Chapter 93:

New Leaf

New Leaf!

We’re about to go home now… However, I wanted to stop by one place in particular first…Bookmark here

“Let’s go, Ren! Before the mall closes!”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah…”Bookmark here

I ran towards it… Just in front of a tube leading to another building and on the highest floor… Hanging over an opening to the bottom floor. This sculpture was of a flock of birds. Each bird had a black neck and head with a white spot on their faces — their cheeks maybe? They also had white parts under their chins and a light brown body. It was also white where their bottoms were.Bookmark here

As I was awing at the sculpture, Ren walked next to me.Bookmark here

“The art piece of a flock of geese… This is the one you were interested in on our first trip here.”Bookmark here

“Yeah… It’s so cool…”Bookmark here

I reminisced on that day… I was very impressed by the openness of this place. And there was that board — in hindsight, it’s laughable that a yelled at it and almost punched it!Bookmark here

“You know Ren, geese are pretty amazing creatures.”Bookmark here

“Oh? How so?”Bookmark here

I smiled warmly.Bookmark here

“Well, there are a lot of things they can do. They can walk… They can swim… They can fly…”Bookmark here

I chuckled.Bookmark here

“And speaking from personal experience, they are also very aggressive.”Bookmark here

And since I’m reminiscing about my first time coming here, I can’t help but think even further back. We went to Grenge Park… That place behind a great art museum and next to an art school with unique architecture. That white box with different polka-squares being suspended by giant pencil canyons…Bookmark here

Ren suddenly wrapped his arm around me… But I did not bat an eye — instead, I moved closer to him.Bookmark here

“Yeah, they are aggressive…”Bookmark here

We both chuckled.Bookmark here

My mind also flashed back further to when I first ran away… I had an intense feeling that I couldn’t be useful to Ren because he wasn’t demanding anything… But really, I didn’t want to do what I was told I was the best at. Now, I don’t think I have to worry about serving…Bookmark here

And then, I recalled the time before that. Nothing of note really happened in between, so I remembered the first time I met Ren. He was so stern and serious… I was so cringy and playful. I tried seducing him because that felt like the only thing I could do at the time… but it wasn’t. I don’t have to act all corny with Ren anymore… Bookmark here

“But you know Camryn, I think they’re also pretty amazing because they’re so aggressive.”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“It’s more so the reason they turn that way.”Bookmark here

I wasn’t following…Bookmark here

“Um… You have experience, right? Remember the context of their aggressiveness.”Bookmark here

“Hm…”Bookmark here

I looked down for a few seconds.Bookmark here

“Well, they act that way when I get near the group.”Bookmark here

“You said ‘the group,’ as in multiple.”Bookmark here

Oh… I think I get it now.Bookmark here

“They’re impressive because they’re a species that stays in groups. Now, geese don’t have the level of intelligence that humans have, but they still stay in groups. Animals more so stay in groups for the sake of protection…”Bookmark here

Yeah… Bookmark here

“And since they’re a group…”Bookmark here

Ren stepped away and pointed at me.Bookmark here

“They can be classified as a family! They protect and have responsibility for each other.”Bookmark here

Yeah, it makes sense. Every time I try to get near a goose, it starts honking at me. Sure, it’s to protect itself, but it’s also to protect the herd… To protect its eggs… To protect its family… Bookmark here

I started laughing.Bookmark here

“C-Camryn?”Bookmark here

“Ren, that’s so cheesy! Ah, you’re making things uncomfortable…”Bookmark here

“Oh… S-Sorry.”Bookmark here

But after a few seconds, I turned to him and smiled greatly.Bookmark here

“You know Ren, I can’t help but tell you this — thank you!”Bookmark here

I bowed deeply.Bookmark here

“Thank you for taking me in on that day… Thank you for giving me a place to live… Thank you for giving me food and water… Thank you for supplying me with a job… Thank you for letting me meet new friends… And…”Bookmark here

I raised my head and smiled deeply at Ren.Bookmark here

“Thank you for saving me! My… hero!”Bookmark here

I’m so grateful for Ren. With him, I won’t go back. I won’t go back to my hectic life of living on the streets and swindling strangers… I won’t go back to my hectic life with adults that dehumanize me… I won’t go back to my hectic life with adults that pretend to care about me… I won’t because Ren won’t allow it.Bookmark here

Ren returned a smile — so appealing and welcoming — and he wrapped his arms around me, lowering his voice.Bookmark here

“H-Hero is a bit much, don't you think? But of course.”Bookmark here

This hug… It feels warm… It feels comfortable… It feels calming… And I can feel Ren’s feelings. He intends to make me feel relaxed. He intends to love me. He intends to heal me… Bookmark here

Ren is genuine…Bookmark here

“Come, Ren, let’s take a selfie together!”Bookmark here

“Huh? But we live so close to this sculpture… But I guess it wouldn’t hurt…”Bookmark here

And so, as we posed together I took my phone out and held it out.Bookmark here

Yeah… Things feel so different now. I truly believe that I’ve evolved — this is a new chapter in my life — another book is the series — another long-awaited season in that show… I really can’t help but feel overjoyed. And I hope this feeling doesn’t fade…Bookmark here

Because I... turned over a new leaf.Bookmark here

Intentionally or not, either way, I couldn’t be happier.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.