Alicia woke up the next morning feeling awful, like a demonic horde had stampeded on her. There was a ringing in her eyes. Her eyes felt like someone had ground them into a fine powder. Even her body ached despite the fact that she had not done anything physically strenuous.
Rising from bed, she took a quick rinse, got dressed in her school uniform, and headed into the dining room.
Jacob was already there. He sat at the same spot on the table that he usually did, right next to the head. With his head down, he stared at the table with a despondent look that reminded Alicia of the expression she had seen when looking in the mirror this morning.
She hesitated, wondering what she should do. Jacob looked at her, his eyes hollow. He opened his mouth. Alicia huffed before he could say anything and traveled to the end of the table, sitting down as far from Jacob as possible.
What should she do? Should she talk to him? Maybe she should… but no… she couldn’t do that.
'I can’t let him off the hook that easily.'
After last night, Alicia had been unable to sleep for several hours. It was only thanks to the call of exhaustion that she had managed to sleep at all. Even then, her sleep had been troubled with dreams of Jacob running off with that blonde girl and leaving her alone. Just remembering that dream made her blood boil and her heart ache.
'I can’t believe I’m jealous of a girl I’ve never met.'
It wasn’t just jealousy that coursed through her body. She was also worried. Yes, she might have spoken out of jealousy last night, but that didn’t mean her words were false.
This Gabriel could very well be someone who was seeking to harm Jacob, an assassin who excelled at killing people after getting close to them. Alicia didn’t want to see something happen to Jacob.
'What should I do? Should I try to make him see reason again?'
If she tried talking to him, reasoning with him like she had last night, it might end up making the situation worse, might cause the rift that had opened between last night to widen. She had a feeling that he would defend Gabriel if she brought the girl up. That would just lead to another argument.
The doors opened. Alicia looked up as Yūgure walked into the room, paused, looked between them both, and then sat down right next to Jacob. She tugged on Jacob’s sleeve, causing him to turn in his seat.
“Oh, Yūgure. Good morning,” Jacob said listlessly. Yūgure frowned and tugged his sleeve again. Smiling, he placed a hand on her head and began rubbing her ears. “Don’t worry. I’m okay. Just tired.”
Yūgure didn’t look like she believed him, but she didn’t say anything. She leaned over and placed her head on his arm as though using it as a pillow.
Gripping her skirt, Alicia tried not to show how annoyed she was that Yūgure had taken her favorite spot. More than that, the affection that nekomata was showing Jacob bothered her.
“This is an alarmingly tense atmosphere,” Matilda said as she walked in from the kitchen. She had made a traditional Japanese breakfast this time, a plate of salmon, a bowl of rice, and pickled vegetables, which she placed in front of each person. “Please be sure to eat up. You’ll need your strength. Also, for the two who woke me up with their arguing last night, please be sure to make up by the end of today. If you don’t, I’ll be obligated shower you both with the most erotic dreams a succubus can think of.”
Alarmed, Alicia watched Matilda as she wandered back into the kitchen, and then she looked at Jacob, who was staring at her with wide eyes and a red face. Her own face became hot. She looked away and tried to ignore Jacob’s presence, now unable to look at him for another reason.
All the while, Yūgure quietly ate her fish with cat-like enthusiasm.