Chapter 8:

Episode 8- House Visit

My Friend is a Harem Protagonist [Short]

May 21st, Sunny.

It was bright and sunny outside, the clouds were perfect to overcast the sun when it started to become a little too hot. Summer was just around the corner, and I was excited. I walked towards Kioko’s house with little to my person. Dressed in casual wear I felt very relaxed, just a standard shirt and pants combo.

We had agreed to meet a few weeks ago, and she sent me a text this morning to make sure we were still on for the meeting. According to the address she sent I would pass by Toshi’s house and only go a few blocks before I found it. I was excited to hear Kioko’s ideas for how to help with Diachi and the girls.

Kioko’s house was strange to look at, I couldn't put my finger on it for a moment until I realized. It looked so much like my house! The color was off but it was starkly similar to mine. Then again, my house looked like many in this area. They were rush jobs to help housing so they were built in bulk with similar designs. Just strange to see a house on the other side of town look so similar to mine. To that extent it also looked like Daichi’s since we were apart of the same development project but that was besides the point.

I stood outside the gate of the house, their yard was a little larger than mine in the front, maybe the back was small? The nameplate on the mailbox read ‘Agawa’ telling me I was in the right place. I hit the buzzer and waited.

The front door opened to reveal Kioko. No, it wasn't Kioko, it had to be her mother. Her face was a little softer on the features, and her eyes were off. Kioko had brown eyes, but a lighter brown, her mothers were dark, almost black. Her hair was braided unlike Kioko’s shorter hair, plus it was more brown than black like Kiokos.

“Yes? How may I help you?” Kioko’s mother asked. She wore an apron and light clothes, probably cleaning and cooking.

“HI there, my name is Riku Sawai, I am here to see Kioko.” I said casually.

Her mother gave a shocked look and began to inspect me from a distance. “I see, well come on in!” She waved her hand into the house as if I should have already been inside.

I made my way through the gate and entered the foyer of the house. I removed my shoes and stood awkwardly as she continued to look me up and down. The house was very quaint. The set of stairs led up to where the bedrooms would be, to the left was the living room, and beyond that I could spot the kitchen. The dining room was most likely a part of the kitchen based on the table set between the rooms.

“I was a little surprised to hear Kioko bring a boy home.” Kioko’s mom said with a wide smile. “Ill call her, hold on just one second.” She then turned towards the stairs. “Kioko! Riku is here!” She said it very loudly.

The sound of something falling came as a response. Fast footfalls followed after that. A door, then more steps. Slightly muffled, most likely from a socked foot. Kioko emerged at the top of the stairs. Her hair was pulled behind her ears, she wore shorts and a loose tee shirt with long socks that hung below her ankle like a Gal girl would wear.

“Hey Riku.” Kioko said, looking me up and down. “Come on up, we can hang out in my room.”

“Oh just you two in your room alone?” Kioko’s mom chimed in. “You sure are bold nowadays, Kioko.”

Kioko just sighed and waved for me to follow.

“Thank you for having me.” I said, giving a deep bow to her mother before making my way up the stairs. I guess it seemed weird for her to invite a boy to her room alone. However we couldn't have the discussions we were going to have infront of her mom could we?

“I'll bring tea.” Kioko’s mom said.

“Thank you.” I said, praying for no green tea.

Kioko stood outside her room. The door creaked open as she pushed it, revealing its contents. It was clean, a full sized bed tucked into a corner by the window with a variety of stuffed animals hogging one side. A desk sat against a wall, with an art desk next to it, only one rolling chair for the two. A simple low table was on the floor with four cushions surrounding it. A full sized mirror sat near the table with a collection of photos lining its frame. The walls around the art desk were dressed with drawings of many different objects, no living creatures though.

“You can sit at the table.” Kioko said, ushering me in.

I thanked her and took my seat at the table. I expected Kioko to take the seat across from me, but instead took the on to my right. She scooted the cushion closer to the corner to be closer to me.

“Your room is nice.” I said, looking around without trying to look weird.

“Thank you, I work very hard to keep it clean.” Kioko said. “Just don't open the closet.”

“Why will it explode with debris?” I asked, eyeing the closet door that was hidden from the doorway but was now fully visible to me.

“No, I just have all my clothes in there.” Kioko said. “Would be a little rude to snoop on my personal stuff don't you think?”

I noted that there was no visible dresser, it must be in the closet. “Fair point.” I said.

We sat awkwardly for a moment. The way Kioko was dressed caught my eye. The shorts looked comfortable but revealed a lot of leg, and the cut of the shirt was very low. Being slightly taller than her, it was similar to when we were at Aoi’s house. She looked good, I couldn't lie about that.

“So when are you guys going to Okinawa?” Kioko asked suddenly.

“I was told it was towards the end of June.” I said. “I think it was the 22nd. We'll be heading back on the 24th.”

Kioko nodded in understanding. “My school has ours the week after.”

“Where are you guys going?” I asked.

“Kyoto.” Kioko said.

“That's cool, you gotta tell me about it.” I said with a laugh.

“Of course, I'll send pictures.” Kioko said. “Though I wish I was going to Okinawa with the rest of you. Aren't you all in different classes? How will you guys be together?”

“Well apparently the school got a good deal if the whole third year went to the same place.” I said. “And I'm not too worried about the groups. We haven't picked them yet but I know we have groups of three, and most classes have an odd number of students. And since groups are of one gender I'm sure the girls will end up in a group together somehow.”

Kioko nodded. “Then that gives them all lots of time to interact.”

“Yeah, I know that we will all be at the same hotel so I expect something to happen there.” I began to explain. “Plus we all will probably check out the sights together.”

“You better send me pictures.” Kioko said. “I have never been to Okinawa so I would like to see it.”

“We should go together after we graduate.” I said quickly.

Kioko’s face turned a bright red suddenly. “We?”

“Yeah, us, the Girls, Daichi, even Ren. We should take some kind of Graduation trip.”

Kioko deflated. “Right, yeah I like that idea.” She perked up with a smile. “We should also do something this summer. I know we have entrance exams but we can spare a little time right?”

“I'm sure Maeko has a plan.” I said. “She has vacation houses all across the country. It will come down to what she wants to do.”

“I'd like to go to a beach.” Kioko said. “I want to make use of the new swimsuit I got.”

“Oh you got a new one?” I said without much thought.

“Yeah, I was with the girls when they got theirs for the trip and I figured I would get one too. It was a fun time.” Kioko said. She started to get up. “Want to see it? I only tried it on once, I can show you how it looks if you want?”

Panic flooded my head. swimsuits= almost underwear. My brain can't handle that kind of stimulation currently. “No that's okay, I'm sure I'll see it over the summer. Even if we don't go to a beach we could go to a water park or public pool.”

Kioko gave a sly smile then sat down next to me again. “You seem a little embarrassed, why is that?”

I remained quiet for the time, the safest bet.

Kioko’s grin grew wider. “If you want I can send you a pic, I think it looks good on me.”

Stimulus! Too much! Killing me!

“How about we go to the water park over summer break?” Kioko said, leaning close to me. Her eyes were digging into me.

“Sure we should.” I said suddenly.

“Great, it's a date.” Kioko said, backing off. I finally had space to breathe. “However, two trips will be too much for everyone don't you think? I'm good on my studying but I know Maeko, Saki, and Toshi will be cramming hard.”

“Daichi will have to study a lot too.” I said. “He is a bit behind now that he picked his career, but he will get there.”

“Aoi will have to study alot too for finals, that girl struggles so much.” Kioko said. “What about you?”

“I'm good, I have my studying down hard and honestly cramming would just throw me off.” I said bluntly.

“Then it sounds like me and you should go.” Kioko said. “You can take me to a waterpark right?”

I took a moment before replying. “Yeah that's fine, if you want to we can go together.”

Kioko looked shocked at my bluntness, did she expect me to say no? She then turned her head a little to the right and her eyes grew wider in shock. I followed the gaze to find Kioko’s mother standing with her head in the doorway, a tray of tea and cookies in her hands.

“So cute.” She said,

Kioko grew bright red and angry.

After a while we were sitting with our tray of drinks and snacks. The door was now locked on account of the snooping mother who got a scolding by her daughter. Kioko munched on a cookie, her face still red. The way she ate was cute, kind of like how a hamster would eat little bits at a time.

“Oh you said you had ideas for how to help all of them right?” I said, trying to fill the silence.

Kioko nodded and finished her cookie. She took a deep drink of the tea her mom had brought up, luckily it wasn't green tea. “I think Okinawa is a big place for them. Really just them enjoying the sights should make them closer. If you can try putting them in positions to interact privately.”

I don't think I needed to do much, the Rom Com Gods were powerful. However I took the note, if I saw an opportunity I would take it.

“Oh and any summer trip we take will encourage it.” Kioko said. “Though I will wait to plan anything till we know what we are working with.”

Yeah, it could be anything, beach, mountains, skiing, so many options. Yes, Maeko is so rich that we could do whatever we wanted whenever. I think the Fueki family was one of the wealthiest families out there.

“I have been putting in some work with the girls when I see them.” Kioko said. “Though until summer I don't think we should do too much, since we got finals.”

Finals, the end of July, a true struggle for some of these girls.

“Not a problem.” I said. “Well see what happens without intervention.” I knew I would walk in on things whether I wanted to or not though. “Tell me, who are you rooting for?”

Kioko tilted her head to me. “None of them, and all of them. I want them all to be happy. Daichi too, I hope he picks the one he loves the most.”

I respected it. It was similar to my beliefs on this situation. “I think they all have come a long way since we first met. Before I would never had rooted for Maeko, but now I wish her the same luck that everyone else has.”

“You didn't like Maeko? I guess her personality can cause some issues.” Kioko said.

“You should have seen it our first year.” I explained. “She was a transfer student, barely spoke japanese. Reminds me of Aoi with the random English phrases.”

“You know I noticed that Aoi carries a Japanese to English book wherever she goes.” Kioko chimed in.

“I'm going to snatch that from her.” I said. “But Maeko has gotten better. She was so bitchy, at first. But after a while she warmed up. She is an acquired taste I would say.”

“I can agree, though she was nice to me when we first met.” Kioko said thinking back.

“Lucky, she gave me hell.” I said, memories flashing back in my head.

“Sounds like Maeko.” Kioko said.

I looked around the room again, my eyes landing on the pictures. “Those look really good.” I said, pointing at the drawings. “You dont draw a lot of people do you?”

“People are hard for me to draw.” Kioko said, looking at the pictures. “Hands and ears are where I struggle the most. Noses and lips are also hard.”

“Really?” I asked.

Kioko got up and walked over to the desk, pulling the rolling chair up to it. She moved the desk, revealing that it was on wheels as well. “Could you model for me?” She asked.

“Sure.” I said absently.

She instructed me to turn my head so she got a profile view, and began to sketch. She was drawing my ear i'm sure. I listened, trying to remain as still as possible. The sound of her pencil going across the paper was intoxicating. There was a random rhythm to it, which doesn't make sense but does? Sitting here being drawn made me feel very self conscious. I was big on my hygiene, but now that my ear was being drawn so intently it made me wonder if I was through enough.

The time stretched out agonizingly until she placed the pencil down and turned the desk towards me. It wasn't just my ear, she drew my whole head from the side. It was close, yet I noticed some differences.

“Is my nose that big?” I asked.

Kioko lowered her face in embarrassment. “No, I just got the proportions wrong. The ear is wrong too, I tried but it didn't come out how I wanted it.”

I took notice of her embarrassment and gave her a warm smile. “It still looks really good. The detail is insane, you should be proud of this even if its not perfect. Look at it as a step forward.”

Kioko raised her head and returned the smile. “Thanks, can I draw your hand next?”

I held it out to her. She took it in her own hand, then raised it to compare the two together.

“Huh, it's larger than I thought it would be.” Kioko said. Her hands were smaller than mine. Suddenly, she clenched her fingers down between mine. “Soft too.” She held my hand for a moment, then began to twist my hand to get the right angle. When she was happy she began to sketch again.

“Would you be willing to model for me again sometime?” Kioko asked. “I gotta learn people, but I need a model or I wont get it.”

“Sure, whenever you want.” I said, keeping my hand from twitching, I was failing at that.

The pencil paused. “Whenever?” Kioko said.

“Yeah, if it helps you improve what you're passionate about.” I said, my ring finger twitching.

Kioko continued sketching. “I'll hold you to it.”

Looking back on it, that was a very pleasant time. We spent the rest of the day with me modeling for her and making small talk as she sketched on. After a while we noticed the sun setting and I set out for the night. Kioko walked me to the door.

“Thank you for coming.” Kioko said. I stood outside the door, she stood inside.

“Of course, I would like to do it again.” I said. I noticed Kioko’s mom watching from the kitchen with a curious ear.

“Sure, you should come over during the summer.” Kioko said with a wide smile.

“Just let me know when.” I said and waved goodbye. Kioko stood in the doorway for a long while as I walked away. As I turned the corner I could still see her in the doorway.

Now alone with my thoughts I found myself with a stupid smile. It was nice, just hanging out with Kioko.

Everyone would be busy studying for entrance exams over the summer. I didn't have that problem currently, I was still looking for my future. Himiko was helping me alot but I still had not settled on anything. Once again, with the thoughts of my future in my mind, Kioko popped up. That face she made after showing her drawing and recovered from her embarrassment. Why did that face make me want to work harder?

Hello Ren here for the next episode preview! Okinawa! Sun, Sand, Water, the perfect place for a competition! I gotta find Daichi and challenge him to a Swimming contest! Hey Toshi, come watch! Next episode, Okinawa part 1! Oh hey who is Riku on the phone with?