Story 1: Tropical Bed
Author’s Note: I saw an actress give an interview where she said that she kept her bedroom at a humidity of 70%, and she had really beautiful luminous skin! I feel like Kunieda-san also possesses similar skills to those actresses, such as the ability to control the sweat glands on their face…
First published in Shousetsu Dear Plus 2013 Summer Edition Free Paper.
Translator Note: This story takes place some time after Volume 1 Chapter 8 of Yes, No, or Maybe Half? It can also be viewed as a sort of companion piece to the bedroom scene in Chapter 9.
The first time that Ushio stepped into Kei’s bedroom, the room was so humid that it felt like the air itself clung to his body. Kei had it specially set to a high humidity level. Ushio had his film equipment and art materials at his house that he needed to store away from humid environments, and so Kei’s room was like a breath of fresh air for him.
There was a bed in the room, and it was the only piece of furniture in there. Apparently, Kei didn’t even use the closet to store his clothing. In order to avoid mold growth, the bed was placed in the center of the room away from the walls. Sprawled out on the bed, it felt like he was on a tiny island somewhere in the middle of the ocean. He remembered playing something similar to it as a kid, pretending that the floor around the bed was the ocean and that it was infested with sharks.
Ushio rolled over on to his side and stared at Kei’s back as he sat on the bed. He had been busy reading a document for a while.
“What are you reading?”
“Won’t it get musty if you read it in here?”
“I won’t need it after tomorrow, so it’s fine.”
“You have work?”
It was a Friday night, and Ushio came over thinking that he wouldn’t be interrupting anything important.
“Not really work, more like a side gig? I’m MCing a wedding reception.”
“You do jobs like that too?”
Staff or acquaintances at work (he didn’t have any friends) would ask him to MC, and he would charge 50,000 to 100,000 yen1 and not take an honorarium. Strictly speaking, it was against company policy, but the network looked the other way and it allowed announcers to earn a little extra on the side.
“It’s for a senior colleague in the announcer department, so I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t even make up a work-related excuse because he knows my schedule. Tch, what’s with this damn exaggerated story about how they first met? He slept with his friend’s girlfriend, and now they’re shamelessly…”
Kei was making snide remarks about the portion of the script talking about the beginning of the couple’s romance. But he wouldn’t breathe a single syllable of his rude opinions during the reception, and Ushio imagined Kei taking to the mic with his perfect, ironclad smile. Kei would look far too beautiful for his own good. A wedding reception was essentially a ceremony where people cleaned up their story, or put their own positive spin on things, then embellished it with cute, little anecdotes for decorations. To be blunt, it seemed like a performance to him, and Ushio didn’t like the social expectations that came with becoming an adult and finding a partner. To be precise, he didn’t want to be forced to confront his own immaturity that kept him from being able to handle the social baggage. It all seemed so fake to him, and he didn’t know how to react to all of the fakeness.
But he liked Kei and his lies, or rather, Kei was made up of lies, and he liked him the way he was. Maybe it was because their meeting was a crash out of the blue (literally and figuratively), or maybe after clearing the air between them, he thought that it was something new and refreshing, or maybe he was simply attracted to Kei’s looks. But why Ushio liked him so much, he wasn’t entirely clear.
“I don’t get it” should be my line.
“…Well, whatever, as long as it’s interesting, it’ll be fine.”
“Hn?” Kei turned his head at the sound of Ushio talking to himself.
Do you have to answer with a grunt all the time?
“Were you bad mouthing me just now?”
“You’re surprisingly sharp sometimes.”
“I wasn’t bad mouthing you.”
“Then what was it?”
“I said to turn around and face me.”
“That doesn’t match the length of what you said.”
Ushio laughed at the suspicious look that Kei was giving him over his shoulder. It was an expression that would make people pale and exclaim, Kunieda’s snapped and lost his mind, if they were to ever see it.
“But it’s true.” Ushio pulled at the collar at the back of Kei’s T-shirt. “Come here.”
“Quit it! You’re gonna stretch it out.”
“Pay attention to me.”
“You ignore me most of the time yourself!”
“If you say something, I’d pay attention to you.”
“Liar. You don’t even see me when you get immersed in your work… But anyway! What was that ‘I’d pay attention to you’ for? It’s not like I’m begging for it!”
“Yes, yes, I know.”
Ushio sat up to wrap both arms around Kei and pulled him down onto the bed. It wouldn’t have been so easy if Kei had wanted to put his foot down, and so Ushio interpreted it to mean that Kei was actually fine with this.
“Don’t interrupt my work!”
“I’d behave if it was seriously important work, but it’s not, is it? Anyway, if you really didn’t want me to bother you, you wouldn’t have let me in the apartment in the first place.”
Kei didn’t say anything in return. He was usually such a good speaker that it was really amusing to see him so honestly at a loss for words.
“Anyway, it’s pretty obvious what’ll happen when you bring someone up to your room on a Friday night.”
“I didn’t bring you up to my room!”
“I know, I know.”
Ushio propped himself up on one arm and looked down at Kei. He caught a brief look of worry on Kei’s face, and it didn’t look like he was faking it, but then Kei immediately frowned and said, “I’m not doing it tonight. I have to MC tomorrow, and if I show up with a hoarse voice, my reputation will go down.”
Kei once told him that he fine-tunes the way he speaks for different settings, whether it was in a studio with a pin mic, outside at an assignment, or in a hall with a hand mic. When Ushio said that it all sounded the same to him, Kei had yelled at him, saying, I adjust my voice to make it sound the same, stupid! It strained the vocal cords to change his voice, and he had to be careful not to overexert himself. Ushio understood that.
“You don’t feel sorry for the bride and groom?”
“I don’t care about them.”
“Then I don’t care about them either.” Ushio took the script from Kei’s hands and dropped it on the floor.
“You can memorize that thing in 30 minutes if you wanted to.”
Ushio brought his face close to Kei’s, and suddenly Kei looked so openly restless and eager that Ushio wondered what he was ever going to do about him. He was far too easy to read.
“Anyway, if you want to protect your throat, then you can try to keep quiet.”
“You don’t have to moan so loudly if you don’t want to.”
“What!? Dammit, I don’t moan that loudly!! Don’t get too full of yourself, dumbass! Drop dead!”
Ushio gave a light pat to his red cheeks. “Yes, yes, I know,” he said soothingly. “You can keep quiet, then? You’ll be fine; it’s just keeping your mouth shut. Unless you don’t think you can do it.”
Kei was a smart guy and a quick learner, but he always fell for his cheap tricks. It was too funny… No, no, it was too charming. It amused and charmed Ushio to no end to watch Kei angst over how he always gave into Ushio’s provocations, no matter how much he tried to ignore him.
Since Kei couldn’t use his voice, he arched his head back further than usual, prominently exposing the curve of his throat. Ushio sucked at the underside of Kei’s jaw and noticed that his breathing was erratic for a brief moment.
“Hey, you okay?”
The tone in Ushio’s voice showed absolutely no sincerity, and Kei swatted his head.
It actually didn’t hurt at all. Ushio pressed deeper inside of Kei, and the lips that Kei stubbornly tried to keep shut started to quiver. Just how frustrated was he that he couldn’t let out his voice? Every time Ushio moved, Kei dug his nails harder into his arms. He was going to have some terrible marks after this was over, but he wasn’t going to complain when he was the one who initiated this.
The stifled moans were mixed with a heavy nasal breathing, and they were like the sweetest sugar Ushio had ever tasted. Just a single grain of crystal was enough to melt in his mouth and intoxicate him. It was truly an appetizing scene for him, but they’d been at it like this since they had started, and Ushio thought it was about time to leave no more excuses for those stubborn lips to let go and open up for him.
Ushio aimed carefully, grinding his cock repeatedly against the little spot that made Kei weak and tremble. He was rewarded for his efforts; the straight line flattened between his lips broke, releasing a voice mired with lust and need.
“No! Ah, ahh…! Dammit, you jackass! Idiot—!”
“Nooo, ngh, no, ahhh…”
“…Ahhh, fuck, you turn me on so much.”
Ushio knew that he shouldn’t do anything to interfere with Kei’s job tomorrow. He had only wanted to tease him a little before stopping, but then he heard Kei’s voice, so desperate and so open, he wanted to hear more, intensifying the rhythm. It was his own private broadcast, and he was a damn lucky man.
“Ahh, ahh, ah… noo, Ushio…”
Kei’s hands clung to Ushio’s arms as if they would break through his skin, but they released him only to wrap around the back of his neck, pulling him closer.
Kei kissed him deeply and passionately.
Ohhh, so that’s what you’re thinking. And truly no better way to seal your own mouth. Ahhh, you amuse me too much.
When he called Kei “cute,” it always meant that he was amused.
The arousal conveyed from one pair of lips to the other bewitched him far more than when he was merely listening with his ears. Maybe Kei was intoxicated by their perfectly synchronized kiss; his hole clenched up on Ushio even tighter than before. The humidity of the room enveloped them as they tangled their bodies together. Coupled with their rising body temperature, Ushio felt like the two of them were alone on a tropical island. It was hot, sweltering, and humid, but most of all, exhilarating.
As he rewarded the tongue that was offered to him, his hunger for Kei grew deeper as he demanded more and more and more.