@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.
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."
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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 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..."
"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.