@Lovers is the final chapter of the Roots of A sidestory. This short story focuses on the life of a man in a troubled relationship as he tries an online dating service to find his perfect match.

The title page for @Lovers


The tale follows Hikishi, a middle-classed man. According to his co-workers, he's destined to be with his current girlfriend: the beautiful Haruka, but isn't too sure about it himself. Whenever he's around her he acts very aristocratic and so hides his true self; he takes her to a fancy restaurant saying that it's his favourite even though he's never been there, and he's never even had wine before. She believes that he's a high ranking employee at a software company but in reality he is just a factory repairman at a paper manufacturing company On the other hand, Miss Haruka is the daughter of a "wealthy, established family." This difference in lifestyles makes Hikishi nervous and uptight around her, and is the reason why he finds it hard to believe that they can really be destined for each other.

One day in the control room at work, Hikishi is browsing around the Internet when an Internet ad comes up saying "Your destined lover IS RIGHT HERE!!" Intrigued by this he follows the link and comes to the @Lovers website. After signing up under the alias Ta-Ke (the name of a dog he used to own), he receives a message from website giving him a list of people whom he had a match of 80% or more with. To his surprise, one of the matches, Satsuki, had a 99.9% match with him. After sending her an email, he was surprised to see that he already received a response the very next day. Satsuki and Hikishi are very comfortable with each other online, and they both feel free to tell the other the truth about their lives. Satsuki does paper work for her father who owns a "small town factory" and Hikishi finds it easy to relate to her unlike how he feels with Haruka. However, she claims to already have a boyfriend and says that she is ony doing @Lovers to see what kind of guy she is suited too, similar to Hikishi's situation. Hikishi reveals to her that he also has a girlfriend, and after that they get along some more. Satsuki describes her boyfriend as "smart, successful, and really fancy" which Hikishi notes as his "polar opposite". She states how she is having difficulty in keeping up with him and how their relationship is getting awkward.

Hikishi and Satsuki continue getting to know each other, and eventually move to IM (instant messaging). Hikishi becomes obsessed to the point that even when on dates with Haruka all he can think about is getting an email from Satsuki. At work he discovers that one of his co-workers met his wife via @Lovers. When talking to Satsuki about this, he watches the television whilst the head of @Lovers is explaining the site. The site creates matches based on genetics, and the owners cites that 100% of married couples who met through @Lovers have stayed together. When asked by the interviewer about the probabilty of getting a 100% match, he says that it is impossible because a 95% match is only a 1 in 200,000,000 chance, and even that is only in theory. After a fight with Haruka, he decides to finally meet up with Satsuki in three days time. Later, he receives a call from Haruka who apologises for the fight and asks if they want to meet up on Saturday. He remembers that that is the day he will meet up with Satsuki so he declines. Miss Haruka hangs up and he thought that he heard her crying through the phone.

It was agreed that Hikishi would bring a bouquet of roses, and Satsuki would be wearing a white purse in order for them to be able to identify each other. 5 minutes before the arranged meeting time, Hikishi is overwhelmed with guilt and runs away from the meeting place. He accidently runs into Miss Haruka who is incredibly surprised to see that he has brought a bouquet; Haruka then asks him if he was looking for a girl with a white purse as she holds up her own: he finds out that she was Satsuki all along.

It turns out that neither had known that the other was using an Internet dating service. Haruka regretted accepting the offer to meet in person, which is why she rang up to meet on Saturday; if Hikishi accepted she wouldn't have gone to meet her "online dater." After both confessing, they reconcile with each other and start their relationship anew.




Hikishi's Co-worker

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