Please Tell Me How to Remember Love - Chapter 1 Part 6
Chapter 1 Part 6
“In other words, you’re in love with Mihara, but at the same time, you feel guilty for loving him.”
When Tomoe finished telling her story, Takayuki summarized the content in a muttering.
Hearing his muttering, something clicked in Tomoe’s mind.
“I feel guilty? …I guess so, huh?… I feel guilty for loving him…”
A wry smile appeared on her face, but it only showed for a moment as she immediately covered her face with both hands.
“Still, everything was my fault, you know? If I didn’t do such a stupid thing, Nao wouldn’t be injured… He could have participated in that tournament back then… But… But… Instead of feeling bad about it, I fell in love with him instead! I thought that he was cool back then! He sacrificed his life for me and I was all giddy about it! Hahaha! I’m so disgusting, right? I know…”
At first, her words were filled with grunts before she started screaming her words out. Not long after, she started to laugh.
She laughed at her pathetic self.
At her own feelings.
“Right! I made a fool of myself and thanks to that, Nao had been treating me like an annoying little sister that he couldn’t get rid off even if he wanted to! Sure, I could confess my feelings to him and we could probably live happily ever after, but I don’t want that! I don’t care about my feelings for him! Hell, if I could throw these feelings away, I would do it in a heartbeat! All I wanted is to go away from his life, I’ll be content with that! That should be the thing that I wanted but… When Nao said he fell in love with someone, I became a wreck like this… Seriously, I’m such an idiot…”
Seeing her best friend struggling to say anything more as her face was starting to be covered with tears and snot, Aoi opened her mouth, trying to say something. But, no words came out of her mouth.
There was nothing she could say to her. Tomoe was currently in a really fragile state, if Aoi were to be careless with her words, she’d end up hurting her best friend even more. She started to blame herself for her powerlessness. The girl simply couldn’t stand seeing her best friend’s tears any longer.
Aoi knew that Tomoe was by no means in the wrong here. So, she decided to tell her to accept her own feelings.
Let Tomoe be ridden in her guilt and suffer for a bit more, driving her to the limits with cold words. And after all that, try to comfort her somehow with warm, yet strong words. Reward her suffering with the warmest feelings she could provide. The method was clumsy, but this was the only thing that Aoi could come up with to stop her best friend’s tears.
“We’re not done yet, Ukai.”
However, before Aoi could do anything, Takayuki called out to Tomoe, completely ignoring Aoi’s dilemma.
“Seriously, why do you act like you’re giving up? Didn’t I tell you before that I’m going to take your pain away? I’m going to do it now.”
His words sounded so light that no one would be blamed if they were to take them as a bad joke.
If one were to follow the common sense, there was nothing Takayuki could do here. The cause of Tomoe’s problem was something that was irreversible, even Aoi, her best friend, couldn’t think of a way to solve her problem. Takayuki’s confidence reminded Aoi of a certain young boy who said something similar to her.
“…Stop joking. There’s no way you could do such a convenient thing. Or are you telling me that you’re going to use magic right now?”
Naturally, Tomoe called bull on his words. According to common sense, there was no way that kind of convenience method existed.
“Exactly, I’m going to use my magic right now. It’s a tiny little magic that will make your pain and suffering disappear, but…”
Except that the boy who was sitting in front of her with his lips curved up didn’t look like someone who’d act according to the common sense that Tomoe knew.
The way he smiled made Tomoe feel eerie. It made the boy in front of her seem inhuman.
“My magic isn’t omnipotent. Once I erased those feelings, it’s gone forever. Just like you can’t fix a cracked egg, you can’t get your love back no matter how hard you’re crying to me. That’s why I’m going to ask you, are you okay with this?”
Irreverent and confident.
He had an expression that said he could overturn the world even if he wanted to. Evil was a word that could describe his expression. If Takayuki were to admit that he was actually the devil at that moment, Tomoe would easily believe him.
“…Yes, I’m okay with that.”
And so, Tomoe gave in to the devil’s whispers.
After all, the devil in front of her was able to grant her something that she had always wanted.
For that reason, making a deal with the devil didn’t sound so bad.
“I’ll believe your nonsense as long as I can erase these feelings, Satou…”
“I see. Let me ask you once again just to make sure. You’re okay with this? I won’t accept any take backs after this.”
“Don’t worry, just proceed.”
“I mean, I never wanted to be Nao’s lover. I just want to help him achieve his dreams.”
Tomoe shrugged off Takayuki’s words as she spoke of her true feelings.
Then, she wiped her face that was stained with tears and snot with her uniform and smiled.
Tomoe stood up from her seat and declared those words proudly with the most Tomoe-like smile that Aoi had ever seen. It was the smile of a person who’d brave through any danger.
“Phew… I see… Well, sit down first, we have to follow the procedure if we want to do this.”
However, her smile didn’t last long as it was replaced by a cramped smile filled with embarrassment. She regretted acting so courageously like that.
“This won’t hurt, relax.”
“A-Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Miyama, go grab— I mean, support her from behind. Yes, just like that, perfect. Now, Ukai, like I said, this won’t hurt, you can even keep your eyes opened if you want to.”
“Huh? W-Wait, what are you going to do to me?! Why does the procedure look so ordinary? I-I’m not going to die, am I?!”
The ordinary looking procedure made Tomoe feel uneasy more than anything. She expected something more grandiose, but instead she had a feeling like she was facing a dentist right now. It was supposed to be nothing big, but the dread she felt was immense.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry, it’ll be done in a jiffy, Tomoe… Right, Satou-kun?”
Aoi turned her glance toward Takayuki.
“Yeah. We’ve gone through the most painful process, so all I need to do is to finish it in one go.”
Takayuki’s expression didn’t change.
With a confident smile on his face, he casually extended his fingertips to Tomoe’s forehead.
“For me, eating out someone’s ‘love’ is as easy as taking candy from a baby.”
The moment his finger touched Tomoe’s forehead, the latter’s consciousness was cut off.
* * *
Aoi witnessed everything up close.
From the moment Takayuki’s fingertips touched Tomoe’s forehead and she lost her consciousness. Then right after that, something that looked like mist emerged from her limp body.
The mist-like substance looked glittery as it swirled around Takayuki’s finger. Eventually, it turned spherical before Takayuki casually threw it into his mouth as if he was eating candy. From his gesture, it seemed like he was used to doing this.
“It’s hard, bitter and salty. It tastes like burnt bacon and eggs. The classic taste of regret and anguish.”
Contrary to his spiteful tone, his expression was cheerful.
Though, when he noticed that Aoi was staring at him, his expression turned awkward. He let out a few coughs before changing his expression to his normal one.
“Ah, Miyama… Like I said, this is something similar to magic. Ukai lost consciousness because her body finally let go of all the tension that she felt previously. She’ll regain her consciousness soon, so don’t worry–”
Hearing Aoi’s unexpectedly firm tone, Takayuki stood up straight. He was trying to decide what kind of expression should he show to her in this kind of situation, an important decision since it concerned his life and death. After all, if he were to make a wrong decision here, he’d most likely be finished socially. One thing was certain for him, though. No matter what he said here, the end result would be the same.
After all, there was no one in this world that managed to perceive his power, let alone understanding or remembering it.
“What was that just now?”
However, something that exceeded Takayuki’s expectations happened right in front of him.
“That glittering mist…”
“…You can see it?”
No, it wasn’t only his expectation that was overturned, his common sense was also overturned by the girl in front of him.
“Am I not supposed to see it?”
Noticing Takayuki’s frozen expression, Aoi let out a smile as she tilted her head.
“…Uh, not really?”
Takayuki decided to run away since there was no way that he could deceive her at this point. But before he could do anything, Aoi already grabbed his hand tightly.
It was then that he noticed Tomoe’s body resting peacefully while leaning on the table.
“Wait, let’s talk this out. I know how you feel, but as human beings we should try to solve everything by talking it out first! So, please let go of my hand— Huh? Miyama?”
“That red hairpin.”
Takayuki stopped his pleading as he made eye contact with Aoi.
He didn’t notice it because he was afraid of her, but unlike what he had expected, there was no anger in Aoi’s eyes. Instead, there was an indescribable pure and intense emotion there.
“My hero. My cool hero.”
Then, Aoi said something that only a select amount of people would understand.
There was prayer and hope hidden beneath those words.
Takayuki’s eyes widened in response to that. The face he made looked so weird that it wouldn’t be strange if Aoi were to laugh at him for that.
“Ha… Hahaha! What the hell, hero? That’s not something you’d normally say to a monster like me.”
Even though he laughed, there seemed to be sadness hidden beneath his laugh.
* * *
Aoi didn’t know why Takayuki was making a face like that.
However, there was one thing that she knew. No matter how inexplicable the situation was, there was one thing that Aoi was sure of.
“We met again, my hero.”
It was the fact that she was finally reunited with her childhood hero.
* * *
Mihara Naotsugu’s love life was going well.
With the help of his childhood friend, he managed to befriend the senpai he had a crush on. At first, he was afraid of being unable to talk with her since they were in different clubs, but with Tomoe giving him enough courage to do so, he managed to successfully capture his crush’s interest.
“At this point, if I were to confess to her, won’t she accept it?”
“Idiot, what did I tell you?! Don’t be too pushy or else she’ll come to hate you instead!”
However, even when his love life was successful, he never forgot to go home together with his childhood friend. It seemed like it was ingrained within his body to do so without him realizing it.
“G-Got it, I won’t do that! So, should I pull back a little? That way she won’t think I’m being pushy.”
“Idiot, if you do that, she’ll think that you came to hate her! Think about it for a second! She’s a quiet and ladylike person, if you were to pull that move on her, you’ll just hurt her!”
“T-Then, what should I do?!”
“For starters, keep your eyes off her chest!”
“D**n, that’s a tough one!”
This was how they usually interacted with each other.
Tomoe was like a little sister to Naotsugu, someone that he had to protect. She was also a good friend that he could rely on. It was because of Tomoe’s help that his dull self managed to catch an eye of his crush. For that, he was grateful to Tomoe.
“With that said… I guess we can’t walk to school together anymore, huh?”
That was why, when Tomoe said those words as a joke, it made Naotsugu stop in his tracks.
“Huh? What are you so surprised about? Think about it for a second, I’m a girl, a pretty one to boot. If I were to keep staying by your side, you won’t be able to get a girlfriend.”
“T-That… B-But… I-It’s dangerous for a girl to walk to school by herself!”
“I’ll be fine! I can just go with my friend! Rather, I’m thankful that I won’t be going with you since I’ll be going with the most beautiful girl at school every morning! Eat that, you loser!”
“Tomo, I’m not joking—”
“You know what, Nao?”
To prevent Naotsugu from saying anything else, Tomoe held her finger on his mouth.
“It’s fine. I can get by myself even without you, Nao.”
When she showed him a fragile smile that seemed like it was about to disappear at any moment, Naotsugu understood everything. But sadly for him, everything was too late. That was why he could only respond to her with a wry smile.
He started blaming himself for being the worst kind of a**hole to his best friend. He convinced himself that someone like him should just ram his head to a pole and die right then.
“I see. I guess so, huh? We’re already high school students, huh?”
Naotsugu then muttered the words that would change their relationship forever.
With that, he finally realized that relationships were something that could change over time.
* * *
“Phew… Everything’s finally over…”
After saying what she needed to her childhood friend, she immediately parted ways with him.
However, she had no plans afterwards. After all, parting ways from him was something that she did in spur of the moments. She just wanted them to be apart from each other, that was it.
“…At least I managed to say everything properly.”
But for some reason, she was wearing a proud smile on her face.
The pain of her broken heart made her tremble a little, but it wasn’t enough to make her cry, hell it wasn’t even enough to make her stop walking. She knew that over time, even this painful experience would turn into a good memory for her.
“Alright, now what should I do?~”
As she walked along the road, she suddenly felt a small vibration coming from her phone. When she opened it, she found out that one of her classmates invited her to a karaoke session.
“Ahaha, well, I guess that’s what I’m gonna do.”
With a grin on her face, she turned around and started walking again.
From the lonely way home, to the place where her friends were at.
* * *
“…Everything seems to be okay.”
“You’re so overprotective, don’t you realize that?”
“Speak for yourself.”
“Aftercare is part of the service.”
Watching Tomoe from the shadows were Aoi and Takayuki.
Seeing the determined look on Tomoe’s face, the two were sure that she was going to be okay. Nevertheless, it was human nature to be worried over others, so they didn’t stop watching her until she was out of their sight.
“Well, I’ve seen enough, so I’m going now.”
“…What is it?”
“Can I ask you something?”
“Nope, I’m busy. Save it for later.”
“Can’t you spare some time for me?”
“Nope, the kids will cry if I dawdle any longer.”
“Kids?… Ah, is it the payment for borrowing the restaurant the other day? Well, since it’s that important, it can’t be helped then.”
“No, it’s unrelated. I need to hurry because the limousine will arrive anytime soon, so see you.”
“Limousine?! Wait, what?! Hey, I’m not done yet!”
Takayuki managed to slip out from Aoi’s grasp when she let her guard down a little. His movements were too quick for Aoi to follow and he managed to get far enough to disappear from her sight. However, there was something that Takayuki managed to overlook.
“…Well, I can ask him tomorrow.”
It was the fact that they were classmates. Whether he liked it or not, he’d have to deal with her again tomorrow.