Today wasn’t a full school day because of the opening ceremony, so everyone went home early. And yet, I was plenty tired thanks to the blonde girl sitting next to me. I sat at my desk, getting ready to leave.
“Do you believe me now? You do, don’t you? I’ve predicted right every time so far, so surely you believe me, right?”
Sasashino’s predictions really did come true. She couldn’t have easily gotten information about a sudden rainstorm or a fire alarm happening. When I checked the forecast this morning, it wasn’t supposed to rain today. Well, Sasashino’s rain was so light that it was almost funny. However, since she really has managed to predict these things so far, I’m genuinely inclined to believe that she’s from the future.
“Am I really going to die because of a truck accident…?”
“I’ve proven that I’m not lying, right? I’m telling you, I’ll relive this spring over and over again. So give up, let’s become lovers. You’ve got something to tell me, don’t you? Whisper it to me. Come on, come on~”
This girl sure is excited.
“Only if we start as friends.”
“You’re so stubborn. Friends it is, I guess.”
“…You think I won’t do it? If you’re this unsure, doesn’t that mean we’ve never actually been together before?”
“ーI didn’t want to lose you.”
“Rephrase that. You’re sounding more and more suspicious.”
When I glanced at her walking next to me, she turned away and crossed her arms with a huff.
“Why are you so reluctant to go out with me? Why don’t you just flirt with me already!”
“It’s not something you do with just anyone.”
Of course, just like everyone else, I do think that Sasashino is a cute girl. But it’s not like we’re dating or anything like that. Realistically, we were only acquaintances until her sudden confession this morning, and now we are friends at best. In the first place, I don’t have the guts to skip this many steps and suddenly become intimate lovers. You say you’re trying to save me, but if that’s all it is, then you’re not in love with me as you say. I can’t help but think it’s some sort of prank. I can’t really point that out to her, though.
“I didn’t think I was this conservative, though.”
“Jeez. When I confessed to you before, you said yes without hesitation and wanted me to meet your relatives right away.”
“Things are moving quickly. Isn’t the owner of the coffee shop this relative you’re talking about?”
“That’s where I work part-time.”
Of course, saying ‘Goodbye, see you tomorrow’ after her confessions feels bad, but I have to go to my new part-time job. I thought I’d get her coffee and some cake and send her home to make up for it. This is just how I am.
“Ah, right, I have to go to work.”
I’d completely forgotten about it because of the girl from the future.
“It’s not a good idea to bring your girlfriend to your first day on the job, right? I guess it can’t be helped. Let’s call it a day then!”
“You little devil, rephrasing it like that.”
"I read in a book that love's about showing them you like them, then acting like you don't. You gotta keep things interesting. See you tomorrow, I'll keep pushing~"
“What an impressive confession to make in a classroom. Please be gentle with me.”
She gave up much easier than I expected. Sasashino grabbed her back and walked out of our classroom. A few of her friends got up to leave with her, probably to ask about her confession this morning. I should probably get going to my part-time job before they catch me.
“Well, if she doesn’t need to come with me, then I guess I won’t be hit by a truck today.”
But like, did you really need to confess in front of the whole class this morning?
I grabbed my bag and went to change my shoes, then left school. When I checked my phone, I saw that Misora nee-san had sent me the coffee shop’s location. She even sent the timetable of the bus I’d need to take. When I tapped the location, I saw that there’s a university near the coffee shop. There’s a lot of welcome parties happening during this time of year, so it seems that the shop needs more staff temporarily. The shop becomes a western-style bar at night, and it seems they’d like my help for that if possible. A man named Miyano-san will be in charge. I’ve seen him a few times at family gatherings. He’s a middle-aged man with glasses.
I sat on my phone while I waited for the bus to come.
ーー I’m on my way -Tomoe Shirasugi
I’ll contact Miyano-san, and while I’m at it, I’ll also text Misora nee-san.
The Matsuse family, with my cousin’s branch being the main one, is a prominent family here. The relationship between the branches is very good, so we often give each other a helping hand, and help each other out financially. The Shirasugi branch is in the landscaping business. We are responsible for the personal garden of the main branch, the gardens of the ryokans (TN: traditional Japanese-style inns) run by them, and even the trees along roads in this city. I’m usually the one that goes around to give an extra hand to any family member that may need it. Thanks to this, I now have many unusual skills.
I boarded the bus and got to the coffee shop in about 10 minutes, 2 bus stops away from the train station. It’s a good location, neither too close nor too far from the station. I went inside, and greeted Miyano-san.
“Pardon my intrusion. I was contacted by the main branch of the family and was asked to lend a hand.”
“Ah, thanks for the help. Shirasugi’s… Tomoe? You’ve grown up, now that you’re old enough for a part-time job.”
“It’s been almost a year since someone’s told me I’ve grown up.”
I chuckled and looked around the shop. There were no customers yet, but there was an aroma of coffee, and bossa nova covers of anime songs were playing softly. Since the shop became a wester-style bar at night, there’s a rack with bottles of liquor on the end of the counter. There are three table seats and four bar seats. Most of the dishes on the menu were light, and it seemed that the shop didn’t serve alcohol during the day. There are also sweet desserts, but the emphasis seemed to be on more bitter chocolate cakes, which was probably because of the tastes of the clientele and the owner, Miyano-san.
“How can I help-”
Just as I was about to ask what my duties were, the door to the shop opened.
“Isn’t there a shortage of hands right now? I’d like to work part-time here!”
Before I could finish my thought, a petite girl in a uniform from the same high school as me cheerfully volunteered to take on a job. The colour of the lines on her collar, which changed depending on grade, showed that she was a freshman. She’s my kouhai? Well… Feels like she’s much better for this position.
Miyano-san and I looked at each other. He seemed to be a bit baffled, since he didn’t expect anyone to actually want to work here.
“Ah, I’ll brew some coffee in the meantime. Would you two like to sit by the window? You two look so good together…”
Is he trying to use the two of us as walking billboards?
“Ah, right. Since you two have come all this way, let’s have some chocolate cake.”
Miyano-san went to prepare the food, so I looked over at Part-time-job-chan.
“He wants us to go grab a seat.”
I sat down across the table from her, and she gave me a little salute. Hmm, she’s cute. No wonder Miyano-san said we’d look good together in a photo. She’s adorable, and saying that I should be in it with her is probably too much praise. She has light brown shoulder-length hair, which gives an upbeat and cute impression. She has a pleasant face and talks cheerfully, a good fit for the service industry. With her here, I feel like I’ll be left behind soon.
“I’m Haru Jindou!”
“Ah, yes. I’m Tomoe Shirasugi. I’m a relative of the owner. I was supposed to start working here today.”
She put her arms on the table, and faced me.
“I know, Shirasugi-senpai.”
“Huh? Am I that famous?”
Maybe it’s because of Sasashino’s confession this morning. Even the boys from other classes were staring at me today. I guess rumours about someone as popular as Akika Sasashino really do spread like wildfire, even to the freshmen. It was only their first day at this school today, so that’s something.
While I was thinking about that, Jinou leaned closer and whispered to me.
“Shirasugi-senpai, I’ve come from the future to save you!”
Is this trendy or something?
In response to my flat reaction, Jindou nodded her head, as though saying ‘That’s right, mm?’
“Shirasugi-senpai and I became lovers because of this part time job, but you died before we could flirt! So I’ve come from the future to flirt with you and save you!”
I’m getting some déjà vu. Hey, future me, aren’t you a playboy? Aren’t you supposed to be dating Sasashino? Are you some two-timing scumbag? Ahh, I’m so lost. What am I going to do in the future? And I’m going to die at the end of it all. My punishment for two-timing, maybe?
While I was thinking this over, Jindou continued with her story.
“No wonder the seniors can’t believe it.”
Well, it’s not like I won’t believe you after what happened with Sasahino, you know? It’s not so much whether I believe them or not, but rather that these two angels came to save the life of a two-timing bastard. I think they’re plenty justified to choke me out, both of them. I’m innocent now. I swear to live as an honest man, so let me live, okay?
“So let me prove it to you.”
“Yes. I’m going to predict the clothes of every customer that will come into the store.”
“And how many are coming?”
Why does she remember that? Did you live through this that many times already?
“Some coffee and chocolate cake for you two.”
Miyano-san brought it out on a tray. He stood next to our table, and set the food down. He looked at the two of us while enjoying the smell of his coffee.
“I thought about it while I was making your coffee. I’m going to hire both of you for now. I troubled the family, so it wouldn’t be good of me to go back on my word when another part-timer comes. Tomoe, sorry, but would you mind working for me?”
“I’m fine with it, I was going to anyway.”
“Having me here will make your job a lot easier!”
“You’re really lively, aren’t you? I’m looking forward to it. I’ll teach the two of you how to work here after you’ve finished eating, so relax and socialize with the rest of the staff. I’m going to go make a few calls to my suppliers.”
“Okay, got it.”
I watched as Miyano-san left through a door that led to what looked like a backyard. A supplier. Don’t tell me you’re importing some expensive Brazilian coffee or something…
“I heard that he imports it from a guy named Gozo.”
As though she could read my mind, she told me about it. She was smiling and laughing, probably because the future me had asked about it at some point.
“I didn’t read your mind, don’t worry~”
“Don’t look into the future.”
“Senpai, isn’t that a bit backwards?”
“You’re from the future.”
Her information advantage is so big that I’ll never be able to outplay her. I mean, if I were to be from a future in which I was outspoken, I’d just do try again, right? Don’t pick a fight with the future. Never forget that.
“Looks like this Gozo guy is good at what he does. Miyano-san is bowing down to him, holding his phone to his ear.”
“Ah, the move where you bow down to someone through a phone. The ‘Telephone Hammer’.”
“Ehh? That’s not true!”
In such a short time, the Haru Jindou that came from the future got angry.
“I’m going to tell my friends about that stupid face of yours tomorrow! Don’t look so proud while saying something so stupid!”
“Shame I won’t be there, but it’s okay since I got such a funny reaction. Oh, and it’s actually called the ‘Jap Pecker’, since it kinda looks like a woodpecker.”
“Ehh, ahh? Wait, you lied to me again!”
This girl’s fun. Laughing at Jinou’s reaction, I had some coffee and a slice of cake.
Now then, let’s get started with work?
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