Extra 2: Jealousy and Rain Showers
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
(Note: This extra continues from Extra 1.)
After Tatsuki left, Shin sat on the sofa with his feet up and his arms around his knees, looking out the window in a daze. He couldn’t work up the motivation or desire to do anything—he just gazed at the buildings beyond the railing of the balcony and the vapor trails extending across the sky in the distance. He could only hear the running of the air-conditioning unit in the room, and it felt nice, like he was airing out the cobwebs inside his brain. But eventually his stomach started growling, and the emptiness inside his head turned towards his hunger for food.
Hmm, whatta do?
Shin tried rummaging through the refrigerator, but he couldn’t really find anything he wanted. It was too much of a hassle to go out, so he figured that he would sleep to calm his hunger until Tatsuki got back. That was when his cell phone sounded with an alert.
It was a LINE message from one of the staff members on The News.
“We’re gonna have an outing in a bit at a beer garden before they close for the season. Want to join us?”
So there were still beer gardens open at this time of year. It was the end of September, but it was still pretty hot out and the weather was good. It was actually a rather attractive invitation. Having had his fill of doing nothing in the cool, air-conditioned apartment, Shin wanted to sweat it out a little. When he asked for the location, he learned it was only one station away from where he was, and that was all the push that he needed to go out. Shin got dressed and left the apartment.
The beer garden was located on the roof of a building full of bars and restaurants. It felt like a little hideaway with the sun umbrellas open to provide shade. Ten members of the staff had gathered there, almost all around Shin’s age. He was glad for it—presenters and older colleagues tended to come over to start conversations, but co-workers who were closer in age had always kept more of a distance from him. He had only had eyes for Sakae as he rushed about his work, and they had never cared for Shin’s company.
—He’s such a brown noser, ugh.
—Seriously, I wanna roll my eyes when people say, “Nawada does twice the amount of work for the same number of hours.”
Shin had also had things said to him straight to his face. He had been angry at the time, furious at why he should lower himself to match their pace, but now he realized that there were lots of things that he hadn’t considered properly before.
“Did you have trouble finding the place?”
“No, it was fine.”
“There’s no time restriction here, so we can take all the time we want. Oh, but you don’t drink, do you, Nacchan?”
When Shin confessed that he really did drink, they all laughed and said, “Well, I’m glad we invited you then.” It made him feel relieved. They clinked their beer mugs in cheers and started chattering away. When someone said, “It’s really awful about GoGo,” yes, Shin did feel some outside curiosity from them as onlookers, but he was honestly glad that they had worried about him. It was his own choice how to accept and react to other people’s words—and it applied to both his work and his life. Watching Tatsuki, this was the conclusion that he had come to.
“Did you invite Tatsuki today?” someone asked.
“Nope. It seemed like he already had plans.”
“I’m pretty sure he’ll die or something if he’s not always moving.”
Shin agreed 100 percent.
“I feel bad for his girlfriend.”
“Huh? Does he have one right now?”
“Hmm… I guess I haven’t heard about him having one in a long time. He told me about a girl who totally snapped and dumped him out of the blue one time, yelling ‘I bet you don’t even really care about me.’”
“Oh, I can totally see that.”
“Well, he’s a good guy as a friend.”
Shin could see it far too clearly too, and it bothered him. They had lasered in with pinpoint precision his own fears and misgivings.
“Huh? Was that the girl who was a model?”
“Wasn’t it the girl who worked PR for a distribution firm?”
“I heard a similar story involving a hairdresser.”
“When he was dating a pilates instructor, she said something like that too. He was always out doing stuff, and they eventually went back to being friends.”
Oi, how many times was this?
“Um, excuse me, can I getta refill?”
Shin’s empty beer mug was filled with fresh beer. His throat was chilled, but his stomach and his head were overheating.
The past was the past. Shin knew very well how honest a guy Tatsuki was, and he had no intentions of asking Tatsuki to put a brake on his friendships. But he could understand the hints of loneliness and alienation, piling up until they couldn’t bear it any longer, and he wondered if it was really okay to sympathize with them at the very start of this relationship.
Shin recalled Tatsuki telling him that he worried about how their relationship would go too, just like Shin, but Shin was sure that his own share was much larger than Tatsuki’s. Hnn, was this what they called the insecurity of falling in love?
“He acts like nothing happens whenever he has a break-up. He just announces, ‘Whoops, I got dumped~’”
“He’s just probably acting tough.”
“No way, not when it comes to him, at least.”
“Yeah, he just immediately moves on to another girl~”
“Can I getta another beer?”
“Nacchan, isn’t your pace a little fast?”
As Shin drank to a conversation that he didn’t really care for, Tatsuki sent him a LINE message.
“My game just finished! What are you up to?”
Shin sent a reply with a beer mug in one hand.
“Day drinking at a beer garden with staff.”
“What!? I didn’t hear anything about that! Why didn’t you invite me!?”
That’s what ya say after leavin’ me to play with ya friends?
Shin irritably replied, Dun ask me, and ignored his phone. It was fine. He figured he could do what he wanted as long as he was back by evening.
Before long, everyone had enough food and drinks in their systems, and Shin leaned back against his chair to look up at the upside-down sky peeking out between the sun umbrellas. Somehow the surroundings had darkened with plenty of clouds gathered overhead. They spanned the sky in layers of light and dark gray, water-swollen and ready to rain. It was lucky that the futsal game was already over. Oh, but maybe that was played indoors? Shin realized that he was thinking about Tatsuki again.
“Nacchan, your face is so red. Maybe you’ve had a little too much to drink?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine.”
A girl sitting next to him reached out to place her hand on Shin’s cheek, and the coolness of the touch made him realize how heated he was. Shin had no interest in girls, but he didn’t hate them either. He thought the hand felt soft and nice to the touch.
“Whoa, your skin is so smooth!”
“How can it be so nice when you work a crazy schedule!?”
They were probably exaggerating. It was all qualified with the phrase “for a guy” anyway. Shin was too tired to move, and he just let the girl touch him. That was when an upside-down Tatsuki appeared all of a sudden.
“There you are!”
Shin panicked as he brought his head back up, and the sudden movement made him dizzy with the blood rushing down. His head was spinning, but Tatsuki grabbed his hand and pulled him out of his chair anyway.
“Hey, Tatsuki, you’re here.”
“And I’m leaving already. I just came to get Nacchan because we have plans after this.”
Tatsuki dragged Shin out along with him. The table was full of drunks, and they just lazily watched them leave, chiming out “See ya~” behind them. In a blink of an eye, Tatsuki had pulled him over to the elevator.
“W-Wait, I ain’t paid yet!”
“You can do it tomorrow.”
“How’d ya know I was here?”
“Don’t underestimate my intelligence network.”
Tatsuki sounded like he was sulking, and it was really easy to see that he was angry. The elevator was taking forever to come, and Tatsuki crowded him over to the emergency staircase. The long and narrow space was ridiculously hot and muggy, and their voices and footsteps echoed through the space.
“I ain’t underestimatin’ it, but ya the one who went out on ya own.”
“If you didn’t want me to go, then you should have said so at the time.”
Like there would be anybody who would be happy to send someone off under those circumstances.
“Ya can do what ya like, okay? In return, I’ll do what I like.”
“I won’t let you!”
“You melt into a puddle whenever you drink, Nacchan! You have no sense of danger.”
“What sense of danger?”
Down the stairs, then over a landing, down the stairs, then over a landing… They repeated the zigzag pattern, and it made the alcohol go even more to his head. Why’d he hafta make him exercise to leave?
“So, a comedian said he could go for you yesterday, huh?”
“No one said anythin’.”
“Oh, you’re totally lying! I got it straight from my intelligence network, okay? It happened after the taping.”
“See, I knew it.”
“Ya dumb nut, he said ‘just barely.’ That’s totally different. Anyway, it’s a joke, an’ it’s all ya fault in the first place…”
“And you’re blaming it all on me again!”
“‘Cause it is all ya fault! Everything!”
Making him wrack his brains over things that he had never bothered with before, drinking until he melted into a puddle, making his heart beat so fast and loud like this—everything was Tatsuki’s fault.
“I-I’m so tired…”
They finally reached the ground floor of the seven-story building, and Shin leaned against Tatsuki’s back, who had been leading the way.
“Ya smell like sweat.”
“That’s because I threw on my clothes to dash here after the game. Even though the place had showers and everything…”
“So it’s my fault, now?”
“What the hell.”
The fabric of the T-shirt moved with Tatsuki’s breathing, sticking and separating from his sweat-slicked back. When it clung to him, Shin could see the shoulder blades and back muscles all defined in front of him, and it made his heart race. Shin wrapped his arms around the body, sweat and all, and whispered, “Ya dumb nut.”
When they exited the building, large raindrops started falling from the sky.
“Let’s take a taxi back,” Tatsuki said.
“The train’s fine.”
“No way, I’m all sweaty, and you’re all red.”
They climbed inside the back of a cool taxi, and suddenly Shin felt a wave of relief and placed his head on Tatsuki’s shoulder.
“Hey, you’re doing it again! You can be so defenseless…”
“I’m sleepy. Wake me up when we arrive.”
“Hey, wait, we’re going out for sushi at night, okay?”
“Okay, I know.”
The sound of rainfall hit the waves of his drowsiness. Shin slightly opened his eyes and saw the car window covered in rain, like it had also been sweating. He secretly slipped a hand under Tatsuki’s shirt and felt around his back. The cold sweat was also like the rain.
Salty drops of rain, alluring sweet sweat—which one was it, Shin wondered. Under the sunlit rain shower, he slowly slipped into a sunlit doze.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.