Chapter 87:

That Small Disheartening Chance

New Leaf!

Place? My condominium, on my dining table. Time? Past midnight. I didn’t retrieve the luggage from my car when I arrived. I didn’t change from my suit… The first thing I did when I got home was sit at my dining table — sit and think… Bookmark here

Dammit… I don’t know… I’m just so confused right now. I just don’t understand it, and that’s really scary to me… Bookmark here

My head hurts… I pressed hard against my forehead… I put my other hand firmly on the table. I forced my teeth together… I shut my eyes tight… I leaned forward… Bookmark here

The pain… Dammit, why does my head hurt so badly? Dammit, dammit, dammit!Bookmark here

I slammed both of my hands on the table and promptly stood up.Bookmark here

“Dammit! This is the answer, right!? So why does it feel so wrong!?”Bookmark here

My eyes were wide open and I was breathing heavily.Bookmark here

My head hurts…Bookmark here

But… my right shoulder feels so pleasant…Bookmark here

Connie’s POV:Bookmark here

I’m standing right outside Ren’s place on the carpeted floors of the hallway… No one was around, and it was extremely silent.Bookmark here

Ah, it’s so late — a few minutes past midnight! I’m so tired… I want to sleep… But I can’t — the adrenaline is rushing through my body… I’m determined… So determined that I managed to sneak my way into this private building… Bookmark here

After my riveting conversation with Bailey over the phone, I decided to act. I went straight to Ren’s place… Why? Well, based on the information I got from Bailey, Ren is acting very uncharacteristic. She said she saw something… She truly believes that Ren cares for Camryn. Did Ren finally crack and is starting to show care? Eh, maybe…Bookmark here

And there’s the thing that she said about Camryn… She’s an orphan… She’s been passed around foster homes… She was abused when she stayed with them… It makes sense that she’d be in desperate need of a loving adult… And really, I’m concerned about her — however, she’s not my top priority…Bookmark here

I slowly turned the handle leading to Ren’s condo. The door was unlocked — how unusual, but at the same time, oh so intriguing.Bookmark here

I remember the first time I met Ren… On the first day of school, sitting alone at a cafeteria table… He looked so serious and intimidating with his deadpan face… But at the same time, he looked so lonely and pitiful. I decided to sit with him… Bookmark here

I slowly walked into his dark condo. Bookmark here

“Please excuse me…”Bookmark here

At the time, I thought he was an unwilling lone wolf that relies on no one. And since that looked like the case, I decided to sit with him. Befriending a loner is a totally noble thing to do, but… my feelings of interest outweighed my feelings of pity.Bookmark here

I slowly closed the door behind me and walked deeper through the hallway…Bookmark here

And there he was… Ren Morales — my little science experiment, turned best friend…Bookmark here

“C-Connie?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

He looked up at me… He looked dirty — though I suppose that’s a little harsh. Instead, he looked restless. He looked like a man who couldn’t get any sleep for days. Red eyes… Dark spots under his eyes… Greasy hair… Messier than usual hair… Wrinkled business suit… A sweat-smelling business suit… Unwashed face… Such a sad face…Bookmark here

I smiled widely.Bookmark here

“Hey, Ren Ren… What’s up!?”Bookmark here

“O-Oh… I’m good.”Bookmark here

Even his speech was different. He sounded hesitant… He sounded meek… He sounded weak… But even so, his voice was still slightly monotone…Bookmark here

“So I heard you went on a business trip to the capital… How was it?”Bookmark here

“I-It was good…”Bookmark here

Was he on the verge of crying?Bookmark here

“The capital is really beautiful, don’t you think?”Bookmark here

“Oh… Y-Yeah…”Bookmark here

He put his hand on his neck and turned his eyes away from me.Bookmark here

“Hey, did you have a good time there?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah…”Bookmark here

Lies… I sighed… I guess it’s been a while since you’ve had fun…Bookmark here

“How was Bailey? She didn’t bother you too much, did she?”Bookmark here

“N-No…”Bookmark here

He was responding with one word… Like a digital assistant responding to its user’s requests with cookie-cutter answers.Bookmark here

Hm…Bookmark here

“Oh yeah…”Bookmark here

It was time… I smirked at Ren.Bookmark here

“How was Camryn?..”Bookmark here

And that was the trigger. His face quickly and chaotically turned to face me. His eyes widened and he leaned forward as he became more attentive.Bookmark here

I see… I suppose you wouldn’t care about your appearance towards a stranger that’s actually a friend… Bookmark here

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