Chapter 19:

How I Unknowingly Agreed on a Date

Cursed Lines

I wish I had as much strength as Alice and could have chosen the wiser path of avoiding the pain I was putting myself through in advance by falling more and more in love. However, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I tried to be a little curter, refused Konya to share a meal on the roof once, and I thought the remorse that overcame me would literally eat me up inside.

Especially when I told him this in a not-very-nice tone and I saw first terror in his eyes, then sadness and pain. I couldn't take it, I apologized to him and told him it was just one day because I had some club stuff to do, and I didn't have much time to eat.

I was still haunted by Alice's words, I began to have nightmares where I saw Konya meeting someone by chance, his face lit up with a radiant smile. In my dreams, his other half was always hazy, but it was there, the line indicating one hundred percent compatibility. Each time I tried to see a single detail of the person, who was about to take him from me, but it was a pitiful attempt.

At school, I frantically checked everyone he came in contact with, and I was relieved to know that my nightmares had not yet come true. I felt how much this fear and constant worrying is destructive to my mentality. It really was a curse, I had no appetite, I became moody and even painting couldn't break me out of this lethargy even for a moment.

Although I initially assumed that I would enjoy what spending time with Konya gave me, I couldn't cut myself off from him, no matter how hard I tried. With each passing day after talking to Alice, I began to doubt it. Suddenly I started to question myself whether it even made sense and whether I had the right to do so in the first place. I didn't enjoy this time as much as before, just thinking about the curse took everything away from me.

I wasn't just worried about myself, but also about my sister and my friend. So we were three love-sick teenagers who couldn't honestly help each other. Daisuke couldn't know the truth about us, although if he found out, he would swear he wouldn't let the curse come true and would love Alice more than his life. I tried to console them somehow, but they threw themselves into the whirlwind of duties, work, hobbies, whatever, so as not to have any contact with each other. Besides, my sister didn't like talking to me because I was still hanging out with Konya. Anyway, how could I help them effectively when I couldn't come to terms with myself?

Konya and I were sitting on the roof, I had no appetite, so I gave him all my bento. He thanked me but looked worried and was silent most of the time. One more thing occurred to me that I should have asked him earlier. Before I could do that, however, he put food under my nose and stubbornly asked me to eat something.

"I don't know what's going on, but I'm worried because you've been looking bad lately?" he asked, handing me another bite. "Are you sick?"

"It would be easier," I replied. "I'm just cursed. Alright, give it back." I reached for my bento. "I won't let you feed me any longer."

"At least you ate something," Konya laughed and leaned against the net protecting the roof. "Will you explain more about what you just meant about being cursed?"

I looked at him uncertainly, but I was sure I could trust him. Perhaps he would understand, after all, he belonged to this twisted world too. So I told him about my conversation with Alice a few weeks ago and how I began to feel the effects of the curse when I finally understood what it entailed. However, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him, who I am afraid to lose. I shared my worries about my sister and Daisuke, feeling a bit better when I was able to let it out. Konya listened to me carefully and nodded his head to show he understood, and I could continue, as I paused for a moment to make sure he kept up.

"I think they'd go together too," Konya muttered. "And I say that aside from my inherent disliking of your sister."

"Exactly." I straightened up, curious about his answer. "You used to say I should hate you, but I just can't. Shouldn't the same apply to you, I mean to me? I can see how you and Alice want to go for each other's throats as soon as you see each other. Why don't you react like that to me?"

Konya looked at me surprised that I even considered it. He frowned, thought hard about the answer, but then smiled goofy.

"I have no idea, but I'm glad that it is like that, although every day I'm afraid that you will turn your back on me too," he saddened with each word. "You and Alice will be adored, and I will be avoided, even though people sometimes need my company."

"You're talking nonsense," I muttered. "I'm far from Alice."

"I don't know how you do it, but the genes from our non-human parents are stronger. I was born only to hurt people. And I can't fight it in myself, even if I wanted to. I try to do only the bare minimum, and I still feel guilty." He clenched his fists and needed a few moments to rest.

I thought about it, remembering that I actually felt the need to, as Alice put it, spread positive emotions around me. Smiling, helping, being nice, giving compliments, all those little things that I should treat people around. But I've never had a problem suppressing it when I wanted to. So I could be completely myself?

Do both Konya and Alice have to hide their true character, or maybe they can't show it any more, since they've been stuck in duties for so long? After all, I saw how different they were when they were only with me as if they didn't have to act. Tatsuo was no longer the monster everyone made him out to be, and Alice was becoming an ordinary teenager. She showed negative emotions, dissatisfaction with the poor reception of the last chapter, simple fatigue, anger, and a desire to complain a little.

"See, I also think I'm cursed in that regard," Konya continued. "I'll get over it if no one likes me. This, even if there was that one person who wouldn't react like that to me, liked me, maybe even loved me." He laughed bitterly. "I can't imagine being with this one because I know that need to hurt would be stronger than anything. Maybe I could manage to keep an eye on myself, but all it takes is even the smallest quarrel and emotions to let go. Can you imagine how someone could live in perpetual fear, me of wronging, that person of being hurt?"

Alice asked me exactly the same questions if I could imagine it. Now I do, because I experienced the damn thing myself, and I was furious. None of us asked to be a part of this world, why couldn't we just be normal teenagers whose biggest problem would be "my crush doesn't notice me" rather than some curse?

"Tatsuo, what exactly are your skills?"

"I can see the details of how to hurt someone, both mentally and physically," he replied and looked away as if ashamed of it. "How and where to hit."

"You used that on me often for sure," I said offended.

"No," he was indignant. "I enjoy teasing you, but never with the intention of causing you any particular pain. Besides, with you, that compulsion is surprisingly quiet." I raised my eyebrows, I didn't expect to hear that, Konya probably didn't want to admit it himself and quickly shifted the blame to me. "You sure used your skills on me, what did you see?"

The bell rang, I thought it would save me, but as we walked towards the classroom, Konya did not give up and demanded that I confess the truth.

"All right!" I finally gave up. "I used my skills on you, I can check compatibility between individuals."

"Do I stand a chance with anyone?" he asked laughing.

"Poorly with anyone," I replied and wanted to add "except me."

"And what else could I expect?" He sighed but smiled at me anyway.

I wanted to comfort him and tell him that someone was waiting for him there, and he already met that person, but I didn't have time because Konya suddenly became serious when he saw Hamada approaching us.

"Who are you afraid of losing to a curse?"


"It's about her, isn't it?"

Konya nodded his head at Hamada, and I wanted to frantically deny that it wasn't true, that it was all about him. His expression, however, showed that he would not believe it, too convinced of the correctness of his assumption. His gaze wandered to the floor as if admitting defeat and awaiting punishment.

"Sugiyama Kiyoshi," my once dream girl approached us. "You're forcing me to take matters into my own hands," she laughed and looked condescendingly at Konya, who I expected to say something, but instead he kept his mouth shut. "I got Friday night movie tickets for my birthday, and I'm inviting you. This time I take no refusal."

Hamada was smiling brightly, I knew I shouldn't have agreed, but she insisted and indeed I turned down her proposals and suggestions too often. She only invited me to the movie because she had an extra ticket, not a date. At least that's what I thought...

"Okay," I nodded reluctantly and looked at Konya, who looked like he was about to collapse under some unseen weight.

"I'm so happy!" Hamada exclaimed happily. "I can't wait for our first date."