With our scouting trip done, the three of us rode the bus back. Since they were going back to their dorm, the bus stop was where we were going to part ways.
Well, it’s fine, anyway. This scouting trip became really fruitful when it comes to my progress with Juri. Although there’s still the vague line of whether or not she will accept my complexity, the line has already been crossed and her rule has already been broken.
Furthermore, Setsuna-nee dropping her prejudice against me was another plus. I’d have an easier time by not having to deal with her.
“Well then, see you next time, Juri, Setsuna-nee-san.”
“Un. Thank you for accompanying us today, Ruki. That next time will be on our date, right?” Juri replied while donning a pleasant smile on her lips. However, that last line was definitely intentional.
As expected, Setsuna-nee didn’t fail to catch that. With her eyes narrowing to a slit, she stepped in between us.
“Hmm? What’s that date? How come I’m only hearing that now?”
“Oh. I promised him one in exchange for this. Don’t you think we should reciprocate instead of taking advantage of our junior?”
Juri answered instantly as though she had that prepared.
No wonder she didn’t even hesitate at adding that up. Most likely, this was her setting up our upcoming date. Her goal was to inform Setsuna-nee early on so that when the time comes, she wouldn’t be questioned by her.
Surprisingly, Setsuna-nee accepted that answer, she took a step back and lowered the pressure she was emitting, “Then say it like that, and don’t call it a date! You’re making me act up again.”
“Why? Isn’t it a date when you go out with a guy?” Crossing her arms and pressing a finger on her cheek, Juri asked. Her lips slowly stretched into a grin that further aimed to tease her best friend.
Setsuna-nee’s eyebrows twitched as she clicked her tongue. Then, halfway through it, she realized, “It is. But that’s different! Wait. Juri, you’re trying to rile me up, aren’t you?”
With a clap of her hand, Juri dropped her act and laughed, “Heh. Good catch. But it is what it is. I asked him out as my way to show my gratitude to him. What about you? Will you also do something for Ruki?”
As she said that, she once again drew her gaze towards me. And obviously, Setsuna-nee’s eyes followed.
Looking at the two of them, I couldn’t help but shake my head at Juri while I faced Setsuna-nee’s conflicted eyes.
A second later, she answered Juri’s question. “... I don’t know. It depends on him. But you better tell Satsu-chan about that. She might get jealous if she finds out that apart from asking him to accompany us today, you’ll also go out with him.”
“Of course, I will. Don’t worry about that. So, Ruki... she said it depends on you. The choice is yours.” Juri nodded at Setsuna-nee at first, seemingly unbothered by her reminder before turning to me.
Well, since Setsuna-nee left the choice to me, I could just opt out of it.
“I guess it’s fine whichever. Setsuna-nee-san didn’t need to bother, I’m satisfied enough with the treat I will get from you.”
“Are you sure? You know it’s rare for Setsu to be indebted to someone.”
Rare, huh? But I don’t really need it. What is Juri trying to do here?
“Well, I can see that. Setsuna-nee has a strong personality. I can’t imagine her asking someone for help.”
Upon saying that, my gaze landed on Setsuna-nee who was listening intently.
She looked a little flustered at first but in the end, she raised her chin and declared. “That... That’s right!”
I thought that was the end of it but she soon added, “You helped us out, Onoda-kun. Like Juri, I’ll treat you to something next time. I’ll message you.”
“You don’t really need to, you know?”
“I insist. I can’t make you think I had taken advantage of my seniority or my 'older-sister' card to have you accompany us.”
I’m not thinking any of that at all.
In any case, based on her current stance, she’s probably not going to back down with that. As for Juri, she’s definitely assumed at this turn of events...
Instead of forcing her best friend to comply, she somehow manipulated Setsuna-nee to voluntarily invite me out. Was that all so she would be able to dodge suspicion?
I don’t know...
After agreeing to that, I finally parted ways with them.
Nonetheless, not even five minutes later, Juri sent me a message, thanking me again for accompanying her. Additionally, she informed me about the status of that magazine contest where she sent my photo as an entry.
It’s only been a week so it probably hadn’t been judged yet but apparently, she received an email from the organizer, asking for more ‘samples’. Or in other words, more photos of me.
She’s asking for my permission if she could send it. I mean, no matter how much we closed the distance between us, that girl could still separate things. And as she’s an aspiring photographer, she would be professional about it.
Naturally, I thought about it at first before ultimately agreeing. It’s obvious that since they’re asking for more photos, it was probably rated high...
Looks like I’m going to lose my bet and my path to being a model is about to fully open.
It was close to five in the afternoon when my ass finally got a seat on the train. Given that it's the weekend, there were a lot more passengers today that I had to wait in line because of how crowded it was.
Thankfully, I already messaged Ayu that I’m on the way.
Today was the 2nd run of my Basic Boxing Lessons. Since the first one was a success, the limited slots for it were already reserved or snatched up way before today. And while it scared Ayu a little, she’s more than happy to accommodate them all. She even praised me a lot for bringing more customers to their Boxing Gym.
Among those who finished my ten-session course, close to half of them signed up for membership and slowly became a regular at that gym. She even mentioned Ichihara-san who picked her as her trainer.
As for Hisa-jii... Well, the old man’s objective for opening that course was to attract more boxing talents. He’s also a little enlivened to see young blood coming to the gym. If he found a talented kid from among them, he’s probably going to train him or her to be a boxing star – the same way he promised to do for me if I ever tried to consider his offer.
Sena will not be at the gym today but she’s at our house, along with the others. She already finished that training camp she attended. She’s already prepared for the upcoming Inter-high school competition. And this weekend was her rest day. Ayu advised her not to push herself or she might get an injury before her match.
With the train ride reaching almost an hour, the sky was already about to turn dark when I left the station.
Maybe to not keep my new students waiting or she just wanted to see me right away, I found Ayu leaning against her car, waiting for me nearby. She’s here to pick me up and save me the few minutes of walking to the gym.
Seeing my girl there, a smile was instantly drawn from my lips as my feet quickly dragged me to her location. And likewise, the woman who, just earlier, had been trying to come up with excuses on how to talk to me over the phone, smiled contentedly as her eyes captured me within.
However, maybe not used to acting like that in public, she hurriedly pulled a straight face as she went back inside her car.
I followed her and took the passenger’s seat.
As soon as I settled myself there, Ayu reached for my cheek, caressing it as she started inspecting my state with a hint of concern.
“Are you sure you can still hold a lesson today? You’re not tired yet?”
Well, I was still in hiking gear and even though my shirt changed, I didn’t look like someone who was about to teach tens of people the basics of boxing. Furthermore, I probably appeared a little drowsy since the train ride was boring, I couldn’t pull my phone out due to how crowded it was... I missed messaging my girls.
“Nope, seeing you gave me another dose of energy. Maybe a kiss can bring me back to 100%.” I answered with a smile. Those words naturally came out of my mouth.
Upon hearing that, Ayu almost facepalmed but a second later, she pushed her face closer, giving me what I asked.
“There you go, you spoiled brat.” As she pulled her head away after giving a long, deep kiss, Ayu softly whispered, her voice filled with her affection.