In front of the livehouse, filled with all kinds of people waiting at the entrance I stood baffled. "Don't tell me I have to stand in that long line?" It was the first time in a while that I decided to dress up ever since I was freed from having to hide my identity. With a mix of punk and goth style, I wore an outfit that didn't make me stand out and had my hair tied back. I didn't want anyone to notice me.

Why'd I bother coming so early? Ah...right. That stupid clock wouldn't go any faster. Daisuke had sent me a text and said there was a change of plans. Because the vocalist caught a cold he couldn't sing and they'd probably have to cancel the show. And then right after he sent me another text and said that he wouldn't be able to come pick me up so he gave me the address and told me what time it started.

That baka Daisuke! Changing the plans like that and now he wants me to wait in this long ass line! I understand his band member caught a cold but could he be stupid enough to let himself get sick like that when he's the one whose supposed to be singing. When it comes to work you have to always take care of yourself, that's what I was taught.




I looked around for the source of the sound and found Yuri standing by the side of the building. She waived for me to come over. Before I could stop in front of her she reached for my hand and pulled me with her. "Y-yuri? Where are we going?"

She glanced back at me. "Nii-chan is waiting for you in the dressing room with his band. I'll take through the back door."

Waiting for you...waiting for you...he's waiting for you...Hehehe.

"Get that stupid smirk off your face." Yuri stared at me, as if she knew what I was thinking.

I came back to reality. "You've been really bold lately standing up to me. Jealous because you're in love with him?" That was the last thing I wanted to talk about. If I didn't I was afraid I'd start probing for answers about what happened with her and Jun at the party and it seemed like that was the last thing she'd want to talk about.


"What do you mean "hah"? You told me that you love him as more than a brother when we first met."

She looked at me as if I was slow...a lot of people have given me that same look lately. "And you believed me?" When I nodded my head, she sighed. "It's not like that. It's..."

"It's what?" I asked, pushing for her to continue. Is it me or was Yuri acting different than usual? What was going with her and her brother?

"At that time when I heard Nii-chan was spending a lot of time with some girl I got worried. I didn't want him to get hurt again."

I stopped walking. Yuri's hand gripped my wrist tighter and even though I couldn't see her face I could imaging what sort of expression she was wearing. "You can't always protect your brother."

"I know that! But...he's gone through so much taking care of me and my mom and then this girl came into his life out of nowhere and messed everything up. Because of her he was in so much pain!"

"Are you talking about Nina?"

She nodded, then paused. "How do you know her name?"

"That doesn't matter." Being the daughter of famous parents came with perks. It was easy getting information that I wanted. "What I don't understand is why you seem to not like her. I was told she was an amazing athlete, good in academics and really popular and that she and Daisuke made a good couple. Usually you'd be happy that your brother found someone he can depend on. It's not like it was her fault she died."

"No!" Yuri shook her head in denial. "No...I...I...didn't like her."

The tone of her voice made me unable to ask her anything more. She didn't like Nina? Was is because Daisuke paid more attention to his girlfriend when they were dating and not his little sister? Or was there something more to it? This Nina girl, exactly what secret was she hiding? What kind of girl was she really? Even though I had no intention of asking, Yuri continued.

"I don't know everything that happened between them and because he seemed happy I didn't want to bother him. It was the first time he did anything for himself. Nii-chan, even though he doesn't seem like he's serious and cares for others more than he does for himself."

No. I knew that Daisuke was the serious and kind type. Only people whose always look at him knows his true personality. Under his playful smile and his love for teasing he always cares for others more than himself.

"One day when I was on my way home from the convenience store at night I saw Nina. She canceled her date with Nii-chan so I wanted to cheer him up by buying him his favorite drink. But that Nina! She was hanging out with some delinquent looking guys!"

"Did you tell him?"

Yuri shook her head no. "I told you I didn't want to ruin it for him." Yuri who was looking down at the ground snapped her head back up after contemplating something. "Nina was a year younger than Nii-chan. She was childish and she'd always smile sweetly at me but it was as if her eyes never smiled. She scared me. That's why whenever she came over to our house I'd hide in my room."

I mumbled. "Why did I have to fall for a guy who has so many complications?"

Yuri eyes widen and then she smiled. "You do like him!"

I didn't answer that question but what I said next might as well have confirmed it. "What are you so happy about? Don't you dislike girls getting close to your beloved Onii-chan?"

"I...don't mind if it's you." Yuri whispered without looking at me.

Embarrassed, I didn't say anything more until we reached the room where he was waiting. In order to learn more about his past and about him in general I'd have to ask the person himself.

"Hey guys!" Daisuke's loud voice echoed throughout the building.

"They already started!" Yuri said dragging me to the backstage.

"I'm sure you've all heard by now how our idiot of a vocalist Shiki caught a cold at the last minute." Daisuke dramatically sighed. "Who knew that even he gets sick." The crowd laughed and yelled, "Kurohoshi!"

Kurohoshi? Black Star? interesting band name and they seem really popular.

"Okay. Okay. Anymore than that and our leader will chew me out! So with all that said you'll have to put up with me being the vocal today. Hai. Hai. Don't worry, I'm a pretty damn good singer if I say so myself!"

Daisuke rotated his guitar that he strapped him around to the front. He closed his eyes counted to three silently and then started playing. Probably a lot of the fans couldn't see that he was actually nervous. His singing wasn't that bad but it wasn't good enough for him to be the lead vocal. He has the ideal karaoke voice though. "Pfftt...hahaha!" Yuri glance at me, I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. And then finally came his last song. This one was much slower and different from the rest. The fans barely made any noise, listening intently.

When they finished singing the band members started slowly walking to where I stood. Daisuke spotted me and then quickly ran up to me with a huge grin and put his arm around my waist, hugging me. One of members whistled as they passed by. Ryou however glared at me with disapproval, Kei smiled apologetically.

I pushed Daisuke away from me. "You're all sweaty. You smell."

He chuckled. "But you don't mind right?"

I followed him as we left to go to their private room. It seemed like Daisuke was kind of back to his old self. Earlier, it felt as if he was thinking really hard about something and was spacing out a lot. I stood against the wall in the room and waited with Yuri as they left through another door to change and wash up a little. Fifteen minutes later the members started coming back in one by one. Daisuke stood by me and started his introduction.

"You've met Kei and Ryou already, right? He doesn't look it but Ryou plays the drums and is our leader. He's really strict and stubborn so try not to get on his bad side." Ryou glared at him, some of the members laughed.

Too late...I think I already am on his bad side.

"Kei plays the bass and he's also good with the piano." He nodded his head to me as a greeting. I nodded back. "Then there's Yuki. Our second guitar." He said pointing to boy who was gathering his things, he was the one who whistled earlier. "Yuki's the youngest of all of us. He's actually in the same year and age as Yuri."

"Ne, Dai-chan! Is she your girlfriend?!" Yuki said grinning as he came and put his arm around Daisuke. With blond hair and piercings in both ear, it was hard to believe he was the same age as our chibi Yuri. Not to mention he was around the same height as Daisuke.

"And then our vocalist..."

Oh. I missed his reply to Yuki about me being his girlfriend. I wonder what he said.

"The one sitting in the chair with a scary look on his face is our vocalist Shiki...he loves singing more than anything so don't mind him if he doesn't talk much. He's always been the quiet type. Shiki is 20 and is in College. We all thought he'd quit on us after graduating High School but thankfully he loves the band more than anything."

Shiki stood up. "Daisuke! What was with that singing back there?!" Purple, long hair and eyes, you could tell he was the kind of guy who was popular with girls. The type with a hot look but cold personality.

"Come on Shiki! I'm not you, you know?" He and Shiki started talking intensely was absorbed in their own little world.

After hanging out with them for a little while we left the livehouse only to be surrounded by fans in a matter of seconds. Already I could hear whispers of disapproval as the girls stared at me, wondering who I was. I would have ignored them but then I saw one of the girls purposely push another one in front of her towards me. Her friends laughed and smirked as she fell in front of me on her knees.

I stopped and without looking at anyone in particular I said loud enough for everyone to hear, "Wow. Kowaiiii. Fan girls are really something, there's no telling what they'll do next." I put my hand under Daisuke's arm and smirked. "Lets hurry up and get out of here Dai-chan before they hurt us." Pulling on his arm we made our way through the crowd, leaving behind stunned girls.

"You're awesome Ari-chan! To be able to stand up to them like that, even I get nervous sometimes!" Yuki said giving his approval of what just happened.


"Not bad." Shiki said with his arms crossed.

Ryou looked as if he wanted to say something to me but decided against it. "Lets go Kei." After saying their goodbyes one by one the members, leaving me and Daisuke alone. There was one person who still hasn't said anything yet. Did I do something unnecessary? Maybe he really hates this side of me? But I already held back a lot by not punching them.


I jumped. "Y-yes?"

"You were great! I saw what they did and wanted to say something but Shiki stopped me. He said not to make a scene and helped the girl get up. He always thinks about others before anything else and keep his true feelings to himself."

"Isn't that how you are?"


I swallowed the lump in my throat. "You always look after others when they aren't looking and you're always smiling and playing around but there's this loneliness about you. It's as if you're trying to hide something important."


"Ne?!" I stopped walking and faced him. "What do you really think about me?" When he looked confused I decided to ask him directly. "You saw how I was at that party, right? And a few minutes ago...don't you hate me now? I'm not the serious, academic type of girl you thought I was."

He seemed startled about my question, like he never expected me to ask him something like that. After a minute or so of gathering his thoughts he finally answered. "I like this Arisa better. Besides, I already had a feeling that you aren't the sort of girl to put up with things. You always say what's on your mind and go into action without thinking of the consequences."

He laughed when I pouted. "That isn't exactly the answer I was looking for." I said not exactly unhappy with his answer.

"I'm sure you've heard by now about my past." He suddenly turned serious, I then knew where the conversation was heading. "Kei told me how he and Ryou confronted you about that. Sorry that they showed you something unpleasant."

"Don't apologize, I'd feel sorry for them. After all they did that for the friend they were worried for." I shouldn't tell him that I was rude to them back then. Then again, maybe they already told him?

Daisuke smiled briefly, and then continued to tell me about what happened. "That day she died...was a week after I broke up with her. I told her that I could only see her as a close friend, as part of my family. She couldn't except it so I told her that there was someone else I liked."

"Was that true?"

"It was. After I spent more and more time with her I realized that my feelings for Nina wasn't love at all. Maybe I only pitied her? I started to doubt myself. It was then when my feelings were in confusion that Nina saw me kissing the girl I told her I liked. She ran out with my bike and crashed."

That's why he blames himself? "That's..."

He shook his head. "I know what you're gonna say. That it wasn't my fault. It was an accident that I couldn't do anything about." He laughed. "That's what Ryou and Kei told me too. But even so...if I hadn't been so fickle with my feelings for her she would still be here."

"What about now?" He looked at me questioningly. "Were you able to sort out your feelings?"

Again, he paused. "Before I started dating Nina I went out with a lot of girls. I didn't think about things like love or dating seriously. It was different with her, she was someone special but someone else told me that I was pitting her."

"Why would you pity her?"

Daisuke glanced at me. "She went through a lot."

" really are an idiot, aren't you?"

"What? An idiot?!"

I crossed my arms and sighed. "You never thought of things like you were pitting her before that other person told you, right?"

He nodded.

"I'm guessing the person who told you that is the girl you were caught kissing with."

He nodded again.

"And I bet she said things like, "Nina would be sad if she found out you're with her because you feel sad for her", right?"

He nodded again.

I hit him on his head as hard as I could.

"What was that for?!"

"It's obvious that other girl was trying to drive you two apart!"

"I don't think..."

I cut him off by hitting him again. "You said it yourself. You're fickle when it comes to your feelings. That cunning girl took advantage of that." Daisuke blushed. And when he blushed, I found myself blushing at my own thoughts. I covered my mouth and looked away from him. "How cute!" I mumbled.

"Did you say something?" He asked me, his face now blush free.

I cleared my throat. "Nope. It's nothing." What was I thinking calling him cute?!

All of a sudden Daisuke grabbed my hand. "I may not have been able to sort out all my feelings about the past and it's true I was confused again when you transferred here since the both of you look similar but I'm not stuck on it as much as I was because of you!"

This time it was my turn to be startled.

"I find myself wanting to get to know you more." He put his hand on my cheek. "I want to kiss you. To touch you. To talk to you more. Is it bad if I thought you felt the same way?"

My face turned completely red. How did things turn out like this?! Wait...this situation. It reminded me of that dream I had. "W-what are you saying? You still love Nina, don't you? Or what about that girl?" Don't say such embarrassing things so easily!

"No. That girl broke up with me soon after Nina's death."

That doesn't really answer my question.

"Please go out with me."


"Even if you don't like me now you'll fall for me when we start dating."

Where does that confidence come from?! "I..I..." I do like you but I don't want to be with you when you still haven't sorted things out. I don't want to be a replacement. I don't want to be used again.

"Oh? Look who we have here. It's been a while Dai."

Before I knew it we had made it to the front of my place. Standing in front of the building was Satoru. "Why do I have so many visitors today?" First TJ and then Satoru.

"Reiko wanted me to tell you to report to her office tomorrow morning so that you can sign the contract."

My hand twitched. "Is that so?"

Satoru chuckled. "Also, it looks like you'll be in my care for now on."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I'll be your manager."

"Whaaaaa? What about TJ?"

"TJ is a respectful professional now. He can handle his own behavior and schedule" is what I was told."

I sighed. "She really is persistent."

And then the awkward silence had started. I didn't notice that Daisuke had become stiff next to me. He didn't say anything but kept looking at Satoru. Satoru did the same. The killing aura that kept going back and forth between them had me throw up my guard.

What's with this? This...this...deadly aura! To think that the great Tainted Rose is scared. Me? Scared. "Hahaha. So. How do you guys know each other?" I said cheerfully like an idiot trying to break the ice. It only backfired as they began another round of a glaring showdown. Satoru seemed like the mature, composed type of guy (the complete opposite of Daisuke whose hotheaded and childish most of the time) so I was surprised to learn that he had this side to him.

Thankfully, Satoru answered my question. "He didn't tell you about me? The University friend he had back then whose little sister ended up going out with him?"

Little sister? Then that means Nina was Satoru's little sister? But Satoru said that he lived overseas and moved here a few years ago.

"Seeing how you're already confessing your feelings for another girl, it seems like you're doing better."

"Satoru..." Daisuke could only muster up the name of his old friend as guilt probed him.

"If he hasn't told you anything about me then I'm sure he hasn't told you about any other important things? If you like her then doesn't she has the right to know what you were doing at that party last week?"

"Satoru!" This time the urgency in his voice immediately overlapped the guilt that was eating at him. Or maybe that guilt was getting stronger.

Party? That's right. I forgot to ask him. I opened my mouth and then closed it. No. Maybe I already know that it was weird he was there, so my conscience tried to ignore it and buried it. Do I really want to know? If the truth was what I thought it was I'd probably never be able to trust another person again.

I don't want to know.

I don't want to know.

I don't want...

"When Reiko found out there was something between you guys she used him to keep a close eye on you. In exchange Dai and his band would get the chance to officially d├ębut."

Before I could control myself I found my fist flying towards him. And with a thump, Daisuke fell on the ground.