Chapter 43:

Side Story 3: The Stalker

Confession Games

There was a girl who was born into a caring family. She was loved for and given all the attention and gifts she desired, and yet instead of being spoiled, she only grew more precious. Both her parents and her elder sister were kind to her and so was everyone else, however, when this girl entered preschool she noticed something. Although she was always given the best of care, she was never allowed to do things for herself. 

All she had to do was pout to make things go her way, but only on this matter did everyone refuse to give in. They wouldn't stop her from colouring or playing, but even something as simple as tying her shoelaces had to be left to others as if she was a royal princess. As this happened over and over again, she began to think that she was the one who was selfish for stopping them from doing what they wanted, and so, she swallowed her discomfort and stopped her rise to independence. However, a crack in her fairy-tale appeared when she was eight.

Although they waited until she went to bed, every night she could hear her parents arguing with her sister about her future. Her sister wanted to pursue a career in the acting industry, but her parents were firm about denying that idea. She was proud of her sister who she had seen acting in a play put on by her school's drama club, so the little girl wondered why her parents were so against it. One day, she came out of her room and decided to ask them.

"Why can't big sister be an actor?"

Thinking back, both sides were likely unsure of how to explain their arguments to an eight year old, but that little girl couldn't have known that. After that day, her parents never argued with her big sister again, or spoke to her either. She missed the sight of her big sister at the table for dinner, but she convinced herself that it was only for now. Surely they would be one big family again. Surely.

A couple years later, her big sister left home and stopped keeping in touch. She would still get a birthday present from her every year, but that was all. Not even a letter was attached to it. The little girl desperately wished that she could exchange these presents for a chance to see her sister again, but that wish was never granted. For the first time, her tears could not get her what she wanted. It was then that she regained the will of independence and moved of her own will.

The little girl used all of her connections, contacted the friends and associates of her big sister and searched vigorously for her whereabouts. At first, she thought it wouldn't be too hard since her sister had certainly become an emerging star in the acting world, but as she investigated she realized that it wasn't so.

One of her big sister's friends told her of an acting troupe that she had joined, but that was where the trail ended. Even with her charm, or maybe because of her cute face, all she was told was that her sister left less than a year after joining. The little girl was upset, but she remained determined to find her sister, and in her third year of middle school, she was finally rewarded for her efforts. One of her sister's friends told her that she could find her sister if she went to a certain school. That was all it took to convince her.

It took a bit of effort to persuade her parents into letting her go there since she would have to live away from home, and the school had strange rumours associated with it, but after much pleading they eventually caved in. There were several promises she had to make, but that was nothing if she could be reunited with her sister.

However, it was not until she was traveling to the school that she wondered if her sister actually wished to see her. Maybe she had stayed away for a reason. Maybe she didn't want to see a spoiled brat like her again. These worries filled her heart, but she covered them with a pleasant smile.

She would later be confronted by and then become friends with her roommate because of this smile, but that was another story.

At the entrance ceremony, she anxiously searched for anyone who looked similar to her sister until her frantic eyes stopped on a mature woman facing the students. From the kind and carefree big sister that she remembered, she was now a dignified working woman with a polite smile. Maybe their similarities would show if they stood next to each other, but otherwise it would be hard to tell that they were sisters with how different their auras were.

Once more, the girl was hit by the fear that her big sister didn't want to see her. She confided in her roommate about this matter, but even then she only had enough courage to watch her from afar. Sometimes she would follow her sister to the apartment complex she lived in, but that was where her journey ended. She would never make it past those gates.

She wanted to say hi and talk to her just like when they were at home, but she kept telling herself that she would do it next time. 

'Next time I'll say hi. Next time I'll talk to her. Next time I'll approach her.'

That was how she kept pushing it off. However, unlike the girl, her sister wasn't set in the status quo. One day, the girl witnessed her sister going out in casual clothes with a boy who was in her year group. When she saw them, no inappropriate thoughts came to mind as to what their relationship could be, but she didn't like it.

The two only bought something from a nearby convenience store, but she clenched her fist while looking at that familiar smile on her sister's face. The girl later told her best friend about this incident in an attempt to figure out why she felt so upset.

Her friend said this, "You're probably jealous."

The girl knew what the word meant, but she had little experience so she remained confused.

"Why would I be jealous?" she asked.

To which her friend replied, "Because you saw your dear sister be close to someone else. Someone who's the same age as you."

The girl thought that she understood, but it wasn't clear. And so to get a better idea about the nature of her feelings, she began surveillance on that boy as well.

At first, he just seemed like a normal boy, who was a bit introverted. Seeing that he wasn't smarter, more athletic or more popular than her, the girl convinced herself that it was only a coincidence that he was close to her sister. If she was in his position, then naturally she would be reunited with her sister and there would have been no space for him.

However, as she continued watching him, she caught glimpses of his kindness. Sometimes he would soothe a crying child or help a elderly woman with her luggage. Other times, he would leave behind his umbrella for someone else and run home in the rain.

The boy would never actively seek to help others, but he would always try to help those in his sight. Furthermore, he never boasted about this acts of kindness. To him, it was nothing special, it was just the normal thing to do. Before she knew it, the girl began to understand why her sister would smile so freely in his presence.

Just like her sister, the girl wanted to get closer to the boy, at least to the level of exchanging greetings. Unfortunately, her stalker-like behaviour had grown into a habit. Everyday she imagined going up to him and saying hi, but it always stopped in her imagination. She didn't think it could ever be this hard to talk to someone, and yet there she was, hesitating. If it wasn't for the opportunity that she had been provided with, who knew when or if she would ever find the courage to approach him.

Nonetheless, the fact that she had an excuse was the last push she needed.

As preparation before she finally talked to him, the girl casually asked her best friend a question during a break between classes.

"What do you think is the easiest way to get closer to a guy?"

"Hmm, I don't really know. Maybe if you asked them out or something?"

Her best friend hadn't known that she intended to put that advice to use, and the girl didn't know either. She took those words as fact and firmed her will.

'Yosh, today's the day. I'll definitely become friends with him!'

And so, a stalker was replaced by a companion.