The cold hard stone wall pressed against Rein’s back. He opened his palm to the sky and felt the slowly falling snowflake. It wasn’t that cold, and the snow melt in his hand
He looked around, The street, the shop, and building around him
Children were running around with their gift still in their hand while their parent following them from behind. Couples were holding hand while walking down the street. People playing with their spirit. And then there he is, leaning on the wall, waiting alone while his spirit and his friend were buying clothes in the shop behind him.
He turned his head to the shop door, but they haven’t came out yet. It had been about half an hour since he waited outside.
He never had any problem walking into a woman shop, but Elis keep teasing him inside, asking his opinion every time she saw a sexy clothing, embarrassing him.
The shop door opened. Finally, Elis and Friede came out from the shop with three bags in Elis hand. Elis had changed her clothes inside but she still wore the jacket Rein gave her over it.
“Done?” He sound annoyed. This is the third shop they visited. He thought that because Friede was a bit tomboyish, her shopping tendency would be different from other girl, but apparently he was wrong.
“Sorry to keep you waiting master.” Elis bowed her head.
“It’s fine. As long as we don’t go looking for more that is.”he glanced at Friede.” Well, now where is our next destination?”
“We should go for a lunch now, we took more time than i expected.” Friede answered.
“And whose fault is that?”
“Oh, Come on Rein! That was only an hour, if you go with sister that time would be like, doubled.”
Suddenly Elis ran to Friede and whispered something in her ear. Friede face lit up. Elis does the same thing to Rein. “Master, i shall take my leave now. Enjoy your date, and win her heart okay?” Elis whispered.
“W-wait Elis, it’s not like that!” He tried to grab Elis hand, but she ran.
“Don’t worry master! I just watch from far away after i put this on the house.” She yelled as she ran and raised the bag in her hand.
“Damn, what did she whispered to you?” Rein asked.
“Nothing, nothing.” Her face flushed. “L-let’s just go get a lunch.”
They walked to a small park near there. On the park there was a small but crowded hot dog stand. They bought the hot dog and ate on one of the park bench.
There were many children who played on that park. Playing around with the snow, throwing it around their friend face, and making snowman. They reminded him of the time before the curse began to manifest, where he could play around making friend without any fear of anything happening to them because of him.
‘Friends….’ He thought. His gazed turned the woman beside him for a second, the woman who stuffed her mouth with a hot dog like a child. The woman who see snow with an amazement in her eyes like a child who saw their first winter.
Seeing her and the child playing around made him remember about the first time they met. On a park like this, exactly 17 years ago on christmas.
He was playing around with his friends on a park near the village. On the park, there was a girl crying, no one wanted to play with her, her parents was nowhere to be seen. His friend told him to not go near her. ‘Freak!’ That was what his friend told him about her, but he doesn’t see the problem. Ignoring the advice of his friend he approached the girl.
He asked the girl why was she crying, but the girl didn’t hear him because of her own cry. He forcefully remove the girl hand from her face. The girl eyes were swollen because of crying too much.
He asked again.
The girl answered that no one cared for her. The boy doesn’t understand the girl plight, but he does not like to look at someone crying. He asked the girl to play with him.
Her eyes brighten and her mouth turned into the widest smile he ever saw.
“Rein!” Friede tapped his shoulder.
“Eat your hot dogs before it get cold!”
“O-oh yeah.” He continue eating. “Is this yours or Iris idea?”
“You really think it through do you?Great plan.” He quipped.
“If you want to complain, use your own money!”
“No thank you.”
After they finished their lunch, they went to the cinema. Because the cinema was Iris plan, she bought the ticket for couple, where couple would sit together in small sofa while watching the film. At least for them, the ticket Iris bought was for an action movie they like and not some cheesy romance movie Iris usually watch.
“Rein, your hand!” Friede complained when they were watching.
“Look where it’s touching!”
It was placed on Friede tight. “I-i’m sorry, It’s not on purpose.”
“Yeah of Course! Not on purpose, just like that time when you fell and touched sister ass.”
“Hey! That’s also not on purpose. What kind of person do you think i am?”
“A desperate pervert! I know that you were ogling on Elis breast!”
“Well it’s inevitable, i bet every man who look at her also stare at her breast, even YOU stare at it sometime.”
“No i’m not!”
“Yes you do! I bet you’re jealous huh?”
“Guh! A desperate and honest pervert.”
Rein laughed at her remark, and they continue watching the movie like before.
“How do you think about it?” friede asked after they got out.
“I’m surprised that it’s good. Well it’s just a spinoff from the main series but i personally think it’s better than the last year episode seven.”
“Hehe, i can’t wait for next year.”
“Now, where do we go next?”
Friede grabbed Rein and started running. “Cmon, let’s go to the arcade.”
Rein was being dragged by Friede all around that day, but he didn’t mind, it was fun. Being dragged by Friede and following her from behind, Rein noticed something that he had never noticed before, not in all the year he had known her. From behind, Friede was almost identical to Iris. The way they run, the way they grabbed his hand and dragged him around when excited, the way their hair bounced left and right when they run and how it fluttered against the winter wind. With the only difference that separated the two being their height and hair length.
“Rein! Rein! Rein!” Friede shook his shoulder. He snapped back to reality.
“You were staring blankly at my face. We’re already here.”He didn’t realize that they were already in the arcade. He was lost in thought before. “So, what do you want to play first?”
He looked around. The arcade was spacious and there was a lot of option to choose from, shooting, racing, a lot of these game can be played by two player.
The arcade was quite empty, but that wasn’t surprising or anything for him, this was christmas after all. People spend time with their families, and those who decided to play games prefer playing in their own house in winter rather than going to arcade.
“Uhh.. let’s just play th-”
Before he could answer, Friede already went to one of the game. “C’mon Let’s play this.”
“Why did you even bother asking me?”
“You take too long!”
“Fine!” He walked near her and they played the game together. After that they played a few more games together.
It was a great fun. After the past few day had been nothing but shitstorm. He had prepared his will to fight, but his mental was still in shock of what happened. Something like this, a break, a peace, a slice of normal average life, that what he needed the most.
“We spent more than than i imagine.” Friede said as she looked her phone. They spent more than two hour inside. “We don’t have much time, let’s go to the restaurant.”
“Hey don’t drag me! You’re the one who got all competitive and insist on having a rematch.”
“You’re also at fault for not stopping me!”
“Wha- What the heck is that logic?”
“JUST LET’S GO!” She pulled him.
The restaurant she meant was a fancy restaurant not too far from there. Even from the outside he could see that the restaurant was expensive. He almost feel bad making Friede pay for all of that, if not for the fact that she lived in one of the most expensive apartment in the city and,her monthly allowance money from her father was more than what he could hope to save in a year.
“Is this Iris plan or yours?”
“Sister. She already booked it”
The waiter took them to a special location in the restaurant. It was a balcony for two person, overlooking one of the two main river that ran through the city. The table was covered with white table cloth and decorated with some flower.
“Fancy.” Said Rein.
“Seemed like sister planned this really well.”
They both ordered a beef steak for dinner. While waiting, Rein stood and leaned on the railing to see the river. The view was extraordinary, The sky was clear, with the river sparkling tha last ray of sunlight.
‘Did Iris planned this? To see this sunset?’ He thought.
Suddenly he heard a voice. A voice of someone that shouldn’t be there. His heart raced. It was a beautiful voice, the voice of someone he love. “Rein.”
“I-iris?” He slowly turned his head toward the voice.
Hope filled him. Maybe it was their plan all along, maybe Iris already woke up and they planned to surprise him. Maybe….
But what he saw wasn’t someone he expected. It was Friede that was calling him.
His hope was thrown under the bus and with some sickening twist , Iris and Friede voice sounded the same to his ears.
“Rein… why are you crying?” Friede face was filled with concern. He wiped his tears.
“Nothing…. How’s Iris condition by the way? I haven’t asked you”
“She is okay i guess, she isn’t getting any worse or better. Albert is looking after her for tonight.”
“Any chance i could pay a visit to the hospital after this?” Rein asked with a small voice.
“I don’t think so. Father ordered one of his bodyguard to keep you out all the time.”
Then the steak came and they ate their dinner. However, the mood had already gone sour. Rein looked down all the time, his stare blank, and no smile could be seen on his face.
Looking at Rein, friede became dispirited and also didn’t say anything. Their dinner was filled with silence.
After they finished dinner and Friede paid the bill, she asked Rein.
“What happened? You’re dreamy today.”
“I’m sorry. I…. something happened. I can’t describe it.” He felt bad making her sad and thought a way to cheer her. “Thank you friede. For today, and for everything.”
She turned her head to look the river. She sighed.“You know, i do all this to cheer you up, but i guess it’s not enough huh?”
Rein looked at her. Even looking her from the side remind him of Iris. “It’s not your fault you know. Today is really fun, and i really enjoy it, I really do.”
“So why are you like that?”
He didn’t answer. “I’m sorry, i remember some problem. But i really do enjoy today you know, it felt like when i go out with Iris.”
He looked at Friede again, but now something was different about her. Even if she was looking away and her face covered by her hair, he could see that she was trembling.
She stood up and looked at him. Tears were rolling down her cheek and she bared her teeth.
Her arm flew to his cheek, making it red and hot. She ran outside.
He doesn’t know how to react, he doesn’t understand what happened to her.
“FRIEDE!” He ran following her.
He grab her, but she brushed his hand off.”LET ME GO!”
“What’s wrong?” He grabbed her shoulder.
“LET GO!” She tried to remove his hand from her shoulder.
“I WON’T! Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”
She punched him, but it did nothing.“I thought.. I thought that you’re different, different from father, mother, or anyone else for that matter!”
“I don’t understand! what are you talking about?”
“OF COURSE YOU DON’T! NOBODY EVER UNDERSTAND ME!” She stopped screaming. Her tears were like waterfall. “Tell me Rein… the one who spend this day with you. Is it Friede? Or Iris little sister?”
“Wa-What are you talking about?”
“What am I to you Rein?! Am i just a tool to get close to Iris for you?” Rein couldn’t believe what she said.
“N-No! I’ve never think think of you like that!” He was so shocked that he loosen his grip. So shocked that he failed to realize that Friede ran away.
By the time he realize that, she had run pretty far from him. He ran again, trying to catch her. “Friede!” He shouted. ‘Why? Why? Why are you thinking like that? You’re my friend. You’re someone precious to me...You’re my family.’
Rein body suddenly gave up. His leg became limp and he fell to the ground. It felt like a burning iron pierced his heart, his heart was beating so fast it almost exploded. Something like an old wound opened up in his chest
The realization dawned too late on him. Fear gripped his heart as he realized his fatal error. He remembered what Elis told him, his curse act on someone he considered a family, and he had just considered Friede as a family.
“FUUUUCK!”He cursed himself, but there was no sound coming from his mouth.
With all that left of his strength, he raised his face to look where Friede went. She was running to an alley next to a construction site. On the construction site there was a crane. A steel beam was hanging by a steel cable on the crane.
He knew what would happen, that the worst would happen. He wanted to look away, but the curse acted on him again, making him unable to look away from the horro that was about to unfold.
He heard a loud snapping sound. The steel cable snapped, sending a steel beam falling on Friede without her noticing.
“Frie….de….” His voice finally came out.