Did I make it?
I run. I run as fast as I can. I run as if my life depended on it. I kick down the door and I see her – at least, I hope so. I toss my umbrella aside, as I wanted to be hit by the punishing rain. It was raining harder and harder, with my sweat being mixed with the downpour. I can barely see anything in front of me, but I spot her silhouette through the darkness. Akane is standing on the very edge of the building.
“Akane!” I shout with my hoarse voice.
She turns around. I don’t want to think what would’ve happened if I was a second late. I cautiously approach her.
“Do not come any closer!” she shouts at me.
I immediately stop in my tracks. I hear nothing in her voice. It was completely monotone, void of any sense of emotion left.
“Akane don’t do it!” I plead to her.
It’s my fault.
It was my fault that she was up here. It is because of me that Akane is standing on the edge of this building tonight. It’s all because I couldn’t bear to tell her the truth. She put her trust and faith into me, and I betrayed her. I’m not sure if I can even look at her in the eyes.
“I do not care anymore! I am just a pale imitation, a fake!” she replies back.
I wish I could just hold her, to beg for forgiveness worth a thousand lifetimes. But I didn’t deserve to be forgiven so easily. She’s not a pale imitation – Akane is the girlfriend of my dreams.
Kazuki-kun was dressed in his pajamas, soaking wet and breathing heavily. I yelled at him to stop, but I’m lying. I wanted him to come closer, to reach out to me like he did before. I wanted to hold him one more time, to pretend as if nothing had ever happened. But it is too late. His betrayal is too much for my weary heart to handle. What was the point of my meaningless life? I will always be my own shadow, unable to become his ideal. Was it pathetic that a fake like me could develop feelings for someone? How would you feel if someone loved another version of yourself the whole time? How could someone love you, but not love “you” at the same time?
“That isn’t true!” he shouts through the wind. “You’re not a fake…you’re the real thing.”
“S-Shut up!” I screamed at him. “What is wrong with you? I trusted you Kazuki! I trusted you from the bottom of my heart.” as I instinctively clutch my chest. “Did my feelings for you mean nothing? Am I just your object? If you loved Mary then just let me go! Why must I keep suffering? Can you imagine the person you love be with someone else?”
That was the price of love. I can’t handle it anymore.
“I-I don’t love Mary. I love Akane Yuki!” he shouts. “You’re different from Yuki-san. You’re loud, obnoxious, and snore a lot when you sleep!” he chuckles.
Y-You’re not making a good case.
“Y-You are just saying these things.” I stutter.
It is beginning to get difficult to breathe. Maybe the cold was finally taking its toll on me. Any second now my legs could give out, and I can finally end my suffering.
“Akane! Being with you all this time…it’s changed my life. Whenever I’m around you I feel…happy. It almost seems too good to be true.” as a longing smile crosses his face.
“But despite everything, you are real Akane. I know you don’t believe me right now, but you really are the girl of my dreams. I don’t deserve you.” he says, stepping closer and closer.
Kazuki finally looks at me in the eyes. There was no proof, no evidence that anything he said was genuine. But somehow I knew right then and there he was sincerely telling the truth. It was the same unwavering eyes that I fell for, the ones that matched mine. He never left me; it was I who didn’t believe in him. My chest was tugging me harder and harder. I was adamant about never forgiving this stupid idiot! He’s done this before. But the tears coming out of my eyes flowed, dripping from my chin.
You’re a fake Akane. He loves Yuki-san. You are nothing.
I notice that he was only about an arm’s length away at this point. His determined face caught me by surprise.
Can I really forgive him…?
“I just wanted to be a woman that suited you…”
I look behind me, down below, remembering that I was still standing at the edge of this rooftop. I suddenly felt dizzy, exhausted from standing in the rain, and finally my legs give out. I feel my body fall backwards, and my eyes begin to close, as I realize my pain, no – everything – will be gone in an instant.
I’m sorry Kazuki.
I feel something pulling me, and my body moves forward, away from the edge.
Did I fall? No, I must have. I slowly open my eyes. I find myself on top of Kazuki. I was close enough to him that I could feel his warm breath reflect on my face. My teardrops dripped onto his red face. I couldn’t hear anything except my rapidly beating heart; my body was still processing what happened.
“A-Akane!” I see Kazuki mouths to me.
He raises his cold hand towards my face, and wipes away the tears pouring from my eyes with his thumb. I feel like I’m shocked back to reality, finally hearing the screams of my name repeatedly.
“I-I’m sorry!” I sob, unable to hold back my tears.
“Just in the nick of time…” he says to me. “I don’t know what I’d do without you…”
His tears mix with the raindrops falling on his face. His cold hands warm my face. His warm embrace soothes any of my doubts. How could I have doubted someone like Kazuki? I look deep into his eyes, radiating like a shining beacon. He saved me from making a stupid mistake, but my feelings towards him were mixed. Can we ever be the same? Maybe I wasn’t the ideal perfect girl of his dreams. I’m not Yuki-san, nor could she ever replace me. I would only have Kazuki half the time, and it was a fact that pained me. It’s a selfish request, but I wished he could be with me forever; to stay in World A(kane) instead.
“But…can you get off me…?” he strains.
I start to lightly pound his chest, as it was the best and worst thing he could have said to break our tension.
“Sorry.” as I immediately get off.
The rain was still pouring onto us. I couldn’t help but feel like we were two idiots trying our best to get hypothermia at this rate.
Is that…an umbrella?
I stand up, and walk over to get the umbrella Kazuki tossed to the ground. I walk back to Kazuki, who was still lying on the ground. I open the umbrella, shielding him from the pouring rain.
“Let’s go home, Kazuki.” as I extended my hand.
“I’m sawee!” as Mary hugs Akane tightly.
Akane opens the front door to suddenly be hugged by Mary.
We finally came home after everything. Luckily for us, the rain managed to subside after our incident. Akane and I didn’t say a single word on the way home, which was pretty awkward considering the levity of what just happened. I came home to find almost a thousand messages from Mary, since I impulsively left my house without it. I messaged her back, and next thing you know she just appeared outside. Typical roadrunner behavior.
“I’m sorry for everything!” Mary cries. Her hug was even tighter, and I can see Akane’s shirt covered in tears and snot.
“No…I’m sorry!” as Akane gets teary eyed as well, eventually sobbing as much as Mary.
Akane reciprocates her feelings. They both wipe away their tears, and give each other a much needed smile.
“But!” Akane crosses her arms and pouts. “If you and Kazuki doanything suspicious again…”
Mary gives Akane a thumbs up, and then winks at me. The friends laugh like old times. It was extremely late at this point, and so Mary finally heads on home. Now, it was just the two of us.
“Hey Kazuki?” Akane breaks our silence.
“How did you know I was up there?” she asks.
“I don’t know actually…I heard your voice in my head. At least, I think it was your voice.”
Akane looks at me with a suspicious expression.
“It’s true!” I pleaded to her.
She stares at me, quietly observing me up and down. I had to admit though my explanation did sound ridiculous. Akane breathes a heavy sigh.
“I guess my feelings called out to you.” as she smiles.
I chuckle out of reflex.
Why did I hear her voice?
There was no logical explanation to how it even popped into my head. Given how my world hopping power worked, did that mean I had other powers as well, like mind reading or something? It was doubtful; I’m sure it would’ve popped up before. If anything, it seemed like a miracle had happened. What if I never heard her voice? Would it have been-
No. What happened has happened. So long as Akane is safe.
“Achoo!” Akane lets out a squeaky sneeze.
I come closer to her, and instinctively place my hand on her forehead.
“It’s burning up.”
I suddenly feel the need to sneeze as well.
Akane places her hand on my forehead.
“You’re burning up too.” she laughs.
Our relationship will never be the same again. The first thing I needed to do was to settle things in World B. I need to tell Mary the truth. But for now, we were just two people on the verge of getting sick.
I’m glad Akane is safe.
Umm…why am I here?
I’m back in World B. I don’t even know where to begin to be honest except it’s afterschool now. . .
“Vending machines filled with junk foods wow!” his eyes shine with amazement.
Of course, a new transfer student transferred in the middle of the semester – again.
“Hello everyone! My name is Alexander Windso-! I mean Williams! Yes! Williams. Alexander Williams!” he chuckles anxiously. “Please call me Al.”
Immediately all the girls in my class (except a missing Yuki-san), went wild. He was tall, though not as tall as Daisuke was. He was handsome, looking easily like a model out of a fashion magazine. Somehow his chiseled jaw and broad shoulders nearly made him look like he was sculpted from marble. His naturally blonde hair and blue eyes stood out compared to the rest of us, reminding me of a particular foreign person in another class. Judging by his accent, I wasn’t sure which country he was from to be honest. For some reason, he ignores everyone and walks right up to class president, and begins to inspect her closely to her dismay.
“Hey…have I seen you somewhere before?” he asks.
“W-What are you talking about…?” our meek class president lets out.
“Ah that’s it!” Al snaps his fingers. “You’re Neko-nee from the café right? I recognize those boobs anywhere-“ as he suddenly stops talking.
Immediately Al covers his mouth and he suddenly loses his breath.
“S-Sorry…” Al tries to not throw up his breakfast.
“You must have mistaken me for someone else…” as I see a small vein pop up on our usually reserved class president.
I suppose class president used a forbidden technique from her detective training on Al to silence him from spilling her secret. If it wasn’t for his awkward introduction and interaction with class president, he would’ve been considered to most “normal” person that’s transferred her – which was not saying much. So here I am now, out of Dr. Mori’s request, to give the new guy a tour of our “prestigious” school, in addition to catching him up on some materials. I was trying to look for Mary all day to tell her the truth, but she’s been missing and I didn’t want to do it over the phone. I guess that’s on pause for now.
But why are you here too?
Class president (Tsubasa Takemi) joined me. She made some excuse to join me, since I guess she didn’t want him spilling any more secrets.
Takemi-san hands Al a can of juice. He graciously accepts, even though he was eyeing the soft drinks.
“Thank you very much!” he bows.
“Stop that. You’re making yourself look like a fool.” she coldly reprimands him. “It’s frankly insulting.”
“A-Ah I see! I’m sorry!” as he bows yet again.
Takemi-san and I coincidently sigh deeply.
“Now, let’s make ourselves clear. First of all, never mention that I work at that stupid café okay?” Takemi-san says Al, though she doesn’t forget to make sure I know that too.
“I got a shift at the café today, so I’ll be leaving.” class president turns away. “Don’t blow my cover, idiots.”
That’s our detective in training for you…scary!
Now it was only me and the new transfer student. We continue walking around the campus, as I show him the sights. I can’t quite figure him out yet.
“So uh…Alexander.” I awkwardly start small talk.
“Call me Al!”
“Right…Al. So why did you transfer to Kasumigaseki High all of a sudden?” I ask him.
He seemed too prestigious to be here at this school. Judging by his looks and mannerisms, I believe a private school would’ve better suited him. Even during class, he managed to get all the questions our teachers asked, except literature I suppose.
Reminds me of a certain airheaded “roadrunner” I know.
“Ah. Now that’s a long story.” he says unsurprisingly. “I’ve always wanted to come back to this country.”
“You’ve been here before?” Al piques my curiosity.
“Yes, I visited as a kid while my father was on business. Though at the time I was pretty naïve, I’ve later read all about this country’s culture: maid cafes, animation, games – its super cool! I’ve always wanted to experience everything firsthand!” he says with excitement.
“But, the truth is…and this is gonna sound embarrassing…”
And what you’ve already said isn’t…?
“I’m looking for someone special to me.”
“W-What do you mean?”
“When I was younger, an angel appeared before me! It was like love at first sight! She was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid my eyes upon, and I’ve never forgotten about her since.” he says with sincerity. “All I knew was that she happened to live around here, and maybe, just maybe, she’s still living here somewhere. I’m going to confess my love and ask her to marry me!”
“W-Wait r-really?” I’m stunned.
He nods confidently. Al wasn’t kidding.
This girl must truly be an angel if he’s head over heels for her.
“What’s her name?” I ask.
Al pauses and blushes. His face suddenly turned red as a tomato.
“Eh…I don’t wanna say. It’ll be embarrassing if I rejected by her. Plus, I’m not sure how to pronounce it correctly.”
What kind of girl would reject this loveable oaf?
“I see. I hope you manage to run into her one day.”
“I’ve been sort of looking for her all day to be honest, I’m not sure she’s here.” Al mentions. “But thanks friend.” he smiles.
He already considered me a friend?!? It suddenly made my heart feel proud, as if I was suddenly granted a privilege or honor. He may be a bit of a weirdo, but Al has a heart of gold. After what seems like an eternity we reach the old study room.
I haven’t been here in a while…
Given what’s happened so far and in this room, I feel a great pressure upon my shoulders. Dr. Mori had assigned me to give him a basic catch-up on some of the material that was complicated, so what better place than this room? It was unlocked, peaceful, and no one would bother us. I slide the door open, to see someone unexpected.
She was surprised as I was. Mary Kaneko was sitting on the table with her notebooks, presumably studying on her own.
“Ka-Kazuki?!? W-What are you doing here?!?” she stutters.
“I’m supposed to tutor the new transfer student. What are you doing here Mary?”
“I’ve been using this room to study all this time. I kinda hoped one of us would show up again…” she smiles quaintly. “Besides, I’m glad my tutor has returned.”
I finally ran into Mary. After tutoring Al I’ll tell Mary the truth – why I can’t be with her. Then maybe I could correct everything that’s happened so far, and maybe we could all be back to the way things were.
Maybe Yuki-san and Daisuke won’t hate me anymore.
Oh wait! Seeing Mary almost made me forget Al was here.
I motion Al to step into the room. “This is Alexander.”
“Hi Alexander.” Mary says awkwardly.
For some reason, Al stays quiet and still, almost as if he’s seen a ghost.
I start to take out my notes from my bag and set up the table, but Al is still standing there like a statue, staring at Mary intensely.
“Um…are you okay?” Mary asks with concern.
Al speaks up. “I-It’s you…I’ve finally found you.”
Tears begin to form from his eyes. A smile begins to form on Al’s face.
“It’s you…Mary Kaneko. I’ve finally found you! I can’t believe that you were here all along!” he shouts with joy.
Mary and I exchange confused glances. I shrug at her. I have no idea-
“So wait…Mary is that special girl you’ve mentioned?” I ask.
There's no way.
Al nods profusely up and down, trying his best to compose himself.
“Yes! Mary, it’s me Al? Do you remember me when I was a kid?” he suddenly grasps Mary’s hands.
“Uh…” Mary recollects herself. “Wait…you mean…Al as in Alexander Windsor?”
“Yes! Yes!” Al says with glee.
Mary hugs him to his surprise. It seemed that Mary finally remembered him. A million questions began to form in my head. How does Mary know this guy? And more importantly in what way was Mary “an angel?”
“What are you doing here Al?” Mary asks with a smile.
“Ahem…” Al lightly slaps himself in the face. "I have a confession to make. Sorry to keep it a secret, but I'm actually the Prince of Genova."
"W-What?!?" Mary and I say in shock.
“Mary, the moment I first laid eyes on you, I immediately fell in love with you. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve never forgotten about you. I’ve traveled across the seas and lands, all so I can one day see you once more. It seems like the Gods and Fortuna has let us meet together once again, my dear princess.”
Al gets onto one knee, and reaches into his pocket.
This can’t be happening!
“Mary, will you marry me?” as he reveals a diamond ring. “Come with me, where you’ll join me as the next princess to the royal kingdom.”
Al is a royalty?!?
There was no way this was a joke. That ring looks real. In fact, I could see the diamonds shining from the sunlight. Mary could not believe what she was seeing. Her face was bright red, unable to contain the rush of blood flowing towards her cheeks. A childhood friend just proposed to her.
“I-I c-can’t I-I’m sorry!” she squirms.
“W-Wait! Why n-not? D-Do you already have a boyfriend?!?” Al was still on one knee.
Mary rubs her Masked Avenger pin anxiously.
“Y-Yes I-I do!” she lets out nervously.
“You do?!?” Al stands up in shock.
Mary takes a deep breath and composes herself.
“Yes.” Mary immediately wraps her arm around me and leans her head on my shoulder. “Ka-Kazuki is m-my boyfriend.” she chuckles. “W-We’re lovers!”
“Please play along…” she whispers to me.
W-What do I do?!?
"Y-Yes...we are?" I follow suit.
Mary and I force our smiles.
I'm sorry Al.