Chapter 8:

My Sweet Honey Lemon

Mismatch Romance


“My Sweet Honey Lemon!” I shout. “Out of all the titles she could have picked, it has to be this one."

“Well, I did say before that it is pretty popular,” Tanaka says as she takes a bite from her savory crepe.

“Still, did she have to choose this generic story to review?”

After Tanaka finishes her lunch, she pulls out a notebook along with a pen. She begins to jot down some notes.

“Okay so let’s recap," she said. "Yesterday, the club leader said that to join the club we have to give an honest review of My Sweet Honey Lemon. We only have twenty-four hours to prepare a presentation. As we are both joining at the same time, we can present together.”

I sighed, “The question is, what do we present?”

“Didn’t you read volumes one to ten last night?”

“Yes, but all I have are critiques and complaints. I got tired of reading it, by volume five.”

“I guess I don’t have much to present either. I mean I enjoyed the first ten volumes, but I don't know how to present my enjoyment in-depth," Tanaka sighs.

“Maybe the problem is we're not understanding the author’s vision.”

“Oooh, I have an idea! Why don’t we recreate one of the most famous scenes in the manga, the carnival date!”

“The carnival date?”

“Yeah, don’t you remember Kazuma-kun? The two love interests decided to spend time at the carnival. There, their relationship grew after riding several rides like the Ferris wheel."

"Hmmm."

"Plus it would be good for us to go together. I mean in the future we’re going to take our future partners out to various places, might as well have the experience of going to a carnival together. Plus, there's cotton candy!”

"Fine I get it. Let's go after school then. If anyone asks, we are just two friends hanging out at the carnival."

Once the final bell rang, we met out in front of the school gates.

"Well I guess we will meet each other there," I said.

"Umm."

"What's wrong?"

“Isn't it a bit wasteful calling two drivers to bring us to the same place?"

“What? Do you want to take the train together?”

Her eyes beamed. “Can we? I’ve never ridden in one before.”

“You haven’t?” Then again I'm not surprised, private cars are the most popular form of transportation for Kosei students. If it wasn't for my parents, I guess I wouldn't have ridden one either.

“So can we ride one together, Kazuma-Kun?”

She really wants to ride one huh? I guess as long as the two of us are together it should be fine. The station isn't too far either.

“Alright just stay close.”

The two of us headed towards the station. I took the lead while Tanaka followed a few meters behind. I wonder what kind of things she's thinking about. Probably something like lovers should be side by side or holding hands while walking. How silly.

As we get closer to the station, the streets are starting to become more crowded. I turned my head back. Hmm, she’s quite behind huh? Maybe I should slow down a bit, no, I should wait for her instead.

“Oh Kazuma-kun, what's wrong?” Tanaka asks once she catches up.

“With the crowd picking up I was worried we would get separated. Let's at least walk side by side.”

“Okay!” She smiles.

After a while, we eventually made it to the train station, but when we arrived it was extremely packed.

"So many people," Tanaka says in awe.

She's right. At this rate the two of us will be separated. Seems like desperate times call for desperate measures. I reached over and grabbed Tanaka’s hand. Her hand felt so warm and soft.

“Kazuma-kun?”

“Look, I’m just holding your hand for practical reasons, understand. We’ll lose each other if we’re not careful. So don’t let go. Unless you want to grab my shirt instead."

"No, this is okay."

"Then let's find our train."

After weaving through the crowd and taking a short train ride, we finally reached our destination, the carnival, Pixie Land.

“Look, Kazuma-kun. It's Pixie Land! What should we do first? Maybe we should get cotton candy. No churros! Ice cream! Wait, popcorn!"

“Tanaka, focus, we're trying to prepare a review. Not eat food. Understand?"

“Booo. But I know, you’re right. Then why don’t we go on the Ferris wheel first? It was a pretty important scene, it even gets referenced in the later volumes."

“Alright.”

We took a seat next to each other on the rickety Ferris wheel. Then, the seats began to rise. It's amazing how small everything looks from above. I can feel Tanaka’s weight leaning against me. This feels...pretty nice. Maybe I should try putting my arm around her. But, all of a sudden, I noticed the sound of heavy breathing.

“Tanaka?”

She begins to mumble to herself. But it’s pretty hard to make out the words.

“This…mistake. Why did I? Please."

She’s panicking.

“It hurts, it hurts. I can’t breathe.”

“Tanaka!”

No response.

“TANAKA!”

Nothing.

“Tanaka Rika!”

“Huh?”

Yes, a response.

She is breathing rapidly and unevenly. Looks like she may be hyperventilating.

“Hey Tanaka, I know it hurts, but listen, if it’s okay with you, let’s try breathing together."

She nods.

"Okay, one, two, three, breathe. And out. One, two, three, breathe. And out."

She follows.

Good, looks like her breathing is starting to slow down a bit. But she still seems pretty anxious.

“Tanaka, I’m going to ask you a few questions, okay? Make sure you keep breathing slowly.”

She nods.

“Name five things you can see.”

"Um, clouds. My feet? The orange floor, that bird. Oh, and you!"

"Now name four things you can touch."

"My seat, my hair, my shoes, and your arm."

"Name three things you can hear."

"Birds chirping, your calm voice, and the wind."

"Two things you can smell."

She lifts her hair towards her nose. “My shampoo, and popcorn!"

"Lastly, one thing you can taste."

"That delicious crepe from lunch. Tee-hee."

Suddenly, the ride came to a halt. Then the door swung open. We have finally reached the ground.

"Are you okay Tanaka?" I asked as we exited the ride.

"Um, yes. Thank you."

"Why don’t we sit for a bit?"

On the bench, the two of us sat in silence.

“So, what was that, back at the Ferris wheel?” Tanaka asks.

“Well, I think you were experiencing a panic attack.”

“Is that bad?”

“They are not as uncommon as you think.

"Why did it happen?"

"There could be a multitude of causes. Typically, it has to do with fear or stress. Since we were just on the Ferris wheel, maybe the reason it triggered for you is because you have a fear of heights.”

“Ah…I see,” she says softly.

“It’s probably best then for us to avoid high rides. You don't have to push yourself.”

She nods. “Will do. But Kazuma-kun you were pretty impressive back there. How did you know what to do?”

“When I was younger, my father would always help this, maid who would have panic attacks often. After seeing him calm him down many times, I guess I just learned from him.”

“Oh, how interesting.”

“So what should we do now? Go home?” I asked.

“What no, not yet. How about we go to the haunted house? Remember, there’s a scene about it in the manga too.”

“Uh, sure.”

After waiting in line for a while, we finally arrived at the entrance to the haunted house. As soon as we stepped inside, I found myself rooted to the spot and unable to move.

“It’s pretty dark huh,” I said.

“Oooh, it is. Let's get scared, Kazuma-kun!”

“Yeah...let’s.” But my feet wouldn’t move.

“Kazuma-kun, don't tell me you're scared of ghosts.”

I turned away.

“You know, I'm starting to get pretty dizzy. I must be hungry. Come on, let's go back.

With that, she grabbed my hand and dragged me outside.

After stopping at a concession stand, we decided to sit on a bench under a shady tree.

"Do you want some of my cotton candy?" Tanaka asks.

"No. I'm fine, thank you. Um, about the haunted house-"

"Kazuma-kun, don’t push yourself either. Okay?"

"Okay."

"Well, it looks like today didn’t go exactly as planned. I bet this is how the love interest felt when things didn’t go their way either.” Tanaka sighs.

“Hmmm, I don’t think today was a total loss.”

“Really? But nothing went right at all. I don’t feel like I learned anything about the author's intention. What are we supposed to present?"

“Actually Tanaka, you just gave a great idea just now.”

Taylor J
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minatika
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