Chapter 18:

Party: Melancholic Night

The Day I Forgot About You

After taking a shower, Neo was staring at the clothes that Erick had lent him; they were hanging in his closet. As he examined the clothes more closely, they stood out among the other clothes that were there. 

Compared to the others he had seen at the store, these seemed special. He was afraid to wear them and ruin them. But Erick had gone through all the trouble to lend them to him, so not wearing them wasn't an option.

Once he put them on, anxiety began to take over his body. His hands were sweating, and he felt shivers all over. He was afraid to go to the party. He wasn't very good with social events, and being in a place with so many people would surely force him to interact.

However, if he didn't go, Takeshi would definitely do something. Neo had to go, or he would regret it forever. Outside, the streets were dark with little lighting. A chilly wind brushed against Neo's cheeks, and he was relieved to be wearing warm clothes. The sound of his footsteps was the only thing he heard. He couldn't see anyone in the distance, yet he had a feeling he was being followed.

Memories of his nightmare started to overwhelm him – the terrifying images of the faceless figure chasing him, the blade of a sword piercing his throat. 

He quickened his pace as he tried to focus on happier memories. Strangely, thoughts of the warm meals in the cafeteria came to his mind. Maybe he was hungry. He was still nervous, seeking refuge in his mind. He recalled the melodic words he had heard while semi-conscious. Saya's singing was truly enchanting; Neo wanted to hear her sing again. 

Near the school entrance, several students could be seen. The entry was moving slowly, and Neo had to identify himself as a Hoshi student. Only Hoshi students were allowed in that day.

The gymnasium stood out in the darkness like a beacon, brightly lit. Neo's nervousness returned as he approached the location. He began to question his choices and whether he was really doing the right thing. He was carried along by the crowd entering together, so he didn't have much of a choice.

Looking up, he saw the banner he had helped Richard put up. He thought that just seeing the result of the Student Council's work would be satisfying. 

Once he entered, he caught a glimpse of the decorations. The ceiling was draped with white fabric, forming an arched canopy from the corners to the center. Small lights adorned the fabric like stars.

The walls were covered in white fabric and lights, along with many colorful flowers. At the back of the gymnasium, there was a table filled with food and drinks, decorated with red fabric in the center forming a triangle, and white fabric at the edges. Classical instruments played a melody that blended well with the surroundings.

The gym had transformed into a magical place. 

Richard approached Neo when he noticed the boy admiring the work of his peers. "What do you think of the final result, Neo?" He was accompanied by Sarah, who wore a black outfit with golden accents.

"It's incredible, the place looks really beautiful," Neo replied. 

Richard smiled and thanked him for the compliment. "Seeing the final result makes all our struggles worth it. Thank you for helping with the banner. You're a part of this too."

Neo smiled in response to the gratitude. "No problem. You guys are the best."

"Feel free to enjoy," Richard said, turning to greet someone else. Before joining him, Sarah said to Neo, "I really like your outfit."

The boy was taken aback, caught off guard by her sudden compliment. At least this confirmed what he had noticed earlier in his room. 

Speaking of outfits, the sea of well-dressed people also turned the hall into a fairytale setting. Neo managed to spot a few individuals without proper attire, but overall, everyone seemed to have followed the dress code.

He searched among the people in the hall for Saya, circling around but couldn't find her anywhere. 

He spotted Natasha; she was wearing a white dress that complemented her attributes well, making her even cuter than before. Next to her was a girl in a sleeveless green dress. Neo hadn't seen her before; a rose tattoo on her arm made him certain that she was Monica.

He decided to look for the baseball team, wandering around the hall, yet there was no sign of any of its members. Hadn't they arrived yet? His attention turned to a girl wearing a purple dress with straight black hair. He was sure it was Luna, the only one with a witch's hat. She was holding a cup of strawberry juice.

Feeling hungry, Neo decided to grab a snack and the same juice Luna was drinking. He looked for a place to sit; there were several benches nearby. The snack he was eating wasn't the best he'd ever had, certainly not comparable to Takeshi's uncle's ramen, but it satisfied his hunger.

As Neo ate, he observed the other people engaging in conversation about their lives, memories, laughing, and having fun. Meanwhile, he couldn't recall much from before awakening on that bench. Thus, he couldn't engage in discussions about his past like the others.

He felt like he didn't belong in that place or anywhere else. Without his memories, he was a shadow of his former self.

The feeling intensified after he finished his meal. He felt so lonely.

He began to gaze at the floor, his breathing growing heavier, and his eyes slightly burning. Amidst the laughter of others, he was on the brink of tears. A hand ruffling his hair interrupted his spiraling thoughts and impending tears.

"Hey, silly, are you okay?"

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon