Alarm playing (Ohayō by KENO):
Kimi to kata o kunde kimi to te o tsunaide
My arms around your shoulder, my hand in yours
Koibito dattari tomodachi de itai kara
Because I wanna be your lover, because I wanna be your friend
“Ohayō” tte itte
I tell you “good morning”
Mata yume o misete
And I fall into a dream again
Shizen na sono ikikata de ii kara sa
And I’m fine with that kind of natural way-of-living.
Kichirō woke up at around seven in the morning. He was still sleepy. He tried to reach out for his alarm clock on his right side to switch the alarm off while his hazy eyes were still closed. The morning sun was so radiant, and his eyes were still sensitive since he just woke up. When he tried to grope for the clock, he touched something very peculiar.
He tried to feel it first, then he suddenly realized that it was a face that he was touching! Kichirō opened his eyes for the first time this morning and looked at the person sleeping beside him. He narrowed his eyes and saw a man with a peerless handsome face. He looked down a bit and the man’s pair of tantalizing red lips caught his attention. The man was smacking his lips in his sleep. Deep inside Kichirō, he was contemplating whether he should dive in and have a taste of it, but he shook this thought off of his head.
Realizing who it was, Kichirō opened his eyes wide and exclaimed, “Fudge! It’s Ryū-senpai!” He thought he only dreamed of the scene that had happened last night. It turned out it was for real.
“Keep it down…it’s still early,” Ryū mumbled as he scrunched his face.
Kichirō realized that Ryū had been hugging him all this time. Kichirō did not get the chance to wake him up earlier nor to move to the sofa instead because he was really deep in his sleep. Ryū’s left arm was underneath Kichirō’s nape while his other arm was hugging Kichirō tight. He had his right leg snuggled on top of Kichirō. I can’t move! He was too big and strong for someone like Kichirō, who only stood one hundred and sixty-five.
“Shit! Senpai, wake up! How’d you get in here?!” Kichirō was freaking out.
Bit by bit, Ryū nonchalantly opened his eyes and looked at Kichirō straight in the eyes. His gaze gave Kichirō the feeling that Ryū was looking down on him. “Through the door.”
Three vertical lines were drawn down Kichirō’s temple. He was speechless. After saying that, as if nothing had happened, Ryū flipped to the other side of the bed and continued to sleep.
As if his spirit was pulled back to his body, Kichirō continued to ask, “I know that! I’m asking you why and how you are here in my room. Get it? MY room.” He laid emphasis on the word ‘my’ as he nudged Ryū’s shoulder. He was persistent.
Ryū turned around and responded, “Key. I have it.”
“Why do you have a key to my room? Are you a stalker?! Are you stalking me?!” Kichirō felt like he was being harassed by a man he just met. Mom, I’m sorry. I think I might’ve lost my virginity.
“This used to be my room,” Ryū answered, unconcerned. He yawned, then added, “Only slept. Didn’t do anything.”
How did he make out what I was thinking? Is he psychic?
“I’ll get going then,” Ryū said while he tried to stand up.
When he was about to take one step away from the bed, Kichirō suddenly reached out and tugged on his shirt. Kichirō blurted out, “Did you eat?”
Waaah—! What the heck am I saying?! Kichirō panicked inwardly.
“Moron. I just woke up, right?” Ryū harshly said.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry!” Kichirō begged for forgiveness.
Ryū did not respond and tried to leave again, but Kichirō would not let go. Ryū looked at him as if he had laser eyes.
“Uhm, would you like to eat with me?” Kichirō looked away and shyly offered him to eat breakfast.
Ryū shrugged his shoulders, looking as if he was giving up.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Kichirō said while forcing himself not to smile. He could tell that Ryū had a hangover because he drank last night. Kichirō recalled that he reeked of alcohol yesterday. In fact, even to this moment, Ryū still reeked of alcohol, and for some unknown reason, Kichirō was somewhat drawn to the mixture of its smell with the woody scent of Ryū’s cologne.
Ryū did not say anything in response. Kichirō got up and worked on preparing something to eat for the two of them. He rummaged through the kitchen cupboard and saw a few bowls of instant ramen. While he was preparing their breakfast, Ryū sat on a chair by the dining counter and crossed his arms. Kichirō pouted. Is he a prince? He should’ve offered to help. Never mind. Anyway, I’m the host, so I have to do this myself.
In all honesty, Kichirō did not know how to cook. He did not even know how to fry eggs. If you would open his fridge, you would see nothing but some instant foods, energy drinks, and some leftovers that were about to go bad. In time, cobwebs might soon develop. He was utterly hopeless.
“This is food?” Ryū indifferently said.
“Just eat. Don’t be choosy,” Kichirō said while fishing the soggy instant ramen with his chopsticks. He did his best to cook rice, but it became burnt at some point.
Ryū sighed and said, “Wait here.”
“Okay,” Kichirō agreed while trying to eat the soggy ramen.
“Don’t eat that,” Ryū ordered and took Kichirō’s chopsticks away from him.
“Hey!” Kichirō exclaimed.
Before Kichirō could even continue talking, Ryū opened the door and bolted out of the room.
Almost an hour had passed, yet Kichirō still patiently waited for him. Though he was patient, he was almost at his wit’s end. He was really hungry. Eating was something that he could not delay nor avoid. He was already tempted to eat the cold and soggy ramen in front of him.
“Eat me,” the ramen seemed to have spoken.
Kichirō narrowed his eyes, then rubbed them. “I think I’m starting to hear things.” He was, indeed, hallucinating because of hunger.
He swallowed hard and was about to try eating the ramen when the door to his room suddenly flung open. Ryū came in and at that very moment, Kichirō was about to drink the soup from the bowl.
“I told you not to eat that.” Ryū said.
“Why are you stopping me from eating? This is my room and I’ll do what I want!” Kichirō protested.
“Fine. Eat that. I’ll eat this alone,” Ryū sighed and calmly said.
Kichirō looked at what he was holding in his hands. He had a large tray with two servings of miso soup, stir-fried vegetables, some grilled fish, rice sprinkled with sesame seeds, and some dried nori .
( Nori is an edible seaweed, eaten either fresh or dried in sheets.)
Kichirō was surprised. He tried to maintain a calm face and held on to his pride. He did not say anything, as if he was not interested with the food that Ryū brought. He stood up and got a new pair of chopsticks, then started to eat the soggy ramen. “Itadakimasu .” Kichirō said.
( An expression of gratitude before meals.)
Ryū watched him in the process, then said, “Suit yourself.”
Ryū sat down in front of Kichirō. He took a gulp of the miso soup. At first, Kichirō was swirling the ramen with his chopsticks and pretended to keep himself busy. However, later on, he stealthily stared at Ryū. Ryū, on the other hand, scooped some rice and covered it with nori. He took a mouthful of it with some fish and vegetables. Seeing this made Kichirō swallow hard.
“Here,” Ryū suddenly said. He took the bowl of ramen in front of Kichirō away and then replaced it with the serving he prepared for him.
“Did you really cook this for me?” Kichirō woodenly asked.
“No. For my dog,” Ryū indifferently said while sipping on the tea that he prepared.
Kichirō pursed his lips and said, “You know, Senpai. You’re so mean. But right now, I’ll let this go since you made this nice meal for me,” Kichirō honestly expressed his feelings.
Ryū did not respond and indulged himself in smelling the aroma of the tea. He gave Kichirō his own cup, too.
“I don’t like tea,” Kichirō said. “It’s too bitter for me.”
“Childish,” Ryū said. He stood up and walked out of the room again. When he came back after a minute or two, he had a can of strawberry juice in his hand.
Kichirō’s eyes sparkled. He likes strawberries. Knowing it was for him, he hurried grabbed it from Ryū.
After finishing his meal, Kichirō happily drank the strawberry juice that Ryū got for him. He was so ecstatic because it had been a long time since he ate real food.
“Thank you for the meal! Did you cook this?” Kichirō dimwittedly asked again. Not that he was really stupid, he only wanted to keep the conversation going. He did not like eating in silence.
“No,” Ryū responded. Then he added, “bought it.”
Kichirō did not buy what he said. It was obvious that Ryū prepared the meal himself. Kichirō did not ask any further and just grinned at him.
Unknowingly, Kichirō was starting to reveal his old self again. In the past, he was really friendly and easy to get along with; but after some things that had happened, he started to build a wall around himself, secluding himself from the rest of world.
“My name’s Kichirō, by the way. Kichirō Ishikawa. I’m, err, I’m 18 years old. I’m a Capricorn. My birthday’s on the 24th of December. I want to major in Psychiatric Nursing. I’m originally from Shinjuku, but we moved here to Kyoto a few years ago. This is my Dad’s hometown. Since we live far from school, I decided to stay here at the dormitory. I like sweets. I don’t like anything bitter. Uhm, please take care of me,” Kichirō excitedly introduced myself. “How about you, Senpai?” Kichirō asked.
After saying all of that, Ryū did not respond at all. He finished his own meal, picked up the plates, and placed them back on the tray. He stood up and prepared to leave.
Kichirō looked at him with sad eyes. It seemed that Ryū was not paying attention to what he had said. It could have been much better if he shouted and asked Kichirō to stop talking. That was what Kichirō felt at the moment.
When Ryū was about to open the door and leave, he looked back and said, “You already know my name. Always remember it. I’ll see you again soon.” He opened the door and left.
Kichirō was speechless, but after the door closed, he rejoiced, “Yahoo! I’m friends with a senpai!” His heart fluttered even if Ryū’s response was short. At least now he had made friends with two schoolmates; not to mention, the other one was really popular. Kichirō was so starstruck!