Chapter 8:

Chapter 8: If You Want to Ask a Girl Out, the Only Thing You Need is the Proper Motivation!

Love Bites

Daisuke dreamed of the forest that night.

He was lost, wandering through the foggy trees, desperately searching for a way out. He could feel hot breath on the back of his neck, and eyes piercing his skull like daggers as he ran. He had to get away, because the beast was chasing him. But there was nowhere to run in the forest, there were only trees and trees all around, the fog only growing thicker.

He was starting to tire; the beast was almost upon him, and that’s when he saw it, a light, right before his eyes! A beacon of safety piercing through the darkness of the forest, calling out to him! He summoned all the strength he had and threw himself forward into the light.

For a brief moment, he saw her. A black-haired faerie in a gossamer dress, sitting upon a log beside a bubbling brook. She looked up at him and smiled the sweetest, gentlest smile he had ever seen. Her kind eyes healed his tired soul and brought to his lips a smile of his own. And then she was gone. The vision of loveliness lasted only for an instant, and then her warm light was replaced with sunlight streaming down into his room.

“Daisuke!” The loud voice of his sister shook him from his delirium and he sprung up out of bed. Was he late?! What time was it?!

Wait, no. He was early. By, like, an hour.

Why was Sakura waking him up now?!

“What do you want?!” Daisuke griped, flopping back down into bed.

“Someone’s here for you Daisuke!” Sakura sang. “It’s a giiiiiirrl!”

Daisuke shot out of bed like someone had poured ice water over him. This was no laughing matter. Had Ueda-san come to his house again?! She said yesterday that they would talk before class started about how to approach Mochida-san, but was this what she meant?! She was going to come to his house?!

“Tell her that I’m going to be down in a second!” Daisuke shouted, quickly stripping his clothes off and changing into his uniform as quickly as possible. He checked to make sure that her plan guide was tucked safely away in his backpack, took one last look in the mirror to make sure everything was okay, and then dashed down the stairs and ran outside.

But Ueda-san wasn’t there. Instead, he was greeted by the sweet smile of Mochida-san.

“Mo-Mochida-san?” Daisuke gasped. She waved shyly at him, her dark eyes peering up at him from behind her glasses.

“Good morning,” she whispered, glancing down. Just like him, she was having trouble making eye contact, it seemed. Daisuke was stunned. Seeing her there had blown away his tiredness and refreshed him for the day, even though he would still be sleeping at this time on a normal morning.

“I told her she could come in and eat breakfast with us, but she insisted on waiting for you outside,” Daisuke’s mother sighed, coming up behind him. She rested her cheek on her hand and shook her head.

“It’s, um… it’s too early for that,” Mochida-san stammered, fidgeting. She glanced up at Daisuke. “Oishi-san… I came by because… I was wondering… would you like to walk to school together?” She asked, clearly hopeful.

That’s right… Mochida-san is my next-door neighbor… Daisuke remembered. “Wait, this early? I still haven’t eaten breakfast yet!”

“That’s okay, I can wait,” Mochida-san said, her cheeks flushing. “If… if you want…”

“No no no no, ignore this foolish son of mine!” Mrs. Oishi laughed, shoving Daisuke out of the house. “You don’t have to wait, you two just go along on your own!”

“Mom?!” Daisuke exclaimed, shocked. “But I’m hungry!”

“Here, pick something up at the convenience store,” Mrs. Oishi said, handing him a few bills. She gave him a wink. “You would really prioritize your own stomach over this gorgeous little flower?”

“Ehe… gorgeous?” Mochida-san blushed, glancing down, her face brightening up.

How about you prioritize your own son a little more?! Daisuke wanted to shout, but he didn’t want to startle Mochida-san. “Mom, I don’t even have my shoes-“

“Have fun you two!” Daisuke’s mother called, tossing Daisuke’s shoes out and slamming the door in his face.


Daisuke was about to complain, when he felt the warm light of Mochida-san shining on his back. Her kind aura purified his soul of malice and he found himself forgiving his mother for her actions. Yes… this must be what it is like to achieve enlightenment, he realized. My mother is just trying to do what is best for me… I should thank her for her kindness, not condemn it…

…WAIT! I’m trying to stay AWAY from Mochida-san! Daisuke remembered. If he got any closer to her then there was a chance that Ueda-san would end up trying to make the two of them…

Daisuke felt like throwing up at the thought of anything bad happening to the soft and sweet little Mochida-san. He slipped on his shoes and turned to her, taking in her healing aura directly now that he was facing her. A smile found its way to his lips.

“Shall we go?” He asked, only slightly reluctant now. And the way her eyes widened with excitement and her tiny chin bobbled up and down extinguished those last sparks of doubt.

As they walked to the station, Daisuke felt like it was both the longest and shortest walk to school he’d ever taken. Mochida-san wasn’t saying anything and neither was he, but just being at her side was enough to make it feel like the sun was a little brighter and the birds were chirping a little happier. Everything seemed more vibrant somehow, and he couldn't understand how just having a cute girl walking with him could make his daily boring commute seem so different.

This must be the joy of walking to school with a girlfriend is like, Daisuke thought, clenching his fist in victory. If only his relationship with Mochida-san were under different circumstances, then maybe he could actually be happy about this…

He didn’t have any right to be happy, because Mochida-san only liked him because of a lie. A lie told by Ueda-san to get her to fall for him, so that she could exploit his offspring for food purposes. Whenever he thought about that, it made his chest hurt with guilt. Forgive me, Mochida-san! I don’t mean to lie to you and play with your feelings this way, it’s all Ueda-san’s fault! She’s the guilty one, not me!

He pleaded for forgiveness to his faerie, but he knew he didn’t deserve it. I can’t make her happy as a real hero… but I can still protect her from the monster that is Ueda-san! He vowed.

If only that resolution improved his mood.

Daisuke turned to Mochida-san, desperate to find something to take his mind off of how he was treating her. “Mochida-san, I’m surprised,” he said, startling Mochida-san. The way she sprung up and turned her wide eyes towards him like a deer caught in the headlights made Daisuke weak in the knees. He pushed through the waves of cuteness and continued, “I didn’t think you’d go to school so early!”

Mochida-san blushed.

“I… go to the library early,” she admitted. She looked around shyly and then turned back to Daisuke, her eyes glimmering with a strange sort of courage. “If… If you don’t tell anyone…” Then, the courage in her eyes disappeared and she quickly shook her head. “N-No, not yet!” She said, more to herself than to him.

Daisuke was curious, of course, but he didn’t press her on anything. He had no right to pry into her life, Ueda-san had more than done enough of that. He’d even decided last night to not read any further into her entry in the Daisuke Oishi Breeding Plan.

It just didn’t feel right to him.

“Um… I… I go to school early,” Mochida-san said, finally getting the strength to look him in the eye again. “But… if… if you want… I can go later…?” Her eyes were hopeful. “I would… like to walk to school together with you again, but if it’s inconvenient…”

Oh! What a sweet girl! Her face was so bright it was like staring into the sun!

“I-I don’t mind! Really!” Daisuke said, unable to disappoint those hopeful eyes. “I can wake up this early again if you want to walk together!”

What are you doing, you fool?! He shouted at himself. The plan was to avoid spending time with Mochida-san! Not spend more time with her! Are you insane?!

Daisuke tried to awkwardly take his promise back. “But, um… Do you really want to walk to school with somebody like me?”

“Of course!” Mochida-san said. She sidled a little closer to Daisuke. “I feel so much safer with a hero like you escorting me…” she murmured, her eyes shining at Daisuke. “You would absolutely protect me from things like molesters! I’m sure of it!”

Her adoring gaze was like an arrow that pierced Daisuke right through his guilty conscience. He clutched his chest in pain. No, Mochida-san! Don’t be fooled! Daisuke wailed internally. I’m nobody worthy of your adoration! I’m not a hero! I’m just a fraud!

Her soothing smile made him feel guiltier. Hopefully, they would get to the station soon.

When Daisuke finally parted with Mochida-san, he did so with a heavy heart. He liked spending time with her, her gentle sweetness soothed his aching heart and gave him comfort in a world with wicked monsters like Ueda-san. But at the same time, he felt guilty every time he spoke to her, her expectations of him were too lofty; he could never be the hero she wanted him to be!

“O-Oishi-san!” Mochida-san’s voice calling out to Daisuke was so soft he barely heard it. Like a faerie whisper caught on the wind, he turned to her and saw her face red and her hands trembling, but she had that strength in her eyes again. “Um… I-I was wondering… since we don’t have classes this Saturday, and, well, at… the mall, there’s… there’s a Hero Show, and I thought…”

She swallowed and shook her head, smiling brightly as the strength left her eyes. “Never mind,” she whispered. “See you later.”

“Y-Yeah,” Daisuke gulped nodding, giving her a half-hearted wave goodbye as she ducked into the library. Now alone with his thoughts, he stumbled numbly towards his classroom, his mind racing nearly as fast as his heart.

That… she was absolutely about to ask me out on a date, right? It couldn’t be anything else. Daisuke might have been a little on the dense side, but even he could tell what Mochida-san was about to ask before she lost her nerve. One thing was certain. I CANNOT tell Ueda-san about this! If she finds out about this, then she would absolutely insist that I ask Mochida-san out first, and I need to make sure that Mochida-san absolutely stays as far away from this whole monster mess as possible!

“Well, that was quite an interesting sight. It seems like even without my help you and Mochi-chan are making some excellent progress.”

Daisuke’s blood froze in his veins as he heard Ueda-san’s voice behind him. Shaking in terror, he turned to see her perched on the windowsill like a feral cat, her eyes shining bright red. He nearly pissed his pants at the sight of her, stumbling back onto his ass.

“U-Ueda-san, what…?” Daisuke stammered. “You… You saw that?”

Ueda-san licked her lips, springing forward and landing in front of him, staring down at him with a predatory gaze.

“I followed you this morning,” Ueda-san smirked. Daisuke suddenly felt like throwing up.

“You… what, but… but that’s…” Daisuke began to shake. Like a mouse cornered by a snake, Ueda-san had him in her grasp and there was nothing that he could do about it.

“I came to your house to ambush you on the way to school, in case you tried to wiggle out of our little meeting,” Ueda-san explained. “But then I saw you were getting along with Mochi-chan. How lucky! I had no idea she lived next to you!”

Daisuke swallowed, feeling his forehead heating up with sweat. “Wh-What? Try to… get out of our meeting? I would never do that…” He mumbled.

Ueda-san rolled her eyes. She crouched down and grabbed Daisuke by the collar, lifting him to his feet with her inhuman strength. “I know that you’re… reluctant about this, so I've been considerate. But you’re not being given a choice,” she hissed. “You are my food source, do you understand that? You are premium merchandise. I’ve made an investment in you, Karaage-san. No matter where it is you think you’re going to go, I will follow you to make sure that you are safe and following my rules, so that I can get a return on my investment.”

She growled at him.

“Do. I. Make. Myself. Clear?”

“I-I’m sorry, I just…” Daisuke mumbled out, fear of the monster in front of him keeping him frozen in place. “P-Please, what…”

Her point made, the intimidating aura around Ueda-san seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye.

“While I was following you,” Ueda-san continued casually, releasing her grip on his collar and wiping her hand with a handkerchief, “I happened to overhear quite a bit of interesting things come up. My ears are quite sensitive.” She touched her ear to emphasize that, calling to mind images of a tiger stalking an antelope from the shadows. And Daisuke was the antelope.

“Ueda-san, I-“

“This Saturday, hmmmm?” Ueda-san purred, and Daisuke’s last sliver of hope was snuffed out. He sunk down in resignation. “Now, as I was telling you yesterday, Mochi-chan is quite a sweet little girl. And she’s got a major crush on you, Daisuke. Going to the house of a boy and asking him to walk to school? I thought she was just a shy little bookworm, but it turns out that when she wants something she really goes for it.”

Daisuke himself had been surprised by how forward Mochida-san was. Coming to eat at his restaurant, having her walk him home, and then coming to his house in the morning asking to walk to school with him? It seemed completely at odds with the image of the shy and gentle little faerie that she projected with her usual demeanor.

He wasn’t sure how much more forward she was going to get if this went on, and that scared him. If she kept trying to close the distance and get closer to her “hero” then the bad end he pictured for her as breeding stock for Ueda-san’s sick endeavors would only be that much harder to avoid.

“Normally, I would advise you to take things slow with a girl like her,” Ueda-san said, stroking her chin in contemplation. “But honestly, with how much progress it seems like you’ve made in just a day, and the fact that she was just about ready to ask you out herself before she lost the nerve, I think we should redefine what ‘slow’ means in this context.”

“Are you sure? I think-“

“Food doesn’t talk right now,” Ueda-san snapped. She continued her musings. “No, I think that the only reason she lost her nerve just now was because she thought that you might say no. In that girl’s eyes, you’re a hero, after all. Getting you to walk her to school in order to keep her safe is within the reasonable expectations of a ‘hero’ like you. But asking a hero out on a date, that’s a whole other level of difficulty and she’s not ready for that.”

Daisuke sighed in relief. Good, Mochida-san’s reluctance was the best way to keep her safe. If she didn’t want to ask him out, that was just fine with him!

“So I think the quickest way to overcome that barrier is for you to ask Mochi-chan out yourself, Karaage-san!” Ueda-san decided, giving him a big, toothy grin.

“Wh-What?!” Daisuke cried in horror. No, he couldn’t go on a date with her! “Ueda-san, you can’t be serious, I can’t just… I can’t just ask her out!”

Ueda-san rolled her eyes.

“Of course you can!” She shouted in exasperation. “She was practically throwing herself at you! You’re the kind of dense loser harem protagonist who would see a box of assorted baby hearts sitting on the counter and just walk right by without even taking a bite!”

“Of course I would, because THEY’RE BABY HEARTS!” Daisuke exclaimed.

“Baby hearts are delicious! They haven’t gotten clogged up with cholesterol yet!” Ueda-san argued. “Ugh, getting all fatty?! And they’re the perfect size to pop into your mouth!”

“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR STUFF LIKE THAT!” Daisuke wailed, trying to force the image of Ueda-san eating baby hearts like popcorn out of his mind.

“Whatever, this isn’t important anyway,” Ueda-san scowled. “Besides, Mochi-chan has already done 90% of the work. She’s told you exactly where she wants to go out with you. She wants to go see that Superhero Show at the mall or whatever. Ramen Rider? Fine. So you go and you tell her that you’re going to be there, and would she like to accompany you? It’s as simple as that.”

“But… But…” Daisuke was desperately searching for ways he could get out of this. He didn’t want to hurt Mochida-san. If he brought her out on a date, then they would just be playing to the tune of Ueda-san’s flute. There had to be a way out of this.

Ueda-san clearly wasn’t happy with Daisuke’s reluctance. Her face darkened, and she soon made her objections known.

“I said you don’t have any choice,” she reminded him, shooting out her hand and grabbing him by the wrist. The strength of her grip caused Daisuke to wince in pain as she forced his hand up, bringing it closer to her. Her tongue slipped from her lips and began running against his fingers and Daisuke froze in fear.

“U-Ueda-san…” he mumbled, afraid of what she was going to do to him.

“I’ve said it before, Karaage-san, but you’re delicious, did you know that?” Ueda-san purred, her tongue wrapping around his pinkie before moving to the next finger. It was rough, like the tongue of a cat, and the sticky hotness seeping out of it made him feel numb. “Every time I’m around you, smelling you, I have to resist the urge to take a bite…”

She yanked his hand even closer, this time taking several of his fingers into her mouth. He felt the sharpness of her teeth press up against them, nearly drawing blood. He cried out. “Ueda-san, ow! That hurts!”

She continued, pulling his hand free. “I need you for my breeding plan… but you don’t necessarily need all your fingers, now do you?”

“P-Please, Ueda-san,” Daisuke said, his lips pulling up into a smile. He didn’t know why he was smiling, he was scared out of his wits. This was the most he’d ever been afraid of Ueda-san since that first night. “I-I need my fingers!”

Ueda-san’s eyes narrowed into a playful look. “Aaaaaallll of them?” She purred. “Surely you don’t need all of them…”

“YES! ALL OF THEM!” Daisuke wailed. He looked around for help, but the hallway was empty. And even if it wasn’t, who could help him against a monster like Ueda-san?!

“Well, that works out fine, because I need something too,” Ueda-san said, dropping his hand. Daisuke pulled it to his chest and held it as far away from her as he could, shaking. Ueda-san continued, “I need you to ask out Mochi-chan by the end of the day, okay? Then, once the date is set, we’ll meet after class on Friday to discuss what you’ll be doing. That’s what I need from you.”

Daisuke felt a little woozy. Ueda-san hadn’t broken the surface with her nibbling but he wondered if this was what passing out from blood loss was like.

“I think we can both give each other what we need, don’t you, Karaage-san?” Ueda-san asked, reaching up and stroking Daisuke’s cheek. “You give me you, going on a date with Mochi-chan, and I give you all your fingers. Sound like a plan?”

Daisuke gulped. What else could he do but nod?

Ueda-san smiled. “There’s a good boy,” she said, patting him on the head. “Now, we mustn’t be late to class!”

She turned back to look at him as she headed for the classroom. “Come on now, Karaage-san! Don’t look so down! She’ll definitely say yes, and then you’ll get to go out with a cute girl like Mochi-chan! Imagine how cute and sweet the babies you two will have will be!” Ueda-san licked her lips. “I know I am…”

Daisuke didn’t pay attention to one single lesson in class that day. He needed to figure out what to do. And there was only one person he could go to for advice.

“Dude, just ask her out,” Tora said, like it was the easiest thing in the world. Daisuke had bought a lunch at the convenience store this morning, and was now eating it while he explained the situation to Tora, who was sitting across from him. The classroom was mostly deserted, but they still had to keep their voices down.

“But… but what if she says no?” Daisuke asked. “I really, really want to make this date with Mochida-san work out.”

“Come on, dude, have a little confidence!” Tora said, flashing him a grin and giving him a thumbs’ up. “If you can score with a babe like Ueda-san, then you can score with anybody!”

Daisuke’s chopsticks fell from his fingers. That had been WAY too loud. He felt the icy glare of Ueda-san drilling into his back.

Daisuke suddenly developed a keen understanding for what it was like to be in a horror movie. He could feel an inhuman presence looming behind him, drawing closer and closer, and yet he couldn’t find it in him to run. He couldn’t even turn its way.

“This sounds like quite an interesting conversation,” Ueda-san said, looming over the two boys with a smile frozen on her face. She turned to Tora, whose face was as pale as a sheet. “Would you mind if I join in?” She asked.

“Um, actually… I forgot! I need to go… get lunch someplace else!” Tora said, jumping from his seat and running from the classroom.

Ueda-san turned to Daisuke. She opened her mouth to say something, but then one of her friends called out to her.

“Ueda-san! You don’t need to worry about a guy like that, just leave him alone!” Ushigome-san called. “No one actually thinks that you two are a thing, don’t worry!”

Ueda-san’s smile quickly turned into the usual friendly one. She turned back to Ushigome-san and, like the perfect little angel she pretended to be, objected “hey! Don’t say such rude things about Kar- umm, Oishi-san! He’s very sweet!”

With that, she flounced back to her friends, leaving Daisuke with a half-eaten bento and a desire to be as far away from the classroom as he could get.

There was only one person he could ask for help now, and he had to hope she wasn’t still mad at him. Daisuke stood outside of the 1-B Classroom and took a deep breath, stepping inside. Several heads turned towards him, and to his relief, one of them was Rika’s.

The fact that she was glaring quickly dispelled all feelings of relief, however.

“Um,” Daisuke stammered out, forcing his mouth to start working, “Rika, can I…”

His voice trailed off as Rika stomped over to him, glaring at him with hatred in her eyes.

“Here for another one of your ‘jokes’?” She growled testily, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “I’m still mad at you, you know.”

“I know, Rika! I’m sorry about that whole thing,” Daisuke pleaded. He really needed her advice. “Please, I need you to help me with something, I need advice!”

Rika let out a loud sigh of exasperation, rubbing her temples. She stepped out to join him in the hall. “…Fine. You have one minute.”

Daisuke gulped. “There’s this girl that I want to ask out!” He managed to spit out, Rika’s ticking clock doing wonders for his motivation. “And I wanted-“

Rika’s expression shifted into a look that was almost comforting, but more disappointed. She softened and said “Ueda-san, right? Look, Daisuke, I know-“

“No! Not Ueda-san! No, never!” Daisuke said, shaking his head frantically. “Absolutely not!”

Rika blinked, surprised. “Oh. You’re over her? Wow. It usually takes you, like, forever to get over a girl, what happened?”

Daisuke swallowed and glanced away, unable to meet Rika’s curious gaze. “…Things happened. It’s a long story. But anyway, I-I’ve really been getting close with Mochida-san, and I-“

“Wait, hold on,” Rike said, holding her hand up. “Mochida-san as in Hina Mochida? From my class?”

Daisuke blinked. “Wait, Mochida-san is in your class?”

Rika rolled her eyes and jabbed her thumb behind her. Daisuke peeked past her to see a beautiful little faerie seated at a desk, her eyes filled with worry as she looked at the two of them standing out in the hall. “Sure, sure, you’ve been getting close to her,” Rika said, a smirk pulling up the corners of her lips. “You know she lives next door to you, right?”

“How did YOU know?!” Daisuke exclaimed. Did everyone know Mochida-san was his neighbor except him?!

Rika ignored him. Her voice was soft, almost… gentle. “Look, Daisuke, you’re a decent guy, most of the time. You just get a little to obsessive and put pretty girls on too high a pedestal. If you’re really interested in Mochida-san, and you think she might be interested in dating you, then just ask her. If you’re nervous, she’s going to be nervous. So just be casual about it. Besides, I’m pretty sure she likes you back, anyway. You don’t have anything to worry about.”

Rika smirked, and glanced over her shoulder. Mochida-san gasped and quickly turned her eyes back to her lunch. “After all, she’s been watching us nervously since you got here!” She giggled, clapping Daisuke on the shoulder. “Go on, ask her out. I’ll send her your way.”

“W-Wait, Rika-“

But it was too late. Musclehead that she was, Rika had already gone over to Mochida-san’s desk to talk to her. Mochida-san jumped like a startled faun when Rika greeted her, but after the shock wore off in a few seconds, she brightened and nodded, turning back to Daisuke and smiling. Seconds later, the doorway was glowing with soothing warmth as Mochida-san looked hopefully up at him.

“Samejima-san… said you wanted to talk to me?” Mochida-san asked, her big eyes blinking curiously behind her glasses.

“Y-Yes, um, I was wondering, if… well… maybe…”

Damn it, why couldn’t he get the words out?! His fingers were on the line here, and he couldn’t even ask out a single girl?!

Well, no. He probably could have asked out a girl, but Mochida-san? He didn’t want to ask her out. He didn’t want to hurt her!

He just couldn’t.

“I-I was wondering… if you wanted to walk home together,” he stammered out.

The brilliant smile she gave him could have powered downtown Tokyo.

“I would be delighted!” Mochida-san said. She skipped back to her desk, beaming with energy, and Daisuke sighed. His breath finally returned to him when he closed the door.

That’s the best I can do right now… He admitted to himself. He would have to work up the courage on the walk home.

Unfortunately, Daisuke wasn’t any braver then, either. He must not have been very good company for Mochida-san, so focused as he was on the difficult decision that he had to make. If he didn’t ask her out, then Ueda-san would eat all his fingers. A stab of fear went through him, and he called out, “Mochida-san!”

“Y-Yes?” Mochida-san gasped, staring at him with wide eyes, clearly startled.

The look of shock on her face killed his motivation, and he mumbled out, “um… I was just wondering… would you like to exchange contact information?”

Mochida-san smiled brilliantly again, and before Daisuke even knew what was happening he had her phone number, email, and Line address.

Normally, Daisuke would consider that an excellent sign to ask her out. But somehow he found that he still couldn’t. He couldn’t hurt poor Mochida-san…

Finally, they arrived at their houses. They looked at each other, Mochida-san’s face bright and cheery. Daisuke swallowed, remembering the stickiness and pain of Ueda-san’s mouth on his hand, and finally managed to ask.

“M-Mochida-san?” He stammered out.

“Yes, Oishi-san?” Mochida-san smiled, her lovely visage a soft testament to her gentle temperance. She waited for him, the picture of patience, and after what felt like hours he finally got the courage to ask.

“This… This Saturday… we don’t have class. And… and there’s a Hero Show at the mall, that… that I was planning to go to,” he managed to get out. “And… I know you said that you like shows like that, so… if you wanted, I was wondering… wouldyouliketogooutwithmeonSaturday?!” He felt his courage starting to flag and so he got the rest of it out as fast as he could, panting. He stared hopefully at her, drained of energy now that he managed to finish his task.

Mochida-san stared numbly at him, like she was trying to figure out what he had said. Then, her eyes lit up with realization and she gave a smile more beautiful than any he’d ever seen. The kind of smile that would have stolen his heart and made him profess his love to her right there if the circumstances weren’t what they were.

“I would love to,” Mochida-san said, her voice as soft as an elf’s song. She turned and ran into her house, her face bright with joy and red with embarrassment, and Daisuke felt like the biggest piece of shit in the world.

To save his own skin, he had just pulled this poor girl even further into Ueda-san’s clutches. He felt like he was gonna be sick. Daisuke shook his head and hid away in his room, hoping that the painful feeling of guilt would eventually pass.