Chapter 6:

Volume 1: Chapter 1: We Met at High School - Part 5

Nephalem


I had done everything I could for Alicia, and so, with nothing left for me to do, I let the girl sleep and made my way into the bathroom.

The bathroom was separated into two rooms. The first room was a combination of changing room, washroom, and toilet. After stepping into the room, I closed the sliding door behind me. There was no lock on the door, so I couldn’t lock it, but I wasn’t too worried. It was doubtful that Alicia would wake up before I was finished.

Turning to my left, I placed Alicia’s clothing in the washing machine, and then I stripped down and put my clothes in with them and started the wash. Both of our clothing had been covered in blood. Grabbing a towel from a rack hanging above the washer, I wrapped it around my waist and walked past the sink and toilet, entering the sliding door at the far end. This one also didn’t have a lock.

The shower room was a combination of shower and tub. My feet padded against the tiled floor. It wasn’t just the floor that was covered in white tiles; the entire room was made up of tiles. The shower was to my left. It was just a detachable shower head that I could use to clean myself. The tub was situated against the far wall. There was a small rectangular window next to it that let sunlight in and helped keep the steam from becoming too overburdening.

Since I didn’t know when Alicia would wake up, I only took a shower. After washing off, I went back into the changing room, dried off with a towel, and looked for a pair of clothes to change into.

Except there were no clothes to change into because I hadn’t brought them.
I cursed.

Since I’ve lived on my own for as long as I could remember, I never bothered bringing a change of clothes into the shower with me. There hadn’t been any point when I could just change in my bedroom. Except now I couldn’t do that. Alicia was in my bedroom.
I was such an idiot.

Keeping the towel around my waist, I slowly crept into my bedroom. Alicia appeared to still be asleep. That was good. I tiptoed to my dresser and tried open it while making as little noise as possible. Stealth was the word of the day. I needed to be like a ninja.

I grabbed my underwear, a pair of shorts, and was about to grab a shirt–

“Why is there a naked man wearing only a towel in the same room as me?”

–a voice spoke up behind me.

I froze. Not good. This was not good. I was so screwed.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I turned around to face Alicia, who was now awake. She wasn’t sitting up in bed, but her eyes were wide open. She was staring at him. There was a frown on her lips and a noticeable blush spreading across her pale cheeks, and maybe it was just my imagination, however, steam also seemed to be wafting off her ears, as though her brain was overheating.

“Uh…” I thought fast. “I-I’m sorry. I forgot to grab my clothes when I took a shower, so…”

The frown on Alicia’s face deepened, and dark hue of her cheeks gained several more shades of color. “I’m guessing that means this is your room?”

“… Yes…”

“I see.”

An awkward silence ensued, but it only lasted for a moment. I, in a poor attempt at deflecting any conversation for the moment, said, “I’m gonna go get changed really quick. After that, I’ll answer any questions you have. How does that sound?”

Alicia closed her eyes. “That’s fine.”

I rushed out of the bedroom and into the changing room. Quickly, I donned a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Then I made my way back to the bedroom, walking slowly so as to give myself time to get my rapidly beating heart under control. Taking a deep breath, I held it in for two seconds, slowly breathed out, and then entered the bedroom again.

Alicia was still lying on the bed, and her eyes were still closed, though they snapped open upon the door closing. I didn’t have any chairs to sit on. That being the case, I walked over to the wall and leaned against it.

A moment of silence passed between us. I had calmed down, but I wasn’t sure what to say. There were so many things I wanted to ask, that I wanted to know. At the same time, I didn’t want to pry into this girl’s business.

“I suppose I should thank you for saving me,” Alicia said at last.

Her words nearly made me jump. I crossed my arms. “It’s fine. I just did what anyone else would have done in my place.”

“I don’t know about that,” Alicia said. “I’ve been to many countries, and no one else has ever helped me the way you have.” She paused. “You’re not human, are you?”

Since I was prepared for the conversation to turn in this direction, I didn’t panic. I sighed as exhaustion crept into my voice and said, “that is correct. However, I could say the same thing to you.”

For the first time since meeting her, Alicia smiled. It was wry and filled with bitterness, but I still found it to be beautiful. “True. I’m not human, though I imagine it’s not that surprising to you.” As if emphasizing her point, she flapped her bat-like wings.

“It’s not,” I replied, nodding at her point.

It wasn’t that unusual to find devils, fallen, or even angels living among humans. Earth was a hotspot for all sorts of supernatural creatures. Beyond the factions of heaven and hell, there was the Greek Pantheon, their Roman counterparts, and the Norse who lived on a different plain of existence known as Asgard but occasionally caused trouble down here.

I had made great pains to never run into another supernatural being. This was for my own safety. Before Azazel had found me and offered me his protection, every day I lived had been filled with danger, to the point where I constantly worried about whether or not I’d live to see tomorrow.

The day Azazel became my benefactor, I had actually been on the verge of death, having suffered greatly in a battle against several beings who had felt threatened by my existence. What I found funny was that none of them had known what I was. They had simply decided I was too dangerous to let live.

I suppose I could understand the sentiment. Really, it wasn’t like I could blame them. Even monsters had reason to fear me.

“So what happens now?” Alicia asked.

“Now?” I parroted. “Now I’m going to make dinner. Would you like anything particular to eat?”
I was just going to have what I bought at Fukiyama Mart, but I didn’t want her eating my normal fare. It wasn’t all that healthy.

Alicia blinked. “P-pardon?”

“I’m going to make–”

“I heard what you said,” Alicia interrupted, and then she blushed. “Sorry. I’m not trying to be rude. I’m just surprised. Surely you want to know about why I was being attacked by lesser demons.”

“I do,” I admitted. “But you just went through something pretty harrowing. I imagine you're hungry. Our talk can wait until after you’ve had something to eat. Do you have anything you’d like me to make?”

“O-oh…” Alicia stared at me for a moment, then looked down at her hands, which I noticed were clenching the bedsheets. “Then… do you know how to make spaghetti with marinara?”
“The Italian pasta?” I frowned, wondering if I had the ingredients for that. “I believe I can… wait right here.”

“A-actually,” she began again, “do you mind if I used your bathroom?”

Guessing that she wanted to take a shower, I nodded. “Go ahead. It’s the only door on the opposite end of this hallway. I’ll have a towel ready for you.”

“Thank you,” Alicia said graciously. I nodded and prepared to leave. “By the way…” I paused with my hand on the doorknob. Turning to Alicia, who was tugging at the large T-shirt that covered her torso, I gave her an inquiring look. “Are you the one who changed me into these clothes?”

I froze. My face felt like it was getting ready to overheat, yet every cell in my body felt like they had been frozen solid.

“I…” I forced my mouth to work. “I’m going to p-prepare dinner.”

And then I left, closing the door behind me and leaning against it as I tried to get the temperature of my face back to normal.

I was never going to live this moment down, was I?


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