That’s What You Call a Hardcore Gamer!
Read at Watashi Wa Sugoi Desu!
【Extra】afterwards⑧ …… Breakfast
It was morning, usually I’d wake up with the alarm I set, but I fell asleep yesterday without setting the alarm. When I opened my eyes, Heath was embracing me. As I blinked slowly and saw Heath with his eyes closed, I inadvertently brought my lips closer.
I kissed Heath’s thin lips with a soft kiss.
At that moment, I was surprised by the sudden hands that went around the back of my head and opened my lips involuntarily, which allowed Heath to devour my mouth deeply. As my tongue entwined with his, I hurriedly pushed Heath’s chest.
“So you were awake…”
“I told you I only sleep for a short time, right? I was curious about what you would do if I slept, you see. I never thought you’d actually attack me during my slumber.”
I was greatly ashamed as I heard Heath’s voice laugh so happily. That’s why I moved my neck and looked in the direction of the bathroom so I could escape.
“I’ll take a shower.”
“Want to take a shower together?”
“Just kidding. I already took a bath earlier when you were still asleep. Sorry.”
“It’s okay though.”
“Also, can I borrow your kitchen?”
“Heh? I don’t mind…— but you don’t have to worry about preparing breakfast, okay? There’s still the rice from yesterday and simple food like natto in the fridge. I’ll prepare it for you.”1
I wanted to entertain Heath who went through all the trouble just to visit me. That was why I said so, but Heath shook his head lightly.
“I feel bad for not doing anything after all. So I brought some food with me.”
“The food from yesterday wasn’t all of it?”
“Do you like cooking, Heath?”
“—Not really. It’s not that I can’t cook, but I don’t like doing it either. I just wanted to show my care for Neji.”
I was happy to hear the thing he casually said. My face felt hot, so much that it might melt. Just like how I care for Heath, it seemed that Heath also cared for me as well. Although he always did so in-game… this is real life. I think that Heath’sspoiling me too much. The deed from last night was a little mean though.
I went to the bathroom with my clothes to take a bath. Then, as I dipped in the warm water, I looked at the mirror in front of me. There I could see a red mark on my neck. It was a kiss mark, When did he put it on me? My heart throbbed as I was reminded of the deed last night.
“Aaah, I… ended up doing it with Heath… and it’s not just a dream. I wonder if Heath thought that I was weird?”
Recalling how I acted last night, I involuntarily covered my face with both hands. But then I remembered I shouldn’t let Heath prepare the breakfast alone, so I hurriedly washed my hair, body, and face.
When I left the bathroom, I was relieved to see my clothes still there.
Then I noticed there was a good smell. ‘I wonder what Heath is cooking?’ With that in mind, I put my clothes on and dried my hair. Then I looked in the kitchen, the bathroom was just past the kitchen, and it seemed that Heath was already done preparing the dishes and was now in front of the kotatsu.2
“Here you go.”
Heath gave me a glass of water as soon as he saw me. Although mineral water was unavailable in my house, there was a water bottle on top of the kotatsu. It seemed that the barley tea I prepared had no opportunity this time.
I took it and quenched my throat. I looked over the kotatsu while doing so. Then my eyes went wide. The rice should be the leftovers from yesterday, but there was also miso soup there. I could see fried tofu and green onions as well. I recognized that the natto was from my fridge. But the other dishes seemed to shine to me.
There was spinach with sesame sauce, as for fish… was it Spanish Mackerel made into saikyo yaki? There was also a beautifully shaped thick omelet. It looked like a Japanese menu at an inn or hotel. It was a perfect Japanese breakfast.3
“Did you just cook this?”
“No, I’m just processing what I already made.”
“You made this yourself, Heath?”
“Since I was busy at the institute yesterday, it was just a little something I did the day before yesterday.”
“I think this is beyond the level of ‘just a little something’…”
Our skill levels were completely different. Was Heath’s cooking skill also on hardcore level…?
Thinking that way, it made me feel like most of my life was half-assed. I want to do my best to be more suitable for Heath. Although I don’t seem to be worthy of him right now, I definitely don’t want to break up with him. It’s because I really love Heath.
“Let’s eat. We’ll be going out after all.”
“Ah, yes. Itadakimasu.”
As Heath saw me put my glass down and put my hands together, Heath also did the same.
And so, breakfast began, but the food was so delicious that my jaw felt like dropping. I moved my chopstick as I felt enchanted by the food.
“This feels like we’re in the game.”
“Neji sure is slow at eating.”
“Uh… be- because, if I don’t taste and eat properly, isn’t it rude to the cook?”
“You sure use your chopstick neatly.”
“You’re also the same, Heath.”
Certainly, my father was the only thorough one in regards to how to hold chopsticks in my family. But Heath’s way of holding it looked much more elegant.
“I would be happy if I could eat with you every morning.”
“Heath… I, I also feel the same.”
“You’ll be returning to university next season, right?”
“Yes. I’ll be going back to university next spring, but because of the circumstances, they made an exception and allowed me to graduate in a year. They said that I’ll be a fourth year student since I didn’t repeat the year. But it seems that the classes for the second half of the third year are compulsory so I have to take it. Both me and Nachi have already secured other credits though.”
I explained about the university to Heath.
“I see. So it’ll be for a year— it feels like a long time.”
I tilted my head when Heath said that. It should be considered fast since I’d be able to graduate in a year.
“What do you mean by a long time?”
“I meant to say that I want to live together with you once you graduate.”
“Do you hate the idea? Have you already decided on your career?”
“No, I haven’t decided on any job at all, but… eh? Live together? I don’t hate it… I’m happy about it! But doesn’t that mean…”
…—Since we were lovers, doesn’t that mean we’ll sleep in the same room?
As I thought of that, I felt like my face was about to catch fire. It flushed bright red and I dropped my chopsticks. I hurriedly picked it back.
“I’m going to get new chopsticks.”
Then I headed to the kitchen to escape. I was happy, I really was. I was overwhelmed with happiness by Heath’s words.
After taking deep breaths and suppressing the rapid throbbing of my heart, I returned to the kotatsu.
“I’ll be staying at the institute, and I’ll go to the attached laboratory after graduation. So I want Neji to come to New Tokyo. I have a room that can be opened for Neji, and if you don’t like the place, we can choose a new house together.”
“Heath’s house? Eh, eh, ah… New Tokyo…”
For me, who didn’t go to the city often, I couldn’t imagine it well. However, I really wanted to live with Heath.
“Then I’ll look for work in New Tokyo.”
“Do you have anything you wanted to do?”
“Uhn… I did take a lecture about the new SPI before we couldn’t log out… but I could only remember it vaguely. It’s just that I love listening to people. So I really wanted to go to the institute.”
“I see. You can do just that then. What I meant to ask is what you meant when you said that you went to the institute and communicated with them, though.”
“I went to the Department of Psychology before, and now I can learn about VR counseling at the institute. It’s just, I’m not smart enough to enroll at the institute, and it would be financially difficult for me as well.”
As I said that with a bitter smile, Heath folded his arms.
“So you can’t get the qualification to become a VR counselor without going to an institute?”
“One of the qualifications for VR psychologists requires the person to be a graduate from a new professional university institute.”
“I see. There is a psychology department in my institute, but I don’t know about the details.”
“No no no, isn’t the institute that Heath goes to the Institute of Nankan University? I heard that the institute itself is famous for how difficult it is…”
As I recalled the institute name that I heard while chatting at the hotel, I spouted and shook my head.
“—Yes. It’s certainly known as the most difficult institute within the nation. However, they have a better scholarship system compared to other institutes. Some successful applicants barely paid the tuition fee at all. It’s the new system from the government.”
“That’s only if I got accepted, right? My brain is…”
“What will be tested?”
“It would be the basics of VR studies, the basics of Psychology, and English.”
“How well do you understand the basics of psychology?”
“Well… it’s still something I learned because I like it, so I think I know most of it. I also somehow bought the reference books for the institute despite having no intentions to aim for the scholarship, it was on my tablet and I practically memorized it.”
I was considering entering that institute when I first enrolled. It just, the scholarship money often had to be returned once I graduated, and the difficulty itself was quite a hurdle for me. VR-related tuition fees were really high.
“What else are you worried about aside from tuition fees?”
“VR Studies and English.”
“I can teach you about those two courses.”
“VR studies are essential for VR medicine. As for English, I was studying abroad during my high school period for three years.”
“I’m planning to visit Neji every weekend and free days anyway. If Neji is serious about it, I’ll teach you as much as you want.”
Those words made me happy. It made me understand that Heath was seriously thinking about my dream.
“How about taking the test at least? If you get accepted, you can just go through the tuition-free procedure.”
“I can go to the same university institute as Heath?”
“That’s right. It’s not too late to go job hunting after taking the exam, right?”
I blinked slowly.
—Although everything about me was so half-assed, I thought that I should become hardcore in real life too so I can be suitable to walk next to Heath. So I made up my mind, looked into Heath’s eyes, and nodded a little.
“Yes, you’re right! Heath, I’ll give it a try.”
While we were talking about that, breakfast time went by.