Tuning Delicate Strings

Chapter 12

Ike ran into the bathroom in his hotel room, slamming and locking the door behind him.
"I…I…I can't believe this…" He said out loud, feeling his throat tighten up on himself.
"How…how could I not know he…he was a girl?" He slid down against the door and sat down on the floor, burying his face in his knees.

*Knock Knock*

"GO AWAY!" Ike screamed, feeling his voice go hoarse as tears spilled out of his eyes.
"Ike…please…let me in…" Taylor's voice came through.
"Leave me alone." Ike mumbled, wrapping his arms around his knees.
"Please…Ike…please." Taylor pleaded, putting his hand on the door. Ike sighed and reached up, unlocking the door and moving away from it but returning back to his position on the floor. The door slowly opened and Taylor poked his head in, noticing the miserable state his older brother was in. He looked at him sympathetically.
"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry Ike."
"Save it." Ike said, turning his head away. Taylor closed the door and walked over and sat on the counter, looking down at Ike.
"Listen…for what it's worth…I…I know that Nikai cares…she…she wouldn't have reacted the way she did…if she didn't." Taylor said, cocking his head to try and get eye contact with Ike.
"GET REAL TAYLOR! GET FUCKING REAL!" Ike yelled, seething. Taylor was taken back by Ike's outburst but knew that he deserved it.
"We shouldn't have done what we did…"
"Why…why didn't you tell me…why couldn't you just tell me?!" Ike said, suddenly looking up at Taylor, eyes threatening to overflow.
"Do…do you have any idea how I feel Taylor…any idea…I…I feel something for Nikai…that…I was starting to question about myself…I…was scared…" Ike said, eyes widening.
"I didn't think you would believe it. We…we figured that if…if…hell I don't know what we were thinking. And…I…I knew how you felt about her."
"Try again Taylor…Try again…" Ike said, gritting his teeth.
"You mean how I felt about HIM!" Ike yelled.
"I…I…" Taylor stuttered, wide eyed and in shock.
"I have nothing more to talk to you about. I'm making plans to go home in a few days." Ike said, looking Taylor straight in the eye.
"But…but the tour…" Taylor stammered.
"I suggest you find a guitar player while I'm gone." Ike said, getting up and wiping his eyes with his sleeve. He left the bathroom and went into the bedroom with Taylor on his heels.
"But…but Ike…I…" Taylor stuttered.
"Leave. I'm packing." Ike said, looking straight ahead.
"BUT IKE! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" Taylor yelled.
"I can and I am Taylor." Ike said, turning around, staring at his brother harshly.
"Now leave." Ike said, turning back around. Taylor closed his eyes sadly and left the room, in search of Zac.

"NIKAI! NIKAI!" Phyllis and Amanda yelled as they ran down the street, getting closer and closer to her.
"Go away." Nikai said simply, taking off her shoes and walking bare foot.
"Come back…please." Phyllis said, finally reaching her and grabbing her by the arm. Nikai whipped around, staring harshly at the girls but surprisingly had a tear running down her face. Phyllis gasped and immediately felt sad for her.
"I will not come back. If I do, it is to get my clothes and guitar. I have nothing to say to you or to them. So leave me alone." Nikai ground out as she turned again.
"You…you…you hurt him…Nikai…you really hurt him. He cares about you…doesn't that mean anything or…or are you that cold." Phyllis suddenly said, almost regretting it as soon as it came out of her mouth. Nikai immediately stopped in her place, her shoulders tensing as she looked down at the ground.
"I care about him too." And with that, she kept walking, leaving the two girls to stand there in shock and disbelief. Phyllis turned and looked at Amanda.
"C'mon…we tried." Amanda sighed and put her arm around Phyllis' shoulder as they walked back to the hotel.

The girls got off the elevator to see Taylor and Zac talking in the hallway. Taylor immediately looked at them then frowned.
"We're really sorry guys." Phyllis said, looking down at the floor.
"It's all right." Taylor said.
"Thanks for trying." He added.
"Did you reason with Ike?" Amanda asked.
"No…how can I put this…he's planning on leaving to go home in a few days." Taylor said, looking at the girls.
"But…what about the tour?" Phyllis asked, narrowing her eyes.
"He says that we should find a new guitar player." Taylor said, focusing his attention on a near by wall.
"What did Nikai say?" Zac spoke up.
"Just that she was leaving." Amanda said.
"But…she…she admitted that she cared about him…" Phyllis added immediately getting the two brothers' attention.
"Really?" Taylor said in a surprised tone.
"Yeah…though she said that the only way she's coming back is to get her guitar and her clothes and then she's gone." Phyllis said and sighed.
"She did…this is great!" Zac said, looking very excited.
"How is that great?" Taylor and the girls all said in unison.
"We're going to fix this." He replied.
"Apparently you don't learn do you!" Phyllis said angrily.
"No…listen…if we can get them together…" Zac began to say.
"I'm not getting involved in this and once again, I don't think any of us should." Phyllis interrupted.
"Actually…I think he has a good point…" Amanda said, with a look of concentration on her face.
"You're both crazy. Right Taylor?" Phyllis said, glancing at him. He held his breath and sighed. Phyllis rolled her eyes.
"Fine…fine. C'mon Manda, we might as well get a hotel room." Phyllis sighed and started to walk away from them.
"Oh…okay." Amanda said, waved at the brothers and followed her friend.

Ike finished his packing and set his suitcase down on the floor beside the bed. He sat down on the bed to contemplate everything that had gone on.
"Ike?" The door opened and there stood Zac.
"What?" Ike said, not looking at him.
"Are you all right?" Zac asked in a concerned voice.
"Fine." Ike said, standing up, attempting to walk away from Zac.
"You know…I imagine…no…I know that Nikai cares about you…" Zac said and smiled slightly.
"Well…I imagine…no…I know you don't know shit Zac!" Ike said sarcastically.
"Now…like I told Taylor…leave me the hell alone." Ike grumbled and walked passed him.
"I'm warning you Zac…if you don't stop know…I'll make you!" Ike hissed as he turned around to face him.
"You know…I'm sorry about everything…I'm also sorry that you didn't think about how this must affect Nikai…" Zac said angrily and with that stormed out of the room, leaving Ike in silence.

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