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Let Me Love

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Week 0, Friday

Ayano was empty. For as long as she could remember she barely felt anything. The only things she could feel were boredom and content. When she was young, she learned fairly early that to avoid being in the spotlight was to act ‘normal’. As in, act like the other kids. It made her dad happy, but she was sure he knew deep down she was pretending. But it got her through school, acting like the other kids. She has a few friends but they aren’t close. But it’s enough to keep the spotlight of gossip off of her.

Ayano looked over at her phone as it’s alarm blared at her. She was quick to turn it off and get ready. She was soon downstairs making a basic breakfast of eggs and toast that would contain her until dinner. She’d have some change though in her bag in case she got hungry so that she could buy something from a vending machine.

Once she finished her breakfast, she turned to the clock and saw it was almost 6:30. She quickly washed her plate and left the house. She soon made it to Akademi High at 7 o’clock and changed her shoes. She then wandered around the school taking note of who was in each club as new first years joined as the year three students were gone. She held her bag close as she made her way to her class in room 2-1.

“Oof,” the sound escaped her as she was knocked over and fell to the ground. She shook her head and looked up when she heard a gasp.

“Are you ok?” standing above her was a third-year boy. She nodded her head and gripped his pro-offered hand and her heart started beating rapidly. Her face flushed as she was pulled up from the ground. “I’m sorry about knocking you over, kouhai. I’m Taro Yamada,” he introduced and Ayano gave a slight bow of her head and torso.

“I’m sorry, too, Senpai. I should have paid more attention to where I was going. I’m Ayano Aishi,” she introduced and Taro shook her hand.

“I hope to see you again, Aishi-san,” he said and she nodded agreement before he went his own way and Ayano gripped a hand over her chest.

“Is this love?” she asked quietly. She soon made it to her classroom with much time to spare. She sets her bag down on her desk and goes down to the first floor and finds her friend Kokona’s classroom. The girl is just setting her bag down when Ayano enters the room. Ayano has known Kokona for a couple years since they’re in the same neighborhood. Kokona sees Ayano looking nervous and goes over to her.

“What’s up?” she asks and Ayano gestures with her head to follow and they head out to the fountain in the corner of the school ground that had a cherry tree behind it with flowers surrounding it. Along the path were two benches near the fountain.

“I-I just bumped into a third-year boy a-and my heart is beating really fast. My face feels really warm too,” Ayano said and Kokona smiled encouragingly. She knew what Ayano suffered as Ayano told her after a year when they become very close. At hearing this Kokona clapped happily.

“You’re feeling love!! This must be what your mom talked about. How are you going to win him over?” she asked pulling them down onto the bench and Ayano bit her lip in thought.

“Um, I wanna try winning him over by being his friend. I hope that he’ll love me back naturally while being friends. But if that doesn’t work. Then I guess, I hope we’ll still be friends and he’ll be close,” she said and Kokona nodded agreement.

“I’ll help you in any way I can. Ok? I’ll encourage you, advice you, anything. I want this to work out,” she said and Ayano nodded her thanks. Right as she did that, the school’s warning bell sounded. “We can talk more at lunch!” she called out and Ayano nodded agreement and they both walked back to their classes.

In class, her teacher asked them to start reading a chapter in their book and then answer questions on a paper. She looked around the classroom as she worked and noted a few people that interested her. There was a drama member, one that she’s seen Kokona with, and there was a cooking club member. She recalled Kokona’s other friend, Saki, being in the club and talking to him.

The lunch bell rang and she went over and introduced herself to the two who seemed happy to see her. “Riku Soma,” the purple-haired boy introduced and Ayano shook his hand, “Kokona talks about you,” he commented and she smiled at that.

“Seiyo Akanishi,” the other, a blond-haired boy introduced, on his head he had a bandana on that was patterned with the British flag. “I’ve seen you talk to Saki,” he said and she nodded.

“I was wondering, how are each of your clubs? Saki and Kokona have talked about them and I wanted another person’s view,” she said and the two smiled.

“The drama club is pretty awesome. We do many plays throughout the school year. It helps students build their confidence and speaking publicly. Though the president can be a bit arrogant. She’s away for competition in the USA right now. She’ll be back in a couple of weeks,” Riku said and Seiyo nodded his agreement to that.

“The cooking club is relaxed. We meet up after school but who can see some members go in before or after to try out recipes. Our main goal is to improve and bring smiles to other people’s faces. Our club president loves to make people smile through her goods. But she’ll be gone for another week as she’s been asked to compete on a baking show called The Confection Connection, ” he answered and she nodded understanding and thought a bit.

“Can a student be on more than one club?” Ayano asked as they started walking out of the room to eat.

“Well, it’s not banned but it depends on the leaders. A student needs to attend at least one club meeting a week. So, if you asked all leaders involved you could,” Riku explained and Ayano nodded understanding. “If you want to join Cooking and Drama, for example, you could since Kokona does both. So the leaders would be ok with another person doing the same thing,” he continued and Ayano smiled at that, knowing she’d be content with that.

Seiyo nodded assessment to that. “Exactly. You’ll just need to confirm with Tsuburaya-senpai, though I imagine he’ll say yes.”

“And just ask Yamazaki-senpai, and you’ll be set,” Riku finished and Ayano nodded with a slight bow.

“Thank you for your help, I’ll talk to them after school,” she said and the two nodded.

“See you around Aishi-san,” Riku called walking away with Seiyo. Ayano then left to find Kokona who was waiting at the stairway closest to Ayano’s classroom.

“Yan-chan!!” she called waving and Ayano smiled back, content that she didn’t feel fake smiling at her friend. “How was class?” she asked as they went up the stairs to sit on the roof. 

“It went well, I meet your club member, Riku, and a cooking club member named Seiyo,” Ayano said as they made it to a bench against a wall.

“Oh! That’s cool! Riku is pretty awesome,” Kokona commented with a slight blush.

“Do you have a crush on him?” Ayano asked and Kokona’s blush increased. “You so do! Are you waiting for him to ask first?”

“Sorta. I want him to say it. But I guess if he doesn’t after a while, I’ll confess myself,” she answered and Ayano nodded. “So, why did you talk to them?”

“Well, I wanted more info on the two clubs. And well, I think I’ll join both of them like you,” Ayano said and a squeal left Kokona at that.

“Awesome!” she then attacked Ayano with a hug which caused a laugh to actually bubble out of Ayano which shocked the two. “Did you just actually laugh?”

“I-I did!” A smile broke across Ayano’s face at that which Kokona mirrored.

“Ok, so I’m guessing you’ll go to both clubs after school to ask and then whichever you went to last you’ll join them for the day?” she asked and Ayano nodded. “Alright. I would suggest going to cooking first as the drama club is doing auditions for Shozo-sans play, The Ivory Heart ,” she said and Ayano nodded.

“What’s the play about?”

“It’s about a girl who’s terrified to love. Every person she’s loved abandoned her for another person. Her love interest shows her every day that he has eyes only for her and at the end, she finally knows that he won’t leave her for anyone else. Shozo is going to be the love interest since well, it’s his play, he deserves it,” Kokona explained and Ayano nodded.

“Sounds interesting,” Ayano commented and Kokona nodded as she handed Ayano a bento.

“I know you don’t eat lunch, but you really should,” she said and Ayano shrugged.

“Usually, I’m not hungry,” she replied back eating the food from the bento Kokona gave her.

“Well, I’ll keep bringing you bento’s until you bring your own,” she commented and Ayano gave a small laugh at that.

“Ok then,” she replied. The door leading to the roof opened and there was Budo and Taro talking.

“So where’s Osana?” Budo asked.

“She’s sick. She’ll be here on Monday,” Taro replied and Budo seemed to notice the two girls on the roof.

“Hey,” Budo greeted and they waved to them, though Ayano had a slight blush as Taro looked over at them.
“Aishi-san, nice to see you again,” he said and Ayano nodded her head.

“Same, Yamada-senpai,” Ayano replied.

“Would you guys care to sit with us?” Kokona asked and the two shared a look.

“If you don’t mind,” Budo replied.

“Nope,” Kokona answered and Ayano shook her head which had the two sitting on the ground and Kokona and Ayano moved to sit on the ground too. “So, I heard you talking about someone?” she asked and Taro nodded.

“Ya, my childhood friend, Osana Najimi is sick,” Taro said and Ayano nodded.

“There were a couple of seats empty in my class, I heard Fuka-sensei mutter Osana’s name along with Raibaru. Who’s Raibaru?” Ayano asked and Taro smiled which had Ayano’s heart beating faster and had her looking down at her bento.

“Raibaru is Osana’s best friend,” Taro replied and this time Budo nodded while he finished chewing.

“Yeah, Raibaru became Osana’s friend after she left the Martial Arts Club when I defeated her in a spar,” Budo said and Ayano looked up at that.

“Really? Wow,” she commented and Budo nodded. “So how do you two know each other?”

“We’re in the same class. We also knew each other since we started Akademi,” Budo explained and Taro nodded agreement.

“Exactly. How did you two become friends?” Taro wondered and Ayano smiled at Kokona.

“We live in the same neighborhood. We’d talk a lot and just became best friends naturally. I’m also fairly close to Kokona’s other friend Saki-chan,” Ayano replied and Kokona nodded.

“That’s nice,” Budo said and the two nodded. The warning bell then sounded. “Well, we’ll see you again on Monday, here at lunch?” Budo asked and Ayano nodded slowly, not trusting her voice when Taro smiled at her waiting for an answer. “Cool, see you then!” With that, the two left the roof and Kokona smiled at Ayano.

“Man, you’re crushing hard on Taro. But no worries, I’ll help you win him over!” she said happily as they walked down the stairs and Ayano smiled.

“I’ll see you in the drama room after I sign up for cooking club,” she said and Kokona nodded agreement before heading down the last set of stairs. Ayano made her way to her class and continued the work the teacher gave.

Soon, the bell rang once more and Ayano got up and cleaned the windows. Once cleaning time was done, she grabbed her bag and made her way toward the cooking club and looked inside to see the temporary president with a couple of members there. “Yan-chan!” Saki greeted happily had the few members there turn to the door. Ayano waved and they all smiled. Seiyo was already there with the club leader.

“Hi there. Your Ayano Aishi right? Seiyo-san told me you’d possibly be coming. I’m Shoku Tsuburaya, the temporary club president,” he greeted and Ayano gave a hesitant smile.

“Yeah, I was wondering if I could join the club while being in the Drama club?” she asked and Shoku nodded with a smile.

“Of course, Kokona-san does it. Just make sure it’s ok with Yamazaki-san. Once you do, you can come in when Kokona does or a different day,” he said and Ayano nodded.

“I’ll ask Yamazaki-senpai right now,” she said and he nodded.

“Well, see you next week then!” he said happily and Ayano left the cooking club and went over to the drama club. Inside, Kokona was sitting while Shozo talked about the play. When he was finished he turned to Ayano.

“Hello,” he greeted and everyone turned to look at her while Kokona smiled.

“Hello, I’m Tsuruzo Yamazaki. Kokona told me you’d be coming,” the leader greeted and Ayano nodded.

“Yes, I’d like to join the drama club while being in the cooking club,” she replied and Tsuruzo nodded.

“Of course! Just make sure you go to each club once a week at least to reach club requirements,” he answered and Ayano nodded. “Now, would you like to join us for auditions?” he asked and Ayano nodded. “Good. Just so you know, the play is in two weeks. It’s for when our president Kizana returns,” he continued and Ayano nodded. “Shozo, you may begin auditions,” Tsuruzo said and Shozo nodded.

“Alright, Ayano would you like to audition first?” Shozo asked and Kokona nodded encouragement and Ayano nodded.

“Sure,” she got up and went over to where Shozo stood. “What part do you think I should audition for?” she asked everyone since she only knew the basics of the play.

“How about the main role?” Kokona said quietly and everyone nodded their agreement.

“Yeah, let’s have you audition for the role of Aika. I’ll be your scene partner, Sora, also known as Aika’s love interest,” Shozo said and Ayano nodded as she looked at the script quickly. It seems in the scene is when ‘Sora’ would be showing ‘Aika’ that he truly loves her.

“Ok,” Ayano said and rolled her head a bit then took a deep breath. She then had her face go to one of disinterest but mild interest, looking about as if somewhere else. “You wanted us to go here, why?” she asked in a dull voice.

“Because, my dear, Aika, these flowers reminded me of your sweet beauty!” Shozo said, spreading his arms out.

“You’re not the first to compare me to flowers, Sora. But I can give you this, you are the only one to take me somewhere that reminded you of me,” she replied and Shozo smiled in character.

“Well, I’m glad to surprise you! But this is only one of many, I hope! For I will show you how much I care for you!” Shozo said and grabbed her hand and gestured with his other out around the park before turning to face her and held both hands. “I will take as long as it needs to prove my love for you,” he said quietly with a smile and Ayano gave a small smile.

“I-” her character started but stopped to think. “I hope you’re prepared for it,” she said and Shozo nodded before leading them off.

“I am,” he replied then dropped her one hand and clapped as the others did too.

“That was amazing Yan-chan!” Kokona replied while the other members continued to clap and voice their agreement.

“I think she’d make a great Aika,” Tsuruzo said and Shozo nodded agreement to that.

“I think we have our Aika,” he said and everyone clapped more. Ayano then took her seat and the rest of the club auditioned for the remaining parts. A couple of students auditioned for two parts as there were two extra characters. Soon everyone was done auditioning and Shozo was in front of everyone once again.

“Alright! That was a good audition. I’ll have the list of characters posted in the room on Monday. We start rehearsal Monday afternoon! Kokona, Ayano, you’ll need to figure out when would be good to get in your club requirements for Cooking club. But besides that, have a great weekend!” Shozo said and everyone nodded agreement before heading out.

“I hope I get Aika’s best friend!” Kokona said and Ayano nodded.

“You did good,” Ayano replied as they made it to the lockers and they both quickly changed shoes before heading out and walking together.

“You did too! You’re perfect for Aika!” she said and Ayano smiled at that.

“So, when should we go to the cooking club?” Ayano asked and Kokona smiled.

“When I first talked to them, they said coming during lunch one day is fine if the drama club is doing a play,” Kokona replied and Ayano nodded.

“That’s nice,” she replied and Kokona nodded.

“I know right?!” at that, they continued to walk in peace and soon arrived at Ayano’s place. “See you tomorrow!” she said and Ayano nodded with a wave as she unlocked her door and entered her house. She got ready quickly and finished her homework and then went to bed with a smile as her day went well.

.

Chapter Text

Week 1, Monday

Ayano left her house and saw Kokona waiting for her. “Hey,” she greeted and Kokona smiled.

“Morning! Ready to see what parts we have?” she asked and Ayano nodded.

“Definitely,” she replied and they continued walking. They soon reached the school and saw a girl with long orange pigtails waiting at the front next to a girl with short golden pigtails. The two went over to them and waved. “Hello! Are you waiting for Yamada-senpai?” Ayano asked and the girls nodded. “You must be his friend then, Najimi-san!” she said and the long pigtailed girl nodded.

“Ya, I’m Osana Najimi. This is my friend Raibaru Fumetsu,” Osana said.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Ayano Aishi and this is my friend Kokona Haruka. I’m in your class Najimi-san,” Ayano said and the girl nodded.

“Nice. So how do you know Taro?” she asked with crossed arms.

“He knocked into me on Friday. We ate lunch together with Budo. Would you like to join us?” she asked and Osana tilted her head and looked at Raibaru who nodded.

“Sure. We’ll walk with you at lunch,” she said and Ayano nodded.

“Well, we need to get to the drama room now,” Kokona said and Osana nodded understanding.

“Also, just call me Osana, I don’t mind,” she said and her friend Raibaru nodded agreement.

“See you in class Osana,” Ayano called before walking into the school. The two changed shoes and headed over to the drama room. A couple of members were walking out of the room smiling and the two waved greeting to them before entering. On the wall next to the door was a list with scripts underneath. On the scripts were people’s names. Ayano and Kokona grabbed their scripts leaving one left for Riku.

“You got the part of Aika!” Kokona squealed happily. “And I got the best friend Kiko!” Ayano smiled at that as they walked out of the room and headed towards Kokona’s class.

“Awesome. So you think tomorrow or a different day to go to cooking club at lunch?” Ayano asked as they entered Kokona’s class and Kokona put her bag down. Kokona tilted her head in thought.

“I think we should go on Wednesday. Once the play is over, alternate days until we have another play,” Kokona answered and Ayano nodded agreement at that as they walked outside. There stood Taro as he got yelled at by Osana for being late. He saw them walking and waved and the two waved back before going towards the same fountain Ayano went to on Friday.

Once they sat down they started going over lines. They went back and forth until the bell rang warning everyone. Kokona and Ayano then stood up and headed toward their classrooms. At Kokona’s class, Ayano waved goodbye and walked up the stairs to her classroom. She soon reached her class and soon after, Osana and Raibaru came in and sat near her desk. The teacher talked a bit about the lesson then gave a group project to the class.

Once the teacher turned to her laptop to work on something, Osana and Raibaru moved their desks to face Ayano. “Might as well work together if we’re gonna be hanging out with you from now on,” Osana said and Ayano nodded with a slight smile.

“Cool. So, how do you want to do this?” Ayano asked and Osana shrugged.

“I figured two people would go through the textbook for answers then the final person would write it down,” she replied and Ayano nodded.

“Who would you suggest to write?” Ayano asked and Raibaru smiled.

“I would, unless you would like too,” Raibaru answered.

“I don’t mind,” Ayano said and Raibaru smiled as she got out paper. They then worked on searching the textbook for answers while Raibaru wrote down what they found. Soon, the lunch bell rang and they stood up and grabbed their bento’s except for Ayano who knew Kokona brought her one.

“Don’t you have a bento?” Osana asked as they went to the stairs.

“Kokona brought me one,” she answered and Osana glanced at her through the corner of her eye.

“Alright,” she said and they made it to the stairs right as Kokona came up.

“Here’s yours Yan-chan!” Kokona said happily and Ayano smiled as she took it. They then continued up.

“So how come you don’t bring your own?” Osana asked and Ayano gave a slight shrug as they soon made it to the roof.

“I’m usually not hungry but Kokona always brings me one,” Ayano answered and Kokona nodded.

“I’m hoping she’ll soon bring her own, unless she gets a love first who’ll share his,” she teased and Ayano blushed causing the three girls to laugh. They saw Budo and Taro there already and sat next to them.

“So you met Osana,” Taro commented and Ayano nodded.

“Met her before school then we talked during class while doing a project,” she said and Taro nodded.

“I have an extra bento if you want it, Taro,” Osana said quietly holding out a wrapped bento which he took happily.

“Thanks, Osana! I forgot my bento at home,” he said and Osana blushed.

“It’s not a big deal! I just had some extra, Baka!” she said and Taro just smiled at her. They then sat in silence before Budo talked.

“So, the drama club is doing a play?” he asked and Kokona nodded excitedly.

“Ya, our club member, Shozo, wrote it! It’s called The Ivory Heart ! And Ayano is the star!” she said and at that, the others voiced their congratulations which had Ayano blushing.

“It’s not a big deal, guys,” she muttered.

“Yes, it is,” Taro said which had her blushing. “It’s your first play and you got the lead!” he said which had the others nodding agreement.

“He’s right,” Budo said.

“We should all go see it!” Osana said and everyone nodded agreement. “When is it, Yan-chan?”

“The play is in a couple of weeks, for when their actual club president arrives back at school, Kizana.”

“Oh, that’s not a lot of time,” Taro said and this time Kokona shook her head.

“Not really. But the play is shorter than normal. So it doesn’t really affect it,” Kokona explained which had the others nodding. “Just so you guys know, on Wednesday, Yan-chan and I will be in the cooking club at lunch. It’s going to be like that until the play,” Kokona mentioned and they nodded.

“Hey, I’m in the Cooking club too!” Osana said and the two smiled at that. “I could join you, or like, we’ll see each other after school when the plays done,” she said and the two nodded.

“That’d be great. I could use all the help I can get to make sure I do everything correctly for the Cooking club,” Ayano said and the two girls smiled.

“Sure thing, Aya,” Osana said.

“So what about you, Raibaru?” Kokona asked and Raibaru shrugged.

“I used to be the leader of the Martial Arts Club, but then Budo here beat me,” she gestured at Budo who had a shy smile and blush. “Now I just sorta do anything that catches my eye,” she explained which had them nodding, though Osana already knew that.

“What about you, Taro? It’s your last year at Akademi,” Kokona asked and Taro just shrugged.

“I’m not sure,” he replied and Osana just shook her head.

“You like being outside to read. Why not try the Gardening Club?” she asked and Taro seemed shocked at that.

“Ya, why don’t you?” Kokona asked with Budo and Ayano nodding agreement.

“I guess I could see about it. But don’t hold your breath,” he said and they all nodded.

“Fair enough,” Budo said and they ate in silence. Soon, Ayano and Kokona finished and Ayano handed the bento back and they pulled out their scripts.

“Did you forget your bento at home too, Aishi-chan?” Taro asked and Ayano blushed as she looked at the ground.

“She doesn’t usually bring herself lunch since she doesn’t get hungry. But I always bring her a bento and force her to eat,” Kokona said and both Taro and Budo looked at her concerned.

“Aishi-san, Ayano, you shouldn’t skip lunch,” Taro said and Ayano looked at the floor with a flushed face.

“Don’t worry Taro, I’m keeping her feed,” Kokona said which had Taro slightly flushed in embarrassment.

“Ok,” he said and Osana looked between them. Kokona and Ayano then started practicing their lines with commentary from the others. Soon, the bell rang and they packed their stuff up and headed to their classrooms. Osana, Raibaru, and Ayano all got back to work and they were able to finish with a few minutes to spare.

“So, you joined two clubs?” Osana asked and Ayano nodded.

“Ya, they both sounded good so I asked the leaders and they didn’t mind it, especially since Kokona is in the two clubs,” Ayano said and Osana nodded.

“So, I also saw that look when Taro expressed concern. Do you like him?” she asked with a glare which had Raibaru placing a hand on her shoulder. At the glare, Ayano looked down at the desk.

“I…...I do have a crush on him,” Ayano said and Osana’s glare lessened at Ayano telling the truth. “Do you also have a crush on him?”

“Sorta, he’s been my friend since childhood,” she said and Ayano nodded understanding.

“I get that. But, do you think, I could try winning him over? I want to be his friend. And well, I’d feel better knowing I had your permission to at least try. If even after becoming his friend, if he just sees me as a friend, you can confess. But are you willing to give me a chance?” Ayano said and Osana looked at Raibaru who smiled.

“You…..seem to really care about him considering you haven’t known him for long,” she observed.

“I guess so,” she admitted looking back down at her desk. Osana sighed and crossed her arms.

“Alright. Since it does seem that Taro likes you, I’ll let you try. I wish you luck then,” Osana said which had Ayano smiling happily.

“Thank you so much, Osana!” Ayano said grabbing Osana’s hand in thanks which had the girl look away.

“You’re welcome, Yan-chan,” Osana replied and the bell then rang. The two straightened their desks and turned in the paper before going to do their assigned chores. Ayano grabbed the trashcan and headed towards the incinerator in back. She exited the door and went around the wall and threw the trash away. She walked out of the area and saw the delinquents slowly forming a circle around one wall with a radio on a box. She gave a wave which just had them looking a bit surprised.

As she walked away, other students soon came out holding their class’s trashcan. Before she entered the school, she saw Shiromi from student council leaving the building to stroll around the school. She then went back up to her classroom and placed the trashcan back. She then grabbed her bag and went downstairs and found Kokona returning from the incinerator. She smiled before rushing into her class to grab her bag and they made their way to the drama room.

“Alright. Everyone’s got their scripts right?” Shozo asked which had everyone nodding. “Good! Let’s head over to the gym. From now on, head directly to the gym so we can begin practicing as soon as possible,” he explained and everyone nodded understanding. They then made their way to the gym and saw that the sports club members finishing up some stretches before running out.

All the club members wave and the sports club waves back before the exit to run the track. “Alright, scene one!” Tsuruzo said and Ayano walked up the stairs to the stage with Shozo and Kokona. Shozo went to the other side and walked onto stage right with Ayano and Kokona all going into character. ‘Sora’ started talking about how beautiful the day is and about how he loves different things about ‘Aika’. ‘Aika’ and ‘Kiko’ talked about how ‘Aika’ is afraid. Soon scene one is done and they turn to the gym floor. “Alright, you did good. What do you guys think?”

“I think perhaps we should see when Sora fell in love with Aika,” Riku suggested and they nodded.

“Yeah, I think that would look natural for the audience,” Tokuko added and Shozo nodded.

“Alright, Ayano, why don’t we walk toward each other and you act like you just tripped and I’ll catch you,” he said and Ayano nodded. They then walk toward each other looking lost in thought and when close, Ayano faked tripping, making a sound of surprise. Shozo then caught her and righted her. “You alright, kouhai?” he asked and Ayano nodded.

“Just wasn’t paying attention. Thanks, senpai,” Ayano responded. “I’m Aika.”

“Sora, nice to meet you,” he greeted and she nodded and walked over to where Kokona walked onto stage. Shozo then went to his speech before they all looked at the others who nodded.

“Exactly, that's perfect!” Tsuruzo commented and everyone nodded. “Alright, tomorrow we’ll work on scene two!”

With that, everyone grabbed their bags and headed off. Kokona and Ayano went to the lockers and changed their shoes. When they reached the gate they saw Osana and Taro at the gate. “Hey, Osana, Taro,” Ayano greeted and they smiled.

“Hey! Wanna walk home with us? We’re waiting for Budo since he lives nearby,” Osana said and the two girls nodded agreement. After a couple of minutes, Budo came out with a smile. He had his black school jacket over his shoulder as he wiped his face with his other arm.

“Hey guys! Sorry about the wait, Mina-chan wanted some tips after a hard sparring,” he said catching up.

“No problem,” Taro replied and Budo smiled at the two.

“So, Ayano and Kokona joining us?” he asked and Osana nodded this time.

“Ya, since they’re our friends, might as well,” Osana said and Budo’s smile grew.

“Cool!” he said and they all started walking home with everyone talking about something. They talked mostly about the play Kokona and Ayano were in. Ayano blushed as she talked about her character and how the two characters fall in love. Budo and Taro both smiled at seeing Ayano being shy about her character while Osana smiled at how romantic it was.

They soon reached Ayano’s home which was the closest compared to the others and Ayano waved to them. “See you tomorrow!” she called out waving and the others waved goodbye with affirmations. She then entered her home and found there was a message on the phone from her father.

Hi dear. Just thought I’d check-in. I hope everything is going well. Your mother is still looking for her old friend and wishes you luck. I hope we don’t take long over here. But we’ll see how long it takes- oh hello dear. Just checking in with Ayano--

Hi honey! It’s taking longer than we thought it would to find my old friend. We probably won’t be back for a while. Remember, you have our credit card to buy anything you need. I hope you find your senpai while at school! Now, dear-- ” the message then stopped as her mother started to presumably interrogate her father about checking in on her.

She just gave a slight shrug and got ready for bed and quickly did her homework. She then got into her bed, reeling slightly from the message. Even though she didn’t know what happened, she felt a chill thinking about what was going on. She fell into an uneasy sleep that night.

Chapter Text

Week 1, Tuesday

Ayano was ready with some time to spare. A knock startled her out of her daze. She got up from the table from where she was eating her breakfast. She opened the door and looked shocked to see Osana, Raibaru, Taro, and Budo there. “Morning, Yan-chan,” Osana said with a smile and Ayano gave a small smile back.

“Good morning. I just need to wash my plate then we can go,” Ayano said and walked away from the door, leaving it open for them. As she walked toward the table to grab her plate, the others entered and looked around her house.

“Is this your parents?” Budo asked looking at a photo on a bookshelf. Ayano looked away from the sink when she finished and went over to Budo to look at the photo. She looked at the photo with a sad look. It had her parents in it, shortly after they got married and moved back to the house her mother lived in before. Her mother was happy as she clung on her father’s arm. Her father wasn’t smiling as he stood still like a statue.

It was clear that he wasn’t happy.

“Yeah,” Ayano answered turning away from the photo to grab her bag. The three friends shared a look at Ayano’s monotone response. They then looked at the photo again to look at the strained neutral face the father had.

“Is everything ok?” Taro asked placing a hand on Ayano’s shoulder. At his touch, Ayano tensed up, not used to such a comforting touch.

“I-” she started looking briefly at Taro. “I’ll explain later on,” she said and Taro nodded in understanding with the others. They then left her house and made their way to the school. The others seem to see that there was a tension to Ayano since the picture was brought up.

“How’s the play coming?” Budo asked wanting to release the tension in Ayano. Ayano perked up a bit that and had a small smile.

“It’s coming good. We have scene one practically done,” Ayano said and the others nodded. They then started talking about anything and everything as they walked. They soon reached the gate and they split to their lockers. Osana and Raibaru walked with Ayano to their class and helped her practice lines. By the time class started, she had scene one memorized.

Class went by quickly. The teacher talked about the lesson efficiently before having them read until lunch. Once the lunch bell rang, Osana practically dragged Ayano out of the room with Raibaru behind them. They got to the stairs quickly with Kokona just coming up. She handed Ayano the bento before they continued up. They got their spot before the others and sat down. Right as they sat down, Taro and Budo come through the door.

The two waved as they walked over. They soon sat down and everyone talked about anything while eating. The class soon ended and they all said goodbye and started toward each other's classes. Ayano handed Kokona her bento back before heading toward her class with Osana and Raibaru. They entered their classroom and sat at their desk. The teacher then went over the next lesson.

The class was uneventful as the teacher droned on about the lesson and giving classwork. Soon, the bell rang and the students got up to clean. Ayano wiped down the desks while Osana cleaned windows. Raibaru was chosen to take the trash out. The two then walked with Ayano toward the door before waving goodbye to head into the Cooking Club. Ayano smiled as Kokona caught up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

“How’s it going, Yan-chan?” she asked with a smile.

“It’s going good. What about you?” Ayano replied and Kokona smiled.

“Good. How're your lines coming?”

“I have all of scene one done,” she answered as they made it to the gym door.

“Good job! I’m working on scene two right now,” Kokona replied as they went over to the stage.

“Alright! Let’s start on scene two!” Shozo called. “Let’s start with, Kokona, Riku and Tokuko’s scene!” Shozo called the three went up onto the stage. Kokona’s character was talking to a friend, Tokuko’s character. Riku’s character then went over to them and talked about how Shozo’s character was in love with Ayano’s character. As they went, the remaining people offered advice for the three. They went over it many times before Shozo was satisfied.

The students then moved and they worked on another part of scene two. They kept that up until club time was done. They all waved goodbye to each other before parting ways. Ayano and Kokona went to their lockers and changed shoes before heading out. Osana and Raibaru were already there with Taro. Soon, Budo came out too and they all started toward home. “Hey, Taro,” Budo started and Taro turned toward him. “Did you check out the Gardening Club?”

“Oh, yeah. I did. I didn’t really feel it,” he admitted and Budo just smiled.

“Well, you can always see if the other clubs give you a feeling,” Budo said with a smile and Taro smiled back.

“Maybe,” he agreed.

“How’s the rehearsal going?” Osana asked and everyone turned to Kokona and Ayano. Ayano blushed at the attention.

“We’re going over scene two now! We haven't finished yet though. I guess we were lucky to go over scene one so quickly,” Kokona responded which had the others nodding.

“You think Kizana will enjoy it?” Raibaru asked this time and Ayano shared a look with Kokona.

“We’ll do everything in our power to make sure the play is perfect for Kizana,” Kokona answered with a determined smile which had the other laugh softly.

“I wish you luck then,” Budo said and Osana nodded her agreement.

“Ya, I’ve heard she can be kinda scary when a play isn’t perfect.”

Kokona just waved them off. “We Drama members make sure everything is perfect! And I’m sure Ayano will be marvelous on the stage for the performance!” At Kokona’s praise, Ayano’s blush deepened which had the others smiling.

“You’ll do great!” Taro said still smiling.

“Ya! I bet no one will be able to look away!” Budo added and Ayano’s blush deepened even more.

“Thanks, guys,” Ayano said clasping her hands in front of herself. They then switched topics to Cooking Club and the Martial Arts Club. Budo boasted how his students are improving every day. And Osana talked about how all the members are working on new items to show Amai when she returns.

“So you two will be stopping by tomorrow at lunch?” Osana asked and the two nodded.

“Ya, if you want, you could join us,” Ayano offered and Osana nodded.

“Sure! I want to practice making my treat some more,” Osana agreed and they continued talking about anything until they reached Ayano’s house. Ayano waved goodbye with a smile that felt real. She continued smiling as she went into her house and did her nightly routine. She finished her homework quickly and changed into her pj's. She then went to bed with a faint smile on her lips.

Chapter Text

Week 1, Wednesday

Ayano looked over at her phone as it buzzed. She turned the alarm off and saw that there were texts from Kokona and some unknown numbers. She quickly got ready and ate breakfast of toast and eggs while looking over the texts. Kokona started a new group chat with Saki, Osana, Riabaru, Budo, and Taro. She only knew since they introduced themselves to not freak her out. When she finished eating, she quickly put them in her contacts. As she washed her plate, there was a knock on the door.

She grabbed her bag and opened the door to see all her friends, including Saki, waiting. A smile grew on her face unconsciously which had Kokona smiling. Ayano quickly locked her door and they headed off to school.

“You’re actually up on time, Taro,” Budo commented with a laugh which had Taro rubbing the back of his neck.

“Yeah. I was able to put an alarm on my phone finally. Hanako usually played on my phone and had it in the mornings. But my parents said they’re thinking of getting her, her own if she doesn’t use mine for the rest of the week,” he explained and everyone nodded.

“So you’re little sister caused you to not wake up on time?” Saki asked and Taro blushed a bit in embarrassment before Saki started laughing. The others soon started laughing too at the ridiculousness of it.

“I guess so,” Taro said once he stopped laughing. They started chatting about nothing for the rest of the way to school. Once they reached the school, they separated. Kokona, Osana, and Raibaru all walked with Ayano to their class. Ayano dug her script out when they reached her desk and looked down at it.

“You okay, Yan-chan?” Osana asked and Ayano looked up at her friends before giving a small shrug.

“I’m fine. I guess, I’m just nervous about the performance?” she stated, though it sounded like a question.

“That’s perfectly normal Yan-chan!” Kokona said pulling Ayano into a hug before putting her hands on Ayano’s shoulders. “Every person feels that way before a performance! Especially new people! But I know you’ll do great!”

“Definitely,” Osana agreed with Raibaru smiling her agreement. Ayano smiled at them as she placed her script down.

“Thanks,” she mumbled and they all just smiled. They then went over scene one’s lines once more before starting on scene two’s lines. The bell soon rang and Kokona waved goodbye. Fuka-sensei came in and started the lesson quickly. Soon the bell rang for lunch and Ayano smiled as they went downstairs to the cooking club.

“Is Raibaru joining us?” Ayano asked as the three met up with Kokona.

“I like walking with her. I’ll meet up with the boys after we reach the club,” Raibaru said happily and they nodded. They soon reached the club and saw a couple of members grabbing trays and walking out. Raibaru waved before leaving them to do as they please. They grabbed trays themselves and set them down before grabbing some items to make a treat for the school. Ayano made Deviled Eggs thanks to the boiled eggs ready in the fridge once Osana confirmed that anyone could use them. Osana made S’mores, and Kokona made Octodogs.

Once they were done, they all grabbed their trays and walked about the school handing out the treats. Soon, all the treats were gone and they went back and washed the trays. Once that was done, they quickly ate lunch. They were just finishing when the bell rang. “Talk about a close call,” Kokona said as she took her bento’s into her grip. The two others nodded their agreement before parting ways to get back to class.

They get back to class and the teacher smiles at the class before getting back to work. The lesson seems to go by quickly for Ayano, while also taking an eternity too. It was a strange paradox for Ayano to experience. Once the bell rang, Ayano was quick to grab the trash and head down to the incinerator. She waved to the delinquents with a smile that they returned. While they weren’t shocked to have her greet them, they didn’t like people still. She walked back to class with a smile as she thought back to the delinquents. She sorta knew them before they became defensive towards others.

She felt bad for them. But she hoped that she could get them to open up to her a bit, with each day. She soon reached her class and placed the trashcan down before grabbing her bag. Raibaru and Osana were waiting for her. They then made their way down the stairs to find Kokona waiting for them. Once they were together, they walked over to the Cooking Club and waved goodbye to Osana and Raibaru. They then continued on toward the gym to continue practicing the play.

Once they arrived, Shozo was quick to start practicing scene one and two. Once he was sure it was good. He allowed them to go onto scene three. They started doing the basics of scene three before finally going to blocking for the scene. When club time finally ended, they felt pretty good for how the scene was coming along. They all walked toward their lockers before separating to go their separate ways. Kokona and Ayano walked over to the gate where Osana and the others were waiting.

“Looks like you beat Budo again,” Osana said with a smile which had them all smiling.

“Which is funny considering you have to walk across the whole school,” Taro added had them all laughing. Ayano’s heart was fluttering erratically as Taro looked at her with a smile. Her face flushed ever so slightly as she looked down to her feet while Kokona gently jabbed her with her elbow.

“Ohh,” Kokona hummed and Ayano’s blush deepened ever so slightly. Soon, Budo came running toward them with a wave, his messy hair seeming to be messier than usual.

“Sorry! I was sparring against Mina. She’s getting better,” he said as an explanation and they nodded. As they walked, the group asked how the play was going and Kokona talked about how two scenes are pretty close to perfect and they were working on scene three. They nodded understanding before Kokona asked about the others’ clubs. Osana told them how Shoku got news from Amai. Apparently, the competition was close to finishing it’s filming and it was going well. That had everyone smiling as they couldn’t wait to hear if she won.

Soon, they made it to Ayano’s house and she waved goodbye as she entered her house. She smiled as she set her bag down. The answering machine had a light blinking meaning there was a message on it. Hesitantly, she pressed the button and the machine droned out how there was a message from a few hours ago.

Hi sweetie !” her mother's voice called out and Ayano tensed ever so slightly. “ So, I just wanted to see how you were doing. Your father is doing just fine if you wondering. I wish I could have talked more last time, but I didn’t know your father was calling you. I hope everything is fine! I hope you keep us updated on anything new happening! I do hope you’ll tell us if you found your Senpai ! Anyways, I hope your day is going well! Talk to you later sweetie!

The machine then stopped its eerie message. Ayano was tense after hearing the message. She hoped nothing bad had happened to her father after he had called. But the way her mother said he was fine had her worried. She was knocked out of her daze when the group chat finally named to Clubs Galore, had a new message. She laughed aloud as she read the message.

Osa-chan

-weve finally seen the impossible

-Hanako just burnt water

Taro <3

-i was there and saw it happen

-i dont even understand how it happened

Underneath the texts was a picture sent from Osana showing Hanako’s embarrassed face while Taro looked surprised in the background.

Ayano

-i cant believe that just happened

-maybe you should keep Hanako away from the kitchen

The others all sent the crying laugh emoji in response. Osana then sent another pic of Hanako pouting. Underneath it read:

-she didnt like that response .

Which had Ayano and the others laugh by leaving emoji’s of laughing or a simple, lol. Soon, the chat died down and Ayano got ready for bed. She soon finished and climbed into bed with a sigh after plugging her phone in.

Chapter Text

Week 2, Monday

Ayano woke up to a mass of texts from Osana, Kokona, and Saki. They were talking about how the Cooking Club leader was coming back that week. Ayano finished getting ready and went out of her house to see Budo, Taro, Osana, Raibaru, and Kokona all waiting. She greeted them as she locked her door. “Amai is going to love you, Yan!” Kokona cheerily called out when they began walking.

“You really think so?” Ayano asked, tilting her head to show thought.

“Absolutely, Yan!” Osana cut in going to Ayano’s side. “Amai loves everyone!”

“Who wouldn’t love you!” Budo cut in with a flushed face and Ayano smiled shyly at that.

“Thanks, Budo!” Ayano said and the group continued on to the school. “Oh, I just realized I never got a handkerchief,” she stated and Osana nodded understanding.

“Yeah, I forgot about that. We can go directly to the club and get one for you! You just need to wear it when you do club activities. But if you want, you can wear it all the time like Saki and the others. I have a pink one I wear for club time,” Osana explained and Kokona nodded herself.

“Yeah! I do the same with my purple one,” Kokona answered pulling it out of her bag. The rest of the walk was silent which was nice for Ayano since it allowed her to think. Before, she didn’t talk to people. Sure, she had Kokona, but that took a couple of years.

But she couldn’t say she didn’t enjoy it. But she could say she only really enjoyed it thanks to Taro being around. She knew that because of Taro, she could feel. Even when he wasn’t around, she could still feel. But not as much. But she hoped that once they started dating, if they ever did that is, that she’d feel whole everywhere. She was knocked out of her thoughts when Taro tapped her shoulder. “Are you ok?” he asked and she realized that everyone was looking at her concerned, except for Kokona.

“Ya! I was just thinking about meeting Amai finally!” Ayano replied cheerfully. Kokona had a look that read, ‘ I know that you weren’t thinking about that ’ but she knew Kokona wouldn’t say anything to anyone. They soon reached the school and Ayano changed her shoes quickly before being dragged off to the Cooking Club.

“Are you excited to meet Amai finally!?” Osana asked and Ayano nodded.

“I’ve only met her once before she left, but she was sooo nice!” Kokona said which had Osana nodding.

“She’ll be happy to meet the newest member,” Osana continued and they soon reached the club room. Osana opened the door excitedly and there stood Amai, baking a treat. Ayano took the girl in, her short brown had pulled back with a mint handkerchief with a matching apron. She also had striped stockings in the same color. “Amai! Welcome back!” Osana said happily and hugged Amai who returned the hug happily. “This is the new recruit, Ayano!” Osana introduced when she stepped back.

Amai looked over at Ayano and smiled. “I’m so happy you decided to join the Cooking Club!” Amai said with a gentle smile and Ayano smiled back, drawn to Amai’s kindness. “I heard you are also in the Drama Club?” she asked and Ayano nodded. “How fun! I hope you have fun in both!” she said and right then the oven dinged. “Oh! My cookies are done!” she said and turned to the oven and pulled the treats out. “Once they’ve cooled off a bit, you three can be the first ones to try them!”

“Awesome!” Osana said happily. “Oh ya, your handkerchief and apron!”

“Oh, you haven’t gotten them?” Amai asked and Ayano shook her head.

“No, it was hectic last week as Drama practiced the lines for the upcoming play this Sunday,” Ayano explained and Amai nodded understanding, knowing how hectic drama could be the first week of going over a script.

“I have just the ones for you!” Amai said happily and went over to a cupboard and pulled out the two items. They were a pink-red color with white hearts on it. “This fits you perfectly! I’ve heard so many nice things about you from others!” she said and Ayano took them with a smile.

“Thank you, Amai!” Ayano said folding the apron to put it in her bag. She then put the handkerchief in her hair. It didn’t take in her bangs, but Amai doesn’t seem to mind since her bangs are out too.

“You look lovely, dear!” Amai complimented.

“Thank you,” Ayano smiled at Amai. “I’ll be coming to the Cooking Club at lunch on Wednesday, is that okay?”

“Of course! You and Kokona came come to the club to fulfill your club requirements whenever you can! Once the play is over, you can come after school finally,” Amai said happily. “The cookies should be cool enough to eat!” At that, the four girls grabbed a cookie and took a bit and hummed.

“These are really good!” Ayano said before taking another bit. At the compliment, Amai blushed and her smile grew.

“Thank you! I’m going to hand the rest out! I’ll see you later, dearie!” Amai said putting the cookies on a tray before leaving the club room.

“So, have you done anything to win over Taro?” Osana asked and Ayano looked over the girl as she finished the cookie.

“I…..I wanna give him something, but I’m not sure what he’d like,” Ayano admitted and Kokona patted her shoulder with a smile.

“Well, he lost his favorite book, maybe you could replace it,” Osana suggested and Ayano smiled.

“You’d let me do that?” she asked and Osana nodded. “Thank you! What’s the book called?” she asked and Osana pulled out a piece of paper and scribbled down the title and author.

“Here. This is the book he loves, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bookstore knew it too,” Osana said with a smile and Ayano smiled as she carefully placed the paper in her bag. “Do you think you’ll confess on Friday?”

“I hope so if I get the courage. I just hope no one else tries to,” Ayano said and Osana nodded understanding.

“Well, if you ever need help, you can ask us!” Osana said and Ayano smiled once more. “We should start heading to class now,” she mentioned and Ayano nodded.

“Yeah. Let’s go.” After saying that, the three left the room and separated at the staircase. Soon, Ayano and Osana reached their class and saw Raibaru waiting by their desks.

“Hey! Sorry I ditched you at the gate, I had to ask the teacher a few questions,” Raibaru explained with her ever-present smile. Osana just waved her hand.

“That’s fine! We ran into Amai when we went over to the Cooking Club!” Osana said and Raibaru’s smile grew.

“Really?” she asked and Osana nodded.

“Yeah, and she loved Ayano just like we thought,” Osana replied which had Ayano shaking her head.

“That’s good! And that handkerchief looks nice on you!” Raibaru commented and Ayano smiled.

“Thanks!” The bell then rang and they sat down. Soon, the teacher came into the room and started the lesson. They were given group work again and Osana and Raibaru once again pulled their desks over to Ayano’s. They were able to work quickly and finished the assignment with a few minutes to spare before lunch. While they waited for lunch, they talked quietly about the Cooking Club president's return and the upcoming Drama play. The bell soon rang and the three stood up and handed the paper to Fuka-sensei before leaving the room.

Kokona ran up the steps and met them as they started going up. She handed Ayano her bento and they continued up. Budo and Taro were already sitting as they reached the roof. The two boys waved over at them and they returned the wave. They soon sat down and Taro started talking about how their teacher gave them a pop quiz. Budo agreed with the groan with his own. They both agreed it was hard to pass. “I’m sure you did fine,” Ayano said shyly which had the two boys smiling.

“Thank you!” Taro replied and Budo nodded agreement. “You look nice in the handkerchief, Ayano,” he said after a bit and Ayano blushed at that, ducking her head.

“Thank you,” she said quietly with a smile. Kokona nudged her with her elbow with a laugh. Ayano soon giggled too. They then went back to eating their bento’s when a hesitant voice called out.

“Would you guys like some brownies I made?” They turned to see Amai smiling shyly while holding out a tray to the group.

“Sure!” Budo said and he reached out for a brownie which prompted them all to do the same. “This is good, Amai-kouhai!” Budo said and Amai smiled while the group voiced their agreement. Though a blush appeared when Taro complimented.

“Thank you. You guys can just call me Amai!” she said smiling and they nodded agreement. “I’ll see you guys later!” she said smile bright as she walked away to hand out the rest. Soon, lunch was over and they walked back to their class.

“Alright class, pull out your books!” Fuka-sensei called once the bell rang. The rest of class flew by with them reading and taking notes. Soon it was cleaning time and Ayano grabbed the trashcan and took it to the incinerator outside. A few students were already coming back with their trash cans, presumably having ran to avoid being near the delinquents for long.

Ayano soon reached the incinerator and waved to the delinquents as she got near. “Hey! I hope you're having a good day!” Ayano said and the boys looked surprised as she emptied the can into the incinerator.

“You too,” Umeji called out with the others nodding. At that, Ayano just smiled and waved goodbye. She walked back to her class and put the trash can back. She then grabbed her bag and walked down the stairs with Osana and Raibaru. Kokona stood waiting and they made their way to the cooking club before separating. The two then made their way to the gym where a few members were waiting. Soon after they entered, the temporary leader came in with a clap of his hands.

“Alright! Last scene! Then tomorrow we get props and costumes!” Tsuruzo called out. They all got into position and did the last scene. They tweaked it a bit every so often until it was perfect. After perfecting the scene, they did a run-through of the whole play, finishing with a minute before club time ended. Once they finished the left their clubs to head over to the lockers to leave.

Budo was already there with Taro when Ayano and Kokona reached them. Osana and Raibaru ran out with a wave and smile. Amai was walking behind them smiling. “Hello again!” she greeted. “I just wanted to walk with them to the gate! I’ll see you tomorrow!” With that, she walked away from the school, heading to Buraza Square. The six of them then started walking home. They talked about the next day and how their weekend was.

It was nice for Ayano. To listen to her friends talk. When they got near the town Ayano broke off from the group to go to the bookstore at the edge of the square. She went inside and asked the worker about the book and was able to buy it quickly. She placed the book carefully into her bag as she exited the store and saw her friends waiting. “What did you need to get?” Budo asked tilting his head in curiosity.

“Oh, just wanted to replace a book that got lost,” she said vaguely and the boys nodded. The group then continued on their way home. They soon reached her house and Ayano waved as she unlocked her door. She soon entered her house and worked on her homework. She was happy to see as she made dinner that there weren’t any new messages from her mother. Once she finished dinner, she got ready for bed and fell asleep with a smile. Ready for another day to win over Taro.

Chapter Text

Week 2, Tuesday

Ayano hummed as she wrapped the book up. She was quick to put a little note on it that had her initials on it. She then placed the book into her bag carefully before heading outside. Taro, Budo, Osana, and Raibaru were the only ones there. She tilted her head in confusion at not seeing Kokona. “Kokona needed to go ahead to talk to her teacher, Osana explained and Ayano nodded as she locked her door.

The five of them then went on their way to school talking about anything. Osana talked about the possible treats the Cooking Club was going to sell at the play. They soon reached the school and Ayano was quick to change her shoes before running up the stairs to Taro’s classroom. She saw a couple of students inside already and went up to one. “Excuse me, do you know where Taro-senpai sits? I want to leave him a gift,” Ayano asked and the girl smiled at her.

“He sits there,” she pointed to the desk and Ayano smiled thanks before going over to the desk. She then carefully pulled out the book and left it on top of his desk. She then made her way down and entered her class.

“How’d it go?” Osana asked as Ayano set her bag down.

“I left it on his desk,” Ayano replied and she nodded.

“Well, I guess we’ll see how he likes it when it’s lunch,” Osana said and Ayano nodded agreement. The class soon started and flew by for the three. They were just reading for the class time. Soon, the bell rang and the three went up the stairs with Kokona. They reached the roof and saw Taro blushing with a smile while holding a book. Budo had a smirk and seemed to be teasing him. They soon noticed the girls and waved. “Whatcha got there?” Osana asked when they sat down and Taro blushed.

“A secret admirer going by AA left this on my desk. It's the very same book I lost,” Taro said.

“Looks like someone has a crush,” Budo teased and Taro tried frowning at his friend but couldn’t as the blush was still on his face.

“How sweet! I wonder if they’ll leave you more gifts?” Kokona asked glancing over at Ayano with a smirk. Ayano looked pointedly at her lunch to keep from blushing.

“We’ll see I guess,” Taro said and they nodded.

“Hello again!” Amai’s voice called and they all looked at the girl as she held out another treat she made. On the tray were slices of bread with some tomatoes, basil, and cheese. “Would you like to try some bruschetta I made?” she asked with a smile and they nodded.

“Why don’t you sit with us for a little?” Ayano asked and Amai smiled as she sat down. The group was quick to taste the bruschetta. They all hummed after finishing the treat. “That was tasty.”

“It was!” Kokona agreed and the others were quick to agree to her sentiment. Amai blushed at the praise and smiled shyly at Taro.

“Why don’t you join us for lunch tomorrow?” Osana asked and Amai’s smile somehow brightened.

“I’d love too! I better hand out the rest of this before lunch is over,” Amai said getting up and the group waved goodbye as the girl left. Soon, it was time for class again and the group separated to go to their classes. This time, the class did a quiz on what they read before being given free time to do whatever they wanted. During the time, Osana and Raibaru, helped Ayano memorize her lines until the bell rang. They all then went down and separated as Ayano went to the Drama Club while Osana and Raibaru walked to the Cooking Club.

Most of the members were already there going through costumes and props. Kokona waved excitedly and dragged her over. “Yan! We’re picking out costumes right now for our characters!” she said excitedly which had the other members laugh.

“To choose what to wear, you ask yourself: ‘what would my character like? Would they dress to impress? Would they dress for comfort?’. Those types of questions basically. And the play has six days. So you’ll need six outfits,” Shozo said from where he was and Ayano nodded understanding. She thought about her character and how the girl is afraid to love. So she decided to simply but nice outfits that would be comfortable. The last outfit, however, was different. On the final day of the play, her character agrees to finally go out and date Shozo’s character.

Kokona whistled as she looked at the knee-length red dress Ayano got out. “You really do have a knack for choosing what a character would suit,” she replied and Shozo nodded his agreement to that.

“Now, all we have to do is get the props and then take everything to the Gym,” Shozo said the group figured out what props made the most sense for the play. Soo, they had all the props needed and picked everything up and headed over to the gym. In the Gym’s backstage, there were two curtained areas near the stage for the girls and boys. They went into the curtained area’s and hung their costumes and then placed who’s character it was for before leaving.

Once that was done, Shozo placed the few props he had onto a table in the back and the few others that also had props did the same. They made sure the props were in separate piles to prevent confusion when the club leader clapped his hands. “Alright! Club time is over. Tomorrow we’ll make sure all the props are good to be used then go through the play with them!” he said and the club nodded. “Have a good night!” he said and everyone left the gym. After everyone left, the leader locked the gym before following the others back to the lockers. Once there, they went their separate ways. Kokona and Ayano soon meet up with Osana and Budo who waited at the gates for them.

“Taro and Raibaru had some stuff they had to do at home,” Budo explained and the two girls nodded understanding.

“Of course,” Ayano agreed and the four then walked home chatting about what happened in their clubs. All too soon, they reached Ayano’s house and she waved goodbye to them as she entered her house. She was quick to do her nightly routine before heading up to bed. She fell asleep with a smile on her face.