"Tai…" Kari dropped her cup of coffee onto her newly steamed carpet and gasped. "What are you doing here?"
"Hello, you have reached Kari Kamiya's
"Dammit, Kari, pick up the phone! This is your brother. I can hear you breathing! PICK UP!!"
"Hello, old friend." Tai mumbled, picking up the
almost-empty bottle of
* * *
"Matt, Takeru's doctor's check-up's today." Mimi said, approaching Matt who was sitting on the floor, happily playing with his son.
"Well, I have to be here when the landlord comes for the inspection. I don't really trust that guy, plus I'm having issues with that leaky faucet."
"I know, but my license is expired, so I can't drive Takeru to the clinic myself."
"Hm." Matt frowned. "What about Tai? Shouldn't his license still be valid, even if he's been out of the country for a year?"
"Yeah…" Mimi said. "And whatever suspension he got on it while he was drunk should be over, too."
"Then ask him to drive you guys." Matt suggested.
"I'll go and do that." Mimi said. "Okay, then, seeya later, Matt."
* * *
"I'm gonna need a new bottle." Tai muttered, staring at the empty bottle of liquor. Man, that felt good. It had been a while since he last had a good hard drink…
Tai quickly put the bottle under the bed and threw a breath mint in his mouth as Mimi knocked on the door. "Um… come in!"
Mimi opened the door and smiled. "Um, do you happen to have your drivers license with you, because I need someone to drive me to the clinic for Takeru's appointment, and Matt can't drive me right now, so…"
"Why don't you take the bus?"
Tai shrugged. I shouldn't drive under alcoholic influence… he thought. But if I say no, Mimi'll be suspicious… anyways, I've driven plenty of times like this, and I never got into an accident… "Okay." He said.
"Great." Mimi smiled. "I'll seeya in the car." She closed the door and walked back to her room to get changed, then paused. Hm… it sure smelled funny in that room… I wonder what it was…
But what I wouldn't give to see you face again…
"You ready to go?" Tai coughed as he entered the car. Mimi, who was sitting in the back, nodded. "Okay…" Tai put the key in the ignition and backed out of the parking lot of the apartment complex. I can do this… he thought.
"Tai…" Mimi said. "Are you okay? You don't look so well…"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Tai grunted.
"Springtime is so beautiful…" Mimi sighed. "All these flowers… I wish I had my own house to garden. Little Takeru could play in the yard while I tend to the garden…"
"Uh-huh." Tai muttered.
"Takeru would like it, wouldn't you Takeru?" Mimi cooed at her young son, who she was sitting next to.
"Fa-fa…" Takeru squealed.
"Fa-fa-fa…" Tai mumbled.
"Tai, what's your problem?" Mimi asked. "You're acting like you're drunk or something."
"Oh, you noticed…" Tai remarked.
"What??" Mimi sat up. "Oh my God… you are drunk…stop the car."
"No! I can handle it!"
"No you can't." Mimi said sharply. "Stop the car."
"It's my life, Mimi."
"Tai…" Mimi unbuckled her seat belt and climbed to the front of the car. "Give me the steering wheel, now."
"Leave me alone."
"Ugh!" Mimi and Tai began wrestling over the steering wheel for control. Tai refused to let go of it, but Mimi wouldn't give in, either.
"You're putting all our lives in danger." She said.
"I don't care."
"SHUT THE FUCK UP, WOMAN!" Tai yelled, pushing her to the side.
I know I let you down
Again and again
I know I never really treated you right
I've paid the price
I'm still paying for it everyday…
"How could you, Tai?"
Tai awoke to the sound of Matt's anguished crying. "Matt…"
"We were best friends, man. Our futures looked so bright, especially yours. I don't know what went wrong…"
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
"You said you were sober. You lied."
"What?" Tai quickly sat up, wincing in pain as he realized he was in the hospital. "What's going on?"
"What's going on?" Matt stood up and walked towards Tai. "What's going on??? You betrayed my trust!! You lied to me!! THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON!"
"Matt… I'm sorry…"
"Sorry doesn't cut it!" Matt burst out in anger. "I don't know what to do with you anymore Tai."
"I'm sorry… it was only one drink…"
"Only one drink?? ONLY ONE DRINK??? Well, Tai, GUESS WHAT? That ONE DRINK KILLED MY SON!!"
"Yeah, that's right! Takeru!! He's dead because of you!"
"Oh my god…"
"And Mimi! She's in a coma! What the HELL were you thinking, driving drunk??? And with a BABY in the car??"
Tai watched as Matt dropped to his, knees, crying. What have I done…? Tai thought. My best friend is crying… his son is dead… because of me…
"You need help, Tai." Matt said.
"But I'm sober…"
"If you were sober, this wouldn't have happened." Matt choked, wiping the tears from his eyes. "Get help Tai. I'm sorry, but until you do, I can't talk to you. God, I can't even look at you…" Matt turned around, his hands shaking, and walked out of the room.
This is all my fault… Tai thought, staring off into space. But it was only one drink…
So maybe I shouldn't have called
Was it too soon to tell?
Oh what the hell
It doesn't really matter
How do you redefine something that never really had a name?
Has your opinion changed?
"I can't believe Tai would do something like that." Kari whispered into the phone. "I mean, I knew he was irresponsible, but…"
"Yeah, well, I'm not surprised. I was stupid enough for hanging onto him for so long… it was only a matter of time when his best friend saw how he really was…"
"But Sora… oh never mind… I guess you're right…"
"Well, I gotta go. I'm getting a new security system installed so Tai can't sneak in here. I'll see you around Kari."
Kari hung up and sighed. Life was just getting more and more complicated… she hated Tai for leaving her alone the past year, but at the same time, she still cared for him. She thought about her plan of action for the next couple of days and sighed. It was too much for her. Everything was just too much. TK was gone, Tai's a different person… she didn't have anyone to count on anymore. Sora was too spiteful over Tai's disappearance to care about anything or anyone and Matt and Mimi… they had their own problems to deal with. She was never really close to Joe, and Izzy was just as bad as Tai, only he preferred to keep his activities indoors. She was alone.
"TK, I miss you so much… why did you leave me…?"
* * *
It was a rather gloomy day at the Odaiba City Jail. The guards were still pondering over the sudden retraction of Natalia Heir's sentencing, but didn't complain since it was their job to follow through what the main computer said. Natalia was just as curious over why she was being released so soon, but said nothing for this mistake was working to her advantage.
"Hello, I am Izzy Izumi, and I am your ride." A young, auburn-headed man, dressed in what looked like rags, greeted her from the front gate.
"Make sure she comes back in a week… she's still on probation." The guard grunted grumpily as he threw Nati into the car and walked away.
"Who let me out early?" Nati asked.
"Someone." Izzy answered. "I'm taking you to them right now."
Nati nodded and looked out the window. She was sincerely sorry for her actions in the past year, and took this as a blessing from God that she was given a second chance. The two continued on in silence until finally, they reached the hotel that was so familiar to Nati, for it was where she killed Takeru Takaishi exactly one year ago. Izzy let her off, and drove away as Nati walked to the room she was instructed to go to, unsure of whether or not in would be open. It was.
"Uh…hello???" Nati stepped into the room. It looked so clean, considering it was covered in blood the last time she saw it.
"I'm glad you made it." A voice said, coming from behind the beds.
"Um, yeah." Nati said. "Thanks for bailing me out of jail."
"No problem." The voice replied. "I just want you to do me a favor."
"What is it?" Nati asked curiously.
The figure stepped out of the shadows and handed Nati a small pistol.
"But… this was the same gun I used on that kid last year…" Nati said.
"I know." The figure replied. "I want you to kill me."
"What?! Are you crazy?" Nati exclaimed.
"I want to die the same way TK died." The figure said. "Please shoot me."
"No." Nati said. "I may be crazy, but I'm not a murderer. Anyways, why would you want to die when you still have such a life to live? Nothing can be solved by dying! Think of all the people you'll be leaving behind!"
"I don't care."
"Well, I do." Nati handed the figure back the gun. "I'm not doing it. I'm sorry, I can't."
The figure sighed. "Very well then. If you're not doing it, then at least do this much for me." It handed Nati an envelope. "Give this to Tai Kamiya. He's at the Odaiba General Hospital right now."
"Okay…" Nati took the envelope uneasily and walked towards the door. "Bye… and thanks again."
I don't know you anymore
But what I wouldn't give to see your face again…
Kari watched as Nati disappeared away from site, then looked at the picture it was holding of TK. The only one I have left… I'll see you again, TK. We'll be together again…
I see your face…
The gunshot rang across the hotel site as another life was lost.
* * *
"Look, Tai, I'm sorry about what I said yesterday about never talking to you again unless you get help. That was wrong of me to say that, but you do need help. I'm worried about you. There's a place across the street from here… a rehabilitation center… I went there when I was recovering from TK's death… I think you should go there to…"
"No, Matt. I can do this on my own." Tai said to his friend who was sitting by his bed.
"I'm serious, Tai. This isn't something you can't beat on your own time. You need the support from others, and I'm willing to give it to you."
"I said no!" Tai retorted angrily. "I refuse to go to one of those centers! I'm not that desperate!"
Matt sighed. "Look, Tai, I used to think that way to, until TK died. In a way, it was his death that changed things for me. It opened up my eyes. I don't want you to have to experience what I had to go through in order to realize what you have to do. Please Tai. If you're not gonna do it for yourself, then do it for me. Do it for your friends."
Matt threw his hands up in exasperation. "I'm not giving up until you say yes, Tai. I care about you too much."
"Um, Mr. Kamiya?" A nurse poked her head into the room. "A young lady came in and wanted me to give this letter to you. And she said she was sorry."
"Huh?" Tai remarked, taking the letter. What could it be for? He slowly opened it up and read the familiar handwriting of his sister:
I love TK. That's not anything new. But you've changed so much Tai. You aren't the brother I once knew. I still love you with all my heart, but I can't stand living, knowing you're somewhere creating havoc.
This is all my fault…
I see your face…
Thank you Kari…