#02 - Thoughts
Tachibana Yuichi (Tuesday 02/11)
I sat staring at my phone for a bit. Sayu’s message had been on the screen for the past few minutes as I was trying to find the right words to reply to it. Should I have even left like that? I shouldn’t have, right? I had only put more fuel to the fire, giving my sister yet another reason to slip into one of her rants just upon seeing my face. Aaaah… I sighed, lowering my head onto the table right in front of me as I let my phone slip from between my fingers. My sister would always be my sister and I felt stupid for even assuming she’d slightly changed during the time I hadn’t seen her. Of course she hadn’t…
“Yuichi! You’re early.”
I looked up from where I’d been lying, only to see a few crates of soda bottles wobble their way to the bar in the back. Grabbing my phone from the table I got up, following the crates closely.
“Don’t you have class?” I heard from behind them again.
“Can’t be bothered.”
“Hmm… Well, if you got time to waste, then why don’t you help me out for a bit?” Kazuki asked as he intended to lower the crates to the floor. Instead of it going as expected though, the handle slipped from his left hand, having the pile tilt to the side and nearly falling over. I could only somewhat grab a hold of the top one after half diving over the counter top, but a few bottles had already made their way out of another crate and hit the floor below with glass scattering across.
“Why aren’t you asking for help before doing things rather than crashing half your stock every single time?”
The guy shrugged at my question, grabbing the crate from my hands so I could get back to my two feet. My stomach instantly decided different and left me no option but to lower myself onto one of the bar seats. Jumping across a whole counter was probably something that only wouldn’t hurt when you were a 2D character trying to be a hero.
“You shouldn’t have done that…”
“Eh… I saved you a crate.”
“That you did”, he confirmed before grabbing out one of the bottles. He held it against the side of the counter so he could smack it on the top and the cap would go flying. The bottle itself hovering in front of my eyes not even seconds later.
No matter how long I’d known them for, I doubted there’d ever be a time when I’d not be amazed at how they managed getting around, doing whatever. I’d met him and his younger brother for the first time on our middle school’s spring festival when Kazuya, the youngest, had taken the stage with his drums, Kazuki supporting him on guitar. I’d been 13, barely half a year older than Kazuya himself, but I’d been intrigued and Satoshi — well — he hadn’t been able to keep himself from talking to him right after. It had been about six years since that day now.
Kazuki sighed as he stood looking down the puddle of lemonade at his feet. His long hair lay messy on top of his head as he had pulled off the beanie he’d been wearing, leaving his gauges and multiple piercings for the world to see. His shirt’s rolled up sleeves already revealed he’d had some work done on one of his tattoos again. What had been empty skin on his left wrist no less than a week ago, was now filled with some tiny fire-breathing creature I didn’t immediately recognize. I was sure that if I’d even try and describe it to the guys they’d know its name without having to think about it twice. At least Kazuya would.
“How’s Kazuya been anyway?” I wondered, the tattoo somehow reminding me he hadn’t been around much since he’d come down with a cold a few days ago.
“He still looked dead tired earlier this morning, though I’m not entirely sure whether to blame him being sick, or his nightly gaming sessions.”
Though I’d already known the brothers for so long, I’d never once seen their parents. They’d been gone long before I had even appeared. As far as I knew their father had left them not too long after the untimely death of their mother, and apart from an uncle who had his own family to take care of there hadn’t been anyone else. I’d learned that the whole thing had happened around the time Kazuki was about to graduate high school and head to university. The latter of which he even intended to skip because of what happened. I guess the need to take care of his little brother was more important to him than any degree could ever be.
“Well, if he’s back to gaming he’s ready to get kicked back to school, so…”
“What was that about kicking me…?”
The door of the apartment hidden above the bar fell into its lock as footsteps made their way down the metal staircase, and our 185cm tall drummer appeared at the bottom of them.
“Yo!” he said, lowering himself on the bar seat next to me a little after.
“You seem to be doing better.”
“I wasn’t gaming”, he replied out of nowhere, looking at his brother who could only smile as a reply.
“I didn’t say you were”, Kazuki added a little later.
“You assumed I was.”
“Well, it is you we’re talking about. You breathe games. Do you and Hikaru ever do anything else anyway?”
“Aside from gaming, giving snide remarks on movies, emptying the fridge, and maybe playing some basketball behind the venue when the weather’s to your liking, you mean?”
Kazuya sighed, giving up on replying anything at all. “I don’t have the energy for this.”
“Yet you’re up and walking around as if you do.”
“Fresh air, aniki, I needed some fresh air. Plus, after a few days of staying inside, my room’s not that interesting anymore.”
Kazuki had to smile again when his younger brother lowered his head onto the counter. Eyes barely able to keep themselves open.
“If you’re going to fall asleep, at least lay down one of the couches.”
The lanky 18-year-old got up lazily, put his hands into his hoodie’s pockets, and slowly started walking to the couch behind us. Seeing him from the back there was hardly any difference between him and his older brother. Apart from maybe their haircuts. Despite being eight years apart in age, they really looked alike.
“Let’s go, Yuichi.”
“Hm? Where are we going?” I wondered as Kazuki walked from behind the counter, passing me the second he pulled his beanie back over his hair.
“To the back to, preferably, not crash the rest of my stock.”
Ishimoto Sayuri (Tuesday 02/11)
“I had a short talk with Yuu before he left”, Satoshi suddenly said, slightly surprising me.
His hands were hidden in his pockets while the hood of his dark grey jacket was pulled over his head. It wasn’t the guy’s habit to wear jackets out even when it was winter, but I guess the current weather had been too much for even Satoshi himself to be able to bear.
“Don’t you think his annoyance has reached another high?”
He turned to look at me from behind the edge of his hood, seemingly wondering how I’d react to the question. But it wasn’t a surprise to me. I’d seen it get worse and worse with every single moment we’d spend together with Yuka to the point where I’d ended up feeling responsible for any of it happening at all.
“He should just stay with his classmates during breaks.”
“Ah, you can’t make him ignore the fact we’re at the same university as him. He won’t ever listen anyway, no matter what you’d say to try and convince him.”
“True, but if it would help him feel any better, I wouldn’t mind if he’d skip out on lunch with us.”
“That’s a lie”, Satoshi added immediately, taking me off guard.
I hastily replied that was not the case but it felt like he didn’t really believe me anyway. Rather than saying anything else he just ended up sighing instead. It made me smile a little. Who was I trying to fool? It sure as hell wouldn’t work on him. The guy knew better than anyone that if it wouldn’t be for him and Yuu showing up during lunch breaks, I probably wouldn’t be talking to anyone at all.
“I’m sorry. I take that back.”
I admitted defeat as I laid my hand on his left shoulder, his steps slowing down at the same time. “I’d be very sad if you and Yuu would suddenly disappear to your classes all the time. Even though I realize saying this is rather selfish.”
A satisfying smile appeared on his lips when he lowered his right hand on top of my beanie to pat it. “Well, it’s been like this for so long it would be weird to suddenly stop doing it anyway. Besides, I’d find it weird not to see you either. I’m sure the same counts for Yuu.”
Ever since I’d moved here and had started high school, Satoshi and Yuu had been there. While we’d never been classmates we’d spent most of our afternoons together in the music club room, and I guess it was one of the things that had stuck from high school. While we were all in our respective courses right now, we’d somehow gotten lucky to have been accepted at the same university, and the habit of hanging out at least for a bit every single day had just continued.
“So, most important question: are you in the mood for food?”
“I’m always in the mood for food.”
The guy nodded in approval, grabbing out his phone to check what I assumed to be an address for a place he wanted to head to.
“But are you sure your girlfriend won’t complain afterwards?”
“Ah…” He sighed, shaking his head right after. “Yuka’s out with her high school friends. They were going to go and search for new clothes or something. You know, with spring coming up and all.”
“The kind of shopping Kamiya Satoshi hasn’t ever been really good at.”
“It’s a pain. What took you a few minutes during high school takes her half an hour, if not more.”
“You just hate shopping for clothes.”
“That I do…” he replied with a chuckle, adding that he hated it with a passion. Satoshi pushed his phone back into his jeans’ pocket before a small shiver went through him and he reacted to it by rubbing his hands together to get warm again.
“And yet you manage to always look good in whatever you wear.”
“I just have a gift for ordering the right stuff.”
He immediately fell quiet afterwards. The smile which had been on his lips suddenly disappearing again, and his face hidden behind his hands as he was blowing hot air into them.
“Sato?” I couldn’t really figure out whether it was the end of the school year, the weather, his girlfriend, or simply his mood which had been messing with him for the past few days. Or maybe it was something different altogether and he just hadn’t mentioned it yet.
“Ah, anyway, food?” Maybe it wasn’t the right time to ask.
I had to smile as I took a closer look to the guy in front of me again. His cheeks a little red from the cold.
“Show me the way, Kami-sama.”
I surprised myself with a chuckle while skipping across the street as the lights had turned green, leaving a bewildered guy to just look at me for a few seconds before he burst into a laugh and headed across the street himself.