What what what what what? What does he mean by that? Same kinks? Michael?
“Hmm? On my way here I saw him sneaking into Kamia’s room- oh.” He groaned. “Did you not know that? Damn, should not have said that. I should not have said that!”
S-sneaking into K-K-K-Kamia’s room? In the middle of the night?
“Hey what do you mean by that?!” I grabbed Sam by his collars. “You saw him sneaking into Kamia’s room?! When was that?!”
“Hiiii!” He shrieked. “I-I saw him just now, a few minutes earlier. A-and…”
“And? Hey, say it. And?”
“A-and…” He gulped, as if preparing himself. “Kamia was wearing a pretty revealing dress. Her cleavage was really visible, and at the door they…”
“Kissed? Like, on the cheek-”
“It was a deep, French kiss. And Michael seemed to be enjoying it. Goddamn, that kiss was hot. They were going at it so passionately that-”
“Stop, okay, just stop!” I tried to cover his mouth but his mask stopped me. “Kamia? Kiss? H-haha, I get it, you’re just messing with me Sam-“
“Snap out of it, Sherry.” He suddenly firmly gripped my shoulder. “I’m telling you the truth. We can go check on Kamia’s room if you want; we’ll definitely find Michael there.”
B-but, that is- no, no, it’s just-
“Y-you are not fucking with me?” I couldn’t stop my voice from trembling. “I’m telling you Sam, this is a really bad joke, even for you.”
“It’s the truth. I’m sure that as we speak, Michael is making out with Kamia.” He declared with a strong tone. “He is cheating on you, Sherry.”
“I-impossible…” Strength left my body and I leaned on him.
Michael was making out with Kamia. That bitch had stolen him from me.
Why? Why did Michael do this? Have I not done so much for him? I have supported him since the very beginning we were summoned as Heroes even though I myself was devastated by Sam’s loss. I put up with the jealousy of everyone else just to help him. I trained till I coughed blood so that I could support him more.
Heck, I let him stab me with a sword without stabbing him back! He seemed so miserable, crushed and grief-stricken that time that I had to abandon my perfect confession plans and tell him of my love to appease him. What was the point of that if he just goes and fucks Kamia?!
Wait, no. Now that I think about it, Michael never did respond to my confession, did he? That’s right! We weren’t in a relationship, so he never cheated on me! I’m sure that Kamia just forced herself on him. Or maybe, Michael is doing this to confirm his own feelings. He wants to make sure that he actually loves me!
Right, that makes sense, complete sense! It’s just- it’s… it’s…….
“It’s all over…” A helpless mutter escaped my mouth and tears started flowing out of my eyes.
Who am I kidding? No matter how much I try to rationalize it, the truth remains the same; Michael doesn’t love me. In the end, he didn’t choose me.
Ha, just what was the point of all the things I did and the sacrifices I made? I tried my best, didn’t I? I did everything I could to win his love. Then why? Why doesn’t he love me back?
What else could I have done, huh? What should I do? How can I make him love me? Just what would it take for him to choose me?
“What do I do, Sam?” I begged him as I buried my face into his chest. “Please tell me… how do I make him love me?”
In response, Sam held me within his arms and embraced me tightly. He gently caressed my head without speaking anything.
My body and mind immediately surrendered themselves to his warmth and I burst out into even more tears.
Right, even if I lost Michael, I still have Sam, don’t I? I haven’t lost everything.
“What you should do, huh?” His hand caressing me stopped, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed.
Gosh, why am I acting like a young maiden in love? Maybe I do love him, but not in a romantic way. This is something different, but just as precious.
After some time, his hand found its way back on my hand, thus bringing peace to my mind.
“There’s only one thing you have to do, Sherry Miller.” His voice somehow seemed to be clearer now. “Choose me.”
I reflexively looked up and-
Instead of the mask I was expecting, what entered my vision was a face. An average looking face with black eyes and black hairs, and a smile adorning it. However, the glint in the eyes was anything but ordinary, and I was familiar with it.
“It’s simple, Sherry.” He brought his hand to my cheek. “All you have to do is choose me over Michael.”
“Doesn’t that make the most sense?” He continued with his uncanny smile. “Your efforts aren’t enough to get Michael, so it’s only natural to switch to someone better.” His arm embracing me tightened.
Suddenly a shiver ran down my spine, and I realised I could no longer feel the warmth that was coming from him earlier.
“W-what do you mean, Sam-”
“You don’t get it?” He sighed. “I’m asking you to stop loving Michael and start loving me.”
“H-hey, I can’t just-”
“Of course, you can. I mean, is this even a thing to discuss?” He scoffed. “How could you even think of choosing Michael over me? Does that make any sense to you?” He shook his head. “What has Michael even done for you? Pick up your stuff and ask if you were okay? Pfft. Now look at me. I protected you from Thor so many times, got you your status back so that you could make friends and live like a normal girl, got actual hitmen when Thor pulled his little stunt on you, and made you a better human.”
“Y-yeah but that doesn’t-”
“Doesn’t what?” His tone was incredibly cold. “Doesn’t what, Sherry?”
He seemed really scary right now. I tried to wriggle out of his arms but they didn’t relent, binding me to him.
“T-that doesn’t mean that… that I can just start loving you…”
“What the hell? Why can’t you?” His brows creased deeply. “Isn’t it the only logical conclusion no matter how you look at it? Michael isn’t deserving of your love- he never was. He stabbed you in the chest and then had the audacity to just leave you like that? I can’t accept it! You deserve so much better, Sherry. It has to be me; no one else is worthy of standing by your side.”
“No, no, no, no, no, what the hell are you talking about?! Snap out of it-”
“I love you, Sherry.”
“So choose; me, or that fuckfaced mistake of an existence Michael?”
I-impossible… Did he just confess to me? I-I never knew… Did he really have such feelings for me? Since when?
But this doesn’t make any sense? Is this really Samuel? Why is asking me to just… stop loving Michael? I can’t do that- I have no fucking control over it! Didn’t he tell me that I should never base my love on logic? That only I have the right to decide whether Michael is worthy of me and my love? So why is he saying all this-
Now wait a fucking minute.
Why is he saying all of this? The guy who was so adamant to remain uninvolved with my love troubles that we had a huge fight over it, the guy who went to such lengths to explain to me that I was the only one who could decide whether Michael is deserving of my love; why would he say all of that now?
“Hey, Sam.” I strongly gripped his cheeks and glared into his eyes. “Did Michael really go to Kamia’s room?”
Sam first glanced to his right, then to his left, and finally looked at me.
“Ara~ I was caught?” He stuck his tongue and acted cute.
I knew it!
“I’ll kill you, you piece of shit!”
“Ah no, not my neck!” He squealed but I grabbed his throat and started shaking him around. “You’ll kill me!”
“Good, because that’s what I want to do!”
I’ve had enough of his shit! He’s going down today!
“Hey what the-”
“Alright stop! Here, I won’t kill you, so just stop!” I freed his throat to show my sincerity.
“R-really?” He sniffed back his crocodile tears.
Seriously, he pisses me off so much!
“In return, tell me why you did that?”
Why would he even bother pulling such a bad joke?
“With all due respect, Sherry.” His voice suddenly turned serious. “You were the one who forced me to do it.”
“Uh-uh. Wasn’t it you who was on the verge of breaking our oath?”
“That was just-”
“You should know that I would stop at nothing to make sure the promise isn’t broken. Though I guess my plan didn’t exactly go as planned.” He sighed. “My words about Michael were supposed to be a small joke to make you flustered and direct the conversation my way. I had other plans if that didn’t work, but the problem was that it worked too well.”
“Then why did you spout that bullshit about choosing you?”
“To fix you.”
What is there to fix in me?
“As is clear from your condition, my… disappearance hit you harder than I expected. I was also disappointed that you believed so less in your love that you chose to believe in my words so readily.” He paused for some moments. “I deemed it necessary to remind you what type of person I exactly am.”
…Ah, I see. He’s right, isn’t he?
Why did I even forget that? Just what is Samuel Hayden? He’s a maniac whose intentions cannot be grasped through normal means. Each of his actions has a contradicting motivation, each of his motivations is a layer of deceit. Every expression of his is a façade.
…Huh, now that’s over-exaggeration, even for me.
Simply speaking, Sam is a magnificent liar that has a wide variety of masks at his disposal. So it’s a mistake to take his words at face value.
However, as is the case with masks, he must have a true face to wear one.
“…Then couldn’t you have done it in a more normal way?”
Still, why did he have to do something that extreme?
“And what should I have said? ‘Don’t believe my words, dumbass’, and given you a smack in the head?” He scoffed. “Why would I use something that inefficient?”
“Argh, you and your accursed efficiency! I swear you’ll kill me one day!”
“Haha, don’t worry I won’t. So why don’t you get off me?”
“Hmm? Ah, sure.”
I had forgotten that I was still sitting on his lap due to the commotion earlier. Since there was no more need for my act, I got off and returned to my sofa.
“Hmm, now that I think about it, didn’t you reveal your identity too easily?”
“What do you mean?” He tilted his head.
“Given that you were wearing a mask till now, I had expected you to resist some more. Instead, you took off your mask in front of me just like that.”
“Well, even if I hadn’t taken it off you wouldn’t have stopped believing that I was Samuel. In fact, that would have made you even more determined.”
“I completely agree.” I nodded.
I knew for sure that he was Sam, so of course I wouldn’t give up so easily.
“Right? It was easy to predict the pattern; you would have continued doing reckless things to get me to reveal my identity, ultimately getting yourself in a life-threatening situation. And since this isn’t a novel, a Hero wouldn’t have appeared to save you and you would have died.”
“Hey! Don’t just write me off like that!”
What’s scary is that the situation he pointed out is just too realistic.
“Anyway, I decided to reveal that I was Sam so that I could control your actions.” He gave his signature smile.
It had been a long time since I saw his perfect, practiced smile, so I was suddenly hit by feelings of nostalgia, happiness and relief. Only now did it truly dawn on me that this piece of shit was finally back.
I had been sure of his identity, of course, but somewhere in my mind there still was a nasty suspicion; what if I was wrong?
Now there was no need to consider all of that.
“Sherry? You alright?” He called out to me because I had been silent for too long.
“Ah, yes. Yes, I am alright.”
I truly was.
“So, why did you wear a mask?”
“To hide my identity.”
“Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. Why did you want to hide it?”
“Because revealing my identity would have put a damper on my plans.”
What the hell is he up to now?
“Mmm, let’s just say that you Heroes are nothing but a really small part of my Grand Plan.” He snickered.
What the hell?
“Just what are you planning?”
“I unfortunately cannot answer that question.” He shook his head, and judging by his expression, he really wouldn’t answer that question.
But there is still something odd.
“So, what have you been doing till now? Where were you?”
“Hmmmm, let me see.” He suddenly stood up from the sofa and walked towards the window.
After staring at the moon for a while, he turned around and leaned on the windowsill. Looking straight at me, he opened his mouth again.
“Sherry, do you remember the day we had been summoned by Meteron?”
“Of course, I do.”
How could I ever forget that?
“It was a normal day unlike any other. We were chilling in the class when a magic formation suddenly appeared beneath our feet and the next moment, we were in the throne room of God’s Realm. Meteron was sitting on his throne when he started congratulating us about how we had been chosen to be the Heroes for another world and all that bullshit. If I remember correctly, I said something…” He stroked his chin trying to remember that.
“You said, and I quote, ‘Yo what the fuck, old man?’”
“I said that?”
“Wow.” He shrugged. “Meteron heard my words and almost dismissed me with a glance, but he did a double take and stared at me so intently that it gave me the chills.” He trembled.
“I remember that.” I giggled.
“He then said things like how I was ‘The Fallen’ and that there was somewhere I must go. When I refused, he threatened me with the lives of you guys. Ultimately, I was forced to go along with his whims and was separated from you. Isn’t that right?”
“Yeah. Then we were sent into this goddamned world without any internet.”
“That must have been painful.” He nodded sympathetically. “Anyway, I’m sure you have asked this question several times already, but have you ever wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t stepped in at that time?”
Huh. He was completely right.
“As you said, I asked that question several times to myself. What would have happened if I had stopped you? Would you have been dumped into this world along with us?”
“Right.” He smiled, and I once again felt uncomfortable. “Let me give you the answer to that question; it wouldn’t have mattered.”
“What do you mean?”
“Meteron had known about me even before he summoned us to that place. In fact, I was the reason that our class was chosen. So no matter what we had done, I would have been separated from you.”
“Wait, what? Are you serious? Then why was that God so surprised?”
“He was just acting.” He scoffed. “Maybe I don’t need to tell you this, but Meteron is a piece of shit. Never involve yourself with him.”
So we were teleported to this world because of Sam, even though Sam had to be sent to a different place? Just how fucked up is that?
“Am I not already involved with him?”
Meteron made us Heroes, damn it. We are as involved as we can possibly be!
“No, you’re not.” He shook his head. “Meteron’s true essence is that of an observer; he’ll stay at the sidelines and never involve himself with those he is interested in, as long as they don’t approach him themselves.”
Huh, doesn’t sound that bad.
“Well, I wasn’t planning to approach him anyway.”
“Yeah, but the problem is that he isn’t interested in you guys, so he wouldn’t hesitate to interfere in your matters if the need ever arises. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem now because you are with me, someone he is interested in. Anyway, all I’m saying is that Meteron is much different than the Gods religion has taught us about. You’d do well to remember that.”
I still didn’t see his point completely, but I have no reason to refuse if he’s being so adamant.
“Good.” He nodded. “We’ve strayed off topic. Now that it had been established that me going to that place was inevitable, do you ever think that I regretted going there?”
… I… I don’t understand.
“For the record, that place was a hell full of despair. Every second there was painful, lonely and maddening. It was something that no human must ever go through.” He replied. “So what do you think? Do I regret it?”
I don’t understand.
“That’s… is there any other choice?”
He smiled at my response.
“That’s it. I don’t regret being dumped into that Hell, and I never will. That’s the answer to what I’d been doing till now.”
He had been sent to hell yet he doesn’t regret it? How… I suppose that would only mean that he found something at the end of his journey that was worth all his pain and suffering.
“Then why are you here?”
“Shit happened, and now I’m on a journey to reclaim what’s rightfully mine. And also for you.”
“Yeah. I was really worried about you, so I came to check up on you.”
“Yup. You are more precious to me than what you think, Sherry. Really, I’m so glad that I got to see and talk to you again.” He smiled gently.
“If that really is the case, Sam.” I paused for some moments- I really didn’t want to say this, but I was left with no other choice. “Then why is your smile fake?”
His eyes widened at my question, and his perfect smile gradually vanished.
This had been bothering me since the moment he showed me his face; why were all his expressions fake?
How did I know that? Sam has a lot of false faces, and virtually all of them are perfect. He can emulate all types of expressions so masterfully that no one would even think of them being artificial.
However, that perfectness itself is the problem; his false expressions are just too perfect. His real face, on the other hand, is clumsy; when he feels genuine happiness, the smile that blossoms on his face is shallow and really awkward, as if he didn’t know how to smile. So anyone who has seen his true side will be able to see through his fraudulent expressions.
Yet, since the moment we started talking, each and every expression of his was perfect; they were screaming at me that they were a sham.
But that didn’t make any sense; I was one of the very few people to whom Sam could show his true face with ease. He had no reason to hide his feelings from me.
So there was only one conclusion; it wasn’t that Sam didn’t show me true expressions, he just couldn’t, because there wasn’t anything ‘true’.
However, the emotion in his eyes when he said that he was glad to reunite with me was genuine. It was just… mild. Combined with him being so apathetic and disconnected when talking about the events of the day we were summoned as Heroes, there is only one answer.
While Sam didn’t regret being cast into his hell, he did lose something that shattered his heart.
“You truly are scary, Sherry.” Sam gave his fake bitter smile.
“Tell me, Sam, just what happened in that place that made you so broken?”
My heart trembled and my body shuddered just by imagining how much someone like him must have had to go through to reach this point.
I didn’t want to accept it, I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted all of it to be just my imagination running wild.
But I still opened my mouth to ask the question that I had to ask, as his closest friend and as someone who was saved by him.
“Just how long has it been since you genuinely felt happy, Sam?”