On Saturday, I brought myself to my father’s workplace, which we had chosen as the location of our meeting. My father was moving his pen vigorously like usual, so I quietly stayed out of the way while read manga by myself.
After waiting a few minutes, Itou-san arrived. It was only, September so there was still leftover heat from the summer that was enough to make her sweat. Somehow, an adult lady with sweat looks somewhat erotic. I’m sorry, Itou-san.
“Then, let’s start our meeting now.”
Unaware of the evil thoughts I was having about her, Itou-san wiped off her sweat and said that to me with a refreshed face.
When I see her like that, I end up feeling a large amount of guilt. Seeing a person who is so focused on work I really want to punch the me from before.
“Got it, let’s start.”
I tried to answer her, but my words were obstructed by a loud noise from someone’s stomach. Of course, it wasn’t from me. It was obviously not my father who was absorbed into his work. If that’s the case, the originator of the sound was clear. I slowly turned to look at that person.
However, Itou-san didn’t show any embarrassment and instead showed a very natural expression. Ah, I guess she doesn’t really care too much about it… Still, Itou-san was probably hungry, so I can’t exactly let her just bear with it.
“If we do it here, we might bother my father, so how about we head to a family restaurant nearby?”
“It’s okay, we don’t really need to move.”
She quickly responded to my proposal. That’s what she says, but she’s definitely hungry. I’ll feel bad if we end up doing the meeting like this.
“No, aren’t you hungry?”
“I’m not really that hungry. Now, let’s start.”
“Eh, but… you are…”
As I kept insisting, Itou-san looked as if she didn’t want me to keep talking about it. I guess she did care about it… Well, of course she would. I wouldn’t want anyone to hear my stomach make a sound like that after all.
It would also be bad if she gets even more hungry. After all, I would be troubled if Itou-san loses concentration because of how hungry she is.
“Umm, I’m hungry as well so is it okay if we change locations?”
“… Any location will be fine I guess.”
“Then, let’s go to a nearby family restaurant. I’m already really hungry~”
After getting a reluctant reply from her, I purposely put my hand on my stomach to express my hunger. Even I feel somewhat irritated by my own acting though. Most likely, even Itou-san has already noticed that I’m not actually that hungry.
Then, after she gave me a light glare, she made a small sigh.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
As such, Itou-san and I headed out to a family restaurant.
An hour has passed since we moved to the family restaurant. There was a large number of finished dishes left on the table, most of which held food that was eaten by Itou-san.
Before coming here she said, “I’m not really that hungry”, but when she first ordered, she got a nanban teishoku, diced steak, and a meat pasta. I really wonder where her words from before disappeared to.
Then, after all the orders arrived, Itou-san ate vigorously and finished all three dishes in just 10 minutes. Even more surprising was that after she finished, she ordered even more, and the aftermath from this was now left on the table.
From teishokus and stone plate dishes, salads and desserts, various plates were placed around on the table. Within all of these dishes, the one that I ate was only the penne gratin. How much can this person eat?
As I let out a sigh, a male worker came to collect the large amount of plates.
“Wow Yoshiki-kun, you really can eat a lot~. I wouldn’t be able to put all of this into me~.”
Then, Itou-san started such an act. I guess it’s that, she doesn’t want others to know that she ate all this food herself. Well, she’s a female after all.
In the end Itou-san continued her act until the worker collected the last plate, before finally looking in my direction.
“That was payback for your act from before.”
After saying that, she pulled out a laptop from her bag.
I mean, I did do some weird acting but… Wasn’t that only bad for me? Doesn’t it seem like I’m a huge eater now? Well it’s fine because I’ll probably never see that worker ever again.
“Then, let’s start the meeting.”
“Yes, please do.”
Until now it was we were just eating lunch, but now that the “meeting” was about to start, a sense of nervousness overcame me. In an attempt to relieve myself, I stretch my back.
“Ah, it’s fine it’s fine. Don’t think too much about it. This is just a small meeting. ”
It seems that I was nervous enough for it to show. Relax… relax.
“I also asked this yesterday, but you are willing to make a new and original manga, correct?”
“O-of course. I think there will be lots of things that I can’t do, but I’ll try my best.”
Giving me her single word reply, Itou-san turned her laptop screen towards me. On the screen was the homepage of a magazine called Step. The magazine called Step is oriented towards newcomer authors. It is a magazine where some future serial authors first start. Even though it’s full of new authors, there are a lot of interesting ones, so I sometimes buy it to read.
“Do you know this magazine?”
“Eh, of course.”
“Then, it’ll be quick. I actually have one spot for me to publish to this magazine.”
Eh, does that mean, she wants to put in my work?
“I’m expecting a lot from you, but I still haven’t decided to give you that spot.”
… Well, of course that’s how it is…
“Then, why that?”
“It’s because you are a candidate. If you end up writing something that’s interesting, I’ll put it into the magazine. On the other hand, if it’s boring, your debut will be delayed to a later point in time.”
“I see. Then, when do I need to finish by…?”
“There isn’t much time, so in a week, I would like 45 pages no matter how badly drawn they are, all in their proper panels as well.”
“One week… that’s quite harsh…”
Even though I’m completely new to this, and I don’t even know how to properly draw… Creating panels, not to mention drawing the pictures themselves, it seems way too difficult.
“I know. However, if you don’t do at least this much, you won’t be able to debut. Can you do it?”
Itou-san looked at me with a challenging look.
I don’t know if I can actually draw it. I might end up creating a work so boring it would even surprise myself.
Such an anxiety took over my head for a moment, but it quickly disappeared. I might not be able to do it, but I can only confront this challenge.
“I can do it. I’ll draw something really interesting before the next week.”
I looked straight at Itou-san and answered her clearly.
Then, for the next week, I worked myself to death. After school, I returned home and immediately begin thinking about my manga, even during work I would end up thinking about it.
And, finally I was able to complete all 45 pages. It was virgin piece that was drawn and redrawn many times. If I do say so myself, it became quite interesting I believe.
“It seems interesting. Yeah, let’s go with this.”
After reading my work, Itou-san opened her mouth and said that.
At that moment, I unconsciously let out of shout of joy. I mean, it can’t be helped. My work was going to be published in the magazine, there’s no way I wouldn’t be happy.
“Then, let’s continue to work on this together and refine it.”
Looking at me, she gave me a smile and spoke to me in a gentle voice.
Just like this, my debut as a mangaka was decided.