The school festival has finally arrived.
"I can't stand it. I want to throw up."
"Ren-kun, calm down."
"Ugh, I can't help it. I was so nervous I wanted to throw up."
What if no one comes to watch?
What if Kotono's script is the best, but I'm the one who made it bad?
The tension in me that had subsided from my adrenaline yesterday finally bites me back on the morning of the screening.
A movie is going to take up all of the audience's time during its run. That's a pretty scary thing. And that means I'm responsible for their lost time.
But that's what makes it worth it, and that's what makes it fun. I know that.
It's just that I got so nervous that I wanted to throw up.
But as if to relieve my anxiety, our class program, 'Classmates' Movie, was immediately filled with visitors at the same time as the festival began. Most of it might be due to the fact that Kasumi is in our class.
"...It's a miracle."
"I tell you, this is inevitable. Who do you think wrote the script and who is in the movie?"
"Kotono dan Kasumi."
"Exactly. So please trust us more. With us and with yourself."
This is how I talked to Kotono, she tried to calm me down when I was shaking, although she sometimes spoke harshly to me.
I was in charge of checking the tickets, while Kasumi, disguised with a mask, was in charge of operating the equipment behind the scenes so as not to be seen by the audience.
I wasn't able to see the audience directly, but I was very happy when I heard the audience's voices, which were originally just talking about Kasumi, slowly become silent, and then Kasumi and I sent stickers to each other on LIME.
After the movie, when I saw the students who came as guests leaving, saying, "I came just to see Mirufy, but it turned out to be more interesting than I expected" and "Class 3 was amazing," my feelings became very, very happy!
"Kashiwagi-kun. What's wrong with your expression."
"Ah, mou, please don't cry!"
"I'm not crying!!"
Dust just came into my eyes.
Just hearing them say that they love our work makes my heart warm and I feel like all the effort I've put in so far has paid off.
And it's even more fun to hear someone praise Kasumi not as a former idol, but as a Class 3 student.
I managed to cool my burning eyes and sent the message "We did it!" to Kasumi via LIME, and went back to my job of handling tickets.
The festival has only just begun.
I want more people to know about our work.
I want us to win the festival so badly that no one else will say it was just because of Kasumi's existence.
"Hey, you know. There's a thing called rest."
That's what Maina told us during our lunch break, after we'd closed the class that had been full the whole time.
"You both have been working all shifts. You should rest."
"Well, but Miru is not tired anyway."
"Yeah, right. We do it because we love it."
I will work without pay, so please.
"That's why it's wrong! You workaholic committee member! I know you are worried and want to see how the visitors react, but we want you to let us handle it."
Our classmates are kind and assertive to those of us who try to work all the time.
"We'll call one of you if there's anything we can't handle. So why don't you two just enjoy it first? The festival."
All right, if that's the case, I have to say I'll leave it up to them.
We both looked at each other and nodded.
"Well, I'll go have a look around... but if you need anything, please call me right away."
"That's a promise, okay. Miru is really willing to help anyway."
"Okay, okay. Ah, right, I'll lend this to Mirufy."
The thing Maina gives Kasumi is a black beret, big enough to cover Kasumi's face completely. [TN: Beret is a kind of hat that Fuyu-nee wears in chapter 7]
"If people look at your face, there will definitely be a big commotion. So you'd better wear it."
"Okay. I really like... I mean, thanks."
"Well, even though Ren is with you, we don't want the princess of our class to get into trouble."
"Ah, thanks. I really like you!"
"Yup, you're welcome. I'm used to it now, but it's so good that it feels like I'm liked just because of the hat."
"Mn, it's not about the hat. I said it because I like you."
"~~Ah, mou! If I were a man, I would have really fallen in love with you! Okay then, hurry up and go away!"
"Fufu! Okay, we are leaving then!"
Kasumi put on her beret and ran towards me, who was already heading for the exit.
"Just so you know, that wasn't what I used to say."
I can understand if I pay attention to it again. But before that, when did you and Maina become so intimate again? I'm not going to ask about that because it might be sensitive. Seriously, I've never understood friendship between girls.
"...No comment. Let's go. Is there somewhere you want to go?"
"Crepes and takoyaki maybe..."
"Okay, food first."
Yup. We are food fighters at this festival. While saying such a stupid thing, we started walking around looking at the festival map.
"Ahhh... But if we eat everything, will we have enough time?"
"The place is divided anyway, so do we have to scatter? We can go shopping first and then meet somewhere else."
"Huh? I don't like that."
Kasumi's cheeks bulged and she pouted.
Yes, yes. Whatever.
"So, which one do you want to eat?"
"Eh...! Wait, it's hard to decide!"
Where did she get such an appetite?
But then a helping hand came to Kasumi, who was confused.
"...If you don't mind, do you want to eat these?"
Yes, it's Kotono-sama.
"Since you two have been working hard like horses, I thought I would bring you some extra food. I finished my shift earlier than you two."
Strawberry candy, ice boba, fried noodles, plus takoyaki and crepes. With her hands full of food, Kotono opens the door to the unused classroom.
"Let's use this room. There's no one here."
"Eh, is it okay to use another classroom?"
"I think so. I don't know anyway."
"Yup, just eat that fool's share, Kasumi-san."
"Ah Kotono-sama, please don't ignore me!"
If she offered food, I wouldn't be able to say anything.
We found an empty table in the corner and took down the chairs stacked on top of it. Then we arranged the offerings that Kotono had brought.
It's really a special scene of a school festival.
"Eh, aren't you two so fast!?"
When Kotono saw me and Kasumi quickly working together to eat the food, she chuckled slightly. A nanny? No, she is a helping god.
"If you just wait there, Kasumi will eat it all."
"Ren-kun too, you know~. We are halfway to the takoyaki."
"Huh!? But I'm the one who bought it!"
Finally, we finish everything. It feels amazing.
"Kotono, thank you so much. If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have enough time."
"But there is still some time left because you two eat so fast."
"Well, that's how it is."
Kotono wasn't too happy about being forced to eat fast as well, but that gave us more free time.
"In that case, I'll rest for a while and then go back to class."
"I see~, all right."
"You guys are coming back later!? Huh, didn't you two start your shift this morning?"
Kotono said with a surprised look on her face.
"Well, I did it because I enjoyed it."
I didn't expect to say such a sentence one day.
I can't wait to see the audience's reaction. I want to go back to that fun place.
Because what else can I do? Since the day Kasumi encouraged me, I couldn't stop that voice in my head.
Even though I have to sacrifice my physical endurance, I don't regret it at all.
"And Miru stayed with him. Well, I can't go around the festival anyway for fear that my face will be recognized."
Kasumi said and put her hand on my shoulder, explaining that she had no choice.
"Next time you can buy me some takoyaki, okay?"
Do you like it that much? I mean, just buy it yourself if that's the case.
Seeing us acting like this, Kotono's eyes widened.
"I never thought I would hear you say something like that, Kashiwagi-kun."
"Me neither. That's life, no one knows."
"Really, you've really changed, haven't you? 'Challenge-seeking man'-san."
"Why are you trying to dig it up again?"
Please, forget it!!!
Kotono also chuckled slightly and stood up from her seat.
"Well, I think I'd better go check out the club's activities."
"Are they having a show?"
"Yes. The flower arranging club is holding a flower arranging practice class, where you can learn how to arrange flowers. It's a pretty serious club, isn't it?"
Kotono smiled at me when she saw me impressed.
"Well, Kashiwagi-kun won't come because he's already a movie maniac."
"...Do you have a problem with me?"
Do you have a problem with me?"
"No, no. It must be nice to be able to do what you really love... that's it anyway."
Kotono stopped mid-sentence and immediately packed her things, as if to change the subject.
"Okay, see you later."
Then she left the classroom, so I asked Kasumi if we would go back to class now.
"...Did you already talk to Kotono-chan about it before?"
"About you. You were talking about you, right? About your challenging spirit."
For some reason, Kasumi said it in an annoyed tone.
"No. Kotono knew that I always tried and quit things in junior high school. The only person I told in detail is you, Kasumi."
"...Umm. I see, okay."
Hearing my words, Kasumi smiled with relief and muttered, "No, it's really not funny if such a girl is my rival...".
"I'm just talking to myself, okay!"
When I asked her if something was wrong, she said, "Nothing!" and seemed to insist on it.
Maybe she misunderstood that Kotono would take her position in the alliance with me.
Stop, don't fight over me...of course not. I'm just kidding.
"Bye! See you later!!"
Then Kasumi, suddenly in a good mood, slid back to her post.
"Let's have a party to celebrate our class's crushing victory!"
Our class had great success at the festival, and of course we won by a landslide in the number of votes, so we had a party on the way home that day.
Surprisingly, all the students attended the celebration party.
The party was a karaoke party. The place was chosen because the room was closed, so we didn't have to worry about anyone recognizing Kasumi's face, so she could sing and order food. Also, the place is friendly for students and there is a drink bar.
"How many honey toasts should we order? Five?"
"No, no, I think we should order at least 10."
As soon as we toast each other, they start ordering large quantities of food from the menu list in their hands.
The prize for the winner of this festival is a gold vocer worth 50,000 yen, so we plan to use it all here.
"We really won, didn't we?"
"Really, really. I feel so good that I don't care what people say behind my back."
"That's right. The winner doesn't look back."
"That's a good point~~!"
"Then I'll sing!!"
Everyone could be seen in the high tension of victory.
"No, no, let's hear what our festival committee members have to say first..."
"Ah, leave it to me?"
"I really don't want it to be you."
"I just want to hear from the beautiful festival committee member."
That's what they say. It was a bit sad to hear that I wasn't expected, but it was true that I didn't have anything special to say, so I quickly stepped back and sat down on the nearest sofa, then handed the microphone to Kasumi.
"Here, the mic."
"Don't worry! Just one sentence and we will be happy!"
"One sentence!? What is it then!?"
"At a time like this, all you have to do is shout!"
"Ah, CLASS 3 IS THE BEST!"
Kasumi's confused comments made the class even more excited.
"I really like everyone in Class 3!"
At this point, no one would laugh or fall on those words.
"Yes, we get it, really~"
"We really like you too, Miru!"
"Hey, stop crying."
Kasumi also shed tears when she saw the warm reaction of her classmates. She finally cried in front of them.
"Everyone, really, I like you all so much..."
Still, she looked very, very happy.
"...I'm happy for you."
She said something unusual to her, and after she got used to the class, she started to cry because she felt so touched.
Kasumi has completely become a 'classmate' now.
I narrowed my eyes slightly and looked at Kasumi, who was smiling happily.
────Ren-kun, give me all of your future for me, too!
Then I suddenly remembered the sentence that Kasumi had said to me.
I, too, will be seriously entering the movie world starting tomorrow.
This time I finally understood.
I was not doing it because I liked it, but because I desperately wanted to do it. I wouldn't get anything real if I just liked it selfishly.
I can like it more and more. Not with everything else, but with Kasumi.
"Yosh! I will sing today!!"
I slapped my cheek, getting even more excited.