Jiro wants to form another band. What will that leave Glay and Hisashi?
Jiro winces when Takuro slams the phone down on him somewhere in the middle of his explanation for his decision. He gives his head a brief shake to rid himself of that irritating ringing in his ears. Sighing, he places the phone back in its cradle then leans back in his armchair.
At any other time, Jiro would’ve snarled at the way Takuro rudely ended the call. At any other time, he would’ve dialed Takuro’s number back then slam the phone down on him in retaliation. At any other time, Jiro would’ve not let the leader get away with what he did.
But this is not like any other time. Jiro isn’t out to get everybody else angry. Much more than anything, he needs their understanding. He doesn’t want things to happen this way before anything has even started.
Jiro looks back at the phone, pondering if he should give calling the leader another go but the corner of his eye registers something else. His hand reaches out for the framed photo of them—Teru, Takuro, Hisashi and himself. It isn’t a studio shot or a promotional photo. It is an old photo of them in one of their early drinking meets, when they had made a pact to stick together no matter what.
And the key to sticking together is not having any personal side projects.
The promise of those words lances through Jiro like a spear. He knows that in a way, no matter how hard he tries to justify it, he is guilty. They did promise to stick together until wherever Fate would lead Glay. And he has no intentions of leaving Glay—not ever—but there are other things Jiro wishes to pursue.
Jiro wants to form another band.
“Are you out of your mind?” Takuro yelled out loud, pushing his seat back as he gathered himself up to a stand. “What do you mean form another band?”
“It’s not that complicated to understand, is it?” Jiro said.
“Don’t kid about something like this, Wayama,” warned the leader. Takuro paced the confines of the conference room just outside the practice studio. “How could you even think of doing this?”
“I told you,” Jiro started to reason out. “There are other things that I want to do.”
“Well then do something else, damnit!”
The bassist fixed his gaze on his hands on the table. His admission to the rest of Glay was met by varied forms of protests…as can only be expected. Takuro was most vocal of his objection, naturally. Teru hadn’t said anything yet but Jiro was certain the vocalist was going to speak up sooner or later. And as for Hisashi…Jiro wasn’t sure the petite guitarist was going to say anything. In a way, Jiro tried to avoid Hisashi’s gaze, fearing that a glance would encourage an opinion. He wasn’t ready to face up to any accusation he might see in the smaller man’s eyes.
“I can’t believe you’re breaking up my band,” Takuro accosted, his voice dripping blame. He neared the table, slammed his palms flat on the table, keeping them sturdy for support. “I can’t believe you’re breaking up something we all worked so hard for.”
“Who said anything about breaking up the band?” Jiro steeled his nerves answering to the towering man looming over him. “I’m not quitting Glay, alright? I’m just allying with another.”
“You can’t serve two masters at the same time, Jiro.”
“But I’ll try.”
“Bullshit!” cried Takuro with a banging of his fists. “Why don’t we just announce to the country and to the whole world about our disbanding?”
Jiro couldn’t keep his voice calm enough. Takuro shouting at him was already as unnerving as it could get. “We are not disbanding! How many times do I have to tell you that?”
“Guys, please, stop yelling,” pleaded Teru in an effort to come in between the two men. “We have to settle this calmly.” He looked at Takuro, the first member of Glay other than himself. “Takkun, maybe Jiro has some other reasons for this. Why don’t we just hear him out?”
The taller guitarist’s only response came in the form of pushing himself off the table to head for the window. It was obvious his temper wouldn’t allow him to stand any closer to Jiro.
With a sigh, the vocalist tore his eyes off Takuro and focused on the bassist from across him. Teru decided to take on a different route to get to Jiro’s thoughts. “Jiro…don’t you like working with us anymore?”
Jiro couldn’t suppress smiling at the charming vocalist. /Trust Teru to always look at the social aspect of anything/, he thought. “Teru, it’s not that. You’re the best people I could’ve ever worked with.”
“Then why is this hap—” Teru’s sudden pause caused a mild alarm in Jiro. More so when the vocalist glanced at the small guitarist who seemed resolved to keep his silence. “You haven’t gotten into a big fight with Hisashi, haven’t you?”
Jiro’s reply had come in a whisper that it didn’t carry itself past Takuro’s ears. The leader returned to the table. “This is all your fault, Tonomura!” he charged, pointing a finger at the obviously surprised man. “If you had been kinder to Jiro right from the very beginning, he wouldn’t even be thinking of leaving us.”
Jiro’s patience was starting to run dangerously low. “Takuro, I’m not leaving you. I’m not quitting the band. What part of that can you not understand?” Takuro turned his back to the rest of the group as Jiro raked his fingers through his hair in frustration, at the same time gathering his thoughts on defending Hisashi. “And don’t dare blame Hisashi. I’ll never leave Glay because of him.”
Jiro sighed audibly, even catching Takuro’s attention. He thought perhaps it was time to tell them. “It’s the music.”
“What the hell do you mean by that?” came Takuro’s indignant remark.
“Takuro, let him finish,” Teru reproached to which the older man agreed with a scoff.
“I like Glay music, alright? Otherwise, I wouldn’t have lasted more than ten years with you guys.” Jiro shifted in his seat. “But I like rock music, too. I mean real rock.”
Takuro snorted. “You and your American influence…”
“Then I’ll sing real rock,” Teru offered, intently ignoring Takuro’s remark.
“Teru, you have a great, great voice,” Jiro said and pausing just enough to condition a contradiction, “but you’re no Kurt Cobain.” The vocalist bowed his head, knowing fully well that Jiro hadn’t meant anything bad…only what’s true. They all knew Teru’s voice is Glay and Glay, for the most part, means Teru’s voice.
“I’ll let you sing,” Takuro spoke after a long while.
Jiro shook his head, perturbed by the face that their leader still can’t get it. “You know my voice isn’t made for singing. You got me into Glay to play bass, not to belt out a few bars.”
“Then I might as well prepare myself to get somebody else to play bass for Glay,” Takuro said which everybody hoped wasn’t in finality. “I don’t have time for this crap.” The tall man snagged his bag off the couch. “I’m going.”
“Takuro…” called Teru.
“If anybody else needs to hand in a resignation, you know where I’ll be,” the taller guitarist remarked in repartee then left.
A dejected Jiro slouched in his seat. This was going to take a while…
A rapping on the door snaps Jiro out of his thoughts. He places the framed photo back to its place. “I’ll be right there,” he calls out, getting up from his chair. He glances at himself in the hallway mirror, checking to make sure he looks presentable enough for whoever is paying him a visit.
He opens the door for Hisashi.
“Hi,” he greets, hiding a slight surprise.
Hisashi forces a small smile, just enough to be gracious. “Can I come in?” Jiro steps back wordlessly, accommodating the guest. “Thanks.”
Once inside, Jiro motions to a seat which the guitarist only shakes his head to. So they stay by the end of the hallway, up on their feet, either man beside each post supporting an arch. “Can I get you anything then?”
Hisashi looks at the bassist, a bit tentatively. “An answer’s all I need. Just something honest…straight out…sincere…”
The taller man takes in a deep intake of breath only to expel it after. “Alright.” He slants his back against the wooden post, hands inside his back pockets.
Hisashi fidgets in his place, shuffling his weight from one leg to the other. Jiro can tell it’s a struggle for the other man just to come over and it’s torture to verbalize his thoughts. “Are you leaving us, Jiro?”
“No.” It comes out direct, heartfelt, calm.
There is a small curling at the corner of Hisashi’s lips, as though pleased with what he’s heard. Still, he needs more. “Why are you—”
“Forming another band?” He finishes for the other man. Jiro purses his lips then shrugs. “I already said why.”
Cautiously, Hisashi takes one step forward, closer to the bassist. “But we made a pact, didn’t we? We promised that no Glay member will get himself into a project outside of the band.”
“Did that happen?” Jiro questions pointedly.
Hisashi can only bow his head. He knows Jiro is right. Takuro’s collaborations with Vanessa Mae and Hisashi’s playing the guitar for Utada Hikaru prove that pact isn’t as solid as it presents itself to be.
“It’s a scary move,” the fragile guitarist finally utters after some time. His voice resonates of cracking anytime soon if he can’t help it.
Jiro wants Hisashi to feel he understands. Even if they weren’t talking a lot, especially in the old days, Jiro knows exactly what scares the guitarist: change. Hisashi’s always been content with whatever’s going on around him, as long as it makes him comfortable. He wants stability, suffice to say he often hates taking risks. And he’s in a very popular band that has just gone through their first decade. They continue to make records that hit the charts, put up lives that sell out, appear on national TV once and then to let the country know they have no plans of being forgotten. How stable can that get?
“What’s going to happen now?”
“Just give me some time with this new band, Hisashi.”
“And then what?”
“I don’t know.” Jiro inches forward to Hisashi, a hand sliding out of its hiding place to land on the lithe man’s shoulder. It compels Hisashi to look up and meet his full five-feet-eight frame. “But I do know that I’ll never leave Glay.”
“You’d better not.” He tries to sound off a threat but his eyes glistening of the beginning of tears give him away.
“I’ll always be Glay’s Jiro.”
Gradually, the bassist leans down to press his lips against Hisashi’s for a kiss, something brief but tender, enough to seal his promise. Hisashi’s arms snake around Jiro’s waist and the bassist only hugs the other man closer to him, not wanting to let go any minute now.
“And I’ll always be your Jiro, Hisashi.”
Hisashi sighs happily into Jiro’s neck where his face is buried then closes his eyes in contentment.
Everything feels so secure again.