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Author Topic: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter XX, 10/17]  (Read 26235 times)

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter V, 4/24]
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2012, 12:39:26 AM »
Risa's jealousy got me there. xD

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter V, 4/24]
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2012, 08:22:15 PM »
...

Omake I: 27

Her word for Eri was caged.

They had been under the stars by the woods near the drummer's mansion, laying in the grass and Eri was quietly murmuring something about how she thought stars were actually giant flaming aliens. Sayumi couldn't focus on anything but the girl's soft pink lips and the curve of her body as she lay on her side, facing her, one arm lazily propping up her head. They were close, so close, and several times during the conversation the rabbit had been tempted to reach out and touch Eri's face, but found herself much too paralyzed to follow through. She felt the warning sirens in her head go off; she wasn't supposed to like someone this much. It wasn't supposed to get this deep, but even as she told herself that all she wanted from the turtle was her body, Sayumi knew that it was much more than simply that.

She liked listening to the girl talk. She liked the way she looked when they were in the middle of a performance, eyes like a demon and smile sharp as she drowned herself in the rhythm. She liked that Eri didn't look at her like she was a slut or a piece of meat or both.

And yet, here she was, trying to convince herself to just get in the girl's pants and be done with it. Sayumi vaguely wondered when and how she had become like this, trading in her moral compass for
her own self-preservation, moving from bed to bed with little regard for anyone's feelings but her own. Maybe not even her own.

"What are you thinking about?"

She realized Eri was focused on her now, and she willed herself to meet that soft gaze with her own. That gaze darkened considerably when the turtle realized what was lurking there in the depths. Sayumi continued staring steadily at her friend, knowing that she had trapped her prey right where she wanted her.

Now what to do with you...

Before the drummer had too much time to think about anything, Sayumi finally leaned in to claim those lips she had been so focused on before, drinking in the faint moan Eri made in response. The rich girl stiffened at first out of surprise, but soon her eyes fluttered shut as she eagerly began to return the kiss, and much to the rabbit's delight she felt arms snake around her waist to draw their bodies closer together. Sayumi couldn't help the smirk that tugged at the corners of her mouth when Eri's tongue ran eagerly across her bottom lip, and she parted them slightly to allow the drummer access.

She stopped thinking about whether what she was doing was right or not. Soon all she was aware of was heat, in the air, between her thighs, and every place that Eri's hands began to wander. And in that moment, that would be enough, consequences be damned.

There developed in her a pressing need to feel more of Eri's skin against her own, and when she finally broke their kiss, it was as if the drummer had read her mind because she began to attack the buttons on Sayumi's blouse, all but tearing the garment away. The rabbit shivered as the night air chilled her now exposed skin, but Eri was there, blazing a trail of kisses down her neck and across her shoulders. She almost cried out in frustration when those lips left her skin, about to protest, but she stopped cold when she realized that Eri was fumbling around for something in one of her pockets. Her eyes widened when she realized what that something was, catching a glimpse of it glinting in the moonlight.

Why... Do you really have to do that now as well?

But she didn't say a word, simply laying there as she watched her best friend's eyes shut tightly, and when they opened again Sayumi could not find Eri in them. This demon smiled, and it was crooked, and by all rights she should have been afraid. But she had seen enough demons in her life, and knew how to take them, so instead of recoiling, Sayumi merely plastered a seductive grin on her face. She would have what she had come for.

----------

Her word for Risa, wounded.

She wasn't quite sure how she had ended up like this, on her bedroom floor, half-naked, tangled up with a very drunken Gaki-san fighting her--almost literally--for dominance with every move. She honestly didn't give two shits about Risa, found her irritating, and mainly tried to bring her down a peg every time the opportunity arose. So when the bean had called her up asking if she could come over with some drinks, it occurred to Sayumi that this was the perfect situation in which she could crush the older girl.

But so far, things hadn't really gone according to her plan. For one thing, drunk Risa was angry Risa, and so Sayumi had already acquired a number of bruises during their rough make out session thus far. Of course, she was keen on returning the favor, and rewarded the other girl with a bloody lip and scored dozens of scratches on her back. Risa managed to roll on top of her again, straddling Sayumi's hips and pinning both of her arms to her sides. From this angle, with her hair falling out of a messy ponytail, eyes blazing, sweat rolling down her flat, bare stomach, even Sayumi found Risa beautiful, if but only tragically so.

The bassist panted heavily, chest heaving beneath the sports bra she still wore. Sayumi assumed the girl wanted to say something, but she focused instead on a bead of sweat that trailed its way down into Risa's cleavage, mind wandering elsewhere. Just because she didn't like the girl, didn't mean she wasn't going to enjoy herself.

"You slept with Aichan."

The accusation came out in between breaths, and Sayumi rolled her eyes, flicking them upwards to meet Risa's in a challenge.

"Yes. I did, several times. I still do. I don't understand why you still can't get your mind around it."

Risa faltered, and Sayumi watched as sharp pain flooded her eyes. For a moment, she felt the stab of something familiar in her chest. Was it guilt? She could hardly remember what that felt like, and did not allow the feeling to linger. Instead, she grinned tauntingly up at the older girl.

"The best part is, she came to me, you know?" Sayumi crooned happily, "I didn't have to seduce her or anything, she easily hopped in my bed when you were gone. I guess she couldn't take being so lonely with you having abandoned her and all..."

A strangled sort of noise escaped Risa's throat, and Sayumi realized that tears were now flowing freely down the girl's cheeks. She felt that stab in her chest again, only this time it was much stronger and she felt a growing irritation at the fact that it wouldn't just fade away. And now the bassist was sobbing openly, her grasp on Sayumi's arms going limp.

Of all the times to suddenly find my conscience again...

She pushed herself up and out from beneath Risa enough to where she could sit up, and she reached out with her thumb to brush away some of the tears on the other girl's face. When Risa looked at her it was a cross between a bitter glare and the most disparate heartache, but Sayumi was unphased and leaned forward to start kissing the rest of the tears away.

"I hate you, you know? I really do. But..." She paused, tenderly pressing her lips to the older girl's jawline, "You came to me, and so tonight, my bed is yours."

Risa tensed as a hand brushed against her spine, sending jolts of heat straight to her core. It was all she could do to not arch her body right into Sayumi's touch, and her sadness was temporarily forgotten if only so she could intensify the glare she was giving the rabbit. Sayumi only smirked, knowing she had almost won, and she moved to where she could whisper in Risa's ear, her warm breath causing the bassist to shiver.

"Tonight, you don't have to be lonely."

That seemed to do it, as Sayumi could hear another sudden sob threaten to escape Risa's throat, and whether it was her words or the alcohol acting as the catalyst, the bassist pushed her back onto the floor to begin her assault again with a renewed vigor.

And tomorrow I'll go back to hating you again.

----------

For Ai, Sayumi couldn't find the right words.

Their affair had begun nearly two years ago, when the blonde leader had shown up at her doorstep one night, cold and soaking wet from the rain outside. That was the one and only night Sayumi could remember sharing a bed with someone for nothing but sleep. She wasn't sure why she had done it, it went against all of her rules and all of the red flags in her head, but she quickly found that she for all of her experience and personal conquests could not bring herself to resist those beautiful chocolate eyes. Ai had chosen to pour out her heart to her, her fears, her confessions, and Sayumi had let her do it, and afterwards held her until she cried herself to sleep.

She knew she was a substitute; Risa was gone and Ai was relying on her instead. And really, she should have cut it off from the start, because she only did the emotional thing with Eri, everyone else had to remain purely physical. But soon Ai was coming over on a regular basis to talk, and before Sayumi realized what was happening she was sharing things with the leader as well. Things she hadn't told anyone else. Not even Eri.

And then one night, Ai had asked to kiss her.

The rabbit had nearly sliced her finger off at the request, as she'd been in the middle of cutting a tomato to put on her sandwich. The silence that hung in the air after that was so deafening that Sayumi wasn't completely sure she had heard right, and so she turned to face her leader, maintaining a neutral expression.

"What?"

"I asked... Well... I'd like to kiss you."

Here was a girl that was confident in everything she did, radiated a constant aura of strength, and made heads turn when she walked in a room. A girl that was currently staring intently at the tiled floor so as to not meet Sayumi's eyes. The rabbit was at a loss for words.

This is where you kick her out. Tell her it doesn't work that way. Not for her sake, for yours.

Her pulse quickened when the small leader looked up at her, and Sayumi realized that this was what it must have felt like for the various men and women she had drawn into her bed. She couldn't say no. She didn't want to. But neither would she say yes and bring the responsibility of what could happen down on herself. So instead the rabbit stood there, frozen to the spot as Ai moved towards her, confidence seemingly restored by Sayumi's hesitation.

Fingers hooked into her belt loops and the rabbit felt herself being tugged towards the blonde, firmly but gently, Ai's face closer to hers now than it had ever been or she'd ever dared to hope.

"I didn't hear a no...?" The whisper passed over her mouth, heated, and Sayumi could detect the hopeful, almost longing note within it. She could still feel those chocolate eyes on her as well, even though her own had closed.

I know you're looking at me, wishing I was her.

She felt the faintest hint of pressure on her lips then, so sweet and so gentle, unlike any of the kisses she'd ever had before. When she didn't pull away, Ai seemed to interpret it as permission to continue, and Sayumi instinctively returned the kiss, bringing her arms up to rest on the leader's shoulders.

You think that being here with me will make the pain go away. And it will, for a while. I can distract you.

When the kisses grew more insistent and she felt fingers sliding under her shirt, Sayumi broke away and grabbed one of Ai's hands, causing her to freeze and flush suddenly as though she'd forgotten who she was with and what they were doing. She even looked as though she was about to prepare an apology until she saw the fire in Sayumi's eyes and she wordlessly followed along as the girl led her out of the kitchen and into her bedroom.

But for once I... I feel like I'm the one who's about to be used instead of the other way around. And even though I know that... I'm going to let you do this. It doesn't matter if you never see me for me... She doesn't deserve you for what she's done, but until she comes back... I'll be whatever you need...

----------

"She's amazing... I still can't get my mind completely around the fact that my intuition was right on this one."

Sayumi rolled her eyes, continuing to plant gentle kisses along Ai's bare shoulder. The evening's rehearsal with Reina had left her angry and frustrated and after they'd dropped Risa off at the other apartment, the leader had escorted her back to her own and she'd poured all of her aggression into a somewhat violent romp with her most frequent bedmate. She'd since calmed considerably, however, and all she really wanted to do now was cuddle up with Ai and go to sleep. 

But the woman simply wouldn't shut up about the latest addition to their group, and Sayumi felt the anger and even jealousy stirring up inside of her again. It was enough that she had to compete with Risa for Ai's attention (though, truthfully the bassist had done plenty to all but disassemble their relationship herself); she didn't need this new girl to deal with too.

"She is cute... Not as much as I am, of course, but still. She's got some nerve though..."

Ai chuckled, rolling over to face the guitarist.

"Still on about that? You were asking for it."

Sayumi's eyes narrowed slightly.

"I didn't know she had it in her to actually back her shit up. In my opinion she still seems... well, innocent."

"Really?"

The rabbit smirked.

"...For now, anyway."

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Omake I, 4/26]
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2012, 09:42:37 PM »
So, things become more clear.

Eri is a junkie(as I guessed before)... And Sayu quite loves her, in her own messed up way. Though, maybe Eri doesn't feel the same?

The Takagaki dynamic is where all the questions seem to be for me. Why would Risa "abandon" Ai when she clearly feels something strong for her? Is their relationship even able to be salvaged?

And seeing Ai from Sayu's point of view... It's clear Sayu feels for her, too, though is that just because Ai is Ai or are those feelings real?

I dunno, I'm just rambling now... But the convoluted relationships that Reina has fallen into don't really bode well for her mental health...

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Omake I, 4/26]
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2012, 03:08:01 PM »
@rndy: Heh, yes, Eri is a junkie. As for Sayu's relationships with all three of them, I suppose you'll have to ask yourself if you think the bunny is the most... reliable lens to view things through. XD You are correct tho, Reina definitely seems to have gotten herself into a mess...

So yeah that last bit was sort of hard for me to write so I kept on going with the next chapter right afterwards, meaning it's already ready. I apologize for my sporadic responses to comments, I'll try to get better at it. hahah as always, enjoy. 

Chapter VI: House of Wolves

When we finally reached my apartment complex, I asked Eri if she wanted to come inside for a snack or anything since she'd gone to the trouble of coming all the way home with me, and she happily accepted, hopping out of the car. Upon entering my suite, I was a bit confused to realize that the lights were still on, until I saw Aika over by the kitchenette. She turned back to look at me, a piece of toast hanging out of her mouth and the expression on her face turning guilty. 

"What on earth are you doing up this late?!" I exclaimed, my arms crossing as I shot my baby sister the sternest look I could muster.

At that point Eri hovered over my shoulder, peering into the room, and the toast dropped from Aika's mouth in a screech. The kid shot into her room like a lightning bolt, leaving my bandmate and I standing there blinking.

"You're supposed to tell me when you bring someone home!! I'm not even wearing pants, jeez!" She whined from the other room, and I rolled my eyes, stepping inside with Eri close behind me.

"If you'd been asleep like you're supposed to be, being pantless wouldn't really be an issue now would it?"

Aika reemerged wearing a pair of paint-stained jeans, her shirt haphazardly tucked in and a scowl prominently etched into her lips. She returned to the kitchenette to clean up her mess, grumbling the entire way. I sighed.

Teenagers.

"You're making quite an impression on our guest, you know..."

She paused, standing up straight and turning her attention to Eri, the scowl still on her face.

"Hi. Aika. Nice to meet you." 

"Uh... hi. I'm Kamei Eri..."

"Cool." But the tone in her voice was all but polite and she went right back to cleaning. I had half a mind to march over to her and give her a piece of my mind, but Eri laughed and seemed to be more or less amused by the encounter. She walked over to the couch to flop down on it, making herself right at home. Fine by me, I hated playing hostess anyway; as far as I was concerned, if I invited someone inside, my home was as good as theirs.

I moved towards the kitchenette, maneuvering around Aika to retrieve two glasses from the cupboard. She wasn't quite out of hot water with me yet, but I could tell something was off with my kid sister and I wanted to know what was up before I continued scolding her.

"How was your first day of school?" I asked, grabbing the milk from the fridge just as Aika stood back up to dump her ruined toast into the trash.

"Well... word sure gets around fast in this city."

"Huh?"

"You were on the news this morning. And this afternoon."

I whirled to look at her, eyes wide, nearly spilling the entire carton of milk in the process. Eri sat up straighter at the announcement as well, both of us focused on Aika.

"The news?!"

"Yeah, I recorded the afternoon one for you if you wanted to see it."

What did she mean IF I wanted to see it? I didn't bother asking the question, though, hurrying over to the couch with mine and Eri's drinks, handing hers over before searching for the remote. When I finally found it I quickly turned the TV on and scrolled down through the recordings to find what Aika had saved for me.

The news report started out simple enough, the anchor going over some local piece about a lady who had just celebrated her 103rd birthday. Awesome as that was, I didn't have much interest in centenarians, and fast forwarded until, to my shock, a picture of me popped up on the screen. It was a shot from the club, during the middle of one of the songs.

"...twenty year old Tanaka Reina allegedly entered the Jump Club last night around 9PM, where the bouncer mistook her for a member of local rock band Wild Musume and escorted her out of the line right backstage. Fans were shocked and surprised when Tanaka took the stage with the members, announced by leader Takahashi Ai to be the night's guest performer. The crowd went absolutely insane for Tanaka's voice and fiery stage presence, leaving many to wonder if she'll become a permanent addition to the group."

"Well, they certainly could use a boost after all, I mean, Wild Musume hasn't been doing so hot since-"

The program cut off there, and I sat, frozen, not really sure what to think. One day, and I was already on TV? I turned to Eri, who was nonchalantly sipping at her milk, seemingly unphased by the report.

"How famous... are we... exactly?" I stammered out, putting my drink down on the nearby end table so I wouldn't accidentally drop it on the floor.

"Uh... Pretty famous, I guess?" She responded slowly, stroking her imaginary beard, which I had to try really hard not to giggle at, considering she'd just earned a milk mustache to go with it. "Or, we were, but some stuff happened  a few years ago so we had to split for a while. It's actually only just recently that we all got back together again."

"What kind of... 'stuff'?"

Eri held up her hands defensively, shrinking away from me.

"Not my story to tell."

There was a lot of that going around, wasn't there? 

"Who's story is it then?" I pressed, eyes narrowing. Eri only stared back at me, wide-eyed, hiccuping a bit. Fine. Whatever. I'd deal with that later. Still a bit annoyed I turned finally back to Aika, who was now leaning lazily against the table near the kitchenette.

"So okay, this happened, but you still didn't really tell me about your day..."

"Well, some girls in my first class mentioned your name and started talking trash... And I got sent to the principal's office."

"Aika!" I exclaimed, executing a perfect facepalm. She threw her hands up in frustration before crossing them over her chest, mimicking the stance I'd taken when I'd entered the apartment earlier.

"No one talks about my sister like that! So I sort of slapped her. You should have heard her, Rei, you would have wanted to hit her too. I don't even remember her name, Momoko, I think, but she-"

"Eh? You mean Momochi? Tsugunaga Momoko?" Eri had stopped her cowering to sit up and pay attention. Aika grumbled, obviously irritated at the mention of the name.

"Yeah, that's her. How did you know?"

"She's in the band Buono. They got together while we were still on our break." She finished off the last of her milk, finally licking at the bit that was stuck above her lip. "They, and their fans, haven't really been happy that we're back on the scene... Momochi is one of the most vocal about it during interviews and such, though... So when you said it was a Momoko, I just assumed because she's about your age."

"Well you're right. Makes a lot of sense now, I guess. Some of her fangirls even tried waiting for me outside of detention, but Koharu-chan made sure they didn't bother me."

I raised an eyebrow suspiciously at my kid sister.

"Who's Koharu-chan?"

"My new friend..." She began to sidle towards her room, "...that I met in detention." Before I'd had the chance to go after her my sister disappeared into her room, shutting the door, the tell-tale click of the lock sounding afterwards.

I groaned, sinking back into the couch and laying my arm across my face. I didn't need to be taking care of a kid. Especially not one so... so... like me. 

"Well... She's cute." Eri offered, and I groaned again, eliciting a giggle from my new friend. 

"She's my sister." I replied, and she nodded, as that was all I really had to say in order for her to understand the statement. I relaxed in the comfortable silence that passed between us, until I noticed that Eri's hands were trembling in her lap. She followed my line of vision when she realized I was staring and immediately stood up.

"Well, it's late and I should be leaving. I'll just see myself out. Tomorrow, then, Tanaka-san."

"Alright... thanks for the ride. See you tomorrow." 

She bowed slightly and smiled at me before turning on her heel and quickly exiting the apartment. I sighed again, pinching the bridge of my nose. It was just a long day, I told myself, and I'd feel much better after getting some well-deserved rest. However, I still had a disobedient sister to tend to. I swung myself up off the couch and in the direction of Aika's room, rapping my knuckles against her door.

"Hey. She's gone now. I need you to open this so I can talk to you."

The door creaked open slightly and I could see her eyes peering cautiously at me through the crack.

"What...?"

"All the way, Aika. Please."

She relented, pushing her door completely open and stepping aside so I could enter. The place was less of a warzone now than it had been yesterday, but I still picked my way gingerly through; the last thing I wanted to do was track lavender paint around the apartment. I sat down on the edge of my sister's bed, patting the space next to me. She groaned but obediently flopped down next to me, knowing she was about to get it.

"Aika... You can't just go off on someone when you feel like it..."

"I know..."

"I mean, I appreciate you wanting to defend my honor or whatever, but you gotta pick your fights a bit more wisely than that..."

"I was just doing what I thought you would do..." She muttered under her breath. I snorted quietly.

"I would have waited until the kid was off school property- no- wait, nevermind, listen to me. I didn't finish high school, okay? But you are going to. That's our deal, remember? You'll get kicked out if you deck everyone who rubs you the wrong way, jeez..."

Aika tossed me a quick, nervous glance.

"You're not gonna tell mom and dad, are you?"

"And put my ass on the line? Hell no, like I want to deal with that kind of nagging for weeks on end."

She smiled and hugged me tightly from the side, a silent thank you. I wriggled out of her grasp, but only so I could sling an arm around her shoulder. Aika already knew I was a big softy at heart, so there really wasn't much sense in my pretending to be a badass at home. I did love the kid after all. But there was something else I needed to address as well.

"So... I'm also not so sure about you having met this Koharu girl in detention... That's not really the place you should be making friends."

"She's harmless, I promise. She was only in there because she's clumsy and accidentally tripped one of the teachers..."

"'Accidentally?'"

"Yeah, that's what I thought too, and then I saw her in action. The number of times she tripped or fell when we were walking back from school... anyway, you know I'm a pretty good judge of character." She waved it away, and I couldn't really argue with her there. She really was good at figuring others out. "Anyway, what about you? You joined this band thing without knowing them, that's a lot sketchier than meeting someone in detention..."

"I thought you were cool with it?"

"I am, I'm just saying maybe you should be careful. That Eri girl seemed a bit... off."

I noticed, but I liked Eri, and even though there was something about her I couldn't put my finger on, I also didn't have a reason to not trust her either. 

"Whoa, first name basis so soon? Even I'm not there yet and I'm actually in the band." 

Aika's face flushed at her mistake, but she was quick to recover.

"It's not like she's here... Ugh, anyway, you know what I meant. And the point still stands."

I grinned and ruffled her hair, quickly hopping off the bed to avoid her badly-aimed swipe in retaliation.

"I'm always careful. But anyway, you need to sleep. We both do. It's been a long day."

She answered with a huge yawn that choked out what I guessed was going to be some sort of argument that she wasn't tired. I rolled my eyes affectionately, and we both said goodnight before I slipped out of her room. I wandered back to my own, head still full of questions.

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VI, 4/27]
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2012, 03:31:00 PM »
Oh mah. Oh mah. So much me wanna know~

Offline rokun

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VI, 4/27]
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2012, 04:19:07 PM »
So Eri's the first girl Reina brought home, huh? :lol: I agree though that she would at the very least need to be careful, since there does seem to be something "off"... oh wait, we've already established she's a junkie. XD
We certainly don't want that influence on Aika...

Speaking of which, Aika starts school, and new characters! lol. You know I'm always happy seeing Buono! around, and I suppose considering it's you, we should have expected BeriKyuu to make an appearance at some point. :lol:

Aika meeting a clumsy Koharu in detention? Hmm... and Aika (despite Koha's innocence, Aika can't quite claim the same) becoming a delinquent already, and along with having a rock star sister (which btw it's awesome Reina's already famous in town XD), she may have already established the reputation as "the new bad girl" XD
Hmm, for some reason I'm brought to mind of Buffy again... sigh, I connect too many things to that :lol:

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VI, 4/27]
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2012, 06:29:41 PM »
So many questions about the band~ I wonder if the internets would be of any help to Reina? XD  Or maybe she needs to talk to JunJun, like, now.

Eri getting an invite into the Tanaka household is pretty awesome, though, even if Aika seems wary... Let's hope she's not all right there, considering her bitch slap to Momo.

Also a big lol to clumsy Koharu. :lol:

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VI, 4/27]
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2012, 10:32:51 PM »
@risa_ai: haha i bet you can tell by now but, I kinda like having secrets. XD

@rokun: And she didn't even get any! Darn. :P haha but yes, certainly wouldn't want that influence on Aika... Glad you enjoyed Aika in school, there's a bit more of it in this chapter and then more still to come! And Buono! will be making more appearances later on, count on it. ;) Being the new kid is hard, ne? And I'm also just gonna have to watch Buffy sometime. XD

@rndy: I think I recall that Reina isn't the most tech-savvy of girls? And even if she is, this incarnation's shortcomings will be made apparent soon. XD as far as questions go... Here comes that talk with Junjun.

I managed to finish this today I between research and a paralyzing migraine. haha hence why it may be a bit short. Nevertheless, please enjoy. c:

Chapter VII: Liar Liar

Alright... Just remember what Reina said... Keep cool. And if she runs her mouth again... Wait until after school... Or was that the part I wasn't supposed to hear? Whatever. I'll just...

Aika narrowed her eyes as she lifted her head to see who was entering the room, surrounded by her little flock of fans from the day before. Momoko and her fangirls all glared at the painter as they walked into the classroom, and she felt her mood instantly plummet.

...avoid her.

The tiny idol seemed as though she was going to attempt to say something, but she shrunk back a bit when a taller female appeared at Aika's side, shooting her a warning look.

"Nice day isn't it, Tsugunaga-san?"

Momoko gave her a curt nod in response, and she and her little group dispersed, taking their seats at the empty desks in the room. Aika visibly relaxed, glad that she wouldn't have to break her promise to her sister today. She turned to her new friend, flashing her a smile.

"Thanks, Koharu-chan. Why exactly is it that Tsugunaga-san won't bother you?"

"Because her bandmates are some of my best friends, and neither of them would be happy to hear that she's running her mouth again. And also she knows my half-sister is in Wild Musume."

"What?" Aika exclaimed, startling the taller girl a bit with her outburst.

"Well... Yeah, she's the guitar player. I mean, I don't see her often since she doesn't live at home anymore. Why, is that a big deal? I thought since you were pissed enough to attack Tsugunaga-san yesterday that you liked Wild Musume, so..."

"No, no, it's not that," The painter furiously shook her head, beckoning for Koharu to come closer so she could lower her voice, "Tanaka Reina, well... she's my sister."

"...EH?!?" Koharu all but screeched her reaction to the entire room, causing Aika to leap forward in her seat, grabbing the older girl by her collar and yanking her down to the same level. They'd earned a few looks, but perhaps because it was Koharu, and this sort of noise level was fairly common for her, most of the other students went back to their own business.

"Jeez, be quiet!" Aika hissed, finally releasing the girl when she was sure they weren't being watched anymore, "It's not exactly something I want broadcasted all over school..."

"Your sister... Wow. I guess I should have figured that out by your family name. But you're right, maybe you should keep that quiet... It would make you popular, but not the way you might want..."

At that moment, the teacher entered the classroom, and the girls took their seats as the lecture began, Aika's mind immediately starting to wander. 

I'm not ashamed of you, Rei. But... "pick your battles," right? I'll try my best.

----------

The next week or so passed relatively without incident. I was pretty exhausted to be sure, working during the days and rehearsing with the band at night, but I was getting used to the routine and found comfort in that familiarity. Even Aika seemed to be adjusting better to life in the city, and had managed to stay out of trouble since the first time. I'd since had a chance to meet her friend Koharu when the girl came over one night for a study session, and all my fears about her being a delinquent disappeared; they decided to watch a horror flick during a break and the kid was in tears before the thing even started.

I'd almost forgotten about a few of the questions I had about my bandmates as well, so wrapped up in the craziness of it all with too many things on my mind. That is, until one afternoon during closing time, Junjun decided to ask me how things were going.

"You look awful." She commented, and I glared up at her  from where I was on the ground, attempting to grab a piece of trash that had been left under one of the tables.

"Thanks, Junjun. That's just what every girl wants to hear. I bet you're just covered in ladies everywhere you go." 

"You don't have rehearsal tonight, do you?"

"No...?"

"Good," She grinned, crossing her arms. "I'm treating you and Aika to  dinner, then. You can come too, Lin."

A whoop sounded from behind the register, the younger Chinese girl throwing her hands happily into the air. As much as I'd wanted a simple, quiet evening at home for once, I would never say no to free food. And besides, I figured it was as good a time as any to talk to my friend about her connection with Risa, as well as find out anything else I could about the band.

We finished closing the store and Junjun drove us back to my apartment so I could change and to pick Aika up as well. The four of us then made our way downtown to a cozy little restaurant; it was nice, nothing particularly special, but quiet enough that I found myself easily relaxing in my seat as we waited for our food. Aika and Linlin were talking pretty animatedly about some character in a manga they both liked, and I took the opportunity while they were distracted to turn to Junjun.

"I've been meaning to ask you since that day she came to pick me up... How is it that you know Niigaki-san?"

The Chinese woman tensed up a bit, surprising me; I'd never really known Junjun to react very intensely to anything, but she seemed bothered just by the mention of Risa's name. Sensing that I didn't really want to involve the others in our conversation, she replied to me in a low voice.

"My father owned another cafe downtown, you know. That was the reason we moved here, so he could get a chain started up. But two years ago, he went in to work one afternoon because the manager had fallen ill. That same night, three thugs came in while he was closing, beat him up and cleaned out the register."

I felt my stomach dropping as I watched a bit of pain flicker through my friends eyes, unsure of what it was I was about to hear.

"He recovered, but he still has to use a cane to get around. It was just gang members, they didn't target him specifically, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time..." She took a sip of her drink, glancing over at the other occupants of the table to make sure they were still oblivious before looking back at me. "Niigaki Risa was one of the ones involved. She was the only one that served time though, and because she turned herself in, she only ended up with two years. She was the only one that served time for it, though; they couldn't catch the others, and she wouldn't give any names."

Junjun held my gaze steadily, seeming to drink in my confusion and shock.

"I don't think she actually was one of the ones to hurt my father, but were it not for the people she ran with, he'd be perfectly fine today. And because of her, the ones truly responsible got away with what they did."

I was trying really hard to process this new information. Risa in a gang? Sure the girl seemed a bit jaded but I wouldn't have pegged her for a criminal, either. And yet, Junjun wouldn't lie to me; I knew her story had to be true. The question that still remained--among others, of course--was what was I supposed to think about it?

"Ah... Speak of the devil..." Junjun murmured quietly, and I looked past Aika's head to see two familiar figures enter the restaurant. Takahashi and Risa were walking in together, and though they were wearing clothes that disguised them to some degree, there was no mistaking that flash of platinum hair and the frown on her companion's face. Risa spotted us first, quickly looking away when she noticed Junjun, her reaction causing Takahashi to glance in our direction. The leader winked at me from beneath her fedora, holding a finger to her lips before she and Risa moved to sit elsewhere in the restaurant. 

I followed them with my eyes until I couldn't see them anymore, and then I finally glanced back at Junjun.

"Jun..." I started, but our food had arrived and the Chinese woman was already digging right in. I sighed, deciding that I would just let it drop and do the same, when I felt my phone vibrate beside me. I reached down to discreetly flip it open, eyes scanning the screen to read the new text.

Been meaning to ask, tomorrow's your day off from work, right?

~Ai


I blinked at it curiously, resisting the urge to look around to try and spot where she was sitting. I quickly sent back a response.

Yeah. Why?

~Reina


...Bzzt.

Wanna come out with me for the day? Someone needs to show you the city. ;)

~Ai


Spend the day... with Takahashi? I wasn't sure that was the best idea in the world, for more than one reason. After all, I'd just found out what Risa was capable of and she certainly seemed attached to the older woman... And then there was the whole issue of my leader being so cool that I really didn't know what to do other than melt. I had an image to protect, after all! But still, on the other hand, perhaps this was also the perfect opportunity to get the rest of my questions answered once and for all.

...Sure. What time?

~Reina


Offline rokun

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VII, 4/28]
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2012, 04:06:49 AM »
Well, I wasn't expecting to hear that about Risa. Maybe I wasn't reading closely enough earlier on? >.>
Then again, the other girls in the band aren't exactly strait-laced, so I suppose it shouldn't be the biggest surprise. I hope none of the other band members were involved with it... though it might help explain why Ai did certain things after Risa "went away". It would be messed up if they were also involved. XD

And a date with Ai tomorrow for Reina...
I wonder if she'll finally get some. XD
Oh wait... I'm jumping again again. >.>;

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VII, 4/28]
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2012, 06:04:43 AM »
GAWD. A REINAI FIC? MPDMPMPGMDPGDMGPD!!

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VII, 4/28]
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2012, 09:20:50 PM »
Dang Risa! :O A gang!? The heck?! That must be an interesting story.... But it certainly explains her always sunny disposition. And it leaves Ai looking a bit less innocent as well.

Next it's Ai's turn to have a happy heart to heart with the kitty... So many ways that could fail too

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VII, 4/28]
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2012, 12:08:40 AM »
@rokun: good to know I can still surprise, tho I don't think I really left any hints about Risa. XD As for Reina getting some...? Who knows~

@risa_ai: ReinAi fic?! Where? Oh... You mean this one? ...is it? That's a good question...

@rndy: I'll probably end up doing an omake about it soon. And yes, let's just see how the kitten fares against the monkey heheh

Long chapter is long? I suppose it's like a part one of two parts. Whatever. XD Enjoy~

Chapter VIII: SONGS

Ai flipped her phone shut with a grin, pocketing it and making a mental note to send Reina the rest of the details later. From across the private booth they shared, Risa was watching her with an unreadable expression, absently poking at her salad with her fork.

"...I guess someone has a date?"

"Something like that. I'm going to show her around town, get to know her a little better." The leader reached for her wine glass, swirling the crimson liquid a bit before sipping elegantly from it. "Besides, I'm a little jealous, since you and Eri have gotten to spend alone time with her already."

Risa snorted, stabbing fiercely at a piece of lettuce.

"I don't know if a car ride really counts as 'alone time'."

"Well, regardless, I just want to talk to the girl, build up some camaraderie-"

"Do damage control..."

"Eh?"

The bassist gestured over in the direction of the table where their newest member sat with her party. Though the girl could not see them from where she was, the older females had the perfect vantage point from which to spy on her. Risa had watched the entire exchange between Junjun and Reina, her apprehension growing as the singer's expression shifted into shock near the end of it.

"You did see who she was with, didn't you? If Jun hasn't told her anything before now, I'll bet you she just finished spilling everything to Tanaka."

"And? It's not like that secret was very secret to begin with, Risa. In fact, they tend to retell that story every single time we're on the news. If something like that scares the girl off, she's probably not fit to stick with us anyway."

Silence fell between them, interrupted only by the sounds of Risa continuing to viciously attack her food. Ai leaned comfortably back in her seat, turning her head so she could watch Reina while finishing off her wine. Risa, on the other hand, carefully studied Ai. 

I wish I knew what it was that's caused you to be like this... My Aichan was never so... calculating. Surely my being gone didn't do all of this? You've been spending too much time with Michishige...

"...What about Sayumi?"

"What about her? You know that's nothing serious."

The bassist sighed, biting back the retort that she didn't think that Reina would see it that way if she found out. Or that it was more serious to Sayumi than the leader realized. And then it occurred to her that maybe that was the best way to get rid of the new girl, anyway. After all, what did she care? Ai would stubbornly do what she wanted no matter what was said, and that was that.

I just want you to be happy...

----------

The next day, I found myself cheerfully walking along the city streets, filled to the brim with nervous excitement. Aika had made several comments that morning about my 'date' before she left for school, but I was repeatedly reminding myself that it was just Takahashi being friendly. And anyway, I really was happy to get the chance to explore the city for once as well. Being with someone who knew her way around just made things that much easier. 

I was headed towards the leader's apartment; after dinner last night she'd sent me another text with the address and time to meet. It turned out that the apartment was fairly close to my own, and it was such a nice day that I'd decided to walk over instead of trying to flag down a cab.

When I finally got to the door, I tapped out a playful rhythm on it with my knuckles, ready to get this day started. Needless to say, I was a bit startled when Risa was the one to appear, at least until I remembered that she lived here too. And then I was only startled by her clothing... or lack thereof. The bassist answered the door in a pair of shorts and a bra, apparently completely unfazed to see me.

"Ah. It's you." She stated plainly, lazily bringing her free hand up to scratch at her bare stomach. "Aichan isn't ready yet, but I guess you can come inside."

Risa left the door open, turning to walk back towards what I could see was their kitchen. As her back faced me, I'd forgotten all about being embarrassed as I caught sight of the impressive tattoo that marked her skin; it was a massive tiger, crawling it's way up from her right hip to her left shoulder. Parts of it looked unfinished, but I still thought it was equally beautiful and intimidating. Seeing it also definitely confirmed Junjun's story, because I didn't know any ordinary people to go out and get something like that put on them. She must have felt me staring at her, because as I entered the kitchen after her she began to speak.

"It's real, in case you were wondering. Though I assume you know all about me now, don't you?"

She grabbed one of the chairs around the kitchen table, flipping it  so that she could sit on it backwards, arms crossing over the top of it as she faced me. She looked like someone on trial, chin resting on her forearm and eyes focused hard on the floor, and her posture rigid as if she constantly expected the worst. Though I barely knew her, I couldn't help but feel some compassion for her, in spite of what Junjun had told me.

"Well... I can't say I approve of what you've done before now but... Even so, when I heard about it I was pretty surprised, since it didn't really match up with my impression of you..." Risa raised her head to look up at me, confused, so I continued, "What I mean is, who you were then and who you are now seem to be two different people. I can't say for sure, I guess, but I'll reserve my judgment until I get to know you better. Fair enough?"

She continued to blink at me, completely surprised, and opened her mouth to say something before a voice called out to her from one of the other rooms.

"Risa? Who are you talking to?"

"It's just Tanakacchi." The bassist called back, and I raised an eyebrow at the nickname, earning a smirk in response, "She's waiting for you, so hurry up."

Takahashi poked her head into the kitchen, attempting to put on a pair of earrings. Even in a rush, the leader looked flawless, makeup perfect, dressed, well, like a rockstar. She acknowledged my presence with a smile, before turning back to Risa, who'd since gotten up to help the other woman with her earrings. It was strange watching the two of them interact; every touch and glance Risa sent the other girl was tender, but Takahashi seemed to merely be tolerating everything.

"Tanakacchi...? Where's that name coming from all of a sudden?" Takahashi asked, looking vaguely amused.

"Just a cute name for the kid, don't read too much into it."

"...hey! I'm not a kid! I bet you're not all that older yourself even!" I snapped, managing to find my voice again. The two of them simply laughed at me, furthering my irritation, but when Takahashi walked up to me with that charming grin of hers, I immediately shut my mouth.

"Ready to go, then?"

All I could do was nod, and she gently began to usher me towards the door, exchanging a goodbye with Risa before we exited the apartment.

----------

"This isn't exactly what I thought we'd be doing today..."

Takahashi- Ai, I mentally corrected myself, much like she'd been doing aloud for me all morning, looked up at me from where she sat in a hair-drying chair, her once platinum locks sandwiched between sheafs of aluminum foil. Somehow we'd ended up in a salon, and while she was having her hair dyed back to black, another woman was putting the finishing touches on my new cut. My leader grinned at me, disarming as always.

"A rockstar needs a rockstar look. Besides, I can tell by the way you keep staring at yourself in the mirror that you like it."

She had a point, I did like it. My hair was now a nice auburn color and my bangs framed my face perfectly. I also had to admit that I just enjoyed having people waiting on me, and the poor stylist had to keep asking me to sit up straight; it was hard staying awake while people were working on my hands and feet as well.

"Do you do this all the time, Taka- er, Aichan?"

"Sometimes." She turned her attention back to the magazine in her lap, and I felt my eyes threatening to slide shut again. "I tend to get called in for a majority of the interviews, so it's necessary that I look my best."

"Ah..."

I thought about that for a moment. Ai was really the only one in the group that gave off a more... elegant image. Sure she wasn't the picture of purity or anything--the way her eyes smoldered when we performed and rehearsed was anything but innocent--but who she was on stage versus who she was in person was completely different. Like night and day, carefully crafted personalities to please the fans and the media alike. Something about that thought unnerved me, but before I could think on it too hard the stylist tugged on my hair a bit to wake me back up again and I glared at her via the mirror as best I could. Ai was watching me again and I could hear her laughing softly, causing my cheeks and ears to burn.

Within the next half hour we were finished, and as we walked the streets side by side I couldn't help but really feel like a celebrity for once; people stopped dead in their tracks as we passed them, and it made me nervous. I felt an arm slide around my shoulder, and I turned my head to face Ai, who calmly returned my gaze.

"The 'deer-in-the-headlights' look isn't really working for you."

I could feel my face flushing at our proximity, and I made a bit of an incoherent noise in response, causing her to grin.

Goddamnit woman, can't you see the smiling makes it worse?! Or maybe... She can... Actually I bet she knows exactly what she's doing and that's why she keeps doing it...

"Calm down. Focus on breathing and walking. And meet everyone's eyes." As she said that she glanced at some poor guy that happened to be jogging past us, causing him to nearly trip and do a faceplant. "Either they'll look away or... Be like him."

I nodded, though I wasn't feeling all too confident in myself. Still, having something to focus on helped, and I did as Ai instructed, counting my breaths and steps one by one. I willed the expression on my face to become much more apathetic, and I soon managed to lift my head, tossing a glare in the direction of the nearest passerby, forcing the woman to quickly move well out of our way. Ai began to laugh at me again and I glanced sideways at her, eyes still burning a bit.

"What?"

"Well, I meant for you to be a bit more subtle than that, but you've got the clothes and personality of a yankii... I suppose having the swagger to match is appropriate."

Her arm slipped from my shoulder back to her side, hand brushing against mine occasionally as we continued to walk. The contact was making it hard for me to focus, but she didn't even seem to notice or care herself. Again I suspected she was doing it on purpose, but by now I was starting to relax more, and I couldn't say that I didn't like the attention from her.

"Where are you taking me now, by the way?" I asked, finally beginning to feel comfortable in her presence. 

"Don't you trust me?" She asked, smiling in a way that seemed as though she was sharing a private joke... with herself.

"No," I answered quickly, honestly, "I don't." But I found myself smiling back at her anyway. It was too hard not to.

"Smart girl. It's probably just as well since I'm taking you to an amusement park."

...Oh. Oh no.

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VIII, 4/29]
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2012, 12:42:34 AM »
xD xD AWESOME TAKAGAKI THERE! :D hehehehe... *evil smirk* xD

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VIII, 4/29]
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2012, 01:32:13 AM »
Oh yes! Reina at the amusement park is going to be golden!

I love the Tanagaki bonding moment there. And the little bit of insight into Takgaki was interesting. Have I mentioned that I really like your Risa? Cause I really like this Risa.

Offline mochi.rini

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VIII, 4/29]
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2012, 02:47:50 AM »
Aichan at amusement park....joyous

Reina at amusement park...panic

This next chapter is going to be fabulous :D

And I totally agree with rndm....your Risa is fabulous.  Admittdly, I have an epic girl crush on her at the moment (not that I probably didn't before XD)  I hope you write more about her history...I'm curious to see who the ones who beat up JunJun's dad really is :O

Quote
It was strange watching the two of them interact; every touch and glance Risa sent the other girl was tender, but Takahashi seemed to merely be tolerating everything.

So sad...so sad...  Risa obviously cares so much about her~  but there's something....something that's blocking the epic forcefield of TakaGaki-ness~

Kame as a druggie...no wonder she's a complete weirdo XD 

As much as I need to avoid JPhip in order to do my finals....I KEEP COMING BACK~  So wonderful Quietriot....you are so wonderful <3
Hi~iiya!~  (>^_^)>
I support T a k a G a k i
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Offline kawaii beam

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VIII, 4/29]
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2012, 01:44:54 AM »
forever delayed with replys ;3; 1st of all i wanna say that i'm loving teh story so far and that i cant wait for so much more~! it looks really promissing! X3

2nd i'm loving the risa vs sayu rivalry as well as everyones relationships with one another. reina's really got herself into a web of stuff that i hope she can fully survive when its all done with lol i mean we know she lives sicne she's a grandma now but well yeah XD

3rd and last i'm all for criminal risa or well ex criminal? and that description about her tatoo was awesome~~~~~ :panic: 1st thing i thought when i read that part with her in a bra and shorts was this pic from her new pb

granted its a bikini top but still lol :inlove:

i cant wait for reina's reactions to an amusement park with ai~ keep up the great work! :deco:
please visit kawaii-chan's avie's and siggies!

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VIII, 4/29]
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2012, 02:08:12 AM »
^-claws way out of pile of research and artwork-

BLESS THAT POST!!!  :heart:  :heart:  :heart:

-returns from whence she came-

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter VIII, 4/29]
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2012, 05:22:46 PM »
@risa_ai: I hope you're not too attached to them either XD;

@rndy: Momusu at amusement parks is generally hilarious, no matter the girl, heheh. And I'm glad you like my Risa! I've never written much of her, even though I like her well enough, and all too often I find her characterization in fics to be a bit... disappointing, I guess. Not all of them, but yeah. Rambling now. XD basically, thank you. She's one of the girls I don't understand as well, so to hear that people like her here is a relief.

@mochi.rini: No worries, Risa will get her moments. I have plans. XD  As for whatever may be blocking the Takagaki forcefield... Tis a mystery~ XD heheh funny you mention finals, as I should be studying for mine instead of writing this. Let's procrastinate together, ne? You're too kind~

@kawaii beam: I still can't get over that pic, like, I know you said other things but, uh, bless that post again! XD damn, what was I gonna say again? ...thanks for reading! Late comments are more appreciated than no comments at all, of course~ 

So I know I said I was gonna update this last night in the prologue of Quicksilver, but that obviously didn't happen. :P but I was in a clearer state of mind today anyway~ and ended up shuffling some of my plans around to make this chapter last a bit longer. Enjoy~

Chapter IX: Dance Inside

There's no way I'm getting on that thing.

Towering above me was a great length of twisted steel track, curved in loops and turns that were designed supposedly to thrill anyone brave enough to ride it. But the moment I laid eyes on it, my instincts were screaming all sorts of things like, "This will kill you," and "Twenty is an awfully young age for someone to die," so I stood completely rooted to the spot when Ai tugged on my arm in an attempt to pull me into the line.

"Reina-chan, the ride is this way, you know." Her voice was soft, likely meant to be encouraging, but I hadn't missed the gleam of mischievous excitement in her eyes when she'd first caught sight of this machine.

"I know where it is. That's why I'm here and not there." I growled in response, attempting to wrest my hand from her grasp. She held on tightly, not enough to hurt, but I definitely wasn't going anywhere fast. A grin crossed her lips.

"Are you afraid?"

I snorted, irritation spiking through me and quickly replacing my earlier panic. 

"No, of course not." She raised a slender eyebrow at me, and I tried again, hoping to control the tremor in my voice, "I just... you know, I enjoy my life and I've only just started on my own as an adult..." I trailed off, faltering and losing resolve as she only grinned wider at me.

"Don't be a baby, the Skullsplitter isn't going to kill you."

"For some reason, strangely enough, the name doesn't exactly reassure me!" I shrieked, but Ai was relentless and managed to drag me into the line with her. For the next twenty minutes my anxiety grew, increasing dramatically every time the coaster roared past us, carrying with it the terrified shrieks of the unfortunate souls that thought they'd be having fun today. 

Ah man... That's gonna be me in a minute... What do I do?

As we finally reached the front of the line, I realized that I had subconsciously moved closer and closer to Ai, and was practically leaning into her as I watched the group right before us get strapped in. I didn't notice until the coaster lurched forward with its unlucky passengers, causing me to jump and stumble back into her, one of her arms immediately grabbing my waist to steady me. This put us in really close proximity, with Ai practically hugging me to her side, and I temporarily forgot my fear, heat spreading throughout my cheeks and ears. She leaned towards me, her breath just grazing my neck and ear, forcing a shiver out of me.

"You should be more careful, hm?" She murmured, and I nodded quickly in response, once again unable to form words. Thankfully--or maybe regretfully, I was having trouble deciding--she didn't linger, removing her arm from my side as well as the next empty line of cars rolled into place in front of us.

"Shall we ride in the back then? It's the most exciting place to be, they say."

I barely heard what she said, eyes locking onto a child stumbling away from his seat, the color completely drained from his face. I let out a tiny, very not-brave squeak as Ai pulled me towards the back of the coaster, sitting me down next to her before I could protest. The restraints were then locked down over us, sealing my fate. I whined miserably as we began to move forward, while beside me, the usually reserved Ai was bouncing a bit in her seat, happily anticipating what was to come.

I might have found it incredibly cute, but we were beginning our climb, and I was focused completely on keeping my eyes shut.

"Hey, you're missing out on the view! Open your eyes~"

"No. Shut up. I hate you."

Her fingers laced themselves with mine, squeezing gently.

"Just look."

Slowly, I cracked one eye open, turning my head to the side to catch a glimpse of what she was going on about. From up here, I could almost see the entire city, and because the sun was starting to set, the buildings were outlined with a golden glow. It was beautiful, breathtaking even, so much so that I wasn't ready to scream when the cart finally dropped.

----------

"So maybe that wasn't the best idea in the world..."

After the ride, I'd immediately darted towards the nearest trash can, clutching desperately at the rim as I heaved my lunch into it. Ai had come up behind me to pull my hair out of the line of fire, using her other hand to gently rub my back. While it was definitely helping, every time my stomach twisted I remembered that this was her fault to begin with.

I finally resurfaced, eagerly snatching the napkins she'd swiped from a nearby vendor to wipe my mouth with before tossing them away in disgust.

"...yeah, sort of the point I was trying to get across to you before..." I mumbled, shooting her a weak but baleful glance. Ai only smiled at me, reaching to tuck a stray strand of my hair behind my ear.

"Still, you're perhaps the only person I've encountered who can manage to look pretty even after vomiting."

...Really? I pretended to gag again, which lured the other woman close enough to where I could sock her hard in the arm. To my surprise, Ai let out a particularly manly scream and jumped back, rubbing her arm in shock.

"Ow!! What was that for?!"

"You know... You're all mysterious and alluring until you open your mouth for too long..." I replied, smirking at her confusion. For once I felt like I had the upper hand, and I sure as hell was gonna hold onto it for as long as I possibly could. "But man, that was pretty lame... Do you actually say stuff like that to girls on a regular basis?"

She raised a hand to scratch sheepishly at the back of her neck, a move I found endearing. 

Get it together, Reina...

"Well I don't really spend time with girls like this... Or well, anyone for that matter. So I probably don't know the right things to say."

She finished with a laugh, the kind that made my heart skip a little beat.

...oh, I think you know exactly the right words to say.

Ai paused, looking around as though she'd just realized how late it was getting, the lights on the attractions around us sparking to life as dusk began to settle in. She smiled, extending a hand towards me.

"So, how about I buy us some ice cream and then I walk you home?"

...well, I couldn't very well say no to ice cream.

----------

Halfway home and easily placated by the cup of sweet deliciousness in my hands, I contentedly fell into step beside my companion, enjoying the comfortable silence between us. Ai had gone for a cone instead, which, at first I thought was stupid, given that we would be walking... but I soon realized the benefits of her choice. Particularly for me, in that I got the privilege of watching her tongue as it... Ah... oh. She had caught me watching her, but instead of stopping, she deliberately licked at her ice cream again, a glint of something dark in her eyes.

I frantically searched my mind for something to say, unwilling to get lost in the depth of her gaze for too long... And then I remembered: I did have questions to ask, after all.

"Aichan... Can I ask you something?"

"Sure. Ask away."

"Well... I was wondering... About you and Niigaki-san..."

She sighed, and I saw something unreadable flicker through her eyes. A wall had come up as soon as I mentioned the bassist's name, though I had been expecting it. Now it was just a matter of whether she would tell me anything at all...

"Gaki-san and I grew up together. There really isn't much more to it than that." So she said, but there was something in her tone that didn't quite match her words. Even if she were able to completely act indifferent, the way that Risa had acted earlier would have been enough to tell me she was lying. "She and I were inseparable until... high school, I suppose. Her parents were in an accident..."

A quiet note of pain had entered her voice, though her mask remained intact, and I wondered how many people her facade actually managed to fool. I remained silent, allowing her to continue.

"She started to fall in with a pretty rough crowd. At the time, I had no idea anything was gang-related... I just knew she was in trouble. I met Eri and Sayu around that time as well, and when they talked about starting a band, I dragged Gaki-san to all of the rehearsals, hoping that maybe... Well I guess I hoped it could be a safer outlet for her. And at first it seemed like I was right, because she stopped spending time with her other friends and got really serious about what we were doing."

Ai's eyebrows knitted together in frustration, the first real change in expression I'd seen from her since she started her story.

"But... she went back to them again after a while... And I think you already know that part of the story. Wild Musume was the most popular band in this city... All of it ruined by what she pulled. ...and even after everything, she chose to protect the names of those punks."

Obviously this was a touchy subject for her, and I could definitely see why, making a mental note not to bring the topic up with Aichan again. However, there was still one thing that I didn't quite understand...

"But... If all that is true... Why let her back into the band? And why are you living with her?"

"This band means a lot to all of us... When Gaki-san got out of jail, she had nothing. No home, and certainly no money to speak of. We weren't going to be able to find anyone to replace her... And I'm not so cruel as to leave her on the streets."

I could hear all of the unspoken words. At one point, it was pretty obvious to me that Ai must have cared for Risa as more than just a friend. Even now though things were strained between them, she still cared, but for whatever reason was holding the other girl at arms length. I couldn't really blame her... but I wondered what she was playing at here with me. Perhaps it really was just as I'd told Aika that morning.

You're just a cute kid that she's looking out for. That's really all it is. Just because she makes your heart go dokidoki doesn't mean you have the same effect on her...

We were approaching my apartment complex, and I hurried to finish the last of my ice cream--I didn't want to listen to Aika whine about how I hadn't brought her any. In my rush, I managed to get a bit on my nose, but before I could reach up to wipe it off, Ai grabbed my wrist, stopping me. 

She leaned in, beginning to close the distance between us, and I completely froze, processing the situation as if it were happening in extreme slow motion. Her lips brushed the tip of my nose, feather-light, and I felt that tongue that I'd been so carefully studying earlier dart out to clean the mess I'd made.

I'm pretty sure, if it's possible, my entire body turned red.

As soon as she pulled away and I regained my senses, I almost immediately jumped backwards, dropping my ice cream, knocking over a trashcan, and very nearly falling on my ass. I scrambled to regain my balance, stammering out an apology.

"Ah- sorry- I have to, uh- go."

And then I fled in the direction of my apartment, as fast as my little legs would carry me.

Offline mochi.rini

  • lover of all TakaGaki and food :D
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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter IX, 5/4]
« Reply #38 on: May 05, 2012, 02:17:08 AM »
Skullsplitter!? what kind of person would voluntarily ride that!?  Geez...I agree with Reina...the name is scary enough Dx

Lol @ Man screaming Aichan :D  I should turn that into a ringtone...:P

Ooooh Risa :O  I was totally off lol~  I seriously thought the other members were in the gang too lol.  Actually, I thought that the three were Kame (while high), Sayu (while drunk), and Risa (still sane-ish)....random gang members...interesting :O  AICHAN IS SO LOVELY~ :D  What a pal!~  :deco:

:O  ReinAi?  Y U RUN REINA?  Everyone else would be all for it lol~

I'm glad you updated~  I've been procrastinating by stalking this forum xD  GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR FINALS~
Hi~iiya!~  (>^_^)>
I support T a k a G a k i
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Offline risa_ai

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  • Matsui, Midget, Gaki and random breadcrumbs~
Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter IX, 5/4]
« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2012, 04:16:47 AM »
Good luck, author-san! ^^

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