I am nostalging for some Tom and Jerry now.
When school ended, Mafuyu immediately disappeared from the classroom. Ever since her transfer here, her whereabouts after school had become the biggest mystery of the Third Class of First Year.
"Her shoes were still in the shoe cabinet, so I don't think she's heading straight home after school."
"Class-rep, when did you leave school yesterday?"
"Hmm— about five."
"I saw Mafuyu near the staff room."
Homeroom was about to start, but Mafuyu was no where in sight. A group of girls had gathered around her desk—which is right next to mine—and were exchanging information they had amongst themselves. Stop meddling in other people's affairs already!
"I thought she liked drawing since she chose fine arts as her elective, so I tried inviting her to the arts club...... but she ran away after saying some strange things to me. What's with that!"
"Speaking of which, that girl does nothing at all during the lessons, right? She just opens her sketchbook and leaves it there! Is there something wrong with her brain?"
"She should just choose music instead. She's causing a lot of problems for the teachers as well, right?"
Everyone's appraisal of Mafuyu was sliding down further as they continued talking, though that was to be expected.
"Pervert, do you know anything about her?"
They suddenly involved me in the conversation.
"Can you please not address me like that......"
"Then how about 'Mafuyu's Exclusive Critic'?"
"Wow, that sounds like a stalker."
"I don't want that either."
"Then how about I combine both to make it 'Perverted Critic'?"
"Don't go combining things randomly!" Thanks to Mafuyu's baseless slander, I was facing a crisis in my life. "We only met once before the school opened, so I know nothing about her."
What's with those stares of disbelief!
The bell began ringing, but Mafuyu still wasn't in the classroom; Chiaki still hadn't arrived either, but that wasn't unusual. It seemed like she was practicing the drums somewhere every morning. The advantage of being a drummer is that you can practice just about anywhere, as long as you have a pair of drumsticks, a metronome and a stack of old magazines.
The bell finished ringing, but the moment the teacher started closing the attendance book, the door at the back of the classroom suddenly opened.
"I'm safe! I'm safe, right?" Chiaki shouted while dashing into the classroom. For some unknown reason, she was pulling Mafuyu along behind her. The silent Mafuyu put on a grumpy expression and flung Chiaki's hand away.
Our teacher was nice though, and said to them, "I won't consider you two late, so take your seats immediately." If Chiaki were alone, our teacher probably would've marked her tardy without hesitation.
"Sorry, but lend me your notes for a while. I'll copy them quickly."
Chiaki snatched my notebook after sitting down.
I looked at her back as she copied my notes furiously, and asked softly, "What were you two doing just now?"
"I was practicing in the corridors on the third floor, and I saw Mafuyu. It seemed like she was lost."
"I was not lost......" Mafuyu mumbled. I secretly cast a glance at her—she seemed slightly angry, and her face was quite flushed too. That means...... this girl actually has a really poor sense of direction? The school's quite big, but getting lost while trying to get to your classroom is a bit ridiculous, right?
"I made a detour to the music room, and on my way back......"
"Alright, I'm about to start the lesson, so you two stop your chit-chatting," the teacher snapped. Our classmates released a stifled laugh.
The music room? Why there? My doubts only lasted for a brief moment though, as the teacher suddenly called on me to answer the questions in our assignments. With that, the only thing I could do was focus on snatching my notebook back from Chiaki.
As usual, after school, I avoided Chiaki's attempts to rope me into the club. I made a trip down to the library to return some books I had borrowed, then headed towards the direction of the abandoned classroom behind the main building of the school. Just as I turned the corner of the building—with the chimney of the incinerator coming into view—the faint sounds of an electric guitar drifted into my ears.
It came from the classroom I had been using, and suddenly, I thought, "Did I leave the room with a CD still playing?" Shit! But as I approached the door and listened, I realized that wasn't the case. From within the classroom came a tune that I hadn't heard before, but I was very familiar with the melody all the same.
Liszt's <Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2>.
This is an extremely difficult piano solo. During the endearing friska, the tune is accompanied by notes that are played repeatedly at blazing speeds; moreover, what I was listening to was the guitar version. What's this? I don't have such an amazing CD...... no, wait, this is live—so there's someone playing it right now, with the electric guitar plugged into the amplifier that I had modified. [TLNote: I found a vid done in electric guitar, so there you go. I think Mafuyu's version is probably crazier than that though.]
I couldn't help but develop goosebumps. It was impossible for a tune like this to be played by one person alone, even if he possessed four hands. However, the melody that was flowing into my ears definitely came from a single guitar. So who could that person be......?
I grabbed the door handle.
Just then, that grand piano buried at the dumping grounds appeared in my mind.
I pushed the handle down diagonally and turned it at the same time. *Kacha*—I heard a muffled metallic sound and could feel the sensation of the lock coming loose through my palms. Just as I opened the door, the music came to a screeching halt.
Mafuyu was sitting on the long desk and looked at me with a stunned expression. Her varnished guitar nearly slipped off her legs. I guess my expression then was probably the same as hers.
Why—is Mafuyu here? In my classroom—which I'm using without permission—and holding onto a guitar? What the heck is going on here? When and how did this dream start? Could it be, that everything that dated back to my encounter with her during the spring holidays was just a dream—
Mafuyu regained her senses a tad bit quicker than me and spoke first. I took a small leap backwards in shock.
"Eh? Ah, no...... wait, stop, you'll kill me if you hit me with that guitar of yours!"
Mafuyu's face was flushed red, and she swung that slightly heavy Stratocaster of hers at me as she chased me. I slammed the door shut to escape from her.
"...... Why are you here? Pervert! Stalker!"
Mafuyu's shrieks slipped through the gaps around the door. Wait, I should be the one asking that question!
"I've been using this classroom all along, so why did you enter by yourself?" Though I was also using it without permission......
"I...... I obtained permission from Miss Mukoujima before entering."
Miss Mukoujima Maki, though everyone called her Maki. She was a young music teacher who everyone found approachable and yet, scary, at the same time. I see, so that was her reason for going to the music room in the morning? No, wait, why was she given permission to use the classroom? That means if I had asked the teacher for permission, I would've also been permitted to use it?
"Just scram already!"
That was what she was saying, but I had already moved in a huge stack of my CDs, refitted a component amplifier, and even prepared some cushions—I had wasted so much effort to make this classroom as comfortable as possible! Even if you want me to disappear, you can't possibly expect me to say, "Alright, so be it," and obediently leave as I was told!
"...... Eh, what's happening here? Why would the teacher......"
She didn't reply. Instead, the sound of a huge claw scraping against the walls could be heard—it was feedback from the electric guitar. Stop that, or else the amplifier will break down!
All I could do was sigh and move away from the classroom door.
Back in the school building, a surge of anger swelled up inside me as I walked through the corridor. That was obviously my territory—she came later, but there she was, sitting in there comfortably. Who could possibly accept that? If that's the case, I'll complain to Miss Maki. However, the anger died down in me as I approached the doors of the music preparation room. A huge poster of Ohtsuki Kenji was pasted on the sliding door—could Miss Maki be a fan of the rock band Kinniku Shoujo Tai? Also, was it fine for her to paste such a thing openly on the entrance of the staff room? [TLNote: I guess everything that you may want to know can be found via here and its links.]
I had a staring contest with Ohtsuki Kenji as I tried to calm myself down. I could faintly hear the relaxing melody of a concert band practicing next door—it was the background music of the simulation game <Take the 'A' Train>. [TLNote: not quite sure if the linked music is it, but it probably is. Game's Ａ列車でいこう. Quite a nice tune btw.]
Regardless of what you say, you've also used the classroom without permission—should I complain to Miss Maki, then I'd get in trouble as well.
Mmm, even so, if you want me to just back out like that, then—
"Yes? Looking for me?"
I jumped in shock, as a voice suddenly came from behind me, and my forehead slammed into the face of Ohtsuki Kenji. I turned my head around and saw Miss Maki standing behind me with a light smile on her face. She was wearing a white blouse and a mini skirt, and because she was so disturbingly suitable for that type of attire, the students secretly called her the "Erotic Teacher." She was the reason the first year guys who had chosen fine arts or calligraphy as their electives, lived in regret. However, after attending her lessons, it was the guys who had chosen music as their elective that ended up with the deepest regrets.
"Eh? Ah, nothing."
"It's fine, just come on in. I was thinking of having tea. Want to join me?"
With that, Miss Maki dragged me into the preparatory room.
The music preparatory room was only about half the size of a normal classroom. As there was a shelf filled with musical scores, as well as an upright piano, the place was pretty cramped.
"Oh, there's hot water in the teapot, and the teabags are in the drawer. Also, cut a slice of honey cake while you're at it."
So you're relegating all the tasks to me?
"Ah, just a cup of tea will do, and slice the cake into three pieces."
"Eh? Miss Maki's not having any?"
"What are you talking about? It's for me, of course. I never mentioned anything about you getting any."
What else could I say?
"If you are dying for some tea, I can let you suck on those tasteless used teabags."
No thanks. Ahh, I wanna go home already......
Miss Maki patted me on my back and said that it was just a joke. I was finally able to sit on a chair after I was done preparing two portions of tea and cakes. Just then, Miss Maki suddenly said,
"You're here to talk about the music building, right?"
I nearly spat out my sip of tea.
"H-How did you know?"
"Ara ara. I know everything already. Like how you've been using the classroom without permission for two weeks; how you've modified the CD player to link it to an external input-device; and how you've fixed the reception cables for the radio...... and how the cushions are really comfortable to sit on......"
I was honestly considering if I should just hide under the table or something. No wait, if I did that, I'd just get slaughtered by Miss Maki.
"But since you cleaned up the place really well, I turned a blind eye to it. I'm the only one who noticed anyway."
"Sorry sorry, I won't do it again."
"Since Mafuyu can use the classroom straight away as it is, the timing is just perfect."
I released my arms that were hugging my head, and looked at Miss Maki's face.
She said while laughing, "You're here to complain about that, right?"
"No...... I'm in no position to be complaining anyway."
"It's fine with me if you want to use it. I can't reject you after granting Mafuyu special permission to use that room. You two should try to get along well with each other."
"No, that's quite impossible."
Speaking of which, I was totally confused about the situation.
"Could it be, that Miss Maki and Mafuyu already knew each other?"
"Yes. I was a student of her father, and I used to play with Mafuyu all the time."
Miss Maki's expression was slightly lonely.
"As for Mafuyu...... something happened, and she ended up transferring to this school. She then told me she wanted a room she could use by herself. This is just the Director's daughter being willful, but since she isn't causing problems for anyone......"
"I see......" So the staff had silently agreed to it already.
"So you can use that classroom too, if you are willing to share it with Mafuyu."
So ultimately, I was the one who was chased out!
"But, why is she playing the guitar? I heard that she no longer plays the piano, is that true? She was originally going to the College of Music, right? So why did she transfer to our school?"
"I can't be the one to tell you all that......" Miss Maki's expression immediately became serious. "...... Moreover, she herself doesn't want anyone to know. To be honest...... I think it's better if she doesn't do that, but ultimately, the decision lies in Mafuyu's hands."
I didn't have the slightest idea of what was going on around here, and Mafuyu didn't explain anything to me either.
Because of that, the biggest problem facing me was what to do about that classroom. If it were the case that the school had found out I was using the classroom without permission, and angrily banned me from using it ever again, I would've given up immediately. But, if you want me to sit next to Mafuyu and listen to my CDs as she plays the guitar, there's absolutely no way I could do that, no matter what!
"Why don't you try talking to her, to see if you two can share the classroom?"
"But she was trying to smack me to death with that guitar of hers when I tried talking to her?"
"You give up really fast! How can a youngster be like that?"
After a sudden round of reprimanding from Miss Maki, I was finally allowed to leave the music preparatory room.