【Family photographs】

"Ibe-san, Have Max and his family arrived here yet?"

Eiji asked Ibe,looking at his best friend Ash.

"Not yet. I'm afraid they might be stuck in traffic…."

Ibe replied and start checking his single-lens reflex camera which is his work tool.

Ash and Eiji were waiting for Max and his family at the studio which Ibe stays.

"Oh…They are very late! I can't wait anymore!"

Ash complained angrily.

"I'm dead bored already. I really can't take it anymore."

"I think so. But They might come here soon. Wait a little more. You can wait, don't you?"

Eiji said in a calm tone and smiled softly.

That smile on his face reminded Ash of his late older brother whose name is Griffin.

(Griffin…? No, He is Eiji….)

"…Year, I'll wait for them…" Ash mumbled.

"Good." Eiji quietly chuckled.

He glanced at Eiji.

Ash's best friend Eiji and his late older brother Griffin were very different. Even though both of them were older than Ash.

Eiji has black hair and black eyes and baby-face. He is smaller than Ash. so, He looks younger than his age.

On the other hand, Griffin had blond hair and green eyes. He was tall,good-looking,and mature in his age.

Ash sometime felt they have a resemblance, especially their smile and kindness.

(Why did I have such a strange feeling?) He wondered.

Griffin was special person for Ash, Because Ash was brought up by his older brother.

But He was killed by mafia which Ash's rival and was no longer alive.

Everyone in downtown are scared of Ash and called him the "White Devil". But Eiji is not scared of the lonely young gang and In addition, he is staying with him and supported him.

It was strange. but Ash never thought of Eiji as a burden.

"Ash? What's the matter? "

Eiji said with worry.

He didn't give an answer on purpose,Because Ash felt comfortable with his worry.

"…Ash? Are you OK? Is there anything wrong?"

Eiji became more and more concerned about Ash who didn't say anything.

(Whoa…!)

Ash looked him with a devious smile.

"…That's Okay." He said.

***

Max was reconciled with his ex-wife, Jessica and They live in NY with their son, Michael.

Max's friend, Ibe who is cameraman is going to take family photographs for Max and his family, in commemoration of their fresh start.

Eiji came at Ibe's call to work as his assistant.

"…Ibe, I guess I didn't have to come here with Eiji.I can't help you. Did you think so,too? " he mumbled.

"Don't mention about it,Ash. Max told me that his son Michael wanted to meet you. I thought Michael might become happy if you come here with replied.

"Ash,I think so. It's been a long time to meet them.I'm looking forward to meet them! and I'm happy to go out with you!" Eiji said.

He talked happily and smiled to Ash.

"You gotta be kidding. You are childish!"

Ash teased Eiji a grinning way.

"What?" Eiji asked Ash with fierceful stare.

"Ha-ha! You are childish!"Ash laughted.

"What did you say ?" Eiji said with furiously.

"I was just kidding! Because you are funny ha-ha!" Ash burseted in laughter.

Ibe is so surprised when he look at Ash is smiling. (Ash looks different person while he's staying with Eiji.)

He found the innocence and happy side is still in Ash.

Ash rarely smiles and always look cool.

He got injured by grown-ups and because of that he can't trusted them.

Eiji is two years older than He is the only person Ash can trust.

Ash always feels happy when he stays with Eiji.

"Hey Ibe-san, What did you think about?" Ash asked Ibe.

Ibe was upset. (Oh,No・・・What a surprise! Why did he notice that I thought about him ?)

"Oh Nothing... you know, Max comes here! Hey, MAX! Jessica!" Ibe shouted.

Max and his family arrived late from the time of promise.

"Hi guys! I'm sorry to be late, Because traffic was so heavy."Max said.

"Yeah, I understand. You look fabulous" Ibe applied.

and then Jessica entered the room with her son Michael.

"Hi Syunichi(Ibe)!"

"Hi Jessica! How are you?"

"Pretty . and you?"

" you."

and Jessica saw Eiji and said cheerfully.

"Hi Eiji! Long time no see! "

"Hi Everyone! It's been so long! Ash comes here for Michael,too."

"Oh…Ash! You came because you worry about Eiji,didn't you? "

"No! I called Ibe,too!"

"I'm happy to meet you. Michael always heard me when I can meet them. I guess he likes the two of you." Max said.

"Hi, Ash! Hi,Eiji!"

A little boy rushed towards the two boys. His name is Michael.

"Hi,Michael! What's happening?"

"Wassuup, Michael?"

Eiji and Ash said Michael.

"Never been better!" he smiled.

***

They are talking about their life for a long time.

and then shooting for Max family photographs started.

"Max and Jessica, Close to you each other! Michael,Let's chin up. and everyone, smile much more!" Ibe shot photographs.

Max and his family are smiling and they look so happy. and Ash keeps his distance from them and looking silently.

"…"

Ash didn't have any family He ran away to NY, when he was a child.

He looks sad.

Eiji worried about Ash while Ibe is taking photographs. But Eiji couldn't do anything because he worked as Ibe's assistant and he needed to help Ibe.

Finally,The shooting finished. "Good! I took great photographs! I'm looking forward to receive these photographs."

Ibe smiled . Eiji noticed Ibe was tired ,and he said.

"Great Job! I will clean up these camera equipments for you."

"Ei-chan(Eiji), you can clean it up one ,Let's take a break!"

"I see. well・・・I'll prepare some tea for everyone."

"Thanks a lot."

Max and his family feel relax and they are talking with Ash.

Eiji came close to Ibe and asked him.

"Ibe-san"

"What?"

"Ibe-san, Could I ask a favor from you?"

"OH? What is it?" Ibe said.

***

After they drank some coffee and tea, Ibe suggested ash suddenly.

"Hey Ash, Do you take family photographs? I'll shoot some photographs for you." Ibe said.

Ash didn't understand what Ibe said. (Why did he ask that? He knows I left my family….)

"Are you kidding right? I don't have my family." Ash feels bad.

"Ash,You can have family photographs with Ei-chan(Eiji)" Ibe said.

Ash was surprised at the unexpected suggestion.

"With Eiji…?" Ash was confused.

"Good idea! Ash, Let's take family photographs with me!" Eiji said and smiled.

"You are staying with me all the time and You are like a brother to me."

"…" Ash didn't say anything.

"Do you wanna take photographs with Ei-chan(Eiji)? Yes or No?" Ibe asked Ash.

"…Yes." He answered self-consciously.

Then, Ibe started taking family photographs of Ash and Eiji.

When Ash stood beside Eiji, He was little embarrassed but he was happy. He felt bonding to Eiji by ties of friendship and family.

Ash was smiling calmly.

"Hey Max, Look at Ash, He looks happy When Eiji stays with him. It's amazing!"Jessica said.

"Yeah, Eiji is special for Ash. But Ash is like a family for us,isn't he? I want to take photographs with him."

"Sure! Me too!"

"Okay, Take photographs all of us later."

"Yes! That's a good idea!"

Then, Two kinds of family photographs has been on the wall in the apartment which Ash and Eiji photographs lasts for a long period of time.

fin