“Text”= Japanese talking

“/Text/”= English talking

“+Text+”= American talking

“#Text#”= Australian talking

Distracted. Fujisaki sat in the studio looking down at the sheet music before him. His mind was elsewhere. A certain blonde Aussie to be exact. He hadn’t heard from Emma in months. She was nowhere in sight in the apartment they shared together when he got home from the summer party at school. All efforts to contact her had failed.

Where did she go?, was all that he kept asking himself in his head. Fujisaki even began to think that Emma might not be in Tokyo anymore. If that’s the case, then where did she got? People just don’t vanish into thin air. Could she have been…

A tap on the glass brought him back to reality. The boy looked up. Shuichi had his face pressed up against the glass.

“Hello?” he asked. “Could you start the music?” Fujisaki blinked.

“Huh?” he asked.

“Did you bring the tape in?” the vocalist asked. The keyboardist stayed silent with a blank stare. The light finally came on in his head.

“Oh yeah, yeah, sure. I have it right here. Hang on,” Fujisaki spoke up. He reached into the bag for the tape. Hiro and Shuichi looked on, concerned.

“Fujisaki, you sure you’re okay?” Hiro asked.

“Yes,” the keyboardist said. “I’m fine, I’m fine!” Shuichi and Hiro didn’t look convinced. Fujisaki noticed their faces.

“What?” he asked. “I told you that I’m fine!”

“We didn’t say anything,” Hiro replied. The keyboardist sighed. He turned and walked out of the room. The other two boys looked at his back.

“Where are you going?!?” Shuichi yelled.

“Away from you!” Fujisaki shouted back. The door slammed shut. Sakano-san chased after the boy, pleading with him to come back. Shuichi and Hiro already knew what the problem was.

Subject: Fujisaki

Outside, Fujisaki pulled out his cell phone and dialed Emma’s number again. He waited as the phone rang.

“WAAA!!! Ha-ha! Got ya! I’m not in, you whackers! Leave a message!#” Emma’s answer phone cheered once again.

“Damn it!” Fujisaki as the phone beeped. “Hey Emma, it’s me again. Where are you? Please pick up. I’m worried about you. You just disappeared without a word. Are you okay? Call me as soon as you get this.” He hung up the phone and sighed. As predicted, she won’t pick up. This had become a new pattern between them and he didn’t like it. Come to think of it, this wasn’t like Emma to not call or text him like this. Something had to be up. Fujisaki just had to find out what.

Tohma and his family weren’t much help either. His cousin kept dodging the question every time he asked about Emma’s whereabouts. Tohma seemed to be up to something. He wasn’t the only one, however. Fujisaki’s parents, bad actors they were, pretended they didn’t know what was going on. Mika refused to tell him anything. Mai and Chiyo looked ready to burst with information, but Tohma or their parents always stopped them. From this, Fujisaki found the weak spot. He just needed the opportunity. But first…

Fujisaki dialed another number and held the phone to his ear.

“/Hello?/” a familiar voice asked. The boy kept not scream out at all. Thank goodness for small wonders left in this world.

“Casper!” he said. “You doing anything today?” A short pause came on the other line.

“/No, why?/” she asked.

“Good,” the keyboardist said. “Have you eaten yet?”

“/Emma still not picking up?/”

Fujisaki frowned in annoyance. “Why does everyone keep asking me that?”

“/Ever since Emma left, you are just desperate to hang out with anybody./”

“No, I’m not!”

“/Then, you don’t want to have lunch me./”

“No, no!”


Fujisaki paused at his desperate words. “I mean, it would be a waste.”

Casper laughed on the other line. “/Of course, mate./”

Fujisaki felt himself smiling. “Thanks, Cas.”

“/Just finish work first,/” the hippie spoke up.

“Huh?” he asked. Reality ran by and sat in. “Oh yeah…” Fujisaki replied.

Casper laughed again. “/Watch it now, you’re supposed to be the sane one of us all!/” She hung up after that. The keyboardist stared at his phone. He slowly exhaled his pride. Where the hell was Emma? Yet, he couldn’t think about that now.

Right, he thought. Fujisaki walked back into the NG building. To his surprise, they managed to get some work done. There were a few hiccups, not caused by Shuichi. (Shocker, there!) Afterwards, the keyboardist quickly walked off.

“Who do you think he suckered into having lunch with this time?” Shuichi whispered to Hiro. His best friend shrugged his shoulders.

“Who knows?” he replied. Both boys watched in silence.

Fujisaki came to the curry bar where Emma constantly ate. He walked through the dark beaded curtain and narrowed his eyes through the thin smoke. Casper was already sitting at the bar, waiting. The keyboardist smiled to himself. He pulled out his phone and send his pal a text. Casper looked in her purse when she felt it vibrate. She reached inside and pulled out her phone.

“Look up,” the hippie read to herself. Casper looked up and saw Fujisaki waving at her. Casper waved back at him. The boy sped up his walk.

“Hey,” he said. Casper looked around the whole place. Fujisaki noticed her face.

“What?” he asked. The hippie turned to face him.

“/Emma eats here, doesn’t she?/” she asked. The keyboardist went quiet. Casper shook her head.

“/Hey,/” she said. “/I’ll eat it./” She patted the stool next to her. The boy sat next to her. Casper gave him a little smile.

“/You miss her, don’t you?/” she asked. Fujisaki turned to her.

“I don’t know where she went,” he said. “I tried calling her and she still hasn’t picked up.” Casper gave him an odd look.

“/She’s not picking up her cell phone?/” she asked. Fujisaki shook his head.

“/Wow,/” Casper mouthed. She turned to the front.

“/What the hell happened to her?/” was the next question to come out of her mouth. Fujisaki didn’t reply. Both kept silent for a long time. This isn’t working. Quick, change the subject. Casper turned to her mate.

“/Nicole and Shawn are back together,/” she said spoke up. Fujisaki looked up at her with a puzzled face.

“Why?” he asked. “He left her and got with another girl.” Casper drank up her beer.

“/I don’t think she’s letting him off that easily,/” she said.

“Oh, I see!” her friend said with a nod. Then, another thought crossed his mind.

“How are things with you and Simon?” Fujisaki asked. Casper froze and looked at the surface below them. Her mate saw his error.

“Oh,” Fujisaki said. The hippie looked up with a fake smile on her face.

“/It’s okay,/” she lied. “/Let’s just have lunch, okay?/” The keyboardist gave her an odd look.

“Casper…” he spoke up.

“/Just order the food!/” she pushed. Her guy mate nodded.

“Okay…” he said. Then, Fujisaki looked at the board behind ahead at today’s special.

“/Should I pay for mine?/” Casper asked.

“Nah,” her friend said. “It’s all on me.”

“/You don’t have to./”

“I’m going to anyway.”

Casper sat back and closed her mouth. “/Fine, fine./” Fujisaki turned his attention to the front to draw out the server.

After lunch, Casper came up with a great idea. “/Suguru-kun, let’s go for karaoke./”

Her famous pal looked at her in an odd way. “Huh?”

“/Where is the nearest karaoke bar here?/”

Her friend took a moment to think about it. “There is a small place near a daycare between here and my apartment.”

“/Good enough. Just pay the bill and let’s go!/”

“Wait, now?!?”


*Sweat drop on Fujisaki’s head* She’s worse that Shindou-san!, he thought. But, they were already out here. Why not?

“Fine, fine,” he sighed. The boy reached into his bag for his wallet. Casper smiled as she felt herself cheering up again. Once Fujisaki paid the bill, the hippie grinned at him.

“/Let’s go!/” she pushed. “/Lead the way!/” Fujisaki put up his hands.

“Easy there,” he said. His pal only kept her smile.

Koto’s was a bar and karaoke joint. Pretty cheap were the first words that came to mind of anyone that laid eyes on it. Emma also frequented this place with the other girls of the hostess club. Casper looked like a little girl in Barbie’s dream house. Fujisaki tried to hide behind her and nervously smile. Don’t let them see me, he thought.

“Suguru!” a woman’s voice squawked. The boy almost leapt up in the air as he whipped around. Mama, the owner, leaned over the front desk, smiling. Casper looked down at him.

“/She knows you?/” she asked. Fujisaki stepped out, sighing.

“Yeah, yeah,” he mumbled. “Emma-chan drags me here on the weekend.”

“/Oh…/” Casper replied. Mama squinted her eyes at them.

“Where’s Emma?” she asked. “And who’s this?”

“I don’t know and this is my friend, Casper,” the boy answered. Mama nodded in some sort of understanding.

“I see,” she said. “When you do find Emma, tell she still owes me for the beer!” *Sweat drop on Fujisaki’s head*

“Yes, yes,” he mumbled. Casper spotted the karaoke machine and made her way right over. Mama observed with a little smile.

“She’s a pretty girl,” she said. Fujisaki only looked at her. Now he remembered why he hated Koto’s so much. It just became worse without Emma around.

Suddenly, he came to earth when he heard singing. The keyboardist looked up to see Casper on stage. All of the men were gathered around, watching her. Fujisaki noticed the song wasn’t in Japanese, though it sounded familiar. He tried his best to understand what she was singing.

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
So we're different colors
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done
I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand
People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
Help me understand
Now you're punching and you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fist
I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

There was something about the way she sang it. Seemed so sad…

Casper finished and lowered the microphone. The men all clapped. Casper smiled and bowed. She made her way back to Fujisaki.

“/How was that?/” she asked. The boy nodded.

“Good,” he said. Casper stretched out.

“/I need a drink!/” she said. The girl wandered over to the bar. “/You coming?/” Fujisaki threw up his hands.

“Fine, fine,” he said. The boy followed after her. They didn’t speak much during drinks. Casper seemed too lost in her head of sake. Fujisaki on the other hand was thinking about Emma again. He checked his phone. No missed calls. Just like yesterday. Where did that crazy Aussie go? The apartment was so empty without that he ended up staying back at home with his parents. (Tohma was paying rent on it.) The e-mails Fujisaki got from “Emma” didn’t seem right. They all looked fake to him. The boy just couldn’t ignore it anymore; his life had become lifeless without Emma.

Suddenly, he was pulled back to earth with someone grabbing onto him. Fujisaki turned to see Casper with her face buried in his shoulder. A perplexed look came on her mate’s face.

“Cas?” he asked. The hippie looked up with tears in her eyes.

“/I miss Simon so much!/” she whimpered. Fujisaki blinked.

“I know,” he whispered.

“/He’s just not the same!/”

“He’s trying to get better.”

“/But I don’t know how to act around him!/” Casper cried harder on Fujisaki’s shoulder. He looked over to the bar.

“Is she okay?” Mama asked. Fujisaki nodded.

“Do you want the tab now?” she asked.

“Yes please,” Fujisaki whispered. Mama turned to get the bill. The keyboardist looked down at his friend. Oh boy!, he thought.

Fujisaki dropped a drunk Casper off home. After her new step-father got her inside, the boy took the bus home. Tonight was family dinner at the Fujisaki house. That met his parents, sisters, their boyfriends, Tohma, Mika, and himself all crowded around the table. He thought about taking Emma to this, but decided against it. She’s crazy already! Emma-chan doesn’t need them too!, he thought. But then, an idea crossed his mind. Maybe I could get some information about Emma’s whereabouts out of them, the keyboardist thought. It looked thin, but it was worth a shot.

Timing was king in this mission. Fujisaki was lucky to be blessed with the patience that he needed. First, they all ate. Then, the chatter came up. Chiyo and Mai were chattering about their projects as per usual. (Expect failure to follow close behind.) His parents talking about work. (Nothing interesting there.) Tohma joining the conversation with Suguru’s parents. Just the usual. The boy looked around. The trap looked just about ready. Time to move in. Fujisaki cleared his throat. Everyone looked up at him. Fujisaki looked at them with a smile.

“I tried to call Emma again today,” he announced. “But she still isn’t picking up.” Silence. The boy kept his eyes on all of them. So far nothing at first glance, but the keyboardist looked harder. Chiyo’s lips began to quiver. He began to smirk in his head. His sister took the bait.

“She can’t!” Chiyo yelped. Mika rushed forward to cover the girl’s mouth. Fujisaki looked on at her.

“And why is that?” he asked.

“She’s in Hokkaido!” Chiyo screamed through Mika’s hand. Fujisaki gave his sister a closer look.

“I’m sorry?” he asked, pretending not to understand. While Chiyo struggled to get free of Mika’s grasp, Mai herself began to crack.

“Emma’s in a boarding school in Hokkaido!” she cried out. Their mother tried to cover her mouth, but it was too late. Fujisaki gave her a puzzled look.

“Hokkaido?” he asked. “Why there?” Everyone began to look sheepish. The boy shook his head.

“Never mind,” he said. “I’ll let her tell me when I call her right now.” Fujisaki got up from the table and walked over to Tohma.

“I think that you have the number,” he said. “What is it?” By this by, Seguchi didn’t even put up a resistance. What was the point? Chiyo and Mai, stupid women that they were, already blew it. Tohma quietly reached into his pocket and pulled out the address book. Fujisaki took it with a smile.

“Thank you,” he said. Then, the boy headed to his room. Mission: accomplished.

Hours later, once he sure that everyone was asleep for the night, Fujisaki pulled up the number and dialed it in his cell phone. He waited for a few moments as it rang.

“#What now Tohma?#” a groggy annoyed voice asked. Fujisaki smiled to himself.

“Hey Emma-chan,” he whispered. There was a pause on the phone.

“#Sugo-kun?#” she asked in surprise. The boy smiled to himself.

“Yes, yes,” he replied. For the first time in nights, Fujisaki Suguru didn’t feel the need to be so clingy to any of the others. He found Emma once again. Next step: getting her ass back home!

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