Chapter 230

Temptation

I started skipping school recently and today was no different.
I complained of my injuries and spent the day in my room, drowning in guilt.

It was raining hard like buckets outside,
a drab grey blanket painted across the sky.
But winter hadn't come yet,
so it wasn't enough to drain the life out of me.
On the contrary, I felt so restless and antsy,
and the smell of the wet rain
soaked me in a heartfelt loneliness.

I hadn't felt any worse or confused ever before.
My heart was churning, the pain wallowed up and threatened to swallow me whole.

I couldn't keep track of how many times I said a silent sorry.
Every thought was occupied by Aoi and Airu.

I felt Airu's hot breath and saw her lips again.
Then I saw Aoi crying. I saw Aoi turn away, her heart shattered.
The memories of our time together dissolving into space, forever gone.
I saw Aoi on her hospital bed, lifeless, cold.

And my heart ached with pain.
Again and again the images in my head
flipped back and forth,
tormenting me like a haunting ghost.

At last, I couldn't bear it anymore.
I knew I had to see Aoi.
I had to apologize.
No matter if she could hear me or not.










Chapter 231

Temptation

By the time I reached her bedside I was dripping with rainwater.
My umbrella didn't do me much good.

I remained silent. Speechless.

She was still and unmoving,
her face painted with a sheet of grey light from the window.
Seeing her was all of a sudden a shock to me.
Like I came in from a different reality,
a different universe into a lonely desolate island.
My churning emotions inside of me a moment ago,
struggled to be released, but strangely,
all the fluid emotions and thoughts ceased,
watered down by the quiet grey.










Chapter 232

Temptation

Then, instead, there was a replacement of heart rending loneliness with such fierce intensity that it seemed to be shining like a bright light.
It ached so much it was hard to breathe.
It was the kind of feeling that I wanted to hold on to desperately
and bathe in the pain of the moment.
I wanted the world's sympathy.

What bothered me was that none of this pain had to do with Aoi.
It was the most selfish feeling I've ever felt before.
There was not a drop of emotion for her. It scared me.

I was getting numb to her condition.
Like things were happening and days were passing by,
and Aoi had become seperate from my life.

I wanted tears to come to my eyes every time I visit.
A fresh wave of emotions. But I wasn't feeling anything.

What was happening to me?

Were my feelings toward Aoi fading?

Or was something else taking me away?










Chapter 233

Temptation

"Gomen..." Were the first words that managed to come out of my mouth.
It was tough to get out. I felt like I couldn't be forgiven.

Not for being with Airu.
Not for the lack of feelings while I stood there in front of her.
Not for letting her be in this condition.

I couldn't get anything right.

Even though I couldn't save her,
but worst yet, behind her back,
I had my arms around another,
as if I was taking advantage of her comatose state.
Worst yet, I was selfish. I didn't feel anything.

I sagged to the ground beside her on my knees, my head down.
How could I be this weak? Saitei da.

Forgive me Aoi.



*~Gomen - Sorry

*~Saitei da- this is the worst (in context, I am the worst)










Chapter 234

Temptation

I only heard her soft breathing in reply.
Her face was an unreadable expression.
It was just gentle and soft
-- there was not much of an emotional value.
Her features so soft, like feathers,
that I could feel like I was sanctified just by looking at her.
She looked so forgiving.

But I knew she was hurt by betrayal the most.

Aoi cried for the longest time when her best friend for years ignored her,
when she found out her own crush liked Aoi instead.
That was quite an episode.
I don't remember what happened to him after I told him off one day afterschool, when he had been harassing Aoi.

Remembering her tears pained my heart.
Would she cry if she found out about what happened between Airu and I?
I couldn't bear to see her tears.

"I swear Aoi.. I would never do something like that again. I promise you."

Let me hold your hand again.

I'll never leave your side.



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