"It's all good, Jen. You can do this. Just go up and say it. Just say: 'Takato, I love you!'" Jenrya muttered to himself, gently slapping himself across the face to psyche himself up. It was finally time for him to confess his love for Takato.
It was the beginning of first period, and Takato was sitting at his desk, playing with his Digimon cards, and Jenrya was watching him from behind the edge of the classroom door. The bluenette took one more deep breathe before he could finally walk into the room and slowly make his way to Takato's desk.
Until this day, Jenrya was terrified at the idea that he would confess to Takato and get shot down, but thanks to Ruki's talk yesterday, Jenrya was no longer afraid of that outcome. He knew that Takato was bisexual, and that he was, at the very least, attracted to him. So, even if Takato rejected him, he would take it knowing that he just wasn't meant to be with Takato.
But, on the off chance Takato did want to be with him, he was prepared. He took extra time in the shower this morning, making sure that he smelled and looked clean – much to the annoyance of his siblings – he practiced what he was going to say the night before, and for extra measure he picked up a rose on his way to school and tucked it inside of his uniform pocket. Not only was it a symbol of his love for Takato, but also, as an added bonus, the rose happened to be Takato's favourite flower.
After what seemed like forever, Jenrya finally made it to be standing in front of Takato's desk. Takato looked up from his cards and smiled at him. "Hey, Jen-kun, what's up?" Takato greeted him. "Did you need something? Everyone is going to get called down to the gym in a minute to announce who won the raffle, so you should make it fast," he explained, picking up his cards and placing them back in the deck box before placing the box in his backpack.
Jenrya nodded nervously. "Y-Yes, I do, Takato-kun…" he stuttered, feeling his knees beginning to give way. However, he wasn't going to let them. This was the moment that would decide his relationship with Takato for the rest of his life, and he was going to confess to that adorable little brunette if it killed him!
Jenrya placed his hands over the desk, partially to keep himself balanced, but mostly because his hands were now overlapping Takato's and their faces were only a few inches away. Jenrya could feel his cheeks beginning to grow red as his looked into the crimson pupils of his best friend-and-crush, but he pushed it aside. A few of the other kids in the classroom noticed Jenrya's actions and watched closely, as most of them had already guessed what he was doing, because it was pretty obvious that Jenrya loved Takato and a lot of students had been waiting for this moment.
"I-I wanted to say this for a long… long time, Takato-kun…" Jenrya said nervously, ignoring that some of the yaoi-obsessed kids in the background were watching their every move and trying not to squeal. "What I mean is… Takato, I-"
However, just as the word 'love' was about to be uttered, the principal's voice could be heard all over the school through the PA-system. "Attention, students. Please make your way to the gym. We are ready to announce who won the raffle for the all-expense-paid dinner at Subarashii Ryorii. Again, all students make your way to the gymnasium."
The hustle and bustle of the students stampeding out of their classrooms and towards the gymnasium had completely shattered the moment that Jenrya had spent so much time and effort preparing himself for, and quite frankly it had left him utterly shell shocked. 'YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!' he screamed in his head.
Takato stood up from his desk. "Sorry, Jen-kun, we'll have to pick this up some other time. I'll save you a seat in the gym," he said, following the flood of students before him, and leaving a stunned Jenrya standing in the classroom, alone and a little depressed.
Jenrya sighed. "Of course, the one time I finally get up the courage to say I love Takato, the moment shatters…" he said in a rather annoyed voice. He quickly regained his composure and dashed out the door in hopes of catching up with Takato.
The students all made their way to the gymnasium and took their seats in the chairs provided, facing forward to see the school's principle, Mr. Morikawa, who was standing at a wooden podium in front of everyone. Jenrya and Takato found a pair of seats near their friends and sat in them, side by side. Jenrya was sitting between Takato and Ruki, Ryou was beside her, and Kenta was sitting cradled in Hirokazu's arms in the back, next to Juri.
Ruki tapped Jenrya on the shoulder, turning his head to look at her. "So, what happened with you and goggles?" she whispered. "You didn't chicken out did you?"
Jenrya shook his head. "No, I was gonna do it, but the stupid announcement cut me off before I could finish," he muttered bitterly. "I'm gonna do it now, wish me luck, Ruki."
Ruki grinned, giving him a thumbs-up. "Good luck, I'm rootin' for you."
After Ruki turned back to face forward, Jenrya spun himself so he was looking at Takato. The brunette looked a little nervous, which was understandable because he was about to be called up in front of the entire school. To be honest, Jenrya was just as nervous, but he had to get over it if he wanted to confess to Takato before the latter was called up. That way, if their feelings were mutual, Takato would be thinking of Jenrya the whole time. He couldn't stop the date at this point, but he'd be content with just that.
Jenrya placed a hand on Takato's lap, making the brunette jump slightly and face him. "Takato-kun, about what we were talking about a minute ago…"
"Can't this wait, Jen-kun?" Takato asked. "Mr. Morikawa is gonna call me up soon."
Jenrya shook his head, giving Takato a stern look. "No, Takato-kun, it can't wait. I have to tell you this now! I have to tell you that… that I love-"
"Alright, students, now that we're all here I can finally announce who the lucky winners of our raffle contest are," Mr. Morikawa announced, speaking through the microphone attached to the podium.
Jenrya felt like he could punch a wall. This was the second time that Mr. Morikawa had cut his confession short and right now he was getting really pissed with that guy. But, unless he wanted to be expelled from school for knocking the teeth out of the principle for simply interfering with his love life, he had to behave and just wait until after the students who won were called up. "I'll tell you after, Takato-kun…"
"Now, as I'm sure you all know, our school district has generously donated a voucher for two students to dine at the restaurant Subarashii Ryorii, and we have decided to use the ticket sales from the football game as a way to determine fairly who will go. I will call the winners up one at a time, and hand them special plastic bracelets that will show the waiters at Subarashii Ryorii that you are the winners. Let's start with the winner of the boys' draw…"
Jenrya rolled his eyes. Now, he was going to have to wait for Takato to be all giddy about going to one of the best and most expensive restaurants in town, and let Takato get all flustered about what girl he was going with before he could say he loved –
"Congratulations, Jenrya Lee."
Jenrya and Takato jumped out of their chairs, simultaneously screaming "SAY WHAT?!" at the top of their lungs. The others either gasped or simply let their jaws practically hit their laps. The group was too shocked to even notice the crowd of kids clapping for Jenrya.
"Jen-kun… did he just say… your name?" Takato asked, stunned by what his ears had just heard.
Jenrya nodded slowly. "Uh huh…"
"Well, Jenrya-kun, please come forward and collect your bracelet," Mr. Morikawa asked, holding up a blue-coloured plastic strap.
Jenrya shuffled through the crowd of teenagers as he made his way to the podium, all the while looking back at Takato, who looked like someone had just shot his puppy. Takato had been looking forward to winning this dinner all week, and to watch it taken away – by his best friend no less – must be pretty hard to take.
Ruki couldn't help but notice that Ryou was less shocked, and more excited by this little surprise. Some might say he was giddy – other than Ruki, of course, because she couldn't even say the word 'Giddy' without throwing up. She reached to her left and grabbed Ryou by the tie. "Alright, Akiyama, spill it! What the hell did you do?" she asked angrily.
Ryou simply smirked, waving his finger around as if he was talking to a child. "Ah, ah, ah… what do we say when we want something, Ruki-chan?"
Ruki could feel a blood vessel in her forehead pulsing with annoyance. "Tell. Me. Or. Die!" she muttered. "My 'Akiyama-is-being-an-ass' radar has been blaring all week, so tell me what you did, or, so help me, I'll castrate you with a rusty spoon!"
Ryou flinched, a bead of sweat rolling down his face. Ruki was constantly threatening to castrate him whenever she was annoyed at him, but this time she seemed especially pissed. He could even see that 'You're dead meat, Akiyama!' look in her eye, which meant she might very well kill him. "W-Well, since you asked so nicely… Let's just say that you'll find out in about a minute," he squeaked out in a high voice.
Ruki let out a short growl before she let go of Ryou's tie, causing Ryou to fall back into his chair. "Whatever this is, I'll bet this won't be good – for Jen or Takato!" she said, somewhat worriedly. Ryou gulped, suddenly fearing for his life.
Jenrya was trying to make sense of the situation both he and Takato were in. Takato was supposed to have won the boys' draw for the dinner, not him. He even got a confirmation call from the school to prove it. So the fact he had been called up instead was confusing him to no end. When he reached the podium, the principle began tying the wristband to his wrist.
"I must apologize, Jenrya-kun," Mr. Morikawa said suddenly, earning him an even more confused look from Jenrya. "I meant to call the boys' winner as well, but since you only wrote down six digits of your phone number, we couldn't call you." He pulled out a blue ticket from his jacket pocket – Jenrya's ticket – and showed it to Jenrya.
Jenrya took the ticket in his hands, sweat-dropping once he realized he forgot to put in the seventh digit. "Oh… well, that's a little embarrassing…" he muttered, blushing slightly. Then, something in Mr. Morikawa's words caught his attention, and made every ounce of color in his face begin to drain out. "Wait, what do you mean by 'as well?' Who else did you call?"
"The winner of the girl's draw, obviously, who else could it be?" Mr. Morikawa asked, a little sarcastically. "Speaking of which…" He turned around, leaning into the microphone. "I will now announce the winner of the girls' draw."
Jenrya smacked his forehead. This couldn't possibly be Takato, could it? Takato was a bit girly, but at least he has the common sense to differentiate the blue and pink tickets and what genders they represent. He wasn't so clueless that he wouldn't be able to tell that pink tickets were for-
"Congratulations, Takako Matsuda!"
And there went Jenrya's hope… and Takato's dignity…
Takato's entire face grew a vivid red as he stood up from his chair and made his way towards the principle and Jenrya, all the while listening to practically half the school laughing at him. Never in his life had he been so embarrassed since the 'girl's uniform' incident. He was barely considered a boy as it was, and with this, he may as well wear a skirt for the rest of his life.
Jenrya couldn't believe what was happening. Takato filled out a girl's ticket for the raffle. He snatched the ticket from Mr. Morikawa's hand and read it over, feeling like driving a punch into the latter's head when he saw it. The principle was over sixty years old, and because of that, his eyes had mistaken the katakana symbol 'To' with the symbol 'Ko.' Even though he knew it wasn't entirely Mr. Morikawa's fault, he still felt like kicking his ass.
When Takato had made it to the front of the crowd, he looked like he was about to cry as he tried to explain the situation. "Uh, Mr. Morikawa… my name is 'Takato'… not 'Takako,'" he said, holding his hand up in a soft fist near his mouth in a rather submissive pose. While Jenrya would normally find this pose irresistible and turn to mush over it, he was more focused on the fact that Takato would probably be scared for life over this.
Mr. Morikawa took back the ticket and took a closer look at it, realizing his mistake. "Oh, my bad… My apologies, Takato-san. Say… why are you wearing a boys' uniform? You are a girl aren't you?"
The crowd lost it after that. Ryou, Hirokazu and Kenta all tried not to laugh, but it proved to be challenging. The fact that even off paper, Takato was still confused for a girl was more than enough to make almost every kid in the room burst into rounds of laughter. Also, just as the volume of laughter increase, so did Ruki's rage towards Ryou. Even Juri was getting a bit angry at Ryou for this. The redhead had lifted the man up by the tie once more and glared daggers into his eyes.
"You idiot! This is what you did? You planned for Takato be humiliated in front of the entire school?!" she screamed.
Ryou turned white as a sheet, and not just from the lack of oxygen getting to his brain. "N-No! I didn't plan on Takato's ticket getting pulled, I swear!" he uttered fearfully. "I was gonna tell Takato that he signed a girls' ticket after the draw, and that way we could have a good laugh about it! You know, ha ha, funny? It was supposed to be a joke, I never dreamed Takato would – GAH!" he screamed, slipping his tie out of Ruki's grasp and dodging the punch that was aimed at him.
Ruki looked more pissed at Ryou than ever before. "This is your idea of a joke? I can't believe you would be so stupid to even risk what little manly pride Takato has left in him, just for a joke! I've been pissed at you before, but this time takes the cake! I'm gonna freakin' kill you, Akiyama!" Fearing for his life, Ryou jumped out of his chair and started running around the gym, Ruki closely following
Aside from Ruki's death-threats, the gymnasium was loud with laughter snickering, giggling, and shouting. There were people jumping out of their seats and shouting things such as "I knew it! Takako-chan is a girl!" or "Take off your pants and go put on a skirt, Takako-chan!" while everyone else in the room shouted out rounds of "Ta-Ka-Ko! Ta-Ka-Ko!"
Jenrya felt like a rock had hit the pit of his stomach as he watched Takato shed tears of sorrow and humiliation. Takato kept trying to choke out a response, but it was like his mouth had forgotten how to speak. The only thing audible that came out was "I-I'm… a guy! I'm… no-not a… a girl!" After this, he sunk to his knees and sobbed loudly, like a young child that wanted candy but their parents said 'no'. He let so many tears hit the floor that Jenrya was sure Takato might flood the gym.
He'd had enough. Jenrya was not going to take the fact that the man he loved was lying on the floor, bawling his eyes out while the rest of the gym was making fun of him. Takato didn't do anything to deserve this, and he was going to put a stop to it, no matter what.
In one fell swoop, Jenrya had managed to grab Takato by the wrist, pull him to his feet, wrap each arm around his waist and the back of his head and pulled the brunette in for a heated, impassioned kiss on the lips, stunning everyone in the room. Even Ruki stopped running after Ryou long enough to let her jaw drop slightly at the spectacle. Never, in her entire life, did Ruki expect Jenrya to be so bold as to kiss Takato in front of everyone in the entire school. She couldn't help be slightly impressed and a little bit proud of Jenrya for that little stunt. Not enough to let Ryou off the hook for causing all of this, though. And Ryou was aware of this, which was why he was trying just to stay perfectly still and not get Ruki anymore pissed than she already was.
Takato didn't know what was happening to him. One minute ago, all he wanted was to crawl in a hole and die, but the second Jenrya's lips connected with his, he felt like every little problem in the world had just disappeared. He felt so safe and secure, being held in Jenrya's firm but gentle arms. He always felt this way whenever Jenrya was close by. He loved this feeling more than anything in the world. He loved being… close to Jenrya…
After a minute, Jenrya and Takato came up for air, panting slightly as they regained the air in their lungs. Once they he had enough air to say what he was about to, Jenrya reached into his jacket and pulled out the rose, placing it gently into Takato's hands. He looked Takato in the eye, smiling. "Takato, if I don't say this now, I may never say it at all… I love you. That's right, I love you, Takato Matsuda," he said, feeling as though the world had been lifted from his shoulders.
Everyone in the gymnasium, Takato included, couldn't help but gasp. "Jen-kun…" he said, shyly, looking at the rose in his hand, inhaling the sweet scent of his favourite flower.
Without any warning, Jenrya released Takato from his arms and punched a gaping hole in the middle of Mr. Morikawa's podium, listening as the crowd let out a small shriek and nearly jumped out of their seats. "And if I ever catch anyone making fun of Takato, so help me, I'll send you straight to a hospital! Takato Matsuda is a boy – the most wonderful, thoughtful, creative, and amazing boy I know – and anyone that says otherwise is gonna pay! I swear I'll beat the crap outta the first person that so much as makes Takato frown! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!" he screamed, more angrily than ever before.
The audience was stunned; mostly by fear, but also from the sheer bravery it must have taken for Jenrya to admit his feelings for Takato and threaten to protect him in front of the entire school. No one could help but be impressed by the display.
Mr. Morikawa, trying not to wet himself out of fear, cleared his throat with a cough, and leaned into the microphone. "U-Um… I would like to recommend th-that… Takato-kun… goes with Jenrya-kun to Subarashii Ryorii…" he said, putting emphasis on the '-kun' to make sure not to upset Jenrya any further. "A-Are there any objections?" Not a single person made a sound, for the same reason Mr. Morikawa was so nervous: Jenrya. "Then, Takato Matsuda and Jenrya Lee are the lucky winners of our raffle. Let's give them a round of applause."
Everyone began clapping for Takato and Jenrya. Juri and the others clapped the loudest, shouting their praise at them:
"I'm so happy for you guys!" said Juri.
"Have fun you two!" said Kenta.
"I wish it was me, but I'm ok with it being you!" said Hirokazu.
Sadly enough, Juri and Kenta knew Hirokazu so well that this was pretty much what they expected him to say; a praise with a bit of envy. It wasn't a bad reaction, it was just… Hirokazu. That's the only way to describe it.
Jenrya was glad that the audience had bought his little stunt. Not only was Takato now safe, but he was glad to have finally confessed to Takato. Of course, he'd preferred the circumstances to be a little more private… but, he knew that just admitting his feelings to Takato was enough for him.
The bluenette glanced over his shoulder at Takato. The latter was smiling gratefully at him, and grasping the rose softly in his palm, holding it up against his chest. He could see the look in his eyes. It was the look that said "Thank you, Jen-kun…"
Once Mr. Morikawa announced that students should return to their classes, Jenrya pulled Takato to the side, out of hearing range from the other kids that were on their way out of the gym. Takato was thanking him over and over again for what he did, not that he could blame him.
"Jen-kun, I can't thank you enough! I can't believe you did that! Is your hand ok? You didn't hurt it did you?" Takato kept rambling on until Jenrya gripped him by both wrists, looking deep into his eyes.
"Takato, I'm fine," he stated. "And I was glad to do it. You're my best friend, Takato-kun. I'd do anything for you… anything…" He started to blush as he gazed into Takato's beautiful crimson eyes.
Takato began to blush as well. "So… um, what you said back there… did you mean it? Do you… love me?" he asked.
Jenrya looked down, shyly, shuffling his feet across the floor. "Yeah… I do. I love you, Takato-kun. I love you more than anything… Whenever I'm around you, I just want to run up and hold you in my arms, and never let you go. The look of pure innocence in your eyes makes my heart ache. And… and, I'm absolutely crazy about you, Takato-kun… So, what do you think of me?"
Takato assumed the same pose of looking down at the floor. "Well, I really don't know…" he said. "I mean, yeah, you're my best friend, Jen-kun. You're always there for me whenever I need you, you make me feel so safe and secure when you're around, and to top it off… what you just did, no one will ever be able to top what you did for me today. It'll be something I'll remember as long I live… and I don't mean just because I was nearly labeled as a girl for the rest of high school." Neither boy could help but chuckle. The situation, now that it was over, was, admittedly, pretty funny. "On the other hand… I don't know what it's like to be in love. It might just be some mixed feelings I have for you, and not love. If we did start a relationship, and I find out I don't like you, it'll probably end up like with Juri…"
Jenrya placed his hands over Takato's shoulders, drawing Takato's attention back to his face. "Takato-kun, if that happens, it won't change our friendship," he said sternly, still giving the boy he loved a warm smile. "The fact that we're best friends will never change. Whether it's us being a couple or not, I'll always be your friend, and that's a promise. I'll always be here for you, Takato-kun… I love you."
Takato's cheeks grew even redder. "J-Jen-kun…"
Jenrya held out one of his hands. "So, what do you say?" he asked. "Will you let me call you 'Takato-chan'?"
Takato flinched. That was the first time he'd ever heard anyone use '-chan' in his name, and not using the word "Takako" or "Taka" before it… It felt nice to hear it being said sincerely.
Takato cleared his throat. "Only under one condition…" he said, giving Jenrya a serious look. "…Only if you let me call you 'Jen-chan'!"
Jenrya smiled so widely that he was worried his face would break in two. He wrapped both arms around Takato and pulled him in for a tight embrace. "I-It's a deal!" he stuttered. "From now on, I'll be your 'Jen-chan' and you'll be my 'Takato-chan'!"
"G-Great…" Takato said in a happy, but strained voice. Jenrya's bear hug was cutting off the flow of oxygen to his lungs. "Room… getting… darker…" he mumbled, turning a slight blue color.
Jenrya flinched, quickly letting go of Takato and allowing his friend to breathe. "S-Sorry, Takato-chan, guess I don't know my own strength."
Takato coughed a few times, but laughed right after. "That's ok… Jen-chan," he choked out.
The brunette looked lovingly into the eyes of his new lover, and the latter smiled back. The two shared one more kiss and straightened themselves out, making several yaoi fans say "Awe!" as they exited the gym.
It didn't take long for Ruki and the others to show up to congratulate them. While they praised Jenrya and Takato, they also couldn't help but poke fun at the circumstances that led up to their relationship. Kenta promised to help Takato look for a wedding dress when the time arose, Juri said she'd do his make-up, and Hirokazu promised to get him the best male stripper he could find. No one meant any harm, they were just teasing them a little. The funniest part of the conversation was when Ruki said to Jenrya that she'd be his best man. That had everyone laughing like hyenas.
"Alright, everyone, let's get back to class," Juri suggested. The brunette girl couldn't help but smirk suddenly. "We can help Takato pick out a dress later, ha ha! I'm sorry, Takato, but this is just too much not to make fun of, even for me!"
Takato laughed back, though that didn't hide his reddening face and awkward. "I-It's fine, Juri. I'd probably be making jokes at myself, too. See you guys at lunch." Juri, Hirokazu and Kenta left everyone else and headed to class, telling a few discreet jokes about Takato on the way.
Ryou decided to see if his life was up and turned to Ruki. "So… Ruki-sama…" he said nervously, hoping the '-sama' would help soften her up, even just a bit. "Jen and Takato seem happy, and with Jen's warning I doubt anyone will mess with Takato, so…"
Ruki smirked. "Don't think I'm letting you off the hook so easily, Akiyama."
Ryou sighed in defeat. "Can you at least give me a day to make out my will before you murder me?" he begged. "Or better yet, let me get someone drunk enough to carry my child? At least my genes will live on that way…"
Ruki tapped her foot, thinking about how she could milk Ryou for all he was worth and get revenge for his little joke all in one. Suddenly, the perfect idea came to her. "Tell you what, Akiyama: I'll let you live – and let you keep the opportunity to have children – if you treat me to dinner at Subarashii Ryorii."
Ryou did a double-take, trying to make sure he heard Ruki correctly. "D-Did… Did you just ask me on a date?"
Ruki's smirk turned into a vicious glare, clenching her hand into a fist. "Just for that, you're buying me dessert, too. You can pay with your money or with your life, take it or leave it."
Ryou flinched. "Th-The first one! Dinner and dessert it is! My treat!"
Ruki regained her smirk and headed off to class. "Then we'll both meet at Subarashii Ryorii on the same night as Jen and Goggles. Make sure you're wallet's stuffed, because by the end of dessert, I'll be, too. Later, Dumbass."
Ryou watched Ruki walking away, trying to process the fact that Ruki had, for all intents and purposes, asked him on a date. "I… I can't believe I have a date… with Ruki," he muttered. "I figured she'd kill me, take my wallet, and go by herself, but no…" He couldn't help but smile a little. "Maybe this means Ruki likes me more than I thought…"
Jenrya pulled his cellphone out from his pocket and began tapping at the screen. "Don't be so sure, Ryou-kun. I'm pretty sure she's just dragging you there to see the look on your face when you see the menu…" he stated. He held the screen of his cellphone up to Ryou's face, which had an online version of Subarashii Ryorii's menu, as well as the prices.
One look at the screen and Ryou felt like his wallet had just had a heart attack. "Holy shit! I'll be broke before the salad even gets to the table! …Oh man, 12,000 yen for a freakin' lobster?! Ruki loves lobster! She'll probably order every lobster they have just to make me broke!" The older brunette sunk to his knees in sadness, threatening to let more tears fall from his eyes than Takato did earlier. "DAMN YOU, SUBARASHII RYORII AND YOUR FREAKISHLY HIGH PRICES!" he screamed, continuing to flood the gymnasium with his tears. Takato and Jenrya quickly made their way back to class – holding hands all the while – leaving the crying mess, formerly known as Ryou Akiyama, behind.