Welp, I guess it's time for me to start writing this story. This is dedicated to my dear loyal reader usamisaftw.
AU alert: Misaki is actually ten years older in this. Basically, Akihiko is 17 and Misaki is 16. Everyone else is of normal age, but Misaki is older (in comparison). Also, Misaki's father is still alive, but his mother died in the car accident.
Disclaimer: I still do not own Junjou Romantica T^T
Chapter 1 – No more choices
"It's useless, Tanaka-san," the raven haired man said through the phone, looking down at the bill on the coffee table, "If I can't find myself a proper job, there won't be enough money to pay our bills and buy food."
Takahashi Akinori, a man with two hard-working sons, was losing faith. After losing his job as a driver, he hadn't been capable of getting himself a new place to work at. It appeared that there was not a single company or family in Japan that needed a driver, and without other proper education it wasn't easy finding something else.
Tanaka, the butler who worked for the wealthy Usami family, was a good friend of Akinori, and they called each other occasionally. Raking his fingers through his hair, he emitted a soft sigh.
"Akinori-san," he spoke, a bit too politely to his friend's liking, "You cannot give up now. Besides, your sons both a jobs as well, correct?"
"They do, but there's no way their earnings will be enough to pay for everything." Akinori scratched the back of his head, furrowing his brows in thought. "Takahiro is working as an assistant at a consulting firm, and Misaki works as a waiter at a café."
Hearing this sparked the butler's interest. "Is Misaki-kun a sociable person?"
"Oh yes! He is a very kind boy and he easily gets along with others. It's not hard for him to make friends, and he's always willing to help people out. Really, he is very loved at the café and at school." Despite his enthusiasm, Akinori felt sadness overwhelm him again. "Unfortunately, Misaki isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, so he can't find a better job."
There was a moment of silence as Akinori slowly grew more and more depressed, worrying about his current situation. It was selfish of him to rely on his sons, but it was impossible to get a proper job. How could he make sure that they wouldn't end up losing all they had?
After debating with himself, Tanaka finally spoke again. "Listen, Akinori-san," he said in a serious voice, "I might be able to find a better job for your son. Once my master has returned, I will talk to him and discuss the matter."
At Tanaka's mysterious promise, Akinori cocked an eyebrow. "What do you have in mind, Tanaka-san?"
"You will see, my good friend. I'll contact you later. Goodbye, and keep looking."
Slowly, the corners of Akinori's lips curved upwards. "I will," he replied softly, "Thank you." When his friend had ended the call, Akinori sat down on the couch and stared at the wall clock, wondering what Tanaka could possibly do to help him out.
"I'm sorry for the wait! Here's your omelet rice." Smiling broadly, Misaki gently placed the plate onto the table, some chocolate strands of hair falling into his eyes.
"It's fine, Misaki-kun," the young redhead assured, waving her hand in emphasis, "You seem very busy today. I admire your diligence." The girl smiled as she felt the steam on her face, savoring the fine smell of her food.
"The café seems to become more popular. I'm really glad." Misaki's eyes studied the many customers sitting at the tables. Boys and girls his age were chatting vocally, enjoying a cool drink or a delicious treat. It was somewhat heart-warming to see so many people there. The only downfall was that these cheerful students were just like pigs, throwing everything onto the floor and spilling their drinks frequently.
As the door opened, a tall brown-haired man entered the café. Pushing up his glasses, he looked around to find an empty seat, clearly not noticing that he was earning some very questioning looks from other customers. Misaki couldn't blame them though; the stranger looked as if he came from a very rich family. The man wore an expensive-looking dark brown suit and a navy tie, something way too formal for the casual café.
Without any hesitance, Misaki walked over to the table the stranger had picked and greeted him with a sweet, welcoming smile.
"Welcome," he chirped, looking into the man's narrow gray eyes, "What can I get you?"
The mysterious customer stared at Misaki for a while, as if he was thoroughly studying the friendly teen in front of him, and then took a look at the menu lying on the table. After clearing his throat, he glanced back at the waiter. "I would like a coffee, no sugar or cream."
Misaki had to suppress the urge to raise an eyebrow, and then looked out of the window. It was warm and sunny outside, the perfect weather for soda or something to cool down. He could understand why people would want omelet rice, but coffee? Whoever this guy was, he was pretty weird.
Realizing that he had been too caught up in his thoughts, Misaki gave a quick nod. "Will that be all?" he asked politely, not sure how to talk to this high-class customer.
"Yes." It took only one word for the young teen to turn around and swiftly walk away, wiping some beads of sweat off his forehead. Misaki didn't know why, but talking to the guy made him feel very nervous and uneasy, as if he was bound to do something stupid in front of the man.
As he passed the order to his co-worker, the blond stared at the stranger.
"Who's that?" he asked in a skeptical voice, "He doesn't look like he belongs here."
Misaki shrugged. "I don't know who he is. Honestly, I've never seen him before." He tugged at his own sleeve, smoothing the fabric. Since the brunet often talked to the customers, it was easy for him to memorize who had been at the café before. Needless to say, Misaki had no idea who the new guy was, but he would try to find out.
Glancing over his shoulder, Misaki noticed that the man was still looking at him, studying his appearance. While the teen was sure that he meant no harm, it was making him feel very uncomfortable, and he could feel his face heat up as those eyes practically stripped him.
Shaking his head, he looked back at his co-worker, who was making the man's coffee. 'Why am I feeling so nervous?' Misaki asked himself, 'Is it simply because he's so wealthy-looking? I can't judge him unless I get to know him a little, right?' With that in mind, Misaki gathered all his courage and told himself to go have a chat with the stranger.
"The coffee's done," the blond said, handing the beverage to Misaki, "You should take a break after working so hard. It's okay if you leave early today; you've really outdone yourself."
Although Misaki didn't want to leave early—he had to work hard to earn the money his family needed—he nodded in agreement, knowing that Eita wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer. Eita was a good friend and cared a lot about Misaki, being constantly worried about his situation at home and his health.
With the coffee in his right hand, Misaki strode past the other tables until he was right next to the mysterious brunet again. He carefully put the saucer down, a hardly audible sound elicited by the contact with the smooth surface of the table, and then looked at the customer with friendly bright eyes.
"Here's your coffee," he spoke softly, realizing that this man didn't like noise like most customers did, and waited.
Gray eyes darted to the cup of coffee, a large hand carefully lifting it and bringing the white porcelain to his lips and taking a sip. His eyes closed as soft slurping sounds came from his mouth, and then put the cup down again. His eyes once again met a dashing shade of emerald.
Misaki realized that he had been awkwardly staring at his customer and quickly bowed, his face reddening in embarrassment. "My name is Takahashi Misaki," he stammered, "What's your name?"
"I've never seen you here before. Is this your first time here?"
"Yes," Haruhiko replied, adjusting his glasses as he kept staring at Misaki.
Dumbfounded, the teen stared back, feeling even more uncomfortable than before. This guy…wasn't exactly talkative, was he? It was going to be harder than Misaki thought to have a decent conversation.
"Sit down," the older one ordered, pointing towards the seat on the other side of the table.
Misaki snapped out of his thoughts and blinked in surprise, but did as he was told. Trembling slightly, he took the seat and looked up to meet the other's gaze again.
"So…why have you decided to visit this place all of a sudden?" he asked, his tone uncertain and careful. Normally, Misaki wouldn't be so scared to ask his customers questions, but Haruhiko's aura was rather intimidating. Then, he noticed the expensive watch around the other's wrist, and concluded that this man was indeed very wealthy.
Haruhiko looked to his left, gazing out of the window for a few seconds, as if there was something there that would provide him an answer. "I just wanted to try it," he finally said, "It appeared that people seem to like this place, so I decided to check it out."
"What do you think?" Misaki's curiosity was rising, even though he wasn't aware of this.
"It looks like a cozy place, but it's too noisy and crowded in here."
"Well, it's exceedingly crowded today," Misaki admitted, tracing circles on the table with his fingers, "It's usually pretty quiet in here, especially on weekdays."
Drinking his coffee, Haruhiko showed his interest by staring intensely at the boy. "Aren't you still in high school?"
"Ah—yes, but my family desperately needs more money. My father lost his job a few months ago, and it's hard for him to find a new job. That's why my brother and I are trying hard to earn the money we need." Although Misaki was a little ashamed to tell this to a complete stranger, he somehow started to get the feeling that Haruhiko wasn't a bad guy. True, the man didn't look very friendly, but there was something about him…something Misaki couldn't ignore.
Haruhiko had finished his cup of coffee and put it down. "How much for the coffee?" he asked, digging into his pockets to get his wallet.
"Oh, that will be 280 yen, please," Misaki answered as he rose from the bench, surprised by Haruhiko's sudden question. Had he said something to displease or offend the man? He was even more surprised when Haruhiko gave him 500 yen. With wide eyes, he stared at the other.
"Keep the change," Haruhiko said dryly.
"B-but this is way too mu—"
"Just keep it."
Misaki could feel his heart skip a beat as he accepted the money. "Thank you very much!" he said gratefully, bowing deeply as his face lit up once again. Haruhiko was so generous! He surely hadn't seen that coming at all. "P-please come again."
Haruhiko simply nodded in reply and walked out, leaving the overjoyed boy by himself. When Misaki finally managed to stand up straight, he walked to the locker room to change to his normal attire, deciding to go home like Eita had told him. Wriggling out of his uniform, he grabbed his striped jacket and jeans and put them on. It had been a tiring day, but at least he had managed to meet new people.
Checking his cell phone, Misaki noticed that he had received a new text message from his father. It read that Akinori had a surprise for Misaki and was hoping that he could come home early.
'It must be really important,' the brunet told himself, knowing that his dad hardly got so excited. Wasting no more time, Misaki put his uniform back into the locker and dashed out, running back home as fast as he could.
Little did he know that his father's surprise would change his life forever.
Believe it or not, but this is going to be a high school romance story. You'll see that later, I promise.
Thanks for reading and please review!