Oui, C'est la Vie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Kyo must choose between his band or a dear friend who's addicted to a deadly drug.

Submitted: March 05, 2007

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Submitted: March 05, 2007

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“Stop looking at me like that.” Rue complained. He looked away to avoid the uncomfortable stare coming from the smaller man standing in front of him, while he sat on the cold concrete floor of this empty loft, shivering from the chill that was climbing up his spine. The black shirt he had on was wet and tattered. His black jeans were worn. The dampened black hair had covered his face and traces of blood filled up the corner of his eyes. His vision drifted around unfocused and his teeth chattered in synchronization with his shuddering shoulders. The dark, sunken eyes revealed that Rue had not slept for days.

Kyo, on the other end, removed a soaking wet trench coat and dropped it on the floor. He walked away from the door as he shut it behind him, leaving a trail of muddy water from his shoes. He turned around and sighed. He brushed over his short blond hair lightly, as a tension-relieving gesture, and looked back at Rue, who looked like a beat-up, homeless mutt. He took off his white coat and threw it at Rue, who was still sitting in the corner of this empty room, as if being punished.

“Put that shit on.” Kyo commanded. Annoyed, Kyo fumbled around and looked for a cigarette in his white pants’ pocket.

“Thanks.” Rue uttered sarcastically. He slowly put on the jacket while watching Kyo searching around for a lighter.

“It’s in here, you fuckin’ idiot.” Rue picked up a plastic purple lighter from the right pocket of the coat and lifted it up to him, holding it weakly with his trembling fingers.

Kyo grabbed the lighter off his hand violently. “This is the last time I’m bailing you out.” Angrily, he lit up his cigarette.

“That’s what you said last time.” Rue chuckled.

Kyo squatted down and stared at Rue intently, forcing out the left arm from underneath the white coat and pulled back the shattered black sleeve. “This,” he said, “needs to stop. Now.”

Rue pulled back his needle-poked arm and gave Kyo a guilty look. He rubbed over his nasty infection and sunken veins, squinting his eyes over this horrendous wound. He knew it was going to kill him. Yet, it wasn’t enough to stop him from doing what he had been doing. This.

“I can’t.” Rue declared. “You knew about this since day one.”

Kyo exhaled from his cigarette slowly, letting out a long, drawn-out breath. He sunk his head low and went through his messy hair with his fingers once more. Yes, he had known about this since they met. That’s when the band was desperately in need of a drummer and everyone who came to the audition sucked. Kyo was a percussions instructor before he had joined this band. He knew Rue was good for it. Besides, his attitude and image fitted the band. Kyo loved him immediately.

But, it didn’t take him too long to find out about Rue. In the beginning, it was tolerable. After a while, it became a serious problem. Not only he started to show up late or not answer his phone for days on end, he became extremely reckless. Kyo remembered that one emergency room trip he had to take one night, just right after he found Rue on his own apartment floor unconscious and clammy cold. There was another incident where he almost had a brush with death as a result of a deal gone bad. And tonight, it was no different. Rue endangered his own life and the ones around him. Kyo hated him for this.

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but… I can’t have you in the band like this anymore.” Kyo leaned on the windowsill. His eyes fixated on the neon-colored street outside, still raining a storm.

Rue was caught off-guard by his comment, but he didn’t take his words too seriously. “Yeah, whatever.”

“You think I’m kidding?” Kyo sounded extremely irritated. “I’m going to have to throw you out. You’re making this really difficult for me, you know that?”

Suddenly, Rue stared intensively. “You can’t throw me out!” He barked. “The band needs me, I know.”

“Actually, we did find a replacement.” Kyo threw him a disdainful look. You’re not as important as you thought you were.” He felt it was necessary to put Rue in his place.

“But I know one thing.”

Kyo turned his head back into the windowpane. “What is it?”

“You,” Rue whispered, “I know you need me here.”

The thought had never once escaped Kyo’s mind. Although he knew Rue was a time bomb waiting to explode, he couldn’t bear the thought of not having him around.

“Then stop!” Kyo banged loudly on the window. “I beg you.”

Rue stared blankly. As if acknowledging Kyo, he looked down.

Kyo let out a sigh of relief as he threw his spent cigarette down on the floor. “Show up on Thursday, please. And at least act like you’re sober. We’re going to be touring in two weeks. People are running out of patience. We almost decided to remove you at last week’s meeting.”

Rue was suddenly furious. “It was his idea, isn’t it?” Rue sneered. He never liked the bassist. He was sure the guy never liked him either.

“What?” Kyo spoke gently. “Don’t be ridiculous. It wasn’t anyone’s idea.” His eyes gradually filled with traces amount of tears full of sincerity. “I just can’t see you being like this. Not anymore.” Kyo hoped to have made some sort of intervention.

Rue continued to stare blankly at him, only to have finally given in to Kyo’s genuine blue eyes. He thought about touching his hair, and he thought about the times when he had actually caressed the soft blond tresses and touched the smooth skin with his bony and callused fingers. The pair of blue orbs appeared soft and blurry as his consciousness slowly faded away.

Thursday. Kyo paced around impatiently in the recording studio with a lit cigarette in his hand and a cell phone sealed to his left ear.

Please leave a message after the tone…

“Fuck!” Kyo threw his cell phone into the black cushioned chair and looked up at the clock. It was three thirty in the afternoon. Rue was supposed to be here four hours ago. The guitarist had already gone home. The other member was fiddling around with his bass guitar for the past hour. Still, there were no signs of Rue.

Kyo collapsed on the chair, landing on a pile of loose-leaf pages with scribbles written all over them. He worked on a few lyrics over the weekend, and they seemed to turned out quite well. However, all of this was pointless without a drummer.

“So,” the bass player began to speak, “did you talk to him?”

“Yes, I told you I saw him on Saturday.” Kyo responded irritably. “He promised he’d show up today.” He picked up his phone again and continued to press redial while smoking out of his cigarette incessantly.

“Well, I don’t know how to say this, but I’m out of this band too if you won’t replace him.”

Kyo looked up. Stunned. “What?!”

“You heard me. I’m out. It’s either him or me.”

Kyo sat up. “You can’t do this.” He put out the cigarette in the ash tray.

The bass player didn’t answer him. He unbuckled the bass guitar from his shoulder, opened up the case, and neatly placed his instrument inside.

“Wait a second… we’re going to be touring in a week. You can’t just back out now.”

“Why not?” He remained calm and composed, wiping his bass guitar delicately with a soft terry cloth.

“What am I going to do about this band?”

“Well, that seems to be the problem, isn’t it?” He finally closed the case, ready to pack up and leave.

“Dude, wait…” Kyo ran his fingers through his hair, looking at the bassist opening the door. “This is bullshit!”

“You know what, I am sick of your bullshit. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I don’t have any more patience for this.” The bass player snapped. “Figure this shit out, and call me when you’re ready, okay?”

The door was slam shut behind him.

Kyo sat down back in his chair, numbly, recollecting the countless hours he poured his heart into creating this band. They had come this close. He made this dream come this far. But all of this was going down the drain… because of Rue. Suddenly, he felt a bout of heaviness gathering around his shoulders. Dark clouds began to loom over his head. He wasn’t about ready to let anyone to ruin this.

Kyo pounded on the door violently. No answer. He pressed the bell on the side of the door relentlessly, like a maniac.

“Hey, open the fuckin’ door!”

Minutes later, the door cracked open. Shockingly, a young girl answered. She was wearing a bright red bathrobe. She appeared to be a little timid at first. After noticing his pastiness, she was a bit more relaxed.

“What is it?” She flipped her long black hair across her face and raised her brows.

Kyo was at a loss for words. He could not imagine what Rue had been doing with this girl. Not that he really wanted to know, but he did not expect to meet her under this circumstance.

“…”

They looked at each other for an eternity. Thoughts went through Kyo’s head violently.

Finally, the girl broke the silence. “Are you… looking for Rue?”

“Umm, yeah.” Kyo brushed his hair with his fingers.

The girl shrugged. “Well, he’s sleeping. Did you want me to tell him that you’re here?”

“No, that’s okay.” And with that, he marched down the hall like an automaton. Without looking back, Kyo made up his mind.

It was moments before the concert. Backstage, Kyo warmed up his voice doing some simple exercises. He looked at the new drummer from time to time. He was still unsure how he would perform because he’d only known him for a week and they’d only practiced together a few times. He seemed professional and definitely focused. He was quiet, but still friendly. The rest of the band liked him well.

He brushed his hair away from his face while looking at himself in the mirror. It was strange not having Rue around. Sentiments flourished out of his heart while he reminisced the years they were still together in the band. He remembered the silly rituals they’d do right before a concert for good luck. He also remembered how he’d used to share cigarettes with Rue backstage. He would run out of them so fast because he smoked like a chimney. And he remembered the stupid things they’d talk about like what they would do if one day they’d become rich and famous.

Kyo looked down into his pocket and took out his cell phone. He had deliberately deleted and blocked Rue’s number. Yet, he still felt Rue could be calling him even at this instant. He slipped the phone out of his hand and into his white coat’s pocket.

In a few seconds, he was ready for the stage.


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