Trembling, Kagami reached for the phone. She picked it up nervously; she had a premonition that something bad might happen.
'Good afternoon, Miss Hiiragi. This is the Bank of Jap…'
Kagami smashed her phone to the ground. She cuddled herself under her blanket.
'W… Why? Why could this happen to me?'
…Nobody answered her.
She had ruined her career. Wasted all her money. Destroyed her future.
She had nothing left. Aside from the Hiiragi Residence. Aside from her parents, sisters, and friends.
'Tsukasa… Konata… Miyuki…'
Her tears damped the bed sheets.
'… If only… I could turn the time back…'
'… Back to seven years ago…!'
Konata scrutinized the newspaper for the article on the 15th AKB Manga Competition.
Nothing on the first page, except for a few reports on the recent economy recession.
'Let's try the second page then,' she said to herself, grasping her pen tightly.
Ah! There it was, lying comfortably at the corner of the paper.
Konata scanned the list of winners.
'Top prize… Kakiflew… Second prize… Arararagi…'
There was no 'Izumi Konata' on the article. Not even in the list of consolation prize winners.
She had failed again. For the seventh time in a row.
She banged her head against the table, trying to figure out a reason.
All her artist friends had done it, but why she still could not?
All these years of 'hard work' had been in vain.
How much did she wish that she could travel back in time!
How much did she yearn for the easy-going life that she enjoyed during high school!
What an unsuccessful person she was!
Miyuki lullabied her baby daughters to sleep and rushed to answer the doorbell.
She opened the house door.
A hideous-looking man was standing there. Wearing a crumpled shirt, a tattered pair of black long pants and a half-torn tie.
His originally handsome face was covered with bruises and scars.
Upon seeing Miyuki, he knelt down and burst into tears.
'D… Dear… I… I'm really sorry!'
Miyuki turned her head and walked away, ignoring the poor man's cries.
'I SAID, GET AWAY FROM MY HOUSE! YOU'RE NOT MY HUSBAND ANYMORE!'
She wiped off a few tears in her eyes and ran into the nearest bedroom.
She banged the door close and locked it up so that she would not see her 'husband' anymore.
'W… Why? Why did you have to come now, of all times?'
She broke into tears.
'W… Why? Why did I have to marry that bastard?'
'Good afternoon sir, this is Miss Tsukasa from Smile Company…'
'Sir, I'm very sorry…'
'WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF SAYING SORRY NOW? YOUR MISTAKE HAS CAUSED ME TO LOSE THOUSANDS OF PROFIT! THOUSANDS! THAT'S TIMES YOUR MONTHLY SALARY!'
The voice over the phone was so loud that it scared the colleagues sitting beside Tsukasa.
'Sir, I'm really, really sorry…'
She was about to cry.
'SORRY? ALL YOU CAN SAY IS SORRY? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO COMPENSATE ME FOR THIS? LET ME WARN YOU, BE THANKFUL I DID NOT COMPLAIN THIS TO YOUR BOSS!'
'Yes, I know sir, but…'
'DON'T EVER LET ME SEE YOU AGAIN! GET IT?'
'Yes, I understand…'
Tsukasa laid down her face on the table and started to cry. That was the third complain from her client in one week.
She bent down her body to reach for something in her drawer.
It was a photo. A photo of her elder sister, Kagami.
Her sister seemed to smile broadly at her. She was showing off her degree in the photo.
Tsukasa cried even harder. How could she survive on in this world now?