There was an uneasy silence that had begun to suffocate the table they sat at as they ate their rather late lunch. Isaiah, lazily sipping his cola through the straw, watched Sariel eat with concerned eyes. It was strange, because his friend had ordered only a standard luncheon meal and settled for a mere glass of water; Sariel never ordered so little food. He usually ordered the meal, then he would order about five sides, then a drink, then something heavier, then top it all off with something sinfully unhealthy, like two slices of caramel-laced, chocolate fudge mousse. It was amazing how much Sariel could pack into his stomach in a meal - he was almost like a vacuum - and it was even more astounding that he was so slim and fit. Isaiah had always found it funny how Sariel did not seem to have a care in the world for the calories or cholesterol he took in for how concerned he usually was about his weight.
Despite these precursory warnings, however, Isaiah decided to leave Sariel be for a few minutes, for his friend seemed to be floating far out of his brains and was perhaps not together enough to make any sensible conversation with. He had seen Sariel depressed before, but it never really came to such extremes that he would not pre-order his dessert. However, soon enough, concern overcame consideration for Sariel’s privacy, and Isaiah opened his mouth to speak.
As he thought. His friend did not seem to hear him and was chewing on food he had long since swallowed, staring out into space. Frowning slightly, Isaiah decided to try again.
“Yo, Sariel? Anyone there?” He paused, then added. “You alright, man?”
Again, Sariel provided no answer. Twisting his face up in frustration, Isaiah soon gave a quick, easy, but firm, punch to Sariel’s shoulder to wake him up from his daze only to wince when his friend suddenly fell face-first into his half-eaten spaghetti and white clam sauce; Sariel’s elbow support had been jolted unexpectedly out from under him due to the delivered punch.
“G’ah! What!?” Sariel snapped as he gasped his breath in after peeling his face from his food, frowning as he grabbed his napkin to begin wiping the slimy gunk from his cheeks and chin.
“Ooh, sorry, Sariel. I hadn’t meant to hit you so hard,” Isaiah said, seeing the pout rising from his friend’s features as he worked to clean himself off. Leaning back against the seat of their booth, Isaiah pushed his already-cleaned plate from the edge of the table and reclined as best he could, keeping a steady amber gaze on his friend. “I’m just wonderin’ what’s up. You aren’t eating like you usually do.” He pointed to his own empty dish. “I usually get to this part after you’ve cleaned off your main dish along with your first drink and the sides, but you didn’t even get any sides today and all you’re drinking is water. Something bothering you? You look totally down in the dumps - not to mention you’re eating like it, too.”
Sariel blinked when he heard his friend mention his concerns and his pout deepened.
“Is that all you’re going to say to me, Isaiah?” he asked almost childishly after a short, hesitative pause to then shamelessly gush out his frustrations to his friend in a single breath of upset stammers. “I totally screwed everything up today! I completely forgot about our interview this morning with the Inspiration Records rep, and when I was trying to catch the bus to get to the studio, Obadiah called me and screamed at me for ruining his life. Then I tripped on a tree root and fell, missed the bus, and my binder jumped from my hands to land.. to land..!”
Isaiah’s eyes went wide when he heard this coming from his friend, who almost seemed on the edge of hyperventilation. Sariel looked about ready to break down in tears, staring helplessly into his mashed spaghetti and clinging tightly onto the fabric of his jeans as he kept his lower lip ruthlessly clamped between his teeth. He had not yet even finished cleaning off his face; it dripped with the greasiness of the cold clam sauce that had once smothered his pasta but now decorated his almost girlish face. Isaiah had been trying to play things off coolly when it regarded the missed interview so his friend would not feel so terribly guilty, but it seemed that, thanks to Obadiah, Sariel had learned of his erroneous mistake and fell deep into guilt anyways. Not only that, he seemed desperately troubled about something else as well.
“Sariel? What? What happened? It’s alright about the interview; we can just wait for our next chance. Don’t listen to Obadiah’s-”
“No, it’s not that, Isaiah, it’s NOTHING LIKE WHAT YOU’RE THINKING!!” Sariel cried, surprising Isaiah with his sudden raise in voice. The violinist gasped when he heard himself snap so loudly out to Isaiah, and his friend, features gone pale with shock, stared back at Sariel, whose eyes were beginning to fill with the indication of tears.
“Sariel.. Okay, then, what is it? I know that interview meant a lot to you. It meant a lot to us both, but don’t you think you’re kind of overreacting?”
“I’m not,” Sariel replied with a hurt pout. “I’m not overreacting. You tell me how you would react after hearing you blew it big time for your manager and your best friend, then meeting up with some punk who throws away six months of your work into the lake without a thought in the world! Upset? Of course I am! But I’m not overreacting!”
Sariel would have blurted out something nasty to Isaiah regarding the emerald-haired one’s involvement with his project, accuse him of his suspicions that Isaiah was not taking this as seriously as he should, that he was in it only because of Sariel, not because he loved his job. But he refrained, knowing that resorting to such measures was just childish and immature, for even if his suspicions were true, Sariel knew he could not have ever made it this far if Isaiah was not there with him.
Isaiah blinked when he heard what Sariel explained to him.
“What? Someone tossed your music binder into the lake?” he asked in open-mouthed astonishment before adding slowly, steadily: “Who? Who did it?”
Sariel said nothing at first, but after a short moment of still silence, he nodded to Isaiah’s words and took a trembling breath.
“Yes. S-Someone threw it all away. I was on my way over to th-the bus stop to head for the studio, then got a call from Obadiah. He was angry and yelled at me; I wasn’t watching where I was going and tripped over something. Th-The binder flew out of my grasp and landed by that Soraan bastard. He grabbed it, leafed through it, and insulted me when I was trying to ask him to give it back. I was polite enough, but all he did was sneer at me and throw the whole thing into the lake!”
Indeed, Sariel was on the edge of tears, but there was also a spark of anger in his eyes, anger toward the ruthless Soraan whom he had encountered and who had tossed away Sariel’s personal treasure. It hurt. It hurt to suddenly become aware that such heartless people existed, that someone Sariel was not familiar with for some reason seemed to hate him so much that he would fling the binder away regardless of the violinist asking politely for him to return it. He could not understand it. Why did Asrael do that? Did he hate musicians with such a passion? Soon enough, Sariel could hear himself blubbering these very questions to Isaiah.
“Isaiah, why? Why did he do that?!? I didn’t even touch him! I don’t even know who the hell this Asrael is! Even Soraans have to have reasons to be nasty like that, right?”
Isaiah, who had been trying to listen to Sariel calmly, blinked when he heard his friend suddenly mention a name.
“..? What? Did you say Asra-?”
He was suddenly cut off when Sariel jerked to a stand, smearing off the rest of the white clam sauce from his face with his sleeve.
“To hell with it. I’m going to make him compensate for what he did. He had no right. No right at all!”
And then, without another word said, Sariel dashed off, leaving Isaiah still hovering in the middle of trying to finish his sentence, not to mention ditching the bill for the meal.
There was only one thing to be glad for from all this: that Sariel did not eat his entire typical meal, which would have cost a lot more. Otherwise, Isaiah, after slapping the required payment on the table for their meal, swept up to his feet and glided swiftly after his friend in case he got himself hurt. Sariel did not seem totally aware of the fact that not only was this Soraan a, well, Soraan, but it was Asrael. It was not that he was a federal criminal, though he was a local felon, but in part of being a Soraan, Isaiah had heard that he, along with another steel-toughened Soraan, Cain, had just been recently hired by Lunar Requiem’s first chair violinist, Raziel, to serve as, what seemed to those who knew, bodyguards. Obadiah had informed Isaiah of this while they had been waiting for the interview; it seemed more than just a little strange, and perhaps even less than a bad coincidence, that Asrael did what he did to Sariel’s music.
He also wondered, as he ran after Sariel, if his friend knew exactly what he was planning to do to get his desired compensation.
Still gotta figure out what's wrong with my sound card. o.O;