Shin and Ryu could only stare each other in front of the door of a room.
Grandpa wants to meet you in the back living room.
They couldn’t guess why the old man wanted to meet them when their grandmother told them that few minutes ago. In silence they debated whether they should enter the room or just run away from this house. After few exchanged look each other, hesitantly they opened the door.
They could see their grandfather stared at them intently, observing their every move and nodded when they just stood by the door.
They moved in and sat in front of the old man silently. They tried their best to not look nervous but they knew they failed. Ryu breathed hard while Shin was only looking away, avoiding his grandfather’s eyes.
The old man amused with his grandchildren’s attitude. But he tried hard to not even smile in front of them. He needed their answer of his curiosity since they arrived yesterday. “Alright. Is anyone of you wants to tell me voluntarily?”
Shin and Ryu were only looking at each other. They didn’t get what their grandfather mean.
“What are you trying to cover of?”
They suddenly felt defeated but no one dared to open their mouth. They kept silence until they could feel the eyes of the old man in front of them darted straight to their heart.
“I don’t want to force you, okay. Just tell me. Honestly.”
“There’s nothing important. We’re not trying to cover anything. We didn’t even know what you mean by your question.” Ryu finally tried to defend them. He knew it was useless but at least he tried.
“I was a lawyer. A great one. You can lie to me but not your eyes. I can read clearly that you always try to cut me whenever I ask something to Yamato. What are you hiding of?”
Shin and Ryu stole glances many times each other. They knew from the very start that this old man would find something. This old man would read them clearly.
The old man sighed. “If you don’t want to tell me then I will do investigation on my own.”
“I will tell you. So please, don’t ask him more.” Ryu snapped suddenly.
The old man leaned to the back of the sofa and folded his arm. “Okay, I am listening.”
Ryu took a breath heavily and looked at Shin before started his story. He told the old man every detail he knew, every evidences he found. Once the story moved on, he saw the wrinkles on his grandfather’s forehead deepened. His face hardened and he looked mad.
“He was definitely abused.”
Ryu nodded his head. He had already known that this old man in front of him would conclude right away even before he finished his story. He was a great lawyer and he must have faced with such situations long time ago. He would soon recognize it and there was no possibility for Yamato to hide anything from him. The good side of it, he knew this old man would do something. He would find a way out for him, at least to reveal the one who abused him.
“Do you have any clue?”
Again, Ryu was just shaking his head.
“Someone close to him I believe.” Shin suddenly burst out his mind. He couldn’t hide it anymore. That thought was mingling in his head since the first time he saw bruises on Yamato’s body. “He tried hard to protect that people. He didn’t even spill any single name. No cry and he tried to hold his pain so nobody would realize it. He closed his mouth tightly and always tried to avoid us.”
Ryu nodded to assure him that Shin was telling the truth.
The old man gritted his teeth. “Did Yuichi know?”
“I don’t think so. He once heard Yamato talked to himself in front of the mirror. It was something about being disappear. But it was just that time. He didn’t do it anymore, or it’s just that Yuichi didn’t find him do it anymore.”
“Why don’t you tell me earlier?”
“That’s why we’re here. I knew you could make them tell you everything honestly.” Yuichi suddenly appeared from behind the door. “They’ve been hiding this for I don’t know how long.”
Everyone in the room jolted and turned to him right away. The old man stared at him without blinking. “Were you eavesdropping?”
Yuichi stunned in his placed when he saw his grandfather’s eyes darted on him. He knew he was wrong. He should join the conversation in a right manner, not popped out suddenly in front of them and cut off their conversation like what he had just done. He gulped and bowed. “I’m sorry. I’m just ... they didn’t have any intention to tell me everything. They hide the truth from me while I’m dying in my curiosity. They didn’t budge even when I begged them. So I guess this is the only way they will reveal what they hide from me.”
The old man sighed heavily. He looked at his grandchildren one by one. His eyes stopped at Yuichi.
He could make them to come here just to make them reveal the secrets they kept about Yamato. This one has the ability to manipulate others without their known. He could be a great lawyer if he wants. He just needs a little push to do it.
He smiled slightly. “So, what do you want to know? They’re here. Ask them yourself.”
Yuichi stood up quickly before turned to his cousins. He saw they glared at him but he couldn’t back off. Not now. Not when he had a chance to know everything they hid. “I just want you to tell me about what the hell is happening to Yamato. I saw suspicious bruises all over his body lately and even I was never been in a fight before I knew for sure that those bruises were not coming from any fight. Where were those coming from? I knew you’re hiding something because you’re too worried about him lately. If you said that he was abused, who did it? If you could say it was someone close to him then I believe that you have one or two names because you were watching him closely lately. Don’t hide it from me anymore, please.”
Shin looked away, slightly feeling defeated by his cousin who could manipulate him to come to his grandfather’s house. He didn’t see this coming. He thought this was just another sleepover like the last time they did years ago. He never had any thought that his calm cousin could drag him here just to make him reveal what he wanted to know. He never saw this coming.
“He always said I’m sorry for everything lately. And if you think I’m that dense, you’re totally wrong. Three months is so long. And it’s enough for me to know that something not right is going on. Almost every night you called me just to ask if he was home or not. I knew you’re hiding something. Please, tell me what it is”
Shin and Ryu were still sat silence in their place. There was no signs of them will say anything to him.
The old man could only stare at his grand children silently. He looked didn’t want to interfere on their conversation. He was just sat in his place and analyzed everything silently.
Come on, say something more. A little bit more. They are on the verge of confessing now. Persuade them more. Don’t give up.
“He looked really down until I don’t know how far the damage had been made. But I knew that if we stick together we would find a way to pull him up. To bring him back to his own self. He was too calm lately. It’s better for me to see him fighting for nothing everyday than seeing him stay calm in his place like that. It likes ... I feel like ... it likes it’s the calm session before the storm coming to attack. I can’t see him like this forever.”
“I don’t have any name. When we try to do investigation, he didn’t go anywhere aside of home and school. He didn’t even get any new bruise. No new wound either so I guess it was over.” Finally Shin opened up after sighed heavily. No need to hide it anymore. He agreed with his cousin that if they stick together probably they would able to do something to save him.
“Until the last time he didn’t even spill anything to me. I forced him but he didn’t budge.” Ryu looked at Yuichi. “He kept it tightly. He always said that he was fine every time I asked him.” He saw a disappointment crept out on his face.
Yuichi lowered his head. “He was always avoiding me. Every time I started a conversation he always answered me with a very short word and then disappeared to his room. Once I tried to corner him he pushed me hard until I fell down. I thought he was mad at me but then he pushed me every time I touched him, even just for caressing him. I just want him to know that I was there. I’m there for him and will never leave him again. I just want to tell him that he is not alone. But he always shrugged me off. Then one day I realized that he doesn’t want to be touched.”
They fell into silence for few moments. The old man finally sighed.
“Okay. I guess we have the case now. Yoshiko is living with her husband in another town now so there will be only Yamato and Yuichi in the house. And don’t you dare to call her now. It will be only as our secret. You two, move to their house and make sure that nothing will happen again.”
Shin and Ryu could only nod to their grandfather. This old man could be scary if he wanted. Aside of that, they knew this old man was the experienced one, the one who could think clearly even in an urgent situation. The one they could lean on.
“Call me if you find any suspicious thing. Anything. Don’t wait until it’s getting worse.”
Yuichi looked at him thankfully. He felt safe. He felt relieved. He was always felt blind when it came to Yamato. But now he wouldn’t be alone. He saw them and smiled. “Thank you.”
“We still have to stay cautious so save those words for later. We still don’t have any clue about the suspect. You still have to watch him carefully, because I believe that this isn’t over yet.”
The three young men stiffened when they heard the words.
This isn’t over yet.
They looked at the old man intently, tried to absorb the new information. The fact that he was right stung their heart. Their hope that everything will be okay now sank down completely.
“Don’t look at me like that. I’m just talking about the fact, boys. If you ask me am I worried? Yes, I am. Whoever he is, whatever he did, he is still my grandchild. My favorite grandchild if you still remember. That’s why I want you to protect him with all your might. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. I do love you as much as I love him.” The old man stopped for a while, waiting for the words to sink down to their mind. “For me you are just like parts of a body. One part got hurt the other will feel it. One of you got hurt you will feel the wound automatically.”
The boys nodded slightly many times. They agreed with him. They could still remember clearly when they saw the wounds on Yamato’s body. It hurt them too.
“So stick together no matter what and stay alert. I want this to be stopped soon. Find any help you could get to monitor his move. Do you understand?”
The boys nodded together. They stared each other with no words. Silent promise had been made. A promise to always stay together. A promise to protect the youngest from any harm. A promise to live this life happily together.