III – Ryū x Kichirō
While Kichirō was chuckling as he watched Aiko running around like a petty thief, being chased after by a policeman, he suddenly felt someone pull him by his waist. Because of this sudden force, he almost lost balance but it was a good thing that he landed on that perpetrator’s chest, who in turn, locked Kichirō in his embrace — it was none other than Ryū.
Kichirō looked back and made an ‘oh’ with his mouth. He scratched the back of his head and grinned at Ryū, then he said, “Oh, there you are. I was looking all over for you.”
Ryū frowned then coldly responded: “Doesn’t look like it.”
Kichirō broke away from his embrace then he faced the other boy. He gasped like he was out of breath, pretending like he was tired from all that searching he made. “I was looking for you but Ai-chan dragged me here. Can’t you see I’m tired? Let’s just go,” he said those words right then and there as if he ran out of excuses. Without waiting for Ryū to respond, he walked ahead of the other boy.
When he was a few meters away from Ryū, Kichirō tried to look at him through the corners of his eyes. He realized that Ryū was still standing there. He turned around and beckoned: “What are you waiting for? Let’s go home.”
Just when he was about to walk over to Ryū, a girl suddenly popped out of nowhere. She smiled at Kichirō then said: “Senpai, Konnichiwa! I’m Kyōko Onodera from the Performance Arts Department. Our club is currently hosting a pretend wedding ceremony for lovers this Valentines. We were amazed when we saw you and Ueno-Senpai embracing each other earlier and thought it would be nice to invite you over to try it out.”
Kichirō did not know how to respond. He knew for a fact that he was a man so how could they make this mistake of offering this to him? He wryly smiled at the girl and thought of an excuse: “Hello, ano… I, I need to go somewhere. Maybe some other time.” After saying that, he beckoned Ryū with his eyes, hinting that they should leave — but it turned out that the signal never reached the receiver. Ryū pretended like he was looking somewhere else.
“C’mon, it will be fun. I’m sure you will enjoy it. It won’t even take an hour. Have you ever considered that this will help strengthen your love?” Kyōko beamed with her eyes glittering.
Feeling somewhat helpless, Kichirō had no better option but to follow through. He followed the girl from behind. It was also quite a surprise that Ryū did not reject this offer. He saw Ryū following the girl, just like an obedient child, following his mother.
Is it possible that they also host same-sex marriage? Kichirō thought to himself.
With every step he made, it was as if a magnet was pulling his feet, making him unable to move forward. The girl turned around and noticed that Kichirō was already a few steps behind her and Ryū. “Hurry up, Senpai. The team who’s managing the costumes and makeup is already waiting for us. You’re actually our first participants. Don’t you feel lucky?” Kyōko smiled.
Kichirō narrowed his eyes and thought, Maybe you mean ‘victims,’ not ‘participants.’
As soon as they reached the wedding venue, they saw a huge event tent that was surrounded by blooming plum trees. Kichirō could smell the sweet fragrance of the plum blossoms in the air. The extravagant tent was set up on the university park and the motif seemed to be a garden wedding. Plum blossoms were lavishly decorated on the tables with muted pink tablecloths, whereas multiple spherical paper lanterns of varying sizes and colors from white to different shades of pink were hanging about. There were people seated on the tables who, most probably were also students from the Performing Arts Department. The girls wore muted pink chiffon dresses and white see-through shawls, while the boys wore black suits with plain striped ties. It was an elegant western-styled Japanese wedding event!
What made Kichirō give in completely to this stressful event was the five-tiered strawberry cake. Looking at this made him reach out for it with his hands. He almost drooled! However, when he was about to walk over like a hypnotized zombie toward the cake, he was abruptly dragged by one of the makeup artists. “Ojō-sama, hurry up! We need to dress you up,” the girl said, who appeared to be in a hurry.
What did you just call me? Kichirō frowned. But, just when he was about to ask this, he was already dragged to a covered tent by Kyōko wherein he experienced all sorts of horrors. She ‘politely’ forced him to wear a dress, wig and makeup.
“Ojō-sama, why did you cut your hair short? I bet you look pretty with a long hair,” the hairdresser praised Kichirō as she fixed his wig.
Why the heck are you all calling me a young miss?!? I’m a man! Kichirō yelled in his mind.
After everything was set up, Kichirō stood in front of a mirror. He saw himself wearing a pink chiffon dress made out of lace fabric ivory organza with rose floral embroidery. His wig complimented his small face. The waist-long ash-blonde bouffant wig had cascading barrel waves with a hairpiece affixed at the back. The hairpiece was embellished with silver leaves and rose gold flowers. His makeup was not too elaborate and not too simple, it was enough to make his youthfulness and class stand out. If the onlooker would not know that he was really a boy, they would think that he was a beautiful young miss of a rich family.
“Wow! You look awesome! That floral design helped in covering your flat chest,” the makeup artist beamed.
Kichirō narrowed his eyes. Wait, am I reacting? It’s not like I really mind it… Hmm, if they thought I was a girl, how come Kyoko didn’t react when she helped me dress us?!? “Eto… I’m actually a —“ Kichirō was not yet done speaking when Kyoko suddenly popped out of nowhere and handed him a beautiful bouquet of plum blossoms. “Chotto matte— waaaa!” Every time he tried to speak his mind, he was being dragged here and there. This time, he was asked to wear stilettos and a veil by Kyōko.
After the hustle and bustle, they were finally finished dressing him up. From the awkward and nerdy Kichirō, he transformed into the perfect Yamato Nadeshiko! His shy demeanor together with his delicate and adorable look made him the ideal woman of all Japanese men! As soon as he walked guided by Kyoko to the center aisle, he walked slowly with grace and composure. The solemn and relaxing music began to play for the procession. Upon seeing him, even though he was covered by a veil, the crowd all gaped in awe.
As he stood in the center aisle, he was trembling with fear and awkwardness. One thing that Kichirō hated the most was the crowd and large events like this. He wanted to yell to inquire why he was asked to do all of this, but as soon as he opened his mouth, someone held him by his arm — it was his dad, Akihiko.
“Otōsan? What… what are you doing here?” Kichirō stuttered.
“Son, compose yourself. I was invited over by Ryū, heh,” Akihiko chuckled.
Kichirō frowned at first as he thought hard what was this all about, then he finally realized and made an ‘oh’ with his mouth. “So, this was all set up by Ryū?!?” He exclaimed.
“Yes, now don’t be such a party pooper and let’s carry on with this wonderful play,” Akihiko smiled. “Don’t worry, I’m here. Ryū is here. We will be with you all throughout so don’t ever feel that people will judge you. And besides, isn’t this like cosplaying? This proves how good you are at cosplaying. You got me completely fooled. I even thought you were your mother back in the days, ha ha.”
With those words of encouragement coming from his father, Kichirō finally felt relieved. Yes, this was a good way to regain his confidence, just like how confident he was in the past. This was also a great opportunity to display his sportsmanship as a cosplayer.
As they faced the direction of the officiant who stood in the altar, a man, who was close to the pastor caught his attention. His buzzcut was his most outstanding feature. It complemented well with his strong jaw, deep brown eyes, and fair skin. His tall stature, broad shoulders, and defined muscles all the more were highlighted when he wore his white tuxedo. His domineering aura, together with his mysterious look made all the girls stare in a daze. Yes, it was Ryū.
Kichirō blushed when their eyes met. He really looked like a young and bashful woman who was about to be handed over by her father to her groom.
When they reached the altar, Ryū bowed to Akihiko. Seeing this made Akihiko pleased. He handed over Kichirō to Ryū and smiled sweetly at his son. Although he was a man, he never judged his son for his preferences. All along, he supported every decision that Kichirō made and guided him to the right path. Now that he found someone who could take on the responsibility of taking care of Kichirō, with arms wide open, he accepted this person. Today, even though this was all but a play, to him, it was like a real wedding.
Ryū and Kichirō faced the officiant and bowed at him. The officiant made his opening remarks and addressed the couple, emphasizing the importance of the vows that they were about to make, especially reminding them about their duties and responsibilities in the wedding. After that, the exchange of vows took place.
Ryū looked earnestly into Kichirō’s eyes and said: “Kichirō, I love you unconditionally and without hesitation. I vow to love you, encourage you, trust you, and respect you. As a family, we will create a home filled with learning, laughter, and compassion. I promise to work with you to foster and cherish a relationship of equality knowing that together we will build a life far better than either of us could imagine alone. Today, I choose you to be my partner. I accept you as you are, and I offer myself in return. I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you all of life’s adversities and all of its joys from this day forward, and all the days of my life.”
With him being looked at like this, Kichirō felt like he was going to melt into a puddle. He was dumbfounded and could not utter a word. In the end, even though he was not prepared, he had no other choice but to come up with his vow. He stutteringly said: “Ryū, I, ano… Even though I already know you’re perfect… I um, take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become. Even though I may be stubborn at times… well, most of the time… I promise to listen to you and learn from you, to support you and accept your support. I will celebrate your triumphs, as long as there will be cakes and sweets and mourn your losses as though they were my own, although I doubt you will lose in any game. I will love you and have faith in your love for me, through all our years and all that life may bring us.”
After that, they exchanged rings and the officiant pronounced: “I now pronounce you husband and husband. You may now kiss your… er… bride.”
Kichirō felt awkward hearing all of these. He never was the type who cried or felt excited during weddings. He looked at his father first, who was crying as he sat with the crowd, then he looked at Ryū, and gestured ‘please, no’ with his eyes. However, as he was about to shake his head, Ryū already gave him a peck on his lips. After that, Ryū smiled sweetly at him, the kind of smile that he rarely saw from the other boy. He could not help but sheepishly smile at Ryū, too.
The closing remarks ensued, and the recessional took place. While Ryū and Kichirō were at the entrance to the aisle, Kichirō was gestured by Kyōko to toss the bouquet. Of course, even though this was all but a play, the girls in the crowd felt like they were in a match with raging fire in their eyes. When Kichirō turned around and tossed the bouquet, someone unexpectedly caught the bouquet — it was Aiko, who was just passing by as she was running away from Seijirō.
“Wait, what’s with this?” She wondered. She looked at the crowd and saw that Ryū stood with a girl, who was wearing a gown. She flared up seeing this, all this time, she was Ryū and Kichirō’s biggest fan. Who would dare to tear these lovebirds apart? She dashed toward the girl and made her face about. When she looked at the girl’s face, she realized it was Kichirō!
“Kichirō-chan? Is that you?!” She exclaimed. “OMG, I missed all of this?!?”
Kichirō wryly smiled then helplessly nodded.
“Waaaah! Senpai, this is all your fault!” Aiko was furious and almost crumpled the bouquet in her hands as she looked at Seijirō who was standing amongst the crowd. Seeing Aiko furious, Seijirō started to make a run for his life. Aiko ran after him while holding the bouquet of plum blossoms.
Kichirō chuckled. “Well, I guess they will get married soon, too.”
Ryū did not respond but he smiled as well.
“Now, since this is all done, can I go and eat the cake?” Kichirō looked at Ryū with his puppy eyes.
“No,” Ryū indifferently replied.
Kichirō pursed his lips and responded, “Why not?”
“Honeymoon first,” after saying that, Ryū carried Kichirō, bridal style, and started to stride away.
Kichirō, who was momentarily dumbfounded, woke up from his temporary daze and protested as he rapped Ryū’s shoulder, “No, please no!”
Amongst the crowd, Akihiko was waving goodbye to them as he wiped the tears in his eyes: “My boy’s a grownup now.”
To be continued….