“Setsu, let’s go for some karaoke today. It’s been a while since I last sung a song.”
Sagami spoke to me shortly after the last class of the day ended.
“Sorry, I have work today.”
“What~? Take the day off. Let’s go to karaoke~”
“No, I don’t really want to take a day off from work.”
“Wow~. You’re such a hard worker”
“This is completely normal though.”
No taking breaks from work unless you have to, this should be normal. After all, if you take a day off for no reason, you cause trouble for other people and you lose out on income.
“Well, I don’t have much time so I’ll be leaving now.”
“Yeah… see you later.”
Sagami replied to me, depressed. Did you really want to go to karaoke that much?
The place where I work is about five minutes walking from Touyama High School.
Mon Pet Kuwa 
It’s a café hidden within a residential district, well-liked by people for its quiet and relaxing atmosphere. I’ve been working here for about half a year now and have become able to recognize the regulars that go to the café. The customers are all good people and the owner is also very nice so working there is really great.
I enter in through the back door right before my shift starts. The owner is usually out on the floor, so there usually isn’t anyone back here. Today, there isn’t anyone in the break room either; a room about 6 tatami sized mats wide.
There is usually only three people, two part-time workers and the owner, working the café. Despite that, the café doesn’t really get that busy so sometimes even only two people, one part-time worker and the owner, are on shift.
Today, since no one is in the break room, it’s most likely just me and the owner. I grab a hanger and my uniform and open the door to the one and only changing room. However…
I’ve done it now.
I didn’t think there was anyone inside but there was. Even worse was that the person was a girl, and she was in the middle of changing. In other words, in front of me was the sight of a girl in her underwear.
Her name was Hina Echizen. She had blonde hair in a short bob cut, bright eyes, and smooth skin, as if she abandoned her pores within her mother’s stomach. Adding on to that, her body had curves in all the right places. Being in her underwear made it very clear to me, she was quite beautiful.
Echizen’s face became red as she tried to hide her body, and slowly, she began glare at me.
“Stop staring! Diiiiieeeeeeee!!”
With that she kicked me out will all her strength, and slammed the door to the changing room shut.
Am I in the wrong?
It’s her fault that the door wasn’t locked properly. Besides, there’s no way I can stop staring if she looks so beautiful. Rather, I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t.
Well, it’s also true that if I just checked the shift for today, I could’ve assumed that Echizen was in the changing room… No, still, it wasn’t so bad that she needed to kick me so hard, right?
While trying affirm my own innocence, the door to the changing room slowly opened, and Echizen came out looking like she was in a bad mood. Glaring at me like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if she killed me right now. Trying not to anger the beast-like Echizen, I very very quietly entered the changing room.
In reality, Echizen and I never really got along in the first place. Our ages are similar and we started working here at around the same time but, surprisingly, we didn’t match very well. Our interests lay in completely different directions and incidents like what happened before are not few in number. Most likely, it is certain that she hates me.
It isn’t like I like Echizen in a romantic way, but since we’re coworkers, I want to somehow get along with each other. I’ve tried to talk to her many times before, but I always get ignored or she responds with just one word. The impression that she hates me is just really strong.
However, I won’t give up, today, I will talk to Echizen. After making up my mind, I opened the door to the changing room.
“Hey Echizen, about earlier, I’m so…rry…”
Echizen was nowhere to be seen in the break room. There’s still at least ten minutes until your shift starts, you know?
It’s been about an hour since I started my shift. As usual, there are almost no customers. The owner is busy cleaning and organizing the kitchen, but Echizen and I were pretty free out on the floor. In the current situation, the two of us are standing silently without talking to each other. It’s like this every time. It feels like I’m holding my breath, and it’s slightly awkward.
“Echizen, you go to Oumi High School, right? Do you guys have a school trip or anything like that?”
Unable to bear the awkward silence, I tried throwing out a meaningless conversation starter.
However, she continues to ignore me. The distance between us is only about 5 meters so it’s probably not because she didn’t hear me.
“Our school ended up going to Hokkaido~. I thought that, if we were going to on a trip anyways, I would’ve really liked to go overseas~.”
“Like Hawaii, or Guam. Those places seem really fun after all.”
This is bad, it seems like my heart is going to fall apart. How much does she even hate me? Is there a human who can really ignore someone for so long? I don’t feel like talking anymore today. But fine, I’ll try one last time.
“Aside from that, Hokkaido is super big, you know?”
I really am sorry.
 This translation is the name of a European cafe name that we aren’t particular sure of. The Japanese name is 『モンペットクワ』so if anybody has a more accurate translation of the name than we would greatly appreciate it.