Summer days are almost at an end and autumn is fast approaching, Sujk realizes upon looking at his watch. He can’t quite believe it’s been a year since the band had disbanded. He’s all the more surprised to notice how okay he is with that now. This time last year, he was still very upset and never hesitated to express it. Even kicked a few glasses and bottles to shards in his anger, if he remembers correctly. It’s a longshot saying he’s already far away from that – he was simply kept busy all year round to even think of anything aside from the various projects being thrown his way.
That said, he hasn’t completely gotten over it. The band might have been Leda’s brainchild, but he’s invested a lot of emotion into it that one can assume that he’s already dangerously attached. While everybody knew how much he loved the band, nobody really understood its extent and how much heart he poured into it. Not even Leda. Unfortunately, that’s just one of the downsides of being an introverted artist. At least he had his drums to take it out on.
Remembering about what transpired last year doesn’t exactly leave a good taste in Sujk’s mouth. He frowns and takes off his watch, shimmying his hands to ward off the budding ill feelings. Despite the months that have already passed, it was still one of the more sour topics in his mind. A lazy Sunday afternoon really is the worst time to be plagued with thoughts of the past, especially thoughts that get him riled up from 0 to 200 in a matter of seconds.
He decides to blame it on the heat.
Waccha stares at him from a distance, and Sujk’s brain makes up the image of the cat judging him silently.
“What?” he snaps, but Waccha only stares at him for a couple more seconds before resuming on licking himself.
Sujk stands up to head for the impertinent cat, when he feels his phone vibrate within the pocket of his shorts. He groans, fishes the phone out and flips it open.
Yo, just checking up on you. Wanna get some drinks later? I’m terribly bored.
Leda’s message catches Sujk off guard and he blinks for a moment, finally losing his train of thought. He keys in a reply and throws the phone on the couch. Waccha is still cleaning himself.
With a sigh and a scratch of his head, Sujk heads to the bathroom instead. Maybe a nice, long bath with the promise of beer afterwards is all he needs right now.
One of the things Sujk hates is driving. More specifically, driving in his lonesome during rush hours and getting stuck in crazy traffic. Company would make the waiting bearable, but more often than not, he’d turn really insufferable first. Hell, he’d drive himself insane if he’s alone and the wheel would’ve been littered with punch dents (that would no sooner go back to normal anyway, thank goodness). This simple reason is why he didn’t think he is above trains even if he can afford taking his car or hailing a cab when going to work. Trains are fast. The presence of a pushy crowd almost always soothed his mind. It was something about the noise and how one can get human interaction without even moving their lips.
Unfortunately, the line to Jiyuugaoka is closed. No cabby in their right mind will be passing the Shibuya streets any time soon and no passenger will be willing to shell out a hefty sum during rush hour either. He might as well go home on foot.
Sujk doesn’t think of himself as an angry person, but his muscles are already crying from fatigue over a hard day’s work. With a groan, he yanks his jacket off in the middle of the sidewalk then continues walking. Some girls gawk at his toned arms. He pays no mind to them because he’s too busy grudgingly counting his steps back to the studio for some rest… if the staff will really make him rest.
He looks back at the road where so many cars are crammed, and with each second that passed, the steaming, gasoline-scented air fills his nose. He makes a face and scans the unmoving line one last time, until he notices a familiar cerulean blue Lexus. It’s the right plate number too. Sujk jogs back towards the direction of the station and steers into the traffic jam, knowing that it isn’t going to move anyway.
He knocks on the tinted window of the cerulean blue Lexus and surely enough, Leda peeks out, not looking any happier than he did. Sujk just offers a lopsided smile and the guitarist unlocks the doors. “Hey man, get in,” Leda says, and Sujk walks over to the passenger’s side to get in.
“I knew there’s a reason why I take trains,” Sujk starts with an attempt in humor, looking front and back, side to side, as if to make his point.
Leda just sighs. “Then why didn’t you take it?” The straight answer alarms Sujk for a second. He should’ve known not to be so crass in speaking to an already irate driver. It is still hot, but he’s almost sure he felt a chill down his spine. He just covers it up with a slightly shaky laughter.
“Um. Apparently the trains are in repair. Something happened back in Yuutenji.” Sujk swallows.
Leda is silent for a moment, and Sujk gathers the strength to look at him. “Oh,” the guitarist replies silently, and the mood is automatically much lighter. Sujk sneaks a sigh within another laughter.
“Have you been stuck for a long time or…?”
“Nah, got here just five minutes ago. I’m just being angry in advance but obviously there’s no reason to be now.” Leda smiles and Sujk wills his blood not to tint his cheeks an embarrassing color. “Tell you what. I’ll drive you home, free of charge—”
“You were planning on charging me?” Sujk interrupts, scooting back in his seat to emphasize how affronted he is.
“When have I never? And stop interrupting me!” Leda waves his hand, “I’ll drive you home if you entertain me in this god-forsaken traffic.”
“What? I’m not your clown!” Sujk sounds indignant, but he’s already settled his bag and jacket on the back seat.
Leda leers at him, with eyes almost glinting in a positively evil manner. “You get free air conditioning and I’ll be going out of my way just to get you home safely! Are you really complaining right now?”
Of course the smitten drummer doesn’t really complain.
The seconds tick away mercilessly and Sujk has yet to contribute anything substantial to the meeting with the production team. He thought that by now he’d get used to the less-than-glamorous tasks of making music (though discussing directions for his next sound isn’t exactly less-than-glamorous). If he’s being completely honest with himself, he’d blame his inattentiveness to his lack of sleep, but now the brunt of his mild annoyance is the heat outside. The thing is, it’s not even hot inside the office – it’s just really cozy. Cozy enough for his tired lids to droop over his eyes.
Japanese people are just sometimes too polite to point things out, even if Sujk notices the sharp looks thrown at him from around the table. On a normal day, he’d feel guilty about not being able to properly participate in a group discussion. Right now, he’s giving himself a free pass for being worn as a mule yesterday. He turns to Abeshi for help, and she sighs because she’s equally unhappy as the rest of the staff for such a deadbeat exchange. Abeshi shakes her head and takes her phone out, and the meeting proceeds with regurgitating words already spoken for the past two hours.
Sujk rolls his eyes, but since he’s Japanese too, he bites down the desire to adjourn the meeting because there’s no sense in talking to a musician who’s totally out of it anyway. He pretends to listen to them until there’s a tap at his shoulder and a phone being handed over to him.
“We really are running out of time, dear,” Abeshi whispers so as not to disrupt the others, and Sujk takes the phone out of her hands.
“You know I was thinking, maybe it’s better to give them a totally new sound instead of staying close to the latest single,” Leda starts to ramble on from the other line. Sujk swivels on his chair, facing back from the table, and feels his energy come back to him.
The phone call lasts for only 7 minutes and he faces the team, still looking quite tired, but now at least trying. They explain something to him and he takes his own phone out, taking to Twitter, while he listened carefully.
Another thing Sujk hates is rain in summer. It always left that disgusting humid feeling against his skin so he wears clothes that expose less skin, which makes him uncomfortably warm in return. There’s absolutely no winning in this season.
With autumn literally just a few hours away from starting, Sujk thought that there would’ve been no need to bring an umbrella. Sometimes, Mother Nature liked playing cruel jokes on poor, unsuspecting humans like him. The rain really isn’t that hard, but it’s pouring hard enough to make one soaked to the bones and he doesn’t need to come down with the flu the next day, no matter how pleasant a day off sounds.
Just as he is about to go back inside the building, climb all the way up to the 30th floor just to borrow an umbrella, Leda comes through the doors. With a huge, bright orange umbrella, no less. It’s only when Leda opens his eye-catching umbrella that he notices Sujk, gaping at him.
“You forgot your umbrella?”
The answer is already obvious, but Sujk nods anyway.
Leda hums contemplatively and shrugs. “Your station’s not that far from here, right? I can drop you off there first.”
Sujk’s first instinct is to say thanks, but he grins and elbows Leda gently. “What’s the catch?”
This time though, Leda looks completely puzzled. It takes him a while before he starts chuckling and shooing Sujk’s elbow away. “You always think there’s a catch. What happened to being a good friend and all that?”
Sujk finds his face heating up and curses under his breath, wiping his face in the guise of feeling hot. Well, it is hot. “But you always show up at the right times! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you have some magic thing going on under your sleeve. Like Mary Poppins or something!”
That gets Leda to laugh, and Sujk joins him under his umbrella. “If I had that kind of powers, I’d probably use a less tacky umbrella than this.”
“True. Normally you won’t be caught dead under this, would you?” Sujk replies with a laugh and the two of them start walking. “Abeshi’s?”
The walk to the train station seemed shorter, with Sujk cracking lame jokes and Leda unceremoniously sniffing and sneezing. Tomorrow, Sujk thinks to himself, he’s gonna bring Leda some nice, big oranges.