「What’s with this grim mood?」
「Don’t worry. No one’s dead.」
「I never thought of that possibility.」
It’s a gathering of club members who won’t die when they’re killed.
Everyone looks at me as I enter the clubroom.
The club members sigh deeply as I cross their line of vision.
Even as I see their depressed looks, I still don’t know what’s going on.
Arioka-senpai begins explaining the situation.
Michel had another date with Kinoshita-san in the clubroom on the day he came back from France.
Without showing her dissatisfaction with Michel’s return to France even in the slightest, Kinoshita-san asked how he had been doing.
Having failed to win the heart of the princess during the prince’s absence, the club members binged on the food intended as refreshments for Michel.
「Isn’t there anything left? I’m starving.」
「No. It’s all gone.」
I glare at the member who responded instantly.
At this moment, Michel takes a box from his backpack and hands them to me.
「These are for you, Sagiri-san.」
「Hey, that’s not fair! Why is it only her!」
It’s a box of chocolates packaged with an illustration of the Eiffel Tower.
I’ve liked it since Michel bought it for us last time. He was hiding it from the members before they could take it.
「You seemed to enjoy it a lot the last time you ate it, Sagiri-san. That’s why I bought it for you.」
Getting teary-eyed when eating chocolate is a weird habit of mine.
「You haven’t been coming to club lately, so I was wondering when I could give it to you.」
「O-oh. Sorry about that. I’ve been a little busy.」
「Noda. I’d like you to be honest with us.」
The members slide toward me while kneeling.
I quickly hide the chocolates and take a guarding stance.
「Did you get a girlfriend, I mean boyfriend?」
I guarded the chocolates thinking they were going for it, but that was such an unexpected question that I raised my voice like an idiot.
「Why? On what grounds?」
「Because you got rid of your trademark.」
「What do you mean, trademark?」
「Your ruined shirts and outdated jeans.」
I never intended to make it a trademark. I wonder how much of an impact it made on them.
I’m reflecting on my horrible past of neglecting my appearance.
My shirts were far from fashionable, but to think the club members would call them ruined.
「You look nowish and young lately.」
「That’s not a word!」
「Yes, the change in Noda’s clothes is the reason why everyone is depressed.」
It seems like the topic is actually about the change in my clothes.
Apparently, Kinoshita-san said:
「I think I prefer the more natural-looking Noda-san of the past. Her unadorned clothes brought out her inner beauty.」
She thoughtlessly disapproved of my new clothes.
The club members all agreed with her.
I can say with confidence that the members never cared about what I wore.
They pampered her by saying that she should advise me because she was fashionable. Kinoshita-san became enthusiastic with their response.
Then Michel said:
「Don’t assert your opinion about one’s clothes. It’s none of your business.」
With that harsh criticism, the mood became awkward.
Even Arioka-senpai said:
「That’s right. It feels as though Noda selected and coordinated her own clothing. There is no need for our advice.」
He supported Michel.
「That wasn’t my intention… I’m sorry if I offended you.」
Kinoshita-san apologized and left.
Apparently that dampened the mood, which carried on until now.
I’d prefer if no one talks behind my back.
「Sorry. We haven’t been nice to you recently, and you changed your clothes, so we got jealous thinking you turned your back on our Unpopular Alliance and got into a relationship.」
「Guess we overdid it, tehe.」
「So, Michel was a little harsh on Kinoshita-san after she said you looked natural in your old clothes.」
「Since then, things have been really awkward between them.」
「And Kinoshita-san hasn’t been coming to the club at all.」
「It’s all our fault for getting carried away.」
The club members reflect on themselves simultaneously.
「Seriously, all of you ought to be self-aware by now to realize that the lack of delicacy in your words is the reason for your unpopularity.」
Arioka-senpai’s merciless words make them even more depressed.
I try to follow up by saying that their lack of self-awareness is the reason for their unpopularity, but that seems to have dealt the finishing blow to them.
「Noda, what do you think is your appealing point?」
Arioka-senpai asks all of a sudden.
I reply immediately with confidence.
Arioka-senpai laughs and shakes his head.
「No. It’s those beautiful legs of yours. Alright everyone, close your eyes, and think about the face of your favorite idol. Now slide that afterimage into Noda’s body.」
The club members close their eyes in unison.
After a while, they open their eyes and look straight at me.
Honestly, it gives me the creeps.
「………That’s actually good.」
「See? The denim shorts and culottes are compatible with Noda because they allow her long legs to shine. And her current clothes are more stylish compared to her oversized shirts on top of her jeans. Also! Kinoshita-san said that she prefers Noda wearing simple clothes that showed her inner beauty, but do you really want to see her bare it all out?」
「……I thought about it but don’t wanna see it.」
「I don’t wanna see it either.」
「What does that even mean?!」
I can’t tell if that’s a compliment or an insult, and I think the conversation is going a little off track.
「Furthermore, let’s say you’re dating Kinoshita-san. No, any cute girl is fine too.」
「Ooooh! Let’s imagine!」
The club members close their eyes.
I wonder who they’re thinking about.
「It’s your exciting first date. All of you have worked out your date plan, and the next thing is deciding on your clothes. Will this make me look cool? Or maybe she prefers this one instead? As you get pumped doing a one-man fashion show in the middle of the night, you finally decide on those clothes…」
「How would you feel if someone insulted those clothes? How would you feel if they said they prefered your plain, casual clothes?」
「I’d be pissed off!」
「That’s mean. We put in so much effort even though we’re unpopular! I’d be depressed before my date!」
The club members get angry from their imagination.
They understand what Arioka-senpai’s trying to say, and apologize to me.
「Noda. We’re sorry. It was not our business to criticize your clothes.」
「We’ll take responsibility if you get depressed and get rejected during your date.」
「Whoaaa… It’s our fault that Noda challenged herself and wore her outdated clothes to her first date and got rejected~」
They allow their imagination to grow to my failed first date. They return to reality and get on all fours to apologize.
I tell them I’ve been busy not because I got a boyfriend… but no one listens.
「Everyone, settle down. Your ability to reflect on yourselves is one of your strengths.」
「Arioka just praised us!」
「Ooh! He almost never praises us!」
「But your inability to act upon your self reflections is one of your weaknesses.」
「He beat us down right away~」
「That’s our Arioka!」
Michel is the only one who hasn’t moved an inch.
I’m probably not at fault in any way, but I feel bothered somehow since this issue revolved around me.
「It’s okay. I’m not really upset, so you should make it up with Kinoshita-san.」
I try to comfort him.
If anything, I’ll wear my old shirts when she’s around.
Kinoshita-san probably didn’t mean any harm, and actually thought I looked better with my shirts.
I gently put my hand on Michel’s shoulder and tell him to cheer up.
He takes my hand and stares at it.
A prince taking the hand of a commoner, or a pariah as Mizuhara would say. It must be a drab for Michel.
「Is Yui really the cookie girl I’ve been searching for?」
The clubroom falls into silence.