Chapter 2: You should sit next to your crush at lunch
■Chapter: Takane Saki■
The luncheon technique is a psychological process revealed by the American psychologist Gregory Razran.
I’m sure everyone is familiar with it.
Family meetings, blind dates, business meetings, social gatherings…
Negotiations are always held at meals.
It is because “negotiations conducted over a meal are more likely to succeed”.
Human beings are simple creatures, and they seem to associate the pleasure they derive from satisfying their hunger with their impressions of the other party…
The positive emotions such as “I’m happy because I’m full!” And “I’m happy that the food is delicious!” Are linked to the positive image that “He’s a good person!”
Furthermore, since people who are focused on eating tend to have impaired judgment, they are less likely to form negative opinions about the other party.
In other words, sharing a meal together creates a positive impression on the other party, and at the same time reduces the failure rate of negotiations…
“A perfect strategy that combines offense and defense!”
I call it “Operation Lunch Together”!
I announced my plan, which I had carefully worked out during the long Golden Week break, in the familiar empty classroom!
“The cherry blossoms are in full bloom.”
“…Yuka, can you at least listen to me? I’m so lonely…”
“I heard you said that you were going to have lunch together and get to know each other. And what are you negotiating?”
“Huh? No, you’re going to negotiate something with Mashima-kun, right?”
“… That’s right.”
“I figured it would be something like that.”
Indeed, I was so focused on the means that I hadn’t decided on the essential details of the negotiation.
What should I say… “Please go out with me”? No, I can’t. I can’t…
“Wanna go out somewhere for the weekend?” …No, too much skipping, too much skipping…
“Exchange MINE IDs…”
Though it was just a preliminary exercise, my face heated up just by saying it out loud.
“…Oh, I’m surprised that it was a pretty safe idea for Saki Saki. It’s a good idea to exchange contact information, the barrier is not that high, and it’s the first step in a romantic relationship.”
“Oh, really? For the first time in my romantic relationship, Yuka-chan praised me. Ehehehe~.”
“There’s just one problem with that strategy.”
“You don’t know about that rumor? “The Discipline Committee Chairman, Kengo Mashima, disappears during lunch break.”
“What’s that …?”
“As the legend goes, Kengo Mashima disappears at lunchtime. No one knows where he is or the reason for his disappearance.”
“I’ve never heard of … something like that before.”
I was always alone, having lunch in this empty classroom…
“Do you know Yuka-chan? …Where Mashima-kun is during lunch break?”
“Why do you think I know where the public morals freak is?”
Please don’t refer to Mashima-kun with a strange nickname… this is not the time to say that.
“Wha…wha… what should I do ……!?”
“Don’t panic at every turn, it’s obvious what we’re going to do.”
Yuka-chan pointed a finger at me.
Her index finger was definitely pointing in my direction….
“Saki Saki is going to ask him herself.”
So that day at lunchtime.
I did not go to an empty classroom as usual, but went to Class C.
Normally, I am a true loner who rushes to the empty classrooms as soon as the fourth period chime rings, but today was different.
I peek inside the classroom while suppressing the palpitations in my chest.
Then, as Yuka-chan told me, those two were arguing with each other in a corner by the window, with their desks pressed together.
“… Tatsuki, are you still drinking that protein?”
“Leave me alone! You’re over 180 centimeters tall, you don’t know what I’m going through.”
“Protein doesn’t make you taller.”
“Hmm! …What, a lie?”
Kawariku Arakawa and Tatsuki Iwasawa, members of the Discipline Committee.
They are members of the same Discipline Committee as Mashima-kun and have been close friends of his since junior high school.
They are probably the two people who know the most about Mashima-kun here at Kamimura High School.
They are the perfect people to ask about Mashima-kun’s whereabouts.
“I…, I’m afraid…”
When I finally came to the front of the classroom, my heart started to race.
No, to tell the truth, my heart has been palpitating ever since we decided on this plan.
I’m extremely shy, and the only person I can really talk to at school is Yuka-chan.
Such is the case with me, I venture into another class all by myself.
On top of that, talking to two boys I barely know is too…
“…Hey, isn’t that? Isn’t that Takane-san?”
“No way!? What’s she doing in our class?”
“She looks as beautiful as ever.”
Aaah! And since I was stuck in front of the classroom, I started to attract the attention of the C class students!
I clutch the Imamote full of sticky notes that I brought with me as a good-luck charm.
I was so scared that I was already in agony.
I am afraid.
I am afraid of people’s eyes.
I am afraid of strangers.
Men even more so.
I can’t help but cower, at a loss for words, and then… remember.
I want to forget about my junior high school days.
… Shall I just stop for the day?
When I closed my eyes tightly, such a negative feeling appeared in my mind.
If I think about it, I have a little more than two months to go before the time limit for my confession to Mashima-kun.
Then wouldn’t it be wiser to look for other means?
There is a safer, more reliable, and less stressful way that I can try…
My legs stop shaking.
Safe? Reliable? A way that won’t hurt me?
Who do I love and who am I going to confess to?
“…Imamote says so.”
I look down at the Imamote I have brought with me as a good-luck charm.
The sticky notes are filled with my thoughts and feelings…
“‘Ninety percent of the factors that make a relationship work are courage and perseverance’ ……!”
I chanted softly in my mouth, and there was no longer any doubt in my mind.
I walked into the classroom by myself and headed straight for the two members of the Discipline Committee.
“Huh? Saki Takane…”
“What are you…”
I think everyone in Class C who saw me said something to me, but it was all just background noise.
As soon as I reached their seats through the crowd, I said to them.
“Excuse me for interrupting your meal.”
“So! Protein these days is not only protein, but also calcium and vitamin D are added to help skeletal muscle growth. … Yeah?”
Tatsuki Iwasawa and Kawariku Arakawa looked up at me in unison.
I can feel the surprised gazes of the entire class focused on me.
My face is hot, I am sweating strangely, and my breathing must be disturbed.
But … that’s nothing compared to the embarrassment I felt when I chatted with Mashima-kun in front of the school gate!
“…I have something to ask you two.”