Chapter Six: Beginnings

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Content Warning: Only curse words in this one, folks. It's a slice-of-life chapter, but it definitely furthers the plot. I hope you enjoy.

When I arrived in the hallway, Kota was nowhere to be found. I pushed the door to his room shut quietly, careful to not disturb anyone who might be in the house, and raised a hand to my forehead with a frown.

Why was I always messing up? I always made things awkward, no matter who I was around.

He saw me acting so weird. I wouldn't blame him if he didn't want to be around me at all anymore. I mean, what kind of girl makes noises when someone bandages her up? Rather, what kind of sane girl? He probably thought I was nuts!

I walked down the hallway toward the living room. I wanted to apologize to Kota, but voices stopped me just milliseconds before I entered. I pressed myself against the wall, my head tilting toward the living room so that I could hear them better.

Why am I doing this? Kota has been so kind to me, and this is how I repay him? By eavesdropping on him and Nathan?

Plus, I didn't have to hide from them. They weren't dangerous. They wouldn't care if I walked in on them talking. Those thoughts in my mind did nothing to quell the instinct, though, and I took a deep breath as I focused on their words.

"...didn't have to do that, you know," Nathan said. "I was going to do what you said. I just wanted to know why."

"You needed to leave the room so I could talk to her alone," Kota said. The words were blunt and more than a little harsh, but there was no bite in his tone.

"Yeah, I know. I wasn't complaining about that, I was complaining about you telling me to leave the house."

"Why? I needed to check her stomach and make sure it wasn't serious."

Nathan breathed out. "I understand that, but it was the way you said it, like I was a nuisance. You didn't have to say that in front of her or even talk about it right there. You banished me to the bedroom."

"I didn't banish you, I just—"

A phone rang. Its loud tone filled the otherwise silent room and I reeled, nearly banging into the wall beside me out of surprise.

Nathan started to speak again, but Kota shushed him. I imagined that he was holding up his pointer finger at Nathan and fought back a smile. He would look so sassy with his hand on his hip and his pointer finger up in the air.

"Luke," Kota greeted. It was cordial, but the inflection seemed fake, like he wasn't actually feeling friendly at all and was merely mimicking what it sounded like. I wondered what had changed in him to make him so impassive; it was slightly scary how quickly he had flipped into this unrecognizable version of himself. "Report."

My eyes widened. Was this Luke person on Kota and Nathan's team? And... report? Was Luke on a mission? Why did he have to report to Kota...?

Was Kota their leader? I thought back to all the times I'd seen a bunch of boys coming over to Kota's house. It made sense; Kota's house might be their headquarters. But there were a lot of boys, and they were all the transfer students from the private school. Did that mean all of them were on the same team? And Possessors, too?

No, I thought to myself. Just because they're all from the same school doesn't mean anything. The only ones I knew for sure are Possessors are Kota, Nathan, Luke, and that doctor Kota mentioned before he fixed me up.

"Did you successfully retrieve them all from the outsiders?" Kota asked. It was silent while Kota listened to whatever Luke was saying on the other end of the line. "That's a lot. Are you sure? We can split up the workload if needed." Another lengthy pause. "No, I understand. You're the best we have, Luke. Combined with Victor... Yeah, I think. Just keep us updated... Huh? Why wouldn't she be? No, she..." His voice faded as he walked further into the house, probably into the kitchen.

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