The Drive to Forget - Another Epilogue
Whoops… I did Riki first because sometimes I have feels. Without further ado the long awaited epilogue! Takuto’s will be out…. eventually…..<3
I’ve noticed something over the past few years. I’ve noticed the overwhelming happiness that comes along in life in which you can only wish that time stops. I’ve prayed for time to last just a second longer so that a smile, a laugh, or any whisper of joy could be remembered. It could be permanently etched into my memories so they could never be lost. Every small experience that I’ve had just overwhelms me with bliss. And it’s all thanks to him.
I could feel myself being pulled from sleep gradually. The pesky ray of light that managed to find my eyes from the sunrise and the supposedly joyful noise of birds chirping were both bringing me back into reality. I groaned as I groggily turned in place smothering my face into the comforts of a pillow. I smiled as I took a deep breath. It smelled like him.
The final variable that brought me out of my dream world was something cold lightly touching my face. It was gone in a second almost like a timid animal testing the waters of a new environment. But it wasn’t too long until the sensation reappeared; this time more direct as it poked my cheek with a bit of force. I didn’t open my eyes but continued to appear as if I was sleeping. Once the poke came again I couldn’t help but suppress a smile and continue my fake slumber.
“Mommy.” A reserved voice whispered. “Mommy, it’s time to get up.”
I let out an exaggerated moan, curling up into a ball and bringing more covers to my face. “But Landon.” I groaned extending the last syllable of his name. “I don’t wanna.”
Landon began shaking my arm in an attempt to get me to move. But I played my part well, laying there as if I was a sloth. “But Daddy said today we’re going to the zoo, so you need to get up. He told me it was my job to wake you and that he was counting on me.”
Peeking through my blanket barrier I could see the determined look on his face. His blue eyes sparkled with willpower as he tightened his fist, but his courageous look diminished a bit from the way his dark hair was sticking up in multiple directions. I sighed as I slowly rose to a sitting position on my bed and received a great look of triumph from Landon. “You’re up!” he said while raising his hands above his head.
I couldn’t miss the opportune moment as I quickly grabbed him and started an all-out tickle war. He squirmed in my arms laughing and squealing with one of the brightest smiles I had ever seen. “No… Mommy… Stop!” he could barely form a sentence through his laughs.
“But I’m up! Doesn’t this cause for celebration! We’re going to the zoo! You did an excellent job at waking me up!” I said without stopping my attack.
Landon tried his hardest to resist or get away but he had no success. The only thing that stopped me was the stern voice that came from the doorway. “What exactly are you two doing?” Riki said his arms crossed.
Our war was over and I simply shrugged still holding Landon tightly in my arms. “Waking up, duh.” I said with a smile.
“Yeh Daddy, duh.”
I couldn’t help but let out a slight laugh as Landon copied my tone. Riki on the other hand looked a little shocked. But the shocked look quickly turned to a bright smile and he flopped down on the bed next to me. “What have you been teaching him?” he asked half covering his face with his hand.
Again my answer was a simple shrug but Landon decided to speak up and explain our source of fun. “We had a tickle fight Daddy! Mommy was really good!”
“Oh I know.” Riki replied with a smirk. “I’ve been of plenty of tickle fights with Mommy, but there’s no way she’s better than me.”
“Riki!” I exclaimed picking up on his innuendo.
He only laughed as I tried to nudge him off the bed onto the ground. “Okay, okay I get it!” he said between laughs. “Landon how about you go pick out some clothes so we can get ready. Can you do that all by yourself?”
“All by myself!?” Landon replied eagerly.
Landon scurried off the bed and dropped to the floor in an instant. But before leaving the room he went around to Riki’s side of the bed and held out a fist. Riki immediately responding by touching his own fist to Landon’s small one. Landon opened his hand and made an explosion sound before running from the room and shouting “It’s show time!” through the hall.
I looked at Riki with a suspicious glare. “And what exactly have you been teaching our son?” I asked.
Riki smiled before wrapping his arms around me and pulling me back onto the bed so we were both lying together. “Just those old legends of the Black Foxes, how they were mega cool and their leader was probably the most handsome man on the planet. He even won the heart of the one and only lady fox.”
“You shouldn’t tell him too much.” I said with a weak smile. “Especially how the famous group of thieves broke up.”
“He’ll be fine. He’s going to find out someday.” Riki said in a bland tone. “When that day comes we’re going to need to be prepared. We can’t hide him from everything.”
I sighed as I nestled deeper into his embrace. “Isn’t that what parents do?” I mumbled.
Riki tightened his grip and placed a light kiss on the top of my head. I could hear the deep breath he took, taking in my scent and it relaxed me. There was nowhere else I would rather be than in his arms.
“Daddy! I just got Mommy up! Why are you both sleeping!?” Landon shouted from our doorway.
When we finally looked at him we were both in shock. He wore a regular black t-shirt and black pajama pants which wasn’t too odd, but on his nose it was outlined in black with what looked like to be my eyeliner. “What are you wearing?” I asked as I left the comfort of my bed to look over his outfit.
When I came to his side I realized that my initial thought was right. My eyeliner was smeared all over his face. I let out I slight sigh in good nature as I smudged some off with my thumb. “I’m a black fox! One of the greatest art thieves on the planet!”
I shot a glare at Riki knowing this was his “legends” doing. He had a bright smile on his face and didn’t even bother trying to hide his happiness. My glare intensified saying ‘you did this, and you’re going to break his little heart by telling him he can’t be a black fox.’ He put his hands up in a defensive surrender and slowly made his way next to Landon. “You look really cool Landon, but the Black Foxes were a super-secret organization. If you wear something like that, everyone will know your identity. How about this, we keep the black top but no more fox-face or pajama pants. That way you’ll be an undercover agent! Wouldn’t that be amazing!?”
Landon’s eyes brightened and he automatically replied with a “Yeah!” running back into the hallway, stripping from his pants and smearing his face.
I could only smile as I slowly followed after him picking up the forgotten clothing. I glanced back at Riki who was still on his knees from the talk he had with Landon with a smile that reflected mine. We were both so happy. Everything seemed perfect.
As we walked back home from our zoo trip Landon dragged his feet in disappointment. A pout hadn’t left his face ever since we’d been to the fox exhibit. “I can’t believe there weren’t any black foxes.” He murmured under his breath.
“Sorry buddy, I’m sure we can find a zoo somewhere that has them.” Riki replied as he picked up Landon so he wouldn’t continue to ruin his shoes.
I gave Landon a sad smile as he continued his disappointed attitude. He was so excited this morning and there was nothing Riki or I could do about the missing foxes. Riki slowly placed his free hand on my cheek drawing my attention to him. He reflected the same expression as me to show how he wished there was something we could do.
We continued our walk home as the sun slowly set into a deep orange. I glanced back over at Landon only to see that he was slowly drifting into a sleep. His eyelids were bearing what seemed like a tremendous weight and his hair still found a way to defy gravity in a spiky mess. I smiled at the form in Riki’s arms.
My attention was then suddenly brought to something else. Riki stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and with my delayed reactions I had managed to run straight into someone. Luckly the person had better reactions than me and stopped me from falling. I gasped from the impact and automatically started apologizing. “I am so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was-”
I stopped midsentence as soon as my eyes met the ones of this so called stranger. “Takuto…” my breathy voice could barely be heard above from my own thoughts.
I hadn’t seen him since that day at the bar. The day I remembered everything. After that, he simply never came back. At least Riki and I never saw him. Hiro, Kenshi, and Atsumu would bring him up in whispered conversations every once in a while. But after that night, the Black Foxes never stole again.
His face stayed emotionless but his eyes seemed to be sharper than a knife. I couldn’t read his expression at all, but his hands stayed at my sides from when I ran into him. We were both frozen and I didn’t know if it was possible for me to move.
“Mommy, do you know him?” Landon’s voice brought me to my senses and I stepped away from Takuto’s touch.
I looked back at Landon in Riki’s arms but before I could even reply to his simple question Riki’s eyes caught my own. They were no longer the bright loving blue that I had grown familiar with over the past years. They were now a dark storm that showed nothing less than extreme seriousness. “Y-yes.” I answered Landon trying to conceal any nerves that had been rattles at this sudden encounter. “He’s an old friend of ours.”
My speech became so formal and dry. I didn’t even understand the emotions running through my head right now. Was I scared or sad or worried or what? I didn’t know how to react. We’d put off this confrontation for so long that its sudden reappearance was overwhelming. “Old friend huh.” Takuto mumbled to himself, his eyes trained on Landon.
It seemed like he was searching for something and it took me a while to finally understand what. Takuto was searching Landon’s feature. I doubted it was out of hope or anger, but more of a reissuance. Landon’s features didn’t lie, he was Riki’s son.
“You’re friends with my Mommy and Daddy? Do you know about the Black Foxes too!?” Landon’s voice was bursting with energy, but as soon as the last syllable of his question dropped I was frozen once more.
Takuto’s expression softened a bit but his eyes still remained strong. “I guess you could say I was one of them.”
“Takuto you fu-” Riki growled before he was interrupted by Landon.
“You were a Black Fox!?” Landon squirmed from Riki’s arms and ran straight to Takuto. “That’s so cool!”
Takuto simply shrugged. “I guess. What’s your name kid?”
“Landon! Where you the leader? My Daddy said that the leader was the coolest ever and he got married to the girl fox!”
Takuto paused for a moment to process his sudden conversation. “Well you see-”
“Landon. I think it’s time we go.” Riki interrupted, his eyes still harboring a typhoon.
“But Daddy, Mr. Takuto is a real Black Fox!” Landon whined.
Riki ignored the whines and grabbed Landon by the hand and started walking at a fast pace past Takuto. “Awhhh, Bye Mr. Takuto. I hope we see you soon.” Landon shouted back.
Riki paused once he was a good distance form Takuto and looked back to me. His expression wasn’t as clear as before but I could still see the vast majority of his emotions. The pain he had felt from seeing me with Takuto, not having the slightest clue about our relationship was flooding back. But even if it killed me to do it, there were still some things I needed to say to Takuto. “I’ll catch up.” I shouted. “I promise.”
Riki’s expression wavered a bit. The worry and anger flashed in his eyes before a sense of understanding washed over him. He slowly nodded, sent Takuto a blank stare and continued to walk with Landon.
I turned towards Takuto, not really knowing what to say. “So… how have you been?” I asked cautiously.
My only reply was a harsh laugh that creative a heaviness in the air. “How have I been? I guess you still haven’t given up on avoiding important topics; even after all these years.” He snapped.
His words seemed so harsh but it wasn’t like I didn’t deserve it. When we were together I totally betrayed him. Even if he did the same to me, this encounter was long overdue. “We both withheld information in our relationship. That’s why it didn’t work.” I said trying to hold a mature and cool presence.
He scoffed at my words. “I suppose you’re right. I guess being with that asshole has given you somewhat of a voice after all.”
I shot him a look hoping he would at least try and have an adult conversation with me. He simply shrugged and urged me to continue. I took in a deep breath before finally speaking my next words. “I’m sorry. I know that might not mean much to you, but I was in the wrong before. We both were. I wish we could have ended on better terms.”
He didn’t say anything back to me. He simply stared into my eyes completely silent. The sharpness that he had kept through our entire conversation was starting to lessen, which eased the heavy tension just a bit. “I was in the wrong too…”
With those words I felt a giant burden lifted off my chest. It wasn’t a thank you or I forgive you. Takuto was talking to me like and equal adult, nothing more, nothing less.
We stayed quiet for what seemed like forever. Eventually we both started walking in the direction of my house without a single word. The silence however was no longer heavy. Instead the air felt cleared. Like both Takuto and I could move on with our lives without looking back.
Takuto stopped a few blocks from my house and stood silently. I looked back at him just about to ask if something was wrong when he look straight at me the seriousness in his eyes seem like they were set in stone. “Your happy right?” he asked in a low tone.
“What do you mean?” I asked confused.
“Are you happy? With him I mean… I don’t think I can forgive myself if that asshole isn’t making you happy, I did that enough to last you a lifetime.”
I paused for a moment. Was I happy? The sudden embraces. The squeals of trickery. Everyday leading to new memories. “Yes,” I answered “I hope you can be happy too.”
A half smile was what I received as a reply and it was enough to say a thousand words. We both turned and went our separate ways but I know the memories that I made with Takuto and the Black Foxes will never be forgotten. The good, the bad, everything. This life of mine is truly a drive to remember.
Oh yeh gotta put the title slightly changed to show the character development of the MC realizing that memories weather they be good or bad should always be remembered. At least my Honors Language Arts class taught me something more than just standardize vocabulary. Too bad I still can’t spell to save my life.