Love Hina – New Management

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

Chapter Five – Let's Omiai!

Author's Note: An omiai (Oh-mee-ah-ee - almost sounds like 'oh me eye') is an arranged meeting for the prospect of marriage. Sort of like when, for example, a girl's aunt or grandmother says that she knows this really nice boy that she should meet. . . ^_^

Tuesday Noon.

Haruka is in the common room with the rest of the girls. A box with a hole in the top sits on the coffee table. Ishido Hikari, a doctor that cares for people in the area, has arrived at her request. Naru stands next to the couch throwing a fit (same as in episode # 1 of the anime where she says that they can't have a guy as the manager of a girls dorm).

"An omiai! Are you crazy Haruka-san? Do you really expect any of us to go along with this?"

Haruka adjusts her cigarette holder.

"You don't have to go along with this if you don't want to. Keitaro doesn't have a girlfriend, in fact, he never has had one so I'm just trying to help him."

She leans over and picks up the box.

"I can always go down to the train station and ask for volunteers. I'm sure a lot of women would jump at the chance to marry into this kind of money. Who knows, they'll probably make him sell Hinata-sou to wring every yen they can out of him."

As one, the girls shout.

"NO!"

"Okay! Hikari-san will be our hostess for the meetings, since she has been to a few omiai before. Would you explain the procedure to them?"

Hikari finishes her tea and then places a stack of paper and some pencils on the table.

"Firstly, anyone that wants to participate should write her name and a short biography on her paper and place it in this box. I shall give you until dinner to do this. I shall then draw the names, one at a time, to determine the order that we shall hold the meetings. I shall be the mediator and representative for the females and Haruka-san shall be the representative for Keitaro. Our responsibility is to ensure that all necessary questions are asked. We will also make sure that no one receives any special advantage over the others. We will start the omiai after dinner. Do you understand so far?"

The girls nod their heads and Hikari continues.

"Very well. After the meetings tonight, Keitaro will be given the opportunity to decide whom he wishes to meet with again. This should narrow the field to two or three prospective female suitors. We will devote all day tomorrow to letting Keitaro spend an equal amount of time alone with each semi-finalist. By alone I mean that they will be together, but Haruka-san and I shall be nearby to ensure no, shall we say, provocative action is taken by either party."

The girls all react differently to this last statement. Naru blushes and turns her head. Mutsumi blushes and places her hands on her cheeks. Kitsune smiles deviously. Motoko sits absolutely still as if meditating and blushes. Shinobu looks at Su and whispers.

"What does she mean by provocative?"

Su grabs a banana from the table.

"Ya sure are stupid! She means that ya can't talk really loud. That's being a pro-vocal person!"

Shinobu visibly relaxes.

"Thanks, Su-chan! I'm glad I have a smart friend like you!"

"You betcha'! I'm telling ya, eat more bananas. They is the best brain food for ya!"

The afternoon passes. At the dinner table, Hikari opens the box and begins drawing names.

Tuesday Evening.

"Is there anyone that did not place their name in this box that still wants to? Very well, let us begin."

She draws paper from the box one by one and looks at the names.

Hikari smiles at the girls and raises her eyebrows as she looks at Kitsune.

"Stuffing the ballot box is not permitted. I found five of your biographies in here. You will only get one meeting with him tonight."

Kitsune shrugs her shoulders.

"Ya can't blame a girl for trying!"

"I am surprised. I really did not think that all of you would agree to do this. Let us have dinner and then start the meetings. Everyone should be sure to dress in her best for the occasion. The first girl should be ready at seven o'clock. The others will follow every thirty minutes. Everyone should wait in the common room."

Keitaro sits at the desk in the manager's room eating his dinner.

"I can't believe this. I actually let Haruka-san talk me into an omiai."

He looks out the window as the sky darkens to night and a light snow begins to fall.

"I admit that it would be nice to have that kind of money, but why did Granny Hina have to place this one condition on it?"

He sighs and continues eating. After a few moments, he places his chopsticks down next to the tray.

"I've never had a girlfriend, and now I'm going to have a wife! But, I doubt that any of them would even go along with this. I bet they really still think that I'm some kind of pervert."

'Sigh'

Haruka slides open the door and she and Hikari enter the room. Haruka pulls up a chair next to her nephew.

"You look pretty sad, Keitaro. Do you want to talk about it?"

"Haruka-san, this won't be fair to any of them and I don't want a wife that loves just my money. I want someone that loves me."

"Give them a chance. They're all good girls and I think that they all want you to have the money, and are willing to marry you so that you'll be happy."

"But, will they be happy? I mean, they really don't like me and I can't blame them. I made a bad impression when I first came here. I wish that Granny Hina never gave me the money."

Haruka smiles as she remembers how all the girls tried to stay near him, even before they knew about the money.

"Don't sell yourself short. You are a rare man these days. Most other guys would do anything to keep that kind of money. I believe that things will turn out okay. This is Hinata-sou after all. There is a magic about this place."

Keitaro smiles weakly.

"That may be true, but I still don't think any of them will go through with this."

Haruka laughs at him.

"Didn't I say not to sell yourself short? You will be visited by six pretty young women this evening."

Keitaro almost falls out of his chair.

"What? Th-they ALL agreed t-t-to do it?"

Hikari, who has been preparing the kotatsu table, looks up at him.

"Yes, they are such sweet young girls to help you out like this. I agree with Haruka-san. Things will turn out for the best. I can feel it in the air. You will find a wonderful wife here."

Keitaro stares at her.

"A wonderful wife. To be married to a pretty girl. To, to do things that husbands and wives do. To even, even. . ."

He finally falls from the chair as blood spurts form his nose.

"Gack!"

Haruka and Hikari watch him as he lies on the floor twitching his uninjured foot.

"Hikari-san, I think that he's really starting to realize what will happen soon."

Hikari goes to check on the girls while Haruka helps Keitaro get ready. She had brought him a black full length kimono, grey hakama pants and a black haori jacket. She removes one of the tatami mats under the table, exposing a storage pit.

"This is so that you can sit at the table with your cast. It wouldn't do to have you sitting in a chair while the girls kneel in front of you."

From behind the partition, Keitaro voices a concern.

"Aren't some of the girls too young to get married, and isn't there some law against it? I'd hate for anyone to get in trouble."

"Hikari told me that there are old laws on the books that say with the consent of the parents or guardian someone even as young as thirteen could be married. Don't tell me that you've already got your eye on Shinobu-chan or Su."

"Of course not! I just don't want to go to prison!"

Keitaro, supported by a crutch, moves around from behind the partition and makes his way to the table.

"How do I look Haruka-san?"

She looks over at her nephew and drops her cigarette holder.

"Oh my! You look fantastic! Keitaro, I never realized how handsome you could be. Maybe I should have placed my name in the box too."

Keitaro smiles at her.

"Haruka-san! Don't make bad jokes like that! You're scaring me!"

Haruka sighs.

"It's a shame you're my nephew. Why couldn't we have at least been cousins?"

They continue talking about inconsequential things to pass the time. After about twenty minutes, Hikari slides the door open slightly.

"Are you prepared. Oh my goodness! Where did this dashing young man come from?"

Keitaro blushes again as he sits at the table.

"Please stop teasing me. I feel like a present in a gift store!"

Haruka laughs at the image.

"Well, in a way you are. And the store is about to have its grand opening! Let's start, Hikari-san."

Hikari opens the door and bows to the girl waiting outside.

"Please, be at ease and enter. Cast aside all unhappiness and let your heart speak freely."

Timidly, Shinobu walks into the room and makes her way to kotatsu table. She is wearing a long-sleeved blue kimono with a cherry blossom pattern on the shoulder. She kneels and places her hands on the floor in a formal bow.

"H-hello, sir. I am pleased to meet you. My n-n-name is Maehara Shinobu."

Keitaro bows in return.

"The honor is mine. I am Urashima Keitaro. Thank you for coming. Please, make yourself comfortable."

"Thank you, Urashima-san."

Haruka waits for Shinobu to slide up to the table before bowing to her and Hikari.

"We are please with your presence. I offer tea and a light meal for your pleasure."

Hikari returns her welcome.

"It is an honor. We gladly accept your hospitality."

Haruka pours tea for the two guests before serving Keitaro and then herself. The two representatives take their positions to the left of their charges and they all drink a small cup of tea. They place the cups down and then Hikari begins.

"Urashima-san, it is with honor that I present Maehara Shinobu, a young woman of excellent character and charm. Shinobu-chan, please continue."

Shinobu quickly bows her head and then looks at Keitaro.

"I was born in Hinata City. I live in room 201 of Hinata-sou. I am thirteen years old and a freshman in junior high school. My birthday is November 15th. My blood type is O. My height is 147 centimeters and my three sizes are, are. . . They are 81, 54 and 80!"

As she speaks the last part, Shinobu pulls her arms together to make her bust seem a little larger. Haruka smiles and glances at her biography paper.

"You wrote 78, 54 and 80 centimeters here."

"Aaauuuuu!"

Hikari lightly scolds Haruka with a smile.

"Haruka-san, you know that a woman is allowed a little leeway in stating such personal information."

Haruka places her hands on the floor and drops her forehead to them.

"Forgive me Shinobu-chan. Please continue."

"Well, I really like to cook and clean, I want to run a really nice restaurant someday, and I like stuffed animals!"

She bows to signal that she has finished her introduction. Keitaro bows and begins speaking.

"I also was born in Hinata City. I am, and I still can't believe it, the owner of Hinata-sou. I am twenty years old and I'm studying to make it into Toudai. I was born on January 5th. My blood type is AB and I am 171 centimeters tall. I like photo-stickers, drawing and writing."

He bows to her. They sit there for a few moments, unable to decide what to say. Hikari clears her throat and speaks to Shinobu.

"Shinobu-chan, what kind of man is your ideal for a husband?"

"Well, he doesn't have to be really tall. He should be smart and kind, but I don't mind if he's a little old-fashioned. Oh, and he should be fun to be with!"

Haruka leans over and whispers to Keitaro.

"It sounds like she has you pegged."

"Haruka-san, shhh."

Hikari directs Shinobu to another topic.

"What can you bring in the way of any special abilities to a marriage?"

"I, I think that I am a good cook; even though there is a lot I still need to learn. I enjoy doing laundry. And my mother taught me how to massage tired shoulders."

"What do you think about children?"

"I like children, and I want to have a boy and a girl someday!"

Haruka asks a quick question.

"What will you do with you're share of Keitaro's money if he marries you?"

"I think that Urashima-san should decide for himself, since it is his money. I would want him to be happy."

Haruka nods her head and leans to Keitaro.

"She passes in my book."

Hikari looks at Shinobu.

"You may ask him one question, if you desire."

"Well, the girls that you turn down, will you, will you let them still live at Hinata-sou?"

Keitaro smiles and reassures the young girl.

"I already gave my instructions to Otohime-san. All of you can live here as long as you like. I promise."

Haruka asks Keitaro a question.

"What can you bring to a marriage?"

"I like to believe that I'm a hard worker and I enjoy fixing things. I don't mind helping with the cooking and laundry."

They discuss a few other minor items until a small timer on the table rings. Hikari bows to Keitaro and Haruka.

"It seems that Shinobu's time is completed. We thank you for this meeting."

Haruka returns her bow.

"The honor is ours. Thank you for your kindness in accepting this invitation."

Shinobu still kneels until Hikari pokes her with an elbow.

"Oh right, uh, thank you Urashima-san! It was really nice to get to meet with you. I hope that you find what you're looking for!"

"Thank you, Shinobu-chan. I hope that this hasn't been a burden for you."

"Not at all! I'm glad that I had my first omiai with someone as nice as you!"

Hikari stands and leads Shinobu out of the room. As she closes the door, she tells them that the next girl will be there in about ten minutes. Haruka moves to prepare the table for the next guest and spots a small package where Shinobu sat. She picks it up and hands it to Keitaro. He removes the ribbon and looks in the bag.

"What's this? Cookies!"

He pops one in his mouth and smiles.

"These are good! Shinobu can really cook!"

Haruka laughs.

"And she's a sneaky little thing! That wasn't quite according to the rules. But, I guess this isn't an ordinary omiai, so it's okay. How're you holding up?"

He stuffs another cookie in his mouth and looks up at her.

"What? Oh, I'm okay. Wow, these are delicious!"

Downstairs, Hikari and Shinobu return to the common room with the rest of the girls. As Shinobu takes a seat, Naru looks at her.

"Shinobu-chan, what happened to those cookies you made earlier? I was looking forward to having some."

"I, uh, well the thing is, ah, uh. . ."

Kitsune leans over and pokes her shoulder.

"Ya gave them to Keitaro-san, didn't ya? And I thought I was the sly fox around here!"

"Aaauuuuu!"

Kitsune jumps up and heads for the stairs. Motoko calls to her.

"Where are you going, Konno-san? You are next!"

"It aint fair if Shinobu is the only one to slip in something extra! I gotta get some stuff!"

A few seconds later, Hikari and Shinobu are the only ones left in the common room. Hikari turns to the young cook.

"Look what you have started. Oh well, maybe it will be better this way. Everyone will have the chance to show something unique about themselves. Tell me, why did you sneak the cookies in there?"

"I thought that they would help him get better. I've never had a broken bone, but I thought some nice cookies would help take his mind off of it."

"And the fact that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach never occurred to you?"

"Aaauuuuu!"

End of Chapter Five.