Chapter 1:

The Mooch Arrives

My Government-Issued Girlfriend Can't Be This Cute!

"You’re 25 and your room looks like this?"Bookmark here

The stunning, brunette-haired girl in my doorway peered inside, like some cautious kid outside a predator's candy shop. Her fingers fiddled with the lollipop stick between her lips as she crept into my domain.Bookmark here

"Huh? What's wrong my room?" I replied, crossing my arms in beige sleeves.Bookmark here

"Real talk? No wonder you couldn't cop a real girlfriend—big obvious you needed one handed to you."Bookmark here

"Anecdotal deductions won't get you very far." Bookmark here

"See? Lost cause!"Bookmark here

Lost cause? I had a job, didn't I? And a stylish, big home? Well it was my parent's house but I'd lived alone—until now. Bookmark here

Keiko Asagiri had light-tan skin that complimented her burgundy, leather jacket. A gray shirt underneath boasted a startlingly large V-neck, while tight short shorts didn't leave much to the imagination. Black knee socks gave her a distinct style that looked akin to something a high schooler would wear. Bookmark here

She casually bent over and grabbed a 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."Bookmark here

"Sorry, I'm kinda hard to impress." My green eyes glanced over Asagiri's body. "Your chest is a bit bigger than hers but—"Bookmark here

"Ehhh? I just got here and you're already comparing me to other chicks? Guess my competition isn't stiff though, much." She tinkered with the figure before returning it to my shelf. Bookmark here

My room was the smallest in the house but jammed full of uselessness: anime girl figures on shelves, in glass cases, in boxes, everywhere. I had white walls, but anime posters eclipsed 90% of them—even my curtains showed off 2D babes.Bookmark here

Asagiri stared up at the ceiling. "Bro, what the fuck." Bookmark here

My walls ran out of space years ago, so I started taping posters above as well. Most were from my favorite games, like Azure Mane and Purrso-nyaa.Bookmark here

"I don't have too much to spend money on," I bashfully said.Bookmark here

"Weird flex, but ok." She started exploring my room again. "What's in here?"Bookmark here

"Wait, wait, stop!"Bookmark here

Her fingers tugged on a drawer—adjacent to that bottle's drawer—and she pulled out a cat ears headband. "Is this your kink, Nishikata?"Bookmark here

Phew. "Oh, those belonged to a friend. She came over and just forgot about them."Bookmark here

"Color me surprised, you actually brought girls in here?"Bookmark here

"It was back in high school. I don't talk to her as much anymore for, uh, reasons."Bookmark here

"Hmmm . . . " She slipped the brown cat ears onto her head. They blended in nicely. "Since I'm your girlfriend now, I'm gonna be commandeering these." Bookmark here

Girlfriend.Bookmark here

I never thought I'd hear someone call themself that. I'd been friends with multiple girls in my life, and still was, but my awkwardness earlier on made things tough. There wasn't much going for me now besides an anime room I should charge admission into.Bookmark here

"I'll look for your onaholes and porn some other time," she said. "Let's head downstairs for the legal mumbo jumbo."Bookmark here

Probably not worth lying to her. "Why was my room the first thing you wanted to see anyway?"Bookmark here

"Gotta see if you raise any red flags, and shit you raised a lot, but you’re not ugly so it balances out."Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

"Well, I’m relieved you’re not ugly either,” I said with snark.Bookmark here

"Compliments won’t get you anything. Feeding me good food, now that’s something I can scratch you back for." She made a loud sucking noise as she pulled the red lollipop from her mouth. “Just don’t get your hopes up."Bookmark here

We were greeted by our spacious, second-floor hallway. My otakuness was confined to my room, so everything outside stayed normie. White walls were covered in family pictures instead of cute anime girls—truly a travesty. Bookmark here

"Hmmm, this you?" she said. "Pretty cute looking as a kid. What happened?"Bookmark here

"Didn't you just say I wasn't ugly earlier?"Bookmark here

"Fake news."Bookmark here

She inspected a photo of me at the park when I was ten. My spiky, black hair hadn’t changed much from back then, and I was still fond of flannels like the beige one I currently wore. If someone looked closely at the photo, they'd see mom’s reflection in my emerald eyes as she snapped the picture.Bookmark here

"You like your men in snack size?" I teased Asagiri. "Probably wanna keep that to yourself."Bookmark here

"What about you? I’m kinda short. If you’re fine with me for a GiG, who knows what you fap to."Bookmark here

"I don’t masturbate to lolis."Bookmark here

"Ah, but you do masturbate then. Heh."Bookmark here

This girl. Bookmark here

As we hiked downstairs and made our way into the living room, she took herself on another tour. “Nice place. Kinda wasted on you though.” Bookmark here

It was an upper middle-class home, furnished with stainless-steel appliances and contemporary furniture even discerning eyes would be impressed by. I kept everything clean while my parents worked overseas—how convenient. Bookmark here

"Mi casa es su casa." I directed her to the leather couch.Bookmark here

"Chupa mi verga, guey," she said as she sat down.Bookmark here

"What?"Bookmark here

"Oh, it means 'I’m happy to be here,' yeah."Bookmark here

My butt plopped onto a reclining chair across from her. Asagiri reached into her shorts and pulled out a slip of paper; a few folds later, an airplane glided over to me.Bookmark here

"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."Bookmark here

Blurry text that looked like her printer was running out of ink made reading difficult. "Is this really necessary?"Bookmark here

"It is if you want a girlfriend. Now give me a good show, Nishikata." The phone in her hand positioned itself to record.Bookmark here

I sighed and started reading: “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:Bookmark here

One. Unless consent is explicitly given, you are not permitted any physical contact with the government-issued girlfriend (GiG). Bookmark here

Two. For the year-long duration of your tenure, you are obligated to maintain your GiG with food, shelter, healthcare, and other necessities.Bookmark here

To the above effect, you've 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. Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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."Bookmark here

I’m not getting compensated anyway! I thought, and resumed reading.Bookmark here

Thank you for participating in the GiG program. We hope your labors will bear fruit and reveal the beauties of life.” Bookmark here

"See? That wasn't so hard; cheer up." Asagiri said as she tucked her phone away.Bookmark here

Hearing her sarcasm was a bit grating. "So basically: you're gonna mooch off of me for a year and I get nothing back?" Bookmark here

"What are ya' talking about? You get a girlfriend in return! Isn't that what you signed up for?"Bookmark here

"I knew the terms already, but I'm kinda regretting things now." Bookmark here

"Hey, that hurts. 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." Bookmark here

"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.Bookmark here

'However, you may also cease her contract at will . . .'Bookmark here

It wasn't too late to call everything off. I did have excess money, but it could go towards more productive things like doujins and anime girl figures. Or heck, maybe I'd chuck some donations at VTubers. Whoever said money can't buy happiness must've been high.Bookmark here

"Geez, you're taking this way too seriously," she said, sitting back. "Lighten up man." Bookmark here

Honestly, is she really worth it? A slight hint of cleavage from her loose, V-neck shirt activated some neurons. Bookmark here

I gulped. Yeah, it's better for both our sanities I call this off. She's cute, but if the best I'd get is holding her hand in public—definitely not worth it. Who knew how much money she was gonna wring out of me anyway? She hadn't earned any trust either so why should I—Bookmark here

A blur dashed out from across the room. My old, black cat strolled up to Asagiri and eyed her curiously. Bookmark here

"Hey, Furbolt! What are you doing?" I yelled.Bookmark here

"Furbolt? Weird name," Asagiri said, hunching over.Bookmark here

"Oh, uh, it's from one of my favorite novels. I kinda read a lot." Bookmark here

"Hmmm . . . " Her vibrant, azure eyes eyed my kitty back. Asagiri bent forward to pick him up.Bookmark here

"Careful, he only lets the most trustworthy people—"Bookmark here

She picked up and effortlessly brought him to her lap. Furbolt was already purring before soft, feminine hands started petting him all over.Bookmark here

"Nyaa! Nyaa!" Asagiri said, still clad in those cat ears.Bookmark here

Impossible. Furbolt wouldn't even let me pick him up, yet he just prostrated himself for a stranger—but my sister 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. Bookmark here

Fine, fine. I get the message, damn cat. Bookmark here

Asagiri sat up with Furbolt on her lap. An aura of both comical villain and literal goddess radiated from her. "So, where am I sleeping?" she said. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.