Chapter 2:

Ancient Goldfish, New World

Anything but Boring!

"Look. As much as I would normally think it would be hilarious if we got married after one date, even I have to admit that would be irresponsible." Makoto said as he walked her back to the matchmaker's shop, looking both ways before he crossed the street and making sure she was close by before he did so.

"What do you mean? That's what this entire thing is about!" Kimiko exclaimed, following his lead down the street.

"Huh?" Makoto frowned, looking at her now as they made it to the sidewalk.

"Don't you read anything you sign?" She sighed with a shake of her head. "When you go on the list, as a man, you agreed to go on any date the matchmaker assigns. As a woman, I agreed to go on at least two dates of my choosing. If both parties enjoy the date, you either get married, or live together for thirty days."

"Or… what?" He asked.

"Or you owe ten times the initial payment."

Makoto looked like he was doing the calculations in his head. It was not a small number in the slightest. "Yikes… Alright then, easy, we'll just say we didn't have a good date."

Kimiko's eyes widened. "What?" She said, her voice just a small squeak like a helpless bunny with an expression to match.

Makoto sighed. "It's not a big deal, we can still hang out but please stop giving me that face, you're making me feel like a monster."

When she persisted, he tried to deflect. "Why me anyway? What about that other guy? She said you know him or something."

"Mmhm! Since we were kids." She nodded.

"Great, then marry him."

"I don't want to though, I like you." She said, her hands behind her back, swinging up on her tiptoes to see his eyes better.

"And I like you, but like does not a marriage make. Besides, I know I'd make a terrible husband."

She rocked back down on her heels with concern. "You don't know that."

"I do. Now. We're going to go in there and say that the date didn't go well and it didn't work out. Okay?"

"But why?"


Kimiko's eyes gazed down and she nodded sadly in defeat.

Makoto sighed again then opened the door for her so she could walk in first.

The matchmaker smiled when she saw them both. "So… how did it go?"

"It was amazing!" Kimiko blurted out with a big smile, practically radiating sunshine and everything good, her foot popped up behind her as she hugged herself in glee.

Makoto's face instantly deadpanned in disbelief. He put his palm to his forehead, slowly sliding it down before stuffing his hands into his coat pockets. "Well… the date didn't go well for me, so I don't think this is going to work out. You can go ahead and take me off your list, too."

"Not a good date hmm?" The matchmaker questioned. "Then what is, this?!" She exclaimed before playing a voice recording of Makoto saying, "I like you too, Kimiko."

"Wait, how did you get that recording of me?" Makoto questioned, suddenly looking over his clothes until he found a tiny mic on his coat. "When did you put that there?!"

"Love cannot be stopped." The woman grinned. "Pack your bags, it's thirty days for the both of you!"

Not a week later did Kimiko find herself on the doorstep of her temporary apartment. She dragged her bags through the door, halfway expecting Makoto to already be there but he wasn't.

About an hour later, Makoto was at the door, fumbling with the keys before Kimiko hurried over and opened it for him, "Ta da!" She exclaimed before realizing he was holding a goldfish in a glass bowl, hence the trouble.

"Hmm?" She hummed curiously.

"He's three-hundred years old, I just got him yesterday." Makoto said before walking into the apartment, making Kimiko chuckle with an amused half smile.

"Yesterday?" She asked, eyes trailing his movement happily.

"That's the odd part of my statement to you?" Makoto said, trying and failing to hide his smile.

"Well… yes. Who gets a fish before moving into an apartment with someone?" She asked.

He looked pale faced. "Wait, people… don't do that?" Makoto then held up the fish bowl and stared at the chubby fish, only for it to stare at him back and blow out a mindless air bubble.

"You tricked me!" Makoto exclaimed, the fish now blowing many bubbles and swimming around. "I swear he's laughing at me." He said with an unamused look, then walked over to the kitchen and set the fishbowl down on the counter.

Kimiko watched the interaction, wondering to herself if anything Makoto was saying was true or not but deciding just to go with it.

"What's the fish's name?" She asked while Makoto brought in the rest of his bags.

"Ehh… I never named him. Guess I forgot." He said, closing the door behind him.

"Forgot?" She said softly in thought. "Hmm… we will have to fix that soon. Poor thing is going to feel so sad without one."

"Alright, then we'll just call him 'Swindler' because that's what he is." Makoto said as he looked around the small apartment.

Kimiko shook her head. "No, no. That's too mean."

"Where's the second bedroom?" Makoto said as he popped his head out of a room then walked over to her again.

"There isn't one." She said.


They simply stared at each other for several seconds.

"Oh well. Guess we'll figure that out later too." He shrugged.

"Well not much later, it's already pretty dark and I have work tomorrow." Kimiko pointed out.

"Where do you work?" He asked.

"It's a cat café not far from here."

"Do you wear… ears?" He grinned.

"You know very well that I don't." She chided, bending at the hips with a wag of her finger.

"No I don't." He defended. "Never been to one."

She tilted her head then stood up straight. "Well if you don't work tomorrow, would you like to come with me?"

Makoto leaned against the kitchen sink as he thought. He glanced out the window with a sigh, seeing a couple walk down the street in the now rainy weather. The man was holding an umbrella to shield him and his lady from the water. Makoto looked back at Kimiko, who was smiling hopefully.

"Uh… sure, I guess. It's not like I'll be doing anything anyway." He reasoned.

"Great!" Kimiko said then hurried to the kitchen and washed her hands before pulling up a vegetable knife next to her face with a grin. "Time for me to show my skills!"

After dinner, they were left with two empty bowls and full stomachs as they sat across from each other. "You know, when you had that knife in your hand I was a little worried your "skills" would be less… food oriented."

"Hm?" She hummed. "Aren't you lucky then?" She said with a mischievous gleam in her eyes before her innocence returned once more.

Makoto laughed nervously. "Ah-ha… How do they make sure we aren't killing each other again?" He said, starting to sweat.

"Oh! Cameras, remember? It wouldn't exactly be safe to have two strangers alone for a month. Someone is watching us." She explained. "Well, except the bathroom I guess." Kimiko shrugged.

"I would hope so." Makoto said. "Thanks for the food by the way, it was great."

"Thanks!" Kimiko grinned then started collecting the plates only for Makoto to get up to stop her.

"I got this, you go relax." He said thoughtfully, his goodness practically giving her hearts for eyes before she calmed down to a simple blush.

"Oh, um how kind of you." She said, then went to the living room to see what entertainment they had left for them while Makoto washed the dishes.

Later that night, Kimiko took a shower and got ready for bed and Makoto did the same soon after. 

Wearing her light pink tank top and shorts with small strawberries printed on them, she looked at Makoto, who was wearing a soft grey t-shirt and a pair of teal sweats.

Kimiko spoke up. "I was thinking, if you want, you can sleep on the bed first and I'll sleep on the couch and then tomorrow-"

Makoto shook his head. "Stop right there trickster. I know what you're doing." He said with a playful smirk.

Kimiko looked surprised and confused. "N-No I was just-"

"You want the couch all to yourself don't you?!" He said with accuse. "Well, nice try Kimiko, but that couch is mine." He grinned, looking quite pleased with himself while Kimiko stared at him innocently.

"Better luck next time." He said, then lightly swiped down her nose to tease her. She blinked with a small scrunch of her cute face before she watched him head for the living room with his hand up to say goodnight just before he swung over the back of the couch and lay down on it.
"Can you get the lights for me? It won't be as cool if I get up again, and I completely forgot until I lay down here."

Kimiko giggled and turned off the lights for him. "Goodnight Makoto." She said, then went into the bedroom to go to sleep.

Once she left, Makoto pulled the blanket over himself. "Goodnight orange girl." He said quietly to himself.

Taylor Victoria