Chapter 6:

Sharing Last Names and a Bed

With Oasis (Vol. 1)

Normally, two people in a romantic relationship visit each other's houses all the time— at least, that’s the impression I’ve gotten from anime. But for whatever reason, the same hasn’t applied to me and Lou. Actually, despite each of us knowing where the other lives, neither of us has visited the other’s house. The idea of visiting each others’ houses hasn’t even been floated in conversation before.

Until now, anyway.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to the tune of Renai Circulation. Lou was calling. I really need to set limits on when she can call me…

With horrendous bedhead and eyes that I scarcely felt like opening, I answered the call. “What could you possibly be calling me for this early in-”

“I’ve cracked the code, Rocco! After meticulous mapping, precarious planning, monstrous machinations, and other instances of alliteration, I’ve finally cracked the code!”

“What the actual fuck are you talking about?”

“I know how we’re gonna graffiti that wall! I’ve got it all planned out, every last detail! Sooooo, let’s meet up and discuss how the cookie will crumble!”

Frankly, at this point in the morning, I was still dazed from having just awoken. I sighed. “Where do you want to meet up?” I figured I should let her decide considering she’s the leader of this mission.

“How about… hey, Rocco, do your parents know you’re dating me?”

Well this is awkward. “No, not right now.”

“Are you not allowed to have a girlfriend?”

“I’m allowed to have one. Actually, my Mom won’t stop bugging me about getting one.”

“Heh?? Oh, I get it~.” She adopted a smug tone. “I guess even you get blushy and shy sometimes!”

“That’s not it at all, but I’ll let you go ahead with that interpretation.”

“Anyway,” Lou said, “If it’s possible, could we discuss my plan at your house? I’ve been curious about what your bedroom looks like.”

“Hmm… I guess we could. Except do you really want to discuss our plans to vandalize our school at my house? We’d have to be really really really quiet, since my Mom could overhear us. And actually, now that I think about it, if we’re discussing it in my bedroom, we’d have to leave the door open slightly, wouldn’t we?”

“That’s okay, I’m a master at being quiet!”

“That’s rubbish,” I retorted. “You can’t even stay silent for five seconds.”

“That’s just because you haven’t witnessed me at max hush before. I’ll be as quiet as you need me to be if it means I get to be in the same bed as you!”

Same bed… would Mom allow even that much? She’s kinda sensitive to stuff like that. “Alright, well, I guess you can come over at… 10:00 a.m., how does that sound? Or I guess we could put it off til’ a school day to avoid the risk of my Mom overhearing us.”

“Nah, 10:00 today works fine. Oh, by the way…” Lou’s tone got noticeably more serious. “Well, I probably should’ve told you this a while ago... My Mom and Dad don’t really want me having a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend, for that matter. Or any romantic partner. They forbid it. So I’m kiiiinda going against their orders by dating you.”

Ah, so that’s why she never offered to have me over at her place.

“So basically, I turned into a bad girl the second I asked you out! Jeez, you really do love sullying pure maidens! …But on another note, if you ever see my Mom and Dad,” Lou continued, “act like we’re just close friends.”


“...Did that hurt to hear?”

“You mean that you’re not supposed to be dating me?”


“Not really.”

“Thank goodness! I was really scared it would!” Lou was audibly relieved.

“Or more like, why would it hurt me in the first place?”

“I thought you might feel blamed.”

Blamed? I thought for a second. “Nah, I don’t really feel like that. I don’t even know what I’d be blamed for. To me this is simply another family’s way of doing things.”

“Oh, by the way, when I’m eighteen, I’m finally allowed to date, so we won’t have to keep the secret for long.”

“Although won’t it be suspicious if you reveal your boyfriend to your family as soon as you turn eighteen? Won’t they think ‘she totally hid him from us, didn’t she?’.”

“True, but there’s also a part of me that wants them to realize I hid you from them. Well, after I’m eighteen of course, when they can no longer punish me for it. It’s kinda like, I want them to see that nothing went wrong, even though I dated a boy as a minor.”

“I can definitely see that perspective. Although I hope your parents aren’t the type to retroactively punish you for hiding me.”

“They definitely aren’t, don’t worry.”

“...Well, I oughta get in the shower if you’re gonna be here in less than two hours,” I said.

“Awwww, alright! I love you, babe.”

“I love you too,” I told her, in a tone that I hoped came off as sweet. I’m bad at expressing things through tone of voice though.

Either way, it was with that that I ended the call.

I went through my morning routine (chugging coffee, showering, putting on my bucket hat, etc.) before making my way to the living room. Mom was sitting on the couch such that her feet took up the middle cushion. She had clearly just woken up. Her hair was unbrushed, and let wild and loose instead of being caged within her usual bun. Her attire was a simple hoodie and shorts. She was playing on a Gameboy Color.

“Mornin’,” she said in a cheery tone, though without looking up from her game.

“Yo.” I grabbed Kizumonogatari from the living room bookshelf (yes, my Mom is so proud of her light novel/manga collection that she keeps it in the living room in plain sight for all visitors to immediately witness) before sitting down on the other end of the couch and putting my feet on the middle cushion along with Mom’s.

“By the way,” I said. “A friend is coming over in about ten minutes.”

The Gameboy hit the couch cushion. Mom immediately lunged towards me, grabbed hold of my shoulders, and let out a gasp and a “WHAT!?”. Her jaw was wide open.

“You don’t have to look that shocked.”

“B- But-” Her crescent moon eyes turned into shiny stars, and she grinned. “My son made a friend! Say,” Mom retreated back to her spot on the couch, but didn’t bother picking back up her Gameboy. “What’s he like?”

I didn’t really feel like clearing up the misunderstanding. “Very goofy. Makes me come up with a lot of retorts to the stupid things they say.”

“Does he have any interests?”


“Oooo, I see, I see. Does he like anime?”


“Yes!” Mom did a fist pump. “I can talk to your friend about something. Oh, but I’ll let you two be for now, don’t worry. I’ll let you talk to him alone.”

She kept on asking me questions of that nature in regards to my new friend (rendering me unable to read Kizumonogatari), until eventually, the doorbell rang. Leaving the book on the cushion, I got up from the couch to go get the door, while Mom dangled her arms over the back of the couch, staring at the door with enrapturement.


I unlocked the door, then opened it.

“Hellur!” Lou said to me.

She was wearing the same pink cat doodle hoodie she had on during our first kiss, as well as pink earmuffs, pink gloves, and a pink scarf. As I’ve come to notice during my time as her boyfriend, pink is her favorite color. In fact, the only non-pink thing she was wearing was her black pair of leggings. Even her sneakers were pink.

I decided right then and there that I didn’t want Lou to be the one to tell my Mom the news. So, as Lou walked in, spotted my Mom on the couch, then doffed her winter-wear, I regarded Mom, motioned towards Lou, and told her. “Mom, this is my girlfriend: Lou Clemente.”

Needless to say, there was a moment of silence, wherein Mom just looked shocked for a moment, before suddenly, glee found its way into her once-shocked expression and she exclaimed “She’s precious!

Lou blushed. “H- Hiii… I’m Lou.” She waved at Mom, though rather shyly.

"Yo, Lou! I'm Rocco's Mom!" Then she turned back towards me and said “Rocco, she’s the cutest thing ever! She’s totes adorbs!” With a wide smile on her face, Mom gave me a thumbs up. “You did great, son!”

Lou blushed even harder.

I walked up to Mom— “Don’t say weird things about my girlfriend as soon as she walks in the door.”— and karate chopped her on the forehead.

That didn’t slow down Mom at all. “But she’s precious!” she continued, her eyes twinkling. “Welcome to the family, Lou! Oh, you’re gonna take Fey as a last name, right? Right??”

“H- Huh?” Lou stammered, her face a deep scarlet. “Oh, uh, yeah.”

Mom gasped. “Yes!! My last name lives on! Lou Fey, Lou Fey! Oh, I need to get used to that!”

I sighed. “Don’t say that so fast, Mom,” I said, karate chopping her forehead once again. “What if I decide to become a Clemente?”

“I- I mean-” Lou stuttered from behind me, carrying her jacket and the like in her hands. “I’m... I'm okay with being a Fey.”

“Are you sure?” I asked Lou. “Don’t let Mom peer pressure you into taking my last name.”

“Well, now that I think about it…” Lou’s face got so red I could practically hear a tea kettle going off in the distance. “Lou Fey… it's nice.”

“Lou Fey~!” Mom sang again, like it was a phrase going out of style. “OH!” Mom suddenly stopped herself. “I need to get something for her at the store.”

“It better not be something weird,” I said.

“And you two better not do anything weird while I’m gone!” Mom parried. “Seriously, I know it’s easy to get caught up in that stuff, but wait at least until you’re an adult!”

I sighed. I really didn’t want Mom lecturing me about that stuff in front of Lou.

Mom waved goodbye. “Ciao!” And with that, she dashed into her bedroom, nabbed her purse, slipped on some slippers, and rushed out the door, all in about a minute’s time. She didn’t even bother to do her makeup or put her hair up in a bun or anything. What an insane amount of energy… I thought adults were supposed to be tired all the time.

After Mom left, I began talking to Lou again. “So,” I said, turning to Lou, who was still standing next to the doorway, pink-faced and dazed-looking. “What do you think of my Mom? A weirdo, right?”

“Heh heh…”


“Heh… Heh heh…” Her winter clothing hit the floor as Lou clasped her face with her hands, a line of drool falling from her mouth. “Lou Fey… I’m part of the family… Lou Fey…”

I snapped her out of her trance with a karate chop to the forehead.

I had Lou throw all her discarded articles of clothing onto the couch (right next to Kizumonogatari). We don’t really have a dedicated place for visitors’ coats and hats, since the only visitors we get are my Grandpa and my Aunt.

After Lou set her stuff down on the couch, like a moth to a flame, or steel to a magnet, or magnet to a magnet— she practically teleported, I tell you; she found herself at our light novel/manga bookshelf in no time. “Oooooo!” she exclaimed. “Look at all these!” She gasped. “You have the entire Monogatari series!??”

“My Mom’s a huge fan.” Such a big fan that one time, she forced me to watch the entire anime series with her, including the toothbrush scene… But I decided to spare Lou the trauma dumping.

She turned her head around to face me. “Your Mom’s awesome! And pretty, too! I can see how she gave birth to someone as cute as you.”


“Say, Rocco,” she continued, perusing the contents of the bookshelf. “You and your Mom have such an interesting relationship. Like, I wouldn't dare karate chop my Mom in the forehead.”

“Oh yeah… I forget this all the time,” I said, sitting down on the one empty couch cushion. “But I guess I’m closer with my Mom than most people are with theirs.”

“I’m close to my Mom too, but it’s just— I wouldn’t treat her like that. Not that the way you treat your Mom is wrong or anything… It’s just foreign to me.”

“Now that I think about it, Lou, you acted weird towards her too.”

“Huh?? What do you mean by weird?”

“I mean, like, normally you're kinda deadpan around people who aren't me, but you acted... well, maybe not normal, but you were all blushy and stuttery.”

“Ohhh, that. Well, I wanted be on good terms with your Mom, since she'll be my mother-in-law someday. And like, judging from all you've told me about her so far, I figured she wasn't a bad person." True, I've talked quite a bit about my Mom casually to Lou, and usually in a pleasant tone, even if I think she's a weirdo. "And lo and behold,” Lou clasped her face again, and with a dream-like tone said “she called me Lou Fey~!”

I didn’t really understand her obsession with a simple change of last name. To me, it makes no difference whether I’m known as Rocco Fey or Rocco Clemente. Or actually, maybe I’d rather be Clemente, since ‘Fey’ is a girly last name. Well, at least it’s spelled ‘Fey’ instead of ‘Faye’. If my last name was ‘Faye’ that’d just be horrendous.

“Although admittedly," Lou continued, taking out a volume of Nichijou from the bookshelf, "I didn't really know how to talk to her. I was trying to be all polite and make a good first impression, but then she said all that stuff and I just kinda stood there awkwardly. And also..." Lou slid the book back into its place. "I was a little afraid of opening up to her... Even though you'd told me a lot about her, and even though I knew she was a good person, I was still afraid...

"Oh yeah, by the by, when do you think I'll be meeting your Dad?” 

“...” Well this is extremely awkward.

“I presume he must work on Saturday, right?”

“Uh, no,” I replied. “I kinda… don’t have a Dad.”


“Or more like, I’ve never met my Dad.”

“...” She had stopped perusing the books. Instead, her gaze was cast down, away from mine, towards the ground.

I decided to just toss the whole story on her. “Mom and Dad wanted to have children after they married. I think Mom told me she wanted something like four or five… some crazy huge amount I can’t fathom. But anyway, when Mom got pregnant, you see, Mom and Dad weren’t married. I was an accident. And that accident eventually caused enough dysfunction to make Dad decide to break up with Mom.

“Of course, Mom kept me, despite her newfound status as single, being family oriented as she is. So, she gave birth to me, and I never met my Dad.”

“...How old is your Mom?” Lou asked in a voice filled, stuffed, overflowing with apprehension.

“Does she really look that young?” I asked.

“My Mom is starting to get grey hairs. Comparatively, your Mom looks young.”

“...” I wasn’t sure if I should say this, but “Thirty-four.”

It didn’t take long for her to do the math. Lou whipped around. “Your Mom gave birth to you at eighteen!?”

"Eighteen and a few months, but yeah, you're basically right. Frankly, I’m shocked my Mom’s even letting us be in the same house alone together.”

“Then… well, I don’t want to pry, but your Mom wanted to have a larger family, right? Why didn’t she re-marry?”

“Marry,” I corrected. Then I continued. “She tried to marry. I remember something like… oh, but I was young at the time, right? The last replacement Dad left when I was nine. But from what I remember, my Mom dated three other guys who lived with us for a time.”


“I didn’t like any of them,” I stated. “I don’t know why, you’d have to ask my grade school self, but I didn’t like any of them. Me and my Mom… I guess it comes with being the only two members of the household, but I was really protective of her, I guess. I didn’t want anyone else being with her. Although I’m not like that anymore, of course. If my Mom found a new guy now, I’d be happy for her.”

Lou stood up from her spot facing the bookshelf, turned to me, walked towards the couch, sat down on the cushion next to me, right on top of her hoodie— then hugged me. Hugged me really tight, for some incomprehensible reason. “That must’ve hurt, right?” Lou whispered to me.

“...Not really.” I sincerely didn’t understand why Lou was acting this way. “I mean, I’ve never had a complete family, yeah? So it can’t depress me. My Mom and various replacement dads are the ones hurting in that story.”

“But isn’t the fact both you and your Mom consider your family incomplete sad? Isn’t that entire story sad?”

“I’m used to it,” I replied. “It doesn’t affect me. Not remotely.”

Lou didn’t reply to me. Instead, she kept on hugging me for some time. I felt awkward about it, admittedly. Just sitting there, hugged by my girlfriend, who was attempting to console me for reasons I couldn’t understand. Jeez… So, I decided to pet her head in order to feel like I was doing something other than just sitting there confused.

Well, maybe since it’s my first time petting her head, I should’ve built up to it in a more romantic way. But I digress.

“What if I was your sister?” Lou asked suddenly.

“Well we wouldn’t be dating anymore.”

“Yeah, I get that much. I’m not into incest or anything. But… what if? How would things have turned out? What kind of childhood would we have had? I can’t help but wonder about those things.”

“...” I smiled. “I’m glad you find me comforting.”

“I do. I really do.”

“I think it’s tempting for people to look at something or someone that they find comforting and say ‘I wish I always had that. I wish I hadn’t stumbled upon it so late’. But I get the feeling that if said comforting thing was always there, it’d lose a lot of the comfort it currently has.”

“I think that’s a pessimistic way to look at it. I wish you were always there for me. I wish you were there to hug me during all those hard times. But… well, I guess I’m also glad that I can hug you as my boyfriend rather than as my brother.”

…I couldn’t help but also wonder. What if she had been there all along?

Would things be different?

Some time passed.

“Oh yeah!” Lou exclaimed from underneath my hand. “I’m supposed to be giving you the juicy details of my saucy plan!”

“Your mood changes are as abrupt as ever, I see….”

Lou finally let go of me, before moving her head away from my hand (though in a visibly reluctant manner) before standing up. She faced me, then pointed to her right. “To your bedroom!”

“That’s the direction of the kitchen.”

“Which way is your bedroom?”

“Follow me,” I said. I got up off the couch too, then led Lou to the stairs to the second floor. As we climbed up, Lou continued talking.

“The other day, I came up with a really good pun!”

“Oh yeah? Let me hear it.”

“That butte’s a beaut!”

“Every single person in this state has already come up with that one. You’re late to the party.”

“I’m late to the party!??” she exclaimed fearfully.

“Dreadfully late.”

“Then… how about this one! Among the world of Salmon, there’s a probably a very pretty Salmon girl named-”

“Salmonella,” I cut her off.


“Because you need to come up with puns that haven’t been thought up by everyone before.”

We finished climbing the stairs and made it to the second floor. I turned left into a hallway, as Lou followed suit. “Then,” she said, “How about this pun? These lady rabies babies have scabies!”

“That’s not a pun, that’s just a really frightening rhyme.”

“Tch! Then… how about THIS one?? My girlfriend has a rare biological mutation— I call her an assassin!”

“Was… Was that even… huh?? What’s the punchline?? Was that even a pun???”

“Oh jeez~ I really can’t believe you’re so uncreative you can’t understand the joke!”

“Why you…”

“Her rare biological mutation is that she has two butts. So, she’s an ‘assassin’.”

“You are the worst.” I understood the joke now, but… this is the kind of thing that’s so stupid that it calls for drastic action.

During my time dating Lou, there've been plenty of times when she’s said something ridiculous, and it’s been my job as the serious straight man to get her to stop being such an idiot. Come hell or high water, it’s always my job to say ‘shut up!’. Luckily, with three and a half months of practice with Lou, plus my entire life spent living with my Mom, I’ve devised a few strategies when it comes to responding to idiotic behavior.

① The first and most obvious option is to come up with a witty retort. This can be a simple, good strategy, but if you utilize it too heavily, it can cause the conversation to adopt a looping, maze-like structure, where the two of you get incessantly caught up in meaningless tangents. It also prolongs the conversation, and as someone who finds conversation innately boring, while I do utilize this method a lot, since it’s easy, there’s many times when it’s ill advised. Personally, I don’t see myself using this strategy right now, since we have a crime plan we’re supposed to be talking about soon, and I want Lou to get on with talking about it as quickly as possible while my Mom’s still at the store, where she can’t overhear us.

② Another strategy, this one being one of my favorites, perhaps even my signature move, is a karate chop to the face. It’s quick, violent, and shuts all idiocy up immediately. At least, that’s how it goes with Mom. However, as time has gone on, Lou’s become more adept at resisting this strategy. I know from firsthand experience that it’s possible a single karate chop to the face can place the two of us in an outright karate war. It’s an effective strategy, don’t get me wrong— it’s the type of strategy that turns a low-tier straight man into a high-tier one. But nowadays, it’s risky. Plus, I’m overly reliant on it. I think I need to change up my game to avoid becoming a one trick pony.

③ This third strategy is one I came up with not that long ago. Suddenly, and without warning, sweep Lou off her feet and hold her in a bridal carry. It’s effective because if you do it without warning, it puts Lou in a stunlock animation where she’s unable to function for five seconds. Given how forgetful and hyperactive Lou is, those mere five seconds are typically enough to completely derail her thoughts, and therein she’ll forget whatever idiotic thing she was saying.

I think I’ll go with number three.

Without warning, I placed one hand at Lou’s back and my other at the bend of Lou’s leg. Then, I pushed up at the bend of her leg, causing her back to fall onto my other hand. I quickly acclimated myself to her weight, and in no time at all Lou was in my hands.

“Aaa- Aaaa…” Lou was blushing intensely, and making noises that oddly reminded me of the type of noises anime girls make.

Bingo! I got the stunlock animation I wanted. Surely all her myriad thoughts about dumb puns will have left her gnoggin…

I’m being really stupid, aren’t I?

I’m acting exactly like the ridiculous people I normally play straight man to.

I’ve lost! I’ve lost to my own actions! Lou must’ve rubbed off on me… I’ve become what I sought to destroy.

“W- What are you doing?” Lou asked, still blushing.

“Playing the straight man,” I responded.

Lou’s blushing expression turned into something more cocky and smug (though she couldn’t hide all the pink in her face). “Straight man… What kind of straight man? You’re being so forceful~ Are you gonna do all sorts of straight things to me?”

④ Drop Lou onto the ground without hesitation or mercy. The benefit of this strategy is that it really really hurts.


I think most guys, upon knowing that their girlfriend would enter their bedroom for the first time, would probably tidy it up before letting their girl in. I, for whatever reason, didn’t even think to. I guess it’s because my bedroom isn’t really dirty in the first place. But, well, even by my own standards I’m not entirely sure if it’s the kind of thing I should be shamelessly presenting to my girlfriend.

I prefer my room to be completely dark, but since Lou was with me, I turned on the light for her to see.

“Woah…” she said.

There was a single bed, with a Spongebob blanket from when I was a kid that I hadn’t swapped out for anything more adult-like in all these years. The window was, of course, obscured entirely, covered by a blanket that was barely visible under layers of duct tape. There was a TV on the opposite end of the room from my bed, set atop a dresser, although the dresser had seen better days and the TV was the older, boxier type that was only meant to display things in 4:3 aspect ratio.

The walls were decorated… well, certainly not like a normal person. On one wall there was a large, rectangular picture frame, which contained two medals and a picture of my six year old self playing soccer. As you can imagine, I don’t play soccer anymore.

On the other wall was numerous oddball objects, including (but not limited to): a piece of sidewalk tile taped to the wall— a chain necklace hung on a nail which held a small, corked, glass bottle, a bottle which once contained soil and a plant growing inside, but which now held a spring and a screw— the first volume of A Sister’s All You Need, with a nail driven straight through Nayuta Kani's smiling face, which held the book up against the wall (despite the implications that come with driving a nail through a book, I quite liked the series a few years ago)— disparate game cartridges that I could no longer play due to their respective consoles breaking— and the unfinished rough draft of my very first novel, kept inside a picture frame on my wall, a draft that I truly wanted to throw away, but Mom begged me to keep it, and told me that what I had written was so good it deserved to be hung on a wall in a museum for posterity.

“It’s kinda shabby…” I said. “Most of this stuff, well, my younger self realized his room was empty, so he just took random bullshit and put it on the wall-”

“Your room actually has personality!” Lou exclaimed, her pupils ostensibly turning into stars. “I expected it to be all empty and drab and depressing, but it actually looks like someone lives here!”

“Oi, is that a compliment or not.” And… you actually like this shabby looking room!? That takes some optimism right there.

Lou leapt straight onto my bed, before hugging my blanket while kicking her legs back and forth. She put her nose against my blanket and sniffed. “Your bed smells like you!”

“Pervert,” I commented upon the sight before me. However, I couldn’t help but be a tad amused by Lou’s antics.

I lay down on the bed next to her, while she kept on cheerily rolling around on my bed, occasionally rolling right up against me. Every ten seconds or so, she’d let out in a sing-songy voice stuff like “I’m on Rocco’s bed! I’m in the same bed as Rocco!”. Meanwhile, I was thinking to myself “Idiot, it’s just a bed…”.

Until I remembered just how much weight a boy and a girl being in the same bed carries in society.

“Hey, Rocco, d’ya wanna plushie?”

“A plush of what?”

“I don’t know… something cute, I guess? Looking at your room, I have the urge to leave my own mark on it.”

“Leaving a mark, huh… Is that why you’re rolling around on my bed so much?”


“Leaving your scent, or something like that.”

“I didn’t think about it like that… BUT NOW THAT I HAVE-” Lou proceeded to roll around ten times faster than she had been previously. However, as little as a minute of this rolling around made Lou so dizzy she abruptly had to stop in order to gingerly press her arms against her stomach, with a deep wince on her face and a nauseated “Ow… That doesn’t feel good…”.

In response to this sight, I did what I usually did— hope that my mere presence and touch would make her feel better. I sat her up (I quite literally was the one to sit her up, I pulled her body into an upright position on my bed while she focused all her strength towards not puking), then sat criss-cross applesauce on my bed, lifted Lou onto my lap, and held her from behind.

After a couple minutes of this, Lou finally perked back up (she always does), then, from my lap, announced “It’s time to discuss the plan! From your lap! Because I refuse to move from here! It’s really comfy! And sexy!”

“I guess I don’t have any qualms with that.”

“So,” she began, “over the past few days, I’ve been working relentlessly— on a rough map of Stoneswan high!”

“Oooo, a map. I didn’t expect you to go that far.”

“On this map, I’ve also traced out the general path we ought to take during our mission, and most of the key details we need to keep in mind.”

“That’s surprisingly thorough of you.”

Lou… pulled the collar of her shirt away from her chest? Then reached her other hand in, seemed to rummage around for half a second, before withdrawing a piece of paper, folded in half quite a number of times.

“You put it in your bra??” I asked.

Even from behind, I could tell Lou’s face was turning its classic shade of red. “Well, you’re the only other person who’s going to be touching the map… And besides! This is our uber secret plan! It needs to be kept in the most secret of places. And also, my leggings don’t have pockets.”

“...But your hoodie does, right?”

“But my hoodie has really shallow pockets, so it could super easily fall out, and then we could get in huge trouble. It’s more secure in my bra.”

“...As much as I hate to say it, given the circumstances, it seems you putting the map in your bra was actually a tactically sound move.”

“Precisely!” She passed the slip of paper back to me, which I took. Don’t worry, I didn’t find handling the paper erotic or anything. It’s just paper.

I unfolded the map, and…

At the top, written in pink crayon, was a title. ‘Lou’s epic very secret map of secrets!’. Honestly, that title is less stupid than I expected.

But sure enough, upon the page was a rough map of the school, rendered primarily in blue ink. The details were sparse for the most part, with some sections of the map literally left blank, containing no specifics regarding what rooms or hallways may lie there.

However, the east side of the school— the part of the building that our plan primarily concerned— was filled out with all the details you could ever need; so detailed that it almost seemed excessive. These details included the position of what seemed to me like every single security camera on the east side of the campus. I’m saying this as someone who’s pulled off many-a petty crimes in the past… this is S class work, Lou.

On the east side of the building, done in red colored pencil, there was a line that extended from a spot in the fence surrounding the campus all the way to Misted Point, before doubling back to the fence. According to the map key on the bottom right corner of the page, this was the path we’d take when we did the graffiti.

“It was hard to get this map drawn,” Lou said. “I didn’t want any security footage in the building to capture me doing anything even remotely suspicious. Luckily, capturing all the precise details of Misted Point was easy, since there’s literally no security footage there. But everything else was really difficult to get down. I couldn’t add anything to the map, or even open the map, while on the security footage, cuz that’d be a lead. I always had to visit an area, then go to the restroom and draw everything by memory.”

“Woah…” I said. “Even I wouldn’t have covered my tracks that well. I probably would’ve just drawn the map wherever, regardless of if I was on the security cameras. And honestly, that probably would’ve done me in. This is like, actually stellar work.”

Lou gasped. “You praised me for once!”

“That makes me sound really awful…” Maybe I should praise her more often. “So according to the red line you drew, we’re entering from outside the school, then jumping the fence?”

“Yes. You said most of this a few days ago, but getting to Misted Point from the inside of the school isn’t viable if we’re going there to graffiti. I checked myself while drafting this map; everything up until that one insanely cramped hallway is captured by security footage. The entire field next to Misted Point is also captured by security footage, at least from what I can tell by eyeballing it. The school higher ups may not be able to deduce what exactly is going on in Misted Point at any given time, but they are able to deduce who exactly is in Misted Point at any given time. Since we can only graffiti the place if we’re the only ones in Misted Point, well, that right there means we’d be 100% done-so.

“So, we can’t go through the school. Well, theoretically, we shouldn’t be able to go through the field either, since I literally just said it’s also covered by security cameras. But… if there was a way to obscure our identities, it wouldn’t matter if the security cameras captured us, now, would it?

“Of course, we can’t walk through the school during the day with the kind of getup that’d completely obscure our identities. We’d attract tons of attention. And going through the school at night would be more effort than it’s worth— they probably have some kind of anti-burglary system. Similarly, we can’t jump the fence and do the deed during the day. We’d just be too visible, plus, considering how often people go to Misted Point, we’d probably have witnesses.

“So, that leaves us with one option.” Lou turned herself around on my lap, putting herself in the sort of position that should’ve frankly put my mind straight into the gutter. However, with my low libido, it didn’t really affect me much. And Lou… well, she should’ve thought of it in a dirtier way, really. She was facing towards me on my lap. But no… she was caught up in the plan!

She pointed her finger towards me and declared “We’ll enter from outside the school at night!”

I referenced the map again. The red line took you from a road outside the school, over the fence, across the field next to Misted Point, up to the wall, then doubled back. A very simple route. I gave her an equally simple reply. “Makes sense to me.” That road seems like it might be an issue… if any cars were driving by, we might be visible to them. But overall, Lou’s plan seemed like the best option.

“You’ll be responsible for bringing the spray paint. I’ll get us the stuff we need to obscure our identities.”

I gave her a salute. “Aye-aye, cap’n.”

Suddenly, Lou blushed. I think she finally realized what sort of position we were in. If this were an anime, my Mom would walk in on us right about now.

And that’s precisely when my Mom walked in on us!

…Just kidding.

We continued hashing out the details of the plan for the next while, though I didn’t disagree with Lou even once— she really is good at this. We also did so in a position that didn’t risk an anime walk-in scene.

After about a half hour, Mom came home, and we both learned what she had gone out to buy…

A thank you card for Lou. As thanks for dating her son.

Good ol’ ② was a great help in responding to this turn of events. Really, a thank you card… Were you that desperate to grow the Fey family?

Lou hung out at my place for a while longer after that. At first, Lou was pretty reserved around my Mom. I don't blame Lou for that; Mom is rather eccentric. But Lou is also eccentric, and eccentrics love to chat it up with other eccentrics. So, they hit it off in no time.

She and Mom had a good long talk about the Monogatari series, luckily a topic I could talk with them about, before they moved on to talking about their favorite reverse-harem manga, unluckily a topic I was clueless about.

Although, I think this is worth mentioning: although Lou and Mom hit it off, and although Lou was no longer reserved around my Mom after a while, the words Lou spoke to my Mom had a stiff and oddly formal quality to them. Perhaps she's trying to leave a good impression on her.

Then, it was time for Lou to leave. I kissed her goodbye (which nearly gave my Mom a heart attack when she saw it) and just like that, Lou was gone.

Until the very next day.

Sunday. The dead of night.

My driveway would be used as the meet-up place— from which we would depart for Mullburg, and Stoneswan High.

Spray paint in hand.