Today wasn’t a full school day because of the opening ceremony, so everyone went home early. But I was tired, all thanks to the blonde girl sitting next to me. I sat at my desk while 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 had managed to predict these things so far, I was genuinely inclined to believe that she was 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’ve relived this spring over and over again. So give up and go out with me. You’ve got something to tell me, don’t you? Whisper it to me. Come on, come on~”
This girl sure was 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 over at her her desk, she turned away and crossed her arms and pouted.
“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 did think that Sasashino was a cute girl. But it wasn't like we were dating or anything. Realistically, we were only acquaintances until her sudden confession this morning, and now we were friends at best. In the first place, I didn'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. 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?”
“I have to go to work there right now.”
Of course, saying ‘Bye, see you tomorrow’ after her confessions felt bad, but I couldn't not 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 was.
“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. Gotta keep things interesting. See you tomorrow, I'll keep attacking~"
“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 bag and walked out of the classroom. A few of her friends got up to leave with her, probably to ask about her confession this morning. I thought that I should probably get going to my part-time job before they catch me too.
“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-neesan 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 was a university near the coffee shop. There were a lot of welcome parties happening during this time of the year, so it seemed like the shop needed more staff temporarily. The shop became a western-style bar at night, and it looked they wanted my help for that too, if possible. A man named Miyano-san was in charge. I’d seen him a few times before at family gatherings. He was 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-neesan.
The Matsuse family, my cousin’s branch being the main one, was a prominent family here. The relationship between the branches was very good, so we often gave each other a hand and helped each other out financially. The Shirasugi branch was in the landscaping business. We were responsible for the personal garden of the main branch, the gardens of the ryokans run by them, and even the trees along roads in this city.
TN: Ryokans are traditional Japanese-style inns.
I was usually the one that went around to give an extra hand to any family member that may have needed it. Thanks to this, I had 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. The main branch of the family and asked me to lend a hand.”
“Ah, thanks for the help. …Tomoe? You’ve grown up, you’re old enough for a part-time job now.”
“It’s been almost a year since someone’s told me I’ve grown up.”
I chuckled and looked around the shop. There weren't any customers yet, but there was an aroma of coffee, and bossa nova covers of anime songs were playing softly. Since the shop became a western-style bar at night, there was a rack with bottles of liquor on the end of the counter. There were three tables 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 were also sweet desserts, but the emphasis seemed to be more on bitter chocolate cakes, which was probably because of the tastes of the customers 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… it 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 look so good together…”
Was he trying to use 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. She was adorable, and saying that I should be next to her was probably too much praise. She had light-brown shoulder-length hair, which gave a cute and upbeat impression. She had a pleasant face and talked cheerfully, a good fit for the service industry. With her here, I felt like I’d 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 was 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 quite something.
While I was thinking about that, Jindou leaned closer and whispered to me.
“Shirasugi-senpai, I’ve come from the future to save you!”
Is this a trend 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 enough! So I’ve come from the future to flirt with you and save you!”
That gave me some déjà vu. Hey, future me, aren’t you a playboy? Weren'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 Senpai can’t believe it.”
Well, it was easier to believe Jindou after what happened with Sasahino, you know? It’s not so much whether I believe these two or not, but rather that 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. The current me is innocent, though. 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 she 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 the coffee.
“I thought about it while 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 do it 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 need 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. Your suppliers. 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 she was outplayed, she’d just go back in time again, right? Don’t pick a fight with someone from 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 kind of looks like a woodpecker.”
“Ehh, really? 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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