"Eh?! Y-your future with RAS?! Layer what the hell are you talking about?!" Chu2 screeched into the walkie talkie. "You're our best driver!! You're our ticket to beating Roselia! You can't say some stupid shit like that!"
Layer said nothing, instead proceeding to drop the walkie talkie onto the ground and crushing it beneath her boot. "God Chu2 is so fucking annoying..." Layer looked over at the rest of Morfonica, her eyes softening as her lips slightly curved into a rare smile.
"Tell Rui congratulations. It's not everyday your first race is against someone from Raise A Suilen, let alone actually achieving a victory against us. Your friend should be proud." Layer put her hand in her pocket, retrieving the car keys from her pocket. "Anyway, I guess i'll see you all around. Later!" Layer started walking back to her Shelby as Mashiro quickly ran up behind her.
"E- Excuse me! Layer-sama!!" Mashiro stuttered slightly as the older girl spun around, looking down at her with a motherly like smile on her face. "D-did Rui winning against Masking make you w- want to quit RAS? I...r- really hope that isn't true!! I'm sorry!!!" Mashiro stuttered and bowed to the older woman. "W- we're not trying to break RAS up or anything! W-we just wanted Rui to f- feel the excitement of racing is all! P- please don't quit RAS!!" Mashiro finished with a small break in her voice, slowly turning her head upward to meet the older woman's lightning blue eyes. All that Layer could do was bust out a small giggle at the younger girl. Layer quickly cleared her throat and patted Mashiro on the head.
"You're reading too much into things sweetie. I never said anything about quitting RAS. I just want to evaluate my future and see where i'm going to go from here. If RAS can help achieve my goal while acting like a cohesive team then i'll stay. If not, then I don't see a reason to continue staying. None of that is on Rui for winning though. She was simply a better driver tonight. Again, tell her congratulations for me kay?" Layer smiled, ruffling Mashiro's fluffy white hair before jumping over the guardrail and walking toward her Shelby once more.
"W-wait! Layer-sama!!" Mashiro called out to the older girl again, as said girl looked up at the younger girl. "Y-you said you had a goal? W- what is it?"
Layer couldn't help but smile softly at Mashiro's questions. She was like a child that no one could say no to. Layer simply giggled once more, looked down at her necklace which held a miniature sized Shelby, then back up at the timid girl. "I'm afraid that's personal sweetie." Layer waved to Mashiro, before proceeding to step into her Shelby and drive off in the opposite direction in which the race began.
Masuki's Nissan slowly pulled up to where Chu2, Rokka, and Pareo were all waiting for her. She grit her teeth both in anger and disappointment as she stepped out of her Nissan, avoiding eye contact with the rest of RAS. Unfortunately, that wasn't stopping Chu2.
"You god damn failure!! You fucking disgrace! How are we supposed to defeat Roselia if we can't even beat a fifty year old piece of shit?! The hell is your problem?!" Chu2 screeched as Masuki growled, snapping her head at Chu2.
"Get off my damn back already Chu2! I tried and lost! I'm sorry alright?! Rui's Camaro was just so much faster in the straight sections I couldn't catch up. I'm sorry... but it's not like I can do anything about the result now..." Masuki hit the roof of her Nissan in anger with her fist, gritting her teeth in pain.
Chu2 rolled her eyes at this display. 'How dare you be so pitiful?! I planned on challenging Roselia and now I can't because you tarnished our reputation by suffering such a humiliating loss. How dare you Masking...'
"If Layer quits because of this then you'll be out of RAS." Chu2 stated bluntly as Masuki's pupils went wide, gasping.
"Layer... could be quitting RAS.... because of me?" Masuki bit her lip, swallowing what felt like the biggest lump in her throat. Masuki's body started shaking, not with fear or anger but... sadness. Especially due to the fact that Layer was the one that recruited her in the first place.
------------------ (these will be used as flashbacks!!)
Shirayuki Private Academy, One Year Ago, August 18th, 9:30 PM
Shirayuki Private Academy, a prestigious school known well for its talented girls and the knack for modeling old cars and making them faster. As such, the girls would test their cars in races against each other. One of the more... passionate drivers was 16 year old Masuki Satou. The best driver at Shirayuki. Hands in her pockets, she leaned against her Nissan. Having made adjustments, her V6 engine was kicking around 315 horsepower if not more. She was currently waiting around as she had been challenged to a race. Some of the students had gathered around to witness the Mad Dog's aggressive driving.
"For fuck's sake! Where the hell is this chick anyway? I ain't got all night!" Masuki said slamming her hand down on the hood, as some girls shrieked and whimpered from Masuki's outburst.
That's when Masuki's rabid golden eyes suddenly went wide, noticing a red Shelby GT500 pull up to the starting line of Shirayuki's course. Masuki gulped, only now realizing who she was going to be facing.
That's when a woman stepped out of the car,no older than about seventeen. She had a regular black shirt on, a miniature Shelby that was used as a necklace, jeans with a rip in the kneecap area, and black sneakers, and short brown hair that was about shoulder length.
The woman's lightning blue eyes met Masuki's golden ones as Masuki swallowed hard. Why was her heart beating so fast, and was she...sweating? Probably just the weather and anxiety. Yeah, that was it. Definitely not the fact that this was the woman everyone knew as Layer. And definitely not the fact that Layer was rumored to give Sayo Hikawa a run for being the second best driver in Osaka. No, not at all.
“You must be Masuki Satou. My name’s Layer, I’m the one that sent you the challenge.” Layer looked at Masuki with a gentle smile before continuing. “I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s this team that’s being formed in order to defeat Roselia. I’m here to see if you’re worth recruiting. So what do you say Masuki?” Layer offered with a smile, giving the delinquent girl time to think.
‘A team made specifically to defeat Roselia? And Layer thought of me as a potential candidate? I should be jumping at the chance to try and take down Roselia...so why the hell am i so nervous? Probably just because it’s comin from Layer...’
Masuki’s golden eyes looked up, meeting Layer’s lightning blue eyes with a smirk.
“Fine. I’m in, let’s race Layer!”
Layer nodded, her lightning blue eyes sharpening as she looked down at Masuki. “Very well. I’ll see for myself what this Mad Dog is all about...and if you’re worth anything to this team.”
Masuki shivered slightly, noticing Layer’s sharp gaze as she slowly nodded, letting fear slowly consume her.
‘Why the hell did i think this was a good idea?! Seeing her eyes...that gaze...not to mention her car is a Shelby...I’m just asking to get my ass handed to me tonight...’
Layer said nothing more, stepping into her Shelby as Masuki got into her Nissan. Masuki gulped, prepared for what was going to be he most difficult race of her life.
Layer beat Masuki by about five car lengths.
Masuki growled to herself, stepping out of the car and letting out a scream of pure frustration. Of all the times for her to get dusted, it just had to be now. And by about five car lengths no less. Talk about humiliating.
Masuki gulped, noticing the Shelby approaching her. Layer stepped out, offering her hand.
"Thanks for the race. I saw enough. You're aggressive, rough, you take the turns too sharply. This course's road is really wide so you can ease up on the sharpness. Not to mention the power you had on the straight roads wasn't bad. If you're taught enough, I believe you can be a valuable asset to the team." Layer smiled as Masuki's eyes widened.
"Y- you mean...i... "
Layer nods, smiling. "Masuki Satou, welcome to Raise A Suilen."
Tsukinomori Girls Academy, August 18th, 9:30 PM, Current Day
Masuki said nothing, getting into her car and driving off toward Chu2's garage. She was followed by Rokka's Silvia S15, as both cars flew by.
Layer had already parked her Shelby in the parking lot, awaiting the arrival of the other members of RAS. She glanced down at her necklace, as if it held the answers that Layer was searching for internally.
‘If we can’t work as a cohesive team...if they can’t help me reach my goal...I see no reason to remain with this team. Hana...I’ll keep my promise to you...i swear.’
Layer looked up, noticing the Nissan and Silvia pulling into the parking spaces next to her. Masuki got out of her Nissan, while Rokka, Pareo, and Chu2 got out of the Silvia.
“I’ll make this brief since this is supposed to be Chu2′s job. Masuki lost because she was going up against a car that was more powerful than her own. Not to mention the course had more straight roads, which only meant it was only a matter of time before Masuki lost. I’m not upset, but I have to question whether or not Raise A Suilen is still the right thing for me to be a part of.”
Chu2 was the first to respond, stomping up to Layer.
“How dare you talk like that?! Not upset? NOT UPSET?! YOU SHOULD BE FURIOUS!! WE LOST BECAUSE MASUKI COULDN’T GET THE JOB DONE AGAINST AN OLD PIECE OF SHIT!! HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BEAT ROSELIA IF WE CAN’T EVEN BEAT A FUCKING CAMARO?! SHE SHOULD BE CUT FROM RAS HERE AND NOW!”
Layer looked over at Masuki, noticing she was unusually quiet. That's when Layer saw shadows over Masuki's eyes. Layer sighed, walking up to the delinquent girl and placing a hand on her shoulder.
"You didn't do a bad job Masuki. You held the lead for a majority of the course, all while attempting to loosen up when it came to the sharp turns you usually take. I'd consider that progress."
Masuki gasped, looking up into Layer's lightning blue eyes.
"Lay... you really... mean that?"
Layer closed her eyes and smiled, giving a brief nod.
"I wouldn't be saying it if I didn't mean it Masuki. You lost, but that means you have an opportunity to grow and to learn from your mistakes. Never forget that."
Masuki nodded as Rokka finally spoke up.
"Um... for what it's worth Masuki...I think you looked really cool out there. You almost had her!" Rokka beamed at the delinquent girl, causing her face to heat up in embarrassment.
"O-Oi! Where's this coming from out of nowhere?! Rokka!!" Rokka couldn't help but giggle seeing Masuki's red face. It wasn't everyday the Mad Dog got embarrassed after all.
"Not trying to dampen the mood..." Pareo said with a small amount of wavering in her voice. "But...we did just suffer a loss. Won't that affect Masuki's ranking?"
Layer swiftly pulled out her phone, and pulled up the ranking list. Her lightning blue eyes scanned for Masuki's name, her eyes softening as she found it.
"Masuki's gone down a rank."
Layer said bluntly as Masuki went as stiff as a board.
"So i'm fucking eighth?! Son of a bitch!!" Masuki growled out through gritted teeth as Layer's gaze sharpened at Masuki.
"Which only means you have to win even more races now... and since you're eighth, that means Rokka moved up to being number seven."
Rokka's eyes went wide with shock.
"Y... you're sure?!"
Layer nods, putting her phone away. She then turns to her Shelby. "I'll be turning in for the night. I'll see you all tomorrow."
Chu2 grabbed Layer by the shoulder, spinning her around. "How dare you try to take this loss lightly?! Scold Masuki for fuck's sake Layer!!"
Layer's eyes narrowed, practically piercing a hole through Chu2 with how dead her eyes seemed. The usual dark lightning blue in her eyes suddenly turned dull. Which terrified Chu2 completely, even if she wasn't showing it.
Layer sighed, unlocking and opening the trunk to her Shelby. She pulled out a black binder and threw it at Chu2's feet.
"See that? That's the binder you filled with every little detail about Roselia. Each member, their car, when they started driving, their first races, win/loss records, most recent races, the school they go to. It's impressive how you compiled so much information on Roselia in only about a couple days of forming RAS. However, the same can't be said about Rui Yashio. You made no attempt to even TRY and find anything out about her."
Chu2 growled to herself, looking up at Layer's dull eyes.
"You talk about not finding anything out about Rui... but I don't see you trying to find anything about her!"
Layer's eyes only seemed to get duller.
"You expect me to fucking do your job for you?! This is YOUR team. YOU are the one that's our "manager" so it's YOUR responsibility to find everything out about the people we're racing! The fact that you didn't find anything out about Rui is insulting. I bet if Rui was a part of Roselia then you'd be all over it!" Layer snapped.
"You're a goddamn disgrace to our racing team Chu2." Layer opened the door to her Shelby, stepped inside, and drove off.
A R-34 was heading down a straight road, it's 2.6 liter twin turbo charged engine purring out loud as the drive back to Roselia's garage was quiet. Ako looked over from the passenger's seat, noticing Rinko hadn't said anything since they got into the car. Let alone how Rinko seemed to be a bit more upset. Noticing Rinko gripping the steering wheel until her knuckles started to turn white is when Ako finally decided to speak up, placing her hand on Rinko's shoulder.
"RinRin... what's wrong? You look about as horrible as that boss we killed in NFO last night. Was the girl you saw in the Camaro an old friend of yours or something? Or perhaps a mortal enemy of some kind?!"
Rinko couldn't help but start to giggle slightly, easing her grip on the steering wheel and relaxing herself.
"No... it's nothing like that Ako... I just remembered seeing that girl from five years ago. She used to play the violin so beautifully... the melodies were so beautiful...I could tell she played her heart out. But... she never placed. And after she didn't place...I couldn't help but feel heartbroken for her... when she lost that twinkle in her eye. By the third music festival...I heard from her talking to her mom that she was going to quit playing the violin. She never placed in the three music festivals that I saw her in. I couldn't help but feel heartbroken every single time..." Rinko sighed softly before continuing.
"I could tell she worked hard... hearing all the melodies being played, the way they used to fill the room with brightness and happiness, yet held a sharp undertone. But... hard work can't overcome natural talent. I placed first in all three of the music festivals... that we both participated in. Now... when I looked into her eyes...I saw... nothing. Nothing but... dullness..."
Ako stayed silent as Rinko pulled into the garage of Roselia. That's when Rinko looked at Ako with a smile.
"Thank you... for being here with me... and listening to me. I think...I need to challenge her to a race...find out... if she's okay..."
Ako finally spoke up.
"You really think you'll be able to find out if she's okay by challenging her to a race? You can do that sort of thing RinRin?! Like a spiritual connection!!"
Rinko couldn't help but laugh.
"Yeah... something like that."
Rui's heartbeat started to slow down as she started to see her home come into view. Her widened magenta eyes reverting back to their normal width, dull and seemingly lifeless. Rui stepped out of the car and began to slowly walk toward the door, attempting to compose herself by taking silent deep breaths. When she opened the door, she saw her mother attempting to walk out of the house, hand outstretched to reach for the handle of the door if Rui hadn't opened the door.
Rui quickly scanned her mother's outfit. It consisted of a platinum white wig, makeup, green eye contacts, a long black sleeve shirt, black dress pants, and combat boots.
'Mom's leaving for another late night photoshoot it seems...'
"Hey sweetie! I was just about to go and leave for another late night photoshoot. I'm sorry..." Akira sighed as she looked at her daughter's eyes, noticing the complete and utter dullness that stared back at her every morning. The dullness that never went away since that music festival...on August 19th.
"Sweetie...I know tomorrow is..." Akira paused, trying to figure out the correct way to address that particular date and how to handle the situation.
"Tomorrow is... the day. Do you need to talk to me about it? Because I can stay home if you want me to Rui."
Rui shook her head, stepping inside the house and looked back at her mom.
"No. It's alright. Go on and leave, do your job mom. I do not need to speak about something so childish."
"Rui if it's childish then why do you act so different on that day? If it's childish then why are your eyes duller than usual? For five years i've tried to get you to talk to me about this and you don't!! I want to know why? Why don't you open up to me about this?!"
Rui silently grit her teeth. Five years of holding in her failure. Five years of holding in guilt. Five years of not seeing or playing that goddamn violin. Five. Long. Years. And it all came spilling out in raw anger.
"MAYBE IF YOU WERE HERE MORE I'D FUCKING OPEN UP TO YOU ABOUT IT!! BUT ALL YOU DID WAS FILL ME WITH FALSE HOPE THAT I'D IMPROVE. THAT I'D GET BETTER. THAT ONE DAY MY FUCKING VIOLIN PLAYING WOULD ACTUALLY GET ME SOMEWHERE! BUT IT HASN'T! AND YOU KNOW WHY?! BECAUSE THERE ARE MILLIONS OF MUSICIANS WHO WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER THAN ME! NATURAL TALENT OVERCOMES HARD WORK EVERY SINGLE TIME!! YET ALL YOU DID WAS TELL ME THAT IT WOULD BE OKAY! THAT I'D IMPROVE. THAT I'D ACTUALLY PLACE IN ONE OF THOSE GOD FORSAKEN MUSIC FESTIVALS. BUT I NEVER DID! AND WHERE WERE YOU AFTER YOU DROVE ME HOME? GONE!! OFF TO DO ONE OF YOUR THREE JOBS! YOU WERE NEVER THERE WHEN I WANTED TO OPEN UP TO YOU! YOU KNOW WHY I DON'T OPEN UP TO YOU ABOUT THIS MOM? BECAUSE YOU'RE NEVER THERE WHEN I NEED YOU TO BE, YET ALL YOU DID WAS FILL ME WITH FALSE HOPE. FALSE HOPE THAT GOT ME FUCKING NOWHERE!! SO STOP TRYING TO FILL ME WITH FALSE HOPE. STOP TRYING TO GET ME TO OPEN UP TO YOU ABOUT THIS. BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER BE THERE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!"
Akira's eyes went wide with shock. That's all she could do. Akira's green eyes then narrowed as she let out a quiet sigh, proceeding to walk out the door, get into her Stingray, and drive off as tears silently leaked down Akira's face.
'I guess I really was a terrible mother...Rui... i'm sorry that you were hurting so bad... and i'm sorry I wasn't able... to more for you...I tried... i'm trying Rui....'
Rui let out a few deep breaths, in a futile attempt to compose herself after her outburst. Rui shook her head, going outside and unlocking her car door. She opened the backseat driver side door and grabbed the violin case and went back inside the house, locking her Camaro doors. When Rui got inside the house, she wasted no time in slamming the black violin case down on the table, and unlocking the case. Inside the case was a brown violin. The wooden body, the handle, the strings, the melodies that filled her room, filled the music halls with beautiful yet sophisticated harmonies and melodies. Rui hated it. She hated it so much, the way she started shaking, her eyes widening as the dullness in her eyes only got duller and duller. With a shaky hand, Rui grabbed the neck of the violin.
"I....i.... fucking.... hate it...I hate you...I HATE THIS MOTHERFUCKING INSTRUMENT!!!!!" Rui screamed out as she lifted the violin into the air, smashing the instrument onto the ground. The violin exploded into tiny pieces of wood, the pieces going everywhere as they spread across the wooden floor. Rui stumbled backward and sat down on the floor, her back against a cream colored wall as her breaths were fast and heavy.
After a few minutes, Rui got up, went upstairs to her room, changed out of her school uniform and laid in bed. Rui stared blankly at the ceiling silently, then let out a tiny hiccup. Then another hiccup. And another. And another. And another.
For the first time, Rui Yashio cried herself to sleep. As broken pieces lay across the wooden floor downstairs, the remnants of what used to be her love. What had used to be her passion. What had used to be her violin.