Someone once told me that when you're too happy, something bad is bound to happen. I thought that was just being negative about stuff but now, I think I understand that. As I opened my shoe locker, I winced as my breath got stuck in my throat. I couldn't move my hand from holding the handle and my hands grew cold as my heart pounded violently in my chest. These past few days, I'd been receiving threat letters but this one has officially become the worst thing they could ever do.
My shoes were dirtied, as if they were stepped on and thrown in the mud. There were damp sheets of paper, broken ballpens, crumpled papers—there were even notes saying:
You are too ugly to be beside senpai!
Who do you think you are?
Minoru deserves me! He doesn't deserve you!
Don't get cocky, bitch.
You think you're famous now?
Tears started to well up in my eyes and I fought hard to stop them from leaking out. I heaved a deep breath to calm myself down. I raised my free hand, even though it was trembling, and took my indoor school shoes out. I was horrified upon touching it because it was damp, too. I bit my lower lip and took it with me as I hurriedly walked out and went straight to the fields behind the school.
I placed my shoes by the bushes where the sun could hit them. I leaned on the wall for support and just as I felt the cold plaster behind me, my knees immediately gave in. I hugged my knees and buried my face there as I allowed my tears to fall just then.
A little while later, my phone beeped. I took it out from the pocket of my skirt and opened the mail. It was Marumi. She was asking me where I was.
Re: Where are you??
I'm sorry. I think I'll be in school by second or third period.
My phone beeped again.
Re: Where are...; Re: I'm sorry...
You left home earlier than I did. Seriously, where are you? Don't go wandering the streets. You know it's dangerous for you! (>w<)
I couldn't help but smile at my best friend's genuine concern. I heaved a deep breath as I buried my face in my arms again. "You don't have to worry, I'm on the school grounds, Marumi," I whispered. Even when I so badly want to talk to her about this, I just couldn't bring myself to worry her even more.
I heaved a deep breath as I raised my head and wiped my tears. "No," I muttered. "I'm a strong girl. I can handle this bullying myself."
I do remember my mom telling me that the best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them and show them that they're not affecting you.
I scrolled through my contacts again. Jeez, why did I even forget to send a mail to Aoi Jin?
I started typing, asking how he was doing and if possible, I'd like to meet with him so I could thank him properly for everything he's done for me. A few minutes later, I received no reply. I was beginning to lose hope when my phone suddenly beeped.
I jumped and hurriedly checked my phone only to find that it was Naoki. He was asking me if we could eat lunch together again. Of course, I said yes. Then he sent me a rather colourful email about how happy he was and thanking me. I giggled. It was cute, how he reacted.
My phone beeped again. I thought it was Naoki but the name displayed made my heart beat even faster. A surge of excitement flowed that I immediately opened the message.
From: Aoi Jin :)
Message: Hey! Been a while, Akane! I never actually imagined you'd hit me up with a mail first!
I giggled like a small child. When I read that he still called me by my name, I felt relieved and I don't even know why.
Message: So what, are you gonna treat me to somethin'? I sure as hell am up for it! What are ya doin' there anyway Akane?
I tilted my head to the side as confusion appeared on my face. What was he talking about? So I replied.
To: Aoi Jin :)
Huh? What are you talking about?
I set my phone beside me and heaved a deep breath again. A second after, my phone beeped. I was amazed as to how fast he actually replied.
From: Aoi Jin :)
Re: Hey!; Re: Huh?...
I looked up at the tree. When I heard a distant laughter, I stood up and looked up at the building. Surely, he was there on the second floor, leaning from a window and waving his hand. He had this wide grin on his face. I don't understand why just from seeing him, I would feel this happy. There's just a warm feeling in my chest whenever I set my eyes on Aoi Jin. Especially when he has that smile on.
He suddenly disappeared before I knew it. I frantically looked around where he might be only to jump when he'd surprised me from behind. I turned around, clutching my chest, "Well that was fast!"
"Yeah," then he shook the leaves from his hair off. "You could guess how I did that."
I covered my mouth to stop my laughter from slipping out but I couldn't help it. Jin blinked a few times, arched his brow and tilted his head to the side, "What's so funny, Akane~?"
"Nothing, nothing," I said, swishing my hand in the process. Then I looked at him and smiled, "I missed you." I saw how his face flushed red. Realizing what I just said, it felt as if a bucket of water was poured on me, "O-Oh! That! I'm sorry! That must've felt awkward!"
He looked away, forcing the corner of his lip up and lightly scratched his cheek with his index finger, "Huh. You've grown into a fine woman while I was away."
"Hahaha! What's with that? Who are you, my dad? Hahahaha!"
He looked back at me and smiled, "Whatever."
As the laughter died down, we sat on the ground again, leaning our backs on the wall. "So," he started. "What are you doing here?"
"O-Oh!" I looked away and forced a smile, "La-lazing off?"
He arched a brow at that answer, "Uh-huh. Well, I know you're gonna ask me but I'm gonna answer you already." I looked at him and he leaned his elbow on his knee as he rest his chin on the heel of his palm, "I was late so our homeroom teacher asked me to stand on the corridor. I thought the weather was nice so I opened the window, leaned on the window sill and admired the nature. That's when I saw you."
I opened my mouth to say something when he added, "Guess Minoru's bullies have already taken action, eh?"
He looked at me sideways, "Everyone at school knows you two are going out. It's like, the talk of the whole school right now. Honestly..." he let out a grunt as he stuck a pinky finger in his ear and acted as if he was cleaning it. "It just annoys the heck out of me hearing the same shit every single day."
The feeling I'd been trying to forget came rushing back. My shoulders dropped as I hugged my knees again and leaned my chin there. "It must've really spread for you to actually even get tired of hearing it." I let out a sigh and gave him a small smile, "Sorry."
Aoi Jin's brow twitched as he sat properly. "Now look here you stupid idiot."
"You couldn't just let them trample on you like that! What do you see yourself as? A pathetic dirty rag you'd just let any fucking bastard trample all over you?" His brows pulled together as he stood up and planted his hand on his waist while the other hand was curled into a ball of fist, "You must let them know how terrifying you can be! If you want, I'd beat their asses for y—" Something caught his attention. He squinted his eyes and walked towards it. My heart started to beat faster as my face grew pale. I was about to call him when he looked at me over his shoulder with a forced smile and a vein popping on his forehead, "Don't tell me they did this, too?"
He started stomping his way towards I don't know where, muttering, "I'm gonna make them pay..."
"Ah! Ji-Jin!" I stood up and grabbed him by the arm. When he looked at me with glaring eyes and smoking nose, I laughed, "I'm fine. They didn't do anything to me. Let's just pray for my shoes."
He seemed like he calmed down and we did what I said. A little while later, we were back to goofing off. Then when his phone beeped, he stood up and patted the dust off his slacks, "Well, I gotta go now." I wanted to ask where he was going when he'd turned away and started walking. He waved the back of his hand at me and said, "You won't be needing me now that you have Minoru, anyway. You don't need to treat me to anything. See ya around..." then he stopped and looked at me. He smiled, "Mirai."
For some reason, something squeezed my chest. Why does he have that effect on me? What is Aoi Jin to me? Who is he to me? Why?
When my phone beeped, I immediately opened the message without looking at the sender. What the message said made my hairs stand on end.
Message: Does someone have to die for you to understand that you're mine?
My heart started to bang wildly and my stomach twisted and dropped. My feet felt as if they were rooted on the ground but I summoned all of my strength to move. I ran towards the school gate, where Aoi Jin disappeared. I turned at the corner and was stoned from what I saw.
It was Aoi Jin.
And he was lying face down on the ground and his blood started to spread, as if it was melting underneath him.