The Brave Lion's air is stale with the stench of drunks with no place to go, clinging their drinks as if it's their last. A band composed of older gentlemen play away on a corner stage, drowning out voices and forcing customers to shout orders across the bar. Yura, a boy barely passing for adult, tugs the arm of his accomplice Rins in a sort of panic. The two were celebrating their newly developed business that made them internet entrepreneurs, a big accomplishment for a boy not yet out of high school and an almost man pushing through college.
"Rins I don't understood why you drug me out of my home to this God forsaken place on a school night. I have studies to attend to and it won't be difficult for them to spot I am not an adult," Yura was exasperated by Rins incessant need to take him out for a celebration. So what if our business is booming, he thought, my studies shouldn't fall short because of it.
"That's the trouble with you, pal. You've got to relax, take the stick out of your ass and lighten up a bit will ya?" Easy going and relaxing came natural to Rins in comparison to Yura, who never seemed to relax at all.
"Well, it's difficult to pull the so called stick from my rump in a situation that is sure to ruin me, now take me home. Or, at least, get me out of here."
The fight was not a long one; when it came to Yura one fact remained evident, he gets his way. But it is not to say that Rins would comply with his direct demands, though he removed him from The Brave Lion Rins was beyond taking him home. The night was still young and the party had yet to begin.
The trickster's dorm became the new location of celebration and he was sure to bring anything to lighten the mood. Passerbies could feel the rhythmic drum of the bass to some song with muffled lyrics. Students in nearby dorms pounded against the walls, their beats melting into the song from the radio. Yura sat, perfectly postured, on Rins' bed while Rins enjoyed his own haze on the floor, surrounded by his emptied bottles. Avoiding temptations was normal for Yura since his stomach could only hold so much liquor and he loses control quickly.
Rins indulged in all that could free his mind from the clutch of school conformity and the education his scholarship pays off. He engulfed himself in the feel of the rhythm and the haze he created with his paraphernalia and recreational drug use. The buds left a bittersweet taste in his mouth and clouded his vision, mixed with the alcohol he worked impulses he never knew he had. He rolled gently to his side, as not to disturb his churning stomach that ached for food but lacked the ability to hold it down at this point. The bed became his support as he lifted himself, spotting his prey sitting ever so tenderly on his creaky, misshapen mattress.
"Goodness sakes Rins, stop looking at me like that, it's revolting. Shut your mouth before you start drooling on the sheets. Not as if it would matter. These sheets probably haven't seen the wash in ages," nervous anger rose in Yura's voice. He knew the beverage was making its way into gut, impairing his motor senses. Pictures blurred into the wallpaper in a foggy, dreamlike state causing Yura to become even more nervous. He was losing himself, his senses, this could not happen. Control was what he was used to and it would not slip through his synapses so easily.
Continuing his journey to the top of the mattress, Rins remained silent for fear that opening his mouth would bring up unwanted confectionaries. The bed frame became a strong hold in the struggle to hoist a near foot off the ground. Climbing the bed could equal the difficulty of climbing Mt. Everest at the point in time. Then comes a breakthrough, the surface encroaches on Rins as he falls roughly. Springs within have a furry from the body weight being unloaded on their backs. The pressure is enough to make them want to explode the way Rins' hormones are when his eyes make contact with Yura's.
"Yura," the whisper explodes from Rins' lips creating a tidal wave in Yura's ear drums. His cochlea reverberated a wakeup call that shot through his nerves and shook up his system.
Words were frozen in Yura's throat, pushing their way through his esophagus but here was no luck. The muscles that moved his jaw froze at the feeling of Rin's breath on the nap of his neck. This was the closest the two boys have ever gotten physically and Yura was unsure of how to react. His life was so calculated like the mathematical equations he exhausted himself to decipher. But there was no equation for what would happen next, not step by step procedure to test this hypothesis. No, hypothesis was wrong, this was the foreshadowing he had done the first moment Rins' eyes met his, those eyes other girls had only seem from him.
Breaths vibrated off the back of Yura's head producing an uneasy feeling in his stomach. The bile and liquid poison churned together as he forced down the rest of his bottle; bitter nectar he needed to push through the tension and stiff think, think, thinking. He wanted his brain to stop, his thoughts to seize to sweep away into the warm feeling of the strong arm he could feel wrap about his frame. It left him so comfortable it was frightening but he fought every urge to retaliate because maybe this was what he wanted all along.
Rins' soft hands crept along Yura's abdomen, searching for the gentle skin that lay beneath. His lips explored the jaw line and yearned to feeling of other boys on his tongue. This was the freezing in time before a collision that would alter the universe. Eyes shut and eager lips searching for a landing zone. Not all planes find the runway, straightway, veering off course due to misdirection from the pilot in charge. Rins' lips impacted with the pillow as a result of the herbs wearing off and the alcohols stronghold. This was a miscalculation, misfire, leaving Yura with hungry lips and a tight emptiness in the pit of his stomach.
Morning greeted the boys with headaches and vague memories of the night before. Yura was the first to awake, in a panic to get ready for a school day that did not exist. It was only Saturday and already felt behind on his studies. He must have the best grades to get into the best schools. Looking down he saw an unconscious Rins brining back glimpses of their night. The memory of his warmth caused Yura to place a hand on his stomach. Without warning he was vomiting into the nearest trash can. Apparently warm and sick equated the same in his mind.
Rins awoke to the sound of him heaving; first sitting up and then laying painfully back down. The night did not treat him well or the mixture inside of him. Around him lay his own waste, partially digested sweets mixed in booze. Lying in waste did not faze Rins much anymore, partying became a norm after moving into his dorm. No one checked his floor often, let alone walk into the dorm of a cranky teenage boy yet to finish the hormonal stage. His dorm was a near free for all, so long as the music wasn't too loud.
"Some celebration last night," Rins muttered denying a gag in his throat. "I can't remember shit past lying on the floor. I'm not even sure how I managed to get up here," Rins checked peered at a stunned Yura while removing his waste covered clothing.
"You remember nothing?"
"Nothing," he had forgotten his own advances to the rigid boy, leaving him slightly upset. Yura was tough though, some may even say cold, he had no room for philandering anyways. Besides, he would have Riff to deal with if she ever found out.
"Take me home, I have studies to attend to," the disappointment he felt was more over-bearing than he expected. How dare this man, no not a man, foolish boy pass moves at him without remembering? Didn't he know those actions came with consequences? He became sickened, not the sick he previously hurled into the trash can, yet the kind that made his chest tight at Rins' sight.
"Ryura Masami, please explain to your adoring girlfriend of nearly three years why you had the nerve to ignore her phone calls and text messages for almost a whole weekend." The shriek of Riff could be heard throughout the entire school, making them fully aware of Yura's blunder. A shriek loud enough to damage Yura's, standing only a couple feet away, ears.
It was true; Yura had ignored every phone call he received, fearing he may reveal the truth. But what truth was there to reveal? Nothing happened, but maybe his craving for something to happen made him guilty enough. No matter how hard he tried he could not suppress the thought of what might have been. Instead of following through the plans he made with Riff, he managed the internet business, drowning himself in numbers and statistics. Whatever it took to push the thought of Rins' lips from him head. The lips he longed too much to feel. Those feelings were not one's he was ready to admit to.
"Dear, you know I must attend to my school work. I must not be responsible for apologizing for not putting you in front of my future." No eye contact, he wished to not see the hurt in her eyes for fear he might spew the anger boiling inside, hiding behind satire. Even without looking he could feel the heat coming from her, enough to make him begin to perspire.
"I understand, but I also worry. At least, let me know you're busy next time," Riff was choking back the fire that lay dormant inside. "I'll see you in Advanced Physics, then," and she was gone before Yura could apologize for his harsh nature. He had a knack for making her feel belittled. Why she stayed by his side ever so obediently mystified him. Their relationship went on like this for nearly a year, he expected her to leave long ago but instead she showers him with appraisal and love. Maybe it was because they had a mutual understanding, school comes first.
School was Yura's get away from home, from feelings he didn't want to feel. Textbooks were easier to drown in than his thoughts. His girlfriend was kept a safe distance, due to the no public display of affection rule, giving him security we wouldn't have to mix his spit with hers for hours. Kissing had become a chore for Yura these days, something that he almost never wanted to do. Except last night when his and Rins' nearly met but he couldn't think about that now. There was work to be done, homework to correct, old English literature to make sense of. While the others in study hall would use the opportunity to sleep, he would be finishing his years work early, re-checking it to perfect mistakes.
"Hey, just calling to thank you for all the data. You must be lacking in the social life, no wonder you were so stiff Friday. Anyways, this business is booming more than I expected. Anyways my classes ended early today so we should get together after you get out. Discuss the layout further," Rins' voice boomed over Yura's voice mail. After spending the weekend re-working the website he found it fit to E-mail everything to Rins. Working on the layout would be a positive move; with the help of the data they could create a more successful business. If they became more successful that may call for another celebration which made Yura's stomach tense.
For the rest of his lunch break, Yura pondered the idea of going to his friends after school. What if he did remember and this was his way of making another pass at him? While at once wanting to avoid muddying up their friendship with illicit desires, a voice in his mind kept urging him to go forth. So what if their relationship became closer than the norm, who would care? Riff would care, so would his parents.
"Expect me over after school and clean that filthy room of yours." Message sent.
An hour had passed since the boys began making improvements to their internet business; an hour of strained conversation with keys clacking in the stiff silence. They had been working hard to keep their business from going belly up, those things happened in the economy today. Rins could really use the money to keep him financed in college and Yura needed it to get into college. Though he was sure he could get scholarships he would rather not rely on them alone. Each moment was spent carefully judging which adjustments would benefit them the most. As Yura became swallowed up by the statistics of their business he could escape the outcomes of having a hook up with his best friend. He needed to escape the thoughts, especially seeing as his friend could not remember their encounter and the probability of the events reoccurring was slim.
Rins leaned over Yura to point out a figure they missed previously. Hot breath poured of Yura's cheek, the same hot breath that had whispered his name nights ago; a whisper with the power to flip his world into a new dimension. Stop, just stop. This isn't right. He ceased to think such thoughts with him so close-by, as if Rins were somehow telepathic.
"Hey, are you alive in there? What's gotten into you lately?" Yura had failed to recognized that along with Rins' lips moving, words were coming out as well.
"Sorry. You know we've been working too long, let's take a break."
"What the nerd boy is done already?" Hurt could be spotted in Yura's eyes. "You know you're right. I ordered a pizza, it should be here soon," he sighed. "Are you alright? You seem tense," he was right. Normally the boys were full of laughs in the afternoon. Work was just an excuse to get out of the house but tonight they'd done nothing but focus. Each of his conversation starters were shot done by a slight grunt of sigh of annoyance.
Yura sat rigid, pondering what to say, how to act to make the questioning stop. To make the words stop. Nothing. How can there be nothing, I'm practically a genius. There has to be something.
"Did I do something wrong?"
"You really don't remember last night do you?" The sound of his own voice startled Yura. He wanted nothing but to slap his hands over his mouth, stop the noise but it was too late. The sounds kept flowing together, forming words that were harsher then he ever intended. Ruthless was in his nature but towards his closest friend, this wasn't right. "How can you not remember it you…you," there was no adjective handy to describe him. "You had to make things different with your flashy eyes," he caught himself. As if saying the rest would uncover a persona that was not him but composed him all at once.
"What are you talking about? I didn't try to hit of your girl or something did I? 'Cause I'm sorry man, when I get like that I can't hold back-"
"Is that what it is; a lack of control. Impulses you act on because otherwise you stifle them for the better. Until you're able to collect yourself in that state I'm not sure we can together under those conditions." The words stung as they pushed through his lips. Surely he did not want to strain their friendship. There was no need to say such a phrase but it was too late.
"Something is up your ass today. So tell me exactly, what did I do to offend poor little Yura?" He teased, coming closer to Yura than he was comfortable with at this particular moment. His hands rested on his shoulders, propping himself just beside him, just close enough for Yura to catch the scent of his cologne.
Pink danced across Yura's face heating up his cheeks. For a moment he felt his head gravitate in Rins direction, stop shortly before his. The tension caused Yura's heart to dance inside his chest. The vibrations thudded his eardrums so loud he was sure Rins could feel it too. Instincts created by hormones reverberated through his blood stream. Movie screen visions of what should, no what he wanted to happen blinded him from seeing the boy before him.
"Rins, try not to be a dumbass," his airplane crash landed in a field far from its home base. Storm clouds distorted the runway and following it was not an option. There went his climax, sizzling down to a disappointing resolution.
A knock sounded at the door and the conversation was over. Yura sighed in relief as Rins' presence was no longer so close. If he had taken the opportunity the remaining survivors of the plane crash would have been caught in a whirlwind, he was sure. There was to be no more remembrance of this almost disaster, it was gone; erased from his memory.
"Pizza if you're hungry," Yura's savior was a concoction of greasy dough, cheese, and various meats.
School had just let out and without warning Rins was waiting outside with his car. The two would be spending an unplanned day together having unscheduled fun. This was not right, could not be correct. Yura's world is calculated, pre-thought out with no surprises. He hated surprises.
The school yard melted into carpeted floor, full of stains from pop spills that were never cleaned properly. Blue sky and trees formed four poorly wall-papered walls, molding in areas the paper had chipped. Clouds expanded into a ceiling, blocking out the daylight. New-age beats pumped through the walls, through the floor, through Yura's finger tips. When he lifted them to look they were pulsating to the rhythm, appearing to be on the edge of bursting.
Shouts could be heard from all around but when the door opened no one was there. Other dorms remained empty and lifeless, leaving just Rins and Yura. Slam! The door shut stirring a wind that threw books from shelves, and ripped pages that flew into the air. No the pages of his textbooks. Textbooks that were the sanctity of Yura, a distraction from the real world; escape. Yura would be left to face anything that came without anywhere to hide. No amount of sheets nor pillows could protect him from the monsters that lay waiting for him.
His stomach seared hot, as if he stood too close to a bonfire. Lifting his shirt exposed a handprint on his abdomen, one too large to be Riff's. The print fit a man's hand, Rins' hand. Yura clenched his eyes shut. This could not belong to Rins because he could not belong to Rins.
"Yura," echoed through his membrane like a broken record. His fingers took on a new life, beating to the sound of Rins voice now. They turned to silk leaving Yura to look away and meet eyes with his capture.
"Yura," the joining of their lips nearly made Yura's explode. No matter how hard he tried to push away it was hopeless. It was as if the two and fused together and he was stuck.
Curtains flew open letting rays of light engulf Yura's pupils. Every door flew open, uncovering a different student, and in front of him the worst. Riff had seen the whole event, witnessed the desire in his eyes, the way he turned to silk at the sound of another man's voice. And behind Riff were her parents, his parents. What a disgraceful deed he had carried out. How could he do this to someone who cherished him so deeply? How could he do this with Rins?
Water dripped in his lap. Looking up, it was not water, they were tears from Riff. Poor sweet Riff, who dedicated every moment to making him happy while he did nothing but push her away. She is the lamb and he is the slaughter. He is the lamb and Rins is the slaughter.
The alarm sounds awaking Yura from his nightmare. It was only a nightmare. The morning moves groggy because waking from something so tormenting takes a great deal of energy and it is difficult to expend energy when there is none to waste. The sun raises too early which causes pain in Yura's un-prepared pupils. After nearly missing his bus, the rest of the day soared. The dream quickly disappeared with no evidence it ever existed and thoughts of Rins kept their way out of his head. They did so well at disguising themselves that Yura even arranged for them to get together over the weekend in celebration over the great fortune their business had.
During the recent get together there was no stop at The Brave Lion, instead the boys headed to Rins. After the last encounter the boys had Rins promised to only have one beer as long as Yura did the same. Considering one beer was all Yura could handle without unloading his insides it was a done deal. It did not take long for Rins to get a small buzz and Yura to be tipsy. All at once the memories of the last week hit Yura, his chest tightened and his vision doubled. He saw everything the way it previously happened, feeling the burn on his stomach and warmth on his neck. Get out, get out of my head. But there was no use in fighting the feelings he suppressed once they successfully clawed their way to the surface.
Making wise decisions, Rins finished his bottle on his bed so there would be no difficult climbing involved. Pillows engulfed him as he lay back, stretching his arms in the air. When he caught eyes with his pal he noticed something different and felt a match strike within him. He had the same eyes only a week ago. Something had been uncovered that should not have, like the way Pandora's Box must remain sealed. An earthquake was stirred within his friend and he was the tectonic plates. He sat up in a flurry and caused the bed to creak beneath his weight. Eyes locked on Yura's as if sending a telepathic message. I act on impulse and can't hold back, he thought as if solving a riddle.
Time was on a standstill and eyes could kill. A minute passed but to the boys it was a century. The clues led to a solution the only question remaining was, what to do now? Should I say something? Would it be strange? Now Rins was left to question this new reality. Without further warning there was an impact. Lips upon lips and not only had Rins not initiated the attack, Yura did. There was no pulling away, only heavy heartbeats and closed eyes. This was it, the altering of the universe they once knew.
"Rins I'm so sorry," Yura had pulled away long enough to take a breath. Before he could finish his sentence their lips had met again. Warm hands left imprints on his back while hip bones met with his own. If this is wrong then I wish to be incorrect.
Morning brought uncertainty that everything had happened. Maybe it was a dream and this was the waking. Thoughts of dreams were demolished when Yura awoke peeling himself away from Rins. He had fallen asleep on him and warm hands lay peacefully on his back. This was a reality he was ready to face.
"Yura, you're awake so early," softly whispered.
"And so are you," he rolled to his side, leaving Rins to be the big spoon. "Rins."
"Be my secret."