The grandfather clock in the living room struck midnight and the two brothers raised their drinks to toast.
Something was off with the world tonight; it had been YEARS since the two Uesugi brothers had last spent that much time together, sharing laughs and drinking like unsupervised teens.
"So- so she actually chased him down the street… with a broom?" Tatsuha laughed incredulously, almost spilling his beer.
"All the way to the post office! Seguchi must have been sixteen or seventeen years old," Eiri explained, wiping away a tear between chortles. "Mika locked herself in her room for an entire week after the incident and every day at the same time, Mother would attempt to break down the door, threatening Aneki to force her into marrying the, I quote, 'good-for-nothing, second rate musician'," he finished, gasping for air. "Priceless."
Tatsuha howled with laughter, bending forward so his head touched the floor and slamming his fists manically.
Suddenly Eiri's phone started ringing. Judging from the ringtone, which was 'The Rage Beat', Tatsuha guessed who was calling.
"Hand me that, will you?" asked Eiri, outstretching his arm and taking deep breaths, evidently hoping to avoid his lover and realising he had been laughing madly not two seconds ago.
Tatsuha threw the little phone at him and his brother caught it in the air. Good reflexes for a man who had spent half his life sitting down in front of a computer.
"What?" answered the novelist, hiding the ghost of a chuckle under the mask of a cough. Impressive. "Stop- stop yelling like that-" He held his phone at arm's length for about 5 seconds.
"I didn't say I'd call you when I arrived," the novelist corrected. "I said I'll call you when I call you." He repeated the same technique of pulling the phone away from his ear. "Yeah, hang on." He handed the phone to his brother. "For you."
"Ah?" Tatsuha looked puzzled for a second before he realised it was his birthday and Shuichi probably wanted to congratulate him. He took the phone and smiled. "Yo, Shuichi! Long time!" he chuckled, taking a sip of beer.
"Nah, we're just drinking on the porch. Yeah, thanks. Nope, no girls as far as I can tell. No boys either, calm down Shu!" He laughed heartily. "No kidding? Hang on." Tatsuha pressed his hand over the phone and turned to his brother. "He says he sent me a present with you?" he asked, battling his eyelashes.
Eiri held his cigarette between his lips, raised a finger at his brother before reaching into his inner pocket. He pulled out a white envelope and handed it to the young monk.
"Yeah, guess he must have forgotten. He just handed it to me, hang on." Tatsuha inspected the envelope and failed to suppress a laugh. It was stapled from every possible side. Evidently, Shuichi hadn't wanted his lover to peek into its contents. "Gods, Shuichi, this had better be naked snapshots of you otherwise I really don't see the point of all the secrecy!" he teased and regretted it instantly, holding out the phone at arm's length for about 10 seconds until the singer was done yelling.
Eiri smirked, helping himself to another beer. He really had made the right choice by buying a ridiculous amount of beer before driving down to Kyoto. And there damn better not be naked snapshots inside that envelope; he'd regret having to murder his brother on his own birthday.
Tatsuha had to tear the envelope open in order to extract the sloppily folded letter inside.
"Yeah I'm fucking reading it, want me to do it out loud? Fine, fine I won't, just don't fucking yell like that!" he hissed, pressing the phone to his ear with his shoulder. "Alright, goddammit, still don't know what it is but thanks anyways. Yeah, bye," he finished as he threw the phone back to his brother. He failed to catch it this time and instead landed on his lap. Tatsuha smirked and Eiri scoffed.
"What now?" answered the novelist. He listened for a few seconds, then stood up and began walking towards the garden. In the meantime, Tatsuha started reading the little letter, his eyes devouring every word more and more anxiously.
"Unless you want me to drive back drunk and die in a car accident, *fade out* I suggest you take care of your own needs tonight, *fade out* take your middle finger and shove it up your own- *fade out*"
'Hey Tats! Happy Birthday! I think you must have received your real present this morning, unless I misspelled the address! I know you'll LOVE this one, I devoured it in one sitting! I'm going to have to attend Mizuki-san's nephew's birthday party next week but I managed to get a copy a whole week before the book hits the stores! Just in time for your birthday! Ah, by the way, I know you might think it's dedicated to me but really, it's dedicated to you! It took me YEARS to convince your brother to finally do it. He will never admit it, so don't try to pry it out of him! He told me he'd do it under the condition of not naming you in particular so he could deny it for the rest of his life! But he didn't say anything about me not being able to tell you! Yeah, we all know you love his books! He's kinda smug about it too! Don't you think the story's awesome?! I especially loved the twist when it turns out the traveller was the old man's great grandson and had been looking for him for years! And .God. When you find out all the stories he tells him were actually the old man's real memories! And when the title 'PINK' finally makes sense and it turns out-'
Tatsuha crumpled the letter into the smallest ball he could manage, put it in his mouth, took a giant gulp of beer and swallowed it.
"Shu-Shuichi-aghhh…. I… I- HATE YOU!" The monk raised a fist and cried revenge, immediately falling down to his side and sobbing like a madman.
Eiri returned to the porch to find his brother with arms and legs outstretched, face down on the floor over a puddle of tears.
"Believe it or not," Eiri said as he sat down and sipped on his abandoned beer from before, "That's exactly how I feel every time I read anything he writes. My sympathies. It's officially Tuesday now, Happy Birthday."
This was fun, I'm really attached to this story! I think I might continue it in the future, who knows?
Yay for Tatsuha!
And once again, thanks to my LOOOOVELY beta Emma for all her hard work!