My Government-Issued Girlfriend Can't Be This Cute!
"No way. You’re 25 and your room looks like this?"
The stunning, brunette-haired woman in my doorway peered inside, like a cautious kid outside a predator's candy shop. Her slender fingers fiddled with the lollipop stick between her lips as she crept into my room, step by step.
"Huh? What's wrong with it?" I replied to her. My arms sheathed in flannel sleeves were fidgeting with nervousness. It'd been years since a girl critiqued my bedroom, and last time wasn't nearly as hostile. Even at the door this chick raised serious bad flags.
Azure eyes more poignant than the bluest sapphires gazed around with curious disgust, then she smirked in my direction. "Real talk? No wonder you couldn't cop a real girlfriend—big obvious you needed one handed to you."
"Anecdotal deductions won't get you very far."
Her finger shot out and pointed at me. "See? You're a lost cause, Nishikata!"
Lost cause? But I had a decent job, didn't I? And a big, urban home? Well, it was my parent's house but I'd lived alone—until now.
The brunette girl Keiko Asagiri had light-tan skin that complimented her burgundy, leather jacket. A gray shirt underneath boasted a wide V-neck, while tight short shorts bestowed a "squish" effect to her well-endowed thighs. Black knee socks completed her distinct style that looked akin to something from teenage fashion magazines.
She casually bent over and grabbed an anime figure from my shelf. "This chick kind of looks like me, and her style is cute. Bet you'd get off if I cosplayed her."
"Sorry to say, but I'm kinda hard to impress." After I chuckled, my green eyes examined Asagiri's entire body. "Your butt is bigger than hers, but she's got better—"
"Ehhh? I just got here and you're already being nitpicky?"
Are we actually this chummy already? "You started comparisons first, you know."
"Touché! Guess my competition here isn't stiff at least—much." She tinkered with the cute figure before returning it to my shelf.
My room was the smallest in the house, though it harbored a sacrosanct presence: anime girl figures on shelves, in glass cases, atop my wardrobe, everywhere. They lined almost every surface possible, and only my computer desk was spared deluges of clutter. Even the room walls surrounding us were eclipsed with enough anime posters to obscure nearly all traces of white wall paint.
Asagiri stared up at the ceiling. "Bro, what the fuck."
My walls were depleted of space years ago, so I started taping posters above as well. Most were from favorite games of mine, like Azure Mane and Purrso-nyaa. My folks granted me carte blanche to go crazy in here as soon as I secured a stable job.
"I, uhhh, don't have much to spend money on, haha." I pretended to feel embarrassed.
"Weird flex, but okay." She started exploring my room again. A small cabinet beside the door caught her attention. "What's in here?"
"Wait, wait, stop!"
Her fingers tugged on the drawer—adjacent to that bottle's drawer—and she pulled out a cat ears headband. "Is this your kink or something?"
Phew, dodged a bullet. "Oh, those were a friend's. She came over and just forgot about them a while back."
"Color me surprised, you actually brought females in here?"
"It was back in high school. We don't talk as much anymore for, erm, reasons."
"Probably creeped her out." She slipped the brown cat ears onto her head. They blended in nicely. "Since I'm your girlfriend now though, I'm gonna be commandeering these."
Girlfriend. I'd never thought someone would call themself that. Multiple women had come and gone in my life, but my awkwardness earlier on made things tough. There wasn't much going for me now besides an exorbitant anime room I should charge admission into. It was mostly just a facade anyway—a distraction I needed to keep my mind off things.
"I'll look for your porn stash some other time." Asagiri motioned for the doorway. "Let's head downstairs for our legal mumbo jumbo session."
"Right. But why was my room the first thing you wanted to see anyway?"
She rubbed her newfound cat ears, seemingly testing out their fluffiness. "Had to count how many red flags you raised, but you’re not ugly so it balances out."
Compliments from girls weren't rare. Usually they’d be followed by "How are you still single?", and in my head I’d be screaming 'Why don’t you help fix that?'' Now the vicious cycle had led me here—to this sassy, barely 18-year-old girl I was gonna spend the next year with.
"Well I’m relieved you’re not ugly either,” I replied with snark, joining her by the door.
"Sweet talk won’t get you anything. Feeding me good food, now there’s something I can scratch your back for." She made a loud sucking noise as she pulled out the red lollipop from her mouth. “Just don’t get your hopes up."
Outside in the hallway, we were greeted by white walls covered in family photos instead of cute anime girls. My otakuness was confined to my room, so everything outside it stayed normal according to my parent's wishes—truly a travesty.
"Hmmm, this you?" Asagiri looked towards a black-framed photo on the wall. "Pretty cute looking as a kid. What happened?"
"Didn't you just say I wasn't ugly earlier?"
She inspected the same photo of ten-year-old me. My spiky, black hair hadn’t changed much from back then, nor had my taste in flannel shirts. If someone looked closely enough at the photo, they'd see my mom’s reflection in my emerald eyes as she snapped the picture.
I leaned forward to tease Asagiri. "You're staring awfully hard at that old pic of me. You like your men in snack size?"
"Even if I did, I'd try my luck at an orphanage before I come to you—humph." She started pacing down the hall.
Wait, doesn't that mean she still thinks I'm snack size? Is that a compliment or an insult?
I followed behind her as we descended a staircase. The red of Asagiri's leather jacket kept my eyes glued to her shoulders.
"Actually, you are kinda on the shorter side," I said. "Not an insult though."
"Barely noticing?" She flicked her long, brunette hair back as if to try wooing me. "If you’re still fine with me for a GiG, who knows what you fap to."
"I don't masturbate to lolis."
"Ah, but you do masturbate then." She peered back just to flash a grin. "Heh."
Alright, this chick is gonna drive me insane.
As we reached the first floor and made our way into the living room, she took herself on another sightseeing tour. “Nice place. Kinda wasted on you though.”
It was an upper middle-class home, furnished with stainless-steel appliances and exquisite furniture even discerning eyes would be impressed by. A lone grandfather clock in the hallway behind us ticked and tocked the hour ever since I could remember. Spotless floors helped prove that I kept the whole house clean while my parents worked overseas—how convenient.
"Mi casa es su casa." I directed Asagiri to our faux leather couch.
"Chupa mi verga, guey," she said as she sat down.
"Oh, it means 'I’m happy to be here,' yeah."
My butt plopped onto a red reclining chair across from her, while Asagiri ahead reached into her shorts and pulled out a slip of paper; a few folds later, an airplane glided over to me.
"You know what to do. Unfurl and read all that crap off," she said. "I’m gonna record you and send it to my manager."
I looked down at the paper and squinted. Blurry text that looked like her printer was running out of ink made reading it difficult. "Is this really necessary?"
"It is if you want a girlfriend. Now give me a good show, Nishikata." The phone in her hand positioned itself to record.
With a sigh, I started reading in a monotone voice: “Hello client. If you're reading this, you have already passed a background check and been approved for Japan’s Government-Issued Girlfriend Program. Herein lies the basic terms you must abide for your tenure:
“One. Unless consent is explicitly given, you are not permitted any physical contact with the government-issued girlfriend (GiG).
“Two. For the year-long duration of your tenure, you are obligated to maintain your GiG with food, shelter, healthcare, and other necessities.
“To the above effect, you have already been accepted into the GiG program based on your age, current residence, job status, and public record. It is expected you provide adequate care for your GiG.
“Three. Conversely, you will have no expectations of your GiG. In training they are encouraged to help around your home but aren’t required to do so.
“Four. The GiG may cease your tenure at any time for any reason. However, you may also cease her contract at will and a replacement may be issued. In either case, you will not be compensated."
I’m not getting compensated anyway! I thought, and resumed reading:
“Thank you for participating in the GiG program. We hope your labors will bear fruit and reveal the beauties of life.”
Asagiri tucked her phone away and smiled. "See? That wasn't so hard."
Her sarcasm was a bit grating. "Okay, so basically: you're just gonna mooch off of me for a year and I get nothing back?"
"What are ya' talking about? You get a girlfriend in return! Isn't that what you signed up for?"
"I knew the terms already, but I'm kinda regretting things now."
"Hey, that hurts." She crossed her arms in cute anger. "I don't get anything out of this either besides free food, free rent—oh and the government pays for all of my college later. See, nothing."
"Ughhh." I facepalmed. Was I really desperate enough to sign up for a girlfriend I'm not allowed to even touch? Maybe I'd have better luck asking out coworkers again, or heck, even dating apps might work. Why deny that life itself was a gamble; not like my mental health could get any worse.
'However, you may also cease her contract at will . . .'
It wasn't too late to call everything off. I did have excess money, but it could go towards more productive things like porn and anime girl figures. Perhaps I'd even chuck some donations at VTubers, or just skip the middleman and develop a crippling pachinko addiction. Whoever said that money can't buy happiness must've been high.
"Geez, you're taking this way too seriously." Asagiri fiddled with the red lollipop in her mouth. She plucked it out and pointed it at me like a baton. "Lighten up man."
"Easier said than done . . ." Honestly, is she really worth it though? A hint of cleavage from her loose, V-neck shirt activated some neurons.
I gulped. Yeah, it was better for both our sanities I called this off. She's cute, but if the best I'd get was holding her hand in public—definitely not worth it. Who knew how much money she was going to wring out of me anyway? She hadn't earned any trust yet either, so why should I—
Suddenly, a blur dashed out from across the living room. It was strange to see him active, but my old, black cat with curious eyes strolled up to Asagiri. He let out a cute "meow" and waggled his tail.
"Hey, Furbolt! What are you doing?" I yelled.
"Furbolt? Weird name," Asagiri said. She hunched over to inspect him.
"Oh, uh, it's from one of my favorite novels," I replied. "Bit of a hobby of mine."
"Hmmm . . . " Her vibrant, azure eyes eyed my kitty back. They stared each other down before Asagiri bent forward to pick him up.
"Careful, he only lets the most trustworthy people—"
She picked up and effortlessly brought him to her lap. Furbolt was already purring before soft, feminine hands started petting him all over. The old cat was delighted.
"Nyaa! Nyaa!" Asagiri said, still clad in those cat ears she took from my room.
Impossible. Furbolt wouldn't even let me pick him up, yet he just prostrated himself for a stranger—but my sister away for college knew how to utilize him. Furbolt apparently warned her about bad boyfriends in the past, not to mention that the only other person this cat's shown affection towards was for the one woman I regretted not pursuing harder.
Fine, fine. I get the message, damn cat.
Asagiri sat up with Furbolt on her lap. An aura of both comical villain and literal goddess radiated in all directions from her. "So, where am I sleeping?" she smugly said.
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