"Akane, come on. Stand up already," Jin said, pulling me by my arm. "Didn't you hear what he said? Let me take you home. C'mon." He yanked me up, "Akane!"
I pulled my arm from him and looked up. A tear rolled down my cheek, "Don't you understand what I'm feeling right now, Jin?!"
"I don't give a shit about how you feel right now! The most important thing here is you go back to Mitsukage's place because the police might be on their way there right now!"
"You are so heartless!"
"What the fu—"
"Marumi, Jin! I lost...Marumi..!" I grabbed onto his collar and gripped it as I leaned my head on his chest, my hands were trembling and the sound of my heart beat is almost deafening, "I lost my best friend, Jin... I lost the person who was always there for me... Don't you...Don't you understand how that feels?" I sniffed, "Maybe—Maybe if I told her to be careful of Naoki...or, or, if I'd asked her to stay at home yesterday, she wouldn't be killed, too."
"Wh—Oi, what are you talking about?"
I looked up at Jin. His eyes were swirling with questions. "Naoki..."
"Would you listen to me?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?!"
"Promise me first you'll believe everything I'd say."
He looked reluctant and let out a frustrated sigh, "Alright, alright. But let's not talk here. Let's go over to the—"
"No, we're staying in this school."
"Fine. Alright, get on with it."
We sat back down on the wooden platform and I'd told him everything that had happened. His jaw literally dropped. When I showed him the picture, I saw how his face grew pale and he looked like he was about to barf any moment but he held it in. He breathed deep and rubbed his face with both of his hands and settled those hands on his head. He leaned his elbows on his thighs, "Minoru really did all that?"
"I couldn't believe it, either... I—I thought I could talk him out of it or convince him to surrender himself to the police so that everything would be done and stuff and then I woke up this morning just to hear the news that my best friend had been killed the same way those girls were."
"So what's your plan now? Minoru's...I don't know. He went this far. He had a reason to kill those five but...what reason could he have to kill your best friend, too?"
I shrugged, "I don't know... I really don't..."
"Do you hate him now, Akane?"
I bit my lower lip as I leaned my chin on my knees. "I don't....I don't know. But I'm pretty sure I'm scared of him right now. I'm scared of what he might do next or who he might harm..." my voice trailed off as realization dawned on me. I stood up and yanked Aoi Jin up. He complained as I dragged him with me towards the school gate. I loosened my grip on his arm, "You should stay away from me."
"I'm just taking precautions, Jin. I will email Naoki and tell him to come here. I will talk to him. I will ask him why he did all those." Aoi Jin looked like he wanted to protest but I insisted, "Please. I wasn't able to keep Marumi safe. I lost her. I can't afford to lose you, too, Jin. You're important to me, too. Please?"
He froze for a second, "No."
"I'll stay with you."
He reached out and patted my head as he grinned, "You're talking to a delinquent. Don't worry. Naoki can't hold a candle against me when it comes to fighting. You're not gonna lose me, okay? I promise."
I fought back the tears that were threatening to fall. I nodded.
I breathed deep, gathering the courage I had left in me. I browsed through my contacts and found his name a. It rang. My heartbeat suddenly rose and my hands grew ice cold again. I tried to calm myself down by breathing in and out.
On the seventh ring, he answered his phone.
There's that voice I loved to hear... Tears started to well up in my eyes again. "Na-Naoki..wh-where are you right now?"
"I'm at home. Why? Wait, are you okay? You don't sound good. Did something happen?"
The concern in his voice was genuine. A tear escaped as I bit my lower lip. I shook my head, "N-No, nothing's wrong. I-It's just th-that, I-I'm..." I closed my eyes, "I'm at school right now. I didn't know that the classes were postponed."
"You weren't paying attention to your phone, were you?"
"I emailed you." He did? I must not have noticed because... "You must have rushed your way there, huh?" My eyes grew wider. "Anyway, yeah, I think I could go there. But I have to take care of some things first. Would you be so dear and wait for me?"
"Ye-Yeah. I will."
"Alright. Well, then. Bye."
"Oh, by the way," he said before I could put my phone down. "It was nice hearing your voice again, Akane. I was really worried yesterday because you looked frightened when I was nearby. I haven't done anything to hurt you, have I?"
You have. You killed my best friend. I gulped, "N-No. I was just fidgety because I-I was traumatized..."
"Yeah, I figured. But it's okay now." The hairs on my skin stood on end when he said that line. "So, see you later?"
"S-See you later, Naoki."
"Yeah," why is it that I can somewhat picture him smiling at me with that gentle look in his eyes because of the tone of his voice right now? "I love you."
Before I could answer, he had dropped the call.
I looked at Jin who was right in-front of me the whole time. "I love him, Jin..." I uttered as my voice croaked. "But..."
He'd come near me and pulled me into a hug. He was rubbing my back gently as he calmed me down.