Cale tried to calm the current of negative emotions flowing inside him, but it was in vain as these crazy bastards, the main reasons for his growing anger, were shamelessly eating with him.
"How did you get in here?" His voice was cold and low, making the people around him shiver.
"We just told your father that we're your friends and he invited us to lunch."
'Father, how can you believe this bullshit?!' Deruth had already left the big table a few minutes ago and gone to his office, leaving Cale alone with his self-proclaimed friends.
'Friends?! My ass.' These people were just strangers he met a few weeks ago. One was the one who boldly answered his question, his professor at the college, Eruhaben, three were the professor's children, On, Hong and Raon, three were his classmates, Choi Han, Alberu and Rosalyn, and two were the mansion's employees, newly hired somewhat suspiciously, butler Ron and chef Beacrox.
These strangers, who certainly lacked common sense, were forcibly trying to be a part of his life. Cale felt surrounded, watched, invaded… And they still had the audacity to look at him waiting for something.
Cale couldn't remember the last time he had been this angry. He glared at each of the people who claimed to be his friends. Cale was ready to say 'Get out of my life,' but as soon as he opened his mouth, a sudden shortness of breath attacked him and his vision began to darken.
The screams faded as he lost consciousness.
Cale recognized the ceiling of his bedroom as soon as he opened his eyes.
"Let's talk." His eyes widened, hearing his own voice that hadn't come out of his mouth. There was a version of himself almost identical to him, just a little thinner and paler, sitting arrogantly in the armchair across from his bed.
"Who are you?"
"I am you from another life." He said calmly. "And we are in a dream."
"You fainted, or rather…" He smirked. "I made you faint."
Cale was looking at the alternative Cale as if he were seeing a madman."Why did you do-"
"Your words would hurt my friends." He was serious and his smile was gone from his face.
"Yes. They reincarnated in this world and kept their memories of their past lives." He explained flatly. "My friends are desperately yearning for you to remember them."
"But I will never remember them, right?"
The pieces were starting to fall into place.
Alternate Cale nodded. "I'm not going to give you my memories. They're mine and not yours for you to carry."
Cale didn't know his eyes could be so deep. It wasn't exactly his own eyes, it was Cale's in front of him. Eyes of someone who, despite having gone through so many things in life, did not become cold and inhuman. They were unfathomable eyes, filled with emotion and warmth.
He could somehow understand this alternative Cale, but still… "They crossed the line."
"I know." He nodded. "I still can't let you hurt them. Give them a chance." A small, genuine smile appeared on his face. "My friends are good people."
Cale sighed in defeat. "Fine. Whatever."
"Maybe you could end up being part of a bigger family than you can imagine." He added.
"Have more?" Cale froze.
"A lot more." His smile widened.
'How the fuck did you make so many friends?'
Cale could feel his slacker life slipping through his fingers, but maybe it was worth a try. "Okay."
"I think it's about time." Alternate Cale got up from his chair and headed for the door. When he was about to turn the knob, he asked a little uncertainly, "Could you pass my last message to them?"
Cale smiled. "Of course." He accurately memorized every word that needed to be said.
There were ten pairs of worried eyes about him, one of them his father's.
"Father, I'm fine."
"Are you sure, son?" Deruth relaxed a little as his dear son finally woke up.
"Yes." Cale looked at the rest of the people in his room. "I need to talk to them."
"I understand. I'll leave you alone." Without asking questions, Deruth left the room.
There was a strange tension in the air. The bunch of strangers wanted to say something, just didn't know where to start.
"Listen." Everyone focused their attention on Cale. "Be quiet until I'm done talking."
He inhaled and exhaled deeply before starting. "I'm not the Cale you knew in your past lives. I don't have his memories either, as he didn't want to pass me."
Cale saw an expression of disappointment cross the faces of the nine people. He wouldn't lie, it had hurt him.
Only they weren't disappointed in either of the Cales, they were disappointed in the fact that Cale, whom they were so fond of, wasn't with them. These people were also not surprised that he didn't give his memories to someone else, even if that person was himself in another universe. There were too many painful memories and there was no need for this Cale to know about them.
"He also asked me to deliver his last message." He continued, repeating exactly what was passed to him. "Eat well, rest well, sleep well and, last but not least, live well."
A mixture of frustrated sighs, tears and half-sad and half-happy smiles filled the room.
"That unlucky bastard…"
"Our young master…"
"Human…" Raon was sobbing. "He's still an idiot."
Cale was still… Cale. Nothing had changed.
As each of the nine people recomposed themselves, they realized that the way they acted with Cale in front of them was way beyond unacceptable.
Alberu took a step forward and began to apologize on behalf of the group. "We are sorry for our behavior and our actions. If you wish we can disappear from your life."
"Do you intend to run away?" The subtle threat tone made each of the nine people shudder.
"If you really want to apologize, think of a way to make it up to me." Cale said nonchalantly, not caring about the others' reactions. "Oh, I hear there are even more people. I want you to introduce me all of them." He gave a scammer smile.
How could a smile hurt so much? It was too familiar. Trying not to feel their hearts tighten at the similarities they encountered had become a difficult task. But in time they would accept that, as much alike as the Cales were, the two were still different people.
Their huge family would soon have a new member.
"I gave you a chance, why didn't you take it? You could be there with your friends." God of Death was intrigued.
Cale shrugged. "Simply because that wasn't my life to live it."
"You can stop bugging me or I can't be a slacker even in death." Cale was annoyed.
God of Death chortled. "Right. I'll let you rest in peace."