Calling – 2
Translator: Reposting, since the other site is down.
It was a twelve story building, and the company that Chizuru worked for took up the entire eighth floor. When the electronic display showed an 8, Chizuru got off of the elevator as if she was being led by Karasawa.
There was a frosted glass door at the entrance, and Karasawa opened it for her.
“Thank you. But I am fine now.”
Even if he was just being nice, she did not want any more of his attention. And so she thanked him after walking through the door and tried to move away. She could see that the other employees had arrived, and were going about their work. Several people whose desks were located near the entrance greeted them.
Karasawa was quite popular, and as a female employee, she didn’t want people to misunderstand their relationship by seeing them together. Chizuru quickly returned their greetings before rushing to her own desk.
There was a stack of documents that needed to be sorted or copied on her desk. And it seemed that she would need to forget everything that happened and focus on her work, at least until lunchtime.
Still, she could not forget the ‘voice’ that she had heard. Chizuru sat in her chair as she pulled out her phone from her bag. She typed in a short message to Mai.
–Thank you for visiting last night. I was glad that you listened.
I don’t know if I was hearing things, but I heard something that sounded like that ‘voice’ just now.
Am I just over excited… What do you think?–
She looked at the clock and saw that Mai’s class would probably have already started, and yet she received a reply within minutes.
–Really!? That might be some kind of omen!
You heard it more than once the first time, didn’t you?
Maybe you will hear it again…
You better tell me if it happens again!–
Chizuru quickly typed in an affirmation and closed her phone.
She could not help but sigh as she returned the phone to her bag. She would now concentrate on the work in front of her. If she didn’t, that excitement that was rising from deep within her would drive her crazy.
Thankfully, Chizuru was a contract worker, which meant that most of her duties involved miscellaneous tasks that she could get through with machine-like movements. Normally this would have felt tedious to her, but she was grateful for it now. Carrying out orders without much thought allowed her head to cool down a little.
(What it…what if I really could return…?)
She kept thinking about this as she typed into the computer.
It had been a little over a year since Chizuru had returned to this world.
During that time, she had to deal with matters related to the missing person search on top of taking care of her sick grandmother, that she didn’t have time to worry about getting back. She still had to finish school, and it was no time to fall into a depression.
Her grandmother had passed away shortly after graduation, and she had started working immediately after. The unfamiliar job had kept her busy for the first month or two… It was only recently that she had begun to slowly think back on her memories with Lukrov and that world.
But no matter how much she had hoped to return, she hadn’t had much time to clearly imagine what would happen if that wish came true.
She had become close with many people during her year in that world. She would have called some of them her friends. But it was Lukrov alone, who she would abandon her own world to meet again.
But, was he waiting for her?
She had not even promised to return to him. They had only been together for one year. How long would he wait for her?
He had loved her.
And he was not the kind of man who would forget a woman who he had fallen in love with.
But there was a good chance that he would be angry with her for disappearing without saying anything. She had not meant anything by it, but it would not be surprising if he felt that it was a betrayal.
Hello, I have returned and am glad to see you. Let’s continue to be together. It would likely not be so easy.
In fact, there wasn’t even a guarantee that she would be able to return straight to him. The first time, Lukrov and the others had found the shocked Chizuru when she had been suddenly thrust into their world.
But this time…?
Unlike this world, there weren’t even any established home addresses. You could definitely not use phones to locate people. Even ordinary maps were difficult to find.
Thinking about all of this now, she started to see that things would not immediately turn into a happy ending even if she could return. Of course, she had the resolve to pay whatever the price was. She did not balk at the idea of having to find him and do what was necessary to earn his forgiveness.
But all of that could only happen if she returned.
Suddenly, something that she had never considered before appeared in the back of her mind. Her hands paused above the keyboard.
(A year and a few months…)
That was how much time had passed since her return.
(But, I had been in that world for one year, yet only a month had passed when I returned…that means…)
Wait. Wait. Chizuru tried to stop herself as her mind began to calculate. But the answer came too quickly.
If one month here equaled one year over there, and precisely one year and two months had passed, that meant that at least fourteen years had passed in that world. She had not kept a journal or counted the days, she was not even sure that one year in that world was also 365 days, but the seasons were similar, and the people had defined that time as a year.
And that was only if she could return right now.
If she could return, but it took an additional month, that would mean that fifteen years had passed. Fifteen years. So many years for a person you had only spent one year with…a lover whose departure could only have seemed like a betrayal in his eyes. What man could stay devoted?
Fifteen years was so long.
During that time, he had been four years older than Chizuru. Twenty-two. That would make him thirty-six now. Considering that the world was similar to the middle ages, it would not be surprising for him to be married. She remembered that commoners were especially known to marry early and have children.
She could leave everything in this world behind in order to return, only to find that Lukrov had married, had children. Chizuru could be nothing but a distant memory, whose sudden appearance would be a nuisance. That would not be strange. No, it was the most natural thing.
However it was a world that was so different than hers, it was possible that this warping of time was just a coincidence. Perhaps it changed every time.
Chizuru felt her eyes sting as she stared at the screen.
Her fingers couldn’t move.
If Chizuru did hear the ‘voice’ again, she would answer.
Even if it all ended with her seeing that Lukrov was happy with someone else, she wanted to apologize for leaving him without a word. Chizuru would throw herself back into that world, just for a chance to tell him.
(I’m such an idiot…)
But, perhaps that was what love was.
That was what it meant to love someone with your whole heart…
Her hands had not helped her much that day, and so when she was finally finished and thinking about going home, it was already dark outside. She hadn’t been conscious of it at all, but it was also raining now.
She looked around the office floor and saw that more than half of the people had gone home.
“I finished up, so I am going home. Was there anything else you needed?”
She asked one of her female superiors who sat a few desks away from her. The woman said that there wasn’t anything in particular and kindly released Chizuru. Not only that, but she even thanked Chizuru for continuing to work later than the others. A lot of the employees here were quite young, and so it was an overall relaxed environment. She felt blessed.
She was later than usual, but not so late that she worried about missing the last train, and so Chizuru slowly got her things together and left the office.
The elevator was empty as she got in this time. When she reached the first floor, Chizuru pulled out the portable umbrella she kept in her bag and looked at the entrance.
There she saw the back of a man who was pacing in front of the door, just barely out of range of the sensors of the automatic door. He looked out at the rain and shrugged.
Chizuru called to him, and he swiftly turned around as if propelled by a spring.
When his eyes caught her, his expression looked stunned and a little entranced as he took her in.
She could have just said goodbye and walked passed him…but regardless of his motives, he had shown concern over her that morning, and it didn’t feel right to abandon him.
“You don’t have an umbrella?”
“Ah…I was a little late this morning, and so I was in a rush. I forgot to bring one.”
Chizuru herself had been late in coming to work this morning. He had been down here with her, so he must have been later than usual.
It was a five-minute walk from their building to the nearest station. They would pass through busy streets with lots of people, and there was a convenience store at the station where he could buy an umbrella.
Chizuru weighed her good intentions with her own safety and decided that this was not too much to ask.
“This is quite small as it is a portable umbrella…but will you share it with me to the station?”
Karasawa looked surprised at this idea.
There was a short pause before he answered. Ultimately, he gave a slight nod and said, ‘That would be a great.’ And he took a step closer to her.