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Chapter 6 – Thanks for the memories
Slowly making his way through the crowd, Misaki looked around to spot that familiar silvery hair, but he was out of luck. A soft sigh of disappointment left his lips; he had hoped that Akihiko had returned to listen to him again. Realizing how selfish his thoughts were, he tried to block it out, but the sadness remained.
"Maybe…he doesn't need me to comfort him anymore," the teen whispered to himself, gazing at an empty red seat in the distance. Since most of the people at the bar preferred to stand near the speakers to dance, it was never hard to find yourself a seat if you wanted to. However, without Akihiko there, Misaki didn't feel the need to sit down. After all, wasn't sitting all by yourself just a sign of loneliness?
Instead of walking around some more, Misaki found his way to the bar and sat down, laying his right cheek on the cold surface. He earned a somewhat confused, yet calm look from Sumi.
"What's wrong? Had a tiring day at school again?" Sumi cocked an eyebrow when the brunet mumbled a soft 'no'. "Then what is it?"
Refusing to tell Sumi that he was missing Akihiko, Misaki closed his eyes and sat up straight again. "I think I need a drink right now."
"Are you upset because Usami-san hasn't come to hear you sing?" When Sumi asked this, Misaki's face reddened instantly. Trying to hide his true feelings, the teen quickly turned his head to the side, but the college student had already seen his blushing face and laughed. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you have a thing for him."
"I do not!" Misaki barked, even though his face was still bright red, "Senpai, just because I work at a gay bar doesn't mean I'm gay!"
Sumi only chuckled at the boy's fierce response, loving the reactions he got from saying something so simple. "Well, I must admit that I'm rather jealous," he said dramatically, "After all, I believed that I had finally stolen your heart, and now that novelist has crossed your path. What am I to do?" He could see the irritation in Misaki's eyes and tried not to laugh again. Teasing the brunet was too much fun.
As Misaki was getting a little tired of Sumi's behavior, he turned around and started walking back to his room, wishing some time alone. He didn't want to think of the reason why Akihiko hadn't come.
Just when the teen had reached the corridor, a hand rested on his shoulder and he swiftly turned around, only to be met with a pair of glazed, hazel eyes.
"Ihara-san?" he questioned as he studied his boss. A soft yelp came from his lips as the man wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him closer. Ihara's body was warm as it touched Misaki's, and the innocent brunet shuddered slightly as the man's gaze pierced him.
"You should just call me Tatsuo," Ihara whispered as his lips softly brushed against Misaki's right ear, "I don't like it when you're so formal."
Placing his hands on the other's chest, the teen tried to push him off. "Please stop this, Ihara-san."
"Call me Tatsuo."
"I can't!" Misaki protested, jolting as the pair of lips moved over his cheek, aiming for his lips, "It seems disrespectful."
"Not at all. If anything, it shows that we are very close. Isn't that so, Misaki?" As Ihara's mouth was right next to Misaki's, the boy could smell the familiar scent of alcohol, and concluded that the owner of the bar was very, very drunk. It wasn't surprising though; nearly everyone who visited the bar ended up drinking too much. Misaki had experienced this a couple of times as well, although he was rather ashamed to admit this.
Snapping out of his thoughts, Misaki gave a short, but powerful shove. Ihara, who had been too focused on claiming the other's lips, was surprised by the sudden impact and stumbled backwards. His young angel took the opportunity to run back to the bar, seeing that there was no way he would be able to reach his room safely.
"Sheesh, how long are you going to stay in there?" Akihiko muttered in frustration, leaning against the wall next to the bathroom door.
"Oh shut up! I said I'll be done in a few minutes. I've never been to a gay bar before, so I have to make a good impression on everyone."
"It's not like they're actually going to pay attention to you," the author replied in a cold voice, "They're all gay anyway." He chuckled as he heard a grumble coming from inside the bathroom and walked over to the stairs, growing terribly impatient. He knew it had been a bad idea to allow Aikawa to come along.
A few seconds later, when Akihiko was halfway down the staircase, the door swung open and Aikawa got out, a pout decorating her face. She obviously wasn't too pleased with Akihiko's indifferent behavior. Men didn't understand what women had to go through.
"Are you coming or what?" the man asked, taking his winter coat from the backrest of the sofa. His editor quickly made her way down and grabbed her own coat from one of the pegs, throwing a large scarf around her neck. She then followed Akihiko outside and stepped into the elevator.
"Is Misaki still in high school?" Aikawa asked suddenly, earning a confused look from the other.
"Yes, but how did you know that?"
"The way you described him in your novels, he appeared to be around sixteen or seventeen years old."
A small smile tainted Akihiko's lips. Misaki had a very youthful appearance, not to mention that he sometimes tended to act rather childish—just like the author.
"He's eighteen years old and in his final year of high school," Akihiko replied as the elevator came to a halt. While he looked calm and casual, Aikawa was following him with curiosity written all over her face. She was getting frustrated that Akihiko wouldn't tell her more about his love. They walked in a rather fast pace as they reached the red sports car. Without another word, the redhead got in and put on her seatbelt.
Akihiko seemed to be in a hurry as he drove out as fast as he could, taking a turn and heading for the bar without exceeding the speed limit. His eyes were fixed on the road while Aikawa's were fixed on him.
"Where is the bar anyway?" she asked as Akihiko turned left.
"It's very close to Takahiro's house. It only took me a few minutes to walk there from his place."
Hearing this caused Aikawa to furrow her brow. "Doesn't he know that his younger brother works at that place?"
"No," Akihiko replied softly, "He doesn't even know where Misaki lives, because the boy ran away from home a while ago. I'm afraid of Takahiro's response when he finds out about Misaki's job, not to mention that he'll probably hate me more for not telling him." Then, the man remembered that he had asked the brunet to go talk to his brother once he had made it into M University. Perhaps that wasn't a very good idea; Takahiro would probably ask how Misaki had gotten the money, and Akihiko knew that Misaki was a bad liar.
It took only three more minutes before they arrived at the bar, and Akihiko parked his car on the other side of the road again, right in front of a normal café. Both of them got out and crossed the empty road, Aikawa squealing softly in utter excitement. Akihiko could only sigh and force himself to deal with her stupid behavior.
As Aikawa walked inside, she earned a few surprised looks from the guys inside, who hadn't expected the visit of a woman. However, they soon lost interest in her and continued their activities. Aikawa seemed to be annoyed by this fact.
"Why are they acting so indifferent?" she asked, her tone indicating that she was offended.
"Don't tell me that you were expecting them to be all over you just because you're a woman," Akihiko said, scoffing. Obviously, Aikawa didn't know one thing about gay guys. As his eyes wandered around the room, he noticed that Misaki was right next to the bar, talking to Sumi. The boy had gone back there after being molested by Ihara.
Aikawa followed Akihiko's stare and found Misaki quickly. She glanced at the author before looking back at the brunet again. "Is that him?" she asked softly, as if it was top secret. When Akihiko nodded, she dashed towards the teen and greeted him with a bright smile.
"Hello there. I'm Aikawa, Usami-sensei's editor. You must be Misaki-kun, correct?"
Misaki, who was too taken aback by the sudden introduction to notice that Aikawa called him by his given name, bowed slightly as he flashed a somewhat nervous smile. "I-it's nice to meet you," he stuttered, but calmed down a little as he saw Akihiko approach him with a fat frown on his face.
"Aikawa, you shouldn't overwhelm him like that," Akihiko mocked before he looked back at Misaki, "Don't mind her. She's been very eager to meet you, that's all."
"Oh, uh…I see."
"I must say Misaki-kun, you've chosen a great place to work at," Aikawa said, looking around her, "It looks so convivial here!"
Misaki shifted uncomfortably, seeing that Sumi was too busy with another customer to overhear their conversation. He then looked back at Aikawa, who was still smiling at him.
"He doesn't work here for fun," Akihiko cut in, noticing Misaki's discomfort, "For now, he needs money for his tuition fees."
Hearing this, Aikawa cocked an eyebrow. "You don't mean that Misaki-kun doesn't like working here, do you?" Her expression told Misaki that she was very confused, so he quickly shook his head.
"No, it's nice to work here, but I didn't really choose the job. I guess you could say that I got it by accident."
"Come to think of it, isn't it time for your performance yet?" Akihiko asked.
Misaki shook his head once more. "I already did that before the two of you arrived," he said, his voice soft and sad. He had hoped that Akihiko could've heard his singing. It was always nice to see Akihiko's expressions while he played.
"Really, we missed it?" Aikawa said in horror, "That's such a shame! I was really looking forward to hearing Misaki-kun sing!" She earned a glare from Akihiko, as it was entirely her fault that they were too late, but she ignored the man's angry expression and looked to the ground.
Fortunately, Misaki was the kind of person who didn't like to see others sad and disappointed. "I could perform again," he suggested, smiling sweetly at the redhead, "However, it isn't possible to do that here; we would have to go to my room backstage." He glanced over his shoulder to see where Ihara was, and was delighted to see that the man was currently chatting with a regular near the stage. It wouldn't look good if the drunkard tried to molest him again.
While Aikawa was humming in happiness, the three made their way to Misaki's room, and the teen was careful not to attract his boss' attention. He let Akihiko and his editor in and softly closed the door behind him.
Placing her handbag on the couch, Aikawa looked around to study everything carefully. As her eyes found the piano, she memorized the steamy scene Akihiko had been working on for his newest novel. She giggled at the thought, a sound that confused Misaki.
"Is something the matter, Aikawa-san?" he asked uncertainly, sitting down at the piano. The music sheets were lying on top of the musical instrument. Misaki took them and spread them in front of him, preparing to play and sing the song. He smiled faintly as Akihiko leaned on the piano, gazing at him.
"What are you going to sing for us, Misaki?" the man asked in a husky voice, savoring the blush on Misaki's face. As his angel didn't answer, he decided to go sit down on the couch, next to where Aikawa was seated. The redhead's eyes were sparkling in anticipation, causing Akihiko to smirk.
Some seconds of silence passed before Misaki's fingers started dancing over the keys, and a song unknown to Akihiko was being played. He watched Misaki's determined face as the boy stared at the music sheets, playing each note perfectly. Glossy pink lips parted, a final breath being taken before words began to flow.
"Stay with me, baby stay with me.
Tonight, don't leave me alone.
Walk with me, come and walk with me…
to the edge of all we've ever known."
Aikawa had already lost her composure and was squealing next to Akihiko, damaging his eardrums with her high-pitched voice. Still, Akihiko refused to cover his ears, because he wanted to hear Misaki's voice. Even with the screaming fangirl next to him, Akihiko could easily concentrate on Misaki's singing.
"Well I'm not sure what this going to be,
but with my eyes closed all I see
is the skyline, through the window,
the moon above you and the streets below.
Hold my breath as you're moving in.
Taste your lips and feel your skin.
When the time comes, baby don't run.
Just kiss me slowly."
As those last lines came from Misaki's lips, Akihiko could feel his eyes widen in surprise, his lips parting slightly. Of all songs, why had Misaki decided to pick that one? Akihiko knew damn well that he kissed Misaki the last time he'd been there, but did Misaki remember it as well? Could it be that the teen wasn't drunk enough to forget about it?
'This definitely isn't a coincidence,' Akihiko told himself, studying Misaki's expressions carefully. The brunet's face was getting redder as he continued to sing, a small smile playing on his lips. 'He's doing this on purpose…there's no other way.'
"And it's hard to love again,
when the only way it's been…
when the only love you knew
just walked away."
Right then, Akihiko knew for sure that the song was meant for him. The only love he knew, Takahiro, had chosen to marry another, 'walking away' from Akihiko. Even though Takahiro had never been his, the author still felt as though his former love had left him.
Aikawa had finally shut her trap, utterly amazed and speechless by Misaki's performance. His voice was so pure, so full of emotions that it simply swept her away. She could understand why Akihiko had fallen in love with a person like him. Glancing at the author, she noticed how the corners of his lips curved upwards, and she realized that Akihiko was truly happy to be in love with Misaki.
"Just kiss me…slowly."
As the song ended, Aikawa sighed, mixed feelings of joy and jealousy coursing through her. If only she could feel what Akihiko felt. If only she could find out what it felt like to love someone like that.
Misaki slowly lifted his hands, as if he was in a trance from playing the piano. His face was as red as it had been, his emerald eyes slowly traveling to the two listeners on the couch.
"That was the song I performed this evening," he said, smiling sheepishly at the two. The silence made him a little uncomfortable, but the content expressions on the other's faces made him relax.
Aikawa finally snapped out of her daydreaming and shot up from the couch, running towards Misaki. "That was amazing!" she exclaimed, applauding so enthusiastically that her palms were tingling, "You have a beautiful voice Misaki-kun, and the song is so romantic!"
"A-ah, thank you," the brunet stuttered shyly, staring at Akihiko from the corners of his eyes. Noticing this, Aikawa smirked a little and walked towards the door.
"I need to use the restroom," she said, turning around and opening the door. Before Misaki could say anything, the editor had closed the door behind her, leaving the two alone.
Akihiko was well-aware of Aikawa's intentions and walked over to Misaki, taking his time to stare at the boy. A smirk crossed his face as emerald eyes averted their gaze swiftly. Misaki's shyness towards him was simply adorable.
"Well Misaki," Akihiko spoke softly, "Why did you choose that song?"
"…I just felt like singing that song," Misaki replied, still avoiding eye contact. His voice was barely more than a whisper.
"Is the song special to you?" At this, the teen couldn't find an answer and started playing a random tune, trying to ignore Akihiko's question. The author noticed this and suppressed a chuckle. "Misaki, did you dedicate this song to me?"
This time, Misaki instantly looked back at Akihiko, his face turning beet red. "Where did you get that idea from?!" he asked loudly, slamming his hands down on the keys. The expression in his eyes told Akihiko that the boy was shocked, even though Misaki tried hard to look angry. "Don't be so full of yourself!"
"Then tell me why you were blushing the whole time," Akihiko ordered, poking Misaki's hot left cheek, "Tell me why you're blushing even harder now."
Again, Misaki had no idea how to react, except for blushing more—which was hardly possible—and furrowing his brows. He was frustrated, only because he knew that Akihiko wouldn't leave him alone until he'd said what the man wanted to hear. The question was…could Misaki say it?
Silence filled the room as the two stared at one another determinedly, Misaki pouting stubbornly. Their alone time was interrupted by Aikawa, who had returned from the restroom.
"I must say I'm surprised that they have women's restrooms here," the redhead said, her eyes closed as she walked in. "Usami-sensei, it's time to go now. You still have a novel to work on." Knowing that the author was about to protest, she approached him and grabbed him by his shirt, pulling him up with force. "Come on now," she spoke sternly, "I'm sure that Misaki-kun would like to have some time alone now."
Misaki was mildly disappointed that Aikawa was already leaving, but he understood her reasoning. After all, work was more important than visiting a bar for fun.
With a smile on her face, the editor turned to face Misaki. "It was very nice to meet you," Aikawa said joyfully, "I hope that I will see you again."
"Ah—yes! You can visit the bar whenever you want." Nodding in approval, Aikawa dragged Akihiko along and made her way out, kicking the door shut as she couldn't use her hands to do so.
Akihiko sighed, wanting to go back to the room and talk to Misaki some more. He had to find out if Misaki had chosen that song because of him. What were the boy's feelings for him?
A smirk played on the man's lips. 'Well, I'll see him again soon enough.'
You think Misaki remembers the kiss? Anyway, the song used is 'Kiss me slowly' by Parachute. Special thanks to oXMiyakaXo for inspiring me.
I've changed to rating to M, because I think I'll end up writing smut for this story. That is, unless my readers don't want me to.
Thank you for reading and please review :D