Chapter 2:

When the Morning Glory Falls, Asakura Grimaces.

When My Ex-Girlfriend Came For a Visit, It Was Raining.


I was unable to know how I actually made it all the way back home. For sure, I and the mysterious beauty were in silence the whole time, her words still echoing at the back of my mind. It wasn’t something I could take for granted, nor with a grain of salt. Surely she must be delusional. However, something in her voice back then made me doubt the possibility of it being a lie.Bookmark here

Her submissive demeanor, her speech pattern, the plea in those jewel-like eyes. It was impossible to just shrug it off, run away and call it a day. All in all, I could always excuse my reasoning for bringing her home with the fact that I caused us both to fall, getting both her and me soaked by the rain which, curiously, had not stopped.Bookmark here

The pitter-patter of her sandals followed me as if it were a shy ghost. Of course, I knew ghosts didn’t make sounds, yet her current mood made me think she was possessed by sadness itself. I couldn’t even fathom her own circumstances. Even if, in the end, it was a lie, I’d give her props for making me feel somewhat bad for her. Bookmark here

Little by little, we finally arrived at the place I called home. A quaint, medium-sized, old traditional Japanese house. I didn’t ring the doorbell, opening the sliding door as soon as I reached the handle. The girl reached towards my muddy shirt. I could feel her slender fingers trembling. Unable to ascertain if it was due to being wet or fearful, I shook my head and made my way inside as always.Bookmark here

“What have I told you of leaving the door unlocked when you’re alone at home?”Bookmark here

“Ran-chan.”Bookmark here

A quiet voice made her way towards the unkempt living room. A small head appeared from the old sofa that stank of humidity. Cinnamon, almost reddish eyes, greeted me after three butterfly-like blinks. Her short blonde hair flew after she jumped from the sofa, slowly making her way towards me. Her feet stumbled a little. Perhaps she was falling asleep while watching television.Bookmark here

“It’s fine, no one comes at this hour except you,” she added, finally approaching the door. She was already in her summer pajamas, the heat inside our home being unbearably strong. Curiously, she looked at me just to notice I was covered in mud and dripping from head to toe. “Ran-chan…”Bookmark here

“Now, don’t go blaming yourself for this,” I bonked her head slightly. “My headphones fell into a pond when I was coming back from school and I tripped with them. Didn’t notice I dropped them while checking my school bag.”Bookmark here

She stayed quiet, her silence making me feel a little awkward. Just a little if it wasn’t for the silly daily drama she was absentmindedly watching a few minutes ago. Finally, she decided to speak again.Bookmark here

“Your friend seems cold too.”Bookmark here

Oh, goddammit.Bookmark here

I knew I was forgetting about something. Sure, I was dwelling about her and our current situation but it had completely slipped my mind I’d hafta do explanations about this. How in the hell would I explain to my eight-year-old sister that I suddenly met my self-proclaimed ex-girlfriend from the possible future that comes from, supposedly, another world? To top it off, it was pretty obvious she was way older than me.Bookmark here

“Hakuro, I can explain—”Bookmark here

“You can take a bath. It’s ready if you wish to do so.”Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

She walked away, going back to that stinky old sofa and kept on watching a drama she didn’t seem to enjoy that much. A small yawn escaped her pale lips as she stretched a little bit, like a lazy cat. Bookmark here

“Um…” The aforementioned girl who was suddenly invited to take a bath that was most likely prepared for me was as puzzled and dumbfounded as I was. “Is this… okay?”Bookmark here

“How am I supposed to know?” I whispered, clearly uncomfortable.Bookmark here

“Excuse me, then.” Delicately, she took off her shoes and went for a change of slippers. Once inside, she stared at me, tilting her head, a gorgeous river of meadows falling to her side. “Aren’t you coming in?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, of course I am. It’s my house.” Bookmark here

Closing the door, I showed her where the bathroom was and she closed the door. I stayed staring at the recently changed shoes and the slippers that had just been taken from the shoe box. Bookmark here

“How come she knows about this?” I held my forehead, extremely puzzled. “And to top it off, there was an extra pair of slippers. Maybe Hakuro knew in advance? Nah, impossible.”Bookmark here

“I had them just in case because of dad.” Bookmark here

She had clearly heard me.Bookmark here

“I see.”Bookmark here

Quite an uncomfortable thing to talk about with an eight-year-old child, yet she took it all way too calmly.Bookmark here

“I just want to assure you that I’m not like that.” I sighed, making my way inside to get a change of clothes from our shared room.Bookmark here

“I know.”Bookmark here

“Good.”Bookmark here

Awkward silence yet again. Shrugging it off, I went inside the bedroom and closed the door, while I heard the shower opening on the other side of the wall. They were not soundproof at all, so I expected to hear some yells of surprise coming from the mysterious beauty when she discovered how the water system worked. However, nothing came. Just the water dripping and the sound of hair being ruffled probably with shampoo. That green-haired person really did know many things, which I did not expect if I believed her confession to be true.Bookmark here

The place where I feel the most comfortable, and show my personality, is this place. Even if I shared it with my sis, we both managed to display our things in perfect harmony. This is the place where I can really be myself and do what I want; it’s the place I come home to, and wake up every day, as well as the only place in the house where I can come and relax without caring about everything else, the only place that I can go to clear my mind.Bookmark here

The bunk bed was neatly made, and I felt bad for throwing my wet clothes there. I stared at my figure in the mirror, examining my reflection. I wasn’t particularly handsome, although I could confidently say that my thin figure was an absolute lady killer. Maybe I’m exaggerating. Most probably. No, definitely. Having a thin condition isn’t all sun and rainbows. I can eat endlessly, like that little salmon colored blob for a TV show my sister likes and not gain weight. A bit annoying honestly, I can almost see my bones at this point. Bookmark here

I started to ponder what exactly could a girl as her see in me to actually be my girlfriend at some point, assuming her lie is the truth. My baby-blue eyes were dim, not bright enough to pop up. My dark hair was average. I was an ordinary middle school student. Nothing special.Bookmark here

“Ran-chan?”Bookmark here

“Yeah?” Hakuro was calling out to me from the other side. Bookmark here

“Do you want me to wash your clothes?”Bookmark here

“Nah, I’ll get to them tomorrow. I have a spare uniform.”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

Everything feels normal. Why is this unknown factor not altering our daily life?Bookmark here

Finally putting on a nice, clean set of clothes, I went outside just to find my little sister taking out some clothes from an old box. I could clearly see her intentions, however, her face had a mixed swirled of conflicted emotions.Bookmark here

“I’m sure she wouldn’t mind,” I stepped in, catching her by surprise.Bookmark here

“Mm.” Bookmark here

Without further ado, she stepped inside the bathroom after knocking and I left both to take care of the rest. Sure, it was risky leaving my little sister with a possible predator given her behavior towards me but, if Hakuro didn’t show any hint of nervousness nor suspiciousness, I believe her sixth sense that this four-eyed weirdo isn’t a crazy woman.Bookmark here

Once they both came out, the aroma of sweet apples infested the living room. Her hair was not tied this time, so apparently, even if it was short, it still had some long strands to it. Without her glasses on, her eyes seemed much more beautiful. Her figure was pretty much accentuated with the clothes my sister had provided her with, but I didn’t pay much mind to it. Any other young boy would have blushed with this sight, but me, it would feel immoral. After all, those were my mother’s clothes.Bookmark here

“Please take a seat,” my sister smiled sweetly, guiding her to our small table located in the center of the living room. We had it there since placing the kotatsu in winter was easier. “I’ll go and warm up something to eat, you must be hungry.”Bookmark here

She blushed.Bookmark here

“Why… thank you for your kindness!” Gladly sitting down on the floor, she fitted in perfectly well in this weird portrait I had in my head. Bookmark here

“One sec, Hakuro. I wanna talk with you about something.” Bookmark here

Stumbling, she entered our room while the unknown girl stared curiously at our own home, doing her best apparently to not break anything that was on the table. She seemed curious about the TV Remote but refrained from touching it. Now that I think about it, the TV itself was never brought up by her. Seeing something like that, if from another world, must be quite a wonder.Bookmark here

After closing the door, I kneeled down to meet Hakuro’s cinnamon eyes.Bookmark here

“Do you feel something? Just anything. Tell me, please,” I begged, almost desperately. “You are very receptive about this weird situation I have not even explained yet and have not asked any questions either.”Bookmark here

Her sixth sense must be at work here.Bookmark here

“If you brought her home, she is a friend of yours. Ran-chan, friends should be treated with respect and not with questions.”Bookmark here

Once again, she smiled.Bookmark here

I’m sure she is avoiding my question, but who am I to pressure her. I’ll let it slide for now.Bookmark here

“Is that all, Ran-chan?” Bookmark here

“Yeah, for now.” I sighed, not knowing what to do.Bookmark here

“Well, I’ll go heat up the food then. You must be hungry too!” Happily, she left. Bookmark here

Honestly, I was glad my sister didn’t have to cook because I knew she would if I didn not do so. I’m the one who does the cooking here, always making sure that every portion I made was enough to last at least three days, counting lunch and dinner. My sister already has so many problems, cooking dinner shouldn’t be a responsibility shoved onto her just because she spent more time home due to leaving school earlier than me.Bookmark here

Through the crevice of the door, I saw the girl staring at a morning glory we had in a vase. Bookmark here

She seems to be doing fine.Bookmark here

I sighed once again, staying inside. I could go and bombard her with questions but the timing doesn’t feel right. I need to clear my mind instead of throwing questions left and right with no basis. Also, Hakuro could make idle chatter with her as well to make her feel at ease. Her light aura was soothing, and I’m sure that the girl is as confused as I am given I take her confession word by word.Bookmark here

Throwing myself into the bunk bed, I started to think of possible scenarios. Firstly, what concerned me the most was the future. Why would an ex-girlfriend time travel to visit me in the past? Aren’t exes supposed to be resentful and hateful? Or perhaps we had a pretty cool and chill relationship. Although, wouldn’t it make more sense for someone like my current girlfriend or current boyfriend in the future to do that? Why an ex? Sure, time-traveling could be a fad in her future. Bookmark here

I doubt that.Bookmark here

It’s just five years into the future… unless I became a sugar daddy and she comes from a time where I’m actually ninety-something and she’s out here for revenge. Isn’t that common in fiction?Bookmark here

“Why am I thinking such stupid things?” Placing the pillow on top of my face, I bit my lower lip. “Wait, now that I think about it, there is a bigger issue here. The another world claim. Does she mean an alternative universe? A parallel universe? If so, a paradox could happen like a causal loop, the bootstrap paradox. This girl should be fully aware of this. Unless, it is an actual other world, like the ones that are really common nowadays that I’m already numb to it.”Bookmark here

And then it hit me. I jerked up, a bit frightened.Bookmark here

“Should I watch out for trucks?” I shook my head. “Saying that question out loud makes it sound even more idiotic. That genre, fiction itself, created the truck trope, what the hell am I even thinking.”Bookmark here

For now, I only have two questions to ask her: where she came from and why she came.Bookmark here

Standing up, I decided to step outside for a while. My little sister might get worried and I need to face this reality. Sure, it was wacky but hey, what do I expect? Reality can be stranger than fiction sometimes, and I know it first hand with Hakuro.Bookmark here

After opening the door, I was met with a rather charming scenario. Hakuro was watching one of those isekai anime, and the situation was quite ironic. She does enjoy it quite that much since it has supernatural elements. Surprisingly enough, the green-haired beauty was watching it as well, unfazed about it. At some point, a soft giggle came out of her lips. Bookmark here

Maybe she is from an alternative timeline after all for not making remarks or questions about what she was watching. I’d expect her to be super engrossed in it and suddenly drop comments that in her world things were different, if she came from another world. So that possibility is now out the window.Bookmark here

“Oh, Ran-chan! Dinner is served.” My little sister noticed me, patting the seat right next to her. “I added a bit of extra seasoning since the food got dry in the microwave.”Bookmark here

The Salisbury steak now had a small blob of ketchup on top.Bookmark here

“Well, thank you for the food!”Bookmark here

“Thank you for the food.” I and the girl muttered at the same time, she was still clearly awkward after all the hospitality.Bookmark here

Minutes went by while we ate in silence. The girl had no issues eating with chopsticks, which made my theory more solid. The TV was still on, now the news was being broadcasted. Nothing eye-catching. Then the weather forecast upset me. Tomorrow was going to be rainy again, now starting early in the morning. Man, how I despised summer rain.Bookmark here

I was about to grab some salad, just to notice it was almost gone, only one tomato left. The nameless girl grabbed it, leaving it on Hakuro’s plate.Bookmark here

“Are you sure?” My little sister’s eyes sparkled with glee.Bookmark here

“I know you love tomatoes.”Bookmark here

“Thanks, Mima-san!”Bookmark here

That’s the last straw.Bookmark here

Quite agitated, I stood up, the barley tea on our glasses almost spilling onto the floor.Bookmark here

“I’ve had enough. I was taking all of this calmly for my sister’s sake but this has gone on for too long. First of all, Hakuro, you are very calm about all this which for me is to be expected but suddenly dropping her name. And she knowing about your tomato preference is just too much of a coincidence. Sure, you could’ve talked while I was moping inside our bedroom but that isn’t enough time to talk about likes and dislikes!” I talked fast, just like a bullet train. Words coming out without thinking.Bookmark here

“I’m… sorry.” The girl, who I now knew had a name, finally spoke.Bookmark here

Taking deep breaths, her whole demeanour changed. Hakuro was still silent, munching on the tomato.Bookmark here

“I’ve been behaving nonchalantly about all this after what I told you, Asakura-kun. It has been quite rude of me. Taking a bath, this change of clothes. Eating with you so casually. It just made me forget everything and felt bliss for just a moment. I didn’t know how to begin, and my earlier behavior with you at the bus station rubbed you the wrong way.” Bookmark here

There was a steadiness to her as if all the storms in the world were a whispering breeze. She was a lady. A lady reserves her emotions until she can respond rather than react so that she can bring calmness and love to situations that require such things. That’s what she was in my eyes.Bookmark here

I sat down in defeat, my sister still as calm as ever. However, I could feel a hint of worry in her reddish-cinnamon irises.Bookmark here

“So, you do have a name.”Bookmark here

My sisters stood up now, taking the plates from the table. She knew something was up since the beginning, this being her excuse to leave us alone to talk while doing a mundane chore. Bookmark here

“Yes, that is correct, Asakura-kun.” She took out her glasses, only to fix them and put them on again.Bookmark here

“And who are you, exactly?” Even if it’s a stupid question, I needed stupid answers.Bookmark here

“Your ex-girlfriend. I thought I had already told you that.” She blinked in surprise.Bookmark here

“Just making sure you weren’t lying by now giving a different response.” I bullshitted my way out of that one. “Why are you here, then, ex-girlfriend of mine?”Bookmark here

“Well, you see… that is quite a hard thing to explain right now. Can you ask another question?” The girl played with her hands quite nervously.Bookmark here

I’ll play your game then.Bookmark here

“Alright. Why do you know Hakuro likes tomatoes?”Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s quite easy. You talk up a storm about Hakuro-chan all the time! You told stories about how she once ate so many tomatoes her cheeks were completely red! And also about this television show, you watched together. I think it’s the one that was on a few minutes ago. Oh, and also about your family situation and—” She abruptly kept quiet. Conflicted, she resumed. “Basically I know everything about you but I’d rather not say some stuff, might cause a paradox or something. It’s better not to talk about the future.”Bookmark here

I had to stop her. Something she said was unspoken territory. She knows a lot. Too much in fact, and Hakuro is here. Still, I can see that she looks torn with herself. Her joy is undeniable. She is happy to see me. Her speech is peppier and her downcast look is almost gone. Yet, I feel extremely annoyed.Bookmark here

“This doesn’t make any sense!” I yelled, not knowing why.Bookmark here

Sure, I wanted the conversation to stop even if I started it, and shouting it didn’t make sense was the most cliché thing to do. Bookmark here

“You fit perfectly well in here, Heck, it’s creeping the hell out of me!”Bookmark here

“Kanro.”Bookmark here

I turned around. Hakuro had called me by my name. Not Ran-chan like always. Even if her face reflected childish innocence, the sternness in her voice made a shiver run down my spine. I was being reprimanded. I looked at the eighteen-year-old woman who was clearly about to cry. If I was confused, how the hell must she be feeling? If I choose to believe her and not label her as a crazy delusional stalker, then the weight on her shoulders must be massive and here I am being a jerk saying I will give her the benefit of the doubt just to not do so in the end.Bookmark here

“You are hurting Mima-san’s feelings. You know that, right?”Bookmark here

Yes, I do.Bookmark here

“She is suffering and doesn’t have enough time left.”Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

There it was, that mystical, unnatural aura.Bookmark here

“What do you mean with—?”Bookmark here

“Hakuro-chan is right. I only have 730 hours to help you.”Bookmark here

Every single sound had ceased to exist. Bookmark here

“To help you prevent… your untimely death.”Bookmark here

I was just hit with a bucket of ice-cold water while Hakuro stared with a blank expression towards that special flower in the vase. When the morning glory’s petals fell, I grimaced against the girl’s words.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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