Chapter 1:

Act I

Lonesome Company

“I’m sorry Anna! We can no longer meet again!”

“Why Paul?! Was it me?! Did I do something wrong?!”

“No… I’m the problem… I’m sorry!”

“Paul! Where are you going?!”

“CUT!” The director yelled out as he brings his right hand up.

“Haah… haah…”

            I head towards a nearby chair and sat down whilst trying to catch my breath. Then, one of the club members; Yui, comes up to me with a water bottle.

“Thanks for your hard work, Hideaki.” She says as she hands me a water bottle.

“Thanks for the hard work.” I said as I down my water bottle in one go.

            I’m genuinely surprised we had to do twenty-four takes for that one scene alone. Pretty much just a display on how mediocre my acting abilities are.

“Everyone, gather up in five!” The club leader shouts out. He’s also the same person that is directing our project.

            The sun is quickly setting down, painting the concrete floor and its surroundings in orange, as all of the camera and lighting crew starts packing up their utilities.

“Hey Nakamura, can you grab our tripods?” One of the camera men shouts out.

“A-Alright, I’ll get it for you.” Nakamura said as he timidly grabs the tripod that was used to record my final scene.

            The club president then shouts out to everyone to gather up for a quick briefing. The briefing was only talking about what we’ll be doing for next week, where it’ll be shot, and what time we’ll meet up.

“Once again, thank you everyone for your hard work!” The club president bows.

“Thanks for your hard work!” Everyone said in unison as all of us bows down.

“To celebrate the end of our second act, let’s go for a drink!” The club president enthusiastically proclaimed.

“LET’S GOOOO!” Most of the crew members shouts out.

            Obviously, some of the members told the president that they have to skip out for today, so it’s not as if everyone in the group is going to an Izakaya. Right as I thought of it, the club president that has a relatively wide build with his long hair tied in a bun comes up to me, and wraps his left arm around my shoulder.


“Of course, you’ll be coming right, Tomio?” The president asks in a chipper tone.

“Obviously!” I said enthusiastically.

“That’s my Tomio! Alright everyone! You guys can all go ahead and wait for me at the gates.”

“Okaay!” Everyone in the group member exclaimed, as all of them starts walking towards the gate talking to each other enthusiastically.

“…” I put my right hand on my left shoulder…

‘I don’t even remember your name, and you’re calling me by my first…’

              I slightly clench my right hand on my left shoulder.

“Watanabe, Tanaka, Nakamura, can you guys help me bring take those lightings back?” The club president asks.

“Sure.” All three of them exclaimed.

            Each four of them starts helping each other out, while I pack my bags and joined along my group of friends; Takahashi, Sugiura, Furukawa, and…

‘What’s his name again?’

“You’re amazing Hideaki! It’s hard to believe that you’re still new to this with that performance!” Furukawa exclaimed in sheer glee.

“T-Thank you, but I think you’re giving me too much credit… Hahaha…” I said whilst my eyes goes back and forth from looking at her and the floor.

“Sure, it’s pretty good, but for an amateur level that is,” Takahashi said, suddenly barging in on our conversation.

“When compared to you at least,” I replied.

“That’s right Haruki! You really don’t have to be that mean you know. Hideaki has only been doing this for three months. If anything, you should praise him.” The girl that is clinging onto Takahashi’s right arm, Sugiura interjects.

“Then go ahead and praise him yourself,” Takahashi replied while sulking.

“You know my praises won’t mean anything to Hideaki, right? The only thing I do is making sure that the properties are available.” Sugiura blankly explained.

“That’s not true Sugiura. It’s rare to get praises, so of course I’d be happy whoever gives them.” I replied, bringing up my tone of voice.

“Don’t you even try to give him praises Kana.” Takahashi interjects.

“But you just said that I should praise him instead!” Sugiura replied.

“Shut it! I take back everything I said.” Takahashi said while he pulls the arm that Sugiura is holding closer to him.

“Hmmm? You’re pretty cute when you’re jealous Haruki.” Sugiura said with a smug.

“Shut up…” Takahashi said while his face slightly turns red.

            Then the person that has been munching on gums, and keeping both of his hands inside of his pocket says,

“At least Hideaki is improving a lot faster than you. If you keep flirting like this, he’ll eventually catch up to you, you know?” The guy next to Sugiura said with a blank expression on his face.

“What’d you say Akio?!” Takahashi said as he smacked his head.

‘Oh right. It’s Higuchi Akio…’ I thought to myself.

“Harukii~! Smack my head instead!” Sugiura exclaimed.

“Kana, don’t let your masochism run wild now. We’re still in public.” Furukawa says as she looks at the quarrel.

‘…Should I even be here?’

            All of these people are nice and considerate, but I wonder what this feeling is about. It’s true that I was technically the one that barged into their circle, but why do they feel so much more further away, even though they’re clearly right in front of me?

‘Still can’t believe that I’m still having a hard time remembering names.’

“Thank you for waiting!”

“Uaaah!” I yelled out.

            An arm is wrapped around my shoulder before I realized it, and my back feels super heavy. I want him to get off of me, but I also don’t want to make him mad over something like this.

'I wish I can just say what’s in my mind!’ I yelled out in my head.

“Is everyone here? If so, let’s go!” The club president yelled out at a size of a megaphone’s volume.

“Ow!” I yelped, with my right ear ringing.

            In the end, the club president forcibly dragged me along the way towards the Izakaya.



            Everyone in the room hit their glass of beer in unison, producing a sound that resonates throughout the room with a cling.

“Go on, eat eat!” The club president yelled out.

            An arrangement of luscious cuisines spreads throughout the table. It’s pretty surprising how the club president is willing to pay for the entire meal.

‘I really don’t want to be here…’

            I bring up my glass of beer into my mouth, only to be assaulted with a sharp feeling of bitterness, leaving a bad aftertaste in my mouth.

‘How can people even drink this?’

           I washed down that after taste by eating on the tonkotsu, tamagoyaki, and rice with some miso soup. I look to my right, where Furukawa and her friends are talking about their entire life in University, the kinds of works that they have to do, and how stressful the club is for them. Even though Higuchi and Takahashi shrugs it off as not that big of a deal.

‘To be fair, they’ve been doing it for a while. It’s pretty much second nature to them…’

“Oiii, Hideakiii.”

“Ahh, what’s up?” I said in a high pitch tone.

“You’ve been pretty quiet for a while. Are you okay?” Furukawa asked frowning.

“What are you talking about? I’m doing better than ever!” As I said that, I grabbed my glass of beer that I’ve barely touched and downed half of its glass in one go.

“Baahh~! So good!” I yelled out.

“WOOOO, that’s Tomio for you!” The club president interjects.

‘Please don’t throw it out body!’

             Something is rising towards my mouth, but I consciously forced myself to not let it out. Although the one saving grace is that my stomach seems to be accepting it. For some reason, everyone starts to ramp up their enthusiasm, and the entire place starts bustling louder than ever.

“Hey Nakamura, can you call over the waiter here?” The club president yells out.


            Nakamura calls out to the waitress, and some of the students starts ordering new glasses.

“Hey Hideaki, want a refill?” One of the club members asks,

“Oh no worries, I’ll get a refill when I feel like it.” I said enthusiastically.

“If you say so man. Cheers everyone!” He says, as he brings up his glass of beer towards the middle of the table.





            I threw myself on my bed, my body feeling as if it’s going to implode if I even move an inch.

“God dang it… I need the bathroom again...”

           Suddenly, my phone that’s in my pocket starts vibrating. I dig through my pocket, to find that there’s two messages that came from my mom that was sent two hours ago, and the recent notification was from a VidShare video of a cover song from a virtual creator. I overlooked that notification, and opened my mom’s text messages.

“Is everything okay hon? Are you eating properly? Are you taking care of yourself properly?” And the other one says,

“Also, are you going to visit us this winter break?” The message ends there.

“I’m doing okay mom. You don’t need to worry.” I replied to her text message.

“Also, I should be able to visit until finals are over, which should be around the third week of December.” I typed, following up my first text.

            The message then has a “read” sign pop up next to two of my texts. Then a minute later, my mom replied to the first text that I typed out,

“Are you really okay? I know it’s only text messages, but I don’t really get the feeling that you’re alright.”


            Am I really okay, huh… Honestly speaking, I’m not sure either. I think I’m more surprised at the fact that my mom can even detect something like that.

“I really am. You worry too much, you know?” I replied.

“Is that so?” My mom replied.

“Yeah, everything is okay.” I said with a smiley emoji next to it.

“I’ll just have to trust you then. You should sleep. It’s late you know.” Mom replied.

            I look at the time on my phone that shows that it’s 12:30am right now.

”Okay. Good night mom.”

“Good night dear.” My mom replied.

“Wow… How long was I out there?” I muttered to myself.

            As if on cue, I started yawning the moment I looked at the time. Tomorrow’s a Saturday, so I think sleeping without needing to shower should be fine. I’m also too tired and bloated to change out of my clothes, so might as well sleep like this. It’s not like there’s anyone out there that’s going to judge what I do.

            I’m really living an adult life huh? I didn’t even realize on how much time would be lost by being like this. I should at least be grateful over the fact that weekends won’t be as busy as any other week. Still though,

“God, I wish I could at least finish it…”

            Before my eyes falls into the deep abyss, the last thing I saw was a poster that’s hanging above my computer with a hand drawn girl in a mage-like outfit posing with a staff that’s aiming towards the sky.