Chapter 3:

Interlude: Seize The Chance

Love, Manga & Blackmail: A Secret Otaku's Countdown To Romance!

“Look, at her... She’s definitely a nerd!”

“Heh, stupid Otakus!”

My name is Hayasaka Ichika, and believe it or not I’ve almost always lived a life of unjust discrimination. Being called otaku left, and nerd right, my high school days seemed to drag on endlessly, in the same monotonous routine.

Was it my nerdy glasses? Or the anime keychain strapped on my backpack?

Did it matter, though?

The answer was no, I didn’t particularly mind that routine. Neither did I mind that I didn’t have many friends at school. Or that I wasn’t popular.

I’ve never had many people understand me in the first place, anyway.

I just lived my school days in a solemn, comfortable peace.

Yet even that had to change one day.

The day my father, who’s been working abroad since I was a child, came back home.

And despite what one could have imagined in terms of a tearful, heartwarming family reunion, was cut short and abrupt by none other than the guest of honor himself.

“Ichika dear, you still haven’t found a boyfriend, I presume?”

My father spoke, resting his head on his fist, as he leaned against the armchair.

“Eh?” I couldn’t utter a word in response to that ridiculous question.

“This won’t do…” With a shake of his head, a sigh escaped through his parted lips.

My mother always mentioned how old-fashioned he was, and judging from my latest memories of him and from the few visits through the years, I indeed remembered that to be true. But even so, I still could never fortify myself for what he was about to say to me.

“You’re already at a very tender age, Ichika. If this keeps up, you’ll never find the person for you.”

“Father…? What do you mean?” I couldn’t fully comprehend what he was suggesting, so I slightly furrowed my brows at him.

“Haah…” With another sigh, my father leaned forward a bit, trying to smile through what seemed like disappointment.

Had I done anything to warrant him being disappointed?

“Don’t worry, Ichika. If you can’t find the one for you, then I’ll take it from here.”

“Take it… from here?” In response I muttered. Surely, he wasn’t suggesting—

“I’ll found you a betrothed. Despite being away from Japan for so long, I’ve established quite the network of connections. And I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t foreseen this.”

What was he saying? Betrothed? For me? Am I really being married off to?!

Despite the very clear anger bubbling up within me, I firmly root my feet to the ground as I stand before him, unmoving.

I glance at my mom, her hands folded atop her lap, as she looked on between us.

Although she was a loving parent, my mother was never one to talk back to my father whenever he suggested something.

She just nodded along, and went with the flow.

But him…

Who does he think he is? Waltzing into my life after so many years and trying to take control of it?!

As the flames of my anger start burning even brighter, I open my mouth to talk back. This farce needs to end!

“Hm?” My father looks at me, as I stare back into his eyes, my mouth agape. I have so much to say to him about all that. So much to protest against…


Yet no matter how hard I try, no words come out. It’s like my body won’t obey my will.


With a sigh, I slump my shoulders back down, and release the breath I was holding in exasperation.

It has always been like that with him.

I was always too afraid to speak my mind.

My father was old-fashioned and stern like that for as long as I remembered, that much was true. Yet he somehow held a special spot in my heart.

He was my one and only father, after all.

And from what I heard from mom, he would always boast about his only child, his daughter, to others at work.

But he didn’t really know me.

He thought his daughter was perfect, like he aspired to be.

That’s why I could never speak my mind in front of him.

Or slack off.

Or have bad posture even.

I never saw him all that often, but when I did, I felt like I had to be…


It’s like I’m afraid. Afraid that he’ll realize, the perfect daughter he thought he had, isn’t nearly as exceptional as he thinks.

As much as I want to shatter his false impression of me, I just… can’t.

That’s why I swallow all of it back down, each and every time.

“…So, don’t worry Ichika, I’ll take it from here. I’ll make sure to find someone worthy of you, if you can’t find a boyfriend yours—“

Even so, I couldn’t let myself, or my life be dictated by someone else. I needed to do something. Anything.

Steeling what resolve I could muster, I raised my head once more.

“I can.”


“Didn’t I tell you, father? I already have a boyfriend.”

It doesn’t need to be real.

“Then why didn’t you say so, Ichika?”

It doesn’t even need to be for long. My dad never stays long, anyway.

“Well you didn’t give me a chance…”

I just need someone to act it out. Someone to fake it with.

“In that case then, I may not need to interfere. Although I’ll need to evaluate him, soon. See if he’s worthy of you.”

Of course, I knew it would come to that.

“Okay, father.” With another smile, I walked off to my room.

Now that the plan was afoot though, I had to find that certain someone.

And as luck would have it, that very same day….

I happened to have found just the one for the job.

As the person I knocked over before me, lost the hat and glasses covering his features, I instantly realized who exactly that was.

Stylish, modern silver hair, falling across his forehead.

A pair of well trained, purple eyes.

Handsome face.

Tall stature.

The school-wide famous, Naruse Haruhi.

And it just so happened, I had the perfect dirt on him…

As I clutched my phone, and aimed the camera straight at him, a smirk unwillingly spread across my face.

I knew it wasn’t right. I knew I was stooping too low.

But I couldn’t let my father have his way.

I had proof Naruse Haruhi was an otaku. And I would use it to make him do my biding!

Taylor J
Mario Nakano 64