“It seems that recently a certain 2nd year has been getting ahead of herself,” began the President of the Pivoine.
After Wakaba-chan made 1st place, the way certain students treated her became noticeably more harsh.
I thought it was completely pointless, seeing as she made it there through ability. I hoped that I could make 1st place one day. First place… How nice…
No, even just the Top 5 would be great…
No, even 10th place… If I ever made 10th I’d be so besides myself with joy that I’d break into a belly dance.
Getting back to the point though, Kaburagi and Enjou were considered the pride of the more ‘pure bred’ Suiran students. That Wakaba-chan had threatened their places even as far back as 1st year was something many of them couldn’t endure.
Plenty of other External Students did really well too, but Wakaba-chan was probably targeted because of her appearance. She looked like a total commoner. Not only that but sometimes she’d stare into space with her mouth hanging, like some kind of simpleton.
Thanks to that, plenty of people made comments like,
“That’s supposed to be who beat them?”
“Are you sure she didn’t cheat?”
And the fact that she was a girl that Enjou and Kaburagi spoke to made everything even worse. And Enjou was one thing, but Kaburagi almost never spoke to girls. For him to speak to her of his own volition stirred up some incredible jealousy.
Some of the girls in my group weren’t too fond of her either.
Actually, sometimes they’d give me weird encouragements like, “Do your best, Reika-sama!”. What exactly was I supposed to be doing my best in?
And you know, I did do my best for the mid-terms but even now none of them had noticed.
Next to the great 3-way struggle between ‘Takamichi’, ‘Kaburagi’ and ‘Enjou’, nobody had any attention to spare on the story of ‘Kisshouin Reika, 29th place’. In the end the rankings notice was taken down without anybody noticing…
I tried so hard but nobody even praised me. Nobody noticed. That was so sad…
Which is why I decided to plan a little farce for myself.
I made sure to time it so that my results were casually lying around the living room when Oniisama came home. Of course, just having it lying around on its own was a little too obvious, so I made sure to have exercise printouts and stationery and textbooks and stuff as well. I was totally just looking through my bag for something when my results just happened to fall out.
Oh? That’s weird. Oniisama wasn’t home yet?
In the end I was forced to put the stationery back into my bag and wait. I took it out again.
…He wasn’t coming.
I put it back in. Then took it all out.
After repeating this again and again, Oniisama finally appeared.
“Welcome home, Oniisama!”
“I’m back. What’s all this on the table, Reika?”
“I was simply looking for something…”
I rustled my hand in my more-or-less empty bag. Oniisama! Look! Your little sister’s grades are right there!
To stall for time, I took out the contents of my pencilcase one by one.
Oniisama! Right there! Right in front of you!
“Hm? Oh, are these your grades?”
Oniisama finally noticed and picked it up.
“Goodness~ Oniisama! Stop! How embarrassing~”
Oh my~ With my bag in my hands, I was completely unable to stop Oniisama from picking it up~
“Wow! You made it to 29th place this time. You really did your best, Reika!”
“Ehh~ You exaggerate~”
“29th place in high school means your name was put up, right? You’re amazing. After trying so hard, I think you deserve a present, don’t you?”
“Ehh~ 29th place is nothing so deserving~”
“I don’t think that’s true. It’s a reward for all your effort.”
With that, Oniisama smiled and stroked my head.
I really did my best, you know? But nobody noticed.
…Hahh, it finally, finally paid off.
Ichinokura-san brought me out to eat in celebration of the end of exams. This time Mao-chan was absent.
We were going to be eating at an Italian place he recommended. Not one of the fancy expensive places, but like a small trattoria.
The moment we stepped inside, I could already smell the scent of roasted garlic.
I went with a bolognaise pasta.
On the other hand, Ichinokura-san decided on a pescatore.
We were also ordering a pizza margherita.
“You’ll have the bruschetta, obviously.”
“Maybe we should get some salad too. What kind of salad do you like, Reika-san?”
“Caprese salad would be nice.”
“Then we’ll get that. Ah, but won’t that be a bit too much tomato? I’ll change my pasta order then. What should I get…”
I used to worry about whether or not to keep faking my eating habits, but ever since that night with the kamameshi I stopped with all pretences.
Ichinokura-san said that it was more fun to dine out with people who could eat a lot anyhow.
The food came one after another, so much that it felt like I was at an eating competition. Bring it all out!
Yummmyyy! The bolognaise was delicious. And the flat pasta was just the best! And the cheese on the margherita just stretched* out!
Actually, god, why were Italian tomato dishes all so delicious? Apparently tomatoes were good for burning fat too. Delicious *and good for dieting? It was too good for words!
Even I was full after all of that. But I ordered some tiramisu for dessert.
When Ichinokura-san asked me how my exams went, I modestly told him that they were acceptable.
“Mao tells me that you’re quite impressive at school.”
“She misunderstands. I think she overestimates me.”
“I hope you’ll help her with her studies too.”
Uhuhu, leave it to me. I, rank 29th Kisshouin Reika, can do primary school homework with my eyes closed.
When it was time to leave, Ichinokura-san bought some sweets to take back to Mao-chan since she couldn’t come today. That’s why I asked to pay for that instead. After being treated to so many meals, I wanted to at least do this. And I ate quite a bit, too…
I eventually convinced him. When I went to pay at the register though, I spotted some amaretti so I bought it to bring home for myself.
“Thank you for the sweets. I’ll make sure to tell Mao that it was from you.”
“Thank you for always treating me. Today’s food was just delicious. The caprese salad was one of the best three I have ever had.”
“Really? I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. That place is really picky about tomatos.”
“No wonder it was so delicious then. But the cheese was wonderful too.”
“The cheese? Then how about I take you to a risotto place next time? There’s this blue cheese risotto you just have to try.”
“Risotto!? I love risotto.”
“Then that settles it.”
When I returning home from great dinner with Ichinokura-san, I saw Oniisama reading a travel magazine. Was he planning on going somewhere?
I entered my room and then had just one of the amaretti. Yummy…
Tsuruhana-san’s group tried to trip Wakaba-chan in the hallway, but Wakaba-chan vaulted over each one like an athlete doing hurdles.
And in her gym class, only Wakaba-chan was forced to play dodgeball during a basketball game…
I was starting to worry about her a little, but she still seemed totally unaffected, so I hoped she could get through this.
As bad as I felt about it, if the President of the Pivoine really had it out for her, there wasn’t much I could do.
Tsk. I was shifting responsibilities now, but what the heck was Kaburagi doing.
What happened to his destiny?