Sayo was so immature to continue letting herself go on like this, berating every single thing she’d ever done, constantly striving for a goal that was impossible to reach. She just wanted to be better, but when exactly is that goal met? Every time she reached what “being better” was she would just move the goal post and push herself even further. For how much longer would she keep on pushing? For how much longer would she finally be happy with herself?
At some point Sayo would have to reach her limit. Soon she’d reach the best of what she could do and could no longer trudge on, aiming to reach the next level.
It seemed like Sayo had reached that point. But she did not want to accept it. So therefore, despite knowing it was useless, Sayo pushed on once more.
“Sayo.” Yukina peeked her head into their shared bedroom. Sayo was steadfastly strumming at her guitar, brows furrowed. She did not hear Yukina call her name.
The vocalist waited a little longer, then called out her lover’s name again.
Though it seemed to fall on deaf ears, for the guitarist continued at her work, deeply engrossed into what she was doing. Letting out a sigh, Yukina walked over to the bed Sayo was sitting on and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. Sayo’s head jerked up at the touch and she stopped playing. When her eyes met with Yukina’s gentle golden gaze, her shoulders relaxed from their previously stiffened state.
“Is there something you need?”
“I called your name twice and you didn’t answer.”
“Oh…” Sayo’s gaze dropped apologetically, “I apologize.”
“It’s okay. It’s not like that was out of character for you.” Yukina smiled light heartedly, “Anyways, I made dinner.”
“You made dinner?” Sayo blinked in surprise.
“...I bought takeout.”
Sayo allowed herself to smile, “Ah, I see. You could have just asked me to cook if you were hungry.”
“I feel bad for making you cook all the time, you know?” Yukina chuckled, “Anyways, come on out and eat before the food gets cold.”
Though a little reluctant to leave in the middle of her solo practice, Sayo allowed herself to set down her guitar and follow Yukina to their dining room.
Sayo loved Yukina dearly and had found herself falling even more in love with her once they had moved in with each other. She was comparable to a house cat in the sense that she was friendly and even demanding of attention at times. Whenever she was hungry she would go to Sayo for food, for Yukina could not cook for her life. Yukina also thrived off of cuddles and practically clung to Sayo whether she was cooking, cleaning, sitting on the couch or trying to get to bed. Sayo had absolutely no problem with the attention either, for it made her constantly feel loved.
However, there was one odd characteristic of Yukina’s behavior, and that had to do with Sayo practicing the guitar.
Yukina and Sayo wrote music and rehearsed alone with each other often. They also liked to practice individually. But when it came to Sayo practicing on her guitar a sort of heaviness would come into the air. The energy always came from Yukina.
Sayo practiced solo far more than Yukina did, and that was saying a lot since the both of them were very hard workers. Yukina would spend an hour or two singing on her own, while on some days Sayo would spend as many as five. It was routine for Sayo to occasionally lock herself in her bedroom and strum at her guitar for hours on end, Yukina occasionally checking in to see how Sayo was faring. Every time Yukina did so, an uncomfortable and weighted energy would come off from her, as if she heavily disliked what Sayo was doing. It did not make sense to Sayo. What was the matter with practicing so much? It was not like Sayo was neglecting her health -- she drank plenty of water and had a much better sleep schedule than Yukina ever would. Sayo wasn’t ignoring Yukina either, for they had plenty of days dedicated to just the both of them. In Sayo’s opinion, she had everything healthily balanced.
What jabbed at Sayo the most though was that usually Yukina would never speak up about it. Instead she would just check in, watch Sayo for a few moments, then go off to doing her own business.
This morning, however, Yukina had finally decided to say something.
“I heard you rehearsing after I went to bed last night.” Yukina remarked as Sayo set down her mug of coffee.
“I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” Sayo asked casually and took a seat across from Yukina.
The vocalist hesitated before responding. Sayo could sense that Yukina was not expecting that kind of response, which was strange to her.
“No, you didn’t wake me…” Yukina trailed off and blew the steam off her coffee, “I was just wondering why.”
“Why I was practicing?”
Yukina shook her head, “Why you were practicing after we had agreed to go to bed.”
Sayo furrowed an eyebrow, “Am I not allowed to practice at my own time?”
“Of course you are. I just wasn’t expecting you to be doing so at such a late time…” That uneasy vibe began to permeate the air again.
“I can assure you I’m getting enough sleep. You don’t need to worry about my health or anything.” Sayo attempted a smile, but Yukina did not return it.
“I know that, but…”
Yukina started to say something more, but she gave up on the idea. Instead, she took a sip of her coffee and averted her eyes.
Sayo knew the right thing to do would be to ask what was bothering her girlfriend, for something was clearly on her mind. However by then the oven’s timer had gone off, and Sayo decided to head back into the kitchen to finish preparing the couple’s breakfast.
Sayo usually never stayed up later than Yukina did, so admittedly Sayo practicing guitar after Yukina had gone to bed was different from usual. But Sayo would be lying if she said she was not a little irritated by how uneasy Yukina appeared. Surely, Yukina understood why Sayo was so focused on her guitar?
That night Sayo had made no progress again. One hour, still not good enough. Two hours, still not good enough. Then it reached the third hour, and Sayo had allowed herself to get tired. Reluctantly she retreated to her bedroom and slithered up besides Yukina in their bed.
But Sayo had stayed awake for a fourth hour before falling asleep because of the thoughts that swam in her mind. She had been stuck in a position of no progress for so long, and the fear of her staying like this forever had begun to settle in.
It was so incredibly stupid for her to lose sleep over such a thing. She already knew that to everybody else her skills were more than perfect. But if Sayo was not constantly improving, she could never feel that way about herself.
A voice in Sayo’s mind told her that she might stay this way forever, and Sayo fought desperately to suppress it. The only way to do so would be to keep on playing her guitar until she could finally progress again. Only this time it was taking far too long for Sayo’s comfort.
And now this dilemma was taking an affect on Sayo’s playing skills as a whole.
One thing that made Sayo childishly happy was when Yukina would praise her during band practice. Likewise, Sayo would feel childishly distraught whenever Yukina would correct Sayo during rehearsals.
Today Yukina commented on Sayo far more than she would have liked.
Everybody sensed the discomfort. There was an uncomfortable feeling in the air since the band practice had begun, mainly coming from Sayo and Yukina. Ever since that morning Yukina had seemed to be in a sullen mood, though when Sayo asked about it Yukina brushed it off.
The discomfortable feeling thickened when Yukina began to make remarks about Sayo’s tempo and speed. Yukina very clearly seemed reluctant to say anything, which was unusual for her since she was normally so straightforward. Yukina’s awkwardness towards Sayo made her feel awkward, which made her mess up more, which made Yukina become even more awkward because she had to correct Sayo yet again. Soon Ako and Rinko were giving each other anxious looks while Lisa appeared to have a million things to ask Yukina once the rehearsal was over. The tension in the room had almost become suffocating before Yukina called it a wrap.
“Are you okay?” Yukina asked Sayo in a hushed voice as everybody else began to pack up.
“I’m fine.” Sayo responded, though she didn’t really know how much truth there was to that statement, “Though I should be asking you if you’re okay. You’ve been acting weird if I’m being honest.”
Yukina didn’t say anything for a few seconds, then hesitantly spoke, “I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”
“What is there to be worried about?” Sayo asked, feeling her stomach drop a little. Don’t tell me that I’ve started to inconvenience her as well…
“Well it’s just...you’ve been acting a little offbeat lately. You never play your guitar that late, and today you seemed to have your mind focused elsewhere.”
Just as Sayo feared. Her own immaturity was not only dragging Yukina down but was also dragging down Roselia as a whole.
“The only reason why I seemed distracted was because you were acting odd. And I’m not going to make practicing late a new thing. It was just that once, okay? Everything is fine.” Sayo said a little too snappily and went to go pack up her guitar. She felt Yukina’s gaze linger on her for a little longer before she retreated to gather her things as well.
Sayo had to pull herself together.
Not only was she not progressing, but her inability to do better has caused her to behave in a way that worried her girlfriend. Yukina had quite enough on her hands and the last thing Sayo wanted was for Yukina to start fretting over Sayo of all things. Sayo didn’t need people to worry so much about her. She could take care of herself.
To add salt to the wound, Sayo was now only getting worse because of her inability to get her act together and practice her guitar properly. Clearly, Sayo was doing something wrong if she was not making any progress. She had not reached her limit just yet. Sayo could still do better.
All she needed was a good few hours of really focusing on her guitar. She would finally get herself together, Yukina would not need to worry anymore, and Roselia would not suffer due to Sayo’s incompetence.
However those good few hours turned into a good several hours, then those several hours turned into practicing from lunch time all the way to dinner. It was 8 p.m when Yukina was able to get Sayo to come out to eat.
“I bought takeout again.” Yukina remarked as Sayo took her seat at the dining table.
“You didn’t have to. I can always cook if you ask.”
Yukina looked surprisingly frustrated at Sayo’s reply. She wore a tight expression as she handed Sayo her meal and chopsticks.
Sayo and Yukina spent a good while eating. They made conversation as usual, and through their talking Yukina’s tense demeanor seemed to relax. In the thirty minutes the couple spent talking with each other Sayo found herself feeling less upset as well, realizing how she probably did need a break from being locked in her room practicing. Soon they had finished their meals and Sayo took the duty of cleaning up the table. Yukina had taken herself to the living room and found a seat on the couch when Sayo decided to return to their bedroom.
“Where are you going?” Yukina asked as Sayo opened the door.
“To our room.”
“I’m going to play a bit more.” Sayo responded, and immediately felt that same unsettling feeling fill the air again. Yukina did not turn around, but sat on the couch in a weird silence before talking again.
“Haven’t you been playing enough?”
At first Sayo did not know how to respond. Yukina telling Sayo to not practice her guitar of all things was something Sayo did not expect. She frowned.
“What makes you say that?”
Yukina’s head turned to face Sayo, “You’ve been locked in our room all day strumming away on that thing.” Yukina spat out the word ‘thing’ like it was venom. Sayo’s eyes fluttered in shock.
“Is that unusual to you? I do it all the time.”
Yukina stared. Her eyes bore into Sayo’s with a look of extreme frustration and a trace of hurt. Sayo merely looked on, incredibly confused and feeling irritation creep onto her. Why was Yukina making such a deal out of something so simple? And it was always when Sayo would practice solo…
“Why don’t you take a break?” Yukina said after a stony silence.
“From what…?” Sayo tilted her head.
“From practicing your guitar.”
“I just took a break though.”
“Take a longer one.”
Sayo pursed her lips and felt the irritation become more prominent. All she wanted to do was to go back to getting herself sorted out. Any moment she spent not practicing felt like wasted time. Sayo already felt guilty from just leaving to have dinner…
“Yukina…” Sayo sighed, “Are you irritated because you want me to spend more time with you? If so then maybe tomorrow--”
“This is not about me.” The shorter girl cut Sayo off. Her tone was harsh and suddenly Sayo found herself getting a little more than just annoyed.
“Well what is this about then?” Sayo cocked her eyebrows and crossed her arms. Yukina’s expression wavered at Sayo’s aggression, but her demeanor remained solemn.
“This is about you and how…” Yukina broke eye contact.
“How what?” Sayo asked in an accusatory tone. She walked closer to the couch so that she was only a few feet away from Yukina. The vocalist kept her eyes focused somewhere on the ground.
“Well?” Sayo demanded again, her voice rising, “What about me? What am I doing so wrong that you’re always so uptight and bitter whenever I’m playing solo? It’s not like you don’t do the same thing? And what is so wrong with me practicing in the first place? I thought we saw practice as progression, as a way to--”
“Why do you practice so much?” Yukina asked suddenly.
What kind of question is that?
“Why don’t I practice so much? You and I both know that it’s to get better for the benefit of Roselia--”
“Is that your only reason?
“Of course that’s my only reason. What other reason would there be?” Sayo felt the anger bubble up and her voice started to raise itself. Why was Yukina suddenly questioning such simple things? Sayo thought that they both understood each other. Yukina should be the last person to misunderstand Sayo’s motivations for music.
“I don’t think that’s your only reason, Sayo.” Yukina murmured.
“And what makes you think that?” Sayo snapped, “Who are you to say or judge what my reasons for playing are?”
Surprise appeared on Yukina’s face in response to Sayo’s increasing hostility. Her voice became slow and careful.
“Sayo, I am just making observations—“
“Just observing?” A sensation similar to a twig snapping went off in Sayo’s head, and suddenly her face began to feel incredibly hot, “Are you sure about that? Because right now it looks like you’re just getting pissy over something you have no control over.”
“That’s not…” Yukina’s voice faltered, but saying anything more was in vain.
“Yes it is!” Sayo shouted, shocking Yukina with the volume of her voice. Sayo, however, did not care.
“You just want everything to go your way don’t you, Yukina? Everything has to be perfect and to your liking, and if it’s not then you just scowl and brood and make me feel like shit!”
Such bold words, and Sayo did not even have her eyes open to see Yukina’s reaction. Perhaps it was because she was simply mad, or maybe Sayo just didn’t want to see what expressions crossed Yukina’s face as she spat out such venomous things.
“You don’t like that I’m practicing and for what? Do you just dislike having no control over my playing?” Sayo accused, “Do you not like checking to make sure everything is to your liking? Are you that obsessed with having everything so perfect? For your little power fantasy?”
At that Sayo sensed Yukina jump onto her legs, but she went frigid as Sayo’s voice got even louder.
“You’re so selfish!” she bellowed, “All you ever think about is yourself and what will benefit you ! You don’t care about me or my progress or anybody else’s progress! It all has to revolve around you.”
“Sayo, please quiet down and—“
“No, I will not quiet down!” Sayo finally opened her eyes to glare daggers at Yukina. Sayo felt warm tears fall down her face.
“All you want to do is reach the top! You could care less about the people around you, and that’s why you just keep hurting everybody around you! That’s why you’ll just keep hurting yourself! That’s why one day you’ll just drive everybody away and—!”
Sayo honestly didn’t even know what she was saying anymore.
Were these words even meant for Yukina in the first place? Or was she really saying them to somebody else?
Yukina stared. She just stared and looked on as Sayo did the same, not uttering a word. The hurt was there, Sayo sensed it, but her own pride ignored any desire to apologize or comfort her girlfriend. Instead Sayo just looked on, wondering what Yukina was going to say. Would she turn furious? Yell?
“Go practice then.” Yukina simply stated. Then she returned to the couch and sat down, her back facing Sayo.
Is she not mad at me?
Sayo waited several moments, expecting Yukina to say something. Nothing more was said.
For some reason, Sayo’s anger spiked. She spun around and marched into her bedroom, not hesitating to slam the door behind her. Immediately, she returned to the task she was at beforehand: playing her instrument.
But her anger made such a task nearly impossible. Her strumming was too aggressive and it caused her hands to constantly slip, and her mind was rushing with so many thoughts that her head began to ache. Once Sayo felt tears fall down her face again she decided to just quit and go to bed.
Sleep wasn’t easy either. Sayo’s headache was getting bad, but she was too angry to go out into the kitchen and see Yukina again. Sayo lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling as the minutes and soon to be hours passed by. Part of Sayo just wanted to cry, but her pride made her hold it in. She already knew that all of this was her fault.
She started this and turned it into a fight. Very clearly Sayo was the asshole here, but she felt like going out and apologizing would be admitting defeat. She had to keep on practicing. She had to keep her way, or else what would become of her? What would her worth be?
As Sayo’s mind swam in her thoughts, she noticed that Yukina never came into their bedroom. She realized with a slight jolt that Yukina was probably planning on sleeping in the living room. Was what Sayo said really so bad? Was Yukina avoiding Sayo out of anger or hurt? Maybe even fear?
Sayo’s fury simmered and soon reduced itself to a depressed state. She fucked up alright, and was even more of an asshole for not making any effort to solve it. She was so prideful that she’d rather have her girlfriend sleep on the couch than make up with her.
If she left me, I’d deserve it.
Perhaps it was for the best. Sayo was becoming not only an incompetent girlfriend but an incompetent player as well. She didn't have enough value to be worth Yukina or Roselia's time.
God, I'm so pathetic...
Sayo’s thoughts grew slower and slower, until finally a heavy sleep fell upon her.