30 minutes of 'True Love'
"Two orders of 'incest' please."
That was order twelfth from the moment the exclusive establishment opened for the night.
"Four 'orgy' and one 'bestiality'."
That was the thirtieth order within the first hour. To any outsider and the conservative, this was too far a joke even if these were just a few of the special cocktails this establishment offers.
Well, this was not any ordinary establishment after all.
Inamorato. A legit establishment, clean and rather strict when it comes to public behavior. Although this was an exclusive gay bar, one wouldn't find someone getting forced or gangbanged in the middle of the floor. No loud talking and thrashing. No open invitation. No secret rooms. None.
This was where people in search of proper relationships go, people who wanted to socialize and relax after a long and hard day at work. This may not be a very exclusive bar for the rich, but all walks of life can go here. People with proper control within themselves to just enjoy a nice chat, gentle music, and talk about hobbies.
What these people do outside, Inamorato owners couldn't care less. But within their premises, they require people to act like human and not animals.
One of the owners of the bar once said that the reason most people were still off to the likes of them were the unruly and unsightly behavior of some.
Thus, came this establishment.
Initially, an idea from one of the three owners that was just a joke came into form. The names of the special cocktails all the owners only make.
"Hey, has any body ordered 'True Love' tonight yet?" one man in plain white shirt asked. His laidback smile as he asked his companion gave him a very sophisticated air around him. "The one that one of the owners make?"
Blue eyes darted from the person before him, to the man behind a counter at the corner. Dazzling was an understatement. Handsome was not the word. The man there was just plain manly in every sense one almost couldn't find a flaw. To think that he was practically just standing there blowing puffs of smoke around him.
"Usami-san's specialty huh?" the man said with amazement. "Dang it's quite expensive. So much expensive than the rest..."
"I know right? We're all working people but the cost for that cocktail is too high."
The two men smiled on their own. It was like the very own silent yet strong statement of Inamorato that 'true love' was something you could not just get so easily.
Inamorato was founded two years ago. Composed of two men and a woman who had openly stated about their taste that was peculiar to the public. Their establishment had been known through words of mouth and since then, Inamorato had been a quiet haven for some.
Two floors, relaxing and if one wasn't paying attention, one could be deceived that this bar was in Roponggi. Trully, the interior design was topnotch despite the affordable yet quality drinks.
They offer everything within bounds of reasonableness. With the exception of the owners' specialties. The drinks they make had become a very good conversational topic of the many.
"Hey...hey...there he is again."
All heads turned to the opened door. He was short and somewhat thin. Brown hair that looked black in the dim lighting, green eyes the color of mountains in the dark. He was wearing a hoody any high schoolers would wear. Yet everyone knew this kid.
The kid, "Misaki-chan" as what the others call him, bowed a bit and headed straight away to the secluded part of the main counter. He went directly to Usami Akihiko, one of the owners, who was idly smoking with his usual bored face. Among the three owners, he seemed to be the most unsociable one.
To the Inamorato goers, they learned that Misaki just turned nineteen this year. He attends this prestigious university in which one of the Inamorato owners was also a lecturer. The kid's got this funky red sports car he drives. Other than that, he was a mystery.
Hurriedly, the kid sat at one of the stools. Even in the dim, his blushing cheeks were so obvious.
"Good evening Usami-san. 'True Love' please."
The brunette was a regular of this establishment. What was more amazing was that, he was the only one every week on Saturdays, who orders nothing but Usami's "True Love".
"True Love", "Forever", "Against All Odds". Three of the most expensive cocktails in that bar that only a few could lavish into. "True Love" was Usami's personal mix. If one would notice, the price of the cocktails served gets cheaper and cheaper in line with its sincerity, although taste wise, they were all great.
"Incest", "Bestiality", "Orgy", "Slave"...in the dictionary and heirarchy of sincerity, they were the worst. So their prices were also the cheapest. The more sincere the name of the drink is, the more expensive it gets.
It was as if a childish prank of the owners but the bar goers loved the idea. And if they were not in the mood for the special or funny cocktails, they could just go with the regular drinks that every bar in the world probably offers.
"That kid amazes me...'True Love' every week? It costs half my two-week salary! He must be loaded."
Everyone had come to the point that the kid probably was a son of a rich family who had nothing better to do. Everyone had noticed this as well, the boy was as if pursuing one of the owners of the bar, Usami.
With a twitching brow, Usami stubbed his cigarette down. He had cold eyes as he observed his regular customer. The lavender hues didn't look happy. If not for the kid, his Saturdays would be free. It was because not many wanted to order from a man with a scowling face all the time.
"Uhm...can you add more peach to the drink tonight please?"
The man was old enough to know and read signals. Too bad for the kid, Usami liked pursuing, not being pursued.
"I appreciate you ordering my specialty all the time, but why don't you try something else in the house?" the man asked crossing his arms over his chest. "We have 'Promise', 'Secrets', among others."
The boy gazed at the man with unmasked awe. The only thing left was butterflies around. The kid was obviously, very obviously to the point that it was painful to look at, in love with the man.
"I'm fine. I came here for your specialty."
Usami Akihiko sighed as he started preparing the drink. It had very less alcohol content, with a peach flavor and light blue color that stands out in the dim. A color that catches one's eyes, a sparkle that eases one's strains.
The real show though for the others was how Usami Akihiko makes it. It was a show in itself. The graceful movements, the hands carefully making it, serious and sincere.
Like a kid given a piece of candy, the brunette took the glass gently as if it was something so precious. He stared at it for a long while, tilted the glass at different angles, before bringing it to his lips.
"Usami-san...how was your day?" this was a routine question from the boy.
"Fine," and here was the routine answer from the man.
Sometimes the other bar goers couldn't understand. The boy would just smile on his own even though it was obvious that Usami AKihiko wasn't interested in the conversation or at him at all.
But the boy comes anyway, buying the expensive "True Love", drinking it silently in a dreamland of his own.
It only took exactly thirty minutes. As soon as the boy finished his drink, he stood, bowed and walked out of the bar. This was also a strange thing from the boy. He buys one of the most expensive drinks and leaves as soon as he's done. So most of the time, after the kid leaves, he's the favorite topic.
"Oi, oi...your number one fan came..." a tall man came in with his haggard looking suit. "You could at least give him additional service...a smile perhaps?"
Usami Akihiko frowned at his co-owner Miyagi Yo.
"You're so-" Miyagi shook his head and left the man towards the other bar goers to say hello.
"Usami-san, I saw that kid again driving that red sports car. He's got the same model as you right? He must really be some rich kid who's head over heels for you. Why not give him a chance?"
The man with silverhair and lavender hued eyes that looked fine yet scary at the same time shrugged with another cigarette in his hand.
The question came from a table near Usami's spot.
"The kid looked like he still needs his mother's milk. Not interested," was Usami's reply.
"Aww, but teaching a novice is actually kind of fun. He's rich, innocent and pure...what's else to look for. He's kinda cute too."
"Just what do you want me to do with that brat?" Usami gritted. But the bar goers weren't offended. They had somehow become immune with the man's grumpiness.
"I don't like brats like him," Usami said, pausing as he nodded to another regular who orders his personal mix too. "Spoiled brats are a head-ache."
"What?" Miyagi almost shouted from a far corner. "Based on your own personal experience as a child huh 'Young master'?"
Some of the bar goers listening giggled.
"Well...he seems...quite serious to me though," the one who threw the question commented. "Ne?"
The heads around the table nodded in agreement. And Usami was left chain smoking at his spot.
"Misaki-chan" continued coming to Inamorato every Saturday night. It meant four times a week. With only thirty minutes per stay. It was always like this. Spring has ended. Summer had come to pass. Autumn was saying its farewell. And finally, Winter took the center stage.
That second Saturday of December, the bar was as usual fully-packed. Many office workers were complaining about how much trouble the cold brings especially when waking up in the mornings. Some talked about their cars bumping to someone else's because the road was too slippery.
It was the regular chattings and laidback atmosphere of the bar. Even that "Misaki-chan" was there as usual drinking his 'True Love' silently.
But that Saturday night was different. The kid wasn't smiling. He wasn't even bothering to make any conversation at all. And the regulars who'd known Misaki were kind of troubled by it.
"Misaki-chan doesn't look good, does he?" a bulky man asked, yet he was wearing make-ups and a tight fitting dress. No one talks him off about this though. They had all the freedom there as long as they knew how to carry themselves. "He's so quiet..."
"He's like he's moping about something."
"What else could he be moping about with that face?" the bulky man queried. "It's seriously about the poker-faced man standing behind the counter. Tsk, tsk..."
The sound of ice hitting the bottom of the glass was indeed louder this time. It was as if the brunette there decidedly gulped down the last parts of his drink before putting the glass on the cold and smooth surface before him.
"Uhm...Usami-san..." the boy started with that feeble voice. "Uhm..."
The whole bar somehow had fallen silent. After all, they had come to like the kid, more over, they've started rooting for him as well. In addition to that, their "Misaki-chan" sounded serious.
"What?" Usami almost barked. "Say it already."
Misaki gave a disappointed smile as he alternatingly clasped his hands on the counter. He looked down, as if he was searching something that wasn't even there.
"I...may not be able to come here for a very long time."
Everyone was just in silence.
From the table nearest to the two up the farthest table. Silence and more silence. Even the gentle background music seemed to have been swallowed up by the awed silence that bar goers had that time.
But to everyone's dismay, Usami only nodded.
Misaki stood from his stool and gave a deep bow. It was painful to look at. The kid practically almost revered that Inamorato owner but it was of no effect.
"Usami-san...I really enjoyed 'True Love'. Thank you. I'll come back...when I can..."
"Can..." Misaki forced a grin that he looked really stupid. "Can I shake hands with you?"
Those closest to the two seemed like they were about to cry. Just what on Earth will make that poker-faced Inamorato owner feel something? He was so numb he could not get any number than that.
Usami stared at the kid for a long while. He didn't move at all which made Misaki think that he'd been ignored.
Right after Misaki had taken a step away, with everyone's eyes growing wide, Usami extended a hand over the counter.
The kid looked at it as if unbelieving. The people who could see the simple gesture made them fuzzy in the chest.
Green eyes wandered from the huge, pretty hand towards the cold face. Usami was still as expressionless as usual but his hand there waiting was enough.
"Thank you..." Misaki choked.
The boy looked like he was about to cry. But he didn't. He only had glimmering eyes as he clasped both his much smaller hands hesitantly to the one extended to him. He grasped it firmly. He held it just like that. He lingered and savored the feel and the heat.
Then Misaki smiled. And then he let go.
A lost customer didn't really count much in such a successful establishment. Business still went on regularly. Customers flocked in and out with happy smiles and content expressions on their faces.
But all of the regulars had one thing in common. They would unconsciously glance at the high stool that a certain young man had always occupied. Now it was Saturday night again and it was vacant.
"Something feels wrong at that spot..."
A group of office workers would throw anxious glances over the spot where Usami Akihiko was smoking alone on his own. At this time, particulary this Saturday night, there should have been a sheepishly smiling kid enjoying his drink. Now there was something missing.
"I actually hoped he would still show-up tonight, but I guess he was serious when he said that last week."
"Maybe family business?"
"Right. It's normal for them to change places..."
A smoking man with black hair and a pissed off expression walked over to Usami. He threw a white cloth to the counter, exageratedly dragged his smoke and glared at the silverhaired man.
"Usami, that spot looks lonely without the chibi," the man then sighed. "He was even the only courageous one to come to you...with that face of yours, people think you could be poisoning them as you make that mix."
The silverhaired man blew his smoke right at the newcomer's face without qualms. Two of the owners were heavy smokers as it seemed.
"Go mind your fans over there Miyagi."
Miyagi gave an even more annoyed smile. "By the way, will you be taking a ride in my car again?"
Usami Akihiko brought his car to the repairshop after some drunk accidentally bumped into his. Usami only went out of the car to buy some cigarettes from a convenience store. When he returned, the back of his car had been flattened.
Luckily, no one was hurt. But Usami's precious car did suffer a lot. And to commute in the wee hours of the morning with snow on top of his head wasn't so appealing.
Usami sighed as if the thought was depressing even to him. "This is the last time. The damage to my car was quite serious but I can get it tomorrow."
Miyagi Yo nodded with 'pleased' all over his face.
"I'm going to drop by somewhere. That okay?"
Unlike some of the usual bars which were open until early mornings, Inamorato closes at exactly 2 am. It was because the customers were working people who had to get up early the next day.
Usami Akihiko and Miyagi Yo both headed to a bluish, black car at the parking lot. They didn't talk to each other and just went on getting in, closing the car doors and settling in.
Both the men had tugged at their scarfs around their necks. It was unusually cold. This winter was definitely colder than usual. Tiny specks of snow started falling down, slightly swaying, as if a teasing dance to the eyes before reaching the ground.
Miyagi had swiftly maneuvered the car off the parking lot and down the main road. The sound of snow crunching under wheels was nowhere but they could hear it in their minds.
"Please...let the snow fall romantically like this with a cute sort of an angel...not with the Arctic King himself," Miyagi grumbled, fumbling another cigarette into his mouth to keep it busy.
The 'Arctic King' though, instead of sitting at the passenger's seat found his spot at the back, enjoying the shadows and the dark and the distance from the driver of the car.
"You make it sound like I enjoy it here."
"Damn you Usami. I drive your ass home and you tell me that?"
"You started it."
Both men smiled in the end. In their own subtle ways, they're weirdly friends.
Usami noticed that the road Miyagi was taking was unfamiliar. They were going somehow southbound. The huge and tall buildings started fading in sight. Replaced by a somewhat frozen in time neighborhood, houses built within the Showa Period or even earlier were there.
It was strange to see the dark sky with not much of an obstruction. Plus the soft snow dancing with the slightest breeze gave it a 'magical' feel to it. It's been so long since Usami had given way to a childish thought.
The car suddenly halted. It made Usami who was staring at the sky look down and back to the driver of the car.
"I told you I wanted to come by somewhere right?" Miyagi asked, looking at Usami through the rearview mirror. "We're here. I've something to show you."
Usami gave a frown as he adjusted himself on the seat.
"Show me what? At this time?'
Miyagi gave an annoying smirk as he cocked his head to the right. As if signalling the other man to look that way.
With a totally uninterested gaze, Usami slowly looked to the direction Miyagi was pertaining to. Behind the heavily tinted car window, the silverhaired man could only see deserted streets of the neighborhood. A black cat passed by, ignoring the cold, as if enjoying its nightly stroll.
In the somewhat dim neighborhood, there was a spot that was unsually brighter than the rest. From what Usami could gather from a bunch of guys and girls sitting on a railing smoking cigarettes and laughing and joking around, it was a convenience store.
There was really nothing much to see. It was a scene he would see anywhere in Tokyo at that time.
Not until someone from the convenience store came out.
Usami's eyes showed recognition.
With a bowed head, the thin figure clad in thick clothing that it looked so comical came out. He had brown hair highlighted from the lamp posts. But he kept on looking down as he was hugging bulky garbage bags.
The brunette walked towards Miyagi's car. Every step he made, made his tired face visible. Drowsiness was also obvious in his green eyes. The puff of his breath came and faded before him. And his heavy, dragging steps looked like he had iron balls tied around his ankles.
Usami Akihiko stared hard. He thought the boy was coming right at them.
But "Misaki-chan" just passed them by. It didn't take long for Usami to notice that the kid just placed 'recyclable' garbage down to the area where the collectors would take it early that day.
Once done, the boy rubbed his hands together, blowing his own breath against his freezing hands.
Hugging himself, the boy walked the same way he did earlier. Passing by Usami Akihiko with no idea at all.
"His shift ends at three am," Miyagi said, eyes at the convenience store where the young man had just entered. "He'd then go home and wake up at six."
Usami had no idea what this was about. Why a kid who drives an expensive car and buys expensive cocktail drinks was there, thinning and weary.
"At seven-thirty, he'd be at the university if there were classes," Miyagi continued. "And by one pm, he'd be at a small ramen house working. At six, he'd be working his bones at a construction site. At eleven, he'd rush to this convenience store to complete his shift."
The silverhaired man was for some reason had been reduced to the edge of his seat.
Miyagi sighed. "Yet his pay just wouldn't still be enough to buy that thirty-minutes of your time every Saturday like this."
"Well if he forgets eating and other expenses, maybe he'd be able to go and sit warmly on that high stool again."
Usami gave an impatient grunt.
"Usami...did it ever come from the chibi's lips that he's a loaded kid like everyone had presumed him to be?"
No. Not ever.
chapter end notes:
hi there you guys! hope you enjoyed the idea. guess it's kind of light right? hahaha considering what i've been coming up with lately! LoL
have a great day!