The Way You Are Silent: Lies
Alone again again alone
Patiently waiting by the phoneHoping that you will call me homeThe pain inside my love deniedHopes and dreams swallowed by prideEverything I need it lies in you
‘Cause I’m broken
I know I need you now‘Cause deep inside I’m brokenYou see the way I liveI know I know your heart is brokenWhen I turn awayI need to be brokenTake the pain away
I question why you chose to die
When you knew your truth I would denyYou look at meThe tears begin to fallAnd all in all faith is blindBut I fail time after timeDaily in my sin I take your life
All the hate deep inside
Slowly covering my eyesAll these things I hideAway from you againAll this fear holding meMy heart is cold and I believeNothings gonna changeUntil I’m whole again
Three weeks had passed since the meeting that changed everything. Every day each of the members were required to attend their English lessons with a personal tutor, various meetings, practices, voice lessons to help them with the new English lyrics and barely enough time in a day for all the required activities. Every night Ryosuke would fall into bed and be instantly asleep from exhaustion.
He jerked sideways at the sound of his alarm, slapping toward the area where his phone was vibrating with the gradually increasing volume of the tune meant to wake him up. He hit the button and threw the phone across the room. It didn’t matter how many different songs he set it to or how happy they were, nothing made him feel better about getting up at 5:30 am to go learn English, of all things.
He threw his arms out to the side, shuffling his feet angrily, trying to untangle them from the blankets, growling in frustration as his hands smacked against the mattress under him like it was all its fault. He knew there was nothing to be done about it, but he didn’t hesitate to make as much noise as he could, slamming drawers, doors, and throwing things as he took his shower and got dressed. He moved into the kitchen stifling a yawn as Yuri came out of his room from next door to him, walking down the hallway.
“Could you possibly be any louder?”
Ryosuke narrowed his eyes at him, scoffing loudly, slapping his hands in a rhythm as he moved down the counter to reach the coffee machine.
He jerked the cabinet door open rattling the mugs inside before pulling his favorite out and slamming it down on the counter. He kicked the door of the counter in front of him as he poured the coffee, turning to open the fridge to get out the creamer when he nearly ran over Yuri who was standing in his way.
“It was meant to be a rhetorical question, Yama-chan,” he huffed, slapping Ryosuke’s hands away as he turned to retrieve the creamer for him.
As Yuri crossed the kitchen, Ryosuke had already poured his coffee in his favorite mug for him. He brushed past him as he walked around the counter to sit on one of the stools at the bar across from him, reaching for the creamer when Yuri was done with it.
Yuri slid his mug out in front of him, leaning on the counter on his elbows studying his friend.
“Stop that,” Ryosuke hissed, glaring at him through his hair while he scooped sugar into his mug.
“What’s your problem anyway? You’ve been growing more and more agitated by the day!”
“There is no problem.”
“You are a terrible liar, Ryosuke,” Yuri laughed as he snatched the sugar canister from him to put two scoops in his coffee. He took a small sip of it and then lumped a third scoop of sugar into the mug.
“Shut up,” Ryosuke mumbled, stirring his coffee and taking a slow taste taking care not to burn his tongue, “You shouldn’t use so much sugar.”
“So salty,” Yuri laughed, “That’s fine, keep your secrets, Grumpy, but I know you’ll spill sooner or later.”
“Spill what?” Daiki asked as he crossed the living room to walk into the kitchen, grabbing a glass and pouring juice. He turned and looked at the other two expectantly.
“Why he’s so grump,” Yuri answered, gesturing toward Ryosuke who just growled in response.
“I already know,” Daiki responded, reaching past Yuri to grab the magazine from the counter beside him before he moved to sit on the stool next to Ryosuke.
He flipped through the first few pages before he folded them back and sat it on the counter in front of him, reading while sipping his juice, seemingly absorbed in the activity. He didn’t react when Ryosuke’s hand slammed down on the magazine page, his entire body turned in the stool to look at Daiki, “Do tell.”
Daiki reached out, yanking the magazine out from under his hand, and within moments had rolled it and slapped Ryosuke across the head, as he slowly turned to look at the boy who was glaring menacingly at him, rubbing the side of his head. He held Ryosuke’s eyes before he spoke slowly.
“In front of Chii-chan?”
Ryosuke’s eyes widened at the words, nearly imperceptibly, but Daiki saw it despite the fact that he didn’t flinch or show his response any other way, and to Yuri he didn’t seem to change at all.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Yuri asked around the too large bite of muffin he’d just taken.
Ryosuke’s voice was firm, leaving little room for argument, his eyes narrowed as he stared at Daiki.
“Why are you even here?” Ryosuke snapped, “Why aren’t you at home? Already made everyone over there mad this morning?”
Daiki laughed, shaking his head, “Chii-chan asked me to pick him up and take him by the store, thankyouverymuch.”
Ryosuke jerked his head to look at Yuri, “You could have asked me.”
Yuri shrugged, brushing him off, “I didn’t want to bother you. It’s fine, not like he has anything better to do anyway.”
“Hey!” Daiki protested quickly and then yelped when Ryosuke nearly shoved him off the stool when he stood up, his eyes still fixed on Yuri as he leaned over to place his empty mug in the sink, “Next time, I’ll help you, it wouldn’t be bothering me.”
Yuri stared at him for a moment, trying to make sense of what was going on, what had been going on, before nodding reluctantly, “Alright.”
Somewhat satisfied with the response, Ryosuke pushed back off the counter, his eyes narrowed and glaring at Daiki as he shifted past him, his words far too lighthearted for the mood of the room since he’d entered, “I’m heading out, I have a stop to make before lessons begin. I’ll see you two there.”
He moved quickly across the room, grabbing his bag and keys from the table next to the door before he walked out, slamming the door for good measure.
Daiki had turned to watch Ryosuke leave, once the door slammed, he turned back around to look up at Yuri who was staring at the door, still chewing his muffin, seemingly in deep thought.
His eyes suddenly snapped to Daiki’s, “You have to tell me.”
Yuri nearly choked on the dry muffin in his mouth as he inhaled, sputtering crumbs across the counter, as his hand slapped the surface trying to breath.
“Calm down, Chii,” Daiki rushed around the counter, slapping him on the back, reaching over to raise his arm.
Yuri jerked his arm out of his hand, his entire body rebelling as he stepped backwards hitting the counter to the side of him as he shook his body, “Don’t treat me like a child, God!”
Daiki raised both hands out in front of him, trying to calm Yuri down, “It’s just instinct, sorry…”
“I’m 23 years old, you ass.”
Daiki shrugged, reaching across the counter to grab his glass, pouring it out and then opening the dishwasher to put both his glass, as well as Ryosuke’s mug into the top rack.
Somedays he felt like he was the Mom in 7’s house.
He gestured to the mug beside Yuri, who pushed it toward him. He emptied it and placed it into the dishwasher as well. Drying his hands on a towel, then folding it to lay across the edge of the sink, he turned to look at Yuri who was staring at the floor.
“I know you aren’t mad at me,” it wasn’t an apology, simply an acknowledgement of fact.
“How long has he known?”
“How long has he known about Masae?”
“Since the day of the meeting with Julie-san.”
“What the hell? Nearly three weeks? How do you even know that, and I don’t?”
“He got an email from her, something about her not wanting him to find out from the papa or something. He was on his tablet and I had come in and sat down next to him. He was so consumed with the email he didn’t even notice me. I didn’t think anything of it, and when I saw it I freaked out—which, I think you can imagine how that went down.”
“Yeah, that’s an understatement. He’s surprisingly good at threats—and I honestly feared for my life if I told anyone. I guess I thought he’d come around to telling you though, to be honest….still, I told him to make an appointment with Namine-san—and he told me that he would, but he hasn’t—he keeps saying he is, but he still hasn’t—obviously, I’m concerned.”
“I can’t, Chii, you know this! I can’t make him do anything, like you, he’s an adult,” he shrugged, leaning back on the counter, his hands drawing up to rub at his temples, “If I could do something I would. I don’t like—I’m seeing signs again like before of him going off the rails—but I can’t think of how to help him. I just….I don’t want anyone else to find out. Especially management.”
He sighed, trying to not sound as serious as he was, “I haven’t seen him eat in three days.”
“If you aren’t doing something, I am.”
“What do you think you can do?”
“Make him do the right thing—go to see Namine-san—talk about it with us! Why does he think he has to do this alone!? We all know what a disaster that was before!”
Daiki laughed bitterly, standing up and moving over to the couch to gather his bag, he called out over his shoulder, “I wish you luck with that, I truly do!”
Yuri watched him, leaning onto the counter for support, breathing deeply, trying to clear his mind.
“I don’t have a choice.”
Ryosuke stomped down the sidewalk to his car, slamming the door and hitting both hands on the steering wheel as he screamed in frustration. He’d regretted very few things about his life up to this point, but the one thing he was most assuredly regretting now the most doing ANYTHING of any importance in the public parts of their house.
I mean, Daiki doesn’t even live there and yet he is always in my business!
Freaking Daiki–he should have known this was coming—he should have known that he was absolutely paying attention to him since the day of the email, but when the first week passed after and he didn’t say anything to him or try to make him talk about his feelings, he thought maybe he wasn’t really taking note of his activities anymore.
Clearly, he was mistaken. When he’d arrived back to Japan from his filming, he was overwhelmed by all the chaos already with the funeral and uncertainty of the future. What little control he had over his life felt like it was wretched out of his hands the day that Julie-san had given them the new plans for the group—he was shaken by that—but nothing could have prepared him for the email from Masae.
She didn’t want children.
She told me back before things ended—no children—not for a very long time.
Her career was the most important thing.
I was willing to wait.
To bend on my dreams.
Like all the others.
Since that day, the feelings from before resurfaced—he’d found himself consumed with his internal struggle—his anxiety growing more and more each day, to the point he had pulled out his old bottle of anti-anxiety pills, thinking he might have to take them.
He’d decided though, that he didn’t really need them—he was stronger now, after all this time, wasn’t he?
He really believed he was and it was then, that he decided he had to find some way to take back his life.
No more pills.
No more artificial control.
He reached over into his bag, pulling out the pill bottle and looking at it through the light. As he held them, it felt as if they were singing to him, offering themselves to him. Enticing as it was, he wasn’t planning to give in. He was strong enough to do this. He would do this.
I can do this.
He tucked them back into the pack and started the engine, pulling out onto the road, driving to the corner and traveling toward their headquarters.
She’s only been married for eight months.
He knew it was irresponsible, not going to therapy—he wasn’t stupid, he knew he wasn’t doing the right thing—but somehow it made him feel like he had a little bit of power over his life, over the situation. Not doing what everyone demanded, not letting them push him around.
Ever since the meeting with Julie he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was just a passenger to his life, not the one leading it. It hadn’t bothered him when he was younger.
Not at all.
When he was young, he was happy to be told where to stand, how to sing, where to move, what to wear, and who to be. As he grew up, those impositions became more and more grating—and the feeling that he couldn’t do anything to change his circumstances was overwhelming.
She changed her mind—didn’t know how much she wanted a child until she was married.
Until all her friends were having babies and it felt right.
It felt fucking right.
She actually said that to me.
I mean…what kind of person does that?
He had turned onto the road without thinking, and he startled when he realized he had driven to the therapist’s home. She did not see any of the boys from their company in her normal office, rather, she made special accommodations to see them privately in her home to be sure that no one from the press would know anything. If there were conflicts with that, then she would come to the headquarters—but she was good to work with them.
In reality, Ryosuke really did like the therapist—she was very clever, and she took her time with him, steady, without rushing. He appreciated that in a way that no one else probably could unless their entire life had become nothing short of a destructive whirlwind.
She didn’t want me to find out from the papers. Sure, sure—cause she cares about me.
He looked across the yard to her front door. It had lovely spring flowers forming a wreath hanging on it—inviting, much like her personality. Clearly, she wasn’t working yet, it was literally 6:30 in the morning…but he pulled alongside the curb of her yard where he normally parked, turning off the car and sitting in silence for a moment. He leaned his arms onto the steering wheel, resting his head in his hands, pulling his hair in frustration.
What are you doing, Ryosuke?
He jumped when he heard the sound of his phone playing his ringtone. Digging into his pocket to pull it out and answering without looking, immediately regretting it when he heard Yuri’s frantic voice.
“Yama-chan, where are you?”
“I’m fine, Chii, I’ll be to headquarters in ju—”
“Where are you?”
“Are you even listening to me? I’m fine, I wi—”
“You are not fine,” Yuri’s voice had an edge to it that spoke of a challenge, “Daiki told me.”
“Where are you right now?”
“At Namine-san’s house.”
Silence stretched out, and he wondered if the call had been disconnected.
“I am four blocks from the headquarters, I will be there in just a few minutes okay?”
There were strange noises, muffled sounds, and then Yuri finally spoke, “Ryosuke, just be still for a minute, can you do that? Will you do that for me?”
“What? What are you talking about? Stop talking to me like that!”
“I just want you to be still…don’t move from Namine-san’s house okay?”
“Why? What is wrong with you?”
“Look at your phone, I just sent you a picture!”
Ryosuke was confused, but pulled the phone away from his ear, tapping the speaker phone icon and then opening his text messages, he tapped Yuri’s name and a picture of him hamming it up showed up on his screen making him laugh.
“You’re the prettiest beauty queen I’ve seen yet, Chii-chan,” he laughed lightly at the picture.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when someone tapped on the window next to him. He dropped the phone and scrambled sideways, turning to see Namine-san standing outside the car, in her robe, holding a phone up to her ear. She gestured for him to roll the window down.
He quickly pushed the button for the window to lower, “Namine-san, you scared me half to death!” He tried to slow his breathing and began to reach around by his feet for his phone where he could hear Yuri babbling on about something.
When he glanced back up Namine was no longer on her phone but was leaning down onto the sill of the car door, pointing down to the other side of his feet where she could see his phone. He grabbed it and looked at the screen to see that Yuri had hung up.
“I—I am sorry, to have bothered you Namine-san….I don’t know why I was….” His voice was frantic, and his breathing was accelerated, he could feel darkness around the edge of his vision, as his hand raised to his chest as if to help control the anxiety that was rushing through him.
“It’s fine, Ryosuke, take a deep breath, on three—” she paused giving him a moment and then slowly counted down, “Three, two, one…”
He took a deep breath, hearing the echo of her breathing with him, “Again…three, two, one.”
He took another deep breath, closing his eyes, her voice snapped at him, “Don’t close your eyes, find a focus!”
He tried to look for something to focus on, his eyes landing on the flowers on her door, he heard her count again and he focused on the door and the flowers and took another deep breath.
He nodded, feeling like he could get a full breath again, shifting his eyes to look at her—not able to stop the frown from appearing at the way she looked, clearly having been awakened from her sleep by one of the boy’s meddling phone call telling her he was outside her house.
He turned to look behind her when a car pulled up, and within seconds, Yuri had bounded out of Daiki’s car, saying something to him, and then he pulled away as Yuri made his way over to them.
He bowed down deeply, “Thank you, Namine-san!”
“Of course,” she smiled, “I will go inside and get myself presentable, while you two go ahead into the office, okay?”
Yuri nodded as she turned to walk to the house, then looked at Ryosuke who was glaring at him.
“Don’t even look at me like that, you are the idiot here, not me.”
Ryosuke crossed his arms, “How do you figure that?”
“Shut up, I’m tired, and irritated, and I am not putting up with your stupid ass, get out of the car, we’re going in there, and you’re telling her what you’ve done.”
“What I’ve done? I haven’t done anything!” he hissed.
Ryosuke considered telling Yuri to kiss his ass, but there was something in the other boy’s tone, and the way he was looking at him, that spoke of something powerful, and he wasn’t really in the mood to handle anymore drama this early.
He pushed the button to make his window go up, glaring at Yuri the entire time, then reached over to grab his bag before he stepped out of the car. He locked it and then reluctantly turned toward the house. Yuri gestured out for him to go first. Ryosuke rolled his eyes, his agitation growing by the second.
He stomped forward, then turned on his heel, anger bubbling upward, “You know you don’t have any right to boss me around, we’re the same age—and I don’t appreciate your tone!”
“I don’t remotely care, go!”
He pointed his finger at the door behind Ryosuke.
“Maybe I won’t!”
“You absolutely will!”
“I won’t if I don’t want to!”
They stared at each other, both of them digging their feet into the ground, and Ryosuke was considering how he could get around Yuri and into the car when the other boy suddenly sprung forward, plowing his head into his abdomen, his arms going around his waist, tackling him to the ground.
The air whooshed out of his chest as he hit the ground with Yuri on top of him—before he could make sense of what had happened, he felt a fist connect with his cheek, his head flying to the side as he cried out.
“What the fuck, Chinen! Get off me!”
He grabbed Yuri’s wrist as his hand flew forward for another blow, stopping it in midair.
“You’re going in there and you’re fixing this!” Yuri’s voice was shaking, in fact, now that Ryosuke actually looked at him, his entire body was vibrating as he sat on top of him.
“What’s the matter with you!?”
“Don’t talk to me, you go in there!” Yuri’s voice rose, to nearly a scream.
He was reaching down to grab at Ryosuke’s shirt when his eyes moved to the sidewalk beside them. Ryosuke turned his head to see what he was looking at. His backpack had spilled open when he’d been knocked down, where the bottle of his anxiety medication had fallen out and gotten crushed in the melee.
He looked back up to Yuri’s face, his expression clearly playing out the direction of his thoughts, though Ryosuke was too confused by the situation to make sense of it, when he scrambled off toward the pills on the ground. Ryosuke sat up, trying to understand what Yuri was doing, when Yuri grabbed one of the pills, and then before Ryosuke could decipher his intentions he’d somehow managed to get behind him, wrenching his head backwards as his other hand came up trying to shove the pill in his mouth.
Ryosuke jerked his head to the side, grabbing at Yuri’s arm. Yuri’s legs wrapped around him, pinning one of his arms, and then he arched backwards, making Ryosuke fall with him, his hand still trying to get the pill past his lips.
“Take it! Ryosuke, take the stupid pill!”
Ryosuke was shaking his head, trying to get the pill away, his hand finding no purchase with Yuri’s arm, somehow stronger than he remembered him being before. He never wanted to hurt Yuri, but he wasn’t taking that damn pill.
He pushed his head back, causing Yuri to move his body to keep from getting crushed, giving him enough leverage to roll sideways. It didn’t really matter because it just moved Yuri onto his side, and then onto his back as he scrambled trying to get him to loosen his grip. The insistent hand still trying to pry his mouth open.
One of his hands grabbed his hair and pulled hard, causing Ryosuke to cry out, and then suddenly the pill was there in his mouth, and in his panic, Yuri had rolled them again and was on top of him, his two hands covering his mouth to keep him from spitting the pill out.
Ryosuke started to kick, screaming beneath his hands, the bitter taste of the pill filling his mouth as it began to dissolve, he bucked his body upwards, both arms pressing down to the ground to try to gain leverage, but Yuri was not moving.
He didn’t fully understand, because he knew he was stronger than Yuri, he knew it but somehow, he was winning this match.
Yuri had leaned down close to his face, his voice fierce, “Swallow the pill, Yamada, I swear, if you don’t swallow it, I’ll stuff another one in there, and I will keep doing it until you swallow it!”
Something snapped then, the acrid taste in his mouth making him want to throw up, the loss of control, the loss to Yuri and he jerked his head straight up as hard as he could, smashing into Yuri’s face as he screamed, “No!”
His scream was overtaken by Yuri’s when he grabbed at his nose where blood was now pouring between his fingers to drip down onto Ryosuke’s neck and chest.
Yuri’s voice was laced with fury, “What the fuck!?”
Without warning, both of Yuri’s fists were pummeling Ryosuke, landing squarely on his chin and cheek and he pulled his arms up to try to deflect the blows, coming at him at a furious pace.
Everything was red, colored red all around him, and there was pain, so much pain, and the taste in his mouth as the pill had nearly fully dissolved, and he had to swallow and then he knew it was gone, he’d taken it, even though he didn’t want to, please no, and with that defeat his hands fell limply to his sides, the hits causing his face to move to the side with each blow.
He felt tears heavy, hot in his eyes, and then he was crying, sobbing, his body shaking violently. He heard noises, his body curling in on itself, everything dissipating around him, the sounds around him faded as if he were in a long tunnel, or deep underwater, and he couldn’t breathe, no breath was to be found.
For a moment he could see blue, blue where there was red, he felt the world shifting, knew he was being held, and moved—the motion somehow comforting to him, he tried to remember what Namine-san taught him, countdown and breath, he tried it but the blue disappeared—fading quickly into red again, so he closed his eyes, clenching them against the pain….and then he counted, trying to breathe, trying to fill his lungs, and finally was able to do it a few times, attempting to open his eyes.
Darkness and red faded, and he saw Yuri’s face, twisted with grief, tears streaming down his cheeks, mixing with his own as he held him. The motion, he understood now, was Yuri rocking him, shaking him trying to make him okay—and that made him cry more, a deep, mournful emotion washing through him.
He tried to make sense, to decipher the weird sounds Yuri was making, but they were breaking up and he couldn’t make out words.
“So rry…I n’t kn…ple…ease…rry…”
His expression twisted, trying to force himself to understand, and then they suddenly corrected their order in his mind, “Please, please, I don’t know what I was doing, I am so sorry, Yama-chan, please, I am so sorry!”
Yuri was in near hysterics, and somehow it helped Ryosuke to calm himself knowing that him being wrecked was hurting Yuri.
“Hey, shhhh…” He reached up, smacking at Yuri’s hand that was shaking his shoulder, “I’m fine, Chii-chan, look at me, look, I’m fine!”
He grabbed Yuri’s chin to stop his shaking head, making him look at him, his voice loud, trying to get him to listen, “I’m fine!”
Yuri tried to keep his eyes open to see if what he was being told was true, blinking fast trying to clear the tears so he could make sense of it, when suddenly something was shoved under his nose causing him to cry out in pain.
“You’re bleeding to death out of your nose!” Ryosuke barked, pressing the shirt against Yuri’s nose that he’d grabbed off the ground beside him that had fallen out of his bag.
Yuri whimpered at the pain the pressure was causing and dropped his arms, letting Ryosuke sit up on his own, tilting his head back to try to stop the flow of blood, his stomach rolling at the copper taste as it went down his throat instead.
He snorted, a strange laugh that seemed out of place in the moment, looking down past his tilted head to see Ryosuke looking at him strangely, “No one has ever bled to death from a punch to the nose.”
They both laughed at the absurd way things were at the moment and startled when they heard Namine-san cry out, “What in the world happened out here!?”
Both boys looked at her sheepishly, shame causing their faces to redden, as they tried to stand up, wobbly, supporting the other as they could.
“It was my fault, Namine-san,” Yuri blurted out, bowing down dragging Ryosuke with him as his arm was across his back his hand moving up to push his neck down toward the ground, groaning as the position made his entire face hurt, “I wanted to help him.”
“I see…” she hummed softly, “and how did you end up with a bloody nose?”
Yuri shifted, shuffling his feet before he pointed to Ryosuke next to him, “He didn’t want me to.”
There was a very long pause, and both the boys kept their eyes on the ground, Ryosuke smiled when Yuri’s hand clenched around his neck, saying without words the kind of trouble they were in. Neither of them was willing to look up and see the disapproval.
They both startled when she suddenly burst out laughing.
She walked over to them, lifting Ryosuke’s chin to look at his slowly swelling eye, turning it to see the marks on his cheeks, the gash beside his ear, the split lip that was slowly seeping blood onto his chin, and the bruising forming along his jawline and neck where a few punches apparently landed.
“Tch,” the sound was sharp in his ears as she leaned over to Yuri. She did much the same with him, pulling the shirt away from his face to focus on the dark black circles forming under each of his eyes from his nose. She turned his face back and forth, humming softly as she pressed the shirt back to hold the pressure on it. He whimpered at the contact.
“This isn’t the worst fight I’ve seen—that one was between Hikaru and Yabu…you should ask them about it, one of them actually needed stitches.”
The boys glanced at each other, a small smile shared between them as they realized how stupid they were—they knew they needed to hear that full story eventually.
“Let’s go inside, honestly, for boys who want to keep a low profile, you certainly made a very public display this morning…luckily for you, my neighbors do not normally get up until eight.” She walked away and into the house expecting they would follow directions this time.
Ryosuke bent down to the ground, picking up his items that fell out of his bag, gathering up the pills as quickly as he could. Yuri was standing still waiting for him, and then gestured his arm out for him to go first. Ryosuke was too worn out to even argue and slowly began trudging toward the door with the bright flowers.