Chapter 6:

The DeLightfuls

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


"Well that was stupid," Asagiri said as the theater room's lights brightened.

“Huh? Why? It was a pretty good movie,” I said, shifting on my red chair.

“Too much fanservice. They should’ve just gone with an isekai.”

“It probably would’ve had even more fanservice then.”

Dominion’s Paradise didn’t have any in its first chapters.”

My eyes lit up like a child's. “Oh, you actually read ahead!”

“Yeah. I’ll tell you what I think so far later.” She wiped her right hand on her shorts. “Also, you got sweaty again.”

“Sorry.”

“Meh. I probably got a bit nervous too. . .”

An awkward silence popped up as credits rolled ahead. We really did get into it earlier though; Asagiri’s hand had felt like pure softness I never wanted to let go.

And I just wanted more of her.

Instinctively, like some buried carnal desire, I felt my body closing into hers. She turned towards me but didn’t move back, apparently aware of my intentions.

She’ll yell at me if she doesn’t want this, right? Any second, right?

My face neared hers. Ocean-blue eyes and succulent lips invited me further in as her sweet, labored breath pressed against my mouth. I reached the point of no return.

Two centimeters. One centimeter—

"N-N-No! Back off!"

Asagiri's hand shot up and directed my face away at the last moment. Her shrill, girly voice surprised me more than rejection.

"Sorry,” I whimpered. “Could’ve stopped me earlier though."

"I-I just wanted to give a little practice! For when you get a real girlfriend! Yeah!" Her normally expressionless face brimmed with embarrassed, high schooler energy.

"You'd be surprised how many good stories start with a 'practice' plot," I replied.

"Shut up! Kill Switch! Kill Switch!" She threateningly reached down her shirt.

"Alright, alright. Let's just pretend it never happened."

She took a minute to calm down. After I checked my phone, I looked in her direction. "So, do you wanna pick where we head next?"

"Tsk. Somewhere that doesn't involve bees."

"You have one wrapped around your back."

"Yeah well, Bubbly isn't gonna try to fuck me."

"Come on, it would've just been a kiss."

Asagiri grabbed a popcorn kernel and flicked it at my forehead.

"Ow!"

"We only 'practice' when I actually say so from now on. Got it?"

"Yes, ma'am . . ."

With a pout, she stood and slammed the tray full of trash between my armrests. "Now I need to go to the bathroom. Nishikata, be a good 'boyfriend' and take care of our mess, would you?"

I regret things. "Yeah fine, I'll meet you outside then."

She shimmied through the seat aisle and ran down the side corridor. For some reason, her face looked just the slightest bit happy as she disappeared below.

"Mission failed," I whispered to myself. "Hmmm, should I even bother next time?"

Movie credits on the screen finished playing and were replaced by common courtesy tips. I neatly pooled trash so it wouldn't fall off my tray.

Far ahead in the front row, the couple from earlier sat in silence, stiller than mannequins.

Must be nice having a real partner. I thought. Wonder why they’re still here though?

When I rose to my feet, the couple synchronized to stand with me without even looking back.

"Huh?" I murmured.

Goosebumps surfaced on my arms. A dead silent room echoed even the smallest shifts of movement or trash on my tray. As I shimmied my way through theater seats, the couple far below walked in lockstep with me, step by slow step.

No way. Why now of all times? My heartbeat hastened. I wasn't ready to deal with this—to deal with them. I hurried my pace, jogging down the side stairs. Trash careened off my tray as I violently trembled, only escape mattered.

The couple climbed shorter stairs until reaching my corridor exit. They held hands as cold, uncaring glares patiently waited for me below.

Escape. No. That wouldn’t help. Their dogmas would just follow me home. Confrontation was the only path forward to fully alleviate myself from their ideology.

I reached my exit corridor. As I tried turning the corner, the summer dress girl broke from her boyfriend and got in my face.

“Hey, hey,” she said with a twisted smile. “That lady you were with—she’s not your real girlfriend, is she?”

“None of your business,” I said, avoiding eye contact.

Her smile widened. “She’s one of those GiG’s, right? Then, she can’t satisfy all your needs. Why not forget about her and come join our seminars? Surely someone there could humor your libido.”

“I’ve moved on from your ideals already.”

The girl’s face contorted into a snarl. “Nishikata—death isn’t something you ‘move on’ from, only eventually accept. Do not hide from its light."

I looked down to avoid her gaze. The boyfriend, clad in church-appropriate clothes, circled around.

"GiGs only seek to deceive,” he said. “They preach a glorified, sweet lie over a sweeter truth. Don't let yourself be swayed by their saccharine words. Death is this world's only truth."

"You're all lunatics.” My fingers clenched the tray. “If death is so beautiful, why don't you kill yourselves and stop trying to convince people to do the same?"

"What we peddle is neither fear nor salvation," the girl said, "rather, a calm before the beautiful storm. Peace, tranquility, and ataraxia—people choose their fates, we simply guide to one that best suits them."

Images of Asagiri flashed in my mind. She had already saved me from these people—from their bullshit drenched in snake oil. I came to my own philosophies, but DeLightfuls helped fuel the fire that convinced me to buy those sleeping pills.

"Those most in need of a GiG are the most vulnerable," the boyfriend said. "Even if she succeeds in rectifying your mental state, who's to say you won't regress as soon as she leaves?"

Huh? I'd never even considered that: what happens when Asagiri eventually leaves me? Wouldn't I be worse off than before? No, no. I pushed those thoughts away. I wouldn't let myself be led astray again.

The girl ventured right up to my ear. "When you sink back into darkness, DeLightfuls will always welcome you with open arms; come find us." She giggled and skipped down the corridor exit.

"Even if you reject our words, who's to say your family, your friends, won't one day see our light?" the boyfriend said as he walked by me. "Don't get left behind."

They turned the corner together and disappeared from sight.

. . .