Surprisingly, many boys from other classes rushed to the restaurant as soon as it opened. There seemed to be more onlookers who wanted to catch a glimpse of the girls in cosplay rather than eating, which was fine with us. It would be a good experience for the maids, who are not used to being the center of attention.
Even Matsushita, who was usually very calm, moved a little stiffly and looked nervous. Sato and Mii-chan's movements seemed to be much more sluggish than during practice.
Immediately afterward, the sound of plastic bouncing on the floor spread throughout the classroom. It was caused by Mii-chan slipping a glass of water on the tray. The person in question froze at the heavy event that seemed to split the air. In the midst of all this, it was Matsushita who immediately moved.
“I am terribly sorry.”
After gently patting Mii-chan on the shoulder with a calm tone, she instructed her to bring fresh water. Then she brought a rag to clean the floor.
“You’re doing very well, Matsushita-san, I can't believe it's your very first time as a maid.”
Horikita, who was standing by and watching, was also impressed by Matsushita's outstanding actions.
“You're also participating tomorrow as a maid, right?”
She asked Horikita this after noticing her witness the display.
“Basically, as a manager. I'll also serve customers depending on the situation, but I'm honestly not sure.” Unlike usual, Horikita answered somewhat timidly.
“Well, no one thinks you're good at putting on a smile, so good luck.” I said turning to Horikita.
I'm sure she's not worried about the service itself, but offering a smile can be a challenge.
“You look pretty comfortable.”
“It's almost like the work over here will be done by today.”
It's like 90% prep and 10% production, and all we have to do tomorrow is the paperwork.
“Maybe I should reassign you to the stalls too.”
“Don't reassign me just because of a personal gripe.”
Horikita started to say something nasty, but quickly backed down because she wasn’t serious.
“For now, it looks like Matsushita-san will be fine, and I'll be leaving for a bit.”
“You're going to observe?”
“I want to see with my own eyes what kind of entertainment there will be.”
“Take your time.” Meanwhile, I would work on making room for tomorrow's waiting room.
About an hour later, Horikita returned to the maid cafe.
“I'm back. How are things going?”
“There were a few minor mistakes, but now we're all settled in and getting used to everything.”
“Thanks for the advance preparation.”
Without this rehearsal, we might have been in danger if we had just gone out and winged it. I knew that practicing without attendees was completely different from actually doing it with a third-party audience. Matsushita, who had been working at full capacity since the opening, rounded up and came up to me.
“Good job Matsushita-san. I’m honestly surprised how well you performed.”
“Thanks. Everyone's getting better. We should be able to start tomorrow in good shape.” Matsushita said, though her expression was a little stiff.
“I think there might be more sabotage, that's what I'm a little worried about.”
“When Ryuen-kun's class came over to the maid cafe, I was afraid they'd bring Ishizaki-kun and the others over and say there were bugs in the cups or something...”
Horikita and I exchanged glances for a moment, then quickly turned our attention back to Matsushita.
“Don't worry about that. It's not in their best interest to interfere in the practice stage. Besides, since there is a rule that students can't be guests in the activities, they can't do such a thing.”
“Ryūen can't use his usual tactics in the presence of so many eyes at the exhibit. There is no need to worry.” I added to Horikita's explanation.
The smile returned to Matsushita's face as she was almost simultaneously told by both of us that there isn't anything to worry about.
“Somehow, when the two of you say it, I feel a different sense of relief.” She patted her chest in relief, as if she had been somewhat overworked.
“You should take a break too.”
“I guess I'll do that.”
Matsushita started to walk away and left the classroom, wobbling slightly.
“Did you notice that?”
“No, it's nothing.”
Perhaps because it was a minor discomfort, Horikita, who was nearby, did not seem to notice anything in particular.
I hope I'm just imagining things.
“So how did it go? What did the other classes put on?”
“I don't know if there will be another festival next year, but I learned a lot.”
Horikita examined the completed room before leaving to check its condition.
“It looks fine. In another hour, we'll start cleaning up, and you should take another look too.”
“I'll let you do that.”
With permission, I decided to parade around the entire school. Kei appeared as if she had been waiting for that moment and took me in arms.
“Let's go together.”
“I’d rather not but I don't think you're going to leave me.”
“I won't leave you.”
“You're free to go together, but remember that you are only scouting.”
While Horikita responded seriously every time, Kei seemed to be at ease from start to finish. Well, it's not every day you get a chance like this. In fact, even taking a look at the maid café, it seemed as if most of the others were enjoying the cultural festival in a normal way.