1, 2, 3, 4, 7 Years Later (Part 2)
Seven Years Later
“Have you chosen the one that you will put on the last audition?” Junno asked as they entered the front door of Ueda’s house.
“Not yet. I will have to make a decision tonight. It’s rather hard though. All three bands are all talented and got what it takes to be good in the business, I think”.
“You will have to watch those audition videos again ne. Or maybe you should take your time. Postpone the announcement date if you want to. I don’t think you should rush this kind of decisions” Junno said, fumbling over the documents once again.
The year is 2014. KAT-TUN are still with JE. Time passed by and many things has changed. At 2010, Ueda decided it was time to fulfill his dream and started opening his own record label. He wanted to recruit new singer and debut them, singer of different genres, but mostly, he dreamed to debut rock singers.
Unfortunately, Johnny Kitagawa smelled it and had another plan. He felt that he must took part in this new possibly much future profit business. Instead of summoning Ueda to his office, he barged in to KAT-TUN’s office one morning.
They were all in the middle of having their concert meeting and almost fell from their chairs when they saw who was coming.
“Let me be your co-partner in this record label of yours!” Johnny-san said, out of breath but obviously clear headed.
It took several moments for them to recovered from the shock—even Kame forgot to bow to the big boss—and it was Koki who burst out,
“Who told you that?”
“Never mind who, but it is true, right?”
“It is” Ueda confirmed.
“Let’s partner in this. I’ll make my lawyers finish the contract today. It will be ready to sign this afternoon”
“Arigato gozaimasu, but I decline” Ueda stated firmly.
“What? I will give all the publication and fund resource that you will need!”
“No” Ueda responded flatly.
“75-25 profit share!” Johnny-san suggested.
“As in 75 for you and 25 for me?” Ueda asked.
“Oh well!” Johnny-san threw his hands in the air, obviously frustrated and looked rather upset but determined, “Fifty-fifty! You can’t call it an unfair bargain!”
“I read my contract with JE, it does state that while I’m still on contract with JE I can’t do any work that is not under the approval of JE, but it doesn’t state that I can’t have my own agency and introduce my own artists”.
Johnny-san frowned and was fighting for a sharp witted comeback but could found none and decided to dwell just on the matter at hand.
“But you will need publicity! And a fund resource! You do know that I can give you both of that better than anyone else!”
“Hmmm…I rather have them climb their own ladder to fame, rather than have a big publicity since the beginning. In that way, they will all be able to follow their own view, and not steered by the market taste”
Johnny-san took a very deep breath to calm his obviously near furious self, and asked, “What about the fund that you will need?”
“I have my own money, thanks to you, Johnny-san, and the rest of the guys will invest too, it’s more than enough to open a new agency and record label” Ueda said, turning to KAT-TN behind him, who gaped, because Ueda never told them anything about investing. “Right, guys?” he sounded rather menacing, so they all nodded vigorously.
Ueda smiled and turned triumphantly to Johnny-san and said formally, “Thank you for your kind offer, Johnny-san, but I decline”.
Furious to the core and tight lipped, Johnny-san left the room. Junno expected a hard door banging but it didn’t happened. It seemed like even in his state, Johnny-san remembered that the door was his fixed asset and therefore shouldn’t be destroyed.
Ueda assumed that Johnny-san would try again, invent a rule or something that would force him to agree and join with him in opening the agency. But he didn’t. Days gone by and there were no warning, no “talking” from the manager, no threats, nothing. Johnny-san seemed to let go of it very easily. Well, his revenge appeared a week later. Johnny-san ordered him to make a new song for HSJ’s new single, with only three days time limit to finish it. “OR ELSE I’LL PUNISH YOU” he had threatened. Ueda had to stay up one night to finish writing that song, one night to make the arrangement and consult it with Question, and then one day to record the demo tape. It was three sleepless days, but he finally managed it, got HSJ to memorize the ballad on time, and it was on Oricon top 10 a month, so he was forgiven, it seemed.
It has been four years since Ueda first started the agency, debuting one singer every year. They were all a success from different genres of music. At first, KAT-TU only invested to support Ueda, but since the first singer was a success and gave them interest of their fund, they were all invested more gladly.
“This one, they are good singing rocks, the song is great, but I think we need to hear the vocalist singing a ballad, or acapella without music”
“To know his vocal range?”
“Yeah. That way, we can—“
And then his talking was cut with a loud high pitched scream of “TOU-CHAAAAAAAAAAAN!”, a small pitter patter rushing sound, and a tight grip on his knee.
“There he goes. He has been asking for you to come home for so many times this hour” Marie-Therese said, emerging from her sitting room. “It’s been ‘Ore want Tou-chan, Kaa-chan” endlessly”.
The grip on his knee tightened and Ueda looked down.
“Hi, Shinji” he smiled down.
His two and a half years old son, Shinji, looked up and smiled widely to him.
“Hello, Shinji!” Junno greeted brightly. “Do you miss Junno Ji-chan too?”
Shinji patted Junno’s thigh as a yes.
And then he started trying to climb his father’s leg. Who was still smiling down at him and doing nothing.
Shinji has light brown hair, light brown eyes, and a face that left no hint that his father is Japanese. He looked every bit Caucasian.
Shinji started to smile ear to ear because Ueda kept grinning at him and started to babble. Ueda finally picked him up and put him high in the air.
“How are you today?” Ueda asked.
Shinji answered with baby language, and trying to pick his father’s sunglasses. Ueda took it off and gave it to him. The bell rung and Ueda walked to the front door. Koki and Maru were standing there.
“Ah! Hello Shinji!” Maru greeted to Shinji in Ueda’s arms.
“Hi Maru ji-chan!” Ueda answered for his son.
Koki messed up Shinji’s hair and Shinji gave an annoyed grunt. “Don’t frown like that. You look like Tat-chan when he is scolding me!”
“Where’s Kame and Jin?” asked Junno.
“Oh they were behind us. Must arrive sooner or later. Only they took a detour to a mall and Kame called saying “We’ll catch up soon””
“What? They go to a mall?” Ueda frowned, while Shinji started to play with his necklace, he absently patted his son’s head, “Oh right, summer soon. Time for those Burberry and D&G new arrivals” he sighed. “Whatever. We better just go ahead and eat lunch. I don’t think they will be here soon and I’m starving”.
He walked back inside, followed by his friends. “Marie, can we eat lunch now?”
“I’ll go ask Kaede to prepare the table” Marie said, going to the kitchen.
“Oh yes. I bought sashimi!” Ueda announced.
“Oooh sashimi! Where is it?”
“Oi oi! Tat-chan bought it for Shinji!” Junno reminded.
Ueda put Shinji down and he opened the sashimi boxes, as Marie came with plates and bowls and Kaede with a big basin of soup.
Kaede prepared the table while Marie helped. Junno has picked Shinji up and carried him around. Koki and Maru were practically staring hungry eyed at the table, while Ueda was cutting the sashimi to small pieces. “Shinji!”
Junno came back to the table bringing Shinji, who Ueda fed with slices of sashimi. Soon Shinji wriggled away from Junno, wanting to be held by Ueda again. Ueda sit on the chair and put Shinji on his lap, feeding him with sashimi and rice.
“Don’t give him too much of the sauce” Marie warned.
“Hai. I won’t” Ueda said.
“You know, it’s kinda strange to see Shinji that looked so western to be fed sashimi and rice. He should eat burger or something” Koki said.
“He might look like this, but Shinji is a Japanese at heart. Once I offer him French fries while I was holding onigiri. He threw the fries aside and asked for my onigiri” Ueda laughed.
“Sou ka? I never imagined Shinji liking Japanese food”
“That’s the only thing that he likes, to tell you the truth” Marie-Therese said, joining to the conversation, “He hates cream soup but could eat a small bowl of miso soup”
“Heee. That’s cute!” commented Maru.
Shinji was looking content, eating sashimi on Ueda’s lap, and then doorbell rang again.
“Kame and Jin?” Marie asked.
“Yeah” Ueda affirmed. As it was really Kame and Jin who came in, Kame bringing a big box wrapped in colorful gift wrappers.
“Hi guys! Woah, what’s that?” Ueda greeted from the table.
“It’s a gift” Jin announced happily.
“I have a feeling it’s not for me” Ueda guessed.
“Of course not. Why would we spend our money for you? You’re rich enough and spoiled enough by Marie-Therese—Hi Marie! You’re as pretty as always!—it’s for you, Shinji!” Jin said, snatching the said baby from his father’s arms.
“Wow. This is huge. What is this?” Marie asked to Kame.
“It’s a train model” Kame said happily.
“Uwaaaaaaaah! Let’s put it on! Let’s play it!!!!!” Junno said excitedly.
“Hey, we’re here for a meeting!” Maru said.
“Let’s eat now, guys” Ueda asked.
They all sat on the table and started to eat lunch, while Marie took Shinji to the garden and played with him.
“So, who is it you want to debut this year?” Kame asked to Ueda.
“I vote for Torment, that band is cool. What do you guys think?”
“I agree. The guitarist is amazing” Koki announced, taking another slice of meat from the table.
Inspired, as that how Ueda decided to named the agency, started as Ueda’s agency. He always said : My agency…But it then changed to “our agency”, as KAT-TN started to invest too. At the beginning, they do it just to support Ueda. But as Mouse Peace, the first band they debuted was a success, they then started to take it more seriously and took part of the management.
“When will we announce it?” asked Maru, helping himself for another bowl of rice.
“We have a free day two weeks from now”
“Oh. That day? I won’t be able to do that”
“Why?” four guys said at once.
“Your schedule is free that day too, right?” Junno said.
“Hai. But I want to go to France with Marie. To visit her father”
“And second honeymoon?” Koki teased.
“And second honeymoon” Ueda affirmed.
Jin threw a napkin at Ueda.
“Hey! You’re eating at my house and you’re throwing napkin at me! Have some manners” Ueda yelled, trying to suppress the laugh he kept in.
“I hate you” Jin stated. “If it wasn’t for that dorama I want to go too! To—something not Paris. Milan! Yes! I want to go to Milan!”
“But you can’t” Ueda rub it in.
Kame was laughing at Jin. “Stop your stupid ‘don’t wanna lose’ tirade Jin, we’re eating!”
“Whatever. He” Jin said to Kame, pointing to the owner of the house, “May have defeat me in marrying a gorgeous girl before me, and going to Paris with that gorgeous wife, but I have one winning over him!”
“Which is?” Kame asked, fully aware that if Jin didn’t let it out, they will have to suffer Jin’s whining of saying “I want to go with her abroad too!”.
“I have my baby before you had Shinji!” Jin closed triumphantly.
Kame rolled his eyes. Maru, Koki, and Junno laughed out loud.
“Oh whatever. Okay you won on having babies thing. Can we stop this conversation now?”
“I think we have a free day the end of next month. Am I right?”
Junno checked his PDA. “Right. Have a press conference for Torment that day?”
“Yeah. Do you guys agree?”
“Haaaaaaaai” everybody said.
“Now that we finished the meeting, can I play the train?” Junno asked Ueda hopefully.
“Fine” Ueda waved his hand as a dismissal as Junno got up abruptly. “You and your games. I don’t know how your wife put up with you, Junno!”
“She loves me! That’s why!” Junno said, walking quickly, to the garden to get Shinji and play together with him.
“Hmmm……..even the air smells familiar to me” Marie sighed happily.
“Sou desu ka?”
“Yes. I’ve left Paris and has never visit this place properly again, except for that one time before we got married. I’ve left France since I was fifteen”
“When you met me”
She nodded. “It’s been eleven years”.
They were walking together hand in hand in the morning, at one of the park in Paris, where doves fly, fountain sparks water deliciously, soft fresh wind blows, and the sun shining, waking up the city.
“Then we’ve known each other for eight years too?”
“Oui, Ueda. That’s right”
He suddenly stopped and bowed formally, “Thank you for marrying me”
Marie’s eyes went wide and she laughed out.
“You’re welcome” she said, half giggling.
“I’m hoping for your good cooperation in the future too, yoroshiku onegaishimasu”
“Of course, Sir” Marie bowed down too.
Marie then caught and hold his hand, dragging him away, “Come on, people are starting to look at us”
They then started to walk again, when Ueda said,
“You played the violin really well last night. I though your father would cry out of feeling proud”
“Em he he thanks. And Papa was shocked to find that it’s Bokura no Machide, actually a KAT-TUN’s song”
“That was really excellent. You rarely played at home so I didn’t know you played KAT-TUN songs”
“I played so much at campus. It’s break time when I’m at home”
“You’re getting better and better. I won’t be surprised if you will be having your solo violin concert soon”
“Oh well. It will be a dream comes true. I will practice a lot to make it happen”
“Practice does make skills better. Speaking of that, don’t you think my skill is getting better too?”
“Hm? What skill?” Marie asked.
“Considering how you say Oh My God more lately…..It has to be a proof that I am getting better, right?”
Marie’s face went blank as she lost track of what Ueda was talking about.
He sneaked his hand to Marie’s waist and pulled her closer, saying, “You mention God eleven times last night Baby…..I counted”
Marie’s face turned white pale and then flushed red as she now understood what Ueda was referring. “Oh you!” she exclaimed, breaking free and walked fast ahead, hiding her trembling and embarrassment.
Ueda ran to her, smiling from ear to ear. “Gomen, for being in a teasing mood”
Marie said not a word.
“Okay, don’t scowl like that, you look scary. Give me a smile” Ueda coaxed.
“Come on, give me your pretty smile! Don’t get mad at me….Smile. Please….”
Marie hated it, but the corner of her lips started to move upwards and formed into a smile.
“That’s the girl I chose. Okay. To bribe you for apologizing me, you will eat ice cream. Now. See, over there? Let’s go buy it”
They stood in line for the ice cream. The people in front of them were old and definitely a couple. The couple looked so sweet together, holding hands and talking softly to one another.
Marie said in Japanese, “Awww, they look so adorable. Being that old and still look very much in love with one another. They must have been together for decades!”
They sat at one of the wood benches while looking at the old couple. “Ah, I wish we can be like them. Always together, always in love with each other”
“Go greet them if you like them so much” Ueda urged.
Usually Marie would immediately back off from that kind of suggestions, but whether it’s the air of Paris or that she was really in a carefree mood, Marie said,
“Hey…yes. Maybe I will. Why not, right?”
Ueda shrugged. “Sure. Why not? Can I just sit here, though?”
“It’s okay with me” Marie said as she stood up and approach the couple. She greeted them and started to chat with them in French, the couple seem to like her—who wouldn’t?-- and Ueda lost track of what they were saying and made no effort in understanding them. They smiled and laughed at each others. Marie-Therese turned at him and seemed to introduce him to them.
And then she exclaimed in surprise. They seem to explain something to her, and she continued to listen.
The couple then seemed to say goodbye to her, as they stood up, waved, smiled at him (he bows) and then walked away, hand in hand.
“Well?” Ueda asked, as Marie walked up to him and she signaled him to walk together again. “What did they say!”
“It’s really unpredictable! I think I understand now what does it mean to never really judge a book from its cover. And that what you think of people might not be true”
“Okay, you’re talking in riddles now. I understand nothing”
“That old couple” Marie pointed to the couple behind them who walked away in a different direction than them. “They look like they have been together for ages! But you know what?” Marie asked, while Ueda was already smiling at her for she looked so excited and almost jumped around, talking so fast and in a higher note, like she was fifteen again, but she never really change actually, even after having Shinji.
Knowing it’s the right thing to say, and he started to get curious anyway, Ueda asked, “What?”
“They have been only together for six months!” Marie exclaimed.
“HEEEEEEEEEEE!” Ueda stopped walking, genuinely surprised. “Usooo! But how come?”
“Yes!” Marie clapped her hands, delighted that Ueda was as surprised as her. “Forty years ago, they fell in love. But before anything happened, her family moved out to Spain. They then separately got married, have children, and live happily with their own partners. And then each of their partners died. After her husband’s death, she came back to Paris. They suddenly meet again at this park! Old memories resurfaced, and they realize that they love never actually left their heart for one another, and thus they quickly became lovers and they married two weeks ago!”
“Yes. I guess they are meant for each other anyway”
“But they have to go through long different roads to be together” Ueda concluded, frowning a little.
“That means we are together longer than them!” Marie said.
“Hai. Hai. We are” Ueda said, reaching for Marie’s hand and held it as they continued to walk to the entrance of the park. “We are lucky then, don’t you think?”
It’s one of those perfect moments again. The sun of Paris shone warm and soft, the doves was chirping merrily, and people around them walk hand in hand. It’s the time where you should hug and kiss your love ones, or so Ueda thought, where every touch would make you dizzy, and the effect would be multiplying into a hundred. The moment people would remember. And now here he is, in this beautiful place, after hearing that beautiful story, with his beautiful wife smiling up at him with that look in her eyes that always makes him want to sing, he stepped closer and approach her face with his and—
“Ano, Nihonjin desu ka?” a voice asked out of the blue. Ueda wanted to curse whoever it is to oblivion, and so he turned. Expecting to look at rascals. But instead, it was two guys and a girl that look like them in awe. For whatever the reason is.
“Hai” Ueda answered, “You too, I think?”
One of the guy, holding a small bottle labeled “Soy milk”, blurted out in Japanese, “Your girlfriend is gorgeous!”. Indeed, that guy was staring wide eyed at Marie-Therese.
Marie laughed and Ueda swallowed his smile.
While the other guy, slimmer and with fair skin, slapped the first guy shoulder. Hard.
“Akira! That is not polite!” he scolded, while that first guy hissed, “Ittai!” and the slim guy turned to Ueda and Marie, bowing and saying “Sumimasen. For my friend’s words”.
The girl, who has been silent but looking interestedly, tugged at the slim guy shirt, “Shuji, aren’t they both beautiful? Ano,” she said, directing her words to Ueda and Marie, “I think you both would look perfect in a movie”
The guy named Shuji seemed to think that what she said was strange too, but didn’t slap her shoulder.
“Your girlfriend is suuuuuuuuuper beautiful. I’m sorry. Just feel like saying it” Akira said again, with goofy eyes and a beaming smile.
Ueda could walk away and ignore them, but he flashed a genuine smile and said, “I know” as Marie mouthed a shy “Arigato”.
“But she is not my girlfriend, she is my wife”
“SUGEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!” Akira said loudly.
“Akira! Please behave!” Shuji warned.
Nobuta, was doing something. She approached Marie and offered her hand. Instinctively, Marie held it.
“My name is Kotani Nobuko. I like you. What is your name?”
“It’s Marie-Therese. And this Ueda Tatsuya, my husband”
“That name rings a bell” Shuji frowned.
“I make movies” Nobuta then said, “This is Kiritani Shuji, working in a modeling agency. And Kusano Akira, a director in a big company”
“Aren’t you Ueda Tatsuya from KAT-TUN?” Shuji asked, remembering Ueda’s face from all those PV airings and CMs.
“Wow. To think that we could meet a Japanese Idol here in Paris!”
“Want to have lunch together?” Ueda asked, that made Marie turned sharply at him out of surprise. Since it was really out of ordinary that Ueda would like to talk to strangers. And now he is offering them for a dinner.
“Sure!” Akira answered immediately.
“We’ll love too, Arigato” Shuji said.
Nobuta linked her arm with Marie’s and then they walk together, Ueda, Shuji, and Akira following behind them. Nobuta said nothing, and Marie did think that she was a bit strange, but not annoyingly so.
“Do you know, Marie-san?” Nobuta started, and Marie liked her soft childlike voice.
“What is it?”
“You and your husband look like the plastic couple figures on a wedding cake”
It is something strange to say, but Marie’s heart felt warmer, so she said, “That’s one of the sweetest compliment I’ve ever heard”
“You both look perfect”.
Marie found no words to say, so she just smiled again, tightened her hold on Nobuta’s hand, glanced to Ueda and let Nobuta’s last sentence repeated itself over and over in her head.
Author’s Note :
Finally! Finally I finish this epilogue! Sorry for the long wait and I hope you like it.
It’s been quite long since I write my fanfic. My English might sound a rusty.
Basically I wrote this because I want you to meet Ueda Shinji. I’ve been imagining that light brown hair-brown eyed-cute darling who looks western but love everything Japanese since my early writing of Ueda’s Tale. The rest just some fluff I want to write.
I hope the appearance of Nobuta, Shuji, and Akira didn’t make the ending feels strange. I just want to link this to the ending of “I See You in My Future”.
I love this fic so much I had to write this because I miss writing this. I hope you will remember Ueda’s Tale and feels happy reading this.
Hugs and love to all of you.
PS : Next is Backstage Truth Chapter 7. Sorry, I will still write Behind His Jokes and Purely Platonic. But lately I’ve been wanting to write Backstage a lot, especially since I abandon it for more than a year already. But I won’t promise when I will post it, it may take rather long. Hopefully not more than a month.
Thank you for reading my fics!