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Ichinokura-san had completely settled into the role of my foodie friend. Our preferences in food just meshed really well.
Thanks to that we would eat out together roughly once a week. Just the other day before I had school and he had work, we ended up having sushi for breakfast at the Tsukiji fish markets. Ikura is the best!
Because it was a little rushed though, I didn’t get to eat as much as I usually did for breakfast. I was starving before lunch even hit…
Anyhow, over half of my outings with Ichinokura-san had Mao-chan with us. Sometimes even Yuuri-kun was in attendance. Thanks to that I grew closer and closer with her, and even Yuuri-kun seemed to be relaxed around me.
Mao-chan and Yuuri-kun were family friends and had gone to the same kindergarten. I couldn’t help but think of Sakura-chan and Akizawa-kun. But while Sakura-chan was actively removing obstacles and responsible for any and all progress, Mao-chan and Yuuri-kun seemed more like a proper couple.
“Mao, have you decided on desert?”
“Mmmm… I’m stuck.”
The two of them were sitting in front of me and peering at the same menu together.
“Which ones are you stuck on?”
“I can’t decide if I want this chiffon cake with the fruit ice cream, or if I want the blueberry cheesecake tart.”
“Then how about I order the other one and go halves with you.”
“Okay! Thanks, Yuuri!”
Hahh, how heartwarming. Going halfsies so that your cute girlfriend can get both. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.
“Reika-san,” said Ichinokura-san from beside me, “Have you decided on your dessert too?”
Oh. Right. No time to be staring at these two.
The strawberry tart looked really good, but lately I was really rocking the tiramisu. I was trying them out all over the place and deciding on a ranking.
“I cannot decide between the tiramisu and the strawberry tart.”
“Oh, is that all? Then you should just eat both. It should be a piece of cake for you!”
…Yes, I suppose it would be.
But I had just finished a main course meal. Eating two desserts afterwards would be pushing it even for me. I mean, sure, I could definitely finish both, but it would be pushing my dignity as a young girl.
And also I was kind of scared of ruining the image that Mao-chan and Yuuri-kun had of ‘Reika-oneesama’. There was something wrong when your respected oneesama was a massive glutton.
“No, I think I really will simply go with just the tart…” I said bitterly.
“We’re here already. You should just have both.”
“No, just the strawberry tart is enough.”
Forgive me, Tiramisu.
We ordered. Ichinokura-san was just having coffee.
“Huhu, this cheesecake is so yummy too. Thanks, Yuuri.”
Mao-chan seemed to be really enjoying herself over there with Yuuri-kun’s dessert. There’s something about eating sweet things that just make you smile, isn’t there~
“Aah. I’m going to get fat at this rate.”
Mao-chan’s words were a shock.
Actually, after going eating every week like this I was starting to suspect that I was getting a little round again…
“What are you talking about, Mao,” said Ichinokura-san, “Kids shouldn’t worry about that. You need to eat lots so you can grow up.”
“But I don’t want to be fat. Girls are all like that, right, Reika-oneesama?”
“Eh!? Well yes…”
“See! Reika-oneesama said so too. You’re skinny, Haruto-niisama, which is why you don’t get it.”
Come to think of it, he really was still skinny even after eating so much. I don’t think I could be any more jealous of him. Could it be that he was one of those types who just couldn’t get fat? The dream of all girls!?
“I don’t know why you want to be so skinny for, but I think girls who are a little rounder are much cuter than girls who are skin and bones. I can tell you that guys all think this.”
“I don’t know… Really~?”
I don’t know… Really~?
“Yuuri-kun, you agree with me, don’t you?”
“What? Do you, Yuuri!?”
Mao-chan turned an intense gaze on him.
“Ah… I… think you’re perfect the way you are, Mao…”
Despite being overwhelmed by her attitude, Yuuri-kun still managed a perfect response.
Thanks to that, Mao-chan was in a great mood again and went back to eating her chiffon cake.
“Reika-san, I don’t think you should force yourself to diet either. You’re skinny even without all that.”
Eh-, me, skinny!? What the heck. Maybe my stomach was just my imagination then…
“Oh, by the way. When I told Yukino-kun about how I go eating with you, Reika-oneesama, he said he wished he could go too.”
“Eh-, Yukino-kun did!?”
“Apparently he’s really taken an interest in that crafts thing you taught him the other day. He told me to ask you to teach him again.”
Maybe I was about to get an angel for a disciple! Aahh, but behind the angel was a wicked older brother that I didn’t want to get involved with… What was I going to do?
For now I decided to finish up the strawberry tart.
The four of us went for a walk afterwards. On Ichinokura-san’s shoulder was something shiny. I reached out for it and… silver hair?
“Ah, you had something stuck to your shoulder, Ichinokura-sama.”
“What? Oh, this might be from my cat.”
“Cat? You have a cat?”
“Might I ask what breed?”
“She’s himalayan. Her name’s Alice.”
…They had long hair.
I was starting to recall a certain someone…
“Reika-sama, Reika-sama,” whispered Mao-chan as she tugged on my sleeve, “The cat that Haruto-niisama has is a little bit of a fatty,” she said like it was some kind of secret, covering her smile with her hand.
Ichinokura-san turned around and glared jokingly at her.
“I can hear you, Mao.”
“Huhuhu, it’s the truth~”
“Alice isn’t fat. Her fur just makes it look like that.”
Mao-chan turned to me and shook her head.
‘It’s absolutely not the fur.’
I was more worried about finding out how much Ichinokura-san loved this cat though. One dog maniac was enough for me.
Luckily, it turns out that his love for Alice-chan was at a very normal level.
Thank goodness… If I suddenly got an email from him that read, ‘I’m Alice! Nice to meet you! Today I snuggled to sleep with Haru-tan!’ I don’t know what I’d do.
Wakaba-chan’s enemies weren’t limited to the girls who made up Kaburagi and Enjou’s fans. Some of the boys, particularly the Externals who entered in high school, were hostile because they were jealous of her grades. Being too exemplary could be rough too, couldn’t it…
But like Tagaki-kun had mentioned, a number of girls were friends with her, so Wakaba-chan seemed okay. Sometimes people would badmouth her, but she seemed to be filled with energy each day, so I was hoping that things would stay peaceful.
──I was naïve.
One day, the Pivoine President brought her 3rd year followers and paid a visit to the 2nd year floor.