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The Nature of a Façade

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The first thing Am heard was the sound of Kumi’s laughter.

“Wait, you t-two are tog-gether?” she asked them “Th-that’s… I can’t…” she leaned against the wall for support, hands grabbing at her sides as they threatened to split open from laughing too hard. “There’s no… no…”

She took a deep breath, and in that moment it hit her that this was not a prank. There were no hidden cameras.

“Kumi, you should be happy for them,” came the voice next to her, flat and void of any happiness. It was Luna. “They’ve found something wonderful.”

Kumi watched Am’s reaction, the pain at hearing Luna’s pain clearly something she didn’t want to endure for even a millisecond. Kumi had a feeling Am would walk on swords to stop Luna from making that face ever again.

What a hypocrite she was. Surely Luna deserved better than to watch Am go on dates with some other gal, pretending like she wasn’t wishing it was the two of them. It was obvious what Kumi had to do.

She had to break up Am and Tokoha.

It was for Luna’s sake.

“Thank you, Luna,” Tokoha replied, frowning. Surely Tokoha was in on whatever scheme her and Am had cooked up. They wouldn’t last one dinner date if it was serious. What good would making someone as self-sacrificial as Luna jealous even do? She would never confess now, and they’d never get married.

It had nothing to do with Kumi’s crush on Tokoha. Nothing at all.

“I have to, uh… go process this soon. I mean, I wish you happiness and everything, yeah, but it’s a bit… unexpected, to say the least,” Kumi admitted.


 

“We have to break them up,” Kumi told Luna the second her phone hit her ear. “They’re horrible for each other, and they deserve to know.”

Luna sighed. “I don’t know. They might… they’re… okay, so I admit I don’t like it, but isn’t it for the best if Am is happy? And if Tokoha is, too, obviously. I just mentioned Am first because of… um…”

“Your huge crush on her, Luna. And Am likes you back, even if she’s too dumb to see it.”

“That’s sweet of you, but I don’t think she’s into me. She wouldn’t even think of something like dating someone to make me jealous, and she could never play with Tokoha’s heart like that, no matter what.”

“So you just assume Tokoha has a crush on Am?”

“You’d have to be, like, not into the ladies to not like like Am at least a little bit.”

Kumi rolled her eyes. “I am zero percent into Am in that way, Luna. Not everyone is as into her as you are, believe it or not.”

Luna went silent.

“I mean it, Luna.”

Luna was silent for another several seconds before replying. “I have my doubts, but… maybe. I’m willing to accept that it could maybe be possible. I mean, it’d be really rare, but maybe it could happen for a small handful of lady-like-likers?”

“Look, there’s a way to find out if Am is trying to settle for someone else, right?”

“I can’t confess if she’s taken, Kumi! That’s disrespectful to her, and you know it! How would you feel if you were dating someone and your date was confessed to by some third wheel?”

Kumi took a deep breath. “I understand where you’re coming from. In fact, that wasn’t what I was trying to suggest. I think I know a different way to find out what you so desperately want to know.”

There was the sound of some papers shuffling from Luna’s side of the call. “Uh… let me just take some notes. You always have such good ideas, and I should take note for helping a certain someone.”

“Yourself.”

“And a few others, in the future,” Luna admitted.

“Ugh, fine. So what I need to do is find a gal who can help you figure out if Am is secretly into you. I mean, as good of a job as I could do, that isn’t our best option, so I’m going to try to talk to someone I already know.”

“So… you need someone to talk to Am?”

“No. We need someone who can make Am jealous. If she’s using Tokoha, then find someone who’s willing to be a fake girlfriend for hire. What did you say your salary was, again? I wanna know our pricepoint.”

“Not happening, Kumi.”

“Stingy,” Kumi complained. “Fine, I’ll have her meet you this Friday at the Dark Zone branch after your practice with Am. She’s someone you’ll know is a good cardfighter, too.”


 

That Friday, Luna wandered the halls of the branch. She’d been let out before lunch after Am and Tokoha had insisted they had to do something, then left. The air seemed tense between Am and Luna during the work day, anyways, so Enishi had suggested they take a breather to help keep away any potential ruts.

It was then that she spotted Shion and Henri. Surely she had enough time to kill before she had to go meet this mystery gal she was supposed to fake date, right? “Shion! Henri! It’s nice to see you again!”

Henri turned his head first, Shion setting two cards in the G circle before following suit.

“Luna!” Henri called out as Shion gave Luna a small smile and wave. “Come over here!”

Halfway on her walk across the hall’s floor, she felt someone grab her wrist. She saw lavender out of the corner of her eyes for a moment, before Rin was suddenly inches from her.

“Stay quiet, Luna. This is something Kumi wants, and she said I can get free dessert for helping you with your relationship problems.”

Luna gulped. “Uh…”

“Now, here’s the deal. We go on a few fake lunch dates, you let me order us a dessert of my choice, and I’ll keep the bill from going sky high. Oh, and you’d better pick places that have food that’s at least edible. Okay?”

"O... kay?"

Luna had a bad feeling about this.