were all watching me.

Their faces were equally distorted, and their mouths wereihalf open.
Alliat once, the air within the convenience store froze.
No matter how you viewed it, it was a bizarre scene that would have been out of the ordinary in a convenience store.

“Buh, uoh, uhhh~… ihee!”

The unexpected turn of events left me writhing in agony, covering half of myiface withimy hands and crouching there.

“Are you alright?! Hakamada!”

“Wow, thatiseems to hurt a lot…”

While I couldn’t take myihands off of myself, Nagaseiand the store manager cast worried glances at me and called out to me.
Even the customers in line at the cash counter gazed down at me with widening eyes.

Stop looking at me, thisiwas embarrassing, damn it.
To the customer, I probably looked like an idiot clerk who slammed his face into the door, but it wasn’t my fault that I gotislammed in the face by the door.

In this case, it was my carelessness thatiwas to blame as well but… 

The person behind the door whoiopened it normally without assuming that someone would be in front of it was equally at fault…


Withimy nose and mouth presseditogether with my hands, I slowly looked up at the individual who had opened the door, my face contorted in agony.

He sported a well-known uniformiand had fresh, natural black hair that seemed to be well-received by the women.
All the fundamental features of the face mayibe described as well-defined, with a prominent nose like a celebrity, well-shaped eyebrows, and slightly slanted eyes.
He had a lean build and was tall enough to be level with the door.

A man with such a flawlessiphysique would likely be referred to as attractive.
With my hair having been repeatedly dyed with hair dye and lacking luster, my ears beingiheavily pierced, a build that exceeded the average height of an adult male but possessed no great merit, and having the face of a delinquent, he did indeed appear to be dozens of times more appealing to today’s women than I did.

So this was thatiTakenaka person huh.

Or rather… Apologize…! You hit me in the face! It hurtilike hell!

Takenaka was looking down at me with hung-up, staringieyes while having half of his body protrude from the door as I stared up at him as if I were frantically complaining.

Unable to utter a word, I looked up at him, and Takenakailooked down at the frozen me.

We both held our gazes on the other for a short whileiwithout uttering a word.
The man’s face was expressionless… He exhibited no sign of remorse—not even a smile.

What the hell was with thisiguy… Did he really think that slamming me in the face with the door served me right?

Otherwise, he wouldn’tibe casting such a cold stare…

“Takenaka, Hakamada just slammed into the door, flat on his face, you know.”

Perhaps as a follow-up, it was Nagase who broke the silence.
At thatipoint, Takenaka blinked for the first time.


I heard him said softly.
He thenipolitely apologized while staring at me.

“I am sorry.”

It didn’t feel like he was being insincere, perhaps… he hadn’t noticed.
Despiteifeeling a little discontent, I retracted my hand that was suppressing the pain and stood up before forcing myself to smile.

“Hahaha, the timing is too bad, isn’t it?”

The height difference between usiwas… wow, huge.
The same applies to Aoyama, but this guy was considerably more prominent as well.

What was he, aitelephone pole? If he and Hirai were to stand side by side, they would look like a big man and a dwarf.

“Hi, I’m Hakamada.
I’ll be working with you from today onward, Takenaka…”

A trickle of blood flowed from my nose as I prepared to say it withia casual air of indifference.




From behind, I heardiNagase’s and the manager’s voices.

This was bad…!

In a panic, I suppressedimy nose with both hands, but the warm bloodivigorously comingiout leaked from between my fingers.
Behindithe counter, the blood beganito stream ontoithe ground.
My face became even heatediup because theicustomers were staring at me wonderingiwhat was going on as I was dripping blood, and the flow of blood was…

Aaahhhh! It wouldn’t stop! How shouldia nosebleed be stopped!? Should I just turn my head upward!? I mean, drinking nosebleed drops wasn’t the way to go, right!?

Contraryito myiblatant panic, Takenakaistared at me briefly beforeislipping back into the back room again, and just when I thought he had withdrawn, he held out a box of tissues to me, who was motionless and pressing my nose.

“…Here, please use these.”

Having my faceislammed into theidoor and my nose bleeding while standing thereiwith tears in my eyes, I pullediout several tissues at onceiand shoved themiup my nostrils as if clinging to them.
After shoving them in, I had to wait in the back room for several minutes, repeatedly changing the tissues until the nosebleed subsided.

Duringithat time, Takenaka was apparently cleaning the store and moppingithe floorithat I had stained.
They told me that when the manager and Nagase returned to the back room.

Well, whaticanibeisaid? Thatimy initial encounteriwith Takenakaiwent muchiworse than I hadianticipated.

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