By Dimmie | www

Before leaving Osaka, Yuushi tells Kenya that he already has the whole thing planned out: on a grey winter day of maybe his second year in Tokyo, in some loud and crowded street, he will be running against the cold and torrential rain when, suddenly, the hand of fate will gently push him into crashing blindly onto the woman of his life.

She will be a good five or seven years older than him, tall and beautiful as a siren. Her sweater will be drenched from the rain, clinging to her lean and sensual body. He will ask her out and she will resist, but he will win her heart through sheer determination. They will dine at a small Italian restaurant, watch a cult movie in the alternative circuit, then lounge in her flat discussing post-modernism over coffee. They will talk for hours, and he will make her laugh with his ease at words and charming sense of humour. She will pull him into a deep kiss, push him onto her soft bed, and he will make love to her all through the night - and because it will be his first time, she will guide him with her experience, showing him the way to touch her like no other man ever has.

Kenya thinks, and tells him, that having a plan is cool, but he should leave some room for flexibility in certain details.

Yuushi thinks, and tells him, that Kenya knows nothing of the fine art of romance.

- - -

It is, in fact, his second year in Tokyo; but the sun is high up in the sky, it's maybe four hundred degrees outside, and he's sprawled rather ungracefully under a fan in the empty club house when Gakuto suggests they should go out one of these days. Yuushi thinks he should protest to being the one being courted, but his brain is just too fried to come up with anything other than "uhn" in response.

Three weeks later, Gakuto shows up at his door with tickets to the Tokyo WTA Tour finals. Yuushi is supposed to attend cram school on Sundays, but he was going to ditch anyway. The sun is high again, and Yuushi wonders how he'll ever survive this cursed town; even sitting there unmoving, after fifteen minutes into the match he is sweaty and sticky as if he's the one playing. His only consolation is that Gakuto is in no better state: the red hair drips, the sleeveless shirt clings to his chest and back in blotchy wet spots, and he looks just about ready to die.

They share three cans of Pepsi and don't talk much, but sometimes they'll exchange a look when one of the players makes a particularly good move, in one of those silent conversations that Yuushi had never quite understood how people managed to have, until he started to play doubles. At one point in the afternoon, he vaguely considers asking if they should hold hands or something, but when their fingers brush for a second when the can is handed over, it's understood that even that is more contact than anyone is willing to have in this heat.

After the match, they take the train back home, and Gakuto drops him at the station with a little fist bump, saying, "you owe me two Pepsis, cheap bastard". Yuushi calls his cousin that night to tell him that the plan couldn't have followed through any fitter.

Kenya thinks, and tells him, that having a plan is cool, but maybe Yuushi's taken that "flexibility" thing just a little too far.

Yuushi thinks, and tells him, that Kenya still knows nothing of the fine art of romance.

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