Chapter Twenty-Two: A Lesson in Getting What You Want Part C
After Near told us what was going on, it started a train of thought moving in my mind. And once the train set off, it wouldn’t stop, not for a good while.
I just kept thinking it over, and over, and over. I tried to find another solution. But I couldn’t. There just… wasn’t one. So when I realised that, I went to talk to Near, and negotiate something. Surprisingly, he agreed with everything I said. He told me he’d arrange everything right away, no expense spared.
“If there are two of us, we will surpass L.” He said.
I looked at him, thinking in that moment how much I hated him. How dare he just dismiss Matt, like he was holding us back or something? What about three, Near? What about fucking three?
After that, I went back to work, trying to act like everything was normal. Of course Matt knew it wasn’t. He can tell every time something’s wrong, it’s useless for me to try to hide anything from him. Anyway, I got through the day, and even a little conversation, before it got to the point where it was unavoidable. I’m so nervous. I need chocolate. But that would just be an excuse to stop me from speaking.
“We need to talk.” I say, the words seeming to stick in my throat because I know he’s going to hate them.
There is a little pause, and Matt starts to fiddle with his goggles. “Talk, then.” He says, his tone changed already.
“It’s…” I sigh, gathering my thoughts into some kind of vocal sense. “”It’s all this thing with Kira. It’s made me think, about the future and about life. It’s made me think a lot.”
“Oh.” Matt’s voice sounds hollow now, and he’s refusing to look at me. I want to turn his head and make him meet my eyes, but at the same time I know this will be hard enough.
“This investigation is crucial, and I’ve got to give it my full attention. I can’t do that, if…”
“Mello, stop.” Matt says, finally looking up. His face is, unexpectedly, full of pain. “Stop it. If you’re going to… break up with me, then just do it. Just do it.”
I stare at him for a moment, then rush forward to put one hand on his cheek and the other on his shoulder. “No, that’s… that’s not what I mean! I… Matt, don’t you know I love you?”
He closes his eyes for a moment, and takes a shaking breath. “Well, no. For a moment there I wasn’t sure. But… if you’re not breaking up with me, then…?”
“I just… I’m worried about you.” I say, pulling him a little closer. “So I’m sending you home.”
“You’re sending me to LA? Mells, that makes no sense, because Kira will know where -”
“No. I mean… home.” I reply. “I mean Wammy’s House. You’re going back to Roger.”
“Roger?!” Matt explodes, frowning and pushing my hands away. “What the hell, Mello, I’m not a kid any more and he can’t -”
“Just relax, okay? It’s just so that you’re safe. Matt, I can’t lose you. I can’t even risk it. So please, just get on a plane and go.”
“And what about me?” Matt half-shouts, his eyes filling with tears. “Maybe I don’t want to risk losing you! Why do you get to stay in the danger and not me?”
“Because I can handle it. Because I’ve come up against this before.” I answer. “Matt, I’m sorry. But last time, I was the one who survived a bomb attack and the Mafia and Light Yagami. You joined the game late. You don’t know what it was like.”
“So I can learn!”
“Near agrees with me.” I say, every word like a tombstone falling over in the room, laying heavily on both of our ears. I see Matt’s face fall and then shut off, turning cold and angry.
“You’re choosing him over me?”
“I’m choosing your safety over how much I want to be with you.” I correct. Behind us, the door opens, and Lester is standing there. “There’s no argument. The plane is booked, and I packed for you earlier. Please go.”
Matt stands up stiffly, his hands clenched into fists, and walks past me without another word. Not even goodbye. I know he’s angry, and I’m going to miss him like hell, especially with that albino motherfucker in my space all the time, but at least he won’t die. When he calms down he’ll understand.
It’s only a few hours later that I find the heart-shaped box of chocolates he’d bought for me. Shit. How could I forget Valentine’s Day?
I am so fucking angry. I want to kill something. Preferably Near, or whoever the new Kira is. I scowl all the way to the car, Lester breathing down my neck like some sort of aged bodyguard. I’m half his age. I wish he would back off. I could probably take him. If I had a gun.
“Get in the car.” He says brusquely. “Matsuda will drive you to the airport. You’re to get on the plane and keep your head down. No trouble.”
“Right.” I say submissively, but my heart is racing with new hope. This is just perfect. Matsuda? He couldn’t keep a snail under surveillance! Giving him the slip should be as easy as… actually, I don’t think there is anything this easy. In fact, I think I’ll be able to convince him not to raise the alarm, either. Thank you, Near, for still trusting this halfwit.
I get into the passenger seat, Lester helpfully closing the door for me, and look round into Matsuda’s smilingly cheerful face. He’s always so happy. It must be nice, being an imbecile. For a moment I almost wish I could share his outlook. Almost.
“Ready for your trip, Matt-san?” He beams idiotically, and I roll my eyes. Sometimes I can understand why Mello gets so snappy with people.
“Yeah, let’s get going.” I say with forced politeness.
“I’m so glad to be driving you today! It gets stuffy in the office.” He burbles, easing out of the HQ car park and onto the road. I nod and hum sympathetically, not wanting to create an unnecessary conversation. I’ve got to keep Matsuda happy if I want to convince him to let me go.
We drive along quite happily. Well, Matusda does. He switches on the CD player and the Beastie Boys scream out, some kind of Greatest Hits compilation. Well. If that’s what he wants. I reach behind me for my bag, pull out the Gameboy tucked in the side, and play a game for a while. By the time ‘Sabotage’ plays I’m even singing along, in spite of myself. This is quite an enjoyable diversion, really, a bit of time to play games; it’s all the more enjoyable because of the knowledge we’ll be turning round and going back any time soon.
When the song finishes, Matsuda turns off the speakers and sighs happily. “I love that band.” He confides.
“Hmm.” I say, doing my best to sound sad. It works; he glances over.
“Are you alright, Matt-san?”
“No…” I say mournfully. “Of course I’m not…”
“Well, what’s the matter?”
“I’m going away from my one and only love. How could I be happy? He doesn’t want me any more…”
This is just like role-playing. Nonetheless, I’m starting to feel a little sick at how pathetic I sound.
“Aww, Matt-san, I’m sure he does care for you!”
“Then why doesn’t he want me with him? I’d give anything to stay with him, even just to stay near him if he doesn’t know…”
There’s a pause of a few seconds, during which I artfully sniff. I’m waiting for the seeds I just planted to grow.
“Well… you know, there is a way…”
“Yes?” I say eagerly, looking round at Matsuda.
“Well… no, I shouldn’t have said anything really…”
“No, go on!”
“I’m just thinking that… the floor above yours is unused. Maybe you could stay there for a while, until Mello-san realises he misses you…”
“You think so?” I ask, my face shining with unbridled hope. Yes, I am a master of disguise.
“We don’t have to tell Near or anyone else.” He adds hastily. “I might get into trouble.”
“Oh, thank you, Matsuda-san!” I gush, as he pulls the car into a u-turn.
And that, my friends, is how you get yourself back in the game.