Satoshi bit on his thumbnail as he glanced out the window of his car. He had parked across the street from Jun’s studio, wondering if he should go in and make an appearance. It had been two months since he had talked to either him or Sho since he caught them making out at the club. But the need to see Jun again, just this once prompted him to come over.
Not wanting to give in to second thoughts, Satoshi grabbed the baking dish sitting on the passenger side and got out. He made some pasta that he knew-based from silly interview questions in magazines-Jun loved. The bell above the door dinged. The studio appeared to be empty, though.
“Well, well, look who finally graced me with his presence.”
Satoshi looked up as Jun walked down from the stairs and stood in front of him. Jun smiled, jutting his chin to the baking dish in his hands. “Whatcha got there, Satoshi?”
“I was practicing how to make some Italian dishes, and didn’t want them to go to waste.” Satoshi handed it to Jun, who pulled back the foil that was set over it. Jun exclaimed in surprised.
“Baked ziti! I love baked ziti. How did you know?” Jun smiled widely at Satoshi and pulled him into a bear hug. Satoshi hugged back, tightening his arms around the guy, not wanting to let go. Jun didn’t pull back either. As if his body decided to think for itself, Satoshi leaned his head forward to capture Jun’s lips with his. Jun kissed back, his mouth opened just enough for Satoshi to slip his tongue in his mouth, deepening the kiss. He felt the tip of Jun’s tongue against his.
But just as quickly as the kiss started, it ended abruptly when Jun pulled back suddenly. “Sho and I are official.”
Satoshi pulled away from Jun’s arms. “Oh. Right. Of course. Um, well, I actually just came by to drop off the food.” He paced for a moment, unsure what to do and nervously scratched his head. “Uh, well. I better go.”
“Satoshi, wait.” He heard Jun called to him, but he pretended not to hear. He just needed to get away from there, fast. He totally made a fool of himself, and he had no one to blame but himself.
Jun stared blankly at the wall in front of him as he swiveled on his office chair. “Do you think it’s worth the scrutiny of being a partner to a gay politician?” he asked out loud to Kazunari and Masaki who were both in their respective desks. They both looked up and stared at Jun. “I mean, not every citizen will accept a gay man in public office, let alone a gay man with a life partner. I just don’t know if that’s worth it.”
“Are you having second thoughts about Sho-kun?” Masaki asked gingerly to his friend who seemed to be thinking out loud.
Jun sighed and looked at Masaki. “I don’t know. The guy is great looking, caring, loving, considerate, and did I mention a great lover?”
“Ugh. That is one piece of information I do not want Masaki to hear,” Kazunari quipped.
“Be quiet,” barked his boyfriend. Masaki turned back to Jun. “But ?”
Jun sighed. Kazunari groaned.
“Look, I’m saying this as a good and kind-hearted friend,” he started. “But for the love of god, J, if the thought of this guy doesn’t make your ding-a-ling excited, not to mention all doki doki for him, just be single and miserable for the rest of your life. Don’t tie yourself down. You’re still young.”
Jun glared at him. “You’re young yourself, yet you’re serious with Masaki.”
Kazunari grinned and motioned his hand in Masaki’s direction. “Because this sweet ass man right here makes my ding-a-ling excited anytime, anywhere.”
Masaki groaned loudly. “I can’t believe we are having this conversation,” he said, burying his face in his hands.
By then, Jun had tuned the lovers out and drew back into his thoughts that centered mostly of the kiss he shared with Satoshi. He would rather die than admit out loud to Kazunari that he might be partly right. He craved Satoshi’s kiss more than Sho and it made him sick to his stomach. Satoshi never called him back in spite of the many calls and the text messages he sent, and he couldn’t face Sho and pretend nothing had changed.
But he couldn’t drag it out forever. Even if he never heard from Satoshi again, he couldn’t go on pretending with Sho.
Jun took his phone from his desk and texted Sho. “Can we meet up tonight? I have something important to tell you."
Sho stared at his hands, his body slumping forward as he and Jun sat on the park bench at the park across the street to the studio- the same park Jun and Satoshi had gone to take pictures to show off potential suitors for Jun. Jun had just ended their relationship.
“Sho-san, I really am sorry,” Jun said again. “I… I don’t think I’m the right person for you. I… I don’t think it’s fair for you to invest so much in this relationship when… I don’t feel the same.”
Sho sniffed and nodded. “It’s always been Satoshi, huh?” Sho said it so softly that Jun could barely hear the words.
“What? Um, h-how… I mean. No, it’s just-”
“No. I noticed it.” Sho straightened up and leaned back on the park bench, but still looked on ahead, not meeting his gaze. “The first time we met, at that restaurant, the way you looked across to Satoshi.” Sho finally turned to face him. “And that time at the bar, when you saw him across the dance floor. The reason you kissed me was you were jealous of him talking to some other guy.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ve known that man for a long time. He is a good man. If I have to lose you to someone else, I rather lose to Satoshi.”
Jun sighed in frustration. “Dammit, Sho, why are you making this too easy? Why don't you just scream and fight me, or I don’t know, cuss me out for wasting your time. Anything than just accept defeat.”
Sho gave Jun a sad smile. “Because even if I do such things, it wouldn’t change your feelings for my old friend.”
Jun sunk back into the park bench. They sat quietly, each in his own thoughts, as they stared at other people in the park.
“Whoever you find to be your partner, Sho, will be one lucky sonavabitch,” Jun finally said after a moment.
“I better go.” Sho got up, but before he left, they hugged one final goodbye. Jun watched him get into his car and drove off. He felt lousy hurting a perfectly good man, but part of him couldn’t help feeling relieved that he wouldn’t be living a lie.
Follow the link for part 8