Volume 2, Chapter 4-8: The Day After

Saturday Afternoon Winter Break 2016 Week 1

I woke up with a slight headache. Once again, white bedsheets covered me. Wait, was Yuka here too? I checked my right side, seeing Yuka’s head on the bed. She held a book in her left hand.

“Oh, Yuki, you’re awake. What time is it?” Yuka asked.

“Twelve ten,” I checked my cellphone.

“I should be getting home. Do you need a ride, Yuki?” Yuka asked.

“I think Tess will drive me back. Thanks for the offer though,” I said.

“Call me whenever you’re free, Yuki!” Yuka said, departing.

I walked to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. The pounding in my head gradually lessened and I headed downstairs. Checking the living room, I saw no one there. But it was clean, no remains of food, or any presence of us existing. They were probably in the dining room.

“Good morning, rather, good afternoon Yuki!” Felicity greeted.

She appeared normal. I no longer detected deep hostility or malice in her voice anymore. Felicity had a plate of eggs and bacon in front of her. I looked around, but didn’t see Tess.

“Felicity, any idea where Tess is?” I asked.

“She’s probably finishing up cleaning the basement. She’ll be here soon. I would give you a ride home, but Memoria and I still have much to do,” Felicity revealed.

Ten minutes later, Tess walked in. She greeted me and sat down at the table. I finished the food Felicity offered me watched her. Did she recall the events of the party at all? I couldn’t tell from her bright and uplifting smile.

“Tomo? You ready to go?” Tess asked.

“Yeah, I’m ready,” I replied.

“I hope you had fun, Yuki! Let’s do it again soon,” Felicity said as we left.

I turned to face the emotionless woman once we were in the car. She glanced at me when placing her keys in the ignition.

“Tess, how much do you remember from the party?” I asked, looking at her straight in the eyes.

“Everything. But you wish to talk about Felicity, don’t you?” Tess asked, backing out of the parking lot.

“Yeah. Care to tell me your feelings on it?” I requested, staring at the large house.

“There’s not much to say. Fel got pretty drunk, said a few things that were out of line. That’s about it,” Tess said.

“Really? I feel like her emotions are pretty unstable. But I’ll take your word that Felicity only said that because of the alcohol. How much does she really know about the heroes thing? I just want to know how much access she’s had to you and everyone else,” I pointed out.

“Fel knows of our existence and observes us when training. She’s not privy to the important matters. You’ll learn about that in time,” Tess answered, driving through the large black gate.

“Tess, what are you feelings about everyone as a hero?” I asked.

“In terms of what Tomo?” Tess asked, her voice very cold.

“What do you mean by that?” I asked, confused by her question.

“State it in more concrete terms, Tomo. As friends, as fighters, or are you perhaps inclined to even include romantic feelings?” Tess clarified.

“I meant as friends. Wait, do you actually like anyone Tess?” I asked, her words catching my attention.

“Not in terms of romance. But if you’re speaking on the friendship level then I believe everyone has their faults just like any human being. I’m not as critical about their private lives as Fel is. As long as they perform when needed. I’m sure the others understand my feelings on that,” Tess replied, stopping at a four way stop.

“Oh, I thought you would more well critical like you said. But I understand,” I nodded.

“And what about you Tomo? Anyone catch your eye?” Tess questioned, her face straight as she looked at her rear view mirror.

“What?” I stammered, caught off guard by her question.

“It’s only fair that I reciprocate your own question. Is it not?” Tess remarked.

“You have a point. Say Tess, you seem a lot more, how do I put this, cooler and calmer than usual,” I noticed.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s just the side effects of the alcohol. You still haven’t answered my question yet,” Tess reminded me.

“I don’t especially like anyone. I mean, it’s hard to when you barely know them. I feel at the party, that was my first time really seeing who they are as people. You too, Tess. I mean when we’re talking about the heroes thing, everyone has some kind of facade on. Not fake but more reserved. I can understand since we’re still getting to know each other,” I answered with care, thinking about the things I saw at the party.

“That’s a fair answer. Although, Fel does need to control herself more and choose her words with more care,” Tess noted.

“Do they not like Felicity? I mean, I can see that they’re at least on the surface friendly with her. But it seems there’s tension,” I asked.

“I’m sure they are indifferent about it. Fel is the only one who really cares that much and in some ways, that is her weakness. Although Darryl may have a differing opinion than everyone else,” Tess answered, making a left turn.

“You’re pretty sharp Tess, even with social interactions. It feels like you know too much and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just so mysterious,” I searched for the correct words to convey my opinion of Tess.

“It’s just what I do, Tomo. There’s nothing more to it. By the way, you may want to check your underwear when you get home,” Tess suddenly said she neared my street.

“What? Tess, what did you do?” I responded, surprised by her sudden comment.

“It’s more about what Fel did than me. Anyways, you have arrived safely back at your house,” Tess ended our conversation as she pulled into my driveway.

“Tess, you gotta tell me. It’s freaking me out the way you said it,” I pleaded.

Tess remained silent and waved goodbye to me. Damn it, I would have to see what Tess meant when I got back to my room. I searched for my keys, but could not find them. Damn it, did I leave them in Tess’ car? Tess was pretty perceptive, she would have heard or seen them.

“Yuki, stop standing outside. You’re going to catch a cold,” Mom said,  opening the door.

“Thanks Mom,” I said, entering my house.

“You forgot your keys by the way. They were still on the table when I came home,” Mom said, holding them up.

“Oh, that’s where they were. Yeah, I won’t forget them next time,” I promised, taking the keys from her hand.

“So, did you meet any nice boys?” Mom asked, a mischievous smile on her face.

“What?” I asked, not sure how this was relevant.

“I’m just curious. You’re so lonely, Yuki. I thought you might find some good friends there,” Mom said, chuckling.

I thought back to this morning or rather the party. Most of my memories of the party were intact, but Tess’ words were really freaking me out. Recalling the interaction between Zhuyu, Shan, Ichaival, Kisai and the other boys, I shook my head. They were too weird and I still didn’t know them too well. Besides, I needed to check my underwear.

“I’m fine, Mom. Don’t worry about it. I still have Yuka,” I reminded her.

“Yes, yes, you do. I’ll let you do whatever you need to do now,” Mom said and then walked away.

Back in my room, I took off my pants and shirt. Looking down, I saw underwear different than the ones I wore to the party. I checked the material and it was high class stuff. High end designer material to be exact with “Sica” as the brand.

I changed clothes and stared at the wall, trying to recall what happened. The last thing I could vaguely remember was Shan and the others leaving. And then someone came to take me upstairs, probably Yuka?

“Damn it, Tess, what did I do?” I muttered.

Whatever. I’m sure Tess would eventually tell me later. I pulled out my phone and placed it down on the table. I saw the indicator light flashing and checked the screen. I had a missed call from Manami.

“Manami, how are you doing?” I asked, calling her back.

“Yuki, you’re okay! I thought you might still be at your friend’s party. Anyways, I have some news for you!” Manami exclaimed.

“Go on,” I urged.

“That girl we saw in Ichi’s room. You know the one in the photo? I saw her yesterday. She was at the mall. I took a picture. I’ll send it to you now,” Manami revealed.

I opened the photo and compared it to the one I had. There was no doubt about it. They were definitely the same person.

“This is getting interesting. What should we do?” I asked.

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“I’m not sure. There’s no guarantee that she’ll show up in the same place. Want to try asking your friends for help?” Manami suggested.

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“Hmm, I’ll think about it,” I said and then hung up.

Should I tell Tess and the others? If it was related to the heroes thing, I believed it would be best to inform them. Might help me figure out who this woman was.

“Tomo, how is your underwear?” Tess asked.

“I don’t know what you did and I can’t remember. I expect you to tell me one day because this is freaking me out a little bit. But I have a favor,” I replied.

“What is it?” Tess asked.

“I have a picture of someone and I believe it is related to Ichizen’s death,” I answered.

“Okay, send it right away,” Tess said.

I sent her both pictures. The one Manami took and the one I snapped during the inspection of Ichizen’s room. I heard silence as Tess viewed them.

“Tomo, we’re having a meeting tomorrow. I’ll pick you up around ten. By the way, Felicity picked a random color for you. I hope you enjoy,” Tess ended the conversation.

Damn it, Tess. You suck. Sighing, I placed my phone down on the table. For Tess to call a meeting with such urgency, that picture was important. What would I found out about the woman in the picture at the meeting?

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