Poor little rich boys finds his zest for life through an unlikely friend.
Summary: Can you have everything and still feel empty? Poor little rich boy, Takki thinks so.
Is it a sin? Is it a sin to have everything and still feel empty?
On an early Monday morning, high-schooler Takki wakes up from his king-sized bed to a view overlooking lush greenery. It's yet another perfect day in a perfect life. Although many of his classmates might have preferred to stay in bed because of the double jeopardy awaiting them: Mathematics and English tests, Takki is unaffected, they're a breeze to him. In fact, with his brains, bucks and brawn, school's a breeze to him. His classmates envy him, his kouhais respect him, his teachers adore him, even the obasans in the cafeteria spoil him with family-sized servings. It's a blessed life.
Glancing from his diamond-embellished Chanel timepiece to the passing crowd outside his chauffer-driven Bentley, Takki wonders what it's like to be them. What's it like to run out of breath catching a bus? What's it like to be disappointed missing that bus? Takki doesn't know what it's like to want something, he had never lacked any. He doesn't know what it's like to be disappointed, he had never been defeated. He doesn't even know what it's like to work hard for something, he had never needed to.
Even falling in love is a walk in the park for him. He was eight years old then. Strolling in a park with his Chauffer cum Caretaker Matchy-san, Takki chanced upon a paper aeroplane. Something was written on its wings, 'I love you. Will you love me too?'
Curious, Takki looked around and saw a younger boy nearby, carefully folding a paper plane. Bathed in dancing golden sunbeams seeping through rustling leaves, the little lover boy looked like a little glowing angel. And when that angel looked up at him and smiled, Takki was hooked, for life.
For almost every day following that, they spent it together. Pi, his angel, not only lives in the same exclusive Roppongi neighbourhood, but also goes to the same elite high school. It's a match made in heaven. They think so and so do their schoolmates. No one has yet to cringe when they see the cute couple holding hands everywhere they go.
'Just break up already. You're making me sick.'
Takki and his little tenshi (angel) may be their school's favourite sweethearts, but school jock and serial dater Jin disagrees. To him, the two boys aren't even a real couple, unlike him and his latest Miss-What's-Your-Name-Again.
'Yeah, you guys are so sickeningly sweet you make my tooth ache,' Ryo chipped in. But then Toxic Ryo seldom has anything good to say.
Student President Pi had hoped that if there be any detractors, they would at least not be his nearest and dearest fellow student councillors. They're already quite useless as council members, they could at least be useful as friends. The school cohort had apparently voted their council members based on looks and not merit. The Dream Team - they're called. But Pi calls them, The Dread Team. Far from dynamic Can-doers, they're either Mr Can't-Do, Won't Do or Too-distracted-to-do. Jin can melt hearts and knees but can't do much else. Ryo will make girls swoon and birds croon but won't do much else. Even his boyfriend, Takki is too distracted petting and stroking him to be much else. But at least in times of crisis, Treasurer Takki can always be counted on to top up the money when funds are low, mismanaged, misplaced or simply missing.
Nevertheless, all is not lost. Rookie Kame-kun, a new transfer student, has recently joined the team as secretary. Like a welcomed breath of fresh air, Pi feels hope stirring with this new change. Unbeknownst to him, Kame is only the first wave of many changes to come.
Part 2/6: The Prince and the Punk
Summary: Takki steps out of his comfort zone to find pain and pleasure waiting. But will the pleasure be worth the pain.
It's yet another bright and blissful day in the picture perfect life of high-schooler Takki, well, almost. His boyfriend, Pi is worried.
'What's that cut above your eye?!' The younger boy interrogates.
'It's nothing,' the older one assures.
'Nothing?! It looks like your eye is about to fall out of its socket!'
'Good riddance. His eyes aren't that pretty anyway,' Jin remarks without looking up from his text messaging. There are simply more girls than he can type.
'I think he actually looks better like this,' Ryo adds, with his usual effortless sarcasm.
Takki is thankful. Not for the unkind comments, of course; but for the distraction. Torn between whether to beat the living daylights out of Jin or to reduce Ryo to unrecognisable pulp, Pi is too preoccupied to question Takki further. And Takki doesn't want to talk too much about last night either; even though he was almost a hero.
'Pay up?! You want us to pay up?! You were enjoying it so much; I think we should charge you instead.' The hoarse voice belonged to a burly man seemingly in his late 40s. Takki couldn't tell from the dim street lights in the dark alley. But it was plain to see that someone was being attacked.
'Yeah, you were moaning like a slut, you little piece of shit.' Another shadowy man, even bigger than before, edged him on.
Takki froze on the spot. It was a sight he had never witnessed before. In his perfect life, nobody ever got so much as mistreated or manhandled. But in front of him, there was a teenager like him being beaten up.
'Stop! Stop this madness now!' Takki shouted weakly. 'I've called the police. They'll be here any minute.'
The police was an effective threat. But not enough. Takki received a parting blow before the two older men fled the scene. It was yet another new experience for him - that stinging pain and momentary blindness.
'Mind your own business, you shithead!'
Takki was stunned. Nobody had ever called him that before. He's heard ouji (prince) and tono (lord) but never shithead.
'They might have paid up after they've beaten their fill. But now they're gone!'
Takki thought he had been hurled into another universe. How could money be the first thing on the mind of someone so bruised and battered?
'All thanks to you, now I'm sleeping the streets tonight.'
After an awkward exchange of harsh words and deer-in-the-headlight looks, Tsubasa found himself carrying grocery bags full of senbei and nattou as he somewhat sheepishly followed the younger boy home.
Overcome with a sudden awe, Tsubasa wondered if the inside of all mansions looked bigger than they already did on the outside. He had never been in one before, until now. Even his guest room looked the size of a small apartment.
He didn't know how much it would cost to stay in a place like this. But he braced himself. Although the attacks and Takki's supposed first aid skills left him resembling a poorly wrapped mummy, his most dependable asset - chin chin ii, was still intact and ready for any challenge.
Takki almost choked on his midnight snack of sweet senbei dipped in nattou sauce.
'What are you doing?!' He shrieked at the intruder in his bed, who had in a grand gesture, flung the covers aside and was now in the process of peeling off his Mickey Mouse briefs.
'Your... payment,' Tsubasa answered as he masterfully coated Junior Takki with saliva, while simultaneously squeezing and massaging its neighbouring balls.
Before Takki could defend his chastity, his keitai rang. He rushed to turn it off but seeing that his navigation and psychomotor skills had gone south, he ended up turning on the speaker phone instead.
'Takki-kun, are you all right? You sound sick.'
'I... ngh.... I'm just a little... ngh... under...'
'Under...the WEATHER!' Takki grunted. 'But no... BIGgie... I'm fine!'
'That's good. I'm sorry to disturb. But can't reach President Pi so I thought I'll just let you know that I don't think I can make it for the council meeting tomorrow.'
'Good... GOOD! Have FUCK, I mean, fun!'
On the pretence of turning off the phone, Tsubasa took it from Takki's limp hands and checked out the earlier contact.
Kame-chan! He was right. That voice, it's unmistakable. What was his childhood buddy doing in Tokyo?
It's really a small world after all....
Part 3/6: Of Different Worlds
Summary: Kame goes all out for his dream, but is it an impossible dream?
'Are you sure you wanna play baseball and not dance ballet or something?' Tsubasa asks again.
'Dance ballet? Please!?' Kame rolls his eyes in exasperation. 'I've not changed that much!'
'Please!? You look like you've undergone surgery to join a boyband.'
'Surgery, my ass! I'm a natural born ikemen,' Kame argues. 'I just needed a little help from a pair of tweezers, a carton of hair dye and some Richard Simmons workout videos.'
Tsubasa doesn't want to waste time arguing, at least not with someone who works out to Richard Simmons’ videos. So the rest of the day passed pleasantly enough, with the two old friends playing ball. Ever since Tsubasa had found out about Kame from Takki, he wanted so badly to catch up with his old friend. They were neighbours back in Shonan. From as far back as Tsubasa can remember, his father has been a drunk and his mother had ran away. He doesn't know which came first and he never dared to ask. When Kame's mother saw her drunkard neighbour showing off his chain smoking, drinking and swearing six-year-old Little Tsubasa, she immediately offered to babysit him. Although her family was hard-pressed too, they treated him like their second son. In return, Tsubasa had tried to be good, tried to study hard, tried to prove that he was stronger than the misfortunes that followed him. But in the end, he left Shonan in shame and guilt. His father's debtors had splashed kerosene on Kame family's walls as a threat.
Being alone in Tokyo was a nerve wrecking experience for the then 16 year-old Tsubasa. But he survived. He made friends - yakuzas, drug runners, money couriers, pimps and gigolos. Strangely, the more unsavoury they are, the more he feels he could trust them. Like him, they know what pain is.
In his reverie, it suddenly occurs to Tsubasa that he has not contacted them in a while. Due to the recent police raids and crackdown, many of them had disappeared somewhere to lie low. His home or more accurately his lover's lair has also been sealed off pending criminal investigation.
'Do you know what pain is?' Tsubasa finds himself unconsciously asking.
Kame thought for a while and answers, 'I don't know. But maybe I'll find out soon.'
'How's that?' His curiosity is piqued.
'I came here for a dream. Who knows if it'll turn into a nightmare?'
Kame's dream began on a balmy day along one of Shonan’s finest beaches. Some city boys had dropped by for a weekend surf. Kame could instantly tell they were from the city. Loud, check. Obnoxious, check. Behaved like they owned the place, check. It would have been easy to write them off as typical city snobs, if not for one of them, a brown-haired boy with inviting curls. From a distance, he appeared arrogant and aloof, but standing in front of Kame, he suddenly smiled. It was the kind that came from the heart and lit up the face. Fleeting though the moment was, till now, not a day goes by without Kame thinking of that smile, and that curly, brown-haired boy.
'He's not that angelic,' Tsubasa warns. 'I've met him. More like the devil he is.'
Kame nods knowingly. 'I know. We're in the same committee in school.'
'I once heard him saying to Takki, "What you doing mixing up with that kind of people." Like what kind of people am I? Like it's a crime to be poor and homeless!' Tsubasa was clearly offended, even now. Insults like that run deep.
'I'm sorry. But I believe that underneath it all, he's really a sweet and gentle soul.'
At this point, Tsubasa guffaws. 'You sound like an apologetic girlfriend, hopelessly in love.'
Kame grins and scratches the back of his head in embarrassment. Seeing that familiar gesture, Tsubasa couldn't help but reach over to ruffle the younger boy's soft brown mane. It feels like home again.
Feeling all protective, Tsubasa quickly adds, 'But he's all wrong for you. You're like the turtle swimming in the sea and he's the eagle flying in the sky. It's impossible.'
Sighing softly, Kame admits, 'I know, I know that too.'
But Kame couldn't help hoping. If last night is any indication, there might just be hope.
'Induction ceremony? I thought you called me here because you're drunk. And I'm here to help you home,' Kame clarified.
Ignoring him, Jin unbuckled his jeans, 'I'm sure you're wondering why I don't recognise you as a member of the council.'
Kame stopped in mid-breath. Jin had been reading his mind. He wasn't such an airhead after all.
'You're always looking at me with that expectant look, like you're hoping something from me.' By now Jin had pulled Kame close enough for the latter to be slightly put off but at the same time drawn to the manly whiff of alcohol and nicotine. 'It's... almost pathetic,' Jin spit into Kame's face.
Kame had wanted to turn away but was unceremoniously shoved to his knees.
'Suck me dry.'
'Don't be a wussy pussy now. Nothing wrong with a bit of male bonding,' Jin encouraged as he pumped his length. 'I had to suck Ryo,' he lied. 'But it was so good I even offered to do Pi. But then Takki went into a hissing fit. And when I wanted to do Takki, Pi almost gorged my eyes out.'
Naive Kame didn't suspect a thing. Besides, other than sexually ubiquitous Ryo, it's true that the student council is predominantly gay. Who's to say that outdoor dick sucking isn't really a time-honoured induction tradition?
Although it was Kame's first time, Jin had enjoyed himself enough to extend it to home base, allowing for a more prolonged, penetrative and pronounced induction.
Determined to spend a full day out with his old chum, Kame suggests that they go shopping next. Tsubasa, who considers himself half a fashionista of sorts, is surprised that Kame knows Shibuya and Harajuku better than him.
'What's all this shopping for?' The impressed shopper asks innocently.
'I've got appearances to keep up.' Sheepishly, Kame explains, 'For some reason, my classmates think I'm rich. But nobody knows that I secretly hold three jobs.'
'Three jobs and a full-time student?!' Tsubasa's flabbergasted. 'Why you trying so hard? Trying so hard to be a fake somebody?'
'Because nobody looks at a real nobody?' Kame replies with a twisted smile.
Tsubasa's heart winces. He wished he could protect Kame, protect his innocence. But bitter reality has already gotten there first.
Kame could tell that Tsubasa is wounded, but he continues to smile bravely. His sacrifices have so far been worth it, until...
Of all the lifts Jin and his latest squeeze chose to get into, they got into the same one as Kame and Tsubasa.
'Jin Jin, are these your friends?' The pretty, ditzy girl coos as she clings onto his arm.
'No, just acquaintances.'
It's a statement that silences all others. And the silence that follows is so quiet that Kame could hear a pin drop and his heart break.
Part 4/6: In the Summer Heat
Summary: Wieners on bbq are not the only things sizzling in the summer heat.
‘You’re either in or you’re out. Right here, right now.’
Jin almost laughs out loud.
‘Just answer the question.’ Pi instructs sagely.
He has had it with this rogue member. If Jin’s not incompetent, he’s invisible. But somehow, for some unknown and baffling reason, the good-for-nothing’s absence is felt acutely within the council. Pi could feel morale sink whenever the useless member is not around. Even Takki, who is usually in Pi-focused-tunnel-vision mode, has recently remarked, ‘Ne, Pi Pi, I don’t know what, but are we missing something?’
It has even deteriorated to the extent of the resignation of their latest member, Kame-kun.
‘He thinks he has something to do with your disappearance. He thinks you hate him,’ Pi shares. ‘I, of course, told him that it’s completely absurd because you don’t care enough for anyone to hate them.’
Jin narrows his eyes and throws Pi a death stare. But he appreciates the brutal honesty. It’s the mark of true friendship. For the sake of this friendship, and the prestigious, babe-magnet title of student councilor, Jin decides that he’ll stay in the committee after all.
It’s a decision he quickly regrets.
Jin is alien to sharing and responsibility. So it is double whammy when he finds out that his summer holiday villa is to be overrun by fellow student councilors on a summer vacation trip that he is supposed to organize.
But all is not lost. To ease his load and to ensure that it doesn’t end up a total disaster, Pi has assigned Kame to help him out.
‘Your wiener looks good,’ Kame says as he eyes the sausages they’re barbecuing.
‘This is nothing, my other one is bigger and better,’ Tsubasa jests.
‘Eww…’ Kame giggles.
Takki, who has just gotten out of the water for a bite, looks on uncomfortably and asks ‘I hope I’m not interrupting anything.’
‘No, you’re more than welcome to join us,’ Tsubasa smirks.
But sensing Takki's discomfort, Tsubasa suggests, ‘Kame-chan, why don’t you share our wieners with the hungry boys over there.’
With Kame out of the picture, Tsubasa slides up to Takki.
‘Looks like we’ve run out of wiener, but mine’s still available if you want a bite. I guarantee that it’s longer, thicker and juicier.’
‘No!’ Takki yelps.
‘Well, then, I hope you wouldn’t mind if I help myself to yours. I’m hungry,’ Tsubasa teases as he gropes the tent in Takki’s swimming trunks.
Then after an embarrassing enactment of the classical Bollywood love dance around a tree, Takki throws in a deadly killjoy, ’What you doing here? I didn’t know you know Kame.’
Although momentarily taken aback, Tsubasa continues his sly advances and asks ‘Jealous?’ The naughty loop-sided grin and evil glint in his eyes grow with every approach.
‘Nooo!’ Takki quickly denies.
‘Pity, I was hoping you would be. I’m jealous seeing you smear lotion all over Pi. I want your lotion on me too. And in me, in all my holes too.’
It’s a losing battle and Takki knows it, he can see that Takki Junior has already braced itself for some heavy duty hole-tunneling.
‘I must be going. Pi’s waiting,’ he shouts as he runs off, escaping to the beach without so much as a backward glance. If he did, he would have seen a lonely figure watching his disappearing silhouette.
‘Pi, what you doing there?’ Takki asks as he wades out to Pi, who is standing waist deep in water, staring forlornly at the horizon.
‘Nothing much, just looking. You were gone so long I thought you weren’t gonna come back.’
‘Silly, boy. I’ll always come back.’ Takki assures as he back-hugs his young lover.
‘I don’t know why but I’ve a feeling that this trip might be a mistake.’
‘What do you mean?’ Takki asks cautiously, a little uneasily.
‘I’m hoping that his trip might bring Jin and Kame closer. But they’re so different. I can’t help but think that one is the sea and the other the sky. Unlike the horizon that we see, for the sky and the sea, there is no meeting point. They’ll forever remain apart.’
Takki is worried that his golden boy is suddenly so solemn.
‘They meet. Of course, they meet; when it rains. When it rains, it’s the sky’s way of touching the sea.’
In that instant, Pi breaks into a smile. ‘Yeah, you’re right. There’s always hope.’ Contented, he clasps Takki’s hands in his and sighs, ‘But I’m glad we are who we are.’
‘Actually, I wouldn’t mind being the wind,’ Takki contradicts. ‘I want to kiss you like the wind – everywhere.’ With that he turns the latter around and locks their lips in a lingering, time-forgetting kiss.
‘A wiener for you?’
Jin looks up from the book he is pretentiously reading to see Kame standing nervously in front of him.
Seeing the surprised look on Jin’s face, Kame continues, ‘I’m sorry that I got you into this. If I didn’t resign, you wouldn’t have to do all these.’
‘It’s alright. I’m not doing much anyway,’ Jin answers, trying to sound indifferent.
‘You must hate me,’ Kame whispers, unconsciously wringing his hands.
His pitiful demeanor inflicts a wave of guilt. ‘I… I don’t hate you,’ Jin replies, softer this time. ‘Sit down.’
For a while, the boys sit quietly in awkward silence gazing at the still mooching lovebirds out at sea.
‘It’s easier for some people. Maybe they’re smarter or braver. But somehow they know it’s love, and they forge ahead,’ Jin suddenly shares. ‘But I’m not smart or brave.’
Kame nods gently, not daring to agree aloud.
At this moment, Jin reaches over for a wiener on Kame’s plate.
As if sensing a breakthrough Kame forges ahead, with an offer.
‘I was thinking of going for a surf later. I can teach you if you want.’
Jin blinks a little, uncertain of what to do. But eventually he nods hesitantly as he nibbles on the wiener.
‘He’s not a very good surfer, is he?’ Tsubasa points out to Ryo, as he sees Jin collapse onto the surfboard unable to get up.
Despite being an utterly cringe-worthy surf embarrassment, Jin is a much needed comic relief from the uncomfortable sight of the perpetually-joined-to-the-lips lovers. And since they’re the only ones alone, Tsubasa has no other choice but to try and make conversation with a pouty, bored-looking, wounded-puppy-eyed Ryo.
‘He can’t even build sandcastles,’ Ryo informs. ‘But lucky for him, he doesn't need to know how to surf or build sandcastles to have a good time.’
Looking out, they see that Kame has joined Jin by his surfboard, and soon they’re frolicking in a water fight.
‘Why don’t you confess to Takki?’ Ryo suddenly asks.
Tsubasa is shocked by the unwarranted question. He doesn’t like it when a stranger can read him like a book.
His reply is equally tart and caustic. ‘I’m waiting for you to confess to Pi. It’ll save me the trouble.’
‘Smoking is bad for you.’
Tsubasa looks up from his bench to see Takki.
‘Not with your precious Pi?
‘I’m looking for him. It’s almost bedtime.’
Joining him on the bench, Takki asks, ‘Why you smoking here all alone? Where’s Kame?’
‘My turtle’s run off with his eagle.’
‘Never mind, has your Pi run off with someone too?’
‘No. He’ll never.’
‘Like you’ll never?’
Tsubasa gives a tense smile then takes another puff at his Marlboro cigarette.
‘And if I don’t?’
Out of his wits, Takki blurts out, ‘I’ll… I’ll kiss you.’
Tsubasa coughs at the answers. No kiss is ever going to tear him apart from an old habit. With mischievous shining eyes, he sucks long and deliberately on his ciggie then blows a cloud of smoke right into Takki’s face.
Frustrated and lost for words, Takki turns to Tsubasa, cups his face with both hands and kisses him.
It is their first kiss. But Tsubasa only sniggers, ‘You call that a kiss? Kiss me like you kiss Pi.’
Stunned by that request, Takki freezes. Like a statue, he sits there motionless. It isn’t until Tsubasa, who has completely ignored him, lights up his second cigarette that he finally recovers his senses. Gently, he detaches the cigarette from Tsubasa’s plump lips, and then transfers it to his.
Takki can see the pang of pain in Tsubasa’s eyes when he takes his first puff.
‘You stupid, stupid boy!’ Tsubasa scolds as he snatches the poison stick back and stubs it into the sand. ‘These things will kill ya!’
Takki’s relief is obvious. His eyes shrink into mere crescents and his crooked gum line is clearly visible. But Tsubasa feels like crying.
‘Don’t be so nice to me.’
‘Because… because it’ll make me wanna do this.’
Tsubasa has always found words to be a poor expression of his emotions. For example, how does one expresses the hammering in one’s heart?
Takki is not familiar with kisses. He has only kissed Pi. They are soft and warm, not needy and urgent like these. One is like creamy, frothy vanilla and the other hot, dark chocolate.
‘Takki, breathe!’ Tsubasa orders a breathless Takki.
How long have they been kissing? Takki doesn’t know. But he knows that his lips are sore, his tongue is numb, his cheeks are flushed, his mind is swimming and his heart is pounding. Maybe he’s been in the sun so long that he has a heat stroke.
But his ears are still remarkably sharp, sharp enough to hear a nearby conversation.
‘Ryo, let go!’
Stubbornly, Ryo hangs onto Pi’s hand.
‘I’ve got to find Takki.’
‘He’s probably with Tsubasa. Can’t you see? Takki’s changing. You can too.’
‘No. Takki’s not changing. He doesn’t even look at Tsubasa. They don’t even talk.’
‘Precisely! He avoids him because he likes him. He’s feeling guilty. It’s so obvious!’
‘Stop sprouting nonsense, Ryo! You never had anything good to say and you never will. Let me tell you something. Takki will never change. I will never change. We will never change!’
It’s now Takki’s turn to feel his eyes water and his nose sour. How could he betray the unwavering trust of his sweet and innocent Pi? How could he tarnish something so precious and pure?
Late that night, Takki is where he should be, by Pi’s side. Cradling a softly crying Pi to sleep, he promises that nothing will ever change.
But all he can think about is Tsubasa.
‘Where you going, Takki?’
‘To Pi,’ Takki curtly replies. But before he can run off, Tsubasa clutches onto his wrist.
‘What’s with all these hand holding?! Let go. Pi needs me. I've to go to him.’
‘Have to or want to?' Tsubasa asks. 'I need you too,’ he confesses.
It is a grave mistake. He should have known better.
The answer is evident, so painfully obvious that Takki doesn’t even need to answer. The look in his eyes says it all. It says, ‘Who are you?’
Tsubasa knows who he is. He is a nobody. And nobody has no right. Nobody can only let go.
Part 5/6: Supa Idols
Summary: It's a tug of war between his will and his heart. But when doing something right feels so wrong, should Takki choose to give in to his desires?
It is a lazy Sunday afternoon. Tsubasa sits idly on a sofa as he listens to Takki play the piano. Like the muslin curtains swaying and dancing to a different rhythm, Tsubasa’s distracted. He has an announcement to make. He will be leaving before the end of the week.
‘It’s beautiful, simple and yet it speaks to my heart. What’s it called?’
Takki smiles a little. He likes it when someone shares his taste in music. ‘Minuet in G major. There’s a popular song sang to this tune too – A Lover’s Concerto.’
Walking over to the piano, Tsubasa clumsily presses a few key, producing a few disjointed notes. He had always wanted to learn the piano but there was never the opportunity. In drunken rage, his father had often belted him for walking about too loudly. He shivers to think what the old man would do if he were to practise his piano. Besides that wasn’t the only obstacle. There was never enough money anyway.
‘It sounds so simple. Maybe even I can learn to play it one day.’
‘One day? How about today?’
Taken by surprise, Tsubasa looks straight at Takki. Since that night of the summer vacation, he has yet to look Takki in the eye. He has been avoiding him. It’s not that he hates him. It’s just that he just doesn’t know how to face him after being rejected.
‘Come I’ll make an instant pianist out of you.’
Takki sits Tsubasa between his legs then places the latter’s hands on his, Tsubasa’s fingers on top of his.
‘Just follow my fingering.’
With that Takki played the tune again, this time with accompanying lyrics.
How gentle is the rain
That falls softly on the meadow.
Birds high up the trees
Serenade the clouds with their melodies.
Oh, see there beyond the hill,
The bright colors of the rainbow.
Some magic from above
Made this day for us just to fall in love.
Now, I belong to you
From this day until forever.
Just love me tenderly
And I'll give to you every part of me.
Oh, don't ever make me cry
Through long lonely nights without love.
Be always true to me,
Keep this day in your heart eternally.
One day we shall return
To this place upon the meadow.
We'll walk out in the rain,
See the birds above singing once again
Oh, you hold me in your arms,
And say once again you love me,
And if your love is true,
Everything will be just as wonderful.
You'll hold me in your arms,
And say once again you'll love me,
And if your love is true,
Everything will be just as wonderful.
Tsuabsa wants so badly to hold Takki’s hand in his. But he doesn’t. He only says, ‘I’ll be leaving before the end of the week. Thank you for your hospitality.’
It is supposed to be short and sweet. Make the announcement then disappear back into his room. But Takki stops him.
‘I never used to like playing the piano. In fact, I hated it. Even now, I’m not sure if I like it at all,’ Takki admits. ‘But my mother does. She likes the sound of the piano. So I asked to learn it. I thought if I played it, she’ll stay home more often and hear me play. But she hardly does. I can’t remember the last time she heard me.’
Since his arrival, Tsubasa has been thinking it strange that aside from the numerous domestic help, Takki seems to be the only inhabitant in the large, stately mansion. But he never pursued the matter because he knows that parents can sometimes do more harm than good. Moreover, he likes how there’s no one to look down on him and despise him.
‘If you’re gone too, then it’ll once again be me playing for the walls to hear.’
Life on the street has taught Tsubasa that the more you feel, the more you’ll hurt. But he can’t help but feel his heart go out to Takki. He too knows what it’s like to be lonely.
Seeing that Tsubasa is wavering, Takki quickly diverts his attention to his school’s upcoming classical concert.
‘I’ve got you a ticket. It’ll be held in Suntory Hall. Have you been there before?’
‘No. It’s not my kind of place.’ Tsubasa answers, a little ashamed at not having been to one of Tokyo’s premier art venues.
Takki frowns, and then quickly dismisses it with a wave of his hand, ‘Never mind. It’ll be fun. Kame will be there too. He’s an usher volunteer. I can lend you my uniform and you can help out too!’
Engrossed with his plans, Takki grabs Tsubasa and leads him to his room to try on the school uniform.
It might not be apparent on Tsubasa’s stoic face, but he is excited. He has always wanted to put on a high school uniform. But he never made it to high school. He could only depend on self-study and scrimping and saving to pay for his upcoming private exams.
Whenever he sees high school lovers walk hand-in-hand down the streets, he would always feel a pang of self-pity. He too wants to wait a pure and innocent high school love. He wants to wait for his date outside her school, carry her school bag for her while they window shop, and at the end of a lovey dovey date, walk her home.
But it seems fate has other plans. His ‘date’ may look a tad girly, but is all male. He has sampled the merchandise.
‘Which university are you from?’ the girl seated next to him in the concert hall politely enquires. Tsubasa is already uncomfortable seated where all the VIPs are, he doesn't need someone to add fuel to fire.
But obviously feeling insecure at being alone, his neighbour tries again to engage him. 'No wait, let me guess. Quite a few of our alumni here are from Todai and Tokyo Tech,' she says gerturing to the distinguished-looking attendees of the concert. It's clear that Takki's school has produced many fine leaders and pillars of society. 'So are you from one of them too?’
Tsubasa continues to ignore her. He has always believed that if you put enough low lives together, you can call it high society.
‘I’m from Oxford University. You?’ The pesky girl persists.
Finally, faking a smile, Tsubasa sweetly answers, ‘Oxtail University.’
The girl eyes him contemptuously then moves a seat away.
On their way home, Takki could tell that Tsubasa is feeling a little out of sorts. He probably felt out of his element at the earlier formal event.
To lighten the mood, Takki shares a secret. ‘The teacher said that my delivery of Appassionata has improved. I used to be technically sound, but soulless. Tonight, she said that the music spoke to her heart. So… thank you.’
‘What did I do?’ Puzzled, Tsubasa asks.
‘I used to not know what soulful music means. The soul is not something I think about. In fact, I don’t think much. I don’t need to. I don’t feel much either. I thought there’s nothing much to feel, only emptiness. But somehow, you’ve made me think and feel.’
A slight tinge of warmth is spreading across Tsubasa’s cheeks. Nobody has ever complimented him like that. In fact, maybe nobody ever did.
‘Where’s Takki?’ Tsuabsa asks the sullen-looking butler, Matchy-san.
Like avoiding a plague, Tsubasa has been dodging Takki. He can’t risk his heart skipping another beat at what Takki says. But there’s a mathematical sum that he badly needs explanation for, and he needs Tutor Takki. Although endowed with natural intelligence and quick thinking, Takki has never once sneered Tsubasa for his slow or lack of understanding. Instead, he admires how the disadvantaged boy tackles every challenge with a vengeance.
‘He said something about wanting to step out of his comfort zone too, and then went off to work part-time in one of his father’s supermarket chain stores.’
The domestic help is clearly upset. He had initially thought that Takki, like him, saw Tsubasa as Momo’s replacement. When Takki was young, he once brought home an injured stray cat and named it Momo. But after nursing it back to health, it left. Little Takki was heartbroken. Somehow, Tsubasa reminded Matchy of Momo. The butler was rather fond of the new ‘pet’ too, until he saw he saw ‘it’ sneak into Takki’s room in the middle of the night. After that, it was pet turned pest. To make matters worse, this pest has the audacity to mess with his young master’s heart and mind.
Tsubasa is surprised to see the supermarket so packed. It seems the whole female population of that small neighbourhood, from giggly girls to grannies, has congregated in the shop. The queue lines to pay are even threatening to spill outside the bustling establishment. For a moment, Tsubasa thinks he has stepped into Johnny’s Shop. But when he sees Takki, Kame, even Jin behind the cashier counters. It becomes instantly understandable.
It turns out that when Kame learnt of Takki’s part-time work, he asked to join him. The great pretender came clean and revealed that he was never rich; he was only pretending to be so that he could get Jin’s attention. And Jin, being an understanding and supportive boyfriend, quickly jumped onto the bandwagon as well. Takki was happy to have Kame on board, but he shuddered to think of Jin’s impact on his father’s business. Much to his surprise, love has proved that even Jin can be sensible, mature and responsible.
Seeing an easy target in the aimlessly loitering Tsubasa, one girl departs from the herd and squeals, ‘Are you a staff here too?’
Tsubasa is just about to answer in the negative when he overhears a little girl say to Takki, ‘When I grow up, I’m gonna marry you.’
‘Why yes, yes! I’m gonna be a staff here. In fact, I’m here for the interview,’ Tsubasa answers very politely, and then with a slight bow, continues, ‘Thank you for your patronage. We hope to serve you again soon.’
Tsuabsa could tell that Takki has mixed feelings about him being here. Whenever he rushes forward to help the younger boy carry the heavier stuff, he can feel the latter smile. But whenever the younger one reciprocates with a can of drink or baby carrots as substitute for his cigarettes, it’s always done in a hurried and deliberately careless manner.
‘Take your jacket. It’s cold out there,’ Takki warns as he enters the shop, freshly invigorated from a break outdoors. Their break time has been scheduled differently.
‘I forgot my coat. But no worries.’
Immediately, Takki takes his off and offers it to Tsubasa.
‘No thanks. I’m fine.’
Not taking no for an answer, Takki helps him put it on. And Tsubasa doesn’t put up a fight either and lets him slowly help him into the Burberry overcoat.
‘It smells of you.’
‘I smell?’ Takki hastily sniffs his armpits.
‘No, not in a bad way,’ Tsubasa laughingly assures.
‘What do I smell like?’ Takki asks, a little bemused.
‘Like… I don’t know. But I like it.’
Hearing those words, Takki can’t help but blush a little.
Nonetheless, determined to keep a tight leash on his emotions, Takki promptly says his goodbye, ‘I’ve got to go. You have a good one.’
He hasn’t taken more than a few steps before he hears Tsubasa says in a shaky voice, ‘I don’t want a good one. I want you.’
His face flushes again; this time, not from embarrassment, but from anger.
‘Look, I’m trying very hard here! Stop saying these things to me! You don’t know how easy it is for me to lose control, to lose control over the slightest, silliest thing you say!’ Takki bursts out. His voice is raised and quivering. ‘It hurts me too, okay?! And I want it to stop!’
Tsubasa is momentarily shaken by the outburst. He doesn’t know that Takki feels the same way.
Daring himself, he reaches out and caresses the ivory fair face, whispering, ‘If it hurts so much, then just let go. Lose control.’
‘Why is doing the right thing so painful?’ Takki sighs as a single tear rolls forth
Wiping it away, Tsubasa proceeds to kiss the tear-stained lashes, the proud nose and the curvaceous lips.
‘No, Pi!’ Takki suddenly stops in mid-kiss.
‘Pi, doesn’t have to know.’
‘But I’ll know.’
‘For tonight, just for tonight, let go. Don’t think, just feel. Just do what you want. For tonight, there’s no right, no wrong, no consequences.’
Takki may be losing grip on what’s right or wrong. But he knows what he wants. He wants to surrender to his desires. He closes his eyes, parts his lip and waits for Tsubasa to take him.
Later in the storage room at the back of the shop, Takki parts more than his lips. He parts his legs, his heart and his soul.
‘Where’s Momo, I mean Tsubasa?’ Matchy-san asks as he endures yet another car’s honking as they wait for the stray in the Bentley that is obstructing the narrow alley.
‘Stop taking him as Momo. Tsubasa doesn’t even like cats. He’s afraid of them,’ Takki divulges with glee.
He likes discovering things about Tsubasa. Maybe later tonight when they continue with Part B of where they stopped, when they were rudely interrupted by their angry boss, he will learn even more about the sex dynamite.
But more waiting and more honking later, Tsubasa is still not here.
Part 6/6: A Place to Belong
Summary: We all want a place to belong, so does Tsubasa. But after so many detours, will he ever find his paradise?
It's a bright, blessed and beautiful day, and the last day in the life of high-schooler Takki. Today, he is graduating from high school.
After the graduation ceremony, Takki sat alone in the student councillor room to bid farewell to his favourite rendezvous. But before long, he is joined by the usual suspects.
'That was quite a speech! Did you spend long preparing for it?' Pi asks as he wraps his arms lovingly around his boyfriend, who had earlier delivered a powerful and passionate speech at the graduation ceremony.
Takki smiles faintly. 'No, it’s what I already feel in my heart. I just said it aloud that's all.'
Pi is impressed; his boyfriend never fails to make him brim with pride.
'All this about stepping out your comfort zone, living a fuller life and fighting for your dreams, I never knew you had it in you,' Ryo says, looking at Takki in a very different light.
'And you definitely walk the talk,' Kame praises.
Jin only nods vigorously in agreement. Sometimes it seems he has lelt all the thinking to Boyfriend Kame. But seeing the goofy, life-is-perfect-and-I-feel-great look that he perpetually wears on his face, no one can really fault him.
'I heard you're not enrolling in business studies like your parents wanted. Instead, you're gonna study music,' Kame continues.
When news got out that Super Supermart's heir is taking up music and not business, the company's stocks actually dipped for consecutive days on the Nikkei Index. He had expected his father to oppose vehemently. But the old man was surprisingly calm. He was actually relieved that his son has found a purpose in life.
He still remembers what his father said, 'I always thought you were drifting through life, existing but not living. It's like you're living a half life. But I'm glad that you've found something you want to pursue.'
Although he has found a purpose in life, Takki still can't help but feel that his life is incomplete. And he knows that it'll soon be even more so.
'Jin and Kame, please step out for a moment. I need to talk to Pi and Ryo in private.'
Looking at the uneasy Ryo and puzzled Pi, Takki smiles kindly but sadly. Then he picks Pi up and hugs him nostalgically. Finally, he pulls apart and looks deep into Pi's misty eyes.
Takki searches for words to say. But they don't come easy.
Sensing his helplessness, Pi says, 'I know it's hard. But you're only leaving the school, not leaving us or me.'
But Takki knows better, he knows that he's leaving behind much more than a building.
'I have a graduation present for you, Pi.'
With that, he takes Ryo's hands and places them in Pi's.
'Ryo, I don't have any present for you, only responsibility. I want you to be responsible for Pi's happiness.'
'Takki, what's this?' Pi protests.
'Ryo, do you accept?'
Stunned and speechless, Ryo can only let his increasingly dewy eyes do the talking.
'I take it that you accept,' Takki smilingly answers on his behalf.’ After all, you've always been silently and secretly looking out for Pi from the sidelines, nursing the hope that one day he'll notice your feelings.'
'What's the meaning of this,' Pi asks impatiently.
'You know I love you and I always will,' Takki replies, stroking Pi's wavy brown locks very gently. 'But I'm breaking up with you.'
Sitting in the Bentley on his way home, Takki looks at his empty hands. For the longest time, they were lovingly held, now all by themselves, they look lonesome. Perhaps they too know that from now on, they'll have no more hands to hold.
But all is not lost. When he gets home, he can always hold his mother's, or get her to hold his. His mother has recently been spending much more time at home. Takki suspects that she's doing it out of guilt. She probably thinks that her son has chosen to abandon a bright future for an arty farty one because of her neglect, and she is trying desperately to turn things around.
Takki lets out a mischievous grin. It's true that every cloud has a silver lining.
In another corner of Tokyo, Tsubasa is also looking at his hands, and the cloth burns around his wrists.
As a means to once again evoke the sex god in him, his lover, Tsuyoshi had resorted to violent sex and bondage. Tsubasa used to be able to come over and over again without much encouragement. But ever since he returned to his former lover, he had difficulty performing.
'This's what sleeping around gets you!' the harsh lover grunted into his ear, as he lashed a leather whip on already bruised skin. 'Look what that softie vanilla boy did to you!'
Tsubasa can't deny Takki's effect on him. He wants to feel that touch again: airy yet electrifying, soft yet needy, gentle yet urgent. But no one has yet been able to come close.
'Vanilla boys are just bad for business. You'd better not let me hear any complaints from our clients.'
Tsubasa nodded obediently.
'Maybe we can try drugs next. I've been trying this new cocktail and I like it.'
Tsubasa trembled inwardly. Tsuyoshi had promised him that although he sells drugs, he won't use them. Thinking back, Tsuyoi had promised him other things too. He promised that he would take care of him. He gave him shelter, but he also made him sell his body. He said that he loved him, but he would sleep around. At least, he came back. No matter how wild things got outside, he would always return home to Tsubasa. Maybe this is love, after all. Maybe this is all the love that he's worth.
Therefore, no matter how bad things get, Tsubasa would console himself with the nice little things that Tsuyoshi had done for him. Tsuyoshi came back for him. After the police interference had died down, Tsuyoi sent his men out to look for him. But he wished he hadn't.
'I think I need to go to the restroom,' Tsubasa informs his distracted client, a very presentable lady in her 40s.
'No! Hold it in!' She orders. Then softening a little, she coos, 'Not now of all time, sweetheart. Now, smile and look pretty, my handsome little boyfriend.'
The rich lady, having paid good money for the social escort to impersonate as her boyfriend at her nephew's graduation concert at Suntory Hall, is determined to show him off for all he's worth. Possessively, she clings onto him as they proceed to the reception hall, where a meet-and-greet session is underway. Wearing a stiff, plastic smile, she waves warmly to her elder sister.
'Wow, what do we have here?' Her poised and elegant elder sister asks in surprise.
'You're always edging me on to get a boyfriend, so I got myself one. And younger boyfriends are all the fad now, so I got myself one too.'
'Did you? From a catalogue?'
Tsubasa struggles to snuff out his smirk. It's clear that the elder woman is not convinced.
'He sure is pretty. But my boy is still the prettiest one alive,' she brags. 'Let me get him here.'
Before long, a specimen of God's-gift-to-women stands before them.
'Sweetheart, meet your Aunt Yuri's new boyfriend. Sorry, I didn't get your name.'
'That's a lovely name. I'm Takki. Nice to meet you.'
Soon, the ladies are too busy gawking and rating other young boys in attendance to notice that the two prettiest ones have started to drift away. Solemnly walking away from the crowd, the two boys awkwardly avoid each other's gaze.
'How are you?' Takki starts. He awes himself with his self-control. In his imagination, he had often envisioned what their reunion would look like. Either he bitch-slaps Tsubasa to death or he bear-hugs the him to death. No matter what happens, Tsubasa dies. How could he forgive anyone for deserting him the way he did? No farewell note, no call of assurance, nothing. He was worried sick. It's infinitely worse than waking up cold and alone after a long, passionate night of love-making.
Tsubasa looks away, still silent.
'Why?' Takki doubts that the truth will set him free. But he needs to know.
'My boyfriend has found me and wants me back.'
'Would you stay if I asked you to?' Takki questions, breathing a little heavily. He's growing agitated. 'You never gave me a chance.'
Gripping onto Tsubasa's shoulders, Takki looks painfully at him and adds, ‘You never gave me a fighting chance!'
'He doesn't fight fair. You'll only get hurt.'
Tsubasa is ashamed of choosing such a man. But there has never ever really been a choice. Because beggars can't be choosers.
He brushes Takki aside. 'It's too late now anyway,' he sighs and walks away, again.
But Takki clutches onto his arm obstinately.
'I'm your aunt's pretend boyfriend, for goodness sake! Is there a more doomed way to revive a relationship?'
Suddenly, Takki giggles.
'It's not funny,' Tsubasa chides in all seriousness. 'Look Takki, you're like this concert hall. I don't belong here. I didn't the first time. I don't now. And I never will.'
'Forget it,' Takki declares as he holds eagerly onto both of Tsubasa's hands. 'Forget about this place. If you don't belong here, then I'll just go to you.'
With furrowed brows, Tsubasa says with a sour smile, 'Come with me? I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.'
'Then we'll find a place where we can both belong,' Takki insists. 'If we can't find that place, then we'll make it, make a place where we can belong.'
It is then Tsubasa felt it, the love-defining beat that his heart skipped.
Not wanting to hear another objection, Takki locks him into a death-grip embrace.
'Let's go home, Tsubasa. I'm tired.'
Melting into those needy arms, Tsubasa momentarily loses his ability of speech. Finally, in a tender whisper, he says, 'I think I'm already home.'
~ The End ~ Over 40 more stories at http://avery-averette.livejournal.com . Enjoy!