The classes ended with only a bit of an episode from the protagonist group, delinquent group and otaku group at the same History Class. Well, if I have to say, they were amusing. The topic for the day was about Oda Nobunaga's Ambition. The popular story about the warlord who almost united Japan during the Sengoku Era but got betrayed by his trusted aid Akechi Mitsuhide at Honnoji Temple.
The protagonist representative Ogawa praised Nobunaga while the delinquent representative, Fukuda called him an i***t for not taking caution against his close aides. They bicker for a long time before the otaku representative Matsuda insisted that Oda Nobunaga is secretly a girl. Then his group shows a lot of illustrations of the female version of Nobunaga and his retainers. It became a cluster fest that amused even the teacher.
"Going to your club?"
I ask Sakuma after packing my things.
"Yes but practice won't start until next week so it doesn't really matter if I go there or not. I want to be on the regulars so I'll go even if I don't want to."
"Why is your club holding off on practice?"
Maemura asks from the side.
"I don't know."
"Huh? That's irresponsible. Okay then, see you tomorrow guys. I have practice, unlike that idiot."
"Don't call me an i***t when you only have your legs to boast about!"
Sakuma retorted. This guy just won't learn. He keeps on getting swept by Maemura's pace.
"Well, sorry to say but these are my number one asset."
Maemura traces her long legs with her slender fingers. Just look at that thighs. I bet those thigh fetishists will drool on them just by looking.
Well, she's not wrong anyway. That's her strongest asset. I noticed some of the guys in class looking like dogs whenever she passed by them.
"See you Maemura."
Rindou and I waved her goodbye. Well, I should really wait for her message later.
Sakuma who's fuming from Maemura's words and Rindou went off after her to attend their clubs.
Now that Shio's on hold, I need a new target.
Ah, there's also that problem about those girls I stole from my middle school. Haa. I'll solve them one at a time. Let's go home first.
I only caught a glimpse of Ms. Miyazaki when I went out of the School Building. She's staring at me from the entrance of the Admin Building. I don't know what she's thinking right now, after what happened earlier she might still be thinking about the things she really wanted to do with me.
I don't have any plans today so I'm going straight at home. I messaged Kana about me holding off on going to the Literature Club. There's yesterday's incident of my piece plus that Kenji needs to fix his attitude first. He might turn his suspicion to me if he saw Kana and me being friendly at their clubroom.
Luckily I didn't run into anyone while walking to the station. I might be a bit tired for today. With the things with Kana settled and Shio ending like that, I'm a little backed up. Should I call one of those girls? Ah. I can't have someone stay tonight or I might forget about Maemura's incoming message again.
I ride the train and find a corner to sit onto. There're a few students at the same Go-Home Club riding it. I don't know any of them though. Looks like a bunch of 2nd years.
I lost interest in watching them immediately. I close my eyes throughout the journey home.
The same neighbourhood greets me outside the station, being this early, there are still a few students walking around who're wearing the same uniform as Akane and some wearing my previous middle school's. Being someone with a different uniform than the rest, I draw their interest.
Just when I thought no one should have recognized me, a voice I haven't heard in a while rang behind me.
I looked back and saw a girl wearing the same high school uniform as the others. She still had that beauty I saw in her back in middle school.
"I know that if I wait here I'll be able to find you."
"That's not fair. Cutting me off and running to another high school."
"And you don't even respond to my mails and calls. Unbelievable."
Her mouth continues to spew out words before I can reply as she closes the distance between us.
"You knew why I cut you off Yae."
"I know. I've learned my lesson. Will you forgive me?"
"No. You should go back now."
Fujimura Yaeko. She's one of the girls I stole that fell for me. She's a year older than me. When I stole her from her beloved, she slipped in her heart with it without me knowing.
When she graduated, I kept her by my side, not knowing she already broke up with his guy. She hid it from me.
"I'm not like Shimizu who can wait for you until you learn to love someone. You know why I did that."
Of course, I know. You're alike. What do you even see at someone like me? I'm someone who can do anything just to steal someone for myself. I'm incapable of feeling what you're feeling. Even if in the smallest chance I want to keep you by my side, you can't ignite the fire of my secret desire.
That's why I had to cut you off.
"And it's not just me! I bet there's someone there as well who did the same thing as I did. Just to stay within your sight. That's why I…"
"Haa, don't shout. Let's talk somewhere quiet."
I cut her off and grabbed her arm.
She didn't resist and let me drag her towards a nearby cafe. I can't take her to my house.
I chose a corner where there are a few people around. After ordering a coffee, we begin our talk.
"So. Why did you come here?"
"You're still this cold to me. I told you why I did that."
Yae looks down at her coffee and mixes it with the spoon absent-mindedly.
"If you want me to apologize then I will. I cut you off. I guess you deserved at least that from me."
"No. I'm not here for your apology. You know why I'm here. Ruki. You see, someone is courting me again."
"And? Why are you telling me this? I'm unrelated to you."
"You really never change Ruki. Of course, you're related, you're the one I'm in love with since then. Even when you cut me off I didn't stop. Don't you at least feel something?"
What did she mean? I don't know that feeling. Even if it is directed to me, I don't know how to respond to it. Akane is the testament to that.
"You know my secret, don't you? Only at that can I feel excitement."
"If I accept him. Will you once again steal me?"
"It depends. I still remember what you did. You might do it again and you just told me you love me. Why will you accept someone you don't love?"
"Isn't it obvious? You're a smarter guy than this Ruki."
"I don't know how to love. I can't feel that emotion."
"I see. I understand. As I thought, It's really hopeless to get through you."
I can't deny that. I don't think I will change. Ever since this desire manifested, nothing can move me but filling up this desire.
"I love you."
Again. Why do they keep relying on this emotion?
"Yae. Thank you."
"You're so hopeless Onoda Ruki. Maybe I came here to finally put an end to this hopeless feeling I have towards you. I don't have the time like Shimizu who's tirelessly waiting for you. You know, you should treasure her. You might wake up one day that she's not there anymore. I guess I can only hope that when it happens, you will suffer and wake up from that cold world you built around yourself."
I can't understand. Even if I want to. I can't. Since 5th grade, I am moving only towards satiating that desire.
We left the cafe after finishing our coffee. Neither of us talks and just continues drinking in that silence. I don't know what to say and Yae looks like she'll burst into tears if I say anything. She's holding it in.
Fujimura Yaeko. I still have the recordings of hers. I can still remember the time I worked hard on stealing her. And I can still remember the time when I finally got her. It was a truly satisfying experience that filled up my desire at that time.
Maybe, this is the last time I can see her and I don't find it weird nor I have a sense of loss. I don't even regret everything I did. I'm a despicable human being.
We parted ways just outside. I looked back at her and saw her looking back at me. Just what did she see on someone like me?
When I arrive home, I feel so exhausted. It felt like I was carrying a heavy object on my back. Is this mental exhaustion? I guess I can only try and take a rest.
I drifted to sleep resting my body on the sofa. This sofa that still has Kana's scent. Maybe she too will leave my side in the future and I still won't feel any regret. Ah. No one can fix me but myself.
I don't know how long I fell asleep but I feel somewhat refreshed when I open my eyes again.
Then there are continuous sounds of knocking at the door.
I look at the clock and see the time. 8 pm
I go to the door and open it. Akane is there, the side of her hand that she used for knocking was red. Just how long and how strong the force she was using?
"Can I come in?"
She had this serious face on her. Unlike the one she had earlier this day.
Seeing that I couldn't refuse her
I nod and lead her to the living room.
"Why are you here? What's the occasion?"
"I met Yaeko. I heard."
Ah. Is she here to nag at me? But even with that I know it won't move me.
"What happened to you while I'm not looking? Why have you turned out like this?
Even if you ask me that. I can't answer. I don't know the answer. I can't find it inside me.
"Ne. Ruki. Yaeko, when I met her, she's crying. She's crying her heart out."
Then that's good. She shouldn't have held it in. After she vented out her feelings, she will finally be able to move forward. Earlier, when she asked me if I would steal her again if she accepted the guy courting her, my desire didn't kick in. My answer at that time was a reflex. I already blurted it out before I can think of an answer.
"I'm also like her. Will the day come when I will cry my heart out like that because my feelings can't reach you?"
They suffered because of me. And Akane is still suffering. Maybe it's not only them but even if I keep thinking about it. I still feel the same and I'm not regretting it. I only have this secret desire and nothing else. I'm ordinary at best but maybe at their eyes, they're seeing a different me.
"I can't accept that ending Ruki. Never!"
Akane stared at me. Her teary eyes speak her feelings and determination. She won't cry. Like Yae. Not in front of me.
Akane stands up and she closes the distance between us.
"I've decided. I'm going to live here with you."
Huh? What is she saying?
"I'm going to live here and let you experience my love. You won't just push me away right?"
"Wait Akane, don't just decide that. Your parents won't allow you."
"No, they will. I will have them accept it."
"Just shut up for now Ruki."
Akane then holds my face and kisses me forcefully.
It is just a normal kiss. Just her lips touching mine. It didn't even take that long.
"Just listen and don't talk."
Ah. I didn't know she has this side of her. I only see her as that childhood friend who's always there next door. A childhood friend who I grew up with.
"I don't care about your decision. I'll even call Aunt and Uncle to ask for permission. That's how determined I am. Don't you dare look down on me."
She's forcing it. She'll really do what she said.
"But I won't stop at what I am doing. Akane. More girls will be stolen by me. That's the only desire that's driving me forward."
Yes. Even with her here. I won't stop.
"I don't care. I'll be sleeping at our house whenever you bring one, I don't want to hear or see you doing that with others. But when you're alone, I will stay here."
"Why? I don't deserve your love, you know?"
"That's not for you to decide Ruki. You're not me."
Ah. Right, they have their own minds and I can't influence everything even to those girls I stole.
"Yaeko, she. I won't be like her. I'll persevere. I'll teach you that emotion you can't feel and understand. It's not as simple as you think."
Why are you this stubborn now? I have no choice but to accept her demands right?
"I understand. If that's Akane decided, I have no right to object."
"Yes. You don't have. So wait here. Starting next week, I will be living here with you and show you how much I love you. Yaeko can't do that but I can. I'm not as weak as her."
No. Yae. She's strong. She found the courage to move forward.
But Akane living here. What changes will it bring me? Even right now, I'm thinking of ways how to get Maemura, Kanzaki and Shio. I'm really a despicable human being eh? Even with all the serious talk Akane has shown me, my mind is still veering towards fulfilling that desire.
Akane left my house after that. She didn't look back but her back remained straight. She's truly determined and she will make it happen.
And here I am now. Holding this phone. On the screen is Maemura's message. I'm this hopeless.
"You didn't sleep again, did you?"
I cleared my head up and replied.
"I am sleeping. Who are you?"
"i***t. Help me with Sakuma."
Reading that, my secret desire starts kicking in again.