Living Together for the First Time
The day after the entrance ceremony. The morning of the second day at the Haou Academy.
I opened the classroom door, carrying a large bag full of household items. Large luggage, not exactly a student’s best friend. Everything that I need to live with someone starting from today.
Yesterday, “Love Studies” suddenly began.
As part of the program, all students will be required to live in dormitories starting today. Of course, there was much opposition.
The opposition from the girls was particularly fierce, and I thought that even the Haou Academy would not be able to tolerate this. However, Sensei, standing on the podium, said with a calm expression, “If you don’t like it, you can just drop out of the academy.”
Just like that, the entire class was silenced.
For me, this school means nothing more than a place to meet “the girl of my dreams”, but it is a very special place for the rest of the students.
A special education institution that aims to “nurture the next generation of individuals”.
It is rumored that once you graduate, there is no career path you can’t choose.
Depending on your grades, you can be considered to have a high school diploma, but you can also be considered to have a college degree or even a master’s or doctorate degree in many cases. Students who come to this school are more or less looking to take advantage of such benefits.
In contrast, the school is not afraid to weed out discouraged students. Their goal is to maintain the school’s reputation and to produce excellent people.
Three years of tuition is collected in one payment at the time of enrollment, and there is no system for refunding tuition if a student is expelled in the middle of the school year. Quality over quantity. In order to produce a handful of geniuses, students deemed unqualified are expelled without mercy. As a result, it is said that in the worst years, as many as half of the incoming students fail to graduate.
On the other hand, the school is very lenient with students who become the “human assets” it seeks.
As you can imagine from the tremendous privilege of being a “special student,” students who achieve excellent grades at this school are given preferential treatment in all aspects.
It seems that at this point, we new students are also considered “human assets” and I heard that the dormitory where we will be living from today looks like a holiday resort hotel.
“…… Oh, good morning. What a coincidence!”
As I am lowering my bag to my seat, I hear a voice from beside me.
Of course, it’s Haruka Sakurame, the girl of my dreams.
I was thrilled to have the girl I love affectionately greet me in the morning. ….! I was thrilled, but I didn’t show any such feelings on my face. I was trying to prevent the girl I liked from finding out that I liked her, …… But more than that, there was a strange atmosphere in the classroom.
Something must have happened with “Love studies”.
“…. Good morning. This is no coincidence, I’m sitting right next to you.”
“I know, I know. …. You’re out of breath, have you been running?”
“Oh, yeah. I was on the track team in junior high school. I have a habit of running whenever I can.”
“Oh, hehe. I see.”
Haruka fidgets strangely with her fingers, restlessly moving her hands.
I can’t see her gaze through her bangs, but I’m sure her eyes are wandering left and right as well.
“Did something happen with “Love Studies”?”
“Oh, yes! Actually, there’s an assignment!”
She pointed to her “student ID card” and I checked mine.
The “Love Studies” application on the home screen shows “1” in red. This may mean that the information has been updated and there is one new post.
Tapping there, I found a “Love Studies” assignment that read, “Touch a body part of the opposite gender.” …… So this is what the sickly-sweet air that fills the classroom in the morning is all about.
“Basically, everyone just lightly held hands or gave each other a high-five.”
“…… Hah. I see.”
“Umm, tsk. Yeah.”
The conversation stops there.
Her expression is unreadable because of her long bangs.
Haruka, however, seemed to be moving her arms and legs, searching for her next words.
It’s as if she wants to do the “assignment” with me, but is embarrassed to say so ….. Looks like a gesture to me.
A small sigh, meant to calm oneself.
Because of my love for Haruka, I had an impossible prediction.
If she likes someone else, she only has one feeling under these circumstances.
I developed a theory last night that I spent three hours pondering.
“…. Haruka. No, head of the class.”
“Why did you rephrase that?”
“I know everything you’re up to! You’re going to have to give up on that!!”
Ki! Haruka looked at me sharply, but replied “…… What are you talking about?” and tilted her head.
That level of acting doesn’t fool me now!!
“Your strategy is to mislead me into thinking that maybe you like me. You act like you like me. Then I’ll get nervous because I’ll think you like me, and I’ll contribute a lot of points to your score! That’s how you plan to win the number one position in “Love studies” with ease!!”
Haruka’s face turns bright red while her mouth hangs open.
Hoo …. Shame on you for exposing your scheme in plain sight!
But my prediction is even further ahead!!
“The fact that you chose me as your target is also excellent. I’m a provisional special student. The number of points gained from “Love Studies” will be doubled. It would be the most efficient way to earn points. Perhaps… As the top student, were you informed in advance of the start of “Love studies”, the “provisional special student” system, and even the detailed conditions for earning points? Or, since I greeted you at the entrance ceremony, you may have predicted this development at the start of the “Love Studies” and came up with this strategy when we exchanged contact information? ….. Either way, it’s a shallow strategy that won’t work on me!!”
Haruka clenched her fist and made a forceful expression, and slumped down.
Apparently, I made good point.
It must be very embarrassing for her to have her strategy, which she had made with all of her intelligence, discovered. However, this could not be helped. If this strategy is carried out any longer, I will not be able to maintain my mentality. My love would be exposed.
“……..Did I really have that much of a “Aura of Affection”?”
“…. That much?”
“The more obvious, the clearer, the better.”
Haruka, who is still slumped over, begins to tremble slightly.
However, in the next instant, she looked up abruptly and said with vigor.
“You’ve got it all figured out! That’s Aoyama!”
She is returning to her usual openness, but the embarrassment is inescapable.
Her eyes, which were shining through her long silver hair, were also tearful.
“But then, what are you going to do? I’m a provisional special student too! I’m the most efficient in terms of girls’ scores!”
“Ugh ….!? It’s ….. !!”
“Mmm-hmm. I’m not going to do it. If you want to win first place, it is best to choose me as your partner to complete the assignment. Otherwise, the other boys will get double points, right? I’ll act! I’ll pretend to like Aoyama, but I’ll act! I’m so nervous about it, but Aoyama has no choice but to go along with it!!”
Damn, she really is at the top of the class this year!
I didn’t think she had actually predicted that much!!
I was so pleased to see through the schemes of my enemies, but it turns out that I was the one who fell into the trap after all!?
“…. I like you, Aoyama.”
……… I like you too.
I was about to say these words out of reflex, but a moment later, Haruka’s student ID card made a “beep” sound.
“Oh, I think I got my score. ….. Heh heh. What’s wrong, Aoyama? Your face is all red.”
No, that goes for you, too.
I want to say it like that, but I can’t find the words.
The girl I like told me she ‘likes’ me. In fact, since it was only a minor incident, I would call it a slight victory.
“Even you get nervous when a girl acts like she “likes” you.”
No, no. I’m nervous because I’m dealing with you, Haruka.
I can never tell you that, either.
But even as we do this, Haruka’s “student ID card” continues to make periodic noises.
Not good…..! If we don’t do this, we will lose!
“Ugh….! But isn’t it the same for girls? I mean, even if it’s from a guy like me, I’d be more or less nervous if he told me he liked me!”
“Huh? Is that how it works? Why don’t you give it a try?”
Haruka, who hid her expression with her bangs and comfortably pushed back her long silver hair, did not miss the momentary flutter of agitation.
I’ll say it!
I’ll pay back for everything you did to me!!
If I don’t, I will never be able to surpass Haruka’s score in “Love Studies”!
“Uh…… I …. Haruka! I….! I li-…! I like…!”
I can’t say ittttttttttttttttttttt!!
Well, that’s just it. In Haruka’s case, it’s just an act, but in mine, it’s a serious confession.
It is too much of a challenge for me, a first-year student in love, to declare my affection for someone in the middle of a classroom like this.
For no reason at all, I said, “I…li-ke…..!” I was frozen in the same position as I had been in when Haruka, whose face was as red as mine, gently met my eyes through the gap in her bangs……. The eyes are filled with a hint of anticipation.
But I couldn’t say anything.
In order to get points, I had to act like I liked Haruka, but when I couldn’t get the words out and froze… I also heard a “beep” from my student ID card.
“Aaah! That’s not fair, Aoyama! You pretended to say ‘I like you’ and then just stared at me. That was your strategy!?”
Something might have been greatly misunderstood, but it worked out well for me.
“Yeah, that’s right. It was a good strategy, wasn’t it?” Bluffing, I turned my back to her and left out of their lines of sight.
…. If I make any more eye contact, they’ll know that I “really” like her…..
However, it seems that both men and women share a weakness for “likeable performances” by the opposite gender.
As proof of this, my “student ID card” was also making intermittent sounds, just like Haruka’s earlier.
In my case, Haruka is the one who ‘liked’ me stubbornly, but if I can provide so many points for Haruka, girls may have favoritism for boys who say they ‘like’ them. …….. I consider such things.