Chapter 5:

How I Offended the Cake

Cursed Lines

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and cursed loudly when I read the message.

"Throw in some fruit," I repeated the words aloud. "Well, I think he's joking."

I spent the afternoon wondering what Konya was up to. I had to admit that I did take too long to thank him. However, since I could extricate myself from this situation with a cake, I decided to take a chance. He didn't specify what kind of cheesecake he wanted, and even if he suddenly remembered, I would ignore him. I was already halfway through the whole process and I wasn't going to start anything from scratch.

The cold version seemed to me easier to implement, so I bet on it and almost begged the fridge to set the pastry properly. When I realized I couldn't do anything more than that, I set about learning. I had to stop when Alice called unexpectedly. We'd gotten closer over the last few days, and I felt quite at ease with her, though I still resented her for keeping certain things a secret.

Daisuke took his mission seriously and was often in our company, trying to get Alice's attention. I didn't know if his interest stemmed from pure curiosity, or if there were some heart impulses behind it. I haven't heard of a girl turning his head in a long time, so it would be a change from our boring love high school life.

"Look," Alice began hesitantly. "How well do you know the boy who helped us then?"

"I don't really know him," I replied, honestly. "I should thank him, but I'll take care of that."

"I just wanted to ask you to stay away from him, okay." I was surprised by this sudden request, especially since she didn't know him. But her voice sounded too serious for me to ignore.

"Alice, is something wrong? Did he tell you something? Did he do something? " I asked with concern.

"No, none of that, just a feeling that we shouldn't associate with him."

"If you say so," was all I said, not wanting to admit that I completely agreed with her.

The next day I felt distrustful eyes on me, I wondered if I was so obvious that I was hiding something. In fact, Daisuke didn't care much as long as I didn't do something stupid, but he did was corious why Alice and Hamada were staring at me. A woman's intuition scared me sometimes, and it really did this time.

I got dizzy, and those lines appeared in front of me again, because it was always accompanied by pain, I never looked at them. Even if I wanted to, they would only appear for a few seconds, but in the last few days they have been visible for a bit longer.

I tried to focus my attention on them despite the discomfort, I had already noticed that they were of different colours, and numbers would appear above each. I looked at my friend, who watched me doubtfully, I made sure that many lines diverged from him as well, followed one of them as a test, and found the end at Hamada. She smiled at me, and suddenly it was all gone, I was relieved because the pain had subsided at the same time, but I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get a little more information.

I headed straight to the art studio after class, although Alice insisted that I walk her home. I knew it was the result of her concern and trying to make sure that I wouldn't have to deal with Konya in any way. For that to happen, I had to meet him one last time. However, I remembered that we have an English test next week, and I suggested that Daisuke accompany her home so she could help him out a bit. At least he won't be asking me for help the day before, leaving everything to the last minute as usual.

I unveiled the painting I had been working on the day before, but I had no desire to continue working. I was nervous, and my hand wouldn't be steady enough, so I decided to let it go. Still, I thought about talking to Alice and how uneasy she sounded about Konya, maybe I shouldn't have believed her that nothing had happened.

At least he didn't keep me waiting long that day and gladly crossed the threshold of the room. He looked around as if expecting a table and service from the best restaurant.

"Is it done?" he asked, taking a seat on the nearest empty chair.

"Of course not," I grumbled. "I had to come home early to make you a stupid cake." I placed the container in front of him, and he looked at it appraisingly.

"The cake isn't to blame, so don't insult it," he replied in a serious tone, which made me roll my eyes.

"Thanks again for your help, I'm glad we're even," I said as I gathered my things.

I wanted to leave, I didn't care what he was going to do next, but he blocked my way. Although he was not much taller, he could create an unpleasant aura when he wanted to, but being in his presence was far from comfortable. I swallowed nervously, but I wasn't going to be intimidated.

"You're not going until I try, are you?" he asked, feigning politeness. "Aren't you curious about my opinion?"

"Not a bit," I replied.

"If the cake turns out to be a dud, you'll have to bring another one."

"Forget it," I muttered, shooting him an angry glare. "As we agreed, I thanked you, you got the cake, we're even, and we don't want anything more to do with each other."

"I don't recall agreeing to that last condition," he said, still not losing his humour. "I wish you'd stay with me a little longer."

I left furious without even giving him a glance. What a strange remark at the end, of course, I didn't want to spend any more time with him. Who did he think he was? He got away with anything because he always sounded like he had a catch for everyone. The rebel found himself with those blonde highlights in his brown hair. I tried to remember what colour his eyes were, since he had stood so close to me several times, and then mentally chastised myself for even thinking about it. But then it dawned on me that they were dark brown, even though I wasn't supposed to think about it, however my brain searched for a solution to the riddle on its own.

I cursed as there were still plenty of people at the lockers, the pain and coloured lines in front of my eyes returned. I was knocked off my feet for a moment and had to hold on to the nearest sill. Right, I realized that due to nerves I hadn't drunk herbs for several hours, so the ailment, which had become somewhat bearable, now attacked with triple strength as revenge for the blunting of its powers. I was out of breath, people were looking at me anxiously, but no one approached me, I tried to reach my own locker, figuring that going outside would help me.

With the next step, however, I felt that I was flying, but I did not meet the floor, but someone's shoulder. I looked at my saviour and said it couldn't get any worse. Konya helped me up and rummaged through my bag for a bottle of herbal infusion.

"How did you know I needed this? " I asked between sips of my drink, glad that the pain was slowly subsiding.

"I've noticed that you don't part with it, and you don't look so tragic when you drink it," he said and looked at the other students who were possibly interested in the scene, but not necessarily in a desire to help. "You must be reminded that you are helping others," he said reprovingly.

But the lines still didn't disappear, and I had the impression that there were more of those coming from Konya than others, but I didn't have the strength to think about it. He looked at me, and there was something unsettling in his eyes as if he was waiting for something, and at the same time, he enjoyed the situation. It was hard to read, but every second I spent with it convinced me that he should stay away from it, as Alice advised.

"I'll let you know how you can say thank you for today," he said, still saying goodbye.

I sighed heavily, wondering when I was finally going to get out of this, and started shuffling towards the locker. I just wanted to get home and lie down.