Tomodachi no Imouto ga Ore ni Dake Uzai -
Volume 5, Chapter 3: The Fake Girlfriend is Thick Towards Me
Volume 5, Chapter 3: The Fake Girlfriend is Thick Towards Me
Evening arrived. After grasping the rough situation of Iroha’s surroundings, I sent her a LIME with ‘I’m going home’, and returned to the flat. There’s the part of me who thought that going home together with Iroha would have been fine as well, but in that event, we would have had to keep a certain distance between us again because of the stalking, and there’s nothing to gain from that. As long as I don’t know how President Tsukinomori keeps his eyes on me, I can’t allow myself to let down my guard.
…Another big reason however was the LIME message I received from Mashiro.
[Mashiro] Aki wasn’t home but Iroha-chan wasn’t home either I can’t reach the both of you did you wander off somewhere without telling Mashiro no way right we have to act as fake lovers to deceive Dad you were the one who stressed that and now you’re immediately cheating on Mashiro going on a date together Mashiro wants to put faith in you but if you really went out on a date then Mashiro has to support your feelings and the two of you even if she doesn’t like it sorry for writing something weird like this Mashiro just finished the date plan but it seems like that was all for nothing (Rest omitted)
Also, the (Rest omitted) notation is actually my doing. There’s another two hundred lines after that, with no period to find, so that’s another story for another day. And I personally didn’t read it either. When I gave Mashiro a call instead…
‘Seems like some weird self-hypnosis messed up Mashiro’s head, because she thought that she actually became Aki’s girlfriend, so she started thinking, wait, is Mashiro being cheated on? like that, so she maybe went a bit too far. But, don’t worry, the second Mashiro sent that text, she got back to her senses, and believes that you wouldn’t cheat on her like that.’
She did not go back to her senses at all. The setting of her being my girlfriend still is rooted deeply into her brain. But, what I gathered from all of this mess is that the date plan was finished, so that was another reason I returned to the flat alone without Iroha. Once I entered my room, I sent Mashiro a LIME message. I originally thought of meeting up in her room, but that was immediately, rashly, and thoroughly denied by my fair lady, so the meeting was to be held in my room after all. If she’s still in the setting of being my girlfriend, then entering her room should be fine, right, but that must be a maiden’s heart working…Or something like that, how would I know.
“S-Sorry for intruding.”
“Come on in.”
Merely ten seconds after I sent her that message, Mashiro arrived. She awkwardly fidgeted as I guided her through the living room. Thinking that it would be a good idea, I made some coffee.
“Need any milk or sugar?”
“…No. Mashiro can drink it black.”
“Phew. When you were younger, you always put milk and sugar in it. You’ve become an adult, huh.”
“D-Don’t tease Mashiro. Talking about the past, you’re the worst.”
“Sorry, sorry.” Giving a wry smile, I put down the cup in front of Mashiro.
Not even comparable to the LIME message I got, the Mashiro in front of me was the same as usual. Maybe she just got too excited writing that message, seeing that she’s aiming to become an author and all that. But…she really grew up. I calmly observed Mashiro, as she put the cup of coffee to her mouth.
She wore a cool no-sleeves one-piece. I could faintly see traces of makeup on her cheeks and lips, as she even took a bit of care for her fingernails, emphasizing that beauty of hers in every small aspect. After talking about it with Otoi-san this morning, I yet again realized how she possesses that adult charm here and there. Even though she just went over to her neighbour’s place, the degree of perfection is something else. Even if this is because of her feelings for me, or because this is a practice of her own, I can’t help but admire that.
“…W-What are you staring at? You’re being very rude right now.”
“S-Sorry. I just thought that you became so beautiful.”
“Wha…?! W-Where did that come from…?!”
Mashiro’s snow white face turned beet red…Oh lord, that went too far, didn’t it. What am I doing, just saying what I think without considering her feelings! Depending on it, you could even call this sexual harassment towards a JK, and the fact that I know of her feelings for me makes it even worse. I praised her with light feelings, too light.
“S-Sorry about that. I didn’t mean it in a weird way.”
“Making advances with no feelings behind it is not a good thing. You’ll get stabbed for stuff like that.”
“I feel like I’ve seen an anime like this before…But, well, I’m really sorry.”
“If you’re aware of it, then that’s fine.”
She forgave me…?
“…And, Mashiro doesn’t hate the idea of being praised itself. It’s just a problem of getting her hopes up, only to have her fall again. Don’t make her too happy.”
“I-I see. I’ll be careful from now on then.”
“Good. If you do, then you can praise Mashiro from time to time.”
“So praising you is okay after all?”
“Mashiro will get angry if you do, okay? If you do it irresponsibly. But, she still wants you to praise her.”
“So what should I do about this…”
“If you respond to her expectations after you praise her, then it’s okay.”
“How unreasonable…But, you’re totally right, so I can’t help it.”
From Mashiro’s point of view, being praised by the boy she loves and becoming his girlfriend would be the best. Anything but this best possible scenario would just get her angry. Not to mention that, having known Mashiro for such a long time, and being aware that she is the type to lock herself up all day, I just feel shocked that she could be this assertive.
“…Well, can’t help it. I was the one who was allowed such a vague relationship for now. I’ll just stay spoiled by that and accept a bit of unreasonability.”
“Fufu, Mashiro might just like that about you, Aki.”
Being told her feelings directly by a snickering Mashiro, I felt my heart skip a beat. I wish she’d just stop hammering onto me with my guard not even up, this is bad for my heart.
“…Then, let’s get on the main topic.”
“First, Mashiro would like you to read this.”
I heard a loud sound. What appeared in front of me, was a mountain of A4-size papers, all written fully to the brim. Being fully overwhelmed by this mass, I carefully asked.
“What is this…?”
“The date plan.”
“Is it just me, or isn’t that a bit too much…? How many pages did you write?”
“What is this, a novel?”
This is a plan, right? A plan. Who’d read 240 pages of a plan, for crying out loud.
“Ah, but, the first 120 pages are the introductory scenario.”
“Why does a plan need a scenario on top?”
“It’s the same for TRPGs or murder mysteries, right? We’ll be roleplaying, so together with a previously established setting, we cannot forget the scenario. Makes total sense.”
“Could you stop trying to explain everything with an author’s wording and reasoning? It’s not helping at all.”
Makigai Namako is doing the exact same thing from time to time, so it must be typical for authors. Seriously, for a second I almost agreed with it.
“Just let me take a look at the actual date plan.”
“Hmpf. Mashiro put a lot of heart into it, but okay…Then, read after page 148.”
“Oh lord…Well, let me take a look.”
Shark Octopus Samurai embraces [Some item that makes one’s heart skip a beat], and shows the smile of a jellyfish menu.
“I don’t understand a single proper noun in that sentence. Just what are you forcing me to read?”
“Ah, sorry. Wrong page. It was supposed to be page 184. Mashiro got too much into writing, so she happened to write a side story for a sub character.”
“Why was there a need to add a sub character for a date plan…? Also, Shark Octopus Samurai eating a jellyfish menu…?”
“Mashiro didn’t fully decide on the name yet, so she just used whatever name came to mind. She just has to change it later.”
“What about the Some item that makes one’s heart skip a beat part?”
“That as well. Mashiro didn’t decide just yet what she wants to put there, so it’s still left open.”
“Huh…I wonder if it’s fine to leave the character’s name and the story left open like that…Well, it’s probably more efficient to do that before getting endlessly stuck on it?”
“That is a great method indeed…If we take away the fact that the date plan is not supposed to be a novel.”
“I-It’s fine. The real deal starts on page 184.”
What exactly would be the real deal of a plan? I retorted inside my heart, when I slowly flipped over the pages, and read through them.
I always thought that festivals were boring.
So many people, and it’s hard to walk. In the midst of all these girls wearing cute yukata, it feels like I am the one being worn by a yukata, as it doesn’t look good on me, embarrassing me.
I get made fun of for my net to break immediately during the goldfish scooping.
I can’t hit anything at the shooting range either.
The water balloons always pop right away, drenching me.
…Well, the takoyaki sold at the stalls were kinda delicious.
Listening to the sounds in the sky. But, the shape and color are not visible.
With the loud applause, and the people’s voices of joy, I find myself thinking that it’s not half bad.
Is it wrong to attend the festival with feelings like these? …No, this year, summer is different.
Because it’s special.
With the special me, and the special you. As the two of us, we can change these lifeless memories, and turn it into the greatest page of this summer.
“Hm, I see.”
…What kind of poem is this?
“Basically, Mashiro wants us to go together…To the summer festival this month.”
“So why was there a need to write a whole 240 pages just for that?”
“Don’t make fun of Mashiro. She properly thought of a schedule. It’s on page 239 and 240.”
“Only two pages then!”
If things could be summed up in two mere pages, then do so from the start, will you. I understand that, in order to properly act as lovers, we need a certain setting and all that, but this is clearly taking things way too far.
“But, I see…the summer festival, huh.”
“…What? You have a problem with that?”
“No, not at all. I was just surprised that you, of all people, want to see a festival.”
“Mashiro isn’t that eager to go…But, you said you wanted to go, idiot Aki.”
“Nothing. Dense protagonists can just die in a fire.”
“You whisper something in a volume I can barely pick up, and then you call me a dense protagonist? Can you be any more unreasonable?”
“Mashiro doesn’t like that attitude of yours, so enough.” Mashiro openly showed her displeasure, and averted her face.
Following that, she only gave me a brief glance before she continued.
“…Or, did you have plans with Iroha-chan?”
“Well, she did invite me.”
“No, there was a reason for that, she didn’t invite me with the intentions that you’re probably thinking of.”
Because I couldn’t tell her about the recording, it ended up sounding more sketchy than I was hoping for.
“With Iroha-chan, hm…”
“No need to worry, I’m careful not to gather any unwanted attention from the president. I’m probably going to decline her invitation.”
“Hmm, is that so. So you want to go to the summer festival with Mashiro, and not with Iroha-chan.”
“Don’t just interpret weird things in there…I just want Iroha to deepen her friendships with her classmates.”
“…Well, she has a lot of friends after all. Unlike Mashiro.”
“Can you stop with that already?”
“Also…Iroha-chan constantly barged into your room…Well, it was routine even before, so that’s fine…No, not really…well, it can’t be helped. But, inviting you to the summer festival is bad manners, Mashiro thinks.” She pouted, and explained her discontent. “Approaching the person Mashiro likes, you know.”
“Um…Iroha doesn’t know about your confession, so I think that…”
“What are you talking about? Mashiro and Aki are going out, you know. Mashiro likes Iroha-chan as well, but just inviting Aki, Mashiro’s boyfriend, is going a bit too far.”
“I mean, even if we’re going out, it’s just a fake relationship. I mean, I know about your feelings, and I’m really happy, but just ignoring Iroha is a bit…”
“…? Eh. Aki?”
Mashiro had narrowed her eyebrows, tilting her head in confusion. I felt like something was off, and tilted my head just like her…What is this feeling like we’re talking past each other…Something was tickling my brain, telling me that things were bad.
“Since Iroha-chan doesn’t know that our relationship is actually just a fake one, we should be like an actual couple in her eyes, so she should be acting accordingly, and treat you like a man with a girlfriend, right?”
“Um…so basically, since Iroha doesn’t know that we’re just pretending, we are an actual couple in her eyes?”
Though it ended up sounding like a response of a politician who’s being made into a victim, I hope you understand that I have to carefully assess the information I was given just now.
“Exactly. Mashiro and Aki should look like actual lovers to her, yet she goes to invite you on a date, isn’t that against the rules? Or is Mashiro wrong?”
“No, if we really look like actual lovers, then inviting someone else’s man is really the worst possible approach.”
“Right. So then…”
“But, wait a second.”
I ran Mashiro’s words through my head one more time. I can fully understand Mashiro’s reasoning here. If Mashiro and I (omitted) then it makes sense that Iroha (omitted). But, even before that…
“Iroha knows that our relationship is fake, right?”
“Eh? Wait, you didn’t know that she knew…?”
“First time Mashiro heard of that…Eh, wait. You told Iroha-chan? About the truth.”
“I mean, everybody of the [5th Floor Alliance]…Ah, the team members living here on the fifth floor of the flat all know, so…”
What misfortune. Since this fake relationship with Mashiro is related to the future of the [5th Floor Alliance], I obviously told them about it, as it is standard practice to do so. Though the fact that Iroha is actually the mysterious voice actor X is something I have to keep secret even more than that.
However, I wouldn’t have expected Mashiro to still assume that everyone from the [5th Floor Alliance] thought we were dating for real. Also, because of this whirlpool of problems, I never even became aware of it, but the relationships between me, Mashiro, and the [5th Floor Alliance] is super complicated, isn’t it.
“Eh…eh…you’re the worst…! Then, when Mashiro was acting like a girlfriend to everyone, they already knew that it was all a lie? Ugh…this is the worst…Mashiro wants to die…Let her die…!”
“Calm down, calm down Mashiro! You were never even acting that much like a girlfriend to begin with! If anything, you treated me sharply like you do all the time!”
“And, Mashiro gave a serious coming-out back then in front of Sumire-sensei…So she knew about it all along? Mashiro was wondering why she wasn’t shocked at all…!”
“Sumire-sensei? Mashiro, what are you talking ab—”
“Curse you, Shikibuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!”
Mashiro was screaming at the top of her lungs about something, but she continued before I could even ask who she was angry at now.
“So the reason Iroha-chan wasn’t holding back at all…and her being clingy to Aki still…was because she knew that Mashiro was just a fake girlfriend…Uuuuu…!” Her face turned beet red like a lobster, as she groaned in agony.
Iroha is only teasing me and making fun of me, so I don’t think there’s any reason for her to be jealous? Or so I would have said a while ago. But, now that I’ve come to the realization that Iroha is both cute and annoying, she’s basically become a rival of Mashiro in that sense.
“How do I say it…Well, I’m sorry. For not realizing. I really have no delicacy at all.”
“I-It’s fine. Mashiro is at fault for not grasping Aki’s personality.”
“No no no, this was me being careless. With all these secrets intersecting, my head couldn’t keep up with which information I gave to who.”
“Secrets…intersecting…” Mashiro twitched.
She grit her teeth at these words, and spoke up with hesitation.
“Are there…others? Like being fake lovers with Mashiro…?”
“Eh? Ah, no, that was just a figure of speech, you could say.”
“Hm. But, you still have secrets you’re keeping from everyone, right? …For example, the identity of that mysterious voice actor X.”
She revealed her card timidly, and awkwardly, but it stabbed me right in the chest. If I were to explain it in terms of a trading card game, it was like she had the perfect counter for the deck I had created…I wonder how many people actually get this example? I showed a wry smile at the probably small minority of TCG players inside Japan.
“W-Well, I guess that is a secret, yeah. I can’t go into detail because of the problem of the voice actor and our contract, but it’s not anything that would be fun to tell, okay?”
I wasn’t lying by any means. Although we didn’t sign any contract, we kind of kept a verbal contract between the two of us, Iroha and I.
“Hmm, is that so? Hmmm.”
“W-What? If there’s something you wanna say, then out with it.”
“N-No, it’s nothing.”
“R.Really? Alright then.”
Seriously, she keeps saying stuff that’s bad for my heart. I got worried for a second that Mashiro might have found out about the fact that Iroha is actually this mysterious voice actor X, but I can’t find any hints from her expression.
“…Mashiro won’t lose.”
Mashiro muttered after dwelling in her thoughts for a brief moment. She said it in too low of a voice, I felt like some protagonist as I couldn’t pick it up at all. Mashiro then pushed the thick novel…excuse me, date plan onto me with a glare.
“Can I give you a response once I checked my plans for that day?”
“It’s a forced event, you have no right to deny.”
“O-Okay…Well, I’ll see what I can do.”
That day is the planned recording. At the same time, I would have to follow Iroha in order to monitor her during the summer festival, so I might as well have another reason to go. Adding the fake date with Mashiro on that day is probably the most efficient way, yeah.
“Then, it’ll be the two of us that day.”
“Alrighto. As for clothes, I can just wear what I always do, right?”
As for the normies and party-goers, it’s probably a colorful and cute yukata they’d be wearing. But, as for the great representative of this entire culture hating on them , Mashiro, she will definitely go against that. Knowing her, she’ll probably spit poison at all those normies, cursing society for introducing something like yukata and the idea that outgoing is better than being introverted—
“Huh? Are you retarded?”
—Or so I thought, but she quickly proved me wrong with some intense verbal abuse.
“You’ll be renting a yukata. That’s common sense.”
“Seriously? I totally thought you were against the same clothes as all those other peeps.”
“Mashiro hates those coquettish idiots that focus only on appearance. But, the yukata itself is a beautiful part of Japanese culture. You have to respect your traditions.” Mashiro spoke with great interest.
Ah, I remember. Bringing a great approach to culture and tradition is what an otaku like her would do.
“A festival and yukata are one unit. Anything else is unthinkable…There’s a yukata rental store near the train station, so get one from there before the festival.”
Near the train station…that’s not too far from Otoi-san’s place…
“Understood. I wonder how much it costs. I hope the budget of the [5th Floor Alliance] can cover it.”
“No need. Mashiro will pay.”
“Eh? No, I can’t really…I’d rather pay with my own…”
“It’s fine. Mashiro has quite a lot.”
“Seriously? I guess that’s the daughter of a company president for you, you got more pocket money that I can ever dream of…”
“Don’t ridicule Mashiro. She’s not just leeching off her parents’ money. She earns it herself.”
“Ohhh, that is some great mentality…Wait, you’re working?”
“Ah. Wait, no…” Mashiro panicky covered her mouth.
Her facial color changed as swiftly as a traffic light.
“M-Mashiro just happened to get a great sum of money. Don’t pry too much.”
“That sounds like something someone would say who got wrapped up in some questionable business. Are you okay?”
“I-It’s just short part-time work.”
“S-Some clinical trial for new medicine…?”
“Why’d you make it a question?”
“By the way, Kanaria-san has this new author confinement program called ‘Clinical trial writing course~’. After the medication, the writers will be hospitalized for quite some time, so they can fully focus on the manuscript.”
“Please don’t tell me any more stories of her tactics, okay.”
“A-Anyway, where Mashiro gets her money from doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t pry into a girl’s private life, disgusting.”
The way she denied any sort of questioning was far too suspicious as well. If this was a mystery novel, she’d definitely be the most prominent murder candidate. If this was a fantasy movie, she’d be the trader that betrays her own country in the second half. And, if this was some pornographic book, she’d be the lover getting NTR’d in the back of the school building.
Either way, I can see nothing but trouble from this, but I trust that Mashiro wouldn’t do anything weird. Though I can’t say I’ve never seen the trope of a JK earning money behind her Papa’s back to end up in some shady part-time job, knowing Mashiro and her shyness towards basically anybody but me, she wouldn’t give these guys a chance…Wait, isn’t it often the plain girls falling victim…? No, no more thinking about that. Having known her for such a long time, I don’t even want to imagine scenes like that.
Eaten up by the guilt of envisioning Mashiro sinking deeper into this dark world, I held my head, when Mashiro jolted up from her chair with some heavy momentum.
“This date is all planned by Mashiro, so she won’t let Aki pay.”
“Mashiro will show you that she is a girl who can properly lead Aki, using all the weapons that she has…Then, see you.”
Leaving behind words resembling a declaration of war, Mashiro left my room. Only I was left behind—as well as the 240 pages of a plan (novel) that she pushed onto me.
“Mashiro is acting off, isn’t she…?”
I can see that she became more aggressive after her confession, but was she always this assertive? Was there some change inside Mashiro that led to this change in behaviour? I have no idea. Racking my brain on things I don’t understand is a waste of time.
“For now, I’ll do whatever I can.”
I took out my smartphone, and sent Iroha a message.
[AKI] For the summer festival, I decided to go together with Mashiro, and I need to explain why, so come to my place tonight
“Of course, I’m not asking you to forgive just like that!”
“Prostrating yourself right from the start?!”
At night, when Iroha came to my room, I greeted her with the oldest greeting in Japanese history. Since she just finished her work at school, she was still wearing her uniform, and the legs reaching down from her skirt had been wearing her socks still. With my preemptive attack (me prostrating myself), even Iroha couldn’t make it in time to take them off.
“I know that you were first in inviting me. I also know that I should be putting my everything into the [5th Floor Alliance], and not get side-tracked by my relationship with Mashiro, but this time it really can’t be helped.”
There’s President Tsukinomori suspicious of the fact that I might have another girl (Iroha) that I’m close with, so I have to fulfill our contract of acting as Mashiro’s fake boyfriend And, I also told her about the date plan (novel) being 240 pages, clearly way too heavy…No, the last part just sounds like a gag, no matter how serious I try to be.
“…And with these circumstances in mind, I decided to attend the summer festival with Mashiro, so if you could just go with your friends, then things would get the most positive and most efficient conclusion…”
“W-Well, I understand where you’re coming from…Wah, so heavy!”
Having heard my explanation to the very end, Iroha picked up the date plan (Author: Mashiro) next to me, and gave a wry smile. She took off her socks, threw herself onto my bed, and flipped through the 240 pages like she was reading a manga. Once she was finally done, she let out a complicated sigh.
“Mashiro-senpai’s love sure is heavy.”
“In the physical sense, yeah.”
“And this straight approach worked against the die-hard Senpai, turning him Ifrit, huh.”
“The longer the sentence went on, the more complicated it got.”
“Die-hard is like being stubborn, and Ifrit means that your heart was burning strong like the flames of the fire spirits Ifrit! That concludes Iroha-chan’s lesson on JK language!”
“Seriously? I had no idea such JK vocabulary existed…”
I am technically a high school boy, you know. Yet, my daily life is just that far away from your average JK, it’s like there’s a giant wall between us.
“Well, I just thought of that seconds ago though!”
For a second, I got really scared! I mean, it’s not like I want to spend an inefficient youth like that. I was just worried that I would be left behind from the world. When acting as the producer of something or someone, standing at a position where you have to deliver this product to lots of people, you have to be aware of the world around you. Yeah, let me just phrase it like that, please.
“Hmmm…I see, so you’re going with Mashiro-senpai…”
Iroha faintly lifted up her body, sitting up straight on the bed, and burrowed her face in her thighs.
“Fireworks with Senpai, huh. How should I annoy you this time~ Oh right, I can’t. I was really looking forward to it though~”
“Ugh…I-I’m really sorry. I don’t know what to say…”
“I really wanted to get some memories with Senpai on the final day of summer break~” Her voice sounded depressed.
It felt like countless needles of guilt got stabbed into my body. I still don’t know what Iroha really is feeling inside. I really doubt it’s actual romantic feelings. But, the fact that I betrayed her hopes isn’t going to change either way.
“…Ahhhhhhh…I’m really sorry. I told you just now, but I don’t expect you to forgive me for nothing. I’ll definitely repay you for this. I’ll do anything you want, so please don’t be sa—”
“…Now you said it~” 𝐢𝘯𝑛𝓻𝚎𝙖𝑑. ᴄ𝗼m
“You just! Apologized to Iroha-chan! And said! You’d do anything! Right?!”
“I didn’t say any…No, I totally did. Yeah, I sure did…”
“Hehehe. Anything, huh~ I wonder what ridiculous things I should ask of you…”
“…No torturing me, okay?”
“Leave it to me. A difficulty reaching Cirque du Soleil should be perfect~”
“You’re telling me it’s going to be on the same level as the world’s greatest performances…?”
“Well well well, since Iroha-chan is soooo kind, she will forgive you with just that. So please be happy~”
Thinking about it, isn’t this the same of telling a friend that you can’t hang with them because you got a date with your girlfriend? In reality, this would earn me some real hate from the other person. If she’s going to forgive me with a bit of ridiculousness, then it should be fine…As long as it stays ‘a bit’.
“I will ask to redeem this credit at a later time, so you just enjoy your time with Mashiro-senpai!”
“Got it…And, what are you going to do?”
“I will go with the people from my class, so no need to worry. I am very popular after all. I’ll show the eternal zero-friends Senpai how it’s done!” Iroha grinned and raised her thumb.
“Anyway, about our schedule for the day of the summer festival.” I cleared my throat, and got a bit more serious.
I changed my attitude, and went into producer mode, something I had used a bit too often lately.
“At noon, we’ll do the recording at Otoi-san’s place. At night, Mashiro and I will enjoy the summer festival, and so will you with your classmates…All clear so far?”
“Stop calling me like that, people will get the wrong idea.”
「So Tsukinomori-san went on the offensive now…this could be bad indeed」
「Oh yeah, I haven’t been with you in a hot minute. What have you been doing as of late?」
「A new popular gal game released, so I’m all holed up inside, playing that every day」
「That sounds cool. What’s the title?」
「It is [To a certain somebody like you]」
「Sounds like the heroine is super annoying if you ask me」
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