Teru and Takuro have an exchange on their views of two particular Glay members.
"...and don't any of you come out here unless I tell you so! Do I make myself clear?"
"Good!" The tall guitarist let out an exasperated sigh then slammed the door shut. Another intake of agitated breath then he expelled a puff. He shook his head for a moment, straightened his shirt then walked back to the studio. Getting back to work, he sat down behind the piano and continued to create the song that he hoped would be their next big hit. Immersed as he was, his left hand tickling the ivories, his right hand drawing some notes on the music sheet, he didn't look up when he heard the studio door open.
"Good morning, Takuro," Teru greeted cheerily.
"You're late," the leader noted, eyes still not taking their gaze off the piano.
"Am I?" Teru slowly took off his jacket, eyes scanning the place. He could only count two bodies: his and Takuro's. His eyebrows knit in confusion. "How come?" Takuro only pointed to one area of the studio where a crystal blue Tokai Talbo rested on the stand beside a blue and white Top Dog. "Oh." Teru nodded as he understood. He placed his black jacket on an empty chair, sat beside Takuro and observed the other man work. A few minutes more, Teru couldn't take the silence of their voices anymore. He raised one hand and absentmindedly pressed some random keys on the piano.
Irritated, Takuro stopped playing and glowered at the man beside him. "Don't you have anything else to do, Teru?"
The charming vocalist shrugged his perfect shoulders. "What would I do? We can't start rehearsals when Jiro and Hisashi are not yet here."
"I told you they're already here." Takuro got up from the piano bench and paced the length of the studio.
Teru got up and looked around as though emphasizing the obvious. He settled into one of the vacant armchairs. "So where are they?"
Before Takuro could even whip out a reply, Glay's hardworking producer sauntered in, Toshi the drummer lagging right behind. Abruptly, Sakuma Masahide halted in his tracks and critically scanned the place. "Why haven't we started practice yet? Where's Hisashi? Where's Jiro? Where's everybody? When are we going to practice? We don't have time! We don't have time!"
"Hisashi and Jiro are already here," Takuro said, his voice resonating of calmness and distress, if that was possible. Teru found it strange.
Sakuma planted both hands on either of his hips. "So where are they?"
Teru eyed Takuro, intent on finding out the answer to his earlier question.
The guitarist eased into an empty armchair. A long arm extended, index finger pointing to a closed door over to the far left. "In there."
Three pairs of eyes round in shock fixed on the towering guitarist. As if on cue, they cried in unison: "Why?!"
"To make them stop fighting," Takuro replied nonchalantly.
Teru nodded as though the whole thing was finally clear to him. Sakuma, on the other hand, was not happy with it. "And just what do you want to accomplish by doing that? Have them kill each other?"
"They won't do that," Teru offered, giving support to Takuro's claim.
Both Glay members knew that Sakuma's face showed nothing but dissatisfaction over the response given but they no longer pushed the issue. They knew the two youngest Glay members best.
It wasn't until Sakuma had turned on his heels and left--still with Toshi behind--did any of them relax in their seats. Teru stretched out his legs, crossing them at the ankles. "It must've been some big fight."
"A big fight, it was. The reason behind...was something else."
"So what was it this time?"
Takuro scratched his ear. "Something about Hisashi forming his fist to punch Jiro square...after Jiro called Hisashi a prick...after Hisashi nagged about parking space...or something like that."
A brow rose. "Parking space?"
Teru's thumb rose like a hitchhiker's for emphasis. "But it was only Jiro's car out there."
"That means they got here together."
The two men held each other's glances for a few moments of silence pregnant with knowledge they shared but kept mum about. Then they burst out laughing. They still don't know we know...
Teru nodded towards the closed door to the room that held Jiro and Hisashi captive. "So how long are you gonna keep them in there?"
"For as long as they want to be in there." Takuro grinned uncharacteristically. "I don't suppose either of them is complaining anyway."
Both men stopped still for a moment. Then they snickered, certain that despite the loud sound of something falling from inside the impromptu jail, no one was hurt.
For the longest time now, Teru and Takuro have been suspecting that there was something going on between the blonde and the bluehead...something much more than the supposed indifference they show each other. There had been signs, those too noticeable to dismiss, especially for the two men who had been with the assumed lovers for years. Yet they never dared to ask, merely waiting for the day when the confession would come from either Jiro or Hisashi--if not both--themselves.
Takuro shook his head, his dyed red hair moving along with him. "I can't believe those two!" He got to his feet and motioned for Teru to follow him to the mini-bar outside. "I mean," he continued, "why fight about small things when we can see how much they love each other?"
"Because they don't know that we know," Teru said matter-of-factly. Reaching the pantry, he opened the fridge door to retrieve two bottles of Perrier. "Maybe they're that dense. They never even had a clue that we know."
"Or maybe they think we're that stupid." Takuro reached for the bottle Teru was handing him. Ruefully, he sighed then averted his gaze to his friend. "It kinda hurts, don't you think?"
Teru could only shrug. He took a small sip of his drink then leaned against the bar, his weight resting on one elbow atop the counter.
"Teru, when did you find out?"
At the question, Teru's turned three shades of red. He hesitated for seconds before uttering a word. "I, uh, I walked in on them--by accident, of course--there..." he said, pointing to one corner of the small pantry, "...kissing." Then, as though relieved that the whole ordeal of telling his secret was over, he straightened up. "But I've long had the feeling they hold each other special. I've felt it since our first live at Budokan."
"I've noticed it since day one."
Teru couldn't believe his ears. "Really?"
"Hell, yeah," Takuro chuckled. "I introduced them, remember? And I still couldn't get that expression on Hisashi's face out of my head. When Jiro and Hisashi faced each other, it was like...they already knew each other even before I had them face each other. It was...sort of unnerving."
"Didn't Hisashi throw a guitar pick at Jiro when he wasn't looking?"
"I think it was more to try to get Jiro to notice him. You know our shy guitarist." Takuro took a gulp, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then proceeded. "But exactly when they got together, I'm not sure."
"Probably a long, long time ago." Suddenly, Teru's soft brown eyes shone in interest. "Hey, do you remember one of our old pictures that came out in magazines when we gained fame? During a drinking spree? The one when we were still considered as an indies band?"
Takuro paused for a moment, eyes gazing heavenward in thought. "The one where Hisashi was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans? And Jiro was wearing a pair of shorts and a gray sweatshirt? And he had his eyes closed when the shot was taken?"
"Bingo!" Teru waited for some time for Takuro to ask or comment and when none came, he went on. "Did you know they were holding hands then?"
"No..." Takuro exclaimed like a valley girl hearing the latest gossip in school.
"Yes," Teru said, nodding. "I ducked under the table since I dropped...something...I forgot." He waved a hand in front of this face. "Anyway, I saw Jiro's hand on top of Hisashi's, clutching it. Of course I charged it back then to my insobriety. I thought I was just seeing things. Now that you mentioned it, maybe their relationship started that early."
"But they always fought. And they don't talk to each other much. And they have told the public they don't get along."
"They could've fooled them, not us." The vocalist drained the contents of his bottle, returning the cap on. "You know," he said en route to the waste bin for his empty bottle, "they made me believe that actions do speak louder than words."
"Yeah," the guitarist replied thoughtfully. "Like how Jiro was the first one at Hisashi's side when Hisashi fell of the stage and broke his foot..."
"Or like how Jiro would often arrange Hisashi's tie before a TV appearance..."
"Or how they would always find a way to talk to each other during lives..."
"Which we all thought was just to elicit some shrieks from the fans," Teru reminded. "But of course we know better." This time it was Teru's turn to motion for them to get back inside the studio.
"Did you know Hisashi cut his smoking time?" Takuro asked along their way.
"No," Teru pouted. "He still smokes with me."
"Yes, he does. He lets people see him smoke. He doesn't, however, if it's just him and Jiro alone in a room."
"How'd you know that?"
"I have eyes," Takuro remarked before telling Teru the story of what happened during one of their practices at the Tokyo Dome. Takuro had left Hisashi and Jiro backstage and the guitarist had just lit a fresh stick when Takuro started to leave. But the taller Glay member returned quickly because he'd forgotten something only to see Hisashi stubbing out the fresh stick. "Of course he dashed to get a fresh stick when he saw me back." He shrugged, then pushed open the acoustic door to let them in.
Stuffing his hands in his jeans' pockets, Teru studied his shoes. "I wonder why he hides his changing."
"I don't think they want anybody else to notice." Takuro resettled himself into the chair he had been earlier. "And honestly, it's not just Hisashi. Jiro also changed. He doesn't drink coffee as much as he used to."
"They're an odd couple, you know."
"You don't like them together?"
"No, it's not that." Teru thought of a way to say his sentiments. "Seeing Jiro and Hisashi is like...seeing two different things...that somehow always seem to go together. You know what I mean?"
"Like how Jiro is fire and Hisashi is ice...but both fire and ice are two different things that often go together?" Takuro wasn't sure his analogy made sense, but he did understand what Teru was meaning to say.
"Yeah," Teru agreed. "They don't have to be together, but they are often together. They're like...coffee and cigarettes...sun and moon...black and white..." His eyes caught two familiar things on top of the table. "Like that," he said, pointing to the items.
Takuro followed where Teru's finger was pointing to. He saw Hisashi's white Mac and Jiro's black Canon side by side. "A notebook and a camera," came his verbalized thought. Mac and cam...hey, it's even the same thing spelled backwards...
"See? They don't always go along as they are two different things, but somehow...they always manage to be with each other."
"Be with you," Takuro mumbled. He smiled. "Did you know I orchestrated the whole video? That I will be with you and Jiro will be with Hisashi?"
"I didn't. But I'm not surprised." Teru had other thoughts in mind. He tickled Takuro's waist. "You scheming bastard you...What did you do that for?"
"I'm desperate!" cried Takuro swatting Teru's hand away. "I just want them to make the obvious even more obvious so they would finally confess to us about the bond between them." Then his tone and his face mellowed down somewhat. He looked at Teru from under his lashes. "You're not so innocent yourself, Teru. Everybody has seen how you flirt with both Jiro and Hisashi."
"I can't help it. They're both beautiful." When Takuro's eyes grew round, Teru let out the laugh that never failed to send hordes of fangirls screaming. Then later, in a more mellow tone, he said, "I'm not doing anything you're not doing, man. I flirt with both of them because I want them to get jealous and get their relationship out for everybody."
Takuro got up restlessly and reached for his guitar, strumming aimlessly. He halted for a while to revert to the earlier issue at hand. "Remember Makuhari?"
Teru, who had positioned himself beside the guitarist, raised a finger for stress. "If you don't remember Makuhari, I don't even know you."
Takuro dismissed the threat. "Remember when those two had a silent fight right during the whole live?" Playfully, Takuro punched Teru's muscled arm in preparation for an accusatory report. "You flirted with Hisashi too much during /Kuchibiru/, you got Jiro a bit stunned."
"But he charmed Hisashi during /Glorious/," Teru claimed, adding a thought to what appeared to be a puzzle of stories.
"Hisashi didn't seem to have had enough, so he flirted with you during--of all songs--/Shutter Speeds/. Then Jiro snubbed him somewhat during More Than Love that he was jealous enough to flirt with you during the break before Survival just to get back at Hisashi."
The other man laughed despite himself. He laced his fingers together on top of the microphone still on its stand, shifting his weight to the pole. "Jealous enough to jokingly tell Hisashi about it between Yes, Summerdays and Summer FM break."
"Which of course pissed Hisashi off as Jiro didn't seem to have taken it so seriously so Hisashi snubbed Jiro during /Summer FM/."
"And it broke Jiro's heart!" For added drama, Teru pressed both hands to his chest. "That's why our grown-up boy never smiled during /Innocence/. And to add more insult to the injury, Hisashi acted way too cool about the whole thing."
"At least," Takuro put in, going back to randomly pulling some notes on his strings, "we got to design and carry out a plan for them to make up."
"Yeah," acceded Teru, nodding. "Up until we reached /Lady Close/."
"That reminds me. Just what were you whispering to Jiro during that song?"
"Ah, that?" With a twinkle in his eyes, Teru smiled. "It's a secret."
"Does Hisashi know what you talked about?"
Teru's lower lip protruded in a pout along with a shrug. "I dunno. Everything seemed to have gone well from Two Bell Silence and beyond." Something in his mind rendered him still and he debated whether or not to speak. Since we're still on the subject... Teru cleared his throat. "You know, Makuhari really was a catalyst."
"In what sense?"
The vocalist hooked his right thumb onto his jeans pocket. "They have been more..." he searched for the words, "openly close after that. I mean, if it's not a live, it's a PV, and if it's not that, it's a TV appearance or a photo shoot." He blew air onto his bangs. "Hisashi and I seldom sit beside each other during photo shoots anymore, 'you notice? It's Jiro he's standing next to more often now. And I still can't get over the fact that in our Special Thanks PV, Jiro was the one who helped Hisashi get down from the train by carrying his suitcase."
"You don't like that?"
"Yes...I mean, no...I mean..." Teru sighed. "I'm happy they're starting to show everyone else how close they are...how close they seem to be now for the others. It's just that..." Wistfully, he let his gaze bring him to Hisashi's Talbo and Jiro's Top Dog propped up on their stands, resting side by side. "I wish they'd let us know so we can be sure."
"Then why don't you ask them?"
As though an angel passed between them, both men fell hushed, pondering on the issue that had just transpired. They told themselves that they weren't exactly gossiping on their friends. They were just conversing...albeit about their observations based on hunches that just wouldn't go away.
Respect was not a question. Whatever Jiro and Hisashi were--is--they respected their choices fully. But deep down, in their hearts, there was a part of them that hurt a little. After all, they were the best of friends. They still are. Nothing will ever change that. Deep down, there was this hope that Jiro and Hisashi would confess to them the score.
"Where are you off to?: Teru queried, breaking the silence, when he spied Takuro start to walk away. The Soul of Glay gave but one answer when he tapped on his wristwatch. Realizing that it was time to set Jiro and Hisashi free, Teru tailed behind.
Takuro thought of suddenly just opening the door but rejected his own idea just as his hand came down on the knob. Using the back of his fingers, he rapped on the door instead. "Oi, you two...time to get out now."
There was no response from inside. A few moments after and Takuro got tired of waiting. He knocked on the door again and afterwards put his ear to the door. An intrigued Teru did the same. They met each other's quizzical faces at the faint rustles they heard from inside.
Takuro shut his eyes tight together while Teru backed away from the door as though it were set on fire. "I better wait here," the vocalist explained.
"Oi, Jiro! Hisashi! You better come out now. It's time for prac--"
The door swung open.
It probably was the best time to ask the couple what had taken them so long but judging from the way they looked--Jiro's blonde hair dishelved and shirt haphazardly tucked into his jeans, Hisashi's lips moist and swollen, and his belt undone, both of their breathing ragged and uneven--it seemed the answer was right in front of them.
Purposely ignoring the obvious, Takuro motioned towards the center of the recording studio where they were supposed to have started practice thirty minutes ago. "There. Practice. Now. Go."
"Okay," Jiro and Hisashi mumbled at the same time. They started on their way with regained poise until Teru's voice lorded over the room.
"Oi, Jiro! Your fly's open!"
Instinctively, Jiro froze in his tracks and looked down at his jeans' buttons to check. With his mind focused on his fly, he didn't notice Hisashi right behind him who ran smack into his broad shoulders.
"Hey, watch it!" Jiro snarled, his hands busy down the front of his pants.
Hisashi's mouth gaped open in disbelief. "Me? Watch it? I wasn't the one who stopped stupid all of a sudden."
"Who are you calling stupid, you porcupine?"
"Why you, hedgehog!"
As the two beautiful musicians called each other names, Takuro only buried his face in his hands, shaking his head, grumbling. "Not again..."
Teru, on the other hand, could only contemplatively look at his two friends as they took their places behind their stands. He could've sworn that if the two would carry on like that, Glay would've had to look for a new bassist and guitarist since Jiro and Hisashi looked just about ready to strangle each other to death. Of course, he knew better.
"Are you still going to ask them if they're together?" Takuro interrupted his thoughts.
Teru never took his eyes off the lovely pair. Although he could hear them hurl invectives at each other, he had also heard Jiro ask if Hisashi was alright. Although he could see Hisashi's arm outstretched to give Jiro a good whack on the nape, he also saw him help Jiro straighten his shirt. And although Jiro's huge fingers had wrapped themselves around Hisashi's delicate wrist to pull the smaller man closer to him, Teru also saw how Jiro gently placed Hisashi to his other side to protect him from an unsuspecting microphone stand blocking his path.
The vocalist only shook his head, the only semblance of a response. He didn't need to ask. And even though he often caught sight of Jiro and Hisashi glaring at each other, he knew it was pointless to ask. For behind those eyes--those eyes that often glowered at each other--both Teru and Takuro could not see any apathy.
Behind those eyes, there was only love.
28 October 2006