"What am I being congratulated for?" Keigo asked the man who just stepped next to him the moment he arrived at the charity event. Someone who came close to being an actual friend.
Matsumoto Takumi was the second son of a family who owned a food conglomerate. He was also a popular model and television personality. Both combined to create a personality which embodied the words "professional slacker".
That was what Matsumoto wanted the world to believe anyway. Keigo knew better. Ever since their freshmen days in university.
"Isn't it obvious?"
"I'm not so sure," Keigo drawled. "There are so many things that deserves such felicitations."
"Don't be an ass," the other man muttered while raising his glass with a brilliant smile to an admirer from across the floor.
"It's simply the truth," Keigo continued just to irritate him.
Matsumoto couldn't roll his eyes with so many other pairs probably trained on them so he settled for a quiet snort. "I meant the joint venture."
"I am impressed," Keigo allowed. "The ink is barely dry on the contract."
"Ushida is going to press you for a sub-contract," Matsumoto commented dryly.
"Here I thought I was invited to support a charity," Keigo quipped. "Foolish me."
This time, Matsumoto nearly laughed into his wine.
He recovered and asked, "Is it true? I heard his son threw a big party to celebrate his access to the trust fund."
"Yes," Keigo affirmed. "At Sapphire."
"Really?" Matsumoto arched an eyebrow. "So passé."
"Not all of us are celebrities," Keigo reminded him.
"False modesty does not suit you," Matsumoto smiled sweetly.
Keigo thought about a certain dark-eyed beauty he had found at the overrated club.
"It has its charms."
"Oh, look who's heading this way."
Keigo's eyes had already spotted Ushida senior en route, accompanied by his minders.
"Make it hard for him," Matsumoto provided a friendly reminder.
"Don't I always," Keigo said under his breath before Matsumoto slithered away.
He put on his best charming smile as the older man approached.
A few more installments and the loan would be fully-paid. His visit to the hospital today was routine. He saw beautiful trees flowering on the way to his part-time graphic design class.
It was a good day for Kaoru.
"Aihara, want to grab a drink with us?" a classmate asked when the class ended.
"I'm sorry. I've something else on today," Kaoru replied apologetically. "Next time?"
"Going on a date?" another classmate teased.
He managed not to blush. "No, just meeting someone."
It was an understatement considering he was going to see Keigo tonight. He checked the message on the train to make sure that he got the right hotel. Keigo recently decided that he wanted to pick names in alphabetical order.
They've reached "Fukuyama" apparently.
Kaoru was in a positive mood when he reached the hotel. Boutique and littered with quiet business people. The colors were granite and warm wood. As usual, the receptionist called the room to check and someone politely ushered him to the lift and pressed the floor.
Keigo was on the phone when he opened the door to let Kaoru in. His hair still wet from a shower and the buttoned-down shirt caused Kaoru's cheeks to heat up.
It was ridiculous since he now knew that chest intimately but Kaoru couldn't help it.
Keigo said something quickly into the phone in a foreign language and told Kaoru, "I need to finish something first. Make yourself comfortable?"
Kaoru nodded and Keigo flashed him a brilliant, almost boyish smile before reverting to a professional tone to the person on the other side of the phone.
He couldn't make out what the conversation was about. Only words such as "meeting", "flight" and "time".
Kaoru placed his bag on the edge of the couch and took out the spare change since he needed to wait. The living area looked out to a sweeping view of the bright and glaring lights of the city below. Kaoru stopped and stared. He hadn't properly looked out of the windows of the various hotels they've been at before.
He had forgotten how amazing the city was. How alive and bustling.
He must have stood there for a while since Keigo had moved on to the work desk and was flipping through pages of a document. Kaoru sneaked a peek and noticed how serious and intensely focused he was.
It suited Keigo, Kaoru's own crumbling defenses around his heart notwithstanding.
Smiling ruefully at himself, Kaoru headed to the showers. Hot showers were a luxury not to be taken for granted since his flat's was unreliable at best.
When he came out, Keigo was leaning against the couch. His expression hard. His posture rigid.
Kaoru saw that his bag had fallen off the edge of the couch and its contents spilled.
In Keigo's right hand was a bottle of his prescription pills.
There was a thought which crashed into Kaoru's mind immediately even as he met Keigo's eyes in horror.
It was over.
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