In the end, I agreed to let Alicia wash my back—mostly because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. It had become abundantly clear that she wasn’t leaving unless she had her way. I had neither the strength nor the will to keep fighting her on this matter.
Still, I did have to wonder what gave her the idea to wash my back. Was she trying to copy a scene from that anime she loved so much—High-school-something-or-other—or was this Matilda’s idea?
“Alicia… you really don’t have to do this,” I said, turning my head to look back at her.
“D-d-don’t turn around!” Alicia squeaked.
I looked back up front again. Not that it did any good. There was a mirror in front of me, so I still had a perfect view of Alicia, naked, as she washed by back.
“S-sorry,” I apologized.
“It-it’s okay,” Alicia said, still scrubbing my back with a luffa. She’d been at it for nearly five minutes now. “J-just keep facing front. I’m… already really embarrassed.”
I would have liked to tell her that if she found this embarrassing, she shouldn’t have done it in the first place. I kept my mouth shut. Even if I were inclined to say that, I was also pretty embarrassed.
“This is the second time you’ve seen me naked. How do you think I feel?”
Embarrassed or not, I still wasn’t going to let this go just like that.
“I’m really sorry about that,” Alicia apologized. “But I kept thinking about what I can do to help, and this was all that came to mind.”
“Help? You mind if I ask why you’re so dead set on helping me?”
Alicia didn’t speak for a moment, but I knew that she was merely gathering her courage. She probably already had a speech planned out. She just couldn’t outright say it. For whatever reason, Alicia never said what she was thinking without clearing her mind, going over all the proper variables, and weighing the pros and cons of what she wanted to say. Even for everyday conversations, she was like this.
Just how she could clear her mind while scrubbing my naked back was something I would never know.
“D-did you know that you are the first boy I have ever taken a shower with?”
The question confused me, but I nodded anyway. “I figured as much. You don’t strike me as the type to take a shower with just anyone.”
Which begged the question of why she was hopping into the bathroom with me.
“That’s right, I wouldn’t do this with just anyone,” Alicia said. She stopped scrubbing my back with a luffa. “I’d never do something like this with someone who I didn’t have the utmost trust in, who wasn’t important to me.”
My spine tingled as a pair of soft, delicate hands landed on my bare back, the muscles of which twitched as though undergoing small electric shocks. Her fingers were divine, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Alicia, either unknowing or ignoring the way my back muscles twitched, continued speaking. “I know that my body sometimes tenses around you. I know that my mind tells me that being near you is dangerous.” Something else pressed against my back. Round and hard. It was a forehead. “Even if my body can’t stop from becoming wary, I am not wary of you. I trust you, so much so that I am willing to bare my body to you like this. You are… you’re… the only person I would do this with.”
This must have been her way of saying she trusted me. Well, that was obviously what she was saying. What I didn’t understand was why she was saying this.
As if she sensed my confusion, Alicia said, “I might not be able to stop the way my body sometimes reacts, or the way my instincts sometimes warn me about you, but I trust you completely, and I will eventually overcome this. I trust you more than anyone else. I know you would never hurt someone, least of all me.”
“Are you saying this because of what I said before?” I didn’t mention Gabriel. I didn’t want to think about what had happened.
“This has nothing to do with that,” Alicia said adamantly. “I’m saying this because I want you to know that I trust you.”
I didn’t know what to say. At the same time, I thought I should say something. I opened my mouth.
Nothing came out.
Alicia’s arms had snaked around my chest, pulling me back. Two large, soft somethings pressed against me, causing my entire body to light up like a livewire as an electric jolt traveled from my back to the rest of my body. Her breasts were pressing into my back.
It wasn’t just her breasts pressing against me that was the problem. Alicia’s nipples were poking my back. It took everything I had to fight off the intense arousal that any teenage boy would have experienced at this sensational feeling.
“Alicia!” I squawked as I regained my voice. “W-what are you doing?! Let go of—”
“You are important to me!” The words silenced me. Alicia’s arms tightened. “You are one of the most important people in my life. You mean so much to me, your friendship, your presence, it’s something that I can’t live without anymore. That is why, if you can’t find worth in yourself, then I’ll do it for you. You mean something to me. I don’t know what I would do if you died. I need you to stay in my life. That’s why you have to stop letting others push you around, why you need to be more suspicious of people who appear around you, why you shouldn’t go around thinking it would be better if you died. You’re not worthless.”
Tears stung my eyes. A lump had appeared in my throat. This was the first time someone had ever said those words to me, told me that I wasn’t worthless, that I shouldn’t die, that I was important to them. For the entirety of my life, I had been waiting to hear those words.
“Promise me,” Alicia began again as something wet ran down my back. Not water from the shower. Tears. Alicia’s tears. “Promise me you’ll never keep something like this from me again. Promise me you’ll never let anyone bully you again. Jacob, swear to me that you’ll place value on your own life.”
“Okay. I promise,” I said.
“Good,” Alicia said, sniffling several times. “I’m glad to hear that. Just so you know, I’ll be holding you to this promise.”
The breasts poking against me left my back, and I almost breathed a sigh of relief.
A loud bang echoed across the bathroom as my door, once again, was blown wide open. A person stood in the doorway. Yūgure. Her dark skin reminiscent of dusk glistened in the steam covered bathroom. A towel wrapped around her waist contrasted with her complexion. She was staring at him and Alicia with narrowed eyes.
The young nekomata walked into the room and shut the door, sealing them inside once more. Neither Alicia nor I said anything. I had barely a second to realize what this meant before she pounced.
“H-hey! What are you doing?! Get off Jacob this instant!”
“Don’t hiss at me, you blasted cat! Get away from Jacob right now!”
It wasn’t long after Yūgure came in that I found myself trapped between a pair of girls who, in their quest to wash my body—that’s what I assumed they wanted anyway—had shoved my head between their chests. Alicia’s chest was, quite obviously, as soft as pillows. My head sank between her bosom every time she pulled me into it. While Yūgure didn’t really have much of a chest, I could still feel her nipples every time she wrapped her arms around my head.
As the two continued to fight over me, I realized something.
It didn’t matter if I tried to kill myself or not.
Chances were good that these two would do finish me off long before I could even contemplate suicide.