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Aya was lying on her king-sized bed, surrounded by silk and expensive quilt. She was staring at her phone with a flustered look, hesitating. On the screen of her phone was a contact she recently added…

Hikaru.

Today was a weekend, and Aya was debating on whether to call Hikaru or not, after having subtly asked for her number at the end of school yesterday…

Hikaru had taken out her phone when the end of school bell rang, checking a message that her mum had sent her.

Seeing this at her side, since Hikaru was always sitting next to Aya and Aya was always glancing over, Aya had coughed, drawing Hikaru’s attention.

“Do you want my number…?” Aya asked, hiding her nerves behind a polite smile. “Maybe we could do something this weekend…?”

“R-really?” Hikaru asked. “That would be great!”

Hikaru had never had a day out with her friends. Back at her hometown at Takayama, she didn’t have much friends either, and she only ever saw them at school. She had never actually gotten a number besides her parents before.

“Yeah, it'll be fun…” Aya said, dancing for joy inside her mind. “I’ll type my number in your phone…”

“Thank you, Aya!” Hikaru excitedly handed over her phone to Aya.

Immediately after receiving Hikaru’s phone, Aya quickly checked as many things as she could on Hikaru's phone. Does she have a boyfriend? Who does she talk to? What does she do on her phone?!

Frantically, Aya’s fingers were tapping rapidly on Hikaru’s phone, trying to gather as much information as possible.

In the photos of Hikaru’s phone was…

She scrolled through in disbelief.

It was mainly all pictures of cartoon shows she watched, and for some reason, downloaded onto her phone. There were a few pictures with Hikaru and her family, but none with friends. That was because Hikaru didn’t have any other friends, but Aya didn’t know this.

Ack! She looks so cute with her mum! Her mum looks like an older version of her! Is that her dad...? Oh crap, I should check something else before she notices!

Then, Aya checked her contact list…

Mum.

Dad.

That was it.

What the hell? Does this girl even have a life? Aya was astounded. She had never come across a person like Hikaru before.

With not much time left, Aya flicked her fingers, taking her to the internet history section.

It was mainly searches about cartoon shows she watched, and other mundane things like where the closest convenience store was.

This is unbelievable… is this really all she does…?

“Um, you’ve been typing your number in for a while now, Aya…” Hikaru said.

“Y-yeah!”

Aya quickly returned to the call section, typing her number in a hurry and calling herself so that she would get Hikaru’s number. Upon receiving the call, she cancelled the call on Hikaru’s phone, and gave it back to Hikaru.

“It should be the first number on your call history…” Aya said with a smile, as Hikaru took her phone back. "I called myself, so I have your number too."

“Okay!” Hikaru smiled, glancing down at her phone.

And that was how Aya had gotten Hikaru’s number.

Aya was still in her bed, staring at her phone. She had been stuck like this for an hour, having intended to wake up early to call Hikaru.

W-why am I so nervous? I’m just calling her out as a friend! A friend! That’s all! It’s normal to hang out with friends on the weekend! Stop being so nervous, Aya!!

Taking a deep breath, Aya pushed the call button on her phone, calling Hikaru.

Ek! I actually did it!!

Aya placed the phone to her ear nervously, her face red, and her heart pounding.

The phone rang for a while, until…

“Hello, dad?” Hikaru picked up the phone.

“Um… I’m not your dad…” Aya said.

“A-Aya?! Oh, I'm so sorry about that!” Hikaru said, her voice embarrassed. “I’m just so used to either my mum or dad calling me!! I thought it was my dad, cause I’m already home with my mum!”

“R-right…” Aya said. “Um, listen… do you want to go out with me today…?”

“Go out?”

“Y-yes! Like as friends! Just going out! Two girls!”

What the hell?! Why am I trying to explain myself?!

“Ah! That sounds really fun! I never did something like this before! Where do we meet up?!”

The excitement in Hikaru’s voice was overwhelming.

“Great!” Aya tried to calm herself down. “Um, how about I’ll come pick you up? I got your address from last time.”

“Okay!” Hikaru said. “I’ll wait for you here!”

“See you then!”

“Bye!!”

Aya hanged up the phone, feeling her chest pounding and her face hot. Oh my god, I actually did it! I called her out! I can’t believe I did it!!

Aya quickly crawled out of her bed, jumping out at the end. It was too big for her to jump out straight from the start, so she had to reach the edge first.

Running to her humongous wardrobe, she flung it open, staring inside.

What should I wear? Ah, it’s my first time out with Hikaru…

NO!!

Aya slapped both her hands to her face that wouldn’t stop blushing. She was horrified at her thoughts.

Why am I acting like this?! Just be normal, and treat her like a friend!! Stop being such an idiot!!

Controlling her breathing, she picked a modest outfit, or what she thought was modest; consisting of an extremely expensive black dress, a luxury branded jacket that was custom designed specifically for her, and a necklace that costed a normal person’s yearly salary.


“I’m going out with a friend!”

Hikaru announced to her mother, and her mother raised an eyebrow, surprised that her daughter actually has friends.

“You’re going out with a friend?” Hikaru’s mother repeated, as though she had heard the wrong thing. Hikaru had never once said something like this in her 16 years of living. “What friend? Who is it? Are you sure they’re not taking advantage of you?”

Hikaru’s mother had grown to be very cautious of Hikaru over the years. The problem was that her daughter was too naïve, too unaware of the cruelties of reality. Ever since that time Hikaru had almost donated all her money to a homeless man on the street. Hikaru’s mother had been wary of her. It was lucky that she had realised what Hikaru was going to do before it actually happened, when she found Hikaru withdrawing all her money from her bank account…

“Hikaru, what are you doing carrying all that money?!”

Hikaru’s mother had yelled, seeing all the money that her daughter had in her wallet.

“Ara,” Hikaru glanced around nervously, trying to think of an excuse, but failing to think of any. She wasn’t good at lying anyway. “I was trying to help this homeless man… he said he lost his house, and he needs money to buy a suit to get a job…”

“You…” Hikaru’s mother was in disbelief. “Don’t just give money out like that!!”

“I’m sorry!!”

Hikaru’s mother sighed, remembering that moment. If only my daughter can marry someone rich, then maybe I’ll be less anxious all the time. Maybe a lawyer, or a doctor… no, don’t get your hopes up… even a salesman would be good…

“Well, I’m going out now!” Hikaru announced in a cheery tone.

Hikaru’s mother stared at Hikaru wearily as she left the apartment, then sighed again.

She had moved out here with Hikaru so that Hikaru could attend the prestigious Hibiya High. Even she was surprised when she heard that Hikaru had somehow managed to score a high enough grade to gain admission. It was like a dream come true for Hikaru’s mother.

She thought she could stop worrying about Hikaru now that she attended such a prestigious school, but…

Hikaru’s mother knew that she had been getting bullied at school. Hikaru had been coming home with a depressed face, sometimes with her clothes wet, and her sport shoes that Hikaru’s mother had paid for had gone missing.

She was just hoping that Hikaru would be strong enough to tell her, herself, without Hikaru’s mother needing to interfere for Hikaru.

But, it seemed that the bullying had stopped.

“That girl…” Hikaru’s mother glanced out the window of the apartment. “When can I stop worrying about her…?”

...

Hikaru's mother stopped.

Wait a second... she didn't even answer me when I asked who she was going out with?!


“Thank you for coming to pick me up!!”

Hikaru entered Aya’s black limousine, closing the door behind her, then glanced over at Aya.

Ek!! She is dressed so nicely!!

Hikaru froze, seeing Aya’s dress and jacket, a sparkling necklace hanging around her neck. Her dress emphasised the perfect sculpture of her body.

Aya glanced down at what Hikaru was wearing.

A grey hoodie purchased from the discount shop, and black pants that was a few years old but well taken care of.

Aya tried to ignore Hikaru’s clothing. Oh, that poor girl… she doesn’t have a fashion sense at all! But she still looks so cute!! It’s okay, I can help her get better clothes…

“How are you, Hikaru?” Aya smiled politely. “Thank you for coming out with me today!”

“O-oh, I am very well.” Hikaru was still put off by how nice Aya was dressed in comparison to her. She felt like she was being rude by being in a hoodie. But it wasn’t like she had any other clothes. Her most expensive clothes were her school uniform, which was mandatory at Hibiya High.

“How about I get you something to drink first?” Aya went into the minibar. She knew that Hikaru didn’t drink alcohol, which was a shame. If only I could get her drunk…

NO!

With her face turning slightly pink, Aya pulled a bottle of mineral water out from the fridge, the most expensive brand, which was the only brand she had.

“Mineral water?” Aya asked Hikaru.

“Um…” Hikaru glanced at the bubbly water inside the expensive looking bottle. “Okay…”

She took the bottle out of Aya’s hand.

Just as Aya turned around to prepare some glasses, Hikaru opened the bottle of mineral water and started chugging it from the bottleneck.

“Um…” Aya held the two rock glasses in her hand, not knowing what to do with them.

Hikaru stopped drinking, and stuck her tongue out. “It tastes bubbly…”

“Yeah, it’s mineral water…”

Oh my god, her tongue is so cute! I want to kiss her tong—

“SHUT UP!”

Aya shouted with a red face, and Hikaru jumped in her seat.

“Er…”

“Ah, I’m so sorry!” Aya realised she had spoken her thoughts out loud. “I-I didn’t mean you, haha, I’m so sorry! I was just talking to my driver! Silly driver!”

The blinds separating the driver’s seat from the passenger’s seat was already up.

“Oh, okay…” Hikaru laughed, trusting Aya. “Anyways, do you want some?” Hikaru stuck the bottle out towards Aya.

“Um…” Aya glanced down at the bottleneck.

That was where she drank from!! It would be an indirect kiss!!

Aya’s face was growing redder by the second, staring at the bottleneck.

“S-sure…”

Aya placed the rock glasses back where she got them from, and took the bottle of mineral water out of Hikaru’s hand.

She stared down at the bottleneck, hesitating.

Oh my god, this is going to be an indirect kiss!! I can’t believe I’m doing this! Doesn’t she care?!

Aya glanced up nervously at Hikaru, but she was staring out the window.

“Where are we going?” Hikaru asked, excited.

“Um…” Aya quickly drank the bottle, pushing her lips down at the bottleneck that Hikaru had touched.

Oh my god, our lips indirectly touched!!

Her heart was going insane.

Aya placed the bottle back down, feeling dizzy, her lips wet. “W-we’re going shopping…”

“Shopping?!” Hikaru turned back to Aya. “I love shopping! I always wanted to go out with a friend to shopping!”

Aya laughed weakly, feeling like she was going to faint. She placed the bottle down at a bottle holder in the limousine clumsily. Then leaned against the chair for support.

“Are you alright, Aya?” Hikaru asked.

“Y-yes! I’m fine! Great!”


“Are you sure about this?”

A middle-aged man dressed in a suit was speaking to a phone.

He nodded, as the voice on the other side of the phone answered.

“Ok, I know what to do…”

He hanged up the phone, then turned around.

He was inside a large store, one of the most luxurious stores in Tokyo. In front of him, stood a line of people dressed in a similar outfit to him. They were retail workers in this luxurious clothing store.

“Gentlemen and ladies…” The man coughed into his hand, seeming slightly nervous. “The young mistress, Aya Kuramoto, will be coming to this store today.”

“…!”

“Kuramoto… of the Kuramoto Bank…”

“It’s that girl from last time…”

Whispers were going around the line of retail workers.

The man coughed again and everyone went quiet. “Evacuate every other customer from the store. Prepare the store for the young mistress’ arrival.”

Instantly, the retail workers started heading off, running to different areas of the store.

“I don’t want to see a speck of dirt anywhere!” The man shouted. “Not even on the ceiling! Make sure you get our best and newest items out on display!! Be on your best behaviour!! If anyone makes the young mistress even a little bit annoyed, don’t ever think about showing up for work again!!”


“We’re here!” Aya announced, as the car stopped.

“I’m so excited!!” Hikaru said.

Aya leaned over to Hikaru, opening the door of the limousine, then allowed Hikaru to step out first.

When Hikaru stepped out, the first thing she saw was a large store, with transparent windows everywhere. Inside the shop was rows and rows of clothing, and extravagant interior.

Hikaru had never been to a place like this before.

Aya stepped out of the limousine after Hikaru.

“Let’s go in!” Aya said cheerfully.

“Okay!” Hikaru said.

They walked into the shop, and was immediately greeted by a line of retail workers all dressed in formal clothing. They were lined up in a row, bowing as they greeted Aya and Hikaru.

“Good afternoon, young mistress, Aya!” They spoke in unison, then saw Hikaru by Aya’s side. “Good afternoon, young mistress!” They said to Hikaru.

“W-woah…” Hikaru stared at the line of retail workers awaiting their arrival.

What kind of shop is this…? All their workers are just waiting at the front of the shop? Don’t they need to attend to other customers?

A middle-aged man in a suit approached Aya, a friendly smile on his face.

“Ah, young mistress, Aya!” The middle-aged man bowed. “It is certainly good to see you again!” Then he glanced over to Hikaru. “And I see you brought a friend! Excellent!”

“It’s good to see you too!” Aya said, though he had no idea who he was. The guy had introduced himself before to Aya, but Aya had forgotten. Still, she had to appear to be polite. All she really wanted to do was grab Hikaru and put on some outfits on her. “This is my friend, Hikaru.”

“Very nice to meet you.” He bowed to Hikaru. “My name is Saburo.”

“It’s good to meet you, Saburo!” Hikaru smiled cheerfully at the man.

“Anyways, we’re just going to look around ourselves first!” Aya said. Her impatience was growing. “I’ll call you if we need any help!”

“Of course.” Saburo smiled, then watched as Aya walked with Hikaru further into the shop, glancing around at all the clothes on display.

“Kuku…” Saburo smiled, seeing them eye the strategically placed clothing. “You must want that, right…?”

Aya turned away from the clothing that Saburo was looking at, and Saburo’s face turned disappointed.

The retail workers started surrounding Saburo.

“What should we do?”

“The young mistress said she wants to look around by herself!”

There was panic going around the retail workers.

“Don’t worry!” Saburo calmed them down with a strong voice. “Just try to subtly hint our most expensive clothing for them to wear… but make sure not to disturb the young mistress!”


“Uh…”

Hikaru was walking around the giant store, with Aya walking next to her. So far, Hikaru hasn’t seen a single customer other than the two of them.

“Where are all the other customers?” Hikaru asked, looking around confused.

“Oh, I don’t know.” Aya said. “There’s always no one when I come to this shop.”

“Hm…”

“Anyways, you should wear this!!”

Aya pulled out a cute onesie from a line of clothes. It was close in appearance to sleepwear, but somehow fashioned to be able to wear both for sleep and going out. It looked like something out of a fashion magazine.

“Uh, that’s unique…” Hikaru said.

How could I wear such an embarrassing thing out! Hikaru thought to herself.

“Um…” Aya glanced down at the onesie she had pulled out. All this time, she had been thinking about what cute clothing to dress Hikaru in, that she hadn’t been thinking of what clothes that Hikaru could actually wear out on the streets like a normal person.

But… that onesie was so cute!

Aya motioned at a retail worker standing by the side to come over. Quickly, the retail worker scuttled over with an anxious face. Aya handed him the onesie.

“I’ll get this.” Aya said, without once looking at the price tag.

Nodding, the retail worker took the onesie and stepped away to give Aya and Hikaru their privacy again.

Hikaru was really confused by Aya’s method of shopping. Whenever she shopped, which was always with her mum, she would always check the prices before buying something.

“Aya,” Hikaru was glancing around the store. There didn’t seem to be prices on any of the clothes.

“Hm?”

“Where are the discount items?”

“Discount?” Aya repeated like she had never heard such a term.

“Yeah, you know… doesn’t this shop have some items that are on discount or something?”

“Uh…” Aya tried to think, but she had never come across such a thing when she went shopping. “You mean… like limited edition, or something?”

“No, like discounts!” Hikaru said. “Cheap clothes!”

“Ah, don’t worry about the price, Hikaru.” Aya said. “I’ll pay for it.”

“What?! I can’t make you do something like that!”

“It’s okay!” Aya tried to laugh it off. “I made you come out today, so it’s the least I could do.”

Hikaru never heard of friends paying for each other’s clothes. Is this normal? Is this how friends shop?

Hikaru shook her head. “No… I really can’t, Aya. I can’t make you do something like that.”

“Ah…” Aya felt disappointed, but she also didn’t want to force Hikaru to accept something she didn’t want. “Okay…”

The two of them continued going through the store.

“Ah, how about this?” Hikaru pulled out a long-sleeved white jumper, along with denim shorts.

“Yeah, I think that looks good!” Aya said.

“Where do I go to try it on?” Hikaru asked shyly.

“At the side, over there.” Aya said, then walked with Hikaru to the side of the shop where there was a change room.

Seeing Aya approaching, the retail workers quickly spread out, giving Aya and Hikaru room to walk, while they smiled politely at the two of them.

Saburo approached the girls as they headed to the change room.

“Is there something wrong?” Saburo asked.

“Oh no, we just want to try this outfit.” Aya said, indicating at the clothes that Hikaru was holding.

“Ah, no problem.” Saburo said, relieved that there was no complaints. Then gestured at the change room while moving out of the way. “Please, feel free to use it as you please.”

Hikaru felt awkward, seeing the retail workers staring at them as they walked into the change room.

Inside the change room, there were rows of more rooms that were the actual place where you tried on clothing.

“I-I’ll just be a second…” Hikaru said.

Aya nodded.

I wish I could go in with her…

Wait, maybe I could! I’m a girl, after all! There’s nothing wrong with girls helping each other with trying on clothes!

“Hikaru, do you need any help with putting on the clothes?” Aya asked in a serious tone, trying to put on her most composed look. She knew how important this request was. “I can go inside, and make sure it’s all okay… I mean, that’s if you’re okay with it. Some clothing might be tricky to put on…”

What the heck? Did I actually say that last part? Helping her put on clothes was pushing it, wasn’t it?!

“Ah…” Hikaru blinked at Aya.

Is this normal? I have no idea… Is this what city girls are like? Back at the country side, girls were more private about these type of stuff… but I don’t want to make Aya feel bad for asking… what if she thinks that I’m weird for saying no…?

Hikaru glanced at Aya, who was staring at her with a serious look. Hikaru trusted that Aya was just trying to help her out with no ulterior motives.

“Okay…” Hikaru nodded with an embarrassed face.

Oh my god, is she serious?! Aya still had the serious look on her face, although inside, her mind was frantic. I can actually go in and help her change?! This is the best day of my life!! I can’t believe it’s actually happening! I thought she would say no!!

With a gentle but shaky smile, Aya walked with Hikaru inside one of the change room, locking the door behind them as they entered.

Oh god, oh god… this is actually happening…

Aya was trying to control her breathing, but it was hard. She stared at the door that she had just locked, thinking about what to do.

“Um…”

Hikaru glanced at Aya who was still facing the door. Didn’t she say she would help me change…?

Hikaru shrugged, then started taking off her clothes shyly.

Oh god, she’s actually changing. Aya stared at the locked door, her face burning red. She could hear Hikaru taking her clothes off.

If I peek to my side…

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