Word count: 3,528
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine and the story is solely fantasy, totally has nothing to do with the real life persons. Some facts, however, might be based on magazine translations.
Summary: Being busy, Arioka Daiki found it hard to juggle between work and his social life. Still, a little advice from his new-found boyfriend seemed to be helping him.
A.N.: AU. Self-beta'ed
( Chapter 1: Of Cafe and I )
( Chapter 2: Reality vs. Expectation )
( Chapter 3: Hope )
Juggling between work and leisure time isn’t as easy as what television drama tells you it is, especially not when you have two jobs and a tournament coming. Of course, technically I have nothing to do with this tournament, not that I play soccer anymore, not since high school; but there’s a under-13 J-league coming up, and the club where I’m working at right now is preparing for their qualification round.
The problem relies on my lack of time to socialise with people. I barely have time to even sit down and have a chat with Inoo-chan because I have to work until pretty late. I moved my morning bento shop shift to the evening because now I have to be there for the club in the morning as well as late afternoon after school ends. I usually spend my lunchtime at Takaki’s café, so boyfriend-time checked. But Inoo’s complaint on how much he rarely hangs out with me now is bugging the hell out of me.
“That sounds rather like him, actually,” Takaki laughes, leaning forward as he grins.
“You do realise that this might mean less time with you?” I frown.
“I do. But I would be pissed too if let say Yabu spent too much time with his girlfriend and almost never with me and Inoo.”
“That doesn’t count. You were in love with him,” I point out.
Takaki’s upper lip twitches; forming something that I believe is a pout – pretty much tempting me to laugh at it because sometimes it’s just adorable to see someone that looks pretty manlily dazzling like him pouting like that.
“Takaki was in love with Yabu?” Hikaru showed up from the front door, his eyebrows furrowed and he looked like he was just hit by a truck.
It’s pretty obvious that Takaki straightens up his body almost right away, standing on his own two feet as he awkwardly greets Hikaru. Well, this would be the part that I don't really like about having a relationship with Takaki.
Too fast too soon.
He keeps on telling me that it’s too soon to tell the others that we are now officially dating. He took the spare key away from Yabu, then he made me promise not to tell Inoo about us until he thinks we’re ready, and Hikaru wasn’t even in the discussion because he’s just a bartender that he hired that telling him that his boss is actually bisexual might not be in his today’s agenda at all.
“We were bored and we randomly made a Drop Dead Diva story with us as the characters. So instead of a chubby yet super smart Jane, Deb is stuck in Takaki’s body, which is a male. He lost the jan-ken, so he had to be the male-Jane version of our lame story,” I say randomly.
Don’t get me wrong, but I love that show a lot, and it was the first thing that popped up to my head.
“Y-yes… that. Sucks to be me,” Takaki grins awkwardly, half turning his head to me because I think he has no idea what the hell Drop Dead Diva is. It’s a great show; I should drag him to watch it with me during the weekend or something. I know he’d love it. He goes to his hairdresser a lot more often then my mum gets her hair treated for goodness sake, so this might just be his cup of tea.
None of us says anything. We just stay where we are while staring at Hikaru that seems to be staring at random spot on the floor, gripping his bag in an almost peculiar manner. Hikaru suddenly nods as he steps forward – I can hear a heavy gulp from Takaki’s direction - and makes his way to behind the bar. “Ah… I think I’ve seen that show once before. Wow, you guys must be so bored~. It’s hard when the great Yaotome Hikaru has to come a little bit later because of some emergency matters, isn’t it? He’s such a good comedian,” Hikaru laughes, hands busy putting his name tag on.
Fiuh~, that was close.
When I agreed to Takaki that I should spend more time with Inoo, I didn’t know that it would involve me being the one that missing Takaki, not the other way round. So every Wednesday is still Omurice night, but this time, Inoo-chan would buy some for himself too and he expects the two of us to spend the night chatting and eating our dinner together with a couple cans of beer. So I have to go straight back to home after work. Sunday is totally booked with a movie, eating out, karaoke, or just shopping after morning practice. It means that the only time I got to spend the whole day with Takaki is Saturday.
And it’s driving me insane.
True enough that I still get to see him on daily basis at noon before I have to go back to the soccer field, but I’d be too tired to even do anything by Saturday that all I would want to do is… sleep. I know that Takaki doesn’t really mind, being the type that likes to spoil his partner he is. He would just let me lounge down lazily on his couch while watching the TV, or he would just read random magazines as besides me that would probably half asleep on his bed.
But what I need right now is some quality time with him. I need a break and I can only hope that this tournament will end soon.
“I’m tired…” I mumble.
“I know,” he answers, flipping the manga’s page he was reading.
“But I miss you…”
Takaki turns his head, looking down at me. His hair is tied and he looks rather unappealingly… attractive in that white t-shirt (that is actually mine. For God knows why he’s so obsessed with this one t-shirt of mine that has “Like A Boss” written on it) and that baggy knee-length shorts.
“But I’m here?” says Takaki.
"That's all to it. I'm the one that's not fully here with you. Like... because I'm tired and all," I explain.
"...aren't you thinking too much?" Takaki laughs, putting his manga away.
"Maybe. But I know that my ex-girlfriend used to complain if I didn't spend time with her," I answer.
There is silence in the air almost the next second. Takaki is frowning, blinking rapidly even. He sinks himself down to the bed while shifting his body to me, staring at me as if I just said the most bizarre thing ever. "You had... a girlfriend? But you said you were gay?"
I turn to lie down with my belly flat against the bed, the comfy mattress feels like dragging me to the dreamland.
"I am. But everyone had a girlfriend before," I answer honestly. "I was in high school. Everyone had a girlfriend, so I thought I should too."
"Wow. That's surprising. She must be really tiny, well, considering how small you are right now, let alone back then," Takaki commented.
At the end, we end up talking for the rest of the night, just like every other Saturday. I wish we could do more, but physically, I'm too exhausted.
I do skateboard, but I'm not exactly an outdoor person. There was one time when I was only a little boy and my school had this summer camp program. I almost peed in my pants when Inoo-chan crawled to my tent and boo'ed me in the middle of the night. Oh I remember how I didn't talk to Inoo for the rest of the program even when he tried his best to say sorry.
So when Inoo came out with this camping idea a few days ago, I wasn't exactly thrilled about it. Just like Takaki told me that I really should spend more time with Inoo too because ditching your friend when you have a boyfriend isn't exactly cool, I've been saying 'yes' to almost everything that Inoo told me to do. Oh well, at least Takaki comes along in this camping trip, as well as Yabu and Hikaru. Well, I assume Inoo asked Yabu and Takaki too, and Yabu asked Hikaru along.
"Would someone care to help me with this? I can't reach the top of the freaking tent," I sigh after trying so many times. I need to tie the centre of the tent to its frame, but I forgot to do so earlier on when it wasn't up, so now here I am having trouble.
"Aren't you taller than this thing?" Takaki chuckles, but he comes to me right away to me.
"I am. But I can't reach it. It's too far in the middle," I frown. "And this is not the right time to start the 'Daiki is small' joke."
If there's anything that makes hiding our relationship feel easier, that would be the fact that Takaki acts exactly the same even when there are other people around us. He's not touchy or affectionate in his action to begin with like how girls would, but he doesn't think twice to come over to help me with anything at all. Like when we were walking to the woods opening, he would stop every now and then to wait for me. And it wasn't once or twice that he tried to make sure that he walked behind me. He's such a sweet guy sometimes that I think I should go to the dentist to check if I got cavities.
By the time the sun starts to set down, Takaki and I are already working on dinner while the rest have come back from getting dry woods for the fire. A tiny part of me has planned to sneak to Takaki's tent once everyone falls asleep later. I'm not sure if Takaki would mind but I guess it's worth the try.
"So, how did you meet Hikaru again?" I ask Yabu randomly when he comes to help us.
"Oh, we used to go to the same junior high school. Maybe not as long as you've known Inoo, but I've known him for a decent amount of time," he answers with a smile, his small eyes forming a thin line. "What about you and Takaki? I never know how you guys met."
"We met pretty randomly," Takaki answers for me instead, half laughing - probably from remembering what happened that one hectic morning.
"Yeah," I chuckle along. "He was trying to open the cafe's front door, and he had these piles of papers on his hand. Then I was passing by like I always do when I’m going to work. Just right when I passed by the cafe, he dropped his files and there was wind blowing, scattering them all offer the place. So I helped him to gather them back."
Yabu crosses his arms over his chest as he nods, seeming like he's agreeing to us that we met pretty randomly.
"Yeah. Then he passes by everyday, so I just kind of greet him almost everyday too," Takaki adds.
I'm pretty glad that Yabu decided not to ask anymore question because if he asked more, I wonder if we would have to lie. I'm pretty open about who I am, well at least to those who are pretty close to me. Inoo knows about me and my preference, but because he knows me for who I am, he doesn't really care because for him it's just a tiny bit of who I am and that I'm still the same person he has known for almost his life. Though to be honest I haven’t told my parents about it yet, not even my brother.
I sneak in to Takaki’s tent that night, not wanting to waste any opportunity that I can use to spend my time with him. Takaki doesn’t look really pleased at first because I force him to get out from his sleeping bag so we can talk, but he doesn’t mind at the end when I go out to take my own sleeping bag.
“The tent is too small for both of us,” Takaki comments, unzipping his sleeping bag so he can turn his body to my direction.
“So you should go back to yours,” he adds.
“Aren’t you so cold?” I frown, throwing my sleeping bag to his face while sitting down just right beside him.
He laughes, getting out from his sleeping bag like it’s not a big deal even when he refused to do so just a moment ago. He crawls to me, resting his head on my lap while smiling to me, somewhat making me feel that he just has to be a little bit spoiled in such a wrong time.
“Are we going to tell them?” I ask.
It’s not that hard to notice how Takaki’s expression changes, almost as if it was clearly written in his face that he really didn’t want to talk about this right now. He stares at the tent’s entrance, his fingers aimlessly playing with the hem of his shirt while his lips are sealed and no word comes out from them.
“I take that as a ‘no’…” I quickly add.
“… sorry… maybe not when Hikaru is around. I don’t know him that well,” he answers.
I run my fingers through his bright brown hair, caressing it as I sigh. True, it’s just weird to suddenly tell the others about us when Hikaru is around. I doubt he even knows that we’re a little bit, well, different; but there’s an urge in me to at least tell someone about it. Not that we’re in such a serious relationship, but at least… it’d be nice just to share.
“Can I tell Inoo-chan for the very least?”
“I guess… it shouldn’t be a problem. But wait till we got back from camping. You guys are roommates, anyway,” he answers.
Smiling, I poke his cheek. “Thank you.”
So this is how the Omurice take away started. I sprained my ankle back when I was in high school, and I had to miss our final district soccer game. I tried to convince my coach that I could play just perfectly fine, but he didn’t let me… and we lost. So I was pretty upset and all gloomy that Inoo decided to cheer me up with a portion of Omurice.
I thought it was pretty childish at first, but gradually I got used to him coming over to my house every week with two bento of Omurice, one for me and one for him. We did nothing but just talked, talked and talked. We even sneakily stole my brother’s or my dad’s beer once in a while and got all weirdly ‘almost’ drunk each time.
It’s like a little tradition for us, so it’s hard to let go of it, even after we both decided to share an apartment after we graduated from high school. We got the one that wasn’t that far from Inoo’s university because I wasn’t sure what to do with my life during that time, so I thought it shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Things have always been awesome between the two of us. There were fights, of course. Like during that one time in high school when Inoo thought I was going after his crush where in reality his crush was going after me. It was such a mess and we didn’t even talk for the rest of academic year. Though I have to admit that she was cute.
But I doubt it would feel the same if it was someone else that became my all-time-favourite best friend. It wasn’t easy to tell him that I, apparently, am gay and there was a fear that he would draw himself away from me because of who I really am. Yet, you know what, Inoo just shrugged like it was not a big deal. He only said, “Now things make sense. You’ve had only one girlfriend in the past and I never saw you watching porn at all!”
Of course in reality I do watch porn, but it’s just bloody weird if I watch it openly. Can you imagine how Inoo would react if he saw two guys getting it going on my laptop’s screen? He might end up having nightmares for the rest of his life and I would be the one he’d be blaming for it.
“So Dai-chan, what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?” he asks.
As much as I really love Omurice, I still kind of lose my appetite once in a while, especially right now when I am about to break out the news to Inoo. Since we don’t really have a dining room, the two of us are currently sitting on the coffee table before the TV, eating our take-outs while watching some random variety show on TV, and right now is the time where I feel that I should tell him about me having a boyfriend.
“You know…” I start, gulping loudly while leaning my back to the sofa behind us nervously. “… I have a boyfriend…”
I sit there, waiting for a reaction that never comes. Inoo just sits there almost as if I didn’t say anything at all, digging into his Omurice with eyes glued to the TV screen – even laughing when the MC of the variety show does something stupid.
“I said, I have a boyf--…”
“…a boyfriend. I heard you.”
Pursing my lips quietly, I kind of do not understand why Inoo didn’t even react to it. The last time I was in a relationship he was so excited and for once I thought I could have mistakenly thought of him as gay because he just couldn’t stop talking or asking me about it.
“That’s it? No reaction or what so ever?”
“Should I?” Inoo asks, turning his head to me, his thin eyebrows arching upward, full of question.
“Of course you should! At least say congratulation or something to me!”
“Ermm… well, congrats then?”
I groan, putting my spoon down while turning to Inoo. I jump to him, both of my hands on his throat, before then shaking his body furiously. Clearly, I’m not happy with his reaction. I was hoping for something a little bit more… extravagant or whatever. “Be at least more enthusiastic about it, would you?!” I exclaim to him, disapproving his reaction.
“But I can’t!”
“Because I already knew about it!!”
… what?! Wait a minute… what? I sit up, eyes staring down at Inoo as I slowly get off from him. It doesn’t make any sense at all to me. True enough that I have gone out with Takaki in the past, but I can count it with only one hand, also I don’t think we’re that obvious, to be honest. Unless it’s because of that one time Takaki answered my phone when Inoo called me.
“How did you know?”
“I’ve known you all my life, besides what else it could be? Besides, you’re always away every Saturday,” Inoo points out.
“That… is true.”
Nudging my side, Inoo smirks, “So who’s this unlucky guy? Give me details, cupcake~.”
“U-unlucky?! Hey!!!! I’m not that bad okay!” I protested. “Also do not call me with that! It’s freaky!”
Laughing, Inoo takes a tissue from the coffee table, wiping the spilled rice away from his shirt, a tiny bit of rice got stuck there because of my attack earlier on. Maybe I was a little bit over reacting, but erm… well, not that I could help it, really.
“Is it… Takaki?” he asks.
“I knew it!”
“Are we that obvious?” I say as I slowly try to eat my abandoned dinner.
Inoo grins, wrapping an arm over my shoulder. He looks at me straight to the eyes, the smell of the peppermint soap he uses daily is strong – making me gulp for no apparent reason, almost as if I were really nervous.
“Well, he picked up your phone last week, and you always spend your time in his café even when you’re so busy. Also, remember the night when I came home and the two of you were playing Xbox?”
I nod, listening intendly.
“I went to bed of course, then before I even managed to fall asleep soundly, I heard it, you know. I could hear it very clearly.”
“Hear it...? Hear what?” I frown.
“I heard the two of you having sex! What else do you think I heard?!?! My room is just next to yours! Do you have any idea how scarred I felt that night?!” he growls.
“As you should! Keep it down next time!”
I just laugh at it. Oh Inoo-chan. Aren’t you such a cutie?
Took me awhile to update again. Life is getting in a way since I got two jobs to juggle now XD. But let's hope this won't be happening again. I'm sorry for the delay.
I hope you enjoy it~. Critiques?