[identity profile] stormymood.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] arashi_exchange
A piece of rainbow for  [livejournal.com profile] phrenk Part 1


Title: J is just a reversed capital L
Pairing: Matsumiya
Rating/Warnings: NC-17
Summary: Jun does the most stupid thing in the world in his attempt to get an excuse to keep contacting his ex, which is swapping their phones right before he boards the plane.
Notes:
1. There will be a lot of LINE conversations in this fic. Please bear in mind that the username is attached to the phone. So when you see "Matsumoto: Hi", it doesn't always mean that Jun sends that. It means, the "Hi" message is sent using Jun's phone.
2. Pokemon GO is a game in which you catch Pokemons and also hatch them by walking a certain distance.
3. Kabigon is Snorlax's Japanese name.
4. I have never been in Japan before so forgive me for possible geographical and cultural mistakes.
5. Enjoy! :)


1


Jun enters the cafe and politely refuses the waitress who is going to escort him inside. He scans the entire space with his eyes, trying to recognize the one he has invited to this place. He checks his watch—afraid that he might be too early—and then reaches for his phone in his pocket, intending to make a call. His movement stops midway, however, for a man suddenly stands up and waves at him.

“MatsuJun!” the man shouts loud enough that a few guests look up at him. “Over here!”

Jun’s face lights up and he makes his way to the man. “Aiba Masaki,” he spells the man’s name with a hint of wonder while pulling Aiba to a friendly hug, “It’s been what? 5 years? 6?”

“Four, actually,” Aiba corrects with a bubbly chuckle. He pulls away from Jun’s grip and steps aside to reveal another man who is already vacating the table.

Jun swears his heart does a backflip inside his ribcage. There, right in front of him, Ninomiya Kazunari is rising from his seat, smiling at him with an expectant smile that surely brings back memories. “Hey,” he mutters, eyes glinting in marvel.

“Hey,” Nino replies, looking down briefly with a wide smile before looking right at Jun again. His eyes are still as bright as Jun remembers.

They just stand right there like that, staring at each other as if the world is suddenly put to a halt just so they could take each other’s presence in. The world doesn’t seem to matter in that brief second until Aiba nudges them both and snickers meaningfully before gesturing them all to sit.

Jun sits across of Nino and Aiba sits to his left. To be completely honest, the position makes it easier for Jun to tune Aiba out and focuses on Nino and he is completely grateful about that. It’s not that he hates Aiba, really, but it is not every day that he has the chance to look at Ninomiya Kazunari in person—his former classmate in college, his best friend, his ex-boyfriend.

“So, what brings you here today?” Aiba asks while offering a plate of garlic bread to Jun.

Jun refuses the bread and answers, all while still eyeing Nino closely, “I had to do a job around here.”

“Oh. For an ad? Magazine?” Aiba takes the garlic bread himself and starts munching.

“Magazine,” Jun answers, checking Nino’s reaction. He smiles when Nino looks at least curious. “Next edition of AnAn.”

“The sex edition?” Aiba gasps, probably a little bit too loud.

Jun laughs, and Nino does too. Jun shakes his head and, for once, looks at Aiba. “I’m not that famous, you know that.”

“Oh, you will. I know you will,” Aiba waves his garlic bread in front of Jun’s face. “Right, Nino?”

Nino laughs and sips his coffee. He looks at Jun, straight to his eyes, and then answers, “Yeah. But I don’t think he’s after that kind of photo shoots.”

Jun feels a surge of happiness. “You know me too well,” he says. Then, because he is not there just to talk about himself, he changes the topic and asks, “How about you guys? How’s life? What do you do now?”

“I run a restaurant—”

“Your family’s?” Jun asks.

Aiba smiles, wide and bright. “Yes. You remember that? I took over the restaurant a year ago. Meanwhile, this guy works in a local television station.”

“Oh, really?” Jun fakes a surprise. Of course he has heard about it before. He doesn’t stalk Nino or anything, but when he hears something about Nino, he remembers. Everything about Nino matters. It still does, even after all the years they’ve spent apart.

“One day, when you act on your first movie, I might be the director,” Nino says with a confident smile—almost cheeky, but delightful nonetheless. “I’m still just an assistant director now, though. But I’m getting there.”

Jun wants to point out that he’s glad Nino is still on the track of chasing his lifelong dream, but he’s not sure if it will come out not creepy. He does a small bow instead, chanting a ‘yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ that is followed by everyone’s laughter.

They then proceed to talk about life and so on over food that eventually comes to their table. Aiba does a great job of keeping the conversation alive, more so than what it would have been had it been only the two of them. The conversation gets more natural as the time goes and when they finish their lunch, Jun has enough proof that Nino has never changed.

Nino is still the same man he fell in love with years ago. He is still quick-witted, sharp-tongued, and considerate in all levels that there are. He still amuses Jun. He is still the best and, in the same time, the worst friend that Aiba could have. He is still charming in the oddest way that Jun will never be able to explain how.

Jun is glad that he contacted Aiba. Everything went better than what he expected. He actually thought meeting Nino would be, at least, difficult and somewhat awkward, but now he finds himself dreading the moment he has to say goodbye. He likes to think that he has successfully moved on with his life after that one afternoon when they decided that being boyfriends is not for them, but being in front of Nino surely brings back feelings that he doesn’t know he has been missing.

Too bad Jun has a plane to catch.

“Oh crap, I need to run,” Jun says as he realizes that he has stayed an hour more than he anticipated. “My flight is in 45 minutes.”

Aiba’s eyes widen, “What?! Why didn’t you tell us? You’re going to be late, you dumb!”

Jun gets up and puts down an amount of money that he hopes enough to cover their meals. “It’s because you started to talk about college!” Jun defends, grinning. His hands grab around for his belongings in his pocket. He almost forgets his phone that he put on the table, but fortunately he remembers.

Aiba rolls his eyes, “The next time you come, make sure you have enough time in hand. I’ll bring you to my restaurant.”

Jun beams even though he knows ‘next time’ might be as far away as ‘never’. He turns to say something to Nino too, but Nino is standing up from his seat.

“I’ll get you to the airport,” Nino says, taking his car key from his pocket and showing it to Jun.

Jun stares. He is not sure what to react. He was ready to bid Nino goodbye, it’s kind of taking him aback that suddenly Nino offers to give him a lift.

Nino laughs. “What? I drive now. I swear I got my license fair and square.” He pats Aiba on the shoulder and walks ahead towards the cafe’s entrance.

Jun decides that it would be just natural to go along with Nino. He spares Aiba a short wave and tails Nino. “You sure you didn’t do any trick? This is my life I’m putting on the line,” Jun says jokingly.

Nino turns around so fast that Jun almost bumps into him. He punches Jun’s shoulder while walking backward so that they will not stop moving. “You better have your will ready, just in case.”

Jun laughs, gripping Nino’s shoulder to turn him around once again, afraid that Nino will trip or bump into something. He nods to a waiter and exits the cafe after Nino, following the man to a black SUV.

“Make sure you write my name on your will, okay? Just a couple million yen will do,” Nino continues as he opens the passenger door and tidies some files that occupy the seat. He steps back so Jun can enter and closes the door for Jun before getting his way to the driver’s seat.

“Oh, you won’t need all the money. I’ll take you to the grave, Ninomiya,” Jun jokes. He sees Nino plug his phone to the travel charger and notices that there’s another charger plugged in but unused. “Mind if I use that?” he asks.

“Nah,” Nino answers shortly while maneuvering the car out of the parking lot. “Just put it there, beside mine,” Nino says because Jun holds his phone awkwardly.

Jun notes that their phones are identical; same brand, same model, and without any accessories. It’s very Nino-like, though—the latest model which is kept pristine like how the factory delivers it. However, the car is definitely not Nino-like.

“Is this yours?” Jun blurts out. “The car, I mean.”

Nino steals a glance towards Jun. “What? Are you implying that I don’t look like someone who owns a car?”

“I am implying that the car doesn’t really look like your taste,” Jun counters. He takes a cat ornament from the dashboard and points it to Nino. “Like this. This doesn’t really look like what you’d put on your dashboard.”

Nino smirks. “Should I put a dog one instead?”

Jun waves. “No. You’d put nothing on your dashboard. Maybe a guitar miniature or a car freshener, but definitely not animal ornaments. Especially not a lot of them like this.”

Nino laughs. He snatches the cat ornament from Jun and put it back on the dashboard. “Don’t touch the cats, okay?”

“Hey, I was being nice to the cat!” Jun argues and laughs too.

Once their laughter fades away, Nino tells Jun the truth. “This is company’s car. I don’t own any, it’s—”

“Troublesome,” Jun completes Nino’s words.

Nino stares at Jun for as long as his responsibility as a driver allows him. An unbelieving smile adorns his face. Finally, he nods anyway. “Yeah, it’s troublesome.”

“Ah, you really haven’t changed,” Jun concludes out loud.

“Say that to yourself,” Nino replies, guffawing.

“Hm?”

“You hasn’t changed too,” Nino says.

“How so? I believe I did.” Jun sits up straighter, curious.

Nino shrugs and throws a sly look. “Some things have changed but you’re still the same,” he says. Seeing that Jun is nothing but confused, he simplifies, “It’s not a bad thing.”

Jun raises his eyebrow and Nino only replies him with another shrug. He laughs and shakes his head, mentally taking note that this aspect of Nino hasn’t changed too.

Nino turns the radio on and a song plays. He taps his fingers on the steering wheel and mouths the music rather than the lyric. Jun joins in, singing along with a faint voice. Nino looks at him and grins, making Jun ups his voice a bit.

They don’t talk anymore after that except for some directions and small comments on random things. It’s not awkward, but comfortable instead. It feels vaguely like they’re back in their university’s small, stuffy music studio, with Nino strumming his guitar and Jun reading Nino’s comic. There’s no guitar and there’s no comic, of course, but it still feels like that nonetheless—like they’ve time traveled back to when their world was still largely consisted of each other.

Nino surely drives smoothly, but he steps on the gas deep enough to keep Jun from being late. Not half an hour later, they are already inside the airport area. Nino drives towards the lobby, and the moment Jun opens his door, the announcement for his flight welcomes him.

“Oh shit, it’s the last call,” Jun groans. He knows he should be panicking and hurrying, but a part of him doesn’t want to do that. A part of him wants to stay and take another ride with Nino—to where, he doesn’t care. The announcement is heard again and he doesn’t have any other option than to get out of the car and slam the door behind him. Nino rolls down the window and Jun gives him a quick glance. “Thanks, Nino!” he shouts and starts to run.

Three steps after, Jun turns back. His mind that is still so full of Nino manages to remember the one thing he almost forgot. “My phone!” he gasps. He can see his phone and Nino’s from the window, still attached to the cables. Reaching through the still-opened window, he grabs the phone and waves it, “Almost forgot this!”

Nino laughs, “Really, you.” He eyes Jun as he runs into the crowd. “Have a safe flight!” he shouts.

Jun doesn’t stop running but he turns to flash Nino a smile and a thumb up. “Bye,” he mouths. Then he looks forward, leaving Nino who is definitely driving away, feeling the weight of the phone in his hand.

2


Jun stares at the phone in his hand on his way back home from the airport. He can not believe he did what he did, which is deliberately taking Nino’s phone instead of his in his rush to catch his flight. He is not even sure what he was thinking when he did it. In that split second in which he reached through Nino’s car window, he swears his brain was short-circuited and malfunctioning. Somehow, in the middle of adrenaline rush and panic, he saw it as a chance to keep in contact with Nino. He saw it as an option, so he took it. As simple as that.

Jun has been restless since the moment he passed the boarding gate. Repeatedly, he wanted to go back and apologize to Nino for the mistake he has made, but a stewardess was always behind him, urging him to board the plane already because he’s the last passenger who hasn’t boarded yet. His conscience was disturbed all along the one hour flight, and when he landed safely in Tokyo, the first thing he did was to turn Nino’s phone on to send him his sincerest apology. But Nino’s phone was, of course, locked.

Jun stares at the lock screen, cursing himself internally for acting out of impulse. He thought of using a payphone but, as the time goes by, he realizes that he doesn’t know what to say to Nino. An apology is a sure thing, but Jun is not exactly ready to explain. He thinks about going along with it, saying that he didn’t realize that it’s Nino’s phone instead of his until it’s too late, but lying to Nino has never felt right to him.

Before Jun could compromise with himself on what he should say and do, the phone buzzes. His own number flashes on the screen, along with a single letter ‘J’.

So Nino still has his number.

“Hello,” Jun answers.

“Finally!” Nino shouts from the other line. “You got the wrong phone, J.”

“Yeah,” Jun says. “Listen, Nino, I’m really sorry about this. I—”

Nino’s long exhale of breath cut Jun’s words. “I can’t believe you, really.”

“I’m sorry,” Jun repeats because he still doesn’t know how to proceed.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s okay. What’s done is done anyway,” Nino says, not showing any interest in hearing Jun’s apology or explanation. He sounds a little bit upset, but otherwise not scrutinizing or blaming Jun. He then sighs and continues talking with calmer voice, “What should we do now?”

“I’ll go back there again, okay?” Jun says without thinking further.

“Oh, you can do that?”

Actually, Jun is not really sure if he can do that. His manager has warned him not to make any appointment during this week, and it could only mean that his schedule is going to be crazy. He sighs, starting to feel defeated. “If you want to meet me at the airport so I can go back here again immediately, I think there will be no problem.”

“You want to fly here just to take your phone?” Nino sounds like he couldn’t believe what he just heard. “Just send me your address and I’ll send your phone through courier service. I’m so not going to let you burn your money like that.”

“Courier service?” Jun closes his eyes and rubbed his temple.

“I’ll send it with insured service, don’t worry. It will cost a fortune but it will arrive in a matter of hours and it is definitely cheaper than return tickets from Tokyo to here,” Nino says in one breath, sounding somewhat agitated because Jun is willing to fly to Osaka just to return the phones.

“That’s not the matter,” Jun sighs. “I just think that... At least I want to apologize to you in person,” Jun blurts out. He truly thinks that he needs to apologize directly to Nino about this but, if he’s about to be completely honest, there’s a bit of selfish motivation in it. He wants to meet Nino again. After all, that is what caused all of this in the first place.

Nino doesn’t immediately reply after that. When he starts to talk again, his tone has lost its heat. “Well, I... will have to go to Tokyo for work in a few days. I was thinking that maybe I’ll take my phone while I’m there.”

“Oh.” Jun gulps.

“Wait,” Nino suddenly says and taps the phone a few times, “There’s an incoming call from Takizawa Hideaki. What should I do?”

“Shit,” Jun curses because he forgot that he still has other things to mind aside of swapped phones and Nino. “That’s my manager. Could you answer it? But don’t tell him that I left my phone there because he’ll fry me. Just tell him that I’m in the bathroom or something.”

“What?”

“He will not ask. Just tell him that,” Jun assures. It’s either he doesn’t want to meddle with his private life or he simply just doesn’t care, but Jun’s manager has never asked if things like this happen.

“Okay, wait,” Nino says.

The waiting tone plays and Jun takes this chance to ask the driver to pull over. His apartment complex is already in sight anyway. He pays the fare and gets out from the cab. Walking briskly while listening to the silly tune, Jun tries to clear his mind. He tries to wrap his head around the current situation. He doesn’t have his phone and he definitely can not tell his manager about it. It might be the wisest to have his phone sent from Osaka through courier service like Nino has mentioned before, but Nino is coming in a few days anyway, it might be less troublesome for Nino to just wait for Nino to come.

However, will he survive without his phone?

The waiting tone stops and Nino’s voice comes in. “He really didn’t ask anything,” Nino says with an amused voice. “He says that he’ll pick you up in an hour for Soda photoshoot.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jun sighs. He totally forgot that he still has work that day. He paces up and gets inside his apartment building, climbing the stairs two steps at a time. Panting vaguely, he talks to Nino, “If you’re coming here, then we’ll just meet up when you’re here?”

“My schedule is still tentative, though. I’ll send yours through courier service first thing in the morning tomorrow. Just keep mine for now, I’ll take it when I’m there.”

“No,” Jun huffs, reaching his floor and getting inside his apartment unit. “I’ll take it when you’re here. Just... Can I use yours until then?”

“You sure you don’t want me to send yours?” Nino doubts.

“No, it’s okay as long as I can use yours in case I need to contact someone,” Jun says. He sounds sure, but actually he’s not really sure himself. He just doesn’t want to bother Nino more because of his one truly stupid and illogical act.

“Well, if that’s what you say,” Nino gives up. “You can use mine. It will be easier for me too if I can use yours.”

“Yeah, just use it.” Jun walks past a mirror and realizes how messed up his appearance is. It was truly a bad idea to take later flight instead of earlier one like his manager’s minding his schedule. But he got to meet Aiba and Nino because of it, so he’s not going to complain. “Okay, then. I need to get ready now before my manager picks me up. So, talk to you later?”

“Yeah,” Nino replies. He stops Jun from terminating the connection with a shout, “Oh, J!”

“Yes?”

“The passcode is 3698,” Nino informs.

“What?” Jun, who is already unbuttoning his shirt, doesn’t get it at once.

“That’s the passcode of my phone,” Nino elaborates. “It’s 3698,” he repeats. “Just—,” he pauses for a second, “—make a reversed capital L.”

“Ah. Okay. Reversed L. Okay,” Jun tries to remember it. “My passcode is—”

“0830, I got it,” Nino cuts, sounding a bit smug. “How do you think I call you, huh? You’re so predictable, J. You’re lucky it’s me who got your phone.”

There’s a short silence before Jun laughs a bit. A warm sensation washes his entire being. Nino figured out his passcode means that Nino remembers his birthday. Even after all this time.

“Okay,” Nino says with finality in his voice, “Don’t bust my bill.”

Jun laughs again. Louder this time. “Okay.”

They end the call just like that. Jun dashes to his bathroom to have a quick shower because he desperately needs it. While in the shower, Jun’s brain tries to digest everything that just happened and tells Jun that something is still amiss. Jun hasn’t mentioned why exactly that their phones ended up in the wrong hands. But, then again, Jun didn’t exactly lie to Nino. They just simply don’t talk about it, and Nino simply doesn’t ask.

Jun smiles. He decides that everything goes smoother than he expected, and he’s very glad about it. Nino is not angry with him and they are going to meet again in a matter of days. This is better than all the things that Jun has ever wished when it comes to Nino after they broke up. They are actually communicating and the awkwardness that Jun has been dreading since forever is proven to be just him being paranoid.

Jun gets out from the shower twenty minutes later, fresh and decidedly happy. He takes out his good clothes and wears it, doesn’t really care that he will have to change out of it anyway the moment he arrives at the set. He manages to fix himself a quick dinner and finish it right before his doorbell rings. He takes his bag and puts his wallet into it. Then, he takes Nino’s phone with him and goes out of his apartment, meeting his manager with a greeting.

Inside the car, Jun turns on the phone’s screen. With a swipe, he brings up the lock screen that has been undefeated since the first time he lay his hand on the phone. His thumb hovers at the buttons, and he keys in the number that Nino told him.

3.

6.

9.

8.


It unlocks.

For a reason he doesn’t want to point out, Jun grins.


3


Jun doesn’t exactly like night photo shoots, but it’s always better than morning ones. During night photo shoots, he’s at least awake enough to follow the photographer’s instructions. However, night photo shoots always lead to meetups in bars that always lead to a massive hangover. Jun likes hanging out with his friends, but he is not exactly fond of the aftermath.

It never helps that Jun has a soft spot for his friends. Like tonight, when Ikuta Toma, a fellow model of Jun, calls Sakurai Sho, Jun’s partner for the photo shoot, and asks them both to come over to the bar they frequent to, Jun can not bring himself to refuse. He somehow ends up perching on the bar, swirling his glass of martini while watching Toma and a few other people from the same agency as them dance their heart out on the dance floor.

Jun swears he’s not going to go home drunk that night because he has to work the day after, but there’s nothing much that he could do in a bar aside from drinking. He hasn’t drunk enough to start dancing and he’s definitely not there to hit on some random strangers. As the last resort, he takes his phone out of his bag, intending to scroll through the news to see if there’s something interesting.

He tries to unlock the phone, but he fails. Then, he remembers that it’s Nino’s phone that he’s holding in his hand.

Jun smiles involuntarily. He puts down the glass of martini and inputs Nino’s passcode. As soon as it’s unlocked, the phone greets him with a few notifications. There are a few missed calls from his number. Other than that, Jun sees his own name on LINE’s notification and he opens it.

It turns out that Nino has added him through LINE application. Or, to be exact, Nino has added himself through LINE application using Jun’s account. Thinking about this already makes Jun chuckle. Their situation is ridiculous, to say the least.

Jun taps on his name and finds a few new messages.

Matsumoto: i can’t believe i’m adding myself
Matsumoto: can you send me Tabe Mikako’s contact?

Jun doesn’t know who this Tabe Mikako is, but he supposes Nino has his contact on his phone so he should just send the contact details over. The next messages are timed way later than the first two messages.

Matsumoto: there’s a guy named Ikuta Toma that keeps calling you
Matsumoto: i ignored him
Matsumoto: then he sent you line message
Matsumoto: (it’s not that i open it but you turned the pop up notification on so i accidentally read it)
Matsumoto: he’s inviting you out, i suppose? Idk
Matsumoto: did i just cock-block you by ignoring him?

Jun grins. Toma did complain about not being able to reach him earlier.

Nino: [Contact details of Tabe Mikako]
Nino: No, no. You did right. Just ignore everything coming from him.
Nino: He’ll find a way to reach me anyway.
Nino: And you’re not cock-blocking anyone. He’s just a friend from the agency.

Surprisingly, minding that it’s already way past midnight, Nino replies immediately.

Matsumoto: thanks
Matsumoto: good then
Matsumoto: you also have some other notifications

Jun smiles. He vaguely thinks that Nino must be playing with his games.

Nino: Oh, you’re still awake.

Jun stops and considers what to do with those notifications before typing again.

Nino: Just ignore them for now.
Nino: But if there’s anything from my manager, tell me immediately, okay?
Nino: The name is Takizawa Hideaki.

Matsumoto: the night is still young [laughing emoji]
Matsumoto: okay, then

Nino: How about your notifications?

Matsumoto: will check them through my laptop
Matsumoto: just relay me my text messages if any

Nino: Okay.

“Girlfriend?” a voice startles Jun.

Jun looks up from the phone and finds Sho sitting next to him. Sho is one of the closest seniors he has in the agency. Jun used to admire Sho so much and Sho has always been somewhat fond of Jun. Everyone used to think that they will end up together in one way or another, and it’s not entirely wrong. They do end up together. In most of their jobs, that is. They get paired together a lot. Eighty percent of Jun’s job is practically getting shot with Sho next to him.

Jun chuckles and stealthily hides the phone screen from Sho’s sight. “Nope,” Jun answers.

“Boyfriend?” Sho tries again.

Jun sips his martini. He gives it a thought before finally deciding to just tell Sho the truth. “Ex,” he says. He makes sure his smile doesn’t waver while saying it.

Sho observes Jun’s expression for a few seconds. Then, he smiles. “Getting back with your ex?”

Jun shrugs. It sounds nice, to be honest. He likes how it sounds. But, the truth is, they’re talking only because Jun has taken Nino’s phone. If anything, Jun should be glad that Nino didn’t straight out curse him for doing something so ridiculous. It would be too greedy to hope too much out of something so stupid. “We’re just talking,” Jun says, “I had a job in Osaka earlier today, so I invited a friend out for a catch-up. He brought my ex and we... kinda... talk again. As friends.”

Sho nods but his face shows that he’s not buying it. “As friends. Yeah, of course.”

“It’s the truth!” Jun laughs.

Sho turns on his seat so he’s facing Jun. His elbow supports him on the table and he starts talking, “Okay, then. How about the other friend. The one that you invited in the first place. Do you exchange messages with him while grinning like a fool?”

Jun rolls his eyes while laughing. He downs his martini at once and orders another one, definitely avoiding to answer Sho.

“Do you even exchange messages with him?” Sho asks again. His grin is getting wider.

“Well...” Jun avoids looking at Sho’s eyes. He can not explain that everything is because he deliberately seized Nino’s phone and left his with Nino, of course.

“As friends, my ass!” Sho laughs. He turns to face his drink again, grinning triumphantly. “Why is this person an ex on the first place, anyway?”

Jun’s smile fades. That’s the one topic he still refuses to touch even after all these years. It’s not like they had a messy breakup—because they didn’t—but Jun prefers to not remember that time. There’s an unpleasant feeling that chokes him every time he remembers how they ended up apart. “We decided that we’re better off as friends,” Jun gives the answer that is true to some extent.

Sho notices the change of Jun’s mood. He looks to his drink and nods understandingly, downing the rest of his drink in one go. “And is it true?”

“Hm?” Jun turns to Sho.

“That you two are better off as friends. Is that true?” Sho asks. He gestures to the bartender to give him another round of his drink.

Jun doesn’t answer. He struggles to keep the small smile he has on his face. To be honest, after the breakup, they have never gone back to being friends. Jun avoided Nino, he remembers that clearly. Then, they drifted further apart due to their last year of college. Finally, they graduated and Jun moved to Tokyo.

However, if being friends is including the time before they became boyfriends, then it’s definitely better.

Sho inhales and then exhales deeply. He gets up, sliding his untouched drink towards Jun. He pats Jun’s shoulder and leaves Jun alone.

Jun laughs at himself pitifully and starts to regret his decision to contact Aiba. Everything has been working out perfectly. He has moved on with his life. He has dated a few other guys, even. He has forgotten Nino for the most part. But then, he just had to remember that both Aiba and Nino live in Osaka and now he can already feel the poisonous thing called hope grows inside of him.

Jun sighs. He drinks both glasses of liquors in one succession. He pockets the phone without looking at it again and walks down to the dance floor. He joins Toma and the rest of the group, letting the alcohol leads him.

That night, he doesn’t remember at what time he got home and how, but he does remember checking the phone to find a few messages from Nino, telling that his manager sent him messages to remind him about his schedule the next day. He can not read them properly because his vision is blurry and his head is spinning, but he manages to register the last two messages.

Matsumoto: night, J
Matsumoto: rest well

Right then and there, with alcohol clouding his mind, Jun decides that he doesn’t care anymore. What happened in the past stays in the past. They live in the present and the present Jun doesn’t care if the past Jun thinks that they’re better off as friends.

Jun doesn’t care if hope is poisonous. He’s having it anyway.


4


The very next day, Jun wakes up to a phone call. His head reacts badly to the ringing voice so he reaches for the phone as fast as he could in order to shut it up. In result, he moves too fast and ends up on the floor. He gets the phone, though, so he just answers it there.

“Yeah,” Jun croaks.

“Jun?” Nino sounds concerned, probably the result of hearing Jun’s miserable voice. “You okay?”

“Hangover,” Jun says while massaging his temple. He pulls his blanket from the bed and proceeds to make himself comfortable on the floor.

Nino sighs audibly. “You better not sent anything ridiculous to anyone with my phone while you’re drunk.”

“Hm,” Jun responds without really registering what Nino is saying.

“Wake up, J. Take aspirin or something and drink up. Your manager just called. He’ll pick you up in an hour,” Nino frets. “He really doesn’t ask a thing, though. Is that even normal?”

“He’s fine, he’s fine,” Jun assures. Nino’s voice in the morning, while Jun’s having a hangover, is definitely going to The Things Jun Doesn’t Like but Willing to Put Up With Because It’s Nino list. Jun is fully awake now, thanks to Nino’s voice that sometimes can be the most annoying thing ever when he wants it to. He stands up, goes to the kitchen, and drinks a glass of water. “Did he send my schedule?”

“Should be.”

Jun vaguely recalls that Nino messaged him about the schedule. “It should be in my email. Could you send it to me? Through LINE, maybe?”

“If you’re okay with me opening your inbox then, sure, I’ll send it to you. I mean, it’s your email, it’s a bit different than LINE,” Nino says, asking for Jun’s permission.

Jun doesn’t actually mind it. He trusts Nino, anyway. It’s Nino. Nino might not look like it, but he’d be the last person to do an inappropriate thing even when it comes down to it. “Yeah, just open it.”

“You sure?”

Somehow, Jun laughs. “Yes! Do I need to give you a written permit or something?”

Nino must be rolling his eyes, Jun can practically feel it. “I just don’t want to get sued,” Nino says. “Okay, then. I’ll send it to you.”

“Thanks.” Jun walks back to his bedroom, stretching his muscles and massaging his head. He curses the past Jun internally for drinking too much even though he has sworn not to go home drunk. He’s lucky Nino calls him. Because if Nino didn’t and he slept in, he would never hear the end of it from his manager. Thinking about this, Jun expresses his gratitude properly to Nino, “And thanks for waking me up.”

Nino hums, acknowledging, and says, “I gotta go now. Bye.”

Jun smiles at it and replies, “Bye.” He puts the phone down on the nightstand and searches for aspirin inside the drawer. He showers after taking the aspirin, and then brews a pot of coffee and makes some toasts. While waiting for his breakfast to be ready, Jun takes the phone and checks it. There are some LINE messages from Nino.

Matsumoto: i’ll just copy and paste your schedule here
Matsumoto:
10 AM - Meeting with GungHo
1 PM - Interview with AnAn
4 PM - Photoshoot for Meiji CM
Matsumoto: gungho is pazudora’s producer, right?

Jun taps home and swipes through the applications that Nino has. He spots Puzzle & Dragons.

Nino: Yes.
Nino: How exactly do we play it?
Nino: They’re approaching us for their upcoming CM but I’ve never played it.

Matsumoto: no kidding
Matsumoto: you don’t even have it on your phone
Matsumoto: geez. and here i thought i’d have something to play on

Jun laughs. Compared to his phone, Nino’s phone has a lot of games. He even finds the Pokemon game that everyone has been talking about lately.

Nino: You can install it if you want to.
Nino: I’m going to need it anyway.

Matsumoto: will do
Matsumoto: [laughing emoji] it kinda feels like we’re getting too comfortable with this situation

Nino: Well, I like this phone.
Nino: Apparently it has wake-up call service. [cheeky emoji]

Matsumoto: [unamused emoji]

The bell rings, signing that Jun’s manager is already there. Jun puts his cup of coffee in the sink, takes his bag, and goes out of his apartment. “Tackey,” he greets his manager while locking the door.

Tackey observes Jun for a while and then starts walking, heading to the car he parked outside. “I thought you had company,” he comments, definitely referring to Nino who has been answering Jun’s phone since yesterday.

Jun laughs discreetly behind Tackey. He doesn’t say anything about it, knowing that Tackey wouldn’t prod further if he keeps silent. They get into the car and Tackey drives them to GungHo’s office. While on the way, they discuss about work and also talk about random things. Tackey is Jun’s friend before he’s his manager, after all. They are more like brothers than work colleagues. The fact that Tackey doesn’t like to sniff around on Jun’s life doesn’t make him any less close with Jun.

They arrive at the building just in time. Tackey drops Jun off on the lobby and goes to park the car. There, Jun meets Sho and his manager, a small man named Ohno Satoshi. Jun has never realized it before, but Ohno slightly reminds him of Nino. Probably it’s because they have similar builds, but it also could be because Jun can not take Nino out of his head.

“I’m surprised you’re here,” Sho smirks. His eyes are covered with sunglasses, probably to cover the hint of hangover that appears in his eyes. “You were really out of it last night.”

“Right back at you, Sho-kun,” Jun responds.

Sho laughs, but his laughter fades out slowly when he sees Tackey approaching them. Tackey nods at him and he nods back.

“Sakurai-san,” Tackey greets. He then turns to Ohno and greets the manager as well, “Good morning, Ohno-san.”

“Morning,” Ohno beams, matching the smile that Tackey gives his way. The managers then lead the way inside the building while chatting among themselves, discussing about the details of the meeting they are about to attend.

They get inside a meeting room not so long after. Two men from the company greet them formally and the meeting is started right away. Right from the beginning, the managers and the company representatives have taken over the discussion. Meetings about upcoming contracts have always been like this. It is as if Jun and Sho are not there at all. The agency is pretty strict on this, insisting that they only want the best for their talents anyway. Five minutes in, Sho is still trying to pretend that he’s going to have a say in one way or another, but Jun feels the phone buzzes inside his pocket so he decides to take out the phone and unlocks it under the table.

There are new messages from Nino.

Matsumoto: there’s someone named ‘Don’t Answer’ calling you earlier
Matsumoto: i didn’t answer because i’m good like that
Matsumoto: [laughing emoji]

The next messages are timed around one hour later.

Matsumoto: god
Matsumoto: Don’t Answer is still calling
Matsumoto: 6 missed calls already!!!

And then, there are the most recent messages.

Matsumoto: OH MY GOD
Matsumoto: I’M SO DONE, J

As Jun scrolls through it, an incoming call appears. The phone buzzes and it startles Jun, making him move suddenly and end up knocking the phone on the table. Everyone looks at him and he can tell that his face is turning red in an instant. “Sorry,” he whispers his apology along with an attempt of a bow.

Everyone ignores Jun and proceeds with the meeting, except for Sho. Sho eyes Jun with a smirk. If they are not in the middle of a meeting, Sho must have laughed his heart out.

Jun glares at Sho, but then stifles a laugh too. He then looks down again, typing a message for Nino since he rejected the call. Before he could send the message, though, the phone is already buzzing again. It caught everyone’s attention once more.

“You should pick it up, Matsumoto-san, it looks urgent,” a man from GungHo says.

Tackey visibly sighs, disapproving this happening.

Jun gets the phone away from everyone’s sight and turns the phone off with a press, sitting up straighter as he does so. “No, no. It’s nothing. Please, proceed,” he says with an apologetic smile.

Through the rest of the meeting, Jun tries his best to look interested in the discussion. He thinks of turning the phone on again several times, but he decides against it. He’s pretty restless throughout the meeting, although no one but Sho notices. When the meeting is finally done, Jun practically dashes out of the meeting room and turns on the phone.

The first thing Jun does is calling Nino.

“Hello,” Jun says the moment Nino picks it up.

“For God’s sake, J!” Nino groans. “How dare you turned off my phone?!”

“I’m sorry, I was in a meeting,” Jun apologizes. He finds a corner and stops there. Tackey will be annoyed that he disappears, but he doesn’t care at the moment.

“I was on air!” Nino shoots back. “This Don’t Answer guy has called twenty times! I’m this close to smashing your phone to the wall.”

“Just ignore it.”

“How could I?! This person calls every few minutes! I’ll just block the number after this, I swear.”

“There’s no use of that, really. She’ll use a new number and start the terror again.” Jun sighs, leaning his back to the wall. He has been dealing with this for a while.

“She?” Nino’s tone changes a bit. “This freak is a she?”

“Yeah. A friend introduced me to her. She’s one of my fans, apparently. Now that she got my number, she’s obsessed in making me her boyfriend.”

“God. Report her to the police already.”

“She’s harmless,” Jun says. He doesn’t like the idea of turning his fans to the police. Moreover, this girl is Toma’s friend or Toma’s friend’s sister or something.

“Does she know that you—” Nino starts but then he stops. “Ah, yes, you go both ways.”

Jun laughs, getting what Nino is meaning to say.

“Anyway, want me to pick it up and say that I’m your ex? It might keep her away,” Nino says it so lightly, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. He’s probably just kidding but, in theory, it might actually work.

Jun freezes for a split second, and then he grins. Only Nino could make such a casual comment for such a sensitive topic like that. Jun feels his heartbeat accelerates when he answers, “Actually, just tell her that you are my boyfriend. Higher chance to shut her up forever.”

Nino laughs. Jun thanks the gods that Nino laughs at that.

“Are you sure? She might tell the press, you know,” Nino says, matter-of-factly.

“I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m into guys anyway,” Jun says, shrugging. He knows this is not a very wise step, but this excites and spurs him.

Nino laughs. Jun laughs. Then, Nino’s laughter fades out and he asks in a serious tone, “Do you seriously want me to say that?”

“Yeah,” Jun answers before he has the chance to chicken out. “Actually, just tell that to everyone that calls. Tell them that you’re my boyfriend and that you have my phone with you for the time being. It makes more sense than the actual story, to be honest.”

“Wait— Are you for real?” Nino asks again.

“Oh, you mind?” Jun asks. He manages to sound composed while in fact, he’s worrying that Nino would say yes.

A few seconds are spent before Nino finally answers, “Well, no. Not really.”

Jun smiles. He’s relieved. “Then, please do both of us a favor by telling her that the next time she calls.”

“Okay,” Nino says.

“Alright, then. I have to go now.”

“Okay.” Nino exhales a long breath and says, “Bye.”

“Bye,” Jun replies. He ends the call and walks to the lobby. He finds Tackey there, frowning and definitely going to scold him. When they’re inside the car, Jun checks the phone once again. There are already messages from Nino.

Matsumoto: btw

Along with that, Nino has sent a screenshot of a chat thread. Apparently, Sho was messaging Jun while they’re inside the meeting room earlier, thinking that Jun was looking at his phone.

Sakurai: Stop chatting with your ex-boyfriend, Lover Boy
Sakurai: Or, should I just drop the ex and call him your boyfriend now?
Sakurai: [wiggling eyebrows sticker]

After that, Nino sent another message.

Matsumoto: Sakurai the Seer.

Jun doesn’t know how to interpret that, but he’s smiling from ear to ear, so he decides that it’s a good thing, after all.




Follow the link for part 2
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