As a beautiful (and wayyyy late) response to the reviewers who have been goddesses and gods (who knows, maybe some guys read my stories) I'd like to thank: BlueMonkeyDoll, Jaz-147, Little-bad-Angel, S2-xBlizzard-AngelxS2 (damn, that was hard to type out!) cutevampkitten03, BlackWolfe, Princess Utau, xxxEmerald Butterflyxxx, Risie-chan, and Clockwork Rose. Your reviews might not get thanked for a looong time, but I always appreciate them, and it makes me so happy. *wipes tears* And, thanks to all who favorited and alerted because even in your silence, you love me! OH GOD, THANK YOU EVERYBODY! Well. Enough of rambling and being happy and things. IT IS ANGST TIME!
A red-haired baggage man and a purple-headed waiter came her way.
"Woah, dude!" The red-haired guy was wearing a vintage red suit, gold on the edges, with gold buttons and nice shoes. He was elbowing the waiter in the chest, and the waiter winced every time he did so.
The purple-headed waiter was wearing all white, black buttons going down his chest and an apron was tied over his waist. He was scowling towards the red-haired boy, and then turned to Amu, with a smile of hospitality.
Amu took a deep breath in, waiting for the insults to spill forth. The black hoodie, the trashy jeans…
"It really is a customer! I'm not dreaming!" The red-haired guy rubbed his eyes. "Living, breathing, everything! Damn, Nagi! You said you hardly had anyone come in this place!"
Obviously the waiter was named Nagi.
Nagi scowled at such a statement. "Sorry, miss. My friend really is, uh... Shall we say, eccentric?" His smile was a bit fake, and Amu called him out on it.
"Jeez. No need for the 'hospitality smile' dude. If you don't want me here, that's cool…"
Amu turned to walk away, and the red-haired boy caught her arm.
"Hey, wait! You can't leave! I'm sooooo bored here!" He shot her the puppy look, making his eyes all big and his lips in a pout. "No one comes 'cause NAGI HERE REFUSES, RE-FUSES! TO GET THE OUTSIDE REMODELED!"
"Kukai! I said that this is a HISTORICAL MONUMENT!"
"You mean it's historically bad-looking!"
They began to squabble with each other, and the rain started pounding outside again. Amu held in laughter from their fight.
"Come on, you've got nowhere else to stay! We can show you a good time! The customers that do come here are pretty loyal, and they always invest in us! We're kind servicemen! You've gotta do it! PLEASEEEEE!" Kukai begged, trying to get rid of his boredom.
He jammed Nagi in the ribs again.
"Please stay. You've got nowhere to go, correct? The rain is pounding down hard, making everything more difficult. Stay for one night- it's cheap. And if you stay for more, we'd be glad to keep you in our company."
Amu blinked. She had never seen people like this before. Truly kind people, that warmed her heart. And something reminded her of a home long ago, and she felt she could actually start over here. Plus, Kukai reminded her of Ami, the way he would make his please-please-please stare, and Nagi reminded her of herself, so mature… Before she realized what was actually happening at home. But they were kind of right, she thought. Nowhere else would be the kind servicemen, the cheap hotel, the classic rooms.
"All right, I'll stay." Amu sighed.
As they informed her she could pick her own room, they both plodded after her, having nothing better to do. As Amu was going down the halls of the second floor,
"Hey, hey miss! You never told us your name! Oh, and your birthday! Here, at the (historically bad-looking monument)" Kukai whispered the last part, "Tokyo Gala Hotel, we have a tradition of honoring our guests with birthday celebrations! It's been awhile since its glory days, and we're dirt poor, but I'm sure we can have some fun with karaoke and microwavable cakes! Hey, a movie, too! We kinda own this hotel now, so…"
He trailed off, waiting for her answer.
"Amu. My name's Amu."
"And your birthday?" Nagi asked, as she stopped in front of a room.
"I think I like this room." The door was open, as if welcoming her in. It was a room filled with mystery with its wonderful view and dark-ish decorations. It would be perfect for a lone wolf like Amu.
Nagi and Kukai exchanged a glance at each other, and as Kukai was about to say, "Someone has that room,"
Nagi hit him in the ribs and whispered, "It would do him good to meet someone like her. A girl who seems to have been through a lot… Someone who is drawn to this place. That's what's called fate Kukai."
"Fate my patooie. Fate is something in romance novels, Nagi. This is real life. What do you expect to happen? Something magical? That our mutual friend would decide to return in the near future if he has been gone for months, just because of fate? Bullshit. I bet ten bucks he won't show." Kukai sneered back.
"Ten it is," and sealing the deal with a handshake from Kukai, Nagi turned to her and said, "It's been awhile since that room has been used, but I thiink he won't mind."
"You never said your birthday!" Kukai said enthusiastically, as he glared at Nagi, still doubtful, who was smiling brightly.
Amu's back was to the two of them, looking at the room. "Damn, whoever had this room last was one lucky guy!"
"See, I told you so!" Nagi whispered to Kukai, which got his foot stomped on.
Amu turned as she looked upon the whispered bickering session they had. Amu was slightly jealous of them, because she really had no one to fight with, no close relationship with anyone at all…
But then she sighed. "My birthday isn't a big deal."
Both faces turned to her, aghast, as if she had just said that she would be dying from cancer.
"What do you mean?" They both said in unison, then glared at each other, then turned back to her.
"Birthdays are SUPER DUPER important!" Kukai raced to say first.
"It's the day you were born," Nagi said, two seconds later.
"And you should totally spend it with friends!" Kukai giddily explained, finishing his friend's sentence.
"It's a special occasion to celebrate your life." Nagi finished the entire topic altogether.
They both looked at her expectantly.
"I don't have any…" She thought of Su, and shook her head. "I don't have any friends anymore."
"Well, that is just plain sad! You look like a kind soul…" Kukai interjected.
"You should stop avoiding the question." Nagi's voice was blunt, but not cold.
"Nagi! That's ruuude!"
"Shut it, Kukai!"
They went into another bickering session as Amu unloaded her backpack and guitar off her back. The view of the moon and the skyline here was great. Everything seemed so welcoming, so safe. It seemed like a den, waiting for her, calling to her, and her tastes. And the people here were so kind. So fun. They were entertaining. She would stick around, she thought. If not for a couple of days.
Amu was distracted by the moon, so bright and close and full that she wanted to step out of the window and unto the terrace and touch it.
"Oh, my birthday? Today."
"TODAY?" They shouted, and then looked at each other."Shit!"
As they fumbled their words, Amu told them to relax.
But Kukai dragged Nagi out, whispering something in his ear. "Wait here! We'll put something together!"
Amu rolled her eyes, but they hadn't noticed. They had already left, and slamming the door behind them.
She could still hear their rushed footsteps running down the stairs, and ideas jumping from both lips of the two guys.
It had been so long since she had been with people her age, people who actually cared about her. The gang never treated her that way, and neither did her father. He only did birthdays for balls, meaning for more meetings. More meetings meant more money.
More money meant more bribes for her to go to school.
Her "colleagues" gave her gifts to gain her favor. Her gangmembers, except for Su, forgot.
Her mother and sister always remembered, but they were family. They weren't friends.
She didn't have friends. But it felt nice to be cared for.
She never really experienced it before.
It felt kinda nice.
After fully unpacking, and laying tummy-up and staring at the ceiling, an out-of breath Kukai knocked at the door.
"Amu! Come on, let's celebrate your birthday!"
I blinked, one, twice. I didn't recall passing by the hospital that night. What had Amu seen?
"Oh my gosh! Did he see you? Was he driving by? Did he SAY something to you?" Nadeshiko's questions came fast and heavy, like they were fired from a machine gun.
Amu simply shook her head.
"I saw him on a billboard."
Her words shook me. It was as if I still had influence on her, even if it was in a picture form.
"Amu, which one?" Nadeshiko had paused as she seemed to collect herself. "Which one was it?"
Amu stayed silent for a second.
"The one where it showed his eyes, looking straight into the camera, and his hair barely in the frame: the "Seeing You" Cologne. Nade…. His eyes! His… eyes. It was as if he was accusing me, looking through me! They were so sad, so full of pain. Nade… What have I done?"
Amu's voice was broken.
"You know, the easiest way to fix it…"
"I can't, Nade." She looked up from her hands, and stared straight into the camera.
"Why are you so…" Nade was about to complain, but Amu stopped her.
"I'm not afraid of commitment, I'm scared of something much more dangerous."
"And that is…?"
"Drop it." Her voice was full of sad malice. She looked away.
"Then don't come crying to me about it, expecting me to comfort you and not ask any questions. If you left, you have to let go of him."
"I can't." She looked at the camera again.
"I love him, Nade." The answer was something that made my heart clench, and I didn't even know how to react. I knew this, and yet the puzzle was still too hard. I couldn't figure out everything just yet. But I knew these videos would help me.
"If you love it, you have to let it be free." She looked away, and in her eyes, was this whole and complete sadness that seemed to consume her. She looked in the direction of the billboard with sad longing. How could I have not seen how broken she was?
"What is WITH that mantra? That doesn't even FIT in this situation! What is wrong with you?"
"So many things." Her eyes went forward again, and her hand covered up the camera.
Sorry for the short chapter. This is getting so heavy emotionally! I know exactly what's going to happen for everyone, and I'm so excited for the next chapter. Did you guys like it? Do you like how I'm blending past, present, and past again? Hm.. Hopefully this isn't too cliché. I hate those kinds of stories. Review, please! I WANT TO KNOW WHAT Y'ALL THINK!