Author's Note: I don't write much terrorist or egoist stuff. Maybe i should start.
I drove around the park in meaningless circles. The sun was setting, a blood red. The heat of summer was suffocating, but I didn't roll up the windows. I never did. The wind made me feel alive, like I wasn't just some rich author who came up with brilliant ideas all day. That's the only way people ever treated me. I shielded my eyes from the glare of the sun. It was brightest when it was going to fall. Like everyday there was something new about the sunset, and nothing new about me. A million missed calls from Aikawa, another stop for take out, sitting at my computer screen and letting the loneliness flow onto the once blank screen. This would be how my night would go. It was how my night went every night, ever since I tried to tell Takahiro. It's strange how things can be so great one minute until you blurt out three little words that have such an impact. I love you. It was enough to scare him away. I hadn't got a call since, only for him to tell me he was getting married, rubbing salt in a festering wound.
There he was again. Takahiro's brother. He ran steadily around the track. I could hear his feet pounding the pavement over and over. This was also another constant thing about my day. I pulled over the side of the road like I always did. I liked to watch him run everyday. There was something graceful about his running. Misaki wasn't on the track team. He didn't run marathons. Everyday here he was, one of the few commitments he must have in his young life. He'd had a birthday not too long ago. He stopped with his hands on his knees, chest heaving. He looked up and his eyes looked with mine. Slowly he walked over to the car. "Usagi-san...right?" I nodded.
"How have you been?" He shrugged.
"I could be better, but I guess you know the feeling." He put his hands on his waist. He probably had a cramp. "I think...it's really shitty. How Nii-chan's acting."
"I guess it was to be expected." I looked at the sun vanishing.
"That doesn't mean it's right. And you've always been there for Nii-chan." Misaki looked at his phone. "Do you want to get something to eat?"
And just like that my night was different. I was sitting in a dim restaurant with the brother of the man I couldn't manage to forget. He flipped through the menu like he'd seen every food in the world before. I ordered a glass of wine, he order a hamburger. "You're not hungry?" I shook my head. "I remember you being much more talkative."
"I don't talk to anyone these days. Sorry." He nodded.
"I don't really talk to anyone ever." It was the first time I smiled in awhile. "I read your book." Ah, the one that seemed ominously related to my current situation. "You should write about happier things."
"I don't have much inspiration for things like that." Misaki sighed.
"I don't have any stories I could tell to help." We sat in silence while he ate and I sipped at my wine. "I don't think my life is much better than yours. Even if you didn't say anything to Nii-chan he would probably have forgotten you by now. I love Manami and Mahiro to death, but they're his main concern now."
I'd dropped Misaki off and went back to my empty condo. I made my way to the closet and opened up a box. Dust had gotten inside already. All those old fantasies of mine lay trapped in this box until that day. I could never love another man. I closed my eyes and tried to shut out his voice. I walked out and up to my office quickly. I began typing up a new story furiously. And when the sun started to rise I barely noticed.
I dug around in Nii-chan's closet as long as I could manage. I kept my ear free so I could hear if anyone was coming. Finally I found his number. It was scrawled down in my bad handwriting. Nii-chan had taken it from me when he said I wouldn't be asking for advice for school anymore from Usagi. I stuffed it in my front pocket and walked across the hall to my room. He'd been so sad. He'd been so lonely and pathetic, nothing like the man I had been getting to know before. It was all my brother's fault. The worst part was, I couldn't blame him. What would I do if my best friend was in love with me? I didn't have a best friend, but if he fell in love with me...I'd have a different reaction. Most likely...I'd fall for him too.
I pushed that thought out of my mind and sat on the bed with the phone in my hand. Nii-chan's reaction toward Usagi showed how his reaction would be towards me. I liked guys. I could admit, only to myself. Now I was scared that I wouldn't be accepted. For a long time I wanted to talk to someone. I would try to look for his number in the phone book. Whenever I got near Usami I would slam it shut. I was a coward. I didn't have the courage to do what I wanted to do. Why? I was ashamed of myself. I didn't feel like a real man. I'd never be able to live the normal life Takahiro was leading. Lately, it was becoming okay with me because I wasn't Takahiro and I didn't want to be.
It was a little late, but he would answer. I dialed his number and waited for it to ring. "Hello?" He was obviously half asleep.
"It's Misaki." I heard some movement.
"Is there something wrong?" The tiredness had dissolved from his voice. "I just needed to talk to someone and...I know I can't talk to Nii-chan."
"Is it bad?"
"It might be to him, but you would understand." He was quiet. "I'm...I..." Suddenly I couldn't say anything. I'd never told anyone.
"What is it?" I took a deep breath.
"I'm more like you than you know. It's just that I've never said it before. I didn't know it would be so hard." I could hear him lighting a cigarette. "I'm gay." It was silent for a moment.
"Let's go out drinking." I looked at the clock. It was almost midnight.
"I can't drink yet. Besides it's late." He sighed.
"You had enough courage to call and talk to me yet you can't have one beer. You're 18. Most likely you don't have a curfew. Be ready in ten minutes." The line went dead. I found myself getting up and looking around in my closet for something decent to wear, partly because I didn't want to be home and partly because I wanted to talk to Usagi.
When I walked out of my room Manami and Nii-chan were playing checkers. Sometimes they would both try and get the same day off so they could spend more time together. Manami worked in a clothing store for about a month now. Mahiro was a complete months old now. Nii-chan had taken the night shift so he could watch Mahiro most of the day and Manami would watch him at night. They both looked up as I walked out of my room. "Where are you going Misaki?"
"I'm heading out with a friend." I hadn't had a real friend for a long time. Nii-chan looked skeptical. "I met him when I was out running. He likes to drive around and look at the sunset. He does everyday. I noticed him a lot of times before, but we just started talking today."
"Should you go out with someone you just met?" Manami was always doing that. Sometimes I wish I only told a quarter of the truth instead of half. She might not have something to act all motherly about.
"It's fine Manami. I'm 18 years old. Practically an adult. I can tell if he's safe or not." I walked out and waited on the porch. Usagi wasn't driving his usual flashy red sports car. This one seemed just as expensive and nice but it was as dark as the night. Even the windows were tinted.
"Hurry up." I ran around to the passenger side and slid in. He pulled away quickly. Manami and Nii-chan probably heard and now decided I was being kidnaped. "I didn't want Takahiro to notice my car."
Once inside the bar Misaki was more talkative than in the car. We rode there in awkward silence. Neither of us knew how to think of our situation. I loved his brother who I desperately wished was gay, but he got married. All Misaki wanted was a normal life, wife, kids, and white little house to match it all but he was gay. The irony could kill. Here we were anyway making the best of our shitty situation. Misaki needed guidance, I needed someone to talk to. Together we might just actually become friends, but you never know.
We were in a back room somewhere. I always got tired of dealing with people especially when they recognized me, but I didn't like going anywhere high class either. I hadn't gone anywhere with Isaka in almost a year. He didn't force me after I told him what happened. Aikawa bothered me less and less, and now barely at all. People didn't seem to understand that I didn't need to be alone anymore. It was the last thing I need actually, but I couldn't say that. I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone that I needed them. I didn't know if it was because of pride, or because I was now terrified of rejection. Maybe it was a bit of both. Misaki sipped on a beer quietly.
"So how did you first know?" Misaki looked at me expectantly.
"It was mostly because of your brother. I never really had a crush on anyone before him. Not seriously anyway. The whole thing was in my head though. Eventually I was dumb enough to think it would all work out. I guess not.
"It wasn't any one person that I liked or anything. I guess I just always knew. I tried to act normal and like girls at one point, but something in me felt like it was wrong. I just stopped trying after awhile. I wasn't any of their types anyway, so I guess I just got lucky that no girl ever had a crush on me." Misaki drunk quickly.
"I'm sure that's not true. People can't always admit when they like someone. You see how long I waited? It's not easy to tell." Misaki opened another can.
"I know you're right. I've never really liked anyone yet. I don't think I've really been extremely attracted to anyone either. Maybe there's something wrong with me." Misaki sighed.
"I don't think it's you. It's everyone else. You can see people for what they are even if you aren't conscious of it. You always want to believe people are nice, but it doesn't work out that way." Like Takahiro. "You're lucky. You won't build someone into something they aren't. You won't get disappointed or hurt."
"You aren't the only one who was hurt by Nii-chan Usagi-san, he's been hurting me too. When I back away and look at the big picture...it seems like I'm not in it. It always feels like I'm peering into a window while they have a big family dinner with lots of little kids and Manami's whole family. I feel like something just added on because I have to be there...because Nii-chan wouldn't feel right if he outwardly just shoved me away. I don't know if it's really the case, and maybe I'm just imagining things...but that's how I really feel about the whole situation. He's already moved on, but sometimes I still feel like I'm eight years old." He looked down at his hands. He'd never gotten over their parents death. I wouldn't say Takahiro had, but he just was lucky enough to be able to put it behind him. When it happened, he was older and smarter. Misaki was a child and didn't get much time to really get to know his parents. He didn't even understand what death was. Takahiro was trying too hard though. He was trying so hard to forget that he was forgetting the important things too. Thinking about it I always knew there might be a time in Misaki's life where Takahiro started to blame him for things he didn't achieve because he was taking care of him instead. It wasn't Misaki's choice though. He would never see him that way, and even if I tried even I wouldn't be able to convince him.
"I'm sorry to hear that." Misaki looked out the window.
"But you're better off Usagi. Now that you told him everything you don't have this deep dark secret to hold inside. I'm too afraid to tell Nii-chan anything now. He always reacts different. I'm scared that he might be the same way he was towards you to me." There was a difference between us.
"Well, you're not in love with him so it should be fine." Misaki shook his head. His cheeks were pink. He was pretty much drunk.
"He'd just try and convince me I was straight because I've never dated anyone. I've never even kissed anyone. He would use that against. If I lied to him and told him I had a boyfriend or something like that...he'd just use that as a reason to be mad a me. He doesn't want to admit that he might have some type of prejudice. That's our Nii-chan though." He was mad. He looked cute. It always amazed me how Misaki and Takahiro looked nothing alike.
"Misaki you're drunk." He nodded. "I'll take you to my place. Call your brother and try to sound normal please. We don't need him to come looking for you."
Baby I'm sorry, even when I'm with you, I'm Lonely
I must be lacking when it comes to love, please forgive this horrible person I am
I'm sorry, this is your and my story
I must not be worthy of this thing called love, even though I'm by your side