Implication 9: No Regrets



After that stupid fiasco, the landlord unlocks my door for me and immediately, Ayane leaps from the ground to greet me, “Azuma! Azuma! I was getting so worried about you! You were out for so long and then you forgot your cell phone, so I thought you might have—“
“I’m fine,” I butt in before she can blurt anything more. The landlord is already giving me that look as if telling me that if my girlfriend was already at home, then I should have just knocked. As if I knew that Ayane was still hanging around here . . .

“Really, Azuma,” Ayane continues to chirp with brightened eyes. “What if something bad happened to you? Huh? I mean, I was really, really worried. Oh, and I’m sorry if I started to clean up for you. This place is . . .” She looks side to side before adding, “Kind of shabby . . .”

As the landlord leaves, I close the door behind her. Taking off my shoes, I glimpse at the floor and then around my whole area. Nothing has changed much. There are dried bits of toilet paper sprinkled on the ground. She must have tried to use soap to clean up the area and then dried it with toilet paper. I shake my head, sighing. I wished she didn’t try to do anything extra. She’s already bad at housework. Still, I know she tried and that she would only erupt in fury if I criticized her hard work. So, I settle on saying, “Thanks.”

“Phew! I thought you’d get so mad at me!” She swings her arm around mine and then drags me to the washroom. “Look! Look! I even scrubbed the bathtub!”
The bathtub does look . . . a bit cleaner than before, but really, there isn’t much difference. From the scrub marks, I can tell that Ayane probably gave up halfway after feeling bored and tired. Regardless, I put on a smile and repeat, “Thanks.”

“Yay!” Ayane now releases me and cheers. “You like it!”

I shrug my shoulders, noting, “Eh, it’s all right.”

“Just all right?” Ayane frowns at me playfully while pouting her puffy lips. “Mphm.”

“All right, all right.” I succumb to her. “It was nice of you to help me out.”

“Exactly!” Ayane points her finger at me and grins sweetly. That’s what I like about Ayane. She’s a cute girl, unafraid of expressing her feelings. I just wished that she’d be less dense at times and recognize who has always been there for her. Out of the blue, she suggests, “Let’s, let’s go out and eat! My treat! I feel like drinking too!”

“You sure that’s a good idea?” I confirm.

Every time Ayane asks to drink, this means that something bad has happened. In this case, I can only guess that Keigo has not answered her or has given her an indifferent reply. The last time she asked to drink was when she learned that her cousin had committed suicide after her cousin’s boyfriend cheated and dumped her cousin. Since we were only in high school, we’d go to some convenience store and buy a pack of beer to drink at her place. Her mother doesn’t really care what Ayane does as long as Ayane doesn’t do drugs. Technically, we are still too young to drink, but we look old enough that no one questions our age now. To be honest, I don’t mind drinking with her. It’s just that Ayane now seems to be using drinking as an excuse to forget about her relationship issues.

“Yes, yes, yes,” she urges while using both of her hands to push my back so I move forward. “Now, let’s get going so we can find a seat and drink all night!”

“Fine, fine,” I grumble and remember to pick up my bag and wallet this time. “It’s your treat right?”

“Yes, yes,” she roars. “And stop being so stingy! How are you going to get girls that way huh?”

I joke and even toss a wink at her, “I don’t expect to get girls. They come and get me.” 

Ayane fakes a shiver while remarking, “Brr . . . that’s such a cold joke, Azuma, but never mind about your lame jokes! Let’s go drink! Drink till we drop! Okay?”

That’s how I am sitting in front of a now drunk Ayane, who keeps muttering to me about her complaints. She is kind of saying nonsense, but out of that mess, I can still make out her concerns. She wonders if her father is having an affair with his secretary. She wonders why Keigo can update his blog, but he can’t answer her. She also has questions about that girl who keeps appearing in Keigo’s photographs. She says that Keigo has told her that that woman is only a classmate, yet with her woman’s instinct, Ayane claims she knows more.

“M-m-m-men are a-a-all b-b-bastards! After getting you, they th-th-throw you away like you’re nothing!” Ayane swings her hand out and almost hits the waiter. I mouth an apology, but Ayane continues to shout and slam her drink on the table, “Huh? Wh-why? Huh? You’re a man! Tell me! After sl-sl-sleeping with me, y-y-you don’t want me anymore? Why?”

I guess Ayane finally gave up her virginity to Keigo before he left for university. The sudden image of her screwing with him enrages me. I can’t stand her behaving this way. I’m also mad at him for ignoring her afterwards, so I gulp down more beer. I think I deserve few more drinks, and I probably would have drunk more if the owner of the restaurant had not urged, “I think . . . you should take your girlfriend home . . .”

I snap at him hastily, “She’s not my girlfriend.”

I don’t know how many times I have to correct people about this. Ayane is not my girlfriend. I wish she was, but I can’t lie away like this. She’s still clearly in love with Keigo, and tonight, I am just reaffirming my role as the best friend. As a best friend, I would have taken her home, but I’m sick of acting like a gentleman. As a result, I slip some cash from her wallet to pay for our meal and then give her a piggyback back to my place.

This trip takes longer than I anticipated. This is the first time I have carried her like this, and she is still mumbling. This time, I can’t focus on her fragmented phrases, and instead, I just concentrate on bringing her to my apartment. I don’t care if she mistakes me for Keigo and sleeps with me. I want something to happen for once. I’m sick and tired of playing the nice guy when I really am not one. It’s time to show her my true colours.

That’s the whole premise of my mentality until I’m on the floor of where I live. Believe it or not. I’m starting to believe that there is fate, or at least, coincidence. Coincidently, as I struggle to open the door with Ayane slipping from my back, I see Sumiko with a large bag of garbage in her hands. Undoubtedly, her eyes meet mine. She is looking at me with much sternness mixed with disappointment. The way she gawks at me makes me feel guilty. For a second, I am reconsidering doing anything with Ayane. I also sort of regret bringing Ayane here. I’m about to think that I should have sent her home, yet as soon as Sumiko walks by as if nothing has happened, that sense of guilt dissipates. There’s nothing wrong with what I am doing. There’s nothing wrong at all for being a devil. I’m just taking matters into my own hands. Nothing wrong with that.

There’s absolutely nothing . . . wrong with what I am doing, and there’s clearly nothing that will stop me.

------ 

I feel the sunshine warming my bare back. Must be morning, I grumble in my mind. Time to wake up and get my ass to class. I roll off my bed, which is the only piece of furniture that exists here. I reach for my jeans on the ground, and as I button and zip up, I look down to find Ayane still sleeping peacefully. I can’t resist smiling. Somehow, I can’t wait for her to discover what has occurred. I can’t wait for her to fret and beg me not to tell her boyfriend that she and I slept together. I wonder what sort of act I should put on in front of her. Shall I play dumb or shall I tell her that she seduced me and that it was in the heat of the moment? 

No, if it was in the heat of the moment, then Ayane could always tell me to forget about it. If I play dumb too, then she would ask me to cover for her. So, the best trick here is to blatantly tell her that she consented and I had always wanted to do it with her too. Sounds pretty good.

Now, I relocate to the washroom to brush my teeth. I’m following my routine rather casually. Nothing to worry on my side.

As I work on my front teeth, I see Ayane burst into the washroom with my blanket wrapped around her. With her eyebrows bunched up together, she stammers, “A-a-a-azuma . . . d-d-d-did . . . l-l-last night—“

I spit out my toothpaste and saliva and then rinse my teeth. “Yeah, we slept together last night,” I tell her confidently.

“Y-y-you’re joking right?”

I shake my head, uttering, “No, I’m not joking.”

Ayane slams her fists on my chest and shrieks, “How could you? How could you take advantage of me like that? Huh? How could you—“

I seize both of her wrists to inform her, “You wanted it too. You were the one that started kissing me.”

“Maybe I did,” she hollers, “but I was drunk! You can’t just—“

“What was done has been done,” I remind her. “I think you should be more worried about me telling your boyfriend about our adventure.”

“A-a-azuma, you can’t be—“

“And I have evidence too,” I utter. I use one of my hands to reach into my pant pockets and show her the photos of her naked body. Ayane’s pupils are pacing back and forth; she is unable to accept what has happened, which is good for me. 

“Delete them!” she demands and hits me with her free hand.

“No,” I state. “Not unless you date me.”

“What? What are you—“

“I’m serious. I’m going to type his email right now.”

“You’re being . . . ridiculous. I’m not going to—“

“Okay, then I’ll forward him these photos right now. It’s Keigo right?”

“Okay!” Ayane shrieks. “I’ll date you! You happy now?”

“Guess so.”

Ayane goes back to my room to put on her clothes. Even when she leaves, she doesn’t say goodbye to me, and I don’t blame her. I finish brushing my teeth like nothing happens, and when I hear the front door slam, I wash my face once more with freezing water. Then, I lift my head to see myself in the mirror. Is this the face of a monster? I look the same if you ask me. I don’t feel any different either. As I wipe my face with my towel, I take another glance at myself.

This is it. There’s no going back now, and then I make a mental note to myself that I’ll still forward these images to Keigo when the time comes. Give Ayane some time to adjust, and if she still can’t adapt, then it’s time to give her another push. If that doesn’t work, I have another trick up my sleeve. I scoff to myself as I double check if the file is on my cell phone still. Yes . . . there it is. I click once, and the movie clip plays.

“More!” Ayane shrills as her body rocks backwards and forwards. “Ugh! More! Deeper! Go deeper baby!”

Time to make a copy of everything on my laptop.

You happy now?

Why yes, sweetheart. I think I am quite happy.
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