Michiko and I had a good lunch date the next day. I asked for her phone number and if I could see her again.

�Sure,� she said. �Here you go.� Michiko wrote down her phone number on a napkin and I took it with a smile.

�I�ll call you,� I said.

�Alright,� she replied. Things went on nicely from there. But then, I hit a little problem.

Her name was Sakumoto Anri. This lady has had eyes for me since I first came to Kobe. She was a flirty woman, to be frank. She would do anything to grab my attention. Her Western-style dresses were always low-cut and short. She kept trying to get me to sleep with her every chance she got. I always kindly turned her down. But, she wouldn�t quit! So, it is easy to imagine how she found out that I had a girlfriend in the course of a few weeks.

I remember that it was June when Anri came back around to the counseling office where I worked. The air conditioning was broken again that morning, so the office already felt hot and uncomfortable. I felt like passing out that morning.

God damn it! Fine time for the air conditioning to fail today! Could this morning get any worse? Then, there came a knock on my door.

�Enter,� I mumbled. My ears were trained to notice the sound of a pair of pumps clacking across the hard floor. I paused, my heart pounding. Oh crap! Don�t tell me�

I lifted my head from my desk. Low and behold, Anri stood in the doorway, smiling at me. I tried to be pleasant by smiling back.

�Hello there, Sakumoto-san,� I said. She gave me a little giggle. I blinked.

�Uh� can I help you?� I asked. Anri walked across the room to my desk. She leaned in so close that her small nose almost touched mine. The strong scent of her French perfume made me lean back.

�Can I help you?� I asked again. Anri�s plump, red lips curved into a smile.

�My company and I are going out to this newly opened French restaurant in town,� she said. �My original date just canceled on me.�

�I�m sorry to hear that,� I said.

�So, I was wondering if you were doing anything tonight,� she hinted. I gave her a little smile.

�Actually, I am,� I replied. She gave me her famous, teasing smile.

�Oh, what? More studying with the scripture?� I shook my head.

�I have a date,� I told her. Her smile dropped at what she heard.

�What?� she asked. �With who?�

�Hino Michiko,� I said proudly. I looked at her for a reaction. She looked at me with disbelief.

�No!� she gasped. I smiled and nodded.

�It�s the truth,� I said. Anri stood there with a loss for words.

�Well� uh� wow� okay� Congratulations,� she struggled to say. I smiled and gave her a little nod.

�Thanks, anything else?� Anri shook her head.

�No.� I laced my fingers together.

�Okay then,� I said. �Have a good day.� My number one �fan� turned and walked out of my office. I sat back feeling rather confident. I had no idea how far Anri would go just to have me, but I would probably find out later that night.

At seven o�clock that evening, I stopped by the Hino house. I looked really nice that night, too. I went out of my way to get dressed up and saved enough money to take my girlfriend out to the nicest restaurant in town. I drew in a breath. Why am I so nervous? I wondered. You and Michiko have been on many dates before! This is nothing new to you. When I rang the doorbell however, I was in for quite a surprise.

One of the maids greeted me at the door. I blinked. Huh?

�Uh� is Michiko-san in?� I asked. The maid gave me a little smile.

�Sorry, but Michiko-sama does not want to see you again or ever,� she said. I missed the response completely at first.

�What?� I asked.
�Have a good day,� the maid said, then slammed the door in my face. Uh� what just happened?

For weeks, Michiko hadn�t returned my calls or talked to me at all. After two weeks, I began to get suspicious. Something�s fishy here, I thought to myself. I decided to go and investigate the matter. I paid a surprise visit to Hino manor on my lunch break. I pounded heavily on the door.

�I know you�re in there, Michiko!� I yelled. �Come out here and talk to me! What�s going on? Why are you avoiding me?� I looked up when I heard a window opening. I noticed a face peeking out through the curtains. I could tell that Michiko was looking right at me at this very second. I hurried over to the window.

�Michiko-chan!� I said.

�Go away!� she shouted. I gave her a blank stare.

�What?� I asked. �What are you talking about? Why have you been avoiding me?�

�Why don�t you run back to your other girlfriend?!� she yelled. Okay, she lost me there. I gave her a face that told her so.


�Don�t act like I�m an idiot!� Michiko wailed. �You�ve had another woman on the side while we were dating!�

�What other woman?� I asked.

�She came by my house and told me all about you!� she wailed. �She told me about how you�ve been seeing her for three months and how you just want my money!� I blinked, entirely confused at first. Then I began to get any idea of who was trying to break us up.

�This woman, what did she look like?� I asked Michiko.

�Why does it matter?!�

�I think I might know who you�re talking about,� I explained. �Just describe her for me.� I could hear Michiko huffing in anger at me.

�She had long, dark green hair and was dressed up really nice,� she said. I gritted my teeth.

�I knew it,� I mumbled.

�Knew what?� she snapped. I looked straight at her.

�That woman is named Sakumoto Anri and I am not seeing her,� I said. Michiko still didn�t believe me.

�How can I be sure you�re not lying?� she asked.

�She�s been obsessed with since I first came here to Kobe,� I said. �I want nothing to do with her. I promise!�

�And what about me?� she asked. I clenched my fists so tightly that I could feel my nails almost breaking the skin.

�I love you for you,� I said. �I don�t care about your money or your status!�

�You promise?� she asked, still unsure.
�Yes!� I declared. Then, the curtain drew back to reveal Michiko�s surprised face. I held up my hands to her.

�See? I would never be like that to you. I truly love you.� I noticed that her eyes were welling up with big tears.

�I�m so sorry, Iwao-kun! I should have never doubted you.� I just gave her a little smile.

�It�s okay,� I replied. �I forgive you.� I let my girlfriend cry it out as I sneered in my thoughts. I was going to have to have a talk with Anri later.