You're calling to me, I can't hear what you've said
Then you say go slow, I fall behind
The second hand unwinds"
It was amazing how the rumor mill worked. Or perhaps it was because Umeda had been too busy with being in Ryouichi's pocket, of living and breathing at his side as if he belonged there. Of course Umeda knew that there was no way that Ryouichi could ever love him in that way, but it didn't stop him from trying with his entire might, and so he hadn't noticed Akiha's gradual disappearance from his life. Somewhere in his subconscious, he realized that Ryouichi was just dangling him along with no promise of anything, but he was oblivious to that for love was blind and he doubly so. There were certain truths that worked in Umeda's mind, one of them was that he relentless wanted what he couldn't have and it was his one defining thing when it came to relationships, he had known the first time that he met Ryouichi, the first time that he kissed him, that he couldn't have him and that sweetened the deal even though it was a lose/lose situation.
But somewhere along the way, he had lost track of exactly what Akiha was doing, he rarely saw him anymore.. and Akiha wasn't acting his annoying self, in fact he acted almost.. normal. Of course Umeda attributed that to the full moon since well people were known to act strange during that time of the month, but when those full moons happened in succession... he lost himself instead in hanging out with Ryouichi, it was easy to do so... and he was approaching graduation and he'd go on to a medical school in Tokyo, fastly approaching the time when he'd graduate.
Around that time Ryouichi got discovered as a model and broke it to Umeda that he would be going to New York to study for a few years. Of course he couldn't be sad about that, after all it was a wonderful opportunity, but slowly Umeda realized it was coming to an end, their idyllic moments that really held no definite moments in solid physical or even emotional affinity. Umeda never cried when people left, emotions were far fetched for him and the only true emotion he ever felt was anger or frustration. He merely stood at the terminal and bid Ryouichi adieu in his usual slightly distant way, there wasn't even tears. He just went back home, poured himself a cup of coffee and surveyed his apartment, certainly it was everything that his family could afford, and his parents were putting him through medical school. There were the curtains, pink organza that his mother had insisted go up in the kitchen even though he never used it except to store his coffee machine.
He lost himself into the new flurry of Medical school, of broadening his horizons and forging new contacts that he'd never bring closer, and perhaps Akiha would of escaped completely from his mind into the flurry of the past, if it wasn't for that single letter that had come from his mother. No one knew his address except for his parents and he had cautioned them not to give it out. But he opened the envelope and opened it up to find a letter from his mother, along with a gilt wedding invitation. He had perused the wedding invitation first, and his heart froze.
~Akiha is getting married?~. And that was the first time he had thought of him in anything more then passing, but he almost dropped the invitation as if it had burned him, it fluttered to the ground and he watched it's descent. First one, and then now the other... it was as if no time had passed even though he realized that time indeed did pass. Only then did he read his mother's letter.
Did you know little Aki-chan is getting married? Imagine that! I've meet his wife and she's so lovely and really a perfect match for him, it makes me sad though because I always thought it would be you that he would marry, oh well.. Akiha has asked me to sit there in the section reserved for his mother.. I always thought of him as a son. You should contact him, he gave me this invitation to give to you.. and since you told me not to give your address to anyone, I couldn't very well give it to him, even though I wanted to. Please contact him. Love, your Mommy.
Umeda balled up the missive in his hands and then aimed it at the trashcan, but he kept the wedding invitation. Left it laying on the counter for a week or so while he dwelled on it. Inclosed in the invitation on a slip of paper was Akiha's phone number, and it would of been so easy to contact him, made painfully easy.
But all that Umeda could think on was the fact that Akiha was marrying someone, a girl.. in the time that he had been pandering to Ryouichi's every whim. While he was doing that, Akiha was getting himself yoked to a woman, perhaps even falling in love. Somehow that spurred something in Umeda, suddenly he wanted Akiha -very- much, because he was off limits. Suddenly his dreams were filled with those smiling brown eyes and that shaggy blonde hair, all the casual making out and the casual sex, everything that he had taken for granted. It didn't matter that he had put himself distant, not at all. When Umeda thought something, it was very hard to change his mind though it could be done. He didn't send his acceptance, since there was no R.S.V.P, he figured there wouldn't be, after all it was Akiha they were talking about.
Months he agonized over it, over contacting Akiha, he didn't know why he was so indecisive, perhaps he didn't want to appear desperate.. even though part of him was.. but he also knew it wouldn't reflect well on him to come in charging. He thought that perhaps he'd see, see if there would be a way to break up the marriage that he could think of. The only way to do that would be at the wedding. So the day of the wedding, he got dressed in his best outfit and headed down to where it would held and coincidentally he was one of the last to arrive. He stood at the back and watched, saw Akiha moving down the aisle and since he was standing in the shadows, he didn't care to draw attention to himself. All he saw was that his mother grabbing Akiha and giving him a hug, the hug being returned. Somehow it seemed as if he was watching a wedding where the bride should of been him.. but wasn't.
And even though that stung, he watched on.. he by tradition hated weddings, perhaps because he remembered when Uo had gotten married, he had been shoved into a flowergirl costume and forced to walk down the aisle scattering flower petals, memories such as that clung to his psyche and granted to the general bad-taste in his mouth. He saw the proceedings, and when the wedding march came on, he saw the bride walk down the aisle, and he saw her.. scrutinized her for as long as the wedding lasted, he was judging her in his mind's eye. He knew that with certain females, it'd be a pleasure to break up the marriage, he was seeing if it was worth his time, however there was a quality to Eibi.. and he simply couldn't. He knew that, and a look at Akiha's face confirmed it. Shards of ice went through his heart because he knew that if anything broke up the marriage, it wouldn't be him.. he wouldn't be known as -that- kind of guy.
He left before the final vows were spoken, he didn't want to see them uttered. He'd just remember Akiha before the vows were uttered. He left the gift that he had brought, something that Akiha would of liked, a chocolate fondue set in sterling silver. A last testament to the fact that Umeda had actually cared to bring something that he was sure that would be appreciated, and besides he figured that everyone else would have sent blenders.
Going back home and reaching there, he did the same thing that he did when Ryouichi left, he took that cup of coffee and surveyed his home. But there was one difference. This time he allowed a tiny tear to slip down his cheek, perhaps it was for something that unlike Ryouichi could of been possible. Then Umeda did the only thing that he could, he went on with his life, he wasn't going to let himself stagnate because of this. He went out, he emmersed himself in one night stands and the riguers of studying while all the time remaining aware of Akiha's burgeoning career as the trunk in his closet could attest to, little pieces of emotions that he wouldn't admit to himself that he felt. This was a slower burn, and it never really went out completely.. even when he got a random letter from Ryouichi.. somehow along the lines, Akiha had reached the same status as Ryouichi and perhaps edged him out a little bit in the competition.
But Akiha would never know that, and somehow it made the denial easier to bear, even if inside only Umeda knew the truth.
"After my picture fades and darkness has turned to gray
Watching through windows, you're wondering If I am ok
Secrets stolen from deep inside,
The drum beats out of time"