Chapter 1:

Episode One

My Dakimakura Can't Be This Cute!


It happened again - I woke up before my alarm went off. My eyes felt sunken and I was torn between two feelings: wanting to go back to sleep and dealing with the waking world. Instead, I just lied there and stared at the ceiling. I can feel a headache forming already - it’s going to be one of those days, isn’t it?

I let out a sigh. My smartphone beeped, letting me know I got a message, but I already knew what it was. My parents sent me money for groceries since I stupidly mentioned that I was running low. I really hate that I told them that. My plan was ruined.

Eating started to take up too much of my time and even though my head hurt, at least water from the tap was free. I didn’t want to eat as much since the seasons were changing to spring. It meant that Golden Week was coming and they were going to have a marathon of this anime I had been putting off. But even then, did it really matter if I missed it again? They would have another excuse to marathon it again after all since it’s pretty popular. I can put it off again.

I close my eyes and tried to get more sleep but I just couldn’t. Then, my alarm went off. I looked at the time - 0901. Every time I moved, my head started to pound and I winced. I hated this alarm. This was only for show. This was a pathetic attempt to give myself a decent sleeping schedule in order to ‘start being healthy’. But it’s hard. It’s so hard to want to wake up. There’s nothing for me that couldn’t be put off tomorrow.

I ground my teeth as I could then feel my bladder fill itself almost at once.

“Fine, fine,” I muttered as I forced myself up. As expected, my headache became more painful when I got up. I looked around my room and noticed how unexpectantly clean it was. I try to look away. Something about the sight pisses me off and I can’t point out what. My bangs got in my eyes though as I tried to wake up still. It might be time for a haircut. Usually, I don’t let my hair get this long but… I let out a sigh. It doesn’t matter. I would only cut it for it to cut it again months later. There’s no point.

I concentrate on making my way to the bathroom and just as I reach for the doorknob to leave my room, I hear a knock. For some reason, it surprised me. Mostly because I thought she was already gone.

“Hey! Hey! Are you awake?”

The familiar voice made my headache a little worse. I winced a bit more at the sharp knocks before me. Most people would answer her - but I wouldn’t. I didn’t want her to know that I was awake this early again. If she did, the noise wouldn’t stop and the incessant questions would just barrage me over until it exhausted me. Or at least until she left for work or whatever event she had to leave the apartment for.

More knocks came my way and I wanted to stay in but my bladder wouldn’t let me. It controlled me and it angered me. Already, my day was already ruined and I just got up. I winced as I opened the door to see her on the other side - with her glowing eyes and bright smile - against my own dreary self.

I opened the door and there she was - Chloe. She’s a foreigner who decided to move to this country for a reason that I forgot and honestly don’t care to remember. We found each other online when I was looking to move out of my parents’ place… back when I had potential. I try not to think about it.

She gave me a smile. “I’m so happy you’re awake today! I made breakfast!! Er, at least… I tried…” Her brown eyes sparkled with excitement as she bounced around my room and seemed to have blocked my door with every move she made. I was too tired to envy her.

Eventually, she moved just wide enough that I could get through - my bladder nearly burst ao I had to push her aside. She didn’t seem offended and even closed the door behind. I made a straight bee-line for the bathroom and unintentionally slammed the door.

As I went and used the bathroom, I groaned out loud. I hate it when her voice chirped in my head. It echoed in my head as her smile already haunted my waking hours. What the fuck? I’m supposed to just be a filthy NEET. I don’t know why I feel this way towards me. After a while, she’s going to save up her money and eventually leave me and I’ll have to find a new roommate.

But maybe this next roommate wouldn’t be like her at all. She’s noisy and always bothered me about stupid shit. She always wants to do things with me. She always just… exists in the same realm as me. Why did she want to hang out with a piece of shit like me?

After I finished with the toilet, I washed my face and brushed my teeth. For a filthy NEET like me, I at least do the basic hygienes. It wouldn’t matter at the end of the day but whatever - it was a trained routine I did every morning after I take a piss.

I sigh when I dried my face with my towel. My head felt cooler and I did feel more awake than ever. When I think about Chloe past what’s in front of me, I could feel my heart rate go faster. I could feel my anxiety build up so quickly and often makes me feel worse than I already do. Was it her fault? Probably not - she’s in her own world. She probably would laugh at my anxiety. She probably would make fun of me.

She’s the one who came to this country with a visa and a dream - whatever dream she has, it must be worth giving up everything in her home country to come here. She must’ve studied extensively as her language was nearly native level. If it wasn’t for how obviously not Japanese she was, one would think she was one of us.

And yet, I could barely get up in the morning without the assistance of my alarm.

.x.

When I made it to the kitchen, I could smell the nearly burnt eggs - as usual, she made scrambled eggs and some toast. It looked like she was trying to cook some mackerel and even tied up her usually messy hair in a ponytail. Somehow, it stayed in place even with all the jerking she was doing around the stove. I’d offer to help but the last time I tried, she ended up burning her whole hand.

Even though I’m a national born citizen of this country, I have to depend on a foreigner to cook for me. Well, just add it to the list of embarrassing crimes I’ve brought down on myself. I’m a useless NEET who depends on a foreigner. Well, it’s not like I never stopped her before - just that one other time. She wanted to cook - who was I to stop her?

She was always so excited to try new recipes but breakfast was the one thing that was consistent. And I envied her. I wish I could do something about my situation. Instead of feeling good for the woman in front of me, I grew angry at myself. I’m a failure, aren’t I?

I’m just such a piece of lazy shit that doesn’t have an ambitious bone in my body. I didn’t want to join the workforce - I wanted to pursue drawing. I told my parents to give up on their dream of another salary-earning child in their family - they already had my big brother who became a senior in a few short years. He only became a senior because his boss croaked almost as soon as he signed on. If it wasn’t for that…would he have ever been promoted?

She put the eggs and nearly crispy mackerel on my side of our little table between us and ate in front of me. I looked at it and, tried as I could to avoid it, it smelled delicious. It reminded my stomach of what it needed and it made me angry. Again. Again, it made me angry. I’m just so weak, aren’t I? So, so weak. I grabbed my chopsticks and stabbed the fluffy eggs with anger. To Chloe, it might’ve looked like I was extra hungry. Good - keep it that way. Let her think that. Whatever gave me less attention from her.

I don’t deserve her as a roommate anyway.

And as usual, it was delicious. But it made me so angry. I don’t deserve such a good breakfast from Chloe. I don’t deserve her glittering eyes staring at me - expecting a positive reaction from me. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to treat her this way. She deserves a better roommate than me.

I forced a half-smile. It’s a trademark for me. She took this as a good sign and smiled brighter than the sun. She’s so pretty when she’s like this. She makes me feel things in my tummy that I never thought I could. She hungrily ate her breakfast in silence so at least she’s at least kind enough not to say anything. She knew that I’m not much for the morning - she always tries to work with me but it’s… so stupid that she tries. Doesn’t it piss her off? Doesn’t it make her annoyed that she has this pissant as a roommate? Doesn’t it make her angry that all I do is stay in my room and get money from my parents while she forces herself in a thankless office job that never gave her credit for anything? Oh, it must piss her off! It has to… but she never showed it in front of my face.

There have been times where she came home drunk and cried about her homesickness. And there’s nothing this piece of shit could do about it. Nothing. Nothing. I can’t soothe her pained heart when it’s like that. I am so utterly useless.

By the time I looked back up at her, she had already finished her breakfast and washed her dishes. She hummed silently to herself and here I am, sitting here with a half-empty plate full of food still uneaten. It probably cooled down significantly by now. She didn’t say anything to me - she must have work soon. I try to hurry up and eat her food. It’s rude not to do so.

She finally finished putting away the dishes and turned to me. She gave me a small smile and a wave as she headed back towards her room. She must be getting ready for work. From what I understand, her job is one of the few rare jobs around here that allowed her to go in about 10 in the morning although she could go earlier if she chose to. And she hardly did - she always made breakfast for us while I’m supposed to handle the at home stuff. Chloe tends to order a lot of packages and she puts it under my name so I could sign for it and seal it. She also asks that I help clean the small crappy apartment which isn’t too bad.

I was still in my seat, literally just finished my food, when she stepped out of her room in her “office gear”. It was almost a complete transformation - I’m so much more used to Chloe with her makeup off so every time I see her in her work clothes, she looked almost like a completely different person. While her hair was naturally wavy and a thick mess, for work, it was perfectly straightened out. She usually put it in a bun with a professional clip so it “looked better”. I’ll never understand corporate culture and I’m glad I never will.

She barely got out the word “See you later!” when she exited out of the apartment after swiftly putting on her shoes. I could hear the door lock and I was left to myself as I usually was.

Today wasn’t a good day from the start. I want to take a nap later in the day. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad if I did. However, there was one thing that bothered me - we just ate the last of the eggs. If I did go to sleep, it’ll be in the afternoon and Chloe would give me her sad eyes. I didn’t want to be absolutely useless so I tried to stuff the rest of the breakfast in my mouth - even if I didn’t want it anymore. By now, the eggs aren’t as fluffy and the mackerel had become even saltier than before. Still, I stuffed it down my throat as quick as I could. Just because I was a miserable sack of shit didn’t mean Chloe had to suffer because of me. I hated the fact that I reminded my parents about food… but now I remembered why I did it. I didn’t want to punish Chloe when I’m the one who wants to disappear.

.x.

The sun was too bright for my eyes but thankfully my long bangs blocked most of it. The grocery store was also fairly close to us - a short distance away on foot. Before I left, though, I made sure I grabbed my music player and my headphones she got me for my birthday so no one tried to talk to me. Granted, most people minded their own business but there are those few who… just wouldn’t leave well enough alone. The trip itself was fine - I listened to my music and focused on getting what I needed. I just needed the usual - eggs, milk, bread, and whatever meats Chloe wouldn’t mind cooking. She told me at one point that she hated shopping so she always sent me. She always gave me a little extra money to get her and me a treat so that was nice of her. I don’t know why she bothered to when my parents send me money, but whatever.

I still tried to look for specials. Most people would akin me to an older lady who penny-pinched but I want to keep as much money as I could. I wasn’t looking forward to any particular purchases. My parents sent me enough allowance for me to buy any games, movies, or whatever entertainment I wanted - I honestly don’t know why I did this.

I caught myself looking at discounted meats - not a good cut among them anyway - and grimaced. I guess I can pick up some snacks while I’m out. If I had to eat, then at least let me disappear with good snacks in my stomach.

Hmm. I should probably pick up some drinks while I’m at it. Chloe isn’t the biggest fan of alcohol - she only drinks when she’s out with her coworkers anyway and beer makes me want to piss more often.

Then I heard a crash in a few aisles or so and, against my better judgment, I went over to see what happened along with some of the other customers around. When we got there, there was an overweight woman who clearly worked there but she looked so… unkempt. She not only was overweight, but her hair was a mess. From what I and everyone else could tell, she had tripped over a very obvious puddle of water and spilled the contents of her cart which happened to be some vegetables I can’t bother to remember. I could hear laughing from other people but I’m not surprised some of it came from myself. The sight was almost too perfect - like it was a scene from an anime. I took off my headphones and paused my music to see what would happen next.

The woman tried to save face by apologizing to everyone and trying to clean up the area at the same time but it came out as mumbles. No one could hear her clearly but that didn’t matter. No one really helped her and went around their day. I watched her scramble up and ended up dropping it all over again. She eventually stopped and seemed she wanted to give up then and there.

I would’ve left her then, with my own admittedly sick amusement, if I didn’t see that pretty-boy I always see in here… I probably wouldn’t have gotten angry at her. She didn’t do anything particularly wrong. Far from it, but something about this guy’s kindness rubs me the wrong way.

He went over and helped her and I could tell the girl didn’t want to tell him the truth.

“Hey, Matsuno-san, are you okay? That was a nasty spill!”

I hid behind one of the aisles to listen to their conversation. I don’t know why I wanted to watch this before me - it made me angrier to do so and yet…

The woman nodded and mumbled something only he could understand. He gave her a very gentle smile - a smile I was too familiar with. He tried to comfort her and she nodded. She probably noticed it - it was a million-watt smile only pretty-boys like him could master. How could she have someone like him looking at someone like her? Gross. This is so gross. This scene before is not right and is disgusting. Why should she get someone like him smiling at her? She doesn’t deserve it. She’s fat and clumsy and made such a mess over nothing.

I looked away. I probably knocked some things over but I don’t care. It’s her fault anyway.

After such a disgusting display, I tried to end my shopping sooner rather than later but before I left for the checkout, I get a text from Chloe.

“Hey! I forgot to tell you that this morning I was expecting a package! Could you please sign for it? I promise to take you out for ice cream!”

Of course, I would do it. She didn’t need to even ask me.

.x.

I ended up walking around the grocery once more to make sure that I grabbed everything I could with my music and headphones back on. I ended up finding some lunch that I could eat when I got home so I did feel a little good about something. I didn’t want to make a second trip back here. After I get home, it’s back being a NEET. I dressed ‘normally’ today and managed to blend in. I kept my back straightened a bit longer than I usually did. And although I could feel myself get more and more tired the longer I was out, I still did it. That’s something to be proud of, right?

I get in the checkout line and I prepare to pause my music and take my music off when I see that woman from before. She looked really overwhelmed and she really seemed to try really hard. Next to her was the pretty-boy from earlier. Seeing the two of them together made me really angry but I tried to calm myself down. They didn’t do anything wrong… No, they didn’t - but she did. She acted like she had the right to earn such a gentle smile. She was the one who accepted the smile before her. She probably knew what type of smile that was.

When it was my turn, I was hoping I would at least go to the pretty-boy. Pretty people like him were easier to deal with. Avoid eye contact and give simple answers but ugly pigs like her? How do you deal with someone at your level? People like her piss me off. They think they could rise above their station. Disgusting.

And of course, she was slow with my items. She took her sweet time even though it was the lunch crowd, wouldn’t she be used to this by now? I couldn’t help but let my frustration show but honestly, I don’t care. People like her annoy the hell out of me.

I may have mumbled “Fat pig,” under my breath when I was finally done with the transaction. I grabbed my bags and left. She may have heard that and looked like she wanted to cry.

I don’t care what you do, you pig.

.x.

I regret what I thought.

Thinking back on it, it was rude of me to be like that towards her. I don’t understand why I was so focused on her like that. She didn’t do anything wrong. My punishment, though, was looking at the sun that became brighter somehow. I accepted it because I’m shitty. I don’t know why I think those thoughts about people. I can’t help myself. I couldn’t be the good person Chloe thought I was. She always had something positive to say about someone for the ultra-rare times we went out together while I always think of something nasty of them.

But I’m not going back there for a while. No, not for a while. Well, probably until the groceries run out again… Ugh. This sun…

When I get back to my apartment, I notice a box that looked like it could fit a tall stand in it by the door. There wasn’t a piece of paper, notice, or anything - which was strange. If I had accidentally missed a delivery, the postman would at least leave a notice on the door.

Thinking that maybe it’s for a neighbor instead, even though I hoped it wasn’t, I looked for a name. If it was for a neighbor, it’s pretty troublesome to go through the process of them getting their damn package. Maybe I’m hungry. Maybe it’s this stupid sun. Whatever it is, I just need to get inside already so I can put away all of these.

So imagine my shock when I saw my name on the package.

To Be Continued... 

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