In the email I was sending to my current temporary employer, I attached my illustration, and only typed two words: 'any changes?' My computer automatically adding a signature to the bottom as I hit the send button.
I leaned back in my old desk chair, bones popping and muscles protesting as I stretched out the stiffness that came with sitting still and hunched over for so long.
With a glance at my clock, I sighed, it read 3:48 AM.
I had been working for over six hours nonstop.
A grumbling in my stomach had me getting up from my chair and I found myself staring into the empty leftover takeout boxes that lived on my refrigerator shelves.
Slamming the door shut as hard as you could slam refrigerator door, I angrily made a mental note that I needed some sort of real food, I hadn't made myself a rice omelette in forever. But then again that meant leaving my comfortably tiny apartment.
Never mind. I much rather starve.
The thought to ask Leena to pick up some groceries for me surfaced in my mind as I rummaged through the empty cabinets but was quickly dismissed. She was busy enough as it is and that damn Usagi would try to get me outside to 'talk.' I really didn't need that right now... Or ever.
I was fine, really.
Lavi (aka Usagi) and Leena both think that I've got some kind of problem. Yes, I prefer to watch the rainfall rather than the sun shine and yes, getting me to leave this apartment was like giving a child a booster shot. A lot of kicking and screaming and stubbornness. But I don't think it's a problem.
If there's any problem in this shitty equation, it's people in general, I hate people. They act like I'm the only one but I have tumblr, I've done my fair share of research, everyone hates people. My hate in particular just runs deeper than most. Much, much deeper.
With a sigh I gave up my cupboard exploration, noting that I was also out of my favourite tea, and I made a promise to myself that I would go out into the cold mid-September weather to gather food for my protesting belly.
Huffing in annoyance I ran a hand through my raven, ass length hair.
What to do, what to do.
Great, I'm bored now.
I could try sleeping again, but I doubted it would work out, it almost never did.
My phone went off somewhere in the next room.
Ugh. It was probably the Usagi checking up on me. Again.
Dragging myself into my bedroom I grabbed the phone off the bedside table, flopping down onto the mattress lazily.
Yup: One Text Message From 'Usagi':
'What do u what?'
'Aw is samurai Jack feeling a little grumpy?'
'Don't call me that u damn Usagi'
'How r things? We haven't talked in awhile'
'U mean since the last time u checked on me?'
'I mean since the last time we talked, face to face, like regular people'
'Good I guess if being sleep deprived and desperate for work can fall under good'
'As long as ur still in that apartment it doesn't'
'Why r u up this late anyway?'
'Work had me up again'
'Kanda listen, I have something I want to talk to u about, but I wanna do it face to face'
'Lavi u know how I feel about leaving my apartment'
'Yes but it's good for u Yuu'
'Don't call me that'
'Do I really have to?'
'Yes Kanda, please? It's about a job, and the guy is willing to pay quiet a lot, so please?'
'Can't u just e-mail me the details?'
'No Kanda, u either come to the dark grind at 8 tomorrow or u miss out on this opportunity, the choice is urs'
I buried my face into a pillow in frustration, Lavi could be so stubborn, but then again so could I. At least before I was so tired all the time. Before... Never mind... Just this once I might as well do what he wants, especially if I want to have enough money to pay next months rent. Plus, I needed groceries anyway. God tomorrow's going to suck.
'Fine, u win'
'Yeah, I need groceries anyway'
'YUS! Then I will see u tomorrow! I'll be waiting!'
'U should probably get some rest'
'I would if I could'
'For me and for Leena'
Tossing my phone onto my bedside table, I sprawled out on my comforter, and rubbed my face tiredly with one hand.
Why's he always so cheery? What's there to be happy about?
Not much in my life.
I guess you could say I'm content in this... negativeness. I wouldn't say happy, but content... I guess.
Relaxing myself I stared up at the dark blue ceiling, moonlight streaming in the window providing minimal amounts of sad blue shaded light. I dreaded the next few hours, it was going to be a long sleepless night.
Laying in my bed my mind came reeling out of my personal la la land as the urge to glance at the clock came over me.
Wow, an hour and a half worth of sleep spread out into a hazy 3 hours.
That's a new record.
Pulling myself out of bed, I was heading to the bathroom, but a glimpse in the full length mirror hanging on my closet door had me stop and stare.
I didn't recognize the man reflected back at me.
My hair was a greasy mess, my body thinner then I'd thought, I guess my habit of forgetting to eat had me loosing more weight then I realized.
Lavi's surely going to get on my case about that. Ugh.
And those bags under my eyes, shit, theres no covering that up.
Makeup?... Ew, no, where'd that come from? Yes I cover my problems but I'm NOT going that far. Makeup's a no for me.
With a sigh I deemed myself a lost cause for another day, and rushed to jump into my warm shower.
I let the water spray over me, enjoying the feeling of the liquid as it wet my hair and skin, basking in the rising of my body temperature. What? I said I wasn't depressed didn't I? Can't a guy enjoy the small things in life? I follow the official '1000 Awesome Things' blog, I skimmed through the books, in fact right now I'm indulging in #946, 'The First Shower You Take After Not Showering For A Really Long Time.' I completely agree, it's a great indulgence.
Feeling a little better, I reached for my Green Tea head and shoulders, shaking the bottle before flipping open the cap. With a powerful squeeze, a penny sized droplet of green shampoo was farted into my hand, and trying again I received only air. Another thing to add to the grocery list, I guess it's a conditioner only day... Thank god the closet thing I have to a pet is a sword. Yes I named him, I call him Mugen. Don't judge me, you have your quirks, I have mine.
Annoyed I began to devise a list of anything a person needs for basic survival, because I probably needed one of everything.
Shelter? Check. Running water? Check. And everything else can be picked up at the store with the money I don't have, seeing as I'm a starving artist of sorts, most of my money goes to the apartment and my supplies. Oh, and to the debt I racked up so I could have all this education, even with the scholarships I applied for, there was still a profound amount of debt. I'm actually very educated and skilled in almost all art forms with a Masters degree in illustration, and bachelors degrees in; painting, photography, the phycology of design, and I even had to dabble in fashion for a few extra filler courses, that with writing, english, and poetry classes.
I stepped out of the shower throughly scrubbed, list completed, and I towel dried my long raven hair before brushing it out and then wrapping it in a tight ponytail. This little ritual of tying my hair up was the result of many childhood years of living in my home country of Japan. My father had always been so proud of our Samurai heritage, so he enrolled me in every disciplinary fighting style that was taught. Karate, jujitsu, you name it, I've tried it at some point, but the one thing I had loved most was learning the ways of the sword. My father had even entrusted me with Mugen before he died, a precious family heirloom and a gift from my fathers death bed, Mugen is my prized possession.
Anyway, disregarding my mini flash back, I avoided my reflection like usual throwing on a cheesy gray sweater with 'University of Alberta' stitched onto the front, a pair of loose black jeans, and my favorite long jacket that was like one of those old time detective coats. It was black, warm and a little worn, but I love the thing to bits.
I threw on my black boots and began making my way to 'The Dark Grind', this depressing brown, beige, and blue coffee shop that sat only a block from my apartment. It was my favorite, they actually made good tea, it made me little less annoyed with having to leave the apartment. Just a little.
It was actually a nice day today, the sun hidden by a light grey sky flooded by clouds, and a cold breeze that was trying to instill itself in my bones. My kind of day. But the warmth of the small coffee shop was still a nice escape from the snow.
Walking up to the counter I was greeted by a preppy blonde with a flat chest and a pretty face. I rolled my eyes at her.
Women are cute and all but most of them are really not worth the time, their not really my type.
"Hi, how can I help you?" she chirped happily, making my ears hurt.
"Medium green tea." I monotoned.
I could feel Lavi's eyes burning a hole into the back of my head, willing me to turn and see him.
My stomach grumbled.
"Add a carrot muffin to that." I ordered last second, the girl giving a nod as she hit the buttons on the cash register.
Lavi's staring intensified as I paid for my breakfast, and I shook my head.
"Coming right up!" she informed me like I'd asked her to go shopping with my credit card, moving to start on my drink.
Dreading the conversation ahead of me, I turned making quick eye contact with the Usagi, his eyes lighting up as I acknowledged him with a nod. I grabbed my breakfast as it appeared on the counter, questioning why I agreed to this and the point of being out of the house in the first place.
"Hey Yuu." he greeted me as I sat in the relatively uncomfortable booth across from him.
I nodded in response.
We each took a sip of our drinks in almost perfect synchronization, the Usagi making an annoying 'ah!' noise as his waxy paper cup clinked against the wooden table.
I took a bite of my muffin. Mmm~ Carrot~
"So, Yuu, how's life?"
I swallowed, then huffed at the stupid question, life was exactly the same since we last talked face to face. Dull, tiring, unfair.
"Don't call me that baka Usagi."
"Then don't call me 'baka'."
It was quiet, a moment of slightly awkward silence passing between us before Lavi sighed and reaching into his pocket before setting a tiny black box down on the counter.
"Lavi? Is that...?" I asked my eyes widening.
He nodded behind his coffee, and I picked up the box. Carefully I opened it to revel a gold band with a medium sized diamond with two slightly smaller diamonds, one on each side.
"You shouldn't have." I joked, keeping my voice steady and serious, Lavi shaking his head lightly.
"Lavi it's beautiful, Leena will love it."
"You think so?"
"It's perfect, she loves simple elegant stuff like this...when are you going to ask?"
Lavi closed the lid and slid the box back into his pocket as he answered, "I planned on surprising her with a night out to that super fancy place across town in a few days."
"The place with the stupid name? Ben frotoge, or something like that?"
"Bein Fromage" he corrected looking down at his coffee, expression flat.
Would you look at that, must be scared out of his mind, he's shaking like a leaf. At this rate he'll be covered in coffee in no time.
Putting a comforting hand over the one that trembled slightly on the table, I tried to console my long time friend.
"Lavi, you love Leena Lee, right?"
"Of course I do."
"Then stop being a big scaredy neko, she'll say yes, what girl wouldn't marry a big successful baka like you."
Letting a small smile take his lips, Lavi gave me a look of gratefulness.
Okay, I have reached my tolerance limit for emotions.
"Your welcome baka, now if you want me to have a place to live, you'll tell me about that job."
"Oh yeah! Sorry, slipped my mind."
I shook my head with a slight frown but I wasn't surprised, he was proposing in a few days, I'd be out of my mind too.
"Ok so, the jobs for my number one client, he's always using the studio, he's actully pretty popular, especially his piano pieces. Said he needs a good artist to do his album covers and stuff like that since he wants to put more concentration on his music, I said I have an artist that might be interested."
Thank the gods for Lavi. This would be perfect...other than the leaving the house part.
Now, your probably wondering, how did I, Kanda Yuu, the hobby-less hikkimori become friends with a successful man like Lavi Bookman?
Highschool. Lavi had taken an exchange program in high school that had sent him to my school in Japan. Both of us freshmen, he stuck to me like glue because I was one of the few students who could speak some english, and ever since then we'd been best friends and he's supported me every step of my life. Without him I'd probably be out on the street and clinically depressed... Or black and blue.
Lavi is actually a business man of all trades, he owns a recording studio just off Maple Way that makes all kinds of money. He doubles as a financial advisor for many of his clients and DJ's on the side as a hobby when asked. I know weird right? But whatever, he's pretty good at it. Known as 'the bookman' he's loved by every artist he meets, which is quite a lot.
"What's this guy's name?" I asked trying to seem uninterested.
"I never said?"
"How long have you worked with this guy again?"
"Kanda, this is the guy that helped me realize my DJ skills, I've been working with this man for over three years, I've made countless top thirties song's with him."
"Lavi you never actually told me anything about this guy before."
Lavi scrunched his face in confusion wondering why he hadn't told me about this pianist before until he was dawned with so much understanding that I could almost see the imaginary lightbulb over his head.
"Oh! Oh! I remember, he's pretty private, asked me not to talk about working with him... His stage name's 'The Fourteenth', he always wears this mask and a long sleeve with this cool glove."
The Fourteenth? THE Fourteenth?
"THE Fourteenth?" I asked raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, you've heard of him right?"
"Know him? Lavi, I own every album he's ever released."
His music is the least annoying thing I've come across, they're amazing for inspiration, so well orchestrated, it actually brings a small amount of happiness to my life.
"Oh shit, really?!"
"Yes, how do you not know this? I even listen to the ones you made with him, I didn't know you knew him that well."
"Whoa, shit, all those birthdays struggling to find you a present!"
I smirked rolling my eyes and he chuckled at his own joke.
"So this mean your going to the interview if I set it up?"
Drumming my fingers along the side of the cup, I thought for a moment. Most people would jump at such an opportunity, to work with someone who's music they admire, but did I really want to leave the house again? Did I want to go for this job that practically guarantees me having to socialize?
But it was THE Fourteenth.
I raised the tea to my lips. To hell with it. I need the money anyways.
Maybe I could get him to sign something, crazy fans can cough up pretty penny's.
"Yeah, fine, I'll go."
"Yes! You won't regret it Kanda, he's a great guy, you might even get along."
"Che" unlikely, but I'll let him hope.
Again, sorry about the wait but I wanted to make sure everything is in place, I'm super excited to start this adventure! Let me know what you guys think :)