I Know That After School, The Saint More Than Just Noble - Ch. 7: BBQ On The Long Holiday
It was the long holiday that everyone had been waiting for, the so-called Golden Week.
Even though the long holiday had just started, Yamato still had a blank look on his face.
The reason was simple: he had no plans to spend time with Sayla.
She had said that she would go back to her parents’ house when the holiday started, and she didn’t know when she would be back.
Besides, Yamato originally didn’t have a good impression of this long holiday. A year ago, when he was out of school, he had a history of worrying about this time of year.
(I wonder when Shirase will come back…)
While I was thinking about this, the days passed by in the blink of an eye.
At last, it was the last day of the long holiday.
The only thing that had happened in the past few days was that Eita had asked me out a few times. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to go, so I turned him down.
However, today was the day of the barbecue.
He thought that Sayla would be back on the last day of the long holidays, so he started getting ready as soon as possible.
He took a deep breath to relieve the tension. He looked in the mirror and saw his terrible face there.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Sayla’s face, so I’ll be happy to see her again.
But more than that, I was wondering how I should treat her, and I was very nervous.
The meeting time was at 6:00 pm. Yamato left the house 30 minutes before the appointed time and arrived at the rooftop terrace of the commercial building where the barbecue was to be held, retaining a sense of tension the entire time.
There was no specific dress code, so I decided to dress roughly in a navy blue hoodie and chinos, but when I arrived, I found that my classmates were all dressed to the teeth.
I looked around, but still couldn’t see Sayla.
Just as I was about to prepare myself for Sayla’s arrival, Eita, who was somehow wearing a replica uniform of the Japanese national soccer team from a few years ago, approached me.
“Hey, Kuraki. You’ve come.”
“Why are you dressed like that…?”
“Oh, this is it. It’s cool, isn’t it? I need to wear this to get into the spirit.”
Yamato was relieved to see that there was someone else dressed out of place.
“Good evening, Kuraki-kun. You’re not with saint-san?”
It was May who approached me.
She was wearing a beige knit and a cherry blossom-colored flared skirt, a fashionable and cute outfit.
When placed alongside the gorgeous May, Yamato and Eita seemed out of place.
“Good evening. I haven’t heard from her since the start of the holidays either. I wonder if she’ll make it.”
“Yeah. She did let me know she was going to participate, so I’m sure she’ll be here soon.”
Just as Yamato was worried that she might have lost his way, the door to the terrace was opened.
What emerged from the door was a breathtakingly beautiful woman, Shirase Sayla, who was covered in vivid makeup.
Dressed in a long black dress with a floral pattern and high-heeled pumps, she looked like a lady who would grace a party.
The appearance of Sayla, dressed in such a mature manner, made everyone unsettled.
Her cold, unapproachable expression was even sterner than that of the solitary saint she was at school, and it made the air tense.
As Yamato was overwhelmed by her appearance like everyone else, Sayla glanced at him.
She walked straight over to Yamato and the others, turned to May, and opened her mouth.
“I’m sorry, I’m late.”
When she said this, the atmosphere around her immediately eased.
May, who seemed to have regained a sense of normalcy, replied, “It’s totally fine. Thank you for coming today.”
Then, as if Eita was in charge, he cleared his throat and said, “Well then, everyone, today is the last day of the holidays, but let’s get along with the new class and get over the May Syndrome! Cheers!” The barbecue began with these words.
[TLN: May Syndrome, referring to the slump mentality of people after Golden Week before they return to school.]
As soon as the barbecue started, the girls flocked to Sayla.
She was taken to the drink corner, where the girls were cackling and praising her appearance with sparkling eyes.
Meanwhile, the boys, who were left alone, started cooking the meat and vegetables. After the food was cooked, the boys took them as leverage and joined in the conversation with the girls. This was Eita’s idea.
“…Uh, I want to talk to the saint, too…”
May seems to have missed the boat, grabbing Yamato’s sleeve and looking hatefully at the girls in the distance.
“Why don’t you just join them? I don’t think Tamaki-san would have a problem with that.”
Yamato advised, trying to keep his composure, even though he was unsettled about being grabbed by the sleeve.
However, May has no intention of leaving her position.
“No, not yet. I have a hunch she’ll be here any minute.”
“Are you trying to use me as bait?”
“Of course not. You said you’d help me.”
It was at that moment that Yamato understood that a girl’s persistence could be a terrible thing.
However, May’s prediction proved fruitless, as Sayla showed no signs of coming over to the two.
Sayla was not a normal girl, she would not care how many girls crowded around her and would come straight to Yamato.
“Umm, is something wrong after all?”
May asked with concern.
Yamato fought off the urge to express his weakness and tried to appear strong.
“It’s nothing special. It’s probably just that she’s surrounded and can’t get out.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
Although he managed to hold his ground in front of May, Yamato felt as if he was about to sigh.
“Hey, Kuraki. You should help out too!”
Just then, Eita, who was cooking in the distance, called out loudly to him.
Thinking that the timing was just right, Yamato said goodbye to May and went straight to Eita’s side.
As soon as he arrived, Yamato let out a loud sigh and Eita handed him a pair of tongs with a big smile. Maybe it was the smoky air, but he felt like he was going to burst into tears.
“Kuraki is so stubborn. I don’t think she’d make fun of you if you showed some weakness.”
“It’s fine to be stubborn. Besides, she’s desperate to get along with Shirase. I can’t be the only one who needs help.”
“Oh, so you can only show your weaknesses to other men.”
“You’re not listening to me at all…”
“I’m listening. I’d be happy to give you some additional advice, you know? While you’re cooking the meat, of course.”
While Eita hummed happily as he turned over the meat and vegetables on the stove, Yamato gave him a frustrated look.
“…Shinjo just wants to eat meat, right?”
“No, I don’t. I want vegetables too.”
“I’ll go cook it somewhere else.”
“Wait, wait a second.”
Eita even grabbed Yamato’s arm to hold him back, so Yamato regained his composure and proceeded to cook the meat.
“So, why did you two fight?”
Eita asks without even looking at him.
There were no other students around, so Yamato opened his mouth as if he were grasping at straws.
“It’s not that we had a fight. It’s just that things got a little awkward.”
“…And, well, I actually have a question for Shinjo.”
“Oh, what’s up?”
“Shinjo has girl friends, right? How much skinship do you usually have with them?”
As Eita struggled to hold back his laughter, Yamato looked at him with disdain.
“Shinjo, you should eat all the meat and vegetables there. There was spit flying everywhere.”
“I’m sorry. Don’t be mad. So, you’re talking about skin-to-skin with girls?”
“With girl friends.”
Eita thought about it for a few seconds, then smiled and said.
“Well, it depends on the person. In my case, I’d give them a high five, but some of them would give me a hug. I guess it depends on the distance.”
That’s why Yamato asked, because he couldn’t figure it out.
Seeing Yamato’s troubled face, Eita added.
“I think it also depends on the situation. If it’s an event or something, some people will suddenly become very close, and the atmosphere is also important.”
I felt like I was getting more and more confused.
I could sort of understand what he meant by that, but I couldn’t shake my uneasiness as there was nothing definite to go on.
In order to dispel his uneasiness, Yamato asked more questions.
“If so, do you get any strange feelings during this skinship?”
Yamato looked at Eita with anger and disgust, but Eita seemed to have something to say about it.
“That was Kuraki’s fault, too! Why are you asking me that with a straight face man?”
“I’m being very serious here.”
If it wasn’t, Yamato wouldn’t have asked such a question.
This showed Yamato’s mental state is in such dire straits.
Eita replied reluctantly, looking unsure of what to say.
“Well, no matter how much you’re friends, we’re still men and women. If her breasts hit you, you get nervous and horny, right? Especially if the other person is cute.”
Yamato responded with a bite, and Eita replied with a chuckle.
“But I guess that’s only for that moment. If you think about that feeling all the time afterwards, it’s a sign that the thing is about to happen.”
Yamato knew what he was referring to, as expected.
But he denies it.
—This feeling is definitely not “love”.
A plate of deliciously cooked beef is presented in front of Yamato, who falls silent with a serious look on his face.
“But in the end, I guess it all depends on the person. So if you don’t want to regret it, I think it’s best to tell her how you really feel before worrying about it.”
I didn’t expect Eita to be so accommodating and willing to help me.
(He really is a good guy, isn’t he, Shinjo?)
After reviewing the situation, I was about to take the plate with the meat when the plate was pulled back.
“You can’t have this, because I’m the one who cooked it.”
“But you just tried to give it to me.”
“No, I was just bragging about how well mine turned out. You’re going to give it to the saint anyway, aren’t you? Then you should cook your own food like the rest of them.”
“Come on, don’t just stand there. You’ll burn it.”
It was already too late. One side of the meat Yamato had cooked had been charred to a crisp.
It seems that the next stock of meat has not arrived yet, so he can’t cook another one.
In the meantime, some of the boys seemed to have finished cooking their meat. Some of them were trying to appeal to Sayla, and were glancing at the girls.
It was obvious that he would be late to the party. It wouldn’t change anything, but Yamato’s pride wouldn’t allow him to let the other boys get ahead of him here.
(If this happens, I’m screwed!)
Yamato put the burnt meat he had cooked on a plate, poured the yakiniku sauce all over it, and walked over.
The taste would be hard to cover up, but he could apologize later and she would forgive him.
More importantly, he couldn’t stand the idea of Sayla eating someone else’s meat. This was a matter of prider, not logic.
As I was closing the distance, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see May standing there with a fearsome smile on her face. She looked like she was planning to do something.
She held out a plate of delicious looking meat and said.
“Why don’t we make a deal? Here is the meat I cooked for her. I’ll give it to you, and you can give it to the Saint instead of me.”
“Eh, is that okay?”
“Yes. But be sure to ask her what she thinks of the food. Then you can tell me what she thinks about it later.”
Such a deal would be beneficial for both parties. It’s a great offer for Yamato.
“That’s fine, but don’t you want me to tell her that it was baked by Tamaki-san?”
“If you tell her that, she might not get it… Just go, quickly, before it gets cold!”
More bravely than before, Yamato grabbed the two plates and proudly went to Sayla’s side.
The girls around Sayla were already drumming their tongues against the meat they had been given, but it was still a dense crowd.
Yamato stepped in front of Sayla and held out the plate in his right hand.
“The meat is cooked, if you want to have some?”
I told her, my voice trembling with nervousness, and Sayla rolled her eyes.
“Thanks, Yamato. … But isn’t it a bit overcooked?”
When Yamato heard these words, he looked at the plate and saw nothing but burnt meat on it. It seems that he had mistakenly offered the failed dish that he had brought for his own consumption.
“No, not this one! I was actually going to give you this one.”
Sayla smiled as I held out the plate that May had given me.
“I don’t care if it’s burnt. There’s a lot of people here, let’s change places.”
Everyone around them was transfixed by the Saint’s smile, and no one tried to disturb them as they sat at a table in the corner.
It was because her smile was so noble that it swept away everyone’s evil thoughts.
“What are you going to do with the burnt part?”
When it came time to eat, Sayla asked curiously.
“This one I burned, so I’m going to eat it myself.”
“Heh. Then can I eat that one too?”
“Because I am curious about the taste. I’ve never had burnt meat before.”
“I don’t mind…”
“Okay, I’ll take it from you. Itadakimasu.”
Sayla said and took a mouthful of Yamato’s charred meat.
“…It’s jerky and bitter.”
“Sorry about that…”
“But it’s better than I thought.”
“Well, have some of this for your palate.”
When Yamato offered her a piece of May’s grilled meat, Sayla nodded happily as soon as she put it in her mouth.
“It’s delicious. It actually tastes like meat.”
“I’m sorry the one I cooked doesn’t taste like meat.”
Yamato leaked the details, so he gave up and explained.
“In fact, that meat was cooked by Tamaki-san. She gave it to me because she was concerned about the meat I burnt.”
“Heh. By the way, you were looking at me earlier.”
I wondered if the “earlier” she was referring to was when he was talking to May before cooking the meat. Sayla was surrounded by other girls at that time, and it was surprising that she was paying attention to us.
“Uh, that was, uh, …a little strategy meeting.”
“You don’t want to be with me.”
Yamato blurted out. The look that Sayla was giving him was painful.
But Yamato had a point to make as well.
“No, that was Shirase’s fault too! What are you talking about with a straight face?”
Having said all that, Yamato felt a sense of déjà vu. He had a feeling that just recently, someone had made the same objection while making a dumb face.
Thanks to this, for some reason, Yamato was able to regain his composure. In addition, the advice from Eita crossed his mind.
If you don’t want to regret it, I think the best thing you can do is to tell her how you really feel before you start worrying about it.
As Sayla ate the meat with a pout, Yamato made a some sort of resolution and started to speak.
“…There’s something I want to ask you.”
“Does Shirase still think that I started avoiding you because I didn’t want to have skinship with you?”
“Yes. Because when we talked on the roof, Yamato seemed to be faking it.”
It seems that he was not able to hide his feelings at that time.
This time, in order to speak with sincerity, Yamato took a deep breath and said,
“It’s not like that, it’s the other way around.”
Yamato’s head froze because of the unexpected reaction of Sayla, who was dumbfounded.
As he tried to sort out the situation in his mind, he realized that he had not said enough because of his nervousness.
“N-no, not that! I just wanted to say that I don’t mind!”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just calm down. I was just a little surprised.”
Yamato doesn’t know if it was just his imagination, but Sayla’s cheeks were turning slightly red.
Yamato’s face was as red as a ripe apple. Even so, he managed to take a deep breath again, trying to remain calm.
“—About the skinship thing. I get a strange feeling when Shirase sticks to me…”
“What kind of strange feelings?”
“Well, it’s not that I have ulterior motives, but I’m still conscious of you. I mean, Shirase and I are friends, but we’re also members of the opposite sex.”
This explanation was partly based on Eita’s opinion.
As Sayla was quietly listening to him, Yamato explained himself.
“Besides, that kind of feeling can destroy friendships. That’s why I avoided skinship with Shirase — or rather, I kept my distance from you.”
“I see, that’s what it was. I now understand why Yamato doesn’t consult me very often.”
The misunderstanding seemed to be over, and Yamato was relieved.
“I’m really sorry for being so selfish and thinking on my own. I’m going to consult with Shirase more from now on.”
“Yes, that would make me happy, too.”
The smiling Sayla was very adorable.
Yamato gently squeezed Sayla’s hand, feeling embarrassed.
“Fufu, you’re sweating.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about delicacy. I’ll be a little more careful.”
“That would be great. It’s better than pretending you know what you’re talking about.”
When I put a little more pressure on her hand, Sayla squeezed it back.
But it was more like a handshake than skinship.
The barbecue continued for some time after that.
Yamato was forced to cook the meat again, and Sayla directly told May her impressions of the meat May cooked, which almost made May faint, but in the end, it was a fun class party.
The class barbecue came to an end when it was quite late.
The participation fee was quite expensive, and even though his allowance had just been increased, it was still a painful expense for Yamato.
However, it was worth it for him to repair his strained relationship with Sayla. Compared to that, the participation fee seems like a free gift.
As we were cleaning up, Sayla approached me.
“I want you to go out with me after we finish, can you?”
Sayla asked me with a face like a child playing a trick.
Even though she was wearing mature make-up, her face still had a hint of innocence to it.
(How can I refuse if she asks me so cutely and adorably…?)
Yamato immediately covered his face with one hand and tried not to show his thoughts.
“W-Well, if it’s not too late.”
“Do you have any plans?”
“I’ve got school tomorrow…”
Sayla smiled and walked on.
Even though he had a bad feeling about this, Yamato was determined to follow suit.