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The following Monday, no sooner had I reached the entrance to the school building did Kaburagi approach me.
“Don’t forget our promise to meet after school,” he said, sounding a little more excited than usual.
Kaburagi had gone on a library date with Wakabchan yesterday.
In the evening I received a message from him that read,
‘I went to the library today. I’ll tell you the rest in person, so let’s meet after school in the usual room.’
I suppose it must have gone a lot better than last time.
What an open book…
“You’re late, Kisshouin!”
Incapable of hiding his good cheer, that was the first thing he said to me when I arrived at the conference room.
Knowing him, he wanted to talk about it so badly that he couldn’t help himself.
I was still taking a seat when he began recounting his Sunday with great gusto.
“Learning from my previous mistake, this time I suggested going to a local library. That way we wouldn’t meet Mizusaki by accident.”
“So the two of us managed to study together without any interlopers. Unlike the previous library though, this one didn’t have a café, so after a while we ended up going outside for a break.”
“The problem was that there weren’t any good cafés outside. What the place did have was a fast food chain.”
“So that was when I said it: ‘How about here?’ Takamichi was shocked. But as a man who’s already passed the fast food test, I walked in without hesitation.
“Obviously I upgraded my order to a meal. This time I went with a limited time offer.
“Did you know, Kisshouin? Fast food chains do this thing where they bring in special meal sets for a limited time.”
Yes, I do know.
Didn’t we see the ads last time?
“Naturally I asked for tomato sauce. And guess what? Takamichi forgot to ask for tomato sauce with her fries. That was when I suggested that we share mine.”
By now, Kaburagi had become unable to suppress his smile.
“After all, I’m generous, not a hogger like you. Takamichi thanked me and said ‘Since there’s only one, let’s use it carefully.’ Then I said ‘Yeah’ and the two of us ate it little by little…”
Wow, you’re smirking real bad, Kaburagi.
“Since I got the tomato sauce even though you had to ask for it, Takamichi thinks that I’m familiar with fast food. ‘I had no idea people like you came to these places too,’ she said. So I said, ‘Yeah, sometimes.’
“It was actually only my second time though. I have to say I handled myself pretty well. We talked a lot more than usual after that. Since we weren’t allowed to talk much at the library we talked all the more about what questions we found hard, or how we were doing at school. It was great.
“Before I knew it, we’d been in that store for over an hour. When it was time to head back to the library, Takamichi laughed and said ‘We talked too much.’
“Then she gave me a mint. It was so sweet…”
I guess it was extra sweet because he got it off the girl he liked.
This kid already had one foot in the world of maidens.
“Oi, Kisshouin! Are you even listening? What’s up with your responses!?”
“I most certainly am.”
You were just talking about how your library date with Wakabchan was a huge success, right?
Good for you~
“I think going to that fast food place was the right move. Takamichi laughed a lot too.”
“Perhaps she was more relaxed than usual because it was an environment she was used to. I imagine she also felt closer to you after finding out that you supposedly frequented the place.”
“Yeah, I think so too.” Kaburagi gave a large nod.
“Well what good news that turned out to be for you. Please keep at it. Well then, was that all you needed me for?”
Maybe after showing my face at the Salon for a bit I’d head to the clubroom.
I needed to come up with a plan to mingle with our new members as the club president.
“What are you talking about? I was just about to get into the main agenda.”
“The reason I closed the distance between us this time was because I matched myself to her lifestyle. That’s why I’m planning on learning more and more about the life of a commoner. Next is the family restaurant.”
Guh. I was getting a bad feeling about this…
Kaburagi shot vigorously out of his chair.
“Let’s go, Kisshouin! To a family restaurant!”
I knew it!
I tried in vain to tell him that I had plans, and was dragged away to a faraway family restaurant.
“A family restaurant is the same as a regular restaurant, so you did not have to do this…”
“Come on, don’t be like that. Aren’t you my strategist?”
“I have no recollection of accepting such a shady position…”
Strategist? Are you kidding me?
Our relationship is one of master and disciple, okay!
As you’d expect of him, Kaburagi paid me no heed at all and instead examined the menu with great interest.
Listen to me, already.
I ended up ordering a doria.A doria is a rice-based gratin dish, effectively endemic to Japan.
Kaburagi asked for the steak meal set. Like a kid who learnt a new word and was bursting for a chance to use it.
There was a moment of shock when he found out that drinks were self-serve at family restaurants, which led to a lot of curiosity about the drinks dispenser.
Wh, are you a kid or something? You’re only meant to take one drink at a time!
There was a short wait when we returned to our table before the food arrived.
Doria was amazing.
You had to eat it little by little if you didn’t want to get burnt though.
“…It thought this last time too, with the hamburger, but this meat is different from what I’m familiar with,” Kaburagi muttered after a bite of his steak.
The meat you’re familiar with probably comes from the winning cow at an agricultural fair, with a pedigree that goes back a hundred generations or something.
“There are all sorts of meat in this world.”
That was all he had to say, and he continued his meal in silence.
“By the way, apparently Takamichi studies every day on the train. Aren’t trains packed, though? So instead of trying to study in that cramped environment, I’m thinking about suggesting to her that I start driving her between home and school from now on.”
“That is an absolutely horrible idea.”
Not another one of his stupid suggestions…
“Why? This is for her sake.”
What do you mean ‘her sake’?
It’s obviously that you just want to spend more time with her outside of school.
“Takamichi-san has her own routine and her own way of living. It may be that she even studies better on the train. There are many people in this world who study better during transit. Your suggestion might actually bother her.”
“…Can’t you be in transit in a car instead?”
“So even though you go out of your way to pick her up from her house and ”
“Can you really see her happily studying without a care as you sit in silence right next to her, after having gone out of your way to pick her up right from her home? I know you have driven her to school a few times. Do you ever recall her pulling out a textbook and start reading?”
“You see? Most people would be unable to. If Takamichi-san herself said that she was struggling it would be one thing, but if not then stop meddling with her life. You understand?”
He gave a reluctant nod.
Was there any need to look so depressed…?
This guy never came up with anything good, did he.
“Well, onto the next topic then. I wanna go with her to somewhere besides a library. Where’s a good place?”
“Hmmm, well it certainly depends on the preferences of the girl in question. Being brought to somewhere you have no interest in would simply be a study in boredom, after all.”
“That makes sense.”
“What if you brought up our class trips, subtly probe her interests, and begin looking for places based on that? It would also make for a conversation that is not about studying.”
“That’s a great idea! I’ll try it right away!”
“Whether you are messaging them, or giving them a call, please take a moment first to consider other party’s circumstances first.”
“That’s all you ever say. I told you already, I’ve got it.”
If you got it then who was it that dragged me to a family restaurant just now!?
Anyway, since the Emperor had successfully cleared the Family Restaurant dungeon, it was now time for us to leave.
“Besides being made for commoners, these family restaurants aren’t all that different from regular restaurants.”
I told you that at the start!
But well, since we were already here, I took the opportunity to show off a technique that Kaburagi had definitely never seen before.
We brought our receipts to the register.
“I would like to pay separately.”
Splitting the cost is a thing that people do, okay? Don’t forget it.
The 23rd of April was the La Diada de Sant Jordi.
Men gave women roses, and women gave men a book.
Truly a holiday that smelt of a secret cabal of bookstores and florists.
Naturally, I wouldn’t let this chance escape me.
“Kaburagi-sama, please take this.”
“What’s going on?”
“Today is the La Diada de Sant Jordi. It is customary to give books to your friends, family, lovers, or benefactors.”
Along with some book that I picked out at random, I returned the unlucky poem anthology that had been sealed in my storehouse.
I did it!
“What the hell!? If you knew about it then why didn’t you tell me earlier!? Aaah! I completely forgot! I missed such a good chance!”
Dashing out of the salon, Kaburagi sprinted off to a florist.
Don’t forget to think about the number of flowers~