There was so much expectation for the scion of the Sosa. Pulled in multiply directions, Abe somehow managed to always rise above it. At least as far as appearances were concerned. Things in his life were far from perfect and he never pretended to be something he was not. Most of the time, he said and did as he pleased.
Abe did not want to be one of those people that had to rely on others. He found it annoying. Tationy had told him once about a Sosa swordsmen during the days of ancient Aslann. The man stood at the side of the mighty Kari Commander. They were not friends, not enemies, not even rivals. It was something else. She tried to put it in words, but she told him she never thought she could do the relationship justice if she tried to explain it. He was loyal to those he respected, but getting his respect was difficult. That was what she said about the man and oddly Abe understood that sentiment.
There were some people that felt his contempt, others his wraith, and then there were those he respected though they were few and far between. The majority of the people in the world were simply not worth his energy. There was a difference of opinion depending on the person asked, but Abe thought himself not a good man.
Definition: Babosha – Means my love among the Sosa.
Abe sighed as he imagined his mother dancing as the snow fell lightly. “My little babosha, why are you standing way over there? Come…” She made a gesture with her hand before becoming distracted and twirling, “Aren’t you excited? Aslann will soon be blanketed in snow and we can chase snowflakes like we did when you were little.” He felt choking feeling as the image of her faded.
In the middle of an interview, his father called and told him that his mother was on her way to the hospital. Normally, calls from his father about his mother would never have given him pause. It was always one thing or another with her which was why his father, Emitoya wanted to have her committed. She was considered a danger to herself and the image of the Sosa.
The last time he saw his mother, they argued and she told him he was unreasonable and stifling like his father. Admittedly, he foolishly told her that he had to be that way because someone had to protect her from herself. Those words did not go over so well and Abe was told that he was suffocating her creativity. For a good couple of hours his mother had stopped talking to him altogether and then just as quickly as the argument started she forgot about it and went back to chasing snowflakes.
Abe had never been equipped to deal with her and yet his father always placed the responsibility solely upon his shoulders. Off her medication it was one manic episode after another. The highs and the lows, but sometimes it was the flights of fantasy and whimsy that were the hardest to deal with.
“Sorry about your mom,” The unexpected voice of Hiko Kari broke the silence as he joined him at the railing. He tried to understand why he was there and the part of him that hated the guy wanted to lash out. “Tationy is looking all over the hospital for you. She is really worried.” Those words were probably difficult for the Kari man to say, but he somehow managed to.
Abe did not know how he felt about having his pain laid out before the man he despised the most. “Why the fuck are you here exactly?”
“When we got home from work, Tationy checked the voice mail on her phone and there was a message from your mom asking her to take care of you. She tried to call, but could not reach you. So, she called her mom who called your dad. The moment we heard that your mom was here, Tationy insisted we come.”
“I am sure you love that.”
There was a moment of pause before Hiko responded, “I don’t like you and I am not going to pretend to be happy about it, but I don’t like seeing Tationy in pain.”
Abe considered Hiko’s words before responding, “Tat and my mom always got along really well. When she and her mom moved in with us it was completely twisted. My mom, my dad, my dad’s mistress, myself, and Tat. One big fucked up dysfunctional family.”
“How long did they live with you?”
“Probably about a year.” Abe paused, “My mom adored her. Every day she would ask Tat to always take care of me. I should not be surprised to hear that her last act was reaching out to her.” There was annoyance in his voice as he breathed through his teeth, “Tch, I have a hundred fucking things to deal with right now. I seriously do not need this shit.”
Abe noticed how Hiko turned and leaned himself against the railing as he spoke, “Need me to call anyone for you?” He would hardly call it nice, but Hiko was certainly being far more considerate than Abe had ever witnessed. “Tsubaki or someone?”
“Our relationship isn’t like that.”
“I thought you have been friends or something since you were kids.”
“Something like that, but once we started fucking she got it in her head that we were more than what we are. She will read into things if you call her.” There was a quietness that followed his words which annoyed Abe. Sighing as he rubbed his neck, “I hate silence. If you got something to fucking say, just say it.”
Still Hiko said nothing and the frustration in Abe was growing. The last thing he wanted to deal with was uncomfortable moments. So, when he finally spoke Abe was grateful, “Considering what you are going through right now, I don’t really feel great about asking you this, but honestly I don’t get it. I guess maybe because I don’t see why people think Tsubaki is so fantastic. The two of you are exactly the same; liars and cheaters. Yet, people look at her like her shit does not stink. At least with you, the fact you are a dick is obvious. With her, she comes off as nice and sweet and people completely forget that she is a lying bitch that cheated with you on Tationy. To me that makes her worse then you because she is fake. So, explain it to me; the cheating and the choking shit.”
Abe was not surprised that this was what Hiko wanted to know about, “My dad cheated on my mom all the time. Long before I hit it, Tsubaki was giving it up to anyone that would have her. I am not saying it is normal or a product of environment or the people I am surrounded with. It has to do with what we all have in common; brokenness. We need validation from other people to make us feel whole and when we do not get it, we seek it elsewhere. It had nothing to do with Tat. She was …. is amazing and anyone that is too stupid to see that does not understand her or deserve her. It was me, I fucked up.”
“If you know that, then why do you fucking act the way you do?”
Why? Abe had thought about the answer to that question for a long time. Even though he didn’t make the best decisions he was acutely aware of why he did them. That did not mean it was an easy fix. Being self-aware was only half the battle. Sometimes, people are just not strong enough to fix what is wrong with them. “I want what I want and don’t like to be told no. It really is as simple as that. I know you get it. It is why you made her yours so quickly and have held control over the relationship since. We are not that much different in that regard; both of us are selfish men that have to control and dominate all aspects of our lives.”
“I don’t do what you do.”
Sighing Abe responded, “That is only because the validation you are looking for comes from your dad right? At least he loved you. My father never gave a shit about me and my mother was too lost in her own little world. Part of me was happy when Tat came into my life because she genuinely cared about me. When you are insecure you do things. A guy like you lashes out, picks fights, is angry all the time. Having sex for validation is because you feel insecure and want love. In some ways it is about control and avoiding loneliness and hundreds of other things you just don’t want to feel.”
Hiko was quiet a moment before he responded, “The choking?”
“Her life was in my hands and that is the most powerful feeling I have ever felt. I needed to see a different side of Tat. She was always so in control and strong. I wanted her vulnerable so that she had to rely on me instead of me always relying on her. If done right, choking can be intense and the orgasm she would have experienced ….not enough to choke her out, just enough to cut off blood flow. Gives her a light feeling and you couple that with being rock hard inside of her and it would have been amazing, but she wasn’t ready to have sex and I didn’t have the control.” Abe paused, “We all have shit we want to do that we usually keep to ourselves because we are so afraid of what that special person will think of us. I know she only said yes to prove she loved me.”
If Hiko had intended to say anything, their conversation was quickly halted when he heard Tationy’s soft voice call his name, “Abe.”
Allowing his eyes to settle upon her face he managed a somewhat forced smile, “Don’t cry Tat.”
Not for a single second did she hesitate as she rushed forward into his arms, “I am so sorry.” The emotion in her voice was almost too much for even him to handle as he held her close, “She loved you so much Abe. Don’t forget that.”
Why did she have to say these things? Emotions he did not want to feel were rushing through him and any words he might have said would not leave his mouth. It had been so long since the two of them had been this close and he nearly forgot that they were not alone until he opened his eyes and realized Hiko was staring rather unhappily at the two of them. Oddly, he felt uncomfortable and consciously aware that the Kari man might be getting angry. He never cared before. Normally he would marvel in the moment, but he did not have it in him that day to willfully get under the skin of his enemy. “We keep holding each other like this, your guy is going to try and beat the shit out of me,” Abe responded rather lightly.
She forced herself to pull away, wiping a tear off her cheek. There was an unwelcome moment of pause as Hiko moved to stand next to her and Abe looked on, “The two of you have not been fighting have you?”
“No, nothing like that,” Abe responded. Her gaze was always scrutinizing as he chuckled nervously, his fingers running through his hair, “I promise.”
Tationy had offered a single nod, her lips pursing before she spoke, “I have taken care of the arrangements for your mother’s body to be released to the funeral home.”
Abe frowned, “Typical Emitoya Sosa, cannot even be bothered to tend to his wife while she is alive guess I should not be fucking surprised he walks away now that she is gone. Thanks Tat for doing that, but I have been taking care of her for as far back as I can remember. She is my responsibility.”
“No,” Tationy responded willfully, “I promised her I would take care of you and that is exactly what I intend to do. Now, there is nothing more you can do here. Come home with Hiko and I, get something eat, some sleep, and tomorrow we will go to the funeral home and talk with the director so your mom can be laid to rest properly.”
Abe could hear the emotion in her voice. Somehow he doubted Hiko was happy about her words, but he never objected which told Abe that they had discussed this before they even arrived. The selfish part of him didn’t want to be alone so it was with hesitation that he agreed with a nod of his head.
Halfway through the ride back to Thacian City, Abe almost called a driver to come and get him. The silence was deafening. Tationy and Hiko were barely speaking to each other. There was a small part of him that liked the idea of the two of them fighting because of him, but somehow he doubted he was the only reason. This heaviness was because of something else. When they had finally arrived at their apartment, Tationy fussed over Abe. It was not really surprising after all she tended to be a bit of a mother hen to those in need, even people she was mad at or did not like. It was just the type of considerate and caring woman she was.
With the couch pulled out into a bed, he was told to get some rest while they made dinner. Abe had wanted to protest, never the type of person to allow others to do things that he was clearly capable of doing, but Tationy would not allow him to not take the time to relax a bit after his day. As he lay upon the hideabed he listened to them talking. “His phone keeps ringing. Do you think the news of his mother’s death has traveled that fast?”
Abe did not dare even look at his phone figuring it was probably Tsubaki. He heard Tationy’s soft voice respond to Hiko, “There are no secrets in Aslann, at least not for long. Abe, his father, and his mother are the last of the Sosa. A loss in a family like that is a big deal.” There was an awkward pause that followed, “I am sorry you are still mad at me.”
Hiko growled, “I just don’t know what you expect from me. First, the fight with my dad, then the shit with my mom. We head back to school and that dick has you backed up against a wall. Had it not been for Semei and Kuro I would have kicked the shit out of the little fuck. Then, you tell me it is not what it looks like. Now here he is. Sleeping on our couch and I am just expected to be happy about it? I just don’t get what is going on and you are going out of your way to be evasive. I told you not to keep secrets or lie to me, so I really need you to explain this shit. Why the fuck are we letting him stay with us?”
There was a pause and Abe almost wished he could see her face, “I’m really the only family he has. His father has always been sick and twisted and his mother even though she loved him so much was always off doing her own thing. There is a reason he keeps everyone at arms-length and he goes out of his way to be jerk. Abe does not want to have to depend on anyone, but everyone needs help at some point in their life whether they want it or not.”
“Tationy, you told me you are afraid of him…”
Abe frowned as Tationy cut Hiko off, “Just because you fear someone does not mean you stop caring. Abe is on a really dark path. If he continues on it he will be worse than his father and nothing I do is going to change that. Tsubaki is the only person who has control over Abe right now. The path she walks, is the one that will make or break him. As he is right now he feels nothing for her except contempt. The two of them put themselves in that position when they slept with each other. They crossed a line that changed their relationship, their friendship, and now neither of them is emotionally connected to the other unless they are sleeping together.”
Hiko had not responded right away, “They blurred the lines that is what you are saying? Is this what you meant about crossing boundaries?”
“That is exactly what I meant.”
There was an annoyed sigh from Hiko as he said, “I still don’t like it.”
For a while, Abe tried to relax and sleep. Which turned out to be futile because his mind kept going back to the conversation that Hiko and Tationy were having, more importantly to Tationy’s words about Tsubaki. He tried to decipher them. What was it? Some sort of relationship? Were they going to get married and have kids? Connect and fall and love? He doubted that was what she meant when she said that Tsubaki was the one with control over him right now. There were things that Tationy was not wrong about, they had crossed a line. It was his own fault. He just needed a warm body and anyone would do at that point, but he could not wrap his mind around how it was that his path was linked so closely to Tsubaki’s.
At some point he finally managed to drift off to sleep, though it did not feel as though it was very long. When he sat up, he scanned the room and realized Tationy was gone. Hiko was in the kitchen cutting up vegetables, “Did I wake you?”
“No, not at all.” Standing, he stretched his body as he cautiously asked, “Where is Tat?”
“Doing the laundry.” A noticeable pause followed and Abe realized just how awkward it was spending time with Hiko, “Want something to drink? We have beer, soda…”
Interrupting he responded, “I don’t put that kind of stuff in my body.”
“Water or milk?”
“Yes, thank you either would be great.” Hiko quickly got him a glass and set it upon the counter before resuming his work on the vegetables. Abe thought it seemed unfitting of the Kari to be cooking in a kitchen, but honestly he knew very little about Hiko Kari other than they never saw eye to eye. With phone in hand he moved toward the counter where Hiko had sat his water.
There was plenty of silence which was only broken up by his phone. “It has been ringing off and on for an hour. Someone is pretty persistent. Is it Tsubaki?”
Abe tucked his hand in his pocket as he looked at his phone. Declining the call he responded, “No, it was Kuro.”
“Why would Kuro be calling you?”
He snorted, “Probably because we were fucking.”
It was almost amusing watching the expression on Hiko’s face as he worked through Abe’s admission. “Are you not going to ask me?”
“I don’t think I want to.”
“He is your friend…”
Hiko snapped, “That guy is no friend of mine.”
There was a silent moment of contemplation as Abe regarded Hiko, “I am probably going to regret asking this, but did something happen?”
“Ahh,” Hiko responded and then quickly changed the topic. “I don’t like the idea of Tationy spending so much time alone with you so, I am just going to say this as plainly as I can. I will not hold back if you touch her. I get you are going through some shit and I am trying to be understanding. However, if you cross a line, I am going to forget that you just lost your mother.”
The words of his rival were not entirely unexpected. Abe was almost thankful that Hiko was the way he was. There was no focusing on what was transpiring in his life, in fact the guy was going out of his way not to discuss it. He was not asking how he was doing or telling him that his mother was in some better place. He hated obituary condolences, “Does she really find this possessiveness and jealousy ridden temperament attractive?”
Suddenly Hiko groaned, “Alright, I will bite. How the fuck did the two of you end up sleeping together?”
The unexpected change of topic from his rival resulted in Abe laughing loudly, “I get the impression you just do not want to discuss you and Tat.”
Abe sighed when Hiko did not readily respond. The story of how he and Kuro got together, was it really something he wanted to discuss? Probably in the grand scheme of things it was easier to talk about than his mother or even Tsubaki. “It happened at that party I threw just after the term started in April. I had invited everyone at Sofore and even people I knew from Aslann High School. Of course, there were plenty of people that did not show up,” He responded as he relayed the events of that night to Hiko.
“So, she really didn’t come.” Abe sighed, “I guess it is not entirely unexpected.”
“The mess you made out of things with her, I imagine it isn’t, but still …” Goki paused, “Maybe you should think about what you will do if she does not forgive you.”
Breathing through his teeth he responded, “Tch, that is all I have been thinking about. It is not like Tat is the type of girl you can just win over with flowers, candy, and an apology. Has she…has she asked about me?”
Goki looked toward the makeshift dance floor. At first Abe thought he might avoid the question entirely until he responded, “Tationy does not even talk about you. In fact, she seems a little preoccupied these days. Going out of her way to avoid people she normally hangs with. I got cornered the other day by Sadoo and Otoha, wanting to know if I knew what was up with her. With you not around, apparently I am the go to person for what goes on in her head. Honestly, I have no idea what to tell anyone. We talk a little in class, mostly small talk, but I only know her through you.”
“I feel like I put you in a shitty position.”
Shrugging his friend spoke, “It is fine. I know you are worried about her.” There was a small amount of silence that followed, “How is this new school treating you?”
“I hate it. A bunch of pretentious rich kids trying to outdo each other with whom has the most scandalous lives. Not to mention the baseball team sucks. My new teammates are pretty decent people, but they might actually be the worst ballplayers in the nation.”
There was a momentary pause, “Abe, you know I have to ask. Did you end things with Tsubaki?”
This time it was Abe who took too long to reply as he considered how he wanted to answer that question, “No. Past few times I have met up with her it was with the intent to end things, but we just end up sleeping with each other again and it all starts over.
Exasperated sigh left Goki’s mouth, “We are friends and I don’t want to tell you what to do with your life, but your behavior is pretty self-destructive. The things you hate so much about these Sofore kids is the same stuff you are doing. I know you can see that. The two of you do not really love each other, sometimes I wonder if you even like each other. Only having met Tsubaki a few times I don’t really want to judge her, but her idealism is dangerous. From the little bit you told me, she sees you as a solution to all her problems. I get why you might feel flattered by that, but you are a human being and living up to another person’s idea of perfection and fantasies is going to break down your soul.”
“Sounds like you are speaking from experience. Something you want to tell me about your life in Japan?”
Goki rubbed the back of his neck, “There was a girl. She was in love with another guy and I kept believing that she would look at me someday. We dated for a year and even though she stood at my side, her heart was not there. I tried to be perfect for her. Give her all my love, but it wasn’t enough because I wasn’t him. So, in a way I get it. I understand why you and Tsubaki keep jumping back into bed with each other. Sometimes it is just easier to hold on even when you know the ship is sinking.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that before?”
“Talking about it is still a bit painful,” He responded as he pushed away from the DJ booth he was leaning against. “I am going to step outside for a smoke.”
Watching his friend wander away, Abe remembered thinking that he really had not taken the time to get to know Goki much more than hanging out during breaks and at lunchtime. He talked about his life so much, in fact there was nothing about it that Abe hid. He shared, probably way too much. It was part of whom he was and he never apologized for that. Really, Goki was quite opposite. He was one of those nice guys. Good heart and always willing to do the right thing, a decent sort despite his rather “bad boy” appearance. They were the same, in the sense that their looks were rather deceiving.
When Goki had first arrived to Aslann High School, Tationy had pushed Abe to talk to him. It will be good for you, she had said. Abe did not make friends easily, most people he did not like and getting his respect had always been difficult, yet he and Goki hit it off right away. Something about the guy, just made you feel so at ease you almost forgot that you had not known him your entire life. After that, the two of them were practically inseparable and even Tationy had told Abe that Goki had been a good influence upon him.
Hiko: That is almost a little funny; the thought of you actually having friends.
Abe: And people say I am the asshole. What the fuck, I probably actually have more friends than you do.
Abe: *Laughs* We are both pretty pathetic if we are fighting over whom has more friends when we both behave the way we do. Let’s call it a tie.
As their back and forth came to an end, Abe thought about what happened after Goki had stepped outside. He remembered glancing about casually to make sure everyone was having a good time before moving into the kitchen to get himself some orange juice. A voice of a senior at Sofore Academy caught his attention rather suddenly, “It is your party and you are not drinking?” He recognized him as the captain of the basketball team, Kuro Ishi and next to him was his cousin Togore.
His attention fixed upon him, “Actually, I don’t drink, but got to give the guest what they want. It is how you keep them happy.”
“It’s a great party,” Togore responded casually.
“Thanks, glad you both could attend.”
There was an awkwardness that followed, which didn’t seem odd to Abe at the time because he really only knew the two Ishi in passing. “Well,” Togore said abruptly, “I am going to go and mingle. You two have fun.”
Looking back on it that feeling of unease as Togore walked away should have been a hint that Abe had been tossed into a snake pit. At the time, he thought little of it as he stood staring at Kuro Ishi. “I didn’t see any of the other basketball players wandering around. Normally, I always spot you guys hanging out together. I guess I should not be surprised Hiko is not here, the two of us have not exactly hit it off.”
“That is an understatement.” Abe made note how Kuro’s eyes were fixed intently upon him. He was used to getting looked at, but there had only been a few with a piercing stare that it made him uncomfortable. The tension filled moment as they looked upon each other in silence came to an end as Kuro added, “Sadamitsu and Hiko decided to watch a game on television. Semei said something about going to the library to study, and Agito….don’t know what is going on with him right now.”
Abe nodded his head once in acknowledgement, “Tsubaki mentioned something in passing about Agito and his girlfriend breaking up; he is probably just dealing with that.”
There was a moment of pause as those scrutinizing eyes of Kuro Ishi washed over him, “I heard you know a little something about breakups. Rumor is you got yourself kicked out of your last school because of it.”
Suddenly, Abe felt annoyed as he tossed his cup into the garbage, “Look, I am not part of this stupid game you all have to outdo each other with scandal. What happened at my old school is my business. If you will excuse me, I got guest to attend to.”
Hiko: *Interrupted* So, what exactly did you do to get kicked out of your old school?
Abe: *Groans* Let’s not discuss that.
Hiko: Why not?
Hiko: Alright, forget I asked. So, you got bent out of shape over something you obviously do not want to talk about and walked away?
Abe: Something like that.
Normally Abe’s life was an open book, but that event was not one of his finer moments. He was surprised that Tationy had not told Hiko about it as he sighed and continued his story. That night there was so much going on and Abe really tried to engage everyone that was there. As he wandered around greeting and speaking with all of his quest he kept thinking about Kuro. Perhaps he had overreacted to his statement, but that wound was still too fresh to discuss. As he spotted Baito, he caught up with him realizing that he was standing next to someone he knew pretty well, “Saw the two of you dancing. Did not realize you knew each other.”
Baito smiled, though at the same time there seemed to be a hint of annoyance. He only briefly looked at Abe, “I was just about to introduce myself.” That explained it.
“Did not mean to intrude. How are you doing Baito?”
“Great.” A short answer. It made Abe chuckle slightly when he realized he was definitely cock-blocking Baito.
“Miss Antisocial, are you enjoying yourself?”
Her lips pursed, “Considering that I am here, you cannot call me that.”
There was hesitation as Baito asked, “Do the two of you know each other well?”
Abe laughed, “We do, actually.”
“So….” There was a long pause with plenty of lingering disappointment, but Abe realized that not even Miss Antisocial was correcting the assumption made by Baito, “Are the two of you dating or something?”
“Oh god no,” She responded which seemed to bring some relief to Baito.
“Really? That was not insulting at all,” Abe teased lightly.
“I did not mean it that way, you know I adore you.”
“Somehow I feel like I am missing something,” Baito responded.
“Miss Antisocial and I met just after my arrival to Sofore. She was the senior adviser in a class I had. Walked in everyday and greeted the entire class and she would not even look at me or say anything. It was like that for a month at least.”
“Did something happen to change that?”
“You could say that. I walked into class like I normally did. Greeted everyone and still she ignored me. Sat down right next to her. Said hello and she ignored me again. So, I said Fine, be that way Miss Antisocial. Ignore me.“
She sighed subtly, “I turned to see who he was talking to and realized he was talking to me.”
Baito laughed, “Really, you did not realize he was speaking to you?”
Somberly she responded, “Guys that look like Abe, don’t talk to girls like me.”
“Why not? I think you’re beautiful.”
Abe smirked, “This is where I leave. Have fun you two.”
Hiko: *Groans* Did you sleep with that girl?
Abe: Really? That is what you took from that part of my story?
Hiko: She just seems to be one of those low self-esteem girls that you like.
Abe: *Sighs* Actually she is really nice. I liked her instantly because she ignored me. Honestly, if you spent any time with anyone other than your chosen clique you would have liked her as well. She never judged me, not even once. We hung out all the time.
Hiko: So, you did sleep with her.
Abe: No, you asshole. We went on one date and I spent the entire time talking about Tat. Sad thing is, she was so nice and just listened when I was supposed to be showing her a good time. Other than Tat, Miss Antisocial is the only girl that I did not have to sleep with to feel whole. She just….gets me.
Abe could not say if his words meant anything to Hiko or not, but he fell silent and Abe took it to mean he should continue with his story. “Enjoying yourselves?” Abe asked as he sidled up to Eri and Kyo. The two together was not uncommon due to their positions at Sofore, but he had honestly never seen them mingle in a social setting.
Eri smiled and exaggerated her words, “Soooo much fun. Tsubaki is really missing out.”
“Yep, real shame her parents had that trip planned for this weekend,” Abe responded though he hardly felt any remorse having purposely scheduled his party for a time she would be gone. “What about you Kyo?”
Stoically he responded, “Having a great time.”
“Did not think you would actually come.”
Eri had started swaying and singing as the two men talked. It was clearly evident to anyone looking on that she was three sheets to the wind and not stopping any time soon, “I almost didn’t. Had intended to study with Semei, but changed my mind at the last minute. Thought I would do something different. Only live once, right?” Agreeing with a nod, Abe glanced toward Eri and it was as though Kyo anticipated his words, “Don’t worry.”
“Are you sure you want to take on that responsibility?”
“Abe dance with me,” Eri interrupted as she quickly invaded his space.
Chuckling, “I am the host of the party. Taking care of my guest is my priority. We can dance later, why don’t you and Kyo dance.”
“Ugh,” She groaned in frustration, “He is so boring. Tsubaki told me all about how you move, why don’t you show me.”
Abe glanced passed her toward Kyo who was looking on, “Alright. How about, Kyo takes you back to your dorm.” She pouted as he continued, “Slip into something really fucking hot for me and I will stop by later and give you what you want.”
Her voice lowered in an attempt to be seductive, but with her intoxicated state it came off more like a cat hacking up a fur-ball, “Are you really going to give it to me?”
“How could any guy resist the request of the most beautiful girl in school?”
Hiko: Famous last words.
Hiko: Nothing, please continue.
“Don’t make me wait too long.” His words seemed to instill a sense of determination in her as she picked up her beer which she had placed on the edge of the DJ turntable and drank it down quickly, “Come on loser, take me home.”
Sighing as he watched her stagger toward the door, “Sorry for placing this burden upon you.”
Kyo shrugged, “It is alright. With what happened with Agito she is not herself right now.”
Abe thought he noticed a subtle hint of slurred words from Kyo Kari though passed it off quickly as his imagination. After all, he was Kari and drinking lowered their ability to control their emotions and their actions. It put them in a vulnerable state and showed weakness, something Abe was always taught that the Kari feared and avoided, “Breakups can really fuck with you.” There was a moment where Abe paused, “Thanks for watching over her and be careful getting back.”
Hiko: I don’t get it. Why didn’t you sleep with her? That is what you do right; sleep with vulnerable women?
Abe: I think you have me confused with someone else.
Hiko: No I am looking at the only asshole that sleeps with broken girls.
Abe: Stop turning them into victims. I hate that fucking shit. Tsubaki never said no. Tat told me no all the fucking time. I never forced her to do anything she did not want to and the same goes for any other girl I had relations with. Even if she has shitty self-esteem like Tsubaki, she should at least have the word no in her vocabulary. It is about fucking responsibility for your actions. Eri was in no state to consent to anything. I just did not want some guy taking advantage of her; really, with how drunk she was there is no telling who she would have slept with.
Abe: *Sighs* Sometimes, you say no and that person does not stop. Their guilt in it is their own. That does not mean you do not have any responsibility in what happened. Maybe it was something as simple as being too trusting. Perhaps, you did not listen to your gut when it was screaming at you. I hate people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and allow others to turn them into victims.
Hiko: *Changes Topic* So, what exactly does all of this have to do with how you hooked up with Kuro?
He considered the question a moment before actually taking the time to explain. The night had dwindled on for hours and eventually the party started breaking up. Those people that had not left where canoodling around the house and the grounds as Abe picked up the mess, “Figured a guy with your kind of money had tons of servants to clean up after you.”
This guy again? He was annoyed as he turned around and gave Kuro Ishi a hard stare, “Those servants as you call them are employees of the Sosa and while cleaning up the house is one of the duties of our housekeeper, I would never expect her to come to work tomorrow and have the house destroyed. That is asking too much of one person. I threw the party, it is my responsibility to pick up after it.” With a pause he breathed through his teeth, “Tch, you are really trying to annoy me aren’t you?”
“Oh, you are not what I expected,” He said lightly and it was clear by the amusement in his tone that the Ishi was enjoying himself.
“What the fuck does that mean? Seriously, I swear you are going out of your way to piss me off tonight.”
“It is not my intention.”
“Then what exactly are you trying to accomplish by making wild assumptions?”
“I was trying to get to know you a bit.”
Abe squinted at him as he tried to decipher what the man before him was saying, “Seriously, if that is the case you have gone about it the wrong way.”
“Tell me the right way,” Kuro responded.
“Look, I am not sure what your game is…”
Abe had stopped talking suddenly when he noticed the smile that adorned the Ishi’s face. He was a confident guy, Abe could tell by the toothy way he grinned and how he tilted his head subtly. That single visible eye was watching him rather intently, “Am I not your type? Like something a bit softer? Rounder? I noticed Eri was all over you…”
“Don’t finish that statement.”
“Alright, but only if you answer my question. Am I not your type?”
Abe regarded the man before him. Despite having no preference, he had never even looked twice at an Ishi man. Kuro had a long face with unusual features. Probably what they would call ‘true snake clan’ in appearance. The Ishi usually had white hair and were of great height, though Kuro Ishi was not much taller than he was and his hair was an unusual shade of red and black. His lips pursed, “You have Tylo blood.”
“Avoiding my question, but yes from my mother. Somewhere in your family line you have Hamara. I would recognize the ‘blood eyes’ of that clan anywhere. So, are you going to leave a guy hanging or are you actually going to answer him?”
Suspiciously Abe eyed Kuro, “Look, I think I might be a little flattered if I did not question your motives. I am not in a good place right now. My girlfriend and I…well it is complicated and I am not really looking for someone to replace her.”
“I am not looking for happily ever after, but how about someone to keep you company?” Even though he phrased it that way, Abe doubted Kuro Ishi believed the words that left his mouth. He was just saying them. This guy was the worst sort because he never put himself out there hundred percent. Guarded, protecting himself, so he made it all seem casual. Hooking up for him came off as a pastime even if he wanted it to be something more. Not that Abe thought this guy was interested in him for anything other than a good time. Kuro probably had a few beers, had a bit of a buzz, and was looking for a warm body.
Rubbing the back of his neck, “I am not really interested in these sorts of games people play. Honestly, you are not really my type, but if you want to fuck just say as much.”
Abe noticed how the Ishi’s smile broadened. Even though they stood there staring at each other, neither made any sort of direct move until Kuro reached out and ran a fingertip along Abe’s jawline, sending a shiver down his spine. His voice just tentative enough that Kuro would be able to tell he was not exactly offended and not quite outraged at such a subtle gesture, “What are you doing?”
“Sorry. Couldn’t help myself,” Kuro responded as he suddenly grabbed Abe’s wrist. It was a first for Abe; unable to react in time, his breath caught in his throat as he found himself chest to chest with Kuro Ishi. His lips less than two inches away. He had considered demanding to be released, but Kuro had leaned in and kissed him, gently at first and then building to a heated tempo that threatened to overwhelm them both as Kuro’s hand released Abe’s wrist and located his need. The Ishi broke the kiss abruptly, gasping for breath and then chuckling at the enthusiasm with which his kiss had been returned. “Mmm and I thought maybe I needed to flirt with you a bit more.”
“You’re a horrible tease,” Abe accused him, never even loosening the hold he had.
“Really? I thought I was pretty good at it,” Kuro laughed, his eyes twinkling. Abe could not resist that smile, leaning in and kissing the young man firmly, letting him know as far as he was concerned this was far from over.
Not surprising, Hiko had cut him off and told him he did not want to hear anymore. The night was spent in silence with his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend, and his wandering thoughts. He did return a few phone calls from his agent, his coach, and Goki. All other phone calls he ignored entirely especially the ones from Kuro and Tsubaki. In the morning, Tationy and Hiko were off to work leaving him alone in the apartment. He spent most of it sleeping in and only managed to get out of bed when Tationy arrived home at noon and practically dragged him from it so they could head off to the funeral home to speak with the director regarding his mother’s burial arrangements.
While they finished up some paperwork, Abe had made the mistake of telling her that he was not going to stay with her and Hiko. She didn’t appear surprised, but she was certainly not happy about it. As they walked with food and drinks in hand toward Goki’s apartment he spoke, “It is for the best Tat. Hiko is being nice about it all, but I know he is uncomfortable and I am not blind to the fact the two of you are barely speaking. Stop pouting, I hate it when you make that face.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say Abe. I can’t really take care of you if you are staying someplace else.”
“Really, I can take care of myself. Never understood your need to fuss over me. Besides if I recall right, you broke up with me.”
“Don’t do that.”
“I was just teasing you.” Abe paused a moment, “The last day of classes at Sofore you were pretty mad at me when I told you I had been seeing someone.”
“That is not why I was mad.”
“What was it then?”
At first she did not offer a response, “I am worried about you.”
“Tat,” Abe paused a moment as he considered his words, “Why did you tell Hiko that you are afraid of me? I heard what you told him, but why really?”
He was uncertain she was going to respond, taking far too long to answer his question as they continue walking toward Goki’s place. “People want to think that they are naturally good. The truth is, we have to work at it. We deal with people every day we do not like, do not understand, ones that we find annoying, or people we just want to avoid altogether. There are some days you just want to drop an anvil on the head of your enemy and laugh manically. Even though we tell ourselves not to think that way we still call that person a bitch or an asshole in our heads when we are standing face to face with them. Decency is something you have to work at and sometimes you lose that battle and explode. Say all of those things you wanted to say to that person which have been burning within you for months or even years. We all are monsters wearing masks. Some of us, however, lose that battle and the ugliest part of us surfaces. Tsubaki’s path is always the clearest, especially where you are concerned. Everyone I have ever met, I have seen the beast they can become and there are only two that make me tremble.”
“Hiko is the other one, isn’t he?”
Her body stilled as they came to a stop just outside Goki’s door, “Don’t think I do not care Abe, just because I am afraid. If I had the power to save you from yourself I would.” The fact that she avoided his question gave him the answer he was seeking.
“If he hurts you, I will become that monster,” Abe responded as he held the door open for her and the two stepped inside.
She had not responded which was not entirely unexpected as Abe called out to Goki who responded, “I’m in the kitchen.” There was a momentary pause as they stepped further into the house, depositing the items they had brought to the counter. Goki and Abe exchanged subtle glances, “I know you hate it, but I am going to say it anyway. Sorry to hear about your mom, she was quite a woman.”
Abe simply gave him a nod of his head as he watched Goki and Tationy embrace. Truth was, if there was anyone that was close to his mother it was Tationy. Emi Sosa adored her, thought of her as a daughter. During those days that Abe had to manage his mother, Tationy was right at his side. Sometimes only her voice, his mother would hear. In a way, they were quite similar; big hearts and so much love to give. That was the part of it all that hurt Abe the most was that the two women that truly cared about him that did not selfishly use him for their own means, were the two he treated the worst.
“Goki you are squeezing too tight,” She whispered softly which thankfully distracted Abe’s thoughts.
“Stop trying to take care of everyone else and let someone take care of you for a change. The two of you are always doing this. Fussing over each other and ignoring your own feelings, just take a moment and deal already,” Goki stated.
It was for selfish reasons he brought Tationy with him. Even though he knew he could not stay with her and Hiko, he was also aware of what it meant leaving her in that Kari’s care. He probably would not even notice just how much she is hurting. Guys like those were always too self-absorbed to care about the feelings of others and Abe knew this because he was the same way. As much as he hated considering it, he and Hiko Kari were not that much different and both of them relied on her too much; at what cost to her he had to wonder.
The night before as he talked to Goki on the phone his friend had said something quite profound, “The two of you are connected by a single strand of fate. It does not matter how many futures she sees or even what happened in the past, all that matters is that you never sever that one little thing that holds you together. Once you take a pair of scissors to that thread, the two of you will be separated and can never find your way back to each other again.”
Abe got the impression that Goki was speaking from experience. There was someone in his past, someone he loved, but they were separated. She belonged to another and in a way Abe understood that the situation with Tationy was probably not that different, though he did not believe it was Hiko she was meant to stand at the side of.
To Be Continued