Chapter 10:

One Tren After Another

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

“Mrs. Tren, please!”

I was in Mrs. Tren’s apartment room, which was right next to where I was supposed to live, had I not gotten suspended. I had just arrived after my work shift was over; instead of going back to Lily’s place, I bused back to my usual apartment home, ready with a proposal for my landlord.

It took a million tries just to have her let me in, but now was the hardest part. I dropped to my knees and bent over in a praying position, catching her by surprise.

“Mrs. Tren, please hear what I have to say,” I began. “There’s nowhere else I can stay, and I can’t stay at Lily’s place…I’d feel too guilty to impose such a burden on her!”

Mrs. Tren didn’t budge at all, and she only deepened her frown.

“And why would I let you come back? You’re only three days into your suspension.”

I stayed with my back hunched over like a camel, keeping my forehead glued to the cold floor. “Please, Mrs. Tren, I beg of you,” I pleaded. “I’m willing to pay you back anything if you’ll let me move back in.”

A teardrop splashed onto the floor where my face hovered over.

Mrs. Tren stepped back, perhaps perplexed by my tearing up. While I waited for her to answer me, I thought back to earlier in the day, after Dally dropped the bombing truth about my father to everyone in the café: His actions had destroyed Lily’s family business, which was probably why they lived so frugally now.

“Lily, please,” I begged. Both of us had just finished our shifts and were grabbing our bags in the storage room to go home. “Let me apologize formally to your parents.”

“I-Its…” she avoided my gaze. “It’s fine. Just pretend nothing happened when we’re back.”

“Wait,” I stepped in-between her and the door, blocking her way out.

“K-Kai! I told you it’s fine!”

“Why?” I looked down, frustrated. “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?!”

I would’ve never taken her offer to live at her parents’ place otherwise.

“I was going to confront you about it,” Lily sharpened her eyes at me. “But after what happened with you being suspended, you needed a place to live, and you would’ve felt too guilty to take my offer.”

A brief silence filled the air between us, and we both couldn’t help but look down in frustration. However, I knew my next step.

“Lily…I have something to do first. I’ll be coming home late tonight.”

Just as my recollection ended, Mrs. Tren’s legs began to tremble, and she sat back in her rocking chair while sipping her tea. The small round tea table between us blocked me from seeing her face.

“Kai…why are you doing this? What’s the motivation? Why can’t you just go back to Lily’s place until your suspension is over?!” She asked.

“Because…” I wiped my tears, directed my gaze back up at her, and tried to smile. “I must be responsible for my own problems. My father and I ruined the Meyer family’s business, and to think I have any right to step foot in their small household would be heartless of me.”

Mrs. Tren, while keeping her bulking eyes at me in surprise, finally let out a sigh and crossed her arms. “F-Fine, I will add an additional fine on you instead then, with a deadline to pay by the end of December.”

I bounced up with both fists pumped up in excitement. “R-Really?! Thank you, Mrs. Tren-”


She looked away, appearing worried; the number of wrinkles on her face doubled. “P-Please give me a day to prepare your r-room again.”


“W-Wait, why-”

“Shut up, young man! You must now leave at once and not return until tomorrow morn-”

“Grandma, what’s all the fuss?”

A male voice popped out from outside Mrs. Tren’s apartment. The door was unlocked, so he stepped inside without taking his shoes off. He was rather short, and his orange shirt appeared to be inside out. His ripped jeans looked wet and dirty, and his spiky brown hair was like that of a porcupine.

“Leo! Please, don’t worry about us!”

“Hey Grandma, what seems to be the matter?”

A gentle, cute voice followed Leo into Mrs. Tren’s room as well. Unlike Leo, the woman took her shoes off before entering. She wore a light pink dress that made her into a cherry blossom, and her gentle demeanor with hands close together in front of her body screamed politeness. She was slightly taller than the boy in front, and appeared to be in her early twenties.

“Eleanor, please, you and your brother must leave immediately!”

Mrs. Tren jumped in front of my view and spread her arms out like a butterfly, as if she didn’t want the siblings to see me. I raised my eyebrows in confusion - I didn’t even know who they were.

“Wait,” Eleanor covered her mouth in surprise. “I-Is that…”

“No! Stop! Get out!” screamed Mrs. Tren. She continued blocking my view, and covered my face with her hand. “I’m in a very secret conversation with -”

But instead of listening to her grandma, Eleanor walked up and poked her head to the side to get a full view of me.

“Is your name Kai?”


Mrs. Tren lowered her arms, giving up on hiding me. “Shit…” she scoffed and looked away. “Fine, I’ll tell you why you can’t move back in until tomorrow…it’s because my grandchildren are borrowing your room. I’ll have to kick someone else out now for them to continue living here.”

What?! I thought. My arms dropped to my sides. Mrs. Tren kicked me out for two weeks so her grandchildren could live in my room?!

“Hang on a second, you're telling me they were living in my-”

“They came to visit Febai City while on vacation for two weeks,” Mrs. Tren sat back down and sipped her tea with her eyes closed, pretending to be ignorant.

“Wait grandma, we don’t need to kick someone out again,” Eleanor suggested. A wide smile engulfed her face; her cuteness glittered like stars in the sky. “We can just stay at your place together, right Kai?”


“Sis, are you sure?” Leo glared at me with eyes of menace. He tucked one hand into his pockets while working the other one through his hair. There’s no way this kid wasn’t one of those “cool” kids at his school.

“Why not? That’s alright with you, right?”

My jaw reached the floor, stunned by her nonchalant attitude. Just who did she think she was speaking with?

“Oh,” she added, before I could answer. “We’ll pay, of course.”

“Eleanor, you don’t need to do that!” Mrs. Tren claimed, slamming her cup back on the table.

“No worries, grandma. We should make a good impression on Kai first, and I’m sure father would agree.”

“If you say so.”

Eleanor smiled at me, but I could tell something was off about her. Just who would suggest sleeping in the same room as a guy they’ve just met?

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“No worries,” she walked back to the door, and slid on her beige laced-up flats. “Come Kai, Leo, let’s go back to the room. It’s already evening.”

Leo followed his sister from behind, but I couldn’t force myself to move without peeping back at Mrs. Tren one last time.

“Um,” I muttered. “Are you sure this is-”

“Leave,” she interrupted, and slammed her cup onto the table once more. “Before I deepen your fine, Kai Darak.”

“Y-Yes!” I squealed, and hurried out.

The rest of the night was rather quiet between the three of us; Leo did his middle school homework in silence (to my surprise), and Eleanor offered to help me make dinner. Every time I asked what their intentions were, both siblings would dodge the question and tell me about how they rarely visited their grandma, which was why they were here.

“Oh right!” I exclaimed, surprising Eleanor while she was reading a book in the corner. “I have to call Lily and let her know I’m no longer staying at her place.”

“Lily?” Eleanor took out her earphones and glanced up.

“She’s a co-worker of mine who offered for me to stay at her place while I was suspended,” I explained while pouring some tea for everyone. “But I felt too guilty, and begged your grandma to take me back in.”

Eleanor stayed silent while digesting my explanation, and Leo completely ignored our conversation.

“Ugh, I’ll need to go pick up my items from her place tomorrow…” I muttered, grabbing my phone to dial her number. “And also come up with a way to apologize to her family…”

But just before I pressed the call button -

Knock knock knock!

“Huh?” I scratched my head. “Who could be knocking on the door this late…”

It was already almost 8 PM, and I had two random strangers crashing in my apartment after having stayed at my place in secret beforehand. It was not the time to have a visitor at my door.

I paced over to the entrance after setting down the tea tray, and while forgetting to look into the peephole, I opened the door, causing my eyes to widen and my heart to thump into oblivion. My body became numb, and even my head began pounding.

In front of my apartment was the girl I least expected. All I could do was mutter softly with my frozen mouth:


Rin, dressed in the same cute beige fur coat from before, was carrying a black sports bag behind her. Instead of the boots from this morning, she was now wearing pink soccer cleats. Her legs were close together and trembling; I couldn’t tell if it was because of the cold, or because she was nervous.

“I... didn’t mean to intrude! I just came to return this!”

Extending both arms, Rin handed me my red scarf, which was folded so neatly that one may have thought it was a bed sheet.

“Oh, um, thank you,” I felt a twinge in my chest as I took the scarf. “You didn’t have to go out of her way to return this to me.”

“I tried returning it to you at Muller’s Blend,” she explained, avoiding my direct gaze. “I couldn’t make it in time after my classes were over, so I had to ask the owner of the café for your address.”

“Shoot, I forgot to ask for your phone number,” I replied, pulling my phone out. “What is-”


Leo darted to the door, pushed me aside, and grabbed both of Rin’s hands with his own.

“You’re the captain of our national women's soccer team, Rin Miya!” he exclaimed with sparkling eyes. “I’m a big fan!”

“U-Um, hello!” Rin grinned.

“Rin Miya, it is nice to meet you,” Eleanor was next, poking her head out from behind me.

A drop of sweat fell from my forehead. I didn’t want Rin to get the wrong idea since a girl of the same age as us was also staying over. “Wait, I-”

“Please don’t mind Leo and I,” Eleanor bowed, surprising me. “We’re his landlord’s grandchildren, and we were told to crash at his place for now while we visit the city.”

I turned back at her, stunned at the way she was bowing and explaining things.

Thanks Eleanor… I thought. Whoever she truly was, she knew how to read a room.

“I-I see,” Rin replied, waving her palms at us. “But please, don’t bow! Kai and I aren’t…” a small blush emerged on both her cheeks and mine. “We’re not like that!”

“Actually, I heard…” Eleanor closed her eyes, but then reopened them while shifting her gaze at me. What came next out of her mouth was my gateway into the dark abyss, as well as the last slice to any rope I had at becoming closer with Rin.

“Heard?” Rin replied, tilting her head in confusion. Eleanor took a deep breath and continued.

“Kai's father was the one who tampered with the referees last year.”


Rin brought a hand to her chest and glanced at me with melon-wide eyes. If this wasn’t the world crashing into my face and pulverizing my soul into hell, then I don’t know what was.