Chapter 9: Too late.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
T/N: College is here and it’s eating me out.
I’m alive though, so here we go!
A conversation with my ex-boyfriend made me finally realize what’s truly important for me: Hinata.
He’s not just a friend I’ve known since I was a kid, but rather someone indispensable to me.
Honestly, I’m thankful my ex made me realize that, but apart from it, he’s nothing but a nuisance.
Ditching him and his anger aside, I return home and immediately contact Hinata.
Christmas is tomorrow, so it’s not too late.
We’ll both spend this holiday together by going on a date to the aquarium.
Then, I’ll apologize for leaving him alone for a short while, and finally, I’ll confess my feelings for him.
Our happily-ever-after was just around the corner.
The call keeps ringing on and on, but he never picks it up.
Maybe he can’t help it, so I’ll just call another time.
…After a while, I called him again, and he doesn’t answer the phone.
I’ll repeat in a while after I give him some time.
…After a bit of time, I called him again.
He didn’t pick up the phone, so I’ll just do it in a bit.
Just a tad more, I’m sure.
…I made another call, and he didn’t pick up the phone.
…Another one, and he didn’t answer.
…Once again, but no answer.
No answer, no answer.
Why won’t you pick it up
I lost count of how many times I pressed the call button.
I’ve tried so, so much, but he just won’t answer the phone.
The usual Hinata would put me before anything else, so why Oh, maybe he’s in some kind of danger! Or maybe that girl is doing something to him… Unforgivable.
I knew he shouldn’t get himself involved with that siren…
However, just as I was about to get up and meet him face-to-face, my phone rang, and I see Hinata’s name on the small screen.
I scurried to answer that call, doing so as quickly as I could.
“Hinata!” I screamed.
“Whoa! Suzuka What’s wrong with you”
“Oh, thank goodness.
Are you safe”
“Uh, what I’m fine.
I got a lot of incoming calls, did something happen”
“Yes, actually! Why didn’t you answer after the 10th one I was worried about you!”
“Oh, got it.
I’m sorry, I had it in my bag and didn’t notice.”
“No, it’s fine.
So, where are you Are you alone”
“I’m almost home, and yeah, I’m alone.”
Thank goodness he’s not with that mantrap.
So he’s almost reaching my house since he’s my neighbor, huh His words lifted up a weight inside me… If he had been with her, I would’ve flown to the two so I could separate them.
“But tell me, why were you so worried in the first place”
“Eh, it’s nothing, More importantly, we have some things to do tomorrow!”
I didn’t want to mention her name, so I’ll get right to the point.
There’s nothing better than making plans ASAP.
“Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, right I recall you talked about going to the aquarium, so let’s go! Just the two of us!”
“Huh You and I”
“Hmm It’s a given.
You were looking forward to it, too, weren’t you”
“No no, your boyfriend is coming too, right I don’t wanna meddle between you two.”
“Oh, about that…”
He’s puzzled by my sudden invitation, which is par for the course.
I planned to surprise him by announcing I’d officially broken up with my ex! Of course, he’ll be happy that I’m not compromised anymore, and we’ll be able to stay together like before.
Just the image of his soon-to-be surprised face made me smile inwardly.
“So, we both—”
“Oh, and I’ve already made plans with someone else, so I can’t make it.”
His words made no sense in my mind, a string of useless characters…
You’ll spend Christmas Eve with them
“Oh, like a boy’s night out” I answer.
“That’s not a good idea, just come with me!”
“Uh, not that.
I’m going shopping with Kuraki-san.
We have a prior appointment, and we were just talking about where we’re going tomorrow!”
I could hear his smile, but it churns my stomach to hear him happy about planning a date with another woman… And Kuraki of all people.
That woman is messing with him, after all.
My heart, which earlier was floating through clouds from imagining Hinata’s surprise, fell down to earth at his every word.
“…You’ll ‘play’ with Kuraki”
“Well, y’know, there’s been a lot of bad rumors about her.
“Oh, if you actually talk with her, you’ll see she’s a nice person.
Getting led on by rumors is no good, y’know”
“She’s just acting.
That woman is filth and she’s been fooling you too.
Kuraki must be out playing with men right now! She’s the worst kind of woman, the kind who sells her body to earn money! Men are nothing more than piggy banks for her.
It’s a bad idea to date her, and now she’s even got her sights on you.
Hinata, you’ve been played like a fiddle!”
“…Suzuka, why do you speak so ill of her” There was anger, venom laced in his voice.
I couldn’t catch up to these new feelings he was showing against me.
Why are you protecting her over me
“It’s because that girl is just playing with you” I’m just worried—”
“…Eh” Hinata yelled at me.
“I didn’t think you were that bad of a person, Suzuka.
Tomorrow I’ll play with her, yeah, so you should play with your boyfriend too.
“No, wait a second—!”
My words shouted to the void, meaningless.
The call was over.
He’s never been angry with me before.
If I don’t apologize, will he hate me! I couldn’t stand that thought any longer, so I ran out of my house so I could get to his.
When I pressed his intercom, his mother answered, but—
“Suzuka-chan, did you two get into a fight He told me to definitely not let you in today, and I’ve never seen him like that before.
So, could you leave him alone for now”
I wasn’t allowed in, and for the sake of my future, I couldn’t afford to offend his mother.
Reluctantly, I dragged my feet back to my house, wondering if he hates me already… My mind couldn’t put itself back together after his clear rejection just now.
“What should I do, Hinata…” It was a question with no answer.
All I could do was keep calling his phone, which disconnected every single time.
Before I even knew it, the next day came around.
I checked my phone, but there wasn’t a single notification from him there, even though I called that much…
I have no choice.
I must talk to him in person.
Having decided that, I headed to his house, determined to get in even if they refused, but as soon as his mother came out, she said something I would’ve never imagined.
“Sorry about yesterday, Suzuka-chan.
Hinata’s back to normal today, so you’re fine now.”
“Really Thank goodness…”
“Maybe talk to him tomorrow since he won’t be home today, that boy.”
“Huh What do you mean by that”
“Hmm, he’s out already.
It must be a boy’s out or something since my boy doesn’t have a girlfriend or anything.
In any case, feel free to get inside—”
And I ran as fast as I could.
Despite his mother’s voice echoing behind me, I kept running and running forward.
Even though I left mid-conversation, I couldn’t just stop and listen.
That boy’s out is a lie.
Yesterday, Hinata himself said there was no such thing, and he announced both he and Kuraki would go shopping… If so, then why did he lie about it
He’d spend the night with her.
I’m guessing he lied because he couldn’t announce he was going to stay over with a girl, and I’m sure that girl was the one who asked him to do so.
This is bad…
I know exactly what you’re after, asking him to stay over during Christmas Eve! That woman! She’s taking advantage of his pure feelings.
She’s the worst…
My Hinata is in danger.
So I kept kicking the ground and running, all while calling out his name.
There was no guess as to where they went.
I wonder how many hours had passed since I started running and searching.
The night had already overtaken the light of day.
While I ran around looking for him, I constantly called his phone, but he didn’t answer once.
It was already dark outside, so I’ll be finished if she ends up taking him home or to a hotel.
Unfortunately, I have no clue where to look for him anymore.
I’ve been to every single place in the neighborhood where I would go on a date, and I still couldn’t meet him.
Even though I ran around until the day reached its end… I don’t know what to do anymore.
I pulled out my phone and rang him in a last-ditch attempt.
There was nothing else I could do, and just as I was about to give up after the inorganic beeps I’ve heard hundreds of times over—
“Suzuka Spamming is bad… Stop it…”
“Uwah! Hey, Suzuka! Don’t scream all of a sudden!”
“I’m glad, Hinata… I’m so glad…”
“Hinata! I’m sorry.
I apologize, so please, come home.”
“You apologize for yesterday”
“Yeah! And though I’ve been neglecting you because of other guys, I’ve finally realized what’s truly important to me!”
“Eh And it’s…”
“I’m sorry I’ve been apart from you for so long.
I need you, and I realize that now.
I’m sorry I left you.”
“…Don’t even! I’ve already given up on you, even if you say so now! I thought I’d worry you if I was depressed forever, and now you’re backtracking It’s too late now.”
“I get it, I really do, but please! Please come back to me!”
“That’s… Eh Ah, wait…”
“Hinata What’s wrong, Hinata”
Our conversation was abruptly cut short.
From the still connected call, I could hear faint breathing and a soft voice—it was him and a girl.
It was Kuraki.
The sound of his voice and her tender breaths were the most sensual things I’d ever heard.
I almost lost my mind as I imagined what could be happening on the other end of the phone.
“Hinata! Hinata! Answer the phone, please! Hinata!”
I kept yelling into the phone to shake off the awful imagery, but there was no answer.
His voice only grew louder and louder, as if sparks turning into embers.
I couldn’t do anything and kept screaming.
Then I heard a sound, it seemed like he grabbed his phone and brought it to his face.
So you’ve appeared, Hinata!
“You’ve already lost him, it’s too late, Ichinose-san.”
The call ended with those last words from Kuraki herself.
“H, Hinata… What was she doing to you …Hey, Hinata …Ah, aaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
My eyes went dark, and my consciousness cut off right there.
T/N: Holy sh*t is all I can say.
I wasn’t expecting that!
Well, the next chapters are all from Kuraki’s POV, so we’ll get to see what happened when Suzuka was having her breakdown over the past few days.