So I was coming down from a trip and listening to music on my iPhone when Marry Me by Jason Derulo comes up and these dorks pop in my mind…
It was their fourth year anniversary from their first date that bitter cold December night. But both boys were content curled up in the others arms on Rei’s bed as the wind howled against the icy window pane.
Rei is the youngest executive the company where he works has ever had, and he is only 31. It is Christmas-time, and his company is holding a charity event for something about education, and sports, and it is being hosted by none other than popular drama idol Hazuki Nagisa.
He gathered a huge following in the past couple of years thanks to his breakthrough role as coach Kitajima (and the main character’s forbidden love interest) in the sports drama “Mermaids!” about a highschool swim club that must overcome all sorts of adversities in order to make it through the regional championship.
Rei looks at Nagisa throughout the whole event with mesmerized eyes. His energy, his movements. He’s still the same guy he was in highschool. Maybe a little bit taller, and with more expensive clothes. Ok, his shoulders are a bit broader too. And Oh My God, are his ears pierced? Those pants sure are tight… Fame is good to some people…
Towards the end of the event, Nagisa introduces the CEO, and some other important people… amongst which is Rei.
"Eh… Rei-chan?" He says out loud. In the mic. And Rei blushes. And Nagisa takes this as an opportunity to go on
"OMG Ryugazaki Rei…-san. I went to highschool with this guy!" which causes people to applaud, and laugh.
"We were in the high school swim club together. And speaking of swimming, there’s this really good drama called ‘Mermaids!’ I’ve heard really good stuff about the lead male. They say he’s very handsome," wink wink. The crowd laughs.
"Anyway, please give a big round of applause to these important guys for making this event happen."
After the thing, Nagisa doesn’t run to meet Rei. He stalls at the event bar (no drink) for a while, talks to some people, and poses for some pictures. It is actually Rei the one who walks up to him. Or more like Rei’s superior who wants an autograph for his daughter.
"I had no idea Ryugazaki had been in a swim club in highschool."
"That information has never been relevant to this company, so I never saw a reason to mention it.
"Ahh, Rei-…san, always so formal."
Rei feels embarrassed, and a bit awkward. He thinks Nagisa hates him for breaking up with him the way he did. They chit-chat for a while. But Nagisa’s eyes tell Rei there’s something more he wants to say. They exchange goodbyes, and Nagisa surprises him with a hug, and a whisper in his ear “Room 2014.”
And so the whole event is over. People are returning home, but Rai stalls at the bar (no drink), waiting for his superiors to leave. It isn’t until midnight that he’s able to head up to Nagisa’s room. He’s scared, worried, and wondering if it’s even worth it. But god-damn it! He’s an adult. He’s an executive at Very-Important Incorporated, and Nagisa is still shorter than him. So he knocks on the door, and Nagisa greets him like a normal, non-genki friend. And that’s weird.
He comes in. They sit down. They talk for a while. It’s just superficial catching-up for a while, until Nagisa mentions re-hab. And then Rei apologizes for breaking up with him the way he did.
"Rei-chan. I understand. Water under the bridge."
They stare at each other in silence for a whole minute before Nagisa places a hand atop Rei’s right one. Rei flinches initially, surprised by the gesture, but then turns his palm, and entwines their fingers. Nagisa brings their hands up, and kisses Rei’s knuckles.
"I never forgot you, you know…" says Rei looking down.
"I kinda did." confesses Nagisa bluntly. Maybe he is a bit angry, and wants to hurt Rei. But just a little bit. Rei chuckles nervously.
"I know why you did what you did…" says Nagisa after a moment of silence, and goes on to explain how one of his friends was dropped from the agency not too long after he’d joined. It turns out he had a mistress, and they’d been caught. There was a big scandal surrounding the whole thing. Their agency had a very strict clause about their personal lives not interfering with their job ("making money out of young girls’ fantasies"). He knew Rei had broken up to protect them. He wasn’t mad about that so much as he was mad with Rei for not even consulting him.
"But like I said… water under the bridge…"
"… And Haru’s already swimming there…"
"… you’re an idiot…"
And they kiss. And it’s not tender nor soft. It is desperate, and hungry, and a bit angry, and very apologetic, and then forgiving.
And that’s one big bed.
And Rei hasn’t been intimate in SO LONG, but he still knows how it works. He still knows how Nagisa’s body works. And Nagisa has learned a few things since the last time they were together. And Rei’s begging voice, and needy face still make Nagisa come like a volcano. And that was a very dangerous analogy.
They still belong together. It’s not like it hasn’t been over ten years, but they do feel like they can pick up where they last left off. So they do.
Nagisa enrolls in a mediocre Junior College in Tokyo so he can be with Rei-chan, who is a full-time student at Todai (such smart. so glasses. wow). His academic requirements aren’t that high, so he gets a part-time job at a museum, where he gives guided tours to elementary schools on field trips. He takes care of some chores, and tries to make it easier for Rei to study as much as he needs, so he can stay on top of his game. It’s a pretty simple life, and he’s happy with it.
Rei cooks for them on the weekends, and they eat left-overs during the week. He has tried teaching Nagisa how to cook proper, well-balanced meals, and he’s getting there, but not quite yet. Still, sometimes he tries making a bento box for Rei, and he smiles at how clumsy it looks (but notices the improvement!!).
Nagisa still swims. Not as much as he’d wish, but enough to keep him in good shape. Rei tries to join him from time to time, but it’s just a lot easier for him to go out for jogs during the early morning.
One day Nagisa gets scouted during one of his guided tours, and he gets his first modelling gig. It’s a small thing, but good enough money to take Rei out for a fancy dinner. That tiny things gets him more, and more jobs, and eventually he gets a manager, and an agent, and he can afford to move him, and Rei into a nicer apartment. He’s so happy, and excited, and can’t wait to tell Rei when he gets home.
Rei greets him. He seems somber. Nagisa asks him what’s wrong. Rei tells him it’s over between the two of them. That their lives are not compatible. That it’s for the best. That he knows he’ll thank him in the future.
Rei graduates next year as top of his class. He has a great job offer right away, and spends the next decade climbing the corporate ladder.
Nagisa’s model career turns into an acting, and singing one too. He gets small roles in dramas here, and there, and books a couple of national commercials.
Rei sees his face on a billboard on his way to work every day, and thinks to himself “… it was the right thing to do, Nagisa-kun…”