Yakusoku walked into his home in the usual fashion on winter days: the discarding of his sneakers at the front door while calling out to his mother that he’s home, removing his coat to toss onto the closet floor rather than hang up, he then moves into the kitchen to put a pot of water on the stove to make himself a steaming cup of his father’s English toffee cappuccino- it’s an instant powder, just add water and stir- then he heads upstairs to his bedroom to sort through his backpack for school assignments. You know, the usual.
But today two things were unusual... 1. His mother did not call back from her shop in the den and 2. his bedroom smelled... off. Now had he still been a pile of teenaged-angst, this scent would have gone completely unnoticed? But he’d cleaned his room, and his mother- when he was at school- went in with a ‘mother’s touch’ of a ‘follow-up’. His room smelled like lemon Pledge and spring river Glade. But this new smell... Nose stuck out in the air, eyes closed, he follows the scent to where its the strongest. His bed. The pillow to be exact.
Touching his pillow the fluff sagged in with the weight of his hand. ‘It’s not damp.’ He presses it in a little more before stuffing his hand beyond the blue case. ‘It smells like perfume... it’s not my mom’s. But something else... musky.’
Hand free, the male took off running out of the room, downstairs and, with feet barely into his Nike’s, out the front door. He hardly remembered being cold as he tore down the street after the departing male without his coat on. He would have called Gev, but his best friend would have taken much too long to come over. He could have waited outside for Ai, but who knew when he’d be home or if he’d head off to a friend’s house. He needed another human being right at the moment, and the only one close enough around was-...
“Ludwig!” He called out when spotting the semi-friend. “Hey, Ludwig?!”
His sprint paused as he took in the sight of the male strolling along, miming that he’s playing the violin. No wonder he can’t hear him. Stooping down he balls up a clot of snow, thanking his sports team years as he hurls the ball at the back of the deaf teen’s head nailing him easily. He may not have been the star pitcher, but he’s got a killer arm; his father told him so.
Ludwig groaned, brushing the snow from his hair before turning to glare at the offender. His bitter gaze turned into a scowl as he removes his earbuds, his scowl then went to confusion when he spotted Yakusoku approaching.
Heading over to meet the ignorant semi-friend half way, Ludwig asks in a snapping tone. “What the hell, man? At least, toss it when I’m looking.” Taking in his appearance, he asks. “Guess you really do like the cold. Where’s your coat?”
The dick. He had been listening earlier. But that wasn’t important right now, he just needed to get the guy to come back with him to his house. “I thought you were coming over?”
Cocking a suspicious brow at the strange hitch in the former goth’s tone, Ludwig replied evenly. “You told me to leave, remember?”
“What? Can’t take a joke?” He slapped the male on his shoulder. “Come on, violin-boy, I told you we were friends.” Turning, he starts back to his place. “Now move your ass; we can play video games after homework.”
Ludwig just shook his head in disbelief of the teen’s schizophrenic behavior. Honestly, he thought of saying ‘fuck you’ and just heading home like he’d been doing. But dammit, curiosity pulled him toward the former goth’s home. When he walked through the front door he found Yakusoku in the kitchen turning off a boiling pot of water. Removing his sneakers at the door, coat still on, he walks to the kitchen entrance.
“Want a drink? I always make enough water for me and my brother.” Yakusoku was saying while fetching himself a cup. “We’ve got tea, cocoa powder, cappuccino powder, coffee?” He offered while fixing his own mug.
Smelling the strong English toffee dust wafting through the air, Ludwig waved a hand before his face as he replied. “I’ll have whatever you’re having.”
Unzipping his coat, Ludwig slides it from his shoulders and sets it down on the back of the armchair in the living room. His backpack came off with the coat, and he dragged the heavy sack over to the couch.
Looking around the room, he glanced through the kitchen entrance at the busy male. He somehow couldn’t picture Yakusoku in this style of home. He seemed more the type to live in an apartment than a house. He found himself wondering about the rest of the family as the teen walks in with 2 mugs.
Setting them down on the coffee table, he says in a hurried tone before heading to the stairs. “Stir it yourself, I’ll be right back.” And up he went to retrieve his backpack from his, now suspicious of prowlers, bedroom.
After stacking his assignments into a nice neat pile and setting them on top of the coffee table, Ludwig then stirs his drink mix into the boiled water, taking a burning sip of it to taste before blowing it off.
Yakusoku came clunking down the stairs with his bag, and dropping it to the floor he then dropped himself into the armchair Ludwig rest his coat on. “See, we’re all friends here.” Digging through his bag, he grabs his worksheets and a pen and pencil.
Casting the male a sidelong glance, Ludwig asks. “What’s with you?”
“Nothing.” He answered too quickly, so he added. “Do your homework, violin-boy.” Writing his name atop the photo-copied assignment, he looks it over.
Skeptical of there being “nothing” wrong, Ludwig goes on ahead and does his work.
The two work in relative silence. Rustling papers or coffee sips fill the air but aside from that no conversation. Ceasing his work, Yakusoku looks around a moment then grabs the remote control to turn on the television for some background noise. Choosing VH1 to leave on, he hears a song start and changes the channel to something else. TNT is showing a horror movie. Leaving this on, he returns to his work. But the moment the actress starts screaming away Ludwig reaches for the remote to mute it.
“Hey,” Complained the host; snatching the remote back he un-mutes the volume. “the whole point of it was to staunch the silence.”
“I can’t think when my attention keeps going to the tv.”
“So put your headphones in.”
Ludwig wondered why he hadn’t thought of that but instead chose to continue speaking. He’s already distracted; why kid himself? “You didn’t really want me over. So what is it?”
“I told you, nothing.”
"′Nothing′, sure had you moving from your room pretty damned fast.” Looking up the stairs to the bedroom door. “Doesn’t seem as if anyone is home... are you afraid to be alone?” He said it without snide or cruelty, but he had a glint of humor in his eye because honestly, it is kind of funny.
“No. I’m alone all the time,” Yakusoku replied honestly. “it’s just today... It’s stupid, and I don’t want to explain it, nor should I have to.”
“Alright.” He held his hands up in defense.
Cocking a brow and giving the violinist a scrutinizing look, Yakusoku asks cautiously. “And that’s it? You’re not gonna bust my balls about it? Or go telling everyone you know?”
“Nnnope.” He says while heavily involved in making his pencil appear as if its made of rubber.
“Why not?” The commented almost sounded as if Yakusoku would be doing just that if the roles were reversed.
“Because, one, I don’t have friends” And he holds up a finger to press his points. “and two, well we’re friends. Friends wouldn’t do that to each other.”
Surprised, Yakusoku smiled, shaking his head. “Wow. Are you from the future?” He joked.
“That’d be cool,” Now the pencil is a mustache, held by pursed lips for balance. “I would always hear that, say yes, then turn into a beam of light before that person’s eyes.”
Snickering, Yakusoku returns to his science homework. “You really are a weirdo.”
“Better than a dick.” Ludwig fished the fallen implement from the floor.
“Bitch.” Knowing that comment was meant for him.
“Touche. But I have a reason.”
Casting his blue-black gave Yakusoku’s way, he asks. “What reason is that?”
Yakusoku shrugged as if it were really not a big deal suddenly. “I used to have a stalker, a real fucked-in-the-head kind. She just took off one day” And he lowered his gaze from the intense stare of his semi-friend. “Gotta be on the look-out, you know?”
Nodding, Ludwig smiled admirably. “I think that’s really cool.”
“That you’re a good enough guy not to smack her around, and toss her on her ass.” He said with a complimentary tone. “Most guys would do that because... well, you know, girls are girls.”
“Not this girl.”
“No? What was she a UFC fighter or something?”
“Or something...” He trailed off but then picked up a new subject. “You like UFC?”
“Hell yeah, I do!” He became very animated. “Watching guys beat the shit out of each other always brightens my day. I may not be a fighter myself, but I did take karate classes once upon a time and I don’t know... fighting’s just kind of interesting- even in brute force style.”
“You’ve gotta be the only one of my friends into it. I tried watching matches with them on tv ‘once upon a time’,” He adopted the phrase easily. “but they weren’t into it. My dad even got us tickets to the matches. Now I’ve got someone to come with me.”
“Yeah.” He reaches into his pocket for his buzzing phone. “Hello?”
“Yakuza, get this” Gev. “Clark wants to take you to Every Night since he’s gonna miss the initial celebration tomorrow, you in?”
“Yeah, sure.” He looks at Ludwig who’s flipping channels, and curiously going into the guide to look over what the family has saved in their DVR. “Listen, I’m gonna bring another guy with us, alright-”
“Don’t care, dude. I’ll tell the others you said boo.” A phrase meaning ‘you gave a yell’.
“Okay. See ya.”
“Bye.” He hangs up.
“What?” Asks Ludwig assuming he’s the ‘other guy’ mentioned over the conversation.
“Tomorrow. Wanna go to a night club?”
“What? Like a real one? Don’t you have to be...” He silences hearing Yakusoku speaking over him.
“No. It’s an underage night club. Fifteen and up.”
“Oh. Sure.” His eyes roll up to the ceiling in thought. “Not sure if I have night club attire, though.”
“Just wear what you have on.”
“Oh... okay.” Lifting his homework assignments he gives them a little rustling as if to say, ‘now back to work’- which he was.
The front door pushed open. Ai walked in stomping his boots and slapping his knit hat against his leg. “I wanted to drop off my bag!” He shouted, excitement still circulating in him. “There’s a snowball fight over at Leaden, you guys in-...” Hearing what he’d just said, he actually takes notice to the stranger. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Ludwig offered a friendly smile before standing, hand extended.
Ai raised his brows at his brother as if to say ‘is he for real?’ while taking the offered hand giving it a good shake.
Yakusoku snickered and said casually. “Don’t worry, Ludwig’s from the future. The young set must shake hands all the time from there.”
Knowing its a joke, and since Ludwig didn’t flip-out he replied happily. “Oh. Well, you guys in?”
“Can’t. Homework.” Ludwig replied.
Ai actually had to laugh out loud at that. He really was from the future, it seems. “Yakusoku?”
“Nope. Futurama said it, I’ve got homework... plus, I’m semi-grounded for being a dick for two years.”
“Right.” Lifting the mug set in front of his brother he takes a hard swig. “Oh!” he coughs dramatically. “Gross! Yaku’, next time warn me.”
“Next time don’t just drink from another guy’s mug.”
“Ha. Yeah.” Returning to the front door, he waves a hand goodbye. “I’m Ai, by the way, Ludwig. Nice to have met you!” And with that, he was gone.
The two sit in silence staring at the closed front door. Then slowly, they begin standing.
“We really should be doing our homework.”
“Yeah...” Replied Yakusoku.
“Though, now that I think about it... it is Friday... we’ve got all weekend.”
As if smacked in the face with the truth Yakusoku dashed to the coat closet to retrieve his winter coat. Ludwig grabbed his coat slipping it back on as well; but before he followed Yakusoku out the door, he grabbed his coffee mug and chugged the hot drink straight down in four huge gulps. First timers always get hooked. That’s how Yakusoku got the buzz, the cocoa was down to one pack and his father offered a cup full of his instant cappuccino. One sip of that smooth English toffee flavor had his pupils dilated like he’d just gotten done with a good fuck and went instantly spent on sleeping afterward.
“Yak’, wait for me!” Ludwig called out hurrying after the homeowner.
It must have happened a minute, maybe two, after the boys had gone out; a loud thwack of the closet door in Yakusoku’s bedroom as its brushed aside in the intruder’s departure, there were a few footsteps creaking along the floor towards the bedroom door at which point it opened and the footsteps walk down the stairs... slowly, one thumping foot at a time.
The intruder paused for just a moment at the front door before it’s opened for them to stroll on out; this is what Yakusoku thought when he, and his brother, and Ludwig returned to the Land home and he noticed footsteps leading away from his home in the opposite direction they’d gone without having come to the home.
He also believed there was an intruder when he noticed that his mother and father still weren’t at home and his closed bedroom door sat open. The chill, though, came from seeing the closet door left open...