Chapter 7:

Love Words

Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~

“Student council, you say? That’s so cool!” Bookmark here

Ai-san took us in one of the classrooms to have a chat. It was not some shady place in the school, it was actually just a regular classroom that is not used during the nights. Of course, it’s not used during the night because there are no students, duh.Bookmark here

Ai-san spun around as if she’s having so much fun. Despite floating in the air, her skirt fluttered lightly, with every turn like a ballerina would.Bookmark here

She was cheerfully playing around all this time and having small chats with us, except that I’m just the only one she’s talking to. Mashiro-senpai is busy doing something in one of the corners of the room.Bookmark here

“Y-yes, that’s right. I’m Terushima, the secretary. That guy over there is our vice-president… Mashiro…” I hesitantly pointed to Mashiro-senpai’s direction, disregarding whatever he was doing over there.Bookmark here

The person in question doesn’t seem to be paying attention towards the conversation that I and Ai-san are having. I guess he’s not that interested.Bookmark here

But why in the world is he swinging the hoe as if he was training swordsmanship?!Bookmark here

“Terushima-chan, are you sure that the guy with cat ears is your vice president?” She’s looking suspiciously at Mashiro-senpai and obviously wondering why in the world does he have a hoe with him of all things. Bookmark here

On the other hand, Mashiro-senpai is swinging the hoe over and over again, not minding us one bit.Bookmark here

“Y-yes. Mashiro-senpai is the student council vice president,” I answered with a whisper and tried my best not to look at senpai’s direction.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai, I’m begging you. Please don’t embarrass me anymore. It might sound absurd but I’m having a normal conversation with Ai-san even though she’s a ghost, and by the looks of it, she’s obviously doubting your authority now. I’m betting that she’s thinking if you’re alright in the head.Bookmark here

“Is he alright in the head?” she asked in confusion.Bookmark here

See?!! Bookmark here

“W-well… I don’t know…” I looked away from them.Bookmark here

Ah! I’m dying out of embarrassment here! Senpai, why would you do this to me?! After I stubbornly said that I won’t leave him in that situation, I’m already regretting it now. Haah. I should’ve run away when I got the chance!Bookmark here

“A-anyway, Ai-san, don’t mind him for now. The truth is, we’re investigating something about the break up of the couples in a particular class. Do you know something about it?” I diverted the conversation into another topic before I could pass out from thinking about what is Mashiro-senpai swinging that hoe for.Bookmark here

“I’ll hit that ghost,” he turned around and smiled menacingly at the two us which even made Ai-san shiver.Bookmark here

“S-senpai! Calm down first! We’re trying to settle this without blood!” I stood in front of him to make him stop from assaulting the ghost with a hoe. Bookmark here

“There will be no blood because we’re hitting a ghost.” He lift his hoe as if he’s aiming for Ai-san.Bookmark here

Are you even sure that you can hit her with that? Bookmark here

No matter what, it could still give a shock to her in the least so I better stop senpai for the sake of peaceful talk.Bookmark here

“Hiii! Terushima-chan, save me!” Ai-san freaked out as she shrunk herself in one of the corners of the room.Bookmark here

“Senpai, calm down first. Hitting them without hearing their part of story is unfair. For now, settle down first and don’t speak a word. I’ll do my best here.” Bookmark here

“Tch.”Bookmark here

Despite his irritation, Mashiro-senpai took a seat in one of the chairs and behaved himself. For now, that is. He’s actually cooperative when asked nicely. That’s good!Bookmark here

“How was it, Ai-san? Do you know something?”Bookmark here

“Terushima-chan! Promise me first! Make sure that the demon won’t hit me with that hoe!” she begged in desperation with tears forming in the side of her eyes. I didn’t know that ghost can cry like this.Bookmark here

“W-well… I can’t really promise you that he won’t hit you. But you’ll be fine as long as you cooperate with us.” I beamed at her and give her a thumbs up.Bookmark here

“T-that’s not reassuring…” Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai gripped the hoe and sent a glare towards Ai-san’s direction which startled the shit out of her, her face turned paler than earlier, making it seem like pure white complexion.Bookmark here

“I’ll cooperate already! Just let go of that hoe!” she wailed in fear while pointing at Mashiro-senpai with conviction.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai doesn’t look like he wouldn’t let go of it and held it more tightly instead. He also sent a sharp glance to her direction which made her cry even more.Bookmark here

“Why would I? I could just hit you with this and get the job done.” He gave an innocent yet menacing smile.Bookmark here

“Senpai, we should hear her out first!”Bookmark here

You should be thankful, Ai-san. I’m taking your side here because I don’t think you’re an evil spirit with your bright personality. I may be biased with this, but I want to understand where she is coming from with what she did.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai put down the hoe in the side and sighed in disappointment, his cat ears drooping down. What is he sighing for? He could still reach it from that position! Does he like the hoe that much? Bookmark here

“I’m the one who did it! I made it so that the couples would break up! I surrender myself!” Ai-san cried and raised both of her hands in the air as if she was surrendering to the police.Bookmark here

“Since when did this became a police interrogation?” I deadpanned at the situation. Bookmark here

I just took a deep sigh. This is becoming more troublesome, and it’s not as if we could detain the Ai-san in the school. She’s a ghost, for crying out loud!Bookmark here

“Why did you do it?” Mashiro-senpai butted in, completely taking the role of a detective in a police drama.Bookmark here

Oh, this is actually good. If we could just have a single table with dimmer lights, it could become an interrogation scene. We could also serve a ramen to make this more realistic. Bookmark here

I drifted off my own world and forgot the actual situation so I tried my best to snap back to it. Damn, that was close. I got carried away.Bookmark here

“W-well… I hate couples. They are just playing around, they are not sincere about it at all… I hate it! What’s with that ‘action speaks louder than words’ bullshit?! Don’t treat someone as if they are special if you don’t have any plan on taking a responsibility! Damn it! Actions can be misunderstood! You can’t just treat everyone kindly and expect them to think that it was nothing!” Our conversation about the break up incident shifted to Ai-san’s ranting out of nowhere which made me deadpan at her.Bookmark here

“Ah… I see.” I simply nodded in agreement. Bookmark here

She admitted it rather easily, huh. I’m expecting this to be harder than I thought but I think we’ll be fine since Ai-san has been cooperative so far. Of course, she fears the hoe.Bookmark here

“Senpai, what should we do now?”Bookmark here

“We should kick her out. That’s what I’m telling you, we should hit her and get the job done.”Bookmark here

“Senpai, how can you say that easily? Please don’t resort to violence, I’m begging you,” I said to him with a sigh of frustration.Bookmark here

“Then, we can exorcise her and have her pass on.”Bookmark here

“Pass on?”Bookmark here

“Ghosts have unfinished business with the living so they can’t go to the afterlife, if we could fulfill that, they could pass on peacefully.”Bookmark here

“You should have said that earlier!” I shouted at him.Bookmark here

“Why? We’re just going to waste time if we do that.” Bookmark here

Urgh, I can’t do this. I’m also at the end of my wits.Bookmark here

Shrugging at Mashiro-senpai’s logic, I faced Ai-san again. Bookmark here

“Ai-san, are you perhaps harboring a grudge from a previous romance?” I asked right away.Bookmark here

“T-that’s…” she looked away from me and tried to hide her flustered expression.Bookmark here

Ah, that face, she really got a grudge from previous romance. For sure. Bookmark here

“If we knock out the guy that hurt you, will you pass on already?” Mashiro-senpai suggested as if it was normal.Bookmark here

“Senpai, you can’t just resort to violence.”Bookmark here

“No… I don’t think he still remembers me.” Ai-san looked down and her voice sounded that she was deeply hurt by it. She was showing emotions different from her cheerful expression earlier.Bookmark here

“Ai-san…”Bookmark here

“It’s fine.” She gave us a forlorn smile.Bookmark here

“We can’t just leave you here, you know. You’ll cause troubles to our students.”Bookmark here

“I know that.”Bookmark here

Ai-san bit her lips in frustration. It was hard on her too.Bookmark here

“Ai-san, do you have something that you desire before you became a ghost? It could help you pass on peacefully.” Bookmark here

“That’s…” she looked away as if she’s contemplating to say it. Bookmark here

“Just say it.” Mashiro-senpai unemotionally said to her.Bookmark here

She clasped her hands in front of her chest and tightly closed her eyes, “I want a love letter.”Bookmark here

A love letter…?Bookmark here

“I feel you, Ai-san! I haven’t received one either,” I blurted out of sympathy. I actually got carried away too since I haven’t received something like that before. “But why a love letter though?”Bookmark here

Expecting to hear a tragic story, I stared at her in anticipation.Bookmark here

“You see, I always—”Bookmark here

“Hold it right there, we don’t have time to hear a novel-length backstory,” Mashiro-senpai cut her off before she could even tell her story.Bookmark here

“Senpai! That’s insensitive!” Bookmark here

What’s wrong with him?! We could at least hear her out for a while! Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, Mashiro-senpai pulled out papers and pens.Bookmark here

He put everything in the desk and faced us with a bored expression, “We could just write one letter and get this done.”Bookmark here

Ai-san and I stared at Mashiro-senpai after hearing his idea.Bookmark here

Eh? That’s surprising, Mashiro-senpai actually suggested something good?Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai and I started writing our love letters just as he suggested. On the other hand, Ai-san is now playing tag with Yami inside the room. Uuu, I’m jealous!Bookmark here

“Stop spacing out and keep writing,” Mashiro-senpai scolded me like what he always did in the student council office.Bookmark here

“Y-yes!” Bookmark here

I faced the paper again only to be greeted by a blank page. I don’t have any experience in writing a love letter myself, and we didn’t know Ai-san as an individual yet. What should I write?Bookmark here

“Hmm… Mashiro-senpai, do you have any love experience?” I asked without having any expectation that he would answer. Bookmark here

“I do,” he answered with his emotionless voice.Bookmark here

Eh? Bookmark here

My eyes widened to what I just heard. Did I hear that right? Bookmark here

W-well… Mashiro-senpai is good looking anyway, it won’t be strange for him to have a girlfriend. He’s also a serious guy so he might be the stick-to-one type as well. There’s no way he would just play around with girls based on his personality.Bookmark here

Oh, could it be the reason why he was cold to me was because he’s distancing himself to other girls? If that’s the case, he should have told me earlier! I’m not a threat at all! Bookmark here

“That must be nice, having a date with a girlfriend. How was it senpai?” I asked him out of curiosity without glancing at his direction.Bookmark here

“Hah? What girlfriend are you talking about? I never said that it was a romantic one,” he declared nonchalantly.Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

I misunderstood?!Bookmark here

Haha, of course we’re talking to Mashiro-senpai here. Words can be easily misunderstood if it was him.Bookmark here

I just returned to writing a love letter despite having no idea on what I should write. I bet Ai-san doesn’t like a half-assed letter, but as if I have a choice! I don’t have any romantic feelings for her either!Bookmark here

__ Bookmark here

“This is no good. It looks like a research paper,” she commented on my first letter. Bookmark here

“Mashiro-kun’s out of question. I’ll be glad to have a hate letter instead,” with a dark expression on her face, she reads Mashiro-senpai’s letter.Bookmark here

“Are you really writing your love?”Bookmark here

“Terushima-chan, your love is too shallow.”Bookmark here

Just as Mashiro-senpai suggested, we started writing letters for Ai-san. As you might’ve guessed, she doesn’t like any letters that we wrote. She’s more specific with this than expected.Bookmark here

“Terushima, I’ll hit that ghost,” senpai gritted his teeth in irritation.Bookmark here

Mashiro-senpai is already at the edge of his mind. We already squeezed all the sweet words that we know and write it in a letter but Ai-san doesn’t like any of it. Mashiro-senpai is also bad with words so I’m not expecting anything great.Bookmark here

“Calm down, senpai. You’re the one who suggested this.”Bookmark here

He grumbled to himself and grabbed another paper to write something, “I’ll give her a hate letter just as she said.”Bookmark here

“Please don’t.”Bookmark here

And we’re now back to square one. Bookmark here

Haah, I glanced outside the window. Bookmark here

It was a quiet night outside, the moon is also shining brightly. I took my phone out and checked the time. It’s already midnight. I’m not good with staying this late. I’m starting to feel sleepy.Bookmark here

“Then, what if writing a letter about something you love? You could care less about me and just write a sincere love letter. I’ll accept it if it was sincere enough.” Ai-san said in a matter of fact tone when she noticed that we’re not going anywhere.Bookmark here

“You should have said that earlier,” Mashiro-senpai said in his cold voice and crumpled the paper again.Bookmark here

“Ahaha, my apologies.” Ai-san awkwardly looked away.Bookmark here

Hmm, something I love… Bookmark here

Of course that goes without saying! Bookmark here

I took eleven pieces of paper and Mashiro-senpai gave me a suspicious look as if he could guess what I’m going to do with them. I just smiled at him and we get back to writing.Bookmark here

I’ll pour all my heart with this. There’s no need for me to hold back. A ten-page letter is not enough to convey my love, that’s for sure. After all, I love them wholeheartedly… I love cats very much!Bookmark here

“Done!”Bookmark here

“W-wow… what’s with ten pages handwritten letter…?” Ai-san deadpanned at me while scanning through the pages.Bookmark here

“That’s my love for cats!” I proudly declared. Bookmark here

“I’m amazed how you can be useful with useless things.”Bookmark here

“This is not useless!” I defended myself and crossed my arms in front of my chest with a huff. “How about you, senpai? Did you write one?”Bookmark here

“I’m bad with words so I didn’t think that you’re expecting something from me,” he shrugged.Bookmark here

“Of course, I don’t.”Bookmark here

“See?”Bookmark here

But that’s strange, I remember him writing something after Ai-san suggested a different approach. Never mind, it could just be his failed attempt in writing something. Right, that must be it.Bookmark here

“I think this is sincere enough.” Ai-san said with a nod. “I’ll take this with me in the afterlife.”Bookmark here

“That settles it then. I have one question for you.” Bookmark here

“Ask away!” Ai-san cheerfully said.Bookmark here

“Do you know anything about the god’s mission?”Bookmark here

Ai-san fell in deep thought and gave an observing glance over Mashiro-senpai. “Ah! You’re the kids who made a contract with that mischievous god! Well, too bad I don’t know anything. I suggest searching for someone who stayed longer in this school. For example, that girl in—oh! It’s already morning!”Bookmark here

She smiled at us gently as the light from the rising sun started passing through the window. “I guess I’ll finally go to afterlife now. Thank you, you two.”Bookmark here

“Wait! I still have one more!” I caught up to her and gave one more paper. It was just a one page letter that I folded nicely into an origami, I made sure that the contents will not be seen from outside. Bookmark here

“What is this?”Bookmark here

“If you met my mom in the afterlife, please give that to her. It was my love letter for her.” I said with a wide smile.Bookmark here

Ai-san held my letter carefully and gave me a reassuring smile, “Un! Leave it to me! Bye, bye!”Bookmark here

As the sun started rising in the horizon, light soon covered the dark skies earlier. The morning finally came, and with that, Ai-san, the ghost that caused couples to break up because she hates 'love', finally passed on and went to the afterlife.Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

“Mashiro-senpai, we did it, right?” Bookmark here

“Un. Good job over there, Terushima.”Bookmark here

“Hehe. I feel like it was worth it. Ai-san is actually just a pure maiden. Maybe if she didn’t become a ghost, she might’ve met someone that will give her true love,” I wondered to myself with a small smile. Bookmark here

“That’s true. She didn’t even wish to get revenge on the man that caused her to be like that.”Bookmark here

A yawn escaped from my lips in the middle of our talk, “Uwaah, I’m so tired…”Bookmark here

I was about to dozed off when the door of the classroom flew open with a loud sound that knocked some senses to me.Bookmark here

“Tsuki-kun! Terushima-san! Are you okay?!” Kurokawa-senpai is panting heavily when he slammed the door open. Bookmark here

“Kaichou! You shouldn’t run like that!”Bookmark here

“Kaichou, you’re fast...”Bookmark here

“You should calm down for now, Kaichou.”Bookmark here

The other three are also catching up their breath now.Bookmark here

“Uuu, I’m glad you’re okay.” Kurokawa-senpai cried when he saw the two of us unharmed. Looks like he’s really worried about us.Bookmark here

“No need to worry that much, Kaichou.” Mashiro-senpai said gently and gave him a head pat to calm him down. Kurokawa-senpai’s cat ears are drooping down as he continued to wipe his tears with Mashiro-senpai comforting him. Bookmark here

Fuuu, this is a healing scene.Bookmark here

“Un! We’re fine! So you don’t need to—”Bookmark here

Eh? Bookmark here

I came to a stop when I found myself staggering and having a hard time keeping my balance. A dizzy spell hits me out of nowhere.Bookmark here

“Terushima-san!”Bookmark here

My eyesight was blurred and it was as if everything is spinning around.Bookmark here

Why do I feel like I’m falling?Bookmark here

I could hear voices calling for me and I tried to held on my consciousness to assure them that I’m fine. But it was futile. The last thing I remembered was everyone’s worried faces before everything turned black.Bookmark here

With a loud thud, I collapsed in front of them.Bookmark here

As I lost consciousness, I only thought of one thing… Bookmark here

Why didn’t anyone catch me?! That hurts like hell!Bookmark here

__Bookmark here

“UWOOAH!! What is this place?!” Bookmark here

The last thing that I remembered was collapsing in a classroom because of exhaustion from staying up until morning. When I came to, I’m expecting to wake up in the school’s infirmary, but I woke up in a place that seems like a Japanese inn.Bookmark here

I woke up feeling refreshed than ever, it didn’t feel suffocating. This might be the first time that I slept properly for a long time. The futon is so soft and the room gives me a comfortable feeling. I really feel like I’m in some kind of inn.Bookmark here

“This is nice… I won’t mind living in this cozy place.” I said in awe as I took a look around the room.Bookmark here

The tatami floors felt relaxing when I stepped on it with my bare feet. The traditional sliding doors are closed but light is passing through from outside, it could be around noon by now. There is also a subtle scent of incense that gave me a pleasant feeling inside.Bookmark here

While I’m scanning around the room, my sight fell upon a piece of paper in the floor just near the futon where I slept earlier .Bookmark here

“Hmm… what is this?”Bookmark here

I picked it up and opened it carefully enough not to rip the paper apart. There is a letter inside along with a dried anemone flower.Bookmark here

This is cute, putting dried flowers in a letter doesn’t seem common nowadays, but that exactly shows how much thought is meant by the sender.Bookmark here

My lips curved into a small smile when I read what’s written on it. Senpai is really bad with words, but I’ll just pretend that he meant well based on the anemone flower. Bookmark here

After all, anemone meant ‘sincerity’ in the language of flowers.Bookmark here

“Geez, this is not a love letter, Mashiro-senpai.”Bookmark here

That was the first handwritten letter that I got from someone.   Bookmark here

Ana Fowl
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