My entire body jolted against the back of the sofa I had been sleeping on when I saw her staring intensely at me. Yamasaki Shoko is, if you take away her personality, hands down one of the most physically attractive girls in our entire school. Though her habit is to dress as a gyaru, her appearance as one is flawless for those who like that kind of thing. Smooth caramel skin, soft and lustrous light-brown-and-blonde dyed hair, and an ample chest that loses to no one, especially when coupled with her slim but commanding frame.
I mean, someone with my kind of looks can’t even be compared side-by-side with her. If you look at it like a video game, Yamasaki-san is a Triple-A title, and I’m some shovelware made by an indie developer. Furthermore to have here in such a close proximity in my own house is already a bit more than I am prepared to handle.
“I wasn’t sure if I should have just let you sleep in,” She said, “It’s already nine in the morning. You work a part-time job, right? The alarm on your phone said wake up and I wasn’t sure if it was so you could get to work on time or not. I didn’t check further, because I’m not a snoop.”
She was holding on to my smartphone, which I had left charging on the bedside table in my room that she had occupied last night. She handed it over, and I realized that this was her attempt at waking me up responsibly.
“U…un. T-Thank you for waking me up, but it was just my morning alarm for the weekend. I like to wake up early to make the most of my weekend.”
“Hah? That was all it was for?”
Once she heard my explanation, her usual look of disinterest in me visibly returned, along with the bitchy intonation of her voice that was part of her character since middle school. I guess whatever meekness of gratitude she had for me last night vanished this morning.
I sat up, gathering up my blanket and pillow, tidying up the sofa I had used as my bed. I learned that the key to living a disciplined life began with taking care of my bed, wherever it was, as soon as I woke up. So, after returning my temporary bedding to my bedroom closet, I returned to the living room to find her sitting on my sofa.
I approached her cautiously.
“If… if it’s not overstepping for me to ask… w-what, um… What are your plans from here? Do you have somewhere to go?”
Her face, now that I could focus my eyesight better, had a look of exhaustion on it. “No.”
No? What about her friends? Family?
How should I broach the topic then, of when she’s planning to leave to wherever she should be going?
“Want me to leave or something?”
That was exactly what I wanted, however I was also trying not to be rude to someone who was my guest, even temporarily.
“Alright, let me grab my shit then, and I’ll get lost.”
She stood up quickly and went into my room for a moment before bringing out her black duffel bag. “I’m gonna use the bathroom to change into my spare set of clothes first.”
She didn’t appear to need confirmation from me, but I nodded anyway. After a few minutes spent changing out from the pajamas I had prepared for her into one of her gyaru outfits, all that was missing from her usual look was a layer or two of makeup. When she exited the bathroom, her gaze practically bore a hole into me.
“Ano… you mentioned that you don’t have anywhere… to go?”
She crossed her arms over her chest, while her duffel bag was slung over her shoulder and resting against her hips. “That’s right. Since you cared enough to put me up for the night, and I know you won’t say a fucking thing to anyone else… I got kicked out of my house by my family, okay? Got a problem with that?”
I waved my hands a bit frantically in front of my face while shaking my head. “N-no! I, um…, was just w-wondering if you might be staying with one of your gyaru friends from class… or maybe… your boy…friend?”
At that moment, she smirked at me. “Friends, huh? What are those? Can you eat them?”
Had I said something wrong? I was well aware I was prying into matters of her life I should stay far away from, and the fact her face was now giving off some kind of predatory look began to mess with me.
“Subaru, if I had a worthwhile enough friend that I could have stayed with, why the fuck would I have made the effort to suck you off last night?”
Her answer was so matter-of-factly answered, it caused the operating system known as Tendo Subaru to halt and crash for a moment before rebooting.
“A~ah… and here I had left the door open for you while staying awake all night long, waiting for you to come and assault me.”
I was sweating now as she said something that bordered on me sexually assaulting her.
“T-there’s no way I would ever do that…!”
She clicked her tongue when I defended myself, before uncrossing her hand and poking me in the chest with her long pink-and-red colored fingernails. “This is exactly why your virgin ass gets bullied every fuckin’ day, Subaru. You’re such a spineless wimp, you won’t even take a damn freebie when it’s been offered!”
I could feel my face scrunch up. Even if I was spineless, I respected women enough not to ever force myself on them, and especially not to take advantage of them in such a sleazy way when in a difficult place in their life! Why the hell am I being criticized by this bitch for being a decent person?
Her head shook, and she sighed, removing her finger, which was poking me, and actually beginning to hurt.
“Then, since I’ve outstayed my welcome, I’ll get going.”
She exited my house, but didn’t close the door behind her. This was mainly because she was standing on the second floor walkway staring out into the sky. I followed her, and realized the same phenomenon I had seen when taking out the trash and walking home last night was still there, occupying the whole daytime sky, but not diminishing the daylight.
“What the fuck…?” She said audibly enough as she continued to stare out and upwards. I had stepped just a single foot outside of the door to my apartment when she turned around and looked at me, pointing back at the sky. “Subaru, are you seeing this shit?”
I nodded quickly. “Yeah, it was like that last night when I was dumping trash at my job before I left. It was like that in the park too…”
She seemed surprised. Had she really not looked up once last night to notice?
“Y-yamasaki-san… if you don’t have any friends to stay with… where are you going to go?”
As if that question was clearly less important than the strange portals up in the sky, she scoffed at me. “Back to the park obviously, dipshit. I told you I didn’t have anywhere to stay.”
The matter of her not having a place to go seemed to be not a concern at all for her. “Anyway, it was warmer in your place than outside for sure, so it’s not like I didn’t appreciate it. Anyway, I’m gonna check the news to see what this shit is all about. Bye, Subaru.”
It was the last that she said to me before walking away. I stood outside for a little while longer as I saw her exit the multiplex where I lived and start walking back in the direction of the park. I returned into my apartment, but not before also gazing up at the ominous blue and purple portals in the sky.
I sat down on my sofa, and felt… distressed. I had chased her away, successfully, after selfishly inviting her to my home, but what else was there for me to do? This was Yamasaki Shoko! This gyaru bitch had been the source of almost all of my anxiety and no end of my problems for years… Years! I don’t owe her a goddamn thing, and it’s not like I wanted her to owe me, or even feel gratitude for what I did for her, but it’s… like I felt bad for sending her away just now.
Frankly, I found it hard to believe that the popular Yamasaki-san didn’t really have any friends, or even another guy she’d probably slept with, who wouldn’t let her stay with them, even temporarily. But all I have to go on is her own admission, and that also involved being kicked out of her house by her family.
Hell, I’m the last person in the world she would even want to deal with in such a situation… I mean, imagine the guy you bullied putting you up for a night out of some twisted sense of compassion. I figured she would have seen the portals and just come to the conclusion naturally that it was just too weird a night to sleep outside on, and that’s why she followed me.
It had only been half an hour since I woke up, but why did I still feel so exhausted? What am I even doing with my life right now?
In my pants pocket was my pay packet from work, and since the situation with the sky and portals was as such, I should probably be smart and do a little bit of shopping now for this week’s food. I’m not a survivalist, but even I knew waiting to do so later was a really bad idea. So, after putting on my shoes and locking the door to my house, my new destination was the nearby supermarket.
I expected more of a panicked crowd, but thanks to the disciplined nature of Japanese Society, things remained quite orderly. There were more people than usual out, sure, namely housewives, and no end of people just idling around, staring up at the sky and gossiping with each other about the strange phenomenon, but I was able to secure about a weeks’ worth of food with little issue.
My next stop was to a local card shop right next to the dagashiya I’ve frequented since I was a kid. It was across from my job at Giuseppie’s coffeehouse, and nearby to the local Seven konbini. One of my main hobbies is playing card games, and I know most of the folks who come here. We’ve all got a strong love for competitive card games, so there’s never a dull moment, for an enthusiast at least, talking about new strategies with each new edition of whatever game comes out. Mana the Coupling, King of Games, Gemini Age, Pocket Youkai… underneath my bed at home are countless boxes and binders full of cards.
Though, since I’ve been living on my own, the money I have available to spend on my favorite hobby has decreased substantially, I still like to visit and spend time with my friends. Honestly, without my friends who frequented here, I would have been much more isolated when the pandemic was happening a few years ago. Especially with the bullying Yamasaki-san and her group would always do to me.
“Yo, Subaru! Long time no see, man!”
Rokuro Nikuni, otherwise known simply as Niku, was the first to greet me when I entered the store. Niku, as his nickname implied, was a large individual. In other words, a massive fatty. But as we’re otaku, something like that isn’t worth discriminating over. No, not at all. The fact that this bastard likes lolitas with tits, that’s a more grievous sin.
“How’s it going, Niku?”
“Aside from the death portals outside? Pretty chill day, actually.”
“Any news on what that is? I saw them last night, but I had some shit happening that kept me from checking out any news about it.”
“Nah, man. It’s a mystery, but one thing’s for certain… the portals are only appearing over Japan. Nothing like this at all over places like Korea, China, or even America.”
“Just Honshu?” I asked, curious about how localized this phenomenon was.
“All over Japan. Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyuushuu, and even some of the smaller islands you need a ferry to get to.”
“But nowhere else, for real?”
“For real. The JSDF sent up some planes to investigate, but no word yet on what the results of that are, you know how secretive the military is. They’re probably not saying anything because they don’t want society to crumble in a day.”
“Yeah,” I held up my bags of groceries, “I did my survival shopping earlier before things potentially took a turn for the worse.”
“Smart man… Now, got time for a game?”
“I didn’t bring my deck with me.”
“Then I’ll have to kick your ass next time… Oh, did you hear about the new V-tuber card game getting delayed? I’m bummed. The pre-orders were supposed to ship with the SSR Kana=Tora limited print card!”
“It’s news to me.”
“What have you been doing, man? Living in a cave?”
“You know I only have time to play on weekends, Niku. I’m still in school! We can’t all be as successful a NEET senpai as you are.”
“Hey man, that’s a low blow. But do you really think you’ll get into your college of choice?”
“I’m smart enough to not end up a ronin at least, even if it’s not my first choice. If there was such a major as card games, I’d pursue that. The best I can hope for is something with a good game design curriculum.”
“So, drop by later on then?”
“If I can find the time. I’m pretty beat after working last night, and with all the portals and stuff outside, I think it’d be safer to just stay in my home until whatever happens… happens.”
“One last thing man, what did you think of the DVD I lent you? Which one was your favorite?”
Ah, that. Of course Niku wouldn’t miss a chance to ask me about this crazy as fuck video he lent me. I don’t have much at home in the way of pornographic material, mostly because my mother comes to visit from time to time, since my parents are the one paying for my apartment so I didn’t have to transfer schools in my last two years.
My folks live over in Roppongi Hills, which isn’t too far away, but I’ve called Minamiaoyama home for all of my life. Though, one might as well call this place East Shibuya. As Shibuya is the holy land of the gyaru subculture, there are no shortage of them here as well. They come in all shapes and sizes, and as young as primary school, to Office Ladies well past their marriageable age.
I don’t dislike gyaru women, but I mean, they are the complete opposite of a Yamato Nadeshiko, you know? While you have the quiet, reserved, demure type of woman who would make a great wife, most gyaru tend to be far too extroverted, physical, vapid, and absolutely ruthless, unforgiving cunts in relationships… most of the time. Of course, that’s their true allure in Japanese Society as well. There’s always a niche for something if you want it bad enough.
Anyway, he was asking about the DVD he lent me, and it just happened to be a special promotional AV from a super popular publication nearby, called 「Black Label」 featuring some guy who they call Gigolo-kun having his way with one or more gyaru who all claimed to be his girlfriends.
Fucking harem-having bastard.
It didn’t stop me from jerking off to it, but there was one gyaru on the DVD that was pretty close in appearance to Yamasaki-san, so the last thing in the world I ever want happening is for her, or my mother, to discover it in my house. I just don’t want people to misconstrue my preferred type of woman from what materials I had available to work with. A nice otaku-like girl who can cook, do housework, and is generally pleasant to be around. That’s my type. I keep it as simple as I can.
“The kogal called 「Blue」 was by far the best.” I answered with my preference.
“Really? I thought you’d be into the kurogyaru 「Lioness」 for sure.”
He was talking about the girl who resembled Yamasaki-san for sure. There were a total of five gyaru on that DVD, representing a particular type of gyaru. Honestly, some of them looked underage, especially the lolita, but as it turns out in the interview portion, she was the second oldest out of the whole bunch!
Well, lolitas aren’t my thing anyway, even if she was the most normal looking one. I was told I could keep it for as long as I wanted, since he had a duplicate of the DVD. Niku was a self-professed man of culture, even if he’s still a virgin like me.
There wasn’t much going on in the shop, and since I didn’t have any of my decks, and I hate using preconstructed decks that I’m not all that familiar with, I said my good-byes and headed back home to put away my groceries. I passed by the park, just in case, to see if she might have returned to that bench, but there was no sign of her. Instead, when I arrived at my apartment complex, much to my surprise, sitting with her back against my door and clutching her black duffel bag while looking to be asleep, was Yamasaki-san.