“Oh no! I overslept!”
As she ran through the corridors of her apartment, Hina glanced at her watch. It’s half past seven and she had enough time to make it to her office if she goes through her usual route but she felt restless as she had to make the documents for the salesperson in charge this morning.
The moment the elevator opened, she dashed into the apartment lobby and opened the auto-lock door.
Then her eyes went wide at the sight in front of her.
The apartment mailboxes looked normal except for one door, which typically should be closed but was now open and seemed to be stuffed lots of paper rubbish in it. A lot of trash were also scattered on the floor.
“What the hell is this?” Hina muttered but the next moment, she noticed that the mailbox belonged to her. Hina ran away with her face ashen. The postal items were all in disarray and looked like they have all been opened.
“Hina, you okay?”
Mei asked concernedly. After the morning ceremony, Hina continued to work as usual.
After getting rid of the trash, Hina went to work and managed to finish the documents she had planned to make. However, she felt uneasy remembering the state of her mailbox this morning.
Thinking of her mailbox that was stuffed with trash like an awful prank, Hina heaved a sigh. There was nothing when she came back last night, so it could only have happened in the morning.
(Is it a prank? Maybe it was better to call the police before tidying it up? But I don’t want to make a fuss over it…)
After breathing out another heavy sigh, Mei sat beside Hina. Her face was cheerful in contrast to Hina’s gloomy mood.
“Could it be something happened with Hasegawa after that?”
Hina muttered involuntarily after hearing the words whispered in her ear.
“Oh, was I wrong? You seemed unhappy since this morning and I was worried so I thought that might be the case.”
Heaving a small sigh, Mei tilted her head to one side.
“Then, what’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing! Look, there’s nothing wrong so let’s get back to work! You haven’t submitted the sales quotation from before right? Wait, isn’t the deadline this morning?”
“Ehhh? Really? I better finish it real quick!”
After saluting like a police officer, Mei hurried back to her desk. As Hina watched her back, she slapped her cheeks to wake herself up.
Hina managed to finish her work and by the time she was about to go home, it was already 8 pm. From the office to her apartment, it takes about 30 minutes by train and walking. Aside from the bag in her hand, she also held a pack of bento from the convenience store.
The streets were dark and there weren’t any other people walking. Remembering the shocking sight this morning, Hina walked with heavier steps.
(I’ll think about what I should do once I get home. It might be better to report it to the police after all…)
Street lamps positioned periodically illuminated the dark street at night. Other than that, there were no other source of light and Hina trembled in fright. She was trudging along her usual route home but she couldn’t help feeling scared today.
(Not good. I’ve got to hurry home…)
Thinking so, Hina walked a little faster. At that moment, she felt another set of footsteps behind her and she held her breath.
She changed her walking pace to make sure and noticed that the other set of footsteps sounded like it was chasing her.
The moment she realized it, she started running without looking back. Fear washed over her. Cold sweat ran down her cheeks and back, and her hands were shaking uncontrollably. She wanted to believe it was just her imagination but she clearly heard the footsteps running towards her and Hina felt like crying.
It only takes five minutes to reach her apartment but Hina felt like it was longer.
A few minutes later, Hina reached her apartment safely. Once inside the building, Hina lost her strength and sat down. Her forehead was covered in sweat and both her legs were shaking.
She jerked her head to the familiar voice and saw Hasegawa peering at her curiously. His face somehow looked like he was worried about Hina.
“What happened? You suddenly rushed back. That’s a huge amount of sweat you’ve got there.”
As he took out a clean handkerchief, Hasegawa crouched down and wiped the sweat on Hina’s forehead.
“I-I was so scared”
Feeling relieved, large tears rolled off Hina’s eyes. Seeing this, Hasegawa’s eyes widened in shock.
“Did something happen? Was it a suspicious person?”
With her vision blurred, Hina’s words got stuck at the back of her throat. She rubbed her eyes to stop the tears from flowing but they continued to overflow from her eyes.
“Shall we talk in the room? Can you stand?”
Hasegawa gently asked her while wiping her tears. Hina mustered all her strength and tried to stand up but she couldn’t. No matter how much strength she put in, she still couldn’t stand up straight and her legs were shaking.
“Um, I’m so..”
The next moment, Hasegawa swiftly lifted Hina up. She didn’t have to worry about having her underwear seen because she was wearing pants but being carried in such an embarrassing manner, Hina blushed tremendously.
“Please let me down!”
“Can you get home on your own if I let you down? You can’t, right? It’s fine so just let me carry you like this, okay?”
After saying so, Hasegawa pressed the elevator button and entered. Hina wrapped her arms around Hasegawa’s neck and held onto him tightly like a disconcerted child.