Chapter 33:

Confession and Goodbye

Pandora's Box

... I threw open the door and stepped out onto the roof. There in front of me was Akari, who was casually leaning up against the fence.

"Why do you look so frantic, Kuro?" She asked as I approached her.

"I wanted to talk to you about something. I rushed here as quickly as I could."

Red muttered in my ear,

"You would have gotten here even quicker too, if it weren't for those meddling females.

I ignored his petty comments. I wasn't about to let him ruin the mood.

"You could have just texted me that you wanted to meet up, you know. It's not like you don't have my number." Akari noted.

"Oh...I guess you're right. I didn't really think about that."

Akari laughed. The two of us were now face to face.

"So what did you want to talk to me about?" She asked.

I looked her directly in the eyes as I spoke.

"Well... I just wanted to say... I-I like you a lot, Akari! And I want to know if you have feelings for me too?"

She smirked.

"Before I give you my answer, there's something I should be up front about... The truth is I had my own ulterior motive for helping you this whole time."

"I don't like the sound of this." Red whispered in my ear.

"It all started when you were assigned as my shift partner at 11/7... At first I thought you were going to at least make one pass at me like every guy I've ever met… but it never happened. Every shift you would just come in and tell stories about your antics with the student council. In all honesty, you really sparked my interest. I don't think I ever met a guy quite like you. Before long though, I realized something..."

She shook her head.

"...You were too much of a wimp to ever ask me out."

"Wow, that’s a bit harsh." I responded.

"When you came to me after your little #pukeboy incident, I found my opportunity. Getting on board as your campaign manager allowed me to get all the pieces into position to get you in the very spot you are right now."

"I don't really understand what you're getting at, Akari."

She moved forward a bit closer to me.

"What I'm saying is, yes Kuro. I like you too. In fact I'd say that I think I'm in love with you. I mean I had to resort to this whole convoluted plan to get you to confess to me so..."

She proceeded to wrap her arms around me and hug me. I reciprocated and hugged her back.

"Does this mean we're official?" I said.

Akari held out her phone and snapped a picture of us.

"I'd say so." She responded as she posted the image to her social media.

Red unfortunately had to chime in during our moment.

"I don't want to ruin the mood, but you have to admit, this girl might also be a little crazy to have gone to the lengths she di-..."

"You know, Kuro, you should tell the little devil man in your backpack that it's rude to talk about people in front of them."

I jumped a bit at Akari's response.

"WAIT! You can see him!?"

She chuckled.

"Yeah, I've been able to see him this whole time. You seemed like you didn't want anyone to know about him, so I just played along."

"So you're saying you could see him when he was eating the chips on the shelf or when he got knocked out in the tennis match."

"Yep, I saw and heard everything."

Red looked puzzled.

"Devils can only be seen by individuals they make contracts with. This shouldn't be possible. How the heck can you see me?"

"Who knows? Maybe I'm a devil too."

Akari spoke with a half joking devilish smile. I had to admit I couldn't help but wonder about her...

Red suddenly jumped down from my bag. Instantly I noticed something unusual about him.

"Is it me or do you look like you're fading?"

"Yep, you managed to get a girlfriend, so you fulfilled your end of our deal. That means my time is up."

I couldn't help, but feel a bit sad. He was honestly more of a hindrance than actually any help most of the time, but I had to admit, him being around kind of had grown on me. There still was something I wondered about him though.

"Hey Red, I'm curious, was the reason you actually helped me because you saw my struggle and wanted to help me grow as a person?"

Red raised an eyebrow.

"What the heck are you talking about? Of course not. I'm a devil not a guidance counselor."

"Oh... I just sort of thought maybe you had your own ulterior motive you were waiting to reveal."

"I already told you this was all to get content for my manga. By the way, you might be the main character, but don't expect a free copy. You have to buy one like anyone else when it releases."

I still was curious what channels a devil would go through in order to get published.

"Well then, I guess this is goodbye, Red."

I put out my hand. He grabbed it with his own and proceeded to shake.

"I have to admit, Kuro. I haven't been entertained by a human this much, since back when I was advising Napoleon... And you never know, there's always room for a sequel."

With that, he completely faded out of existence.

"I can't believe he's gone." I said.

Akari smiled at me.

"Considering that last thing he said, I have a feeling you'll see him again one day."

The sun was beginning to set. I grabbed her hand and the two of us stood together on the roof enjoying our time alone together.

Starting tomorrow, I would be taking over as student council president, which I'm sure is going to present itself with its own challenges. I wasn't nervous though, I was actually excited to go forward into the future with my friends... and my girlfriend.

N.J. Ecalus
Taylor J
Mario Nakano 64