"There, I met Alice again, but she looked different. She had cut her hair—"
'What's weird about that? Maybe she had an image change or something?' Angelica wondered.
"I thought the same when I first laid my eyes on her. But her skin also looked rough, and her eyes… basically, it looked as though she wasn't taking care of herself," Rudy asserted.
"I wanted to ask her if she has been doing alright, but I didn't. After the party was over, she said she wanted to talk to me alone. I was kind of reluctant because she was acting a little strange, but my girlfriend said I should go."
"So, we went behind the school where we always ate our lunch together. She recalled a few things about the time we were in high school, and we reminisced together. Then suddenly, she said, 'Do you know I have always loved you?'."
"I was totally bewildered after hearing that. I mean, Alice was… is… a school idol, and she is loved by almost the entire campus. And I was only a mob who wouldn't even get noticed by others unless they needed something from me. So her saying I love to me was like god telling the devil to do more evil things."
Rudy was always pessimistic whenever it was about himself. He considered himself as good-for-nothing because he hadn't done anything great in his life. However, he had one chance to change his life, which was stolen from him because he got into an accident. After spending years being crippled and helpless, Rudy's pessimistic nature got even worse. But he wasn't to blame.
'What did you do then?' Angelica asked curiously.
"I honestly thought she was joking or trying to tease me. For your information, Alice has always been like that. She jokes too much and teases me, and that's why I thought she was joking about that too. But…" Rudy bit his lips before completing his sentence.
"But of course, she wasn't kidding. I told her, 'If you truly loved me, then you should have told me sooner.' as a joke. I said that as a joke, but… I shouldn't have said that."
Rudy kicked a stone near him, which shattered into sand upon impact.
Even Angelica was afraid to ask what happened next.
"One day, when I was giving my final exams at the university, I got a call. My phone was in my bag, so I wasn't aware of it. When I checked my phone after that, I saw a few missed calls from Eric. I thought he was back from overseas, and he wanted to meet me, so I called him back."
"At first, he didn't pick up, so I had to call again. Then, he picked up and told me the news." After a brief pause, Rudy uddered in a disdainful tone: "Alice had committed suicide in her apartment."
After that, Angelica didn't speak a word.
Rudy kept walking to the school with mixed expressions on his face.
After a while, Angelica finally broke her silence and asked, 'Did you blame yourself for her death?'
"At first, I did. But then I became numb to it..."
'But you have a second chance now. You can do it better!' Angelica reassured Rudy.
"Yeah. I am not repeating any of my past life mistakes," Rudy swore to himself. "You know what I learned from my past life, or should I say what I learned as an adult?"
'What?' Angelica asked with a hint of curiosity in her voice.
"Your one choice can change not only yours but others' lives too. Sure, you might think, 'Why do I care about other people's lives?' or 'What does that have to do with me?'. But remember, just like your one choice can affect others' lives, other's one choice can affect your life too," Rudy asserted in a solemn voice.
"Karma is a bitch! And it always bites back! For some, it comes sooner, and for some, it comes late. So always be considerate about others because you never know when or how you end up destroying their lives, and they end up blaming you for it."
'Wow… those were some deep words. But also something obvious…'
"Well, yeah…" Rudy looked at his hands and said, "Ever since I traveled back in time, I thought I got a second chance to live my life better. But it's not only my second chance, I can give a second chance to others too. I can save their lives and protect them from the disaster or the tragic end they met."
'You are already doing it,' Angelica uttered. 'You saved me.'
"..." Rudy didn't say anything in response.
In his previous life, Rudy had never heard of the abandoned tunnel. He assumed it was demolished long ago as his world never had the apocalypse.
Angelica felt guilty for opening up Rudy's old wounds, but it wasn't her fault. She didn't have any memories of her own, so she wanted to know about the others.
'Let's be happy now! We can't go to school in a sad mood.' She tried to cheer up the mood.
"Now that I think about it, it would also be your first time going to school after eight years, right?" Rudy asked with a curious yet calm look on his face.
'Umm…' Angelica pondered for a while and said, "I can't seem to remember anything. Did I go to school before?'
'There are five schools in this town. But I don't know how many schools there were eight years ago.' Rudy placed his hand on his chin and thought, 'If I do some research, I can find out who Angelica truly is and what or who killed her. But should I?'
'If Angelica finds out about herself, I don't know what she might do. I am not afraid of her turning evil or wanting to seek revenge. In fact, if she wants revenge, then I will get it for her. But… what if she passes away after remembering everything?'
Before Rudy could realize it, he had reached the school gate.
He made his way in and entered his classroom. There he was greeted by Eric and Alice.
Thanks, @macraw93, @Bardockuchi, @Oseni_Precious_1089, and @Sebastian_Clark, Ninja_Msexy for the gifts.
I wanted to give a reasoning behind most of Rudy's actions. Otherwise, this novel would turn into yet another #back-to-past novel where MC dies and miraculously goes back in time. And then starts collecting girls like pokemon. Or where everything falls on MC laps and is always protected by plot armors.
Just as Rudy said, this second chance is not only to change his life but the people (mostly girls) around him too. And save them from a bad ending.
In this novel, I promise you that you will experience the true meaning of love (romance), harem, comedy, dope action, crazy twists, exciting plot, unique storyline, amazing characters, likable MC, lovable harem members (with each of them having their own life goals), steamy scenes, recipe to make a delicious lemonade, sometimes cutting onions too (emotional scenes), and most important, CULTURE!