I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Ch. 3: Unexpected Sharing
It was after school.
Yamato was fidgety while alone in front of a commercial tower building located three train stops away from the nearest station.
There, he received a message on his phone.
“I’m on my way.”
The sender was Sayla. There was a CD store on the first floor of the building, and he was supposed to meet Sayla there.
There is also a CD store near the school, but he didn’t want to go there because there might be other students from the same high school. It was his suggestion to meet at a further shop to avoid being misunderstood by others.
Around the building, Yamato could see a few students wearing uniforms from other schools, and even though he knew it was a different school, it made him feel even more uncomfortable.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
A husky voice reached his ears, and he turned around to see Sayla standing there.
Because she had come straight from school, she was still wearing her school uniform. She must have left the classroom before me, but the time difference was probably due to her getting lost.
“Sorry for making you go along with my selfishness.”
“No, I don’t mind that you’re joining me. Let’s go in.”
As we entered the store, the shelves of newly released CDs jumped out at us.
There were also a lot of promotional displays, a section for popular songs decorated with handmade props, and even a section for store clerk recommendations.
“I thought the CD store near me had a good selection, but this place is amazing too.”
“Yeah. Come on, this way.”
Yamato’s heart started to beat faster as Sayla casually took him by the hand. In addition, students passing by stared at him with envy, which made him feel even more embarrassed.
However, Sayla didn’t seem to notice this.
She walked around the store, seemingly unconcerned about the eyes around her, like an innocent, excited child. I could see that she really loved music, and it made me smile.
It seems that she is looking for a new song by an indie band.
The genre of the song was not something that Yamato was familiar with, but when he saw how happy she was wearing the headphones that played the music, he became curious about what kind of song it was.
“─Do you want to listen?”
When she noticed Yamato’s curious gaze, Sayla asked him about it.
When Yamato nodded honestly, Saira took off the headphones she was wearing and put them on Yamato’s head.
As they approached each other, their bodies were close enough to touch each other, and a soft, sweet scent reached him. Yamato wondered if this was the scent of her shampoo.
In addition, the headphones seemed to be slightly warm. Yamato’s face lit up as he became aware of the fact that Sayla had just been wearing them when a deafening explosion deafened him.
“Ah, sorry, I didn’t turn the volume down.”
Yamato’s head was still ringing from the volume, which was so loud that he thought it might burst his eardrums.
When I glared at her resentfully, Sayla clasped her hands together without remorse.
When the volume was lowered, the vocalist’s voice finally came through… even after listening for a while, Yamato Yamato couldn’t tell if it was good or not.
It sounded like they were just shouting. There were some parts that sounded cool, but the barely audible lyrics were rough and not something I could relate to.
Sayla, who was standing next to me, asked with just a movement of her mouth, “well?” I had no clue how to respond.
It’s a long-awaited song that Sayla likes. If possible, I want to go along with Sayla so that Sayla will think I’m a guy with similar taste.
However, I felt that forcing myself to agree with her was not the way to go. He knew that he would regret it if he didn’t face her straight away.
Therefore, Yamato shoved the glamour into the bottom of his mind, then took off his headphones and answered honestly.
To be honest, I didn’t really understand it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been exposed to much of this kind of music…
“Fufu, sounds about right. I don’t really understand it either.”
Yamato was confused again when he saw Sayla giggling.
“But Shirase wanted to buy this, right?”
“Yes, I did. I was listening to the radio and it came on and I thought it sounded good.”
“It sounds good, but you don’t really know what it is. So you’re going to buy it after all?”
“I’ll buy it. I knew it was going to be good.”
I’m not sure what her values are, or what she likes… Yamato sighs.
Then, Sayla asked a question as she peered into Yamato’s face.
“Is there anything Yamato wants? Any songs you’re interested in lately?”
“Songs I’m interested in, huh?”
Yamato is not a big music listener by nature. There is no band that he has been following since the indie days, nor is there a singer that he likes enough to recommend to others.
When I went to karaoke with Sayla the other day, we sang Vocaloid songs, but that’s just because I like them more than any other genre. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about music.
If there is one song that has been stuck in Yamato’s ears to the point where he can’t help but hum it these days…
“Like, that one?”
Yamato was a little embarrassed and pointed.
It was a corner promoting the OP theme song of a certain late-night anime.
It was a radio song sung by a band called Ambiguous Friends Group, and when I happened to watch the anime, it stuck in my ears and became addictive.
If it were Yamato, he would never tell a girl in his class what his favorite song was, but he felt that Sayla would not make fun of him, so he answered.
As I expected, Sayla didn’t make fun of me but instead looked surprised as she headed towards the anime section.
There was a music video on the display with a woman in a tuna shirt doing some kind of dance that Sayla didn’t understand. She was watching it with rapt attention.
Yamato, who couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at the sight, stood next to her and called out to her.
It’s not that I’m into this group or anything, it’s just that I happened to hear it and it became addictive…
“It’s an interesting song, so Yamato likes this kind of music.”
Without taking her eyes off the screen, Sayla gave her impressions.
“No, I mean I just like the song… apart from that, I’m not really a fan.”
While Yamato was mumbling, Sayla reached for a CD.
“Eh, you’re not buying that too, are you?”
“Yes. I thought it was kind of interesting.”
“Oh, alright. I’m glad to hear that.”
After recommending it to her, I was surprised that she liked it enough to buy it. As a side note, I didn’t have the CD either.
“Why don’t you buy it?”
“I’m running out of money, so I’m not buying it today. Sorry for suggesting it.”
“No worries. I’ll lend it to you when I’m done listening.”
“Are you sure?”
I felt bad about borrowing it, but I reminded myself that it was normal for friends to lend and borrow things from each other.
“Well, thank you.”
“Mm. I’m going to the checkout counter then.”
“I’ll wait outside.”
After Sayla paid the cashier, we had nothing special to do, so we decided to go home.
I arrived at my usual station after a long train ride and parted ways with Sayla as I passed through the ticket gate.
As they parted, Yamato decided to lightly nail Sayla so that she would not go out at night like before.
“It’s about that time now, so go straight home today, okay?”
“I will. I want to listen to the CDs I bought.”
“That’s fine then.”
“Thank you for today. Bye-bye.”
Yamato waved back to Sayla, who gave a small wave.
Then they turned their backs and started walking.
─Beep, beep, beep.
That night, while Yamato was watching TV in his living room, his phone alerted him that he had an incoming call.
Oh, it’s my mother… Shirase?
The caller was not his mother like he initially thought, but Sayla.
I gulped, turned off the TV, and sat back down on the sofa.
With trembling fingertips, I tapped the answer button and immediately heard Sayla’s voice, bringing a pleasant sound to my ears.
“Hello, what’s wrong?”
I tried to keep as calm as I could, but my voice still sounds strained. Sayla, on the other hand, continued talking in her normal tone.
“The moon is beautiful. Can you see it now?”
“What? Oh, wait a minute.”
Confused, Yamato went out on the balcony and saw a full moon shining in the night sky.
“It’s a beautiful full moon, isn’t it? Where are you? Is it possible that you’re outside?”
When Yamato asked her about it, Sayla replied with a sigh.
“I’m at home. On the veranda.”
“Well, that’s okay then.”
Relieved, Yamato was curious as to why she had called.
“Did you call to report the full moon?”
“That’s part of it, but I also wanted to ask you something.”
Then, after a brief pause.
“—We’re friends~, maybe we’re friends~, we’ll still be friends tomorrow~…♪”
Sayla began to sing.
It was the lyrics of an anime song that Yamato had recommended, and Sayla sang the rest of the song in a beautiful voice.
She sang the funny but cute phrases without embarrassment, and when she finished the first chorus, she said, “that’s all for now.”
All that time, Yamato was alone on the balcony in agony and despair.
(Damn, you’re too cute…… did you call me to make me listen to this?)
“Hey, have you been listening?”
“Eh, yeah, I’m listening. I was just admiring how good Shirase is at singing.”
“That’s good then.”
“But it’s amazing that you’ve memorized it already. You were perfect.”
“I had it on loop since I got home and even sang it in the bath, so I learned it quickly. So I called Yamato in order to sing it to you.”
So that meant that Sayla had taken a bath already.
Yamato swallowed his saliva as he imagined the scene.
“…Be careful not to catch a cold.”
Yamato said something serious so that she wouldn’t be able to see through his evil thoughts, and Sayla giggled over the phone.
“I dried my hair right away, so it’s fine. The night breeze feels so good right now.”
“She was right, it was warm for a spring night, and the breeze was pleasant as well.”
“But Yamato has a tendency to be caring and anxious, don’t you?”
“I’m sorry I’m so petty.”
“You’re telling me? You’ve got no sense of direction.”
“That’s not the point right now. Or perhaps I should say I’m not directionally challenged.”
After arguing like we usually do, we pause for a few moments.
Yamato let out a laugh, and Sayla laughed again.
“It’s kind of funny how we argue on the phone. It’s like I’m at home and Yamato is right next to me.”
“That’s true. It’s just like when we’re face to face.”
Having said that, Yamato’s heart was still beating fast from earlier.
“I kind of feel like going to karaoke. How about now?”
Yamato was about to agree to such an exciting invitation, but he kept his wits about him.
“No, let’s not do that today. If we go now, we will be up until the morning.”
“Really? I’ll be fine if we just sing for two hours and go home.”
“Will two hours be enough?”
When she replied with a question, it was clear that she was not confident in her resolve.
“You’ll never make it… I didn’t say it properly, but I’m not a late-night goer so I will have to decline your invitation, we’ll talk about this another time. Anyway, if you want to go so badly, we can go tomorrow after school.”
Yamato is against the idea of going out late at night. He was going to tell her that, but he felt it was not right to talk about it over the phone, so he decided to address the problem later.
“Well, I can’t stand karaoke in the afternoon, so I’ll pass.”
“I don’t think there’s much of a difference, since you’re singing in a private room. Besides, it’s cheaper in the afternoon, so my wallet will be spared.”
“It has a different mood. Anyway, I’ll pass.”
Sayla was insistent about singing late at night. She must be very particular about it.
As we were talking, I realized that I might not get a chance to go to karaoke with Sayla next time, as she only wanted to go out late at night.
Yamato wasn’t sure if he should object to going out late at night or not, as he didn’t want to be unable to go to karaoke with her.
“…Maybe we can do karaoke another time.”
“I guess so. Well, I’ve got nothing more to say, so I’d better go.”
“Oh, okay, um. I’m sorry about that…”
“Hmm, why are you apologizing? I don’t understand.”
When Yamato heard Sayla’s voice laughing happily, he patted his chest in relief.
“I thought that I had made Sayla feel bad by refusing her invitation to karaoke, but apparently, she didn’t care that much.”
“I’ll see you later.”
Sayla finally said, and the call ended.
Yamato stayed on the balcony for a while in a daze, her voice still reverberating in his ears.
It was lunchtime the next day.
Yamato, a so-called “loner” boy, pulled out his mother’s homemade lunch box from his bag as he pondered where he would eat today.
“Good work. Can I join you?”
With words of praise, Sayla invited me to lunch.
This is exactly what I was talking about when I say that she didn’t mind being seen.
After silencing the bustling classroom in an instant, she still tilted her head in a cute way.
However, if he was too timid, he would only get caught up in her pace more and more.
Yamato figured that there was no point in fidgeting anymore, so he grabbed his lunch box and left his seat.
“…Let’s move to a different location then.”
As I was about to leave the classroom, my eyes suddenly met Eita’s, and he gave me an okay sign followed by a wink, and I felt my appetite diminish greatly.
There are only a few places in the school where you can eat without being seen by others.
As a result, Yamato had come to the rooftop again.
Under the pleasant sunny weather, Yamato and Sayla sat down in the shade near the water tank.
“Oh, what an amazing bento!”
Sayla exclaimed in admiration as Yamato opened his lunch box.
Yamato’s bento consisted of fried rice, fried eggs, meatballs, spinach, and kinpira gobo.
[TLN: Kinpira gobo is a traditional Japanese dish made with shredded burdock root and carrot, garnished with sesame seeds, and stir-fried with soy sauce.]
More than half of the bento consisted of leftovers from the previous night, but even this was better than usual since sometimes he only has furikake rice. I guess Mom was in a good mood today.
[TLN: Furikake is a dry Japanese condiment normally sprinkled on top of rice.]
Compared to Yamato’s lunch box, Sayla’s had a rather sad lineup.
I could tell from the convenience store bag she was carrying that she was only going to have a loaf of bread for lunch today. And there was only a paper carton of milk tea, which I must say was not much for a growing high school girl’s lunch.
“Do you want some? If you are okay with my leftovers from yesterday…”
When Yamato expressed his concern, Sayla happily pointed to the omelet. It seems that she is not on a diet or anything like that.
“Can I borrow your chopsticks?”
Yamato just noticed.
Sayla only had bread from the convenience store, so in this case, Yamato would have to lend her chopsticks.
Of course, Yamato only has chopsticks for one person.
…So, if this is the case, they are going to have an “indirect kiss”.
Once he became aware of it, he instantly felt embarrassed and was confused about what he should do.
Sayla nodded once and picked up an omelet with her bare hands, probably because she saw Yamato’s flustered expression.
“I know it’s bad manners, but please forgive me.”
After saying so, Sayla took a bite of the omelet.
“Hmm, it’s good. It’s quite sweetly seasoned. Did Yamato make this?”
“No, that’s what my mom made. I seasoned the kinpira gobo.”
“Can I have a bite of that too?”
Sayla took a bite of the kinpira gobo and said happily, “oishii~” as soon as she put it in her mouth.
“I’m sorry I offered you a bite, but I didn’t even lend you my chopsticks.”
“It’s okay. Is that the kind of concern you have? I don’t really care. So don’t worry about it.”
The words that were spoken in a matter-of-fact manner did not seem to contain any feelings of embarrassment or shyness.
It was hard to tell if she didn’t recognize Yamato as a member of the opposite sex, or if she just didn’t care about such things in the first place.
“I understand. I’m not going to worry about it anymore.”
So he did his best to keep his composure as he answered.
After that, they continued to eat for a while in silence.
“By the way, why did you invite me to lunch today?”
When he finished his lunch, Yamato, unable to stand the atmosphere, asked something that had been bothering him for a long time.
“Hmm? There’s no particular reason.”
“Oh, but you almost said something to me when I called you yesterday, didn’t you? That might be on your mind.”
He guessed she was referring to the time when Yamato tried to warn her about late-night outings.
He wanted to continue to go to karaoke with her, and although he wondered whether he should tell her or not, Yamato decided to talk to her about it.
“I’m sorry Shirase, but I’m against going out late at night. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”
It’s not that she was angry or disappointed, but Sayla was genuinely interested in hearing Yamato’s opinion.
Therefore, Yamato also kept his cool and continued.
“It’s simply because it’s dangerous. You never know what might happen when you’re a girl alone, and Shirase stands out. Besides, you don’t want to get arrested.”
“You mean I should bring Yamato?”
“No, it’s still dangerous. Just like the last time when I got tangled up with the delinquents, there are probably many things I can’t deal with even if I came with you…”
If I say something like this, Sayla might be taken aback. She might think that I’m a troublesome person and stop involving herself with me.
But I felt like I was obligated to tell her. After walking around the city at night, Yamato realized that it was not only fun but also dangerous.
In addition, the incident with the delinquents had made him realize how helpless he was. No matter how good Sayla was at self-defense, it would be difficult for her to deal with multiple people at the same time.
In response to Yamato’s concern, Sayla seemed to have her own thoughts. She tilted her head hesitantly, then leaned her back against the wall and stretched widely.
“Okay, I’ll try to refrain as much as possible. I’ll try not to go out too late at night.”
The vague nuance of the words “as much as possible” and “too much” that came out of her mouth made Yamato feel relieved for a moment, even though he had a hint of anxiety.
“It would be great if you could do that. I’m sorry, it sounded like I was lecturing you.”
“No, I could tell you were worried about me. Thank you.”
Sayla gently smiled at him.
Her smile was so cute and endearing that Yamato was embarrassed.
“Oh, by the way, does Shirase always buy lunch at the convenience store?”
To hide his embarrassment, Yamato forcibly changed the subject.
“Uhm. I live alone, so I don’t really cook for myself. I always buy food in the morning, and I don’t have much appetite at lunch, so the portions are always small.”
“I see, Shirase lives alone. That explains why you were able to go out so late at night.”
Yamato realized after he said it that he had once again brought up the topic of late-night outings.
He was more curious about the reason why Sayla, a high school student, was living alone and was wondering if it was okay to ask her about it, which led to a bad decision.
“Yamato was out there too at that time.”
Sayla pointed out with a straight face. However, it seemed that she was not angry.
“I was hungry and wanted to eat a bun, so I went out to buy one. I was going to go home right after that.”
He knows it sounds like he was making excuses, but it’s all true. On that day, Yamato was just going to a nearby convenience store to buy a bun.
It was there that he happened to see Sayla walking around.
“But when you saw me walking alone on the street at night, you couldn’t leave me alone. You’re surprisingly earnest then.”
“As you saw, I was earnest. Well, I was genuinely curious about you at the time, so I decided to approach you.”
“Fufu, Yamato’s not as earnest as I thought.”
Yamato thinks that he may have a m*sochistic temperament, that it makes him happy to be told that he is not earnest… and so on.
Then Sayla looks up at the sky and says with a faraway look in her eyes.
“But I’m really glad that Yamato came along with me at that time. Thanks to you, I’ve been having a lot of fun recently.”
It’s a virtue of hers to be able to say such things without being embarrassed. This aspect of hers was dazzling to Yamato’s eyes, and although he admired it, he could not bring himself to act in the same manner.
Therefore, Yamato hides his embarrassment instead of being honest.
“Well, as long as you don’t break the law, I’ll go out with you any time from here on out.”
“Then you can accompany me every lunchtime from now on because it’s fun hanging out with Yamato, plus the food is delicious.”
As if Yamato’s embarrassment was meaningless, Sayla happily made him an offer.
“I don’t mind, but is it possible that you’re actually after the lunch my mother made?”
“Ah, was it that obvious? I’ll bring my own chopsticks next time.”
It was cute that she didn’t deny it. Embarrassed, Yamato had to cover his face with his hand.
At that moment, the bell rang. Its timing was a relief for Yamato.
“It’s over already?”
“Yeah, let’s go back. I really don’t want to be called out again.”
Sayla gave him a nod of agreement, and then the two of them returned to the classroom.