DiversionThe chapter starts with the roll being called in homeroom. When Ichii gets to Marui's name, he notices that both Marui and Mio aren't there. He asks if the failures are skipping together today, and Shii tells him that Mio is coming on a later train. (Also, she didn't fail last time.) He asks Marui's friends about him, and Inoji says he hasn't heard while Ishida suggests that he's skipping. It looks like he hopes his supplemental lessons will be extended. Ichii has printouts for tomorrow's field trip; everyone is asked to take one and pass them back. Taki seems to realize that Mio may have tried to call him, and finds his phone. Just as she and Marui arrive at school, Mio sees that she got a text from Taki, saying that homeroom is over. She smiles, noticing that it's from Taki. (Full message: “Are you all right? SHR ended.”) Mio texts back: “I just got here.” Mio and Marui get to the classroom, embarrassed about being late, and Taki seems surprised to see her with Marui. Yuni calls out, “You're finally here!” and Shii asks if she ran into Ichii. Mio says she did, and he was saying very cruel things. (Meanwhile, Marui is yelling at Ishida for accusing him of skipping.) Shii says, “You came with Marui?” and Mio awkwardly explains that they ended up on the same train. Shii figures that being with Marui meant that some of Ichii's comments would be deflected towards him, and Mio agrees that it helped. Mio greets Taki (who's still looking at the other side of the room). Mio says, “You noticed my email?” and Taki explains that when she wasn't in homeroom, he tried checking it. Mio explains that it was funny, since Marui happened to be on the train she picked when she was late. It's been a while since she had to run like that... Mio wonders why she seems to be explaining herself. Taki may not seem concerned, but Shii's question made her heart pound. They just met by chance; Mio thinks there's nothing that requires explanation.
Flashing back, Mio is asking Marui if they can make it if they run. Marui looks back, and Mio is trailing far behind. Mio asks why he's stopping, and he tells her he's walking. Mio points out the time, and he tells her they're already out. Right now, they'd get there in the middle of homeroom. Mio pictures how Ichii would respond to their late arrival, and sees what Marui means. He explains that, since they're already going to be late, it would be better to arrive just before first period and be less conspicuous. Mio agrees, and the chapter comes back to the present. Mio thinks that, at the time, she took his explanation at face value, but if she really thinks about, wasn't he just trying to match her pace? He always makes it on time... he was just being nice. Looking a little worried, Mio thinks that their meeting was a coincidence, but the other things... Taki notices her expression and says her name, and Mio responds with an over-the-top, “Yes!?” Surprised, he tells her, “The bell... is about... to ring...” Mio crouches down in front of his desk, and says she's staying just a little longer. She tells Taki that she didn't get to see him this morning, so she needs to charge. As Mio promises herself that she definitely won't be late anymore, Taki smiles and offers her a candy. He explains that the glucose will help perk up her brain.
Later, as people are moving around in the classroom, Inoji notices that someone spilled water near the door, and someone else mentions that they're going to the audio-visual room for the next class. Looking at the handouts from earlier, Mio notes that their field trip is to the aquarium. Shii explains that it's pretty close, and they can go their own way after the entrance ceremony. Mio asks if it's just the second years, and Shii explains that the third years are taking their trip tomorrow and the first years next week. By the door, a girl slips on the spilled water, and Marui grabs her arm. Realizing what he did, he starts to explain that it took him by surprise, and the girl says she's sorry. Marui asks if she's all right, and she says yes (it was just really embarrassing). As she leaves, her friend explains that there was spilled water, and Mio thinks that Marui really does do those things without thinking. Ishida tells him how cool he was, and Marui explains that he had to do it to prevent her falling into Ishida and creating a domino effect. Ishida lunges at Inoji for laughing at that, and he bumps into Shii while avoiding Ishida. Shii slumps over the desk, seeming to have hurt her arm. She says she's all right, it just surprised her. (Yuni is violently demanding an apology from Ishida.) Inoji apologizes and asks if Shii is hurt, and she assures him that she's fine. She just lost her balance; even at volleyball, she's always like that. So, no need to worry. Inoji punches Ishida in the head again as Shii walks off.
As Mio, Shii, and Yuni approach the audio visual room, they hear a commotion, as Akane is yelling at that boy who follows around to leave her alone. He says that she's lying, and she tells him he's noisy. He starts talking about her involvement with a second year boy, and she calls him obstinate. She became manager of the boy's basketball club because she's aiming for one of the guys, didn't she!? Akane tells him his complaints are incomprehensible, and Mio calls out to her. Shii and Yuni notice that Akane is with that kid who looks like Detective Conan. Akane replies, “Ootaka-san...” and Mio tells her that they're on their way to the audio-visual room, too. Down the hall, Akane notices Marui, and she starts to blush. She quickly turns away, saying that she's going back. Once Akane is gone, the boy turns to Yuni and Shii and asks why they've been mewling at him. Yuni starts to answer, “Because you look like Cona-...” and Mio and Shii stop her. Mio tells him that they were saying how cute he was (the arrowed text underneath notes that this isn't really a lie). He blushes, and responds, “I, I'm not cute, idiot! Don't say weird things!” before storming off. (In another Detective Conan reference, Yuni notes that it was disappointing he called her “baka” rather than “barou.”) Once in the AV room, Mio sighs. Shii asks what's wrong, and Mio says that Akane had a really cute look on her face before. Shii comments that she's a pretty girl, and Mio agrees, but that's not what she meant. She looked somehow really... grown-up. Shii wonders if Mio was just imagining things, but Yuni pipes in to suggest, “Maybe it's love?” Wasn't Conan saying earlier that she became a manager for the basketball team because she had her eye on a second-year boy? Mio looks surprised, saying that she didn't hear that. So she became a manager because there's someone she likes? Yuni wouldn't know, but doesn't it seem likely? She turns and asks Marui if he knows if there's anyone Akane is close to on the basketball team. He says no, and Mio wonders aloud that if it's true and the guy is a second year, maybe there's something she could do to help. Marui remembers how Akane was blushing when he grabbed her hand, and thinks that it couldn't be him... probably.
After basketball practice, the boys gathered on the stage are complaining that they're hungry. They rattle off some things they'd like to eat, but they also don't have any money. Then, Mayuu comes in with a bag for them, announcing that she brought muffins that she made today. (One of the guys responds, “That's just what I'd expect from my wife, Mayuu!” She continues to smile and snaps back, “Please die. [heart]”) She offers a muffin to Marui, and he thanks her and starts to reach for it. He pulls back, though, when he sees the chocolate chips, and looks disappointed but amused. One of his teammates informs Mayuu that Marui is allergic to chocolate. She looks back and says, “Eh!?” and suggests that the chocolate chips could be removed. Marui tells her that, no, in his case that would still be a problem. Mayuu collapses to the floor, apologizing for her failure to get that information. Marui laughs, and tells her not to worry about it. Marui sees another muffin beside him, and Akane explains that her group also made some plain muffins. This is the only one left, though. Marui just says, “...Eh?” but one of his teammates tells Akane how thoughtful she is. Isn't Marui glad? Akane spots that he has a basketball, and says, “Senpai, can I put that away for you?” She grabs the ball from his hands and walks away. (Mayuu complains that she should have made plain muffins, too.) After having the basketball taken, he says that Ebihara is cool, though he doesn't think he's ever seen her smile. As Akane goes to put the basketball away, she thinks that she didn't have any choice but to give Marui that muffin. Considering that he was the only one who didn't have one, it was too pitiful. Thinking about it, Akane's expression moves from neutral to blushing to smiling.
Meanwhile, in the girls' locker room, one of the other girls from the volleyball club asks Shii if she can have the CD she loaned her back. Shii tells her that it's in her other locker, and the girl suggests she bring it tomorrow. Shii reminds her that the second years won't be at school tomorrow, so she'll just go get it. Akane runs into the head manager of the basketball team as she leaves the gym, and she compliments Akane for always working hard until the end of practice. She asks her to take care of things tomorrow, and Akane says she will. Looking down sadly, Akane remembers that the second year students won't be there tomorrow. She sighs, and looks up when she hears her name called. She sees Marui coming down the stairs, and asks him what he wants. He hasn't left yet!? He responds, “No. I was waiting.” Akane blushes and looks away, stammering, “Eh... What, why!?” Marui takes out the muffin she gave him, and tells her that he thought he should return it. Akane asks why, and he apologizes and explains that it isn't that he doesn't trust her. But, if she accidentally got any chocolate in the mix, he might end up in the hospital. Akane seems surprised, saying, “Your allergy is really that bad?” He tells her it is, and Akane tells him she thought he might be making that up as an excuse to turn down the muffins. Marui laughs, saying it might have been troublesome. Seeing him smile, Akane blushes again. She tells him she understands, and takes the muffin back. Hearing it like that, she's scared, too. Marui thanks her, and Akane turns to go, telling him that he didn't need to wait for something like this. He should have just given it to someone else. He responds that no, there's one other thing... Akane asks him what it is, and he says, “Well, I'm sorry if I'm off the mark on this, but... Akane, do you like me?” Akane stutters and hides her face, and Marui continues, “If that's the case, I'd like you to stop. Sorry, but it's a problem.” Akane tries to collect herself, and responds, “What are you talking about? It's nothing like that; I wouldn't like you!” Marui laughs it off, saying he must have been thinking too highly of himself. Akane yells back, “Seriously! Are you stupid!?” He apologizes again, and Akane complains that for this idiocy, she ended up being kept at school until dark. She's leaving! Marui asks if he should escort her, and Akane tells him she doesn't want him jumping to the wrong conclusions again. She'll be fine. He laughs and tells her to be careful, but looks like he doesn't quite believe her refusal as he watches her go.
As Marui gets to the door, he spots Shii trying to hide in the hall. He asks her what she's doing, and she responds that he caught her. Marui asks what she was thinking... Akane didn't see her, did she? Shii apologizes, and explains that it seemed like she shouldn't go down the hall with that atmosphere, and she wasn't sure what to do. So, she heard all of that? Shii tells him that she did, and speaking of that... Marui was surprisingly harsh. He doesn't seem to understand what she means, and Shii explains that he basically told Akane that she wasn't even allowed just to like him. Well, she doesn't mean to criticize him, but it was unexpected. Marui waves it off, explaining that she didn't like him, he was just being self-absorbed. Shii tells him that she's off, then, and Marui thinks about what she said. Was he being harsh? Most likely... The chapter ends with Akane running down the street, wiping away tears. She's thinking, “Who does he think he is, that self-important jerk! I would never like some like him!!”
/Chapter 20 end
Sarah's notes: Poor Akane. That really was pretty painful. Apparently, the recently released Volume 5 of this series ranked 9th in manga sales. I guess the series must be fairly popular. The next chapter is their field trip to the aquarium, and it's not too exciting.