Pairing: Nishikato, with appearances by Koyama, Massu and Tegoshi.
Genre: romance, bit humour, bit angst, oh - and it's AU.
Summary: It’s been five years since Shige and Ryo broke up. Now Ryo is a famous singer and Shige a beloved teacher, both living their own lives. Then, suddenly Shige receives a mysterious package: messages and letters from the past – a time when he and Ryo were still happy.
Feat. The Better-than-sex-cake, the cut-your-hair-song, Ryo complaining about his too-small and not-gropeable butt, some banter and womanizer/manizer Koyama.
Note: Written for lovely arashijun for newsficcon. Also, a big thank you to my beta and to ributa and kitsune_hikaru for keeping my spirits high and giving me some important input!
Did you lose weight?
I’m missing the soft, pinchable belly I used to sleep on.
Your charming compliments are almost killing me.
“Sensei!” the kids circled Shige, tugging at his hands and sleeves. “Can we go into the garden today? It’s warm.”
Shige chuckled slightly. “Alright, but don’t forget to put on your shoes.” He was still trying to organize the children when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around, smiling when he saw his friend. “Ah, Kei, it’s you.”
“Apparently.” Koyama smiled. “The kids giving you a hard time already?”
Shige shook his head. “It’s my job to watch out for them. I’d never feel bothered by them.”
Koyama grinned, looking at the group of children playing outside in the garden. “I envy you for your patience. I have enough with the one son of mine.” For a moment they both stayed silent, watching the kids. Koyama was shifting around a bit, before he looked at Shige warily. “I saw him.”
“Who?” Shige asked, before he could even think properly. The next moment his eyes widened, immediately realizing who his friend meant. “Oh.”
Long slender fingers were playing the strings of a guitar. It was an old one, the first one he had bought with his own money; not a guitar he got as a present. This one was precious, because he owned it properly. It was his. Part of his soul. It didn’t matter that there were scratches and that the color faded. This old guitar was his lucky charm.
Shige turned around, he had been studying his books, preparing for his upcoming exam. The sound of the guitar accompanying him was calming him. Always had. Never was it disturbing to him or annoying. He loved it. “Yes?”
“One day when I’m rich and famous, I’ll buy us an apartment.” He tilted his head. His black hair was getting curly from the humid weather. Little strands of it dangling over his forehead. He wiped it away with a special gesture that Shige loved so much. “And then we can live there and you can open a private school, where you can finally realize all your dreams.”
At that time Shige thought that it was stupid, or maybe not stupid, but naïve. But cute. Because it had sounded so genuine. He merely nodded his head, smiling a bit. Not wanting to hurt his lover’s feelings. “Yes, Ryo. That would be awesome.”
Ryo’s smile was bright, shining more than anything else. It were times like this that Shige felt nervous and scared out of a sudden. A moment which reminded him that it couldn’t stay that perfect, because it already was perfect. If something couldn’t get any more perfect, it had to become less perfect. A moment which could fade with the blink of an eye. Fade into nothing. What would he hold on to then? He wanted to capture this moment, and keep it forever. With Ryo sitting on the floor, his guitar on his knees, his hoarse but beautiful voice humming a song, something he had written himself. Shige sitting at the small and old table, going through his scripts, dreaming of a future with Ryo. And him, becoming a teacher and caring for each and every one of his students. They would be happy, all of them.
It was doomed to fail. Of course it was.
The gazes of the young mothers, and also the older ones, were following Koyama when he left. Of course they did. His waist was small, his trousers sitting tight, showing off his well-shaped butt and his elegant legs. Tall and slender. A young, single man, with a kid. In the eyes of the some of the mothers, he could see it. The appreciation, the affection, the joy that there was one male human being, who was good-looking, genuinely nice and polite, and able to look after a kid.
Following these thoughts, Shige sighed. Hopefully Koyama wouldn’t flirt with them anymore, they already were too much into him. And the last thing he needed was another depressed woman around him because Kei-kun didn’t want a relationship.
Koyama had his own problems. And he didn’t plan to marry any time soon, or ever again.
These bothersome thoughts, as annoying as they were, at least kept Shige away from his own problems and thoughts. The one Koyama had reminded him of. Ryo.
Looking after children made one forget easily. Shige was very thankful for some troubles that were distracting him from his real problem. Gladly Rika-chan and Erika-chan got into a fight about their favourite game. Yuki-kun dropped down and hurt his knee and started crying. And Hiro-kun and Asami-chan were planning their marriage.
Shige was sincerely glad about this busy day.
Shige had almost forgotten his talk with Koyama, until he came home. “Am I talking to Nishikido Ryo-san?” It was the postman, looking at him expectantly.
It reminded him of times when they had searched cool stage names for Ryo, arguing and competing with each other to find the most stupid one. Like J.Bond. Guitarman. N-sama. R, the king. Actually Shige was surprised, in a positive way, when he later found out that Ryo’s stage name was Ryo. No one knew his surname, most people thought that the name Ryo was made up.
Shige swallowed nervously, both in surprise, shock and nervousness. “Ehm…”
“This package had been posted 5 years ago with the note to deliver it exactly today.”
This announcement made Shige shove his other feelings aside, only feeling surprised right now. “5 years?”
“Yes, we held it in storage for 5 years, now is the day to deliver it to this address.” The man was pointing at a sheet of paper. “Could you sign this here please, Nishikido-san.”
Shige was paralyzed. Five years ago Ryo had been living here, five years ago they were still together and happy. He signed the package, too stunned to argue or explain the situation, beside the fact that he didn’t know how to deliver it to Ryo. Ryo was famous now… would it even be possible for him to do that?
The package was placed on the kitchen table, neatly, reminding Shige every second of what he wanted to forget so badly. At the same time there was something else. A little, soft, but very annoying voice in his head (At this point Ryo would have laughed and asked something like ‘Hearing voices, babe? Already? Is my voice not enough?). It was a voice full of curiosity and nosiness. Shige wasn’t nosy, normally, but this time it was different.
He angled for a bottle of wine to distract himself from this package and to forget this curious little voice in his head.
But it only got worse and before he even knew it he had already ripped it open. What he found inside made him take a deep breath. Letters, tons of letters, and on top of them there was another letter, a special one, Ryo had drawn a little funny comic on it and right in the middle there was written something that surprised Shige the most. To Shige.
This package was for him? How? When? Why? Five years ago Ryo posted a package for him… for today?
He opened the letter with trembling fingers, his breath almost stuck in his throat. Little stars were flying around him, making him feel dizzy.
Today is our 10th anniversary. Exactly 10 years ago, we met. You stumbled, I dropped my coffee on the girl I wanted to go out with. She slapped me. I yelled at you.”
Shige snorted. Yes, Ryo had been famous for his many dates and affairs when they were studying at college. Both of them in their first year. Shige, the good-looking, but awkward and calm guy. The best-friend type of boy. Ryo the sportive and hot one.
He could remember, of course.
I don’t like being slapped. Not by her. (Insert a dirty smiley here, okay? I don’t know how to make one. Mine always turn out to be awkward and ugly – after the 15th try, I decided to leave the smiley out.)
However, what I wanted to tell you: Back then I thought you were an idiot, the biggest one in universe. I was mad, because my pride was hurt, but you only smiled warily, apologized and grabbed my arm to tug me to your little apartment. You offered me coffee.
Seriously Shige, if you get someone into your apartment, a hot dude like me, you don’t drink coffee. You fuck, alright?
Shige laughed slightly. Ryo was right, he had been almost without experience back then, well he did have sex a very few awkward times, but he didn’t know how to approach someone. Not at all. Especially not Ryo, the hot guy.
Well, good that I was there too with you during the next weeks, otherwise this thing with having sex would have never worked.
Okay, you know all that, right? But what you don’t know is how you saved me back then. I was tired, exhausted, moody, drained, I felt like giving up, like jumping down from a high building, without any direction because of the path I chose - to study music. Then I met you. And you gave me back all these things that I had lost. On top of that you gave me safety.
At this day we didn’t have sex, but we kissed, because you took me as what I was. As who I was. You didn’t try to change me or try to force something on me. You understood me without me explaining everything. You knew I didn’t want to insult you when I said something mean, you knew that I was talking too fast, before I could think properly.
You taught me so much.
Tell me, Shige, did I also teach you something? Did I give you something? Or did I only take?”
“No,” Shige mumbled. “You didn’t only take. You gave me confidence and strength. You made me feel proud of what I was and of what I was able to do. I would have stayed a coward without you, idiot.”
I’m feeling useless sometimes and depressed, but you were there, always. Together we were able to build each other up. One day, I’ll be famous and you will achieve your dreams (I’m going to buy you this villa, I swear!) and we’ll still be together.
To thank you for the past five years and for the upcoming five years, I’ll do something. A present. All these years I’ve written down some thoughts concerning you and us into a notebook. You always complained that I’m too closed, right?
Alright, no secrets anymore.
Here it is, everything. And more. All for you Shigeaki, because I love you.
When Shige had finished reading, he put the letter aside. Until then he hadn’t even realized that he was crying. He grabbed his glass of wine, swallowing its content down to muffle his sobs.
It helped at least for a few hours. But the next day a horrible hangover was hunting him.
When Shige went through the box, he realized how much effort Ryo put into this. Hence, Shige wanted to pay proper attention to these letters, even though they weren’t together anymore, but such a present was unique. He decided to celebrate this anniversary and remember the wonderful time he had spent with Ryo until they broke apart.
He wanted to read these letters and notes. They were lying in the box without any order. Order wasn’t important, though there was a date written on each of them. But they didn’t need to be read in an order. It was better to read them the way they were. Unorganized, but wonderful.
Did you lose weight?
I’m missing the soft, pinchable belly I used to sleep on.
Shige frowned. Had Ryo been around, he would have thrown a book into his direction. Or hit him with something else, trying to ignore his snickering and laughing. Most likely they would have ended in bed.
Ryo’s idea of a foreplay had always been very unique.
Shige grumbled. Ryo, your charming compliments are almost killing me.
Vegetables (no carrots, I know)
Rice (because you are too picky to eat any rice, it has to be the one from the market)
Chocolate (Yuck! You are not living healthy, by the way)
Whisky (Let’s make whisky sour, okay? It’s perfect for summer)
Guitar strings (I made a new song, new song, new song, new song. I want you to listen to it first. Will play it for you later)
The new cherry-condoms. (apparently they taste like cherries. Let’s try them, ‘kay?)
Shige chuckled. The cherry condoms had tasted like toothpaste. Ryo had tasted them first, while he was sucking him off. He had almost thrown up. When Shige started to laugh and tell him he was overreacting, Ryo had glared and told him to try it himself.
Shige did. And Ryo was right. EWWWWWW.
From then on they only stuck to normal condoms. It was enough of a condom experiment for them, or so they had thought, until Ryo had discovered the new mint condom edition and the special stracciatella flavour.
It really never grew boring with Ryo. Hopefully, Shige thought, Ryo also never grew bored with him.
“What are we doing here? And why do I have to help?” Koyama pulled his eyebrows up, but when he saw Shige’s glare he decided to better shut up.
He had just brought one of his friends along, a friend, not an affair. Not yet. Shige had looked through him immediately. But much to Koyama’s annoyance and Shige’s amusement, Massu wasn’t even a tiny bit interested. At least not in Koyama. But he was interested in Ryo’s letters, and in the cake Shige had prepared earlier.
“So, you want to get the letters into an order?” Massu asked.
Shige nodded his head. He had changed his plans. He would still read them without any order, but he would put them into one while he was reading. Maybe there was a message, a thread, a hint why they broke apart.
Let me guess, you are going to put these in order, aren’t you?
You are such a freak :D
But you are my freak. That’s what is important, babe.
“WAH.” Koyama breathed out when he read the first line. “Creepy.”
Shige only smiled.
“Who’s that?” Massu angled for one of the letters. A picture was attached to it and it had attracted his interest immediate. Shige was on the photo, with Ryo, and next to them a third guy. Pretty face, soft features, cheeky smile, sparkling eyes.
Shige’s eyes grew dark, only slightly, but still it didn’t slip the others’ attention. “That’s Tegoshi.” Shige finally answered. My biggest rival. He didn’t say the last part out loud, but he still felt the stinging pain of his jealousy - even after all these years where he and Ryo had broken up. Pretty and alluring Tegoshi was still hanging out with Ryo even now.
Envy was something ugly.
“What’s written on the letter?” Koyama asked to diffuse Shige’s tension a bit.
Massu took a look at it, then he shook his head, handing it to Shige. “I think, this one is supposed to be for you, and only you.”
Today Tegoshi visited us. You know he is my favourite Junior. He studied design, now he is a stylist. We’ll work together from now on, now that I found a label. I had never thought that he would be able to achieve that.
I just wish you would like each other more. I wonder what I should do to help you to become friends. I don’t understand the tension between you, I don’t know where it comes from.
Why do you doubt me?
It’s always been you. Only you.
And there is something else. Something I can’t tell you in person.
It’s scary that I’m only one step away from achieving my dream. You know, Shige, sometimes I feel nervous, almost depressed. I can’t tell it to you directly, because I’m afraid that when I talk to you about it, my fears will become real.
All these times I’ve worked so hard to achieve this dream. Now that I’m so close to it, it feels like it will fade away. Like someone is going to take it away from it.
I never told you that, but it’s always been like that for me. Everything I loved faded away. People I was in love with… in the end someone else stole them from me. What if it will happen with this too?
Or moreover, what if it will happen to me and you? What if someone will steal you from me?
I’m scared. In the end I’m not brave and strong at all. It’s pathetic, right?
What if I will fail? What if I’m not good enough to be an artist? What if they say that I’m not worth it?
Will you still love me then?
Later when Shige was lying on his sofa, alone, looking up at the ceiling, his thoughts went back to this letter. Why did you never tell me? All these things you were afraid of.
Ryo had always been so strong and reliable that Shige hadn’t even realized that he was just like himself. Unsure and scared to lose what was most important to him.
Was it this uncertainty, from both of them, that made them break up?
“I brought some whisky along.” Massu threw the bottle towards Shige, while Koyama was angling for some glasses. “You are always only drinking wine.”
“I hate wine too,” Koyama agreed and Shige wondered when he had learned to lie that well.
He rolled his eyes, but decided not to pay attention to the wine discussion. “I only have wine… but I also have cookies.”
“Cookies are fine,” Massu agreed, smirking.
They were already pretty drunk and of course they didn’t make it through any letters, until Koyama grabbed one. For a moment he blinked, then his eyes widened. “This,” he squealed.
Shige giggled slightly. “What did my Ryo-chan write?” When he took a look at it, he blinked.
“I wonder if that’s really true?” Massu mused. “I mean, c’mon guys, better than sex?”
“Well,” Shige snickered. “This coming from you must mean something.”
The recipe said something about cacao, whipped cream, all kinds of different nuts, fresh fruit, saffron, rum.
“This will cost us a fortune,” Massu grumbled. And without knowing it he had already made the decision for them. They would bake this cake, for sure.
8 hours later all three of them were sober, actually Shige was the first one to be sober up again after paying the bill of their shopping tour. Then after hours of baking, it was Massu’s and Koyama’s turn. And by the time the cake was finished, they dropped down on the sofa, exhausted, tired and annoyed. All of them a plate in their hands, with a piece of cake on it. And yes, they hated it – for the hours of work it had taken to be prepared.
“Okay,” Koyama took a deep breath. “That’s the better-than-sex-cake. Let’s keep our spirits high.”
All three of them took a bit of the cake at once. It tasted delicious, actually more than delicious. Most likely the best cake they ever ate. But…
“Better than sex?” Shige asked carefully. “I don’t know about you guys, but I still prefer sex.”
The other two nodded warily, none of them really wanting to admit that they put hours of work into something that, though being delicious, in the end only was a normal cake.
Then Shige stood up bravely. “I’ll check if we forgot something.” With the letter in his hand, he sat down again, reading the ingredients out loud. But there was nothing they missed, it was all there and they didn’t miss any of the steps.
Massu frowned slightly. His sharp eyes had discovered something. “On the back side of the letter… is there also written something?”
Shige blinked, turning the letter around. To his surprise there was really something written down there.
Let me guess, you gave it a try? You really did believe it? Ahahahhahaaaa. There is nothing that’s better than sex, idiot!
Shige glared. He could almost see Ryo’s grin in front of him. He wasn’t exactly some who got violent easily, but he could swear that he would have slapped Ryo if he had been in front of him now.
They had fallen asleep, feeling tired from the hours of work, the whisky they had drank earlier and the cake they ate.
The next morning Shige prepared lots of coffee and some delicious ham&eggs. He also brought the rest of the cake to the table, chuckling slightly when he saw it. Ryo, you’ve always been a tease, haven’t you?
The picture of Ryo was suddenly vivid in front of him. He was standing in the kitchen, preparing coffee, naked. Shige would walk up to him, wrap his arms around him, also naked, and hug him from behind.
This picture and the feeling to it was so normal and casual that it felt like it was just yesterday that he and Ryo had lived such mornings.
And for a moment Shige gasped at the pain. It was filling him out from inside, starting in his belly, until it reached every part of his body. He wanted to scream, but he couldn’t. He wanted to cry, but no tear left his eyes.
For a moment he wondered what was going on with his body, feeling shocked and scared. Then he realized that it was nothing. It was inside him, the painful feeling of a loss, of a broken love. After five years this was the first time that he realized it again. That he had loved Ryo madly, and he still did.
Massu read out loud.
I love your butt. You have a wonderful butt. It’s…
Shige ripped the sheet of paper out of Massu’s hand, ignoring his and Koyama’s disappointment. “I’m pretty sure it’s something private,” he grumbled.
“Exactly,” Koyama whispered towards Massu. “That’s why it’s so interesting.”
I love your butt. You have a wonderful butt. It’s round and tight and muscular and toned. I love kissing it and touching it and making love to it. I also love it when you are making love to me.
How does my butt feel like for you? Is it a pretty butt? It’s smaller than yours… do you think it’s too small? I know it’s not exactly bubbly and there isn’t much to grope. Do you still like it? Sometimes you told me that you love my butt and how it feels between your fingers and what you would like to do to it – well, we did some of these things :P – and how good it feels. But is this true? Or were you only being nice?
I love your butt and I love you.
Tegoshi was pretty. A real beauty, with his pale skin, his sparkling eyes, his beautiful and soft hair.
Well, back then he was. Shige hoped that by now he would be fat and ugly and no danger for any boyfriends anymore. At the same time he felt guilty for having these thoughts, it wasn’t Tegoshi’s fault after all. He was never unfriendly or mean towards Shige. He was clinging to Ryo, slightly, and it made Shige’s eyes twitch, even now when he was remembering it.
Tegoshi was a charm, he was alluring people, everyone loved him. It was a gift. Ryo has this gift too, at least a bit of it, despite his awkwardness.
But Shige was the complete opposite.
First time is always a first time.
Shige was lying on the sofa. He had found this letter earlier and hid it from the others. Now they were asleep and he could read it peacefully.
The first time that we kissed,
In the corridor,
I don’t want to forget it.
The first time that you smiled for me
With a sparkly smile
I don’t want to forget it.
The first time that we held hands,
Cold and nervous,
I don’t want to forget it.
The first time we had sex,
Was it perfect?
But I don’t want to forget it.
I won’t forget it.
Won’t forget it either.
Shige smiled. He wondered how many first times he had with Ryo. Things he did for the first time, things he never tried before. Not only when it was about sex, but also sports, traveling, games, food and other random things like that.
“Toffee Froffee, please, medium.”
“With whipped cream?”
“No thanks,” Shige shook his head, smiling slightly. He leaned back, waiting for his frozen coffee (with toffee flavour of course) to get prepared. His eyes shifted through the coffee shop. He was hardly visiting this one, because it was nowhere around where he lived or worked. He had to run some errands and later he would meet up with Koyama and Massu like always recently. They had read tons of letters till now and still Shige felt addicted to them. He felt sad when he realized that there weren’t all that much letters left.
It was going to an end.
What would he do then? Re-read them? Keep them somewhere safe?
Shige swallowed. Or should he react and write back?
“Here, your Toffee-Froffee.”
Shige took the coffee-to-go, about to leave the coffee shop when his eyes suddenly caught a well-known figure. He recognized him immediately. He was still a beauty, a bit older now, but so pretty. Almost an insult to every other guy. His hair was lighter, he had coloured it obviously, his style more mature, his face a bit more tanned than before, but his eyes still sparkly.
He didn’t become fat and ugly.
They stayed silent, both of them, an awkward silence. Shige knew the difference between a relaxing silence – something he and Ryo had encountered very often, a silence where two people were just sitting next to each other, enjoying each other’s presence without talking or any other noise between them – and the aggravating silence, the awkward uncomfortable type of silence, where he lot of unspoken problems and difficult feelings were standing between two people.
Here with Tegoshi it was the second type of silence.
“I see,” Tegoshi mused, looking at the Toffee Froffee in Shige’s hands. “You still like this kind of drinks, huh? Ryo-kun had always been so eager to try out new recipes for your milk shakes.”
Ryo-kun. When he and Ryo had still been together Tegoshi had called Ryo Nishikido-kun. But now it was Ryo-kun. Something in Shige’s chest was pressing against his throat painfully. Yes, he though, not only envy, but also jealousy was ugly.
He decided that he needed to talk to Tegoshi.
“So.” Now Tegoshi was nervous too, Shige could clearly see it in his eyes. In the coffee shop it had only been a coincidental encounter and most likely he had expected Shige to say hello and move on. But Shige hadn’t moved on, he had asked Tegoshi if he would like to accompany him on a walk.
And Tegoshi had been too surprised to say no.
“So,” Tegoshi repeated. “This is weird.” His voice sounded a bit flat, probably to hide his nervousness.
“Yes,” Shige mumbled.
Then it was back, the silence. The awkward one. Shige cleared his throat. “How is he?” he finally dared to ask. By the surprised look in Tegoshi’s eyes he could tell that he hadn’t expected this straight-forward question.
He shrugged. “Okay.”
The look Tegoshi showed him was a weird one. It was a bit angry, slightly sad. Shige didn’t know what he meant with this look, what he wanted to tell him. “Yes,” Tegoshi answered without explaining anything else. “Only okay.”
They were sitting on a park bench now, both of them looking at the children who were playing on the playground. Shige cleared his throat. He needed to finally know the reason, to understand it, because all the time it had chased him. Not knowing what and why it happened. “Back then,” he looked at Tegoshi directly now. “Why did you sleep with him? Though you knew he was together with me. Why did you have sex with him?”
Tegoshi’s eyes got small for a moment, almost dangerous, then his expression was normal again. He stood up, throwing his paper cup into the dustbin, before he turned around to look at Shige again. “You really never understood his actions, did you? You never had faith in him.”
With that he left.
Tegoshi, who had become even prettier than years before. Shige was watching how he became smaller and smaller the farther away he went from him. He was still blinking about his last words. What did Tegoshi mean?
Massu had cooked Spaghetti Bolognese. He was in his Italian food mood at the moment, throwing all kinds of Italian food at Shige and Koyama, forcing them to eat it.
After two days of Antipasti and fish, Shige was glad to at least get some spaghetti. During his time with Ryo he had been out a lot and tried different dishes, because Ryo loved cooking. Just that his cooking was way better and also more varied than Massu’s. But however, at least someone was cooking.
“You are acting kinda weird,” Koyama analysed dryly, while he was slurping down some of his spaghetti. Some of the sauce landed on the tablecloth, parts of it on Koyama’s shirt, but he didn’t care too much. Neither did Massu because he was too happy that someone liked his food.
“Nah,” Shige shook his head. “Just tired.”
They had some grappa afterwards and Shige had actually wanted to avoid reading through the rest of the letters. The things Tegoshi had said to him were still giving him a headache, something inside him was working on its own, screaming out to him, reaching out its hand to him, but he couldn’t tell what it was. He couldn’t grasp it.
Tegoshi, this brat, what had he wanted to say? What was the meaning behind the strange look in his eyes?
Shige and Ryo had been doing well for years. Shige didn’t know when it started, was it the fifth year? Was it before or after Tegoshi had appeared? He would like to say ‘after’ but when he was honest to himself, he had to admit that it started before, when Ryo began to be more popular. Suddenly all kind of guys and girls had been interested him. Well, they were interested before too, because Ryo had always been handsome, but when he got more popular, it was different. They were trying to seduce him,
It had made a scratch into their relationship, something they didn’t even see first. It was almost invisible. They had ignored the signs until it was too late for them to save their relationship. Though they had promised each other to trust each other and have faith. But it wasn’t that simple.
Maybe they were too young back then. None of them was able to hold on to it, they had crumbled under the pressure, the stress and the fear.
Then Ryo had cheated on him. With Tegoshi.
“Did you cheat on me?”
They were sitting in a café, both of them tired and nervous. Ryo hadn’t said anything, just “I’m sorry.”
When Ryo stood up and left Shige could feel how tears were dripping down on his hands. He wanted to run after Ryo and tell him he would forgive him, that they could work on their problems. He wanted to know what went wrong, he wanted to hear reasons, but Ryo hadn’t asked for forgiveness. He had just left. And till now Shige didn’t know why it happened, he couldn’t figure out what this sad look in Ryo’s eyes meant, it was similar to how Tegoshi had looked at him yesterday, just sadder. He wanted to hug Ryo and ask him why he didn’t share his problems and his fears anymore, why he was so closed, but he couldn’t. Sometimes Shige had the feeling that Ryo only slept with Tegoshi to make Shige let go. To set him free. It had been weeks after their break-up when he had this thought for the first time. He had the feeling before but couldn’t name it, but weeks later he suddenly found the words for this feeling. Did Ryo want him to let go?
Koyama had found the letter, read the first line and gave it to Shige immediately. He didn’t say anything when Shige looked at him in surprise. Reading the first line, Shige knew why Koyama hadn’t read the rest of the letter.
When did we start to get frustrated with each other? It wasn’t like that before, am I right? I don’t know what’s happening anymore.
Am I only imagining things?
But we aren’t talking to each other anymore, not for real, not about important stuff, we aren’t holding on to each other. I can see it in your eyes, your doubts, your fear.
You don’t trust me.
Is it because I’m getting more popular now? You know, finding a label, releasing a single. Do you want me to give up on it? I would, for you. I like teaching, they offered me a job at university. I could teach music and how to play the guitar.
It’s not my first choice, but I would give up on my first choice. For you. Would it make things better then?
Giving up on your dream, Ryo, for me, would have been something I could have never forgiven myself for. I prefer to be away from you than to be the reason that you gave up on your dream and goal.
Shige rubbed over his forehead, a well-known nervousness filling him up. What did Tegoshi say? Something like: You never understood.
Did he never understand?
Did Ryo cheat on him because he wanted him to break up… to lead a better life? It would be like Ryo to do something like that, something so stupid. But when Shige thought about their last year together he wondered if it really was so stupid. Or if Ryo was just really desperate, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to be happy together if he gave up on his dream, for Shige.
Ryo was not stupid. Shige neither. And something in his guts told him that there was something terribly wrong in their story. Or in the story how he had heard it. Ryo knew more, apparently. Ryo knew the real story.
Remember when we started to be bored in bed?
Massu jumped up, the letter in his hand when Shige wanted to take it away from him. He laughed, continuing to read out the letter, while Shige was chasing him, his cheeks flushed.
I think we were both too shy to voice it out, but at one point we were so frustrated that something amazing happened: first we talked, and then, bam, our sex life turned out to be freaking awesome.
I loved this little thing with the ties. It was interesting for me to let go of my control and tension.
And I let you spank me. Not sure if I’ll let that happen too often though. But it was a fun experience.
Oh and remember when I bought this vibrator, the yellow one? I’ve never heard you…
At this point Shige got a hold of Massu, ripping the letter out of his hands.
…moan so loud. Massu finished, grinning brightly.
You know what I love about having sex with you?
You are not afraid of trying something new, you are not boring, you don’t think I’m weird when I suggest something – on the other side you are also suggesting things. You are the perfect match for me. Hopefully I’m also the perfect match for you.
It’s fun to have sex with you.
Maybe fun is the wrong word, but it summarizes it all. Because I never get bored with you.
You are awesome.
Thinking of all our sexy times now. Ryo
“Interesting,” Koyama mused while Massu was still panting and giggling. “I always thought of you as the conservative, boring sex-couple.” He almost sounded envious here, much to Shige’s amusement. “But apparently you were quite active.”
“Of course we were,” Shige answered, not able to hide the proud tune in his voice. I loved having sex with you, Ryo. You were always passionate, careful and you knew exactly what to do and how to do it. You were a wonderful partner, in life and in bed.
Suddenly Shige felt sad again.
“Here is the last one.” Koyama sounded almost sad. Apparently he had a lot of fun during the last days and weeks, where he met up regularly with Massu and Shige.
“You sound sad,” Massu immediately caught on.
Koyama shrugged. “It was fun with you guys. You know, I love my child, dearly, but I just realized that I also need some time with my friends to relax and to gather my strengths to be a good father.”
“I think you are a pretty good father,” Shige answered. “Bring Ken-chan along next time. I have no problems to have him here with us. And you won’t need to search for a babysitter every time.”
“He is right,” Massu agreed. “And I believe that we’ll find something else to do once we finished reading the letters.”
“How about some regular movie nights?” Shige suggested.
Massu grinned. “We could meet up to cook something. Or bake.”
They all laughed, remembering their baking-fiasco. Well, it wasn’t a bad cake, but Ryo had trolled them, for real.
Shige smiled slightly, then he gave himself a push forward and reached out his hand. “Okay, I’m ready. I’ll read out the last letter.”
After how many dark nights did I seek your warmth?
Your arms around me, my head on your chest,
Listening to the relaxing beat of your heart.
I want to fly away with you, hand in hand, but…
Your hair is too long, too long
When will you cut it? Its curls are in our way.
Your hair is too long, too long,
You’ll get split ends.
You’ve been here in every dark hour I went through
Your hands have held me whenever I felt like drowning,
I want to take your hand and dive with you,
Into the deep ocean of our love, but…
Your hair is too long, too long
When will you cut it? Its curls are in our way.
Your hair is too long, too long,
You’ll get split ends.
Your beauty makes the moon grow even paler, in envy
Your smile makes the sun hide, because you are shining more
Your hair, its soft beauty, its shining color, but…
Your hair is too long, too long
When will you cut it? Its curls are in our way.
Your hair is too long, too long,
You’ll get split ends.
Don’t dye it, don’t dye it,
Or you’ll lose it once you are older.
Too long, too long, too long…
For a moment they all were quiet, then they burst into laughing. “This guy,” Koyama gasped for air. “He really had a hair fetish. I can’t – anymore – he – is – brilliant.”
Shige grinned. “This idiot! He was always pestering me about cutting my hair. Really, I was so annoyed every time he did that.” He smiled, it was a sad smile, but he was able to hide it. I just wished you would be here, still getting on my nerves because of my hair.
As much as Shige enjoyed the presence of his friends, he was glad to be alone this evening. Something inside him felt empty, as if something was missing. The letters had given him so much joy, reminding him of old times and things he had promised. Not only promised to Ryo, but also to himself. Things Ryo didn’t even know about.
He had forgotten them after their break-up and even before, during their last year together. He had forgotten all these promises, but now that he read Ryo’s letters, he remembered them.
Shige stood up again. There was no way he could fall asleep now. He just had to do something. With a glass of red wine in his hands, he sat down on the floor, the letters in front of him. He had ordered them, by date. He decided to read through them again, this time in chronological order. So he spread the letters on the floor, oldest one on top, left side, newest one as the last one, down, right corner.
He decided to read them as one now, as if Ryo had written them in one go. Maybe he would find something, something he had missed.
One hour later, he had re-read them again, and then, once more. He had cried and smiled and laughed through them again, but there was nothing in the letters that gave him a sign, an answer to what had happened. A reason.
He looked at the letters in front of him, in a perfect order now. There was just one of the letters that seemed to be wrinkled – one of the corners of the better-than-sex-cake recipe was bent. Shige sighed, rubbing over it with his fingers to straighten the paper again.
He almost missed it.
Stupid him hadn’t realized it all! Not even when he had turned the recipe around after they had cooked the cake, he hadn’t seen it. Maybe he had been too drunk at that point.
There was something written on the back of the recipe-letter, in tiny letters, definitely Ryo’s hand-writing. It were only a few words, nothing that was making sense on its own and it was so small that it was easy to miss it. Despite that, Shige felt mad at himself for missing it.
Shige’s heart skipped a beat, he felt like he was in trance when he put the letter back to its place and then turned all of them over, starting with the first one, the oldest letter, until he had turned them all over, looking at the backside of the letters now.
He had been so fixated in reading the letters’ content that he hadn’t thought about a deeper message to it. He had felt it, wondered about it, but his mind had been too occupied than to think of this simple solution. The backside of the letters.
On each backside of every letter there were words, sometimes whole sentences, sometimes only one word. Nothing special, but as a whole they would hopefully make sense.
Shige angled for an empty sheet of paper and a pen, then he started to write the words and sentences down there, again starting with the oldest letter, until he reached the newest.
And really, when he had finished writing these confusing words and sentences down, there it was. Right in front of him.
The hidden letter, the last one, the one that would tell him the truth.
Before I start this letter with big words and even bigger explanations, I need to confess something to you. The truth.
On that night, the one you asked me about in the café, right before we broke up, I didn’t cheat on you. I never cheated on you. I was hurt that you thought I did, that you didn’t trust me. But there was also something else: at that time I thought it would be better to let you believe it, because I thought it would be better for you to hate me, to let go of me, so that you could live a peaceful and calm and happy life. The life you deserve. Because apparently I wasn’t able to make you happy anymore.
When you read this, we won’t be together anymore. Remember the letter on top of these messages, the one where I explained what this is about? I lied - I didn’t send you this box five years ago, but one year ago. I found it while cleaning up, remembering my original plan to send it to you and surprise you on our 10th anniversary. The letter I sent with this box was originally written five years ago. Then we broke up and I didn’t send these messages and the letter to you.
For some time, during these months when we were breaking apart, I tried to cling to it, to what we had.
I don’t want to ask you anymore why you didn’t have any faith in me and why you didn’t trust me, because now it’s clear to me that we didn’t trust each other.
Why is it gone, this thread between us? When did we lose it? How could we let it go? Were we too young? Then if we were too young, are we old enough now? I grew, I got more mature. I believe you did too.
The truth is, Shige, that I still love you. And I’ll love you, also now, one year later, when you are reading this.
I’m sorry for lying to you back then. I realized much later that you deserved to know the truth. I realized that I don’t want you to hate me, I don’t want you to believe that I betrayed you and everything we had built up together. I never did something like that. It’s important for me to tell you the truth. I don’t want you to hate me, because you are too important for me.
I hope you’ll have a wonderful life, wherever it will be leading you. You are a man people will love, always. Like I do.
“Tegoshi-san?” the secretary peeked into Tegoshi’s office. He had spread all kind of concepts there. Ryo would go on a concert tour soon and he needed to plan his outfits and styling. “There is someone waiting for you. He said it’s very important and you would know once you heard his name.”
“Eh?” Tegoshi blinked, not really happy to interrupt his work. “Who is it?”
“A certain Kato-san.”
Shige had been right, once Tegoshi heard his name he was too curious and too surprised not to agree to see and talk to him.
“Hello Kato-kun? What is it?”
“Here,” Shige said without any further explanation or introduction. He handed Tegoshi a package, a wary smile on his lips. “Please give that to Ryo. You are the only one I can trust with this.”
“Wow,” Tegoshi smiled nervously. “I thought I would never hear you say something like that.”
“You know,” Shige said when he was already turning around to leave. He looked over his shoulder to face Tegoshi again. “You were right, about everything. It’s a pity we never became friends.”
“Well, we still could,” Tegoshi mused. For a moment they both stayed quiet, then they chuckled, both of them shaking their heads. “No way.”
“Right.” Shige smiled. “No way!”
“Here,” Tegoshi handed Ryo a glass of martini, before he sat down on the floor next to his friend.
Ryo was lying there, in the middle of a bunch of letters. He had been surprised when he opened the box. And even more surprised when he heard that it was from Shige. And his surprise grew when he found copies of his messages there – on every message there was note sticking there with Shige’s answer. Comments, confession, feelings.
And at the bottom of it, there was a letter, a simple one, but it made Ryo’s heart race.
I think we deserve another chance, don’t we? To start over where we stopped five years ago.
Back then you were the one who saved me, but this time I want to be the one at your side. I want to be strong and sure and I want to be there for you to share your problems with me, your doubts, your fears.
I’m not the same person anymore – this time, I promise you, I know whom to put faith in and whom to trust. You.
Can we start over again?
You know where I live, I’ll be waiting for your answer. Whatever it will be…
“Great,” Tegoshi sighed theatrically. “Now I have to deal with Kato-kun on an everyday basis again?”
“How do you know if I even want this to start over?” Ryo asked, but his voice was trembling slightly, the letter still in his hands. He had clenched his fingers around it, as if he was afraid that someone might take it away from him. And with it also Shige’s promise and his confession.
“Oh please,” Tegoshi rolled his eyes. “The whole fuss for nothing? Whom are you kidding?”
Ryo grinned slightly. “Is there a chance you won’t have the last word for once?”
“Nope,” Tegoshi smirked. “No way.”
“What if I won’t stop talking?”
“Believe me,” Tegoshi smirked. “You hate chatting, you’ll fall asleep at one point.”
Ryo closed his eyes, thinking of what was lying in front of him. Then he smiled. “Yes, maybe you are right.”
“Of course I am.”
It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t afraid of this or if I didn’t want to run away from it, but in the end I didn’t even need to think twice.
Of course we deserve a second chance. Let’s not mess it up this time!