Chapter 6:

How I Pissed Off My Sister

Cursed Lines

I was lucky enough that the next day was Saturday, so I went for a walk while listening to a podcast about nature. The subject itself didn't interest me much, but I've been painting a lot lately, so I looked for some inspiration. I was sure that Konya would let me know what he wanted, and the longer there was no news from him, the more I was afraid that he would come up with something extravagant.

On my way home, I noticed some familiar faces and wondered if I should say hello, but decided against it. Daisuke must have had a reason not to tell me that he had invited Alice for a walk, and now they were standing in front of an old building that the local authorities still couldn't decide what to do with.

I smiled inwardly, with such a dreamy and determined face he could only tell her about his dream to restore the glory of arcade machines in this place. These automates were his passion and he wanted to create a space where people of all ages could find some entertainment, but also relax and have a good time. For years, he worked out the details of this project and put aside the money he managed to earn. I watched them for a moment, Alice listened attentively, smiling, but I sensed a certain reserve in her attitude.

I was scared that I might be an obstacle to their happiness. What if they are held back by the idea that one of them is my best friend and the other, assuming that's true, my little sister? If I think about it, Daisuke had been interested in her ever since Alice arrived and often glanced at her, if they were attracted to each other, I didn't mind.

Why looking at them made me happy, I didn't know, but the sound of an incoming message woke me from my lethargy. I looked at my phone screen and quickened my pace because the content only made me angry.

"Cake is good, but you could have tried harder," I muttered under my breath, repeating what was in it.

What was this dude thinking? Okay, I wasn't trying too hard, but I didn't consider my abilities to be low either. Blinded by anger and resentment for underestimating my work, I didn't notice when I bumped into a running Hamada. She swayed, and I reached out my hand, which she caught, and it helped her regain her balance.

I smiled at her, but I felt myself blush and hoped she would assume it was the cold. I had forgotten that she lived near me and belonged to the track and field club. She looked beautiful even in tracksuits and with pink cheeks from exertion. I felt my legs buckle under me.

"Training?" I asked, now that fate had given me a chance to see her outside of school.

"Yes," she replied with a smile. "And what brings you here, Kiyoshi?"

I almost jumped with joy when she called me by my name, suddenly I felt insanely special.

"I went for a walk," I replied.

"That's nice. How's your health?" she asked worriedly. "I often get the feeling you're in pain when I see you at school."

"Sometimes better, sometimes worse, I can only hope it will pass soon."

"I hope so too," she replied, and added that she had to continue exercising.

Long after she disappeared, I stood in the same place and waved to her, but I was so happy. The humour immediately became better, and the rest of the way I covered as if on wings. Even my mother was surprised to see me, but she correctly concluded that she wouldn't get anything out of me.

My happiness did not last long, however, on the way to school I was telling a friend about an unexpected meeting that took place during the weekend. I thought seeing Hamada would make me feel even better, but it did just the opposite. I wanted to greet her, and ask if the training was successful, but I stopped mid-step when I saw that she was talking to Tachibana and laughing at what he just said.

I focused on them for a moment and then the pain came, the lines appeared again, but this time the one that connected the two seemed particularly clear. What they had in common had a delicate red hue, and the number was quite high. I was suddenly snapped out of it when Daisuke patted me on the shoulder and ordered that we should go to class. I looked around, no one seemed to notice. In class, Alice came up to us and looked worried from me to Daisuke. She asked what happened and if she could help.

"For a constantly broken heart, I don't think anything will help," my friend replied.

I looked at him with sad eyes, the truth hurt, so what if Hamada was always nice to me, I gave myself unnecessary hope, which brutally destroyed reality. Alice leaned over me, and I saw genuine concern in her eyes.

"Has anything changed with your headaches? " she asked in a whisper.

"Things are getting clearer," I replied, unsure if that was what she meant.

She smiled softly and patted my shoulder reassuringly as if she took my words as a good sign. Then she went back to her desk and started going through her notes. I wasn't sure what that meant and decided to focus on my lessons. At least that's all I have left, except accepting my strange fate. I thought the Hamada situation would be enough for the day, but while I was staring out the window during break time, someone tapped me on the shoulder.

"Sugiyama, someone is looking for you and is waiting in the corridor."

"Who?" I asked.

"If I knew myself, I would tell you," Terada replied and spun on her heel, clearly dissatisfied with the role of messenger that had been assigned to her.

I stumbled out of the room and saw this bastard. He smiled when he saw me, but I didn't return the gesture, instead, I approached him with a combative attitude. I noticed that several people in the corridors were watching us, I gave up making a scene.

"What do you want?!" I asked in a whisper.

"Just give it back," he replied calmly and handed me the container in which I brought him the cake before the weekend.

"Oh, thanks," I replied a bit surprised by this, after all, normal gesture, but considering his opinion, I guess I had the right to do so. "I forgot about that."

"I figured it might come in handy if I asked for something to eat again."

"What this time?" I sighed heavily.

"I haven't decided yet," he replied innocently and glanced over my shoulder, his smile suddenly taking on a malicious tone.

"Kiyoshi what's that supposed to mean?" Alice hissed, I haven't seen her angry yet. "I told you to stay away from him."

I turned to her voice and wanted to say something in my defence, seeing her in such a state, I didn't want to endanger her. Besides, I knew that it made her upset. I felt a weight on my shoulder and looked that way, why was Konya's hand there?

He was shooting Alice a defiant look, I wanted to scream that he was completely stupid, but I was too shocked. Even more so because it didn't bother me, it was surprisingly pleasant, as if his arm fit perfectly into mine. I got scared by my own thoughts and moved away from this lunatic. Alice's pursed lips didn't bode well, but the bell saved me.

"Bye, bye," Konya said to my sister and turned to face me, his face was far too close. "I'll call you later."