"Like I said before," said Konoe, "it's all about the romance. Even the simplest moment can be enhanced with a little romance. You just have to strike the right tone."
"Eeh," said Ageha. "I believe you, but I still don't know what to do! What is this romance thing?"
"I'll try to think of a way to explain it to you, all right? For now let's enjoy Kiyoi-san's cooking. It is most delicious, as usual," he said, bowing slightly to Kiyoi, who smiled in response.
Ageha pouted and looked at him as he brought the tomato pudding plateau closer. He waited as Konoe cut himself a slice, then made for the knife. Konoe intercepted his hand.
"Would you like a slice of pudding, Ageha-san?" he said, and with a graceful gesture proffered the plate with the slice he'd just cut.
"Eh? I was going to cut my own."
"It would be my pleasure to offer you this one, please," Konoe said and put the plate in Ageha's hands. His hands lingered softly around Ageha's, until Ageha said, with a puzzled frown, "Er, I have it, thanks."
"You're most welcome," Konoe said with a small smile.
Ageha blinked, then shrugged.
After dinner Kiyoi brought them a photo album, then excused himself and Makoto, mentioning some "business arrangements".
It was an album with images from all over the world. Konoe seemed to know about all those places, and all of them seemed good romance material. Ageha mused if he should bring it to the next Goukon. If there ever was one, he sighed inwardly, the way things were going. He stole a look at Konoe; if only he could be so nonchalant and charming as he was...
"Is something the matter, Ageha-san?"
"Eh? Ah, I was just wondering - how do you know all these places? Have you been to all of them?"
"No," smiled Konoe, "I haven't been around that long. I've read a lot about them, though, and let imagination do the rest."
"Aha," said Ageha and turned the page, vaguely disappointed. He'd hoped for some real stories, to understand Konoe's method of romance.
"Oh look," exclaimed Konoe, "I've been there!"
He shifted closer to Ageha, and even took him by the shoulder so he could lean in closer to the pages.
"This is from Paris," he said, "the very city of romance! Oh, the way the city lights shine in the night at your feet, as the wind caresses your hair on the heights of the Eiffel Tower!"
He was looking at Ageha now, not at the photograph, and Ageha became very aware of Konoe's hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at him, and Konoe spoke again, this time in a lower voice.
"Yes, you'd look great in Paris. Especially if you wore that cute coat, and combed your hair like this," he demonstrated it by ruffling Ageha's hair into a shape Ageha couldn't guess at, though he could feel Konoe's hand very close to his face.
"Eh..." Ageha said. Konoe's small smile was very, very close.
A light went on in Ageha's mind.
"Wait, is this part of your demonstration? Of, er," he mumbled, "of romance?"
Konoe's face remained serious, absorbed.
"It is what you want it to be..." he murmured, looking Ageha in the eye.
Ageha blinked, and his heart sped.
"...pretty girl," finished Konoe and smiled gleefully, pecking Ageha on the nose and ruffling his hair again, this time into an unruly mess.
"Heey!" Ageha protested, "you're making fun of me!"
"Not at all. It was a perfectly workable demonstration of romancing," Konoe winked. "It was working, wasn't it?" he added in a more confidential tone, leaning closer to Ageha again. "I hope you were paying attention," he whispered.
Ageha pouted and glared at him.
"Hey, look, Makoto and Kiyoi are back! I must greet them too before I leave," Konoe said. "See you around, pretty Ageha-kun!"
Looking after Konoe's graceful silhouette, Ageha vowed he'd get his revenge... sometime, when Konoe was expecting it the least. He'd show him he could romance too.