I've been in love so many times
Thought I knew the score
But now you've treated me so wrong
I can't take anymore
And it looks like
I'm never gonna fall in love again
Fall in love, I'm never gonna fall in love
I mean it
Fall in love again


The doorbell chimed insistently, breaking the stillness of the night.

"Coming!" hissed Kimiko Nanasawa, as she pulled a robe over her nightgown while fumbling towards the door, all the while trying not to wake her parents and siblings. "Who could it be at this time of night?" she thought with exasperation.

As she opened the door, she began to say, "Yes, what is it?" but stopped midway as she saw her friend Erika standing outside. "Erika?! Don't you have a concert tonight?"

"Yes. I ran off. I ... I ... couldn't face them ... Not tonight." said Erika woodenly. Each word fell like a stone, without the customary vibrancy that had made her one of the most sought after seiyuu in Japan. "Can ... can I come in?"

"Yes! Of course! But quietly, my folks are asleep." said Kimiko, embarrassed at forgetting her manners.

The two girls moved into the living room, and sat down. Kimiko waited for Erika to speak, but Erika was silent, sitting motionless, her drawn face pale with shock.

"Erika, what is it? What's happened?"

"Hitoshi-cha ..." Erika swallowed hard, and started again, "Hitoshi ... Hitoshi broke our engagement. He's called the wedding off."

All those things I heard about you
I thought they were only lies
But when I caught you in his arms
I just broke down and cried
And it looks like
I'm never gonna fall in love again
Fall in love, no, I'm never gonna fall in love
I mean it, I mean it
Fall in love again


"Ano?!" Kimiko gasped. "But why?"

In that same dead voice Erika answered, "He said he was a dead weight that was dragging down my career. He said did not want to hold me back from reaching my full potential, and so it was better that we not ... we not ... marry."

A hint of hysteria crept into Erika's voice on the word "marry", but it vanished, and her leaden intonations returned as she continued.

"He said that I needed someone worthy of me, someone better than him, who would not hold me back. And then ... and then ... he broke our engagement."

Her story finished, Erika once again fell silent and still. The strangeness of Erika's behavior frightened Kimiko, who asked gently, "Erika ... have you cried at all? Gotten angry? Anything?"

Erika's mouth worked helplessly for a moment, and then she said in the same dead voice that was becoming too familar, "Kimiko ... I ... I can't. I think something broke inside. This is too big, and it hurts too much. It won't come out."

With this, the full scope of how damaged, how completely shattered her friend was hit Kimiko, and her concern turned to anger. "Damn him! Damn the bastard. Well, he was right about one thing, he isn't worthy of you!"

Erika gasped, "Kimiko!" a bit of life coloring her voice. "You mustn't say that about him."

Incredulous, Kimiko asked, "Even after what he's done to you, you defend him?!"

"Yes ... because I still love him." Erika whispered, her eyes downcast.

I gave my heart so easily
I cast aside my pride
But when you fell for someone else, baby
I broke up all inside
And it looks like
I'm never gonna fall in love again


"Kimiko ..." It was a cry of pain, the cry of a helpless child, and with that, Erika's dammed up emotions broke, "How could he do this to me? I ... I love him! He was my world, my everything! I thought he loved me. I thought he was the only one who saw me, the real me, not the idol, not the characters. He was the only one I could just be myself with! No pretences, no masks. And now he's gone ... I ... I don't know what I'll do without him."

Erika brought a fist to her trembling mouth, her other arm drawn tightly about her waist. Her entire body began to shake violently. Kimiko reached out and drew Erika into an embrace, and in the shelter of her best friend's arms, Erika Hayasaka finally began to cry.

That's why I'm a-singin' it
Fall in love, no, I'm never gonna fall in love
Please don't make me
Fall in love again


*****

The song is (It Looks Like) I'll Never Fall In Love Again - Tom Jones.

The original song does not fit completely since it is written from the male POV, but the sentiments are appropriate for the embittered and cynical Erika of the present day.

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