Chapter 18:


Mismatch Romance

As I lay on my bed, I repositioned my phone. I don’t want Dachi to just stare at my dimmed ceiling light.

“Anyways, you were absolutely right. I can’t believe how blind I was. I actually have feelings for her! When did it happen? Was it during the kiss, no maybe earlier than that. Ahhh, I just can’t get Rika out of my mind!”

“Like I said before, what’s your next move? Dachi asked. Your arrangement is ending in a few days. With her status, her parents probably have another suitor lined up.”

“I…want to tell her.”

“Good. Let her know how you feel. Maybe try to use her first name when she’s there, instead of resorting back to Tanaka.”

“Oh, I didn’t even notice.” Now that I think about it I guess at one point even in my head I switched from Tanaka to Rika. Love is interesting.

“Also one more thing Kazu. While I’m always happy to help and support you. Next time, can you not video call me at 3 am.”

“Uh sorry about that.”

“Anyways night Kazu.”


And with that, the call ended.

I know I should sleep, but the anticipation is killing me. Maybe, I should just get this over with. I pulled out my phone and started to write a text to Rika.

Me: Hey Rika|(delete, delete, delete)
Me: Tanaka, I lov| (delete, delete, delete)
Me: <3 u Rika tan! | (delete, delete, delete)

Great, now I sound like Dachi. Hmm, I wonder. I switched from Rika to Dachi.

Me: Hey Dachi, what do you think of me sending this?
Me: Rika, will you go out with me?
Dachi: ಠ_ಠ
Dachi: K.A.Z.U.M.A
Me: I thought you would respond in the morning
Dachi: Well because of someone I'm still awake
Dachi: As your best friend/ wingman/ and potential murder
Dachi: Do not confess to her over text. That’s just Tacky.
Dachi: Invite her out on a date, eat dinner, watch a movie, walk in a park, then confess
Me: Yeah that does sound like a better idea.
Dachi: And Kazu....
Dachi: You can’t confess if you’re tired
Me: Fine I will
Me: Wait these ideas are good. Why did you need my help before
Dachi: (( - . - ))..zzzZZ
Me: Okay I get it. Night.

Morning finally arose and then came lunchtime. Hmm, Rika is later than usual. I hope she’s okay. After waiting a while longer she finally arrived.

“Hey is everything okay?”

“Yeah, just another phone call. I’m just dealing with a contract I’ve forgotten about, that's all.”

She looks stressed. Her eyes looked a bit puffy. Had she been crying? Then again, it could be allergies. I should try to lighten things up.

“So what’s today's meal of the day?”

She chuckles. “Well, today is a Dominican dish, called Sancocho. It’s pretty much a soup filled with different meats and vegetables. It’s great to eat with white rice on the side.”

“Isn’t it a bit hot today for soup?”

“Yeah, I asked my chef the same thing, but she was saying even in her country, there could be a heatwave and people will still eat this soup.”

“I see. Oh, thanks for the shampoo, you’re right my hair does feel nice and soft.”

“I thought I smelled coconuts!”

We both ate our lunches under the hot midday sun.

“Here this belongs to you.”

Out of her bag, she pulls out a male uniform shirt and a handkerchief.

“Oh, these are?”

“I’m sorry I had your things for so long. I just kept forgetting to return them.”

“No problem, I forgot too. Thanks.”

“There’s only a few more days till our arrangement ends, huh? Time sure does fly fast. Guess it won’t be long till Operation Lovey-Dovey is closed,” sighed Rika.

“Hey Ri- Tanaka.” Still can’t say her name. “About that, I was thinking maybe we should end Operation Lovey-Dovey with a bang.”


“Why don’t we go on a date?”

“Eh, wasn't the plan for us to avoid people assuming that we're dating.”

She's right, but I’m not giving up. “Just because two members of the opposite sex are sharing a meal or watching a movie doesn’t mean they’re dating. This isn’t Victorian times. Males and females can be friends. If anyone asks we’ll deny it. So what do you think?”

“Sure, I guess”

Then let’s meet after school. I'll call my car for us.”

“Um, okay.”

After school, Rika and I met in front of the gate. There my driver picked us up and dropped us off in the city center. I tried searching online for any fancy Italian restaurants, but everything is closed.

“Sorry Tanaka, it seems that most restaurants aren’t open for dinner until 6 pm.

“Since it is 2 pm, why don’t we just do fast food?”

Fast food? Not the most romantic meal, but if that’s what she wants.

After ordering and getting our food, Rika decided to sit at the booths facing the window. Again, not the most romantic seating, but I guess this is fine.

As we were eating, I let out a big yawn.

“Are you sleepy? We could end the date.”

“No no, I’ll be okay. It was just a yawn. I should be fine.” I hope.

After eating, we walked to the nearby cinema. On movie theater dates, the best films to watch are probably something romantic, scary, or sad. Luckily, there's quite a selection to choose from.

“How about…”

But before I can say anything. Rika interrupts.

“Why don’t we watch this movie?”

“Animals the Documentary?”

“Seems interesting, don’t you think?”

If that’s what she wants, but who watches a documentary on a date?

After getting our tickets, we went in and searched for seats. Since we arrived early, there was plenty to choose from.

“Mind if we sit closer to the back exit?” I asked.

“Sure, that’s fine.”

I guess this would technically be our second movie date. Maybe this time I could try out all those cliche moves. But within minutes, I fell asleep. Damn it, I should have listened to Dachi. Instead, I was only able to get just one hour of sleep last night. Ugh, it must be hitting me now.

“Hey.” I feel a slight tap on my shoulder. “Wake up.”

“Huh?” When I opened my eyes, I realized my head was resting on Rika's shoulder. After moving it over I saw a wet spot.

Did I just drool on her? No way. That isn’t romantic, that's gross.”

“I’m so sorry Tanaka.”

“It’s okay, it happens.”

She is an angel.

"Did the movie start yet?"

"It just finished."

"Oh, I see. Sorry again."

"That's okay. You can just watch it another time."

We both headed outside.

“I think we can call this final task a success. I should start calling my driver now,” Rika said.

“Wait!” I shouted.

There’s no way I’m ending this date with me drooling on her shoulder.

“Why don’t we take a walk at the nearby park over there.”

“Are you sure? I really think you should get some rest.”

“Don’t worry, after that quick nap, I feel like I have a lot of energy now. Plus, some exercise will be good for me.”

And I’m not ending this date without telling you how I truly feel.

The two of us took a stroll through the park. Luckily there wasn’t much of a crowd. Along the way, we saw a nearby pond.

“Hey Rika, look at those ducks over there.”

She smiles and nods.

After a while, the two of us sat on a bench by a shady tree.

Well, it’s now or never.

“Hey Rika, there’s something important I have to tell you.

“You did it again.” She said softly.


“My first name, you said it twice. Why did it have to be now? You meanie.”


“Kazuma, I haven’t been completely honest with you.”

“I know, you're the daughter of Circle Link Technology.”

“How did you…”

“Well, when I told Dachi about Operation Lovey-Dovey. He thought our arrangement was odd. So he did some searching and found out about your family background.”

“I see.”

“But, I don’t care that you lied. I get it. if people found out about your background, things can get bad for you. I know the consequences of how far people would go to hurt those they’re jealous of. To be honest, I wish I could separate myself from my family. So I’m not mad at all, I completely understand.”

"Kazuma, that's not the only thing I’ve been hiding.”


“I’m already engaged to someone else.”