I can’t place Iau’s behavior anywhere. Is he playing his role as an entertainer when he comes to me and sings with me? Is he genuinely trying to break down the towering wall between us? Knowing him, he wouldn’t have hidden bad intentions and he’s truly working on building back the relationship we had, but how could I respond to his attempts without ruining them? After all, we can’t just pretend nothing happened and go back where we left off.
My mind wanders, reflecting on the events that happened so far, and the musician in me switches to autopilot as the concert goes. I play the songs, sit to the side when it’s time and go back out when I have to. Nothing major happens until the end and I’m still buried in my thoughts when we finish. I go to the backstage to change, but I hear someone calling my name on the corridor before I reach the room. I turn around and see a mop of orange-pink hair in the distance, making its way to me slowly, taking evasive maneuvers between people. I recognize Bleecker as he approaches; he’s the drummer in another band I’m playing in as a solo project, but I have no idea what’s he doing here or why.
'Awesome show, buddy!' He gives me a quick hug when he gets to me. 'Although, I’ve seen better performances from you guys, but I can understand it, under the current circumstances.'
'What?' I’m confused and all my questions start with ‘what’.
'Don’t be rude, I came to hang out with you after the gig. We can party and talk, but more party, okay?'
'Why, why? I heard what happened and I thought to myself, I shouldn’t leave Keiji alone now, and I know you always go somewhere together after shows, but I figured you wouldn’t want to go with them now, so I came to take you.'
'How do you know?'
'I’m your friend! Also, Jay told me.'
'What?! Did Jay tell everyone?'
'Nah, she just had the same line of thoughts as I, and wanted you to have company. She didn’t know what’d happen during the gig, so she gave me a call. How nice of her, isn’t it? You should appreciate her kindness. And mine too.'
'Don’t be ungrateful, Kei.' Bleecker knits his eyebrows and pouts, but in the next moment, he’s smiling again. 'We’ll have fun, okay?'
'Okay, I guess… Let me change and talk to Misa, then we can go.'
Mixed feelings flood me: I’m glad Jay thought of me and that Bleecker wants to help me, but I was hoping that considering how the hostility between us decreased during the concert, we could try and do something about our situation with Kane and Iau. But maybe I shouldn’t rush things, and this time I should just go with Bleecker and see what happens at the other gigs.
Everyone is already in the changing room when I finally go in, and I go straight to Misa, telling him my plans for the night. He nods approving and says to have fun, while he and Lais go back to our hotel. I get the speech about not being out late because we have to go to the next city tomorrow and they leave.
I quickly change and still can feel the gazes and glances on me. A little guilt builds up, maybe they expect me to take the next step, but I’m afraid I’d ruin something so I convince myself, I still have time to do my part. I shake off every nagging feeling and leave the room to go with Bleecker.
I don’t know what I expected. It’s like how it’s always been, Kei did his part, Iau too, but I just sat there, not being able to provide anything to make things better. And Kei left alone, to who knows where. I can’t wait to see him again at the next stop of the tour.
When he came and kneeled next to me, holding my hand, again, I didn’t want to let go. I wanted to hold him, make out with him, love him… I feel like I’m going to explode, these feelings are tearing me apart from the inside. Fuck, I need to do better than this, especially now that I declared to Iau, I’d change for real this time. There’s no one more chance with that, whatever happens, I have to do better.
Iau sitting down next to me wakes me from my internal battle. I look around and see that everyone else has left, the two of us being the last ones in the backstage.
'I miss him so much.' The singer next to me speaks my thoughts.
'I go after him.' I suddenly decide, standing up.
'He left about fifteen minutes ago with Bleecker.'
'What? What’s that fucker doing here?'
'He came to get Keiji.'
'I don’t know. They’re friends.'
'Bleecker lives like on the other half of the globe, and he came here to be friends with Kei right now?!'
'Maybe he was passing by.'
'Fuck! And why aren’t you more concerned about him?'
'Because there’s no point to it. It’s not like we can make Bleecker go away.'
'Hell yes, we can, I’ll tell him to fuck off once and for all.'
'You want Keiji to be mad at you even more?'
'What the heck do you mean, even more?'
'Well, we’re not on the best of terms with him, if you recall.'
'Shit. Yeah, but did you see what he did? He spoke to me and held my hand. And I saw you two being okay on stage, like in the past.'
'Sure, but that’s all. Maybe it’s a beginning, but it doesn’t mean everything is all right. But at least now it’s clear that he wants to make up too. We just have to think of a way to do it.'
'Any good ideas?'
Iau fidgets and considers what he wants to say.
'Listen, there’s something. I’ve been thinking about what you said, and sure Keiji was stupid with this move, but as you said, he must have been thinking of our relationship for long and hard, and he was just desperate. So I know normally the set-up is that you suffer, he tries to not be an inconvenience and help you, and I’m just making sure we don’t kill each other, but we should mix it up a bit. I have my own problems too, all three of us has, so how about we acknowledge that this time Keiji is the one suffering the most, I don’t want to be an inconvenience and you make sure everything’s fine?'
'That’s not even half bad. You think we can just switch roles and do it?'
'Kei is already suffering, you want to change at all costs, and for once, I don’t want to be the one making sure everyone else is fine. I think it’s plausible.'
He leans on my shoulder and I put an arm around him. Maybe our future is not as hopeless as I took it to be. A sense of safety and calmness overwhelm me, and it’s rare and unfamiliar, but not so bad.
Iau snuggles into my neck and I cuddle him, feeling his warmth and the scent of sweat and smoke still lingering on him after the almost four hours on stage. I touch his face and kiss the top of his head, to which he looks up and kisses me, clinging to me like he never wants to let go of me.
Damn, I love him so much! I feel like I would simply cease to exist without him. But I feel the same way about Kei. That is what’s fucked up. But right now, I don’t care, Iau is here, I can physically touch him and I love him, and that’s enough for now.
Bleecker takes me to a local gay bar – his place of choice –, and talks constantly, more than usually. I think he wants to distract me, but I can’t imagine how can he talk so much and actually say something, but he manages. I take the opportunity when he stops talking to sip his beer and ask him.
'Bleecker, what exactly did you hear, what happened with me?'
'Hm? Oh, Jay said you guys had an argument and now you don’t talk, or something. I was sad to hear that, I find you three so adorable!'
Bleecker is lonely, and because of that, he meddles in others’ relationship too much. He’s a weird but great guy, but he has under average social skills and can’t get into a normal relationship. It’s especially hard for him, because he’s a trans guy and even the queer community is flawed.
At first I found him annoying, but when I got to know him better, I felt bad for him, though I haven’t been able to help him, thanks to my equally bad social skills.
I look around ourselves and get an idea.
'Do you like anyone here?' He looks around as well and stops at a punk looking black haired boy.
'Really? Nobody? That guy with the snakebites piercing?' I cock my head towards the punk boy.
'Why? Not good looking enough?'
'I bet he already has someone.'
'You can’t know that.'
'Everyone has someone already. Except me.'
'Bleecker, don’t give up, you just haven’t found the right guy for you yet.' I pat his back but he still looks down. 'What can I do for you to feel better?'
'What? No, I’m here to cheer you up, not the other way around.'
'But I’m fine, really.'
'What was that argument about, anyway?'
'Umm…' I hesitate to tell him how much of a moron I was.
'Was it Kane again?'
'No! Why is everyone assuming it’s Kane’s fault if something doesn’t work in our relationship?'
'Because he’s always the most problematic regarding your relationship.'
'But that doesn’t mean we don’t fuck up our fair share with Iau too.'
'Well then, what was it? Or who?'
'You?' His eyes widen in disbelief. 'No way.'
'Fine, I’ll tell you. I wanted to see them happy again and I remembered how happy they were before I started dating them. So I told them I’d leave the band – and break up with them.'
'You did what?'
'Just as I said.'
'But that’s BS!'
'Well, now I know it was stupid. I just wanted them to be happy again.' I hang my head.
'Oh, my friend, I’m so sorry. But that makes sense that you don’t talk to each other.'
'Since I left, apparently Kane and Iau started talking to one another again, and during tonight’s show we took baby steps towards each other, but I don’t know if I can fix it.'
'You mean ‘we’, right?'
'Not only you have to fix it, but the three of you.'
'But I was the one to ruin what we had.'
'Each and every one of you were stupid to begin with. It’s not only on you, Kei. They have to do their part as well.'
'No buts! If they aren’t willing to take steps too, you made the right decision.' I look at Bleecker with a cutting glance. 'And if they own up to their mistakes, it’s enough if you meet them halfway. That’s my professional advice.' He adds.
'What you say actually makes sense. It’s harsh, but logical.'
'Of course it is! You know, if you don’t have something, you become an expert by observing.' He laughs bitterly.
'Thanks, Bleecker. Now I only have to adopt all this into practice.'
'That’s something you have to do yourself.'
We spend the rest of the night drinking, Bleecker talking.
I got my mind set on working on figuring out how to approach Iau and Kane and see if they’d accept my apology. I still don’t know what they think, do they want to reconcile or not, but I’m set to find out.