"It's not necessary, but it would be great to come up with a name related to our image," I said.
Everyone stayed silent, thinking of a name for the group.
"Let's call it Traditional," I suggested first.
"Only one word?" Sanae wondered.
"Many names of bands, groups, and companies are only one word."
She looked at the ground, thoughtful. "What do you girls think?"
"I don't like the word," Astra answered.
"Me neither," Aki added.
"Sounds old," Umi said.
"Fine," I sighed. "What about Tradidolional?"
Everyone stared at me, their gazes ranging between confused and worried.
"Forget it, let's keep thinking."
Astra promptly raised her hand.
"You don't need to do that," I said.
"Sorry," she giggled. "What about Samurais?"
"Not a bad band name and it pays tribute to a traditional Japan, but I don't think it fits our group."
Moments later, Aki suggested, "Stars; because we will be stars traveling through space, which has stars."
"Oh!" Astra uttered in surprise. "I like it."
"Me too," Sanae added.
"It needs something more," Umi said. "It's not even related to Japan."
I didn't expect that feedback from her.
"I agree," Risa replied.
"And what could that be?" Aki wondered.
"What do I know? Blend it with another word or whatever," Umi answered. She crossed her arms and closed her eyes. "Something like Blostars."
We all stared at her in silence. Confused, she opened her eyes.
"Where does the 'blo' come from?" I asked.
"From 'blossom'. It came to my mind just now because it was popular in Japan centuries ago."
"Oh!" everyone uttered in awe.
I continued, "It sounds cute, blends perfectly with 'stars', and pays tribute to a traditional Japan. What does everyone think?"
They all approved it.
"Awesome. That settles it; we are Blostars, a Japanese idol group that pays tribute to a traditional Japan while proving to people that only living beings can make living beings truly happy."
"And that's it for today. We'll meet here next week after you're done with school. Make sure to enjoy it."
Astra and Umi stood up and left the room, whilst Aki stayed and approached me instead.
"You said you're a student at Saitama, right?" she asked.
"You'll pause your studies too?"
"Most of my lectures will be paused, yes. Except for Business Administration, which I'll still have to attend to."
"Interesting. Let's eat lunch together at the cafeteria this week, shall we?"
Her smile and smell made my heartbeat rise.
Why am I thinking of her smell?!
"Wonderful. See you tomorrow, then!"
As she walked out of the room, Sanae glared at her. Sanae realized I noticed it and looked away from me. Risa giggled at her side.
I hope it's not what I'm thinking.
I left the building after saying goodbye to Sanae and Risa. Without much to do, I headed to my apartment and sat at my computer. I wirelessly connected my glasses to it and opened my favorite role-playing game.
My vision darkened and I zoned out for a brief moment. I stopped feeling what I was feeling in real life and started to feel warmer. I had gone through the linking process many times, yet it still felt weird; it was like being forced to sleep.
I opened my eyes and I was standing next to a fireplace in the living room of my in-game house. The entire game was medieval-themed, so my house was too.
Not even ten seconds after I opened the game, a visit request from Tomokazu appeared in front of my eyes as I checked my guild's bulletin board; I accepted it. A few seconds later, he knocked on the front door and walked in.
I never understood why he made his character look exactly like him. It was a game where you could be whoever and whatever you wanted. For example, my character was a female thief, while I was a male and far from being a thief in real life.
"Hey," I greeted him.
"Good afternoon, Kaito."
It took me weeks to convince him to call me by my name instead of my nickname. Mainly because I didn't want to call him Overlord.
"Do you need something?" I asked.
"I wanted to ask you about your idol business. How is it doing?"
"It's doing great. We had our first meeting today and decided on a name for the group."
"Can you tell me what it is?"
"I don't know. You spend all day in forums, I don't want you to tell everyone before I can at least get it registered."
"Come on, you don't trust your friend?"
I sighed. "Blostars."
"Cute name, I like it. I hope the girls are cute as well because you haven't sent me their pictures after I asked for them last week."
"And I told you I won't. You'll see them when we make some advertising or if you meet them. Maybe you've already seen two of them."
"What do you mean?"
"They study at Saitama. One is studying Design and the other one Music Production."
"Interesting. Fine, I'll wait patiently."
"Good decision. Is that everything you came for?"
He nodded and I sighed.
"You could've sent a message."
"I prefer talking face to face."
"Sure. It's not related to you ogling my chest repeatedly."
"Not at all. I shall leave. Talk to you soon."
A visual effect of fire-like waves circled him and he promptly vanished from my house.
This chat reminded me that I haven't told my parents. I should, now that it's practically guaranteed.
My glasses recognized my command to exit the game. Again, my vision darkened and I went through the unlinking process. Once back in real life, it took me a few seconds to get used to it. Even though companies had improved the process over the years, it was far from pleasant.
I called my mom with my glasses and she answered right away. A hologram of her projected from my glasses onto the floor.
"Darling! How are you? You haven't called in weeks, you had me worried."
"Calm down, Mom. It's only been three weeks. I'm good. Actually, I'm great."
She gasped. "Did you find me a daughter-in-law?"
"No, I didn't. Before I tell you; how are you and Dad? And how's Takuya doing with his independence?"
"Don't remind me about it, your Dad and I are distraught. Fortunately, it seems he's doing well. He calls almost every day to ask us how to do things."
"He's still a kid, after all."
"I know! I can't understand why he wanted to leave us this soon. Are we bad parents? Darling, tell me the truth, we can handle it."
"No, you aren't bad parents. He just wanted some personal space. I was only one year older than him when I left."
She inhaled and let out a deep breath. "I'll take your word. You still worrying about him makes me happy."
"Of course, he's my little brother."
"Then why didn't you ask about your big sister?"
She got me there.
"Because she's already established in the world. She has an apartment, a high rank at her job, and, more importantly, she's old."
"Kaito!" she yelled.
"Sorry, sorry. I'm joking."
"She'll kill you if you say that in front of her."
"That's what makes it funny."
She sighed. "She told us not long ago that her company might get closed this week."
She nodded. "It's not certain yet, so we are all hopeful it won't."
"I hope that too."
After a moment of silence, she smiled. "Enough chatter about us. What did you want to tell me?"
"That I finally started my Business project."
She gasped. "Finally?! Does that mean that you opened a business?!"
"Not yet. Everything is ready, but I need to get it registered this week."
She squealed. "I have to tell your father! Wait, no. I'll keep it a secret."
"Come home next weekend for dinner and surprise everyone! Your father, Takuya, and Aya."
She always wants to give surprises. Even for the smallest things.
"Sure. I'll pass by on Sunday evening."
"Excellent! See you that day, then!"
"Wait, I haven't told you what the business is about—"
"Don't tell me! I want to find out along with everyone else."
I smirked. "Okay. See you on Sunday."
Beaming, she ended the call and her hologram disappeared. I took off my glasses and put them on my desk. I leaned against the backrest of the chair and stared at the ceiling.
What's going on with my life? I met two girls with a dramatic backstory and they basically gave me the final project I needed. Then we found the rest of the members; three cute, talented girls. Though only Astra wants to be an idol. Aki and Umi are using it as a medium to reach their real goal.
I stood up and jumped into my bed. Laying on my back, I stared at the ceiling again.
About Aki… I don't want to assume anything, but I hope she's not hitting on me. And I also hope that Sanae's glare wasn't one of jealousy. I know it's almost impossible not to, but I don't want to mix work with my personal life; it'll make things harder.
Without realizing it, I fell asleep. I woke up later in the evening and ended my day with dinner, playing games as usual, and making sure I worked on the project and business documents.
Monday afternoon arrived. Half of my lectures had finished; it was time to eat lunch. I walked out of the Accounting lecture, held in one of the biggest buildings on campus, and headed to the cafeteria, also one of the biggest buildings. As I walked through the campus' artificial gardens, I kept complaining about any subject related to math. Sadly, they were needed to manage a business. I arrived at the cafeteria and bought an apple from the food printer, which printed food almost instantly. It obviously wasn't natural, but it had the exact same properties as a real one. Luckily, scientists invented the printer just before Midnight Zero arrived, the day the Doomsday Clock was marked to have zero seconds remaining until midnight. A lot of people didn't—or didn't want to—believe it, but scientists were right. The climate drastically changed over the span of a f
The rest of the afternoon flew by and the last lecture of the day began: Business Administration. As always, Professor Fuku gave a fun and impeccable class. I stayed after it ended just to talk with her. "Great lecture, Professor Fuku," I said as I approached her at her desk. "Thanks, Miyahara. How is your project going?" "I wanted to tell you about it. It's going nicely. I improved the document with the tips you gave me after my presentation and I found the girls for the group. We already came up with a name and everything." "And what is that?" "Blostars." "What a cute name!" she squealed. "And you'll be surrounded by girls, too. You're a lucky guy."
Professor Fuku and I stared at each other. She was as shocked as I was. I wanted to say something, but words wouldn't come out. She's Aki's aunt?! Aki stood still next to the door, glancing between the two of us confused. After the awkward silence, Professor Fuku finally spoke. "I'm sorry, I didn't know you had a visitor. I'll leave you alone. Goodnight." With a forced smile, she left. Aki closed the door and let out a long sigh. She walked to the kitchen to check on the soup. "Do you know each other?" she asked. "Y-Yes. She's one of my professors." "Right. She's the Business Administration professor, how did I not real
Mom, Dad, Takuya, and I stared at Aya in silence. She grabbed her whiskey glass from the table and drank the remaining half in one go. She let out a long breath. "I feel better now," she smirked. That fast?! "Are you really okay?" Mom asked, clearly worried. "I mean, it sucks, but it was bound to happen. I just needed to let it out." "I see. As long as you're fine." "What are you gonna do now?" Takuya asked. "Takuya! You should be more considerate about her situation," Dad scolded. "I'm just curious." "It's fine," Aya replied.
We could've used glasses to record each of the girls' singing, but Umi refused to do it like that. Instead, I had to follow her to some building. It looked clean and normal, so I didn't feel weird about it even though I had no idea what was inside. Umi unlocked the front door and we walked through a hallway, where there were many doors with numbers on top. She wouldn't stop looking in all directions until we stepped into an elevator. She pressed the twelfth button on the panel and we stood still in silence. Her foot bounced on the floor. "Where are we?" I asked. "What do you care? Why are you here in the first place? I don't need help." "In case you needed it." "Whatever." The doors of the elevator opened and we stepped
Since the incident at Aki's apartment happened, I had only asked Professor Fuku questions about the business registration process. Today was the first time she called me to her desk after that happened. "Yes?" I answered when I approached her at her desk. "How's your business doing? Have you had any problems?" "It's progressing well. I haven't had problems with the legal stuff. Thanks to your lectures, everything is familiar." "I'm glad to hear that," she smiled. After an awkward silence, I spoke, "About what happened at Aki's—" "It's fine, you don't need to justify anything. You're both adults and can do what you want, as long as you're responsible."
Only one day after finishing Blossom Stars, Umi had already come up with the next song but, instead of doing everything by herself, everyone was going to work on it. Meanwhile, I had another job to fill. I left the studio just one hour after the meeting started to head back to Saitama District. As I walked on the sidewalk of the busy avenue, I realized something I hadn't thought about. How am I going to convince the owners to let complete strangers perform at their business? I know I have more chances of finding a venue in the Trading District, but I wanted to try here. There's only one problem: what am I going to show them? I have nothing. Not even flyers. I don't want to ask Aki to make them, they already have a lot of work. I guess that leaves me with one option. I put my glasses on and called Jun, wh
After practicing for the rest of the afternoon, we all went home. Whilst laying down on my bed, Umi's request for a salary advance finally came through my email. I read the particularly short but straight-to-the-point letter she had written and accepted it. I sent her the money right away. The next day of work started and I spent an hour with the girls before heading to the building where Umi had her studio. There was a huge screen right next to the entrance advertising which units were available to rent. Coincidentally, the unit next to Umi's was available. It wasn't that expensive—which I had already imagined since my low salary was enough for Umi. A bit hesitant, I selected the unit and rented it. I had fewer and fewer savings as the days passed and the expenses were far from over, but I knew they were worth it. Latest chapter