44 Ch 44 - 10 May, Eriri's fall 04

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Eriri Perspective

Eriri entered her room, fell onto the bed, and hugged the pillow. Her mind was already in a mess. Tomoya and she had gone to elementary school together as well as their current school. Their relationship had not changed much since then…

No, even though it may not change much. You can say that their relationship was not as close as she had hoped it would be. Especially since she betrayed him after their classmates discovered their hobby and made fun of them.

While Tomoya tried to fight those kids— Eriri chose to hide her hobby and play with other girls.

Eriri didn't know how Tomoya felt about her, but there was no way he disliked her; they'd already been to each other's rooms. Sometimes, she makes doujinshi in his room, but, well, he rarely goes to her room.

But until now, Eriri always remembered their promise. Tomoya said that he is going to be the president of a game company one day, mark his word. When he does, he will come and hire her.

"I'll wait for you as long as it takes! I'll be your game company's artist, Tomo-kun!"

Yeah, Eriri said those things to Tomoya. After that, she had been drawing… also thanks to their parents influence, her skill improved, and she became a famous doujinshi mangaka.

As Eriri raised her path, Tomoya felt lackluster… but it may be difficult to make a game company or make games, but at least he could start somewhere. No, he made websites to review anime stuff under the name TAKI, and he was quite famous under that name too.

But he never mentioned anything.

And she never mentioned it either.

So is there a point to clinging to those promises? Of course, Eriri didn't know that in the future Tomoya would ask about the promise and asked her to become an artist in his circle. Making the game about his delusion after meeting Megumi, which makes her love path closed.

"What… I am going to do…?" Eriri's mind was in a mess, since she felt like she didn't deserve to be in a relationship with him anymore. Especially after what she did with Kouta.

Before Eriri may have had excuses as she had been blackmailing, but today… Today she willingly had sex with Kouta, and she enjoyed every bit of it.

Even so, maybe because of her pride or a long-lasting lingering feeling. Eriri still couldn't let go of it yet.

In the end, Eriri made many excuses in her head. Before she went to sleep.

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During lunch break, Eriri once again found herself on that empty rooftop. She waited for Tomoya to come, sitting in one of the seats. She couldn't believe that a hateful guy could have the key to this rooftop.

It made her wonder who he actually was? He said that he was an orphan since his parents died years ago, and he had been living alone since. Also, when she asked about the key. He answered that he got it from an acquaintance, but he didn't know who his acquaintance was since he didn't want that person to get into trouble. Which is understandable.

It wasn't long before Tomoya came out, they had lunch together. But Eriri could feel something a bit different than yesterday. She could feel Tomoya gaze at her, but it felt really uncomfortable. Since It was a different type of gaze. It was like the kind of judge's stare she got in the past when people knew about her otaku hobbies.

It feels cold. Which Eriri felt a sudden drip of sweat, a cold sweat.

'Wait, what if he saw a hickey. No… I'm pretty sure to hide it.' Eriri thought, but she just barely shook her head and convinced herself that he wouldn't know.

"Un… Tomoya." Eriri muttered and just did what she learned yesterday, sitting next to her.

"Un… Uhmm…" Eriri cast her eyes down and tried to say something to him, while she took her courage and told him. But when she met his eyes… her mouth was shut up.

She found herself on the receiving end of a scornful glare and an annoyed but awkward smile on his face. It felt like he gave her a stare of contempt.

"Wha…" She wanted to say something, but there was nothing she could say. Tomoya was the first to break the silence after a long pause.

"Um… Eriri. Do you know One?" Tomoya asked the question that had been on his mind since she started to make those manga. Her co-author, the one who provided her story to draw. It had a simple, but interesting premise and story.

Eriri's eyes open wide, displaying her full pupils. She felt like she had found out that it's natural to feel surprised.

"Well… of course I do…" Eriri replied, trying as she naturally could, but she failed though.

"Do you know him in person?" Tomoya started to interrogate her. It may be weird for someone who was not in a relationship to ask something personal like that, especially personal relationships too, but of course either Eriri and Tomoya realized that, because of how close they were… or that how their relationship was.

"Eh… Of course, I know him. He made the story for my manga after all."

"I mean, how can you meet him?"

Eriri looked at Tomoya and answered to him, "Well, it's pure coincidence. I met him… Really just pure coincidence." She said it again, as she didn't want Tomoya to know about ONE, which is a pen name used by Kouta. And she answered him truthfully since she met him out of pure coincidence and they became classmates.

"Ugh…" Tomoya felt a bit uncomfortable. But he still carried and questioned her again about ONE. Eriri, who is actually a bit oblivious to his mood, answered his question in such a glowing manner. Tomoya realized how close Eriri was to a person called ONE and he knew that Eriri never really talked about this man with such a positive attitude.

But why he thought ONE was a man, because even without doubt. Tomoya could feel it…

There was some influence on Eriri. It was an unknown man that Tomoya didn't know. And it made him sickened as well as jealous.

Yesterday, he didn't feel anything… he only thought Eriri became more womanly, the way she acted and how good her smell was. He even blushed as she became more proactive.

But when he realized it his pure childhood friend had already been colored by another man's taste.

"Ugh…" Tomoya felt sick and jealous. If this continued to happen… she may be gone. But Tomoya still has a way to fulfill their sweet childhood promise.

"I have something important to discuss. Please!" Tomoya said with expression and tone turned serious. Noticing that, Eriri furrowed his brow a little. "It's about a project proposal! For the ultimate dating sim that we're going to make!" He added while giving her, his notebook.

Eriri was surprised, but she was happy and took the notebook.

"Well? What is this for…" She said before she read the notebook.

"It's because you're the best illustrator I know of! You promised me back when we were in elementary school!" Without a blink, Tomoya smiled widely and said rather forcefully.

"..." Eriri should be happy, especially since it wasn't her that talked about their promise. That's why she was happy at first, but when she saw the notebook. She was disappointed. Just like in the anime, Tomoya gave her just a foist off a key element, which didn't tell her that he was serious about this at all. It felt like a con man who claims to be a producer and just wants to kick back and enjoy the profits. It was a paper that said 'Boy meets mysterious girl, they flirt, then share a joyous kiss, the end' what a crappy idea.

And Eriri, who had already read a better project than this, created someone their age with an abundance of amazing ideas; this was such a letdown in comparison.

In the end, Eriri acted like in the anime, she rejected Tomoya's proposal. She tore those papers and told Tomoya what she thought about it, saying things like:

"That idea that 'only you can bring to fruition' fits into one sentence." She said, even though this conversation was familiar with the anime.

In the end, there was a difference and as Tomoya asked about ONE, Eriri couldn't help to compated what he did and what capable ONE did.

Which of course, irritated Tomoya. He had a different perspective at this point as a result of what Kouta had said to him the day before. What Eriri said fueled his negative view.

Jealousy, and the fact that he believed his childhood friend had been taken... triggered memories from the past. As Tomoya felt like his childhood friend had left him again. Betrayed him.

With those emotions, Tomoya couldn't help but get angry and throw away all the anger he had harbored for a long time.

"Eight years ago, you're the one who pretended you'd quit being an otaku and made new friends and abandoned me!"

"You… you're still carrying a grudge over a little thing like that."

"Little thing?! How can you call that a little thing?!"

"I didn't have a choice! Back then, that's all I could do!"

"You think that excuses it?! Was making new friends that important to you?! Was it more important than talking to me about anime?! Do you have any idea how much you meant to me back then?! I'd made enemies of just about all the guys! It was all to protect what we had! Back then, you were all I had!

"Tomoya…"

"And now… You're making a new friend! An otaku friend that is much better for you. It feels more open about this." Tomoya yelled at Eriri about his feelings. Since she started high school. Eriri invited him to an anime shop—she talked about anime stuff in the school—it was something she never did after what happened in elementary school. She became more open… and it was because of someone.

Not him, it made him jealous and, at the same time, angry at Eriri as he felt like being betrayed again.

"Aaa… It must be nice to have such outstanding friends… I wonder if you slept with him too, acted like a slut." Tomoya, who held such negative feelings, couldn't hold back from talking about negative things. Especially after recalling what Kouta had said to him.

What Kouta said made Tomoya think, all those times, when he felt how Eriri changed, and he even realized she became more girlish or womanly. It was because she slept with another man. It infuriated him, especially Eriri's new attic, which actually made his heart thump. Her gestures and smell made her a woman more than ever.

And when Tomoya saw her gesture, her fragrance, he saw suspicious things on her nape. He could only assume that her childhood had taken that away from him. He was angry, and he told shit about her.

Usually, if they heated like this—usually Eriri retorted back at him. They would be angry with each other for a while, before their relationship went back to normal. Even so, there was a limit to something. And sometimes, even though it may be true… what Tomoya said may cross the line.

Eriri didn't say anything or talk back to her childhood friend… She just stood there…

Her face was a bit red, and clear teardrops streaked down Eriri's cheeks. She'd held in her tears, but it felt like it could burst at any moment. But she held in… with all her strength. Before she ran away from the rooftop.

At that moment, Tomoya realized he had crossed the line as he could hear her murmuring.

"Sorry…"

But at the same time, Tomoya couldn't stop her since that was what he truly felt. Without knowing that… This is the last time they will have this kind of conversation.

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