Chapter 9:

Act 9

I'll carry you

For a moment, a fleeting moment I thought that maybe everything would turn alright. That everything would be fine. My dreadful life would finally be over after patiently waiting for so long, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It had just started. Red tears were running down my left cheek. I was on my knees and was holding my heavy body up with my hands. He was standing in front of me. I could feel his eyes looking down on me. He dropped the ice pick on the floor and grabbed his briefcase. I heard his footsteps and then the door being opened and closed. The lock clicked and I knew that the bad person had left. I heard her muffled cries in the bathroom. My legs were shaky, but I managed to stand up. Half of my vision was painted scarlet red. I knocked on the door and placed my forehead on the bathroom door. Bookmark here

“You can come out now, mom. He’s gone,” I said in a very quiet voice. She was still sobbing. “I’m going to pick up Aiko from her piano lesson,” I told her and went into my room. I shared it with my younger sister. The first aid kit was underneath my bed. I covered my left eye with a big plaster and the bruises on my arms with some bandages. I couldn’t show them to Ai-chan nor my mother. I had to keep them hidden away from the world. Bookmark here

It was already afternoon and the sun was shining down on me. Summer had arrived. People were looking at me. It was odd to them to see a girl wearing trousers and a big hoodie in such hot weather. The world seemed so small to me. It had only been a week since the class trip, but it felt like an eternity. But I could still feel his warm body and hands. In that fleeting moment, I felt safe for the very first time in my life. Ai-chan took her piano classes from our mother’s friend who was a music teacher. She didn’t live too far from our house. I rang the bell and could already hear Ai-chan getting excited. She knew it was me who came to pick her up. The door opened and I greeted Mrs Kobayashi. She had a daughter called Ichika who was the same age as Ai-chan. She got concerned after seeing the plaster on my left eye, but I assured her it was nothing to worry about. I thanked her for teaching my younger sister and we left. Ai-chan was holding my hand. She did not mention my eye or the plaster. It was a promise we had made. A promise that would guarantee her safety. It was common for Ai-chan to sometimes see her older sister wearing plasters and bandages, but she was not allowed to ask about them. Bookmark here

“Ayu-neechan, let’s have some ice cream,” she said and smiled at me. Her tiny body dragged me across the street. It was busy on the street because it was a Saturday.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry Ai-chan, but I don’t have any money with me,” I said. She took off her small, bear-shaped backpack and opened it. Her tiny hands were rummaging through it. She was having some trouble holding it, so I crouched down and held it for her. Her face looked satisfied after she found what she was looking for.Bookmark here

“Ta-da,” she said and showed me her yellow coin purse. It was in the shape of a bee. “I’ll buy us some ice cream.” I felt like crying and laughing at the same time. She put her backpack back on and I gave her a big, long hug.Bookmark here

“Thank you,” I whispered.Bookmark here

“It’s too early to thank me. I haven’t bought the ice cream yet,” she said while giggling. We went to our favourite dessert shop which was owned by an elderly couple. I had a scoop of vanilla ice cream and she of course chose chocolate. We sat down on some swings and enjoyed our cold dairy products. The sky had a rose and purple hue to it. It looked pretty. Bookmark here

“Ayumi!” a familiar voice called out to me. It was Akimitsu. My younger sister got excited by the sight of a handsome guy. Her cheeks turned rosy. Bookmark here

“Who is that?” she asked and hopped down from her swing. Bookmark here

“No one,” I said and stood up as well.Bookmark here

“Ouch, that’s mean to say about your friend,” Akimitsu said and pretended holding his heart. Ai-chan giggled. Bookmark here

“I’m Aiko. Ayu-neechan’s little sister,” Ai-chan told him proudly. Bookmark here

“I could tell. You are as pretty as your older sister,” he said to her with a smile. The compliment went over her head and she dropped her ice cream onto the ground. Her face instantly turned sad. I placed my hand on her head and gave her my ice cream. Akimitsu picked up the spilled ice cream and threw it in a trash bin. Bookmark here

“What are you doing here?” I asked him.Bookmark here

“I was out grocery shopping,” he said and showed me the multiple plastic bags he was holding. My younger sister enjoyed his company and he decided to drop us off to our house. At first, I refused but after seeing Ai-chan pouting, I gave in. It felt weird. Him being there with us. Him always turning up whenever things would go wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I think I got used to him being by my side. Ai-chan thanked Akimitsu for being our bodyguard and ran inside our house. I wanted to follow her, but he grabbed me by my arm. Bookmark here

“You okay?” he asked. I had completely forgotten about what had happened earlier today. I touched my left eye and gave him a smile.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry,” I said. Bookmark here

“Yeah, that confirms it. You’re not fine,” he said and pulled me closer. Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” I asked confused. It was uncomfortable standing so close to him.Bookmark here

“You smiled at me, so something must be wrong. I’ll take you to the hospital,” he said and started walking while still holding on to me. Bookmark here

“Hold on. Sorry if my smile creeped you out but I’m really fine,” I said but he shook his head and demanded for me to get my eye checked if I haven’t already gone to the hospital. I told Aki-chan to let our mother know. Bookmark here

“I’ll go with you, but you’ll have to answer a question of mine. Something has been bothering me for a while,” I requested. Bookmark here

“What is it?” he asked casually. We were walking next to each other. The sun was going down and the sky had turned orange. Bookmark here

“Where do you live?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Somewhere near here,” he said.Bookmark here

“Liar,” I said. We took the bus to get to the hospital. The nurse told me that it might take some time until I could see a doctor. He didn’t say anything and neither did I but the silence between us wasn’t awkward at all. It was comforting. The examination went quick and the doctor told me that I wouldn’t lose my sight. The injury was at the outer side of the eye and wasn’t serious. He warned me to be more careful while cooking. I agreed and left the hospital with Akimitsu. He again accompanied me to my house. The sky was dark blue now. Bookmark here

“Good night,” I said.Bookmark here

“Good night,” he said. I walked through my front door.Bookmark here

“I’m always here. I want you to remember that,” he said. I could tell that he was serious. I nodded my head and closed the door behind me.Bookmark here

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