In hindsight, the warning signs were clearly there. She wishes she could circle them in bright red for her past self to see.
"Has Reo been treating you well?" Kunigami asks her while they’re studying in the library one day.
“Of course.” Suzue looks up from her book. "Should I be worried about something?"
"No," Chigiri answers curtly and pokes Kunigami with his pen.
She laughs and rests her chin in the palm of her hand. "Weren't you two the ones who introduced us in the first place? Don't worry. Things are going well."
Kunigami and Chigiri exchange a look, but they don’t say anything else.
--Tell me pretty lies, look me in the face--
She never lied on that day.
Reo treats her well. They have a mutual respect and understanding for one another. They're not overly affectionate with each other, but they also don't often fight.
Reo's always busy, with one thing or another- practicing football, taking care of Mikage company matters, attending important meetings.
She enjoys her own life to the fullest as well. She spends the day studying in the library, attending her university classes or working at the local café, and on match days, she's in the crowd cheering for Reo.
Oftentimes, Suzue makes lunches for him to bring to practice and dinner when he returns back home. She bears through the disappointment of cancelling their dates and treasures every moment of time she has with Reo.
Because she loves Reo.
They sleep in separate rooms. It's fine; they've only dated for five months, and she only moved into Reo's apartment two months ago.
People might say they have a distant relationship, but she thinks they're both perfectly happy with it.
"He went through a bad breakup," she remembers Chigiri telling her. He didn’t specify much further and Suzue didn’t pry.
It's fine. She'll give Reo time. If he needs to heal, she’ll be there for him, right by his side.
--Tell me that you love me, even if it's fake--
She's sitting on the sofa, watching some horror movie, when Reo's phone rings. Reo's in the shower, so she ignores it, and it stops before long.
And then it starts again. She leans over the armrest and glances at the phone and sees the caller ID labelled 'Treasure'.
Weird. Reo doesn't save phone numbers as anything than the person's full name. Even she's just saved as 'Suzue Aranashi'.
Normally, she would dismiss it. But normally, the caller would leave a message instead of repeatedly dialing a number.
"Reo! Someone keeps calling you!" she shouts towards the bathroom.
"Just answer it for me and tell them to call back later!" is the muffled reply shouted back.
Reo's phone lights up and buzzes again. Suzue sighs, turns down the volume of the television and takes his phone.
The line connects, but before she can even greet the caller, the other person speaks first.
"Reo, I'm coming back to Japan." A male voice.
"Sorry, this isn't Reo." Suzue answers. "Can you call back later?"
"Who are you?"
"I'm Reo's girlfriend," she says.
The receiver is silent, and she has to check whether the caller hung up.
"…Reo has a girlfriend?" the stranger asks, as if he's not talking to the girlfriend in question.
"Who is this? I'll tell Reo you called."
"I'm Nagi. Nagi Seishiro."
The familiarity of the name takes a moment to process.
When it hits her, Suzue's hand nearly slips from the phone. "You're Reo's ex…Reo doesn't want to hear from you."
Nagi pauses. "Tell Reo I'm coming back to Japan."
And he hangs up.
Suzue puts the phone back on the table in a daze.
Why didn't Reo delete his ex's phone number? And then there's the caller ID which troubles her.
The television is only a buzz in the background, even as she can see the woman on the screen screaming.
"Who was it?" Reo asks as he enters the living room.
"Your ex, Nagi Seishiro," she says, unfocused, "he said he's coming back to Japan."
When Suzue looks up, Reo's eyes have widened, and he's frozen in place. Suzue watches his face distort between emotions- shock, frustration, sorrow- before it settles back into apathy.
She stands up and reaches for him. “Reo?”
Reo walks past her, with a distant look in his eyes, grabs his phone, and stares down at it as he walks towards his room.
Suzue stares for a few seconds at the closed door.
I shouldn't be paranoid.
A monster jumps out on the screen, but Suzue barely reacts to it.
--'Cause I don't fucking care...at all--
She wakes up to whispers coming from the living room. It takes a while to recognise the two voices.
"You were gone for half the year."
"Reo, I'm sorry."
One of them is Nagi Seishiro, she thinks, just like the impassive tone she had heard over the phone yesterday.
"How could you leave me alone like that?"
The other voice, desperate and cracking between words, is Reo's voice.
His voice is smaller and with a kind of tenseness and vulnerability she's never heard before. He's crying, she realises.
She shouldn't interrupt whatever's going on, whatever history they have together of which she isn’t aware. She shouldn't intrude on what isn't her business.
No, wait. Hasn't it always been like this? She's always been hyperaware of her own behaviour.
It is her business. She deserves to know whoever Nagi is to Reo.
She swings her door open to something that seems out of a fever dream.
She has faith in Reo. As his girlfriend, she should trust him through thick and thin. Even so, her stupid faith isn't enough to make her blind to Reo kissing another person, or deaf to the words spilling from his mouth.
"Promise you won't leave again."
And then Reo's back is turned to her and he's sniffling into the chest of the white-haired man.
What the fuck.
She knew about the bad breakup. She knew the name of Reo’s ex. No one had cared to inform her of whatever this was though.
Standing in the doorway, she feels like the victim of some bizarre, cruel joke- the fool the audience would either be pitying or laughing at- both about her misery and how clueless she had been.
Reo's crying and Suzue doesn't know what Reo has to cry about when she should be the one crying right now, as she pieces the small things together.
Scratch that. She saw Reo kiss his supposed ex-boyfriend. There's nothing to really piece together. It’s a slap to the face. It’s an awakening to reality.
It's a heartbreak akin to betrayal.
She'd slap him if Nagi weren't hugging Reo tightly and glaring at her like she's some stranger interrupting their precious reunion. She's not going to fight a towering 6-feet tall man over this. ‘You can have him’ she wants to tell Nagi.
‘I don’t know why he wants you so badly, but you can have him.’
"I'm breaking up with you." She's surprised by how calm her voice comes out even as her eyes sting.
Reo doesn't answer.
"Can you clean up your stuff from my apartment?" Nagi asks her, like he's giving her a simple request, and not kicking her out of the home she's been living in for the past two months.
So, she's been paying half the rent for Reo's ex-boyfriend's apartment.
She laughs deprecatingly. "Don't worry. I was about to do that. I'll be out of here in no time."
Her door shuts. She wipes the barely formed tears from her eyes and begins packing.
She finds her suitcase- the one she never used because they never ended up traveling together- and packs her things in. She pulls her clothes from the closet, books off the shelf and leaves the few pictures of Reo and her alone. She doesn't need those anymore.
She stares at the clock on the wall. It’s too early to deal with this shit.
'Reo has an important meeting at 9' an annoying voice in her head whispers as she snatches the calendar off the wall.
Shut up. He clearly has time for Nagi.
She chuckles to herself. I sound like a bitter ex. I am…now.
Oh god. Her vision starts to blur with tears again, so she covers her face with her hands and slumps onto the bed. She's going mad.
She supposes she can’t take the pillow or the sheets. What the fuck is she even thinking about?
They were never really that close in the first place. It's fine. It's not her fault.
Reo was reserved at first, and Suzue was patient. She would be patient with him for as long as he needed. She would wait for him, until he’s comfortable holding hands, kissing her, with moving in with her.
She thought Reo was warming up to her when they reached those points in their relationship. He had held her hand for the first time on their third date, watching a horror movie she chose. He had kissed her after walking her back home from their fifth date.
He had asked her to move in with him, and she had jumped at the opportunity, overjoyed.
She thought Reo had loved her.
Did Reo ever love her? Did he ever really see her? Or was she just a distraction from Nagi?
She doesn’t understand why, after nearly half a year of ‘I love you’s and whatever bond she thought was slowly forming between them, it all ends with Reo running back to the man who apparently abandoned him for the same amount of time.
She holds up a purple chameleon plushie- a prize Reo won her from a claw machine on their first date.
It's cute. Such a shame she'll be reminded of his dumb face every time she sees it.
Her suitcase is filled to the brim, but she manages to stuff it into her backpack.
Once she's done, she gazes at the room that was once hers. If it weren't for the sparse picture frames hung up on the walls, there would be no trace of her left. It would be as if she were never there in the first place. She really hadn't left an impression on Reo's life at all, had she?
Her suitcase skids across the floor as she pulls it as quickly as she can out the apartment. On her way out from the apartment, she swears she hears moaning.
She slams the door shut.
It’s her having escaped a horrible nightmare.
It’s the conclusion of Suzue’s relationship with Reo, without a word spoken from Reo himself- not an explanation or an apology. She won’t ask for one. He wouldn't have even noticed her departure.
It’s none of her business anymore.
Suzue will move on, even if it’s difficult. She knows she might need support, but she promises she won’t use anyone else to cope with the pain.
She inhales deeply, rubs her eyes, and takes her phone out of her pocket.
Suzue: Hey guys sorry if this is early
Suzue: I broke up with Reo
Suzue: & I don't have a place to stay at anymore lol
Suzue: I'm a fool