Chapter 35:

Maids Really Are The Best

My Childhood Best Friend is a VTuber! (OsananaV)

The perilous ordeals of the last day should be getting me down on some level; there were all the things that make up a good drama series. It was filled with family secrets, mystery, dates and all sorts of fantastical elements that seldom happen in the life of a shut-in like me.

Don’t get me wrong, that was a whole lot of stuff – but now that I've had a rest and woken up, I can say that I feel great.

Knowing things, not knowing things – ultimately these two ideas don’t actually mean a whole lot to me.

Maybe they did.

Maybe I’ve grown.

To say that much has happened in a short amount of time might be presumptuous of me.

All I can say now is that I’m happy with who I have in my life; it’s funny because, for most of them, they are people who have been in it for a long time.

People I somehow parted with.

How that happened is still an enigma to me.

All I know now is that I want to keep them this time.

I want to keep her this time.

Rolling on my bed and reaching over to my phone, I notice a barrage of messages stockpiled up in a frantic manner.

They had been sent ages ago, by someone who got up much earlier than this late riser.


“I was under the impression that you were going to keep me informed of the situation, Akira.”
“Please don’t tell me you haven’t acted on any of my advice – my time is limited you know, and I’d like to think you didn’t take advantage of that.”

“That last message seemed a little apprehensive, I apologise.”

“Come down to the café today if you’d like to chat.”

It really hasn’t been very long since we last saw each other!

She’s acting like the obsessive fan of a romance drama, impatiently waiting for the next episode.

I thought you were above meaningless things like this, Chika!

That being said, the notion that most of her interest in me is based on the potential for a 「Koi x Aki」romance is something I’m aware of.

This is her living out her fantasies of matchmaker.

After my conversation with Sakura last night, I can honestly say I don’t think she’s the only one. It’s like there’s a whole team of people rooting for something…

Thump. Thump.

My heart elevates at the thought; it’s uncomfortable, but not horrible. Somewhere that’s between excitement and anxiety. Happiness and dread.

I’m not naïve enough to be ignorant of the reason, it’s just – I’m terribly inexperienced here!

Do I tell Koi how I feel about her?

How do I even feel about her?

Should I just keep going like this and hope something comes of it?

How do people relationship!?!?

I push myself up and drop the phone in order to slap both of my cheeks at once.

You’ve got this!

Seeing that double agent for a debrief doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.

As I get up and put on some clothes to go visit the maid café where Chika works, I notice something almost abandoned in the corner of my room.

A darkened computer monitor.

Devoid of life, as if seeing it in such a state is tantamount to a foreign object.

There is something sad yet somewhat freeing about the thought it has been neglected for so long.

It’s like there was a burden to keep it up, to maintain my lifestyle; that somehow if I missed a stream or I missed an episode, I’d lose a part of myself.

Those things I clung to like family.

I love Mayu, and I always will.

A part of me thinks that maybe she would appreciate the changes I’m making in my life too.

Like she’s watching over me, telling me to do my best.

This moment only lasts a few seconds as I head out towards the door; never before had I thought this portal into the outside world would get used to such an extent.

At a time, it was seldom used unless I needed to go to work or grab food – even in those times, if what was needed could be delivered then I’d do that.

Not because shops and amenities were far away (I live in the city, after all), but because I didn’t want to go outside.

My whole world was contained within this little unit; the books on my shelf, the shows on my streaming services and the girl on my screen - what more did I need?

Now, it feels like that world has expanded a little. It’s like the sequel in a video game where they open up the map so you can do more things.

In that same sense, the things that I had to do in the first game have now become less special in favour of the brand new content that’s just been released. It’s not that the old missions aren’t still good, it’s just that the new ones have more excitement.

Okay, that's enough of the gaming metaphor.

It’s been exhausted much like I usually am after a day of dealing with the colourful characters in my life.

Fatigue similar to doing a bunch of side-quests and getting worn out before you ever get to the main story.

I’m sorry!

That’s the last one I promise.

Having functioned on auto-pilot throughout the last few moments, it’s as if I’m instantly teleported to the street outside my apartment. The swarms of pedestrians coming and going distract me from my game-related musings and into the world of real people.

If I was a drinker then I would say that was the moment that sobered me up.

Instantly I am on high alert.

The strange feeling in my chest that won’t go away, the irregular heartbeat and the comforting discomfort of life outside my previous bubble weigh me down as I step through these city streets.

Chika isn’t far away.

The comfortable cafe where I’m treated like a king and the intelligent maid that can help me through my current crisis is within reach.

It feels like it’s been so long since I talked to someone with a functioning brain.

Not even the dialogue I’ve been having with myself seems to fit that bill anymore.

Maids really are the best.

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