Chapter 30:

The Otaku And a Kiss

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

“I win! Mwahaha!” Kirara's laughter reverberated through the room as she channeled her inner supervillain, clutching her mouth for dramatic effect.

Little did she know that Ichika’s forehead flicks could come at her anytime.



“That’s what you get for badmouthing Lilia-chan…”

Though the debate had concluded with a mutual "agree to disagree" sentiment, a trace of lingering tension was palpable in the air.

“Ichika! You brute how could—“

“Just ask.”

“Oh, yeah.” Kirara snapped back to reality, her playful demeanor returning.

Seemingly scavenging through what remained of her barely functioning brain, the green-haired girl finally smirked.

And that smirk was pointed towards…

Ichika and I.

“Oh, boy…” Kota muttered, while me and the girl beside me gulped in response.

What did that crazy fujoshi have in mind?

“You know, I’ve never seen you kiss before…” Kirara's smirk broadened, a glint of excitement dancing in her eyes.

“W-W-What..?” Ichika’s eye twitched, a blush creeping up her cheeks.

“You’re a couple, right? You’re a thing… riiight?” Kirara continued her assault, while Ichika cowered in fear.

“Uhm…” I broke through her intimidation, raising a hand “What was your question again?”

“Oh, yeah.” Kirara turned to me, still smiling, “Are you for real, or are you just faking it?”

“Kirara…” Kota shook his head, his tone reprimanding.

“What? It’s been nagging me…” Kirara pouted, her expression playfully defiant.

“If you are…”

“We are!” Ichika interjected, nodding.

Oh, boy…

"That's great… So, you wouldn't mind a little kiss, right?"

Kota gasped slightly, while Ichika…


Went through some sort of bug in her software.

I swallowed nervously, my mind racing to find an escape from Kirara's relentless teasing.

I knew this day would come. Frankly, this request was practically written in the stars with a relationship like ours.

“Ah….” I sighed. How are we wiggling our way out of this now?

“You don’t have to listen to her guys, don’t worry.”

“Unless you wanna out yourself, hehe.”

While Kota tried to extinguish whatever was brewing, Kirara chimed in, her playful tone continuing to stoke the flames of Ichika's embarrassment.

I mean… a kiss? We even had a rule that practically forbid it…

Ichika gulped, trying to regain her composure. Yet, instead of withdrawing, with a resolute nod, she turned back around to face me.


And with a start, she caught ahold of my face, her eyes shining, and her cheeks burning. She was fighting tears of embarrassment, and yet she still pressed her chest against mine.

What… was happening?

My heart was thumping wildly against my chest, and for the first time since forever, I felt my cheeks flush hot.

Why? I’ve kissed girls before… and even gone beyond that… Yet, Ichika’s face before me stirs a feeling deep within me that I’ve never felt before.

An immense heat, a driving desire.

A cake of excitement, lined with cherries ready to pop with embarrassment, and a very sour cream of anticipation.

“OHHHHH!” Kirara’s eyes went wide, as Ichika leaned closer. Kota remained silent, frozen.


Ichika whispered, her lips barely an inch from mine.

Was she going this far… for just an act?

Or was it something… else?

Her brow twitched, and her blush was so hot I could feel the heat radiating from it.

I had half a mind to close the rest of the distance too. My mind was hazy.

But, Ichika, who seemed like the one who would seize my lips first, pulled back almost as fast as she appeared before me.

“Argh!” She grumbled, shaking her head, almost as if trying to cool down her brain from frying itself.

Her face fell, her cheeks returning to their natural color.

“Me and…” She started, looking back at me.

Is she about to say what I think she is?

“Me and Haruhi are…”



Before she could continue, I closed the small distance between us, and as she turned towards me, baffled, I planted a kiss.

A chaste kiss atop her forehead, nestled among her parted bangs.


Like a tea kettle, Ichika's ears seemed to emit steam, her face turning the shade of a ripe tomato.

“…Want to take it slow.”

With a slight redness to my face, I finished Ichika’s sentence.


Kirara made a different exclamation than her short-circuiting friend, yet excitement was evident in her tone.


Ichika's attempt to make sense of the situation dissolved into incoherent sputters, while Kota was left momentarily speechless.

“The ruleeeeee!!!!!” Ichika hissed, her voice a low growl as she seized my collar, shaking me with feeble but determined force.

What she didn't realize was that, technically, I hadn't broken our rule. After all, she hadn't specified that forehead kisses were off-limits when she introduced the ban on kissing, right?

What was I even thinking?

“Heh…” I chuckled, as Ichika kept shaking me, a sheepish smile on my face.


Finally, we managed to avoid any more teasing, and after Kota gave Kirara a stern talking to about her troubling shenanigans studying began once more.

This time, completely uninterrupted, until the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow on the cityscape.

Ichika gave me a few pointers in math, despite me unable to concentrate on studying much, and Kota finally helped Kirara with English. Thankfully, they left the “speaking” sections for later— we’d rather not have the crazed fujoshi scream swear words in her attempt to remember anything about the language,

Soon, we packed, and it was time to go home.

The sun was about to set for good, as the four of us made our way to the bus station, and waited for the public transport to come pick us up.

“Agh, I’m exhausted…” Ichika grumbled lowly, while Kirara snickered.

“Well, somebody worked hard today!” She patted her friend’s back, leaning closer, “Maybe that kiss, gave you some motivation, hm?”

“K-Ki-Kiraraaa!” Ichika hissed and glared, her face igniting in a vivid blush.

Despite her teasing, the green haired girl was actually right. Ichika really did seem very diligent about studying. She rarely broke her concentration, and she did it only to help me with some math equations.

She seemed… oddly interested, or rather, motivated for studying.

“Good work today, Ichika.” I offered her an appreciative smile as we settled into our seats on the bus, facing each other.

Next to me sat Kirara, who snickered once more.

“Well, Ichika can’t afford to slack off!”

“Hm?” I mused.

I noticed how Kota smiled next to Ichika, and how the girl in question blushed.

“Ichika aspires to become a doctor," he explained, causing Ichika to avert her gaze, her fingers fidgeting.


She managed to voice in protest.

Ichika… a doctor?

“Hm…” I found myself smiling for some reason.

“As her boyfriend I was sure you would have known, Harruchin.” Kirara remarked, while I looked at Ichika once again.

“We had never talked about the future before so… I didn’t.”

“Ah.” Kota nodded.

The tranquil atmosphere of the bus, and its slightly rocking subdued everyone’s reactions, as the day was winding down to an end.

I’ve a feeling something like this has happened before, back at the anime convention.

Everything was so relaxed, serene.

Ichika wanted to become a doctor—a clear goal to strive toward.

Back when she helped me with my injury, she really did seem cut out for it. Her movements were sharp, yet gentle, firm, but not hard.

I found myself rooting for her with all my heart.

“I’m sure she will succeed.” I gave another nod, my gaze drifting beyond the meek Ichika, out to the town lights that were gradually awakening.

While the embarrassed bespectacled girl responded, and her friends teased us a bit, my thoughts deafened my ears, and filled my mind with doubt.


Everyone seemed to look towards the future, while I was stuck drunk on the present.

What was I to be?

I made “being popular” such a big goal of mine, that I didn’t stop to consider what I wanted to do with my life.

Thoughts that had once consumed me were beginning to fade.

Who, and what, did I wanna be?

My high school days were drawing to a close, and all those games of make-believe would soon be but a memory too.

Did I really wanna keep pretending?

Deep within me… I felt something.

I had a weird premonition; a strange moment of clarity.

The end… Was drawing near.

And I would soon have to make a decision.


Suprise, suprise! Saturday chapter! Am I copying Mina? Maybe. Am I short on time? Hell yeah. 

The end of this chapter, marks the start of the final two arcs, and...

As of today, the upload schedule will change, turning into the "every other day" plan. Meaning next chapter will be on Monday, and sometimes we'll even get two consecutive-day uploads. For any changes, you will be notified in the same way!

P.S. In case you haven't noticed, some very cool character visuals have been uploaded in the showcase... IKEEEE! 

Thanks for reading! Like Haruhi said, the end is drawing near!

Taylor J
Mario Nakano 64