It’s mid January. The winter break has just ended, and it’s time to prepare for finals.
Nonomiya-san and I are leaning against the walls of the photocopy room.
If happiness escaped us each time we sighed, then this small photocopy room would be overflowing with it.
「Did something happen, Nonomiya-san?」
「What aboutcha, Noda-cchi? Yer sighing hard too.」
We’re both pointing out how much we’ve sighed. Then we sigh at the same time.
「Why dontcha tell me?」
「Yeah…… Actually, I met with Kinoshita-san just now…」
After getting the schedules for our finals, I began to study for exams. It wasn’t too difficult, and I felt like I could manage.
I thought things were tough until my third year, when Nonomiya-san came asking me for help on lecture notes.
She promised to give me snacks as thanks, so I agreed.
Even though the club members are a disgrace to their parents, I went to them for their well-written notes. I still have my notes too, but my handwriting is too difficult to read, and my summaries weren’t good either.
On my way to the photocopy room, I bumped into Kinoshita-san.
Kinoshita-san was wearing a fluffy white coat and a light pink hair band, making her look like a rabbit. Just seeing her is enough to feel calm, so I can see why she’s so popular.
Usually, she would be surrounded by guys.
Maybe she just managed to break away from the crowd. She was staring at me as if she wanted to say something.
I urged her to speak her mind.
「Um, is it true that Michel confessed to you?」
Her voice is even sweeter than most voice actresses.
I became stiff as she continued staring at me, waiting for an answer.
Just then, a bunch of guys started to gather, curious about our conversation.
Kinoshita-san asked me again, and I could only stutter in panic.
I couldn’t confirm or deny her question in a public place like that.
She stopped me in front of the electronic bulletin board, which is where students usually go to anyway.
They were gathering not only because Kinoshita-san was there, but also because they heard what she had said.
I managed to calm down and get away quickly, but I wonder what’s going to happen now.
Most of them seemed like they couldn’t believe the fact that Michel had confessed to me, but a few girls looked at me as if they were going to assassinate me.
I think the harassment is going to get worse. No, I’m sure it will get worse.
「……That sure was a disaster. Feminine jealousy is a scary thang. They have a wide network too.」
People won’t stay silent. Rumors always spread at an alarming rate.
And they get crazier with each telling, to the point where they become an entirely different rumor. It’s just a thought, but it does happen.
I’ve never been the center of rumors, and I’ve certainly never been an enemy of girls. I don’t know how to handle this.
「Well? What’s up with you, Nonomiya-san?」
I’m going to get depressed if I keep thinking about my problem, so I’m changing the focus to her
She sighs while looking down at the bag of sweets in her backpack.
「……My plan to win Mizuhara-cchi hasn’t been going well.」
Sweets is the only weapon that’s effective against Mizuhara. Plus, Nonomiya-san’s snacks are top notch.
Just a while ago, she made a classic baumkuchen. Her craft was godlike as she made the core layer while adjusting to the width of her frying pan, and was able to wrap it in dough and bake it. [1. TL Note: Baumkuchen is a German spit cake.]
She had put in so much effort, and yet she couldn’t win Mizuhara over. I’m scratching my head over the reason while looking at Nonomiya-san, who makes a long sigh.
An idea suddenly comes to my head. Valentines.
「Hey, Valentine’s Day is coming soon, right?」
The late semester exams are the main event for college students from the end of January to the beginning of February.
While most students are desperately studying for the exams to get good grades during this period, the idiot genius Mizuhara focuses all his efforts elsewhere in completely different matters.
He sets his schedule down to the minutes and seconds in order to obtain chocolates. Even a popular idol would be surprised by his schedule.
Because of that, he won’t be at home often. It’ll be like he’s already on a world tour. I really don’t think Nonomiya-san’s chances are looking good.
「Oh well. ……It woulda been fine if the problem were just with my pastries.」
She sighs yet again.
「Mizuhara-cchi’s behavin’ real weird.」
Mizuhara has shown little reaction, not only to Nonomiya-san’s sweets, but also to his precious limited edition sweets.
It’s also become apparent that he’s been superficially skimming his favorite magazines.
「He’s been his usual self ‘til a little while ago.」
He was hunting for Valentines feature magazines, reading them intently and drawing up his plan in detail.
He told her that there were no elf terrorists to foil his plan to make an extended trip, because he wouldn’t have as many opportunities to do so when he starts working next year.
Of course, he was referring to me
Mandatory classes for third years were tough, and I had taken all the easy courses in my first two years, leaving the most difficult ones to last year.
I was gripped with the fear of having my grades drop, so I kept bothering Mizuhara in his lab and his place.
There were times when he wasn’t there, but he was for the most part.
I brought my textbooks asking him for help, and even though he told me that I wouldn’t understand no matter how hard I tried, he stuck with me and helped me through my studies.
He said he was free when I asked him, but when I chatted with Microwave later, I found out that Mizuhara had canceled their usual plans to obtain chocolate.
I felt sorry for terrorizing him.
I went to Mizuhara and apologized.
Mizuhara knew the subjects I studied, as well as my daily schedule. He even knew my exam dates, reminding me when I forgot.
I went there with the possibility that he wasn’t home, in which case I would go home. Mizuhara was there, wondering if I was going to visit.
Sorry for being a pain. Sorry for not realizing that until now. Sorry for going to your place like I lived there.
Feeling regret and gratitude, I made snacks as he requested.
That was what happened last year. Now, Nonomiya-san is sitting next to me, making yet another short sigh as she drops her shoulders.
「I asked Mizuhara-cchi what was wrong, but he wouldn’t tell me. He’s just been actin’ real weird like that.」
Mizuhara simply told her that nothing was wrong.
That’s what’s been bothering Nonomiya-san..
「Hmm. I don’t really know why he won’t cheer up even with snacks right in front of……」
I cut myself off.
Mizuhara had no reaction to pastries.
It happened once last year.
Last summer, Mizuhara’s mother invited him to his brother’s wedding ceremony. Mizuhara was eating sweet pastries, but seemed as if he was eating something bitter.
I take a peek at the calendar. It’s been half a year since the invitation.
His brother’s wedding ceremony is on February 21. It’s coming soon.