Ah~ it’s too hot…
I was currently at work, standing upright in a daze on the floor at Mon Pet Kuwa. It was my first time working this summer and the air conditioning in the store was already broken. Because of that the store was just as hot as it was outside. Just standing here makes me sweat.
Really, why am I going through with this pain…? Standing here in the heat during the summer really has no meaning. Well, if I’m able to hold it in, I’ll be able to get a lot of money so let’s work hard.
Since no one has come,I start cleaning the interior of the store after a bit of self-encouragement. To be honest, just moving makes me sweat nonstop, but this is how work is. As long as I get money, I will need to work for this store. That is my responsibility. In order to pick up the cleaning tools, I move towards the back.
“Are you going to do something?”
As I start to move, I heard a voice come from Echizen, my coworker.
Echizen is also working today.
Recently I’ve had a lot of shifts with Echizen most likely because of the manager. Moreover, Echizen is acting weirdly today for some reason. Saying something like that is more than enough, but even more surprising is this distance. Until now, Echizen and I are usually separated by about 5 meters, but currently, the distance between us was only 3 meters.
We have recently been able to get excited together while talking about Human Beast Wars, but I don’t remember the distance between us ever getting this small. It isn’t as though she likes me any more than before though…
I respond to Echizen, who was acting weirdly.
“I mean, I was just thinking of doing some cleaning.”
“Fuun~ I see.”
When you asked yourself, why do you seem to have so little interest? I was a little troubled by her reaction. Well, for now, I’ll go pick up the cleaning tools. I move my legs and head towards the back.
“Then, I’ll hold this, and you can take this.”
“Yeah, got it.”
With that reply, I pick up the mop… wait, eh?
“Wait, why is Echizen here?”
That’s right, for some reason, Echizen also came to the back to pick up cleaning tools. The only things that need to be carried are mop and broom, so one person is more than enough. Really, why did she come?
“You don’t need to hold it.”
“No, I’ll hold it. I can hold a mop and broom just like normal.”
After retorting to me, she said, “Then, let’s go”, and walked ahead of me.
… Really, what happened to that girl? Her attitude towards me is way too different from before. Originally, it seemed like she hated me, but now she likes me, or is that just me overthinking things?
Still, Echizen’s attitude towards me has at least changed. Did something happen while I was taking my tests? Maybe she has amnesia or something? While worrying about these things, Echizen and I started to clean within the heat of the store.
“The both of you, it’s alright to take a break now.”
It’s been an hour since we started cleaning, today as well, we worked into the evening before the owner gave us the okay to have a break. As usual, Echizen and I had our break together. Echizen replied with an okay and headed into the back, but I, on the other hand, couldn’t move from the spot I was standing in.
I was currently at one of the corner seats in the store interior. I had noticed that the floor there was terribly dirty. It was so dirty that the spot didn’t seem to come off no matter how much I tried to clean it. I can’t take a break until I clean it.
Since I don’t want to give up I turn towards owner tell him, “I’ll take a break after I finish cleaning over here”.
Well, to be honest, the reason I said this was less about wanting to finish the cleaning, but more because I didn’t really want to take a break at the same time as Echizen. You would think that I’m used to it after all the times I’ve been through it, but that awkward silence is pretty hard to sit through.
Besides, things seem different today, and for some reason, it feels dangerous. Also, I felt a little bad for Mamiko. Because of what happened last time, I am now more conscious of being her boyfriend, so I have to avoid circumstances that lead to me being alone with another girl. Hearing my response, the owner had a bitter expression as he raised his voice.
“Ah, I see… Then, you can go ahead and take your break first, Echizen-chan.”
Good, I was able to avoid owners advances. This way I won’t have to take a break with Echizen.
“No, I’ll help Setsu-kun with his work.”
Even though I was relieved for a bit, hearing what Echizen said made me look at her in surprise. Echizen walked this way while staring at me.
“Eh, Echizen, you aren’t going to take your break?”
“Since you are working, it would be weird for me to take a break. Well, what are you doing?”
“Currently, I’m trying to clean this part over here.”
Puzzled, I point at the dirty spot. Still, not wanting to take a break because I’m doing work… you weren’t that type of person, right?
“This is, pretty bad…”
It seems like Echizen has the same impression as me, as after looking at the dirty spot she became speechless. It was a dark colored circle about 5 cm in radius stuck to the ground. I tried touching it a little bit earlier, but it really does stink.
“For this, we’ll probably need a piece of cloth to clean it off.”
“As I thought, a mop just won’t cut it.”
“That’s obvious, are you an idiot?”
Oof, that statement hurts my heart… It’s true though, so I can’t say anything back. While I was busy accepting the shock from her words, Echizen quickly moved to the kitchen and brought back a rag.
“I brought one for us to use.”
“Yeah, thank you. Then, I can do the rest, so go ahead and take your break.”
With that said, I reached for the rag that Echizen was holding. However, Echizen raised her hand, as if she was dealing with a small child, and did not hand over the the rag.
“I’ll do it so it’s fine.”
“Oh, I see…”
Really, I’m serious, Echizen is weird today. It’s already rare for her to just help me, but now she’s willing to do something for me. What’s going on with her? Well, since Echizen is being kind, I’ll take her up on the offer.
“I see, then I’ll leave it to you. I’ll be going on break now.”
“Hah? What are you saying?”
“No, I mean this job doesn’t require two people…”
“Fuun~ So, after you push your work onto other people, you’re going to take a break?”
I didn’t push the work onto someone else though…
“If you put it that way, then I’ll do it and you can go.”
“You can’t. I will do it.”
“Then, I’ll go on break.”
“You also can’t do that.”
“… Then, what should I do?”
Amazed by how childish Echizen is being, I hold my head and ask her this.
“You just have to stand there.”
“I just need to stand… here?”
This is way too pointless. Just standing here and doing nothing… it would probably be better if I just went on break…
There isn’t a need for Echizen and I to have our break together after all. However, saying something like that to today’s Echizen will probably be useless. There’s something wrong with her head today. Since there was nothing I could do about it, I did what Echizen had demanded and stood behind her as she worked. Then, 30 minutes passed while I stood there.
“It’s finally done…”
Echizen’s accomplished voice finally reaches my ears. Looking at the spot, it was completely clean, without a speck of dirtiness left.
I was honestly impressed that Echizen could do something like this. I would’ve taken at least an hour for a spot like that… Seeing a new side of Echizen, I spoke to her.
“Then, you can go on break now. I’ll clean up the rag and stuff.”
“… No, what are you doing?”
“Ah~ I’ll take my break after you are done.”
“But the manager told us to take our breaks together.”
“It should be fine if we don’t have it together. It’s just weird.”
Once I said that, Echizen became quiet, and even started to glare at me. Then we started to talk faster without stopping.
“… but the manager told us to have our break together.”
“I was trying to say that there is no need follow that.”
“Still, the manager told us that we need to take our break together.”
“No, as I was saying…”
“The manager told us that we need to take our break together.”
“The manager told us that…”
“I get it I get it! I’ll do as the manager says, we will have our break together!”
Since Echizen mysteriously started to pressure me, it ended up being that we would take our break together.
“Together… break… Fufu”
“Hmm, did you you say something?”
At that time, the expression that Echizen had seemed too happy. Really, I still think that something was wrong with Echizen today.