“I really can’t remember,” I said, sighing. It didn’t feel like such a thing was really possible but, then again, neither was losing an entire day. Just a simple apology wouldn’t cut it, but I tried anyway, adding, “I’m not really sure it’s something I could apologize for but let me try anyhow.”
Marisa wasn’t very responsive, slumping her shoulders with certain dejection. She peeked at me with the corner of an eye, apparently seeing what it was that I would do next.
That was as good a cue as any.
“You’re pretty important to me,” I told her, testing the waters by placing a hand on her shoulder. She didn’t flinch or swat it away. I may have imagined it but maybe she even began to unslump and look a little more relaxed. “I don’t think I’d ever try to hurt you on purpose and, if I really did yesterday, well, you deserve better.”
My body was still sore but I managed to conquer the discomfort long enough to move closer to her. We sat in the middle of the bed and I grabbed her from behind, draping my arms around her center and edging towards her lap. It was a loose embrace, sure, but it was all I could manage in my state and with the awkward positioning. Marisa accepted the move, bringing her head back up from her hands and resting her back on my chest and shoulder. She felt small and soft but just a little bit nervous, maybe like a cat that was open to being cuddled.
I didn’t want to be too aggressive, mindful of what she’d told me. It felt kinda nice just to be like that for a while. Maybe it was a psychological thing, but I started to feel a little better. Marisa’s lithe frame was reassuring to hold. After a while, she began to fidget some and it seemed like she expected something else from me.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to set things right, I gently guided her face towards me by nudging her chin with a finger. She looked back at me but avoided direct eye contact. “Umm,” she vocalized quietly, buzzing with anxious energy even as her cheeks hinted of reddening, “you don’t really have to push yourself, you know.”
“I’m doing this because I want to,” I told her. Seemed like she wanted to say something else, but thought it better not to. I didn’t hesitate and brought my face closer to hers and kissed her on the lips. It was an awkward angle and didn’t last too long. All the same, maybe from the nervousness, Marisa’s body jumped reflexively. It was a cute reaction.
She stayed close to me, resting her head on my shoulder. “I didn’t think you’d actually kiss me,” she confessed after a few moments of silence.
“Sorry if I crossed a line there.”
Marisa laughed. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but it’s so cute that it’s making me feel guilty. The confident scoundrel role suits you much better. Though, I have to admit… I really like being held by you like this. It makes my body feel all rubbery in a good way.”
“Sorry, but you’re not as strong as an oni,” she told me, “the only untoward thing you’ve done to me in the last day happened just now. Then again, it’s your own fault for coming back home so messed up that you can’t remember what you did.”
“Oh.” There was no escaping the realization that I had been led on. But I wasn’t upset. I could deal with being toyed with. Being scolded would have probably killed me. My body wasn’t ready to deal with any fallout harsher than that.
Marisa wiggled herself free from my embrace, looking a little embarrassed. Her face was a shade redder than before and I couldn’t help but stare at her lips. If I didn’t feel so bad, I would have been tempted to just throw common sense out of the window and kiss her again. It had helped distract me from my suffering, after all.
“I don’t think I can help you much,” she said, “I wasn’t home when you came back. All I know is that Alice went up to your room at night to ask you about something and she found that you were already sleeping. Which was weird, but we didn’t want to bother you or anything.” Marisa giggled and changed the subject, like it wasn’t important at all. She added, “now kiss me and tell me how important I am to you again. It made me feel all squishy, like I was some sort of princess.”
“You really are helpless,” I said, smiling. Whatever else she may have intended, she at least raised my spirits considerably. With my body being less than cooperative, that was a big deal. She didn’t really know anything but, in her own way, she had been supportive.
“If you really aren’t feeling well, go back to bed and I’ll whip up a nice soup or something and nurse ya right back to normal!” she proposed excitedly. Her smile was infectious. It was starting to help me forget all about my physical discomfort. She went one step further, turning it into a hard sell, “it’s not every day that a cute girl like me offers to take care of you, so you better not waste the opportunity.”
 Enjoy Maria's offer. The rest could wait until the next day at school.
 Tell her all about what happened, regardless. Maybe she can help out somehow.