“Remind me again why I’m here in your apartment when I could be in a club right now?” Shii asked Sho as he reached for another beer can from the table since the one he was just holding was already empty. “I keep forgetting why I’m here…” he added frustratingly.
Sho was just about to say something in response from his seat opposite his friend when they both jumped in surprise when Shii opened his beer can with a loud bang followed by a fizzle of beer suds flowing out of the can. Both guys turned immediately to the sofa in between them and breathed freely upon seeing that its occupant seemed undisturbed, almost undisturbed that is since he grunted in what could possibly be due to annoyance and buried his head deeper into the pillow.
Sho aimed one of his throw pillows directly to Shii’s face and was glad to see it making contact before he said “Are you nuts?!”
It wasn’t that they were both afraid of Jun, who’s currently face down at the sofa, because Jun is their friend and the apartment, to begin with, is Sho’s. But they also both know that Jun is not a very easy person to deal with when his sleep is disturbed and most especially when he’s still in the midst of catching up on it which he currently is in.
He had just worked practically 36 hours straight, being the second shooter of one of the countries premier fashion magazines and with the lead photographer just happening to call in sick during a location shoot 5hours away from Tokyo (Sho’s place being the nearest he could crash in which is why he’s there in the first place).
So in a combination of being considerate to their friend and feeling concerned of their own well-being, they tried to curb their noise (Sho had already offered that the guy sleep in his room but Jun said it’s too messy for his own peace of mind) with even the TV, playing a baseball game, was on low.
“What?!” Shii exclaimed as he dropped the throw pillow on the floor next to his chair. “I didn’t do it on purpose you know…” he said before he added as an afterthought “Well, maybe to a certain degree… If Jun-kun manages to wake up now, he might end up being in the right enough mood to go clubbing later…”
“After 36 hours of no sleep?” Sho snorted. “He’s not that addicted to clubbing to forgo sleep…”
“And what, pray tell, can you not forgo yourself when you too don’t want to go out clubbing with me?” Shii asked him instead, both of them well aware that they could just easily leave Jun in Sho’s apartment and not worry about his (or the apartment’s) well being.
Sho sighed. “I already told you… Mei-chan’s going out for a date tonight…”
“And?” Shii asked but when Sho just looked at him as though that’s a ridiculous question he just asked, he exclaimed “Wait… Are you saying that that set-up you two had in college is still working up to now?!”
Sho shrugged and replied “Why stop a good thing?” making Shii guffaw.
The ‘set-up’ Shii was referring to was actually the sort of unspoken but understood deal that Sho and Meisa had back in college. Whenever either one of Meisa or Sho wants to ditch a boyfriend or a fling, the former for Meisa and the latter for Sho, the other one would show up in a pre-agreed date to act as the real partner with the other one acting guilty for being caught cheating.
Of course, the fact that Sho has both the face and physique that could match Meisa’s strong and gorgeous looks and vice versa helped a lot to make their act sell.
Most of the time, it is Sho benefiting in that set-up of theirs seeing as the guy almost always has a date but with a girl that would rarely last longer than 2 months. But on the rare occasion that Meisa makes use of that arrangement though, she had only made use of it thrice, it is big. The biggest of which was back in the year before their final in college and she was set-up by an old colleague she couldn’t get out of herself. It turns out that the guy she was set-up to wanted nothing else but to take her to bed, whether she likes it or not.
And since Meisa had already made it clear that she wasn’t interested, the guy was already leading towards the ‘not’ part of ‘whether she likes it or not’ when Sho came in. After Sho did his thing and Jun, Shii, and Aiba did a bit of their own (although they really didn’t need to after Sho was done with the guy), the guy, who was from another college in Tokyo, apparently transferred out of his school and possibly out of the country.
“And what makes you think Meisa-chan’s going to need your services this time?” Shii ended up challenging. “From what I heard from Mao-chan and from what I’ve seen, seems like Narimiya-san is a decent fellow… Besides, he is Becky-chan’s cousin…”
“There’s nothing wrong with being prepared…” Sho simply said as he directed his attention to the TV screen even when he can’t keep his focus on it.
“Cheers!” Meisa and Narimiya cheered, toasting with their champagne bottles as they started on the date that Narimiya had planned for the two of them.
They were in the restaurant of one of Tokyo’s most prestigious hotels in what could easily be considered a formal affair, what with the ambiance the restaurant has, Narimiya looking dashing in his suit and Meisa gorgeous in a (n almost) long gown.
It wasn’t really a situation that Meisa is not used to. In fact, it can be said that she’s been there and had done that. But there’s just something different about it this time because Meisa could feel that her heart had increased its pace. It’s like she’s excited, giddy even. And all because of the guy sitting across her.
When she saw Narimiya again in Aiba and Becky’s wedding, she cannot deny the fact that she felt attracted to the guy. He looks, well, gorgeous to put it bluntly but it wasn’t his looks that really pulled her attention back then. She’s already so used to attractive men around her, what with Jun, Shii, and Aiba adding to Sho in her mix. It wasn’t even the confidence he clearly portrayed that got her; she’s used to that too.
Maybe it’s because he’s a new good-looking guy in her world where she’s getting tired of them already. Maybe because there was something heartwarming about the way he smiles. Maybe because although he didn’t hide his interest in her, he wasn’t overly flirty as guys tend to become after a while.
Or maybe just because.
“I almost couldn’t believe it when you accepted my invite, you know…” Narimiya started conversationally after the two of them had taken a sip off the champagne.
“Why is that?” Meisa asked with a smile as she placed her glass on the table, part of her realized that he had already placed his drink back on the table too. How she realized it though was a bit of a mystery seeing as it’s almost as if she’s entranced by his eyes; she hadn’t seem capable of removing her own from it.
“You never really took notice of me back then…” Narimiya said.
The statement was plain and simple and Meisa didn’t really know how to react to it. After all, that was true. She tended to ignore the men around her back in high school, except for Sho of course, mainly because she wanted to focus on her studies. This is why she just ended up smiling in response.
“Besides, when I saw you and Sakurai-san together at Becky-chan’s wedding, I thought you two are still together…” he added.
The mention of her best friend’s name seemed to have roused Meisa as she finally got to tear away her eyes from his. She laughed as she started playing with the handle of her fork.
“Oh no… Sho-kun and I... There’s no Sho-kun and I… Nothing of that sort… We are and always have been just friends…” she said.
When she looked up again, she realized that Narimiya is looking at her with some sort of amusement in his eyes but there’s no hiding the interest in it too.