Chapter 42:

My Crush has Shown Up in the Most Unexpected Place. [Vol. 2 END]

My Dad is an Otaku, My Mom is a Fujoshi, and I Wish I Was Dead

How did I wind up here?

When my dad first brought up the idea of a beach trip, I was super excited, but no one told me I would have to play third wheel to Niichan and Ayame Shiritori. I think it's the most uncomfortable I've been all year.

It's mainly her that's the problem. In the car on the way here, she would not stop talking (it was especially bad when we switched drivers out halfway and Mom ended up sitting next to her), and she kept calling me Kaede-chan the whole time like we're besties or something and when we got to the campground she was staring way too much in the changing room and it freaked me out so bad that I had to change in a bathroom stall instead. As soon as she saw me in my swimsuit I swear she was drooling. Then she kept going on about how cute it was and kept trying to get me to play volleyball or go have a splash fight or something. I thought beach trips were supposed to be fun, but this is stressful.

And then there's Niichan. I spent weeks looking for swimsuits and reading magazines and blogs seeing what's "in" this summer and asking my friends for advice on what would look best on me and I spent my entire allowance on it- this one even came with gel inserts in the...uhh...chest area. And what does he say when he sees me? Not "Wow, that looks good on you" or anything you'd expect a polite, caring brother to say...he goes "put some more clothes on", like some old priest. He had no problem with Shiritori baring her shoulders and stomach but the second I show more than an ankle it's too far.

Then I get "saved" by her and she goes "I think you look good." Does she not realize how humiliating and patronizing it is when a dead-average girl gets told she's cute by someone as pretty as Shiritori? It's like the Prime Minister complimenting you on your job. The worst part is that she's probably not doing it on purpose- she's just clueless.

I wanted to beat Ayame Shiritori today. I went to all this trouble and Niichan won't say a word to me. All he does is look at her.

Stupid Niichan.

Wait, that sounded weird. I'm not trying to hit on my brother, okay? I swear.

Of course he wouldn't say anything to me. It would be beyond creepy for an older brother to tell his little sister she looks hot. I just wanted his attention, is all. I wanted to spend more time with him but whenever Shiritori's there he can't take his eyes off her.

I mean...Niichan got concerned and overprotective when he saw me, so maybe that's his way of telling me I looked cute. I wish he would be more honest with his feelings sometimes.


I really wish my friends were here. Saya's in Kochi and Miku's in Okinawa, and both of them are probably having way more fun than me. They promised me we'd go on a trip someday. Having them here would make it a lot less awkward. It's already bad enough being on the beach with Shiritori flirting with Niichan- I'm dreading having to share a cabin with those two tonight. I hope they'll have the decency to leave if they want to go make out. I know Niichan's considerate enough to not do anything with me in the room, but I'm worried about Shiritori.

Hold on. Both of them have told me that there's nothing between them, to my face. I shouldn't be getting so concerned...but if they're not dating, they're doing a really good job of acting like they are. Niichan was definitely about to cop a feel back there. I saw enough to realize what was going on.

That's why I've gotten myself out of the way. I said I was just going to buy shaved ice, but I think I'll take my time.

The little shack at the edge of the campground is rickety, and looks like it's taken 20 years of rain damage, but there's nothing blocking the door and no signs saying "closed".

As I hesitantly approach, the door swings open and a little boy and girl run out, one holding a model airplane, laughing at the top of their lungs. They didn't even realize I was there- if I had been just a bit closer, the door would have hit me in the face!

Relax. They're just kids.

The doorbell jingles when I walk in. I say jingle, but it's more like a dull tap.


I know that voice.

There's a guy with his back to me behind the counter. "What can I get for you?"

"Uh, a small strawberry milk shaved ice, and a large Blue Hawaii-"

The guy working the counter turns around and it's him.

"Anything else for you?"


I'm so shocked, I can't get any words out. It's that guy! The guy on my brother's karate team who was super nice and good-looking!

"What are you doing here?!" I sputter out.

"I work here, ma'am. My uncle owns this whole campground. Would you like to order something?"

"I…I don’t know if you remember me…but…we go to school together! You know, I was lost that one time, and you helped me...uh..."

He scratches his chin. He looks even hotter when he's deep in thought.

"Sorry, who are you?" he says with a vacant smile.

Has he really forgotten all about me?

There goes my confidence.


Before I can finish, he cuts me off. "Kaede Kouga from Shinchoushi Middle School Class 2-3, 14 years old, little sister to a very, very pissy onii-chan."

"Wha- wha- how did you...You knew all along?!"

"Duh. I'm not stupid." He shrugs his broad shoulders. "Haru mentioned he had a sister before and she went to Shinchou and the only other girl that would have cared enough about him to ask me if he was doing okay is Ayappi and you're not her, so you had to be his sister. I asked him about you and he looked like he was gonna kill me."

"Why'd you pretend like you didn't know who I was?"

"Because it was funny to watch you get all confused."

"Oh, shut up." I don't know why boys think it's funny to do stuff like that. "You haven't even properly introduced yourself."

"Oh. Sorry." Suddenly, he puts his hands together in a heart shape and grins. "I'm Moe-Moe Tatsumi, bringing a smile to your heart (and to my wallet)~"

Oh, for the love of- That was him too?!

I regret EVER thinking this guy was attractive!

"That's not funny, you jerk!"

"I think it's hilarious, personally. You should have seen the look on your face when you saw Haru in the- pffffffffft-" He finally can't hold back his laughter any longer.

"If you think this is what passes for customer service, I'll take my business elsewhere-"

"Sorry, miss. Tatsurou Aikawa, high school class 1-1. Pleased to make your acquaintance." This time, he smiles for real. He's really handsome when he does that. Yeah, he may have a rotten personality, but he's super cute.

So that's this guy's name. Tatsurou, Tatsurou- sounds a bit old-fashioned, but it's a pretty name.

"What are you doing out here, anyways?" he asks me. "It's a bit out of the way."

"It was my parents' idea. I have no idea why they chose this place."

"Parents?" He cocks his head again and his shaggy bleached hair snaps to the side. "You don't your brother here too?"


He gets a devilish grin on his face. "Maybe I'll pop down and scare him tonight or something."

"You'd probably get Shiritori-san by mistake."

"No way!" His dark eyes widen and his jaw drops just a tiny bit. "Ayappi's here too? Wait a minute...are you chaperoning their date?"

He must have seen me look off indignantly, because his voice softens. "Must be awkward for you, too. According to Ayappi, they're just friends, but it's pretty obvious to me." He looks out toward the window in the kitchen area. "My great-grandma could see it, and she's blind, and she's also dead."

He put it so perfectly that I can't really say anything back to him, so all I do is nod and mutter "Yeah."

"Seriously, that Haru..." He scratches the back of his head. "He let his little sister walk here alone in that skimpy's like he wants you to get hit on by every pickup artist on the beach."

What is with both of them acting like I'm walking around naked or something? There were at least 20 smaller bikinis in just the store I went to, and that's not even getting into the internet.

"I'll wear whatever I like, thank you very much!"

"Chill out," he sighs. "I'm saying you look so cute that all the players won't be able to look away."

I can't think. I feel like my brain just exploded. He said I looked cute! He really said it!

"You really mean that? My swimsuit looks cute?"

"Yeah. And you do, too."

"Wha-" My face is burning.

"Heh. You're red. You're just like him, you know."

He said I was cute and he's so handsome ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod-

Suddenly, he nervously says, "Don't tell Haru I said that. If he found out he'd stab me."

"Wasn't planning on it." Believe me, I have no reason to tell Niichan. If he wants to flirt with Shiritori and then act like nothing's going on, I can make him sweat a little bit, too.

Wait a minute. Flirting? Does this guy really like me or is he just being nice to his friend's sister?

"Weren't you gonna order something, by the way?"

"Oh! Right!" I had completely forgotten about that! Niichan's probably wondering where I am now. "Two shaved ices, one strawberry milk in the smallest size, and one large Blue Hawaii."

"Coming right up, ma'am!"

It doesn't matter whether he likes me or is just being polite. His smile is divine either way.

Pope Evaristus
Steward McOy