Implication 1: The Devil and the Angel
Credits and thanks goes to vanessa_x17 for the poster!


“Azuma! What do you think? Would Keigo like this?” There’s Ishikawa Ayane lifting up a green sweater and now placing it along my chest to see if it fits . . . him. I don’t even know why I agreed to go shopping with her for this idiotic present. “Azuma, say something. I don’t want Keigo to be—“
“It’s ugly.”

Ayane immediately puffs her cheeks while folding her arms together. “See, Azuma? That’s why you haven’t gotten a girlfriend yet! With that attitude of—“

I tug her wrist towards me and whisper in her ear, “Do you really want to know why I don’t have a girlfriend?” I see her cheeks boiling with redness; I can’t help but laugh at her. She’s so pathetic, I think. If she’s getting embarrassed when I touch her, then what happens if Keigo . . . I scratch that thought out of my head. I’m getting pathetic now, so I let go of her and add, “It’s so fun to see you squirm like that. I honestly don’t get what Keigo sees in you.”

“Nogiri Azuma! You are so immature, so stupid, so annoying! You’re the worst!” she shouts as I start to exit the store. “I don’t get why you’re my best friend!”

That’s right. I’m her best friend, and I have been ever since high school. We’ve been through everything together. I’ve told her about my parents’ divorce. She told me about her insecurities. She can change her clothes in my room, and she has before. That’s how much she trusts me.

I let out a sigh as the warm sunlight shines on my face. It’s almost dawn and the end of summer. After this summer, we’ll be off to university. She and I will attend the same school; she’d be studying French while I’ll be focusing on business. Keigo, on the other hand, will be in another province majoring in international relations. He wants to be an ambassador like his father. 

And this is why we’re here at this clothing store. She wants to give him a good luck charm for the new school year, and I’m supposed to be the one giving her luck. I think I need it more than her. After all these years, my wish has never come true. I doubt it will anyhow. She’s always going to be thinking about another guy. She’ll never look at me in that way because to her, I’ll always be the devil.

Azuma the Akuma. That’s what people always liked to say about me. I don’t really blame them. It’s pretty catchy, and they’re kind of right. I’m not that nice. In fact, I persuaded Ayane to attend her university for the program, yet deep down, I wanted her to be away from Keigo. Yes, follow your dreams, Ayane, I told her. I’m sure Keigo will understand. Yes, I’m sure distance won’t hurt you guys. You’ll have the chance to mature. I forgot to add that she’d be maturing with me by her side.

“Azuma! Wait up!” Ayane starts to shout at me. 

I hear her running feet, and that makes me purposely walk a bit faster. I even pretend that I don’t hear her as I insert my ear buds into my ear. Then, I randomly pick a song to distract my mind. There’s some heavy bass coming from the pianist’s keys. I feel the demon coming. With his pitchfork, he’ll chase after me. He knows what I’m doing is wrong and immoral, but . . . I . . .

My eyes are suddenly fixated at this girl’s gaze. She’s sitting at a restaurant across from this street. She’s looking straight ahead, but I know she’s not looking at me. Her eyes aren’t burning. They’re rather dark and dull. There’s no life in this girl because she’s giving all of her life to one thing. No, I’m wrong; I realize this once I look to my right. She’s investing all of her energy to this one man seated with another lady at an ice cream shop. I now understand why she’s staring, and that’s when I feel the pain in my chest.

She’s just like me.

Then, out of the blue, I feel a tug on my sleeve. “Finally,” I hear Ayane panting, “I’ve caught up to you. Ha. . . ha . . . Why are you smiling Azuma? You’re creeping me out. It’s gross.”

I feel my smile growing wider, and finally, I tell Ayane, “Don’t worry. I wasn’t smiling at you.”

“Good. That’d be so gross.”

I joke, “I know right? If I ever fell for you, then the world would end.”

Indeed, the world is always ending for me in my head, and I just spend every day not even hoping for a result. Whatever we have right now is perfectly fine. If I wait it out, then she’ll know who she should choose in the end. That’s what a nice guy would think. For me, I know my opportunity is arriving soon, and I’m going to take it as is.

“Azuma!” Ayane pounds my back several times. “You’re honestly the devil!”

----

Every Saturday afternoon, I like to people watch at a local subway store. I think it’s perfect for finding characters to write about for a story. I’m no famous writer though. I’m just writing fiction online with a few readers here and there. There’s really nothing else exciting in my life, and so I bring my imagination into my stories, except lately, I’ve been too busy watching a certain guy, Maeda Takeshi. 

He was a classmate of mine at school, but we were in different homerooms. He wasn’t exactly popular; however, he wasn’t a loner either. He had his own group of friends and was considered to be a smart guy. He’d usually rank within the top ten for our midterms and exams. I’d still be ahead of him, of course. The only reason that I paid attention to him originally was that he could have been one of my competitors. We were both aiming for the same university, and I wanted the teacher to recommend me instead.

I remember begging the teacher to choose me. I worked harder than anyone, I told her. She knew it too, but she felt Takeshi had a lot of potential. Luckily, Takeshi overheard our conversation and personally asked for the teacher to select me. I didn’t even get a chance to thank him. I didn’t know how either. Slowly, though, I learned bits and pieces about him from a few friends. He was the library monitor too, so I’d visit the library often. We even chatted a couple of times, and from one of our conversations, he told me that he worked at a local ice cream shop every Saturday. I guess that was how it all started, how I started to watch him. He never knew, of course, that I was watching. He was too busy working and . . . entertaining his girlfriend, Sasaki Hitomi.

I actually don’t know much about her besides the usual gossip. From her school uniform, I deduced that she was from a rich school, an all-girls school that was pretty much for the elite. I overheard some of my classmates saying how she was the granddaughter of a famous beer company and how she occasionally modeled for magazines. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were a model. She had long legs, a nice chest and a cute smile. She was really a sweet, sweet girl. She kind of reminded me of . . .

“Azuma! Wait up!”

I hear a girl with long, wavy hair shouting at a tall boy, who seems too cool to care. He is wearing a black cross earring on his right ear along with tight, red plaid pants and black military boots. His hair is parted in the middle and is to his ears. With that look of his, he reminds me of the leader singer of some underground rock star. He honestly attracts too much attention for my liking. Now, he even starts to walk a bit faster. I think he’s purposely making her chase. With that smirk of his, he likes every minute of attention he’s getting from her. I wonder if he’s just sadistic or if there’s . . .

Our eyes meet each other’s briefly. His bright yet sly eyes bring a shock to my heart. It’s not the type that Takeshi brings. Instead, I feel that pang of remorse and somehow, I feel there’s something devilish and familiar about this guy. I just feel like I’ve seen him before, but where? I know it’s rude to stare at a stranger any longer, so I continue to watch Takeshi. There he is feeding her again during his lunch break. He’s treating her to her favourite ice cream, vanilla sprinkled with chocolate flakes. He’s gazing at her with his loving eyes and stupendous smile. Every time he grins, I can’t resist smiling either. Only he seems to bring a smile to my face so easily.

I don’t mind watching him like this. As long as Takeshi is happy, then I’ll be glad. Yes, as long as Takeshi is . . .

“Sumiko-san, if you keep watching him, he’ll never know who you are.”

That’s Kaoru, the manager of this place. She knows my orders exactly and understands what I have been doing. In fact, I’m pretty sure she pities me. I’m just a girl with a case of unrequited love. If that’s the case, then I should be sad. I’m not though. I like admiring him from afar. It’s safer this way. It’s way better than that guy across from me. Azuma?

That girl has finally touched his arm, and from the way he’s smiling, I know that he’s suffering. He’s just like me.
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