Chapter 4: Broken
We stepped in his apartment as the red-head insistently, better stubbornly, took my few things inside. It was only a weekend after all, there wasn't need to bring my whole closet. Also, I had some belongings there in case my mom would have to travel again.
Things had changed, I spent more time on my own and Otoya-kun didn't look after me as often. He seemed to be busier, plus, there wasn't a need to, I wasn't a child anymore and felt slightly better. Those images prevailed flickering however they were less frequent, I felt emotionally better too but continued receiving professional help. The clumsy red-head was also helping me a lot on my recovery, always making sure to pass by my house at least a couple of times per week. On one hand, it felt good not having that 'puppy' chasing me constantly, yet I missed him… Somehow. Possibly due to my habituation to his unbroken company during the previous years. We still were very close but I couldn't help it, I missed his presence whenever he wasn't around, nevertheless I moved on, not tugging overmuch onto that feeling.
To my surprise his house was clean and tidy, you could see books in the corridor and living room but not enough confusion for me to complain about. At least once he had decided to give that place a well-needed clean-up…
"I tidied it up before ya came.", he confessed while a sheepish laugh flew away into the air, "Ya'd be uncomfortable if the place was a mess."
"You should do it more often, it isn't proper for someone of your age to live in the midst of muss."
"Ya sound a housewife when ya say those things." He chuckled amusedly, unaware his comment had fairly embarrassed me nevertheless I swiftly shoved the discomfiture off, "It's not about that, Otoya-kun. You know you have to take care of the house, especially when you live alone."
"I know, I know. Ahem!", he cleared his throat and straightened his back, "'You can study better and waste less time if you maintain the house clean.'" His voice thrummed monotonously.
"And that's precisely what you should always do."
Otoya-kun beamed, acknowledgeable, "C'mon! Let's put your stuff on the visitor's room, shall we?"
"Visitors room…? Are you sure?"
"Du-uh! If I wasn't, I wouldn't say it." One of his rubies blinked.
From the very first time we walked in his house he asked me to not step in there, mentioning it brought some kind of unwanted or hurtful memories. I confess I was somewhat curious to learn what was inside. What kind of sore memories did he keep? We continued pacing through the small corridor, soon meeting the place where the rooms were located. My intrigue snowballed as each step was taken. What was on that room that had him maintaining a distance between it and me?
"Sorry that I never showed ya, this was my mom's room… It's kinda hard for me to show it to someone else. …But 'cha couldn't sleep on the couch anymore, right? Sorry 'bout it.", his apologetic hand rubbed his head, "But it's fine, her stuff aren't there anymore."
That had puzzled me even more, he had always said his mom was away. And the way he did led me to suppose she was in another prefecture or country. However, many doubts floated in my musing… Did she leave him on his own? Why didn't she take him with her? He never seemed to be the kind of person who could indulge himself whenever he wanted… So, the hypothesis of his mother renting, buying a house or living abroad was out of question. Wait. He told me that room was a source of pain for him…
"Your mom, you told me she was away… What happened?"
"Yeah, she….", he touched the door. "I… I told ya she was far away, I didn't lie 'bout it… but she's…she's in… 'another world'.", his voice broke a little, "and not here."
My eyes widened. That. Why didn't he tell me before? I looked down, uncomfortable, quickly picking something to say.
"…Sorry. I should have figured.", "No prob, ya didn't know 'bout it.", he reassured, "It's somethin' I usually don't share with others. I hate it when someone pities me for that." The red-head tried sounding casual.
"When did she…?"
"I was ten."
"How did you manage to survive?"
He pushed the handle, his features gradually changed until his lips sketched a straight, unreadable line. Rays of light found their way out. "Survive… like… all these years?" He led the way, crisping one of his hands. My eyes, by the same height as his, found their way into those disconcerted rubies, asking silently if he really was sure of what he was doing. His pain was doubtlessly soaking him, we shouldn't be there If it was something acrid to him.
"It's alright. It isn't the first time I come here, yanno?", he poked my nose, "It' just that I rarely talk 'bout this out loud or show the room.", red eyes swiftly looked around and then met a window, meters ahead, "Isn't it pretty? She loved the view." His hands opened it, staring into the outer site.
Who else walked in here? I thought for an instant while following him.
The sea traced a thin line away from our reach meanwhile loud people tried attracting individuals passing by their stores. Small and not-so-small apartments, the main element, mixed in a shy texture of white walls, tracing the street's ways. That place was also well-known as the preferred location for small businesses, so, wrapped in grave colours, stood respectful edifices imposing respect to the ambiance around.
"Tokiya, there, look there." The guitarist's hand aimed to a place I didn't see before, he smiled, "She loved that park, we spent great moments there."
On my right was the place he drawn my attention to, a rather small park full of children. Though it was an average park someone would expect from a modest city, the view from where we stood was pleasant to my senses. I adored green places so it was easy for me to appreciate it from the very instant. Maybe we could go there the next day and appreciate the sunny weather.
I turned my face, observing the division behind me discretely. No one would say it was a woman's room, it was practically empty, having scarce furniture. Only the bed, two nightstands, a wardrobe and a dresser remained, bare and naked. He said he had removed all of her belongings so I guessed, aside clothing. any perfumes of photos, lamps or make up were also taken away. Apparently he cleaned it too before my arrival, the furniture didn't have any dust and the bed was made, releasing lavender perfume into the air. I chuckled to myself. Whenever I was supposed to spend the weekend at his place, I would always end up surprised, which proved how eager he was in receiving me.
"What 'cha laughin' bout?"
"Nothing important. Let's unpack?"
"Yeah." He shifted near the double bed and posed my items onto it. "What 'cha asked before. My mom… when she 'walked away' she left me money. I also started receiving a fee from time to time but I dunno who sends it. I asked the bank many times who's the person but they never told me, they say whoever it is, doesn't wanna be known …Though I guess it might be from a distant relative. Anyway, with that money I managed to buy food and clothing on the first times."
"So you raised yourself?"
"I guess ya can say so.", he sat on the bed, looking up to me, ruffling my hair as he continued, "Years later I met Sato-san and he hired me as his part-time assistant. Of course I had other jobs before, all part-time so I was able to go to school. And… here I am now, twenty and attending the medicine university!"
"Isn't that complicated to manage? You're still working with Sato-san after all."
"Sometimes, yeah. When coursework gets piled up or when we have tests. It's like one week ya got nothin' to do and the next 's a total chaos."
"Hum.", I nodded, "And your dad? You never told me about him."
"He's somewhere around Japan.", the guitarist chuckled rather unhappily, "but I don't really know, I never met him."
"It is almost the same for me.", I sat on the bed after his hand pat a place next to him, "I knew him but he left when I was five. He had too many quarrels with my mom about me and…my brother."
"Ya have a brother?!" His shocked rubies blinked.
"Hm, We're identical twins but I never saw him again since my father left and took him away."
"Must be hard." His assuring hand touched my back, rubbing it softly, trying to ease my discomfort.
I didn't quite know why I allowed myself to confess it to him but, since he told me about his childhood, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't share something as well. Especially when I was the one who started asking troubling questions. Why did I want to know more about him in the first place? We were friends…
…Yet, I didn't care that much to know all about the few friends I had, neither had such a nosy instinct when it came to others. Also, because of what happened three years ago, I tended to enclose myself, the normal thing would be me not wanting to take a step closer towards someone else.
But I wanted, I craved to take one more step, a step further to that one person who I considered my best friend. Even when around my buddies, I remained quiet, only responding when someone directed their word specifically to me. I was aloof to almost everyone but him. When it came to that silly guitarist, I had a hankered need to be nigher.
"But it must be harder to be in our shoes, you must miss them badly."
"Yeah, It's kinda hard. I never had a male reference, whenever I needed advice, help, a hug or even bein' scolded", he laughed, "it was always my mom."
"My dad was a nameless coward… Sometimes I really hate him." I breathed as an angry smile creped its way to my lips.
"Don't say that!" He was…scolding me…? "Never, ever say that, Tokiya!" His face furrowed in an unusual reprimanding tone.
"I can't sand what he did to us. I can't stand he took my brother away from me. I can't stand how he forced my mom into this. Before being famous, she worked night and day because of me, so she could sustain us. I was the only one who was by her side whenever she had a breakdown from exhaustion. I was alone supporting her when he should have been there too.", his hand found its way onto my head anew. I resolved to stop there and tug to my pride, I wouldn't tell him how much I needed my father to pat my back, how I felt lonely at times like those. I was who supported my mom but who was there to support me? No one.
Maybe that was what caused me be to be so serious towards certain issues, why my friends always said I behaved like an adult. I had built, with all the happenings until then, a cold shield against others in order to protect myself. Life made me who I was and I was proud of it. I had learned to be stronger and fence for myself.
"I know ya must be very angry at your dad but don't say ya hate him. Ever again." How could he smile so gently? His never met his father, he should be even more upset than me.
"I don't understand, you are in the same situation as me, worse even. How can't you feel hatred for your father?"
"I'm sure…", he took a moment to arrange his ideas, "Our parents are always our parents. Even if they suck at it.", he dropped a giggle, "no one 'll be able to replace them."
Otoya laughed again when he realised we both had tears in our eyes. Standing up, we trod to the bathroom to clean our faces decently.
A fallen picture captured my eyes on our way there, I never seen it before. Stepping closer I understood it was Otoya-kun with someone else I didn't know. I stared at it meanwhile a weird feeling engulfed me. The person was pulling his waist, like couples usually do and both looked quite happy. Contrarily to what one might suspect, I wasn't affected by the fact of the individual was a guy but by the way he held Otoya-kun.
Why did I feel uncomfortable seeing his arm around him? Maybe his strange aura… the guy looked creepy, especially those purple eyes… Taking a closer look, I was able to tell that the guy's smile sounded more like an affected than a happy one. Eerie…
I only snapped out when he picked it up, reacting awkwardly, as if he was afraid, "Ah…this must've fallen from the shelf…" Seeing my questioning features, he timidly added, "…th-this is my boyfriend, Otori Eiichi."
"…Th-this is my boyfriend."
And, for a moment, I couldn't think clearly.
Those words caused a pain I didn't cognise before.
It wasn't physical but it still hurt.
A bitter taste eroded my heart, creating a hiatus. My mind nibbled me, trying to understand the motives for such a disheartening feeling however I pushed it away. I didn't want those weird emotions to trespass, not in front of him.
"Why… didn't you tell me before?"
"'Cause I didn't know how you'd react. I mean…If ya'd accept me as someone who likes…guys…"
I determinedly stared straight into his uneasy rubies, "You are who you are. I won't change my behaviour over something so meaningless."
"Of course." My lips managed to send him a reassuring smile, his aura gleamed.
"Aw, you're such a good friend!" He lunged to me and embraced my body, causing me to loose balance and tumble backwards.
While he hovered above me, his confused head finding its path to clarity, I allowed myself to scan his features up close. Never my face had been that close to his, only few inches separated our noses. My heart pounded, he had me hypnotised, staring at his striking beauty. Those precious red rubies and hair… they glistened under the daylight. Shades of orange formed at the tips of some of his locks, reminding me of the sunset. His delicate nose and lips, mildly sculpted as if a rare piece of art. His smooth and bronzed skin… only if I could reach it, caress his cheeks and sense how they felt like.
"Haha! Sorry 'bout the hug there!" He quickly leaped off me and stretched a helpful hand, asking me if I was hurt. As soon as I said no, Otoya-kun sent me a both tender and relieved smile. He wouldn't change.
"As long as you don't do it too often…" I walked into the bathroom.
"Yay!", he clung to me anew, "I love you so much!"
"Y-what did you say?!" My cheeks coloured.
My words seemed to throw realisation at him, the guitarist too begun blushing, unwrapping his arms in a flash, jerking his hands in frantic gestures. "N-not that kind of love! I mean you're my best-friend so it's normal that I like ya!"
"…" I looked away.
"'s there somethin' wrong?" Red orbs peeked my face.
"No, it's nothing."
"Hey! Got an idea! What 'bout givin' each other nicknames?"
I wasn't expecting that.
"I'll call ya Toki and ya can call me Otoyan…or…Oto-kun!"
"Whyyy?" He childishly whined, puckering his lips.
"It doesn't make sense." I crossed my arms, shifting away from the division. There wasn't need to clean up my face, the droplets had gone dry long ago.
"Forget it." I continued refusing, he wasn't going to call me that. Not in a million years.
"Aw, c'mon!" The stubborn guy followed me, puffing his tanned cheeks.
He would never see me with different eyes…
…but those who look at a child….
We were different.
He was older.
At that time, I didn't understand it, I didn't know what it was. Why I begun analysing his every move and laugh, the silly expressions when he smiled, even the way he walked drawn my eyes to him. The pain and happiness entangled. The ups and downs. I should have known better, I should. At that time I didn't realise it but I had fallen in a hopeless hole of which I couldn't escape. My heart had chosen that person to send his arrhythmic beats to, not knowing where was getting itself into.
A/N: Just letting you know that an idea for a new fic popped out of the blue and well… I'll have to work on it. :D It might be one shot (a long one), I'll still be updating the other stories but It'll take me more time so, don't be surprised if the stories are kinda 'delayed'. For those who are curious about the story, think about Tokiya as a vampire, Otoya, in this case Otomi, as a rich lady who lives in London back in the XIX century. Sounds good? ;) Warning: no vegetarian vampires around if you know what I mean. :p
Rate and review if you like. :)