"Be a good girl and stay still."
I shut my eyes close and waited for the blow when I'd heard a clutter and the sound of something getting hit. I peeked and was surprised when Naoki was falling towards me. It all happened so fast I couldn't react immediately. Naoki fell on top of me.
I looked up and there, I saw Aoi Jin with a chair. He was huffing heavily and his head was bleeding. The blood crawled down to his chin and dripped. He threw the chair away and slumped on the floor, trying to catch his breath, "Th-That was...That was fucking...cl-close... Haaaa!"
Tears started to well up in my eyes again when I saw him. "J-Jin," I whispered. "Jiiin!!" I couldn't help crying out of relief. "I thought I was a goner there! I really did! What took you so long, you idiot!"
I saw his shadow move as he stood up. He approached me, limping, and rolled Naoki over to the other side. He gently pulled me up and patted my head, "Sorry. I was taking my time limping towards here." Then he looked at Naoki, "Man, that guy can really hit hard with that baseball bat."
I wiped my tears and sniffed. I crawled towards Naoki and took the baseball bat, "We better keep this away from him before he wakes up."
"Did you contact the police yet?"
When I turned to him, I nodded. As if on cue, we both heard the police's siren from a distance. A smile easily broke out of my lips. His face lit up, too. I stood up and grabbed him by the arm, "C'mon! C'mon! Let's go!"
He winced, "Ow!"
"O-Oh! Sorry, Jin!"
"Geez, careful with my arm there. Need I remind you he gave me quite a beating?" he said as he stood up. I wrapped his arm around my shoulders so I could support him as we made our way towards the staircase. He sure was beaten up real good. His bottom lip had a little cut.
I snorted, "I thought you were strong."
"Hey, that's mean! I was at a disadvantage! Minoru had a weapon and I didn't and I still survived!" Then he looked away, frowning. "Shouldn't you be proud, instead?" he mumbled.
I shook my head, smiling. I thought the police didn't believe me. I thought they weren't coming, either. Actually, I forgot that I had contacted them.
As we'd descended the stairs, we waited by the shoe lockers for the police. Their cars had already appeared by the school gate and the policemen had also come out. I waved my arm at them. One policeman pointed me and made their way towards us.
It wasn't until then that I'd noticed an eerie presence behind us. When I looked over my shoulder, Naoki was heading our way with the baseball bat on hand. He was looking at me and yelled, "We're not done yet, Mirai!!!"
I couldn't move a muscle and I felt Aoi Jin's hands on my shoulders as he pushed me away. Before I fell to the floor, I saw him get hit on the head. The police had opened fire and hit Naoki on the lap and he fell on the ground, too.
They rushed towards us and apprehended Naoki who kept on yelling and kicking at them. I looked at Aoi Jin who laid there as blood started to spread from his head. I waited for him to move.
I crawled towards him, "J-Jin?" I reached out and touched his shoulder, "H-Hey." I tried to shake him, "Jin, this is not a funny joke. Hey. You're a tough guy, aren't you? Why aren't you waking up?" Tears had clouded my vision when I shook him again. "Jin! Aoi Jin! Answer me, damn it!" I sat up and rolled him over. His eyes were closed and he was bleeding from his head. I pulled him into a hug, "Jin! Jin, wake up, wake up! I know you're already close to laughing because I'm this worried and crying and just—shit, damn it! Wake up, you idiot! Just wake up....please...." I gritted my teeth, "Just say my name so I'd know you're still awake...Jin, please....you were supposed to be a tough guy...Jin!"
I closed my eyes as tears started to roll down. The police had also called the ambulance and not long after, an ambulance arrived.
I looked outside and the rain was coming to a stop.
"Ak...Akane..." When I'd heard his voice I loosened my hug on him and set him at arm's length. I was cradling him on my arms. His voice felt weak but he still managed to smile lopsidedly, "Gotcha. I...was...foolin'...around,sil...ly."
"Jin," I couldn't stop the tears from falling when I'd hugged him again. He complained and I couldn't care less anymore.
Aoi Jin was sent to the hospital and the police had a lot of questions for me. They still would've thought of me as the primary suspect if Naoki hadn't confessed. He must have been really out of his mind because he kept laughing and saying that he killed those girls in the basement of his house that would be accessible by opening the door, which was disguised as a wall. The police raided his place and the basement really was there.
There were pictures on the news of the basement—the tools he'd used to torture those girls and...Marumi. Marumi's parents had also come home, crying at the sight of their daughter. I apologized to them and they'd hugged me and told me that it wasn't my fault. That they understood how much their daughter valued me as her best friend and they knew, without their daughter telling them, that whatever happened to her, was the result of protecting me from harm.
That was when I'd remembered that Naoki told me Marumi was already starting to question him—that she was slowly catching on. And then I remembered the calls and mails I wasn't able to answer and I'd suspected Marumi had gone through my phone when I was asleep.
And she found out.
And yet she waited for me to trust her enough to tell her my problems.
And because of me, she died.
"Seriously, you don't have to cry every single time we visit her grave," Jin said. He was standing beside me and I was crouched.
I ran my fingers through Marumi's name and smiled, "I know. She's in a better place now. I know she loved me dearly. I just regret not being able to show her how much I really trusted her..."
I heard him sigh as he crouched down, too, "Listen, I think Mitsukage knew it very well." I looked at Jin and he met my gaze and smiled, "And I know she knew you just didn't want her to get caught up in that mess. And she understood that that's why she waited for you to come out and tell her everything." Then he'd placed his hand on my head and pushed my head towards his shoulder as tears welled up in my eyes again, "That's why you shouldn't be crying like that. Mitsukage thought you were worth protecting so you should live that way right now. You should live the life Mitsukage couldn't. That way, she might be able to smile from where she is right now seeing that what she protected didn't go to waste." Then he looked at me and bumped his forehead with mine, "Alright?"
I stifled a laugh, "I just can't help but wonder where I'd be right now if you weren't by my side."
He giggled and ruffled my hair, "Yeah. You should be thankful I'm still with you up until now, too." And then he stood up and stuck a tongue out at me, "You're lucky you've become Aoi Akane. Ha!"
I rolled my eyes, "Whatever."
A little girl in a little red dress with her jet-black hair tied in a ponytail ran towards us. Her round, blue eyes were swirling with curiosity and she was beaming. She was smiling from cheek to cheek. Her little hands reached out to me and I held them close, "What is it, Rui?"
"Are we gonna go visit uncle Naoki in the hospital today, too?" she asked ever so innocently. When I looked at Jin, she looked up at him, too. "Daddy?"
Jin bent down and carried her. She squealed as he raised her up, "Do you want to?"
She nodded, "Yes, I do!! He'd help me pick flowers, too! He'd help me!"
I couldn't help but laugh. Jin shook his head as he cradled her in his arms, "Alright, alright. We'll go there after we've eaten our lunch okay? Do you want to bring something to your uncle Naoki?"
She tilted her head to the side as her round blue eyes looked up and her cheeks puffed. Then her face lit up, "I want to bring him that pink drink!"
"I think she's talking about that frappe?"
"Yeah, I think so, too."
We both laughed again.
Naoki had been transferred to the Mental Hospital because when he was being dealt with by the police with questions, he wasn't answering properly anymore. There was just no logic. When I tried to talk to him, he just looked at me as if he never really knew me. Then he'd smile the usual smile he'd shown everyone in school and say, 'Do I know you from somewhere?'
I don't get what happened to him. Sometimes, he'd suddenly throw a fit and keep yelling how people were scared of him and how people eventually rejected him. It pained me to see him that way. Maybe, deep down, he just wanted someone who'd accept him for who he really was. Someone who'd love him unconditionally and would not let him feel insecure.
And I just wasn't the right girl for him.
I wanted to apologize to him but he kept looking at me blankly as if I were a stranger. Still, when I actually apologized to him, a tear rolled down his cheek as he smiled at me and said, 'It's okay. I understand. I understand.'
I'm just praying that he'd meet someone who would completely change him.