Chapter 56:

Political Party

Couple That Can't Touch

A day had passed since Father visited Suzuka's parents' bakery. She called me to tell me about what happened. I hadn't realized they hadn't met before and I was happy everything went well, even though they didn't reach an agreement just yet.

I stepped out of the apartment early in the morning to go to work. I walked down the stairs of the building and walked ten minutes through the narrow streets until I arrived at the wide roads at the edge of the city.

About to arrive at the arcade another ten minutes later, something caught my eye in the park to my right. As usual, there was a politician running for city mayor, announcing his plans through a megaphone.

Where have I seen him before?

Curious and with time to spare, I approached a little more. The closer I got, the closer my brain was to remembering. But it was useless. It was always extremely frustrating to get close to remembering something and being unable to.

I turned around to go to the arcade. However, a few steps later, my phone vibrated in the pocket of my pants. It was unusual for me to receive a message this early in the morning, so I checked it quickly. It was Sae-san, telling me to look to my left.

Bewildered, I looked to my left and saw Sae-san, gesturing with her hand for me to come to her. She hid behind a column of a building.

"Sae-san? What are you doing here?"


She pulled me behind the column.


"You really don't remember him?"

Confused, I stared at her. She sighed and peeked out of the column to point at the politician.

"He's my dad. You saw him when you gave me a ride to my house after your date at the theme park with Suzuka."

The flashback briefly came to my mind. "I remember now. Still, why are you here and why are you hiding?"

"Let's talk at the café over there. Do you have time?"

"Fifteen minutes."

"More than enough. I'll go tell my dad that I'm going to the café. Meanwhile, you'll go there and wait for me."


She walked out from behind the column and approached her father. Still puzzled, I headed to the café on the other side of the park.

I sat down at a table for two inside and Sae-san arrived a minute later. She sat down in front of me.

"Morning, by the way," she smiled.

"Good morning. Didn't you say that you hated waking up early during vacations?"

"There's no need to attack me this early. But yes, I'm dying right now. Makeup does miracles to hide the dark circles."

"I bet. Why are you here, then? And why were you hiding?"

She sighed. "My dad forced me to accompany him on his daily routine of announcing his proposals to run for city mayor."


"Because he wants to show me what a proper job looks like. You know I write fanfiction. And six more people, since you told them when you promised me you weren't going to."

"Sorry. I thought it was for the best."

"Well, it doesn't matter now. The point is, no one else knows. Not even my family. They only know that I do something on the Internet and earn a bit of money, but it's far from enough to live on my own. So, my dad forced me to come here to show me what a real job looks like."

"That doesn't sound very nice."

"Yeah. But I understand he only wants his daughter to be successful."

"Will you ever tell your family about being an author?"

"I will, someday."

"Why are you waiting?"

"I'm sure I'm going to grow popular enough to live off of it; to say that writing is my job. I just need the statistics and the money to show my parents that it is a real job. Though it'll take time."

"I see."

"Enough chatter about me. What about you? How's your new job?"

"I just started, but I'm enjoying it. I'm surrounded by video games, after all."

We continued talking for another ten minutes about ourselves. She asked me about my new lifestyle and I tried to make her talk about her feelings towards Hisaki but I was unlucky.

Suddenly, a man approached us. We were too distracted to notice him before.

"Sae, is he a friend of yours?"

He stared at me intently, reminding me of the threatening glare he had given me in the past.

"D-Dad! I thought you were busy with your campaign."

"I wanted to spend some time with you, but I see you're busy."

I stood up and bowed. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Narumi. I'm Araki Koji, Sae-san's friend and classmate."

He replied with a slight bow. "I'm pleased to meet you too, Araki-san. By any chance, are you related to the family running the Araki restaurant chain?"

"I am. I'm the son of the owners."

"Interesting. Araki-san, can I be direct with you?"

"Go ahead."

"Are you dating my daughter?"

Sae-san stood up hitting the table and yelled, "Dad!"

"I'm not, Sir," I answered. "We're good friends."

His glare's intensity lessened. "I see."

"After all, she's interested in another person."

"Koji!" Sae-san yelled.

"Is that so?" Mr. Narumi replied.

"No, I'm not!"

"This information will be of use. Thank you, Araki-san."

"Stop ignoring me!"

Mr. Narumi looked at her for a moment before looking back at me again.

"Since she doesn't want to tell me anything, I might as well ask you. Do you know what she does on the Internet to earn money?"

I glanced at Sae-san, who stared at me intently, just like her father. As much as I didn't want to meddle anymore, I couldn't help but feel that it was for the best. I was unable to keep my mouth shut.

"She's an author, Sir."

"An author?" Mr. Narumi wondered.

Sae-san covered her face with her hands.

"She writes stories and people read them online."

"Seriously? And where does the money come from?"

"Advertisements, donations, subscriptions, and, if you're popular enough, you can get contracts with platforms to exclusively distribute your stories."

I'd better not tell him about physical copies. He might run to a store to look for Sae-san's fanfictions.

"Fascinating. I didn't know such opportunities existed. Does that mean that Sae is popular on the Internet?"

"A little."

"Have you read her stories?"

"I haven't."

I don't want him to ask me more about them. I would need to lie more and there's a high chance he'd find out.

"I see. Sae, why hadn't you told me about this before?"

Still covering her face, she answered, "Because I wanted to wait until I could prove that it is a real job."

"I understand that, but it would've made things easier. I don't know much about the Internet, so I asked around to try to understand. Most of the people told me that money could be made from taking surveys or completing tasks for companies that barely pay anything. If I only knew that you had such a talent."

Sae-san finally moved her hands away from her face.

"You are not mad?"

"You're working hard for your future, aren't you? There's no reason for me to be mad. Just make sure to reach your goal as quickly as possible."

"I will," Sae-san grinned.

This is wholesome.

"Why don't you tell me about your stories?" Mr. Narumi asked.

Sae-san kept smiling, but it was obvious she had stopped breathing.

"I should go," I said. "I don't want to meddle anymore and I need to get to work. It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Narumi. And it was nice talking with you, Sae-san. See you later."


"Have a great shift, Araki-san."

And like that, I walked out of the café.

Nothing interesting happened for the rest of the day and work went flawlessly, just as it did the following day. Then, it was time for Tarō-san's birthday party.

After work, Hisaki and I arrived together at Tarō-san's house as the sun began to set. Hisaki knocked on the door and a woman opened it.

"Welcome! Please come in!"

"Thanks," Hisaki and I replied.

Holding our gifts for Tarō-san, we stepped inside. The woman closed the door behind us.

"I'm Tarō's mom. I didn't know he had this many friends; I'm very happy! Please keep being friends with him."

"Sure?" Hisaki replied. I was as confused as him.


A man then approached us. "More friends? Our Tarō really is growing. I'm his dad, by the way."

"Nice to meet you," I greeted.

"Give the gifts to my husband. I'll lead you to where everyone is," Mrs. Takuto said.

We handed the gifts to Mr. Takuto and he walked into the living room. Then we followed Mrs. Takuto into the kitchen, where everyone else was already eating at the table: Suzuka, Hashimoto-san, Rem-san, Sae-san, Kawahara-san, and Tarō-san.

Just as we arrived, Hisaki and Sae-san glanced at each other for a second before looking away with a frown. Both of their cheeks blushed a little.

Can it get any more obvious?

Hisaki and I sat down to eat. We all finished after half an hour and were about to go to the living room so Taro-san could open the gifts we'd brought when he stopped us.

"Can you give me a second? I want to announce something. Mom, Dad, can you come to the kitchen?" he shouted.

Confused, I glanced at Suzuka, who was just as confused. Tarō-san's parents arrived at the kitchen, also puzzled.

"I know I've never done this before, but I think it must be announced. Everyone, I'm very happy to tell you that Enko and I have started dating."

Silence filled the room until, a few moments later, it exploded with Mrs. Takuto's squeal. She ran towards Tarō-san and squeezed him.

"I can't believe it! We never expected you to have this many friends and now you also have a girlfriend! And a beautiful one!"

A sob sounded behind me. Mr. Takuto swept the tears from his face with his arm. I thought his reaction was too much, but maybe I just didn't know what they had gone through with Tarō-san.

Obviously, I also was very happy for both Kawahara-san and Tarō-san. Still, I had a lot of questions for them. Probably everyone did. Fortunately, we had an entire evening to get answers.

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