Arioka-senpai holds my neck with his arm and drags me back into the clubroom.
「Hey! Please let me go!」
He tells me to calm down without a diffident look.
I want him to put his arm away more than wanting Michel to take off his shoes.
It’s just suffocating.
「Noda, are you really not going to the Christmas party?」
「I already said I have plans.」
I insist that I can’t go. The club members wonder in desperation if that’s true.
It seems they’re more shocked that I may have a boyfriend, rather than the fact that I can’t help them with their stupid plan.
「It can’t be… Noda’s leaving us behind… I’m giving up on life…」
「I’m hurt… Dammit… I should’ve gone on a blind date too.」
「I regret it a little too…. Kinoshita-san is beyond our reach anyway. We could’ve gotten a partner for Christmas if we just went for a random girl…」
The club members begin pounding the floor as if it’s the end of the world.
「Sagiri-san… Is it really true that you already have plans? Um… like a date…?」
I stay silent in response to Michel’s question.
The club members look at me, as if they sensed something in my silence.
I’m trying to avert everyone’s gaze.
「Well, why can’t you make it, Noda?」
「Ah… I guess it’s something like a date…」
「What exactly is it?」
「That’s nothing like a date!」
I blame myself for setting it up, but they begin to cheer for joy. I get annoyed and kick the closest club member.
「You’re working part time for Christmas?」
Arioka-senpai loosens his grip. I break free and adjust my collar.
「I promised to help the store manager in return for his help a while back.」
I’m referring to Bûche de Stage.
Maruta-san’s cakes have become so popular that he’s been overwhelmed by reservations, and he’s even had to make a few cancellations.
He hasn’t had much luck in finding part time helpers for Christmas, since that’s when he has to deliver the cakes.
I blame the inconvenience of the store’s location.
Since the part time job only lasts for those two days, it seems that no one is willing to go that far for the interviews, much less for the job itself.
So I offered my help to Maruta-san.
「I see, that’s too bad then. I was thinking of buying you some new clothes as a Christmas present.」
「Are you trying to drink too much and throw up on me again?!」
I wore my newest shirt to the Christmas party last year, and ended up throwing it away after Arioka-senpai threw up on it.
He bought me a new shirt as compensation, but I’ll never forget that Christmas Eve tragedy.
「Just hold back a little and don’t drink too much.」
It’s probably not going to help, but it’s better than saying nothing.
He tells me to leave it to the members, but I don’t trust them.
「Won’t you come after you finish your part-time job? I shall pick you up from the train station if you can make it, Sagiri-san.」
「Ah, yeah… I need to clean up, and the store itself is a little inconvenient…」
I reluctantly turn him down.
There’s a bigger reason why I can’t make it to the drinking party.
I’m going to be bringing a Christmas cake.
I can’t bring something like that to a drinking party.
The cake is for Mizuhara anyway.
I’d have to make a reservation half a year in advance for the premium cakes in Bûche de Stage, and there was no way I could make it.
Maruta-san was willing to make it an exception since I was going to help him work part-time, but I couldn’t ask it of him.
Mizuhara made a suggestion.
He has 4 reservations for Christmas.
Not dates, but cakes.
He’s planning to go around the city to collect them, but Maruta-san’s store is a little inconvenient because of the traffic on Christmas.
He promised to share the cake if I bring it back after my part-time job.
It’s bothersome to go to his place after working part-time, but I can’t resist the temptation of eating Maruta-san’s masterpiece cakes.
Plus, he’s even offered to share a fourth of all the other cakes too.
Thus, my plans are to spend this Christmas alone for the most part.
Chii-chan took the effort to plan to spend Christmas with me too. I gave her her favorite orange peel muffin as an apology.