Our trip home was slow. I would’ve gone faster, but Alicia had a contemplative expression, leading me to believe she was thinking of something important. I didn’t want to interrupt her.
We arrived at my complex, climbed up the staircase, and entered my apartment. I suppose I could have called it our apartment, but I was pretty sure her stay here was only temporary. No girl would continue to willingly live with a boy. Even if she had accepted me, she would still leave once her problems were solved.
Accepted. My heart still felt light. Alicia had said that she didn’t care if I was Nephalem. Perhaps she didn’t comprehend what it meant to be a monster, but I found myself not caring if she hadn’t grasped what kind of tainted creature Nephalem truly were. I was just happy that someone had accepted me.
I closed the door behind us as Alicia slipped out of her shoes and walked into the living room. After locking the door, because there was a girl living with me now and I wanted to be safe, I followed her.
“Why don’t you take a shower while I pulled out the fuuton,” I suggested.
Alicia looked my way, and then her face turned red and she looked the other way. “Actually, I think you should take a shower first and I’ll get out the fuuton. I’m not really ready to get in the shower just yet.”
What an odd thing to say. Wouldn’t most people jump at the chance to take a shower first? Well, it wasn’t like I’d know, since I had lived alone for most of my life.
“If that’s what you want,” I said.
Since she had offered to let me shower first, I decided not to argue with her. I traveled into the changing room, stripped off my clothes and put them on the clothing rack. After wrapping a towel around my waist, I entered the shower, sat on the stool, turned on the showerhead, and began getting clean. I decided to start by washing my hair.
While I was rubbing shampoo into my hair, the door slid open, and I froze.
“Excuse me,” Alicia said. I didn’t turn to look at her. I could feel my skin turning red. “Jacob… um, I was wondering if you needed help washing your back.”
This was not happening. This was not happening, this was not happening, there was no way this could be happening. I must have been hearing things. Yes, that explained it. Having Alicia agree to stay had caused my mind to create hormonal, teenage delusions. This wasn’t reality. This wasn’t reality. This wasn’t–
“Um, Jacob… are you listening to me? I asked if you wanted me to wash your back?” The voice persisted.
Against my better judgement, I turned my head to look at the entrance. Alicia was standing inside of the doorway. She wasn’t wearing anything except for a towel, which clung to her frame as if revelling in showing off her incredible bust, thin waist, and amazing hips. I stared at her legs for what felt like hours, but was in truth only minutes, and then I slowly looked up, up, up until I reached the notorious cleavage that was revealed to me by her towel. Finally, my gaze traveled to her face.
Alicia’s cheeks were a dark red as she squirmed in place. “So, um, I read in several manga that it’s important to offer men rewards after they’ve done something heroic. It’s like a human custom, um…”
I had no idea what manga she had read. There was nothing like that in my apartment. The only manga I bought was the Weekly Shōnen Jump, but I couldn’t remember something like this ever happening in the manga being serialized in there.
“Ah... “ I finally got my voice back. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Overcoming her blush, Alicia frowned at him. “Why not?”
“W-why not?” I stared, uncomprehending. “Because there’s no reason for you to do this. Isn’t it embarrassing?” I was certainly embarrassed.
“It is… but I want to show you my gratitude…”
“A simple thank you would do. You don’t need to show it to me like this.”
“Look. It’s fine. I was thinking about this on the way here. You’re a young man, right? You should be happy that such a beautiful girl is going to wash your back for you.”
I think a part of me was happy, but I couldn’t tell–mostly because the rest of me was on the verge of hyperventilating.
Before I could say anything further, Alicia stepped into the shower room. I panicked. Standing up, I reached out as if to grab her.
“W-wait! Watch where you step! The floor is–”
I meant to say slippery. Sadly, at that very moment, just as I was getting to my feet, Alicia stepped on a bar of soap. Her yelp echoed around the room as she pitched forward. I tried to catch her, but as she slammed into my chest, I lost my balance and we both tumbled to the ground.
Stars appeared in front of my vision, and I needed to blink several times to filter them out. I kind of wish I hadn’t. Once my vision had cleared, I was given an extreme close up of a wide eyed Alicia.
I had thought that Alicia was pretty the moment I met her. Staring at her from this close, her beauty was enhanced to awe-inspiring levels. Crimson eyes drew me in like a moth to a flame. They were blazing like suns. Her rosy cheeks brought out the softness of her face, and her pink lips looked so kissable that I was tempted to lean forward and claim them.
I held back. A monster like me had no right kissing someone like her.
“A-Alicia,” I said, my voice barely above a whisper.
Alicia blinked. Her cheeks, remarkably enough, gained even more color.
“Y-yes?” she whispered back. I wasn’t sure why either of us were whispering.
“Uh, um, I think it might be a good idea if you get off of me.”
She blinked several more times. A slow dawning became visible in her widening eyes, as if she was just now realizing our position. She looked down. Then she looked back at me. Down again. Then back to me. She looked one more time before looking back up at me.
Then she screamed. Loudly.
I winced as Alicia flew to her feet at what appeared to be mach five speeds. It was like she had teleported. She sputtered out apologies as she backed away. However, the floor was still wet, and thus, she slipped again and fell backwards this time. As she landed on her backside with a harsh thud that made me wince. I would’ve said something, asked if she was all right, but my voice left me as I was given a glimpse of another hidden treasure, one that I didn’t think I would ever see in this life or the next.
I could practically hear my brain sizzling as it was fried beyond repair.
Alicia winced and rubbed her backside, but she froze when strange gurgling noises emerged from the back of my throat. She looked over at me. It didn’t take long for her to realize where I was looking. Her face, already on the verge of spontaneously combusting, became a nearly iridescent crimson.
She looked like she was about to yell, but she stopped quite suddenly. She looked down at my crotch. I was confused at first. Startling clarity struck me like a dead fish to the face, however, and I realized that the towel I had wrapped around my waist was no longer there. I looked down. Then I looked back up. Our eyes met.
We covered our crotches at the same time.
“NOOOOO!!!” our simultaneous screams echoed around the shower.