First Story – Let Me Listen to Your Lingering Regrets Part 3
The room was barely decorated but despite the simplicity, it evoked a cozy atmosphere.
There’s an indoor plant in the corner of the room and on the wall hung a small, unsigned painting of a forest, giving off a relaxing vibe.
The floor was covered with a tufted carpet and at the center of the room lay a couch and a low table, which occupied most of the area.
The client was sitting on the soft couch, looking quite ill at ease. According to the intel from the Information Department, her name is Shion Kisaragi, a “former” high school student.
Although the file says that she’s 16 years old, I didn’t feel the aura of a high school girl from her. She’s rather tall and petite, which was further emphasized by her bony physique.
Her bangs covered her face, masking her facial expression. Her figure looked pitiful; her body trembling in anxiety as she sat down on the couch.
Speaking of anxiety, I’m no different. Since it’s my first time on the job, I feel extra nervous and tense.
Sitting on the couch, Senpai spoke and started Shion’s interview.
“Ms. Shion Kisaragi, you were caught in a traffic accident on the fourth Friday of the previous month, and died without receiving medical treatment. I think you’ve already been briefed but you’re here because of your lingering regret. I’m Shindo and this is Nikaido, and we’re here to help you resolve it to the best of our ability.”
“Thank you.” Shion muttered with her head down.
“I know you’re aware of this already but human souls plagued with lingering regrets won’t be immediately sent to the heavenly world. When that happens, they become self-bound spirits or floating spirits and wander around the world. In order to avoid such incidents, you must accept that you’re dead. Are you following so far?”
When she heard the word ‘dead’, Shion’s body shook like a frightened small animal.
“On that regard, I need you to tell us the details of the events in your life. You don’t have to think too hard, just say whatever comes to mind. Think of it as something like an afterlife care service. We’re lucky to be given this opportunity so feel free to rattle on as you please.”
After saying those words in a rather cool tone, Senpai gave Shion a gentle smile.
“You know, I also feel anxious to have this conversation. Asking you to accept your death and to tell us about your life and lingering regrets, I know that it’s impudent of us to do so. No matter how long I’ve been doing this job, I still can’t get used to it. Since we’re both nervous, how about we just carry on like this? That makes us even, don’t you think?” Senpai added with an exaggerated shrug.
Shion laughed a little in response. It seems like her anxiety has eased up a bit.
“And if you find it difficult to talk to a guy like me, Nikaido is here for you. I think you’re probably around the same age so feel free to treat her as your friend.”
“Eh? I-I’ll do my best!”
I was caught off guard so I mumbled offhandedly. Shion looked at me dubiously.
“Sorry. She’s a newbie. She’s just tensed like a frozen penguin. But don’t worry, I’ll be here to guide her properly.”
“I see…” Shion responded with a smile.
“T-That’s right. I may not be very competent but I’ll do my best to help you.”
Shion giggled. I felt embarrassed but at the same time, my nervousness faded away. Could it be that Senpai said that purposely to help me too?
I discovered one thing. This girl is cute when she smiles.
Quite different from her sheepish demeanor, it’s a smile that brightens up the atmosphere.
If she always smiles, she’ll turn into an even more charming girl.
“So, Shion, are you ready to get back to the main topic?” Senpai asked while scratching his head.
“About what’s your lingering regret?”
“Oh, y-yes.” Shion’s face clouded over.
“I had someone I like.”
“Ooh, someone you like…”
“His name is Yuji. He’s the Vice Captain of the Soccer Club, cool, smart and popular among the girls. In fact, I’m not the type of friend he usually hangs out with but the three of us, including Miki, always played together so I was able to get closer to him compared to others.
“Hold on, Yuji and Miki are these two, right?” Senpai pointed to a photo he took out.
“This photo was in the wallet you had when you died. I thought it might be useful so I made a duplicate. These are Yuji and Miki?”
“That’s right. Miki is my best friend. She’s pretty, has good grades, pleasing personality, and the Vice President of the Student Council. Unlike me, she has many friends, is very cheerful, and takes care of her juniors well. She’s my only friend and I’m very proud of her. We’ve been together since kindergarten. If that hadn’t been so, I don’t think such a great girl would be friends with someone like me.”
“What an amazing friend.”
“Um, actually, I still can’t believe she’s friends with me. She always cares about me and encourages me. I’m a gloomy person so I don’t have friends. But that doesn’t bother her, and she continues to hang out with me. Miki is kind to everyone, lovable and good at sports–she’s amazing at everything she does. The teachers think highly of her, and my parents have always told me to be more like her. But it’s impossible, you know. There’s no way I could be like her. I’m ugly, have average grades, tone-deaf, not a good speaker…”
I couldn’t understand the last part as it faded into a mumble.
“I think you have your own charm. When you smile, you look extremely charming.”
I couldn’t stand seeing her depressed so I thought of saying something to cheer her up.
“Thank you. That was the first time someone told me that.” She smiled weakly.
“Please continue.” Senpai encouraged gently.
“Okay. And so, Miki… No, that’s not it. I should talk about my lingering regret, right? That is…”
At that point, Shion closed her mouth. Since she has someone she likes, it must be about him, Yuji.
After pondering over it, Shion raised her head with a determined expression.
“I want to know Yuji’s feelings. We always hang out together, the three of us. Yuji was always there and so was Miki… It doesn’t automatically mean that he likes me, so I want to know if he’s got feelings for me too. That’s what I feel regretful the most.”
“I see.” Senpai looked as though he was thinking it over.
“When you hang out, the three of you are always together?”
“Ah, yes. It’s always the three of us. When we go to karaoke, I can’t sing since I’m tone-deaf. When we went to the arcade, Yuji won a phone strap from the claw machine and I’ve always treasured it.”
“The three of you get along so well. How about the first time you met Yuji?”
“Right. I sat close to him in high school so we instantly became friends. Miki joined us as well and before I knew it, we’ve always been hanging out together. I think it’s because Miki was there. I’m gloomy and not much of a conversationalist… If Miki wasn’t there, we’ve probably stayed as acquaintances.”
“She’s an amazing friend, isn’t she.” I said with a smile and Shion returned it with an awkward smile.
“Yes, Miki always helped me.”
Senpai crossed his arms and nodded repeatedly.
“Understood. We’ll go and check Yuji’s feelings. We’ll tell you what we find out later.”
The interview concluded with those words from Senpai.