Chapter 11:

First Date

Being a Girl Online Made Me Become a Girl in Real Life

The time has come, I’m on the train making my way to meet Touma in person. I’m freaking out a bit as I have no idea what I’m supposed to do! Yuri didn’t help me out in this area so I guess I'm on my own. Maybe I should just be myself and hope things work out… that's a horrible idea, there is a reason I have no friends.

I try to go online to find some videos about dating advice. There are so many videos of so-called dating coaches giving advice on what to do. All the top results are for what men need to do, but luckily today I'm a woman. It seems the first date is mostly on the guy to show what he's got, and all I need to do is not be completely terrible.Bookmark here

I don't have much time so I skim through a few videos to get a general idea on what I should do. Exert strong and positive feminine energy… What does that mean? The girl in the video explains how I need to be friendly and agreeable with what the guy says. Wear perfume and smell good… Hmm, well Saya does always smell good, maybe that's her natural scent though, it's very subtle. Maybe next time I need to ask Yuri to help me with that. Try and bump hands with him… that's something I can try. Flirt, but don't be sexual… that’s something I would prefer not to try. Lastly, praise and compliment the guy, which should be simple as that's something I already do online. In the end, there are only two things that I should attempt to do if I want to leave a good first impression. Bookmark here

I arrive at Osaka station. It’s been quite a while since I’ve last been here but it's very intimidating to navigate around it alone. There are so many things going on that I barely even know where to go next. I clutch the strap of my shoulder bag with both my hands and follow along with the sea of people up the escalators to the exit.Bookmark here

Ugh, which one of us decided it would be a good idea to meet here during a Saturday on golden week. There are just so many people around it’s suffocating. I wait in front of a big sign of a directory that displays info of the connected department store and the surrounding area. There is a clear view of the outside area in front of the Grand Front Osaka BuildingBookmark here

I send him a text as he told me to let him know when I arrive at the station so he can come and find me. Bookmark here

Me: I've arrived...Bookmark here

Touma: I'm also here. Where are you at?Bookmark here

Me: I’m standing beside some sign on the second floor.Bookmark here

Touma: I'll try and find it, what are you wearing today?Bookmark here

Me: Pinkish dress and black shoes. I also have a black bag and I'm also holding a red phone.Bookmark here

Touma: Okay. You know what I look like so if you see me just let me know somehow.Bookmark here

I wait for about five minutes before I spot someone that looks exactly like him. They are wearing an unbuttoned collared shirt with a red shirt under and ankle length-pants with white sneakers. He looks around in my direction before his eyes seem to lock onto me. Well, it definitely must be him as they are staring at me quite intensely. Bookmark here

He walks over to me navigating his way through the crowd and stops when he stands in front of me. Bookmark here

"Waiting for someone?" The man looks down at me as I’m about chest height compared with him.Bookmark here

"T-t-touma?" I say while I slowly look up back at him.Bookmark here

"Yep that's me haha. I'm Touma, it's nice to finally meet you!" He giggles and gives a gentle smile.Bookmark here

"Yea haha me too-" Bookmark here

Seemingly out of nowhere he puts his arms around me and hugs me. Wah! What kind of guy goes for a hug the moment they first meet someone! He's been a creep all along, I must have forgotten how quickly he made his moves on Saya!Bookmark here

My body gently presses up against his chest as he completely engulfs me in between his arm and body. I feel lost for a moment as everything feels warm and my senses are overwhelmed by him. This actually isn't as bad as I thought it would be.Bookmark here

"So, I never did catch your name..." He says as he releases me from his hold.Bookmark here

Name? What’s my name… I don’t think giving my real name is a good idea even though it could still fit as a girl’s name. I need to think of something else quickly!Bookmark here

"Sh-shi-" I stop myself midway after recovering from what just happened.Bookmark here

"Shi…?"Bookmark here

"Shi… nobu, you can call me Shinobu…" I hope that it sounds convincing.Bookmark here

Now that I think of it, the name Shinobu could mean to conceal oneself or to sneak. Somewhat fitting for the situation I’m in.Bookmark here

"Shinobu, I like that name!" Bookmark here

I like that name too, I just thought of it. Bookmark here

"T-thanks..."Bookmark here

"I'm kinda hungry… Let's head on over to the cafe as there will probably be a line."Bookmark here

"Y-yes, of course!"Bookmark here

I clutch the straps of my bag and walk beside Touma as we walk through the crowded station. I keep staring at the ground as I can't face him at the moment. I walk closer beside him until my shoulder almost brushes against him. Bookmark here

Try and bump hands, try and bump hands, try and bump hands.

All I need to do is put my hand down and maybe… I can't shake the feeling that I'm doing something I shouldn't be. Have I taken things too far? I'm basically on a date with another man for crying out loud!Bookmark here

"Shinobu… you okay?" He gives a half smile while furrowing his brow.Bookmark here

He must have noticed me being awkward, I really need to calm down. Watching those dating tips videos is making my mind think of things I should reconsider doing.Bookmark here

"Yea I'm fine!" I say without looking completely in his direction.Bookmark here

"You have been looking uneasy since we met. I know you are not used to going out much so if you feel we need to take it slow, just let me know." He says with a reassuring smile.Bookmark here

"Sorry… I jus-"Bookmark here

"No need to apologize, I completely understand! It's scary being out here but don't worry, soon we can eat some cake!" Bookmark here

"Y-yea…" Bookmark here

After a short walk we make it to Harbz, a café chain that sells an assortment of cakes and drinks that all look quite delicious. I may or may not be genuinely excited to try it as I’ve never been here before. As he predicted there are about five people ahead of us before we can get a seat. Most of the other people here seem to be girls with their friends or couples going on a date. Bookmark here

Instead of sitting down and waiting, I look at the menu and the cakes on display that they have in the front of the store. I have to get up close to the glass as I’m not wearing my glasses at the moment.

“Looks sooo good, I want them all...” I mumble to myself.Bookmark here

“Someone sounds excited! Which one were you thinking of eating?” Touma notices me drooling over the cakes.Bookmark here

“I can’t decide, they all look so good! Fresh Fruit Cake, Strawberry Chocolate Cake, Mille Crepes. Ahh, I want them all!” I say barely containing my excitement.Bookmark here

“Haha, well hopefully you can decide on the best one before we order.” He says while slightly laughing.Bookmark here

We wait for a few minutes until we are called to be seated. Touma watches me as I spend the entire time staring at the display case of cakes like a child, carefully deciding which one to get as all of them are not an option. We finally get called in and a waiter leads us to our table.Bookmark here

"Shinobu.” He pulls out the chair and signals for me to sit down.

“Oh, thanks…” I sit down hesitantly as I’m not used to receiving any kind of chivalry.Bookmark here

The waiter hands us our menus and tells us to call her when we decide what to order.Bookmark here

I stare at the menu frantically deciding which cake to order.

“Still haven’t decided?” Bookmark here

“UwU it’s either the chocolate cake or fresh fruit cake.” Bookmark here

"Well whatever you get, it will be my treat to you."Bookmark here

"Really? Are you sure?"Bookmark here

"Yes, I did invite you out here after all. And you seemed to really be excited looking at those cakes out there haha."Bookmark here

"That's very sweet of you Touma!" Bookmark here

After I mull over what to get we call over the waiter and order. After a few minutes she comes back with two slices of cake. I ended up with the fruit cake while Touma got the chocolate cake.Bookmark here

I glare at his slice as I already feel some regret of the choice of cake I decided to get.Bookmark here

"You want a bite of mine, don't you? Haha go ahead and take some of it, I don't mind."Bookmark here

"Well if you insist…"Bookmark here

He slides his plate over to me and I hesitantly take a small piece of his cake Bookmark here

"That's all, I know you want more haha."Bookmark here

This time I made a solid dent into his cake and I stuff the entire piece into my mouth.Bookmark here

"Soo gooood!" I say with my mouth full.Bookmark here

I close my eyes and swallow the big chunk of cake I shoved in my mouth. Uh oh that wasn't very girly of me. I open my eyes and Touma is staring at me. Bookmark here

“S-s-sorry about that~” It's only cake, I can't compromise my mission over a slice of cake.Bookmark here

"No, it was adorable haha."

“Ahaha...” I let out a nervous laugh.Bookmark here

Adorable? How can eating be adorable? Bookmark here

“You are like an anime character that likes to eat sweets. Usually, I prefer mature girls but you are just an exception.”Bookmark here

Mature girls… maybe that’s why he went for SayaBookmark here

“What kind of guys do you like Shinobu?”Bookmark here

It’s a weird question to ask a girl but I answer regardless as something instantly crosses my mind.Bookmark here

“I like guys who can do things for me and give me things haha.” I say why shoving another piece of cake in my mouth.Bookmark here

"Aha there is your online self.” Bookmark here

Crap, I may have answered that question too honestly. This cake may be my downfall Bookmark here

“I didn't mean for it to come out that way.” I look away from him as I feel uneasy.Bookmark here

"Don't worry, I enjoy a girl who I can spoil."Bookmark here

He enjoys that sort of thing? To each to their own I guess.Bookmark here

"You can be yourself around me. I like you for who you are, that's why I was interested in meeting you in person."Bookmark here

That's a strange reason to be interested in someone. To be fair I guess my reason is a bit more strange, I'm trying to stop him from dating Saya.Bookmark here

"Guys can be a bit scary sometimes but I felt comfortable meeting you in person." I use my quick thinking skills to come up with a reason for meeting him.Bookmark here

"Scary?"Bookmark here

"Yea I have never been out alone with a guy before." I take the last bite out of my cake.Bookmark here

"Wow, I'm honored to be the first one!"Bookmark here

I realize that he hasn't taken a single bite out of his cake yet to stare at it on his plate. Bookmark here

"Want more?" Bookmark here

"Maybe…" I try not to sound desperate but I really do want more of his slice.Bookmark here

He smiles and cuts his slice of cake in half, sharing it with me.Bookmark here

"Haha you are too cute Shinobu..."Bookmark here

We spend the rest of the time eating and talking about anime since it was brought up then end up talking about video games. He pays for our food and we leave the cafe and mull over what we should do next.

“I have about an hour before I need to do something, what do you want to do in the meantime.”Bookmark here

“No idea…”Bookmark here

“What about a game center? I usually never get to go there with the friends I hang out with!”Bookmark here

“Sure sounds fun, I don't really go there either.”Bookmark here

He seems pretty excited about it so I agree.Bookmark here

“It’s about a 10 minute walk and we have to go outside onto the main street.” He holds out his hand. “Let’s go, I’ll make sure to keep you safe.”Bookmark here

I’m drawn into holding his hand, my mind hesitates but my body moves on its own and I reach out to hold his hand. When our fingers touch he grabs ahold of the palm on my hand. It feels different than when Yuri holds my hand as his is way bigger than mine.Bookmark here

We walk there without much conversation as there are too many people around to talk comfortably.
Bookmark here

"I haven't been here with friends in a while." He says as we enter the arcade.Bookmark here

As we walk into the game center it's an instant sensory overload of many different games and the beeps and bells sounds coming from them.Bookmark here

"What do you like to play?" He asks.Bookmark here

“Anything is fine...”Bookmark here

"My favorite Taiko, we should totally play it!" His face suddenly lights up and we start walking towards the stairs.Bookmark here

We go up to the third floor of the arcade to where all the rhythm games are. It is less crowded than the main floor as it’s mostly people playing by themselves. Touma quickly inserts two coins and starts to nerd out over what song he should play. Bookmark here

"To be honest I suck at rhythm games so I'll just watch for now…" I step back from the machine as I'd much rather just spectate.Bookmark here

Taiko no Tatsujin is a rhythm game where you have to hit the drum according to the notes that appear on the screen. I watch Touma as he is intensely focused on the game in front of him. He proceeds to play a song that is so fast I can barely follow along with the notes that appear on the screen. He flawlessly beats the drum without missing a single note throughout the entire song.Bookmark here

Now is my chance! I can definitely complement him here and score some points for this date.Bookmark here

"Wow, Touma! That was amazing." I use a higher pitch of voice than I normally do and give a tiny round of applause.Bookmark here

"T-thanks, it was really nothing! Actually, you can do it too. Want to give it a try?" He says while holding out the drum sticks towards me.Bookmark here

“Sure, but I don’t know how to play this.” I awkwardly hold the sticks in my hands.Bookmark here

I know how to play this game, almost everyone does. But playing dumb and helpless is an easy way to score points with guys.Bookmark here

“UwU what do I do?” I get a bit nervous as I genuinely suck at this.
Bookmark here

"So for blue you hit the middle of the drum and for red you hit the edge of it."Bookmark here

He explains to me some tips on how to play and picks a song with an easy difficulty to get me started. Bookmark here

I don't really have to try and act girly as sucking at this game comes naturally. I'm absolutely trash at this game, it's getting pathetic. I frantically try to hit the notes by timing it to the beat of the song but I'm rhythmically challenged and can't drum on beat. Even on the easiest of difficulties, I think I’ve managed to hit about 10 notes out of 200.Bookmark here

"Wow Shinobu, that was terrible!” He says while scratching the back of his head. “Here I'll help you out this time"Bookmark here

Touma gets behind me and holds the back of my hands to assist me with drumming. He controls the sticks by moving my hands for me and selects a song.Bookmark here

"Just try to hit the notes a bit before you actually need to, don't worry I'll guide your hands."Bookmark here

I can barely focus and can only pay attention to the fact his entire body is basically connected to mine. Everything from his chest downwards is pressed up against behind me and this feels dangerous. Bookmark here

"Hey don't be lazy you got to move your hands haha." he says jokingly.Bookmark here

"It's more fun like this because I'm winning now!"Bookmark here

Being bad at video games isn't fun but if there is someone to help me win then I'll always enjoy it. Bookmark here

The song ends and this time I do better as I hit about half of the notes. I look up as we are just standing in silence since the song is over. He looks back down at me with a surprised look on his face Bookmark here

"Touma~ one more song?" Bookmark here

"S-sure." He says after a delayed reaction to my question.Bookmark here

He stops holding me to put a coin into the machine and I play another round. This time he doesn't assist me as much as I start to get the hang of it.Bookmark here

We finish playing a few other arcade games and try to win stuff from the crane machines with no luck. The hour goes by quicker than we expected and it's already time to say goodbyes.Bookmark here

We walk back to the train station and part ways at the ticket gates.Bookmark here

"Thanks for everything today!" I say while giving a slight bow.Bookmark here

"It was fun to hang out with you today, I hope we can meet again soon if you are up for it." Bookmark here

"S-sure, I liked being with you." I blurt out awkwardly.Bookmark here

"Me too Shinobu. Sorry I had to cut things short but something came up." Bookmark here

"Don't worry about it!" I reassure him it's all fine though I do wonder what he needs to rush out and do.Bookmark here

I wave goodbye as we both head in separate directions. I feel like this went smoother than I expected and I'm pleased at what I was able to accomplish today.Bookmark here

I head back to Yuri's house as I left all my clothes there and I need to let her know how today went...Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.