Chapter Forty-Four: Hotaru’s Dinner:
Meanwhile in Chijou…
Hotaru bit her lower lip at her table. She successfully got Ryo and Hiroyuki to come to her house. They weren’t alone, however. Vivian leaned over to Mike.
“So… who’s dating Hotaru-san?” she whispered.
“Don’t know,” Mike said back.
“I guess so.”
Vivian blinked. “Wait, is she…?”
The other demon shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know anymore.”
Hotaru clapped her hands together. “Okay. How is everyone today?” No one spoke. Kazue held up her empty glass.
“More booze!” she said.
“Go get yourself,” Hotaru said, trying to stay pleasant. Kazue shrugged.
“Whatever,” she said. The demon got up and walked over to the fridge. Hotaru turned back to her dates.
“Uh… Ryo, this is Hiroyuki,” she said. “Hiroyuki, Ryo.”
“Hi,” her dates said. Hotaru breathed out.
“Okay,” she said. Again, the room went silent. Mike clenched his teeth.
“Oh, this is too painful to watch,” he said.
“Um…” Hotaru said. Now what?
“So,” Ryo said. “What do you do for a living, Hiroyuki-san?” Hiroyuki cleared his throat.
“I’m a police officer,” he said. “And you?”
“Teacher. I’m also a miko at a local shrine.”
“Did I miss anything?” Kazue asked as she returned to the table.
“No,” Mike said.
“I see.” She returned to her seat.
“Anyway…” Hotaru said. She paused in thought. “Actually, I forgot it now.” She chuckled awkwardly. I’m dying here.
“So, what are we eating today?” Vivian asked.
“Huh?” Hotaru asked.
“What are we having for dinner?”
“Oh! Oh. I almost forgot. Hang on.” The loli demon got up and walked into the kitchen. She returned with a heater and big pot.
“You’re going to like this.” Hotaru took the pot and filled it with water. “So what does everyone want to eat?” At first, no one spoke.
“Come on,” the loli demon said. “Don’t make me draft somebody.”
Mike raised his hand. “I’ll have beef.”
Hotaru nodded. “Okay. Good, good.”
“I’ll take chicken,” Ryo said. “And tofu.”
“Good, we have that here,” her crush said. “Who else?” In minutes, she had a small list for a hot pot. The loli demon broke into a smile.
“Alrighty,” she said. “I’ll see what I can do.” By now, the awkwardness had softened. Hotaru smiled to herself in the kitchen. Maybe this could work. Hotaru stared by looking in the fridge.