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Visual-Kei Rock Star
What Japanese Rock Music has brought together...Let no one tear apart.
 
Love doesn’t always appear in convenient forms, cultures, or times
we would like them to. But when it happen do we cast them aside because
of others may think? What if that chance never comes again? When her
tears save him from a certain death...he begins to live for her. This is
the making of a Visual-Kei Rock Star...
 
Ambitious African American Sadie Bank has one desire—to become the
best professional dancer and choreographer in her field. But sometimes
destiny has other plans... Japanese music protégé Subaru Chouda was born
a beautiful and gifted child with a musical soul too sensitive for the
life he was born into. The youngest son of a troubled promiscuous mother
and a forced absentee father spirals him into a deep dark depression
that nearly steals him from this earth until...Sadie.
 
Visual-Kei Rock Star is a tale that expands a decade. Over this
expansion of time these two most unlikely to be friends become lovers
drawn together by a force stronger than age or racial differences
Visual-Kei Rock Star
PROLOGUE
 
 
Spring 2009
 
Groggy and disoriented, Sadie lifted a hand to the horrible aching over her right eye and winced.  Her fingers came away smeared with blood.
She struggled to focus; dumbfounded to find herself sitting in front of the steering wheel of a car she didn’t remember getting in.  There was a gear shift.  This wasn’t her car.
She groaned from pain in her head as she tried to look out into the darkness to get an idea of where she was and what she had struck.  Her vision blurred and she felt a wave of nausea seize her.  Her head lolled back against the headrest of the bucket seat as if she had no bones left in her neck.
For a brief moment she thought she heard something, someone’s moaning floating in the wind.  Maybe it was her moaning and she just thought in her current state it was someone else’s.  She had never felt such pain before.  It was as if something in her skull imploded. 
“Help me,” she whimpered and the sound of her own voice ricocheted in abrasive echoing sounds.  This time when the nausea hit, the contents of her stomach ended on the expensive leather interior and carpeting of the car and for the first time she realized she reeked of alcohol.  How?  She wouldn’t drink and try to drive.
She’d gotten a message to meet...no, she called someone.  Who the hell was she suppose to meet?  God, her head was killing her.  Where was her mobile phone?
Her vision wavered again and she blinked several times, felt the tears flow, then finally after a fashion her vision focused somewhat.  She was looking up at the car’s overhead light.  With a shaking hand, she reached up to turn it on so she could see if her purse was in the car somewhere.  The glaring light blinded her and she screamed, placing her palm over it, dry heaving for her stomach was now empty and she hurriedly flipped it back off.
Blindly, she felt around the seat and floorboard of the passenger side.  It was a two-seater, a sports number of some sort and there was something vaguely familiar about it as if she’d ridden in it before.  Maybe she had, but why would she be driving?  It didn’t make any sense. 
She felt nothing and proceeded to do the same, recoiling when her fingers came in contact with her own smelly vomit.  She tried the car door and found it wouldn’t open wide enough for her to squeeze through.  It was too close to a brick wall.
Where am I?
She felt around the dashboard, tugging and turning the knobs on the dash until she found what she was looking for.  The front headlights of the car popped on.  It was then her glazed-eyed stare saw a horrifying sight.
The woman with her beautiful long black hair tangled about her slumped bloody form.  Her eyes were open, vacant and accusing.
What had she done?  Sadie, too horrified to scream, slumped over into the passenger seat welcoming the darkness that swallowed her up.
 
 
 
CHAPTER ONE
Los Angeles,
Winter of 1999
 
The applause was deafening as the last curtain call came, ending the month long run of Richard O’Brien, Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Sadie Banks followed the rest of the crew backstage to the dressing rooms.  She dropped a towel on the ground and dropped down in a heap of sweat and exhilaration on the floor next to her best friend and fellow dancer, Minako Chouda.
“You got another show lined up yet?”  Minako asked, offering her a bottle of water.
Accepting the water, Sadie answered, “Yes.  Thank God. The next production I’m working will be in New York.  It will be great to be home for a while.  We pay ridiculous rent on a place we hardly get to live in.  What about you?”  Sadie took a deep swallow of water before setting it aside to release the strap across her instep before she eased off the soft character dance heel and wiggled her toes beneath the off black sheer stockings.
“I had a couple of promising auditions, but I’m going to take some time off to spend with Mom.”  Minako answered while stuffing her carrier bag with personal items.
“Are you going to Japan?”
“No, Mom’s here.” Minako shook her head, smoothing her curtain of shimmering black hair behind her ears as she leaned forward and shoved a makeup bag inside the larger bag.  “Well, not here in Los Angeles, but in New York.  I want her to meet George.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Sadie sighed.   “She will love George.  Besides, your father already approves.  I’m sure that will help things go smoothly.”
“My father’s opinion probably doesn’t have as much clout since they’ve divorced,” Minako murmured.  “Mom is more of a traditionalist.  She was born and raised in Japan, where my father is Japanese American.”
 “I can’t believe your folks divorced after thirty years of marriage.  They always seemed so happy.”
“They were.  They still are; just not with each other,” she chuckled.  “Growing up in the household, it was no secret that theirs was an arranged marriage between fathers who were best friends.  After Subaru won that music contest when he was sixteen and mom chose to accompany him to Osaka, we knew it was pretty much over between our parents.”
“Do you regret staying in New York with your father?”  Sadie asked.
“No, I had aspirations of my own,” Minako shook her head.  “Besides, Subaru is the baby of the family.  There is a ten-year difference in our ages.  He needed Mom more than I did.  She supported me all my life and saw me through dance school in Paris.  It was Subaru’s turn.”
“Your older brother, Ichiro, has just always been on his own, huh?”
“No, he had our grandparents to himself.  Ichiro remained in Japan with my mother’s parents,” Minako supplied.  “He had a girl he loved and wanted to someday marry.  He refused to leave her behind, so he stayed.”
Sadie nodded and took another drink of water.  “Oh man, it will be great to see Subaru again.  He’s all grown up now.   He’s what, twenty years old?”
“Yeah,” Minako picked up her water bottle and sipped before saying, “Hopefully this time you don’t have to worry about him walking on your heels and talking nonstop.  What did you two have to talk about anyway?”
“Mostly music and dancing,” Sadie answered.  “Even back then he would pick up his guitar or sit at the piano and play such beautifully composed music.   Here was this eleven-year-old kid, composing music like I’ve never heard and he was even more skilled at fourteen when I saw him again.  I can’t believe he’s wasting it on that mediocre female vocalist Riya’s band.”
Her expression thoughtful, Sadie said, “He sung them with so much emotion.  He was singing about love and heartbreak like he’d been through it a hundred times!  I often wondered where it was coming from.  All that emotion, yet his experiences were few.”
“Mother says Subaru is an empath.”  Minako explained. “He unknowingly has the ability to feel another's true emotions to a point where he relates to that person by sensing the true feelings that run deeper than those portrayed on the surface.  She believes these emotions come out in the music he writes and in his playing in general.”
“I can believe that,” Sadie nodded. 
“Well, whatever special talent my brother has, it’s all going to making Riya Matsuda famous for she takes all the credit for the music he writes.  I personally think my brother has a crush on her and she is taking full advantage of his feelings for her.”
“If he is allowing her to take full credit for his music, maybe it’s more than a crush,” Sadie said softly.  The idea saddened her and she wasn’t sure why.  “How does she feel about him?”
“I personally think she is just another opportunist.  She will keep him dangling in her web until she no longer needs him, or she finds someone else that can give her what she wants.”  Minako’s voice was full of mistrust. 
Minako screwed the bottle top back on the bottle of water and shoved it into her gym bag with the stuff she’d cleaned out of her dressing room locker.  “Maybe while he’s here, he will talk to you about what’s going on in his private life.” 
“Subaru isn’t a kid anymore.  He definitely won’t be interested in hanging out with me like he used to.”  Picking up her carrier, she eased her burning achy feet into a pair of soft-sole slippers.  “I’m ready to go if you are.”
Both the ladies headed out of the auditorium waving and exchanging “goodbye” hugs with their fellow dance troupe members of the show.  Some they knew they would be working with again soon, while others they would never cross paths with again.   Ending a long-run show was always bittersweet.  It was like losing members of your family after every show went black.
“Hey, Sadie!  Holdup a moment!”
Sadie slowed and turned at the sound of her name.  An easy smile came to her lips.  “Mr. Horowitz, I didn’t know you were in Los Angles.”
The aging handsome man came forward in assured strides.  His thinning light brown hair was swept back, revealing a broad forehead.  The most attractive thing about him, Sadie thought as he halted in front of her, was his arresting blue eyes and wide-toothed grin.
“Told you to call me Marshal,” he corrected.  He slid one hand in his front trouser pocket and shifted most of his weight to one leg in a nonchalant stance.  “Are you two ladies going to the wrap-up party at the Wiltern Theatre in Koreatown?”  Marshal asked, briefly touching Sadie’s hand.
She looked up into his weathered lined face and felt awareness in the pit of her stomach.  His unflinching sky blue gaze lingered on her although the question was addressed to Minako and herself.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Minako said with a smirk.
Sadie gave her a hard, warning look to be nice.
“Yeah, we’ll be there as soon as we go to the hotel to shower and change,” Sadie replied in softer tones to compensate for Mina’s rudeness.  Marshal was a nice enough man.  He was making a name for himself of being an A-1 Director on the Broadway circuit and was about to roll out his own production in which he offered her the lead and the chance to stay at her home base of New York.  She was grateful that he considered her for the role.  There weren’t too many shows on Broadway these days offering leading roles to the Black female dancers regardless of how talented they were.
“Great to hear; then I will see you there,” Marshal winked at her.
“Uh, Mr. Horowitz, I wouldn’t have pegged you for one to like Japanese Rock music,” Minako piped in.
“Eh?”  He cocked a bushy eyebrow in question tearing his gaze from Sadie’s face to stare at Minako. 
“My brother’s band is playing there tonight.  I think the crowd may be a bit too young for your taste is all I’m saying.”
“Minako,” Sadie elbowed her in the arm.
“We’ll, I...”  The cellular phone shrilled at his hip. “Excuse me a moment ladies.  I need to take this call.”  He started speaking into the phone as he walked away.
“What’s with you, Mina?  Why are you always so rude to him?”  Sadie asked in hushed tones.
“I don’t like him,” Minako shrugged her narrow shoulders.  “I don’t know why, he just...I don’t know.  Don’t tell me you like him.”
“He’s nice and he’s opening up some new doors for me,” Sadie pointed out.
“Yeah, but what is he wanting in return?”  Minako rolled her eyes, cocked and crossed her arms over her breasts. “You are far from naïve, so don’t even try and play.  You know he’s trying to tap your ass.  I've slept with enough of these creeps to know that and so have you.”
“Would that be a bad thing?”  Sadie eyed Marshal while he stood unaware.  He had a nice body on him.  So what if he was older than she, losing his hair and not her usual type?  She’d had enough of the musician types; maybe it would be best to try an older, more distinguished entrepreneur with an understanding of the business.
“Oh man, I know that look,” Minako shook her head.
“What?  Shit, girl, it’s been awhile for me.  At the very least, I can consider it and knock the edge off,” she laughed softly.
“Doing the Horizontal Mumbo with someone that is going to be your boss; it’s not a good idea, Sadie.”
“I haven’t done anything, have I?  Either way, you need to be nicer because Marshal has been nothing but nice to the both of us, right?”
“I’ll do it for you, but I don’t like it, or him,” Minako murmured and went quiet as Marshal closed his mobile phone and approached them.
“My apologies ladies, but it seems as if I have a business crisis I need to deal with and won’t be able to make the party tonight.”
“Awe, damn,” Minako crooned.  “That is too bad.”
Sadie’s smile slipped a bit but she avoided looking at Minako who she was sure gloating big time about now.  “I’m sorry to hear that Marshal, maybe another time.”
“You can count on it,” Marshal looked into her eyes and held them.  “How about I make it up to you over dinner?  Call me when you return to New York?”
“I’d like that,” Sadie nodded.
“Err...you’re welcome to come too, Miss Chouda,” Marshal turned to look at the fair woman standing at Sadie’s side.
“Thank you, but I’m sure I will be busy.”
“I’m sure you will be,” he said dryly.  “Ladies, have a good night.”  Marshal nodded and turned on his heels when his phone rang again and he immediately answered the call.
Before Sadie could reprimand Minako about her behavior again, she said, “I’m sorry.  I just don’t like him,” and sauntered over to the awaiting taxi.
Sadie shook her head and released a long sigh as she caught up to her and slid in to slump comfortably into the back seat of the taxi.  At least this one didn’t stink of stale cigarettes and piss like the one they arrived in earlier.
“I wouldn’t be going to this bitch’s show if my brother wasn’t in the band,” Minako muttered.  “I’m thinking we should wait until we think it’s almost over and show up long enough to pick up Subaru and go party somewhere else.”
“It’s up to you,” Sadie shrugged.  “I feel my stage-high coming down,” she yawned.  “I would love some smoked eel sushi, a good book and an early night myself.”
Minako cut a glance at Sadie.  “Don’t even think about staying at the hotel and leaving me out on my own with my kid brother.  I haven’t seen much of him in years.  I don’t know what he’s into these days.  To me, he will always be the introverted geeky kid brother that likes to keep his head buried in video games and his music.”
“Just ask him what he wants to do when you see him.  Maybe he will just want to chill quietly after the show.  If so, you can hook up tomorrow and do something touristy.  Tonight, all you need to do is just show up, find out where he’s staying, you know...just make a connection like your mom wants you to do.”
“Yeah,” Minako nodded in agreement.  “What are you wearing?”
“Something casual I’m thinking.”
“Sadie, something casual to you is something ‘dressy’ to others.”
“You know me Mina; I’m a Goth type of gal.  I adore my corsets, pencil skirts, ruffled blouses and vintage spike-heeled shoes or my platforms shoes, high neck blouses and tulle skirts,” Sadie laughed softly.  Her head, resting on the interior seat, lolled and rocked each time the cab driver hit a dip or bump in the road.  “I’m not going to change me to suit that J-Pop Princess band your brother is playing for.”
Minako snickered.  “You know that’s wacked right?  What the hell came over him?  When Subaru started out with his first band, he was the lead singer and guitarist.  He was pure rock and roll and metal.  I felt it was his niche.  The next thing I know, he’s being headhunted for this band with a big contract and when I found out who it was with, I didn’t speak to him for months!”
“Did Subaru ever tell you why he left the other band?”  Sadie asked.
“No, he would have told you quicker than he would have told me.” Minako shrugged her shoulders. 
“What does that mean?”
“You’re telling me Subaru doesn’t shoot you an email every once in awhile?”  Minako asked.
“Just on holidays, birthdays and such, but not like he used to when he first moved to Japan.  Now they are short and sweet.  Nothing about what’s going on in his life or I would have told you; you know that.”
“I just think it would have made more sense to me if Subaru had moved on to something better for him.  But it’s stupid to give up a solo gig to become a backup singer and lead guitarist for Riya.  I don’t understand it; do you?”
“You said it earlier.  He has a crush on Riya.”  Sadie laughed at Minako’s expression.  “C’mon, it makes a lot of sense. If he and Riya are romantically involved, being in the same band people wouldn’t have such a big issue out of building a romance between them.  But if you want to be sure, why not ask him?”
“Because it will piss me off and ruin our reunion if he tells me to mind my own business.”  Minako gave her a sly look out of the corners of her exotic dark eyes. “Hell, it would piss me off even more if he tells me he’s in love with the bitch.  What?  I don’t like her?”
“Have you liked anyone that I or your brother has been interested in?”
“Subaru hasn’t liked anyone but you and Riya from what I can tell, and--”
“It’s not like that between us; you know that,” Sadie injected. 
“I know it’s not for you.  He’s just a kid, but nothing you can say will convince me you weren’t his first crush,” Minako teased.
“A first crush is nothing in comparison to a first love.  Be mindful of that, just in case he has fallen in love with Riya and refrain from giving him your two cents like you do me,” Sadie chastised.
“Yeah, speaking of you, let’s talk about you and your non-existent love life.”
“Let’s not,” Sadie groans.  “I haven’t had a love life for two years now, so there is nothing to talk about.”
“You were a happier person when you were getting you some,” Minako murmured.
“Until I had to take my STD tests, and have you seen how expensive condoms are now?  The sex was great.  It’s all the other mind numbing responsibilities and emotions that come with it that convolutes the mind and body.”  Sadie defended her decision.
 “Well, tell me how is the celibacy working out for you?  Is it giving your karma or whatever shit you were trying to tell me enlightenment?”
Sadie made a face and laughingly said, “I’m laying the foundation for spiritual progression to conserve Ching Chi and transform it into a positive behavior.  My behavior prior to finding enlightenment from within was destructive to my body, soul and nature.”
“Huh...okay...if you say so.”  Minako’s lips twitched at the corner.  “You can have all that stuff with a good man in your life.”
“Mina, I discovered after several broken relationships in a ten year period that there hasn’t been a man made for me yet.  I have abandonment issues because I lost my parents when I was a kid.”
“Many kids have lost their parents and went on to be in loving healthy relationships, Sadie.”
“When my grandmother passed away, I really felt completely alone and as if my life hadn’t already sucked enough, I became a burden to my aunt when they moved me into her house.  Trust me, if I didn’t have issues before, living with her family brought me to a new level of dysfunctional.”
“That’s why you need to try harder than anyone else to make a good home for yourself and have lots of babies.  You need to create some good memories and give your children everything you missed out on,” Minako reasoned with unwelcomed frankness.  “I know it’s something you secretly long for.”
“Yeah, I said it when I was what, eighteen?”  Sadie said accentuating the annoyance she felt more with herself than with Minako.  “I think my life is better the way it is now.  I don’t have to answer to anyone.  My career is on the rise.  My money is good and I’m too busy to give a man the attention it takes to maintain a healthy relationship.”
“You need to find a man that has a career similar to yours.  You can’t date Dr. Dan down the way.  He is probably looking for a sweet housewife that keeps everything immaculate.  He will want dinner cooked and you know your ass can’t cook.”
“My granny taught me how to cook when I was a little girl,” Sadie protested.  “It’s just I can’t cook that healthy calorie free shit that ya’ll like to eat to keep those girly stick dance figures.”
“Oh wow, like I’m the only dancer in this car.  Your bubble butt would get out hand if I didn’t stay on you.”  Minako reached out and pinched her.
 “Will you stop,” Sadie burst out laughing and playfully tapped Minako’s knee.  “Those skinny fingers hurt.”
“I bet if you were to marry that tight-ass old guy, Horowitz, he will want you to hang up your dance shoes and keep his polished.”
“Oh my damn, you are so wrong,” Sadie scoffed.  “I don’t even see that man like that.  We are going to work together; that’s all.”
“You need to remind him of that because I see much more than you do.”
“You worry about keeping your man happy and I will keep my mind on my career.”
“Alright...alright,” Minako huffed.
With a heavy heart, she rode in silence beside her friend, enjoying the way she happily chatted about her relationship and plans for the future with George.  Sadie was resentful although she knew she shouldn’t be.  She wanted the best for Minako; she just hated the thought of their lives taking them in separate directions and possibly causing them to lose touch with one another.
Sadie also wasn’t ready to admit the idea of her never finding someone to share her life with bothered her.
 
 
CHAPTER TWO
 
Agitated and frustrated with his professional and personal life, Subaru sat on a crate off stage waiting to go onstage.  It didn’t matter how much his feelings grew for the object of his desire—standing across the room attentively listening to what another suit-wearing executive was whispering in her ear—Riya would see him as an inexperienced kid.
Subaru knew she was attracted to him; he could sense it.  His youthful body hardened even now as she cast him a sexy, kittenish gaze over the older man’s shoulder.  Yes, she was just five years older than he, but her experience in the game of teasing and sexual manipulations was far beyond anything he could comprehend.
Even though he had been in the music industry seriously since he was seventeen, his mother and management group had done really well at keeping him for the most part sheltered.  The only time he had put his foot down and rebelled was when Riya asked him to join her band.  She had led him to believe she wanted him to be a part of her band because of the attraction they shared.  Yet every time he hinted at any form of intimacy between them, she reminded him that she wasn’t sexually attracted to inexperienced boys.
Where the hell was he to get this experience she required if he was working all the time under the strict rules of the record label?  The band’s interactions with the fans were limited and to be kept strictly professional at all times.  If anything were to happen regarding a band member casting a bad light on the star, the band would be disbanded.  So it wasn’t only your own career you had to worry about, it was everyone else’s.
Still, how could he gain experience if he wasn’t allowed to date the only girls he came in contact with on a daily basis?  His manager offered him a professional woman in the art of sex but Subaru didn’t want his first sexual encounter to be callously given to a stranger.  It was why he wanted Riya.  He’s known her since the beginning.  She started out as a backup dancer the same time he started with his first band; only she has managed to sail through the ranks quickly graduating from the background to headline her own live shows.
At first Subaru was flattered when she wanted to take him along for the ride, after all they were friends...inseparable.  He gave up the chance to headline his own band to stay by her side, but somewhere along the trip to the top, she outgrew him and their times together almost never happened until she wanted something from him.  His music.
Riya had it all going for her; beauty, talent, poise and sexuality, but she couldn’t produce.  All her music had to come from outside sources.  All her chart and award winning hits came from him, a virginal inexperienced twenty-year-old kid.  Boy, wouldn’t that make a headline for the fans?
“Na kimi!  Hey, kid!  Subaru-chan, did you hear me?”
Subaru turned slightly on the crate and looked over his shoulder at the roadie calling his name.
“Ossu?  What’s up?” He asked.
“Nee-chan, in the dressing room dude.”
“My sister? Okasan?”
“No, your Mom isn’t with her but some fine ass Black--”
Subaru was on his feet before the Roadie finished his sentence in a jog to the band’s dressing room, oblivious to Riya’s surprised stare.  She made her way over to the roadie.
“Where is Subaru running off to?  We are about to start,” Riya asked.  Feeling exposed in the costume she wore for her performance, she crossed her arms over herself.
He noticed her movement and snorted on a chuckle.  “I didn’t see you trying to cover your breasts a moment ago,” he remarked.
“I asked you where Subaru was going,” she repeated refusing to acknowledge his comment.  
“His sister is visiting.”
“Minako-san, here in Los Angeles?”  A frown creased her smoothed lily white powdered brow.  “I wonder if something’s happened since he ran off like that to see her.  Did she seem upset?”
“She seemed fine to me.  His sister is as pretty as Subaru-chan, ne?”
“You really shouldn’t overstep,” Riya warned.
“All I can say is either Subaru-chan was happy to see his sister or he was very happy that she brought her pretty friend with her.”  The Roadie grinned at the twisted pleasure he received from seeing the startled look on the woman’s face.  She deserved to see the kid wise up to the game she was playing with him and find someone else.
“Who is she?”
“How should I know?”  He shrugged his bony shoulders.  “She’s Black.”
“That must be Sadie.”
“Sadie who?” He asked.
“She’s no one.” Riya chin lifted a notch.  “She’s Minako-san’s best friend from college.  They are roommates in New York.  She’s more or less just a friend of the family.”
“Ah, soka, I see,” he nodded.  “This woman obviously is a family friend Subaru-chan is anxious to see again.”
“Why?  Just because he hurried out of the room?”
“Yes and it’s also the first time I’ve known him to leave you alone in a room with another man,” the Roadie smirked.  “I suppose your puppy guard dog has a better bone to nibble on tonight.”
“It’s not what you think.  She watched after him when her and his parents went to spend time with Minako-san in France.  He thinks of her as another nee-chan, big sister.  I know he emails her from time to time.”
“Ah, so you are more interested in the kid than you let on.  If that is the case, why do you keep him on a long leash?”
“Why is this any of your business?”
“Warine, my bad.  It’s not my business but I’m perhaps the only other person on this tour that somewhat likes you besides Subaru-chan,” He muttered.  “And he only fancies you because he’s too naïve to see what the rest of us see.”
“Which is what exactly?”
“Your ambition is where your heart is.  It makes you incapable of being loyal to just one man, Riya-san.”
She moved to slap his face and he grabbed her wrist and held it before it could make contact.  “I should have you fired for your impertinence.”
“If I worked for you, I’m sure you would have done so a long time ago,” he gave her a roguish wink.
“You bastard!”
“Kawaisō, you poor thing.  I suppose eventually you will fuck the one that hired me.  From what I hear, you make men do crazy things to get you in their bed, kitten, so I’m sure my boss will fire me if you ask.  But you see I’m not too worried because you like having me around.  With me you don’t have to pretend to be Japan’s Pop Sweetheart.”
“Let go of me.”  Riya pierced him with a hard stare.  He released her wrist.  “Don’t you have work to do?”
“I suppose I could recheck Subaru-chan’s guitar station since he’s...busy.”
“I think it would be better if you tell Subaru-kun he needs to check his own station,” Riya coyly suggested.  “You know how meticulous he is about his guitars.”
“Hai, yes, I do know.  This is why he only allows me to handle them.”  His thin upper lip curled up in a sneer.  “I know you could care less since you never bothered to ask, but I am a professional musician also.  Boku wa Youya da, my name is Youya, and I am Subaru-chan’s back-up on this tour, so you might want me to be his stand-in for other things too.”
“It will never happen.  Just do your job and if you know what is best for you, you will stop looking at me that way,” she snapped.  Her trembling fingers smoothed a stray lock of auburn dyed hair behind her ear.  “All it would take is an implication to Subaru-kun that you made advances towards me and if the management group has to get rid of one of you, it won’t be him.”
Her painted ruby-red lips parted in a smile.  “You have no idea the trouble I can arouse, Youya-san.  Now get out of my sight.”  Riya demanded.
Youya moved in closer and looked her in the eyes.  “Remember this advice, Riya-san...You shall reap what you sew.”
“You can bank on it.”  Her surgically perfect nose wrinkled in distaste before she turned her back to him in dismissal.  “I’m only just beginning to get my heart’s desire.”
Riya didn’t usually get angered so easily; or at least she didn’t allow anyone to see it when she was angry.  This time she slipped.  Seeing the way Subaru rushed out of the room without hesitation or a backward glance over his shoulder gave her pause for concern.  Maybe, she had overplayed her “hard-to-get” hand with him.  No, she usually wasn’t wrong about these things.
Riya Matsuda learned at an early age, a female’s sexuality was a means of survival in a man’s world and men would do anything for sex.  Subaru was the first innocent she thought to take advantage of.  It was his music that drew her to him.  He had the gift of writing songs and playing several instruments and she had the inability to master either one of them.
She was envious and realized the only way to possess his talents was to possess his heart.  She easily seduced him with promises of more to come and he followed her around like a pet puppy; even leaving his own career behind to make sure she achieved her dreams.  It was the most unselfish thing any man has ever done for her.
Although Subaru was five years younger than Riya, he was fifteen years younger than the men she usually invited into her bed, all for the greater purposes--agents, producers, record executives, even the best musicians, radio DJ’s to get them to play her songs more.
So yes, Subaru was inexperienced, but he too had his uses.  She encouraged him to fall in love with her and it made her woman’s heart happy.  Yet, not so happy that she would be willing to be committed and loyal only to him and this is what he was asking of her; so she kept him out of her bed.  Riya couldn’t chance breaking his heart to the point he would be unable to write beautiful music.  She needed this from him more than his cock.
Though it didn’t seem like it at times because of his assuredness in his music and his ability to make one forget he was only twenty-years-old when in his company, Subaru still was inexperienced and lacked awareness of his own sexual appeal to the fairer sex.   There wasn’t a woman that didn’t see Subaru and not immediately cream her panties.  He was handsome to the point of surreal beauty and dumbstruck distraction.  When the spotlight hit him during a solo, the fans would go wild, females and males alike.  If his face didn’t catch you in the magic that was Subaru, his guitar playing would.
Albeit, some women that ran in her circle considered him a bit too feminine in his features, preferring their men a bit more rugged and masculine.  She would wager a bet that he would steal their souls within five minutes of a performance.
They quickly laughed her off and wagered the bet only to lose their money the moment her Subaru opened those full and perfect cherry lips to sing.  Even if a woman could resist his beauty, none could resist the alluring huskiness of his voice.
It was amazing that such depth could come out of one tall and thin frame.  If the voice still wasn’t enough, when he sets aside his guitar, removes his shirt and pulls the rubber-band from his ponytail and allow his midnight shoulder length hair to fall into his face and proceeds to gyrate his lean hips and dance with beautiful fluid movements about the stage, then the audience is his for the taking.  His sexy body was defined muscles over bones, perfection in motion with the ass like that Russian dancer, Baryshnikov.  What more could a woman ask for besides success and money?
Riya felt a familiar moist stirring between her thighs thinking about Subaru.  She wanted him and for this moment thinking he could desire someone other than her, made her want him more.  It was selfish she knew for she took lovers at will, but he was hers and she wasn’t going to share him; especially with some Black bitch that causes his eyes to shine and his lips to smile just when he discusses how she was the reason he decided to add professional dance to his repertoire of talents.
Shit.  She has heard much about this Sadie since meeting Subaru.  Riya had thought the woman who is ten years older than Subaru and of the Black American race couldn’t possibly be a threat.  She was just a fond memory of his.  She was like another elder sister in his life.  Riya would make sure there would never be anything else between the two.
She hadn’t felt the least bit threatened by Subaru’s occasional email to the woman because she was in America and Subaru was in Japan.  Now it was different.  She had inadvertently, in her pursuit of success, put the man that helped get her this far with his music into reaching distance of her.  Sadie.
Why did it not occur to her that if Subaru was sending the woman birthday gifts and such that she would still be best friends with his sister?  Why hadn’t she remembered she and his sister were still flat mates in New York City before now?  No, she shouldn’t be concerned, not yet.  First, she would meet the woman for herself and see Subaru’s interaction with her.
All she knew was she would never return to the hard life she had lived as a half breed growing up in Japan.  Riya had been abandoned by her Norwegian father when she was four and placed in an orphanage at age six when her Japanese mother remarried.  She learned early in life that her beauty and her appeal to the opposite sex would assure she would never want for anything again.
Subaru could weaken her woman’s heart if she gave herself over to him, but he could do no more for her career than he was already doing.  He composed beautiful and powerful music but he would probably be no more than just another song writer in a sea of many ten years from now.  His lack of connections in the music business would not get her where she wanted to be in her career.
Still, if she wanted him to continue writing songs for her, she had to do whatever was necessary to hold onto him for as long as she needed him.
 
♪♫♪
“That roadie probably got distracted and didn’t tell my brother we were in here waiting for him,” Minako grumbled after ten minutes had passed.  The cell phone she held in her hand sounded.  She looked down at it and silently read the text message.
“George?”  Sadie asked.
“Yeah, he is out front at the door.  They won’t let him in without a pass,” Minako released a long sigh.
“You go ahead and take care of the George situation and I’ll wait here for Subaru,” Sadie suggested.
“You sure you’re okay in here?  Most of the guys don’t speak English that well,” Minako looked about the spacious room where some were applying stage makeup, meditating, going through sheet music, smoking and conversing quietly amongst themselves.
“I’m fine until I get enough of the cigarette smoke.  Then I’ll move my ass outside the door.  After all this is their space we’re invading.  Besides, this is our normal element.  It’s all good.”
“Okay, I’ll call you on the cell if I need you to have Subaru come to the front if security gives me a hard time,” Minako explained.
“Will do,” Sadie said.  “I’m sure Subaru will be here shortly.”
“I’ll be right back and while I’m gone why don’t you try and find a date for New Years Eve?”  The other woman said and hurried out the opened door of the dressing room.
“Mind yah business, and go already!”  Sadie laughingly shook her head, shooing her away with her hands.
Sadie walked over to one of the long mirrors and her reflection stared back at her, with a full view of the entrance, so she could still see Subaru when he arrived or if he walked past just in case the roadie hadn’t found him to deliver the message as Minako had suspected.
She wore the latest Folk Fashion made up of a colorful gypsy wide-tail patchwork skirt, a black vintage “Death to Disco” t-shirt, topped off with a red fringed poncho and a pair of black thick-soled laced-up combat boots.  It was while fingering her med-length corkscrew honey brown curls she caught a studious reflection in the mirror of a very handsome young man staring at her.  It must be one of the band members waiting on the mirror.
“I...I’m sorry, would you like to use the mirror?”  She asked.  Their eyes met in the mirror and her pulse raced with a sense of déjà vu.
“Kurikuri me, round eyes, you still look just like you did six years ago.”  His deep masculine voice spoke softly.  “Hatachi nimo mieani noni.  You don’t look a day older than twenty.”
Her chin dropped.  “It can’t be.”  She whispered and managed to swallow.  Her mouth had gone as dry as the Nevada desert.  “Subu?”
He chuckled softly a sheepish grin on his lips.  “You’re the only one who’s ever called me that.”
“It...It seemed to fit when you were a kid, but now I’m not so sure.”  Sadie froze and gawked.
Sadie wasn’t sure what she expected.  She suppose she expected something remnant of the fourteen-year-old boy she saw six years ago at one of Minako’s family function.  Subaru was always small for his age, but his adorability made up for what he lacked in stature even as a teen, so her expectations had been no more than what it had been when she saw him last.
She never would have imagined that a boy could change so much in six years.  This was definitely not the somewhat shy puny fourteen-year-old boy who wore glasses and braces that she remembered.  He looked as though he had stepped out of Asian Style Magazine.
Subaru’s shoulder length hair was pulled back and secured at the nape of his neck.  His hands were strong with defined veins settled atop, long fingers and clean shortly clipped nails.  He had wonderful hands that held the gift of creating extraordinarily good music.  He wore a white open collared shirt beneath a button down black vest, and black jeans tucked into laced knee boots with silver buckled ornamental designs up the front.
Further search showed medium sized silver loops adorned each ear, black kohl lined Asian eyes, and the most divine nose and lips she’d ever seen on a man.  Eyeglasses were gone.  Braces on his teeth were gone.  He had pretty features defined by a jaw line and mysterious unreadable aura like Johnny Depp and a body that cried “lean and buffed for personal pleasure,” all six feet of him.
All in all, he was androgynous in facial features but his self-asserting masculine stance told the truth of his sex, not to mention the outlined bulge in those tight black jeans.  He shoved his linen shirtsleeves up to the elbow, revealing defined tattooed forearms.  Sadie’s felt a tugging from her belly to her pussy.
“Is that all you have for me after six years, Kurikuri me?  If my memory serves, you were a hugger and since living in Japan I miss that,” he boldly admitted.  “Where is my nee-chan, older sister?”
He walked closer and she turned away from watching him in the mirror to seeing him standing there before her in the flesh.  He was real.  Of course he was.  She never would have imagined that little boy she knew would have grown up to look like this.  Her eyes continued searching for some sign of the little boy she remembered.
“She went to the entrance to vouch for George.  Security wouldn’t let him back here,” Sadie managed to piece together a coherent thought in her suddenly feeble lustful mind.  She couldn’t stop looking at him.  He was simply gorgeous.
“Chichi, Dad, told me he’s acceptable marriage material for my sister.”  A closed lipped grin tugged at the corners of his sensual mouth.  “Is this your opinion also, or do I need to intervene as her brother?”
Sadie eyes dropped to his mouth.  Unwittingly, her tongue snaked out to moisten her lips.  His roguish boyish grin widened and his eyes followed the movement of her tongue.  She gasped at the twinkling mischief of his dark long-lashed eyes.  Was he flirting with her?  Surely not.
“I...I like George.  I believe he’s perfect for Minako.”  She cleared her throat and eased back a step as he invaded her space.  “He’s the calmness to her melodramatic personality.”
“Why are you moving away from me?”  His asked.  “I’m trying to get my usual hug.”
Where had that sexy speaking voice come from?  For a brief moment she wondered if Minako had set up some elaborate hoax that she would see on some television show.  This couldn’t possibly be Subaru.  Not with her feeling this way in her naughty bits.
“Err...Subu, the way I remembered it is you didn’t like being hugged by me anymore.  The last time I saw you, you let me hug you once.  It was when I first got to your family’s holiday home and after that, you side-stepped all my hugs for the remainder of your stay.”  She arched her head back to look up into his face as he once again closed the space between them.
“It wasn’t the hugs I was avoiding,” he murmured.
“Then what was it?”  Sadie licked her lips.  “Me?”
“Un, yeah, kind of.”  His face reddened.  “Remember how short I was then?”
“Of course,” she laughed softly.  “I used to be able to pull you into a bear-hug and my chin would rest on the top of your head and I would rock from side to side placing noisy kisses on your head.  You hated when I was still able to do that and you were fourteen, but didn’t I tell you there was no reason to fret over the fact that you were shorter than the other girls in your class.  A lot of boys don’t hit their growth spurt until they reach fourteen; yours just was running a bit slow.”
“It’s not the only thing that seems slow about me.”
“What does that suppose to mean?”  Sadie asked.  Her upper lids fluttered with curiosity.
“The reason I didn’t want you to hug me again that holiday we were all together is because when you hugged me your breasts was against my cheek and you smelled so wonderful and warm.”
“Okay.”
“Some...something embarrassing happened to my body.  It was the first time it had happened while I was fully awake.”
“Ah, I see,” Sadie nodded, trying her best not to giggle and embarrass him more.  “I suppose you know now that something like that happening is as normal as your growth spurt, right?”
“Yeah, but at fourteen, I felt like an alien in my own body.  I was scared to death that you would, you know, feel it.”
“Well I didn’t and if I did, I would have pretended otherwise.”  She playfully knuckled his squared jaw in a teasing punch.  “I’m sure you don’t have to worry about having that reaction anymore.  You’re older now.  Besides, I know you think of me as another older sister.”
“Of course.  A sister.”  Subaru assured her, clearing his throat.  His eyes skidded to the right avoiding a direct stare altogether.
Sadie reflected on the sudden tension she felt coming from him.  “Subu, you’ve grown into a very handsome man and I know I emailed you and told you how proud I am of you.  You’ve managed to finish your schooling while playing and travelling in a band and I know it couldn’t have been easy to earn your degree in such a situation.”
“I promised my Dad if he would allow me free reins—well, as much freedom that I could have for Mother was always there to watch over me—I would keep my word and finish school no matter what.”  His eyes met hers.  “Arigatou, thank you, Sadie-chan,” he said solemnly.
“It was your encouragement that helped me when I wanted nothing more than to give up learning how to not only be a good musician but learning the business side and how to compose my thoughts into music notes on paper.”
“I made a promise to a quiet, and way too reserved for his age eleven year old boy, that I would always be there for him when no one else was.”  She touched and squeezed his shoulder with a reassuring hand.  “I know how important it is to be an adult that keeps their word.  Especially when so many have let you down before.”
“You saved me, Sadie-chan and you never told a soul what I did.  Not even my sister.”   He reached out and clutched at her hand.  “It means a lot to me that no matter where you are or how busy you are with your career you never missed emailing me back or returning my calls.”
“Or sending you Birthday and Christmas gifts,” she said with a significant lifting of her brows.
The warmth of his smile echoed in his voice.  “Yes, you never missed a gift giving occasion,” he nodded.  “You could have saved some money if you hadn’t bothered to save me.”
“Don’t even joke about it, Subu,” she chided.  Her smile faded at the memory.
It was something she had pushed to the back of her mind.  Even now she didn’t want to think or speak of it.  She was just happy at the thought that she went with her instincts and decided to give up going out with Minako and stay in with a kid she hardly knew at that time.  When he quietly and properly introduced himself with a stiff bow, she caught the expression in his currant-black eyes.  They seemed to plead for friendship.
She knew that look well.  She’d seen it in her own eyes many times after moving from the only small town she ever lived in to her aunt’s home in California after her granny died.
“Gomen nasai, I’m sorry.”  Subaru touched her cheek; her skin was warm beneath his fingertips.  “I don’t mean to bring you down.”
She nuzzled against his callused hand and with a voice full of concern said, “Subaru, if something is bothering you, you would share it with me wouldn’t you?  You do know no matter how old you get, I am always here for you.”
A strange, faintly eager look flashed in his eyes.  “There is something I do need your help with, but I won’t tell you until I get my hug!”  Subaru laughingly grabbed her by the wrist and drew her against him wrapping his long arms about her in a bosoming embrace.  She felt her feet leave the ground causing a school girlish squeal to leave her lips.  She laughingly held on to him.
“Subu, c’mon now, let me down.  People are staring,” she quietly hissed at him.
“Just the band.  No worries.”
“Still,” she laughed.  “Put me down.  I want you to tell me what I can help you with.  I take it you don’t want your parents to know?”
His hands were on her hips lifting her higher as if they were in the midst of a dance move.  Sadie’s breathing became heavy as Subaru let her slide slowly down the length of him until they stood toe to toe.  She was fully aware of the erection as she slid down.  She could see by the redness of his ears that he was aware that she was aware and as she promised, she pretended she felt nothing and took a step back brushing his hands from her hips.
“You’re right.  I think I will have to ask you to keep yet another secret between us,” he replied.
It took Sadie a moment to realize he was answering her question.  She was completely floored that this magnificent specimen of a man was “Little Subu.”  Definitely not little anymore or from what she felt anywhere on that delicious body.
He had changed so much; not only physically but there was this awareness of his masculinity, his attractiveness and his appeal to women.  She was sure being a musician had a lot to do with the change, but she was more curious to how much Riya Matsuda had to do with Subaru’s change.  Were they lovers?  Over the years he had mentioned dating someone a time or two, only to have it nixed by his record label when it got too serious.
She dropped her eyes from the curiosity she saw in his as if he was searching for the answer to a question he had yet to ask.  She feared Subaru would see how physically attracted she was of him.  It was embarrassing.  He was her best friend’s little brother and now that he was older, a close confident too.  Even if she could get completely pass the protective nurturing feelings she had for him, it wouldn’t alter the fact that she would be ten years older than he was in two months time.
Sadie sadly felt she had no right to think of him as a grown man, or to savor the imprint his body seemed to leave on her flesh and her calm sanctity.  Stop this Sadie.  Her common sense must remain a viable factor.  Shit.  Minako was right about her coming out of her self-imposed celibacy period.  She needed sex.  If she had a lover, she would not be having these thoughts about this man-child standing in her personal space.
“Alright, I won’t tell anyone.”  She nodded.  “Tell me what’s going on?”
“I need you.”  He frowned and looked away.  His fingers intertwined with hers.  “I will understand if you say no, but I don’t know who else to turn to.  I hope that you won’t be too offended by what I’m going to ask you to do.”
Now she was concerned.  Minako said their mother told her something was bothering Subaru and she imagined his behavior of late had something to do with this conversation.   She just prayed whatever trouble he was in, it wasn’t too serious.  Still, whatever it was, it was serious enough he didn’t feel he could turn to his family to ask.”
“Subu, I am here for you,” she assured him.  “Just say it already.”
“Sadie-chan, will you--”
“Shiyōze asobō!   C’mon, Guys, time to party!”  A voice called out from the doorway.  “It’s show time.  Let’s go...let’s go!  And Subaru, Riya-san wants you to do your newest solo tonight to close the show.”
“Why tonight when she was against it all the others?”  He frowned.  “Is it that she wants it or is she trying to sell a new song to the American record executive bastard she was drinking with at the bar?”
“Go ask her.”  The other man shrugged.  “I’m just the messenger.”
Subaru curses softly. “Sumimasen, excuse me, Sadie-chan, time for work.”
“Is this how you feel about performing now?”
“What?”
“Like it’s just a job?”
“It is a job like any other,” he looked away.
“It’s not how you use to feel when you had your own band and it was your talent in the limelight not Riya’s.”
He remained quiet a moment and when he spoke again he said, “You and my sister have reserved seats.  There should be an extra there for George.  We will talk more. Riya is waiting for me.”
“Subaru, she can wait!” She grabbed his hand and held it.  “You can’t leave me like this.  What were you going to say before we were interrupted?  Tell me what’s going on?”
“I don’t think telling you right at this moment is going to help my cause,” Subaru murmured.
“Huh?”  Sadie blinked a few times.
“I need a more private setting, Sadie-chan.”
“Oh for goodness sakes, just say it!” 
“It...It’s not just something you blurt out on the run, Sadie-chan,” Subaru said.
“Try,” she countered.
“Subaru!”  They both turned to look at the door “Riya-san needs you on stage now!”  He spoke with a heavy accent.
“Tell her I’m coming!”  Subaru shouted.
“What you want me to do?  She told me to bring you back with me and you know how she is.”
“Tell her I’ve waited on her and now for once she can return the favor!”  Subaru noticed the surprise in Sadie’s eyes, and spoke again this time in a calmer tone. “Gomen,” he apologized with a contrite bow of his dark head.  “Tell her to give me five minutes and if she can’t than tell Youya he can do the first set for me, ne?”
The other man looked between Subaru and Sadie and down at their clasped hands.  Sadie quickly released his hand.  She didn’t want to be the cause of any rumors that could make things difficult for Subaru.  He could be involved with the star of the show and if so she didn’t want to be the cause of a spat between them when she hadn’t even met the woman.  Subaru was special to her and she wanted to get along with whomever he chose to share his life with.
“Go,” she urged softly.
His dark eyes raked over her face before he looked over at the other man.  “Go ahead, I’m right behind you.”
The man nodded and they were alone again.
“Sadie-chan, I care very much for Riya, but she is older than me and used to more experienced men,” he stated earnestly.  “I feel as if I can’t compete and my lack of experience in these matters makes me clumsy and because I lack confidence I can’t go to her and declare my feelings for her.”
She stood there, blank, amazed and very disappointed that Minako’s assumption of her brother’s feelings for the singer Riya was correct.  She felt as if her emotions were contradicting the calmness she was exuding.  She couldn’t deny there was an abhorrent feeling of jealousy.  A jealousy she had no right to.
“I need your help,” Subaru said.  “I need you to teach me how to please a woman.”
Sadie stared wordlessly at him, her heart pounding. 
“Subaru, do you know what you’re asking?”
“Are you a virgin too?”
“No, but do realize why I would be the wrong person to do this for you?” she said.  The breathlessness in her voice made it sound as if it belonged to someone else.  “Don’t you?”
“I’ve never even had my first kiss yet,” he confessed.  “You know how special that is.  It’s not that I didn’t have opportunities; it’s just as long as I feel as if I will be bad at it the more scared I am to try it.  I know with you I will be comfortable and you are the most patient woman I know...”
“Subu, I don’t know,” she shook her head.
“You were the first girl to become my friend.  You were the first to teach me how to dance.  Why can’t you be the first to teach me how to be a man?”
Oh the more he talked the wiser he sounded, but that’s because secretly she was thrilled at the thought of teaching him the pleasure, to see the stirring of passion in his eyes, to see the first throes of agonizing ecstasy on his handsome face when he ejaculated from her touch.  It was too tempting for words.
“I got to go.  Just think about it.  Please!”  His eyes met hers despairingly and to her surprise he leaned down and pressed his mouth to hers.  His eyes open, hers eyes wide in shock.  The kiss was chaste and dry, but his lips were unbelievably soft.  “See,” he straightened.  His top lips thinned into smile.  “Just being with you makes me feel brave enough to at least try.  It has to be you Sadie-chan.”
With that he turned on his heels and jogged out the door.
Sadie touched her fingers to her mouth.  She could still feel the warm childlike sweetness of his given first kiss; hers and Subaru’s first kiss.
Oddly enough she felt as stupefied as she did the first time she was kissed while standing in the doorway of Mrs. Brown sixth grade classroom on the last day of school with a mouth full of bubblegum.  Her first kiss had been stolen by the bully of the classroom and he was the first boy to make her cry when she found out he did it only to win a bet he made with other boys in the classroom.  She had been thankful it was the last day of school and at the end of summer when she started school again she would be attending separate Junior High Schools and she would never have to see him again.
She also had her innocence stolen from her from a boy she thought she trusted because she had known him almost three years before they started dating.  He was nice, went to her Aunt’s church, and she went out with him because of her Aunt’s blessing.  She should have been suspicious when her aunt had become so attentive and motherly for the first time since she had arrived into her care.
Sadie eyes closed willing the haunting thoughts to subside.  This was not the time or place for her to dwell in the past.   She was no longer that person and she had a good like taking care of herself.
As Sadie slowly made her way out of the dressing room a smile lingered on her closed lips.  This beautiful young man was offering her a do over.  He was unknowingly giving her a chance to experience her firsts over again vicariously through him.  Could she?  Dare she?  What if it ruined what they had now?  The scoundrel did leave her with much to think about.
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