I awoke, tired and restless.
It was much later than normal – nearly three in the afternoon – when I got out of bed, getting a lazy beginning to my Sunday. It wasn't really by choice, but rather more of a necessity. I felt that if I didn't start on my day, it would end without having begun. So as I got out of bed, I squared off my shoulders, walked carefully to the door, and plastered a convincing smile onto my ashen, sleep deprived face.
I wasn't in much of a mood to really socialize with anyone, yet staying cooped up at home didn't seem like it would be the best prospect if I wanted to cheer myself up. I was tired of being tired, tired of being dejected and rejected. If I didn't get out of the house soon, I was going to explode.
Without another thought, I washed my face, threw on some warm clothes, grabbed my car keys and wallet, and rushed out the door. I didn't have a set destination in mind just yet. Nevertheless, I figured a trip out of town wouldn't be so bad.
I should've known that I was setting myself up for disappointment and regret. I'm not entirely sure what drove me to come to Tokyo, but nonetheless I was here, in the evening, as people of all ages walked about in the darkening city. It seemed like everyone was on a fucking date while here I was, a pitiful lonely man that couldn't even get over a child. Forget disappointed, I was beyond that. I was furious. Not only was I angry at myself, but angry at Amu. What right did she have to consume all of my thoughts and feelings?!
Forget her! My thoughts screamed. What'd she ever do for you?
I huffed angrily as I stormed down the sidewalk, not going anywhere in particular. My common courtesy failed me as I pushed and shoved my way through people. Honestly I couldn't care less. After walking for a few minutes, I knew what would hit the spot. My eyes scanned the stores searching ravenously for a bar. I was going to drink myself to oblivion because I could and then wipe her out of my memory. Good riddance!
The night air cooled exponentially as I continued to rudely push my way through people. I shoved my cold hands into my pockets as the cold air bit not so mercifully at my ears and nose, puffs of smoke popping out of my slightly parted lips as my warm breath met the cold air. My hair was in a disarray from being blown by the wind and it was probably one of the only times that I did not care.
The amount of people slowly diminished as I made my way across streets with fewer and fewer people. I almost thought to make an effort and actually shove people out of my way just to make myself feel better but as the air became colder and the sky turned darker, I really just wanted to find a bar to warm myself with some good ol' beer.
Without noticing, I shot right past a bar, only taking notice of it a couple minutes later. I turned my head and peered over as I continued to walk forward, slowing my pace a fraction of the speed. Just as I was about to turn around, my body crashed into an outstretched hand, startling me and nearly knocking the other person on to the ground if it weren't for my quick reflexes.
"Excuse me," she said apologetically as I let go of her arm. I stole a glance at her as she straightened up, dusting off her clothes as if they had any form of debris on them, which they didn't. As a matter of fact, she was dressed immaculately. Not a single piece of auburn hair out of place nor a single smudge on her glasses. "Hello," she said with an air of authority before clearing her throat. "I couldn't help but notice how attractive you are. My name is San-"
"I'm not interested." I interjected, holding my hand out in front of myself to stop her. "Now if you'll excuse me," And without another word, I turned on my heel and hurried over to the bar.
A soft bell jingled as I entered the pleasant bar, the bartender nodding in my direction as I stepped in. "Welcome," he murmured quietly, just loud enough for me to hear. I rubbed my hands together to warm them up and made my way to a barstool, leaving a space between myself and another customer.
The bar was relatively empty, save for two other people at the bar and a few others scattered in the corners, watching the evening news or susurrating secret words into their phones.
"I'll have a beer; Asahi." I ordered, taking off my coat. The man replied with a nod.
My hands were already starting to warm as I placed them on my neck, wincing at the difference in temperature. I caught sight of myself on the reflective material of the bar table and nearly laughed. My hair looked haggard. Trying to fix it, I ran my hand through my hair, ruffling it into place.
The bartender promptly placed a cold glass in front of me and I greedily drank it, suddenly realizing just how thirsty I was. Before I was able to take another drink, someone tapped me lightly on the shoulder. I turned my head in the direction, my cheek unsuspectingly pressing into a finger.
I sighed, a slight smile forcing its way onto my lips. Perfect golden hair cascaded gently on each side of her face, her hair in braids today. Her boobs, like always, looked perfect. Utau. I let out air through my nose, chuckling slightly as I let out a breath of relief. She felt like a lungful of fresh air and I almost had to stop myself from getting up and giving her a big hug. "You know I hate it when you do that, Utau." I purred with a knowing gaze, my eyes narrowed and a slight smile plastered on my face.
"My my, Ikuto. Are you flirting with me?" Utau feigned surprise as she held her hand in front of her lips.
I scoffed. "Hardly,"
I wish I could express the unadulterated gratitude I felt. It was very much unlike me and I just wanted to laugh and cry and jump and dance, but more prominently, I really wanted to bang her. Hard. Maybe it was because I was a little buzzed or because I hadn't had sex in who knows how long, but I really wanted to fuck her. Her skin looked so soft under the dim lighting, her clothes hugging her body in just the right places. She leaned forward, towards me – her arms outstretched – giving me an amazing view of her bust.
Utau's warm arms wrapped around my neck as she – whether intentional or not – pressed her chest against my face, her head resting above mine. "Oh Ikuto, I've missed you." I could feel my lower half twitch eagerly. Mmmm…she smells nice.
Utau let go all too soon and I was left disappointed. Her hands remained on my shoulder though and she gave me a gentle squeeze. "How've you been holding up?" She asked quietly, almost too afraid to ask.
My lips pressed into a hard line and I caught myself rolling my eyes. I decided to ignore the latter question. "I've missed you too." And your ass. "What're you doing at a bar by yourself, anyway?" I asked, hoping to change the subject.
She raised an eyebrow, her hands now on her hips. "I could ask you the same thing."
I merely shrugged and grabbed my glass of Asahi, taking a few more gulps. "'Nothing like a cold beer to warm yourself up. Want one?" I offered. How old was Utau again?
Her lips puckered as she looked off to the side, seeming to consider the offer. "Can't." Utau said resolutely. "I'm meeting my PR agent. Business stuff I'm guessing."
My mouth sagged in disappointment resulting in Utau to giggle.
The soft bell jingled as a gush of cold air rushed through the door. I sneezed. Thudded thunks resonated as a woman neared, I assumed, as her heels clicked somewhat loudly on the bar floor.
"Sorry I'm a little late," A surprisingly familiar voice said. I looked up, my eyes meeting with the woman from not long ago.
"Sanjo-san!" Utau exclaimed.
"Utau, you know this young man? Is he your boyfriend?"
Utau laughed uncomfortably, waving Sanjo-san off. "No no, hahaha. Kuukai-kun is my boyfriend. This is Tsukiyomi Ikuto," She held out her hand, gesturing towards me. "An old flame if you will." She paused, "We're friends." This time said resolutely.
A pang of guilt hit me hard. Ah right…Kuukai. I had totally forgotten about him and I definitely wasn't one to screw around with their best friend's girlfriend. And if I recalled correctly, I was the one that set them up. Well what a turn of events we have here.
"O-oh, right!" Utau stammered. "Ikuto, this is Sanjo Yukari, my PR Agent. Also the one who discovered me all those years ago."
"It's nice to officially meet you," I said, embarrassment coloring my voice. "I was uh- rather rude earlier. Please excuse me." I hung my head in apology.
Utau's eyes widened in slight surprise, "You two know each other?" she asked.
Sanjo-san laughed sardonically. "I tried scouting him not ten minutes ago. Didn't even bother to let me finish my introduction."
"Scouting him?!" she exclaimed.
Sanjo-san and I both ignored Utau. "Ah yes, sorry about that. I was in a hurry…" My voice trailed off. But scouting? I nearly laughed at the thought. Me working in the entertainment industry? What a joke. I was not a singer like Utau and last time I checked, Easter was a music centered company. Not only that, but I was a teacher. What could a teacher gain from that?
Sanjo-san smiled, her eyes narrowing. A menacing aurora radiated off her body. "I'll consider the apology. That is, if you join Utau-chan and I for dinner."
My stomach grumbled in response, much to my annoyance.
"Well it's settled then! Utau-chan, grab your stuff. Tsukiyomi-kun, if you would please." She gestured towards my coat on the stool next to the one I was sitting, willing me to put it back on. "It's quite cold outside."
I got up reluctantly, sighing as I put my coat back on. I grabbed my beer and chugged the rest of it, placing the condensed glass back onto the table and quickly paid and tipped the bartender. "Well, if you're buying." I muttered as I fixed my collar, my earlier buzz gone.
Utau promptly grabbed her stuff as Sanjo-san and I waited patiently for her outside the bar. The brisk air bit into my skin once again, forcing its way into my once warm body. A dark, shadowy car with tinted windows pulled out in front of the bar as Utau stepped outside. The driver's seat swung open revealing a bald man in a dark suit. Quickly, he stepped out and opened the door, waiting for us to enter.
Sanjo-san went in first, her heels clunking against the sidewalk as she ducked into the car. Utau followed hurriedly as she pulled me along. The door closed quietly as I got comfortable and Mr. Baldy promptly began to drive.
"How do you even see anything?" I asked, more to myself as I peered out the window. These windows were tinted beyond belief.
"It's for privacy obviously." Sanjo-san replied. "Utau-chan is a famous idol after all."
My brows furrowed. Was Utau really all that famous? I tried recalling a time where she appeared on a television show. TV? When was the last time I even watched TV? When was the last time I did anything? What the hell had I been doing the past couple of weeks? Had I really been sulking the entire time?
Utau rolled her eyes. "Don't listen to her. She gives me too much credit."
I huffed through my nose, no longer paying attention. Resting my elbow on the door, I rested my head on my hand as I peered out the window, watching the street lights blur into a line. I wondered how fast we were going. Where were we going anyways? My eyes followed the street lamps as the driver continued down the road.
I shot up in my seat, realization and responsibility hitting me in the face. "My car," I said without context.
"I figured as much,"
I looked over past Utau, straight at Sanjo-san.
"I had someone take it home for you."
"-have my ways'" Utau finished, imitating Sanjo-san's voice. "Scary, I know." She smiled.
"I also have work tomorrow…"
"You should just forget about that and join the Easter Company. We could really use a fresh face like you." Before I could respond, Sanjo-san waved me off. "But we'll discuss this over dinner. Men can't think straight on an empty stomach, no matter the age."
We arrived at a very prestigious restaurant several minutes later, now already an hour into our meal. The restaurant was quite plush and very expensive, yet a little too effeminate for my taste. I didn't have a choice in the say. This was originally meant for Sanjo-san and Utau after all. Sanjo-san said to order anything on the list, regardless of price and I sure did take advantage of that. After an expensive appetizer and main course, followed by and obscenely expensive bottle of wine, I began to get full. And so after their quick discussion concerning media and schedule conflicts, Sanjo-san began her line of attack.
"I'm sure you'd do well on the media, so if you join our company, I'll throw in a bonus. What do you say? The salary wouldn't be higher than what you're currently making but that would be a given. You would gain popularity quickly which means more jobs and in turn would mean more cash. You could even make as much as Utau does in modeling. And we're not expecting you to sing or anything of that sort. Yet, that is."
"Hold on, hold on. Slow down. I thought Easter was a music company. Were'd all this come from?" All of the information she was spewing was giving me a headache.
"Easter was originally an agricultural company, for one," Sanjo-san began. "But we've expanded to sub-branches ranging from entertainment to banking, to actual food."
"I'm sorry, but I'm really not cut out for the entertainment industry. I teach kids. I don't know anything to do with modeling."
Utau gave me a disappointing gaze. "I agree with Sanjo-san, Ikuto. You should really consider it at the very least. And I've always wanted to model with you too. This could be a great opportunity for you! Make a name for yourself! Not everyone gets this big of a chance."
"It's not something I've ever dreamed about. I mean I'm not really content with the job I have now-"
"Then it's settled!" Utau said with a smile.
"Hold on Utau." I turned back to Sanjo-san. "I'm not content with the job I have now but I don't despise it or anything. Well…recently I have but you know the situation." I gave Utau a pitiful cut-me-some-slack glance.
Sanjo-san looked over at Utau expectantly. Utau stole a glance in my direction. "Is it personal?"
Utau shook her head and looked away, not wanting to bring up the taboo topic which of course was also none of her business.
"Bad break-up?" Ms. PR Agent asked.
"Something like that." I was so over this topic and it hadn't even begun.
"Between you and Utau-chan?"
Utau looked over at me from across the table, her eyes meeting mine. Don't talk about it if you don't want to, they read.
I rolled my eyes. "If it so really interests you, oh Ms. PR-san, I asked someone to marry me and they said no and when I was awoken the next morning, I got news that she left town." I made sure to leave out the gory details like the fact that she was living in the same house as I and that she was in fact my stepsister. Oh yeah, and that she was underage and I was her teacher. No big deal or anything.
"Are you angry?" PR-san asked calming between a sip of wine.
"Why should I be angry?" I said scornfully. "I mean, it's not like she didn't say goodbye to me or anything. And also definitely not the fact that she left everyone else a farewell letter apart from me."
Utau let out a sigh of relief and I looked over questioningly at her. "What?"
"Well," She began. "Ever since Amu-chan left, you had been really depressed. I guess I'm relieved," She said with a sad smile. "That you're angry instead of miserable."
I sat back into my chair, sagged some as I let out a small breath. I felt relieved too. Like some great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Was this what I needed the entire time? To let out some steam? To talk about the situation? My brow furrowed, confusion taking place of my relief.
"This was intentional." It wasn't a question.
Sanjo-san shrugged knowingly. "Our company could really use someone like you. Gain all the sympathetic hearts of females everywhere. They'd take your side immediately. 'Oh Tsukiyomi-kun, how could anyone ever break up with him. How could anyone deny his love? He's so young and attractive!' That sort of thing."
I shook my head in disgust, more to myself than to what she was saying. "No," I murmured, disappointed in myself. "No…I still love Amu." I couldn't deny it. I couldn't turn the world against her. She left me and even though she hurt me bad and even though for the longest time after that I had thought she didn't love me, she did, didn't she? In the beginning she was probably just as miserable as I. I didn't know so much about now anymore, but she left me because she loved me. That was the only way, wasn't it?
Bile rose into my throat and again I felt angry. Two can play at this game, oh sweet Amu.
I looked up and stared Sanjo-san square in the eyes. "Revenge."
"No, Tsukiyomi-kun," Sanjo-san said with a genuine smile. "Regret."