One Shot:When Yuuto met Molly (And Miki too!)
Previous Chapter:Hello, Goodnight
Chapter 1: The Ballad of Queen Bee & Baby Duck
”King Baby Duck sat alone on his throne. Every day went and alone he remained. Then came the Queen Bee and everything changed.”
The girl seated across from me scrunches her face as she stares at the chessboard in front of her. I let out a tiny sigh and continue to tap my fingers along the edge of the table. Slowly, my opponent picks up her left rook and moves it three spaces forward. I stop my tapping, fingers just above the surface of the table as the eons pass for her to finally take her fingers off the chess piece.
Oh boy! Chess! Again!
Just another exciting day in the life of Student Council member Yuuto Miyamoto.
Ikezawa looks up at me, frowning slightly, and nods her head. Okay. Serious move from her there. She’s got her game face on.
I respond by picking up my remaining knight and taking her rook. Somehow, I don’t think she noticed that I’d be able to do that. Ikezawa gets pretty nervous when I’m in the room after all. I can count the amount of times she’s looked at me dead on like that on two fingers…. Because she’s only looked me in the face twice.
“That’s mine.” The words slithers out of my mouth as I place her former rook and place it next to the pile of pawns, her left knight, her right bishop and her queen that I have stocked up next to me.
Ikezawa’s frown deepens and she continues to stare at the chessboard. Wonderful. That’s the start of her routine again. That means I’ve got another lifetime before she moves another piece. While I do appreciate taking over for Satou in this game, as it is good practice for when I eventually do have to play Shizune again, playing against this girl isn’t the same. And with all the practice I’ve been getting since I’ve been sent up here quite a few times in the last two weeks, I still haven’t beaten Shizune. The one time I did get anywhere remotely close to beating her, I’m pretty sure Shizune was just toying with me.
This is the third time this week that I’ve been here. All I’ve wanted for the past two weeks is a day when I show up to the student council room and my bosses just wave me away with a simple “Nothing to do today!” and I get to go on my merry way. Maybe get to watch a movie with Miki and Molly or something. But no, with the week getting progressively drearier, my jobs with the student council have become increasingly more annoying.
Not that I’m ungrateful to Shizune and Misha for taking me in. Without the helping hand from the Student Council, I’d be out of Yamaku faster than you could say “assaulting a fellow student”, since the main stipulation of my scholarship that pays for my tuition is that I have to be in a school recognized club. Student Council may have been at the very bottom of my list, but with my history of “being a moody dick all the time”, I don’t think there were going to be any other clubs lining up for my membership.
The second biggest stipulation of my scholarship is that I have to maintain above-above-average marks in all of my subjects, hence the need for my nightly study sessions with Miki and Molly.
So my days have been spent balancing my studies, my student council work, my school assigned punishment, games with Shizune and then, on top of all that, the sign language lessons I just had to ask Misha and Shizune for.
Actually, those might be the one part of my Student Council work that I’m actually enjoying. While Misha tends to be an incredibly loud air-head, she actually manages to make learning sign language pretty fun. It’s a learning experience for the both of us, since Misha doesn’t exactly know what she’s doing. And for those very common instances where she does get off track or draws a blank on just where she’s supposed to go next, Shizune steps in and takes over the lesson. Or at the very least, gets us back on track. Mostly because she wants us to start working on Student Council work again.
Or I have to go clean another empty classroom or sweep the halls of one of the school’s floors because I just had to punch Takamichi in the mouth.
I resume tapping my fingers against the desk, trying not to be too loud as to be distracting to the real reason I’m in this room again. Satou is seated next to Ikezawa, with her fingers running over another sheet of paper. One that I’ve brought here six times now. With my constant interruptions, the least I can do is play a stupid game of chess with the girl who doesn’t say anything to me.
Too bad it won’t do me much good the next time Shizune pulls out a chessboard and decides to knock my ego down a peg.
“How are the forms coming along, Satou?” I finally ask, moving my eyes from the chessboard for the first time in what feels like hours.
Satou’s fingers stop moving across the paper in front of her. She hasn’t moved from that spot since I walked in and announced I had brought back her final paperwork from the festival booths. It’s just a stack of paper that she’s supposed to write how much money they spent on their stall and supplies and how much they made. But somehow, Shizune keeps finding something wrong with it and sending me back up here. I believe I’ve been made the official liaison between the offices of Hakamichi and Satou. Maybe it is better that I show up instead of Shizune, but I still don’t think Satou particularly enjoys hearing my voice every other day. I honestly enjoy coming up here to visit them. Hanako might stare at me and not say anything, but Satou’s presence certainly is calming after long days of working with the Student Council.
I would hope that maybe these two don’t mind me too much. I just want these two to be at least somewhat okay with me, since I have to be up here so often on Shizune’s command.
But today, I muttered a half-assed apology and placed the reports down in front of Satou before offering to take her place in the chess game.
“While I like to think I’m almost done, I’m sure the Student Council will find something else wrong with these,” She replies, giving me a very tiny and forced smile. Not that I blame her, considering this isn’t the first time I’ve had to bother her since she got back from her trip.
“But it shouldn’t be much longer.”
“Hey. I don’t normally go over the paperwork. I just move big things from one place to another and then get sent up here to bother you. So, take your time. I don’t mind finishing this game with Ikezawa. I might actually win for once.” I give the blind girl a grin that she’ll never get.
I wheel my head back to the chessboard. What does she mean checkmate? There’s no way that….
I can just move my king and everything should be fine. I always set up an escape plan. That’s the first thing I learned from playing against Shizune and losing six times in a row. But a quick look at the board confirms my worst suspicions. Ikezawa’s right. She moved her rook there to bait me into taking it and then taking my knight with her bishop. I would be able to take her with my queen, if she hadn’t moved a pawn in place between my queen and the spot in question three turns ago.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me….” I run a hand through my hair and groan quietly. I stop quickly as I realize that Ikezawa is staring at me with a hand over her mouth and Satou’s turned her head towards me with a disapproving look on her face.
There’s something about swearing in front of these two that makes me want to throw myself in front of a train.
“Uhm. Sorry about that. I guess the game goes to you, Ikezawa. ” I mutter, scratching my nose. I flick over my king and topple the piece. My opponent lowers her hand and I can see the small remnant of a smile on her face.
I push the pieces I took from her during our game across the table back to her. “Since Satou isn’t finished, we can play another game if you want...”
Ikezawa shakes her head and starts placing the chess set back into the box next to us. “N-No… I have to go to the library…”
Oh. Okay. I give her a shrug and start placing my pieces back into the box. “Another time then. Maybe for once it’ll be when I’m not bothering Satou with more ridiculous paperwork.”
Ikezawa just gives me a very quick nod of her head before picking up the box and sliding out of her chair. Satou turns her head towards her friend as she places the chess set back onto a shelf.
“I’ll come get you when we’re done here?” Lilly asks, not stopping her hand as it slowly makes its way down the papers in front of her.
“O-Okay Lilly.” Ikezawa gives me a short, stiff bow. I lift my hand to send her off with a wave, but she manages to slip out the door before I can even move my arm.
I let out a low whistle as the door shuts behind her. “I guess she’s still not that used to me bothering you two, is she?”
She frowns. “I hope you don’t take it personally. Hanako has difficulties with new people.”
“I noticed. And no, I don’t. I’m just happy to have someone to play against that doesn’t slam me into the floor every single time.” I stretch back in my seat. Satou turns her head away from me again and starts moving her fingers across the last portion of the sheets.
“And really, I am sorry about having to come up here all the time.”
Satou’s head bobs up and down once to confirm that she heard me. She finishes the paper and adds it to the stack between us. I slide the papers over and flip the whole stack over. “So, the mistakes that Shizune found are fixed then?”
“Yes…” Satou brushes a stray strand of hair off her forehead, that pained look crossing over her face for the fraction of a second. She does that every time I call my “boss” by her given name. What is up with that? I guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask. It’s not like I’ll get a straight answer out of Shizune. She’ll probably just go on with the same tirade that Satou’s a “Lazy, no good blonde who can’t even do the job she’s been trusted with by her class blah blah blah.” But even I can see that there’s something else there. Satou would probably be a bit easier to get an answer out of. She’s certainly a tad more… relaxed than Shizune. And Misha wouldn’t be an option as she’s Shizune’s right hand.
But I can’t just come out and ask her about that. I guess I should make some small talk.
“So, you were gone for a while, right? Where’d you go?” I start off small. I know that Satou went off for something a few weeks ago, which is why I’ve been bombarding her with this paperwork for the festival from last month. I’m just glad her class isn’t doing anything for the upcoming Tanabata festival, or I’d be spending even more time up here.
The blonde looks a little relieved that I’m not talking about paperwork with her.
“Scotland. I have family there and one of my aunts was gravely ill.” Satou slowly floats her hand above the table in front of her, searching for a cup of tea that I poured her during my chess game with Ikezawa. I reach over and slide the cup and saucer closer to her hand. She bumps her fingers against it and smiles.
“Sorry to hear about your Aunt… And honestly, it’s not a problem. Least I could do when I keep coming up here with this shit.” I slap my hand against the stack of Student Council busywork and wince again. “And I’m sorry again. One of these days I’m going to learn to watch my mouth.”
She shakes her head. “It’s… alright. I’m just surprised that you chose to remain with the Student Council.”
Oh. That! Well, come on now. I thought that the whole school would know it by now.
“Well, I sort of punched the guy in charge of my old club in the mouth so I don’t think I really had a choice. The Student Council was the first club I could think of that would still accept me after that.”
Satou takes a sip from her cup and places her cup back down on the saucer before replying.
“I’m aware of the incident. Noriko is very pleased to be in charge of the music club now.”
“Eh, she should have been the one in charge in the first place. She works more on her music more than anyone else in that stupid club.” I cross my arms over my chest and turn my gaze to the window. It’s pretty dreary and gray out there. I haven’t seen a spot of sunlight at all today. And yesterday was bright and cheery and sunny. I hope it doesn’t rain today. That would be pretty bad for my errand later.
“From what she’s told me, Noriko seems to think that you were the hard worker.”
I chuckle. “I did more heavy lifting than anyone else in that club, I think. But Watanabe? No, she’s the one who actually puts everything she’s got into music. I was just some guy who had parents who signed him up for lessons when he was seven.”
“I see.” She lifts her cup back to her lips.
Was that enough small talk? Probably. Only one way to find out. I take another second to put off my question by rolling up my sleeves.
“So, what’s the deal between you and Shizune anyways?”
Satou’s face flashes with that annoyance again, but she finishes taking a sip from her tea cup and placing it down before remotely looking like she’s going to respond. And only after she folds her hands in her lap does she turn her head to my voice and reply.
“What do you know?”
I lean forward in my seat and rest my head in my hands. I know a bit more than jack shit about the Student Council. It’s only since I joined that I really learned exactly what we’re in charge of and what it’s all about. I spent my last two years avoiding them so much that every paper Shizune puts in front of me might as well be in a foreign language.
“Well, not much… I know that you were part of the student council last year. And then Shizune sort of drove everyone out when she became president. I know that you stuck around the longest. But I can’t help but think it’s somewhat more personal for you than just Shizune being sort of a tyrant. I mean, you look pretty annoyed when someone mentions her name around you.” I go on, leaning even further forward in my seat.
“It is.” Satou says, before picking up her tea. “And I’m sorry, but I would like to leave it at that, if you don’t mind.”
I frown but I get it. I really was pushing my luck there. I normally don’t let my curiosity get the better of me, but Miki’s been getting to me lately. When I mentioned that Shizune seems to take some sort of weird pleasure in bothering Satou with extra paperwork day after day, my friend started coming up with tons of crazy theories as to why. I shake my head to throw any of her ideas out of it.
“Ah, I understand. Sorry. Miki’s just been…. Let’s just say my friend has some crazy ideas as to why the two of you dislike each other.”
She raises an eyebrow. “Oh, such as?”
“Eh, she thought maybe you were dealing drugs on the campus and Shizune knew, but couldn't prove it. She reasons that’s why you've got so much money. Or how your family has so much cash or something.” I shrug, once again forgetting that Satou can’t see me.
Her face does go quite blanch at my reveal of Miki’s greatest theory.
“Uh, don’t take it personally. She likes to think she sees drugs everywhere. Her uncle is a cop and she really likes those cop shows…” Right. Time for a subject change so at least when I leave this whole drug idea won’t be the last thing on Satou’s mind. That might make my next visit even worse.
“But you got to see family at the least, right? On your trip? That must have been fun.”
“I suppose. I hadn’t seen my parents in about six years, so it was nice to catch up with my mother.”
Six years. She hadn’t seen her parents in six years? How is that even possible? I can’t even deal with not seeing my parents for a few months.
“Six years? You’re joking. My parents freak out if I don’t call them at least three times a week.”
Satou shakes her head. “Oh no, my father’s job had him sent off to Scotland when I was twelve. I stayed here with my sister."
I let out another low whistle. “That’s a hell of a long time to be away from your kids.”
“You seem quite interested in my family life, Yuuto.” She gives me a tiny smile. I don’t know if it’s because she’s uncomfortable or if she’s amused at my sudden curiosity.
“Oh. Sorry, Satou. Family is just something that’s pretty big to me, I guess.” I shove my chair out from the desk and stand.
“Leaving so soon? Maybe I had questions about your family.”
I pick up my uniform jacket from the back of the chair and sling it over my shoulder. “Oh? Like what?”
“Well, do you have any siblings?”
“Two. An older brother and a younger sister.”
“And what do your parents do?”
“My parents own a restaurant. It’s a family thing. Since I’m here and my older brother isn’t an option, my younger sister helps them out after school.”
“A restaurant? You must be an excellent cook then.”
“Uh, no. I am not. I could probably burn water… Well, if my parents ever let me into the kitchen, Satou.”
Satou giggles, covering her mouth with a hand.
“I see. And, please, you don’t have to be so formal all the time. You can call me Lilly, if you’d like.”
I shrug and groan. “Right. Sure. If you’re okay with that. Anything else?”
“Oh, not if you’re in a hurry.”
“I do have an errand to run after dropping these off.” I pick up the stack of paper and tuck it under my arm. “But if it means making Shizune and Misha wait, I think I can deal with it.”
Lilly stands and retrieves her cane from the wall it was leaning against. “Please don’t. The President might see it fit to send you up here with more paperwork if you take too long.”
I nod and mentally slap myself immediately. Why do I still do this with Satou? Haven’t I learned by now?
“Right. Good point.” I cross the room and hold open the door. “Would you like an escort to the library, Sa- Lilly? It shouldn’t take that much longer.”
She shakes her head and picks up her tea cup again. “No. I’m actually expecting someone else…”
“Suit yourself. Enjoy the rest of your day, Lilly.”