I was sweating and my mind kept on lecturing me like, "You should've at least made your best friend be safe during your clumsy travel." Best friend = PSP.

I whined on and on. My aunt faced me with a worried look even though she smiled at me. I didn't know how to interpret the expression written on her face.

"Why not go back to your school?" Aunt Yuri asked as her smile grew wider. I sighed. "Being in the same place where Akashi is would only-"

"Stop the drama. Fine. I understand," she gave me her sheepish look as she threw an extra uniform for me to wear. I headed towards the changing room and let out a heavy sigh.

My otome game! I should have saved it first then shut the gadget down.

I stripped my school uniform and put on the clothes given to me. As you can see, the clothes here were those of Alice on Alice in Wonderland. The basis of almost everything here was from that. This cafe was named as Wonderland Cafe. Some of the foods in the menu were Crescent Split, Cheshire Cat's Tart, Bunny Tea and so on. The greatest hit was the Wonderland Craze wherein you had to eat the Alice Set while an Alice waitress or waiter would accompany you for five minutes.

When sexual harassment or anything inappropriate was done by the customers, all we have to do was press the button on our necklace then the manager would be the one to handle the situation. Well, Japan was pretty hi-tech.

I gathered my stripped uniform and opened the door of the dressing room. I left the tiny place. I put my clothes inside the extra locker. I went out of the staff room and got greeted by my one-year older cousin who had black hair and chocolate melted eyes. He had light brown skin that made him look seductive. He was handsome. He would come to work here whenever he wanted to. That's the advantage of family business relationships.

"Yo, Azuri," he winked at me, but his jaw dropped when he stared. "Have you been crying?"

"I'm fine, Aizawa," I smiled at him then just worked for the next few hours. Despite the fact that I became busy, Akashi kept on popping inside my mind. Amidst the fact that I was trying to forget about everything, I couldn't help but remember it.

When the cafe closed, I changed back to my uniform, took my bag and decided to head home. Just as I was about to leave the place, Aizawa approached me and offered to lend an ear. I sighed.

He's always been like this ever since we were children. He would listen to me rant on and on. He stood like my brother. I owed him big time.

We left the place and walked next to each other. "Why were you crying a while ago?" he asked as he brushed his hair using his free hand. I smiled to the ground as if nostalgia hit me.

"Tell me; is it wrong to fall in love?" I asked as I kept my raven eyes stare at the ground we're stepping on. "You like someone?" he questioned. I didn't answer him as I clutched my bag closer to my figure and let my mocha colored hair dance gracefully in mid air.

"Falling in love was never your choice. It's your heart's. You can't help it. If you were one of those girls who were rejected then quickly found another guy to fall for, it means that your feelings weren't enough and they weren't strong," he explained. I raised my head and looked up to see him. He was gazing at me with a smile.

"What if you love someone yet you try your best on avoiding him so that he won't notice you?" I asked. "That's pretty one-sided and selfish," was Aizawa's answer.

"Why would you bottle up your feelings deep inside your heart if you really love him?" he uttered.

"What if you did that because he told you to stop liking him?" I questioned as I remembered how Akashi and I were to each other.

"That's pretty different. It's an indirect rejection, but if you are able to maintain or, at least, flourish you feelings towards him, it means that you're too attached and too used to your feelings. That's pretty rare and complicated though. Why?" this time, Aizawa was the one who asked a question.

"Nothing," I scoffed then grinned to myself with melancholy.

"Whoever that guy is, he's surely a fool for letting a girl like you pass by so simply," he said as he chuckled after finishing his sentence. My face flushed when I suddenly thought of Akashi.

"S-stop j-joking. It isn't funny," I told him as I looked away. Aizawa patted my head.

"If only we weren't cousins, I would have totally courted you, but if I were to do that in reality, our love would be considered as incest," he smiled at me. I laughed at him.

"Flirt," I commented. He playfully pinched my left cheek and stretched it as if it was made of rubber. "Ow, ow, ow! Stop it," these sounds escaped from my lips.

"What are you? A dog? Ow ow ow!" Aizawa mocked me and I glared at him. He only chuckled at me and I couldn't help but giggle.

We were like this back then. Just goofing off and such. Finally, we came to our point of separation. We both bid farewell and went on to our own destinations.

The reason why I headed to the cafe instead of going home was that I could avoid suspicions from our maid that I simply skipped classes.


After two days of being in bed and pretending to be sick, I finally decided to go back to school since today was the group performance. After minutes of preparing, I stood in front of the mirror while looking over at my reflection. I playfully slapped my cheeks then smiled.

Today's another day.

When I arrived at the classroom, everyone looked at me as if I were a ghost. Even Akashi looked at me. Seeing him made me remember what he said.

"Azuri, I heard what happened. Are you okay?" Haruka greeted me as she tackled me in a friendly hug. I faked a smile as we parted from the lovely collision. "I'm fine," I replied.

I went towards my seat and settled my bag. Haruka kept on asking questions and the others continued talking to each other.

"Mrs. Kitamura said that you had a high score during the quiz. I know what that means; you were depressed. Also, she said that you suddenly stood up and left while crying. What happened?" Haruka asked.

"I just got emotional. I remembered the tragic movie that I watched," I laughed off.

After that, Mr. Mukurou arrived and the group performance went on. When it was our turn, Shiguma went to my place and whispered something, "Just sit there. You weren't around during the past few days so we changed our plans and Akashi gave your tasks to someone else. Sorry. He said that you would surely come today, but you won't be able to do what he would have planned."

My eyes widened.

I smiled at her and said that it was okay. I watched Shiguma meet with our group members then they started to perform. I bit my lower lip. My hands clenched into fists. My classmates looked at me for the second time, knowing that I was supposed to be with them.

Honestly, their report and performance was great yet I was a part of the group so I deserved to do that with them. I felt like an outcast and a person of no value.

I finished the day, feeling like I wasn't needed. I still pretended that I was fine. When dismissal came, I stalked him to the gym and decided to approach Akashi. I may have feelings for him, but tolerating my existence as a human was something harsh. It was a good thing that Akashi was the very first guy who came during practice after dismissal. This way, we're the only ones who can talk privately inside the gym's court where he apologized to me for the first time.

Instead of calling him by his name, I placed my hand on his shoulder and forcefully made him turn around to face me. I quickly retrieved my arm. His face had no sign of being shocked. It was as if he knew that I was going to approach him.

"Why did you do that?" I referred to what happened during Mr. Mukurou's class. Akashi gazed at me.

"It was your fault for being gone," he simply uttered. I wanted to curse and use foul language. His answer pissed me off.

Tears were approaching my eyes again. My heart was broken to start with.

"I know you hate me, but doing that has gone far. You told me to stop liking you, I tried to, but I simply couldn't do it. Despite that, you keep on pushing me away and now this?" I felt like this was the right time to confront him.

"I did warn you that nobody dares to disobey me," he answered plainly.

How he answered and looked down on me made me want to shout at him. Tears finally came out and rolled over my cheeks.

"Akashi, am I not human enough to fall for someone?" I asked as I stared at him while crying. His eyes narrowed for a second then got back to their normal selves.

"You heard my conversation with Boriburo, didn't you?" he asked me with sharp eyes. "Look, Azuri, you were still in the group. I just talked to Mr. Mukurou in private and told him your participation in the group. I did that so that you won't be bothered. If you think that I hate you, you got it wrong. I don't like you, but I don't hate you as well. I respect humans as humans," he answered me.

Falling in love with an arrogant person was pretty something.

"You know, you've been faking your smile ever since you arrived here this day," my eyes widened when he spoke. He knew? He noticed it?

"You even faked your laugh. You forced them out," he murmured. "What do you m-" I was about to interrogate him until he let out a long and heavy sigh.

"I'll act like nothing happened. Just keep on trying to do that and one day, you'll be able to fall for someone else. Simply put, I am not the guy for you. Besides, you're not the only one I've been like this to. I have no time for something stupid as that. The only thing that interests me is basketball," he added. "You can leave," he finished.

I turned around. My heart, though broken, suddenly became silent and found peace. Just as I was about to exit the place, I took one last glance at Akashi who was watching me leave.

For the very first time, I followed his command without protesting, doing something, complaining or anything else.

I smiled at him and mustered the words, "Thank you," then left.

I wiped my tears away. I've been a crybaby this week. Akashi was the reason why my heart became relentless, but he was also the reason why it felt peaceful. These feelings, would they fade away just like how he told me or would it only grow?

Walking along the hallway, I searched for my lost psp.

I found it near the door of the next office. I picked it up then a frown got stuck on my face. My psp was wrecked. Its screen was broken. It was dirty. I tried to open it; it won't work. I let out a childish sad face. I was going to be dead once dad finds out about this. My otome game. Nooo.

Well, I think this was way better than letting someone bully me because of finding out that I'm an otome game lover.