Things changed since I posted Chapter 2. There are 4 beautiful women on this chapter, but only 2 with Misha. I have edited the previous chapter. Apologies for missing this.
Mikado leads me to one of the rooms inside the karaoke place; evidently we’re the last ones to arrive. Before we get too close, she turns around and gives me as serious a look as she can through her typically cheerful face. “Hisao, I’m serious~ about you being free to leave at any point. This is supposed to be fun~! You aren’t a prisoner being kept against your will, okay?”
I can see the pout creeping back onto her face. “Okay, but are you sure this is alright? It took a while for you to convince… Satou was it?” She’d spent quite a while on the phone calling and texting various people earlier tonight, but the one who seemed most against it was the first one. Satou Lilly I think was her name.
Her usual happy smile begins to creep back. “Of course~! I wouldn’t have invited~ you if it weren’t!” She drops her voice to a much quieter tone. “Just don’t stare, okay? One of them is really shy…”
I quickly nod, remembering what she’d said. “Right, you told me about them a little.”
Her smile back in full force, she turns the knob. “Great!”
As she opens the door, I’m overwhelmed by the sight of an extremely beautiful women sitting on the couch in the room, “Hey ladies! This is Nakai Hisao.He looked really down earlier, so I thought he could use the company.” As I begin to soak in the atmosphere the tall, blonde lady with the overly kind smile on her face begins to speak.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Nakai. I’m Satou Lilly. I must say I was quite surprised when Misha called me about tonight.”
Misha? Does she mean Mikado? Her face is pointed in my direction, but she isn’t making eye contact; this must the one Mikado spent the most time on the phone with. She mentioned she was blind but to not ‘worry about that.’
“Wahahaha~! Yeah, sorry about the late notice. It all happened so fast!” Mikado looks a little nervous, but continues with introductions unabated, “My friend sitting next to Lilly is Ikezawa Hanako. She’s the one who recommended Karaoke tonight!”
As I turn my attention past Satou, I catch the eye of a thin girl almost entirely behind her. Her hair, almost the same shade as Iwanako’s, hangs over her right eye. I think I see something else there, but before I can make it out she pushes further into the couch, her entire body behind her well-endo- ‘lovely’ friend. I give a nervous smile and wave, though I’m not sure if she can see me anymore.
She speaks almost too quiet for me to hear. “H-hello…
” Honestly, she has a lovely voice and is quite attractive, despite the- OH! I finally notice some scarring on her right hand. That must have been what I saw on her face…
A cap on her head makes it even harder to see, I’m surprised I noticed anything at all.
“It’s nice to meet you Ikezawa, sorry to intrude on your night with friends.” Though she still seems skittish, I see a small smile from behind the shield of hair.
“N-no, it’s okay. Misha t-told me y-you really needed a f-friend.” Slowly, she comes out from behind Satou, “I k-know how that feels…” Maybe it’s just my imagination, but there’s a depth behind her eyes that tells me those aren’t just kind words.
With introductions out of the way, Mikado, a.k.a. Misha, strikes a pose with her fist in the air, “Okay then! Let’s get this party started!”
As the night rounds out, sooner or later, every girl here has insisted I refer to them by their given name. Being the gentleman that I am, I agreed as long as they did the same. Misha eventually explained her nickname, a combination of her given (Shiina) and family (Mikado) names. Hanako seems to really be in her element when she sings, putting her heart and soul into her final song. She mentioned it’s from her days in an orphanage but didn’t explain any further.
Lilly seems content with how I’ve treated Hanako. It is obvious she cares deeply about her, maybe she’s even a little protective. She asks me plenty of questions, though I don’t get into the specifics of why I’m here. They seem comfortable with me, but I’m not ready to talk about Iwanako. They did, however, invite me to a cafe after karaoke.
Everyone else orders tea, leaving me the sole voice of reason with coffee. Misha recommends a parfait, but the cake Hanako ordered sounds much more my speed. Lemon cake always hits a spot I forget is there.
Now that we’ve spent more time around each other, Hanako is beginning to seem more comfortable around me, though she stills stutters more when talking to me compared to Lilly and Misha. “H-Hisao, I… I’m glad we m-met you tonight. I hope we’ve h-helped. You look m-much less depressed than earlier.”
“You did, hopefully we can do this again. I had fun tonight.” I think I see her blush, but she’s turned her head that the hair that hangs in her face makes it hard to tell.
“It was quite enjoyable, Hisao. I look forward to seeing you again in the future. Good luck handling whatever it is that led to you needing a couple strangers for company.” She smiles sweetly, which is swiftly interrupted by a yawn she hides behind her hand. “My apologies, I think I’m spent for the night. Until next time.” Lilly and Hanako get up to leave, Lilly looking particularly tired. Hanako has been hiding behind Lilly whenever people walk by, but Lilly looks to be leaning on her as they walk out. That leaves just me and Misha in the small cafe near the train station.
We sit there chatting a while longer before Misha hides a yawn. “Hicchan, did you enjoy tonight?” Misha herself looks tired, but is adamant she’s fine.
“I did, thank you for inviting me. It helped keep… It helped distract me.” Checking my watch, it’s a bit later than I expect. “We should probably get going though; I don’t care how much you insist, you’re falling asleep just sitting there.” Her head slowly drifts down before she snaps it back up.
“Y-yeah, you’re right. What part of town do you live in Hicchan?” She begins to fade but slaps her face to keep herself awake. She winces at her pain, evidently having hit harder than she meant to.
“Suginami Ward, I have to catch a train before they stop for the night.” As the words leave my mouth, Misha’s eyes drift wide.
“Wait, really?! Where in the ward?” She’s leaning close now, the smell of strawberries drifting through my nose.
“Uh… An apartment right near Kōenji Station. It’s about a 5 minute walk from there.” Now I’m worried. The look on Misha’s face is somehow even more exuberant than her normal cheerfulness.
“OHMYGOSH! I get off at the next station, Asagaya!” Though her energy is overwhelming, it’s easy to tell she’s thoroughly exhausted, “Um… Hicchan? Could I bother you with a walk home? I’m not sure I’ll make it at this point without help…” An extended yawn escapes her before she can continue, “My apartment is to the East of the station, so it shouldn’t be too far of a walk for you after I get home.”
If you weren’t so utterly exhausted Misha, I’d expect something uncouth from this request.
“Sure, can you even stand at this point?” She’s practically a puddle on the table now, but makes an effort to sit up before responding.
“With great effort, Wahaha…” Not even her laugh has energy anymore.
I stand up and offer her my hand. “Then it would be my honor, young maiden.” My back is straight, left hand behind it, giving an air of servitude to my otherwise shabby attire.
With a chuckle, she takes my hand and stands up. “Thanks Hicchan, I really~ appreciate this.”
After making sure she won’t fall on her face going up the stairs, I give Misha a parting wave. A tired smile is all I get before the upper floor blocks her face. The crisp autumn air persuades me to pull my jacket closer.
As I walk home, flashes of today go through my head. Waking up next to Iwanako, walking her to the station. I remember rushing home to get ready for the night, double checking everything so it went off without a hitch. The early dinner, everything seeming perfect, until I drop the question…
As I arrive at my apartment, turning my key in the lock, the inside looks so empty. Everything that was hers, that she didn’t think I’d need, is gone. Pictures on the wall, her toothbrush, her half of the closet, empty. I had almost forgotten about it, but this all brings it rushing back.
She told me after rejecting my proposal that she was moving back in with her parents. It was closer to school, and she didn’t want to hurt me even more by staying here longer. I just don’t understand where I went wrong…
I slump onto the bed, the hollow apartment swallowing what’s left of my waking mind.
The light outside rouses me from my sleep, a streak of light making it right into my eye. “Ugh… I wasn’t sleeping well anyways, universe.”
I turn over to check the clock, bright red numbers showing me it’s 6:30 AM. Considering how late I was up, I’m surprised I woke up so early.
Hell no, ain’t happening.
I shut my eyes, pull the covers up and hope to fall asleep again.
Time passes, I toss and turn, but no luck. Glancing at the clock, I evidently drifted off at some point as it now flashes 9 AM. Deeming it not worth the effort of trying anymore, I get out of bed to take my morning meds and make breakfast. Checking my phone, I notice a call I missed from Mai last night.
Just as I’m going to check my messages, a very loud knock interrupts me, quickly followed by the sound of my door unlocking. The door swings open, revealing a fiery-headed woman storming in.
Get your ass out of bed, I’m not letting you wallow in there another sec-” As she shuts the door behind her, I finally catch her eye, standing next to my rice cooker. “Oh, good, I wasn’t looking forward to dragging you out of bed.” She sets a grocery bag on the counter, some kind of instant meal spilling out. “Wanted to make sure you got something to eat.”
“Thanks. Gotta say, I didn’t expect you this morning Mai. If anything, I thought you’d be over at Iwanako’s…” A look of devastation crosses my face as the words escape before I can process them.
She jabs a finger straight into my forehead. “And that’s
why I’m here. She doesn’t need me right now. You do.” She shoos me away from the kitchen. “I can at least prep you something, man. Go get a shower. Did you sleep in your clothes last night?” Entirely forgetting to change, I still have my jacket and semi-nice clothes on from yesterday.
“Whoops…” I slip off my jacket, walking towards my room to get out of these clothes. Before I enter I turn back towards the kitchen. “Thanks Mai, it’s good to see you.”
“Don’t mention it, just go get cleaned up; I’m making sure you leave this apartment today. I called off this morning, the owner understood when I told them why.” As I enter my room, I hear my microwave open and shut. Whatever Mai brought, it looks like she’ll combine it with the rice I’m preparing.
With yesterday’s clothes removed, I grab some new ones and head into the restroom. A hot shower will help remove the fatigue that built up last night.