As the other students stood up to leave, Yasu sat behind, waiting for everyone to file out of the classroom.
“Are you coming?” Ohkura asked, pausing to stand beside Yasu’s desk.
Shaking his head quickly, Yasu replied, “I’m a little behind on the math homework so I’m gonna stay for a few minutes and work on it some more.”
Ohkura eyed Yasuda suspiciously and Maru shot the guitarist a warning look. Yasu knew that his behavior was suspicious. Even when he zoned out in class, he was still one of the best students. But right now, Yasu was much more worried about Subaru than he was about Ohkura finding out.
“I’ll catch up with you in a few minutes,” he smiled reassuringly at his friends.
Maru nodded, guiding Ohkura to the door as he mouthed to Yasu, ‘Be careful!’ Yasu cringed a little because Maru had already gone out of his way to help protect Yasu and now he was about to blow that again. But he <i>really</i> needed to talk to Subaru.
Subaru must have sensed that Yasu was trying to get him alone because before Yasu even had a chance to blink, Subaru had gathered his things and was leaving the classroom.
Yasu wanted to call out to him, but he knew that was dangerous, especially with Ohkura nearby and already suspicious. But honestly, it was harder for him to worry about getting caught when he was so preoccupied with Subaru. He waited until the classroom was clear before searching for Subaru. Deciding to check the bathroom first, Yasu opened the door and spotted Subaru almost immediately, standing at the sink.
“Subaru,” Yasu called out, his voice light and breathy and if he stopped to think about it he would probably have been a little embarrassed.
When Subaru looked up, his eyes went wide the moment he recognized Yasuda. “What are you doing here?” Subaru asked nervously.
“Looking for you.” The reply came easily as Yasu closed the door and moved to stand next to Subaru.
“Why?” Subaru asked. “Weren’t we going to stop doing this? Especially after what happened yesterday?”
Yasu frowned. “I just want to talk to you. If someone walks in we’ll pretend we were both just using the bathroom. Relax.” He couldn’t help but notice how nervous his boyfriend was, like Subaru didn’t want to be alone with him, and that made Yasu nervous.
“About what?” Subaru asked, looking away as he washed his hands.
Yasu took note of the way Subaru was blushing and wondered whether or not it was a happy blush or an ashamed one. Either way, Yasu thought as he stared at Subaru, it was extremely cute. “About last night,” Yasu answered finally.
Subaru dropped the bar of soap he’d been holding, his face turning even more red. “What about it?”
“What did you think of it?” Yasu asked, the words spilling out in nervousness. It was the moment of truth. Although he’d been entertaining the idea that Subaru didn’t like it for the last 3 hours and had given himself time to accept the fact, he knew that if that was the case he’d still be heartbroken.
Subaru was silent as he turned off the water and Yasu thought for a moment that Subaru wasn’t going to answer at all so he added, “I mean... was it good?”
Subaru snorted in response and Yasu felt his face redden. “Why would you ask that?” Subaru asked, still not making eye contact with Yasu.
Yasu’s blush just deepened in response. “I don’t know. I was just wondering if you liked it.”
“Why wouldn’t I like it?” Subaru asked, his voice somewhat incredulous. “Has there ever been someone in the history of the world that did that and didn’t like it?”
“I don’t know,” Yasu answered shyly, although he was secretly pleased with Subaru’s response. “It was my first time so I don’t know if it was good,” he explained before quickly adding, “But I want to do it again. If you want me to...”
Subaru looked at Yasu for a few moments, his expression still amazed by everything that Yasu was saying. Yasu also noted how uncomfortable he looked, as though he really didn’t know what to say. Finally, he settled with, “You’re so weird.”
Yasu blushed and giggled. “So that’s a yes?”
Subaru gave a stiff nod, still looking uneasy about the topic.
Yasu grinned, purposely ignoring Subaru’s hesitation in favor of the fact that he liked it and wanted to do it again. “When?” he asked, already excited by the prospect.
Subaru’s face turned the darkest shade of red Yasu had ever seen and the long haired boy mumbled, “I don’t know.”
“Now?” Yasu asked slyly, closing in on Subaru. He wondered where the boldness came from as he cornered Subaru, but he had been thinking all morning about the way Subaru had tasted and looked and sounded, so could he really be blamed for being this horny? Besides, the fact that Subaru liked it made Yasu want to do it even more.
“Now?” Subaru swallowed, backing up as Yasu came closer.
“Yeah,” Yasu nodded. “Don’t you want to?”
By now, Subaru was pressed against the wall of the bathroom, trapped as Yasu came dangerously close. “Not right now,” he croaked nervously. “We’re at school!”
“Everyone is at lunch,” Yasu reminded him. “No one is going to now. I can be fast, I think.”
“Ohkura will come looking for you,” Subaru retorted, his voice taking on a more desperate tone.
Yasu could see that Subaru wasn’t going to give in and he had promised Ohkura that he’d meet him in the lunchroom in a while. “Later then?” he asked, giving Subaru some more space.
Subaru looked relieved as Yasu backed away and he nodded quickly.
“After school then?” Yasu asked, looking for some kind of reassurance that it would happen again, and soon.
“I have to work,” Subaru shot back, almost too quickly for Subaru’s liking.
“Will you be alone at the shop?”
Subaru just stared at Yasu for a moment with a shocked expression. “We can’t do that at the shop!”
“Why not?” Yasu asked and when almost a minute passed with Subaru saying nothing, his frown grew. If Subaru didn’t hate it, then why was he being so resistant? Yasu just wanted Subaru to agree to do it. To <i>want</i> to do it. But getting Subaru to agree to a time and a place was proving impossible and Yasu wondered whether Subaru even really <i>wanted</i> to do it again. “You did it there with Rikiya, didn’t you?”
When Subaru froze, Yasu regretted what he’d said almost immediately. He hated the accusatory tone in his voice and he especially hated the jealousy that was twisting up inside of him. Of course, he’d been curious about how far Subaru had gone with Rikiya. He’d been curious for months. He knew at least that they’d kissed at the shop, and that was already more than he’d ever done with Yasu there.
But he’d never actually had the conversation with Subaru. And maybe, he thought, he was really afraid of knowing. He knew how Subaru felt about Rikiya, and though he said he was fine with all of Subaru’s issues that came along with that, it still <i>hurt</i>. Seeing that sad, pining look on Subaru’s face hurt, and so did the fact that he couldn’t get as close to Subaru as he wanted because there would always be a wall there. As the silence stretched on, Yasu wondered if he should say something because Subaru clearly had no intention of doing so.
Part of him wondered if he should apologize but the other part of him felt strongly that this <i>was</i> his business. Not only was he putting himself on the line, but wasn’t it his <i>right<i> to know Subaru’s sexual history now that they were becoming sexually active themselves?
“Are you going to answer?” Yasu asked as the silent stretched on. When Subaru still didn’t reply, Yasu felt himself growing annoyed. Subaru had been honest and open with Yasu up until this point but that was only because of the effort Yasu had made at getting him to open up. “Okay then,” Yasu replied, annoyed about the entire situation. He didn’t know what to say. “Fine. If you don’t want to talk then I’ll just leave you alone.”
Yasu felt sick as he stormed out of the bathroom and he didn’t know if it was because of the way he’d become so confrontational suddenly or if it was because Rikiya had been brought up. He’d been frustrated by Subaru’s lack of willingness to talk about it, even after everything they’d shared. Yasu knew that it was stupid to bring Rikiya up, but everything in his life seemed to come back to Subaru’s ex-boyfriend.
And now Yasu was left wondering if there would ever be a point in time where he was more important to Subaru than Rikiya. Yasu knew that what Subaru’s heart really wanted was Rikiya. And he also knew that he could never be Rikiya. For Yasu, it <i>hurt</i> that he couldn’t begin to compare to Rikiya. And now, Yasu could help but think that he’d never be good enough.
He was giving Subaru everything. Everything that he wanted and that Rikiya had refused to give him. He was patient and understanding of Subaru, he’d been willing to take it slowly for Subaru. And he didn’t think Subaru had been lying when he said he’d enjoyed what they’d done. So if Yasu was giving Subaru everything he needed emotionally and physically, why couldn’t it be enough? Why was it that Subaru could only think of Rikiya?
By the time Yasu stumbled into the cafeteria, he felt like crying. He knew Maru was watching him with a worried expression and he thought that his face must have been easy to read, so he avoided eye contact and tried to listen to Ohkura’s story as he chewed numbly at his lunch.
“Can I sit here?” a soft feminine voice asked, and Yasu cringed as he immediately recognized it as Ishihara Sara’s. He was about to tell her, politely of course, that he wasn’t in the mood, but when he looked up, he realized she was talking to Maruyama.
“If you want to,” Mary replied coolly and Yasu was a little shocked at the cold tone of his voice.
“I do,” she nodded, pulling out the chair next to Maru.
Maru didn’t reply as he turned his body away from Ishihara as he suddenly became engrossed in the boring story Ohkura was telling about his dinner the night before.
Yasu watched the scene, glad for the distraction from his thoughts about Subaru and the situation he’d found himself in.
“Maru-kun,” Ishihara called, trying to catch the bassist’s attention.
After a few minutes, he turned impatiently, only far enough so that he could look at her from the corner of his eye and answered, “Yeah?”
“What’s your favorite food?” She asked, leaning in to close the distance that Maruyama had created between them.
“Why?” he asked, and again Yasu was taken aback by the iciness to his voice.
“I want to make you a bento for tomorrow,” She answered, completely unfazed by Maru’s efforts to shun her.
Maru didn’t say anything and when Yasu looked around the table he noticed that both Ohkura and Daisuke were watching -- Ohkura with a look of confusion and Daisuke with a look of amusement.
“He likes kara’age,” Daisuke answered when it appeared that Maru had no plans to.
Maru shot Daisuke a look and the youngest member of the band just grinned and shrugged.
“Kara’age,” she nodded and then stood. “I have to go meet with the journalism club, but I’ll talk to you later.” Her farewell was aimed at Maru, but he wasn’t listening so Yasu, Daisuke and Ohkura all waved goodbye.
As soon as Ishihara was gone, Ohkura turned quickly to Maru. “Okay, what is going on?”
“What?” Maru asked innocently although his ears were turning pink in embarrassment.
“Wasn’t Ishihara-san just chasing after Yasu a few days ago?” the drummer asked, his eyebrows shooting up his forehead in confusion.
“People can change their minds!” Yasu interrupted, perhaps a little too defensively. Of course Ohkura would be confused. He had no idea what was happening with Maru and Subaru and Ishihara. To him, it must all look strange, and Yasu’s over-reaction was only making the situation more confusing.
“But why so suddenly?” Ohkura asked, suspicion leaking into his voice. “And why is Maru being so cold when he likes her?”
“I think that’s why she likes me,” Maru began, and Yasu sighed in relief. It seemed that Maru was always saving him from getting caught. “When I chased after her, she didn’t want me. But the minute I started ignoring her, she suddenly decides that she likes me.”
Ohkura seemed to consider this quietly for a few moments, but slowly the confusion left his face only to be left with an exasperated expression. “Girls are so weird!”
The rest of lunch passed quickly and before Yasu knew it, he was already back in the classroom to be greeted by Subaru’s empty seat. Maru seemed to notice this too and as they took their seats, he whispered to Yasu, “What happened with Subaru?”
Yasu just shook his head in response. It was neither the time nor the place to discuss Subaru’s latest reasons for skipping class. Not that it surprised Yasu anymore. Subaru had a way of disappearing anytime things became too awkward or intense between them. At first, this thought only made Yasu angrier with Subaru. When he sat down at his desk, he was intent on not giving it a second thought, but as time stretched on, he began to feel bad.
He knew how Subaru felt about Rikiya. He knew all about it when he began pursuing Subaru. And he knew when he’d gone down on Subaru the night before. So what had he been expecting exactly? That Subaru would give up all of his feelings for Rikiya that easily? He couldn’t blame Subaru for feeling the way that he felt. For wanting what his heart wants. And it certainly wasn’t fair of Yasu to get angry at him for it. All he’d succeeded in doing was making Subaru feel guilty for wanting what his heart wanted. It wasn’t <i>really</i> Subaru’s fault that Yasu was feeling hurt.
Maybe he was stupid for getting involved with someone like Subaru. Maybe this whole time he’d been setting himself up to be hurt. Subaru had <i>never once</i> promised Yasu anything. He’d never promised to forget Rikiya or to love Yasu more.
Any pain Yasu felt at that moment was not because of Subaru, but because of his own expectations.
On the walk home from school, Yasu went the long way, deciding to use the extra time to think more. He needed to apologize to Subaru, to let him know that despite whatever happened he wasn’t ready to abandon what they had. Maybe it would lead nowhere, maybe Subaru would never get over Rikiya... but Yasu was happy with Subaru. When it came down to it, Subaru was the most important person in the world to him and he didn’t want to lose that.
When he rounded the corner and the shop came into view, any calmness he was feeling about the situation disappeared as he spotted Ohkura heading into the shop. His heart sinking into the pit of his stomach, Yasu took off at a run towards the shop. Whatever Ohkura was doing there, couldn’t be good.
By the time he finally made it into the shop, he knew it was already to late to do anything, so he stood, frozen in place as he watched the scene in front of him.
“What is this?” Ohkura asked, his voice shaking. “I knew something suspicious was going on. You and Yasu always seem to be hiding something,” he spoke to Maru. “But I never would have imagined it was this.”
“Whatever you’re thinking, it’s wrong,” Daisuke spoke, trying to calm Ohkura down. Maru looked unable to speak and Subaru looked terrified.
“So what? You were just going to go behind my back and start something with Subaru?” Ohkura asked, his voice full of hate and anger.
“It’s not like they’ve been meeting me in secret,” Subaru finally spoke up. “This was the first time they’ve come here. I swear.”
“I wasn’t talking to you!” Ohkura spat at Subaru. “All you do is lie anyway!”
Subaru shut his mouth then, a hurt expression plastering itself to his face.
That was about as much as Yasu needed to hear though so he finally made his presence known, stepping towards Ohkura. “He’s not lying. Not about this and not about Rikiya. He’s never lied to you but you’ve always been too proud to listen,” Yasu spoke, defending his boyfriend. “If anyone here has been lying, it’s me. I’ve been seeing Subaru this whole time.”
Ohkura’s face switched from confusion, to shock, to disgust and Yasu felt horrible for lying to him but he’d never been ashamed of his relationship with Subaru. He wouldn’t change it or take it back or hide it, so in the end it was Ohkura’s own fault that Yasu ever felt he had to be dishonest.
“Seeing him?” Ohkura asked, finally finding his voice.
Yasu nodded, stepping towards Subaru and taking his hand. “We’re dating.”
Ohkura was shaking with anger and for the first time in his life, Yasu felt really scared of someone. “That’s it,” Ohkura spoke, his voice eerily calm. “Yasu. You’re out of the band.” With that, he turned on his heel and stormed out of the music shop.
End Chapter 16