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My Fake Girlfriend is Resolute Towards Her Confession’s Reply
The next train station over from our city. In the past few years, a new multi-floored building has been finished, filled with the office of a big business, high-class brands, a restaurant, and many more on their way.
During the day, it’s a popular dating spot for students, or just to go shopping in general, but at night—
A fancy social meeting for adults. Dandies with noble clothing, the madams calmly sipping on their wine, all in all a relaxed atmosphere.
And, just like how there’s sun and shadow, movement and calmness, this ‘Midnight Tower’ building, with its 48 floors, found in front of said train station also has an opposite.
Right now, I was sitting on the window side of the 30th floor of the ‘Midnight Tower’, inside a high class restaurant, looking down at the night scenery. It was around 8 pm. Expecting things to happen this way one day or another, I had prepared an armani suit, which I am wearing right now, waiting for Mashiro’s arrival. Seeing my faint reflection in the glass, I couldn’t help but let out a snort. For a mere high school student, these clothes really felt off. Not to mention that I reserved this place acting as an adult, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s caught on yet.
As I was thinking about that in my boredom, an elderly-looking butler employee came towards my table.
“Dear guest. Your appointment has arrived.”
“Thank you very much—Hey, Mashiro. Would you look at that, it really fits you.”
Behind the employee’s back, Mashiro slowly crept out, whom I greeted with a smile.
She was wearing a refreshing blue one-piece. A thin belt around her waist, with a strong gold glimmer, giving her the style of a celebrity. Her chest area was slightly opened, revealing some white skin, but rather than an impure feeling, it gave off a dignified atmosphere. Her hair was properly arranged, lip gloss on her lips, and a slight arrangement of makeup. The perfect appearance for a night like this, indeed.
The girl—Mashiro’s face was bright red as she tried sitting down on the chair, all the while freezing up, presumably from the tension. Seeing that, I couldn’t hold back a giggle.
“Well, it’s funny because you’re so nervous.”
“Shut it…It’s Aki’s fault for booking a place like this.”
“Is it not to your liking?”
“No…It’s not that. For Mashiro, it feels a bit too fast…”
“There’s faster and slower times. We decide for ourselves when we become adults.”
“But is this really fine? This looks really expensive. If Mashiro asks her father, he might be willing to pay, you know?”
“How could I ask my date’s father to pay for the bill? Especially since he’s my uncle. I’d never hear the end of it.”
You really don’t know how to treat a lady—is what he’d say while dissing me, definitely. Not to mention that he’d probably kill me if he found out that I invited Mashiro out on a date like this.
“No need to worry about the money. This is all paid for with the expenses of the [5th Floor Alliance].”
“Yeah. The [5th Floor Alliance] is making good money, you know. I’m not wasting it on myself, but if it’s for the sake of making games, then I’ll use as much as it’ll cost.”
“But, Mashiro doesn’t help…with making games…right?”
As if doubting my intentions, Mashiro asked hesitantly.
“Yeah. I can’t go into detail here, but this dinner is indeed related to our activities.”
“Well, don’t sweat the small stuff. Let’s enjoy the dinner first.”
“Y-Yeah… Uhm… Menu, menu…”
“This is a course.”
She’s probably not used to this sort of restaurant. Her gaze is wandering all over the place.
—Well, it’s not exactly like I’m used to this either.
Before, I’d once tried using this restaurant to win over Sumire. With my experience from my failure back then, I’m now perfectly prepared. I say win over, but I didn’t mean it that way, okay? Just, I was really close to having her in my grasp, so I wanted to give her one final push, something like using candy instead of a whip…Well, it was a fruitless endeavor in the end, and I’d rather not think about it.
After all, this is a date. Thinking about other girls would be bad manners.
“Is that the battle dress you told me about over LIME?”
Looking at Mashiro’s appearance, those were the words that naturally came out of my mouth. In response, she started fidgeting nervously, and lowered her head.
“……Does it look weird?” She asked, looking up at me.
“I see, it’s really cute…”
“Ah, no, nothing. It’s not weird. It looks really grown up, and suits this restaurant perfectly.”
“Ah… Thank you…”
That was close. What am I doing? just blurting it out like that. It’s because of Otoi-san’s words, still floating around in my head. ‘This Mashiro girl must be a cutie’, and so on. Of course, she looks cute and all, but being aware of her introverted, shut-in character, and imagining her behavior at home like that, I can’t help but think of her as lovable.
And such a cute girl confessed to me, huh…
I was once more reminded of the absurdity of the situation right now.
“What about it?”
“There are a lot of grown-up couples…”
“Well, it’s that kind of restaurant. This is the perfect place to hold an important conversation between a man and a woman.”
“I-Is that so…”
As it seems, the magic of this store is also influencing Mashiro herself, even if she doesn’t realize it. In the classroom, she’d always act embarrassed and treat me so coldly, but now we’re able to hold a decent conversation.
“Did you hope for a place with less couples? Well, I guess that makes sense.”
She’s the type who wishes for the normie couples to be eaten first in those shark movies. There’s the chance that she might develop hatred just by looking at them.
Maybe choosing this restaurant was a mistake?—or so I was thinking, when Mashiro shook her head.
“Even though there are couples around Mashiro, she doesn’t feel spiteful. This is a first,” said Mashiro, showing me a soft smile.
“Just how much do you hate couples, really.”
“Well…They’re always acting all happy, like they’re bragging to Mashiro. It feels like they’re saying ‘You’re such a loner, what a poor girl you are’ and so on…”
“That’s quite the imagination you’ve got there…Well, it’s not like I don’t understand.”
“But Mashiro was wrong. It’s not like they were making fun of Mashiro. No, they wouldn’t pay attention to other people anyway… Once Mashiro fell in love, she realized that.”
Seeing Mashiro go on with her monologue, I felt my chest tighten. Really, what is this girl in front of me, I want to hug her.
Of course, I didn’t plan on saying that out loud. And I wouldn’t even have been given the chance, since the employee arrived with our drinks. Watching the wine glass fill with the red liquid, Mashiro’s eyes opened wide.
“This is…wine…? Uhm, Mashiro is still—”
“It’s non-alcoholic wine. A special at this restaurant.”
“Also known as Grapevine Juice.”
With a smile, I lifted up my glass. After spacing out for a bit, Mashiro did the same. I tried to act cool, but waiting mid-toast like that was actually a bit embarrassing.
Clank, our glasses hit each other.
“Mm… Ah, delicious.”
“Right? The juice here is on a different level.”
The moment Mashiro tasted a bit, Mashiro’s expression lit up, and her doubtful gaze from before dissipated.
Good thing I requested that.
“Thank you for waiting. Here is your orient clam cappuccino tailoring.”
Next was the appetizer. A dish, cutely arranged in a small glass.
“Woah… Cute. Shells.”
“Yeah. I thought that you, a seafood lover, might enjoy this.”
French cuisine uses a lot of fish in their recipes. And the course we ordered, likewise, was seafood-oriented.
“Aki… Ehehe, thank you.”
With that, Mashiro really looked happy, and it made me think that it was worth choosing this store.
Like this, we enjoyed our dinner. Dish after dish, all of them were appetizing, both for the eyes and mouth. Taking pictures of them, exchanging words after taking a bite, and spending time like a real couple.
Our relationship began with calculation and self-interest. Our relationship as fake lovers, with both of us just trying to achieve our own goals… But, through Mashiro’s confession, we’ve moved up a level. Our relationship from now on will change, depending on my response. Be it anime, manga, or even light novels, the protagonist almost never shows any signs of settling with romantic feelings. Acting like they didn’t hear it, going with the flow of the event, even though they should be giving a response to a confession, and so on. And I can sort of understand why they would do that. Because they might be afraid that their relationship could change. If those protagonists were to try to live in the most efficient way…
For them, not changing the ‘present’ is the most desirable development. That’s why I tried to move with their flow. Telling myself that I had to give a reply to Mashiro’s confession, while deep down I was relieved whenever she was blocking off any chance of advancement. If I can’t give her an answer, nothing will change.
But I realized, things can’t stay like this. If I were to turn my head and ignore it, I would lose something important to me. If there was a god, looking down at the story that revolves around me, they might anticipate ‘This man’s probably going to avoid this confession without ever touching on it, I bet.’
If that’s the case, then rest assured. I won’t evade her confession. I will answer Mashiro’s confession right here, right now. The answer already exists, deep within my heart.
“Mm? What is it, Aki.”
“Please let me answer your confession… That’s the main goal for today.”
“………Yeah, you’re right.”
When I gave Mashiro a serious gaze, she averted her eyes. Putting down the knife and fork, she fidgeted with the glass in front of her.
“It’s been a wonderful dinner. Mashiro is very happy that she’ll get to hear your response on a beautiful occasion like this.”
“I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying this so much. So, Mashiro. You see, I—”
“—Don’t need it. Mashiro doesn’t need a response.”
Mashiro’s voice cut through my words. But this is something that I had anticipated. After running away from me so much, I didn’t expect her to just listen to me. However,
“I won’t wait. I heard your feelings, then I thought about mine. If I don’t give you my response now, I’ll probably regret it for the rest of my life.”
“Yeah, since Aki is so pushy, Mashiro expected you to say that. But you’re wrong.”
“Aki, you’re about to turn down Mashiro, right?”
Her response robbed me of my words. Bulls-eye.
Until now, I had always kept my distance from love or my ‘youthful springtime’. Meeting Ozu, seeing the extent of his talent, as well as Sumire’s and Iroha’s, I built up our group, the [5th Floor Alliance]. I was the one who proposed to aim for the highest place we could reach… To achieve that in the most efficient way during my time as a high school student, I shut the lid on these so-called adolescence events.
Being confessed to like that was a first for me. For a beginner in love like me, I decided this after talking with Iroha and Otoi-san about it, my one and only answer.
That is—that I can’t accept her confession.
“Why…do you think that?”
“Because Mashiro knows. Aki is kind, after all. You presented Mashiro with such a wonderful experience, it’s obvious. Mashiro had guessed your answer after you called her to such a luxurious place.”
“…That’s not right. If I made you mad, and my contract with president Tsukinomori got cut, I wouldn’t be able to get everyone into Honey Plays. In the end, I was just acting for my own benefit and for the benefit of the [5th Floor Alliance], trying to comfort you the best I could. Something like this isn’t being kind in the slightest.”
“No can do. Aki, you have no idea how much Mashiro actually loves you. That’s why you think you can just shut her up with this. But that won’t work. You do this because you’re kind. That’s what Mashiro knows deep in her heart, and that thought won’t change.”
“Thinking about it, Mashiro should’ve expected this. Iroha-chan is so cute, and she’s not your girlfriend. Having such a girl right next to you, there’s no way you’d choose Mashiro, who you’ve just been reunited with.” Mashiro muttered fluently.
Beneath the dark lighting of the restaurant, I couldn’t see her expression. But her voice was shaking.
“Mashiro knew. That she was the only one getting so excited. For Aki, the [5th Floor Alliance] is his number one priority after all. Experiencing love with Mashiro, you never thought about it even once. But—”
Her voice was shaking as she tightened her grasp on the wine glass. She put more strength into her next words.
“—Mashiro wanted to move forward. She wanted you to know about her feelings. That’s why, Mashiro confessed.”
Mashiro expressed the reason for her confession.
“For all her life… Mashiro was always running away. But enough of that. Mashiro wanted to change herself, to do that one step at a time.”
That was the shut-in little mermaid’s determination. The girl who continued to hide herself inside her little shell in her small pond, not wanting to be hurt, was now slowly mustering up the courage to openly express her feelings. That’s all this is.
And right now, the little mermaid, about to be rejected, about to be hurt again, what would she do?
“That’s why, Mashiro is satisfied with that. It’s her win, since she went on the attack.”
When Mashiro lifted her face, I thought that she’d be crying. I was wrong.
The girl who transferred schools to change her weak self, through many twists and turns, arrived at her first goal, and grew, grew oh so immensely. And this stronger Mashiro formed a winning smile on her face, and said so.
“Mashiro doesn’t want to hear your response to her confession. What she wants to hear, are the two syllables ‘Okay’. That’s why she doesn’t need your answer right now.”
A clear rejection towards my answer. The ultimate cold treatment, leaving me unable to speak.
“No matter how many months, or how many years it will take, Mashiro will definitely make you fall in love with her. She’ll make you confess to her.”
“…There’s no guarantee that the day will come where I fall in love with you. Forgetting me and moving on…is way more efficient.”
“Are you an idiot? Aki, that makes you a failure as an efficiency freak.”
“Aim for the shortest route towards your goal. That’s being efficient, right? Mashiro’s goal isn’t to get a boyfriend. It’s to make Aki her boyfriend. That’s why giving up here would be way too inefficient.”
“I’ve got enough to do with the [5th Floor Alliance]. And I have no idea when my work will calm down. Probably way after we graduate. If that comes, you being by my side is just—”
“Mashiro will always be by your side.”
“It’s true that Mashiro has no idea what will happen with the [5th Floor Alliance]. But as long as you walk forward with them, Mashiro will be with you. That’s why, until the end—Mashiro will be with you.”
“No, but, that’s…”
What does she mean by that? Once we graduate, we’ll even stop being classmates. As cousins? Or as the daughter of the Honey Plays president? But if we were to revert back to such a distant relationship, there’s no way anything romantic could develop like that. Where does she get her confidence from…
As I was lost in thought, Mashiro got up from her seat.
“Thank you, it was utterly delicious. And now, Mashiro knows what she has to do. Everything for the sake of the [5th Floor Alliance]. And of course, to make Aki fall for Mashiro.”
Mashiro gave a polite bow. But her words were more of a challenge.
“Mashiro will go home for today. It must be awkward for Aki. But—”
“From tomorrow onwards, Mashiro will be going on the attack, as annoying as it may be. So you’d better be prepared, [AKI]…!”
With those final words, Mashiro turned on her heel and walked out of the restaurant.
…I want to put an end to this, but controlling her emotions is something I can’t do. Mashiro likes me. But I don’t feel the same way.
Also, that intonation when she last said Aki, it sounded different for some reason, what was that about? It felt vaguely familiar, like I’d heard it from someone I knew, but even after dwelling on it for a few minutes, I couldn’t come up with an answer as to why.
—Anyway, the incident with Mashiro reached its conclusion. Sorry for making you wait, Iroha.
Now it’s your turn.
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: Seems like Mashiro-chan and AKI went on a dinner together
[OZ]: I heard that they had something important to talk about
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: Iroha-chan seemed to be acting weird as well… What’s happened with everyone
[OZ]: The spring of life, adolescence, a romcom. There’s a lot of words, but that should be about it
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: I don’t care as long as they’re all happy
[OZ]: Agreed. If only bigamy would be allowed by Japan’s society
[Murasaki Shikibu-sensei]: Ikr. It’d be great if we could make every heroine happy…
[OZ]: Now, which route did AKI trample on, I wonder. I’ll be looking forward to it.