The ringtone of his phone is obnoxiously loud this morning, even though he's sure it's only because it's eight in the morning and Massu worked from open to close three days in a row before, relying on his boss keeping his word and letting him have the next two days off.
After three years of working with Nagase, Massu suspects he really should learn his lesson by now.
"Hello?" he mumbles into his cell phone, trying mightily to ignore the desire to smush his face into the pillows and pretend the world doesn’t exist.
"Masuda, my favorite indentured servant! Up and at 'em, I need you to work today!" Nagase's voice booms over the earpiece, making Massu wince.
"What, but why?" Massu asks, clutching at his stuffed pig. He most certainly is not pretending it's Nagase and strangling it, no...
"Ryo's got a wicked hangover and you know how he gets when he hasn't been laid or sobered up," Nagase replies.
"You said I could have today and tomorrow off!" Massu feebly protests, even though he's in the process of tossing the pig aside and rolling out of bed, all goo and jelly legs.
"I lied!" Nagase cheers. Massu tries very hard to convey his glare through the phone, but it doesn't usually work in person, either. No way was it going to start working now through the telephone.
"What time do I have to be there?" Massu sighs.
"Oh, now-ish would be nice, but it's okay, take your time to get ready, I know you need to primp yourself," Nagase coughs a little. "You'll thank me, though."
"I'm not that pressed for money, thanks, bye," Massu deadpans.
"Pick up Nakamaru on the way!" Nagase yells before Massu has a chance to click his phone off.
The effect would have been greater if he hadn't felt compelled to actually say 'bye', but just cutting it off felt rude. Even if Nagase was a liar.
Despite his hour of mentally berating Nagase for breaking his promises as he gets ready, Massu walks to his car with a slight bounce because when it comes down to it, Massu really loves his job. He's been working at Flypaper Records since junior year of high school, but grew up watching the abandoned theatre in downtown get transformed into this quirky, colorful store. His entire musical background can be traced back to the store, to the very first CD he bought with his own money to spending afternoons lounging on a short row of velvet theatre seats in the corner, listening to previews of the newest releases. He isn't going to say that he spent the entirety of his spare time there, but it's hard to not like a place where the employees are friendly and endearing, the atmosphere relaxed but fun. Working at Flypaper Records was something like a dream come true, and even with all its faults and character flaws, Massu loves it. In a world where most people hate doing what they do, he thinks he's rather lucky.
He pulls up in front of Nakamaru's house and beeps the horn, blaring it over the cheery pop-punk song on the radio. It's hot out, like the sun is getting its last words in before the weather changes from summer to fall in a week or so; Massu pumps the air conditioning, hoping his jalopy of a Civic will hold out for just another few more months. The door to the house opens and out walks Nakamaru, calling goodbye to his parents with a tumbler of coffee in one hand, a brown paper bag in the other. When Nakamaru opens the door and gets in, he shoots Massu a look. "It's like the Arctic in here."
"If this is a way to get me to listen to the Arctic Monkeys, it's not working," Massu replies easily, putting the car in drive and taking off down the street.
Nakamaru laughs. "If everything else I've tried hasn't worked, I don't think that will." He places the coffee into the cupholder and unfolds the bag, reaching in and pulling out two bagels. "Here, breakfast. And thanks for coming to pick me up," Nakamaru says, holding the bagel out to Massu, even though he can't really eat it now on account of driving and all. Massu reaches out for it when they get to a stop sign, keeping it in his free hand.
"Thank you," Massu says, beaming. Nakamaru just shrugs it off, reaching out and fiddling with the radio knob, dialing it back and forth, trying to find something more to his tastes. Massu usually doesn't like when other people fiddle with the soundtrack to his car, but it's Nakamaru, so he doesn't mind that much.
Then again, Massu doesn't mind anything Nakamaru does.
This thought was met with astonishing clarity a few weeks ago when they were at work together. Massu was working the cash register and Nakamaru came by to make change for Nagase on account of losing a bet against Jin, and while he was getting the correct amount of bills, Massu couldn't help but think that Nakamaru's fingers were beautiful. It snowballed from there, Massu's mind realizing that Nakamaru was beautiful in that geeky, kid-next-door-with-hipster-tendencies kind of way, and the fact that he felt most comfortable around him couldn't be a coincidence. And in the following week, Massu became hyper-aware of Nakamaru's presence everywhere and soon, he realized that if Nakamaru did something that happened to be one of Massu's pet peeves, he wasn't even bothered. When Jin did the exact same thing the next day, Massu's irritation flared. In due time, it became pretty clear -- Nakamaru was special. If Massu went around thinking that it was because Nakamaru had some sort of anti-angering superpower, he was mostly lying to himself. And maybe everyone else, too.
The car ride is quiet, save for the radio; he's in a pretty good mood despite the ungodly hour he was woken up, but the effects of working three full days in a row makes Massu yawn regardless. Nakamaru doesn't seem much better off, although he's a little more chatty, talking about the concert he went to the night before and how great it was. Massu pulls into the parking garage across the street from the store while he's telling him how great it is to be able to talk to the musicians he looks up to, how awesome it feels to actually have a conversation with them and truly feel appreciated.
"It's more than what your pop idols today try to do," Nakamaru mockingly scoffs, although Massu knows it has very little bite behind it. After all, it wouldn't do well if Nakamaru's indie reputation was ruined by Massu's knowledge of him having a few Miley Cyrus songs on his iPod. (All Massu has to do is start humming the chorus of "Party in the USA" and Nakamaru gets red in the face. Massu spends the next half hour laughing. It's a pretty good system...for Massu, anyway.)
Massu eats the rest of the bagel as they walk out of the parking garage and scurry across the main road, peeking into the windows of the store, seeing heads moving about inside. The store doesn't open for another half hour, but the staff is highly advised to get there early to do any last minute cleaning and straightening. Nakamaru holds the door open for him to go through first and Massu calls out a cheerful 'good morning!' as he reaches for his nametag, shoving his other belongings into his cubby hole in the staff room.
Nagase beams at him, dressed in a pair of boxers and his bathrobe.
Sadly, this isn't the first time Massu has seen Nagase in such a state, and he highly doubts it will be the last.
It's going to be a long day.
He starts his shift on cash register duty with Junno. Nagase says it's because they're both full of sunshine and marshmallows and more willing to deal with the customers at ass o'clock in the morning, which is pretty true; Junno cracks jokes that aren't exactly funny but at least he tries, and he's winsome, handsome almost, eyes all crinkly when he smiles and short black hair, bangs brushed to the side. Massu himself likes to veer on the cheery side and it helps that not much actually bothers him for the long haul -- together, they tend to make happy customers happier and grumpy customers not-so-disgruntled. Nagase calls them his Retail Gods. It was a little embarrassing at first but now Massu's used to it, even likes it a little -- it's nice to know that he's doing something right.
"I thought you had today and tomorrow off?" Junno asks as they both count the change in their respective tills.
"I did too," Massu replies, his mind wondering if it was worth the effort to ask if Nagase had any extra singles on him -- chances are the answer would be 'no'.
Junno shuts the drawer of his register with a well-placed hip bump and turns to face him, chuckling. "So who are you covering for?"
"Who else?" Massu pushes his drawer closed. They both watch Jin toddle across the floor and flip the sign from 'closed' to 'open', and the day officially starts. They keep watching as Jin stumbles his way back to the vinyl set-up, not looking forward to spending the first few hours with Koyama chatting incessantly in his ear.
"I wonder if he knows he still has his sunglasses on," Junno muses out loud.
Massu smiles. "Probably. I'm thinking he has a hangover, too."
"So you're covering for Ryo?" Junno asks, leaning back against the counter.
"Yeah...Nagase didn't go much into it, just that he has a hangover or something."
"Believable," Junno nods along; they both turn and smile at the doorway, the jingling of bells signifying their first customer of the day. "He's stuck in Atlantic City."
Massu blinks. "Wait, really? How do you know that?"
"My girlfriend was there last night for a friend's birthday and she said she saw him. He was pretty drunk by the sounds of it," Junno says, "I'm willing to venture that he probably didn't make it back in time."
“I suppose we’re all used to that by now,” Massu replies, then stops for a moment. “You have a girlfriend?”
“Hmm? Yeah...you didn’t know?” Junno looks at Massu with a puzzled expression on his face. When Massu shakes his head, he makes a small ‘huh’ noise in the back of his throat. “Ah, well...yeah, I have a girlfriend, then! I thought everybody knew...it’s not like Nagase would keep that sort of thing secret.”
Massu stares at him as Junno stops leaning on the counter and reaches out to take the customer’s purchases to ring her up. He’s not exactly bewildered at the fact that Junno has a girlfriend -- if anything, he would be surprised if he didn’t have a girlfriend -- but now that he thinks about it, he doesn’t know why his stomach feels a little funny. He waits until the customer is out the door before asking, “How did you tell her you liked her?”
Junno smiles as he remembers it all. “It wasn’t anything special...we were at the zoo and she really likes giraffes, so we were looking at them and I said something like, ’I hope one day, you’ll like me as much as you like these giraffes, even if I’m not as tall,’ and she giggled and said she already did.”
“Is he telling the giraffe story again?!” Jin interjects loudly. They both dutifully ignore him.
“I think that’s special, though,” Massu thinks, picturing it in his mind. It seems very Junno-like, after all, and Massu is inexplicably happy for him.
“Really?” Junno tries his best not to look pleased but nothing can hide the brilliant smile on his face. “Thanks, Massu.”
“No problem,” Massu flashes him a grin before an influx of customers distract him.
Junno’s words stay with him for most of his time at the cash registers and Massu finally realizes that he was shocked because he never even considered telling Nakamaru that he liked him. Which, in retrospect, is really silly since that’s the inception of all potential relationships, so really, how does he expect to have a relationship with Nakamaru if he can’t even rouse up enough courage to tell him?
He ponders this a little bit as he gets lost in the repetitive motions of ringing up customers, Junno’s voice sometimes filtering into his thoughts from the next register over. Once Koyama comes to take his place, though, Massu is tasked with changing the displays in the windows at the front of the store. Apparently, the store was offered a healthy sum to have a Justin Bieber display and Nagase thought it would be a good idea. Most of them had protested because it would be “selling out”, whatever that meant, but Nagase was adamant...which is why Massu is currently fighting with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber.
Justin Bieber is currently winning.
“His head won’t stay on,” Massu laments as Koyama comes over to check up on how he’s doing. It usually takes Massu half an hour to get displays up, but there’s so many bits and pieces of the display this time that Massu’s already taken twice as long and sent Junno searching for a boxcutter in the backroom.
“What do you mean?” Koyama asks, poking at the cardboard.
Massu takes it and points to a few slots in the support structure. “There’s supposed to be one more slot here to fit it on right, but there isn’t. I could get a razor and cut one in myself, but the cardboard on this side doesn’t extend that far anyway, so it wouldn’t support anything to begin with. I think they sent us a defective one.”
“Why don’t we just say we put the thing up and reap the benefits anyway? It’s not like they’re going to send people to check,” Nakamaru pipes up, coming around and picking up the top part of the display and staring at it. He frowns at it. “His hair bothers me.”
“His everything bothers you,” Massu muses, taking it and waggling Justin Bieber’s head in front of his face. Nakamaru shrieks and jumps away, hiding behind the closest rack of CD’s as Koyama grabs the cardboard cutout’s head and runs after him. Eventually, Jin and Junno capture Nakamaru and holds him still while Koyama rubs the cutout against Nakamaru’s body in, er, more than suggestive ways.
“I hate all of you!” Nakamaru screams, trying his best to get out of Jin and Junno’s grasp.
“Will all you plebs please get back to work?!” Nagase’s voice booms from the PA system.
Koyama glances at the line forming at the cash register and smiles, embarrassed. “Oops.” Nakamaru is let go and Jin goes back to the vinyl section. Nakamaru picks up the cardboard piece and hands it back over to Massu.
“Thanks,” Massu says, tossing it back into the pile of abandoned display parts. “I didn’t know Nagase knew the word ‘plebs’.”
“He probably doesn’t know what it stands for, I wouldn’t be too impressed,” Nakamaru says, then goes back to his job of helping Junno do inventory with a wave.
All things considered, Massu thinks the day is going relatively well. There haven’t been any unbearable customers yet, he finally gets Justin Bieber’s head on correctly with a liberal application of super-glue, and Nagase really does promise he can have the next two days off work. Of course, he hasn’t tackled the problem of telling Nakamaru how he feels, but there’s still 8 hours left in the work day -- he’s sure he can figure something out.
He’s also sure he didn’t ask for anybody’s help, but maybe he’s more obvious than he thought.
“So a little bird tells me you’ve got a thing for Nakamaru,” Koyama whispers conspiratorially into his ear as Massu’s making copies at the Xerox machine in the backroom. Massu’s sure this looks shady, but thankfully, Nagase’s in his office and everyone else is on the sales floor.
Still, though, something tips Massu off that this so called ‘little bird’ is rather more like ‘a giant lumberjack’. Even down to the flannel print boxers.
Even as he tries to deny the accusation of having something for Nakamaru, he knows it’s futile. It’s a little like asking a child who’s been caught red-handed stealing from the cookie jar if they were stealing cookies. They can say no all they want, but there’s no use when the argument is surely against your favor.
“Aw, Massu, don’t be like that! Have you told him yet?” Koyama asks, the glee in his voice unmistakable. Massu sighs, sets the copy machine to print another 100 copies of their newest flyer, and turns to give Koyama his full attention.
“I haven’t,” he replies, not sure just how much to divulge, although he’s sure everything he wants to keep secret has already been spilled by his boss.
“You should! I can help you!” Koyama flounces off, all freshly dyed brown hair and cheer. He comes back a few minutes later with a flowery booklet of sorts, and Massu has a twisty, wormy feeling in the pit of his stomach, like this is going to be completely embarrassing.
“I think flowers are really romantic!” Koyama titters, flipping his pamphlet open; the next thing Massu knows, he’s spending minutes upon minutes looking at various flower arrangements, charts with what each flower means, Koyama’s personal choice of florist, and even coupons he could use because he knows the proprietor really well. Massu wants to ask just how many flower arrangements Koyama’s bought before and for who, but he feels it’s probably not in his best interest to ask, lest his pure and innocent image of Koyama be ruined.
“What are you girls doing in here?” Nagase pokes his head in at the doorway, and Massu is somewhat relieved that he at least has a shirt on now.
“Massu likes Nakamaru!” Koyama exclaims. “I’m just trying to help them get acquainted!”
“You’re telling the person who told you,” Nagase dismisses him with a wave. “I don’t think Nakamaru would really go with the flower sort of thing, though, sorry to say.”
Koyama goes to defend his choices but Massu pipes up. “It’s also a little out of my price range.”
“What is your price range?” Koyama presses.
Massu frowns. “Zero.”
“And it’s lame,” Nagase retorts. “Koyama, let me have a word with young Masuda here, alone.”
Koyama frowns but nevertheless, puts his booklet away and retreats to the front of the store. Massu feels bad for him, almost. He only wanted to help, and maybe if Massu was courting someone like Koyama he would definitely consider it, but Nakamaru is not Koyama.
Massu wrinkles his nose. He’s a little glad for that, actually.
Lucky for him, it’s noon and Yoko strolls into the backroom to start his shift. He glances at the situation then smirks, giving Nagase a two finger wave before addressing Massu. “Bieber’s head fell off and some teenybopper started screaming. Might want to fix that, display guy.”
As Massu passes Yoko on the way to the front, Yoko smirks at him knowingly and Massu can’t decide which would be worse -- sitting through one of Nagase’s manly lectures or owing Yoko a favor.
Outside, Koyama corners him, but without his trusty booklet of sappy florists. He’s giving Massu one of those super determined looks he gets when he’s really put his mind to something, like when he thinks his cat needs a new toy. “Massu.”
“Do you really, really like Nakamaru?”
Massu blinks. “Yeah...yeah. Yes.”
Koyama beams. “Then I’m sure you’ll find a good way to tell him. Don’t worry about it so much!”
Massu laughs a little at that. “Thanks, Kei-chan.”
Jin is watching him carefully as Massu leans against the counter next to the cash registers, Junno loudly whooping about it finally being his hour to control the store’s music. Massu smiles at him a little, feeling more than a little awkward.
“You know,” Jin clears his throat a little. “You should write him a song. Something deep and meaningful.”
It takes a moment for Massu to realize that Jin is giving him advice on confessing his love. “Uh, I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Or you can just sing him something! Anything! Like what’s that one I really like...” Junno chirps, coming to join their little pow-wow. When he remembers what it is, he grabs the microphone to the PA system and starts singing into it, careful not to have it pipe throughout the store. “I don’t know how to liiiiiive without your loooove, I was born to make - you - happy -- “
“Oh dear god,” Massu mumbles. Off in the distance, there is a distinct hyena cackle that Massu identifies as Yoko laughing.
“Always and forever you and me, that’s the way our life should beeeeeee -- “ Junno starts swaying, dancing dramatically, hand over his forehead and all, almost toppling onto Jin in the process.
“Is he doing the actual dance?!” Yoko crows from somewhere.
Massu starts slowly stepping away, and just in time; Jin starts vying for the microphone, singing about genies in bottles and rubbing against Junno in supposed right ways, all while Junno is still doing a rather good Britney Spears impersonation. Even so, Massu’s actually a little amazed they haven’t scared anyone away yet. Except himself.
Before he makes his grand escape, though, Yoko claps a hand on his shoulder and leads him away from the two gyrating by the cash registers. He drapes a friendly arm around Massu’s shoulder and they begin to slowly pace the store, making their way through the shelves.
“Look, Masuda, you need to think these things through,” Yoko begins. “It’s all very romantic and sweet that you want to tell the love of your flashy colored life that you are, in fact, in love with him, and I sincerely wish you the best. And I’m impressed you still want to go ahead with it even though the summer’s winding down and he’ll be gone next week, off across the country in a quest for higher education, head constantly in the books with probably very little time for anything else. And even though you’re basically signing up for an entire school year of pining and borderline depression, which may or may not result in a state of lunacy in which you might actually start liking girls in the area, which would just further deplete the number of breasts I have a chance of ogling -- “ Yoko pauses to take a breath. “I think confessing is a wonderful idea.”
“Tell me how you really feel,” Massu says dryly.
Yoko gives him his patented side-eye. “Confessing is a terrible idea! Nothing but heartbreak, man.”
As the afternoon progresses, Massu decides to camp out in a corner of the backroom for a hour or so, button-making materials spread out around him, iPod on, headphones in, trying to block out the inane comments from the peanut gallery surrounding him. It’s been a weird day and sometimes, he just wants to be alone.
Forty minutes and twelve buttons later, someone yanks on his headphones, tugging them off. Massu scrambles to reach for them, but Nagase is insanely tall even when Massu’s standing, so he just stares at his headphones, dangling from Nagase’s fingertips, hoping that he’ll take pity and give them back.
“Are you ready for the talk you’ve been avoiding all day?” Nagase says, pulling up a chair and sitting by him. Massu goes back to his buttons.
“I guess it can’t be as bad as everything else I’ve been getting,” Massu shrugs, not looking up from the design he’s coloring in.
“Look, Masuda,” Nagase begins. “I know that it’s going to be hard for you to listen to these words of great wisdom, but I know a thing or twenty about relationships.” He stops and settles into his best, ‘I am grown up hear me roar,’ pose. “But I also know a thing or two about all you idiots that work here.”
“Really,” Massu says, finally brushing his bangs away from his face, fixing his gaze on Nagase.
“Yep. Take Jin. I purposely got that small safe in my office and turned it into a fridge to watch Jin try and steal money,” Nagase says.
Massu snorts back a laugh. “Doesn’t he just steal your beer now?”
“...that’s a technicality. Anyway, besides that, there’s Yoko who actually prefers that women stand far away so he can just look and not have to talk, and then Junno keeps a small notepad with him wherever he goes in case he comes up with an earth shattering joke or pun. Jin likes to think he’s some hotshot stud while Koyama is the hotshot stud. As for Nakamaru, well,” Nagase leans back, stretching his back a little. “Nakamaru’s probably the most normal one out of all of you, even if he does use paintball as a secret stress reliever.” He scratches the back of his neck. “Look, kid, there’s no great secret to telling someone you’ve got the hots for them. You just go with your gut. ...unless you’re hungry. I ain’t in the habit of condoning sitophilia.”
Massu doesn’t know what sitophilia is, but he doesn’t think he really wants to know, either.
“You know what your problem is? You’re in your mind too much. Would it kill you to stop thinking and over-analyzing? And if he ends up being repulsed by the way you’re saying you like him, well, I ain’t gonna lie, it’s gonna suck, but in the end you probably don’t want a person like that around,” Nagase continues, rubbing at his stomach. “Do you think Nakamaru’s the type to be mean about something like that?”
Massu shakes his head no. Nagase winks at him and then tosses him a twenty. “‘Atta boy. Would you mind getting me a cheesesteak from next door? I’m starving.”
The day ends on an uneventful note and Yoko mourns another day of having no potential shoplifters as he’s sweeping the floor. The only reason why he’s even upset about it is because he devised some ultimate plan to stopping thieves in their tracks that he wants to try out, but there haven’t been any attempted shoplifting and they all know Yoko well enough than to let him try one of his tricks on them. It wasn’t even the bodily harm they were afraid of -- they all simply liked to have their prides intact.
Junno counts Jin’s till for him while Jin takes over Junno’s duties restocking items customers left in random places around the store while Koyama goes around, handing everyone a soda. Nakamaru locks the front door and they all sag and breathe, the tension from running a business for the entire day seeping out of their skin.
Massu’s buttons are somewhat of a hit with the local cutesy hipsters, and since he made them all, Nagase tells him to keep the profits. Nakamaru takes the money Nagase hands to him and walks it over to Massu, who’s busy detangling the mess of wires from the headphones in the listening corner.
“Thanks,” Massu says, albeit a bit distracted, pocketing the money and going back to the jumble in front of him. Nakamaru fidgets a little in place. Massu quirks his head to the side, questioning. “What’s up?”
“Do you think you could give me a ride home?” Nakamaru asks.
Massu smiles. “Yeah, of course.” He plainly ignores Yoko and Junno’s collective giggling -- no doubt something about rides, the perverts -- and digs in his pocket, pulling out a button he made earlier, after fetching Nagase’s cheesesteak. It’s a little larger than the others, covered in a deep grey and light blue plaid. There’s a small piglet drawn on it in a peachish glitter glue, even, its facial features drawn on with a black marker. Before he hands it over, Massu looks at it for a second and sincerely wishes that Nakamaru doesn’t ask why a button...he doesn’t really have an answer.
“Here. I made this for you,” he says, placing it in Nakamaru’s hand. He watches Nakamaru look at it, turning it over and around in his palm. Massu busies his hands with the headphone wires again for lack of anything better to do, even though his nerves are wired and he thinks he might actually be panicking a little bit. It’s okay, though. Nagase’s right. Nakamaru isn’t the type to be mean about something that’s relatively important.
Nakamaru chuckles. “You didn’t have to.”
“I know, but I wanted to. You’re leaving next week and all, so...” Massu shrugs, trailing off a little bit.
“A good luck charm for the road?”
“If you want to think of it that way, sure.”
“Awesome. Thanks, Massu.”
It’s not exactly the response Massu was hoping for, but he’ll take what he can get.
After a few weeks of pestering, Nakamaru finally agrees to download and install Skype on his laptop. The first thing Massu tells him to do is to take him on a tour of his dorm room and so Nakamaru obliges, hauling his laptop in his arms, screen facing away so the built-in camera isn’t obstructed.
“Would it be so bad to do laundry?” Massu speaks up, wrinkling his nose at the overflowing laundry basket.
“Oi, you knew I had a 7 page paper due last night! I don’t want to hear it,” Nakamaru replies, although Massu knows there’s no bite.
Following the day where Massu gave Nakamaru the button, Massu came clean with his feelings a week later, though more in a, “You did realize the button was a token of my affections, right?” way. Nakamaru said he knew and he was flattered, but it just felt really awkward to see if anything could come out of it when he was leaving that very day for college. Massu wasn’t too disappointed; they said they would see where things went and remain really close friends in the meantime. It’s better than being on non-speaking terms, after all.
“This is my desk,” Nakamaru’s voice pipes up from the speakers on Massu’s laptop, the screen focusing on a small desk covered in pieces of paper, a printer, writing utensils and a ruler. The back of it must have a corkboard or something because there’s a bunch of things stuck on with push-pins. The button he gave him is stuck on there, too. Massu is pleasantly surprised to see it, his face flushing a little bit.
“Where all the magic happens. Magic the Gathering, I mean,” Massu jokes instead of pointing the button out.
Nakamaru scoffs. “Wrong, I still do tabletop for that.” When Massu just laughs in response, he groans. “Shut up!”
“I’m just kidding,” Massu grins. “I won’t let anyone know the patron saint of hipsters plays Magic.”
“Good. I have a reputation to keep.” The video stream shakes a little as Nakamaru sets his laptop back down, his face coming back into view.
“I guess you’ll have to wait until you come home to get your birthday gift, then,” Massu says, waving a little as Nakamaru settles himself into his chair. “It’d be awkward if I mailed it to you.”
“Why, what is it?”
“That’d be ruining the surprise!”
“If I have to wait three months to get it, you might as well just tell me now!”
Massu grins. “Do you really want to know?”
“The new Miley Cyrus CD.”
Nakamaru glares at him. “I hate you.”
Massu’s too busy being doubled over in laughter to catch more of what Nakamaru’s yelling at him, but he can pretty much say for sure that Nakamaru doesn’t mean it.