Chapter 2: The Love Romance Suddenly… – Part 3
However, something unexpectedly came flying out of nowhere and put me in a pinch – Lunch break.
“Let’s eat lunch together.”
Those words of Konoe triggered a reaction. Suddenly, all of the students in the classroom were hit by a bullet called ‘surprise’. That was to be expected, as that Subaru-sama, who never let anyone besides Suzutsuki come close to him, was inviting me to have lunch with him. That was as unexpected as saying that dead animals had been found floating in the Tamagawa River.
“Hey, hey… Konoe invited a commoner to eat lunch with him.”
“It seems like the two also came to school together this morning.”
I could hear my classmates whispering awful things to each other about us. This is bad. This situation couldn’t become any worse.
“I can’t believe… that the rumors about Jirou were true…”
“Eeh, what rumors? Tell me! Tell me!”
There’s no truth in those rumors. Besides, I never, even for one second, had those kinds of tastes.
“Damn… Putting his hands on Subaru-sama… I won’t let it happen…”
“I will kill him. Kill him, kill him, kill him. That damn four eyes, I will tie his hands and feet together and dip him into concrete…”
Sorry, my eyes hurt. Don’t direct those dangerous killing intents over here. I won’t be able to go to the bathroom alone in the middle of the night.
Kurose, who was at my side, looked at me with the same eyes as a mother whose son was in his rebellious phase.
“It’s not like that! This is a misunderstanding.”
“What is a misunderstanding? Anyways, we’ll be going.”
Konoe kept pushing me along while I tried to make excuses. This time, the mood in the classroom became suspicious. In the class, only Konoe was smiling joyfully.
“Hey! Where are you trying to take me?”
I could feel their gazes piercing my body.
“For the time being, we will go to a place that is not popular. I can’t relax if the place is noisy like this.”
We looked like a dating couple.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I want to eat lunch with you. This is also a part of your monitoring because I can’t tell what you are doing if you are away from me.” Konoe said that without looking at me. It felt as if I was being treated like a dog in its mating season. If that really was the case, then she would also have to put a choker on me.
“Okay, so how about going to the rooftop? I don’t think there are many people around there.” I decided to agree with the idea, since we were going to finish lunch quickly anyway. Also, if I protested against every little thing, I would certainly be beaten again.
I went to the store to buy my lunch, since I didn’t have such a jealousy-causing item as a bento. Konoe accompanied me. Since every meal that she prepared was somehow lethal, she usually ate school meals. That was unexpected. Apparently Subaru-sama also had something that she was bad at.
Konoe was staring seriously at a bread roll. It seemed as if this was her first time coming to the store.
I was also checking the bread. Today’s recommended dish was… kimchi sandwiches? Don’t joke with me. Stop with this Korean influence already.
“Let’s go with a yakisoba bread or a cornet with chocolate cream(1), since the others have vegetables.”
That being said, I normally bought croquette bread or curry bread. To tell the truth, I didn’t have much money, so I couldn’t afford to be luxurious. The CD of one of my favorite bands was going to be released later this month, so I couldn’t afford any wasteful expenditures. Save money, save money.
“I want the yakisoba bread and the cornet with chocolate cream… and a croquette bread and a curry bread, and also fried pork and negi(2) on skewers, and a mince cutlet. Also, I should get strawberry milk…”
Konoe was buying a mountain of breads and vegetables like there was no tomorrow. The granny behind the counter was also very surprised. She had the expression of a mother who was once again meeting her son after ten years of separation due to loan debts.
After finishing the purchase, we climbed the stairs to the rooftop.
The truth was that going to the rooftop was forbidden, but I couldn’t think of any other unpopular place to go to during lunch break. There was also the corner of the courtyard, but from the second floor and above you could clearly see the spot. If I hadn’t thought of that, I would probably have been bombed by Konoe’s fans.
Luckily, the door that led to the rooftop wasn’t locked. The moment I opened the door, I could feel the warm sunlight, and a pleasantly light breeze hit my cheeks. It looked as if the morning rain had never happened.
Hmm, this is not bad.
The roof had a refreshing view and was also unpopular. It was as if my heart was doing a little Cossack dance.
I sat on the base of the fence in the corner. Well, let’s eat, let’s eat.
I opened the croquette bread thinking that food was indeed the basis of humankind.
Konoe was standing there confused with her eyes roaming around. Also, she looked as if she were still nervous.
Don’t tell me that she is afraid of a sniper or something like that.
“What are you doing? Hurry up and sit down.”
“Hey, don’t ignore me. You were the one who invited me to eat.”
“Uh… I understand. Then I’m going to sit?”
Konoe sat timidly at my side and started to eat her bread silently. Unsociable as always, she looked like a stray cat and, as usual, was incredibly cautious.
“By the way, is it okay for you to leave Suzutsuki like that? Aren’t you her butler?”
Since we were both just eating silently, I straight up asked that question, but there was no response.
That was the signal that I had to throw another straight ball.
“Hey, at least answer when I ask you something. Because we are eating lunch together.”
“Shut up, pervert.” She broke off the conversation in one blow.
End of conversation, let’s go back to the mound.
Speaking in baseball terms, she hit me straight in one line.
“…I’ve already apologized for the incident this morning… and besides, I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I couldn’t see you very well.”
“Don’t make excuses. And I usually eat lunch alone, so I don’t have the habit of talking while I eat.”
“You know… There are two of us here now… or are you also like this when you are with Suzutsuki?”
Hey, hey, don’t tell me that I nailed it?
Now that I think about it, I have never seen Konoe and Suzutsuki talking much to each other. I have often seen them together, but it was more like a master-servant relationship. I have never seen them having any pointless conversations.
“I am the butler of my Ojou-sama. As long as I can do that job, nothing else matters.”
“Ah, protecting Ojou-sama. That is my most important mission.”
That being said, calling her a bodyguard would fit her better than calling her a butler. Well, if her only goal was only to protect Suzutsuki, then there was no need for conversation. But they were in the same year, so they should try to get along a little more.
“Okay, but this time, let’s talk. It’s more fun to talk while you eat.” At least, that’s what I thought. If I started eating without talking, I would completely lose my appetite.
“Do you always eat with someone like this?”
“Aah, it seems like I’m always eating with Kurose, because he has always been together with me since middle school.”
“Middle school? Since I didn’t go to one, I don’t really know much about that.”
I dropped the croquette bread that was in my hands. “…What? You didn’t go to a middle school?”
“Ojou-sama and I started with high school. We didn’t go to primary school or middle school. We had our names registered, but we didn’t go to school even once. That’s because things had been determined to be that way.”
Saying that it had already been determined, Suzutsuki’s family must have made the decision without even hearing her out. I don’t really understand how rich people think. Sure, I understand that they care about their children, but isn’t being overprotective a bad thing?
“That’s why the first time we came to this school, I couldn’t tell left from right. Well, Ojou-sama is intelligent and has good manners, so she could adapt in no time, but for me it was impossible.”
Konoe said that while biting into the cornet with chocolate cream.
Impossible, huh…? I wouldn’t say that it wasn’t. Suddenly coming to high school, anyone would be confused. The reason why I was now having fun with friends in this school was probably that I got used to being in groups from an early age.
But Konoe didn’t have that.
She felt like a driver who was driving on the highway after only recently having acquired a driver’s license. To suddenly become afraid and press on the brakes would not be strange. When I thought about it like that, I felt really bad for her.
“That’s why I have never eaten lunch with a friend like you have,” Konoe said with an unusually weak voice.
“Oh no, nothing…” Shit. Looks like I moved my mouth without realizing it.
“What I wanted to say was that you should call me properly by my name. I’m calling you ‘Konoe’, after all. My name is Sakamachi Kinjirou. Since it’s long, you can call me Jirou. Everyone in class calls me that – even Suzutsuki, haven’t you noticed?”
Thinking about it now, Konoe hadn’t called me by my name even once. That was a little disgusting, since it made me feel as if we were not equal.
“But… Is it okay?”
“Being addressed so informally… You don’t dislike it?”
“Don’t worry about it. I have had this nickname for a very long time. Besides, I think that it’s creepy to be called by any other name. That’s why you can use it as well!”
“But we have only eaten lunch together… Is it really okay?”
“Eating lunch together, talking about pointless things. That’s what friends are for.”
The definition of ‘friends’… Such a thing doesn’t exist. But being friends with such an unsociable girl was a little annoying.
She was watching me silently as if she were thinking about something.
“Th—, then I will call you…Ji, Jirou…” she said and blushed. What was so embarrassing in using my name?
At that moment, I became speechless. This girl… She was so cute. As expected of Subaru-sama, the title of the most beautiful guy in the school was well deserved. I was nearly hypnotized by her.
“O… oh. Well done…” I stammered, trying to hide my embarrassment.
When I took a look at Konoe who was at my side, I saw that she was repeating [Jirou, Jirou…] countless times. What’s that? If you try, you can succeed.
Unexpectedly, Konoe’s head inclined and hit my shoulder.
“Huh? Don’t tell me that you are feeling sleepy?”
Konoe was yawning while rubbing her eyes. “No… It’s not that. It’s not like I’m feeling sleepy.”
Even though she said that, she clearly had a sleepy expression on her face.
“You can go ahead and sleep. I will wake you up when it’s time for class.”
“I don’t need you to worry about me. Look, I can soon get rid of this sleepy fe—”
Right after saying that, Konoe closed her eyes and fell asleep. Apparently it was her consciousness that gave way first.
Aah, the weather is so good that I don’t feel like doing anything.
With his limp body leaning against me, I could see a beautiful view of him. Uhn, he is indeed cute. Even being a guy, he has such a cute sleeping face…
“… Eh? Wait wait wait wait!”
I forgot. Since she is wearing a boy’s uniform, I completely forgot, but she is a girl.
Um, um, it seems that in my head, I still thought of Konoe as a guy. That’s why I sometimes couldn’t help but interact with her like a guy. For that reason, I didn’t have a nosebleed.
While I was thinking that, suddenly the door to the rooftop was opened.
The person who entered was looking straight at me and Konoe.
“Heh, that’s a rare occasion.”
An elegant female student was coming this way with her long, black hair flowing in the wind. That was Suzutsuki. Did she come to see how Konoe and I were doing? But how did she know that we were here? Did she put trackers on us when we were not paying attention?
“Fufu, she is sleeping. It is very rare, for Subaru to sleep at the side of another person.”
“Right now, she is giving the impression of a wild cat riding a Harley that’s driving against the traffic on the highway.”
What kind of feeling was that? Even though it sounded like she was implying something when she said that was rare, her expression was completely unreadable.
Cool and beautiful as always. We were supposed to be the same age, but Suzutsuki gave off a more mature feeling. I couldn’t relax in her presence.
“The line of tension was probably cut off.”
“Line? Well, now that you say that, Konoe was a little strange today. But why?” I knew that I was probably being targeted. If that was the case, I had to run to a blind spot fast.
“Why…? Because she was going to meet you, of course.”
What is that? Why would Konoe be tense about meeting someone like me? I am not Golgo 13 (3).
“For Subaru, thinking about talking to you was freezing her nerves. She was so tense last night that she almost couldn’t sleep.”
“…But, isn’t eating lunch with a classmate pretty normal?”
“Normal? For you, maybe. For Subaru, everything from the very start to the very end is a new experience: going to school, talking with a person that’s not me, eating lunch together. Until now, she has never done any of these. That’s because even if she wanted to have friends, she couldn’t have them.”
“Certainly, Konoe has no friends, but…”
But even if she wanted to, she couldn’t do that. Even if she started high school a year late, she should get used to…
“Not having friends and not being able to make friends are two different things. Think about it. Subaru has a secret that no one in this school must discover, and that is the fact that she is a girl.”
I finally understood the meaning of Suzutsuki’s words. Konoe has no other option but to hide her secret from other people. What did she have to do to hide it? It was simple: She had to avoid any contact with other people.
“There is a lot of trouble involving Subaru being my butler, you know. That’s because she can’t let anyone discover her secret. Hence, she doesn’t let anyone besides me be close to her. She fears having her secret exposed.”
This was so easily said, but for Konoe, this had to be very painful. Even if she wanted friends, for the sake of hiding her secret, she couldn’t make them. Her loneliness in class… She wasn’t alone just because she wanted to be.
“To Subaru, I am her master. I think that to her, I am not someone that she can call a friend, even though in the past we had a good relationship. She even used to call me ‘Kana-chan’. But now, even Subaru has finally found someone in school with whom she can be friends.”
Suzutsuki smiled calmly.
“Jirou-kun. Since you already know Subaru’s secret, you are the one who can be friends with her. I am pretty sure that she was nervous because this was her first time talking to a classmate. She didn’t want to mess up that chance, so I think she worked hard in her own way.”
Then, she is saying that Konoe wanted to be friends with me? …Isn’t she a fool? If it’s only that, she could have just told me.
“This is a happy result for me and for Konoe.”
“But now that I think about it, weren’t you the one who ordered Konoe to approach me?”
“Indeed, but I am also thankful to you.”
“Please stop! I will get embarrassed.”
“Fufu, what an interesting guy. I will give you this for being like that.”
She handed me a little piece of paper. This is a… ticket? But what for? “What is it?”
“If I had to give it a name, I would call it a ‘Butler Ticket’. It’s the same as a shoulder massage ticket. If you use that, you will be able to – only once – give an order to Subaru.”
“An order, you say…”
“You can even make her do something perverted like taking off her top and saying [Please lick me] while spilling honey onto her breasts.”
“Sadly, I don’t have this kind of inclination!”
“Silence. Subaru will wake up.”
“If you don’t want to use it, you don’t need to, but this is my thanks to you.”
Suzutsuki bowed elegantly. As expected from an ojou-sama, her behavior somehow became kind. But still…
“Hey, there is something I want to ask you.”
“What is it?”
“What is that thing that is drawn on the butler ticket?”
I stared at the ticket I had received. Drawn on it was— a strange four legged being.
“That is the illustration of a sheep that I drew. I tried to draw a sheep butler. I thought that sometimes, it would be okay to make some useless jokes.”(4)
“A sheep, you say…”
This? This strange onigiri-shaped avantgarde drawing? This has to be a joke. What an original artistic sense. Even Picasso’s Guernica(5) is more understandable than that.
“It’s a good drawing, right? The truth is that since my childhood, I wanted to be a painter. But since I had to inherit the family fortunes, I couldn’t become one.”
“Heeh. That’s a shame…”
Truly a shame. If this crazy talent were presented to the world, maybe she would get to learn how severe society really is.
“Ah, and by the way, be on guard from now on. The classroom is full of rumors about you and Subaru.”
“Then, let’s meet again after school. I will be waiting.” Suzutsuki left the rooftop with a smile on her face.
She is taking this too lightly. Because of that, now I can’t help but to fear returning to the classroom.
From my side I could hear Konoe talk in her sleep. “Haha, Kana-chan… I can’t eat anymore.” She had a happy sleeping face. Maybe she was having a dream from her childhood days.
Aah, I also wanted to go to the dream world.
I deeply sighed, thinking about how I would avoid the problems that would be coming next.
(1) In British-English, “cornet” means ice cream cone. However, the meaning here refers to a Japanese-styled cornet. These are pastry cones filled with chocolate cream or vanilla custard.
(2) Negi is the Japanese name for Welsh onion.
(3) Golgo 13 is a manga about a professional assassin, you can get more information here
(4) The joke here is that she tried to draw a sheep 『羊』 (hitsuji) butler 『執事』 (shitsuji). The pronunciation of the words is close to each other.
(5) Guernica I guess everyone who has studied in high school should know what is, but anyway, Wikipedia can explain better.