Tomorrow is the day of the cosplay event, July 29. I have no shifts today and tomorrow, so I’m playing games with Akari. The mother few times said me to go to sleep early, but I didn’t listen to her and she fell asleep first. At the midnight, my phone rang.
“Naoki, your phone is too loud.”
“Yeah, some spam again…”
[From: Koigasaki Momo
Crap! It seems I won’t come tomorrow.]
There was a heavily crying emotion at the end.
“What?!” – I surprised aloud and promptly replied.
[My little sister drew my outfit all over with magic ink. It’s oil ink, so I can’t remove it…]
“Naoki, enough talking by yourself, you stopped the game.”
“Oh, my bad. I have to call now.”
I’m tired of mail exchanging and called Koigasaki.
“Hey, why did you drop the game in midstream? What do I do now?”
“Go ahead to play without me… Hi, Koigasaki?” – I left Akari shouting behind me.
“Hi there.” – said Koigasaki. Her voice was as sad as never before.
“Are you really can’t remove those drawings from your outfit? Did you try to bleach it out?”
“My mama tried everything, but no use.”
“That’s bad, so you have to re-do it…”
“I have cloth leftovers because I bought too much, but the event is tomorrow! I have no time for this! I took four days to make this with help of Azuki-chan!”
“I see. Well, sorry for this outfit, so you would need to buy a new one tomorrow morning.”
“You said that Hibine Ruru’s outfit is not sold yet.” – said Koigasaki with almost crying voice.
“Oh, that’s true… Which makes re-doing the last option, right? Let’s talk to Sakurai-san.”
“I have her to help me this much, and see what I have done with her work! There is no way I could say it Azuki-chan. Maybe it’s a curse for I wanted to cosplay with the impure motive.” – mumbled Koigasaki with an aloof voice which is not like her by any means.
“So what are you going to do?”
“Do I have a choice? I have no time to do a thing. I feel bad for Azuki-chan, but she will cosplay alone, I’ll accompany her.”
“Are you giving up?”
“Like I would want to give up after all that I’ve done! But there is nothing I can do. That’s just impossible.” – screamed Koigasaki. Probably, she’s crying right now on the other side of the line.
“Apologize to Sakurai-san and tell her what happened. What if there is a chance to do something?”
“Do you know what time is it? She might be sleeping now, and in mere chance she is not, trains aren’t run, so she can’t do anything!”
Yes, this is the time when the last trains running.
We kept silence for a while.
“I have had you to do a lot, and all of that is useless now. I’m sorry.” – said Koigasaki, and our conversation ended.
Hey, it’s not a joke.
She decided to make a cosplay, involved me with this, undertook a maid job she is hate in the café. and she made the outfit from the scratch, and right before the event she can’t do anything? What was all that fuss about, then? How can I let her give up now?
“Naoki, did you end the call? Let’s play…”
“Oh, sorry, I have no time for this.”
“Huh? What does that mean?!” – Akari got angry with me and started a game alone.
I thought for a while and there was only one idea in the end. I took my phone again and opened the phonebook.
At the letter “S” I found Sakurai-san’s phone number. We exchanged them with Koigasaki’s mediation where we had met the first time. Of course, we had never used each other’s contacts. Furthermore, seeing that hate towards me she might have deleted my contacts.
After a few calls, her voice mail activated. I canceled and pressed the redial. Yes, she doesn’t answer. I guess she’s sleeping considering that tomorrow is the event day. I decided to write her an email.
[Sakurai-san, I’m sorry being so late. Koigasaki has urgent troubles, so I need your help. Please redial upon seeing this email.] I wrote with no re-read as I have no time for this. I betted everything on her awake from the ringtone of the email came.
I wasted 30 minutes waiting for her reply. My phone never rang. Sakurai-san might have fallen asleep long ago. What can I do? I have to give up too…
Nope, that won’t do. No matter what.
Think! I need another method!
I opened my phonebook thinking to call her again on the chance. I noticed her profile apart from contacts. I searched for her home phone number, but I had no luck. Yet there was her birthday and address… I was surprised seeing her address. It’s fairly close to the home of my friend. I often had been riding to his place during my junior high school. It’s about thirty minutes on a bike.
“I can go there.” – I murmured. I thought I can find the Sakurai-san’s home on the maps, riding the bicycle. I probably can do something if I reach to her house. I even can seat Sakurai-san on the luggage carrier and take her to Koigasaki… It was the only solution I could devise.
Of course, I can fail to find her house. It’s unclear whether I can call her out, even if I’d found her house. And I don’t know would she come to Koigasaki’s house if I succeed to call her out.
But if there is the slightest chance, it’s better to make use of it rather go to sleep. I decided to ride to Sakurai-san’s house.
I asked Akari to keep this from the mother and quietly left the house. I rode the night road, looking the maps.
“According to the maps, it’s around here…”
I came to the surrounding of the place where Sakurai-san’s house should be, and started to look around for the Sakurais’ nameplate.
“Here is it!” I managed to find her nameplate! It was a standalone two-storied house. There were names of all family members on the nameplate, as well as “Sakurai Azuki”. This is her house for sure. I tried to call her once again, but as in the previous time, the voice mail connected.
There is the only way to call Sakurai-san – to use the intercom. However lights are out on both first and second floors, so using the intercom is worse than spam. But I have no choice. There is no way to return home like this. I’ll bother you a bit. Just when I reached my hand to the intercom button… What a miracle, the light goes on on the second floor! I can see a silhouette through the windows.
The lights are on; however, whose room is that? I can’t possibly know. Usually, kids live on the upper floors, but this is not a rule. Well, it’s no point immersing in thought now and here. What is the person turn lights off and fall asleep again? Why have I ridden here in the middle of the night?
One more step left. One more step from Sakurai-san.
“Sakurai-sa-an!” – I screamed her name with all my might towards the room with lights on.
Hey, isn’t it a worse bother than using the intercom? Screaming in the night… But I didn’t think about something else.
Hey, isn’t it a worse bother than using the intercom? Screaming in the night… But I didn’t think about something else.
After a while, the windows on the second floor, where I saw the light, opened. It will be bad if that’s her parents. Yet, luckily, it was Sakurai-san herself. She saw me and surprised. Then she closed the window. For a moment, I thought the make it as she didn’t see me, but after that, she came out of the entrance in her pajama.
“I’m really sorry for this in the middle of the night.” – I thought it’s the first thing I have to do.
“What did happen?!” – she wasn’t angry, rather she was severely surprised.
“Koigasaki is in an emergency. I need your help. I failed to get to your phone, so I came here with fully understanding I would bother you.”
“Momo-chan is in an emergency?!” – surprised Sakurai-san, and I explained her the situation.
“So Koigasaki said that’s cruel to you and that she can’t say it to you.”
“I see… I can’t promise anything until I saw the condition, but we could patch-up it at least.” – Sakurai-san has a worried face. I thought she would get angry, but she’s worried about Koigasaki.
“If it’s not a bother to you, I could ride you to Koigasaki’s house on this bike. We could found the means for it with you.”
“Kashiwada-kun, can you ride all the path to the Momo-chan’s house from here?”
“Yes, however I’d have to look on the maps till we ride to the station near her home.”
Yes. I came here because I know this path, but I don’t know how to go to Koigasaki’s house from here. I will have to depend on the maps.
“I see. But her house is near the school, right?”
“When I was in junior high school, I visited a cultural festival in the senior high school. As I didn’t have a season ticket to that school, I had been riding there on a bike with my mother. I was just trying, can I go to school on a bike.”
“How was that?”
“It took about twenty minutes. I was following my mother, but I think I remember the path.”
“Great! If we will find the school, I’ll ride us to Koigasaki’s house.”
Twelve minutes is closer than I expected.
“Great! Okay, I’m going to take my sewing set and other things from my room.” -said Sakurai-san and went to the house.
That a relief that Sakurai-san wishes to help. She sincerely worries about Koigasaki. She surely likes her. A few minutes later, Sakurai-san came out of the house with a big bag.
“I’ll go to the event right from Momo-chan’s house, so I packed my things for tomorrow and a sewing set, that is why my bag so big. I’m heavy alone, and this bag… Can you ride?”
“Yes, I can, don’t worry.” – said and put her bag in the front basket. Sakurai-san sat on the bike.
“Ride this road straight. There will be a turn to right later.”
Sakurai-san is working as a navigator.
“Okay. I’m moving forward.”
I’m a bit nervous because Sakurai-san grabbed my back. I didn’t expect the event of me riding a bike with a girl on the luggage carrier would happen now. It’s not a time for this, though. I had been driving Akari when she was in grade school, but I can’t help now when a girl of the same age with my sister is behind me. This is completely different feeling.
“Ouch.” – said Sakurai-san when I rode from a step.
It was a moment, but I definitely felt something soft on my back. It took me another moment to understand that is was Sakurai-san’s breast. Hey, me, it’s not a right time to think this way!
“Hey, did you tell Momo-chan that we are coming?”
“Eh? AAA! I didn’t!” – my voice was strange and nervous.
“I’ll call her right now, then. I don’t want to bother her by a sudden visit. You can go this way.”
“Okay, thank you!”
“Eh?..” – Sakurai-san uttered a surprised voice.
“Kashiwada-kun, you did send me so many emails and called me… I’m sorry, I was sleeping…”
It seems she opened her phone to call Koigasaki and noticed that I’ve been trying to contact with her.
“I’m sorry too, I knew that I’ll bother you, but I have nobody else to rely on.”
“It was so hot in my room I woke up to turn on my fan, and I heard your voice. At first I thought I’m hearing things, so it was a great coincidence I’ve woke up, turn the light on, and opened the window.”
“You’re right, it’s a great coincidence.”
I’m sincerely grateful to this coincidence. Sakurai-san reached to Koigasaki, and explained everything to her.
“What did Koigasaki say?”
“Well, she has surprised to receive a call from me. Probably, she has been crying. And apologized few times.”
Koigasaki could not tell this to Sakurai-san, so she must resent me now… I have asked Sakurai-san to come off the bike near a police box, but other than that, I’ve been riding according to her navigation. The silence made me feel uncomfortable, so I decided to say something.
“You’re great, Sakurai-san, to be able to make a dress by your own… That’s impossible for me.”
The conversation is over. Am I unable to continue a conversation with any girl except Koigasaki? It’s awkward to leave it as is, so I spoke to Sakurai-san again.
“By the way, I was thinking all the time, why did you wear that cosplay in a clubroom?”
“Oh, you mean… then?” – said Sakurai-san. I can’t see her face, yet I got her confusion.
“Do you remember that outfit? Can you recognize a character I was cosplaying?”
“I remember that outfit, but I never saw that character.”
“It’s a suit from a game, but the outfit was a school uniform. I thought it would fit my school view, so I went to shooting in the school. Also, nobody should have come that day, it was a day off, so I had brought a wig and an outfit into the clubroom. Then I used digital camera and timer to make shots. Oh, I was so stupid. You and other club members saw me in that outfit in the end.”
“I see, the view is important too. Wasn’t it better to have club members to make shots? I think they could do much better photos than you did with a camera timer.”
“There is no way I could!” – said Sakurai-san a bit louder.
“Oh, so you hide your cosplay things from other club members. I completely forgot, sorry.” – I hit a mine.
“But think it’s not a thing you have to hide. They are manga researchers so I suppose a lot of them interested in cosplay.”
She might have befriended with other hidden cosplayers if she hadn’t concealed it. Besides, I don’t understand the reason to hide it anyway.
“I was in manga researchers club in junior high as well.”
“I was young then, so I did cosplay in the clubroom with friends. I feel uneasy thinking of it now, but a boy saw and said… a pervy thing to us…”
“What did he say?”
“You’d call that a harassment. Another time, he brought a very exposed cosplay outfit and asked to wear it. I started to hate it since then, and decided do not cosplay in the club.”
“I see…” – was a little happy because Sakurai-san is talking to me like this for the first time.
“Another guy said I’m cute in cosplay but ugly in my casual suit, and I should wear cosplay all the time.”
“I think he liked you.”
“It’s impossible. They were showing no interest to me. They paid me such attention only when I did cosplay.”
“I hesitated whether to join a manga researcher club in my senior high school, but I wanted an otaku friend, so I ended up joining. However, I decided to hide my cosplaying things, for not going through that again. But eventually, I felt uncomfortable there and I became a ghost member. But now I have Momo-chan as my friend, so I’m good now.”
So that is the reason she got to hate otaku guys.
“Oh, I have been talking to myself… I’m sorry!”
“Not at all! I’ve listened to you!”
In fact, I’m happy to hear that from her. Sakurai-san is struggling about things too… It’s no wonder she hates otaku boys.
“Oh, we’re almost there.”
I’ve noticed that we’re at the nearest station already. I was at Koigasaki’s house two times, so I remember where to go. In five minutes, we had arrived at her house. I stopped the bike at the fence.
“I’ll call Momo-chan.”
Sakurai-san got down, took her luggage from the basket, and took out her phone.
“Okay. Take care of Koigasaki, then.” – I said and rode the bike again.
“Oh, Kashiwada-kun.” – said Sakurai-san when I was about to go.
“Well… Thank you for contacting me.”
“Oh, not at all.” – I was surprised by her gratitude.
“I’ll sure take care of Momo-chan.”
“Okay, see you.” – I said and started to go again. I never returned home from Koigasaki’s house, so I have to wander around train lines a lot before I arrived home.
In the morning, I was woken up by Koigasaki’s call.
“Hello?” – I lifted the receiver. I thought she’d get angry I gave away that to Sakurai-san.
“Ah, Kashiwada? I’m sorry for waking you up. We have just repaired my outfit.”
“I’m sorry for I caused you so many troubles… Thank you for bringing Azuki-chan.”
“No, not at all…” – I was surprised she’s not angry. Then we agreed to exchange emails once we got to the event.
I agreed with Suzuki to meet in front of the main entrance of International Exhibition Centre Station. We will exchange emails with Koigasaki when we changed clothes. Cosplay and wig are denser than I expected, and I packed them into my sports bag from when I was in junior high.
I arrived at the station right in time, but Suzuki was waiting for me already.
“Oh, I made you wait.”
“Oh, Kasshi? I was so excited I couldn’t sleep tonight!” – Suzuki waved me and said it with a peaceful face. I think I got the reason why he’s so popular.
“But… are you sure to do cosplay with the likes of me?”
“What are you talking about? Cosplay cannot be good or bad.”
The event is held in the Tokyo Fashion Town near the station, also called as TFT. I never was there. Suzuki saw girls who had pulled carts and said that they must be cosplayers, so we followed them to the event hall.
“Wow, how many peoples are here…” – I was surprised to see so many participants. Most of them are young females. I paid the entrance fee of 1,500 yen and headed to the men dressing room. In comparison with the outside, this room is empty. It seems male cosplayers are rare.
I took out the newbie-made coarse outfit that I bought on the net trading site. By the way, it will be the first time I’m wearing this. Well, let’s try then.
It was tough, yet I managed to get into this shapeless outfit. Looking in the mirror I just made sure it’s awkward. I changed my clothes; however they say there is a special place where staff put on wigs. I went there and I noticed Suzuki-kun doing something unexpected.
“Suzuki… Are you putting on makeup?..”
Suzuki started applying makeup, sitting in a wig’s net.
“Well… My older sister is an experienced cosplayer, and she said that men doing this as well, and forced me to learn this…”
I thought about it later, but despite his relationship with his sister is tough, they behave like friends…
“But I have no makeup things.”
“I lend them, of course!”
“No, but I don’t know how to use that, and it makes me feel bad.”
“I can do it for you.”
“Eh? No-no-no, you shouldn’t do that!” – I rejected his proposition and put the wig on my head. Actually, men around me are doing the makeup, so I guess I’d have to learn it for the next time.
I had looked in the mirror after I completed everything. Ew… That’s not suited for me. I was disappointed, but then I said to myself that I came here to support Suzuki and help Koigasaki with her love’s pathway.
“Okay, I’m ready now.” – I said to Suzuki and I was surprised his complete and refined cosplay outfit. He looked as if he just came from the 2D world. I’m impressed by such friend.
“You’re nice per se, but your hairstyle and makeup are perfect. Is it really your first time to do a cosplay?”
“Um, yeah. My sister prepared the set for the wig, though.”
The set for the wig… I see. Wigs are not to be put on right after buying, but you have to match your wig with the outfit and your character. It convinced me why this wig is so far from my character. We done our preparations and left the makeup area, left the luggage at the checkroom, and come to a big area called the cosplay space.
The crowd grew bigger and louder. Familiar goods and cosplays are here and there. Looking at the people around me, I didn’t believe my eyes first. That’s only natural their clothes are on the different level than mine, but wigs and sets are in perfect match with their characters, and most of them did a splendid makeup. Some of them have nice widgets. They all do their best… I’ve impressed and at the same time I feel ashamed by own appearance.
“Wow, great.” – slipped out from my lips.
There was one more thing. Many girls wear very exposed outfits, similar to a swimsuit. A single heedless move might open even more of skin. There were girls whose breast was half-visible, and those with skirts short enough to see their stripy panties, those panties are intended for showing and yet I’m feeling arousal.
Here I remembered that I should have to assist Koigasaki, and put out my desire to take photos of those girls.
“Kasshi, did you bring a camera? Let’s take photos!”
“A camera? No, I didn’t…”
Oh! I forgot that cosplay is entirely for photos. But I rather want there will be no photos of my outfit. Maybe it was a right decision to leave my camera home.
“Then, I’ll send the photos to your email after the event. Let’s take photos for now!”
“Don’t mind me, give me the camera I’ll take you.”
“Excuse me.” – some woman interrupted us. I turned back and saw three vocaloids with a camera. Wow, they are cute.
“Could you please let us take a photo?” – said a girl with a childish voice and with sparkles in her eyes. She said to Suzuki, of course.
“Well, I don’t mind… Kasshi, they want to shoot you!”
“Not me, they want you!”
“Then, could you two to pose for us, please?” – said a vocaloid girl out of compassion. I want to drop dead. Right now.
I didn’t know what pose I have to do, so I stand still. Oh, I sure I don’t want to shoot me at all, I’m sorry, I was thinking until the end.
“Thank you very much!” – said the girls to us, we answered them and I thought they will go now, but they took something from their bags.
“This is my visit card, if you’d like…”
It was the same kind of visit cards that Koigasaki showed recently, a cosplayed visit card.
“You know, Jean’s cosplay suit you very well!” – suddenly said a girl giving the visit card to Suzuki.
“I like Jean very much, and furthermore, is suits you so good you look like the real Jean.”
“Oh, thanks.” – Suzuki gave a well-bred reply.
“We make a cosplay of Phi Kickers too!”
“Yes! Would you like to cosplay with us together next time?”
“Oh, okay, next time, then!” – Suzuki gives nothing but well-bred replies, the difference in their moods is pronounced. But man, you’re popular even here… That’s no wonder, though, you’re a handsome man even wearing the cosplay. I like it too, let aside women. I was going to take photos this time, but cosplayer women have asked Suzuki to take his photos. This time I was completely ignored, and after that, they have a conversation, so I have a free time.
I remembered about Koigasaki. I forgot to email her! [I’ve changed clothes and now on some kind of open space. Where are you?] – I quickly wrote.
“I’m sorry, Kassi!” – it seems Suzuki finally managed to get rid of those cosplayers.
“You’re so popular.”
“Well, the thing is male cosplayers are rare, that’s all.”
I have a feeling that you denied my existence.
“These girls were cuties! Did you get their visit cards?”
“Really? I don’t remember them…” – said Suzuki with a wide smile on his face.
“When you said you want to go to a cosplay event, I thought even you’re interested in cosplay girls. Was I wrong?”
“Of course! All I wanted is to do a cosplay. I did the Phi Kickers to match with you, Kasshi, and I didn’t want to take photos of some other cosplay girls. You see, cosplay is nice, but 2D girl are 2D girls, and 3D girls are still 3D girls no matter what.”
“Really? So you do not have any slightest interest in 3D girls?..”
Are you a human male or what? I’m starting to worry in a certain manner.
“Yeah. All I need is friends like you who can share my hobbies and 2D.”
However, if he truly feels like this, changes for Koigasaki to become his girlfriend are somehow low. Thinking this way, I remembered her existence. Crap, I’ve emailed her, but I didn’t check email since. Okay, one new email, as expected…
[I guess I can’t meet with Suzuki-kun after all… And I become ashamed by my outfit… What should I do?…]
“What?!” – slipped out from my mouth.
“What is it, Kasshi?”
“Oh, it’s nothing…” – I lied. What the crap! You come through that much to get to this event!
“Sorry, Suzuki. I have to go to a toilet.”
I went so far I couldn’t see Suzuki and call to Koigasaki.
“Oh, Kashiwada-kun? Did you see the email?”
“Of course! What are you think are you doing?”
“Where are you?”
“I’ve just entered the building. Also, I was caught, so I can’t move now… Oh, I’m sorry, I hang up now.” – and she really hung up. By the way, who caught her? I thought to bring Suzuki there, but I’m not sure they will be all right, and Sakurai-san is also there so they would have no chance to talk alone. Which means, I should find Koigasaki and send her to Suzuki.
I started bustling through the crowd to the entrance looking for Koigasaki. I noticed queues to cosplayers. What kind of a cosplay did they do to have such queues?
Most of them have very exposed outfits, but one girl among them have not, and yet she has a long queue. She seems very cute from this far… Huh? Isn’t that Koigasaki? I’ve come closer and it is her.
She exposed a little of her skin in comparison with other cosplayers, but I guess to be as cute as she is enough to have such a queue. Her particular clothes are no-sleeves and short mini-skirt, so you can see her legs. And she’s cuter after you saw other cosplayers: bluish wig of Hibine Ruru suits her, it looks like the advent of Hibine Ruru from the 2D world.
“Hey, isn’t Hibine Ruru cosplay cute?”
“You’re right! I want to shoot her! But that queue is too long.” – said two girls beside me. Even girls praised her! Why would she lose her confidence, then?
“Kashiwada-kun?..” – suddenly, I heard somebody behind me.
There was the same beautiful girl that I saw before when she fell from the stairs. Yes, Sakura-san, but she doesn’t look like usual herself partially due to her wig and contact lenses, but she definitely is so beautiful I can’t believe she is a real human. White skin, noble face, notable style. So I didn’t mistake her for somebody else back then. Also, I wasn’t really wrong thinking she is not from our world. A little part of her ample breast is visible in her décolleté, and slender yet long legs are not hidden by her mini-skirt.
“!..” – she noticed I was looking at her breast, and hid it with her luggage.
“No, I’m bad, I’ve overreacted…”
Is she feeling shame to show me this exposed clothes? She averts her eyes from me.
“Anyway! I have left Momo-chan for a little while to go to a toilet, and look what happened!” – Sakurai-san surprised by the queue to Koigasaki. We headed to Koigasaki.
“Momo-chan, are you all right?” – asked Sakurai-san when photographer changed.
“No, I’m not! I have been learning all poses, and yet I was told that poses are wrong. Other told me to sit, and they definitely wanted to shoot my panties! I’m wearing tights, though.” – said Koigasaki quietly so nobody else won’t hear her.
“Eh? Kashiwada? What are you doing here?” – she finally noticed me.
“You learned the poses?”
“Hey, it was you who told me to learn them! Not only poses, I heard many original Hibine Ruru’s songs! They were so good I couldn’t believe that’s a machine song. Songs were very good too! I’d want to sing some of them in a karaoke.”
“You came all the way long and now you refuse to meet him?”
I was surprised she actually did that much just because she was told by me? That was unexpected.
“When I’ve put on the wig and looked in the mirror I felt very ashamed.”
“Hey, you did a lot of things by yourself, both me and Sakurai-san helped you as well, and this is what you want to say?” – I said it loud so Koigasaki trembled a bit.
“I understand that it’s a stupid thing to say right now.”
“Suzuki is inside that space. Go ahead!”
“Excuse me, can we start shooting already?” – a photographer who stood first in the queue interrupted us. Crap, I completely forgot about the queue.
“Oh, we apologize, it seems her stomach is hurt, and she went to a toilet.” – it was an obvious lie, but I had to tell this to the photographer.
“Eeeh?” – his eyebrows got closer and his face displayed confusion. It’s only natural, to get angry waiting so long and go with empty hands. However, the moment his face relaxed.
“What about you, miss?” – his eyes changed when he noticed Sakurai-san. He implies that is Koigasaki is absent, Sakurai-san will be fine too?
“Yes, if you’d like to…” – the unexpected phrase came up from Sakurai-san.
“Eh? Azuki-chan?!” – Koigasaki was surprised.
“Well, don’t really understand what is going on, but you can leave here to me.” – said Sakurai-san and backslapped her.
“No worries, I like being shot!”
“Okay, can we start?” – spoke the photographer, and Sakurai-san took a pose. Wow, she’s used to this! She knows her poses!
“Go ahead!” – I pulled Koigasaki’s arm.
“Azuki-chan, thank you!” – Koigasaki thanked her and I dragged her to Suzuki.
“Can you see Suzuki near the wall there?” – I dragged Koigasaki to a distance from where we could barely see Suzuki, and told her where Suzuki is.
“Don’t worry, these are not that much of people who could match Suzuki-kun, so I’ll find him quick.”
“Okay…” – Koigasaki started to go to him slowly.
“Koigasaki”, – I said from the behind. She turned her face back.
“Good luck.” – I said. She was gloomy, but hearing that she smiled a little bit, and headed to Suzuki. It would be worst if Suzuki finds me out from here, so I’ll go to Sakurai-san. Sakurai-san probably confused, she does not know anything. I guess I should introduce her with what are we doing, because she has helped us a lot.
When I returned to Sakurai-san, the queue decreased a lot… And I couldn’t restrain my emotions watching the scene.
A photographer squatted in front of Sakurai-san and trying to shoot from the floor. Isn’t it odd? This is too much even for a low angle photo. Isn’t he trying to catch her panties? Or maybe I don’t know something and this is a usual thing here? I was thinking this way until I saw an expression on Sakurai-san’s face.
She was confused looking at the photographer. She doesn’t like this, obviously.
“Excuse me, this is not a proper way doing photos.” – I quickly approached to the photographer.
“Eh? I wasn’t interested in catching her panties or something like that…” – said the photographer with a displeased face. What another purpose you can have making a photo from that angle?
“Don’t you say misleading things!” – grumbled the photographer, ceased the session and left.
“Well, sometimes you meet with such jerks.” – I said to Sakurai-san and she has sat on the floor.
“Sakurai-san, are you alright?”
“Y-yes, I’m all right… It just that man was scary, I guess…” – she holds herself together to nor cry. You’re not alright at all.
“You know, I don’t like otaku guys.”
“Yeah, I heard it from Koigasaki.”
Yes, Koigasaki told me this earlier, but Sakurai-san never mentioned it. I’m happy she trusts me a little. But again, she dislikes otaku males, yet she decided to do poses in front of photographs instead of Koigasaki. Just how much do you like her?..
“I heard Momo-chan dislikes men too, and yet she got a job in that café. Every day she had a shift I was her struggling. It wasn’t that serious for me, but then because of the guys from manga researchers club of junior high, I completely hate otaku.”
“When I listened to you yesterday, I though it’s natural to hate guys after that.”
“Why do you think so? Other girls from the manga researchers club answered to vulgar jokes with smiles, and I was the only one who had been displeased by that. I thought I should not have been taking that as offenses.”
“No way! A usual girl would definitely hate that! I personally think that the girls who can smile hearing that are something.”
“Are you?..” – asked Sakurai-san and stares at my face.
“However, whenever I’d do a cosplay or work in a maid café, everything I love is associated with otaku culture.” – said Sakurai-san and sighed out, probably remembering that photograph.
“By the way, did Momo-chan meet a cosplayer she likes?”
“Eh? A cosplayer?”
“She said she wants to meet somebody at the event, so I thought there is a cosplayer she likes.”
“Ah! Uh. I think she did.”
I wasn’t sure to reveal Suzuki’s name here.
“Kashiwada-kun, why do you help Momo-chan that much?
“Eh?” – I was surprised by the unexpected stream of the questions from Sakurai-san.
“You’re always beside her, and yesterday, and today. You do help her a lot.”
“Well, I have reasons for that.” – I evaded the question, because I thought I have to get approval from Koigasaki first. Sakurai-san stared at me. What a great feeling being stared by a beauty in a cosplay. I feel I could fall in love.
“And it was you who told her she must learn own character, right?”
“Eh? Um, yes.”
She must have heard it from Koigasaki. Well, I did tell Koigasaki that, so what?
“I have told you one lie.”
“Eh? W-what was that?”
“I had thought that all otaku guys are vulgar, filthy, dirty, and have only sex on their minds. I understood that this is but a prepossession, but all the otaku I saw was this kind of people, so I started to believe in it somewhere in my heart.”
Well, that is only natural if all guys from the manga research club were like that.
“But if there is a different guy, who is good, pure, and…”
“I didn’t get what she’s talking about, when my phone rang. It was Suzuki.
“Kasshi, where are you?”
“Oh, sorry, I’m in the toilet, I’ll come to you soon!” – I gave out to Suzuki and dropped the phone.
“I’m going to find Momo-chan and get her back.”
“Oh, sure. Thanks a lot!”
Koigasaki could meet with Suzuki today owing to Sakurai-san.
“What are thanking for? W-well, goodbye then.”
I felt out conversation was interrupted, but I said Suzuki that I’ll get back soon, so I parted with Sakurai-san and returned to Suzuki.
“I was so surprised! When you disappeared, a super cute Hibine Ruru came to me!” – I found Suzuki excited once I came to him.
“I was thinking a cosplay is nothing but 3D in the end, but that Hibine Ruru is exceptional!”
That Hibine Ruru must be Koigasaki, but there is one thing I can’t comprehend.
“Did not you have a talk with that Hibine Ruru?”
“Oh, yes. She came to me saying hello, and I replied to her. Then, she praised my cosplay and I did the same for her.”
Wait a minute. Really.
“I was surprised since there are very few of Hibine Ruru cosplays. She was so nice… I should have taken some photos of her.”
“I see… That’s good…” – I sadly replied to him.
Suzuki has completely missed the fact that it was Koigasaki cosplaying Hibine Ruru.
She gathered all she had to spoke to you… Sakurai-san and I worked a lot… Again, why are you so dumb?
After that, Suzuki and I grew hungry and bought a pancake there, shoot each other, and asked somebody to shoot us (by Suzuki’s camera), and when the time was up, we changed clothes and headed home.
On the way home, I received an email from Koigasaki. I re-dialed to her.
I’m not sure should I get angry or console her. I want to get angry, but she might be depressed.
“Well, thank you for today!”
“…?!” – I didn’t understand why she is so happy.
“That’s owing to you I could speak with Suzuki-kun. It was a short chat for us two, but Suzuki praised my cosplay. I was very happy!~”
Might it be that you…
“It seems Suzuki-kun thought badly about me, but now it’s over! What did he say about me? Did he said, like, he didn’t expect me to be an otaku?”
It’s not “might”. She definitely doesn’t realize that Suzuki hasn’t recognized get in that outfit. What a pity, I’m going to cry.
“Why are you silent? I asked what he said about me?”
“Oh… He said you were super cute.” – I desperately said to her. That’s a true, though.
“Are you serious?!” – Koigasaki screamed through the phone.
“You’re serious? My bad, I’m so happy! I’m happy!”
It could be the first time I see Koigasaki so happy. Crap, I can’t tell her Suzuki didn’t recognize her. Who would think he is unable to recognize that…
“That’s all? Did he say anything else?”
“I see… Well, if he said that to you, it must be his true feelings! It was worth it to go through all that and to do the cosplay!” – Koigasaki spoke to herself in good mood. I have no power to say the truth after all.
“By the way, are you angry for something?”
“Not at all.”
“I made a good impression on him, right? Why are you not happy?”
I have a great reason for that! She doesn’t know what I’m thinking about, and enjoys herself… well, I couldn’t say her the truth, so it’s logical, but that angers me. I don’t understand why, though.
“I’m giving you a gratitude call, and what I get?”
“A gratitude call? You have wanted to know what Suzuki told about you, haven’t you?”
“Huh? That irritates me! I don’t care anymore. Bye!” – Koigasaki dropped the phone. I don’t know why I’m so mad either. Why did I feel no interest in that? I was struggling, yet I didn’t call Koigasaki after that. I’ve immersed into my bed and fallen asleep. I don’t want to think about that now.
The next day, I woke up and checked my phone. Of course, there were no emails from Koigasaki. I thought to send her an email with apologies, but my fingers didn’t move.
Crap! The date with Hasegawa comes up soon, and I’m in conflict with Koigasaki. I planned to ask Koigasaki for some advices before the date… Moreover, how would I come to the date with Hasegawa worrying about this and that, being in conflict with Koigasaki? At that moment, I received an email. I thought it was from Koigasaki and quickly opened my phone.
[From: Sakurai Azuki]
Sakurai-san? Why? I opened her email wondering what it is.
[Thank you for yesterday! I appreciate your help. Let’s do a cosplay by three of us next time! (smile) ]
Huh? What a queer positive email. I was about to close that email, but noticed that there is the space following. Scrolling message down…
[P.S. Kashiwada-kun, are you in love with Momo-chan?]
What a strange email. Especially, the last part, with ashamed deco-emoji. I had read it again few times, and still I was unable to understand it. What incomprehensible creatures are the girls, – I thought like a true man, but that thought vanished quickly.