Chapter 26:

Everyday, At 10 PM

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

I looked down at my phone for the 100th time to check the time, and threw on my jacket and scarf. Now that I became a manager and have been working for over a year, I finally bought a new pair of shoes so I could stop relying on my old brown boots: a pair of white sneakers.

As I tied my laces, I checked the bus schedule on my phone, and exited out the door. It was time to visit the tower.

Locking the door behind me, I jumped down the stairs as if running away from a fire, and dashed to the bus stop. For an important rendezvous such as this, I had to get there early.

“What?!” I screamed, startling kids and mothers around me outside at the stop. The bus had broken down completely, and there was a 20 minute delay until the next one.

“Fuck, I won’t make it on time!”

I reached in my pocket for my phone, and dialed a number to call a taxi.

There’s just no way in hell I’m being late for this!

“Hello, can I get a yellow cab please? My address is -”

“Sorry, we’re fully booked until 11 PM.”

“You fucking kidding me?!”

I almost slammed my phone onto the ground. At this point, a few mothers had already ran away with their children, and only old men darted their eyes at me. I didn’t care, however - I was in full panic mode, and I paced back and forth to find a solution.

Shit, I can’t run there on time either.

“Need a ride?”

On a bike was Mr. Meyer, who screeched to a halt next to me on the side of the road. “You look like you’re in a rush, buddy.”

Never has a rush of relief ever circled through my body as hard as this.

“You’re a lifesaver!”

I explained the situation to him, and he nodded while observing me as I jumped on the backseat of his bike. He then chuckled, and patted my shoulder.

“I’ve never seen you so anxious before in my life,” he admitted. “When you were late to our academy practices, you weren’t even half as anxious as right now!”

“U-Uh…” I stared at the back of his black leather jacket. “Sorry.”

“No need to apologize. It just shows she means a lot to you, right?”

“Haha, you’re right, but we’re probably just making up and becoming friends again.”

“I see. Well anyhow, hold on tight!”

For a moment I had forgotten that Mr. Meyer used to be an athlete himself - his feet spun the pedals like a spinning fan, and they only went faster when we traveled uphill. Not a single moment passed where I let go of his waist; I may as well have told people I was riding a motorbike instead.

“Fuck, slow down, I’m going to die!”

“Hahaha!” he laughed. “Do you want to make it on time to Febai College or not?!”

“Fine, fine! Just please don’t kill us!”

We zoomed past the various brick buildings and streetlights on the bike lane, even surpassing a few cars on the road due to the traffic.

“Hey,” I tapped on his back as he pedaled. “How did you know I needed a ride?”

“Lily saw that postcard you had from earlier today,” he explained, which caused my eyes to widen. “He told me that you might need a ride since the buses were going through maintenance today, and the taxis are usually busy on Monday nights.”

I owe you one as well, Lily… I thought. Perhaps I can forgive her for the subtle job resignation earlier today.

“Well, we’re here!”

Mr. Meyer screeched to a halt so fast that I would’ve flown off from the back, had I not wrapped my arms around his waist for dear life. Instead -


My face crushed into his muscular back. If my nose wasn’t broken, it had to be made of a certified steel that even superheroes were jealous of.

“You okay, bud?” Mr. Meyer glanced at me from the front. “C’mon, she’s waiting for ya!”

“O-Okay…” I mumbled, hopping off the bike with my butt aching from the hard but padded backseat. “Thanks again, Mr. Meyer. I owe you and Lily a big one.”

“Just get in there already!”

I ran through the tall Febai College gate while waving goodbye at him. With the sky only featuring a half-moon this time, the glossy cover of the black gate shined less luminously, as did the other stone buildings on campus. It was only a small walk over to the tower, which sat at the center of the campus as always. Barely anyone was around outside, mainly because final exams concluded already, and it was already dark out. Even though an entire year had passed by since our break-up, the rest of the buildings all looked the same - albeit no snow had fallen yet.

Once I arrived at the entrance of the Febai Tower, my breath puffed out a larger ball of air as I sighed in relief: the golden double doors were wide open, as if awaiting my arrival from the start.

But what do I even say to her after all this time?

My steps slowed down, and I found myself dragging my feet until I reached the spiral staircase. Everything inside looked the same as last year.

Do I just tell her I’m also happy to be friends? Can I even manage to stay friends with her?

My heart already thumped the beat of tribal drums, almost as if it could echo throughout the tower for all to hear. I glanced down at my phone, which read exactly 10 PM. It was time to climb up to keep her from waiting. I knew I was about to leave this tower in a sad state, but perhaps Rin needed closure with me on our relationship, and I did too.

Yet as I made it halfway up, I paused, and poked my hand into my pocket to ensure the small navy box I brought with me was still there.

Why did I even bring this with me? I thought while continuing to climb until I finally made it to the top. As usual, I needed a second to catch my breath, but I didn’t need to grasp my knees like last year. I guess that’s what a year of working with Mr. Meyer’s academy did to my body.

The attic room was dark and looked like a blackhole without any moonlight shining through the window. Perhaps the school was never going to install any lighting in here, even within the next ten, hundred, or even one thousand years.


A part of me quivered in fright from her gentle voice, and a part of me wanted to hug her tight, asking her to forgive me for everything I’ve done.


I poked my head into the dark room. Through just the window itself, Rin appeared as a dark silhouette, dressed visibly in her usual coat and black leggings.

“Y-You’re here…” she muttered with an even softer tone, which I could barely hear.

“Yeah, I have so many questions for you, including how you managed to sneak your postcard into the envelope I sent to Mila 5 years ago.”

Rin kept her hands behind her back as I stepped closer. She didn’t laugh nor frown; instead, she kept a straight face to explain the letter: “I managed to steal the envelope from Eleanor, and then I swapped the letter inside with my postcard,” Rin explained.

So that’s why the envelope seal felt new!

“But why did you-”

“Kai…” Rin couldn’t stop wiping away her tears as they just kept coming in waves. Her knees were already bent and looked ready to drop to the floor. After a few more seconds of crying, Rin produced a gleaming smile despite the darkness of the room, catching me off guard.

“A-Are you okay-”

“I’m still in love with you,” she admitted, freezing every cell within my body. “In fact, I love you so much, it hurts.”


I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My heart began to pound so fast that my chest was about to erupt like a volcano.

“I’ve been coming here to the tower every day at 10 PM for the past few months,” Rin continued. “I’ve been trying to send you letters every week, but they always seemed to be blocked by Eleanor, who threatened my family and I by saying she would make us lose our jobs if I didn’t stop trying to contact you.”

“She threatened you like that?!”

Yup. Eleanor is a certified psychopath.

“Yes, but eventually, I figured out a way to get my letter to you. I also managed to get my hands on your apology letter to Mila, so I gave it to her before she passed away.”

So she really did manage to read it before she died!

I wanted to cry myself. Rin managed to get it to Mila in time, and I wanted to hug her right then and there. However, there was just one question boggling me: “B-But why couldn’t you just tell me to meet you here in person or just text me?!”

“Because Eleanor struck a deal with me. If I can somehow get a letter to you instead of texting or telling you in-person, then she would give you up. Her family has connections to the telecom industry, and can easily see who I’d be texting. There’s no privacy in this world, Kai. We’re controlled by billionaires.”

Holy shit, so that’s why she was avoiding me all this time…

My hands clenched into fists while absorbing the story. Eleanor is not only a certified psychopath, she holds a degree in being a psychopath.

“But what about that rejection letter you wrote me last year, about how you only wanted to be friends? And why couldn’t you have trusted me and just told me you were being cornered by Eleanor in person?!”

“Because that would’ve been selfish of me, don’t you think?!” Rin shouted, causing her voice to echo throughout campus through the window. “And also, what rejection letter? I never sent you anything besides the postcard and a ticket to my soccer game.”

Eleanor must’ve forged the rejection letter I read last Christmas!

The pieces were slowly coming together, and I closed my jaw, which had been dropped for the last few minutes. “Why do you think you were being selfish?!”

“Listen to me, you doofus!” she stomped over to where I was and slammed her forehead against my chest. “I’ve been in love with you for this entire past year… I tried to forget about you, but deep down, I always believed that you were still a great guy,” she continued smiling and looked me deeply in the eyes, giving up on wiping her tears away. “I made a mistake; I should’ve listened to you more when I learned about your past with Mila. I shouldn’t have run away. This whole time, I’ve been trying to see you again in secret, but I always felt too guilty to approach you head-on and tell you about my feelings. I’m sorry, okay?!”

A small tear formed beneath my eye, but I quickly wiped it away.

“You know you don’t have to be sorry.”

“Well, I am! And…” her lips began to tremble. “I know you’ve already chosen to marry Eleanor, right?”

“Wait, that’s-”

“So please… just forget about everything tonight!”

After another series of sobs, a smile emerged across her wet cheeks. “Thank you for coming here and letting me get all of this off my chest, Kai. I appreciate it, and I’m sorry I’m like this.”

I walked up to Rin with my head down and my bangs covering my eyes. I stayed as silent as a stone, which made Rin back up in confusion. I swear, if she had to show me one more fake smile, I didn’t know if I was allowed to continue living.


I then hugged her as tightly as I could, letting out my flow of tears after holding them the entire time.

“I’m sorry I didn’t see your letter sooner, then,” I replied, sniffling away and digging my face into her shoulder. “You came here every night, hoping I’d come. I would’ve come right away if I had just seen that first letter.”

A small pout sprouted from her mouth which was buried against my shoulders.

She gripped my hands tightly as if not ever wanting to let go, and I couldn’t help but gaze at her beautiful eyes while she did the same.

“I’ll go and turn down Eleanor’s proposal,” I petted her head without releasing my other hand. “She had the document all lined up and stuff.”

“Why did you have to go and consider her proposal in the first place,” Rin pouted, and looked away with inflated cheeks. Her jealous face only melted my heart more.

“You’re right,” I caressed my thumb against her palm. “I was giving my dignity away, and it was a stupid decision.”

We released each other from our grasps, and I reached into my pocket to find the small box.

“By the way, this was the gift I wanted to give you last Christmas.”

I presented the plastic navy box in my palm, holding it out for her to take. Rin gasped and covered her mouth with both hands. I swear, albeit it was cute, her crying was beginning to make me worry.

“Oh my gosh,” she muttered through her hands. “I’m so sorry… you even prepared a present for me that night.”

I had to laugh it off: “No problem! I’m quite bad at giving gifts though, so I’m not sure if you’ll like it. I didn’t even have time to wrap it.”

I placed the small box in her palm, letting her open it with a slight nod. Rin held it up to her eyes, observing the box.

“Kai, why were you planning to give a ring this early on in a relationship?”

“I-It’s not a-”

“Haha, I kid,” she laughed while holding her stomach, and opened it up.

“Wow…” she gently pulled out my gift with two fingers and brought it out to show on full display: a silver necklace that featured a shiny heart that had a crystal soccer ball in its center. Just from the moonlight which barely seeped through the window, the silver surface sparkled, making it easily the shiniest object in the room.

“Kai, it’s beautiful, thank you so much! I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life.”

I could tell just from her twinkling face how much she loved it. Honestly, if I could die right now, I wouldn’t mind; just her happiness alone was enough to take my debt with me to my grave.

“By the way, I had something to give you as well.”

“Wait, really?”

“Of course, you doofus,” Rin walked over to the window curtains, and reached behind to pull out a gift-wrapped box which was the size of my face. It featured a red and black plaid pattern with a white bow on top.

I took the box but was honestly too shocked to react properly. This night was already beyond my wildest expectations, but now it just seemed like a dream.

“Well, are you going to open it or what?”

“Uh, yes!”

I gently unwrapped the box, careful not to rip the wrapping paper despite Rin’s insistence. Once the paper came undone, I lifted the black box cover -


- to find a red Febai soccer jersey but with “Darak” printed on the back in full white. It was a tailored jersey with my own last name on it - and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic.

“This is so cool! Now I can pretend I’m on your team too,” I chuckled. “Thanks a lot, Rin. Now, I can join you in the Park of Life while wearing this.”

Rin sighed in relief, perhaps from worrying that I’d dislike the gift as well.

We’re really two birds of the same feather, huh…

Well, I knew what to do next. After placing our gifts back into their respective boxes and onto the floor, Rin wrapped her arms around my neck while I wrapped mine around her waist.

“I have one more gift for you,” she whispered, and leaned in for a kiss. While she had to slightly tiptoe, we embraced each other harder than ever, smooching for what felt like an eternity.

“By the way,” I released my lips from hers; one more question boggled my mind. “How on Earth did you manage to steal the envelope from Eleanor’s home and shove your postcard inside? That sounds like super-spy levels of skill.”

This time, Rin smirked. Her spontaneity was something I loved about her, but she had me slightly scared.

“Actually, I had a bit of help from the Meyers - Lily and her father.”

“What, really?” I ruffled my own hair and then scratched my neck. “How the heck did they do it?”

“Well, you see, I actually didn’t swap them at all. This entire time, that letter was sent to my address. You see, I moved into Rin’s house back then during our last year of high school, but I guess you didn’t know that, which is why you sent it to me by accident. But I only came across it a few months ago in our storage room, when it fell out from a drawer when I was trying to stash away your scarf.”

“So, you were the one who snuck into our café to return my scarf, just like I thought…”

Rin avoided my gaze, perhaps embarrassed for being caught. “Haha, you caught me. But anyways, I forged another envelope with my postcard in it instead, and had Mr. Meyer and Lily sneak it into Mila’s mansion. You see, even though Mr. Meyer quit being the coach of our team, the Tren family still has a soft spot for him thanks to his playing days, so he managed to sneak in the 5-year-old letter.”

“You guys are all nuts,” I muttered, unable to say anything more. “Looks like I owe them more than just a big dinner now.”

Rin blinked repeatedly at me, waiting for me to say something more.

“Hmm, what’s-mmph!” I closed my eyes as she buried her lips into mine once more, and we continued our kiss from before, this time passionately letting the time freeze around us.

“Well, maybe before that, we owe each other some time for ourselves…”

The night was not like anything I’ve ever experienced. Leaving the duties of declining Eleanor to tomorrow, I invited Rin back to my apartment to stay the night, since my place was closer than hers to Febai College.

“It’s not really fair to say I’ve waited a year for this, is it,” she laughed as she dragged me to my bed while neither of us even took off our outdoor clothing. “But I can’t wait any longer…”

And well, we let our bodies melt together under my blanket, and made love to each other in a way where I can truly say:

“Man, I really need to improve my cardio, huh?”

With my blanket still covering us like a cape, I lifted myself up from her body, admiring the view.

“Hey, stop looking, it’s embarrassing, you know.”

Rin wore nothing but the necklace I gave her.

“Sorry… just admiring the beautiful view.”

“Hehe, maybe improving that cardio can be your New Years’ resolution.”

“That’s definitely on the top of my list…”

Rin and I both chuckled, and we kissed each other once more.

“I love you, Kai.

“I love you too, Rin.”