Chapter Title: Might as Well Escape to Rehearsal With an Air of Mystery
My heart pounded in my chest, mask fixed firmly back in it's place, my gloved hand jabbing the elevator call button.
It was such a thrill to reveal who I really was to someone, the feeling of my blood surging through my veins making me light headed, making my heart pound against my ribs, the feeling rivaling the rush of the stage. It's a trick I don't preform often for obvious reasons, but oh how relieving it feels to let the bag of secrets leak a little.
My contacts are back in place, my hair most likely a little disheveled from running my fingers through it on my trip to the elevators, my cheeks burning from the blood that reached them... though, it's not like any one could tell with my face hidden behind my mask.
I let out a small breath as the metal doors slid open, happily hopping in, keeping a sharp ear out for the pattering of another pair of feet on the office's carpeted floor.
At first I had been relieved, thinking the tall artist wouldn't try to follow me, but then I heard the click of a door opening and a quick shout that had me turning down the wrong corridor. He was fast, almost right on my heels for most of the chase, complaining and demanding me to stop, to give him some answers but I know this building like the back of my glove.
Losing him was easy. It was staying lost that was hard.
Hitting the button that would take me to the ground floor, I tapped the close door button in hopes of getting the far-to-slow machine to get its butt in gear, the doors finally shutting just as I thought I saw something round a corner nearby.
With a breath of relief I run a hand through my white strands, frowning as I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflective walls of the lowering box. My hairs messier then I'd like it to be from my running around the office space, mask a little crooked, clothing a slightly disheveled. I straightened my red mesh jacket, doing what I could to fix the rest of myself, making sure everything is in place and the most presentable I can get it to be for when I step out of the moving room.
No doubts that the press are flat against the glass. I sighed at the thought of having to get the windows cleaned again, I just had them cleaned a few days ago, but then again I don't want reporter prints smeared across my front doors.
A pair of shamelessly staring ocean depth eyes flashed before my vision, the memory presenting to me what little emotions those eyes had shown during the interview. It made me grin, my heart beginning to slow yet butterflies continued to flutter around in my chest.
The ding of reaching the ground floor pulled me from my thoughts and I once again took in a breath, patently waiting for the metal doors to slide open before I stepped out.
Immediately my eyes caught sight of Tyki, his short black curls framing his face as he smiled flirtatiously at the woman sitting behind the desk, the flashing of cameras in the corner of my eye alerting me of the press ironically pressed against the front doors and windows glass like I'd predicted.
I sighed, it was just as I thought, as always the paparazzi is acting crazy.
"Tyki?" I called to him, ignoring the press.
The male glanced my way, quickly ending his conversation with something that made the woman giggle before leaving the desk, letting the secretary getting back to work.
"Someone had a good time." He observed as I entered hearing range, a creepy suggestive smirk playing across his lips, "I'm guessing you've found yourself an artist."
I rolled my eyes at him, following him towards the buildings back entrance, Tyki pausing a moment to wave good-bye to my secretary.
"Please stop flirting with my employees Tyki."
He smirked, "only if you stop."
"Please don't." I said tiredly.
"Don't what?" He asked trying to feign innocence, unable to hide his knowing smirk.
When I glanced his way with wide puppy dog eyes and he chuckled, amused by my low tolerance of his teasing.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry One-Four but I couldn't help it, your always so proper around strangers and you rarely show so much interest in a person. If you hadn't been siting when he walked into the too you would have fallen all over yourself."
"I-I would not have!" I hissed lowly, frowning at the truth in his statement, thinking back to that heart stopping moment.
The second that Yuu Kanda walked into the room I had been nailed to my spot on the couch, his intense gaze instantly halting every movement I could possibly make, my silver clashing with his sharp blues.
His eyes, in the moment they where just as vibrant as I'd remembered them, the same color as the blue-raspberry kool-aid jammers I keep stocked in my private dressing room, yet held a slicing ice that made me feel like I'd stepped out onto frozen water in nothing more then briefs. He was much much taller then me, and intimidating, with a naturally annoyed expression that could scare bears away. When he scowled I could just see the grown men that must have wet themselves under his frightening targeting eyes.
And while most people hated those feelings... I loved them.
Distrusting, cold shouldered, strong, dark, and silent. It was so rare to find that sort of combination in a person.
Plus, he's an artist, an incredible artist.
Honestly, I hired him the moment he refused to shake my hand. An artist, true to himself, and handsome to boot. Yuu Kanda is perfect for the position, the eye candy that came with him being a wonderful bonus.
"Your a horrible liar One-Four." Tyki said with a grin, placing his hand on the door handle.
I shook my head, taking another deep breath, running a hand through my hair, a bad habit that I couldn't drop no matter how much scolding or guilt my hairdresser gave me. I'll regret it's messiness later when Miranda gives me her sad, disappointed eyes for messing up her hard work before even reaching the rehearsal.
Tyki let out a soft groan that attracted my attention, and I followed his gaze to see that a few paparazzi that had succeedin sneaking through security, doing a poor job of hiding around the corner, camera's and microphones up, ready to jump us on our way out.
I grinned tiredly, they were annoying and ruthless but I gave the reporters kudos, they where persistent.
"I thought this might happen," Tyki mumbled, "good thing Rico's waiting in the car."
Pulling out his cell Tyki started a quick text, frowning down at the device as he spoke and typed.
"Damn, and here I was hoping to tease you all the way to the car."
I chuckled, "Yay for me."
He grinned in response, sparing me a swift glance.
"Oh and uh, I told Mr. Kanda you'd be escorting him home."
Tyki sighed, nodding, informing me that Rico was coming before I shoo'd him on his way, the tan man leaving just as my body guard pushed through the back entrance.
"Thanks Rico." I said gratefully.
He grinned, nodding before politely holding open the door for me.
I ducked through the doorway, almost becoming one with a camera and microphone before Rico steered me away from the three reporters and their camera carriers, the large bodyguard stepping into their view of me. He kept close on my heels as I swiftly sped my way to the car, my black stretched Zagato Coupe shining in the sun light, looking quiet expensive with its tinted windows and sleek European design, the reporters jumping and yelling around the large scary man protecting me.
"What's your business in the Walker building?!"
"Mr. Fourteenth! What's your relation to the owner of the building?!"
"Who was the man with your manager?!"
"Where are you headed now?!"
It was always like this, people screaming questions at me, the intensity ranging from a singular person just freezing in place to fan's screaming my name as they break down in tears, which I feel is wasted on me.
By now I would have usually let out a deep breath of weariness, on a daily basis I dreaded the press, especially since they'd badger and stir up more gossip then what could make my head spin until I finally caved and cleared up all the fake situations they'd released into the public. It's why most of my life is a secret, the hidden ownership's, anonymous donations, quiet meetings, it's all because I need a separate life from all the fame, all the attention. I need the ability to escape, to take off the mask and go back to a nobody, be just an average guy with flamboyant hair and strange eyes, to be just another person trying to get by and live their life without getting beat for looking different.
With a quick glance I flashed them my widest grin, not stopping as I spoke, approaching the backseat's door that Rico jogged ahead to open for me.
"Just had some business to take care of," I said feigning innocence, yet keeping an air of mystery, "nothing too interesting, but I am heading to my last rehearsal before tomorrow's concert, I hope to see some of you in the crowd or backstage... if you can make it."
For a split second the small group went smile, listening intently to see if I'd reveal anything else, but they exploded into a flurry of shouting questions when they realized I was slipping away. Rico closed the door behind me, the voices outside becoming muffled as I adjusted myself in my seat.
"Now Mr. Fourteenth, they'll never leave you alone if you tease them like that."
I grinned warmly at the elderly Asian man with graying hair sitting in the driver's seat, his joked warning a welcomed sound, our eyes meeting with a friendly familiarity through the rear view mirror.
"Tanaka! Oh my- How was your trip? Is Kumi alright?"
He nodded, turning his old smiling eyes away to adjust his mirror's, Rico climbing into the passenger seat.
"It was wonderful, thank you sir, there where no troubles thank goodness, the baby's perfectly healthy. I'm so proud of my Kumi."
I gave another smile even though I knew he didn't see it, genuinely happy for my old chauffeur, he was a good man with an amazing sense of humor and a naturally fatherly feel to him. He worked hard and seemed to read my mind at time's, just somehow knowing where he needed to be, saving my ass from the paparazzi many times in the past. His daughter Kumi was at the peak of her pregnancy and he wanted to head home, be there for the birth of his grandchild, so I granted him a few weeks off. I'd been so busy lately I'd forgotten he was due back to work today.
"That's great Tanaka, I'm sure Kumi will be an amazing mother."
He chuckled gently, laughter lines and crows feet becoming prominent in his features, a strong pull putting the vehicle into drive.
"Thank you Mr. Four, I'm sure she will be too."
I nodded quickly, turning to look out my window as the elderly man began taking us on our way, my mind drifting back to the artist that seemed to harness all my attention.
I could clearly remember the moment I spotted him outside that grocery store, his knife edge appearance twisted in anger, strong hands rattling a couple of teasing shopping carts that refused to separate. I would have laughed if he wasn't so big and scary, and didn't look in serious need of some help.
Thinking back now it made sense why he'd shot me with all those suspicious glares, that un-trusting side of him must have gone on high alert from my random act of kindness. For a moment I had been worried he'd recognized me, that he somehow was figuring it all out... so it'd been so satisfying to hear him gruffly announce that he didn't have a clue as to who I was. I couldn't help smiling when he rudely and suspiciously asked if he should know me, my satisfaction leaking into the 'No' I reply with. I must have seemed like a loon, but I honestly didn't even care.
That man, that tall, raven haired gem with distrustful, accusing eyes that seemed to plead for my help, had been a little more then rude to me at the store over a week ago... And I had loved every second of it.
The satisfaction I had felt from his offensive I-don't-give-a-shit manner was so dang fulfilling... I could easily become addicted to it.
That sounds really weird, I know, but I swear I'm masochistic or anything like that (not that being one is bad but personally I don't roll that way), it's not satisfying in, well... not in that way and it's not because he was humiliating me but because I knew that that is who he is. Yuu Kanda is rude, cold, seemingly thick headed and oblivious, but he was like that the whole time, he was like that when I met him in the store, he was like that when I met him as the Fourteenth, he didn't seem to care in the slightest who he was talking to or who was in the room.
In fact the main reason I was disguised in the first place was because I knew this would happen, I'd known more then my fair share of fake people even before getting into the music business, it was crystal clear to me what would happen if I signed that deal with Round-Off Records almost six years ago, I knew what my future held if the population fell for my music.
Once I made it big there was no going back, people would treat me unfairly forever after hearing my name, and in this day and age there are so many more ways to do it, to keep tabs on people, so easy to retrieve their personals, it was all a click away.
"Damn..." I heard Rico mutter, the curse pulling me back to my reality only to see a new mob of reporters standing along the front entrances of the EX-Center, preparing for my arrival.
The only mistake made when constructing the EX-Center? They forgot to put in a back employee only entrance. One of those would have been nice.
I frowned at the sparse crowd, instructing Tanaka to drop us off a close as he could to the least crowded entrance, Rico nodding as I told him to follow behind me.
If the press was going to act like wild dogs after that small interaction with Kanda, it'll just get worse if I leave them without some sort of answers, I'd have to give them a little something to chew on.
Silently I waited for Rico to climb from the car and open my door, keeping a certain gracefulness as I slipped out of the vehicle. I swiftly started towards the glass sliding doors of the complex's entrance, pretending to ignore the paparazzi, making it halfway up the cement staircase before once again becoming mobbed by the press.
Loud cries of my stage name escaped the lips of almost every man and woman around me, cameras clicking rapidly or filming the encounter messily, microphones shoved as closely as possible to my lips, the people becoming a mixture of heads and hands as I lead them on believing I was going to stay silent.
I remember the first few times I had been stampeded by the press, it was frightening and overwhelming, to look over and see a mob of people running at me full speed when the most attention I had before where disapproving glares. It was a huge change, it took months for me to accept the fact that people would love me now for my work, the hate I revived from some never fazed me in the slightest, was expected honestly, but for the longest time I as baffled that people wanted to meet me, follow my life, feel excitement at the thought. It's why I'm sure to always be polite in public, to be a good figure of influence while not exactly portraying that, to make sure that my fans know I'm grateful for everything they've made me. Without their love I'd be nothing, I could never grow numb to their happiness or openly annoyed by a fans approach, after six years of this I've only learned how to better play the part.
I stopped short as they half surrounded me, Rico standing intimidatingly at my side in case someone tried something funny, the crowd quieting to hear me.
Shooting them a blinding smile I turned on my heel, braving the large group, lightly chuckling into the bouquet of mic's before adjusting into a casual stance, putting a hand on my hip.
"Could you please repeat that?" I asked them, the group immediately exploding with voices.
"Mr. Fourteenth! Why were you at the Walker building!?" Someone yelled extra loudly, the reporters quieting as they anticipated my response.
"I've rented out the owners private floor for the next few days, I had some business to attend to and privacy is key with these things."
"Who was the long haired man that arrived with your manager?!"
"The raven? We'll say he's a friend of a friend." I said simply, a sly yet innocent smile taking my lips.
"Did you speak with the raven?!"
"Of course I spoke with him, he tagged along for a reason you know, he's a bit of a grump so he's not going anywhere without a good reason."
"What business did you have in the Walker building?!"
"Who's the friend that introduced you?!"
"Can you tell us the Raven's name?!"
"Do you know the Walker buildings owner?!"
I shook my head as they began shooting off questions digging into things too deep for me to share with them, I had to keep up some mystery, I can't just blabber about everything, it'll make figuring me out far to easy, I can't just give them the answers. Giggling at their efforts I spoke directly into the microphones, it's a good effort but they should know by now, if they try to dig too deep it'll scare me off.
"Now, Now. Those are secrets for me and the raven only, you know what I always say, for me to know and you to find out."
With a wink I grinned straight into one of the filming cameras before me and calmly yet quickly headed to the sliding doors of the center, the glass allowing me entrance when my weight hit the pressure plate in the floor. The flashing and clicking of cameras, along with the screamed questions from the mob, resounded loudly behind me as I easily escaped them, Rico and his large build doing a wonderful job of holding them off.
Entering the building I walked far into the open entrance, stopping by a ticket booth, not relaxing until the reporters shouts where muffled by the shut doors.
I took a moment to glance around once I was alone, taking in my surroundings as the sound of Rico's approaching footsteps echo'd closer and closer, the large building seeming much bigger on the inside, but being the biggest stadium in the city I guess that was to be expected. On the outside the building looks bulky, the thing taking up almost eight square city blocks, it's grey and baby blue color's contrasting with the huge black tinted office building's that surrounded it, the name 'EX-CENTER' painted over each entrance in letters you'd be able to see for miles. 31 stories tall with a fifty foot wide elevating turn-table stage, a retractable roof, and seating for over 60,000 people, this place is easy to get lost in.
I frowned when no one came out to greet me, the sounds of rehearsal and set up echoing faintly from a place beyond the ticket booth's, a sign to my right announcing that it was pointing toward's the field.
I shrugged to myself, hearing the click of a phone snapping shut, turning my head to the noise to see Rico stuffing his phone into his pocket.
"Tyki's on his way." He said with a slightly Brazilian accent, his mocha eyes scanning the quiet area around us.
I nodded, gesturing for him to follow as I stepped in the direction the sign was indicating led to the field, ignoring the unoccupied windows by striding right past them.
Looks like we're finding our own way to rehearsal then.
Following the sign's Rico and I wandered the area, moving by ear towards the sounds of the practice until we found a staircase leading up to the next floor, a sign informing us that it led to the ground floors seating.
Reaching out my fingers barely brushed the metal railing before the sound of steps washed down the cement stairs, the familiar thumping of someone running along pavement speedily growing in volume.
Watching the platform that twisted the staircase a petite woman with brown-blond hair spun around the corner, hand tightly gripping the railing as she flew down the flight of steps.
Her long hair gently bounced along with the tasseled purse on her hip, her canvas shoe clad feet hitting the first step after the turn before she glanced up, her red-brown eyes widening as she gasped from the sight of my bodyguard and I.
"M-Mr. Fourteenth!" She squeaked, lightly panting, "Oh my god, I am so so sorry! I-"
"Please, please it's quiet alright," I cut off her apology, giving her a pleasant grin, just glad someone who new their way around had found us, "I'm guessing you're my guide to the field then?"
She nodded hurriedly, flashing us her employee card before kindly requesting that we follow her, a few more hushed apologies leaving her lips.
We headed up the stairs she'd just bound down, the girl walking with her head down a step ahead of me, Rico keeping a close eye on the girl as he stiffly tagged along.
"Are you alright?" I ask her quietly, making her jump.
"Oh, uh, y-yeah, I'm j-just a big fan and I, I just can't believe I was late, I'm really sorry."
My grin faltered slightly but I pushed it back into place when she glanced back at me.
"Please stop apologizing, it's fine really."
"I know, I'm sorry I keep apologizing, it's just... eeeehhhhhh! It's just, it's you! You're you and you're right here! Oh my good god, if Jenna knew about this, she'd murder me to be in my shoes right now!"
The strange noise of glee that escaped her didn't surprise me, fans made the weirdest sounds all the time, but her quick change from relatively timid to suddenly squealing with happiness made me weary.
I love my fans, I do, that's why I'll always keep a tolerance, never show them the rude side of me... If I'm really annoyed I try holding it in, use the stress of it in rehearsal.
We continued down the hallways, taking a few turns here and there, the woman slowly growing more excited as she became more comfortable.
I wanted to run away from her, her giggling and fangirling making me want to sigh, but I couldn't do either of those things since that would be hurtful. It's not her fault she's excited, I understand the reasoning, who wouldn't be overwhelmed with madness inducing excitement?
Kanda, that's who.
I let my mind wander in his direction, and I found myself wishing it was him here instead of this perky girl with a high voice, he'd for sure be a lot calmer then she is... we could be discussing getting those picture he drew last night on my next batch of albums, or talking about his schooling. I wonder what it was like in university, was it just like in the movies? Was it better? Is it really as tiring as they say? I wonder if he ever took any courses other then art... I wonder... if he can make such beautiful things overnight like that what could he do with a couple of month's?
I made a mental note to have Tyki send over a copy of the new album with the contract and a letter, if he accepts the job we can think of it like his first assignment, I want to see what he can make of it.
Resisting the urge to run my fingers through my hair I wondered if Kanda realized that he'd be traveling with me once it was time I left the country, it'd be a dream to travel with an artist of his degree. Looking over his resume had made my heart pound, he'd studied everything from plain and simple visual arts to the basic's of graphics and film design, and even though most of his experience was in illustration, the work that he has in his portfolio is incredible, the pieces Lavi showed me had taken my breath away.
My weird... let's just call it a 'thing', for artist's really wasn't helping me any.
"And here we are!" The woman suddenly chirped, gesturing towards a large black door that read 'field access', "just head through here, your crew should be waiting inside."
"Thank you," I smiled.
She ended up getting a picture out of me before she finally left, Rico leaving with her to wait for Tyki.
I dawdled in the hallway, the sounds of my own muffled music drifting through the closed door, and I relished the moment of complete absence of people, happily enjoying this rare moment of alone time until it was ruined by my hair dresser peeking her head out the door.
Miranda timidly called out to me, ushering me inside before going to work, giving me her wide 'how could you?' eyes that always made me feel guilty for messing up my hair, the crew and her helping me get ready before Krory, my coordinator, pulled me on stage so we could begin practicing for the concert.
Not ten minutes into rehearsal I zoned out, my body moving out of routine, and you can guess where it went.
Again I could easily picture his cobalt ocean orbs, my thoughts taking me to the moment before I'd removed my mask, when we where inches apart, to the sight of his frustrated clenched jaw mixed with the wall of dominance he'd become as he stood over me, his entire being almost two sizes my existence. I was about to call him out on crossing the line when the door slammed beneath his large hand, but... I froze, my protests dying on my lips. I'd say he took my breath away, but that would be a lie, I knew I was breathing, I remember feeling multiple bursts of air as they fanned over his skin.
The memory made me blush beneath my freshened makeup and half mask, I had to admit Kanda was just so... so pretty, and that was when he was frowning, looking annoyed or almost angry.
If he smiled I'd probably die... Or melt faster then ice cream in July.
"-ur!... Four!... FOUR!"
I glanced up in confusion, realizing I had drifted too far away with my thoughts and had stopped moving in the middle of the stage, missing my cue.
Krory stood in front of me, hand gently placed on my shoulder, frowning at me with a concerned look.
"Four are you okay? You're never distracted during rehearsal."
"Y-Yeah, I'm fine, just... thinking."
He watched me for a second with an unsure gaze before nodding with a sigh, opening his mouth to say something when Tyki's voice echoed through the stadium.
"ONE-FOUR! PAY ATTENTION! YOUR NOT GETTING PAID TO THINK ABOUT THAT RAVEN'S ASS!"
I blushed -not that anyone could see- scowling at him and hissing for him to shut up as he laughed at me, my back up dancer's and crew snickering in their places or looking around in confusion to the commotion before Krory settled them down, starting us all over again from the top.
With one last shake of my head I tried to push Kanda from my brain, focus on my movements, where I'm supposed to be standing, the lyrics I'm supposed to be singing.
Yet there he stayed, in that nagging part of my brain that just wouldn't stop reeling over him.
I think this time it's going to take me a lot longer then just a week to calm him from my thoughts.
So today's my birthday, and I wanted to do something for you guys that have been reading this story, and I've had this chapter sitting for a while now, so I thought I might share it.
Sadly this story will still be on hold and this chapter isn't the best, I feel, but I do promise that I have been working on it, and that I will be continuing to work on it. I don't know if I'll be updating it again soon though, we'll have to see with how The Cold Silent Night is doing and everything, plus law class has been a pain (god last year of high school is SCARY)
Also, my love goes out to XavierForest for the favorite! I am currently reading all of your M rated stories and your SUCH a good author! Keep up the good work!