In the After School Library, A Refined Lady's Romantic Comedy Can't Be Compromised - Chapter 4 - Act 3(1)
- In the After School Library, A Refined Lady's Romantic Comedy Can't Be Compromised
- Chapter 4 - Act 3(1)
Chapter 4: Lastly, Creating Memories.
I opened the library after school.
“Say, Makabe-kun. Today I heard you and Hasumi-san had a difficult look on your faces while talking. Did something happen?”
Then, later when there were fewer people around, Takinami Ruika appeared.
“Oh, the matter at lunch? No, she was just asking if the lunch she prepared suited my tastes.”
Because of the location, a good number of students passed by while Hasumi-senpai and I were talking, so Takinami-senpai must have caught wind of it. She must have been genuinely concerned because she knew about our complicated relationship.
“Yes, Hasumi-senpai made some for me.”
I lowered my voice because of the content of the conversation.
Then Takinami-senpai suddenly looked as if she ate something bitter and turned her face downwards.
“How could I forget such methods?”
Was this fine? Takinami Ruika, the object of admiration of many boys at our Akendai High School, was making a face that she shouldn’t make in public.
“I met her a few times in the cafeteria, but I was so careless. If I had made some from the beginning, Shizuru might have been mine by now…”
She was really eager to fish me with food.
“’Even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to bring it to me, though.”
“I can just paint a picture, like the library committee member who has been helping me so much is having a hard time because of the loss of her mother.”
It seems like she was going to take advantage of anything that seems viable. Well, it has been that way since a long time ago, it was too late to say anything now.
“I wonder if Hasumi-san knows that I’m aiming for Shizuru, and if I did tell her, will she give me her position?”
Perhaps because she used the word “aim” with a smile, her intention of making me a lunchbox sounds like a predator’s scheme.
And it was at that time.
“Ah, Takinami-san, good afternoon.”
“Good afternoon to you too.”
A female student entered the room and greeted Takinami Ruika as soon as she saw her. Takihana turned around and returned with a friendly, mature smile.
“Ah, that’s right. This isn’t the time to be chatting around… Makabe-kun, can I have your help to find a book?”
Perhaps remembering that this was the library and that many students were still coming and going at this time, she turned her smile to me across the counter. What a quick turn of attitude.
“Of course, what kind of book is it?”
“Really? Thank you. That’ll help.”
It was really a textbook conversation between an honor student and a library committee member. However, Takinami-senpai had a secret side to her, and I have an appropriate attitude toward her with each side of her. Considering this, it was really a very outward and blatant exchange of words.
But I don’t hate it.
“I’m looking for a French translation of The Tale of Genji… Do we have it in our library by any chance?”
“The Tale of Genji in French? Is there such a thing?”
I don’t think we have that on the shelf.
I tap the terminal on the counter in disbelief.
“Hm? Le Dit Du Genji. Is this it?”
I searched for it with doubt, and found something that really looked like it. I was surprised that it really existed, but I was also surprised that this library had them. I don’t know how to read it in French, so I read the alphabet as it was.
“You found it? Let me see.”
Saying that with a pleased expression, Takinami-senpai leaned forward on the counter and peeked at the terminal screen. She doesn’t have to do that because there was a rotating platform under the monitor to show the screen to users as well, but… I’m sure she was doing it on purpose.
I look at the terminal, trying not to look at her. It seemed to be in a case with a booklet in three parts.
“Can you read French?”
“Of course not. I can barely read English and classic literature.”
Says who? You were named as a top achiever in both subjects.
“I heard from someone that the book was beautifully illustrated, so I wanted to take a look at it. I’m glad it’s here.”
Takinami-senpai, still leaning forward against the counter, turned her head toward me from the screen and happily smiled.
She was close, so it was hard not to look.
“I’ll go get it.”
I got up and went to the shelves to escape.
The pre-bell rang at 5:55 pm.
It was five minutes before closing time, and there were only so many students left that I could count them with one hand. One of them was Kanata-senpai, who was sitting in her usual seat and running a pen on her notebook, and the other was Takinami Ruika.
Takinami-senpai was looking at the French translation of “The Tale of Genji” that I had brought with me, sitting far away from Kanata-senpai. But when the remaining students left the room, leaving just her and Kanata-senpai, she stood up.
“Shizuru, thanks for the book. I’m done.”
When she came over here, she put the book on the counter.
“You don’t want to borrow it? You seemed to have read it with enthusiasm.”
“I thought I could get your attention by pretending to be a literary girl at first, but halfway through the book, I started to dwindle. The illustrations were beautiful though.”
Takinami-senpai casually said something calculating.
Well, maybe it was the fact that she can’t be so calculating when she goes out of her way to say it. It would be scary if it was a part of her calculation to make me think that way…
“I feel like it’s a shame that I can’t read. Maybe I’ll study French when I go to college.”
I picked up the book and put it on the book truck of returned books at the counter. I’ll put it back on the shelf tomorrow.
“Hey, Shizuru. How about something like this?”
When I turned back to her, Takinami-senpai was again leaning forward against the counter, propping herself up on both elbows and resting her chin on her crossed hands. She then sent a provocative look.
Her pose was also provocative. She unbuttoned one of the buttons of her blouse after all. Although the blouse was Japanese in style, so there was no cleavage to be seen, it was natural for a man to be curious about what was under her blouse.
“Now there’s no one around, so don’t be shy.”
In addition, her dialogue was also provocative.
Yes, this was the second time. When I searched for a book earlier, she did the same thing.
“Stop being stupid. Please go home, it’s already time for closing.”
Also, it was not that we were the only ones left. Don’t forget that Kanata-senpai was also present.
I kept my distance from her, although any other guy would have his eyeballs moving around at a sickeningly high speed. I rested my body on the back of the chair, and as a member of the library committee, I asked her to leave the room.
Takinami-senpai seemed somewhat dissatisfied with my attitude, and when she sat down, she put her hands on her hips in a sulky manner.
“You know what, Shizuru? I’m putting my dignity as a woman on the line here, so don’t you think you should respect it by displaying a reaction?”
“As long as you put your dignity as a woman on the line, you are responsible for your own failure and success.”
I don’t want to be demanded an opinion.
“Shizuru is used to seeing women’s bodies.”
And then a voice breaks in. Of course, it belongs to Mibu Kanata, the last student left besides us.
Before I knew it, Kanata-senpai, who was getting ready to leave, came up to us.
“Eh, Mibu-san!? Shi-Shizu…what do you mean used to?”
It seemed there were so many surprises and can’t be unheard words that she jammed her words.
Takinami-senpai looked at Kanata-senpai reflexively, but stared at me again.
“What do you mean by… No way, Hasumi-san!?”
Why did it come to that? Well, the only female who was involved in my personal life was Hasumi-senpai, so I guess it was a natural association. In fact, I was gradually becoming accustomed to seeing her in her usual revealing attire.
I involuntarily flinched at Takinami-senpai’s presence who suddenly came up to me leaning over the counter.
But then I suddenly realized. ―Why was I being so stupidly honest?
“Wait a minute. That’s got to be just her joke.”
Takinami Senpai looked puzzled.
Why didn’t I think of that possibility first? It was obvious at first glance that I was just a simple library committee with no relation to women.
She looked at Kanata-senpai.
Kanata-senpai replied. She shrugged her shoulders with a smile that was truly meaningful. My mouth unintentionally leaked out a voice saying, “Ugh…”
“Why don’t you ask Shizuru?”
When she answered, Takinami-senpai turned to me once again. The way she turned her head was a bit horrifying. Then she moved her face closer to mine.
“Say, Shizuru? Are you hiding something from me?”
“Well, there are a million things I haven’t told you, Takinami-senpai.”
“Like for example?”
And she asked with a straight face.
“I’m actually meeting a girl who’s about ten years old from time to time.”
“Hm, I didn’t know that. Introduce me next time.”
She still had a straight face.
“I have one, too. Like my three sizes I measured recently. Should I mention it?”
“No, thank you.”
What are we doing? Saying silly things and facing each other at a distance where our foreheads would touch.
“I agree. It’s no use telling people when they don’t want to know, and it’s no fun telling them when they do want to know.”
If you don’t want to tell me, why don’t you just say so?
“I am not asking about what you were not saying, but what you are hiding. I have a feeling that you’re hiding something important, Shizuru.”
“Not telling, huh? Say, why did you go silent?”
I looked away as I kept quiet and saw Kanata-senpai was just about to leave through the door.
“Is this what they call a bloodbath? I witnessed something great. Anyway, goodbye you two.”
I tried to stop her, but Kanata-senpai was a very easy-going person. She just lit the fire and went home. This was the work of an arsonist, indeed.