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Chapter 8 Main Chapters Chapter 9

Interlude 8

Mena, Alice, and Ryla, Mitsuki Rara's friends and bodyguards, sat around the outside of the studio. Mitsuki Rara had gotten work at the local radio station, and her friends were sitting in their chairs. Their current subject of discussion, and their usual one, was how to push forward the halting romantic relationship between Kazuki and Mitsuki Rara, especially in the face of stiff competition from the many desirable women who surrounded him.

The "On Air" light above the studio doorway went out, but the trio only barely halted their discussion before Mitsuki Rara emerged. They asked her how the broadcast went, and she said that it had gone well. They left the building and walked and laughed together for quite some time.

On a sudden impulse, Mena asked Mitsuki Rara, "Are there any special days coming up for you soon?"

Mitsuki regarded her quizzically. "No, I don't think so. Why do you ask? Am I forgetting one?"

"No," explained Mena, "I wanted to be sure I wasn't forgetting anything."

After some thought, Mitsuki told her, "For some reason, I recall that Kumu's birthday is in a few days. I can't be sure why I remember that, but that's the only unusual day I can think of."

They all returned to the Sanada household, where Mitsuki was once again living.

Kazuki was walking down an unusually deserted hallway at school when three women in school uniforms suddenly fell into step with him. The uniforms didn't disguise their identities a bit; he instantly recognized the bodyguard trio. Seeing this, they proceeded to stand in front of him. Kazuki wondered yet again just where they had gotten the uniforms from.

"Be outside your house at 9 tonight," Ryla intoned.

"And don't tell anyone!" insisted Alice.

They were gone before Kazuki could force out a grunt of confusion.

That evening, Kazuki attempted to slip out of his second-story bedroom window. It was so easy for Yayoi and Ayuko he thought, but then he remembered that they hadn't been trying to go down. He had considered just leaving the house normally, but then he considered Mitsuki Sanada's probable reaction and decided against it. Kazuki was fairly sure that this had something to do with Mitsuki Rara, whom he hadn't seen much of lately, so he went.

Kazuki fell the last few feet and landed awkwardly, but there was no reaction from the house. He tried to open the front gate as quietly as possible, but it squeaked nonetheless. He hurried past it, though there was again no alarm given in the house.

Waiting for him outside the gate was the trio, as he had expected. They were all on their hands and knees on the cold sidewalk, pressed against the low wall that marked the boundaries of Dr. Sanada's property. Kazuki knelt down beside them, his befuddlement at their posture plain.

"The wall's not very high," Ryla explained awkwardly, "and we'd be seen if we stood up."

"I see," Kazuki said neutrally. "Ladies, do we really have to be so secretive?"

This question took Ryla aback further, and they all looked at each other.

"Do we have to be secretive?" Alice wondered aloud.

Mena reminded her, "You like all the dressing up and sneaking around."

"So, we do have to be secretive," Alice agreed.

Kazuki grunted.

"Take Ms. Mitsuki out on Kumu's birthday," Mena told him.

"I didn't know Kumu had a birthday," Kazuki said, looking at them oddly.

"Of course a dog has a birthday!" Alice was irritated.

"Oh, yeah, Kumu's a dog now," Kazuki understood.

"It's a good time for a big date with her," Ryla was trying to get the main point across.

"Mitsuki Rara celebrates Kumu's birthday?" Kazuki still didn't understand that part.

"No," Mena admitted, "but nobody'll care about that if you make it a night to remember!"

"Yes, you need to pick her up in a limousine," Ryla stated. Alice began to say quickly, "You'll also need balloons, candy, roses," when Kazuki waved his arms.

"I can't afford all that!" Kazuki complained.

"Miser! Isn't she worth it?" Alice harangued.

"I'm serious; I don't have much money!" he insisted.

"I calculated the price of all that, and it's within his budget," Mena informed them all.

"No, it isn't! How do you know what my budget is anyways?" Kazuki protested.

"Your budget over the next decade, but within it nonetheless," Mena clarified with a smirk. "We could give you a loan, at very reasonable interest rates."

"Why do I need all that stuff anyways?" Kazuki queried aggrievedly.

"Those were only suggestions, we didn't actually mean for you to do all of them on the same date," Ryla hastened to assure him. Mena nodded with a wider grin. Kazuki groaned; he had been taken in by their jokes again.

"I meant for him to do them all on the same date," Alice said, seeing all of them as traitors.

The other two women stared at her.

"I'd better hurry back inside, or someone might find out I'm not there, goodbye," Kazuki told them.

Upon Kumu's birthday, Kazuki found himself swamped in a deluge of work. Many teachers had suddenly given him a lot of assignments, and on top of that he had household chores to do. There was no way that he could go on any sort of date tonight.

The bodyguard trio was waiting impatiently for Kazuki to make his move. All three of them sat in the living room of the Sanada home alertly, ready to distract with conversation or, as a last resort, bodyblock, anyone trying to interfere. They suddenly noticed that Mitsuki Rara had begun to do her evening chores much earlier than she usually did.

They glanced at each other in consternation. This would not do! At any moment Kazuki might pluck up his courage and ask her out! Ryla ventured, "Miss Mitsuki, what are you doing? You don't usually start on the chores this early."

She looked at Ryla oddly. "I told you all that I had work at the radio station later this evening. I scheduled it a few days ago."

Now they recalled this communication. It had been completely forgotten in the abundance of activity necessary to find a special day on which Kazuki would date her.

"I remember now!" Alice laughed rather too long to convince anyone that she was happy.

"Are you all right?" Mitsuki Rara asked in concern.

"We're very well," Ryla assured her. Mitsuki left the room to attend to something, and Mena slipped out another exit and ran up the stairs.

"Mena," Kazuki said in some relief when she appeared. "I'm glad you're here. This homework is taking a long time, and I can't possibly take her out tonight."

"Please don't be concerned," Mena said in some embarrassment. "She can't make it tonight either, she has to work."

Kazuki sighed in relief as he turned back to the sheets of paper before him. "Thanks for telling me, Mena. What a lucky break," he commented.

She sighed, but simply left.

Now the trio sat around in the living room with long faces.

Ryla decided, "We'll just have to think of the next special occasion."

"Yeah! When's your birthday, Ryla? He can take her out then!" Alice was inspired to say.

"Why should Kazuki take Miss Mitsuki out on Ryla's birthday?" Mena was dumbfounded.

"It's too far away in any case," Ryla said. "We need something even closer."

"We'll need to make sure Kazuki doesn't have any schoolwork," suggested Mena. "And we may need to obtain his calendar to find the next day he thinks is important."

Their machinations continued long into the night, and at the end they accomplished nothing.

Chapter 8 Main Chapters Chapter 9