Thus, Hachiman Hikigaya Arrives in Liverpool
So exactly how did I end up on a plane en route to England again?
I wasn't too sure. In fact, it felt like I was on this private jet owned by the powerful Haruno Yukinoshita against my will.
At first, I had chose to ignore it for awhile, but eventually decided to give in and ring up the number I had brought back with me from the day before.
Upon hearing of my predicament, the elder sister of Yukinoshita was eager, perhaps too eager, to "help out an old friend".
One, I don't recall me and Haruno Yukinoshita being 'friends'. Two, I dislike how overly friendly she tends to be. It kind of makes me sick.
I also couldn't help but feel a little suspicious. Over the phone, Haruno Yukinoshita had seemingly hesitated for awhile, before gushing, "Oh, I have the perfect job for you!"
If it was anyone else, I wouldn't have cared too much about that slight moment of hesitance, followed by something that felt too good to be true.
But this was Haruno Yukinoshita. Schemer. Manipulator. Evil. I could see right through her 'ordinary nice girl' facade. Most of the time, the things she did were purely for her own amusement.
Anyway, Yukinoshita Senior stopped by a few days after the call, ordering me to pack my bags and then proceeding to whisk me away on this little plane.
I didn't even have the time to think about what could potentially be a life-changing decision, nor did I have the time to inform my family of these events. Nevertheless, I couldn't find the courage to say no to Haruno when she appeared right at my door. Many will say I'm making this up, but she projects this air of malevolence around her that scares me enough into complying with her every request. Just another thing I dislike about her.
Moving on to the job itself, what kind of work was it? I sincerely hope it isn't something retarded, like cleaning the sewers. Nah, I doubt it. When Haruno said 'the perfect job', she couldn't possibly have meant something so demeaning. Right? Right...?
I turned to the woman beside me. Haruno was furiously typing away on a laptop, but noticed my gaze and made the effort to wink back at me. Did I mention she was very flirtatious? I dislike that about her too. I don't like sluts.
Since making the call and speaking to her for the first time in four years, she had been exceptionally mysterious regarding the job offer. I figured now was the perfect time to ask her about it.
"Hey, what kind of job is it?"
"What kind of work do you have for me?"
Lady, what else could I be asking about?
"Hm..." Haruno stopped typing and closed her laptop. "Tell me, Hachiman, do you know anything about football?"
"No, I'm absolutely clueless! Do you play it with your hands?" I was unable to resist making a sarcastic mock enquiry.
What ensued was Haruno's sickening laughter. "Hahahaha! That's very funny, Hachiman!" I scrunched up my face in disgust at how fake the girlish chuckling sounded. "But what I'm talking about is professional football. Football clubs. Professional players."
I contemplated the reason behind her questions, although I went along with it anyway. "Uh... yeah. David Beckham?"
"What, is that all you know?"
I frowned at her. This wasn't important at all, was it? In the first place, I had zero interest in the sport. In high school and middle school, the guys who could play football were always the most popular ones among the girls. Needless to say, football, as well as the people who play it, was the complete opposite of Hachiman Hikigaya.
"Well, don't worry, you will be learning a lot more about that soon." What? I threw Haruno a look, demanding an explanation. "Relax! All will be revealed soon."
Leaning back into my seat, I sighed, wondering what I had gotten myself into, for the alarm bells at the back of my head were starting to trigger.
After an eternity, we finally arrived at our destination. I instinctively asked if we were in London, since that was the only place in England I had heard of before. Haruno instantly corrected me - apparently we had arrived in Liverpool. What a weird name.
I followed Haruno to some luxury hotel, where I swiftly told her that I didn't have any money. Her reassurance was that she would be paying my living expenses for the time being.
Finally, something I like about Haruno Yukinoshita. She isn't afraid to splurge, especially on others.
Local time claimed that it was just slightly before 6 o'clock in the evening, but I was already feeling extremely restless from the jet lag. Regrettably, I wasn't given any time to judge the softness of my new hotel bed. Haruno's orders: meet me at the hotel lobby in five minutes. What a dictator.
Leaving my luggage in the room, I hurried down to the lobby, where I spotted a familiar face beside my companion for the day.
Immediately, I felt like leaving and was about to turn around to do just that. Sadly, I was spotted before I could make my evacuation.
Haruno waved me over and gestured to the annoyingly handsome man at her side. "Hachiman, I'm sure you remember Hayato."
Hayato Hayama? Former ace of my high school's football team? That immensely popular fellow whom every girl would kill to date? In other words, the dude who made me feel completely inferior in every aspect? Of course I remember.
"No, I don't."
"Hahaha, you're such a joker, Hachiman!" There it was. That stupid, stomach-turning laugh from Haruno. "Still, in case your memory actually is that bad, let me reintroduce you. This is Hayato Hayama, your classmate in high school, a friend of the Yukinoshita family, and currently a youth team coach at this city's football club."
Hayama extended his hand, his lips forming a revolting smile. "Hey, Hikigaya. It's been awhile."
I looked at his dirty hand. Crap, I don't want to shake that shit. I made myself do it anyway, all for the sake of politeness. "Too long," I lied. Too short, actually.
As my brain processed all the information Haruno had given me about Hayama so far, I noticed something was off.
"Yes, I coach. Why?"
"Nothing, just thought from our time in high school that you would be some star football player instead."
Hayama chuckled awkwardly, running a hand through his perfectly styled hair. "Yeah, I guess there's a story behind that."
No, no, no. Let's end the conversation right here. I don't care about your story. It's going to be some long-winded sob story for sure. Thankfully, he didn't attempt to elaborate.
As Hayama and Haruno led me through the city streets to an expensive-looking diner, I began to think. Was there a link between my new workplace and football? It seemed a bit too convenient, to touch down at the city where my former footballer classmate plied his coaching trade.
This was quickly confirmed later over dinner, specifically, just as I took the first bite into my first meal outside of Japan.
"The name of the club Hayama works at is called Liverpool Football Club."
I gave a small grunt to show that I acknowledged, as I continued sampling the taste of English cuisine. Why was Haruno telling me this? It was as if I wanted to know.
"You're going to be the manager there."
"Cool," I replied, before slowly understanding what had been said. "Wait a minute. Manager?"
I didn't have a clue what that meant. No, of course I know what the word manager means. What I'm talking about is being the manager of a football club.
Sensing my obliviousness, Hayama, ever the hero, came to the rescue. "The manager of a team is like the boss of it. He instructs the players in the team, tells them how to play and picks who to play."
Wow, that sounded very cool. Yes, it was very nice and all... there was just one problem.
"I don't know anything about football."
Haruno shrugged that off, as quickly as I had mentioned it. "You're a smart man, Hachiman. I'm very certain you have what it takes to be an amazing manager."
I stared at her. This was the job she was talking about?
Realistically, there's honestly no way I can pull off something like this. Is there? No, there isn't. Take me back to Japan and my normal everyday life, please.
"It's a big job, so there's a chance of you earning upwards of fifty thousand pounds a week. That translates to about nine million yen if I'm not mistaken..."
All my worries ceased. "I'll take it."
Okay, I should probably have hesitated a little bit more.
But holy shit, nine million yen, and possibly more. Not only that, it's nine million yen a week. Just to run the rule over a stupid bunch of sportsmen. I would be a fool not to take this.
"I scheduled an interview for you tomorrow morning," Haruno revealed. "Hayama will drive you there from the hotel."
Scheduled an interview? Nice. For the first time in his life, Hachiman felt like thanking Haruno. He would have, if it didn't all feel a little too unbelievable.
"What's in it for you?" I questioned.
"What do you mean?" Haruno said sweetly. "I'm just trying to help out an old friend of mine."
Spare me the bullshit. And once again, look, I don't recall ever becoming friends with you.
"Is that it? Alright."
I conceded for now, there's no way I would get anything out of Haruno anyway. It was still a fact that she had helped me to grab hold of this wonderful opportunity, regardless of her hidden intentions. Maybe she just wanted me to owe her a favor.
Hachiman rose from the table, his plate completely polished of food. "Early day tomorrow, so I'm going to head back." His eyes shifted from the table to Haruno uncomfortably. "I'll pay you back for this dinner someday."
She responded dismissively. "It's fine. Run along now."
And that's what he did, speedily excusing himself from the restaurant.
With his former classmate gone, Hayato Hayama could at last pose his own set of questions to his older associate.
"I think you owe me some answers, Haruno. Why in the world are you helping a complete unknown, someone who knows next to nothing about football at that, to land a job as manager of one of the biggest football clubs in England?"
Haruno's broad grin was reminiscent of the Cheshire cat.
"I support Manchester United."
Hayato's palm met his face.
Somehow, he didn't think things were going to go smoothly for the individual known as Hachiman Hikigaya.