Chapter 6:

One Entranced Idiot Unknowingly Goes On A Date

Why Does Nobody Find Us Attractive?

"So, are you still in high school?"Bookmark here

Juzo looked to his side to see Shinobu staring at him.Bookmark here

"Uh, yeah, I am. Third year."Bookmark here

"Oh, cool. I graduated last year."Bookmark here

Juzo shot a surprised look.Bookmark here

"Really? But you're just so small. Are you sure you're older than me?"Bookmark here

Shinobu lightly whacked his arm.Bookmark here

"Hey! It's not nice to talk to your senpai like that."Bookmark here

Shinobu mockingly stuck her tongue out at Juzo. He responded by returning the favour. As they walked down the hall a bit more, they reached the tunnel exhibit. The hall was encased by the depths of a river, bountiful in various species roaming their artificial habitat. Juzo and Shinobu looked to the ceiling, getting a view of the underbellies of the fish swimming over top of them. Both stared in awe for several moments before Juzo muttered something.Bookmark here

"Awesome."Bookmark here

Shinobu responded, still entranced by the fish swimming around. Bookmark here

"Yeah, awesome."Bookmark here

The two stood there for a while longer when Nikko and Reina arrived. Seeing the two just standing there, Nikko decided to get things moving. Bookmark here

"Excuse me, but I'd like to see the exhibit, too."Bookmark here

Shinobu snapped out of her trance first.Bookmark here

"Oh, I'm so sorry! C'mon Juzo, we're in the way."Bookmark here

She grabbed Juzo's arm and started dragging him out before he even realized what was happening. She brought him over to a bench and she took a seat, but Juzo remained standing. He glanced over at the exhibit he just left and saw Nikko and Reina, who both gave him a thumbs up. Shinobu called him to grab his attention. Bookmark here

"Hey, Juzo, what did you think of the fish?"Bookmark here

Juzo directed his focus to Shinobu.Bookmark here

"You mean the pirarucu? It was amazing! I saw one once when I was little in Osaka, but this time was just as exciting!"Bookmark here

"Yeah, I know! They're so huge and majestic! I wanted to pet them."Bookmark here

Juzo chuckled.Bookmark here

"I don't think they'd like being touched. Maybe they'll ram into you instead."Bookmark here

"No, they'll see how friendly I am. Then they all will come to me to be petted."Bookmark here

"Oh, really now? I'd like to see that."Bookmark here

"Maybe later. I'm tired right now."Bookmark here

Before Juzo could say anything, his stomach interrupted with a growl. Shinobu laughed.Bookmark here

"Sounds like someone is hungry."Bookmark here

Juzo looked at his watch. It read 2:55.Bookmark here

"Oh, wow. It's later than I thought. I guess I should get something to…"Bookmark here

Suddenly, Juzo remembered the bulletin board in the front area. The penguin show would start at 3:00.Bookmark here

"Oh, shit! The penguin show is starting in five minutes! We gotta get going!"Bookmark here

Juzo grabbed Shinobu's hand and ran with her towards the penguin exhibit. The pair arrived just as the trainer started to introduce the penguins, but were stuck in the far corner of the crowd. Juzo was relieved, nevertheless.Bookmark here

"Oh, thank God. We haven't missed anything yet."Bookmark here

Looking around at the crowd, Juzo located Nikko and Reina standing in the opposite corner at the front. Bookmark here

"Do you wanna try and move closer? My friends are further up."Bookmark here

Shinobu shook her head.Bookmark here

"It's not very nice to shove our way through to get a better spot, especially when we came late."Bookmark here

"Alright, then. We'll watch from here."Bookmark here

The show got started with the penguins doing various tricks in exchange for food. As Juzo enjoyed the show, he looked over at Shinobu, who was trying to look around the sea of heads in her way.Bookmark here

"Having trouble seeing?"Bookmark here

Shinobu, filled with embarrassment, refused to look at him.Bookmark here

"Maybe."Bookmark here

Juzo sighed.Bookmark here

"Do you want me to boost you up?"Bookmark here

Shinobu turned to him in surprise.Bookmark here

"Huh!? What do you mean?"Bookmark here

Juzo took a knee and positioned himself to give Shinobu a piggyback. Bookmark here

"Hurry up and get on."Bookmark here

Shinobu hesitantly climbed onto his back. After making sure she was secure, Juzo rose to his feet. Shinobu quickly forgot about her embarrassment as she gazed upon the show.Bookmark here

"Oh, look at that one! It's going down a slide! It's so cute!"Bookmark here

The show went on for a few more minutes, filled with more cute penguin action. Following the show's conclusion, Juzo went to reunite with Reina and Nikko. Bookmark here

"Hey, what'd you think of the show?"Bookmark here

Reina responded first, wearing a delighted smile on her face.Bookmark here

"They were so cool! I wanna bring one home!"Bookmark here

Nikko, however, was more focused on the girl standing beside Juzo.Bookmark here

"The show was fun, but who's this you're keeping company?"Bookmark here

"This is Shinobu Nakamura. She loves fish and animals as much as me."Bookmark here

Reina was quick to shove Nikko out of her way to get a better look at Shinobu.Bookmark here

"Wow, you're so pretty! My name is Reina Iwayama, I'm a friend of Juzo. It's good to meet you!" Bookmark here

"Likewise! I always enjoy meeting new friends!"Bookmark here

Nikko took his turn to introduce himself.Bookmark here

"Hello, there. My name is Nikko Murano. Now, you're probably wondering why I'm so attractive. Well, my dear, the answer to that is…"Bookmark here

Reina slapped Nikko in the stomach, abruptly stopping him mid-sentence.Bookmark here

"Idiot! She's Juzo's, remember?"Bookmark here

"Oops."Bookmark here

With Nikko's stupidity temporarily subdued, Reina turned back to Shinobu. Bookmark here

"Well, me and Nikko are hungry, so we're going somewhere to eat. Would you like to come with us, Shinobu?"Bookmark here

Shinobu was surprised by the sudden offer.Bookmark here

"I… I don't want to intrude…"Bookmark here

Juzo saw her hesitation and interjected.Bookmark here

"Nonsense! We all want you to come along. What do you say?"Bookmark here

"Okay, then, if you insist."Bookmark here

The group departed from the aquarium and took a short walk to a nearby cafe. Grabbing a table near the window, the group took some time to get to know their new friend. Reina was the first one to question her.Bookmark here

"So, where do you go to school?"Bookmark here

"Well, actually, I graduated high school last year. I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I've been going around looking for random jobs."Bookmark here

Nikko was shocked that Shinobu was older than him, but that didn't stop him from talking to her with his mouth full.Bookmark here

"What, really!? You're older!?"Bookmark here

Ignoring Nikko's rudeness, Reina continued her questions.Bookmark here

"How's that been going?"Bookmark here

"Not good. You'd think living in a motel working at a fast food joint for eight hours a day would be a dream, but no. The last few months have been terrible. That's why I came here; I wanted to cheer myself up."Bookmark here

Shinobu's liveliness was completely gone, left with regret over her past choices. Seeing her new friend's despair, Reina decided to try and help.Bookmark here

"Shinobu, would you be willing to move to Uwajima for a job?"Bookmark here

"At this point, I'd be willing to go to Hokkaido for work."Bookmark here

"Well, it just so happens that my uncle's aquarium store has been short staffed for a while. I can let him know if you're willing to help out."Bookmark here

Shinobu dropped her spoon, flinging a small amount of her curry across the table.Bookmark here

"Are you serious?"Bookmark here

"Well, yeah."Bookmark here

Shinobu grasped Reina's hand.Bookmark here

"Thank you so much! You don't know how much that means to me!"Bookmark here

"Of course! I'm just happy that I could help you out."Bookmark here

They group finished eating, but now it was time for the trio to head back home. Shinobu walked with them as they went towards the station. As they arrived outside of their destination, Shinobu grabbed Juzo's handBookmark here

"Can I talk to for a second?"Bookmark here

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