Tuning Delicate Strings

Chapter 8

As Ike settled into bed, he realized that he needed to talk to Nikai and get everything straightened out between them. He still wanted to be friends even though it seemed to be a very awkward situation. He threw off his covers and put his shoes on, not even caring that he was only in his boxers and a t-shirt. As he walked out into the living room area of their hotel room, he realized that both his brothers had fallen asleep watching television. He left the hotel room in a rush and walked down the corridor of the hotel to Nikai's room.

*Knock Knock*

Ike stood there patiently as he heard the door unlock and it slowly creaked open.
"Ni…Nikai?" Ike said, peering around the open door. Nikai had his back to the door, rubbing his eyes tiredly. He was wearing a huge pair of sweats and a sweatshirt.
"What?" Nikai grumbled, attempting to wake up.
"I…I think we need to talk." Ike said and made his way in, closing the door behind himself.
"I don't think we have anything to talk about Isaac." Nikai said, turning around and looking at Ike with half closed eyes.
"Well…I'm first really sorry that I woke you up and second…" Ike was cut off by Nikai yawning and sitting down on the couch, leaning his head against the back of it.
"Uh…would you mind if I sat down?" Ike asked, pointing to the couch.
"Knock yourself out." Nikai answered.
"I'm sorry about tonight." Ike finally managed to say.
"Why?" Nikai asked, arching an eyebrow up at him.
"Uh…for taking you to that dance club and everything." Ike said.
"Is that it?" Nikai said, pursing his lips together.
"Uh…actually…no." Ike said and stared into Nikai's amber eyes, which were attempting to read him.
"I…I really like you." Ike said. There was silence for a long while and Ike felt ashamed as he lowered his gaze to the floor.
"Well…you shouldn't." Nikai said bluntly and stood up.
"Wha…what?" Ike asked, narrowing his eyes.
"I don't think that it's a good idea that we hang out any longer Isaac. I'm in this for the career, not to make friends. Things get way too complicated when personal feelings get involved and I can't jeopardize all that I've worked for, for a friendship." Nikai said, with a blank expression.
"It's me…isn't it?" Ike said, lowering his gaze again towards the floor.
"It has nothing to do with you. You are a very nice person and I have enjoyed getting to know you but my music is my main concern at this point in my life. I've had friendships and it ended up turning out for the worst. No offense to you at all Isaac, it's just, I don't have time for it. I've lived most of my life alone and I plan on sticking to it, to stay sane." Nikai said.
With that, Nikai headed towards his bedroom. Ike didn't understand and had to know what was going on and followed. Just as Ike made it passed Nikai's doorway, something caught his eye that was across from him. Without even thinking, Ike walked over and grabbed what looked like a picture frame off of the nightstand next to the bed. The picture consisted of three people, a woman and a man in their mid 40's and a young woman, about 16 years old. The girl had extremely long brown hair.
Ike suddenly realized who the girl was.
"Oh my god…you do have a girlfriend." Ike gasped and put the frame back down on the nightstand.
"What?" Nikai said, startled first that Ike had followed him and second at what he said.
"This is your girlfriend." Ike said, pointing to the picture in the frame.
"Girlfriend?" Nikai said, walking over towards Ike.
"Yeah." Ike said, looking at Nikai.
"Uh…yeah." Nikai said, realizing what the picture that Ike was pointing to.
"Oh…I'm…I'm sorry…I'm…I'm going to leave now…all right." Ike stammered with a sad expression on his face.
"Isaac?" Nikai said, just before Ike left the room.
"Huh?" Ike said.
"Thanks." Nikai said and looked away.
"For what?" Ike asked, puzzled.
"For trying to be a friend. I do appreciate it." Nikai said.
"You're welcome. Well, see you in the morning." Ike smiled a sad smile and left.

The next morning, Taylor and Zac were getting ready to leave.
"Isn't that my shirt?" Zac asked.
"No…it's mine…remember…" Taylor said, narrowing his eyes.
"Uh…maybe we should wake Ike up." Zac said, looking towards the door.
"Yeah…I'll go do it, finish packing would you." Taylor said, getting up from his spot and heading towards the door.

"Ike?" Taylor called as he peered around the door. Ike was still fast asleep, wrapped around the sheets and the covers of the bed.
"Ike? C'mon, it's time to get up." Taylor said, creeping over to the bed. He poked his older brother gently in the shoulder but got no response.
"Hey…wake up Ike." Taylor said and poked him a little harder.
"Nikai…" Ike mumbled.
"Huh?" Taylor said, a little startled.
"Wha!" Ike yelled, sitting up with a start as he stared at Taylor.
"Bro, you all right?" Taylor said, narrowing his eyes.
"Uh…uh…yeah…fine." Ike said, putting his hand to his head.
"Okay…well, you gotta pack, we're leaving in a couple of hours, all right?" Taylor said, a concerned tone evident in his voice.
"Oh…thanks." Ike said, forcing a smile.
"Uh…why you so tired?" Taylor asked, cocking his head to one side.
"Oh…uh…just couldn't get to sleep last night, that's all." Ike grinned.
"Okay." Taylor said and walked out of the room. As soon as Taylor left the room, Ike buried his face in the pillow and let out a defeated sigh.
"I just don't understand…" Ike said to himself.
"I guess he didn't figure out what I was really telling him…what is wrong with me!"

"What's wrong with me! Why can't I just be friends with him!" Nikai scolded himself as he paced around his hotel room. He was all ready to leave, had everything packed but was reluctant to leave his room because he knew that he was going to see Ike and that same sad expression that he had left with the night before.
"Damn it!" Nikai yelled and grabbed his bags and opened the door, turning his back as he tried to close it behind himself and carry his bags all at the same time.
"Hey Nikai!" Zac called, making Nikai jump and drop his bag on the floor.
"Uh…" Nikai said with wide eyes.
"Oh…sorry to startle you man." Zac said, putting his hand on Nikai's shoulder. Nikai fought the urge to shrug it off but knew better.
"That's all right Zachary." Nikai said, plastering a fake smile on his face.
"I would think you would call me Zac by now." Zac grinned, putting his hands on his hips.
"Oh…all right…uh…Zac. Well, in that case…you can call me Nick or Kai…" Nikai said.
"How about Kai, I like that." Zac smiled and wrapped an arm around Nikai's shoulder.
"Uh…okay…I guess." Nikai said awkwardly feeling extremely uncomfortable.
"Hey Zac! Are you going to get your bag or do I have to throw it at you…oh…hey Nikai." Taylor smiled as he attempted to haul four packed bags.
"Yeah, yeah…" Zac said, rolling his eyes as he walked over to Taylor and grabbed his load.
"Hello Taylor." Nikai said, attempting not to look at the brothers.
"Oh, by the way…we were wondering what you were planning on doing after the show tonight?" Taylor grinned.
"Go back to my hotel room, why?" Nikai asked suspiciously.
"Oh, well, we're having a get together in our room, around 10, everyone's invited. It's going to be really fun." Taylor said non-chalantly.
"Uh…I don't know…" Nikai said, looking nervous.
"Oh c'mon." Zac whined.
"I'll…I'll think about it. Thank you for the invitation." Nikai said, blushing a little and began walking passed them.
"Oh…and it's semi-formal…" Taylor added.
"What? Semi-formal? I thought that it was just going to be a small get together in your room?" Nikai said in a panic.
"Nothing we ever do is small." Zac laughed and slapped Taylor in the shoulder.
"Uh…I…I don't have anything to wear…so…I don't think that…" Nikai stammered.
"Oh…don't worry about that…we'll take care of it. We'll meet you in your room around 9:00, all right?" Zac smiled a toothy grin.
"Uh…uh…sure." Nikai said and finally left the brothers. As soon as he was out of sight, Taylor pulled out his cell phone and a piece of paper.
"Hello…Phyllis?" Taylor said.

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