Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts
Chapter 3 – The Gentleman Who Came for Dinner
If the freight train leaves 3 hours after the passenger train while both of them are traveling on parallel tracks, at what distance will both trains meet up with one another if the freight train is traveling 120 km/hr, and the passenger train is traveling at 80 km/hr?
It was after twenty-five minutes of mathematical frustration that Roxas finally decided to give up and head on to the next problem. …And the one after, and the one after that. By the fifth unanswered question, he was really tempted to call up his brother, who was probably lying around in his Harvard dorm room, already finished with his homework and getting ready for bed.
Cloud had always helped him with his homework – particularly with the word problems. It had always come so easily to him, too. He only had to read the question once, and then he'd be off in his logical realm, scribbling down the variables and the equations – all with perfect finesse.
And it was at times like these that he hated his brother for the mounds of perfection stored within him. Why did his older brother have to have all of it? Why couldn't he have left some for his younger brother that had come 2 years after him?
Just when Roxas was about to explode from all the thinking, he heard the doorbell ring. Immediately, he twisted his head to look at his alarm clock.
7:00 PM sharp.
Perfect timing, as expected.
Roxas weighted the two choices he had presented in front of him. One was to stay in his room and try to figure out these insanely difficult questions. The other was to go downstairs and slack off on homework and still get an excuse for it. There was a catch, however. He'd have to deal with the retarded girl, as well as the Fake Flower Man. Hm, it was a dilemma, indeed…
"Roku!" he heard his mother call from downstairs.
Well, it looked like he'd had his decision made for him.
Rolling his eyes, he reluctantly got up from his desk's chair and opened his door. From in between the staircase's railing, he could already see the tufts of Marluxia's layered hair. God, was he trying to look like a girl, or something? What exactly did his mother see in him, anyway? If only he knew, then he'd be able to talk her out of dating his sleazebag!
He intentionally came down the stairs slowly, just to stall time and get the two lovebirds frustrated. Oh, how he loved it whenever the Marluxia pursed his lips in annoyance. It was like he wanted to scold him, but he couldn't, because he wasn't his father! And also, it could affect the relationship he had with his mother. That's why Roxas always acted like an asshole whenever he came.
It was fun torturing him!
"Hello, Roxas," Marluxia said in his dainty tone as he forced a polite smile. "It's always nice to see you."
"Oh, please," he said with a sigh.
"Roku," his mother warned sweetly. "Please don't say things like that."
"Okay, mom," he replied politely. He quickly glanced over at Marluxia, to see if he got the message when he'd emphasized the word 'mom'.
Because what Roxas had wanted to say was something along the lines of: 'She's taken, buddy; so go and find someone else and get the hell out of our house.'
After all, he was trying to be subtle.
"These are for you," Marluxia said, handing Chigusa a freshly made bouquet of roses. "I'm sorry if this gift isn't the best; it was on short notice."
"They're beautiful!" his mother exclaimed, taking them gently from his perfect, smooth hands.
Roxas rolled his eyes beside his mother and hoped that the Fake Flower Man saw this.
He always gave her flowers. (Always being roses, too.)
Hence the name 'Fake Flower Man', since he was a fake guy with no personality, always brought flowers, and was a man (or was he?).
"I've got dinner all set up," his mother said, her eyes lighting up whenever they met Marluxia's. "Are you ready?"
"Of course," he said. "But really, you didn't have to invite me."
"Oh, but we wanted to," Roxas butted in, leaning forward as he did so. "And now you're stuck here with us for two full hours." He gave a fake smile up at the Marluxia, who could only smile back.
…Even though they both knew that they wanted to chop the other's head off…
"Ah," his mother interjected, "How about we just go to the dining table?"
"That's a wonderful idea," Marluxia agreed with a grim smile.
"Roku, honey, why don't you go get Namine? I think she's up in her room."
"Namine?" Marluxia repeated, hinting to Chigusa that he wanted to know who this other visitor was.
"Oh, she's a patient of mine," she explained. "Roxas is volunteering for his community service, so he's taking care of her."
"Is he now?" he said, turning to look at Roxas. "You have to treat women with proper care and utmost respect, you know."
"Yeah, whatever," Roxas said, uncaringly.
But, what did make him care in the next three seconds was when Marluxia put a hand over his mother's waist as they both headed towards the dining room.
Ugh, it was so disgusting to even think about! And here he was, actually seeing it!
Roxas stuck his tongue behind Marluxia as he slithered alongside his mother. He really felt like ripping something into shreds.
Just when he was about to go and kick the staircase's wall, his eyes crossed over to their tiny living room, where Namine was quietly drawing away in her sketchbook as she sat atop their white cushioned sofa.
"Hey," he rudely called to her, "Dinner's ready."
"This is delicious," Marluxia exclaimed as he put his fork down. He was starting to roll up his white shirt's sleeves, which Roxas thought he was doing in order to obtain some kind of "come-home-from-work-and-look-sexy" look.
"Oh, no, no, no," his mother replied, shaking her head and making her new earrings jingle against her ears. "The dinner you made last week for us was much better than mine."
Roxas slumped in his chair and rolled his eyes.
This was beginning to get unbearable…
He glanced over at Namine, who appeared to be in a coma, since her eyes were fixated on a point somewhere up at the ceiling, and her hands were as still as a statue's.
He then looked over at his mother, who was babbling away to Marluxia about the hurricane that had hit Destiny Islands.
Even at first glance, he could see the changes she'd made to herself whenever she was in the presence of Marluxia. He observed that she always brushed a loose strand of hair from her face, as if that one little imperfection was enough to make Marluxia dump her. The way she dressed was different, too – she always seemed to wear more expensive-looking things (not to mention clothing that 'hung out' a little), and would always, always wear the little trinkets he gave her.
Seeing his mother change right before his eyes scared him, because he knew that the mother he once knew was capable of disappearing in just a matter of days. And he wouldn't be able to pinpoint when exactly she would, when Marluxia could possibly arrive at their doorstep, get on his knees, and pop that doomsday question that would end both his, his brother's, and his mother's lives…
You're a womanizer,
Oh womanizer, Oh you're a womanizer, baby…
At the sound of Britney's catchy popstar voice, everyone had flinched and snapped to attention as they turned to look in his direction. Chigusa gaped as if her dinner had been ruined; Marluxia couldn't stop wincing at the pounding beats of Britney's song; and Namine, who was stupidly looking around for the source of the sound.
"Roxas," his mother growled. She kicked him under the table with one of her high heels, which – of course – hurt like hell. "Turn that thing off."
Roxas didn't know why he'd disobeyed.
Maybe it was because he was so mad at his mother for turning against him, Cloud, and his dad. It was like she pulling each of them out of her life each day, only to be left with one person who she barely even knew.
Nevertheless, he ignored her, and scooted out of his seat and turned around the corner to answer the call.
"Roxas," she snarled again, "Get back here."
He was lucky his mother didn't stand up and come after him, too, for the person who was calling wasn't supposed to be affiliated with him…
"Hello?" Roxas said, turning the corner from the dining room and entering the hallway next to it.
"Hey. Roxas. Look, we'll pick you up at 2:00 AM. Got it?"
Roxas took a quick peek into the dining room.
Luckily, Marluxia was distracting his mother with political talk, despite his mother's uncomfortable expressions.
He turned back into the hallway and gulped before answering.
"See ya outside then."
Roxas looked down at his phone and reminded himself that he would have to thank Hayner for changing his ringtone.
That expression on Marluxia's face was priceless…
Roxas flopped onto his stomach, making his bed bounce.
He was fed up with waiting.
He glanced over at his clock.
By now, his mother and Namine would be sound asleep, off in their dream worlds, and never having the thought of their innocent little boy running off with a bunch of strangers.
Because Roxas was a good little boy, just like Cloud was.
Just like Cloud…
Roxas blinked at the thought of Cloud.
Did Cloud ever steal off into the night like he was doing?
His mother had always kept a tight leash around him, paying no mind to her younger son and instead revolving her world around the perfect one.
But now that the perfect one was gone and doing other perfect things in the world, she had to turn attention to the useless one. The one whose name was Roxas.
Ending on this melancholic note, Roxas heard a small pounding sound from his windowsill. He rose from his beside and peered down his glass window to see three guys looking right back up at him.
One of them made a hand motion to come down while the other two got into the back seats of the black car they'd driven in.
Automatically, Roxas pushed his window open and hopped out onto the roof. He felt the cool night air breeze across his face as he slowly made his way down the roof until he'd come to the edge. Without any hesitation, he slowly let his feet hang about as he clung to the edge of the roof with his hands. After lolling about for a couple of seconds, he let go and flew down to the grassy lawn, landing perfectly on his two feet.
"Getting used to it now?" asked the guy who'd been waiting for him, with hands crossed impatiently.
"Kind of," Roxas replied blandly.
"Let's go," he said, turning around and getting into the driver's seat.
Once Roxas had gotten into the passenger's seat, the driver had already started the engine and had sailed off out of the cul-de-sac with flashing headlights and squeaky brakes that needed to be oiled.
Roxas quickly bucked himself in as the driver speeded past a red light, and one of the guys from the back tried to withhold a guffaw.
"You're such a goody-goody," the driver commented, his flashing green eyes still fixated on the road. "Always buckling yourself in like a baby."
"I don't want to die, with the way you're driving," Roxas answered back coolly. "Besides, you guys always go to the same old place."
"What, you don't like going there now?" the driver said with a grin. He made a sharp turn to the left as they entered the highway.
"No, I'm just saying it's the same old thing every night. It's summer. Don't you want to try something new?"
If anyone had dropped by for a quick snack or two at the 7-Eleven between 2:00 to 3:00 AM, you'd see three badass-looking guys sitting on the roof of their compact car, smoking, drinking, and having a good time. And then if you looked hard enough, you'd see a fourth guy sitting with them, who clearly looked like he was misplaced in the picture, and someone who didn't look like he belonged with the gang at all.
Nobody really cared about them, anyway. Everyone usually minded their own business. And even if they did get stares, people would think that they were just some stupid high school kids that were doing stupid stuff that all the Anti-Crime and Anti-Tobacco Organizations talked about.
"Damn this stuff is good," sighed the guy who'd driven them to the quick stop. He took the cigarette from his mouth and exhaled, spewing a cloud of gray smoke that was visible under the night sky. "It never fails to impress." He turned to look down at the pack he'd just gotten and took a fresh one out and offered it to Roxas.
And as usual, Roxas shook his head.
"Again, you're such a goody-goody," the guy said with a shake of his flashy red hair. "Why do you guys have to be so holy? It's like you're Jesus, only reborn or something."
"I just don't want to smoke," Roxas replied bluntly. "End of story."
"But it's so good," a sandy-blonde boy said, reaching for the cigarette box. "It just cleanses your mind from all the stress you've had from the day."
"Demyx, you don't even have any stress in your life," the redhead said.
"I do too!" he snapped back. He made a boyish pout and grabbed a cig from the paper box and lit it up.
"Like doing homework."
"So that makes it oh-so stressful for you? Even when a million other kids have to do it, too?"
"But not as much as me!"
"Oh, shut the hell up. I have as much homework as you do."
Arguments between Demyx and Axel were quite common, most of them involving completely stupid and irrelevant things. And it was typical of both himself and Zexion – the quiet other guy – to just sit and stare and watch the tasteless action with bored expressions.
Demyx, Axel, and Zexion were freshmen college kids that attended Twilight College, which was not too far from where he lived, and happened to be conveniently placed next to a couple of fast-food restaurants and a small shopping mall. They usually spent their days skipping lectures and hanging around this 7-Eleven, sipping beer and smoking cigs, letting their minds go and drifting off from reality.
Despite being useless people that lounged around a dingy quick stop and did nothing but waste their lives, they were actually pretty entertaining to be around. Although Roxas didn't associate with them (and his mother would've died of a heart attack if she ever found out), he somehow felt a bond between these three druggies.
Demyx, being a complete airhead, failed at almost anything he did, and yet managed to keep an optimistic perspective to everything he messed up (Axel and Zexion say he got this way by all the drugs he'd jacked up on. Now, they say, he doesn't need any drugs to keep him giddy). He had sandy-colored hair, with a mullet that made him look like one of those sloppy band people that traveled from place to place in their car. The one thing he was actually good at, though, was just what his hair implied: music.
Axel, also known as the ring leader of the group, told things like it was, and wasn't afraid to do so. Almost anyone that met his path were usually strayed away from him because of his fiery spiked red hair and intimidating green eyes (not to mention those weird black triangles he put on his face to make him even more unapproachable). Roxas found in less than a few seconds that Axel loved using colorful words, and had a lovely vocabulary to match as he dropped the F-bomb whenever he wanted (which would give his mother a second heart attack if she'd ever met him).
Zexion, on the other hand, contrasted both guys and was usually categorized as an emo freak due to his gray hair that covered one of his clouded-colored eyes. He never smiled (and probably never did when he was child, either), and never spoke a word, unless it was to insult Demyx's mess ups or give some kind of advice about life, which – surprisingly – was quite poetic and wise. He was always staring off in another direction, and preferred to keep to himself than talk to others.
Yes, this little band of baddies were people his mother would totally be against, and wouldn't have even considered to be the types of boys she'd think her little baby boy was hanging around. Hayner was barely tolerable in her view. To think of what she'd do if she ever found out her son was hanging with a bunch of druggies.
But it wasn't his fault that he'd gotten involved with them. In fact, it was his mother's fault for leaving him stranded by himself, waiting outside of the restaurant he'd been dragged to after a small date with Marluxia.
They'd been standing outside around a small lamplight, smoking and talking as usual and not even looking annoyed when Roxas had called over to them to ask where the next payphone was.
And now, as they all took another drag of their cigs, Roxas lay limply on the roof of their car and stared up into the starry night sky.
"So how's the gaywad coming along?" Axel asked, puffing another big cloud of smoke above Roxas's face.
"He's being an asshole as ever," Roxas replied, swishing the smoke out of his view so he could see the twinkling stars. "I really don't know what my mom sees in him."
Demyx put a packet of Starbursts in Roxas's face.
Roxas's eyes traced over to where Demyx was, who had an innocent look plastered on his face.
"I didn't drug them up this time," he urged. "I promise."
With Demyx's packet of chewy candy still in his face, he hesitantly took one, unwrapping its orange wrapper and then plopped it in his mouth for a small chew.
After tasting its orange flavor, he knew that Demyx wasn't lying.
"Dude, you're mother's some kind of whore," Axel said bluntly, putting his cigarette to his lips. "If he's too gay to function, then why does she like him?"
"Aw, don't be so mean, Axel," Demyx reasoned. "He's not that-!"
"He's right, Axel," Roxas interrupted, swallowing his Starburst. "She's an idiot."
"What'd I tell ya? You can never go wrong with my assumptions," he said with a casual shrug. He shook his head and inhaled. "She's. A. Dumbass."
Demyx looked at Roxas with concerned eyes. It looked as if Demyx had been hurt by this comment, even when Chigusa wasn't his mother.
Roxas's eyes remained fixated on the sky, not a tear nor any signs of offense. He was just the same – indifferent and nonchalant, completely oblivious by Axel's hurtful comment.
"I think he might be proposing soon, too," Roxas continued. "He looks pretty desperate."
"No freakin' way!" Axel cried, lurching forward to peer into the face of his small high school friend. "Are you fucking serious!?"
"I wish I weren't."
"Damn, that bastard!" Axel yelled, already getting riled up by Roxas's assumption. "This just pisses me off!"
"But he's not even your problem," Zexion commented for the first time. After taking a long sip of beer from his aluminum can, he turned to look over at a pissed of Axel. "So why do you even care?"
"'Cause he might bust us if he sees us picking up Rox!"
"Oh, is that only why?" Demyx snapped.
"Oh, and for Rox, too." Axel said, rolling his eyes as he said so.
"And you what really pisses me off even more?" Roxas prolonged. "There's this girl that's living with us right now for the next three weeks, and I have to be the one that takes care of her because of stupid 'community service'."
"Oh, is she sexy?" Axel pressed, curious.
"If you like retarded girls, then yes."
"Yeowch," he said, inching away as a response from the answer. "I'll prefer the sane ones, thank you very much."
Flicking his cigarette onto the gravel ground and then stepping on it as he descended from the car's roof, he patted the back of his pants for his keys and then turned around to look at his buds. "Looks like it's time to go, gang."
-to be continued...
First off, I'd like to apologize for the incredibly long update time. I've just recovered from a horrible case of writer's block, and was too uninspired to write a third chapter to this story. However, after sitting down and listening to a few KH songs here and there, I've managed to come up with this 9-paged piece of writing. This chapter was way overdue, and I deeply apologize for the wait.
Reviews would be appreciated. Thanks.