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My Homeroom Teacher Is Only Bubbly Towards Me
“Still, no matter how much I look at him, he’s as annoying as ever.”
Waiting at the meeting place near the entrance of the shopping center, I muttered to myself as I gazed at the ‘Annoying Owl’ statue with facial features only made to piss off people who looked at it.
The time was 6:30 PM. At this time, all the salarymen were still at work for their last stretch, and most students had already finished their strolling after school, leaving the surroundings rather devoid of other people. It was a favorable environment for someone like me, who hated the inefficiency typically caused by the masses of people loitering around. Still, with this scorching heat, my discomfort is going through the roof.
That reminds me, my first meeting with Sumire—rather, Murasaki Shikibu-sensei was also in shitty summer heat not unlike now. Luckily, my drive to find an illustrator had quenched my thirst for cold. Reminiscing about the past like that, I was waiting for Sumire to arrive when the smartphone in my pocket vibrated. A message from Mashiro.
[Mashiro]: You’re on a date with Sumire-sensei, right? It’s fine, Mashiro believes in you.
Holding back the desire to retort, that this message itself is proof she doesn’t trust me, I sent back some chat emote instead of leaving her on read. If you don’t know how to respond, just send some random emote. Behold, the greatest enlightenment in the history of human communication. While I was contemplating my situation, a four-wheel-drive car passed through the street in front of me and entered the nearby parking lot.
“So she’s here.”
Inside that familiar car, in the second that it passed me, I had spotted the female teacher I was supposed to meet, Sumire. She was gleefully shaking her head about like she was listening to some music. No doubt about it, she was probably singing along to some anime songs. She seems to be aware enough not to let the music leak out, as a true otaku would, but she’s completely forgotten that anyone can see inside the car. If any of my fellow classmates saw her like that, it’d have broken their image of her at school, that of the ‘Poisonous Queen’. Either way, as I heard a heavy sound, I saw Sumire, wearing a suit, walk towards me while waving her hand, and—
Calling out to me with a sweet voice, she suddenly embraced my arm. In response, I quickly went to shake her off, taking a step back from her.
“First thing, don’t greet me like that, it’s disgusting.”
“Disgu…Heeeeey, isn’t that a bit too cruel?!”
“Shut it. Keep our difference of age in mind.”
“So what if there are nine years between us?! Come back when your age is in the single digits!”
“Don’t make me call the police on you. Also, isn’t our goal to take sham pictures to send to your family?”
There should be no need to actually act all flirty like this.
“Getting in the mood before taking a picture makes it more gullible, you know. Same when I’m drawing illustrations, I tend to imagine the scenes, which gives me a better feeling for it, thus improving the general quality.”
“Hm. Well, if you say it like that.”
The drawings and illustrations Murasaki Shikibu-sensei do make the 2D characters look so charming and realistic it’s as if you were actually there. That is only possible through deep awareness of the scene, and an impressive level of imagination. That being said, in order to create gullible pictures, it might be a good idea to play along for a second.
“I get where you’re coming from. But this time, we can’t.”
“Why?” Sumire tilted her head in confusion.
“This place is pretty close to the school.” I looked around our surroundings and lowered my voice. “If someone saw us like this, there’d be weird rumors in no time. If things go bad, the disciplinary committee will question us, and that wouldn’t be good for you, would it?”
“Eh? There are students who actually remember your face, Akiteru-sama?”
“…I’m going home.”
“Now now, don’t joke like that. As if that fact would hurt you after all this ti—Wait, eeh?! You’re actually walking away?! Don’t just go home like that?!”
“That really hurt me. I’m going back to my parents.”
“This is the first time I’ve heard those words coming from the man, you know!”
“Now, listen up. All of you from the [5th Floor Alliance] might not realize it, but even I have things I’m hurt by.”
I’m just 16. Still in the prime of my high school career. It’s true that while other people were out enjoying their youth, I was being stubborn, focusing only on efficiency and planning head. Still, that doesn’t mean I’m immune to insults. When I’m near a cute girl, my heart starts beating faster, and when someone points out that I barely have any friends, that still hurts me. Really, one part of me doesn’t want my precious time to be stolen by other people like that, but the other part can’t help but feel a bit lonely nonetheless. Such a pain, really.
“S-Sorry, okay? I won’t do it again, Ooboshi-kun.”
Sumire’s tone of voice quickly switched to that of an adult this time. It was the voice she used in her classroom as a teacher, that of the Poisonous Queen.
“Even if you might not be spending the most eventful days at school, Sensei still is your ally, okay?”
“I’m happy that you’re trying to follow up as a teacher, but knowing your real personality, it just feels like I’m being made fun of…” I let out a sigh.
I calmly turned around and looked straight at Sumire’s face.
“I’m joking. You don’t have to worry, I won’t just go home like that.”
“Really? Thank god…” Still in her teacher mode, Sumire put one hand on her chest, showing a soft smile.
At times like these, this ‘Grown-up Onee-san’ feeling she gives off is really a big charm point of hers. Really, I wonder why… In any case, there are more important things to consider right now.
“Let’s get back to the main topic. It’d be too dangerous if someone were to see us right now, so let’s stop acting so close.”
“We can just enjoy our date in a normal way and take pictures, don’t you think? There are couples in this world who don’t act like idiots. Rather, a composed relationship between two grown-ups is more believable for the teacher Kageishi Sumire, right?”
“I see. You might be right about that, Ooboshi-kun.” Putting one finger to her lips, Sumire gave a calm nod.
Maybe it was because she settled on this sort of roleplay, but her way of talking was the same as her teacher mode. And I was happy for that since having her around with her Murasaki Shikibu-sensei tension would make this date more tiresome than anything else. Let’s go along with that, and use honorifics… Well, as long as she doesn’t do anything to ruin it, that is.
“Now that we’ve decided on the setting, how about we finally start our date?.”
“Yes, let’s do that. I’ve already come up with a plan,” said Sumire, as she took out a clipboard.
“In order to satisfy Oobishi-kun efficiency-wise, I researched the shortest route to visit the spots that couples would visit.”
Though I tend to forget at times, the girl flashing a confident smile at me is actually a math teacher.
“There is but one place we have to visit first—”
And, with the expression of a scientist about to announce the greatest revelation known to mankind, having eaten the fruit from the tree of wisdom, she made her declaration.
“—The bubble tea store.”
I find it nonsensical for high school girls to be swept along with the new trends. But, what I hate more than that are those that go against those trends, only to jump on them a few weeks later when they’re at the height of their popularity. While there have been detractors to the bubble tea craze, the shops have proven rather successful, with the amount of high school girls in the area. In maybe a year, two years from now, they might all fall to ruin, but they’re doing plenty fine for the time being. I don’t think the critics have any right to comment on that. On the other hand, there are those who never followed the trends, yet never truly criticized them either, like us.
“To think the day would come where I would be drinking bubble tea.”
“You can say that again…”
A few months ago, Murasaki Shikibu-sensei and I had the following conversation in the [5th Floor Alliance] LIME group.
[AKI]: Standing in line no matter the time just to get some extra calories sure feels like a waste of my precious time
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: I know, right?! This whole clubber culture is way beyond me~
[AKI]: I doubt that there’d be any reason for me to even drink bubble tea anyway
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: Agreed
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: Well, the lewd bubble tea challenge drawings are great though!
In retrospect, that conversation is like a dark memory from my past, so embarrassing.
“Two ‘Buddhistic temple shrine-style bubble milk teas’ for you.”
Accepting the two plastic cups from the bald-headed employee who looked like some Buddhist monk, I made my way to the seat Sumire was waiting at. Seeing the clustered black tapioca gathered in the cup, with not a trace of tea to be found, Sumire’s eyes opened wide.
“Is this really milk tea?”
“Genre-wise, it seems to be bubble milk tea. Though it looks like 99% of it is tapioca.”
“So there’s basically only tapioca in here if you round it up.”
As a result of this big wave of bubble tea stores being born, they must have been trying some crazy stuff, trying to attract customers.
“…I guess you can drink it? Probably?”
“I hope so. Though we can always hold off on it. It doesn’t sound good for your health.”
“No no no. We need to take a picture while gleefully drinking our bubble tea. Here’s my smartphone. Take a good picture, will you? First a picture of me, then one of you, and finally a selfie with the two of us together.”
“I don’t mind, but I’m not so great at selfies, you know?”
Having close to no friends, I don’t ever have to take pictures with them. Not to mention that my only friend Ozu isn’t a big fan of selfies either—I’m not crying, okay?
“I’m not expecting pro-level photography. Now, please take a picture of my courageous appearance.”
Sumire slowly and carefully bit on the straw that went inside the cup, which looked like it was filled with frog eggs. And—
“Show courage, woman!”
She tightly shut her eyes and readied herself.
It sounded like something was plugged up.
Sluuuurp, sluuurp, sluuuuuuurp—
“M-Mmmm? Mmmmm…!!! Mmmmmm~~~!” Sumire was desperately pursing her lips as she was sucking on the straw.
Her face slowly started to turn red. Akin to someone trying to blow air into an inflatable pool by themselves.
“After all that, nothing’s come out, huh?”
With its 99% tapioca composition, you couldn’t even call this tea. Overwhelmed by the sight, I’d nearly forgotten about the picture. I quickly went to tap the button on the camera.
—Ah, I missed it. The bubble tea is completely out of the frame now. Well, you can’t really blame me for that. Sumire’s erratically bobbing her head, trying her hardest to get a sip of any tea left in the cup. The only thing shown on the screen was Sumire’s beet-red face. Anyway, onwards to the next try.
“Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp~! …Puhaaaa! Haaa…Haaa…This is more difficult than I thought…”
“Ah, don’t move so suddenly. I messed up another picture. Also, I feel like it might be quicker to use a spoon to scoop up all these solid bubbles.”
The moment I pressed the shutter, Sumire suddenly pulled her mouth away from the straw. The result? The photo showed Sumire taking a deep breath with her mouth facing up, as a bit of white liquid ran down the side of her mouth.
“Cough, cough… All that’s left is the selfie.”
“Do you not want to check on the pictures first?”
“There’s not much left in my battery anyway, so I just want to keep going and take as many pictures as I can. And I’m sure you must have gotten a few good pictures in there, it being you and all.”
“No, not really…Rather, I think it’s better if you don’t make me take pictures in the first place.”
“No need to be humble. You’re always like that, downplaying your skills when you’re clearly capable.”
“I’m serious this time—”
“It’s fine, my battery is about to die soon, so let’s take the selfie now~”
“How about you go wipe your mouth—”
“No time for that. Here, say cheese!”
Ignoring my protests, Sumire snuggled up to me. Bringing her face next to mine, she smiled at the camera as she made a peace sign with one hand. Her face was still red from the lack of oxygen, and the milk tea was still running down her cheek, but—Well, if she says it’s fine, then it’s not my place to complain. I pressed the button to take the picture.
“Alright, perfect! Let’s go to the next spot!”
“There’s still a lot of tapioca left!”
“I-I already drank all the tea in it, so please excuse that. Drinking those bubbles through a straw would have taken all day!”
“Well, that might be true. But please, at least wipe your mouth.”
As Sumire pulled on my clothes, I took out a tissue and handed it to her. Her face, body, breasts, breasts, breasts, and tits made her look like a flawless adult, but with her enthusiasm and attitude, she feels more like a child than anything. The problem is that every time she keeps clinging onto me, I can’t help but get conscious of her breasts and their considerable size. At this rate, my reasoning might be in grave danger. I mentally prepared myself for was next to come.
「Um… So what happened with those pictures?」
「She immediately sent them to her family’s LIME group. Since her battery was running low, she didn’t add much context」
「I-I see. So she actually sent them」
「Something wrong with that?」
「I can already see the storm brewing in the distance.」
Intermission: Iroha and Mashiro, on the Tail
“Iroha-chan, out of the way. Can’t kill the couple otherwise.”
“Wah, Mashiro-senpai stop stop stooooop! Put away that tapioca club!”
This is special commissioner Kohinata Iroha, 15 years old. Currently, I’m trying to restrain Mashiro-senpai, who has turned into some sort of vengeful demon emitting a dark aura. We’re currently stationed inside the shopping mall, a bubble milk tea store to be precise. In this store with a high tapioca density in their drinks, both Mashiro-senpai and I were properly using spoons and not straws. It’s springy and delicious, but I really feel like they went too far with this.
Well, we didn’t come here for the bubble tea. Rather, we were busy observing Senpai and Sumire-chansensei, gleefully taking a selfie together. We’re stalkers? Non non. We are detectives of justice, working against any indecent behavior in public, yes~ Just think of us as Holmes and Watson. Well, not like I ever read Doyle-sensei’s original. My partner, the problem child, and the jealous detective Mashiro-senpai was busy scooping up tapioca from her own bubble tea while throwing curses and glares at the flirting that we were forced to watch from a distance.
“Please put down your tapioca club, will you?”
Mashiro-senpai was busy stirring the tapioca in her cup that was stuck on her spoon, turning into one big sticky rice cake-like object, hence the name tapioca club. I even felt like I could hear the tapioca in there beg for help, seeing that they were all crammed into one grotesque monster.
“Now now, calm down. If you grow rampant here, they’ll find out that we’re tailing them.”
“Hmpf… You’re not…wrong about that.”
“This is the perfect chance to collect some interesting material to tease him with later, so let’s keep watching for a bit~” I let out a faint giggle.
In my eyes, Sumire-chansensei’s level as a rival in love isn’t that high to begin with. If she shows her normal good-for-nothing Murasaki Shikibu-sensei personality, she should be the opposite of Senpai’s preferences (according to my research). Unlike with the proper, pure, and cute Mashiro-senpai, I can keep watching without having to worry much. Rather, I can even enjoy watching the jealous Mashiro-senpai next to me.
“Aki is the worst.”
“Now, now~ I agree that looks kinda bad, but they aren’t really a couple, so it’s fine~” I sipped on my bubble milk tea as I gently patted the cute Mashiro-senpai on the head.
I wonder if this is what salarymen do after work, drinking their worries away. Well, it’s not really my place to think about that, I guess~ Also, seeing Mashiro-senpai get so jealous over him pains me, realizing just how much she likes Senpai. Showing jealousy towards a normal couple is one thing, but knowing the feelings behind it leaves me wondering what expression I should make.
“A fake engagement is impossible. Insincere. Mocking true marriage.”
And you’re one to talk, Mashiro-senpai? I really don’t see you, with your fake girlfriend status, having any right to comment. In response, Mashiro-senpai puffed out her cheeks like a kid and pouted.
“Mashiro can’t believe that they would just fake something like this. Not to mention, taking all those lovey-dovey pictures…”
“Ah ha ha ha.”
That’s some complicated jealousy you got there~ I showed a bitter smile, putting the spoon in my cup, scooping up some tapioca—or at least was trying to, but it’s not working at all! They’re just glued to each other, making it impossible for the spoon to even get through! Who thought of this…
“Hey, Iroha-chan. You’re just fine with this?”
Time stopped. I even forgot to use the spoon, and just gazed at the girl in front of me.
“Mashiro understands, you know.”
“W-What…are you referring to?”
Mashiro-senpai didn’t ease her gaze in the slightest, almost as if she could see right through me. Does she mean that…she knows everything? That I saw her confession. That she was rejected. I know all of that. I also know that it’s not fair, but I don’t want things to get awkward between us. So I’m staying quiet about that for now.
And she knows about that? What should I do, what should I do…! Maybe she hates me now. Well, I can’t blame her… Ahhh, I can’t think straight with my heart beating so loudly. Then, finally, Mashiro-senpai spoke up.
“Iroha-chan, you like Aki, right?”
I was wrong. The words she spoke weren’t the decimating curses I had expected. Nonetheless, her words very likely brought forth the beginning of another battle.
“What might you be talking about…?”
“Even though Mashiro doesn’t have any basis for it.” Averting her gaze, Mashiro-senpai continued. “She just…felt like it. After seeing that play.”
The national high school division theatre fiesta. She’s probably talking about the day where us from the [5th Floor Alliance] helped our school’s theatre club so it wouldn’t get disbanded. Through some unfortunate circumstances, I took the risk of revealing myself in front of Mama and stood on the stage. Back then, no one from my family seemed to have seen it, but…
“It really didn’t look like acting to Mashiro. If you didn’t truly love the actor—Aki—then Mashiro doubts you would have been able to make such a face.”
To think that it would end up like this. It’s true that the heroine showed one-sided feelings for the protagonist, but that was all just in the script. Just because I was acting the character doesn’t mean they were my true emotions—No, I completely deny the possibility that my feelings haven’t leaked out during that play.
“…C-Come on now, I was just acting out the character, nothing more.”
“…Really?” Mashiro-senpai’s gaze was filled with doubt.
Ugh… She’s definitely still doubting me! She sees me as a rival! She’s not certain yet, right? She didn’t find out about my true feelings, did she? I know that Mashiro-senpai likes Senpai, so if things go any further south, it’ll end up in bloodshed!
I really don’t want things to end up like that, not with Mashiro-senpai. I want to continue this relationship, more like a stalemate. And what is she expecting to hear? She’d be troubled if I just nodded along with a ‘Yeah’, right? It’ll be difficult to continue being friends… Once we find out about our respective feelings, things will definitely get awkward. That’s how it’d normally end up.
No, maybe my ‘ordinary’ is different from the norm. I always tried to guess from Mama’s expression, never appealed for what I truly wanted. If only I didn’t know of her feelings, I stopped counting the times I thought like that. The words ‘I know’ are just that heavy. Either fight it or give up, there’s no in-between here. That’s why I can’t just go along with a ‘Yeah’—
“Aha~ I see, well, I thought that there might be a reason you’d see it like that!”
“…So you’re saying that Mashiro is wrong?”
“You might be wrong, or you might be right, that’s how I’d like it to stay for now. Any more than that, I’d like to keep secret, being the maiden that I am. So please, could you forgive me? Mashiro-senpai~?”
Completely half-assed, I know. But it’s all I can do. All I could do was wait for Mashiro-senpai’s response. But even if I looked up at her, I couldn’t read her expression. Still—
“Hm… Okay.” A nod.
All my strength left my body. I really didn’t want to imagine what would have happened if a fight broke out. I haven’t prepared myself for that yet. Not while Senpai is running towards his dream at full force. During this situation where he’s rejected both youth and romance. For now, this lukewarm stalemate we’re in has to continue, even if just for but one more second.
“Mashiro always wanted to ask, but there was never a good opportunity. With just the two of us, the timing felt right… Sorry to surprise you, all of a sudden.”
“Ahahaha, it’s fine.”
I know your feelings, after all, Mashiro-senpai. I know them all too well. As friends, and as rivals in love. I know that this distance we’re at is pretty difficult to deal with. But either way, we seem to be in the clear for now. I couldn’t help but let out a relieved sigh.
And I realized I had made a fatal error.
Being questioned by Mashiro-senpai, I let down my guard. And I lost sight of what was important.
“Senpai and Sumire-chansensei are gone—!!!”
Seeing the table that we were both watching was empty, both of us let out a scream in shock and despair.