Chapter 1:

Maiden's Secret

Valentine's Wish

Beth knew she’d stepped in it. She’d only wanted to impress her new friends but she’d allowed her mouth to run off as usual and now she was in trouble. She needed a boyfriend by tomorrow.

Afterall, tomorrow was Valentine’s Day. Not normally her favourite day of the year but she didn’t mind because at least there was chocolate. This year unlike previous years though, she would be celebrating. Well, if you could call it that because by the looks of things it was going to turn out to be more of a funeral for her social life than a celebration.

Heather and Eva both had boyfriends. They talked about them nonstop, whether it was gushing about how dashing and charming they were or complaining about how long it to took them to reply to texts. Beth couldn’t help but feel a little left out when the conversation turned to boys as she herself didn’t have much experience with them, other than the fictional kind.

When Heather and Eva had been making plans for a double date on Valentine’s Day with their boyfriends - Eva had tried to invite Beth but Heather had snapped back that Beth didn’t have a boyfriend so there was no point in her coming - Beth found herself blurting out that she did in fact have a boyfriend, thank you very much. Both girls began to swoon and asked Beth a million questions about this mystery boy and so Beth’s tall tail got even taller, as she enjoyed the attention being on her for once.

Her fifteen minutes of fame had been up though, when she and the other girls had parted ways at the bus stop and Beth was on her way home. She’d foolishly agreed to bring her ‘boyfriend’ to the cafe tomorrow to meet Heather, Eva, and their boyfriends when she’d never even so much as talked to a boy - apart from her annoying younger brother, Marcus - without stumbling over her words and forgetting how to behave like a normally functioning human. Boys in otome games were so much easier; if you said the wrong thing you could just go back and choose again.

As if he had some kind of special instinct that made him able to always know what the worst possible thing to say to his sister was, Marcus popped around the corner almost as soon as she came trudging through the front door. He was munching on a packet of crisps, the crumbs getting all over his school uniform that he still hadn’t changed out of.

“Hey Beth,” he said, mouth full. “How’s your boyfriend?”

“What are you talking about?” Beth mumbled irritably, kicking off her shoes.

“You know, your imaginary one inside your game,” Marcus laughed loudly and obnoxiously, as if he’d just told the funniest joke ever. “You know, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.”

“I know,” Beth said, now speeding towards the stairs in hopes of getting away from her brother but he was consistent as he bounced after her cheerfully.

“Is that game boy going to be your Valentine then?” he asked. “We made cards in school today. Three girls gave me theirs. I bet you never got any.”

They were standing in front of Beth’s bedroom door now, which was decorated with magazine cuttings of anime characters, photocards, and little drawings. She swung the door open.

“That’s because we don’t have time for babyish things like Valentine’s Day cards in secondary school,” Beth yelled more aggressively than she’d intended to before slamming the door in his face.

“Hey!” she heard her brother cry from the other side of the door. When she gave him no response, she heard what sounded like his little feet stomping down the stairs and his voice getting fainter the further down he went. “Mom! Beth just slammed the door on me!”

Beth just shook her head as she made her way over to her desk and then slumped into her gaming chair. Geez, even her little brother had more game than she did! She needed to figure out what she was going to do. At her old school she’d been an outcast; either ignored or made fun of for her nerdy hobbies. At this new school she’d resolved to keep her love of all things fictional a secret so she might have a shot at making some friends. Shockingly it had worked and she’d even managed to impress the supermodel-gorgeous Heather somewhat, who was practically royalty as far as everyone in their class was concerned. All of that would be sure to come to an end though, once Heather and Eva found out she was a fake.

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon