There was a meeting for the basketball team after Ryū and Ken’s class. By the time their class had ended, it was already seven in the evening. Everyone was around for the practice except for that fool, Ken.
Ryū heaved a deep sigh. He hated it when they did not have complete attendance for their practice. After a few minutes of waiting, the coach advised Ryū to proceed with the meeting and that they no longer had to wait for Ken.
While Ryū was discussing the tryouts for the rookies, Ken suddenly popped out of nowhere. He looked tired judging by his incessant panting and sweating. Ryū wanted to give Ken a punch for being so late, knowing that he was the assistant team captain, but then he chose not to do so. Ken walked toward Ryū with a tired look on his face, but this tiredness was immediately wiped away from his visage when he grinned happily.
“Hey Dude, I’ve got good news for ya,” Ken said, all smiles, while panting. “Though I need to discuss this with you in private. Care to hear it?” He added after taking a deep breath.
“Idiot. Can’t you see we’re in the middle of a meeting?” Ryū said while frowning.
“Haha! Sorry, Man. Just excited for you. Let’s talk about this after the meeting.” He continued to grin.
After their conversation, Ken took a seat while Ryū carried on with the meeting. He received the application forms from the coach for the rookies, then he handed the files over to Ken for him to arrange them in alphabetical order.
“So team, I’ll be assigning some of you to assist in the try—” Ryū had not finished carrying out his orders when that certain fool disrupted him again.
Ken abruptly stood up from where he was seated and yelled, “Dude!”
Everyone looked at him.
“What!?” Ryū clenched his teeth as he asked.
“Look! Haha!” Ken exclaimed, looking quite amused. He came over to Ryū and showed him the application form in his hand.
Ryū, with a wooden face, checked the paper out. It was the application form of that guy who interrupted Ryū and Kichirō earlier at the cafeteria.
Deep inside, Ryū wanted to reject his application on the spot, but he had to be objective about this matter, because that guy might give great contributions to the team. Ryū sized him up before and could tell from his physique that he was athletic and may be a good addition to the team. In the end, he did not say anything and decided to continue with the meeting, ignoring the fool who was smiling profoundly at him.
Once the meeting had ended, Ryū was about to leave when Ken stopped him from leaving the gym.
“C’mon Man, don’t be so rude. Remember, I need to tell you something?” Ken said while insisting that Ryū should follow him.
“I wanna go home now,” Ryū said sluggishly.
“Don’t ya wanna talk to that cutie anymore?” Ken asked with a smug smile, as if he found out something.
Ryū, being reminded about this matter, suddenly stopped his steps. While he was eager to listen deeply to him, he feigned disinterest in what Ken was saying, but in truth, Ryū was all ears. Ken stood there, tugging the corner of Ryū’s shirt, as if he was a big dog begging for attention from its master, with its puppy eyes and wagging tail.
“I found out that this Ishikawa’s single. He’s not in a relationship with that Sakaguchi kid. I talked with Sakaguchi and he said he’s not into your Bench Boy. You may have a chance with him. The only problem is, how can we get Sakaguchi out of the picture? He seems to be overly protective of your boyfriend, hehe,” Ken explained happily.
“He’s not my boyfriend and I never said that I like him,” Ryū said as he huffed.
Ken seemed to have ignored what Ryū just said and went on babbling nonsense, “Wait, I have an idea. Let me deal with the tryouts. While Sakaguchi’s busy with this, you’ll have the chance to talk with Ishikawa. Who knows, you may be able to be with him after this.” He was obviously poking fun at Ryū.
“Fuck off! That’s never going to happen!” Ryū exclaimed.
“Haha I’m a love guru, Man. Go with the flow. I’ll smooth talk the coach about this. I’m sure he’ll agree to let me handle it. I’ll make up some excuse to convince him,” Ken said while flashing a mischievous grin. He was so determined with his plan to help Ryū out.
As usual, Ryū did not respond. He slapped Ken’s hand away from him to release himself from Ken’s constant tugging on his shirt, then he dashed off.
Kichirō did not know what had gotten into him. For some unknown reason, when Ryū “slept” with him in his dorm room, he could not stop himself getting drawn by that senpai. Yesterday, he was sulking, similar to how some possessive and petty girlfriend sulked. He could not actually recall when this had started.
After class, Kichirō went to the library to review and finish some of his homework. He was by himself at this time because his friend, Naoki went to the basketball tryouts. At least, he knew for sure that Ryu would not be around since he would be busy all week for the tryouts.
He looked around the library and noticed there was only a handful of students left. One particular person caught his attention. He noticed at the table across from his that his classmate, Aiko, was staring at him. When Aiko noticed Kichirō’s gaze, she immediately leaned over the table and covered her face with a book. Kichirō thought then that he was not the only introverted weirdo in their class. He wondered why Aiko was looking at him, but then he did not continue to stare at her because that might give her the wrong idea.
Around eight in the evening, Kichirō decided to go back home to his dorm. As he was walking along the hallways of the dorm, he smelled something rather familiar and so appetizing. Without giving much thought about what it was, he instantly knew that this was a very familiar aroma that he had been craving for lately. His guts told him that this was, indeed, the smell of strawberries!
He sniffed into the air like some hungry rabbit looking for food to find where this alluring aroma was coming from. His tummy started to growl. He had not eaten all day since he forgot to eat lunch because he was in a hurry to finish a report for one of his subjects. He felt so famished.
He walked and walked and after a while, he was led by the smell to the entrance of Ryū’s room! He noticed that the door was open, so he sneaked a peek inside to see what Ryū was up to.
Fortunately, Kichirō could see his kitchen from the door. Inside, he saw that Ryū was busy preparing something. Kichirō did not knock nor did he ask if he could come in. He just went inside, as if his feet had their own lives. His animal instincts had shrouded his rationality.
In a matter of seconds, Kichirō was already standing behind Ryū, who was frosting a cake at the moment. Kichirō’s eyes opened wide when he realized it was a strawberry cake that he made. Kichirō noticed that he even had freshly cut strawberries for the toppings. His eyes glimmered in awe and he almost drooled. What intensified his hunger was the sight of the strawberry milk that Ryū prepared along with it! He had prepared everything that Kichirō’s stomach had been yearning for lately.
Ryū noticed that Kichirō was standing behind him, then he looked at Kichirō and did not say anything. He continued frosting the cake, as if Kichirō was not there.
“Uhm…Senpai, that cake looks delicious,” Kichirō said. He made it sure from the tone of his voice that Ryū would get that he wanted to have a taste of it.
“Hmn,” Ryū said in responded.
Kichirō frowned and pouted. Ryū did not even invite him to eat! “Uhm, can I have a slice?” Kichirō straightforwardly asked when he felt his tummy grumbling again.
Ryū looked back at him again. The boy, who was being looked at, immediately flashed his puppy eyes.
“No,” Ryū responded.
“Please! Pretty, pretty please!” Kichirō begged and tugged on his shirt from behind.
“I thought you’re mad at me?” Ryū asked. “Why’re you here?” Then he added with his right brows knitted.
“I’m not!” Kichirō exclaimed.
“Yes you are,” Ryū said.
“No I’m not,” Kichirō said.
“Fool. I’m not an idiot. I know you’re angry,” Ryū said, as if he was sulking.
“I’m not angry anymore, so can I please have a slice of your cake?” Kichirō softly asked and then grinned. He acted coy and continued to plead.
“Fine. Just this once,” Ryū finally agreed.
“Yahoo!” Kichirō exclaimed out of joy.
“Be quiet,” Ryū said.
Kichirō sat on a counter stool and waited patiently.
After a few minutes, Ryū was finally done. He gave Kichirō a dessert plate and a fork, then the other boy swung his legs because he was overjoyed. After that, Ryū placed the cake on the kitchen countertop and gave Kichirō a glass and a straw for the strawberry milk. After serving these, Ryū sat beside him and started to eat his own slice.
“Itadakimasu!” Kichirō happily said.
After finishing the cake, Kichirō thanked Ryū and bid farewell. While Kichirō was unlocking the door to his own room, he remembered that he had not eaten a proper meal all day yet. He hurriedly went inside his room and prepared to get a pack of instant ramen from the cupboard. He heaved a deep sigh since he was already sick of eating processed food.
Before he prepared the instant ramen, he opened the fridge, hoping to find something inside, even when he knew it was empty. To his surprise, he saw some packaged meals inside. He took one out and saw that there was a note on top of it. He checked what was written on it and it said:
Kichirō sheepishly smiled and his cheeks lightly blushed. He knew it was Ryū who prepared this for him since he was the only person who had a key to his room.
That night was the best so far. Kichirō looked forward to more happy times at this university. He even forgot why he was sulking in the first place.