“You, I told you not to come over!!”
“I brought coffee-flavored cookies.”
“Who wants to eat that?!!”
Even though Stella had told me not to come over anymore, I reluctantly went to see her. Every time I visited, she would get angry with me, but she never kicked me out.
“Don’t you also not drink coffee when you’re young? I brought the cookie with the strongest coffee flavor, so try it.”
I opened the lid of the box I brought and took out a cookie, pushing it into Stella’s mouth.
With a frown, Stella tightly sealed her mouth, as if refusing to eat it. But as the tempting aroma of coffee tickled her nose, she slowly opened her mouth.
Snap. As the cookie entered her mouth, she started munching on it, hesitantly at first.
Seeing her quiet reaction, it seemed like the cookie suited her taste.
I smiled and put a cookie in my own mouth.
“Mmm, delicious, isn’t it?”
Stella gave me an unimpressed look. After swallowing the cookie in my mouth, I spoke.
“I probably won’t have time tomorrow, but I’ll come again the day after!”
Stella naturally planned ahead, which was absurdly endearing.
“What kind of friend’s house is this? Don’t come!”
“Isn’t this a friend’s house?”
Stella suddenly became flustered and shouted.
“Who’s a friend?!”
Stella’s expression went from confusion to bewilderment. I could understand why she made such a face. It was probably because someone she had tormented before claimed to be her friend.
“Have you forgotten what I did to you? Maybe it’s because the Duke starved you? So you even forgot about that?”
“I remember everything. You told me to leave and live on my own, you lied and made me cry, and even when I apologized, you never accepted it.”
My words seemed to confuse Stella even more.
“But even so, you want to be friends with me? Are you really a fool?”
“No, I’m not a fool. But if you think, ‘Only a fool would do this!’ then you can call me a fool.”
Stella had a bewildered look on her face, but I was sincere and serious.
“Is that some kind of joke…?”
“It’s not a joke. It’s just that it doesn’t matter if you think I’m a fool.”
“So, why doesn’t it matter?”
“How can it not matter when someone who barely knows you thinks you’re a fool?”
“Are you really that slow? You didn’t even receive an apology from me.”
“It doesn’t mean you’ll never apologize. We have so much time ahead of us.”
“Just because there have been bad things between us doesn’t mean our relationship has to stay bad, in my opinion.”
Stella’s body twitched at my words.
“At least, I don’t want it to be that way.”
The day I possessed May’s body, I realized it easily.
Ellen, who had a warm heart, and Joanne, who was always positive, couldn’t fully understand the situation of being a possessor.
The anxiety of being rejected and the fear of dying became a heavy burden for me, knowing that I had to endure it alone.
I felt that I had no one on my side, like an ugly duckling in a flock, until Stella appeared.
An ugly duckling, just like me.
Although I was hurt by our first encounter, I couldn’t deny the fact that in a corner of my heart, I felt joy in meeting someone who had lived in the same world as me.
And seeing her treating me carelessly as if she might not live according to the original story, I felt a sense of camaraderie.
Although our actions may differ, ah, this child is also full of apprehension, just like me, I thought.
When she came looking for me at the orphanage with a sense of guilt, the sense of camaraderie grew even stronger.
Stella and I need to get closer. Only she, and I alone, can understand each other’s actions as fellow possessors.
We need someone like that so that I don’t feel futile when living as a cross-dresser, forced to live reluctantly.
So that I won’t break.
Thus, she will become the first person I sincerely forgive.
Even if I’m treated like a fool, I need her.
Stella’s gaze seemed to tremble. She might be thinking, ‘What is this fool saying?’
Regardless, I confidently expressed my intentions.
“At least, I don’t want it to be that way.”
Even though we discovered that we were both possessors, I didn’t want us to pretend not to know each other.
Stella narrowed her eyes as if she couldn’t understand.
Why on earth? While remembering everything about how I treated her, why does she still want me? Her expression seemed to ask.
“Life is originally lived alone. Whether I’m a possessor or the original protagonist, what do you know?”
We should just live our own lives.
“Why would you want to forgive someone like me who didn’t even offer an apology…?”
Stella’s eyes turned red. It seemed like she could burst into tears at any moment. I could tell that this time, it wasn’t acting.
“We are the same gender, the same age, and possessors who know the original story. How many points of empathy do we have? If we don’t become friends because of what happened in the past, won’t we regret it later?”
To avoid regret, I had to discard any miscellaneous emotions. The more people are swayed by emotions, the more they regret.
“Or do you simply dislike me? So you don’t want to be friends?”
Stella shook her head as if to say that was absolutely not the case.
“No, that’s not what I meant…!
“What I meant was…”
She started to shed tears.
“I…someone like me…is it okay for me to be friends with you?”
She had offered money to the other girl who was also a possessor, telling her to leave and live somewhere else. She had even suggested getting a slave if living alone was dangerous. She said she would give her as much money as she wanted.
When I refused, she became annoyed and burst into tears, making things awkward. No matter how many times I apologized, she wouldn’t accept it.
She showed a selfish attitude, shouting and displaying a defiant attitude.
In her mind, she must have been someone who couldn’t forgive herself.
I hugged Stella and replied.
“Of course, it’s okay. We will definitely become best friends. I believe in that.”
Stella wiped away her tears with the back of her hand.
“Don’t cry. Your eyes will get all puffy if you do.”
Stella held onto me tightly. It seemed like she also needed someone to lean on.
I gently patted her back.
After Stella stopped crying, we sat side by side on the couch. Stella told me about her life before she was possessed, about Soyun’s life.
“When I was Soyun, not Stella, I used to think every day that I wanted to die.”
She was born into a poor family, raised by parents who didn’t know how to raise a child and didn’t receive proper love. Because of their poverty, she was bullied at school, and when she came home, her mother would often be gone, having run away, and her father would be drinking without working.
That kind of life continued for over ten years. She said she thought every day about wanting to die. Just thinking about it, but resenting herself for not being able to actually die.
One day, her mother, who hadn’t come back for years, returned home and said she would take her to her aunt’s house.
The reason wasn’t anything special. Her mother said she was going to divorce her father.
She said she wasn’t interested in her parent’s divorce. She had plans to save money from part-time jobs and live independently.
During the few days she stayed at her aunt’s house, she got hooked on romance novels, and one of them was “Adopted Daughter of Persis.” And after reading the book and falling asleep, she found herself possessed by the body of the protagonist, Stella.
Stella said that when she realized she had become Stella, she was so moved that she started crying. She thought that God must have pitied her and given her a new life. She had hoped to live happily, just like in the original story, being adopted by Persis.
But then another possessor appeared. I was a character who would prevent her from living as the originally intended and block the happiness she should have.
“When I saw you, I felt jealous, uneasy, and angry. That’s why I tormented you. I’m really sorry…”
Stella sincerely apologized to me. I could tell whether it was sincere or not just by looking.
She couldn’t even meet my eyes and kept her gaze averted, genuinely apologizing. It was clearly different from Persis, who had apologized with a purpose.
To lighten the mood, I playfully forgave her.
“It wasn’t okay back then, but it’s okay now. I’ll personally forgive you.”
“You fool… If it were me, I would never have forgiven you…”
Where would forgiveness have come in? I would have sought revenge, double what I had suffered. Stella grumbled like that.
When our eyes met, I smiled as if to say, “What’s the matter?” Stella, unable to hold back, sighed and ordered the maid to bring a handkerchief.
When Stella received the handkerchief, she vigorously wiped away the cookie crumbs from the corners of my mouth.
“Ugh, if you’re going to smile, wipe your mouth first. It’s dirty, you know.”
“Hehe, then, does that mean we’re really friends now?”
Stella blushed and only nodded in response, feeling awkward about answering.
“Yeah, I’ve got a friend now, hehe.”
Stella, who wiped my mouth clean, made a face as she looked at the handkerchief stained with cookie crumbs and handed it to the maid.
Seeing that, it felt like we had already become the closest of friends.
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