My Government-Issued Girlfriend Can't Be This Cute!
“Ayyy, yo waddup L-M-A-O.”
“H-Huh?” I stammered at the languorous scene in front of me.
Asagiri wore pink pajamas as she sat with crossed legs on my living room couch. Empty soda cans and open potato chip bags dotted the entire area.
"How was work, honey?" She chugged a soda and loudly burped, jittering the cat ears atop her head.
“Good? This place is a mess though! What happened?”
“Oh yeah, my inner gremlin escapes sometimes, sorry.”
“Yee. No biggie though. Cola calms her down," Asagiri said. The TV in front of her blasted some anime rerun, while Furbolt off in his cat scratch condo slumbered.
I scanned the kitchen behind me and turned back towards my girlfriend. “Hey! Didn’t you say you’d finish cleaning up the kitchen after I left?”
“Semantics. Also, don’t expect me to wake up early anymore.”
“Early? Those were normal people hours!”
“Ain’t about that life anymore, chief. Winging it is the only reason I even managed to finish school."
The image of Asagiri being the ideal wife slowly shattered in my head. “You woke up early today though?”
“Only because I couldn't have you canceling our contract before a whole day passes; would look bad for me.”
“Do you want me to cancel?”
“Hmmm . . . It’s chill here so preferably not.”
“Then can you at least try to not act like a squatter?”
“Squatter? I prefer the term 'friend with benefits'.”
My left eye started twitching. “That phrase doesn’t mean what you think it does.”
“Again, semantics. And now that you’re home, you gonna make us food?”
“You mentioned you’d have something ready when I came back. That’s why I didn’t eat out today.”
“Did I? Probably changed my mind since then.” She picked up the remote and surfed channels.
“Yeah. And you said you’d help out with chores from now on.”
“I became progressive overnight. It’s sexist to assign a girl stereotypical gender norms. Guys handle all the lame stuff, Nishikata.”
I'm gonna ignore that contradiction. But no way. Was this really going to be my life from now on? Maintaining a government-issued mooch? I’m used to Nemoto slacking at work but this was next level.
I actually still really like Asagiri, but maybe I shouldn’t subject my mental health to—my eyes fell onto a book tucked behind her back.
“What’s that?” I pointed.
“This?” She reached behind her and plucked it out. “Ah, I went to your room earlier. You said I could play games, but I saw this thing on an acrylic easel and decided to give it a read.”
A new flame lit in my heart. “That’s Dominion’s Paradise! My favorite novel! What did you think about it?”
“I only finished the first chapter, pretty trippy. I would’ve read more but didn’t wanna get fingerprints on it while I eat.”
“Yee. Looked like it was autographed by the author so I didn’t want to ruin it. Here.”
I accepted the light novel and inspected it: not a blemish or fingerprint in sight. Asagiri even took care not to open the spine too far.
“Marry me,” I told her.
“Yeah, when you give me whatever you’re smoking.”
"I'll take that as a no, but whatever." I plopped down on the couch close to her. "Anyway, tell me! Tell me! Did the first chapter hook you? Did you like the main character? Do you wanna read the rest of the series? I could lend you every volume!"
She looked like a pile of trash just sat beside her. "The first chapter didn't tell me much, but I'll read the rest if you want—just don't rape me in my sleep."
"Deal! You're gonna love it guaranteed!"
"Eh? What's so hype anyway?"
"Wellforoneeveryoneloveshowrelatabletheprotagonistis, andhowhe'sconstantlydoinghisbest! He'stryingeverythingtofindhissistereventhoughDominionisalwaystryingtothwarthim!
Asagiri flicked my nose. "Listen, I'm drier than a desert right now. How about let me read the dang story at my own pace, and we'll see where we go from there?"
"S-Sorry I got a bit carried away . . ."
"Keep sucking off the author and I might just become his girlfriend. What was their name again?"
"You wouldn't know him," I sniffled. "But he's a newbie writer from America who made a surprise hit by changing up the isekai formula."
"Isekai? Even I know how oversaturated the market is with those."
"Yeah. But the characters and themes really gave his isekai life. Apparently, he got distracted writing a romcom so that slowed things down."
“Excuses. Should’ve just wrote both at the same time."
“Author passion projects usually gotta take backseats for other things . . .”
"Imagine an isekai being your passion project.”
I admired the cover for Dominion's Paradise. It featured the protagonist, Daichi, princess carrying the story's main villain, Dominion—a well-endowed Greek goddess. Constant dichotomies that blurred lines between good and evil had kept me hooked for years.
"Is that girl the main character's first harem member or something?" Asagiri asked, pointing at my book's cover. "Don't think I saw her in chapter one."
"Oh no, there isn't a harem in this story, surprisingly. She's—well you'll find out early on. Don't want to give any spoilers."
Asagiri reached into a bag of chips and chowed down. "As long as she's not the girl on your dakimakura upstairs, I'll respect the fact you respect her."
"Ha. Haha . . . About that."
"Shit, thought so. It's not the weirdest thing in your room, but still."
I stood up, embarrassed. "D-Do you want something to eat? I'll make us something this time."
"Don't try to change the subject—you're a hopeless incel so I gotta fix you, and I got a proposition."
She slipped her phone out and offered it to me. "Here, look at my homescreen and you'll understand."
"Ok?" I cautiously took it from her hand and unlocked it. Huh? No passcode? The homescreen displayed various apps and a background of me kneeling over to pet Furbolt this morning. What? Why did she take a wholesome picture of me?
"You might be a hopeless otaku, but you're still my boyfriend," Asagiri said. "Doesn't matter if we were assigned. I'm gonna make this relationship work while it lasts, so let me help you help yourself."
"I'm kinda confused." I gave her phone back.
"Us GiG workers have one main goal, and helping our clients get real girlfriends is progress towards that goal. So I'm gonna whip you into shape until women are throwing themselves at you."
My arms opened wide. "Wanna be the first?"
"The only thing you're catching from is these hands—speaking of hands, here grab mine." She stretched her arm out.
"Is this a trap?" My spare hand acted like a cautious deer.
"No, I give you literal permission to hold it, how ever you want. Show me if I’m dealing with a chad or a virgin."
"I jerk off with my right—"
"You talk a big game, but you're trying to scare me off when I know you're just coming home and couldn't have fapped yet."
"F-Fine!" My shaking arm slowly made its way over. Asagiri's eyes deadlocked on mine like a spider waiting patiently for the fly. As my hand hovered right above hers, her fingers clamped around me.
"Good, now don't move." Her full weight tugged on my hand as she pried herself off the couch and stood up, yawning. "Zhanks for the help."
It took a few seconds to figure it out. "Wait, did you trick me into helping your lazy ass get up?”
"No, no, you're overthinking it," she said as she stretched. "Besides, how'd it feel to finally hold a girl's hand?"
"I've done a bit more than hold hands with a girl before, so it's nothing special."
"Your sweaty palms say otherwise."
"It was just a bit hot outside today!"
She brought her fingers to her lips and licked them. "Yeah, and I'm just lapping up crumbs and not your sweat."
Asagiri went to the kitchen pantry and pulled out some lollipops. She returned with one bobbing in her mouth. "Back to that proposition: as your girlfriend, I'm not averse to doing girlfriend things, like holding hands or going on dates. So tomorrow, let's go out somewhere and have fun."
"I know a good love hotel downtown."
"I'm game, under one condition though."
"W-What?" I didn't think I'd get that far.
"This lollipop in my mouth? I dare you to try taking it out and putting it in your own."
"Yeah. But if you can't, I kick you in the balls."
"Don't suppose your teeth would lock it inside?"
"Fuck around and find out." She stuck the stick fully upwards from her lips.
My body tensed as she stretched forward like someone expecting a kiss. Her gaze was hypnotic, inviting, and full of longing. I reached my hand up towards her but pulled back quickly.
"You know what, I want to have kids someday, maybe; probably not worth the risk."
"Kids? Worry about getting laid in general first, but ok." She plucked the lollipop from her mouth. "Anyway, about that date."
"Oh yeah, I'm down. But I work every day except weekends, so we gotta wait a while."
"No problem, just ask for tomorrow off."
"I don't think you realize how the real world works."
"Your managers can't be that bad."
I felt the color drain from my face. "You have no idea. My Section Chief, Asada, handles things like days off and she'd probably fire me just for asking!"
"She?" Asagiri's devious eyes lit up. "Is she cute?"
"She's a loli tyrant! Cute until she's not! And she's always singling me out more than everyone, like I offended her existence or something."
"Lowkey sounds like she has a crush on you."
"D-Don't be stupid! Even if she did, I'm not into little girls."
"Hmmm . . ." Asagiri started pacing around the living room. "You said you worked at a bookstore right? Shouldn't be too hard for coworkers to cover your shift."
True. I remembered how I slaved extra covering for Kikuchi today. Getting sudden days off wasn't impossible, but definitely not something people picking up the slack liked. "Fine, what do I get if Asada says no then?"
"You give me a shoulder massage."
"No givesies backsies." I took my phone out and sent Asada a quick text. Normally I'd need to ask weeks ahead of time and use a vacation day, so I had zero hope of anything. Almost instantly though, my screen lit up with a reply. "Huh?"
"What's it say?" Asagiri tried to peek.
"She said it's . . . fine? I can't believe it."
"Wow, I was kinda looking forward to my massage."
"Asada didn't give any sass either! She must've sucked blood from an orphan earlier or something!"
"Weeeeeeeeeeeeell, it does support the whole crush on you theory."
"Ugh. Even if I do tease her a bit, you should see how she treats me at work."
"Maybe I should." Asagiri mumbled under her breath. Her fingers clutched her chin, like she was plotting something. "Alright, I'll drop it. In exchange, where you taking me out tomorrow?"
“Dunno, I’ll figure it out later. Gonna wash dishes since our washer is busted.” I motioned to head upstairs to drop off my things, but Asagiri darted past me into the kitchen.
“Don’t worry, I got them.” She lathered a sponge and turned on the faucet over dirty dishes.
“Huh? Didn’t you back out of doing chores?”
Asagiri beamed an earnest smile. “I was just kidding. I’ll help out, but it'll probably depend on how much you spoil me."
I glanced down towards Furbolt's food bowl: its contents had been nibbled on but undoubtedly refilled while I was away.
"Marry me," I asserted again.
Bubbles coated her delicate fingers as she rinsed off another load of dishes. She raised her head and shot me a wink. "A lot can happen in one year, right? Play your cards right and who knows where we'll go."
My face flushed with color so I looked away. "Y-Yeah. I'm gonna head upstairs, but I'll be right back to help clean things up."
"Don't jerk off," she snapped, "you jerked off last time before washing dishes and that was gross man."
"Uhhh, I'll fap less if you unleash Gremlin Asagiri less. Deal?"
"She'll consider it," she said with a pout. "And mind tossing Dominion's Paradise on my bed? I'll read another chapter or two tonight."
"No prob! Be back in a jiff." I adjusted my backpack and hurried upstairs, heart fluttering with every step. Was I legitimately starting to fall for Asagiri? No, I was just horny. It had to be.
I opened the door to Asagiri’s room. Her personal effects were scattered about, still being organized. An open suitcase on her bed leaked out clothes like an oil pipeline. Already the room had a bit of her scent.
Dominion’s Paradise plopped onto her pillow and I darted outside before getting weird ideas.
The four walls of my room had always been my sanctuary, a shield that I've fortified with my hobbies and interests for years. Maybe I was hoping to impress friends I didn't have, or woo the woman who helped set me on this path. But I'm my own person, and it was time I took the wheel.
I slid out a nearby drawer. The large, sleeping pill bottle within beckoned me like a seductress; my fingers wrapped around and pulled her to my chest.
I’d always been too afraid to kill myself, but the comfort of a method to end it all being just footsteps away soothed me, to the point where maybe I actually humored the idea.
But no more. I didn’t distort Noriko's principles all those years ago to follow in her old ideologies. She was living out her life, and I was ready to live my own.
Asagiri—thank you for saving me from myself.
With a smile, I walked up to my trash can and tossed the pill bottle inside.