Part 7: Text Therapy
Wow, Jade wasted even more of our time that I thought.
Yep! Nothing more romantic than very incorrect discussions about quantum physics.
I wouldn't really call it a date.
I was just joking, Rook! No need to repeat it -- now I'm embarrassed.
Yeah, this is what you feel embarrassed about.
Kila was talking about me behind my back...? That's new.
I made a joke -- and that's all it was. About you wanting to woo Jade. I'm sorry for doing that. It was rude.
Funny. Jade wouldn't have any of that. She's far more interested in quantum mechanics. I let Kila know this wasn't my objective. And I accept his apology as well.
More accurately, she's far more interested in what she thinks is quantum mechanics.
Regardless. It made me laugh. We bonded, or whatever you want to call it. That is -- until something came up.
Something came up...?
Millions of CHUDs have risen from the underground to conquer the domain of the sun!
I didn't want to interrupt you two. We had no idea what you may have been doing. But I got a call. We're going to the hotel.
A call...? Wait, that's not so weird. Did I just hear him say that he bonded with Kila?
If Rook had to 'bond' with Kila, he has my sympathies.
I notice they're both holding take-out bags. No way -- they got food without me...?
I can't explain the specifics right now. But it involves your safety. Both of you. So I need to take you to your hotel.
Sure thing, but are you sure we shouldn't just leave Kila in a dark alley somewhere? Nothing safer than a dark alley with a serial killer on the loose!
Yeah, it all seemed very important. We discussed it over some dinner.
Without me...Damn, I'm hungry!
Good news thought -- we're really close. It's just a short walk away. Made sure to book a convenient location. I'll tell you a little more tomorrow. But right now -- safety is priority.
Seriously, what's going on? Is a waifu on a rampage?
Where are the groupies?
I miss the good old days where the only way to get into your hotel room was to kick in the door.
He hands us both our keycards.
Wow, this place is massive! What kind of amenities does it have...?
Well, you'll each have your own beds. There's a hot tub, a bed, and a shower. You'll even get your own masseuse.
A bed? A shower? We'll live like kings!
Thank you, game, for giving me the mental image of Kila getting a massage.
I wonder who else is staying here. If this is the hotel where contest winners stay? There must be all sorts of celebrities present.
I hope you two enjoy it. You have no idea how much it cost.
Not too much, I hope...
Be up at 9AM sharp. I'll come to get you in the morning. And if it's not me, it'll be Jade.
Cool. Maybe if we play our cards right, Jade will start yammering about quantum physics again and share some of her
You'll get to meet more of the team. Plus you'll experience the backstage life. There's lots of food, just so you know.
Food!? Yes, finally! That's all I wanted to hear!
Who goes backstage for the food? There's only one way this can end and it involves Kila and Rabies both ODing after they huff too much expired paint.
Kila excitedly runs to the hotel room doors. I decide to give chase. I wouldn't want to get lost.
But before I can catch up, Rook decides to stop me.
Hey, hold up a second.
I swiftly turn around and face him in the eyes. This is our first time making any real eye contact. And for a moment -- I sense sadness within him.
Jesus Christ, what is that first sentence? It almost sounds like Rabies just turned around and fucking headbutted Rook.
I'm sorry for being a jerk to you. I know you're thinking it in your head. Everyone else is, too -- I can tell.
And now I'm speaking it with my mouth: you're a jerk.
I know that I've wronged you a lot today. Even if you aren't strong enough to say so.
Where is this coming from...?
Rook you are a grown-ass man and I have known you for less than a day please don't do this
That much was clear already. I hope that Jade doesn't become like this. Especially since Rook was "teaching" her humor.
I just wish I was understood. Half the time I have to bite my tongue. I'm scared I'll hurt people.
I don't want to get hate for just talking. Half the time -- I'm just speaking my mind. It makes me scared in everything I say.
A world where you're scared to speak...It's a lonely one, I can' say that much. That's why i use my tablet so much. I can be alone -- yet with others. I can bite my tongue before it's too late. It gives me a filter. If that makes sense.
It does not!
And you know -- this wasn't always the case.
He stares at me like I've done something horribly wrong. But as far as I can tell -- I didn't. This outburst is all on him.
He pulls out his phone and starts typing on it. He's texting me...? I'm literally standing right here. I pull out my phone to see what he said.
How do these characters keep getting worse?!
What can I say here? Rook is fucking dumping his life story on us via text message.
A person should hate Maid Cafes regardless.
You're so stupid!
No idea how you got me to open up! But I swear -- if you tell anyone else? Well that'll be the end of you!
He's blaming me...? Somehow that feels like an extremely Rook thing to do.
I hate you!
He closes his eyes and tilts his head upwards. And suddenly I realize he -wasn't- talking to me. Was he talking to himself...?
You just can't stop running your mouth! Even at the most innapropriate [sic ] times. You should've just stayed a worthless hikikomori!
I mean, am I honestly supposed to feel sympathy for this character? Our only interaction with him has been him yelling at us. We haven't been around him long enough to care about him at all and he has zero redeeming character traits that would make anyone care how he feels.
This isn't depression. I don't know what it is, but it's horrifying.
Introducing Rabies McFutts, export psychomologicist!
A Hikiomori is a Japanese term for a shut-in. They want nothing to do with society. Often times they live on junk food and surf the web.
I knew his judging was a symptom of a deeper issue. I want to help him -- not see him suffer like this. He's having trouble with the loss of a loved one. We've all been there. Or at least -- we will be.
The latter is a more terrifying thought than the former. But it's something we'd all face during our lives. Rook lets out a soft smile before he continues talking.
That's the last thing I expected to hear. Normally people just walk away from me. I haven't had someone stay and listen. Let alone say something positive about me. Most people just harp on me for the tablet. They tell me I'm wasting my time, you know?
Reminder that this guy is supposed to be a professional goddamn band manager. But here we are, having him tell his life problems to a person that won a contest.
Thanks for saying what you did, though. I might have taken it the wrong way. Or perhaps your intent was different.
But thank you...It was still very kind. Haven't smiled like this in a while.
He takes a few deep breaths before calming down. It was awfully impulsive for him to open up like this.
Rook, I'm going up to my hotel room right now and attempt to drink myself to death to forget this ever happened. Don't worry about me talking.
What's he gonna do? Stab me with his stylus?
Couldn't you have just vented by getting more glowing tattoos or something?
And you know what...? I kind of like you too.  I admire your ability to listen to people.
This is really Rabies' power: standing around and having exposition vomited on them.
Probably posting his drama on every internet forum that exists.
The worry will wash off. The sin never will.