Chapter 25:

Vibe Check

Annika Says No!

“No, this isn’t right at all.”

Before Suvi could pull down on my boxers, I moved her away and stood up.

“H-Huh? I don’t understand. Don’t you want this?” she asked me.

“Put your clothes back on.”


“Put them back on. Now.”

Suvi obeyed and started picking up her clothes. I waited by the door as she put everything back on. After she finished, she walked her way over and looked me straight in the eyes.

“Why didn’t you do it?” she asked. “No one would have known. You would have been able to have your revenge on me. All your anger, you could have dumped it all on me.”

I shook my head and opened the door.

“You and I are the same.”


“I’m just as guilty as you.” I sighed.

“What are you talking about?” Suvi tilted her head.

“Ninety-nine women.”


“That was how many women I slept with after you left. All of my fury…..I used it all up in my martial arts training and the gym, and chased after the finest ladies I could find.”

“Good for you, then!” Suvi grinned. “You became the man. You’ve changed for the better.”

“No. It only made things worse.”

Suvi grimaced. “I don’t understand. There’s nothing wrong with all of that.”

“Annika didn’t like it one bit. I failed her, indubitably. I became the very person she didn’t want me to be.”

I noticed Suvi started to tremble, clenching her fists and gritting her teeth.

“She’s far too naive. She doesn’t understand how the world truly is. She is oblivious. She doesn’t understand who you truly are. She doesn’t understand what it’s like to have a shadow! But I do!”

I slowly started closing the door.

“I think you should get going now.”

She peeked her eye towards the narrowing gap.

“The shadow never dies.”

The door closed, and I took a deep sigh.

That was way too close. Way too close!

I placed my hand against my chest. My heart danced like rabbits in heat, jumping up and down in all sorts of places. I dropped to the floor and laid my back on the door, my breath unstable from all the tension from earlier. A few deep breaths left my mouth, and I finally calmed down. I grasped my face and blew some air.

I was only seconds away from betraying Annika. But I did it. I survived.

Laughter left my stomach, but I kept it low to not wake up the neighbors. After I had settled down, I moved back to my bed and began to sleep.

Something about rejecting Suvi’s advances made me proud, which led to an amazing sleep right after.

I woke up the next morning, and did the usual routine. Woke up early, fixed my bed, took a shower, and waited for Annika to knock on my door. I checked my watch. Five minutes from now, she would be knocking on my door.

I’m gonna give her a big hug! And this time, I’m going to make sure it isn’t someone else at the door!

As I anticipated her arrival, I hummed two of my favorite songs. One of them was two minutes long, while the other was three minutes long. After I finished both songs, I expected a knock to come in any second now.


Aaaany second now…….


I walked over to the entrance and opened the door. Taking a peek outside, I realized that there was no sign of Annika at all.

What’s going on?

I walked over to her door and gave it a knock. But there was no response.

Did she leave without me? No way. As if she would forget about me for no reason.

I gave the door a few more knocks. Still, there was no response.

“Annika! Are you in there?!” I decided to slam my hand on the door.


After a while, the door opened.

“Ah! Good morning, Ann-”

What I saw before my very eyes put me to shock.

The girl before me had dark gloomy blue eyes, with puffy eye bags underneath her sockets, and her long white hair was totally disheveled, instead of the usual straight and silky combed state. Despite her messy state, she forced herself to smile.

“Oh, Kwwan.” She yawned. “S-Sowwy. I overswept.”

“A-Are you alright? What’s going on?”

“Just let me get ready first.” She lightly shooed me away. “Give me a few minutes.”

She closed the door.

That was weird. Annika was always an early bird. I’ve never seen her like this before. I guess she really is a human being. We all slip up sometimes.

I chuckled.

I found it pretty cute to see that side of hers though.

When Annika came out, her hair was all fixed, but her eyes still appeared rather gloomy. She reminded me of myself whenever I woke up back then. I decided to give her a hug and wrapped my arms around her.

“What are you doing?” she asked me with a low-pitch tone.

“I-I just wanted to thank you for everything.”

“Oh. Thanks, I guess,” she said without any enthusiasm.

I let go of her in confusion.

That was not the sort of response I was expecting.

“Let’s go.” She turned away and started walking.


The whole trip to the university was awfully quiet. She hadn’t said a single word to me, nor had she even bothered to give me a glance. Annika walked silently, not even bothered to match her pace with mine.

Once we reached the coffee shop, I greeted Matchan.

“Hello, Matchan! How’s the business going?”

“D-Don’t talk to me!” Matchan said. “Let Annika have her ord-”

“One order of Iced Matcha Latte please.” Annika placed the money on the counter.

“H-Hey. Why only one order?”

“That’s your order, I don’t feel like drinking coffee right now,” she said before turning away.

“A-Alright then….” Matchan tried to take the money, but I snatched it away.

“Hey! What’s the big idea?!” she complained.

“Annika wouldn’t normally order that for me that easily,” I said.

I felt my face turn grim.

Something was off, I could feel it. The vibes are way too different even for someone who simply overslept.

“Take it back.” I handed the money over to Annika.

“But isn’t that your favorite drink?” she tilted her head.

“You said you would never order it if I didn’t stop bothering the cute barista.”

“Is that so? Ok. Let’s leave then.”

She placed her hands on her pockets and left the cafe. Matchan looked utterly confused and scratched her head.

“What happened to her?” she asked me.

“No clue.”

Once our classes started, all she did was silently jot down on her notes like a robot, taking in all the lessons from her ears and turning them into words on a paper. She hadn’t even bothered to check if I had paid attention in class like she normally would. When our final class for the day ended, I attempted to communicate with her.

“Hey, Annika. Let’s go home now.”

“Sorry.” She stood up from her seat. “I’ve got other things to do right now. You can go on without me.”

“I can always wait for you!”

Before she could walk away from me, I grabbed her hand.


She turned to look at me.

“Is there a problem?”

“Tell me what’s going on, Annika! Did I do something to piss you off?!”

“Nothing’s wrong with you, Kwan. I’m telling you. Don’t delay me any further. I’m going to be late.”

“Late for what?”

“That’s none of your business.”

My heart sank as I gazed into her eyes. That bone-chilling death stare. Cold blue eyes. The same ones she gave me when she called me ‘lukewarm’. They froze me to the core.

Annika took the chance to move my arm away and started to run.

What the hell is going on?! 

F.C Fondness