Chapter 1:

The Mooch Arrives (Beginning of Volume 1)

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

"No way. You’re 25 and your room looks like this?"

The stunning, brunette woman in my doorway peered inside, like a cautious kid outside a predator's candy shop. Her fingers fiddled with the lollipop stick between her lips as she crept into my bedroom, step by step.

"Huh? What's wrong with it?" I crossed my arms. Flannel sleeves did their best to hide fidgeting nervousness—or annoyance.  It'd been years since someone spouted such blatant critique, and last time didn't make me almost pop a vein. This girl was bad news even at our door!

Curious eyes more acute than the bluest sapphires gazed around, 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."

"See? You're a lost cause, Nishikata!"

Lost cause? Even though I held a decent job? And had an enormous, urban home? It was my parent's house but I'd lived alone—until now.

The brunette Keiko Asagiri had tan skin that accentuated her tiny, burgundy jacket. A black shirt underneath boasted just enough cleavage to keep drawing my attention, while further down, tight shorts bestowed a "squish" effect to the thighs. It was an aesthetic yet rebellious style, emphasized by her knee-high black socks that echoed teen trends.

She casually bent over to grab an anime figure from my shelf. "This gal kinda looks like me, plus her clothes are cute. Bet you'd get off if I cosplayed her."

"Sorry to say, but I'm hard to impress." A quick chuckle and then I examined Asagiri's body from afar. "Your butt is bigger than hers, though she's got better—"

"Ehhh? Not even a day and you're already being nitpicky? Lame."

We just met ten minutes ago but we're basically a skit now. "You started comparisons first, you know."

"Touché! Guess my competition in here isn't stiff at least—much." She tinkered with the sexy figure before returning it to the shelf.

In our house, my small room harbored a certain 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 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'd started taping some posters above as well. Most were from favorite games of mine like Azure Mane and Purrso-nyaa.

"Uhhh, I don't have much to spend money on, haha . . ."

"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! Huge bullet dodged! "Oh, those were a friend's. She came over forever ago and just forgot about them."

"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 then." She slipped the beige cat ears onto her own head; they blended nicely. "Since I'm your girlfriend now though, I'm gonna be commandeering these."

Girlfriend! I'd never thought someone would denote themself that. Multiple women had come and gone in my life, but sheer awkwardness earlier on made things tough. There wasn't much going for me now except an exorbitant anime room I should charge admission into.

"I'll look for your porn stash some other time." Asagiri motioned for the doorway. "Let's head downstairs for our legal mumbo jumbo."

"Sure. But why was my room the first thing you wanted to see anyway?"

She rubbed her newfound cat ears, testing out their fluffiness. "Had to count how many red flags you raised. But you're not ugly so it balanced 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 and joined 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."

Out in our hallway, we were greeted by walls covered in family photos. Everything outside my room stayed non-otaku according to wishes from higher-ups—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?"

"Fake news."

She inspected another photo of ten-year-old me playing at our local park. My spiky, black hair hadn’t changed much from back then, and if someone looked closely enough, they'd see 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. You like your men in snack size?"

"Even if I did, I'd try my luck at an orphanage before coming to you." She finished looking around then paced down our 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 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 whatever you're thinking."

"Ah, but you do masturbate then. 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 posh furniture even discerning eyes would be impressed by. And spotless floors proved that I kept the house clean while my parents worked overseas—how convenient.

"Mi casa es su casa." I directed Asagiri to our 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. Asagiri ahead reached into her shorts and pulled out a slip of paper; several 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 supervisor."

I looked down at the paper and squinted. Blurry text like her printer was running low on ink made reading 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 to myself, then resumed reading:

Thank you for participating in our 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 somewhat grating. "Okay, so you're basically just gonna mooch off me for a year while 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, I don't get anything out of this either except 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 couldn't even touch? Maybe I'd have better luck asking out coworkers again, or heck, even dating apps would be smarter investments. Why deny that life itself was a gamble? It wasn't like my mental health could get much worse.

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

Calling everything off was still an option. I did have excess money, but it could go towards more productive things like porn and anime girl figures. Whoever said 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 though, is she really worth it? A quick glance at her cleavage and bare, crossed legs activated neurons inside me.

I gulped. Yeah, it was better for both our sanities I called things off. If the best I'd get was 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 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 curled his tail.

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

"Furbolt? Weird name," Asagiri said. She hunched over to inspect him.

"Oh, it's from one of my favorite novels," I said. "Reading is kind of a hobby of mine too."

"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'd just prostrated himself for a stranger. Women were indeed his weakness, but he also had a unique talent of differentiating good from bad people. Not to mention that the only other person this cat had 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.