why did you do it?”
It’s not like I necessarily mind, but I do want to know why she would do something like this.
“You came back home at three-thirty and went to sleep at four. And you expect me to let you get up at five-thirty!? And after all that work you put in yesterday so that you could earn a little breathing room today…”
Her face expressed a mix of various emotions. Anger, worry, anxiety, affection, motherhood and many more. For a second, it felt like I saw my mother in Miyuki’s face. My mother used to have the same expression when I would train and study for days without rest and overwork my body.
“…And after what happened yesterday. You’ll have to work three times more for your class.”
At this point, her cheeks were inflated and her eyes were filled with worry.
“It’s fine Miyuki. I’ll have time to rest in-between. I promise I won’t overwork myself.”
Her expression didn’t change, rather, her worry only grew.
“Fine… Now, come down quickly, eat breakfast.”
I nod in my sister’s direction and leap out of my bed and head into the bathroom. Finishing the repetitive daily routine, I head for school with Miyuki riding with me on motorcycle and Fumiya commuting using train.
At about eight-thirty, I am standing in front of my classroom, or rather, a huge purple curtain, on which the words ‘Redundant Restaurant’ are embroidered with golden color. I rotate my head to the side, Fumiya is standing, smiling at me. I wanted to ask why he was smiling like that, but I already knew the answer.
We lift the curtains and walk through the door, only to find all the students standing in rows and columns, completely disciplined with their body straight and eyes expressing massive respect.
Our class 1-E had changed, and I had a major hand on turning it into what it was, not that anybody in the class was aware of it (except Fumiya and Minami). I used Minami and Fumiya to make this happen, I’d say I had no choice because there is no way I won’t enjoy the cultural festival I missed for three years during middle school.
Including us, around thirty-five or so students gathered here, and that is because the fifteen remaining students were given a separate task. Out of the thirty-five students present here, more than twenty-five were female, reason being strategy.
Our class now had a carpet on the ground, eight tables with four chairs each arranged perfectly across the huge room, there wasn’t a partition for the kitchen, and as such, the room seemed quite empty. There was a wall in the middle of the room, a circular wall, confining the contents from the outside world. The length was about one-twenty centimeter and diametre of the hollow circle that it made was about a one-and-a-half meter, giving quite a large space for the person inside to move around, that was our kitchen.
We changed our clothes and were standing in front of a group of students. Fumiya began to speak after clearing his throat.
“We’ll begin taking customers in fifteen minutes. I hope everyone remembers their roles and break timings… Please support each other and let’s make this fantastic idea a success!!”
Yeah, this was one of the things that happened after I provided everyone a little sample of my cooking. I thought that it was my first time serving to my classmates, so I went all out, and that ended up backfiring.
At about nine-thirty, we received our first pair of customers.
The classroom had changed even further. A light and sweet tone playing in the background, an enticing smell permeating the atmosphere. The color of the room is dark as the curtains were drawn, but not enough to scare a little kid. We had tampered with the bulbs and tube lights, and now they dished out a different colored light depending on its position. The color of the lights was adjusted so that the room remains bright and cheerful, and gives off a mysterious and startling vibe at the same time.
At any given time, there were ten people dressed in suits present to receive the customers, and three chefs to cook for them. Well… There was just one chef, and two others were his assistants. The first customers entered the shop, they were a couple.
“Sir. Ma’am. We welcome you to our humble restaurant. Would you allow me to lead you to a table?”
The overwhelmingly beautiful woman clad in an impressive suit who went to receive the customers was Minami. Her movements were refined and her manner of speech was extremely polite.”
The man who looked to be around twenty-five blushed, which ended up making his female partner annoyed. But they did take a seat and order two drinks and two food items. Our menu was diverse, you wouldn’t be able to find such a filled and satisfying menu in a high-school restaurant, but I said it was fine, and that I could probably handle it.
My two assistants were Nakano-sensei and Shishidou-san, both excelled at cooking, I had personally acknowledged their skills, and as such, they were my assistants for the entirety of the cultural festival.
Minami came over with their order and handed it to me while adopting a worried expression.
“All the best.”
She said to me returned to her post. I pulled back my sleeves and equipped the blue apron.
“Now then… Shishidou-san. Nakano-sensei. Let’s do this.”
They replied in unison, and we began preparing the meal and drinks. The drinks were simple enough so I gave instructions to Shishidou-san while simultaneously working on their food order. Most of the preparations were already complete, so all I had to do was to cook the ingredients perfectly and make it presentable.
The couple looked at us in surprise. Their eyes wide and excitement and anticipation displayed on their faces. They shouldn’t have been able to see a high-school student making food for them while in the open, accompanied by an amazing beauty and a girl who seemed to know her way around drinks.
After about eleven minutes, the dish was complete, I arranged their food on the plate and decorated their drinks. Fumiya and Minami came over with slow and delicate movements, they received the plates and glasses, passing them to the couple while having a vibrant smile on their face.
The woman blushed after Fumiya placed the drink in front of her, which made the male angry. But after they devoured the first bite of the food I had prepared…
All that could be seen on their faces was ecstasy.