Individual Fragments of Certain Stories
The Fifth Fragment – Popular Guy
"Hey, Leon! What are you doing?"
The young man looked up from his book. The first impression that anyone would have had upon seeing him was that he was ordinary. Some people were simply born with a face that was forgettable. One that looked like any other person's. One that gave you the impression that you had seen such a person before but had no idea where or when that might have been.
His face wasn't the only generic thing about him. His entire appearance was geared in the same manner. He was of medium height and had an ordinary build. His brown hair was neat but otherwise entirely unfashionable. His clothes were fairly nondescript. It seemed impossible for him to stand out in any way.
"I'm studying," he answered quietly. In comparison, the cheerful female before him was certainly much more attractive. Her shoulder-length, flame-coloured locks combined with her thin face and large sapphire eyes to form a most lovely appearance. Her figure was not voluptuous but her slender body and long legs were surely enticing enough to cement her status as one of the rare beauties of the school. There was currently a mischievous grin on her face, but Leon paid little attention to that.
"Yes, I can see that," she replied.
"Then why did you ask, Rachel?"
"Aww...can't I talk to you cause I want to? Would you rather talk with another girl?" she whined, grabbing onto his arm.
"No, no. That is not what I meant," Leon said calmly.
"Hmm...Well, then talk to me now," Rachel said, narrowing her eyes. She drew up a chair next to him and sat on it.
"I don't mind. What do you want to talk about?"
"Anything is fine as long as I'm talking with you!"
"Well then," Leon said. He looked down at the book before him. "I'm having a bit of a problem with this chemistry question. Can you help me?"
"Sure! Let's see... well, using a catalyst here won't be useful because it's a reversible reaction, you see."
The discussion between the two quickly became technical and continued for a few minutes. However, it was soon interrupted by the arrival of another young lady, who stood with her arms crossed in front of Leon's desk. She, too, was beautiful, but her allure was of a much different type compared to Rachel's. Long, silky strands of black hair fell gracefully to her waist and a simple, white Alice band added to the elegance of her appearance. Her clothes were modest, but despite that her amazing figure was easily appreciated by any male who saw her.
"Oh, doing chemistry, I see. I can help you with that, Leon," she said, tucking a few errant strands of hair behind her ear.
"Can't you see that I'm already doing that, Elizabeth?" snapped Rachel, baring her teeth.
"Hmm?" Elizabeth covered her mouth with her hand and chuckled derisively. "But wouldn't I be much better suited to do this? I'm much smarter than you are, after all."
Rachel scowled. She knew from personal experience that the other girl was quite right.
Elizabeth's grades were usually ranked within the top three of the school, and she was usually studying whenever he dropped by her house for a visit.
"Shut up. I can teach Leon fine by myself. Just go away, you are unneeded here."
"My, what vulgar words!. I definitely can't allow Leon to be alone with such a crude girl like you. He deserves better."
The impeding cat-fight was broken up by the appearance of yet another attractive girl. Unlike the other two females, her petite figure and diminutive stature caused her to exude a special kind of appeal that evoked unexplainable protective feelings from the opposite sex, and her free-flowing golden tresses only served to accentuate her charm.
"Let's not fight...we're only bothering Leon," she said softly.
The other two girls froze for a moment before looking away.
Elizabeth hastily cleared her throat and replied, "Well, I suppose you're right, Angela."
"My bad," muttered Rachel.
"Hm? Oh, you're here, Angela," Leon said. He had gone back to his studying while the girls were arguing with each other.
"Y-yes. I came over to see you a bit," Angela said, blushing slightly.
"That's nice of you." He smiled at her. "Say, can you help me with my work? I'm not quite sure how I should approach this question."
Angela bent down and inspected the sheet of paper before her before shaking her head. "N-no, I don't know how to do this either."
"That's alright. Thanks."
"I'll help you, Leon!" Rachel exclaimed and moved towards him until there were only a few inches between their faces.
"Get away from him," snapped Elizabeth as she pushed the two of them apart.
"I'll stay near him if I want—"
The chime of the bell interrupted Rachel in mid-sentence.
"Oh, lunch break is over. You three should head back," Leon said.
Elizabeth scowled and reluctantly muttered, "...Very well." And with that, she left the classroom. Rachel followed close behind and Angela held up the rear. For a moment there was silence, save for the echo of Rachel and Elizabeth bickering out in the hallway.
Leon winced as someone thumped him hard on the back. He looked up at the tall and thin young man standing over him and blinked at his only close male friend. "Hello, Martin."
Martin grinned. "Hello yourself, Leon. Well aren't you just as popular as ever? Three beauties fighting to get your attention every second!"
"Perhaps that's true," Leon admitted.
"You've gotta share your secret with me, man. Just how do you do it?"
"There is no secret. I just talk to them."
"And that's good enough? Somehow, I doubt that."
"Even if you say that, it's the truth."
"Alright, let's say I do accept that. Let's talk about something slightly different. Which girl do you prefer?"
"None of them. I don't intend to date any of them," Leon answered quietly.
"Why not? Man, any guy would kill to be in your position, you know. And yet you're not even choosing any of them? Are you trying to play the field, you sly little bugger? Come on, let me have one of them!"
Leon shook his head. "That's not quite it. I have my own difficulties."
"Difficulties that I would love to have. You sure are a lucky guy."
"Hmm..." Leon tapped his chin, spinning his pen with his other hand. "How about I explain it to you, Martin?" He thought back to the events of the previous Sunday and began to speak.
"I-I'm going to kill m-myself right now!"
Leon blinked as he held his phone against his ear. It was seven in the morning, and he had been roused from his peaceful slumber by the ringing of his cell phone. He was still feeling somewhat groggy, and so it took him a few seconds to properly register what he had just heard. He got off the bed, pulling off his pyjamas as he talked.
"Calm down, Angela. I'm coming over now."
"No! I'm gonna kill myself, I swear! I'm gonna kill myself, I'm gonna kill myself, I'm gonna kill myself—" Her shrill screams continued to blare from the speaker as Leon pulled on some clothes and stumbled out of the house.
"There''s no point in killing yourself, Angela. And I would be sad if you did," he said calmly as he hailed a taxi.
"No! I'm sure you hate me! I'm gonna kill myself!" she wailed.
"I don't hate you," Leon said as she continued to sob on the other end. He spoke quietly and carefully, murmuring calm words of reassurance as the taxi headed towards the school. It was Angela's usual place of choice for such episodes, and he was sure that she was there right now.
Somehow or another, he managed to delay Angela long enough until he got to the school's rooftop. As expected, he found her standing on the edge of the railing.
"Don't come any closer to me!" she screamed as Leon walked towards her.
"Sure. I'm okay with that." He shrugged and sat down on the floor, crossing his legs. "It's a fine day," he commented, looking up at the sky.
"I'm really going to do it this time, you know!"
"Cheer up, Angela. We've been through this before. What's troubling you this time?"
The blonde sniffed and hid her face behind her hands.
"You hate me, don't you? I don't want to live anymore if you do!"
"No," Leon answered.
"But you're always talking to Rachel and Elizabeth instead of me!"
As expected, it's a mistake on my part, Leon thought to himself. "I only do that because they're always talking to me," he said aloud. "It's rude to not answer them."
"I'm sure that's not it! You-you just hate me because I'm not attractive at all compared to them!"
"No, that's not it, you know? I'll talk with you more if you want."
Angela remained silent.
Leon got up and approached her carefully. "Come on. Let's go back. Give me the knife you have," he said as he extended a hand towards her. Her eyes widened in shock and she reflexively moved to hide the small weapon behind her back.
"...Promise me you'll pay attention to me..."
"Don't worry, I will."
"Even if I do give you this knife, I'll just find another weapon to kill myself if you don't!"
"Oh, I'm not worried about that. I want the knife for myself. It's about the right time, now."
"And? Why did you bring a knife into my house?" Elizabeth asked.
"There's no one else in your house right now besides the two of us," Leon stated.
"Yes, my parents are overseas at the moment. And yet you still chose to come when I asked for you..." She giggled softly. "Well, you are a hot-blooded young man after all."
"Who knows what you would have done if I hadn't come? I don't want you showing up to school with handcuffs," he said, shrugging.
"Handcuffs are not in fashion anymore," she said, attempting to wrap her arms around Leon's neck. However, the young man was too quick for her. He took a deft step to the side, avoiding the piece of cloth that she had in her hand.
"That's been soaked in chloroform, hasn't it?"
"Yup!" she answered cheerfully.
"...Perhaps I shouldn't ask, but what did you plan to do after I fell unconscious?"
Elizabeth placed a finger on her lips as she thought. "Well, for starters, I'll tie you up and rape you for six or seven hours, and then I'll take a short break and think about what to do next, I guess?"
"…And yet it surprises you that I brought a weapon here?"
"Your cold attitude doesn't make me happy, Leon. Do you want me to think that you're in love with someone else besides me?"
Leon decided to try his luck. "What if I said that I was?"
Elizabeth blinked twice. Her lips slowly contorted into the shape of a frown."Who is it? Angela? Rachel?" she demanded.
"It was just a suggestion. It might not be true."
"Don't worry, Leon. You'll want to tell me in a moment. Just let me head down to my torture chamber for a bit—"
Leon grabbed onto her shoulder. "Hold on, hold on. It was just a joke. Also, I think I just heard you say something crazy, but let's ignore that for now. Calm down, Elizabeth."
"So you don't love anyone else but me?"
"No, I don't love anyone else, but I don't love you either. Please try to understand that."
Elizabeth gripped the piece of cloth in her hand tightly. "Fine. But if you ever love another woman, I'll never forgive you."
Leon allowed himself to relax somewhat. Only one left. "Don't worry, I know better than to do that."
"It's just you now, Rachel."
Leon was standing in an empty alleyway, and appeared to be talking to nobody in particular. He knew that that wasn't the case, however.
The redhead stepped out of seemingly nowhere from behind a corner. "You knew?" she asked.
"Of course I knew. You follow me around every weekend," Leon answered. His eyes were drawn to the large butcher knife that she was holding. It seemed as though knives were today's lucky item for a select few women. Sometimes, he wondered what the police of this city were doing instead of policing the streets.
"You knew that and you still went to visit two other women? Isn't that just your way of provoking me?" Rachel's voice was deceptively calm, but Leon knew better than to think that he was safe. Her hand was already beginning to tremble.
"No, that's not it—" He stopped short as the knife flashed silver and stabbed into the wall beside his head. A small wound opened on Leon's cheek, and single drop of blood rolled down his face.
"I'll kill you," she breathed.
"Wouldn't be the first time a girl's said that to me," Leon replied with a cool smile.
"...What do you mean?"
"What I mean is that Angela and Elizabeth are just as crazy as you are about me, it seems. If I choose any of you, either you or Elizabeth or both of you will kill me, and then Angela will kill herself, and then the two of you will kill each other. Overall, it seems pretty unprofitable. "
Rachel stared into his eyes, her lips forming a thin line. "Is that why you won't go out with me?"
Leon coughed. "That's one of the reasons. I'm not in love with anyone right now."
"So it's not because you're in love with some other girl that wants to take you away from me, right?"
Rachel dropped the knife and hugged him tightly. "Aw, I knew you wouldn't do something like that, Leon!" she said happily.
Leon let loose a minute sigh of relief and looked up towards the sky. "It's a fine day and I'm happy to be alive."
Martin's eyes were growing steadily larger with each sentence that Leon spoke, and he was soon doing a fine impression of a Tarsier.
"We need to call a psychiatrist. No, psychiatrists. Or perhaps we should just go straight to the police. In fact, it wouldn't be strange if we had to call in the Secret Service for this!" he spluttered when Leon had finally concluded his story.
"You're overreacting, Martin."
"Overreacting? Tell me that when I've got a knife pointed at you. That's overreacting."
"I thought you said that you wanted to have one of the girls for yourself. I don't mind introducing one of them to you, actually."
"Hell no! You're not getting away with palming one of them on me! That was because I didn't know that they were more crazy than the Marquis De Sade!" Martin yelled, shrinking back involuntarily. "Doesn't it bother you?" he asked, shoving a finger in Leon's face.
"It did the first few times, but they're all sweet girls, really."
Martin's jaw dropped open. He shook his head and said very slowly, "The first few times? How many times has this type of thing happened?!"
"Well, they usually act like this about once a week, so I guess more than fifty times?" said Leon with a shrug.
The other man just shook his head. "Okay, you know what? Forget it. I don't want to know anything more. I'll never look at any wound or bruise you have in the same way again. And let it be known that I'm never chasing after another beautiful girl again. They're crazy. You're crazy. And I'm sure as hell not crazy enough to put myself in your situation!"