Yuigahama Yui is Always Restless



"So let me guess: even cooking class was a traumatic experience for you?"

I handed in the home economics report to make up for skipping cooking class, but somehow I was called to the teachers' lounge anyway.

This felt a hell of a lot like deja vu. Why were you shoving this lecture down my throat, Hiratsuka-sensei?

"Sensei, aren't you a Modern Japanese teacher?"

"I'm the school's guidance counselor. Tsurumi-sensei pushed the responsibility to me."

I saw the aforementioned Tsurumi-sensei watering a decorative plant in a corner of the room. Hiratsuka-sensei gave her a quick glance before returning her eyes to me.

"First, I'll hear your reason for skipping cooking class. Make it brief."

"Well, I just don't really understand why I have participate in cooking classes with the other students..."

"That answer doesn't make any sense to me, Hikigaya. Was it that much of a painful experience to be put into groups? Or is it because nobody let you join their group?" Hiratsuka-sensei looked at me as though she was sincerely worried.

"No, of course not. What are you talking about, Sensei? This is about cooking training, right? In other words, training that would be pointless unless it bears resemblance to how cooking is conducted in real life. My mom cooks by herself. In other words, cooking is something that must be done alone! Conversely speaking, conducting cooking training in groups is wrong!"

"What you're talking about and what I'm talking about are completely different."

"Sensei! Are saying that my beloved mother is wrong?! Unforgivable! It'd pointless to say anything more than this! I'm outta here!" I replied and turned on my heel, attempting to leave the place behind.

"Hey! Don't try and make me the bad guy by storming out when I'm the one who's supposed to be angry!"

...Did my plan fail? Hiratsuka-sensei stretched out her arm and yanked the back of my collar. Soon I'm being made to face her a second time, still held up like a kitten. Damn. If I'd said 'Heh♪ Silly me☆' and stuck my tongue out, I probably would have gotten away with it.

Sensei sighed and smacked my report with the back of her hand.

"'How to Make a Delicious Curry' - that part is fine. The problem is what comes after that. '1. Cut onion into comb shapes, then slice thinly and season. A shallow person is easily influenced by others, and similarly, thinly sliced onions easily soak up the flavor'... Who said to mix in sarcasm? You're supposed to mix in beef."

"Sensei, please stop acting like that was a really great pun....I'm embarrassed just looking at you."

"Even I don't want to read this. You know what I'm going to say: you'll have to resubmit it." Sensei looked completely appalled as she put a cigarette between her lips.

"Can you cook?" She inquired, her expression somewhat surprised as she casually flipped my report over.

Well that's irritating. High school students these days can at least make curry.

"Yes. Considering my future plans, of course I can cook."

"Are you at the age where you want to start living on your own?"

"No, that's not the reason."

"Hmm?" Sensei simply inquired with a look that said, 'so why?'

"Because cooking is a skill that all househusbands require."

Upon hearing my reply, she blinked her large eyes, which were modestly lined with mascara, two or three times.

"Do you want to become a full-time househusband?"

"Well, it's an option..."

"Don't talk about dreams with those sordid, corrupt eyes of yours. They should at least be sparkling with excitement... Just for reference, how are your future plans coming along?"

It probably wouldn't be a good idea to tell her, 'just freaking worry about your own future first,' so I resigned myself to giving her a reasonable answer.

"Well, I plan on going to whatever college I can get into."

"I see." Hiratsuka sensei nodded in agreement, sounding her approval. "And what kind of employment do you intend to find after that?"

"I'm going to find a beautiful and distinguished woman to marry so that she'll continue to support me till I die."

"I asked about employment! Give me a specific job!"

"I already told you: househusband."

"That's what you call a gigolo! A dreadful way to live. They hint at the possibility of marriage and then before you know it they're in your house and they've even got a duplicate house key made and not to mention that they've started to carry their bags in and then when it's time to break up they even take my furniture with them like some damn hobo!"

Hiratsuka-sensei gushed, making to sure to divulge every last detail. She was talking so vehemently that she was drawing short breaths, tears welling up in her eyes.

It was too pitiful... So pitiful that I actually wanted to cheer her up.

"Sensei, it's okay! I won't be like that. I'll do the housework properly and become a gigolo that surpasses all other gigolos!"

"What kind of crazy superstring theory is that?!"

With my future aspirations trampled on, I was forced to come to a crossroads. My dream was on the verge of being shattered so I attempted to turn the argument in my favor.

"It might sound bad if you call me a 'gigolo,' but becoming a full-time househusband isn't that bad a choice."

"Hmm?" Hiratsuka-sensei gave me an intense stare, leaning back on her creaking chair. Her posture said, 'I'll listen, so give me what you got.'

"Thanks to this 'gender equal' society, it is only natural that women have already made social progress. Sensei being able to work as a teacher is proof of that."

"...Well, I suppose you're right."

I think I've got her reeled in. Now I've just got to continue talking.

"However, it only takes simple math to know that for the large amount of women who have entered the workforce, the same amount of men are out of jobs. I mean, isn't the number of jobs always limited no matter what?"

"Well..."

"Take, for example, a certain company fifty years ago, where one hundred percent of the labor force was comprised of a hundred males. If fifty female employees are required to work there, it follows that fifty of the existing male employees must find employment elsewhere. But that's an extremely simple calculation. If you consider the current economic slump, it would only be a matter of time before employment of those male workers falls into a state of decline."

As I laid out my argument, Hiratsuka stroked her chin thoughtfully.

"Keep going."

"Companies in themselves are becoming increasingly less dependent on human labor. This is a result of the widespread use of computers and the rise of the Internet allowing optimal efficiency, which has in turn improved the rate of efficiency per capita tremendously. If you ask for the general opinion of the public they might even say, 'It's nice that you're working so hard, but it's a little unsettling...' And then there are things like work sharing too. Well, something along those lines."

"Yes, that is an existing opinion."

"And because household appliances have had remarkable developments and become more diverse, the result is the same no matter who uses them. Even men can do household chores properly."

"No, wait a second." Sensei interrupted my impassioned speech. She cleared her throat a little and immediately stared up at me. "It's kind of hard to know what to use where and where to put what, so... It's not like it always turns out the way you want it to..."

"Well, that's probably only true for you."

[Better flow.]

"...What?" Her chair suddenly swivelled around as her foot delivered a kick to my shin. It hurt like hell. Then a burning glare was directed my way. I continued talking in an attempt to gloss over my words.

"T-the point is! When you consider how we've worked so hard to build a society where one can get by without working, it's absurd and wrong to harp on about working or complain that there aren't enough jobs!"

A perfect conclusion. Work and you lose to the system. Work and you lose to the system.

"...Right. You really are as rotten as ever." Sensei sighed loudly. Then, immediately after, she grinned widely and laughed as though she'd just thought of something.

"If a girl treated you to her home cooking at least once, I'm sure you would change that corrupt way of thinking..."

And with that, sensei stood up and started pulling my shoulder towards the door.

"Wa-wait! What are you doing?! Ow! I said that hurts!"

"Come back when you've learned the dignity of labor at the service club." Then, with a vise-like grip on my shoulder, she harnessed all her strength and yanked me outside the door.

And just as I was about to turn around and complain, the door was ruthlessly slammed shut. I suppose that means 'no objections, rebuttals, questions or back talk'.

Then, the moment I thought I might as well just ditch school, I felt a throbbing pain in my shoulder from when sensei had just gripped it... If I ran away, I'd probably get beaten up.

The person who wired that conditioned reflex into me so quickly is a terrible human being.

Left with no other choice, I decided to show up at the so-called service club, where one club activity seems to be solving riddles. It claims to be a club, but I have no idea what club activities actually involve. Plus, the club president is even more of a mystery. What the hell's up with her?

As per usual, Yukinoshita was reading a book.

After exchanging only a light greeting, I moved a short distance away, pulled up a chair, and sat down. Then I took some books out of my bag.

Right now, the service club had transformed into a Reading Club For Youth. All jokes aside... What does this club even do? And what the hell happened to the battle we were meant to have?

The sound of a knocking visitor suddenly answered my question. Yukinoshita stopped turning the pages of her book, firmly placing a bookmark inside.

"Come in," she called, facing the door.

"E-excuse me." The voice was a little excited... Nervous, maybe? The door slid open just a little, then the girl slipped her body through that small gap. She must not have wanted anyone to see her enter this place.

Her shoulder-length brown hair was curled in loose waves that swayed when she walked. Her eyes roamed anxiously around the room. Then she met my eyes and shrieked.

...What was I? A monster?

"W-why is Hikki here?!"

"...I'm a member of this club, actually."

Or should I have said, "Are you calling me 'Hikki'?" More importantly, who the hell was this chick anyway?

Frankly, I had no idea, but she looked exactly like your typical high school girl - a flamboyant girl revelling in her youth. I've seen her type around a lot: short skirt, three buttons of her blouse popped, hair dyed light brown, and a quick glance at her chest revealed a heart charm on a gleaming necklace. That outfit completely defied the school code.

I had no business with such girls. In fact, I had no business with any girls.

However, it appeared that the opposite party knew who I was. I doubted it would go well if I said, "Excuse me, but who may you be?"

I also noticed that the color of the ribbon pinned to her chest was red. In our school, each grade is distinguishable by a ribbon of a particular color. A red ribbon meant she was in grade 11 like me.

...It's not like I noticed because I was staring at her chest. It just happened to enter my line of sight...By the way, they were pretty big...

"Well, just sit down for the time being." I casually pulled up a chair, motioning for her to sit. My random act of chivalry was not a pretense for masking my guilty conscience. Naturally, I wanted to impress my genuinely kind disposition upon her. I am a gentleman, you know. Just look at my sophisticated clothing.

"Th-thank you..." She appeared bewildered as she accepted my offer and sat down quietly.

Yukinoshita, who was sitting in front of her, made eye contact. "Yuigahama Yui-san, right?"

"Y-you know who I am?"

This 'Yuigahama Yui' perked up then, as if having Yukinoshita know your name gave you some kind of status.

"You certainly know a lot...Do you remember everybody's name in this school?" I asked.

"Not at all. I didn't know you existed."

"Is that so..."

"Don't be depressed; it was my mistake. I didn't notice your diminutive presence and above all I unintentionally wished to avert my eyes from your existence. The blame lies with the weakness of my mind."

"Is that supposed to be some form of consolation? That's a really lousy way to console someone. In the end, you pretty much concluded that it's my fault."

"I wasn't trying to console you. I was just being sarcastic," Yukinoshita said, disregarding me as she flipped her hair over her shoulder.

"This sorta...seems like a really fun club." Yuigahama said, looking at Yukinoshita and me with sparkling eyes.

This girl...Is her mind just full of sunshine and daisies?

"That remark isn't particularly pleasing in any way... On the other hand, your misunderstanding is terribly displeasing." Yukinoshita's cold eyes flustered Yuigahama.

"Uh, no, how do I put it?" She waved her hands in frantic denial. "I was just thinking you guys seem to be acting really natural! Like, I mean, Hikki is totally different from how he is in class. He's, like, actually talking and stuff."

"I can talk, actually. Saying that is a little..." Do I really look like I lack any communication skills?

"Oh, that's right. Yuigahama-san is also in class F."

"What, really?" I asked.

"Don't tell me you really didn't know that?" Yukinoshita asked in return.

Yuigahama appeared startled by Yukinoshita's words.

Oh hell.

I know the misery of a classmate not remembering who you are more than anyone. Therefore, before making her experience that same misery, I attempted to cover up my mistake.

"O-of course I know."

"...Why are you averting your eyes?" Yukinoshita asked.

Yuigahama looked at me with scornful eyes. "Well isn't that why you don't have any friends in class, Hikki? I mean, you act weird and it's creepy."

Now I remember this girl's scornful eyes. Of course, the other girls in my class have also occasionally looked at me like I was a piece of trash. She must be part of that clique that hangs around the soccer club a lot.

What the hell. Isn't she one of my enemies, then? I just wasted my time trying to be nice.

"...This slut." I inadvertently swore under my breath.

"What? Who are you calling a slut?!" Yuigahama lashed out in response. "I'm still a vir-...w-whoa! Never mind!" She blushed furiously and waved her hands back and forth in an attempt to take back her words. What an airhead.

Yukinoshita began to speak, as if to save Yuigahama from her panic. "It's not really something to be embarrassed about. At this age being a virg-"

"W-whoa hold up! What are you saying?! It's embarrassing still being one in grade 11! Yukinoshita-san, where's your sense of femininity?!"

"...What a pointless thing to value."

Whoa there. I don't know how, but Yukinoshita just increased her coldness a hundred fold.

"Even if you say that, the word 'femininity' just screams 'slut' to me," I added in.

"You said it again! Calling someone a slut is way out of line! Hikki, you're so gross!" Yuigahama made a small derisive growl and looked at me with teary eyes.

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