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In order to maintain Mao-chan’s image of me, I was going to work hard at cram school once again.
Next time I was aiming for rank 25. For now I was just taking little steps. But one day…
With renewed determination in my heart I opened my exercise book. It was around that time that Umewaka-kun and his friends arrived.
“Hey Kisshouin-san,” he said, “I just heard but apparently the guy over by the door, second row from the front, is actually from Zui’ran too. Do you know him?”
This was the first I’d heard of any Zui’ran student going to my cram school. I squinted to get a better look at him but I had no idea who he was.
“I cannot say that I do… I suspect that we have simply never had a class together.”
“Really? But he seems to know you, Kisshouin-san.”
“I hear he only started coming to this cram school this year. If you’re from the same school, maybe you could talk to him?”
“I suppose I could.”
Since he was from Zui’ran I decided I should at least greet him.
It wasn’t possible now that our teacher had arrived but I could do so during the break.
When that break came around, I walked over to him but when he saw me his expression turned obviously frightened. Eh? How come?
“I have been told that you attend Zui’ran. Might this be true?”
Apparently this diligent and somewhat plain-looking boy was named Tagaki-kun, and had entered the high school as an External.
“My name is Kisshouin Reika. May we get along.”
“Yes, I know who you are of course…” he said oddly fearfully.
Come on, is there really a need to be like that?
“What class are you in, Tagaki-kun? Who do you attend Zui’ran with?”
“Ummm… I’m in Enjou-san’s class…”
Didn’t that mean he was in the same class as Wakaba-chan?
“Then that would place you with Takamichi-san. Are you close with her?”
“Eh!? No, not particularly…”
“I see. What is she like in class? Does she have friends?”
“Ah… I think she does…”
So she made friends too. Thank goodness. I was worried she would be completely isolated. It made sense though, since it wasn’t like the whole school hated her. Only some people hated her. Some rather troublesome people, though.
Before I returned to my seat, I told him to talk to me if he had any questions since he was attending here alone.
“He was from Zui’ran, right?”
“Yes. But because our classes are different he is honestly little more than a stranger. He seems to know of me, however.”
“What’s this? Kisshouin-san, are you famous at your school?”
“Kisshouin-san stands out after all~”
“Actually,” I explained, “I have been attending Zui’ran since primary school, which is why I am better-known than those who joined later.”
By some chance my eyes passed over Tagaki-kun’s back. Maybe he noticed somehow because he turned around and our eyes met before he quickly turned away. Hmmm~ I wonder how he saw me…
“Oh? Kisshouin-san, could he be scared of you?”
Leave it alone, please.
Later at home I got an email from Bea-tan.
“Do your best! I’m your friend, Reika-tan! Your confidante, Beatrice.”
Thank you, Bea-tan…
On a clear, beautiful morning, I bumped into Enjou at the entrance to the school building.
“Good morning, Enjou-sama.”
And then for some reason we ended up heading to class together. We passed by a number of girls who stopped to stare at him in a daze.
I was so jealous… I wasn’t even doing anything but pretty much every boy averted his eyes from me in fear…
“What’s wrong, Kisshouin-san?”
“I see,” he smiled brightly.
Some of the girls watching on began squealing.
“Are you not with Kaburagi-sama on this morning?”
“Well it’s not like we go to school together. Wait, don’t tell me you think that each morning we happily ride the same car here? Wouldn’t that be pretty creepy for two high school boys? We go to school at the same time, so I guess we bump into each other a lot.”
“My, is that how it was?”
But I’ve seen you two get out of the same car a few times, yanno.
Maybe he noticed something from my expression because he added,
“Speaking of which, there actually was a period when I went to pick him up. I couldn’t really take my eyes off him at the time. I still have to thank you for your help back then.”
Enjou flashed another smile.
…Back then, huh.
“It was thanks to you risking life and limb that we somehow got Masaya to cheer up. Thanks again.”
“You are welcome…”
The way he worded that particularly annoyed me. So he was the one who made me out to be a reject woman!
“And it looks like my brother has been in your care too. The other day he brought home this toy that he said you taught him to make.”
“Oh, the snow rabbit!”
Yukino-kun. He was a pure-white little angel-chan, unlike his wicked black-hearted older brother. I prayed that he wouldn’t be led astray by Enjou’s evil influence.
“So it’s called needle felting. I had no idea you had that kind of hobby. My brother was quite happy about it.”
“I see. Then it makes me happy that he enjoyed it.”
I thought back on his innocent smile and couldn’t help but smile myself.
“It seems that the snow rabbit had special importance to him. He told me about how you and Kaburagi-sama built snowmen for him. You really spoil him, Enjou-sama.”
“Well, we’ve got quite an age difference after all. And he hasn’t got the best constitution either. Doesn’t your own brother spoil you quite a bit too? Why according to the rumours, you’re practically a brocon, Kisshouin-san. Although lately it’s been leaning towards fathercon instead.”
“It is certainly true that my brother and I have always been close, but I have not the faintest idea how the accusations of being a fathercon came about.”
“Ohh? I see.”
Enjou gave an amused smile.
Still under the gaze of other girls, we walked together as far as the front of his classroom, before he stopped at the door-frame.
“Oh, by the way,” he muttered, “Is it because you love your much older brother so much that your taste is also for older men?”
Enjou grinned at me and then headed inside.
…Scary. Who was he talking about just now?
Feeling gloomy despite the nice weather, I headed for my own classroom when a small racket caught my attention. It was an excited-looking Nonose-san and Miharu-chan.
“I told you that the chamberlain wasn’t suited for the princess! A princess needs a prince!”
“But I was rooting for the chamberlain.”
“Why not console him?”
Whatever it was, they seemed to be having fun chatting about it.
Nonose-san and Miharu-chan went and called out to Class Rep. He seemed delighted that Miharu-chan was coming over to talk to him.
As for me, Ru’ne-chan and the others mobbed me and asked what Enjou and I were chatting to happily about.