Master Of Rejections But Beginner At Love
"How was school today, Kazuma?"
"I guess it was fine."
"Oh, I met your teacher at the grocery store this afternoon. She told me how she surprised she was by your behavior!"
"Yes, she praised how attentive and diligent you were during class!"
"Haha, that's my son! Keep up the grades and in the end, you'll get a job where you can balance your life and work! Just don't become like us who barely have time for their own child, okay?"
Kazuma nodded his head shyly.
Currently, the Ichinose family ate dinner while they conversed happily with each other.
"Thanks for the meal!"
Kazuma finished first and was about to to go his room.
"Oh, done already?"
"Why the hurry?"
His parents were surprised.
"I still have lots to do for school, hehe..." he answered while he scratched his head awkwardly.
After he entered his room and closed the door behind him, he immediately took out his phone.
"Still no message..."
Kazuma bit his bottom lip and unconsciously formed a fist.
A week already passed since he announced that he would step down as the leader of their gang 'The Owls'. It was also the last day when they saw each other.
During the whole week, Kazuma wrote regularly messages to their group chat but apart from Shiho, nobody responded.
Kazuma's parents forbade him to meet Shinya and the others because it would cause possible trouble and danger in the end, however, he did not care.
He still wanted to hang out with his close friends even if he had to do it secretly.
It was a wish. A wish that was not fulfilled yet. Hirata and Shinya ignored his messages. The only person, who was still in contact with Kazuma, was Shiho. But she could not meet him due to her being apparently busy.
As he leaned with his back on the door, he slowly slid down to the ground.
Was he starting to lose his friends? Was that the price he had to pay? Was it really worth it?
In the end, his parents were more often at home but that did not mean that they were less busy. Kazuma knew that they were doing much paper work every time he went to his room. Deep down, Kazuma felt guilty. In his eyes, it seemed like his parents were put under more stress due to his wish to see them more often.
"Maybe they should go to their workplace again..." he murmured while he clasped his arms around his legs.
He was thinking. What if they would really return to their original workplace? This would definitively lessen their burden. But what would happen to Kazuma?
With his friends gone and his parents working, he would return to his dull and lonely life like a few years ago. He lost everything.
"No... I shouldn't think like that! Stay optimistic! I can still see mom and dad from time to time." he cheered himself up.
He tried to smile but his lips were trembling too much.
Tears started to flow from his eyes.
The next day.
Kazuma was on the way home from school.
Even though he did not feel like going to school, he had to so that his parents were happy. Just like his father said yesterday, Kazuma wanted to get good grades to get a good job in the future. He wanted a job where he could still have enough time for himself.
"Oh, welcome back, Yui!"
Almost arriving at his own house, he heard his neighbor arriving home first.
In the past, he was jealous of her but at the moment he did not care anymore.
"I'm home." he announced as he opened the front door.
But no response. It was silent.
Usually, he would feel down by the silence but today he just grinned. It was a special day.
"Maybe a surprise, hehe..." he muttered happily.
He entered the living room. There was nobody.
Kazuma noticed a note on the table.
[Sorry, but we have to go to work today.]
His smile vanished quickly as he read the note.
Depressed by the news, he went to his room and threw himself on his bed.
"Haha, spending my birthday in my bed isn't that bad..." he remarked sarcastically.
Someone was calling him.
He searched lazily for his phone.
[Happy birthday, Kazuma!]
Kazuma's eyes widened when he recognized the voice.
[Yeah, it's me. Sorry for not replying to your messages. I was busy with preparing your present.]
"Present? But you didn't need to-"
[Just stay at home and wait until evening.]
Shinya hung up.
"What the hell?"
"Oh, fine, then I'll wait."
A smile was formed on Kazuma's face.
He was glad and happy that he was wrong. In the end, Shinya did not neglect him like he initially thought.
"But until evening, huh..." he muttered.
It was still early. Not knowing what he should do to kill time, he decided to take a short nap.
"Hm? Who's that?"
Before he could take a nap, someone rang the doorbell.
Kazuma went quickly to the front door and opened it.
"Hello, you're Ichinose-kun, right? My name is Nagisa Yui." she smiled widely as she introduced herself.
"Uhm, yeah, nice to meet you." Kazuma replied plainly.
"My mom told me to bring you this!" she said while she gave Kazuma a package which seemed like it came from a bakery.
"Oh, thank you..." he was slightly taken aback due to him not expecting this.
"You're welcome! Oh, and of course, happy birthday from me and my family!" she said before she waved her hand and went back to her house.
Kazuma grinned after he received a present from his neighbors.
"Cake, huh? Well, I'll eat it later with mom and dad."
He put the cake, which he received from Yui, on the table.
"Now it's time for a nap..." he stated while he yawned.
Thus, he took a four hour nap.
"... What time is it?" he asked tiredly.
Kazuma looked out of his windows. It was dark.
"Oh, crap, I slept that long?!"
"Are mom and dad home ye-"
"Geez, who is it this time?"
And again, he rushed to the door and opened it. But this time, it was an unusual guest.
"Hello, are you Ichinose Kazuma? I'm one of your parents coworkers."
A police officer stood in front of Kazuma. He looked at him painfully and mournfully.
"Please listen and try to be calm, alright?"
Kazuma nodded his head nervously.
"Your parents..." the officer bit his lips and his fists were shaking.
"Your parents died in a car accident..."
The police officer began to tell everything whereas Kazuma only stared down with a hollow expression.
After his parents were done with work, they drove with their car home. However, as soon as they left the police station, a truck crashed into them at full speed. The police called an ambulance and tried to help them out of the car but it was already too late. When the ambulance arrived, their deaths were confirmed.
"I'm sorry for your loss..."
"Thanks for telling me... I need some time alone now." Kazuma bowed his head before he closed the door.
Despite his lips and and body trembling, Kazuma had to muster up all his energy to appear fine in front of the officer.
He fell on his knees.
"Uwaaa!" he began to cry.
Kazuma was in pain and grief. He was broken and shaken. He cried and cried.
He could not accept the reality yet. Memories with his parents flooded his mind.
He remembered the day when they went to the amusement park together seven years ago. He recalled the day when they were at the beach five years ago or the day when they celebrated his birthday with them and his grandparents three years ago. He recollected the days when they ate happily together at home just like yesterday.
His memories ended at that point. Kazuma wanted to show them so much more. His high school graduation, his university life, his future job, his future wife and family and so on. However, his parents would not be there to witness that all.
"Aaahhhh!" he cried even louder.
Nothing but time could stop his tears anymore.
His wish to spend more time with his mother and father was finally fulfilled since last week but only lasted shortly.
Kazuma's past was truly filled with sorrow and pain.
But it was not the end yet.
It was already past midnight.
Hours passed with crying until Kazuma was able to calm down a little for a moment.
Looking at his phone apathetically and hollow, he decided to ignore the call.
His phone rang again.
"Tch." he clicked his tongue in annoyance.
He grabbed his phone and took the call.
[And? Did you like my present, Kazuma?]
Kazuma's eyes got sharper.
"What do you mean, Shinya?"
[Oh, did my present not reach you yet? And I thought a police officer already stopped at your place to bring it...] Shinya acted surprised.
Kazuma's grip on his phone got stronger.
[No answer, huh? Geez, you are no fun!]
"Get to the point." despite already knowing what he meant, Kazuma asked to seek confirmation.
He threw his phone to the floor and trampled on it violently.
Venting out more of his anger, he punched the hard wall.
Biting his lips until they bled and with fierce eyes, Kazuma was determined.
"Shinya... I will kill you!"