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A whirlwind of romance and youth.
Previous thread >>51103 Character blurbs: www.touhou-project.com/others/theater
I mussed up my hair. It was a petty act of rebellion. The mousse made it sticky and prone to staying in place, making it a hassle to completely remove lingering traces of order. The face in front of me frowned. That roguish charm of his was conspicuously missing. Even though his face was flush from having come home in a hurry and his collar was unbuttoned in an act of defiance, he still looked way too prim and proper.
It was a shame. His boyish good looks were wasted with needless distractions. I placed my hand on the mirror, apologizing silently to my reflection.
I had taken off my tie the moment I had left the restaurant. I took it out of my pocket and dumped it unceremoniously on top of the pile of clothes I was wearing. I had half a mind to burn all of them. Symbols of oppression, they were. But that would have been too childish and reckless, even for me. Instead I finished stripping and grabbed a more comfortable and less ornate outfit from my room.
Auntie wasn't home. She probably wouldn't be for quite some time. If the remark about getting a drink later was true (as it seemed to be) she might be out until late at night. I was lucky to have been allowed to slip away as the second round of dessert came around. There were very few experiences in the world that were as traumatic as two older women alternating between discussing you and discussing topics which appealed only to females. In short, it was hell. The tragic realization that they were of about the same age dawned upon me too late. And I had been thrust in the middle of it for several hours as they babbled on about my upbringing, about my coming out of my shell, how adorable I had been as a toddler, how I made an impression on the young ladies these days, how so and so kissed so and so on daytime TV, this neat little shop that sold the best and most supportive undergarments, how the food was delicious and surprisingly low on calories (the chef had featured in a woman's magazine as part of the new healthy wave that was taking the country by storm, if you didn't know!) and so much more tripe in that vein.
The cause of that hell was my indecision. I took too long in deciding what I wanted to do. And, as fortune would have it, Big Sis had given out her number out to Auntie. A phone call interrupted our chat and my guardian, concerned about my well-being, expressed her desire for a parent-teacher sort of meeting sometime in the future. That somehow got warped into an invitation for tea which then became a lunch and then involved me directly. "He's with me right now," Big Sis had said, "I think he can handle being taken out of class for a day if you like. His grades have improved a little in the past two examinations.."
And that was that. Condemned for actually having paid attention in class every once in a while. I cursed my mind for acting like a sponge. That I had missed a day of class was little consolation. Being paraded out in public in formal clothes and having to endure the torture of an interminable meal was too high a price to pay.
Well, at least it was over. No point in dwelling on it. And I had some of the afternoon left to do as I pleased. The only tragedy that I was still thinking about was the relative lack of money in my wallet. It limited my activities severely.
 Wander around until dark - that's when the real fun starts in town.  Settle for tea time at a plant-filled cafe.  The coin-draining thrills of an arcade are a good distraction.
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I felt much better walking around in regular clothes. The years of wear had made my school uniform the most comfortable item I wore but casual clothes weren't bad either. Made me easier to blend in with a crowd in the seedier parts of town. Students tended to be tolerated in seedy establishments by unscrupulous owners but only if they didn't flaunt the fact that they weren't supposed to be there. It was obvious, really. No one wanted to deal with the police and with municipal authorities if they had a chance. Fines and paperwork were a pain in the butt.
School was still in. For about an hour or so longer. Middle of the week would mean that most students would go to clubs and deal with the humdrum of routine. Only the really bored or friendless would wander around in town.
It was fun to get lost in a crowd. Just let the mass of people direct me and see where I ended up. People in a busy city were like a current in the sea. You could get dragged along without realizing if you just walked without thinking. And there probably was something like tides as well. Or at the very least the shifting of these currents. In the mornings the crowds would pull you in deep into the heart of town and straight to the business center. The outskirts of the center properly barely had much of an attractive force. But train stations and bus terminals were like fast-flowing jet streams that pushed people at remarkable speed. And in the late afternoon, when office ladies and salary men started to go home, the flow was reversed. Everything and everyone pushed out of the center, towards the residential areas. Those who stayed were in for the nocturnal fun, much like I was.
Before I knew it, even without doing much, time had passed. The smaller shops closed. Then the department stores. Street lamps flickered and came on to life. The working class stiffs all went home or to karaoke bars and the like. In a few hours more, they would make the journey back home, crooning along to the catchiest tunes of the night.
I was relaxed, in my element. I forgot all about having wasted an opportunity thanks to Big Sis and sat down at a park bench.
Maybe fate decided to smile on me for a change. Not five minutes after I sat down, I was approached by a long-haired girl in a skirt and sweatshirt. A combo that sent very mixed messages. Long legs covered in black thigh high socks which accentuated her figure coupled with a bulky generic fabric for a top that hid most of her curves above her skirt.
"Yo," she said brusquely.
"Yo. Do we know each other???
"I remember seeing you somewhere," she said, with a shrug. There was no eye contact on her part. It was like I wasn't important enough to warrant it. It rubbed me the wrong way, to be honest. Something about her was, indeed, familiar though. I found myself thinking that I had seen her somewhere before too.
"Anyhow, I need a solid from you," she said dryly. What irritated me more was how sullen she looked. Her face seemed long and gaunt and devoid of joy.
"At least let's introduce ourselves," I said with irritation. Or maybe it was more exasperation. "I'm Arc."
"Yeah," she said as if a 'whatever' was to follow. After a pause she added, "Fujiwara.."
"Right. What do you need from me Fujiwara?"
"Buy me a pack of smokes," she reached into her pocket and produced completely worn-down cigarette. She mimed the act of smoking, putting what was basically just the filter to her lips. "I'm all out.."
"Eh, why should I?" I asked, put off by her forwardness. Or maybe it was her clear disdain for me and the world (more of the latter than the former, hopefully) that put me off more. Tobacco was expensive and I didn't have the luxury to spend my money on any whim.
"You seem on the level. Not a nark, that sort of thing. Look like less of a loser than the rest of the guys at the park too. I left my wallet at home. Can't go back. So I'm asking you for a favor.."
Not a nark? Well, yeah. Less of a loser? What a way to ask for a favor. I wasn't about to turn into an old fuddy-duddy but her lack of manners was a bit grating. What a shame because with legs like that and pretty hair like that, she'd be pretty cute. She wore a couple of sloppily-tied ribbons here and there but they seemed to be worn more ironically than for any conventional fashion statement. At least judging from her personality. It was a waste for her to behave like that. If she smiled, she might even be outright good-looking.
"I'll pay you back some other time," she insisted, with a frown. Like she didn't understand why I couldn't just go along with her. It was obvious that she was about to walk away. Clearly she was about to decide that I was a waste of time to talk to, after all.
 Get her smokes.  No dice. Smoking is bad for you anyways.
Ahh ha! Finally figured it out. Pretty sure It's Angel from that adult bar we went to a long time ago that nobody remembers. She's wearing the sweater to cover up her work uniform.
[X] Get her smokes. -[X] You and your mom helped me out of a really tight spot recently at the police station. I guess that makes you my own little guardian angel. -[X] Be sure to watch her reaction carefully.
Hopefully we don't get caught by that police dude, but even if we do, arc can be like "ey bro, fujiwara totally owes me a favor, I could set you up with a date with her mom if you let me off.
I think you guys might be on to something, I'll reconsider my vote.
[x] No dice. Smoking is bad for you anyways
I wonder what Yukari's role here is. She very well might be the headmaster. Given the placement of certain characters in positions of authority like Mima, Yuyuko, Eirin and even Yuuka, I'd say that she's a shoe-in for HM.
"Fine," I stopped her as she finally turned to leave. "It's your lucky day." I stood up and put my hand into my jacket. "What's your poison?"
A flicker of a smile finally showed up on her face. Even then it wasn't very bright. And came off as more of self-satisfied thing than a sign of genuine attitude. I was regretting my decision already.
But I wasn't about to complain to her. I got her a pack, easily enough, from a bored shopkeeper more interested in the rerun that was airing on his portable TV than checking for identification. Pretty pricey though, I was down to my last cash reserves.
"Yeah, thanks," she said with seemingly indifference. At once she opened up the edge of the soft packaging and pushed up a cigarette with the use of her thumb. "Don't suppose you got a light?" she asked, drawing the cigarette from the pack with her lips. I shook my head. "Yeah, guessed as much." Fujiwara patted herself down, stopping at her left side pocket. She reached in and pulled out a book of matches. With a casual, almost disinterested flick of her wrist she struck a match and lit her cigarette. "Want one?" she titled the pack towards me.
"I'm good," I replied.
With a shrug that clearly was meant to say 'suit yourself' she put the packet of smokes into her a pocket. Fujiwara took a long drag and stared out into the park. Not many people were around. Too late for moms and their strollers. A few couples, sure, but they kept to themselves near the shadows. They were off in their own little world. "Arc, huh?" she mused before taking another long drag. "Well, see you."
"Just like that?" I asked, somehow feeling a bit indifferent myself. Her attitude might have been infectious.
"Just like that," she replied, nonchalant. "See ya.."
"Yeah, see ya," I said and watched her walk away. I felt like I maybe should have said something else. Well, it was fine. Not every encounter had to end with much in the way of excitement. Maybe it was a nice pace of change. Or maybe I was rationalizing to get over any disappointment that I felt. Either way, I was done with the park. It was getting cold and there was something off about a guy being by himself in a park after dark. Getting mistaken for a voyeur wasn't really on my to do list.
I found myself in the seedier part of town. I didn't really have much money for drinks so a bar as out. Just as well. I still wasn't ready to get back into the world of drinks and troublesome women. Even if they were sometimes worth the trouble. Eh, my thoughts were a bit disjointed. I looked around for the nearest distraction.
Oh, there was one of those themed meeting halls that were all the rage just at the corner. The idea was that people went in by themselves and sat in a booth. There was a phone in the booth. Someone else in the place was on the line. And you'd chat for a bit, anonymously. If you got on... well then any plans you made for afterwards were for you to decide. A basic fee was charged on entry and they didn't like people loitering if they didn't buy drinks. But I think I had enough if I wanted to go.
Ah, what the hell, I had come into town to distract myself. This sort of new experience was the sort of thing I had wanted.
A lean man greeted me at the door, "welcome sir, is this your first time?" It was a nondescript entry hall. Two corridors stretched on either side deeper into the building .It was obvious that the establishment prided itself in its discretion.
"Yeah," I said with a nod, "I've heard about this place though."
"Of course," the man smiled. It was a polite smile from a veteran of the entertainment industry. "All the same, I feel obliged to guide our new customers. In order to promote efficiency... we've decided to group our clientele according to their tastes. The other patrons you speak to... would you prefer them to be more animated and extroverted or more reserved and docile? If you don't mind me saying, I have grouped you into the former category."
"That'll do," I guessed that I wasn't exactly shy. I had a general air of confidence about me. Even if that confidence sometimes seemed to be misplaced.
"Please make your choice sir and follow me," the man led on into a hallway.
 Someone feisty and with a lot to say.  Someone more subdued would be a nice change of pace.
Very interesting point, I like your thinking. This is usually where I'd disagree, but you managed to make this choice so enticing that I can't really see the merit in going for a normal feisty girl. Congratulations.
[x] Someone more subdued would be a nice change of pace.
I was led to a small room. It was about as big as a closet with only a chair, a lamp and a retro-style phone. The phone itself was missing its rotary device and instead had two buttons on it, one blue and one red.
"As soon as you pick it up, it'll try to connect you to someone else using the phone. If you wish to stop speaking to that person, simply hang up and pick up again to talk to someone new," the man explained. "The button on the left when pressed toggles between the categories of clients and the one on the right calls for a waiter. The fee you've paid covers a half hour of talk time which is extended complimentary when you order something from the menu." In other words, I had to buy more drinks and snacks to keep talking. "That should be the basics, I hope you enjoy the experience.."
He closed the door behind himself and left me alone. I didn't waste any time and sat down and picked up the receiver. A dialing pulse sounded in the earpiece. My thoughts were all over the place. The thrill of talking to a stranger was making my heart beat faster.
The call seemed to connect. "Hello," I greeted.
"Yes, hello?' a voice on the other end replied.
"How are you?" I asked, thinking of nothing better to start with. I was trying to decide what kind of person she was judging by the sound of her voice.
"I'm a little drunk, I'm afraid," she said, "I'm afraid I can't think very well at the moment." There was something about her voice or maybe her statement that made her seem young. Perhaps it was someone my age? Someone trying the service out for the first time like I was? Honestly speaking, I had heard rumors that this sort of location was a magnet for would-be prostitutes. Schoolgirls could sell themselves without worrying about being seen.
But that surely wasn't the case. Those things were stories invented for tabloids. "Oh, are you not used to drinking?" I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the stuff myself," I told her, the memory of the last wild evening I had still vivid - or not vivid at all as the case was - in my mind.
"It's just I've been here for a long time already and I keep having to purchase drinks to remain here.."
"Oh, well, you don't have to have them, you know."
"I know, but it's my choice to buy them so I should consequently follow through and take responsibility. Don't you think that people should be responsible for their actions?"
"They should be, ideally.."
"I'm glad you agree.."
There was a moment of silence. "Still with me?" I asked.
"Yes, I am," the voice replied. Even though I couldn't see her face, I had a mental image of a sulking, sullen girl. Maybe that was just an aftereffect of meeting Fujiwara. I thought of her indifferent, but ultimately joyless expression. "Are you still there?" she asked meekly.
"Do you want to hang up and talk to somebody else?"
"No, this is fine. I'm just not sure what we should talk about.."
"You're the guy, aren't you?" the voice with what I thought was just a tinge of bitterness, "I was told that guys were the ones that had to worry about moving things along and going forward. Then again, that may have been another lie. Give me a moment, won't you?" she paused, as if repressing a sigh, "I'm going to order another drink before my time is up.."
I didn't know what to make of her. At the moment, I was experiencing a strange sensation of deja vu. Not of talking to a stranger over a phone but because of the sentiment she expressed. I may have been inclined to try talking to someone else if there wasn't a little voice in my head that told me to stick by it.
 Try being more flirty with her and keep things light.  Try to to learn more about her personality and her thoughts.
- Also, while late, I'd be happy to do fast updates for a while if people actually voted faster right now.
It is Shiki, calling it now. She seems prone to preaching and telling people what to do? She came here to have fun, why else would she be here in the first place? Drinking maybe to loosen up and just have some sort of a good time.
[x] Try being more flirty with her and keep things light.
Nah. It's Kaguya. The perfect, friendly schoolgirl image Teruyo showed us before was too shallow and one-sided for a character of his creation, thus he seeks to add some interesting dynamics and route conflicts to better flesh her out.
"Mm, my head is swimming," she said on the other side of the line. "I've lost count of the number of drinks that I've had."
"Sounds like you're enjoying yourself," I said.
"It's not good to lose control, didn't you know?" she remarked. "But it feels nice but not nice. It's a guilty feeling not just because I am doing it but also because why I'm doing it."
"And why are you doing it?" I asked.
"Finding a way to move forward," she said, sounding excited. More than that, it sounded like she was anxious. "I'm not sure why I do the things that I do anymore. Maybe it's just to find what I need to move on. Find peace of mind? But then bad things happen and it's both my fault and not my fault. Sometimes the universe acts in ways we cannot comprehend. All we can do is cast off desire and try to reflect on our misdeeds.."
"It's okay to have fun too, you know," I said. "Losing oneself can be important for finding oneself. You don't need to overanalyze everything."
"No, but we need to reflect on what we do. Otherwise nothing changes and we never learn. And we never reach our goals.."
She went on at some length about similar ideas for a while. I listened patiently, occasionally interjecting when it seemed appropriate. There was something very human with the juxtaposition of (what I presumed was) a young girl that had had more to drink than perhaps she was ready for and what was something like metaphysical questioning. It was kind of weird but kind of interesting. I didn't quite know why it made me feel nostalgic to hear her talk about that sort of stuff.
Clearly she was someone with a lot of time on her hands for thinking. And I felt sad for her. Because even though I didn't know her, I felt that she was someone that felt lost and adrift in the world. I felt like I wanted to stroke her head and tell her that everything would be alright. But maybe that was just me interpreting things incorrectly. It could just be that she was drunk and just spewing whatever came to mind. I had had drunken conversations with Suika about inane things in the past. Like how many eggs a hen lays and whether or not those eggs are bigger than snake eggs. People said silly things when they weren't sober.
"You know," she sounded a lot more calm, "I bet your time is nearly up. Isn't that right?"
I checked the time. Yeah, my time was almost up. I hadn't ordered any drinks. "I've only a few minutes to go," I told her. Checking my precariously empty wallet, I remarked, "I could buy something if you wanted to chat a little bit more.."
"No, that's okay," she said.
"So this is goodbye then?" Well that was a disappointment. Even though we weren't exactly getting on famously, I felt a strange connection with her. I wanted to spend more time to her, speak to her, hear her out. Help her with whatever it was that was troubling her. I felt like sighing.
"It doesn't have to be," she said softly. At that moment I imagined a faint smile on her lips. Hope did spring eternal. "Would you like to meet now?"
"I... yes, I would," I said. I didn't want to let her go so easily.
"Good, meet me by the side of the building in five minutes." She hung up. I just sat there for a moment. Then I checked the time. I left the room and slowly made my way back to the front. I nodded at the man who I saw on the way in, who just smiled back. He definitely knew why I was leaving and silently was wishing me the best. I didn't want to rush straight out. She had said five minutes. And there probably was good reason for that. At the same time I didn't want to loiter in the lobby either, in case she had yet to come out and was waiting for me to leave first.
My solution wasn't very logical but it felt like all that I could do. I waited outside by the entrance, trying to look busy and not suspicious. Luckily the few passerbys were drunk salary men. They kept to themselves, occasionally making loud and disgusting remarks about the women they saw that night if they were in a group.
I checked the time again. It was time.
I rounded the corner slowly but anxiously. She must have meant the small alley between shops when she said she'd meet by the side of the building. And sure enough, there was someone there, standing up against the wall in the shadows. A definitely feminine figure, even though she was mostly cloaked in shadow. I stepped closer furtively, excitement filling my head. I wanted to run up and greet her but at the same time I wanted to soak in the moment and every minute detail.
The light from the nearest street lamp barely made it to her legs. I started observing her from the feet up as I got closer. She wore a pair of dark calf-high boots with no visible socks or stockings. It was just pure leg until a pleated skirt which ended somewhere above the knee. Not too showy but not so innocent either. She wore a simple black hooded jacket over her top, with the hood up so I couldn't see her face as I approached. She was smaller than me but I didn't tower over her either. In that sense she was like most of the girls at school.
"Hello," I started our new conversation like we had our previous one.
"Hello," she greeted back, her head pointed downwards. It was only when I stood in front of me that she looked up at me. "So it really is you," she said like it was the most natural thing in the world, "I had a hunch.."
Long hair with bangs. The face of a morose angel stared back at me.
"Tenshi!" I gasped.
"Long time, no talk," she said with a degree of disinterest. It was eerily reminiscent of our last exchange, all those weeks ago. Was she expecting me to lose my temper again? I wasn't about to. If anything, I wanted to reach out and hug her. She probably wouldn't even resist just like when we first met.
Pangs of guilt hit me like an artillery barrage. It utterly destroyed me.
"This is the kind of girl that I am," she said, with a wickedly debasing smile. "I don't deserve your pity, I was chatting up strangers and drinking on a school night. It was always best that we each go our separate ways.."
"What are you talking about?" I asked stupidly. "No, that doesn't matter. You were saying earlier that I'm the one responsible, aren't I? That's what you meant by those lines about taking responsibility.."
"I was talking about myself," she stated dryly. "You're just hearing what you want to hear so you feel less guilty. You always do that. It must to be good to do as you please all the time.."
"No, that's not it," I denied it. I didn't know what to do with the ticking bomb in front of me. She was dead drunk, I now realized. She was leaning against the alley wall for support rather than to hide her face away. Was she even being rational? Was I? Or was she right? Was I just trying to make things easier for me?
"Why did you talk to me then? Because you wanted to flirt and talk to some girl, right? You came out here because you hoped for something to happen. Always looking forward but never around you, you haven't changed," she sighed. "Or maybe I haven't changed. I'm still destroying everything I touch. I hate you," she said with her eyes firmly focused on me. "I really hate you. And I hate myself. And the world. Why did I have to run into you tonight?" Her gaze fell away and she shook her head softly. It's like she was about to say 'what am I even saying?' but couldn't bring herself to force out the words.
Difficult feelings welled up in my heart. Artillery barrage or no, something in there was going to burst if I did nothing..
 Explain how I never stopped thinking about how to help her.  Hold her close, kiss her. My feelings were better expressed with action.
>>53822 Get off your high horse. Given past interactions with her and all the stuff you people keep saying every time she's mentioned, it's more than appropriate. The choice is about either more talk or action in trying to get through to her. But hey, feel free to discard something out of hand without thinking about why it's there again.
[x] Hold her close, kiss her. My feelings were better expressed with action.
I am willing to bet that she needs this right now. She needed him, she wanted him near her, he disappeared like a jerk and now she is drunk and hurt. Just telling her "Hey I always thought of you and worried" will not get us far here since it does not even sound anything but a lie. Let us face it, we did not care for her at all. He will not be forcing himself on her, she thought that it could be him and wished to actually meet him.
>>53821 [x] Hold her close, kiss her. My feelings were better expressed with action.
Change my mind. When we met her, we tried to be the guy who helped her, nice guy etc. She knows better. Tenshi knows Arc's a womanizer etc. Trying to be the nice guy will come off as us still trying to play her.
Kissing her? Actions speak loudly. Unlike the times where we tried to convince her to change, Arc's showing that he has feelings for her and Tenshi's far more likely to trust him given Arc is acting how she expects him to act.
After all, she did come out here to talk to guys and make friends.
"Tenshi..."I said her name, a sigh threatening to escape my lips. This was not the time nor the place to feel exasperated. I just wanted her to know that she wasn't alone. I was there for her. I wanted to be for her. She needed to understand that above all!
I slipped my hand around her waist. She slackened, not resisting. Indeed, quite the contrary, she began to put her weight onto me. I didn't need to pull her closer. She fell into my arms with the gentlest of holds. I wrapped my other arm behind her. She felt so small and frail... completely given over to me. My heart beat faster. It hurt. It really hurt. It was like something was ripping up my chest. The girl in my arms had been completely alone in the world and I hadn't been there for her. Even though I said I was interested in her. That may have been a lie once but at the moment it felt like it was some sort of eternal truth.
Her hair still smelled of peaches. The fruity smell tickled my nose. "I'm here for you," I told her, taking my hand away from her waist . I lifted up her head, drawing back the hood of her jacket. She looked up at me with a blank look, the light in her eyes deadened. I moved in for a kiss. And just like the first time that we met, I planted it on her forehead. "Don't worry about all that bothersome stuff. I'm here for you," I repeated.
She shut her eyes. A single round tear rolled down her cheek like a clear marble. She was shaking in my arms. "I hate you," she repeated, her voice quivering. "I hate you so much.."
Without warning she lounged at me. More accurately, her face did. She clung onto my body as she pressed her face to mine. Her small hands weren't strong enough to hold her up so I helped her by holding her even tighter. We kissed. She was aggressive. Her tongue forced itself into my mouth, assaulting me with sloppy, random thrusts. There was a wild passion to her thrusts, like nothing else in the world was more important than what she was doing. It was almost like an act of desperation. Her body pressed even closer and she bobbed up and down as she pressed against me. It didn't feel like it was just the alcohol's thought. There was an unbridled energy coming from her act that made me forget where we were and why we were doing it. I felt like I could hear her heartbeat and it was synchronized with mine.
The taste of alcohol filled my mouth. It was sweet, more sweet than sake and warm. I didn't really mind it and, once my initial hesitation was over come, I responded to her display of affection in earnest; Parrying, caressing and accepting with my mouth. She was wild and insatiable in a way I never imagined possible. I almost forgot to breathe, so relentless were her kisses. By the end it was more of a messy slobber than a kiss.
"I hate you," she repeated quietly, now out of breath. In her eyes there were tears, freely streaming down her face and joining on her chin before dropping off to the alleyway below. "I really hate you... but please, don't leave me."
"I won't," I promised. "You're safe with me." I held her tight.
"I'm sorry I'm such a brat... I don't want to be a brat. But no matter what I do it's always my fault..."
"It's not your fault," I told her. Empty words to her, I was sure. But there was something about the close proximity of our bodies, about the tender bond that made me feel like she understood what I was trying to say. At least on some level.
"I'm disgusting and pathetic.."
I squeezed her hard. "Relax, it'll all be alright," I promised. Even though I didn't know what her problems may have been, I told her that earnestly. She buried her head into my chest and I stroked the back of her head gently. "Do you want me to take you back home?" I asked. "You need to rest so you can think with a clear head. I'll be there for you when you're ready.."
"I don't want to go back home!" she complained loudly, "I don't want to think anymore either! It's always so much trouble. I just want to be and I just want to forget about the rest. But I don't deserve it, I'm selfish and I'm weak. I don't want to change enough, that's why I'm the person that I am.."
"Don't worry about any of that right now," I told her. If she got stuck in a negative loop I probably couldn't get her out of it. "You need to rest before I can help you."
"Is it because I'm drunk? Well, it makes no difference if I'm drunk or not," she stated. Her eyes were now almost entirely red from the tears. "You couldn't help me before and you can't help me now. But please, please," she said, "I beg you, don't take me home. I don't want to go back there again. It just reminds me of how I fail at getting anywhere.."
"..."I couldn't promise her that. Her father was probably worried sick if she had gone missing without telling him where she went.
All of a sudden she broke free from my embrace. She staggered slightly but quickly began to walk away from me. I followed. I wasn't going to leave her alone in her state.
"Wait up," I called out after her.
"Just shut up and follow me," she said with a sense of purpose. It may have even been a comedic statement if the circumstances were different. There was something surreal about the whole scenario. A drunk, cocksure girl leading an uneasy looking peer through some of the seediest streets of town. Everywhere I looked there were specialized bars and entertainment centers that catered exclusively to adult tastes. She stopped in front of a huge neon sign and looked at me. "Let's go inside.."
"A love hotel?" I asked out loud.
"Don't you like me?" Tenshi asked.
"Yeah, I do. But I don't want you to do something that you'll regret later.."
"I already regret everything I do. Or do you think I was just having a wholesome time talking to pervy older men over a phone? They offered me money, you know. A lot of it. They probably wanted to do all sorts of things with me. To me. One of them told me that I probably would like being in a couple of videos he and his friends were making." A dark grin formed on her face. "I at least like you as much as I hate you. It's less than I hate myself but that should be enough of an excuse," she rambled on. "I need a place to sleep anyways. If only for a few hours. Maybe I should ask random guys on the street instead of you.."
"Tenshi..."I was at a loss for words. "I don't want to see you get hurt.."
"Well it's you... or somebody else. And I really do prefer it's you.."
"We don't have to do this..."
"I want to do this. I want to feel more alive. I'm tired of feeling like I may as well be dead. I want you to make me feel like a real human being.."
"I..."wasn't sure what to say. The look in her eyes, now focused and sharp, made me think that she really wasn't kidding. There was no walking away. If I wasn't there for her, even as unreasonable as she was being, there was no telling what would happen to her.
"Come on," she said, wiping away the last of her tears with a brusque stroke of her hand. She smiled weakly, "let's go Arc. Be there for me. I'm done pretending I'm above it all.."
 Go along with her.  She can do as she please... back at my place.
... "Say I Love You"? Drawing parallels here between Tenshi and Asami. Gist of it is, "Drunk girl feels like utter shit because her situation leaves her no choice but to feel like shit, and one night from loneliness/break up, has sex with the male lead at a love hotel because it eased the pain."
If going by every trashy romance novel and shoujo manga I've ever read, holy shit, that love hotel is the worst idea ever.
TL;DR, going in and following up with naughty times will be Tenshi using Arc to help ease her pain. The emotions that go through are, well, they exist on some level, but she's drunk and acting on things more.
While I dislike white knighting, taking her back to Arc's place gives her time to sober up a bit and for him to take her somewhere safe. I think more than anything, she needs a place where people aren't going to judge/ask of her and Auntie is a match for this. Same once you add in Shinki.
Fuck I don't know. Comfort for the night with Arc in bed or trying to get to her real problems? The problem is that I am not sure if this votes will just make her run off or trick her into thinking that she will get it at Arc's home.
She might be thinking that this is what she needs right now but it is not. She needs a starting point from where she can build up on. A night with Arc is at most some forgetting but it will go nowhere.
Let's solve her problems and give her happines, this time for sure guys.
>"Well, "'I beg you, don't take me home. I don't want to go back there again. It just reminds me of how I fail at getting anywhere.'"
>?I beg you, don't take me home. I don't want to go back there again. It just reminds me of how I fail at getting anywhere.."
>?I'm sorry I'm such a brat... I don't want to be a brat. But no matter what I do it's always my fault..."
>?I really hate you... but please, don't leave me.."
>"I want to do this. I want to feel more alive. I'm tired of feeling like I may as well be dead. I want you to make me feel like a real human being.."
>"It's less than I hate myself but that should be enough of an excuse"
>?I'm disgusting and pathetic.."
Self hate off the chart, lack of any hope or belief in herself, blaming everything on her self, her home is broken, no place to go, etc.
Tenshi is a brat, but she's also hurting. More than just sex, she wants to be comforted, to be wanted ("I really hate you... but please, don't leave me?) . She doesn't think she's deserving of it though, she's hates her self far too much for that. Lets say we take the Love Hotel, and spend the night there. Sex or not, come morning its back to her home, her life. School's only a temporary relief from that. And then she's back where she started, alone and unwanted. The other option is to take her back to Arc's place, which given Auntie's accepting nature and its removal from her family, gives her a safe place to go. For someone in her situation, that's unthinkable/something she doesn't deserve and a far stronger catalyst to help her.
I almost definitely won't try to write anything until at least 4-5 or so hours from now, so that should give you plenty of time to think things over and discuss it and whatever.
A few thoughts that might help you along:
Consider Tenshi's mental state. And by extension her willingness to listen and cooperarate if challenged in any way. She has a very clear idea of what she wants to do. So really it's a matter of knowing how to handle her. This obviously won't be the last choice with her so there is definitely wiggle room in the short and mid term. It's probably safe to say that Arc won't abandon her so easily. Also keep in mind the potential complications that may arise from third parties. Especially if Tenshi continues to be stubborn/insistent on a few things. Tomorrow may be a new day but it's probably best to be prepared for may happen in some of the scenarios stated by people so far. There's different kinds of dangers to each choice. Also, in case you didn't know, Love Hotels usually aren't rented out for a whole night. I'm not sure what else I can say that's not stuff that only I'd know. How about that things should be taken step by step but those steps don't necessarily work as well in every location and in the same order. That's probably cryptic enough to let me get away with it.
As an aside, there are no direct shoujo influences in this story. So that kind of logic doesn't necessarily apply. If I had to do something direct and shoujo it would either be magical girls fighting for love or touhous in Versailles.
>>53876 Thanks for the tip and the update. I stopped reading after my vote 'Do not taunt the police officer lost' but, boy, did I picked a good time to come back. That said, it is a mixed blessing: I like seeing Tenshi, but not like this. Not your fault mind you, I like your Tenshi. Even more than your Patchouli or your Alice.
>?Tenshi..."I was at a loss for words. "I don't want to see you get hurt.." >?Well it's you... or somebody else. And I really do prefer it's you.." >?We don't have to do this..." >?I want to do this. I want to feel more alive. I'm tired of feeling like I may as well be dead. I want you to make me feel like a real human being.."
>?let's go Arc. Be there for me. I'm done pretending I'm above it all.."
[x] Go along with her. Her choice is made. I suppose we should respond in kind; no more running away.
She's being selfish but so is he. I think they'll make a good couple, once they figure out where they're standing. Or maybe I'm just desperate and grasping at straws. I just want to give her something she won't regret.
My reasoning behind this is... A) Arc may be a bit of a jerk at times, but he never actively tries to hurt people. Nor would he actually take advantage of someone like this.
B) He said that he doesn't want to see her hurt and doing this would cause far more harm than good.
C) I personally don't like This Tenshi and would prefer to keep her from doing something stupid, but pretty much say "Hey, I'm not interested in you like this, but I'm willing to be there for you as a friend if you need it".
D) I don't recall, but I doubt Arc, or Tenshi for that matter, has any condoms. Having sex with her is stupid and possibly reckless.
And finally E) Such situations could be considered rape! She is drunk, clearly not thinking clearly, and is vulnerable. Yes, she is saying she wants it, but if she wakes up in the morning realizing that they did in fact have sex, she could go to the cops and claim that she was raped and due to a technicality Arc would likely be found guilty. I doubt Teruyo would do that, but you never know. If this is in fact based on old VN's then we should proceed with caution.
I figure this course of action would lead to an encounter with Auntie or other authority figure who would make things awkward/stop them if they went to far/or plain call Tenshi's parents and take her home.
I don't see how the love hotel option solves any of her problems. Tenshi is going to go from vice to vice trying to find a release from all this. She's in a dark place right now, we don't really know what got her to this point. It could be Arc, I'll bet that she hasn't stopped thinking of him, but she had started down this path well before he ever met her. I could argue that he may have accelerated this process, but that's not important right now.
What bothers me are her words, she was going to do this with anyone. That's another red flag.
[x] She can do as she please... back at my place.
My vote is to bring her home. Will it forgo the sexy times? Possibly, but that's not important right now. What is important is pulling her out of this mindset and the first step to do that is a change in environment. Auntie may not be fine with Arc bringing home a drunk girl, but I think she'll understand once she hears the whole story. Nevertheless, there will definitely be repercussions. It will certainly affect Alice the most and I hope everyone is prepared to deal with that. Worst case scenario that I see, Arc will get grounded again and Alice isn't going to talk to him for a week or month. Not to mention the shenanigans that could result from bringing the daughter of a very wealthy man home. But despite those risks, I think this option is worth it.
So then, the short term goals are to simply be there for her. She needs someone right now who isn't going to take advantage of her. Someone who likes her for who she is and can show her that.
Long term is still up in the air. I wonder if it'd be possible to let her stay at Arc's place for a while. That would involve getting her father's permission, I'm sure, so it might be dicey.
As an aside, I'd rather Arc's first time not be at a seedy love hotel in the red light district with a despairing drunk girl. I'm sure that once she's sober, Tenshi will probably feel the same.
Anon is about to fuck things up again and I only have one vote. But I can still talk:
-She is in a delicate mental state right now. Have you read what she said about "tired of being stuck in the same place?" a rejection or deflection will make her lost to us for good-She knows him as the guy who "ran away" and couldn't fix her" don't forget it. -Safe sex isn't a bad thing. She is begging him to go along or else she'll find someone else. You think he will be able go stop her? Think again. -She is drunk, but has she said something insane or nonsensical? Her condition just allows her to be more honest than she ever was. And in that honesty, she admitted that she likes him for trying to help her and hates him for giving up and being so much like she'd want to be. -
Sorry, but your argument doesn't convince me, and it won't convince a Judge. She is quite heavily intoxicated and, as such, cannot give consent. She can go find someone else to rape her if she decides to force this stupidity.
I'm really not trying to be mean or condescending or whatnot, but I mean...bro, fucking read your post out loud. How dumb would you look saying some shit like that in a court of law? Or in front of her parents?
Because I am being lazy want to make sure you understand what you're get into I'm giving this a little bit more time. In part because I'm proud of what some of your are saying with your logic and counterarguments. You deserve a chance to sway a fellow reader that may have not voted yet or is able to change his mind. Seriously, for the most part I don't feel compelled to play devil's advocate for either side and that's a good thing. I'm limited in what I can say because author knowledge anyhow.
There is just one more thing that I should say though. The choice isn't about sex. Neither option is a guarantee of naughty stuff or not getting naughty stuff. That sort of thing depends more on Tenshi herself and a series of factors. Like I said, we're taking it step by step. It's a delicate situation and the only timeskips in the next 2-3 choices will be the ones that don't affect outcomes. There is a potential of screwing up with these choices though and this is why I wanted to give people extra time to think. In other words, there definitely exists the possibility of pushing Tenshi away or creating conflict with other characters.
I'll use the lack of tie now to write. I really didn't want to flip a coin for something like this.
>>53937 I don't recall stating his past experience either way. It's not really relevant for these types of stories and the games its inspired by. Hell, even in Tsukihime, which is more modern they don't mention Shiki's experience. Only in side material.
The sound of running water was all I could hear above my own thoughts. The room was sparsely decorated. The bed was the most prominent feature and took up most of the space. It wasn't a themed room and so simple white sheets were laid out. Other than that there were curtains for a tiny window without much of a view and a couple of chairs and a small table. Other than a door leading to an adjoining bathroom with a small shower the room had no other features.
Well, that was to be expected. Simplicity and discretion were the main things about love hotels. Most of them didn't even have receptionists, just a machine that allowed you to book a room for as long as you wanted and accepted cash like some sort of vending machine.
I stared up at the ceiling, lying on one side of the bed. Tenshi was adamant about going up to the room and enthusiastic about taking a shower first. Neither of us stated the obvious. Which was the implication of the sort of thing that happened in these rooms. The sound of water stopped. I wasn't sure what I was doing and why I was doing it. I didn't want to push her away but I didn't want to hurt her either. Whatever my purer intentions may have been, I also had to admit that I was excited. It was only natural. Being in a love hotel with a pretty girl was something that most men would love. I tried not to get too carried away imaging things, something which was relatively difficult.
Tenshi emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later. She stopped at the doorway, staring out towards the bed. No trace of the wretchedly sad girl from earlier remained. She had put her blouse back on, buttoning all but the top two or three buttons, along with her panties but otherwise wore nothing else. "Well? What do you think?" she asked with a sultry smile. It was the first time I had seen her act so uninhibitedly. That in of itself was seductive.
"You're beautiful," I told her the truth. Though she evidently hadn't gone to the trouble of washing her hair, it must have grown humid from the steam in the shower as it clung to her skin in places. It gave her a completely different appearance, of someone less collected and less uptight.
"I'm glad you think so," she widened her smile and approached the bed. Her movements were more coordinated than on the street. "I'm ready to do whatever you want to do.."
"Come and sit next to me," I told her, patting a spot on the bed. She did as asked without complaint. I placed my hand around her waist and pulled her closer so that we were sitting side by side, our bodies touching in places. I tried not to look at her blouse and the cleavage that sure to be visible if only I looked slightly down. I looked instead at her face and gently stroked her cheek with my other hand. She closed her eyes, giving herself over to a kiss and whatever else may then follow. I obliged her on the first point, giving her a light peck on the lips. No warm-blooded male could have resisted the allure of her delicate features and soft lips. "You really are beautiful," I repeated.
"I'm yours," she opened her eyes, sheepishly telling me (in other words) that I should take the lead. It was almost too adorable to bear. The girl who had pushed me towards this situation in the first place now acted unsure and passive.
"You understand that I'm here for you, right?" I asked her, once again stroking her cheek softly. "In this room, we can pretend like we're the only people in the world. No one will bother us and no one will judge us. The rest of reality and all of that stuff doesn't matter anymore.."
She smiled looking, for once, genuinely happy at the idea. It was a smile that hit me like a spear to the heart. It's what I had always wanted to her her do from the moment I had met her. Even if I didn't realize it at the time.
"Tenshi..."I kissed her again, barely holding back my desire.
"Arc," she said with a giggle, that smile of hers still on her face. She unbuttoned a few buttons of my shirt gladly and with temerity. Those ugly emotions and thoughts that tormented her seemed to have been exorcised in full. "My head is swimming," she told me, "it's different than when I was drinking. That was like a storm in my mind. That made me feel like I was losing myself somewhere cold and lonely. I still feel that a little of that is lurking somewhere inside but that I can forget about it. It'll disappear if I don't focus on. It's like I want to melt away right now. There's a tingle that shoots up from the back of my head and fills me with warmth. I can think clearer now and all I want is to prolong this sensation.."
The third time we kissed it was her initiative. Much like in the alley she threw herself at me, which pushed me to recline on the bed, half sitting up. It was much more controlled than the desperate thrusts from earlier, however. She kissed me like I was a piece of hard candy. She slowly savored me and seemed to pause to enjoy and move around before proceeding from another angle with her tongue.
"Do you feel good?" I asked her.
"I'm glad I'm here with you," she said, placing a hand on her chest. "for the first time in quite some time it feels like I can feel my heart working normally and not against me.."
"I'm glad." I teased, "mine is beating a little faster than usual though. I have to admit that I'm having a hard time from keeping myself from eating you up whole.."
"You can do that if you want," she said. "I came up here to give myself wholly to you. I want to feel wanted and whole. So use me however you like.."
"If it makes no difference then-" I started as I shifted down flat onto the bed. I grabbed her by the waist, flinging her down from on top of me to my side gently. I finished my thought as I rolled to my side to face her "-I'm perfectly happy just staying like this. We can rest just like this for as long as you like.."
"But I want something more," she said. "I can tell that you want something more as well. Let's just be honest with each other and forget the rest. I'm tired of pretending. You shouldn't pretend either," she clearly meant the more active part of me in my trousers that had reacted to the sight of her bare skin and proximity. And yes, I had been looking at her chest. It was hard not to when her blouse flopped about loosely, showing their perky contents off every time she moved. And it sure didn't help that her panties were definitely something an adult would wear. Not a lot of schoolgirls would wear the type that tied on the side on a whim. If I wanted I could just tug at the string that was tied on a side and undo the knot, slipping the cloth off and exposing her most intimate areas.
"We've got all the time in the world. You'll continue to be beautiful and lovely no matter what.."
Tenshi sighed, some of the previous darkness returning to her face. "I've brought a man to a room with impure intentions in my mind. I don't really want pity. I just want to feel like I belong. This is something that I want.."
 It has nothing to do with pity. There are many ways to express sincerity and this is a valid choice too.  She's right. No more pretending. Straight forwad honesty is the way to go.
>I came up here to give myself wholly to you. I want to feel wanted and whole. >But I want something more >I just want to feel like I belong
Straight forward choice here. Arc tries to slow down, be nice and just makes her feel loved. Tenshi does not want that. >Tenshi sighed, some of the previous darkness returning to her face. She just wants love, warmth and Arc with her right now in this room where are just the two of them. Words are of no use anymore at this point. This might be one of the few choices that she herself made and is proud of.
[x] She's right. No more pretending. Straight forwad honesty is the way to go.
>>53957 >>53958 So you had to voice your opinion two times? Joking aside how could you not be okay with it? Nothing is going on here that has any sort of forcing or anything else that Tenshi does not want. She knows what she wants and if you look her body language you will see that this makes her happy. Maybe the first time since forever.
[X] You came here to give yourself wholly to me? That's a lie. I'm going to be brutally honest Tenshi; I want you. Every single ounce of you. If you though a mere 1/3 of body, mind and soul would satisfy me, you were sorely mistaken. Tell me darkness dwells in the thoughts of this high school girl lurking late at night in the shady part of town. Tell me what hopes and dreams compel your soul to go on living just one more day. Tell me how much your body yearns to be complete, to be one with a wild, passionate male. -[X] You were told a guy is always supposed to take the lead? Well guess what? You were right. I suggest you start talking because if we're doing this, we're doing it my way.
You ever seen a write-in fairy fly through your window and literally have sex with your keyboard? Fuckin weird as hell bro.
Am trying to think of an argument for the first choice so that the votes won't be one-sided.
Will this actually help with Tenshi's situation? At the moment, she's looking to fill a void with anything she can find, and this might do so temporarily, but it doesn't fully address the larger depression she has.
Course, the immediate response to that is filling it temporarily then opens the opportunity to work on the greater issue later, something that choosing not to go through with it may close off.
There is the wariness around how drunk Tenshi is and how consensual it is, but the latest part doesn't really suggest this is anything but consensual.
Is there anything the first choice has going for it? Maybe showing that affection doesn't have to involve sex, or that freedom isn't necessarily doing going to the radical extreme (safe sex may not really fit in this category; Tenshi's earlier ideas of propositioning to anyone is a better example.)
Though I would prefer that they don't do something they can't take back, Arc's suggestion of just being there was rather bluntly rejected.
>>53956 I think I have to agree. Everything in this update seems to advocate for this option.
What does Tenshi want? Intimacy. This whole update, she talked about how her feelings from earlier are suppressed and forgotten while she's with Arc. Here's the thing though, is it exclusively from Arc? She might be really caught up in the moment.
What does Arc want? I'd argue that his desires are somewhat similar. Lust is a big factor here, which has been further galvanized by his desire to help her.
How does putting on the breaks here help Tenshi? There's something to be said for ruining the moment here. As he tried to pull back, her mood took a nosedive. The other option doesn't feel right. I don't know if it's the way that it has been worded, or if it really doesn't suit the situation.
[X] She's right. No more pretending. Straight forward honesty is the way to go.
I don't see any reason not to outside of being prudish.
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"Fine, you win," I announced, rolling over closer to her and then propping myself over her, lifting myself by placing my arms either side of her. She stared up at me, expectantly, a twinkle of mischievous excitement in her eyes. I swooped in with my head, kissing her forcefully. She didn't seem to mind. "I'm going to eat you up whole if you don't stop me," I warned her playfully. A multi-course meal awaited.
"Please enjoy your meal," she smiled back, meekly accepting my overture.
"Let's get a good look at you then," I said to myself, no longer holding back. I undid the remaining buttons on her blouse, like she was some sort of fancy packed candy I was going to eat. As I had more or less been sure of, she wasn't wearing a bra. What I encountered was nothing to scoff at. Firm, shapely and well-proportioned. Her breasts were an absolute treat. I took away a hand I was using for support and played with my food. The flesh was gelatinous but felt solid and gratifying in my hand, with the density of moist clay. I squeeze gently, pinching the tip of a beautifully pink nipple between my thumb and index finger. The pair of nipples stiffened up almost immediately, towering above their soft base. "I think I'm going to have myself a sample," I said again.
"Please try as much as you want," Tenshi said curious delight. "I hope I'm to your liking." She didn't look away as I brought my mouth to her breasts, slobbering about like a happy little idiot. I teased her nipples especially, sucking on them with some force. I didn't stop there either. I sucked on her skin, leaving a few suction marks on her otherwise pristine flesh. "Ah~!" she clenched her teeth a little as I lightly nibbled on the tip of a nipple. It was a cry caught in between the fine line of pleasure and pain. "Kiss me all over if you like. Mark me, make me yours."
I was all too happy to oblige. Caught up in the heat of the moment I continued to give her hickeys. I left marks all over her upper chest and collarbone. I retained enough sense not to move up to her neck. We may have been lost in our own little private world, but that didn't mean that the world at large had completely disappeared. "How's this for not pretending anymore?" I asked.
"All I can think about is the moment, about you," she said. With one of her hands she grabbed my free arm, bringing me back to eye level. No traces of that apathetic girl that I had met all those weeks ago were detectable in her face. Another kiss. Followed be another. There was no hesitation with her and that, in turn, encouraged me to not hesitate either.
I did what ever man ever dreamed of doing in the situation. With a single forceful tug, I pulled one end of the string that tied her unmentionables onto her body. The know came apart and her panties easily slid off. Up from above, she tilted her head to see what I was going to do, with fevered curiosity that would no doubt turn into insatiable desire. My own hunger was reaching its zenith. But even though instinct and desire nearly overpowered me, I still managed to do the appropriate thing.
I played around with my food. At first touching, prodding and even spreading apart with my fingers. And, as with her breasts, it lead then to the use of my mouth. My actions had a very noticeable effect on Tenshi. As the area dampened with clear liquid, she occasionally let out a small moan. I traced out a route from her outer labia to her more sensitive portions and enjoyed the reaction I got from her. Her legs quivered slightly at an almost constant frequency. Initially small amounts of lubrication were present but the more I concentrated and the more thoroughly I worked, the more it seemed like I was soon to have a flood upon my hands. I tried my best and involved myself with as much dedication as I could muster. She seemed to enjoy herself and, by the time that the quivering was replaced by involuntary spasms of ecstasy, I was satisfied I had done a good job.
"I'm hungry too," she announced as she became more proactive. Seizing the moment, Tenshi repaid my service with boldness of her own. My trousers were gone in an instant and suddenly I was the one lying in bed being caressed and sampled. It wasn't expert attention and Tenshi fumbled rubbing a little too vigorously in places or lingering too long in other less important spots. She pressed her body up against mine, sliding down across me until her head was aligned with my crotch. It was perhaps an appropriate parallel to my own behavior. At any rate, I didn't care. I was happy and let her do as she pleased. The overzealous work done by her small mouth and delicate hands got the job done. Wet sounds came from us. Every time her head bobbed back and forth indecent squelching and slurping took place. A parallel that came to mind was the noise that was made when someone was slurping ramen out of a bowl. Sauce always went all over the place if you tried to eat your noodles too quickly. My excitement, likewise, had caused me to be a little too sensitive to Tenshi's stimulation. I erupted in her mouth, only just barely giving her a proper warning. Not that she seemed to mind. She slurped it down too, remarking casually, "what an odd taste.."
Normally that would have been the end on my behalf for at least ten or fifteen minutes. However, the moment I saw Tenshi look up at me with a smile, I knew that I could have pushed my body harder. I could have skipped waiting altogether. But nothing else happened that evening.
Tenshi was worn out. It was late at night and all the drinking, stress and emotions clearly had taken a toll on her. "I'm sorry, just give me a moment. I'm just feeling a little sluggish right now," she had said soon after I had climaxed. I told her to relax and invited her to take a place right next to me.
"We can do the rest if you want later," I had said. It was an ambiguous and open-ended promise. But she nodded and seemed to take it as a matter of course. I could tell that pushing her further would be uncomfortable for the both of us. Rushing when there was plenty of reason not to was stupid. I urged her close and Tenshi lay still next to me. In just a few moments she was in a deep sleep. It was a bit enviable, actually. The look on her face was so innocent, so contented and angelic that it made me smile. Looking at her made me doubt that she had ever had a care in the world. I pulled the sheets over us thinking that maybe she had been exhausted all along and hid how she really felt for my sake. I couldn't wrap my head around how she could do something selfless like that while acting under such selfish impulses.
What a complicated girl. I didn't know what to make of her. Closing my eyes, I enjoyed the sensation of having her lie close to me, her arm draped across my chest like it was the most natural thing in the world. And for a while I, too, didn't have a single care in the world.
I awoke to find her face hovering over mine, her gaze fixed on me.
"I wasn't snoring, was I?" I asked, remembering where I was and what we had been doing.
"No, you weren't," she said, sounding more like her usual self. That was to say reserved and detached. I yawned as she pulled away, revealing that she had gone ahead and gotten dressed already. "It's morning already," she informed me. "We were here all night.."
"Oh, that's not good," I said, still in the middle of waking up. "The room will have cost us a fortune.."
"It's already been taken care of," she told me. "I wanted to say goodbye before I left. I didn't want to be a burden and make you feel guilty." Guilty? I would have been more worried than anything if she had just disappeared. "I'm not sure we'll see each other anytime soon either. So I wanted to thank you for putting up with my selfishness.."
"You realize I'm holding your hand, right? I grabbed it the moment I woke up. It means I'm not going to leave you alone. And it means that you're definitely not a burden." It had been more of a reflex action than a conscious act. Her hand just so happened to have brushed up against mine when I was opening my eyes and I grabbed it, as if by instinct.
"It's a school day.."
"So? It's probably too late for me to go home and get changed in time for first period," I told her. "I think that I'm going to stick with you for a while longer.."
"This isn't like that poor excuse for a date," she said, hurtfully telling me what she really thought of my spur-of-the-moment (and admittedly half-baked) effort the first time that we met. "I need to go back home and face the music. I was gone all day and all night. I need to take responsibility for my actions.."
"I really want to just talk to you and help you however you can. I know it sounds silly but last night it felt like I understood how you felt for a moment. So I hope you managed to understand how I felt, if only for a brief moment.."
"I think I did," she turned her head away, looking uneasy. "That's another reason why I didn't just leave. Ah, what am I saying?" she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "I don't know why admitting that makes my mind feel fuzzy and my cheeks warm.."
"I can go home with you," I offered, "moral support and the like. So you don't forget why you're doing it. I can't speak for all your problems but I'm sure that your dad will understand if you talk it out with him." I remembered the strong-featured man with a certain fondness. It was clear that he cared a lot about his daughter. It only seemed logical that he'd try to help Tenshi if she opened up.
"Would you really risk your life for me so readily?" Tenshi smiled, getting at the obvious. No matter what it was I might say to him, the fact was that I had been out all night with his daughter. "I don't think that your brand of chivalry is necessary.."
"I just don't want you to feel like you're all alone. Even if I can't say or do much for you, I want you to know that I'm there for you," I said. "If that means having to run for my life while your father goes fumbles in his drawer for his revolver, so be it.."
"I think he'd get more satisfaction from using his bare hands," Tenshi may or may not have been joking about that one. At any rate, she wasn't shutting me out like she usually did. Not that she was being open either. Just comparatively open. "I'm not sure that talking will solve anything. I feel so much pressure on me. Especially from myself.."
She wouldn't open up about that even if I pressed her.
 Escort her home and stand by her.  She obviously needs more time to process things before returning.
Would Arc going with her make things worse for her or not? She alone will get trouble for not coming home and being out all night long. Now imagine what would happen if she were to bring Arc along.
[x] Escort her home and stand by her.
Tenshi needs him right now. She did not leave earlier because she really depends on him. Now more than ever. She feels bad at home so even if she gets yelled at she will always know that Arc is there for her. Her father is not a bad guy he cares for her but there will be yelling and anger and I think that this is a good opportunity to change some things.
Or in short: Stand by her, don't leave her now. He finally got through to her and he needs to further prove this with actions.
She has to go home sometime, getting this out of the way earlier has merit. But it seems like she's still confused.
 She obviously needs more time to process things before returning.
Spending more time with her could be pivotal in getting her to open up. She's also facing a wave of new feelings.I think that spending more time with her would help her realize the extent of her feelings for Arc and help her become more honest with herself.
I'm wary of putting off the first option though. The longer she's out, the more likely that her father will contact the police and report her missing and the like. We may lose the chance to go home with her entirely.
[X] Escort her home and stand by her.
Having the choice to go home with her is very important. Taking responsibility here should be first and foremost. I want to spend more time with her in order to let her feelings develop further, but it will be for naught if someone from her home or the police shows up and tears them apart.
Don't dismiss the possibility that Arc and Tenshi will be parted forcefully. If that happens, we might not be able to stand with her when she faces her father.
Put yourself in his shoes. You'd probably want to strangle the boy who was out with your daughter all night. But wouldn't you at least respect the fact that he chose to accompany her home? It shows guts.
I'm not feeling well enough to write. Too tired and worn out. So there'll likely be no updates tonight. It may be later when there's no one around. We'll see. Vote freely if you haven't. Or argue. Or post suggestive images of Tenshi to drive fellow readers into a love/lust-filled frenzy. I'll try not to be gone too long.
As an aside: you'd definitely have time to sit around, talk, go out somewhere together otherwise the choice wouldn't be there. I find it funny that not but two votes ago a substantial amount of people were clammoring to take it slow and create a safe environment for Tenshi first. Now it's all lion's den or bust. Maybe that reflects well on me as a writer, being able to manipulate people into forgetting things. Heh, then again maybe not.
Tenshi is going to have to face her father sooner or later - doing it now while she's accepting of Arc and in a relatively good mood is probably the best time she'll ever have to do it.
In addition, solidarity has been a big thing these past few updates. Staying at Tenshi's side right now, defending her in a tough moment, is another step towards showing her we really mean what we're saying.
>>54103 >Now I need to go and get more, and promote Tenshi to possible waifu material.
Not happening. I find this particular Tenshi to be far worse than every other girl we've met so far. Sure, Tenshi is appealing physically, but by no means is she "Best Girl" or "Waifu" material. Though, it's probably too late for me to really change anything as we already Fucked up. I'm not looking to start a waifu war, but seriously we can do far better than her. I would prefer Alice, and I normally hate her! That should be saying something.
>>54053 Can you, or someone else, play devils advocate about the choices?
The only reason I have is that I wish to rush home and just challenge Papa to a fist fight for Tenshis hand and love. He seems like the kind of guy that is similar to Arc, plus he lets his daughter run around hoping that she learns on her own. That hurts her and that shit needs to stop. Men learn from each other when they fight so time to get to learning.
>>54053 That was before we were thrown headfirst into the love hotel. Despite all the reservations of those involved, it's turned out fine.
Enter this choice. The prevailing logic has been that taking Tenshi home voluntarily shows a bit more initiative and would at least demonstrate that Arc has some measure of respect. That said, it is geared towards mollifying her father instead of Tenshi herself.
But that still ignores the fact that he is probably going to be angry no matter what we do. I can see the value in consolidating the relationship with Tenshi further. As it stands, her feelings are muddled and developing. Give her time to focus those feelings and we'll be golden.
[x] She obviously needs more time to process things before returning.
So given the alternative, more time with Tenshi will be a net plus. Her father is going to tear into Arc no matter what, the better defense would be to have a focused Tenshi at our side.
Heh, yeah. I don't have many Tenshi pictures, and the ones I have are pretty weak. >>54127
Excuse me, but mi waifu > ur waifu.
Now, I've been pushing for an Alice 'route' too, with Orin as a second. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed at missing the climax in the Orin&Okuu arc, and at all the mised opportunities for more Alice.
But I also like Tenshi, and will push for her too. The promotion I'm considering is not limited to just this tenshi, but to Tenshi as a whole.
>>54140 You misread me good sir. I merely said that this Tenshi doesn't interest me and that Alice, a character I normally hate, interests me more. Even if "My Waifu" shows up it will depend on how she is portrayed. If she fails to live up to other characters I will put my support behind the others.
Also, >Obligatory "Your Waifu is Shit Speech", followed by "Your rebuttal about how my Waifu is shit" which ends in a "Story ending shitstorm".
I'm still fairly new to the site, did I get the basic flow of these things right?
>>54145 I honestly think we should worry less about Tenshi's father and more about her. Let's go back to Arc's first encounter with him.
>The door opened and a tall man with a stout frame appeared. He wore a plain shirt and nondescript trousers and a professorial-looking jacket. His face was weathered by age and experience but behind the steely cool eyes there lay a twinkle that, along with his somewhat unkempt hair, provided him with an almost boyish charm. The rough stubble on his chin added to his rugged but distinguished presence.
>?I have to hand it to you," he reclined in his chair as he spoke, "you're either really care for her and are fearless or you are an incredible moron. It's probably unheard of for a schoolkid to confront his girlfriend's father on their first meeting." He chuckled quietly at himself, "it reminds me a little of when I met her mother. I wanted to prove to her that I was worldly and dependable. Yet I had never even set food outside my own neighborhood.."
>>I wanted to prove to her that I was worldly and dependable.
Interesting parallel, isn't it. Arc had the opposite upbringing, but he's still basically trying to prove the same thing. Moving on.
Later, when Arc denies that Tenshi is his girlfriend. >?It doesn't matter what you may or may not be at the moment. You're trying to get close to my Tenshi and that means that you should treat her properly, or else." The traces of good humor in his face completely managed in a moment of intense sobriety. It was a very real threat by a man who looked as serious as a heart attack. "I'll let her make her own mistakes but I won't stand for somebody else hurting her. Consider that a friendly tip."
So what should you take away from all this? He lets Tenshi make her own decisions. He never forces her to do anything. He just wants her to be happy.
So, wouldn't you want to bring her home happy instead of in her current mood? I think that alone will speak volumes for Arc. Not that she's unhappy right now, but she could use some more time, no?
The outside world was unchanged. In the intimacy of our room it had been easy to forget about society and the hustle and bustle of daily life. The sun had come out and the seedy neighborhood had become throughway for the office-types who were going to their cubicles with the same enthusiasm as the living dead. Tenshi stared at them with interest. Maybe she was thinking the same thing as I was, that these crowds looked a lot like ants going to and from their colony.
"Will we one day be as them?" she asked.
"Me? Maybe. You? Probably not," I said," If anything you'll be the rich CEO type that arrives by car at 11 and only stays for a meeting before a fine lunch and drinks - all put on the company credit card.."
"You sound resentful.."
"As the proud owner of a small business," I embellished the facts a little, "I work too hard for me not to be resentful of those who never lifted up a finger to do work a day of their lives.."
"Then why associate yourself with me if you don't like what I stand for?" she struck back, no emotion in her voice. It was one of her typical cut-through-the-BS observations that she was so apt at making.
"I like you," I replied with the same irrationality that inevitably characterized all of my retorts to her. "Besides, you're not that CEO just yet. There's hope for you still.."
"So you're coming with me, right?" she asked, moving on. She stepped onto the street and I followed. It was hard to maintain a conversation when the stream of people pushed and jostled me all about.
"I was thinking," I said, managing to secure a spot next to her at the edge of the crowd. "There's no rush to go back just yet. There's probably a lot more you can do to be prepared if you want to resolve all these issues.."
"You're suggesting that I run away some more," there was a sigh that followed her statement.
"No, not running away." I nearly stumbled into a shop's sign as I talked. Keeping up with Tenshi and talking was taking away most of my concentration. Watching out for pitfalls and incoming danger was impossible. "I mean, earlier when we were together you forgot about all these distractions, right? I'm proposing the same thing but to help you deal with things. You can think and take your time. Process things, you know." Again I almost hit something, this time a lamppost. It didn't help that occasionally there would be someone coming in from the opposite direction of the crowd and I had to move to let them squeeze through.
"I'm not sure that it would be any good," she said, looking downcast. "the anxiety I feel and the mess in my head... I don't think that-" she was cut off by a sudden realization and stopped walking. I stopped dead in my tracks as well. We had come perilously close to walking into a street full of traffic.
As we waited for the light to change, I sold her on the idea. "I'm here with you and I'm going to help you out. We all need time to come to grips with what we think and what we feel. I think it'd do you good to spend a day away from home and away from school."
"It's against my better judgment," she said with a glum look. Her eyes met mine and she spoke softly. So softly that it would have been impossible for anyone but me to hear it, "I'll trust you because you're you.."
I smiled and nodded. More than that, I took her hand. She didn't seem to mind at all. The soft smile that formed on her lips made me sure that I was doing the right thing.
The problem was two-fold the way I saw it. It wasn't just the practical concerns about how things would play out but also the state of mind that she was in. I didn't even want to think what would have happened to her the previous night if I hadn't been there for her. She was liable to have done something ten times more stupid than spending a night with me. And that was saying a lot. Tenshi seemed to have had some of the more extreme feelings under control but I wasn't sure how stable that was. I could probably help her both process things and relax but the approaches that I could think of weighted one more than the other. Just as a matter of practical execution. I wasn't sure which would be more useful since her problems, from what I could tell, weren't entirely a matter of rationality nor a matter of emotion.
The light turned green and we began to cross the street, hands held.
 Take her to my place. She'll have plenty of time to process and talk to me if she wants to.  Take her around town to help her relax and feel more at peace.
- To be clear they're just different emphases but they both contain elements of the other. And in the end she'll still go to her home. Home -> logical side, Date-> emotional side
And my sleeping patterns are messed up so I could update rapid-fire like if people vote fast now.
[x] Take her around town to help her relax and feel more at peace.
This is pretty easy if you think about it. It just needs the two of them to be alone and together, hence going home there could be some people who would jump in. Alice seeing them, Marisa, Shinki, Auntie etc. It could produce more problems and question that could be asked.
Just the two of them like a little island in the big ocean of the city. That feeling of not being alone in this is what Tenshi needs right now.
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Writefag hasn't been feeling well and instead of pushing half-assed (even for my standards) updates I'll outright state that there'll probably be nothing for the rest of the day barring a miracle. Sorry.
"Have you ever just walked around town during the day?" I asked her. The crowds were thinning a bit by the time that we got to where most of the big-name stores were concentrated. The morning chill was all but gone as the sun firmly shone above. Enough of the light got through the maze of the skyline to make it feel like the spring day that it was supposed to be.
"No, not really," she replied, not really showing much interest in talking. Though she was following along meekly enough, it didn't feel like she was at all into spending time with me. I didn't take it personally. I couldn't begin to try to understand what was probably going on in her head. Well, I wasn't going to let something like complete ignorance stop me from trying to help her unwind.
I stopped in front of a large display window. "Hey, take a look at that," I said, pointing at a mannequin. It was dressed up in a retro style. Specifically, in a sort of punk rocker fashion. Though probably pricey regardless, the clothes looked worn and beaten by design, Misshapen bits of cloth were stuck together on a visually loud jacket that seemed to capture that quintessential 'screw everyone' vibe that was essential to the movement. "Can you imagine yourself wearing something like that?"
"Ah, it might be a bit too aggressive for my tastes..."Tenshi offered her opinion. Still, the idea seemed to amuse her a little. Just like it did me.
"I don't know, I think that it'd be interesting to see. A bit of change of atmosphere. What do you say we go in and you try it out?"
"Seriously?' she asked.
"Yeah, why not?" I said, "we've got time and I really want to see you all dressed up. Not that the skirt and blouse combo isn't working for me," I teased, with my youthful candor, "but I'm a bit greedy. So I want to see you dressed up in all sorts of different ways.."
"Mm, you sound just like Papa," she mentioned the one person I was trying to avoid bringing up. But, luckily, that didn't sour the situation. Instead Tenshi gave me an approving nodding of her head.
We went into the store. It was the typical multi-storied large department store with separate sections for different demographics. It was just about opening time and employees were still taking it easy or setting up displays. It took a few minutes to find a saleslady that was interested in earning a commission. I mentioned that we would like to see one of the dresses in the display and she lead us right to the appropriate racks.
Tenshi held up the jacket to herself as the saleslady found the skirt and shirt for her. "I don't know," she mumbled, "it's not really me I think." I insisted she try it on.
The saleswoman did her bit. "Listen to your boyfriend," she said with a playful smile, "it'll look cute on you.."
It was enough pressure to get her to do it. I waited while she went to the dressing room, looking around the clothing section. I hadn't ever really been to women's clothing before. Especially not to the subsection dedicated to younger women. A whole array of impossibly small-looking shorts and skirts were prominent. That was probably what was 'in' at the moment. As were boots, apparently. Long boots too, none of that ankle-high stuff. Naturally I was more concerned with imagining the clothes I saw on live models than just fashion as such. Otherwise I'd be dying of boredom.
"Well, what do you think?" Tenshi interrupted my musings about the elastic properties of a particularly showy top. It didn't seem like it would have been comfortable for more generously-proportioned women.
"Let's see..."I looked her over from head to toe. A flatteringly tight dark t-shirt, a patchwork of a jacket and a tartan skirt. It was a radical transformation. From normal girl to bad ass. Remarkable. If she was wearing tattered pantyhose she could pass for the lead singer of a girl punk band. "Well, I think you need a few piercings and dyed hair. But otherwise, it's a bit scary how good it looks on you." She scowled at my remarks. "See? You've even got the attitude down right!."
"Feels strange," she said. "Can't imagine why anyone would dress up like this. Feels like I should be in a bar picking fights and listening to ear-deafeningly loud angry music.."
"Well... if you want..."
"No, I'm good," she preempted my half-serious offer with a strong refusal.
"Just checking," I grinned, "I think you should take the outfit. If people see me with you while you're wearing that, they'll think I'm cool enough to hang out with bands.."
With a sigh, Tenshi seemed to say that my idiocy was getting close to critical levels. She changed back to her normal clothes. I asked her if there was something else that she wanted to try on or look at but it seemed that that was it for her. When it was clear that we weren't going to buy anything, the saleswoman disappeared entirely.
 Find out what kind of store Tenshi likes and go there.  Leave the commercial district for somewhere quieter.
Punk Tenshi, go figure. I wonder how much synergy she would have with Suika?
The main thing to figure out though is what would be best for Tenshi?
To answer that, we need to take in the last few votes. What do we want to achieve? How would going somewhere Tenshi wants help us toward that goal? How would going somewhere quiet help?
This update went "ok", Tenshi doesn't really seem all that engaged. She's going along with the flow. I for one, think that engaging her and finding out what she likes is strong course of action. But I still feel torn, it doesn't seem like she's into this at all. Taking her somewhere quiet is truly worth considering. One feels forced and the other might allow for a more natural flow. In the end, I'll go with what feels natural every time, but the main thing to consider is whether this flies in the face of our previous choices or not.
Why did we choose to go out to town in the first place? I think answering that question will dictate exactly what our next action should be. What could we do in town that we couldn't do at home?
[x] Leave the commercial district for somewhere quieter.
I personally would not have gone to the commercial district at all, especially if I was low on cash. That's a major faux pas in my book. I also do not like the way Arc is acting either, feels off for some reason. I guess it's a result of our voting?
>>54399 It certainly felt like a red flag, but I don't know. In case it is, pursuing that line of choices might not be best.
Here's something else to consider. Think back to her earlier statement.
>?Finding a way to move forward," she said, sounding excited. More than that, it sounded like she was anxious. "I'm not sure why I do the things that I do anymore. Maybe it's just to find what I need to move on. Find peace of mind? But then bad things happen and it's both my fault and not my fault. Sometimes the universe acts in ways we cannot comprehend. All we can do is cast off desire and try to reflect on our misdeeds.."
Sounds familiar actually. "Bhava-Agra as seen through a child's mind." Her final spell theme.
>"It just reminds me of how I fail at getting anywhere."
She said this when Arc offered to take her back to her home. What if the significance of choosing a new outfit for her is a step towards helping her change? She can't do it on her own, that much is clear. Therefore, choosing to find out what store she likes could be imperative. Bring her to a store that she likes, and possibly help her change more.
[x] Find out what kind of store Tenshi likes and go there.
So, help her change. It seems like she's been afraid to live for some reason. I think it's definitely tied in to her mother's death, but we won't know that for sure until she tells us the whole story.
Arc will be the catalyst that helps Tenshi change. How can he do that without having a full picture of who she is? Finding a store that she likes will probably fill in that picture a bit more, as opposed to going off with her to a quiet place.
I think we need to consider the bigger picture of what is going on here instead of voting solely based on our impressions of the latest update. They offer clues that fit into the larger narrative. Arc is known for his tenacity, if his idea didn't work, his next logical step is to pull in her idea on where to go next.
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I led Tenshi away from the hubbub of retail and took her somewhere quieter. There really only was one place in the city that guaranteed relative peace and tranquility. It should have been familiar to her as much as it was to me.
"It's been a while, hasn't it?" I tried to strike up a conversation as we crossed over the last street. "Hard to believe so much time has passed since the first time we came here." The cherry blossoms were about to be in full bloom.
"It's been a while," she agreed, looking ahead vacantly. The park was emptier than the last time we had been there together. To be expected, really, given that it was still morning. A few joggers ran down the paths that wound around the lake's shoreline. Here and there there were a few older people, feeding whatever wild critters happened to be nearby. A lone mother pushed her stroller around leisurely, looking like she didn't have a care in the world. "Are we going to ride a boat again?" Tenshi asked.
"Only if you want," I told her. "My plan was just to get us somewhere a little more laid back so that we could enjoy the day.."
"I'd rather just sit on a bench then," she said. Maybe I bored her too much last time on the boat. I found an empty bench by a more or less secluded spot in the park. It was on raised terrain, on a hillock which was bound by two more or less parallel paths on either and overlooked a small inlet.
I didn't particularly have anything to say to her and she likewise didn't seem to have anything she needed to say either. But that felt like a good thing. I slouched a little on the bench and looked off into the distance, staring at nothing in particular. It was relaxing. Kind of like the hours I spent on the roof staring up at the clouds. The far end of the lake seemed so far away. It was considerably less urbanized. A few large lakeside homes for the richer inhabitants existed but other than that, it was mostly wilderness. Trees, hills and animals. Perhaps the odd orchard or two. It probably would have been more interesting to stare out from the opposite shore to the city. The skyline and lights at night were probably nice enough.
"I feel like I'm wasting your time," Tenshi sighed, breaking the silence. "Maybe I'm wasting my own time as well.."
"I don't feel like my time is being wasted," I replied a little absentmindedly, turning to look at her in profile. She was a perfectly good-looking girl by any standards. It was a waste that she seldom smiled. Other girls - girls in school, girls that dressed like her - they would no doubt be more spirited even when doing nothing. Probably checking their phones and sending messages to their other friends. Arguably not a charming thing but it would probably make them look livelier. "We're here to help you relax," I told her. "I'm here because I want to be."
"You mean because I've made you feel guilty and responsible," she said.
I wasn't about to tolerate her usual ruthless logic. "That might be true in part," I admitted and used that to refocus the conversation in the same breath, "but I'm certainly not feeling worried and guilty at the moment. You know what I'm thinking right now? I'm thinking about how it's such a nice day. And how I have a cute-looking girl sitting next to me on what's basically a date. A date following a night at well, you know where. And I'm skipping class too. No matter how you cut it, most guys in the world, not to mention our classmates, would be jealous.."
"It sounds like it doesn't matter to you who you're with..."
"Oh shush," I told her, "don't ruin the moment. You have to allow yourself to enjoy the moment. If all you're thinking about is stuff you can't change at the moment then you'll miss out on most of the fun in life." Case in point, I was probably a dead man. "I haven't contacted home since yesterday, I'm probably in as much trouble as you are if not more." Auntie was going to skin me alive. "But I'm not letting that get me down. I'm happy that I'm here with you. I'm trying to make the most of it.."
"I don't know if I can." Tenshi stared out into the distance. I couldn't tell what she was thinking, she wore a mask of calm neutrality.
"Well, are you happy that I'm here?' I asked.
"..."her expression changed. It grew a bit troubled as she struggled to answer. "While I'm not happy with myself at the moment I think it would be worse if I were alone.."
"That's a very roundabout way of saying 'I like you, Arc,'? I tried to lighten the mood. It may have worked a little.
"I would have gone straight home if I didn't like you at all," she retorted, looking a little less troubled.
"A one night stand, huh?"
"Get your mind out of the gutter," she shook her head, now smirking a little. Progress.
"Say what you will," and I was saying what I willed, "in spite of the circumstances, I wasn't the only one enjoying myself last night.."
"I checked in the mirror," she spoke softly, as if she was afraid of letting the wind carry her voice far away, "those marks you left on me are still there. All over my chest and belly.."
"I sincerely think that the navel is underrated," I spoke like it was a serious statement. "You're lucky I showed some restraint and kept from biting your neck.."
"That would be hard to conceal..."she went along with the thought. "Maybe if I had a scarf? Too obvious in this weather..."
"It's better this way. It's like a secret that only the two of us know. Eventually the marks will fade away too but isn't it a bit exciting to know that they're there and no one else can see them?"
Tenshi smiled. Yeah, outright smiled. I was taken aback with how lovely she looked. Like a proper young lady, full of beckoning charm. She edged a little closer to me, her eyes wide and doe-like. She whispered, "somehow thinking about all of that makes my heart beat faster. It's a secret that a lot of people would be ashamed of having others find out. But I don't feel particularly guilty about it.."
"That's a good thing," I told her quietly. "Don't dwell on the bad things in life. Think about the good things, the things that make you happy. Or that excite you. That'll help you get through the bad times. And you'll see that it's not all so hopeless.."
"Hm, I don't know," she continued to whisper, "perhaps I need a reminder of what those exciting things are first." She leaned in closer, blowing softly on my ear. There was no one in sight and we were secluded enough to hide from casual prying eyes. The morning sun hit us directly with an intensity that told me that it was near midday already.
 Give her a big reminder. One that she'll be happy with.  It's no good if she uses those feelings as another form of escapism either.
[x] Give her a big reminder. One that she'll be happy with.
Alright then, this is straightforward. Talking her through this has been entirely unfruitful. What Arc says does not seem to affect her much. She will reason around it every single time. What can't she reason around? Actions. So then, the plan is to give her enough tender lovin' that she can't help but connect what he says with what he does.
On the flipside, the other choice spells out exactly what is wrong here, to a certain extent. The thing is, this is the only thing that seems to get through. For all Arc's talk before, the only thing that actually worked was kissing her and then following through at the hotel.
We're going to have to cross that bridge at some point. Timing is key, I don't think she's quite ready to hear reason yet.
"Come here," I wrapped my arm around her and pulled her closer to me. She looked at me expectantly, those eyes of her gaining a playful glimmer that enticed me to forget all sense of reason. It didn't matter that it was the middle of the day and it didn't matter that we were in a public place. Tenshi was all that mattered. Tenshi and her long eyelashes, her upturned eyes and her intoxicatingly fresh scent. I took a deep breath, taking her presence in. Without delay I kissed her and she reciprocated as if already expecting that and much more.
The excitement that she had talked about was infectious. I certainly felt it. Not only because it was her and because we were in our own little world but because the larger world around us still continued to exist. I pressed on close to her, headless of the fact that we were sitting on a bench on a knoll, exposed to heaven and the gods. I felt a little powerless. But then again, I was sure that she was experiencing a similar feeling. The flush on her cheeks and almost glazed over look in her eyes indicated abandon. In the reflections of her eyes I saw a mirror expression on my face. It suited us just fine.
Tenshi gripped me of her own accord, crawling up into my lap like a playful little puppy begging for attention. She straddled me by necessity, her body facing mine as I sat. Her arms wrapped around the back of my neck, bringing her face close. She smiled, looking confident. Perhaps even feeling at peace. There certainly was no sign of the troubled girl from earlier. We kissed again, slowly and deliberately, letting our instincts take the lead.
I moved a hand under her blouse. "All those spots where I kissed you and marked you, are they tender?" I asked, moving my fingers along playfully across the upper reaches of her abdomen.
"Move a little bit higher," she whispered, "I think you'll find out for yourself." I didn't have to think twice about what she meant. I reached up higher until I encountered another piece of fabric - the contours of her bra. Tenshi unbuttoned her blouse a bit with one hand, ever mindful to keep herself balanced on me. "You never did tell me what you thought of my body.."
"More than passes the test," I teased, not resisting the chance to rile her up a little. "You saw, after all, how much time and dedication I gave your chest last night, right? If you don't mind I think I'll massage you now a little bit as well.."
"I'll never understand why men are so obsessed with breasts," she giggled softly. "Or whether or not I should be worried that I'm nowhere near being a contender for largest pair.."
"From where I'm sitting," I told her, "both questions have a very obvious answer." I happily groped her, letting that stand for any further verbal answer.
I was just about to open her blouse up fully and feast in earnest when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. "We're not alone," I told her. "I think that somebody might be watching.."
"Good, let them," came her surprising answer. She was rubbing herself vigorously against me. It was naturally stimulating. But also a slight bit painful. Clothes caused chafing. I could see why she was doing it, it was to entice me to go even further.
"We can't," I said, "there'll be hell to pay if it's someone uptight. I don't really want to deal with the police again so soon.."
"Again?" she chuckled, "a naughty boy like you shouldn't be having any qualms about this sort of thing then.."
"Come here," I said again, grabbing her forcefully. In a herculean feat, I lifted her up as I stood up. She weighed me down, particularly around the neck. I glanced around and saw that, indeed, someone was staring at us. A jogger maybe. I didn't really have much presence of mind to analyze them carefully. Instead I used my concentration to move Tenshi and I away from the bench. I took a few steps, Tenshi still grappled on me, and managed to clear a few steps behind a tree and the reverse slope of the knoll before having to stop and collapse. We were out of that person's line of sight, in between shrubbery and a tree.
"Grass stains might be a little bit more telling, don't you think?" Tenshi still wasn't letting up. She lay on me. "My heart is throbbing wildly, can you feel it?" she asked, taking one of my hands and placing it on her chest.
"No wilder than mine," I said letting her hand over my own chest. "We can't go on here. We've been seen. It's only a matter of time before there's trouble.."
"Ah well," she sunk her head onto my chest. "I suppose you're right. I don't want to forget about this feeling, however. I feel so alive. And so certain of what I want to do.."
"Then don't," I said. "Your memories are your own. No one can ever take them away from you.."
"I wonder..."she said with a sigh.
"Well, I'll continue to stick by you for as long as you need," I said. "I'll be your reminder that you can have and keep whatever feelings you like.."
"Mm, I think Papa would flip out if he heard you say that," Tenshi ventured, "he'd interpret that as a proposal.."
"Well, it's not a marriage proposal. But like I've told you before, I'm here to help.."
"I like it when you're honest with me," she said. "You hide yourself well. But it seems worth it when you speak from the heart. Even if it's not what I'm supposed to want to hear. It's just... genuine, you know. Something that I often feel like I'm incapable of being.."
"You don't have to force yourself. I think you're managing just fine."
"I'm not sure either of that really believes that," she said with a bitter smile. "But, I guess, that can wait. I don't really want to ruin the moment. It's a bit frustrating to just leave it like this.."
"We really should get a move on," I felt like sighing. "There will be nothing but trouble if we stick around.."
"I think I'm ready to go home now," Tenshi said. "I think I know how to start addressing things." She kissed me one last time, seemingly for the hell of it. No doubt she was trying to prolong the moment as much as possible. "It won't be easy, but there might be some hope after all. I can manage if I try little by little.."
And just like that, there was no more need for me to keep her distracted. We left the park. And then town. And even the bulk of the residential sector. I walked her to where the mansions were. We didn't talk much. Not because she seemed to be preoccupied. On the contrary, it was because there wasn't anything of substance to say. For a while it was like we were just normal classmates, walking home, occasionally chatting about the weather and whatnot. Nothing of substance but nothing to worry about. It was completely unlike the awkward silences we had often shared.
"They're probably worried sick about you," I said as we closed in on her place.
"They're probably worried sick about you," she countered. It was probably an equally true statement. She stopped short of her front gate, by the side wall. "I don't think it's smart for you to come with me."
"Why not? I'm ready to stick it out by you no matter what.."
"I'm confident I can handle things on my own. Or at least try to," she said with a smile. "Papa would probably kill you first and then ask questions if he saw you with me.."
"I can deal with that."
"But I can't," she said softly. "You've done enough, I promise. I don't know if I'll be able to do everything I want to but I feel confident that I can at least try.."
"Promise me that you won't do anything stupid and reckless.."
"I promise I won't. At least not without you.."
"Good enough," I chuckled.
"Just one last thing," she narrowed her eyes a little, looking a bit more serious. "I know you didn't mean it when you declared your love for me the first time we met. I'm just curious to know how you feel now. And this time the truth please.."
 "I might like you a lot after all.."  "I don't regret helping you out."
I know Teruyo doesn't like one-sided votes but I hope he understands this time.
[x] "I might like you a lot after all.." As an objection, I wouldn't use 'might' I'm aware that both this girl and him are really insecure, but the fact that he has, at the very least, a crush shouldn't have escaped him. I guess it is alright though, I'm just nitpicking.
"Mm..."she closed her eyes. A sly little smile formed on her lips. It reminded me of similar looks other women had given me over the years. "Honest enough," she concluded. And that was our farewell. Tenshi went home with her head held high. I watched from a distance as the gate opened and she went in.
There was no point in loitering. Even if part of me hoped for some impossibly obvious sign of what was going on inside her stately home. Whatever was going to happen was going to be bounded by four solid walls and kept away from the eye of the public. I felt like I was somehow locked into some sort of path with regards to her. Perhaps, more accurately, some sort of route and there was no choice but to simply press ahead and move on.
I got home sometime in the mid afternoon. There was no one waiting for me. It was a bit disappointing. I had prepared myself for a scene and had thought up good one-liners to get in any potential argument. I didn't do much as a result. For the most part I stayed in my room and listened to music while staring out into space. I wasn't really thinking about Tenshi but at the same time I kind of was. She was present in my mind even if my active thoughts were about all sorts of other things. Not an entirely unexpected development.
Around dinnertime Auntie came back. I heard the front door close and waited with bated breath for her to come and see me. I thought it would have been an immediate thing but over a half hour passed with no further developments. If the mountain won't come... I decided to initiate the inevitable exchange myself. I crept down the stairs, looking around for Auntie.
"Oh, you're home," she noticed me as I came into the living room. She was watching TV and eating instant noodles. She smiled at me and gestured for me to sit down. "Tell me all about it."
I was very confused. "Wait, you're not upset with me?" I couldn't help but ask.
"I was a bit worried at first, but Yuyuko told me all about your passion. Naturally I couldn't be upset after hearing such glowing praise about you," Auntie said approvingly.
That statement only served to deepen my confusion. She knew I stayed out all night in the seedy parts of town and was okay with it? "You're fine with me staying out all night?" I asked, dumbfounded. The last time it happened it had been a huge deal.
"If it's for a good cause, yes," she said. "Helping other people out is always a good thing.."
"So you know about me and her?"
"Ah, you had partner?" she smiled wryly, "Now it all makes sense." Adopting a more teasing tone she added, "the boy I know helping with a blood drive because of a girl... yes, that makes a lot more sense.."
It made a lot more sense all of a sudden. Big Sis had lied for me. How she knew I was out in the first place was beyond me. "Well..."I acted out my part, scratching my head, "that was more of an added bonus."
"I'll bet," Auntie said with a knowing look. "It's still good that you went around to the next city over to help transport everything. Goes to show that you can be selfish and selfless at the same time.."
"Hah, I guess," I laughed nervously. I didn't want to say anything specific in case she had heard different. And so it was a good quarter hour of talking about things I didn't do and good-natured ribbing from her. She respected my privacy enough to not ask anything too specific about the alleged girl I did it all for but she still teased me for it and made me regret letting her on even a little to the truth. I couldn't really complain with the results. I wasn't sure how plausible the lie was but Big Sis probably knew better than me. I wouldn't put it past her to use the cover against me in the future.
Things were manageable but less than ideal the next day. Walking to school, Alice asked me about my absence. I answered evasively, telling her that I had important things to do. While obviously not satisfied with my explanation, she seemed to at least leave it at that. Big Sis had apparently covered for me with Mima as well, who didn't so much as question my absence. Insofar she was concerned it was just too much of a hassle to deal with me unless necessary. Other than that, the usual level of excitement and banter filled the morning.
During our first break, I went to Tenshi's class to check up on her. I was told by a classmate that she hadn't come to school. Of course not. I should have expected some degree of suspense to be constantly present in my life.
Well, at least I had an excuse to catch up with other people instead. The break was nearly over but I'd have plenty of time to socialize over lunch.
 Girls in my class  Visit girls in other classes
Big Sis helping Arc out? Seems like that time he had to spend with Aunti and her, instead of with one lovely girl, paid off. I just hope that Tenshi got enough courage and help from the time they spent together. This was time spent well.
Instead of searching for other girls why not just spend time with the girls you already know? Like Suika, Marisa or Alice. Don't be a dick to your friends is what they say.
>>54459 Alice and the rest are the girls he knew first and are closer to him than the rest. Marisa and Suika got the least priority lately so time to change that. Arc can't go and spend his time with everyone at the same time. Either he spends his time with them in a group or some girls just get not as much love as others.
I am not so noble as to try to get to spend time with everyone equally. I want more Alice and this seems the best way to get there. For now. Will we meet Alice? Maybe, I don't know but I am fine with spending time with the others if that is not the case here. Because of reasons above.
How long has it been since we last talked with the other girls in Arc's class? Besides Suika and Alice, he really hasn't been talking to anyone else. But there's still the other option to consider as well...
>I felt like I was somehow locked into some sort of path with regards to her.
I don't know how I feel about this. On one hand, it's Tenshi. On the other, it's Tenshi. Now she's pleasant enough when we got to know her better, but she's not for me.
Of course, all this route nonsense could be Teruyo being creative in his description, and we're all being hung-up over nothing.
Lunchtime came around soon enough. I was among the first to rush out to the cafeteria. Scored myself a cutlet sandwich, the most prized of all school food. Usually the first item to be sold out on any given day. Naturally, I wolfed it down like I had been wasting away. And, in record time, I was ready to make my rounds.
The logical way to do it was via alphabetical order. The classrooms were all in the same hallway one after the other, after all. That meant starting with II-A and the people I knew there. I caught one of them leaving the class.
"Yo, it's been a while," I greeted.
"Oh, it's you," not surprisingly, she wasn't very happy to see me. It wasn't a big deal. Her emotions fluctuated wildly anyhow.
"How have you been? How's Reiuji?" I blocked her from leaving, standing in the doorway. That probably just soured her on me further.
"She's fine. Dealing with things. We both are," Kaenbyou said. She looked like she had half a mind to simply walk away and exit through the rear classroom door.
I gave her a smile. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't come see you after that day. I got into a lot of trouble at home. And, well, had a lot of things on my mind. You gave me the impression that everything was fine as well.."
"It's fine, really," she said, softening her resistance a little. "You helped as much as you could. I just have somewhere else to be right now, so I can't really catch up right now."
"Alright," I made way for her. "Go ahead. Maybe I'll drop by to watch practice sometime again. Or maybe we could go out somewhere and..."
"Fat chance," she smirked as she passed by. "I'm not going to let myself get worked up about you again." I supposed that was some sort of triumphant statement for her. A sign that she had grown as a person. Become less susceptible to manipulation.
I wagered that it was only skin deep. "By the way," I said as she left with her head held up high, "I still think you're pretty cute.."
Though her back was turned to me already, a pause in her step told me that my hypothesis had some merit. She hadn't changed at all.
Half of that class was gone. The class rep was talking with a group of girls that had joined their tables together for lunch. I made eye contact with one of them. Someone else I hadn't seen in a while. The cheerleader smiled at me. I smiled back, waving a hand tepidly. I felt like I still owed her a rematch. Definitely there on the to-do list.
II-B wasn't of much interest to me. Tenshi was home and I found that the other shrine maiden was also surrounded by girls and thus not really approachable. She didn't notice me standing at the door either.
That left II-D.
The couple I had accidentally spied on were having lunch together, not surprisingly. I scanned around the room. Patchy wasn't there. I had a hunch she was at the library. Someone noticed my presence and came to intercept, full of bluster.
"Heya buddy," she greeted with an overly friendly smile. Couldn't have been anything good.
"Oh, not much. Just the usual. Haven't seen you around lately. Been cutting classes a lot, I take it?"
"Maybe," I replied noncommittally. I didn't really want to give her anything that could potentially be used against me. Not that she had done anything particularly bad to me. It was just a hunch. People who sold photographs of other people taken without their consent weren't exactly paragons of morality.
"Looking for somebody?" she asked.
"Yeah, you," I deflected. "It's been a while. I was wondering how business was going."
"Pretty good, if I'm honest," Aya beamed with satisfaction. "As it gets warmer there's more skin exposed. It's great for business. Are you interested in buying something maybe? I've got a special on shrine maidens today.."
"I'm good thanks.."
"A rumor then? Gossip? I 've got a lot of juicy secrets to tell.."
"Ah, come to confess your undying love for me?" she joked. Well, maybe. She did sound rather smug. "Sorry, love, but I'm only interested in men that share my hobbies.."
I had a very good guess of that was. "Voyeu-."
I got cut off. ?Photography," she stated with a glare. "And maybe journalism too. You'd have to join the photography club or the school newspaper club for me to even consider dating you.."
"Good to know. Shame, as a lifetime member of the 'go home' club I guess I'll never know how things might have been," I rolled my eyes. Really, she was such a piece of work. "Well, this was nice, but I really should get going now..."I tried to disengage.
"Mmm..."she looked me over, clearly seeing through my excuse. "Well, you should drop by the club after school. There's a business proposition I'd like to discuss with you. With a lot of payoff and it gives you an excuse to chat up a certain popular someone... To sweeten the deal I promise to give you a juicy tidbit for free just for showing up.."
"Yeah, I'll think about it," I waved her off.
I considered going to see the nurse but a queue outside of her office put me off. And, well, I wasn't really in the mood to see Big Sis. I wasn't quite ready to find out whether or not her lie was going to cost me dearly. I therefore decided to spend the remaining fifteen minutes or so of break up on the roof. It was quiet and let me prepare myself for the boredom of afternoon classes.
And, of course, it gave me time to think about how to follow up my rounds after school.
 Invite Reisen out for a few games  Drop by the gym  Find Patchy  Learn about Aya's offer
We've been pulling for Reisen every time we get even a small chance for her to show up. The option is finally put before us and she gets one other vote? Anon, I am disappoint. A night of games with Reisen is just what Arc needs.
Probably should have mentioned that I started writing like twenty minutes ago. Too lazy to discard what I have so far. Or too tired to start again. It doesn't really matter in the end, the notion of needing to wrap up this particular subplot is silly anyways. It's already been dealt with.
A large stream of students poured down the hallway to the stairs. Their path diverged only when they reached the first floor. Those who were in clubs trickled away through various doors and corridors, leaving the main body at a constant rate. The rest continued to flow towards the front gate and away from campus. Every day it happened pretty much the same way after the last bell rang.
I went against the flow for a bit, back to the first classroom in the second year hallway. Luckily the person I was looking for hadn't left yet. She was busy getting her books from her desk and placing them in her book bag. She was taking home a lot more than I usually did, by the looks of it.
"Hi there," I appeared next to her with a friendly smile.
"Oh, hi," Reisen looked up at me with a bit of surprise in her eyes. Yeah, she probably didn't expect to see me twice in one day. Or in a week.
Instead of letting her wonder why I was talking to her, I got right to it. "Are you busy right now?" I asked. "No practice? Going straight home?"
"Um, no. The squad isn't meeting today," she said. "I'm going straight home.."
"Would you like to do something else instead? I was thinking that we really should play another game together," I reminded her of last time, "we didn't really get to play much that one time.."
"Oh!" Her eyes lit up at the recollection. It was fun for her, no doubt. "I'm sorry but I can't," she said. "I need to do a few chores back home. I don't really have much free time immediately after school.."
"You don't have enough time for a few quick games?" I didn't think she was playing hard to get but I enticed her all the same. "Surely chores can wait a half hour longer.."
"Well, I suppose they could..."she didn't sound too sure about it.
"It's settled then!" I wasn't really going to take no for an answer. So I was perhaps pushier than I should have been. "Let's not waste time, every minute counts.."
Reisen seemed to take the statement very seriously. All of her actions adopted a faster tempo. She closed the clasp on her book bag and followed me with a sense of almost urgency. It was a bit strange but I didn't mind. We talked a little on the way to the arcade. Mostly about the newest games available and the few changes since the last time we'd been there together. Nothing too exciting. It didn't slow us down a single bit, as conversation sometimes did, we kept at a vigorous pace until we arrived.
"What do you want to play first?" I asked.
"How about a fighting game? I want to try out the newest one.."
Wasn't a problem with me. I also wanted to check the new game out. Mix of 3d backgrounds and sprites was usually very hit or miss. But I had faith in the developer and used that faith to justify spending some of the money I had left on it.
Turned out it wasn't half bad. The different character styles and movesets took a little getting used to but in the end it seemed like it was well-designed. The developers definitely made it competition-friendly. I played a few rounds with Reisen. We went two for two as we tried out different characters and I won the last match by what was admittedly, sheer luck.
I liked seeing how into the game she got. Her eyes would focus and her tongue would emerge slightly from in between her lips, especially when she was trying out a difficult combo or trying to cancel one of my moves. There was a certain sort of diligence to her approach to playing. It seemed like she studied and tried to memorize every aspect of the game before she felt comfortable with it. In short, she was the type of opponent that was nigh-unbeatable once they mastered the game. No move would surprise them and they'd have a counter ready in an instant.
Other people wanted to try the game out too. There were only two cabinets around so, after exchanging a look, we decided to move on to something else. I suggested a light gun game.
"How about Home of the Undead?" I gestured at a game in the corner. She nodded that it was fine.
Turned out she was really good at shooting things. Like, able to completely dwarf me by comparison. Her score was ridiculously high and she hadn't even gotten hit once by the time we reached the third stage. I wasn't doing as well as I could have been. My pride was making me blame the long plastic shotgun controllers instead of my skills. It was more unwieldy than the smgs or pistols that normally accompanied the games. That was what was throwing me off, surely.
At one point after having to use a continue, out of exasperation, I pointed my weapon dramatically at myself and pretended to shoot myself. It was then that my hand brushed up against Reisen's arm accidentally. An interesting thing happened. She flinched. Got hit in-game as a result. Her nose twitched in annoyance with herself. I just couldn't help myself after that. I half-heartedly played the game from then on out. Instead, my main interest was teasing her. I occasionally distracted her by doing this and that and watched on as she reacted. Usually it meant messing up in the game. I tried not to overdo it much but there was something enticing about throwing off someone who was so concentrated.
"You kept distracting me on purpose," she said when we finally finished the game. I expected her to be annoyed. Instead she was more confused than miffed. "I was on your own team, you know.."
"I know, but I couldn't help but to do it when I realized how competitive you got when it came to playing. It's completely at odds with how you usually seem. It's like your personality changes completely.."
"It... does?" She didn't seem to realize it herself. "I just try to have fun. Though I like to win, I guess. I want to win." All of a sudden she realized just how much time had passed. "I really should get going," she said. It'd been closer to an hour than just a half hour. Time flies when you're having fun.
"We should do this again. When you have free time. It's nice playing with you. There's a great reason anyone would want to play with you," I told her.
"What's that?" she asked, her interest piqued.
 It's nice to have someone to play with who takes games seriously.  She looks pretty cute when she gives it her all
-- >>54523 Socialize because you want to, not because of a sense of obligation to something that's over with insofar actual plot is concerned.
>>55293 Don't say anything until you have proof to back it up. Saying things like that and not having proof is just another shitpost the site doesn't need. >>55305 As I just said, things like this are exactly what the site DOESN'T need. If you don't like the story there is a nifty little button that hides the thread.
Also, Teruyo, there are some of us who are waiting for this to update. A quick status update would be nice. You know, something to let us know you're still alive.
File 138794354272.jpg - (322.56KB, 800x800 , a picture is worth 1390 words.jpg) [iqdb]
Just two more minutes.
The big hand on the clock moved slowly. I tried think about something else - it was no good. My eyes were firmly glued to the ornate face of the foreign-built clock on the other side of the plaza. Anxiety was a bitch; it was to be expected. I was excited, naturally enough, and nothing in the world could make the passage of each second less excruciating.
Well, I wasn't one to fold under pressure. I had a long track record of braving adversity and coming out on top. The last two years alone were enough proof for several lifetimes. So I did what I did best: I lied to myself. I clutched the burden in my left pocket with one hand and tried to think about something else.
I looked around the plaza, taking in everything that was going on. A large solitary tree dominated the scene. It was the biggest tree I had seen in my life, bigger than anything found in the country surely. It must have been brought over from the depths of Siberia by a team of rugged foreigners with pack animals. Most definitely had cost a pretty penny too. And that wasn't all that was extraordinary about it either. The hundreds of small decorations that were laid out concentrically were likewise expensive-looking. The large colorful balls hanging off branches and the long swathes of shining tinsel made the whole thing look like an over-sized present. The bright star atop it all was like the attractive bow on beautiful wrapping.
Others were also appreciating the festive mood. It was a nice enough evening out. Scarves and winter jackets abounded but the former were loosely wrapped and the latter often had buttons undone. People moved about from one end of the plaza to the other, mostly laden with bags from nearby department stores and business. It was the season for compulsive shopping, after all. The sight of young couples made my lie harder to believe.
And only three minutes had passed. The small hand was neatly on the hour.
I felt like sighing.
I knew that I probably was going to be waiting for a while longer yet. Knowing that, I had still told myself that it'd be, at most, up until the start of the next hour. That was the problem with telling myself lies: It got harder and harder to take myself seriously when things didn't happen the way I told myself they would.
So I started to pace. Or would have, anyhow, if I could afford to risk moving away from the meeting spot. Instead I leaned up against the fence and continued to stare at strangers.
Oh, some people were snacking on fried foods. There must have been a food cart someplace nearby. That could be worth checking out. I had plenty of cash, for a change. Then again I wouldn't hear the end of it if I went to try out food without her. I'd get a big old pout and a flash of those doe-like eyes she liked to put on whenever she tried to make me feel bad or manipulate me. Even though I knew better than to let her do as she please, I still obliged her every single time. Well, I liked seeing her smile more anyhow. I could always win out in the long run. Or so I lied to myself.
"Is this what you do when I'm not around?" she asked, evidently having been watching me for longer than I realized.
"You're late," I replied, trying not to let myself look too relieved.
"Judging by your frowny face I'd agree," she said, teasing me already. "Sorry about that," she linked her arm with mine, coming to my side like any given number of couples around, "the girls wanted to have a Christmas party. And well, they don't know just when to stop.."
"Typical. Just because they don't have boyfriends it means that the whole world needs to put up with their neediness.."
"I bet you wouldn't be saying that if you were single," she giggled, still relishing just how worked up I had gotten. With an expression that seemed to say 'don't worry about it - it's just a joke' she concluded with a grin, "Well, I'm here now. And I'm all yours."
"Yeah, I missed you," I admitted sheepishly. "It's been a while since we've gotten together. Tell you the truth, I'm a bit jealous of your coworkers. They get to see you all the time.."
"That wouldn't be a problem if we moved in together," she stated boldly. Hard to believe that two years earlier it would have been unimaginable to hear her say something as straightforward like that.
"Ah, what the hell," I led her along as we walked slowly towards the shiny tree. It was as good a time as any. "I wanted to leave this for later, after dinner but screw worrying about the mood and timing. It just feels like it's the right time.."
She tilted her head quizzically. We stopped by a bench off to the side, letting people walk by.
I continued, fumbling around in my pocket, "we've had a lot of fun together since we first met. And between work and uni, we haven't really spent that much time together. Sometimes it feels like we're drifting apart.."
"Wait, are you breaking up with me?" she blinked rapidly, looking a little distressed. She was unusually quick to jump to conclusions. My sulky face from earlier had more of an effect than I realized.
I burst out laughing.
"No, don't be stupid!" I said loudly, ignoring the fact that we were starting to draw attention from nearby people. "Why would I want to get rid of the best thing that's ever happened to me?"
She sighed. "I don't know, when you start talking like that I fear that you're about to announce that you're going overseas to climb a mountain or join doctors without borders or something.."
"...come on, I'm not that bad. Anyways, shut up for a bit," I commanded with a smile, "let me finish. I was thinking about our future together and, yeah, you're right we should move in together. I've been putting in a lot of overtime lately. We can start looking for places whenever you want. I have enough for a deposit. And no, there's not enough room at your place. Whenever I sleep over I end up squished against the wall." I clenched the thing in my pocket in my fist. "There's also this," I opened up my hand and showed her the small box. Don't get carried away now. This is just a Christmas present. And an advance birthday gift."
Her eyes sparkled like those of a child presented with a shiny new toy. She eyed the box curiously, just waiting to pounce.
"Well, go on ahead," I told her. "Open it.."
She took her time admiring the velvet exterior and fine golden latch before opening the box. Women, go figure. "Hah!" she laughed. "I can't believe my eyes! It's the pair of earrings we saw at that jeweler's a few months ago. The ones that were... way above what I could afford.."
"I went back that very same evening and bought it. I've been paying it since via installments," I scratched my head, feeling a bit embarrassed. "I hope you like it."
"I love it," she smiled brilliantly, at once exorcising any lingering feelings of anxiety I still had. "Thanks," she leaned in for a kiss. I was only too happy to oblige her. "Let's start hunting for a place to live tomorrow.."
"Yeah, let's," I agreed, happily resuming our walk. "Say, are you hungry? I saw people with food and thought that maybe we could..."
It was a fine evening, not too cold and with a clear sky. It would have been nice if we had had a bit of light snow. Just for the mood, of course. But then again, life was seldom perfect like that. I- no, we were already used to making the best of what we had. And that's why I was sure that no matter what we'd be alright in the end. I mean, we'd survived this far, right? What came next could scarcely be any more challenging.
"Who are you?" I asked, highly confused. The arcade had completely vanished. The loud beeps and looped sequences had been replaced by complete silence. The crowds of people and rows of cabinets were also gone, in their place just... whiteness. Only a single thing other than myself occupied the space: a short girl with dark hair...and rabbit ears.... in a pink dress
"I am the spirit of Christmas future!" her voice boomed with unexpected gravitas. "I am here to show you yadda yadda let's just go.."
"But it's not Christmas anymore," I said. I still wasn't sure if she was for real or not. Definitely rather cute in a petite sort of way though.
"Oh..."she mumbled, "well you got me there."
"So... what happens now?"
"I'm not sure, I'm kind of new at this." There were no more traces of commanding authority in her voice. In fact, she sounded genuinely unsure about this whole conversation.
"New at what, exactly?" I asked.
"Being the mouthpiece for some drunken asshole of an author.."
"Author?" I said, perplexed. "I don't follow.."
"You know, writer... the head honcho, the big cheese, the God of this realm. Your creator and my tormentor."
"Why would God torment you?" None of what she said made much sense. Maybe I had slipped on a puddle of spilled soda and had knocked myself out. This had all the signs of a coma dream. I couldn't wait until we got to the nude dancing bit.
"Well, I'm in a story set in a school setting with heavy harem overtones. Sure, he may say that it's just an homage, or even a parody, of old school visual novels and older stories on the site but you know that there's more to it than that. Disgusting bits. Like forcing me and my friends to wear school uniforms and act in cute and/or desirable ways. It's sickening, really!."
"You mean the girls I spend time with?" I frowned, "I thought they were having fun. I'm certainly having fun.."
"That's the point. You're having fun without even considering our feelings. Do you think we like being objectified?"
"I haven't heard any complaints thus far," I said with a shrug. Wait, something in her story didn't quite add up. "If you're the author's mouthpiece... then why are you badmouthing him? Shouldn't you be saying that this is the best thing since sliced bread?"
"Oh, he's a loser. Can't even control his own characters." She laughed like it was the funniest joke in the world. Rather cruel, if you asked me. "Besides he always comes up to me to whine: 'waaah, Tewi-chan, the readers aren't really invested in the story! Waaahh! I'm virtually homeless, moving from place to place every couple of days! Waaah! I'm penniless and depressed. It's pathetic. Instead of just writing and indulging in his elaborate fantasies he lets all those things get to him."
"...that kind of sounds legitimate to me," I said with some concern for God. He was a nice guy insofar I was concerned. After all, he gave me the opportunity to hang out with school girls and do awesome things with them. Like kiss tsunderes, grope childhood friends and completely fail to establish a connection with busty religious-types. Wait, the last bit wasn't very awesome of him. What a crap author.
"Well, you know, I'm being forced to tell you that sometimes things get worse before they get better and in the heat of the moment it's sometimes better to do nothing than do something that'll screw things up even further. Whatever that means."
"That sounds like a bunch of shitty excuses to me.
"Well they kind of are, I'm just repeating what I've been told to say. But who cares about all this background stuff, right?"
"Some people would... right?"
"He's a stubborn sort of guy that would rather carry the weight of the world on his shoulders by himself than unfairly burden strangers with personal problems."
"That's messed up."
"It is what is is," she said with a sigh. "Some of the complaints are less valid now, luckily enough, I'm told."
"Anyhow, what happens now?"
"I'm not sure," she replied. "Ideally things go on and everyone forgets about the bad times and focuses on the good, upcoming times. But he needs to make sure that there's people left. After all, it has been a few months.."
"Who wouldn't want to read about young love and youthful indiscretions?" I tilted my head, honestly thinking it impossible that someone wouldn't like that sort of thing. You'd have to be a monster not to want to deal with childhood friends, sassy classmates and sexily tantalizing older women who can show you the world if you but ask. Not to mention that summer was coming up and that meant delicious beach time and trips with close friends. Anything could happen on one of those!
"Truly you'd have to be worse than Hitler to not want that sort of thing," Tewi sagaciously agreed, nodding her head vigorously.
"So should I tell people to do anything in particular?"
"Tell their friends to read and vote. It's rare to have a loser that updates daily, let alone more than once a day. Especially a loser that's committed to actually writing one of these stories."
"Bleh, that's kind of lame.."
"Well you can also talk to him directly and make sure he knows that he has the numbers and the corresponding enthusiasm with him. The way how has been mentioned many times in this thread alone.."
"What about you then?" I asked, kind of disappointed that I hadn't met her until now. "Will I be seeing you in the story?"
"Probably not in a major role. That ship has kind of sailed. There is an event or two with me that has yet to be triggered. Something about staying after school on Saturday? During the festival? Something like that. Something about people older than you at school too. I think I'll enjoy myself but I'm not sure that you will. Or maybe you will, you perv." Tewi stuck out her tongue provocatively. "I'll look forward to seeing you if you can find me."
"Oh, ok... can you tell me about other girls then?"
"I could... but I wont!" she laughed. Women. Even as the mouthpiece of an omniscient creator they still like to tease me. "Let's just say that it's up to your own wits and choices to see how far you'll get. You've kind of been ignoring a few people but then again, being male, your attention span is woefully limited."
"Can I go back to my world please?" I asked. There was no need to acknowledge her very hurtful words.
"Well, yeah. But there's going to be a vote too," she said. "Why? Because it brings awareness to the story. That it's not dead. If there's activity, that is.."
"Oh, how clever! God isn't as dumb as he looks."
"Well... he is kind of handsome too."
"That he is!" I agreed readily, the words coming naturally to me. My God was in no way a massive idiot for spending time writing a thousand words of this.
"In case you're wondering: this vote will have an undetermined effect on the story somehow... maybe," Tewi concluded.
 I want to see more of the younger characters like R-tan and F-tan. Write more sexy nonsensical side stories that whip us into frothing mad frenzy. Never mind that you're actually writing a proper story that so far features F-tan and might feature R-tan too.  I want to see the people who like R-tan and F-tan crucified. In other words, I like the the actual romanceable characters. Especially Ma... err Ali... err... Orin or maybe Reimu...oh right, we almost forgot about Tenshi again! We should probably talk among ourselves first. We'll get back to you on our favorite if when we all agree on someone.  Yukari, Yuyuko, Eirin and all the other older characters. All at once. Final destination. 'nuff said.
[x] I want to see the people who like R-tan and F-tan crucified. In other words, I like the the actual romanceable characters. Especially Ma... err Ali... err... Orin or maybe Reimu...oh right, we almost forgot about Tenshi again! We should probably talk among ourselves first. We'll get back to you on our favorite if when we all agree on someone.
There was one thing that I forgot to explicitly include in the previous post: An unqualified apology. I'm sorry, guys. Irrespective of circumstance it sucks to not have any news. If any of you had bothered to contact me directly I'm not sure I would have had anything concrete to say either.
>>57177 As cringe-worthy as the scenario was, the point of it has gone completely over your head if you think it was about self-promotion. It was a status post meant to reach out to past readers and inform them of what happened and what the general idea is going forward. Not to mention it also covers a few extra events related to the plot. Even I get tired of large paragraphs full of drawn-out explanations and arguments at times.
>>57178 I shall piss the in the tide right alongside you, as long as we don't cross the streams.
[x] I want to see the people who like R-tan and F-tan crucified. In other words, I like the the actual romanceable characters. Especially Ma... err Ali... err... Orin or maybe Reimu...oh right, we almost forgot about Tenshi again! We should probably talk among ourselves first. We'll get back to you on our favorite if when we all agree on someone.
The only way I would entertain the winning options is if Shinki became a potential target.
[x] I want to see the people who like R-tan and F-tan crucified. In other words, I like the the actual romanceable characters. Especially Ma... err Ali... err... Orin or maybe Reimu...oh right, we almost forgot about Tenshi again! We should probably talk among ourselves first. We'll get back to you on our favorite if when we all agree on someone. LOW BLOW
I wish we could've just kept focusing on Tenshi. I know it hurts, but it kinda paid off-somewhat
[x] Yukari, Yuyuko, Eirin and all the other older characters. All at once. Final destination. 'nuff said.
I do not like "older" because it sounds like they are not beautiful young and sexy girls in the prime of their youth but yes. As much as I love Marisa, Alice, Tenshi and co and want to follow what is going on - I want to have the focus on the mature women for awhile now too.
[x] I want to see the people who like R-tan and F-tan crucified. In other words, I like the the actual romanceable characters. Especially Ma... err Ali... err... Orin or maybe Reimu...oh right, we almost forgot about Tenshi again! We should probably talk among ourselves first. We'll get back to you on our favorite if when we all agree on someone.
File 13884551004.jpg - (856.16KB, 1500x1123 , tie the garter back on if you like.jpg) [iqdb]
Cool! Ths is a pretty excellent response and I'm really thankful for it. Consider this picked up again after I reread parts of the story to remember what the hell I was trying to do. I suggest you go over the last thread or so yourselves just to freshen up on what was going on.
That said, you guys sicken me. Going for older, more worldly girls in a story full of attractive schoolgirls is evil and wrong. No one in the right mind would barge into Yuuka's shop, turn the 'open' sign around, confess their undying lust for Yuuka and just proceed to make mad, passionate love on right the counter. Forget if there any customers around, you would ravage her there and there with little care if someone was watching. Sure it might be the best, most mind-blowing sexual experience on the planet and she could teach you techniques and positions you thought physically impossible and you'd achieve pleasure that would make you transcend the mortal plane but at what cost? A teary-faced Reisen, a forlorn Reimu, a sad Tenshi, a devestated Marisa and a distraught Alice. For shame! You all disgust me.
Now for the part where I do bald-faced self-promotion: If you haven't noticed a more 'traditional' story involving vampires, magicians and more written by yours truly exists on /sdm/. Give http://www.touhou-project.com/sdm/res/59874.html a whirl if you haven't yet and if you like it, please vote and tell other people to read it.