"Ack!" I immediately choke on my own spit right after hearing Kurokawa's demands.
She stressed the word Girlfriends really strongly, though... As if she was trying to find out if I was cheating on Rachel and Laura or something...
I am most definitely NOT doing that! I can assure you that, Kurokawa!
And what was that particular feeling in her voice that I heard? I know she has her eyes on me for some reason, but damn, man, this is something hard to solve.
"What's wrong? You can't answer that question?" Her eyes gaze upon me, still moist from the tears from earlier. Even though I want to know what she went through that made her cry, I guess this is not a good time to ask. It will be too insensitive of me to focus on my curiosity rather than the person in front right now. Plus, she deserves to be treated much better.
"Hold on! Ack! Give me a second! Cough!" I stretch one arm forward, signaling her to stop and coughing my heart out. Seeing so, Kurokawa silently stares at my arm. Although she seems a bit jumpy, reaching out and withdrawing her hands sometimes like she is trying to hold onto an invisible object, she still does not move an inch. Our bookworm is really the obedient kind, is she not?
A sigh tries to escape my throat, but I swallow some saliva to stop it mid-way. Seriously, this is not a good moment for it to come out since I do not want to do anything that would make Kurokawa more uncomfortable. From the looks of everything, she already has enough on her plate. There is virtually no need for me or anyone to make her day more stressful. The more I understand her, the more unfair everything seems and the easier for me to feel sorry for Kurokawa. She did not have to suffer from the wretched storyline. Not at all!
"It's not like I can't tell you..." I struggle to find the right words to put into my sentence.
It is just that I have already told Rachel and Laura what I was doing, that I would be finding Kurokawa to talk to her a little bit. This is a mere guess, but those two girls are probably hidden somewhere to judge my behavior. One wrong move, and maybe my skull will be slammed into the wall.
Okay, maybe not to that extent with the current Rachel, but still... you know what I mean, right?
"They know I'm here. I told them beforehand."
I have had the luxury of looking at Han's previous demise. More often than not, his deaths were caused by misunderstandings just by doing something mundane such as talking to someone. Crazy as Rachel could be, she was not so illogical that she would forbid Han from interacting with the other sex. Physical touch was always a no-no, though that was to be expected from Blondy.
"I see..." With a voice clearly shaking up, Kurokawa replies. "So it was not because you wanted to be with me that you went out of your way. I understand."
Not good... That was the worse possible reaction... She is self-loathing already! And she no longer hides or throws any curved balls, too! The misery and sorrow in her words are ever so apparent.
Choose your words carefully, C! The next thing you say will either make or break this conversation! Ugh! God help me! What do I even say in this situation?! How would Han act if he was here? What would the blessed child of the system do?
...He would definitely hug her tightly like the handsome and charming guy he is while saying nothing. A warm hug is more than enough for him to take the heart of a heroine.
But I am not him. I can never do something like that! I have a girlfriend, for goodness' sake! Think, C. Think! What else can you offer her? Console her, god damn it! Something, anything...
"It's okay, C. It's okay. You don't have to say anything. The real reason is not that important anymore. You are here now, and I appreciate that greatly." Kurokawa forces a crooked smile on her face, trying to show me she is doing fine. "I'm sorry for showing such a depressed sight. You must feel really awkward right now."
Dripping slowly, blood from her hand gathers on the floor until a small pool of crimson-red liquid forms next to Kurokawa's legs. Although our bookworm is smiling, her emotions are obviously all over the place. When she tries to smile, the corners of her eyes close, pushing even more tears outward. And when she talks, some words are broken and off-tuned. Without a doubt, Kurokawa is acting strong.
She looks... so...utterly lonely...
"I really...wish you would be here only because you wanted to see me." Holding her breath back a few seconds, Kurokawa confesses. "No hidden motives, simply because you care about me."
"..." I stand dead in my place, dumbfounded and unable to say a thing.
Because she is right.
I have a hidden motive. I want our Kurokawa to know what will happen during her event. I want to save her from weeks of severe depression and guilt. I want her to live to find her own happiness. I want to see Kurokawa overcoming her regret.
Although all of that may sound like a lot, to someone like Kurokawa, they are meaningless.
They are all my desires.
Never hers. Not once did I care what Kurokawa wanted.
I should have asked.
Kurokawa does not need anything that has not even happened yet. This world has filled her life with so much grief and suffering already. When I let her know a glimpse of the future, her pain will undoubtedly multiply at least tenfold. To me, someone who knows the story, her future is more important, but the bookworm is different. She wants my attention. Kurokawa wants me to care about her and nothing else. To her, being cared for is more important than anything.
That is why I cannot reply.
"You know, C, kindness is good, yet not always needed. Similar to everything in life, given the circumstances, it has the potential to become something deadly. It is not your fault but mine, though. I will get the wrong idea when you are too kind to me, C. And when I keep getting the wrong idea, the moment I realize I can never have you, it breaks me from the inside out. That kind of pain is... There is no such word that can describe the pain of...false hope."
I want to comfort her, but I cannot. To make her pain disappear, Kurokawa will need affection. Years and decades of constant loving will be required to slowly grind away all the damage that has been done to her heart. Yet, I do not know how I can give her that when I can not guarantee happiness to just one of the girls.
Han is the main character. He has the ability to become the harem lord. It is his destiny.
There is no future for me. There is no future for us.
I am just a useless piece of shit...
Perhaps feeling my silence, Kurokawa steps closer and continues to speak.
"C, do you know what I have been praying the most after I met you?" The bookworm looks to the ground, her fists clenching tightly.
Immediately, I reply: "What is it? If it makes you feel better, then..."
"I wish to be like Rachel and Laura." Kurokawa's eyes look up at me again as she says those words. Her voice is almost like she is begging. "I envy them. I want to spend time with you, too. I want to hold your hands and cook for you, too. I want to be able to wake up next to you, too. I want to be the one you see after waking up every morning. I want to be the one to greet you when you come home every night. I want to feel loved by you! What do you think I feel when they have the best time of their lives while I can only look at you from afar?"
"But I know it's not their fault. We were born completely different, after all. I don't have their unblemished skin, their beautiful faces, their eyes, their expressions, and many, many more... All things about them screams beautiful. Everything about them reminds me of how disgusting I am. Underneath these clothes are scars, C. Scars! On my face is another big one. And underneath these rags are more scars."
I know. I have seen it many times before. I saw Kurokawa try to cut it off, too.
"I wish to be free like them. I wish to be proud of who I am, of my achievements, of my life. Yet...yet...All I feel every day is the sense of not being good enough. Mother always reminds me of it. Even if she doesn't, then my body will. From morning till night, I am never free from intrusive thoughts! Do you know that not once I thought about cutting my wrist open? The only reason I am still alive is because of my cowardice. Yes, I want to die but scared of killing myself. Even when pain is something I am used to. Isn't that just the most hilarious thing ever?" Tears streaming down her face, Kurokawa's voice breaks apart. However, unlike Rachel or Laura, who would have hiccups while they cry, Kurokawa does not.
She...is very used to crying.
"Is it wrong to wish for someone who cares about me, protects me, and loves me deeply? Is it wrong to hope for someone who would sacrifice his life for me..." Her shoulders shake slightly as she holds back her tears.
"Someone...who would embrace me and call me beautiful..."
"I'm...sorry, Kurokawa." Ashamed, I turn my head down.
"No. It's not you. It's never your fault. I'm sorry...hic...for being like this. I know you can't be with someone like me, C. You still have Rachel and Laura to take care of."
At this rate, she is going to suffer even harder. I need to think of something quick.
"This has been a ridiculous rambling. I apologize for taking so much of your time. Please, C, come back to class. I will head to the infirmary myself." Kurokawa bows deeply, then turns her back to me and walks away.
Behind her, I stand.
My feet have never been so heavy before. My mouth is unable to open.
There is nothing that I can think of that can say to make Kurokawa feel better.
I understand I need to catch up to that lonely girl who has lived in total reclusion. Her shell was so tough that not even Han could break it open.
Kurokawa, please, what do I need to do to help?