Chapter Twenty-Four: Lonely:

Hotaru lied on her bed and sighed. Everyone around her had a lover. The loli demon started at the ceiling.

I�m so lonely, she thought. Hotaru had been so busy hooking people up that she hadn�t stopped to find a date. The loli demon shut her eyes at that realization.

What should I do? Her thoughts were interrupted by her son�s crying.

�Coming, honey,� she said in a tired voice. Hotaru rose to her feet and headed over to tend to her son. While changing his diaper, the loli came to another realization.

I need to get out more, she thought. Hotaru looked down at baby Akira. A tired smile came on her face. She played with his little feet.

�Hey, sweetie,� she whispered. �Let�s go out today, okay?� The baby giggled at her touch. Hotaru perked up at the reaction.

�Great,� she said. �I�ll freshman myself up.� In an hour, mother and son were out walking in the park. Akira looked so cute in his black and blue stroller. Hotaru took in a deep breath.

�Isn�t this great, honey?� she asked. �Nice day out, just mommy and son.� They rounded the corner on the walk. Hotaru giggled to herself. See? I�m not lonely at all. I�m here with my son on this nice summer day. I don�t need a new love, I�m just fine.

That changed in one brief second.

Hotaru happened to pause and see a dream just ahead of her. The woman looked about twenty-right to thirty years old with long black hair messy curls. The sun gracefully kissed her tanned skin. Hotaru�s eyes stayed focus on the woman�s choice in clothes.

A miko uniform? Is she a shrine maiden or doing cosplay? Hotaru found herself pushing the stroller towards the woman. The loli demon blinked for a second in her steps. Who was this tanned miko beauty? Hotaru�s heart did little flips to find out.

Who are you? Suddenly, the loli demon froze. This miko had just turned around and stared at her. Hotaru panicked as she tried to think of something to say.

�Uh� hi�!� she yelped in a high-pitched voice. The miko tilted her head at her.

�Hello,� she responded. �Can I help you?� The loli demon�s face heated over red.

�Uh�.� she murmured. �Um�.�

�Are you alright?� the miko asked. The poor loli demon shook her head wildly blushing.

�Yes!� she cried. �I�m fine! Really fine!�

�Okay�.� the miko said confused. Hotaru tried in vain to calm herself down. Her words tangled together in her head as she tried to talk.

�You�re a cute hottie!� she blurted out.

�Excuse me?� the miko asked. Hotaru froze in shock at her own words. What did I just say? What if she�s straight? The loli demon glanced over at the confused woman. Neither woman spoke in muggy summer morning. Hotaru�s face looked like a tomato by this point.

�Uh� bye!� she shouted, unable to take any more awkwardness. The loli demon pushed the stroller with her and hurried away.

�Wait!� the miko called behind her. Hotaru didn�t stick around to listen. She hadn�t been this flustered since Emiko first hit on her. She came to a rest behind a tree and panted. Hotaru shook her head red-faced.

What just happened there?