Chapter 18:

Meeting at Kuro's House

Pandora's Box

The next afternoon rolled around and I met up with Akari. Unfortunately for me, Ryo couldn't make it because he had gotten in trouble again in class and had to stay after. It just being her and I, was going to make this a lot more awkward.

We came up to the walkway in front of my house. I stopped her before we went any further.

"I should probably warn you about my mom and little sister." I said.

"Ha, you don't have to worry about me Kuro. I won't do anything to embarrass you In Front of them."

"It's not you that I'm worried about, it's them... They kind of have an obsession with my neighbor, Mei."

She looked skeptical.

"I'm sure it's not that big of a deal. It's perfectly normal for moms to tease their sons about girls."

I shook my head as I put my hand on the doorknob.

"Don't say I didn't warn you."

I turned the knob and opened the front door of my house and proceeded to enter with Akari right behind me.

"Welcome home Kur-... Oh... Who's this?" My mother said, greeting us at the door.

"Hey mom. This is Akari. She's just here to help me out with something I've been working on for school."

"Hello, it's very nice to meet you." Akari said, while bowing."

My mom suddenly started whispering to me,

"Um, sweety... Is she a friend of Mei's or something?"

"No, I know her from work. She doesn't even go to our school."

"Oh... Well, is Mei coming over too, to help with your little project?"

"Ryo was supposed to come, but he couldn't make it."

My mom started to get desperate.

"Maybe you could call Mei and see if she can help."

I huffed.

"No mom, this has nothing to do with Mei. She's not coming over."

*Thump* *Thump* *Thump*

My little sister came running down the stairs. She was still in her white and blue sailor uniform from her middle school.

"Who the heck is this girl you brought home, Onii-chan!? Where the heck is Mei Onee-chan?"

"Kyoko, this is my friend Akar-."

She gave me a death stare and started talking over me.

"You better not be dating!"

"Don't worry, we're just friends. She's just here to help me with something."

Kyoko cast a suspicious gaze.

"I swear, you better not ruin my dream, Onii-chan!"

"Dream?" Akari asked, seeming amused.

My sister shot her a dirty look.

"Yeah one day Mei Onee-chan next door is going to marry Kuro and then we'll be sisters..."

If her or my mom found out what I did to Mei last night, they'd probably beat me with a belt.

"Onii-chan's been acting weird lately. He's been talking to himself in his room. Then he didn't come home until late last night and now he's coming home with a strange girl."

My mom chimed in again,

"Kyoko is right, where exactly were you last night?"

"It's not that big of a deal… I lost my umbrella and got stuck in the rain. So, I just waited around for it to stop."

"You could have called me or your father to pick you up."

"I guess, I really didn't think about that."

My mom looked a bit concerned.

"Sweety, are you hearing voices in your head? Is this what's going on? It's alright, I can set up an appointment with a psychiatrist."

I understood they're concern. I never told them anything about my election. From the outside I'm sure it does look like I've been acting odd. Technically they aren't entirely wrong either, I have been talking to an invisible devil lately... Even if it didn’t matter. They were embarrassing me in front of Akari.

"You two are talking crazy. I don't have time for this. Come on Akari, let's go work in my room."


"I'm sorry about my mom and sister." I said.

Akari laughed.

"Don't worry about it. You know, they definitely do resemble you. Both of them have the same brown hair and green eyes as you."

"Yeah, that's because both my sister and I take after our mom more than our dad."

"Huh, that's interesting. I actually take after my dad more than my mom. That's where my red hair comes from."

After a bit, our small talk subsided. Both of us sat on the floor to get down to business.

"We only have about a week and a half left. What's our plan of attack?" I asked.

She put her index finger under her mouth and thought for a moment.

"Alright, so today is Wednesday, which we are using as a planning day. From here on out, the remaining days we'll have to make count."

"That definitely makes sense. I'm guessing I should prioritize public outreach." I said.

"Definitely. Everyday after class you should spend at least an hour going around campus talking to people about your campaign, kind of like what you did the other day with that milk crate. This will also force you to practice your public speaking."

"I can have Ryo help me with that too. The issue is I still don't think that will be enough to win."

"I completely agree that's why I came up with what I like to call Operation 4D chess."

I raised my eyebrow.

"Operation 4D chess?"

"Yep. It's pretty simple too. You're going to start trying to dig up some dirt on Sato. Then when the debate hits, you'll drop a bombshell in front of the entire school."

For a moment I reminisced about all the things Sato put me through these last few weeks. I got a grin on my face.

"Mwahahahahaha...I like this plan a lot, Akari. Sato is going to regret ever having crossed me."

"What the heck was that laugh? To be honest that was a little weird."

"...oh...uh... Just forget that happened... Anyways, I'm thinking maybe I should do a little snooping around the school paper."

"Maybe you can find some evidence that Sato bribed them to write those articles about you."

The two of us went on a bit longer discussing our plans and organizing our ideas. Eventually, Akari got a mischievous smile on her face.

"Oh before I forget, in regards to our little arrangement... My friends at school seem like they're getting a little skeptical that I actually have a boyfriend. This weekend since we should probably meet up anyways, I need you to go on a group date with me and a few of my friends."

"Uh... Yeah I guess that would be alri-"


My sister burst into my room.

"What's this date business I'm hearing about!?"

"Were you eavesdropping through my door!?" I said, irritated.

"That's not important. You listen here you redheaded female! I swear, you better not be trying to seduce my brother. He belongs to Mei Onee-chan."

"Knock it off Kyoko. Akari is our guest and you're being rude."

Akari gave an amused laugh.

"Let's just say hypothetically, I did become your sister in law..."

Hearing Akari say that made my cheeks turn a bit flushed.

"Akari don't-"

Kyoko shouted over me,

"I would never accept you as my Onee-chan!"

Akari walked over to her and put her hand on her shoulder.

"Don't worry, I'm just teasing you. Your brother and I are just friends."

She looked at her suspiciously.

"I don't know what your intentions with my brother are, but just so you know, I'm on to you."

She slowly closed my bedroom door as she peeked though until it was fully shut. I was pretty certain she was going to sit outside my door and listen until Akari left.

*Bzzz* *Bzzz*

My phone vibrated. Akari had sent me a text,

Lol. 😅 I was serious about the group date thing tho. I'll send you the details before Saturday.

I guess I was going on a fake date with Akari this weekend. The next few days were probably going to be some of the busiest of my life.

N.J. Ecalus
Taylor J