I can't date a famous Cosplayer!
There is a moment in every student's life, where they must weep, for one reason or another… in my opinion, this is inevitable, and no matter what, everyone should eventually meet it…
"Ha ha, you're still studying for finals? Baka~ you're so stupid," except for a few select, overly smart people.
I felt my eyebrow tick as I tried my hardest to keep my attention on my textbook. With the half-year finals coming up, I really, really needed to study. In all honesty, I should probably be at Manami's so I could actually study, but with how it was raining outside, I didn't think it was the best idea. So of course, I was just sitting in my room, studying…
"Hmp. You know, I could help you with your finals," Kirino commented from my bed. She was lying on it for one reason or another, looking at a magazine. She hadn't asked to come in or anything, no of course not. She had simply forced her way in, as always.
"What?" I asked, confused. She wasn't the type to say something like that.
"I-I mean it's not like I want to help you or anything. I just figured since you're so stupid, maybe you could use some help," she said in the usual snobby way. I sighed.
"Kirino, you're a middle school student. How are you supposed to help me with this?" I asked. She just gave a little 'hmp!'.
"Tck. Idiot aniki, not even accepting help when it's offered," I heard her mumble. I sighed again.
"Actually, there is something you could maybe help me with," I said. She perked up at that, if only slightly.
"Oh? And what does my idiot aniki need help with, not that I'm planning on helping you?"she asked. I thought for a moment.
"You see, I have to help someone with something a week from now and… well, it's related to managing… err… do you know anybody that could tell me a bit about that?" I asked. She seemed thoughtful for a moment.
"What kind of managing? There's a lot of types of managing, you know."
"Well, managing for a… performer of sorts, I guess," I shrugged. Her eyes narrowed, and her tone of voice seemed to adopt a bit of steel.
"Oh? And would I happen to know who this 'performer' is?"
"Well… you know 'of' them, I suppose. I doubt you actually know them in person," I said. She glared at me, before opening her mouth.
"And before you ask, I can't tell you who it is," I said, making up the rule. She closed her mouth, continuing to glare at me, as if trying to size me up.
"I… guess I can help you. Mainly because I don't want some famous person to not like me because of you, so you'd better treat them to the best of your ability, baka. Anyways, if you want someone to help you, I could call a friend of mine. He's a good manager for ClariS, but I don't know if he'll be willing to help you out," she said doubtfully.
"Just let me talk with him and I'll handle it," I breathed out, relieved. She nodded slowly, before taking out her phone. She dialed it up before handing it to me, sending a warning glare at me. I nodded before getting the phone, speaking a tad uncertainly.
"Ah, hello? This is Kyousuke Kousaka, the person who needs help with managing for someone?"
"Nice to speak with you, Kousaka-san. My name is Shinya Sanada, the manager of ClariS. I heard from Kirino-san that you needed help with managing for someone famous, may I know who it is?" I heard a guy speak through the phone.
"Ah… a moment, please. Kirino, can you please leave for a moment? He wants to know who I manage for," I requested. Kirino glared at me more, but I clasped my hands together in a begging gesture, and she relented.
"Alright then. I'm the manager for Bridget Evans, the girl that cosplays as Alpha Omega of the Meruru series," I announced. I was surprised by the sudden yelp I heard on the other side of the phone.
"A-alpha Omega? The Bridget Evans? Do you realize how hard it is for her parents to approve of people to become her manager? How did you do it, Kousaka-san!? How!?" he shouted. I winced, moving my ear away from the phone for a moment.
"What's the big deal with being her manager? I mean, I know she's a good Cosplayer and all, but is she really that famous?" I asked, after cleaning my ear a bit. I heard the man sigh.
"You must be one of the most idiotic people I ever know. Honestly, how you could become her manager evades me, and you're lucky I'm one of the better men in the business; otherwise I'd screw you over for a shot at being her manager. But since I'm ClariS' manager already, I don't need to do so. Now the next event she's doing is this Friday, two days from now, right? Well then, you've got that much time to prepare as much as you can for the event."
"Alright, first things first, you need to check out the place she'll be attending, make sure you memorize the performance order, et cetera. Get a map of the place, commit it to heart. If something goes sour, it'll be your responsibility to get her to safety. Now you're lucky that ClariS just so happens to be scheduled to play at the same event, and so I can give you a map of the place. A map is nothing like the place itself, however, which is why we're here," Shinya said to me. He had somehow managed to get my parents to let me out of the house and had picked me up, intent on bringing me to the place Bridget would be going in a few days. Once we arrived, I gulped.
"The Blue Beats House? But this place isn't even slightly Meruru related!" I protested. He shook his head.
Shinya was a man that looked like he could perhaps be in college or be newly graduated, with dark hair and a bit of a dopey expression. He wore a leather jacket and sort of punk look.
"This place may not be related, but famous people can rent out wherever they wish to get a performance, and it just so happens that the people upstairs decided that this was a good place, and so the girls got assigned to go here and perform. Simple as that."
"People upstairs?" I asked. He palmed his face.
"You really know nothing, don't you? The Meruru franchise is a massive company. The managers; us, of the performers and singers and the like are really not so high up. Given, the people we are hired by are still the face of the franchise, but at the same time, we aren't too high up the totem pole. That's why that Kurusu kid caused such an outrage. She wasn't hired by anybody, and just randomly entered the circuit. Now everything's a big mess. Enough of that though. Come on, I managed to get the owner of this place to let us inside-thank goodness nobodies playing right now," he said, opening the door. I quickly went in after him, marveling at the place. It looked really fancy and well… adult. Not the sort of place I'd expect a Meruru concert to take place.
"This place doesn't look like the kind of place for a Meruru concert," I noted. He scoffed.
"You're right about that, but trust me, it'll be good. Now pay attention. There are a few emergency exits; you'll need to memorize them in case anything comes up…"
A while later, after Shinya had given me an extensive tour of the place, including backstage where Bridget and the others would be, he took me to a nearby café, so we could talk further.
"Cheers, kiddo. I don't have the slightest clue as to how you managed to get to be Bridget's manager, but that means we'll be seeing more of each other in the future. For your sake, I hope the first event you help out goes well, otherwise, you might get cut off immediately. Mind telling me how you became her manager, by the way?" he said, between bites of his burger and sips of his drinks. I hummed.
"It's weird, actually. See I was helping out Kanako-san with by being her 'fake' manager when I saw Bridget rush into her room with tears on her face. So of course, I knocked on her door and had a conversation with her trying to apologize for Kanako, and she asked me if I could be her manager. Simple as that," I said, nodding my head afterwards.
"Wow… what luck for you, eh? Wait, you know that Kurusu girl?" he asked, suddenly alarmed.
"Yeah, but I wouldn't worry about her messing up the system in any way. My friend and I actually tricked her into doing the event so we could get a gift for my sister. I doubt she'll go back to it," I said, shrugging. He shook his head at me.
"Kid, you have the weirdest luck in the world. How old are you, anyways?" he asked.
"17. Last year of High School for me, my birthday's in the summer," I said. He nodded.
"Seems about right. Although you are young for a manager, you aren't that young, I suppose. Well then, do as I told you, and you'll do fine for your first gig. Make sure her room is nice and everything, check all the exits, bring some muscle or stand near the front of the stage to make sure nothing bad happens… it'll be easy. I mean seriously, what could possibly go wrong?"
"Right? I don't have good luck though, so something could still happen. How long have you been a manager?" I asked. He shrugged.
"Don't jinx it. A good three years. I hopped around, helping one person then the next. I was once a part of the Maschera company, I'll have you know. It wasn't the best place for me though, and so when this new anime company was released, I jumped aboard pretty quickly. Kanata, my fiancée is actually the original writer for the entire thing. You wouldn't believe how annoyed she got when I left the company and joined the Meruru one. It's funny, one of the characters in the anime is actually based off of me."
"Really?" I asked, surprised. He nodded.
"Yeah, that's why I was surprised you knew that Kurusu kid. Kanako, right? She's Kanata's little sister, and is actually living with us."
"Urk," I coughed, the soda I had been drinking clearly going down the wrong hole.
"Say, you wanna come by and say hi to her? I'm sure she'll appreciate having a friend over," he said casually. I could tell though, that he was holding back a grin.
"I… I think I'll pass. She's more of my little sister's friend, anyway," I said, trying to wave off the suggestion. Now he actually grinned.
"You think I didn't know that? Man is Kanata going to laugh her ass off when she meets you, the person that got her little sister (who hates anime) to cosplay as the main character of the anime that is in direct competition to her own."
Against my will, considering he was the one driving, Shinya brought me to his place, a relatively large mansion within a gated community. We walked up from the driveway, with huge bushes near the sides of the entrance, shaped like anime characters. I sighed.
"You have an… eccentric-looking front yard," I commented. He laughed.
"Yeah, well Kanata-chan is the one that tells the gardener how to trim the hedges, not me, so that's her fault. Come on, you still have an hour or two before the sun goes down. So we're going to pull a prank on little Kanako-chan, for being so annoying. This'll definitely get Kanata-chan to stop raging randomly, so it helps me too," Shinya said to me, as he took out his keys for the door.
"Now Kanako normally stays inside her room, doing her homework and whatnot. So we'll have time to tell Kanata what we're doing, without tipping Kanako off."
"Oh Kanaka-chan~! There's someone here to see you~!" Kanata called. She was a short girl with characteristics nearly identical to those of Kanako, and wore a causal button-up at the house. Shinya and I exchanged a look when we heard Kanako rush down the stairs.
"Oi, I told you not to call me that, teme. Who came by-?" Kanako began. She was wearing a small tank-top and a pair of sweats, black in color, with small bunnies running down the sides. She stopped, however, when she saw me.
"Hello, Kanako-san," I said, smiling. Her mouth hung open, looking between me and her sibling, before staring at Shinya for a bit.
"A-ah, who's this person that you guys brought over…?" Kanako asked. So she was going to feign ignorance, huh?
"Oh? Kanaka-chan, I thought you would remember your own manager-san. Though unfortunately, he said that he can't be a manager for you anymore, since you know, he's Bridget's manager now," Kanata said, tilting her head. Kanako adopted a look of confusion.
"Eh? What's that got to do with me then? I don't care who my manager is," she stated. Shinya grinned.
"Well the company decided to give you one anyways. Congratulations, now you get to attend and perform at all the Meruru concerts in the future, and I'm your new manager!" Shinya laughed. Kanako stared for a moment.
"No! I don't want you as my manager!" she said, appalled. I sighed when I saw both Kanata and Shinya adopt an evil expression.
"Neh, Shinya-san. Do you mind dropping me home now? It's getting a bit late, and I do still have finals to study for," I asked. Shinya stopped his laughter and nodded.
"Sure thing. Bye Kanaka-chan~!" he called, as we left the house.
"Don't call me that, baka!" we heard her shout back. As he drove us back, there existed an awkward silence, before I broke it.
"So… do you guys always tease her like that?" I asked. He chuckled.
"The brat has had it coming for a while. You have no idea how much pandemonium ensued at the company when she had her little debut. Now that I know it wasn't completely her fault, I guess I can't get too mad at her. Next time you have an issue like that, at least now you'll be able to get a present yourself, right?" he asked. I nodded.
"I guess. Thanks for the ride."
"And where did you go this time?" Kirino demanded as soon as I got inside the house. I stared at her for a moment.
"I'm home…" I muttered rather needlessly, "I went out with Shinya-san so he could show me more stuff that'll be important."
"And what's that in your hands?" she asked. I looked down. Shinya had given me a map of the place, along with a performance schedule.
"Nothing," I waved off, hoping to be able to go up to my room without an incident. Of course, such a thing couldn't happen.
"Give it here," she said.
"You heard me. Let me see it," she repeated, holding out her hand. Who did she think she was!?
"No wasn't a choice, aniki!" Kirino growled at me, before doing the unthinkable. Launching herself at me.
"Ouch!" I cried out, as I my back hit the hard wood floor. Still though, I managed to hold the stuff out of her reach.
"Give it!" she shouted. I grunted, shoving her off, before trying to go up the stairs. I somehow caught her off guard, and so I was able to make it up the stairs and shut my door just in time.
"Aniki!" I heard her shout, slamming her hands on my door. I sighed, before sitting on the ground so she couldn't open it.
"Just let me see the thing, please!" she cried out, hitting the door more. I ignored her, taking out my phone.
"Are you ready for the performance on Friday? It's at the Blue Beats House, I can give you a ride if you want," a text from Bridget?
"I'm ready for it," I texted back.
Was I really, though?
Ayase bit her lip as the tip of her pencil broke off, rendering her writing utensil momentarily useless, as a result of her hand suddenly gripping a little too hard.
What was going on recently? She had felt the strangest emotions the last time she had seen Kyousuke, and she was even distracted when she had given Kirino her present… though that may have had something to do with how creepy her best friend had acted. Seriously, if Kirino and Ayase hadn't been BFF's forever, then Ayase probably would've ran away at that moment.
Even then though, she was still distracted by Kyousuke specifically. After she had gone home from the concert she had tricked Kanako into performing at, she had felt a swirl of emotions that were completely foreign to her, making her feel weird yet happy at the exact same time. Her parents had noticed, but hadn't really asked her much, only asking how her day was and if anything different had happened.
This… bizarre feeling she felt wasn't natural, Ayase decided. And somehow, that idiot Onii-san was a part of it. Ayase swore that the next time she saw him, she would kick him into nothingness, if only to protect herself and Kirino.
While Ayase was a clear statement of unease and uncertainty, Bridget was perfectly content, and eager. She had met such a nice guy, and he was a manager to boot! Now if only her dad would approve… he could be mean to boys, after all.
"Papa?" Bridget said, a person several hundred miles away responding.
"Yes dear? What is it, is anything the matter?" an elegant voice responded. Bridget sighed softly, before smiling to herself. Seriously, her father was always worrying over everything about her! Geez, if he ever needed to calm down a little!
"I got a new manager, Papa, and I really like him! He's nice, polite, funny…" she continued describing Kyousuke using the most praising adjectives, not even really realizing what she had done to her father.
On the other side of the phone, one Adam Evans was trying to keep his calm while listening to his daughter talk about this new 'manager' of hers.
He had no doubt in mind that the person who had willingly become her manager was going to try and take his little baby girl away, some evildoer that was planning on holding her ransom or kidnapping her! While he could easily keep his voice level and lie to his daughter-for her own good, of course- he couldn't simply allow some foreigner that he had never met to take care of her.
"That's all nice and well, sweetie. Just make sure he's safe, okay?" he said gently, all the while signaling to his butler to bring him his address book. This wasn't the first time that Bridget had, for one reason or another, fired one of the more trustworthy men under Adam and instead hired a random person that had caught her eye. He had disposed of them before, and he would do so again.
"Sure, papa. You won't freak out at him, right?" Bridget asked accusingly. Adam's voice caught, but he mustered out a "Of course, dear." His man would be on a plane headed for Japan in less than an hour.
Adam Evans was a powerful man, leader of a company that produced a popular brand of tea. He'd be damned if he couldn't protect his family with all the wealth he had accumulated.