Chapter 11:

Episode 11- Water Park

My Friend is a Harem Protagonist [Short]

July 25th, A warm summer day

After the school overnight trip we celebrated Aoi’s birthday. We also celebrated Toshi’s back in May. Each was their own event but ones that I didn't participate in too much. With those events behind us we all focused hard on Finals.

I had met with Himiko multiple times throughout the month to look at career paths, we also would study together. Izumi would join us from time to time, turns out she was good at math and literature but struggled just about everywhere else. After our studying came to an end she managed to pass.

Surprisingly I placed in the top twenty of the students, an event that had me at a loss. Himiko got first of course, none of the others got very high, but everyone passed. I just couldn't get over my score for the rest of the day. It made sense, I was studying with Himiko and tutoring Izumi so I probably took in the knowledge better then when I studied alone.

Now, It was summer vacation. School would resume at the start of September, which gave us a little over a month to do what we wanted.

However, that wasn't exactly the case. This was our third year, everyone was studying hard for college at this point. Daichi was behind where he wanted to be, he had to get his science grade up to get into any school he was looking into, so he began to work even harder while also improving his all around grades. I had helped him over the last few days which was nice since he got me food in return for it.

Aoi was working with her mom while trying to make sure she kept her grades up enough to graduate. Toshi was focused on her English since it may be required in the future. Toshi also was distracted with Baseball since they were having games still, ones that we all made time to go to. It was still a long way off from the full on tournament that was happening in March but it was a good way for them to test the opponents abilities.

Maeko was also studying but her grades were enough to pass into the college she wanted, so she spent most of her time with her father learning about the business and different aspects. It was nice to see the two getting along now.

Saki was always struggling, she got too distracted by the piles of books at home and in the library. I would often find her in a cafe studying to avoid such distractions. I had faith in her, though from what I understand they all were having a study session every few days, I only wanted to attend one of them.

With my own summer homework completed I was able to enjoy the heat of summer. Cicadas chirped loudly, not as loud as most video games would make you believe but still loud enough. I stood outside the train station, a backpack resting on my shoulder. I was early of course, It was only gentlemanly for me to be.

I may have been an hour early but that's besides the point. Once the clock struck twenty minutes early, Kioko came into view. She wore a sundress decorated with a bamboo design. My voice caught in my throat at her appearance, she looked cute as hell!

“You're early.” Kioko said, approaching me. She had a bagin her hand, probably had everything she needed for this excursion.

“Hello pot i'm kettle.” I said, offering my hand to her.

She laughed and shook it. “Ready to go?”

“Train won't be here for another thirty minutes.” I said. “Wanna get something to eat?”

“It's not a good idea to eat before going in a pool, what about a drink?” Kioko said, pointing at a nearby coffee shop.

“Sure, however it's a thirty minute train ride, and we won't get in the pool right away so we will digest whatever we eat before then.” I informed her.

“Maybe I don't want to eat yet.” Kioko stated.

“Then why didn't you say so?” I rebuked as we walked.

“Fair point, I concede this time.” Kioko said with a smile.

We were going to a water park, plans we made at Kioko’s house before the overnight trip. Aside from Aoi’s party, I hadn't seen her since then. We often would call each other to catch up on what's going on with each other, its became a habit at this point to call her every night.

She told me about her trip to Kyoto and even brought me a souvenir, which I returned the favor with one I got her in Okinawa. They both were keychains, unplanned but great. The Kyoto keychain, which was of the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, was on my school bag. The Okinawa chain was a seashell that was apparently on Kioko’s school bag.

“What do you think?” Kioko said, waving her hands over her dress. I took notice of the sandals she was wearing at this point.

“You look good, it suits you well.” I said boldly.

Kioko’s face turned a bright red. “You look good too.” She said, looking over my outfit.

“Why thank you.” I said as we entered the coffee shop.

I took my coffee with cream and a small amount of sugar. Kioko got more sugar than cream. After chit chatting about whatever popped in our heads we headed to the station and boarded our train. It wasn't very busy, a bonus of going on a monday, so me and Kioko got to sit together without many people nearby to bother us.

We sat with our backs to the windows but watched from the otherside of the train as the world passed us by. Kioko had her shoulder to mine, sitting closer than she needed to since there was so much room. I didn't mind really, so I just went with it.

“So you ready for this trip?” Kioko asked, looking over the group chat we have.

She was referring to the trip to the mountains that we would be doing. We would be staying at Maeko’s dads twentieth vacation house. There wouldn't be any staff there so it was all ours on the condition that we cleaned it when we arrived and left.

“Yeah, I think it'll be fun.” I said, peeking at the texts from over her shoulder. I didn't want to pull out my phone and have both of us degrade into playing with them instead of talking to each other.

“I have some plans.” Kioko said. She copied the address of the house that we would be staying at and put it into a gps. “Looks like the nearest town is a little ways away, maybe we could send some of them to get snacks or something after we clean?”

“Cleaning can also be an opportunity.” I said. “Who should we send?”

“For cleaning I think Daichi and Maeko. For snacks, Daichi and Saki.” Kioko said.

“Good idea, Saki does better in places where the rest can't interrupt. Plus it gives her time to work out what she wants to say.” I said with a nod.

“Exactly.” Kioko said. “By the way, how did the study group go the other day?”

“They were more focused on studying, which is good.” I answered. Kioko had missed the session I had gone to, whereas I missed the others usually. “I think Daichi and Aoi made some progress but god only knows.”

Kioko nodded, then her eyes widened as if she just realized something. “Herre, say cheese.” She held up her phone, the front camera showing a reflection of the two of us. I obliged and let her take the picture. “Look how cute we look.” Kioko laughed, showing me the picture. “I'll send it to you.”

I had found out that Kioko was big on capturing moments, so she wanted to take pictures with everyone. I felt my phone ding from the text coming to me and we began to chit chat again.

The waterpark was only a short walk away from the station, so we walked. Once we arrived we split off to change and store our stuff in the lockers we got. I changed quickly and headed out into the main park. However, even though I changed very quickly, Kioko had beaten me there. I wasn't even out of the doorway of the locker room when I froze in place.

Kioko wore a maroon colored two piece. The lower half was more of a skirt, loose enough to give mobility. Her top half highlighted her bust in a way that made me realize my assessment of her when I first saw her was off, she rated a high C or low D. Her body looked soft and light, she looked amazing.

Kioko stared back at me for a moment, looking me over. After she was done she locked eyes with me. Panic surged up my body, how long was I staring?

“You look good.” Kioko said, her cheeks a bright red. “I didn't know you had abs.”

“Oh, a little.” I said, looking at my stomach. It wasn't too clear but yes I had them. “You look stunning.” I said without thinking.

Kioko’s eyes widened. “Well, let's get in the water, your face is getting red, you gotta be hot right?”

“Mine, look in a mirror lady!” I rebuked.

“What, I'm not as red as you are!” Kioko stated. “I wish I had brought my phone.” She said under her breath.

We walked to a nearby pool and cooled off. We just floated on the water together, breathing to calm our minds. I shot a look over at her. The way she was relaxing was nice, her eyes closed, releasing small breaths through her lips, the tips of her hair floating on the water's surface.

I plunged my head in water to clear it.

Kioko dragged me up a set of stairs. It was a water slide. I held a two person floaty in one hand, hers in the other. It wasn't holding hands, she just pulled my wrist as we climbed higher and higher. Her eyes were alight in excitement.

Once we reached the top I made the mistake of looking down. I am not afraid of heights, however being on this thin platform so high up made me feel uneasy. The person who was running the slide checked to make sure the people that went down before us had moved out of the way before letting us place our tube.

Kioko sat in the front and I took the back, it was at the moment I realized there were no hand holds. The guy told me to hold onto Kioko so neither of us fell off. I wrapped my arms around her stomach and suddenly Kioko straightened up. The guy pushed us into the tunneled slide and we began to descend rapidly.

As the force of the slide began to hit me, I felt Kioko grab hold of my arms and pull them into her stomach tightly. She must have been afraid of me letting her go, as such I tightened my hold just enough to let her know I wouldn't let her go. She didn't let go though, she held my arms as if I would fly away if she didn't.

The end came suddenly, a crash of water enveloping the two of us. We sat on the tube, the current pushing us away from the slide. Kioko didnt loosen her grip, she just held me, facing forward.

“That was fun.” I said with a laugh.

“Wanna go again?” Kioko said, not looking back at me.

“If you want to sure.”

Kioko immediately flipped our tube over and began to pull me back towards the stairs. I swiftly grabbed the tube. We rode that slide three more times after that before we both felt a little tired from the adrenaline.

We traded out our double tube for two single ones and floated on a river that ran along the entire park. I laid with my butt in the water along with my hands and feet. Kioko matched my pose and we just drifted together. It wasn't packed today, so we would pass others at some points but mostly were left alone.

“I'm glad we came.” Kioko said, staring up at the ceiling of the water park, a dome that kept out the elements.

“Yeah, this was a lot of fun.” I said, looking at her. Her tube turned just as mine did, however at this moment it gave me a strange view so I titled my head sharply upwards.

Kioko was silent for a moment. “Have you figured out what you were doing after high school?”

My eyes widened. “What?”

“Well, you got in the top twenty of your finals right?” Kioko said. “It seems like you could do just about anything. Have you picked something yet?”

I remained quiet for a moment. “Not yet.” I admitted.

“I see.” Kioko said. “That's okay. I'm sure you will get there.”

I felt a moment of haze. Looking with Himiko wasn't going well, she told me once summer vacation was over we would work on something different but hadnt gone into detail. I sulked for a moment before I felt my hand pulled up from the water.

I looked over to see Kioko holding my hand in hers. She looked at it with interested eyes. We had only one day to let her draw me, which was before Aoi’s party, so she probably was just looking for details.

Yet the way she held it, her fingers intertwined with mine, made me feel all fuzzy. It was like the haze dissipated suddenly. She tugged on my hand, pulling my tube closer to hers.

“You were starting to drift off.” Kioko said. “I don't feel like getting up, so I will just hold onto you, is that okay?”

“Sure thing.” I said shyly. Of course, this river was wide and had branching paths so it made sense. And so, we floated along, hand in hand.

After we started to feel very prunish we decided to get some food. Hot dogs and chips were great, something about a hot dog from these places hit different.

“My dad likes to do cookouts.” Kioko said. “You should come.”

“Really?” I said. “I would like to meet your dad, I didn't see him last time I was over.”

“Once school starts again he will have them more.” Kioko said. “He doesn't like to distract me from my studies. I would like to invite everyone over sometime. I think it would be fun to do that together.”

“I'm all for it.” I said. “Just let me know when and I'll make time.”

Kioko smiled. “I am glad I met everyone you know?”

I looked at her, she was looking at the table with a smile covering her face. She was looking past the table into the past.

“At first they all seemed like weirdos, but once we got to hang out more I really started to like them all.” Kioko said. “Then I met you, and we have become a lot closer recently, it makes me happy that I hung around those four weirdos.”

I gave her a warm smile. “I'm glad I met everyone I have.” I said, Kioko raising her eyes to look at me.

“Oh!” Kioko said suddenly, breaking our gaze. “You guys are having sports day in September right? Isn't that later than usual?”

“Yeah a little.” I said. “Usually they do it the first semester but they pushed it off till September.”

Kioko nodded. “Oh, my school doesnt do a cultural festival, but we have something similar in October, it's like a charity event to raise funds for community projects. You should come.”

“That's odd, why don't you have a festival?” I asked.

“Well, it's a private school.” Kioko said. “And since it's all girls they don't want random creepers coming onto the school grounds.”

“Fair enough.” I said. “Our cultural festival is on March 10th thru the twelfth.”

“Woh a three day event!” Kioko said excitedly. “I'm excited to go.”

“Yeah, its about two weeks before graduation. And a week before Koshien.” I said.

“For real?” Kioko said. “So if Toshi makes it to Koshien will she even be able to participate in the festival?”

“She could probably do something small.” I said. “Though probably nothing too big. Hopefully they make it, her and Ren have been working so hard for this.”

“The tourney is in September right?” Kioko asked.

“Yep, normally it's in the summer but it got pushed off a bit. Qualifiers go to the end of September and into October. Though Finals are in March.” I explained, I took the time to learn about the schedule.

Kioko looked so excited. “I have to go to every game! Toshi works so hard I just have to! It's so exciting!”

“Yeah I know right!” I said, her excitement intoxicating. “We should go together, we could all cheer them on.”

Kioko nodded her head swiftly. “Man there is so much coming up.”

I agreed. After eating we decided to head back, the sun was beginning to set. Kioko took a bit longer to come out from the changing room, so I met her outside. We rode the train. She was closer this time, she leaned her head on my shoulder because she was tired.

“We should do stuff like this more often.” Kioko said tiredly.

“I'm all for it.” I said, enjoying the train ride.

“Great, let's plan something for the fall.” Kioko said happily. “Oh and you gotta come over more.”

Once we got off the train I walked with Kioko to the bike rack that I had not noticed. She unchained her bike and pulled it free. It was now dark out, the sun gone over head.

“Want me to walk you home?” I asked.

Kioko’s eyes widened. “Yes please.”

The walk was nice. The summer breeze blew away the heat, and we walked shoulder to shoulder. We talked about nothing in particular, just whatever we wanted to. Before I knew it, we were at her house.

“Thanks for today.” Kioko said, putting the bike behind the gate of her house.

“Thank you for joining me, I had alot of fun.” I said with a smile.

“Me too.” Kioko said. She stepped close to me. “So, lets make the most of this last year of school okay? I want to make lots of great memories with you and everyone.”

I smiled. “Of course, lets do that.”

Kioko smiled, then began to lean forward towards me.

“Oh Kioko, your home!” Came the voice of Kioko’s mother.

Kioko froze in place. Frustration covered her face as she turned towards her mom.

“Y-Yep I'm home.” Kioko said, a sound of defeat in her voice, why was that?

Kioko’s mom paused as she took in the scene. “I'm so sorry. Hi Riku, it's nice to see you again! You took care of Kioko, right?”

“Yes ma'am” I said. “I should be going, I will see you later Kioko.”

“Oh um yeah, I guess so.” Kioko said, looking annoyed. “I'll see you later.”

“By Riku!” Kioko’s mother said as I began to turn away to leave. “Come by anytime, you're always welcome.”

As I walked the dark streets I stared up at the stars. The summer triangle high overhead. I wondered how this year would be. I want it to be a good year, I can't deny it's been fun so far. What about after graduation? I felt the haze coming on again, until I remembered the feeling of Kioko’s hand in mine.

I stopped and looked at my empty hand. Why did I think it was empty? Was it because it felt like I was missing something? I took a breath before continuing on. I didn't know where my future would lead me, but I felt like I was on track for some reason.

Oh yay I get to do a preview thanks Riku. Hello, Kioko here for the next Episode preview. The mountain air is refreshing, and this summer house is huge! I'm excited to spend the weekend with Riku and everyone. Of course, I have some plans to help get these girls and Daichi closer, just gotta use a fake urban legend. Next time, Meetings on the Hill. Riku wanna get some bobba?