Chapter 14:

Double Disappearances Part 2

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

Night had fallen.

I peered out to our dark patio while I finished washing the last of dirty dishes. Is this the vantage point Asagiri had when me and Noriko caught up last week? What kinds of things were going through her mind?

My eyes drifted towards my mooch of a girlfriend lounging on our couch. Her legs hung over the armrests while she typed away on her phone, new lollipop in mouth.

"You realize you've been wearing those gray pajamas all day, right?" I shouted to her.

"Yeah well they're comfy, sue me."

"Bet no clothes is even comfier."

"Jail has the comfiest clothes, I heard." She threateningly reached down into her shirt.

"I'm sorry, I'll practice abstinence from now on!"

"Yeah you better."

We'd just finished a lengthy conversation about Dominion's Paradise. After I returned from work and found her sleeping in my room earlier, we'd traveled downstairs and talked at length about her favorite characters, chapters, and fight scenes. Apparently, she'd read the first volume twice just to get a better grasp of everything, which is why it took her two weeks to talk about it.

Wife material, I found myself thinking as I snuck another peek at her from the kitchen.

"Oh, that's right!" Asagiri suddenly blurted, looking up at her phone. "Your favorite character from Dominion's Paradise was Makoto, right? The cowboy mage? Apparently he's a big fan favorite."

"You're looking at forums?" Well those never lead to anything good. "Careful with spoilers. Also, Makoto isn't my favorite. Just one of them."

"Isn't he like, a bad guy though? Makoto's horny like you so I get that, but what does everyone else see in him?"

I searched our fridge for a cold drink. "It's kinda hard to explain. Like he just feels like the clever anti-hero you want to root for. Besides, he gets a tiny redemption arc later on."


"You're actually going to read the whole series?"

"I already said I would, didn't I? Gotta make you happy somehow."

There she goes again thinking it's her job to keep me happy. "You don't have to read everything, but more stuff for us to talk about would be nice."

"Hmmm yeah. It'll be research towards things that make you tick."

"Tick, huh?" I hatched a devious scheme. "Your favorite character was Sanae, right? The battle cleric that uses barriers?"

"Correct. It's refreshing how she's not just a damsel in distress and doesn't have huge badonker tits like Dominion."

"Figured you would've liked Makoto the most but whatever." I made my way to the living room and plopped onto a reclining chair. "Anyway, I was thinking we could try something fun."

Annoyed, suspicious eyes peered towards me. "Define 'fun'."

"It's nothing erotic, just . . . cultural, yeah!"

"Sounds even more sus."

"You're overthinking it." I reached into my pocket and slipped out a chibi keychain charm. "Here, catch."

Asagiri's small hands fumbled it onto her chest. She gave the trinket featuring a purple-haired girl a thorough examination. "Huh? Sanae? Where'd you get this?"

"Noriko gave it to me last week. Dominion's Paradise is popular enough to get fan merch, even without an anime.”

"Don't tell me you're giving me this too? I already have Noriko's old headband." She caressed the fluffy cat ears atop her head.

"Oh no, it's a good luck charm I've been carrying around. Just wanted to give you an idea of what Sanae looks like."

"Eh? What for?"

A sly grin spread across my face. "Well, we're both Dominion's Paradise fans now, so I was thinking we could try out cosplaying!"


"Oh come on! I'd commission all our clothes and props and everything!"

She tossed Noriko's charm back at me. "You're missing the point. But do you even know anyone who can make stuff like that?"

"Well . . ." I'd planned on looking for someone online, but it's true I was familiar with a person who prided herself on being a seamstress enthusiast. Too bad she's also an insatiably lustful, cougar of a coworker!

"Let's put that plan on hold for now, " I said, shivering. "If we visit any cons, we'll just go as is."

"Huh? I was actually looking forward to being a dolled up, trophy girlfriend you could show off."

"For real?"

"Not really, but I wouldn't mind—under one condition."


She slipped her phone into her pocket and sat up. "Remember me mentioning if I could invite friends over last Saturday at the supermarket? I'm invoking that now."

"Oh yeah, go ahead. When's she coming over?"

"Next Sunday after this one, so you get to say hi to her."

"Is she cute?"

"Put it this way: If I'm out of your league, she's in a whole other universe."

"Duly noted, but I mostly just asked out of curiosity."


A black blob of fur shuffled its way across us. Furbolt ventured into the kitchen and took a sip of water.

"Yeah, I'll give her the Furbolt test and see if your friend is a good person," I said. "He's great at sniffing out bad apples."

"Don't bother Sakura with boomer crap like that."

"Sakura? Should I expect pink hair?"

"Expect a beating from me if you creep her out. She's a good friend from high school that helped me through tough times, so she's probably visiting to see how I'm doing."

Must be nice. My only high school friend came back into my life just to tell me she's married. "Sure. Want me to pretend to be anything fancy? Or just be myself?"

"I already told her not to expect much from you so don't worry about it." Asagiri stood up and yawned. "Anyway, I'll start on volume 2 of Dominion's Paradise maybe tonight."

"The series isn't finished yet so don't gotta rush it. Take it at your own pace."

"Perhaps. Now gimme food. Before bed."

I craned my neck to peer into the kitchen. "There should still be some donuts left if you want any."

"They're all in my belly now, just forgot to toss the box."

"Gee thanks." I suddenly remembered my empty waste bin. "Oh hey, did you take out my trash upstairs?"

"Yeah, why?" She sounded a bit defensive.

"Just kinda surprised you'd go out of your way like that."

"Was there something in there I shouldn't have seen?"

"Ummm, used tissues?"

"Par the course." I heard her take out some dishes in the kitchen and start preparing a meal.

Doesn't sound like she saw that pill bottle, but . . .

A few minutes later, Asagairi plopped onto a dining chair and dug her fork into some leftovers. I couldn't see her face well from my angle, but she looked irritated.

"By the way," she said. "I actually haven't had Kill Switch on me all day, including when you found me sleeping in your room. Defenseless me couldn't have said no to your whims."

"I'm not sure if you're saying you trust me more, or less."

"I'd say it's a conditional 'more'. Jerk off tonight to the fact you're moving up in life."

"Don't gotta ask me twice." I extended the reclining chair's leg rest and got comfy. "But maybe later. Gonna take a quick nap since work wrecked me today."

"I'm not gonna wake you up if you fall asleep."

"It's fine. Furbolt probably will."

"Nyaa!" Furbolt said as he returned to his nearby cat condo tower.

A peaceful quiet soon enveloped the area. My eyelids became heavy before I slid between a half-conscious state of awake and slumbering. I could hear distant sounds of Asagiri putting away dishes and Furbolt scratching up his toys. In a way, the ambiance felt akin to finally being the man of the house. Resting on my dad's favorite chair probably helped with that.

As I slowly eased into dreamville, a quiet series of footsteps tiptoed their way over here. What felt like a large blanket draped over me, and a girl's defiant whispers lulled me to a final peace:

"Why do you look so cute when you're asleep?" I thought I heard Asagiri say. But maybe it was all just a dream.