(Art by kanola u)
Chapter 6 - Set some time after Chapter 5, Manami excitedly barges through the front door exclaiming "it's here, it's finally here!" . He asks "what's here?" but instead of answering, she shoves a package in Hikaru's face, telling him to open it and find out. He tries to open it, but has difficulties doing so, which causes Manami to snatch the package back to rip the box open. She flashes him a stack of colorful DVD cases, all of which are adult entertainment. I detailed a bit about how their porn watching has become something like a routine hobby, from them pooling their money together to save on shipping and handling, to even deciding who gets to pick what gets watched.
Anyway, Manami asks Hikaru if they can watch it tonight, which Hikaru agrees to... but it has to wait until he gets back from dinner with Hitomi. Manami melodramatically whines that she doesn't want to wait that long — even placing the back of her wrist to her forehead and saying "however will I survive until then?" — so Hikaru tells her to just work on her novel. She says that she'll try, but it's going to be hard when she has a stack of new porn videos she really wants to watch, to the point that she's literally drooling at the thought of it. After Hikaru teases that she should "marry porn," Manami then teases Hikaru about his "girlfriend." Hikaru tells Manami that Hitomi isn't his girlfriend, but Manami asks Hikaru "what is she, then?"
(Art by nekoguruma)
"She's... just a friend." Hikaru sips his soda.
"Oh please, don't give me that." Manami swats her hand. "What kind of 'friends' go to dinner together every night these past few weeks?"
"Good friends," Hikaru shrugs with a smirk.
"Yeah, good friends who should get together!"
Hikaru thinks about it for a bit, but rather than give her an answer, he makes the excuse that he needs to start getting ready if he wants to make it to dinner on time (since he knows how Hitomi gets when she's hungry). Despite Manami telling him to wait, Hikaru immediately runs to the his room and locks the door. She tells him that they should talk, but Hikaru is too busy to do so. However, Manami tells Hikaru that he doesn't have to talk, that he only needs to listen. She tells him that maybe he should try to get together with Hitomi, but Hikaru replies "I don't know."
"Don't know what?" Manami asks, "Don't know if you should tell her how you feel... or that you don't know how you feel about her?"
Hikaru confesses that he doesn't want to risk their friendship if he isn't sure if he really likes her or not. She asks him how is he supposed to know if he likes her if they never get intimate with each other, so Hikaru replies that he's also afraid that it wouldn't work out because he never dated someone before. Manami then asks if Hikaru is willing to go through life never knowing if they could've worked out. She then points out that she knows that Hikaru likes Hitomi, even if he doesn't know it himself, so Hikaru asks how does she know. She tells him that he's always happy around her, and that the fact that he doesn't want to ruin anything is proof that he cares about her more than any other friend.
Hikaru then finishes getting dressed and walks out of his room. Manami says he looks nice, only that his tie is loose. After she finishes adjusting it, Hikaru tells her "thank you" before leaving to go on his date.
(Art by kaamin (mariarose753))
Waiting outside of a fancy restaurant for Hitomi, Hikaru feels awkward standing near such an upscale place. The valet approaches him and asks if he's lost, but Hikaru answers that he's waiting for his date. The valet asks why didn't they come together, so Hikaru points out that Hitomi had a bunch of errands to run before dinner, so she told him to wait for her. The valet then remarks that it's "clear who wears the pants in the relationship," which Hikaru feels the need to clarify that they aren't in a relationship, they're just good friends. Just then, Hitomi appears wearing a really lavish dress, which leaves Hikaru breathless.
"Hitomi, is that you?" Hikaru doesn't close his mouth.
"Of course it's me," Hitomi smiles a mischievous smile, "Why? Did you make dinner plans with someone else?"
After she takes a whiff of the food, she eagerly walks in the restaurant, telling Hikaru to hurry up. The valet jokes to Hikaru that, if this is how they act as friends, how would they act as a couple. Hikaru then answers that "maybe they'll find out tonight" before walking in himself.
When he gets inside, Hikaru and Hitomi are waited on by some rude, stuck-up waiter who basically belittles Hikaru any chance he gets because it's obvious that Hikaru isn't the type of clientele that usually dines here. After taking their appetizer orders and leaving to fetch their drinks, Hitomi giddies in excitement at the thought of finally reserving and being able to eat at such a nice restaurant, which I detailed a bit in the draft but won't repeat here since it's probably boring (prose isn't exactly my strong suit). However, Hikaru feels a little out-of-place since he's a very simple person, and despite his reluctance of having the rude waiter, feels a bit deserving of it.
Since I never ate at a fancy restaurant before, I tried to write about a "fish out of water" experience Hikaru has, where he has no idea of the etiquette involved. This is inspired by reading blogs about people who go to Japan to order these lavish dinners, but have no idea what they are supposed to "properly" eat it. They usually order it because they want an authentic Japanese dinner, but because you're not told how to prepare it, people are often confused when it arrives unprepared and nothing like the picture. Supposedly, even Japanese natives may not know how to eat it, and may even ask the waitress what each bowl, ingredient, etc. are supposed to be used where. So there's a bit of that here, but I think my research is off, so I won't repeat that here.
Anyway, the waiter asks what would they like for their entrée would be, but Hitomi asks for some time to look at the menu. Hikaru tells Hitomi that he has no idea what he wants to order, and Hitomi asks if it's because there's so many good food to choose from. Hikaru then confesses that he has no idea what most of these foods are, because they sound so fancy and the description is "flavor text" in the way that they talk more about how it tastes than what it actually is. So, when the waiter returns, Hitomi orders this very lavish dish, and Hikaru ends up ordering something that sounds fancy, like filet mignon, because he heard of it before yet has no idea what it actually is. He actually mistakes filet mignon as a fish dish, since it has the word "filet" in it.
(Art by ryuunosuke (luckyneco))
When the waiter leaves, Hikaru asks Hitomi the usual "how was your day?" and she answers that she's exhausted because all of her errands were all over the city. She says that she's so tired that her arms and legs are going to fall off, but it'll be worth it once she has her dinner. Hikaru then jokes that if her arms and legs do fall off, they could use them to pay for dinner. Since expensive food is usually small portions — or normal portions? I'm an American, I can't judge! — Hikaru is obviously distraught about the size of the food, which the waiter explains that it's all about quality, not quantity. Hikaru then jokes that it doesn't matter how it tastes if he swallows it whole.
"Would either of you like anything else?" the waitress asks.
"At these prices? Nah, man, we good," Hikaru shoos him away.
As the waiter makes some more rude remarks and leaves, Hitomi asks Hikaru if they want another waiter. He says it's fine since he can deal with it, but Hitomi is worried because she really wants them to enjoy themselves. Hikaru says that he is enjoying himself, even pointing out "look, that table has a pie on fire and nobody's freaking out!", but Hitomi wonders if he's only joking around because he's nervous. Hikaru assures her that he's having fun because he's here with her, which makes her act somewhat sad. Hikaru asks if there's anything wrong, but Hitomi is just saying how it's rare to get a seat at this restaurant, so she wants to savor every moment.
(Art by okitsugu)
After they finish their meal, the waiter comes back to ask if they want some of their famous "crème brûlée flambé". Hikaru, not knowing what that means, declines and asks if they could have that "cream pie you set on fire," which makes Hitomi chuckle. When the waiter leaves again, Hikaru spots another table ordering a crème brûlée flambé, so he stands up because he likes seeing it catch on fire. Hitomi tells Hikaru that she needs to tell him something, but Hikaru asks if it can wait because he "really likes this part." She says it couldn't, so Hikaru listens to what she needs to say. She tells him that she applied to a cooking university a little while ago, and she received a letter saying that she was accepted.
Since Hikaru is still in high school and Dream City University is all the way across town, he expresses that mix of "being happy for you" and "disappointment." He tells her that he wishes her luck in getting accepted by Dream City University, but Hitomi clarifies that she's actually accepted by Neo City University, which is obviously in another city.