With her resting against my door, and not to the side of it, there was no way around having to wake her up in order for me to enter my own apartment. I was left wondering why she decided to come back here, but considering the state of things in Japan right now, according to my friend Niku from the card shop, if she can’t go back home when things are like this, everyone else must be more unwilling than ever to take someone else in, even temporarily.
“Yamasaki-san?” I called out to her, not too loudly.
She didn’t respond at all. I had to shake her shoulder and call her name a bit louder in order to get a response from her. She opened her eyes, dazed, and looked up at me.
“Please get up, Yamasaki-san. You’re blocking the entrance to my apartment.”
She didn’t say anything, but she did get up and out of the way. I was able to slide my key in the lock now and get inside, though she remained outside, waiting. She didn’t ask, but there was no other reason for her coming back, was there?
“Come inside already.” I said to her, and she entered my home once again.
Not a single apology for troubling me was uttered, not that I continued to expect one from her. Instead, she went right to the sofa to sit down, while I put away the groceries. In just those few moments, she had passed out again. The black duffel bag she carried had at least been placed on the floor next to her.
Looking at the situation, I went to fetch the pillow and blanket I used the night before, and did my best to cover her up and wedge the pillow under her head. I put her bag to the side of the sofa, and after opening a store-bought onigiri, I sat down at the table and turned on the television. The volume was down low, and I had the captioning on, turning to a news channel and seeing what was being reported about the whole portals in the sky business that had been going on since last night.
But all that was reiterated was what Niku mentioned already. It’s a local phenomenon to Japan only, and nothing further regarding them has happened. There’s a session of the Diet in order right now, and the JSDF is on alert in cooperation with the Americans. As if on repeat, that’s all that was mentioned about the phenomenon going on.
As it was the weekend, and I didn’t have to work tonight, I changed the TV over to the HDMI channel and turned on my console. I had a number of online card gacha games installed, so I just picked one of many and began playing while Yamasaki-san slept soundly on the sofa behind me.
I did periodically check my phone from time to time to see if there were any news updates, but there weren’t. It was just a lazy Saturday, with portals all over the sky in Japan. Certainly nothing to concern myself about. No. The only monsters going through portals and invading Japan right now were her, right through my front door, and attacking my sofa with slumber.
I was also a victim of slumber as well it seems. I was only aware of this when I woke up to her suddenly yelling “Move!” as she half-tumbled over me while launching herself off my sofa, making a beeline right for the bathroom. While I righted myself into consciousness again, I was left wondering what the hell just happened. The sounds of her regurgitating echoed clearly from the open door of the bathroom, answering that question for me wordlessly.
It wasn’t just one round of blowing chunks, either. After what sounded like the third round of her praying to my apartment’s porcelain god, I exited out of my game and out of concern for both her health and my bathroom’s sanitation, I went to check up on her. My reward for doing so was breathing in an atrocious smell that nearly coerced me to offer my own prayers to the same god as well. I covered my nose quickly with my shirt and gave the toilet a courtesy flush, finding my gyaru bully invader resting with her back against the wall opposite the toilet, staring absently at the gastric induced crime scene while breathing erratically.
“Are you alright, Yamasaki-san?” I asked her disheveled self.
“Water.” She spoke with a hoarse voice, wearing a bitter face.
Rather than something from the tap, I brought a cold bottle of water from the fridge back to her. She took a sip, swishing it around in her mouth before spitting it out into the toilet. Then she drank the rest of it normally while remaining seated on the floor. Still not a word of thanks from her for doing that kindness for her either.
“Subaru, you’re smart and shit, aren’t you? What do you think is going on with those holes in the sky?” Bathroom existentialism coming from Yamasaki-san? Not likely.
“E-even if you ask me that, what would I know about something that’s never happened in the entirety of Earth’s recorded history? I think once there was something like a sky battle with UFOs that happened somewhere in Europe in the 1500s or something that some hallucinating townspeople thought were angels fighting in the skies… that’s about the closest thing to whatever is going on outside right now. But the news hasn’t reported anything happening with them so far today, and there’s been no official comment from the JSDF. So, there’s no point in worrying about it until whatever might happen with them finally happens.”
She nodded weakly. “Are you prepared for whatever happens?”
“I’ve got about a weeks’ worth of food. As long as monsters the size of apartment buildings don’t appear or a zombie pandemic comes about, I’m pretty sure I’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“And here I thought you’d say something like laser beams would shoot out of those holes and blow everything up.”
“Who knows, anything’s possible, I guess?” I ended up shrugging. I had no explanation for what was going on to offer her.
“Hey, Subaru… put me up until it’s over.”
“Yamasaki-san wants to stay in my apartment until the portals disappear?”
She closed her eyes for a moment to collect her thoughts before she spoke.
“I tried earlier, okay? I called everyone I had saved on my phone contact list and texted everyone I knew who has Line. Right now there’s no one else I can stay with or I wouldn’t have come back here. For whatever reason, you didn’t want me sleeping in the park alone at night, right? Unless you want me to be torn apart by monsters and zombies or blown up by laser beams out in the cold night while you’re comfortable and safe here.”
Was this bitch seriously trying to guilt trip me right now? Also, the laser beams are entirely in her imagination.
“I’m not asking you to do it for free, either. Like I told you last night, I can pay for my stay here with my body.”
I was left with rubbing my temples. One night. It was supposed to be one night only to alleviate my conscience, and that was it. Now it’s turning into this kind of situation.
“Yamasaki-san… W-when you say you’ll pay with your body like that…”
“It’s how the world works, Subaru. Do you really think I want to be in this position either?”
I shook my head. While I don’t think for a minute she gives a single fuck about my position, for her, having nowhere else to go and needing to rely on me letting her stay here has to be offending her pride quite a bit. I guess the saying that no good deed will go unpunished is true.
“When we go back to school on Monday, you can talk to a t-teacher or counselor to figure out something, right?”
She threw up her hands. “I’ll try, but do you think any of those useless teachers would actually want to go out of their way to help someone like me?”
Truthfully, no, I didn’t. I know firsthand exactly how useless those teachers who are supposed to look out for their students really are, just as well as she does. But, if I don’t say this much, she might get the idea that she can just come and go here as she pleases, and I have no intention of giving her the impression that she can do that. This is the only place I have where I’m safe, and right now it’s already being compromised because of my own stupidity.
Having come to an unfavorable agreement for now, I helped her up off the floor and to her feet. Since it was late at night, and she slept away most of the afternoon, I figured she might be hungry. She was, and so while she took over the television to put on some variety shows, finding most of the channels still reporting on the portal phenomenon, I set about making dinner. It was something I learned from KanaCafe, a site I stumbled across thanks to my friend, Niku, that explained in detail how to make delicious cuisine from all over the world.
The channel operator, 「Kana=Tora」 never showed her face on camera, but instead had a cute little avatar of a chibi black haired girl with tiger ears. A lot of the time while cooking, she’d go into stories about her little brother, leading a lot of people into thinking she was a serious bro-con, but at the same time, not hating her one bit for it. She was like the ideal Onee-chan type, and the one time someone called her out for it in the comments, the next video was her taking a goddamn huge cleaver and chopping sausages in such a threatening way, cursing that one commenter to the point his own sausage probably turtled into a vagina.
Well, that’s a bit of a digression, as it’s a long story and probably better told by someone else. I was just there to watch and learn how to make a nice pasta with tomato and meat sauce. Since I lived alone, and my only spending money was what I earned from my part-time job, if I wanted to eat good things, I had to learn how to do it myself.
I had a full view of Yamasaki-san the entire time, and one of the things she was doing while I was busy cooking was taking care of her nails. In that black duffle bag of hers was a nail kit of some kind, and if you know anything about gyaru tendencies, you know first and foremost they are all about maintaining their personal fashion.
“Hey, Subaru, that smells fuckin’ tasty. What are you cooking?”
Long after the noodles had been cooked and I was adding Italian spices to the tomato sauce which I poured onto the crumbled beef in the sauce pan, I guess the smell had made it over to Yamasaki-san who couldn’t help but comment.
“It’s pasta with sauce.” I answered her.
She had decided to get up and come over to the kitchen where I was putting on the finishing touches. The bitter smell of acrylic paint clashed with the smell of the meat sauce, and I asked her to choose her drink from the refrigerator while I put the food on the plates I had prepared.
“What do you want to drink, Subaru?”
“I’ll get my drink after.”
“Hah? I asked you what you fuckin’ wanted!”
Why was she getting mad at me over a drink? Was she irritable because she hadn’t eaten yet? I heard that most gyaru have bottomless stomachs and always eat like pigs.
“You only have oolong.”
“I’m gonna take a cola.”
I sighed internally, rather than give her a reason to provoke me. I was one hundred percent certain now that this was going to be the longest weekend of my life. She found two cups in the cabinets over my sink, and brought them and the drinks out to the table in front of the sofa. I finished plating the food and brought them out to the table as well, and we ate together while watching the same boring coverage on the news.
She had failed to thank me for cooking, which was no surprise since she had not thanked me once for anything so far, she at least had manners enough to say itadakimasu before eating.
“Ho~ Shit! This is bangin’!” She commented after a few bites. “Oi, wait a minute… Subaru, is there meat in this sauce!?”
Oh hell, was she a vegetarian or something? I probably should have told her it was a meat sauce. I hope she doesn’t get violent over this.
“Ah, uh… y-yeah?”
I received a punch to my shoulder before she took another bite of it and spoke with her mouth full. “Zhish ish shoooo goob!” (This is so good!)
Wait… did she hit me because she was happy about it? My shoulder was tingling a little from where she hit it, but it’s not like it hurt a lot. I’m used to getting hit by her anyway, but I’m not some crazy masochist who enjoys it. She quickly finished her plate, so out of courtesy I did ask if she wanted seconds.
“Hell yeah, I want seconds!”
I feel like I’ve now confirmed a theory I held from back in middle school when I read the entirety of the national manga about seven balls and alien martial artists. Gyarus are blonde, right? They have bottomless stomachs, right? They like to talk shit and fight, right?
So wouldn’t that make them Saiyajins?
I wonder if Chichi ever suffered spousal abuse from Son Goku? What are the odds it didn’t happen at least once in their marriage? Like she just tore into his last nerve bitching at him one day about being a lazy bastard, and he just fucking backhands her across the face and she flies into a wall, collapsing in to a heap.
I ended up washing the dishes when she finished her seconds and me my one and only, putting away the leftovers in the fridge while having those thoughts. When I caught sight of her again, she had rudely put her feet up on the table and had something in her hands.
“So, you got a console, huh? Anything good on it?”
Before I could stop her, she had turned the TV over to the HDMI channel with the remote and stared at the title of the last game I played while holding onto my game controller.
“What’s this… a card game? You’re still into that shit, Subaru? I mean, I remember you used to play card games back in the day, but I didn’t know you still played them. Shouldn’t you have those 18+ eroge on this thing at least? Don’t you have any interest in girls?”
“It’s none of your business, Yamasaki-san” I said angrily at her from the kitchen. Fuck it, if she wants to fight with me, this is still my place. I… won’t feel guilty anymore about telling her to leave. I mean, if this stupid bitch didn’t fuck with me non-stop throughout my school life, I would have had a girlfriend already! Whose fault does she think it is!? No, wait, I forgot, she’s incapable of thinking, or doing anything else that isn’t spreading her legs.
“Subaru, do you still have those Pocket Youkai cards from when we were kids?”
“Yeah, but I haven’t collected any new ones since middle school.”
“I miss playing that game. I ended up giving my cards away to my Auntie’s kid.”
“You played Pocket Youkai?”
“It was popular to do so back in primary school, so why wouldn’t I have?”
That makes sense, Yamasaki-san would have always had her hand in whatever would have made her seem popular to others. I bet if she was an actual Pokéyou trainer in real life, her Youkai partners would all have PTSD from how she’d treat them.
“Since you have the cards, want to play a game?”
When thinking about playing a game of cards with Yamasaki-san, I could expect something like poker or blackjack but… Pocket Youkai? I mean, I have quite a few decks that could use some airing out, but I also have a number of rare cards, and I don’t want her denting them with uncareful handling. With her long fingernails I can already see little indentations in whatever she touches. I guess if I have to sacrifice some cards, it would be better to do it from the most recent series, rather than the older ones that are worth money.
“Are you being serious, Yamasaki-san?”
“I may not remember all the rules on how to play the game, but why wouldn’t I be serious?”
“Because, I had quit playing Pokéyou back in middle school as well…”
“Are you worried I’m going to spread it around school that you still play a kid’s card game? If I do, someone’s gonna ask how I know, and then I’m going to have to answer. Do you really think I’m going to say it’s because I was playing it with you?”
That’s true. She wouldn’t incriminate herself like that. She has a reputation to uphold, were she to admit that she was playing a kid’s card game with me of all people… “Alright.”
I went into my room and searched under my bed, finding the container holding my Pokéyou cards, and some of the decks I had made for my personal use. I had all types of decks, some meant for attacking quickly, some meant for stalling, all made from research and strategy of a game I loved dearly at the time.
Grabbing hold of two decks I thought would at least make the game interesting and not end too quickly, I returned to the living room to find the door to my apartment open and Yamasaki-san no longer in the living room.
The television was on again, and there was a shot of the night sky full of portals, only now… they were glowing! Something was happening! I rushed to the door to find Yamasaki-san standing against the railing of the second floor and looking up and out at the sky.
“Y-Yamasaki-san, let’s not be outside right now.”
“We’re gonna die by lasers, Subaru. Look.”
She was pointing up, and sure enough, it looked like a concentration of white energy was forming at the center of each blue and purple colored portal. Strange geometric formations of white light began to form in front of each portal, a small distance underneath. We stood there in mutual silence for a while, captivated by the whole thing.
“I would have let you fuck me last night.”
“I don’t expect you to understand, Yamasaki-san, but I only want to lose it to the person I love.”
“And who is that?”
Before I could give her the answer, the portals unleashed their beam into the formation, and it split and refracted into tens of thousands of smaller beams of light. They began racing down, and as they descended, they began to curve. It even looked like a few were headed directly for us.
No. There was one directly headed for this building.
One time, long ago, I tried to be a hero. I tried to protect Yamasaki-san, and I swore to myself that I would never make that mistake ever again. That she could just go die if it ever happened again. I couldn’t even keep that promise to myself.
I grabbed hold of her and spun her body with every bit of strength I had, turning my back to the laser beam coming this way, and throwing myself back into the apartment along with her, using my own body to cover her.
I felt the searing hot beam hit my back.
I was sure I had died.
The last question to go through my mind was if maybe, this time, with my life as the price to save her own, Yamasaki Shoko wouldn’t be such a bitch anymore to the next person she planned to victimize.