Episode 15: Store Clerk Play
After everything that had happened the four of us snuggled up around the two desks and had our lunch. The long lunch break was reaching its end.
I was feeling a bit lonely when our homeroom teacher suddenly came to the room and wanted Saki for some class representative work, but in the meantime I leisurely enjoyed myself by watching Honoka and Yuzuriha mess around with each other. It’s only their second day since meeting, but they’ve already already become close friends. It’s pleasant to watch….. Is this the privilege of those of us who get to attend schools for young ladies? Is this why people always seem to prefer to cozy up to the rich instead of fighting against them?
“Yuzurin~ It’d be bad if we got caught by a queen like that again, so how about we practice your sorry’s?”
“Ready~?” Honoka struck a pose like an approaching bear, and Yuzuriha inevitably squeaked out a small, “Eep!” after it scared her. Even though there isn’t anything queen-like in a bear pose is there?
“That’s the way~! We’ll raise Yuzurin’s ability to communicate just like this!”
Honoka threw up a double peace sign and began cheering like this was someone else’s problem. For her part, Yuzuriha raised up a fist and gave her own meek victory shout. This was about her ability to communicate with other people though right?
Anyway, it was the start to Yuzuriha’s lessons on good interpersonal communication…… How mysterious. Is this what a school for young ladies is like? No, it’s probably different.
I’m a bit worried if Honoka is the person to be teaching good communication skills in the first place. She isn’t what I would necessarily call the most sensible communicator I’ve ever met. To be blunt, she’s screwed up. She is bright and sunny but massively screwed up. You get the feeling like you’re living in some kind of foreign dimension when talking to her.
“Then in order to help Yuzurin speak better, let’s have you pretend to be a convenience store clerk.”
“Eh, why would we……”
Yuzuriha and I were a bit confused by the sudden proposal. No, I can’t quite tell what Yuzuriha’s reaction is because her mouth is just kind of hanging open.
“There are set lines for store clerks right~? I was thinking if you can’t politely recite some phrases, you won’t be able to hold a conversation. Well?”
That makes a surprising amount of sense. A new bud of admiration for her sprouted in a corner of my heart.
“Then I’ll start by walking into the store. Ding-a-Ding-a-Ding…….”
“What kind of old-timey doorbell is that? Most stores make a shorter, ‘Bing-Bong’ noise now.”
“Hehehe. Nice tsukkomi, thanks.”
My tsukkomi was praised. No, wait……when did I become the straight man in this relationship?
“Then, let’s talk Yuzurin~!”
Yuzuriha let out a long “Ehh~…….” at the unreasonable request, but Honoka just kept repeating, “Come on, come on,” while waving her fingers back towards herself like she was starting a fight. Soon though the cute Yuzuriha cutely narrowed her eyes and opened her cute mouth. Cute.
It was entirely no good after all. However Yuzurin looked incredibly cute as she failed, so it gets a passing mark from me.
“Miss Clerk, please smile~!”
However Honoka didn’t say anything about the broken greeting and just continued forward with the act.
“I’ll be troubled if you say that so suddenly…….”
“…….you look nicer when you’re smiling?”
“Why is it a question!? And why the hesitation!?”
Yuzuriha’s sudden talkativeness was throwing me off.
“Geez, Yuzurin~! Luv ya!”
And then the both of them smiled and gave each other a big hug. This wasn’t practice for improving Yuzuriha’s ability to talk to other people at all. They were just shamelessly flirting with each other!
But, just as I was wondering if they were going to hold each other like that for the rest of their lives, Honoka suddenly opened her eyes.
“Ha! Now is not the time for hugs…….! Please give me two meat buns!”
“Uh, um…….D-Do you want me to warm them up?”
“Why are they cold!? Did you forget to put them in the steamer!?”
“Ah, sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
It felt like my brain was in a steamer, and I threw in a small tsukkomi…….but I guess my tone came on a bit too strong, and I made Yuzuriha jump. I’m honestly sorry, but your reaction was cute.
“Nonesense~, aren’t they already warm~? Those two right on Miss Clerk’s chest……..”
Whether she was reading the mood or not, Honoka came rounding in with the next joke, and I had to throw out another tsukkomi. And yet Yuzuriha still took a minute to think about what she should say next.
“Would you like to eat……inside the store?”
“Convenience stores are supposed to be take-home only! Asking them if they wanted if for take-out is pointless!”
“Then, I was wondering if you could help warm me up…….! Would you mind showing me to the bathroom~?”
“Out! That is most definitely out!”
“Presently, we’re having a special sale on sweets, so you should definitely……”
“I come here every day even when there aren’t any sales. And I am a sucker for sweets.”
Honoka put on a provocative expression and ecstatically rubbed her hands against Yuzuriha’s cheeks. Oh my, I really do love yuri, but my throat is already feeling sore from all the tsukkomis I’m being forced to make……..
For a moment both girls continued to feel each other up. Before long though Honoka looked satisfied and turned her attention towards me with pursed lips.
“Geez. You were doing real good at first, but halfway through you were just being a hinderance Yuu. Your tsukkomis are too one note. It felt like you were just yelling at one point. I’m expecting smoother, higher level tsukkomis from now on.”
“I don’t think there’s any problem if we think of it as Yuriha’s tsukkomi training……. It’s different from usual, so it was interesting. I think it’ll be fine if you continue on like that with your tsukkomis from now on……..”
Yuzuriha tried comforting me with a smile. But wasn’t this supposed to be training to help you speak with people better………? Is the day where I’m relegated to the straight man role just around the corner?
“This time we’ll have Yuu act out as the store clerk. The two of us will be your customers.”
“Is that necessary?”
“Relax! It’s fun, so it’s fine right?”
Dragged into Honoka’s flow, I was forcibly cast as an innocent store clerk. This should amount to some yuri flirting, so it’s not like it won’t be fun…….
If anything, I’m just waiting for their weird energy to destroy the peace.
Should I start off with a common greeting? I cleared my throat and decided to fully act out my role as convenience store clerk.
“Welcome~, would you like me to warm anything up?”
“Yes, we want it piping hot…….!”
Just when I’d prepared myself for Honoka to come out swinging with a joke, she spoke relatively calmly――and held out her arms.
“Just a minute~”
I pretended like I was operating an imaginary microwave. So far everything’s normal…….
But Honoka was only quiet for a short second.
“Eh…….? The sound of the microwave.”
What a perfect combination of childishness and cuteness. But in doing so she was able to unconsciously create a tension in the air where there would normally be boring silence. Wouldn’t she make for a good comedian?
When Honoka inevitably came out with the “Beep, Beep, Beep” noises, I decided to play off the couple story Honoka had developed earlier and hit them both with a joke.
“…….please watch out as things are sure to cool down soon.”
“Would you like me to separate the warm(considerate) and cold(hearted)?”¹
“Hold on! Did you just emphasize the ‘separate’ part!?”
“Then split up…….oops, my apologies. I will divide them up.”
A bitter expression played across Honoka’s face after the rush of meddling from me. No though, I feel like we’ve done a gag like this before.
“Certainly. Which flavor would you like?”
“Tell me your top five!”
Honoka asked, and I responded.
She’s someone who always likes to joke around with me. In that case, I should……!
“Then, our most popular would be the konjac, shirataki, tofu, kelp, and daikon――do any of those meet your fancy?”
“They’re all super healthy! Smart food!?”
“Yes. I didn’t think you liked things that are high in calories.”
“Hey! Are you trying to call me a string bean!? Well I’m doing my best to nourish my boobs!”
“It’d be bad if we collapsed from anemia……..”
Honoka and Yuzuriha were both looking bitter this time around. Hmm, no matter how much Honoka likes jokes, it looks like this one is a sore spot for her. I should follow-up with them both right away…….
“I happen to quite like slender children like Honoka, and aren’t cuddly girls like Yuzu incredibly cute? Both of you are girls with your own charming, girlish styles…….”
“And there it is! Yuu is whipping out her princely character! Hyuu~!”
The little wink Honoka threw on the end made me blush a bit. I was hoping to smooth things over, but I’m not a good-looking guy or a beautiful woman, so I’m not sure how well my words would work on someone who doesn’t specifically want to be treated like a princess like Saki…….okay, Honoka’s poking fun at me, but how is Yuzu going to react?
“Y-Your little tricks aren’t going to work on me…….”
She’s squirming in place like a fish on dry land. Her cheeks are also a brighter red than usual, so I guess it was more effective than I thought?
Playing sketch comedy with beautiful girls. My first mission is to try and imprint on them that I am somebody who could be both handsome and popular……. A cool, handsome, popular girl…….calling myself that is a bit…….
I really need to be more attentive to what I say and not let my growing smugness take over.
1. The joke here is that Honoka and Yuzuriha have opposite personalities, so Yuri is joking about how she’ll break them up.