Fugo couldn’t stop playing her music.
When the album got to the end at exactly thirty minutes, Fugo re-winded it from the beginning and played it again. He sat there for hours, listening to it without a word, staring at an empty couch where Bruno and Abbacchio once sat together in and at an empty chair where Narancia once sat, playing his favorite song on his radio. Now Fugo sits in his chair, alone, and plays a song on Narancia's old radio.
When he first heard her voice again after all this time it was on the car radio, his first thought was ‘that’s Trish’ and then ‘it can’t be Trish, can it?’ and then finally ‘it is Trish’ and ‘I didn’t know she could sing’. He turned the volume up higher, but the song was already over. An interview played afterwards, she thanked “an amazing group of people” who helped got her to this point, and Fugo’s heart dropped. Half of that amazing group of people were dead, out on what was essentially a suicide mission to protect her that Fugo had stayed behind from. Fugo was not there to see them die. He gritted his teeth.
Fugo had gone out to the radio store to buy her album, a one-hit wonder that was very well deserved. On the cover she stares ahead, wide-eyed, make-up done in a way Fugo would later find out looked much like her stand, division symbols found throughout the front and the back cover. Fugo wondered why she had a fascination with mathematical symbols. She is probably better at math than Narancia is. Was. He shook his head, left the money on the counter before the cashier could ask if he wanted a receipt, and left.
Returning to his car, he placed it carefully into the radio, pressed play and closed his eyes as he drowned himself in her music. Giorno was alive. Mista was alive. Trish was alive. Trish was alive, they had succeeded in their mission. She went on to greater things instead of dying in the hands of her shitty father. Fugo knew about shitty fathers, it was something they could have related to. A way they were the same. He remembered Narancia jumping into the water, shouting how Trish is him, Trish is him, he and Trish are the same, and stifled the memory as he stifled back tears and stifled back anger.
He had to see Trish.
Giorno had, much to Fugo’s many, many thanks, arranged for the two of them to meet at a restaurant. The restaurant where Buccellati convinced him to join Passione, the restaurant where Fugo had brought Narancia for a meal, the restaurant where Giorno appeared and changed their lives as much as Buccellati did with a quick sip of a cup of piss. Trish has never been here before, doesn’t know the significance behind it, but it was where she belongs.
He sat playing with a fork when Trish walked in. She wore sunglasses that obscured her face, likely to prevent others from recognizing her on her way there, and she wore an expensive looking black fur coat that she took off as she sat down across from him. She took off her sunglasses.
“It’s been a long time, Fugo.”
Fugo wasn’t expecting to find himself at a loss for words. What was there to say? He remembered the last time he saw Trish. He had watched as an unconscious Trish watched over by everyone else but him sail across the sea and disappear. He was sure that every one of them would be dead, and sure enough Fugo was almost right.
Why didn’t he go with them? It was a stupid decision. It was foolish. It was a suicide mission. And yet Fugo had taken one step forward, one step towards what would have likely been his death, one step to do what would have not necessarily have been the smart thing but the right thing. He had said the world can’t survive on ideals alone, and though Fugo still believed that his worldview was shaken to the very core. He didn’t take the step, and now his friends were dead.
Would they have been alive if he had went along with them? The rage that Fugo had always expressed outward turned inward as he found himself stabbing the table with the fork. Trish reached a hand out to him.
“Trish,” Fugo choked out. Was he crying? He let go of the fork and crushed the palm of his face against his eye, rubbing the tears away. “I should have been there for you. I… should have been there with them.”
“Fugo,” Trish leaned across the table. “I am not mad at you, Fugo.”
“You should be,” Fugo answered. Trish was staring at him with such intensity. He looked the other way. “If I had gone with them, maybe then they all would have been alive. Including you.”
Trish smiled sadly. “Or they would have all been dead, including me.” Fugo’s mouth hung open. “You didn’t exactly have a lot of control over Purple Haze. It was likely for the best that you stayed behind, Fugo. Something would have went wrong, we would have gotten infected with the virus and this time Giorno wouldn’t be able to whip up a handy snake vaccine for us all out of a brick.”
Fugo didn’t know what to make of that. Giorno had tried telling him the same but, somehow, it was different coming from Trish. When Giorno said it, he felt anger rise within him. When Trish said it, it was assuring, yet he still felt guilty.
“I learned how to,” Fugo pointed out. “GioGio, he had sent me on a mission to assassinate what once was the narcotics team. He helped me to finally gain control over Purple Haze.” And, in doing so, get some sort of control over his anger and find his resolve.
The waiter walked over to ask for their orders and pour them some wine (some Dolcetto, Buccellati’s favorite). Trish took a sip and rested her face on her hand.
“When Giorno contacted me to see you, we had caught up on all that we had missed,” Trish said. “I have him to thank for saving my life, but I also have Mista to thank. And I have you to thank. Even though you left, you still worked to keep me alive to get on that boat.” Trish sighed. “I wish I could have done more too, Fugo. I was so confused and hurt. My father who I never met and who never met me wanted me dead and they all fought to keep that from happening. And almost all of them died.”
Buccellati died trying to take Trish away from the piece of shit boss, but they did not know he was a walking corpse until later. Abbacchio died trying to figure out what said piece of shit boss looked like, a hole in his chest and his internal organs ripped apart in a way that was useless for Giorno's Gold Experience to heal. Narancia died out of retaliation, skewered on a wrought iron fence in Giorno's body. Fugo took a gulp of wine.
“But I did all I could,” Trish went on. “I defended them as soon as I was able to, and because of that almost all of them died. GioGio is alive. Mista is alive. And because you decided to stay behind, you are alive. And knowing that makes me happy.”
The waiter came by to put fresh bread on the table that Trish went right for, but she didn't stop staring at Fugo.
“Knowing you are alive,” Fugo finally returned the smile. “Makes me happy too, Trish.” It was the least that could have went right after all that had went wrong.
“Good,” Trish signaled for Fugo to take a piece of bread as well. “So, tell me how GioGio and Mista have been doing. Are they a couple yet? Mista seemed so heads over heels for him I thought they were already dating.”
They had caught up on all they had missed over dinner. Trish spoke of fashion shows, of private parties, of red carpet events. She also spoke of how she was exhausted by her new career but found it ultimately rewarding, that being able to produce music and hearing her creations on the radio brings her pride. Fugo spoke of how Giorno and Mista were doing, that no they were not dating yet and Fugo could have sworn he was on the verge of a breakthrough with Mista when he clammed up and got cold feet, that Giorno had been working on swaying politics and getting rid of a corrupt candidate who had dealings in the drug trade running for mayor, that Fugo had been set on a completely unrelated assassination mission. And Fugo spoke of how, although he still doesn’t believe he deserves it, Fugo felt honored to be a part of Passione under the leadership of GioGio.
They had been bonding over having shitty parents when, before either of them knew it, night had fallen. Trish’s phone rang for the third time and she finally decided to walk outside to answer. When she returned, she excused herself and said she had to go, she had to catch the plane for an interview tomorrow that she had completely forgotten about.
“Oh,” Fugo’s face dropped. “I understand. It’s been nice seeing you again, Trish.”
“It’s been nice to see you too,” Trish smiled. It seemed like she was admiring him, which made Fugo feel flustered. Why was he flustered? Oh no. She turned to walk away but changed her mind, turned around, and planted a quick kiss. “Next time, I should bring you out shopping to buy you a new suit. One that isn’t covered in holes.”
Fugo’s face turned a deep red as he watched her leave.