When his elder brother Izumi had finally returned to Japan after completing school off in America, Shin had been beyond ecstatic. Finally, Izumi was coming home. But when, upon his homecoming, Izumi had introduced one very female Ashiya Mizuki as his fiancée, Shin had hoped it was all just a bad dream.
It had been difficult enough being interested in a boy - one of Izumi’s few close friends, at that - and never having had the opportunity to confess to him. Finding out that the only person he’d ever seriously liked was not only a girl, but his brother’s girl was a blow Shin wasn’t sure he’d ever really overcome.
So, as he sat sipping champagne (the real stuff, not the non-alcoholic kind Izumi was forced to drink) after the wedding he’d been dreading for months, Shin made a decision.
Love, be it for a man or a woman, was way too troublesome. Not only was it agonizing when unrequited, it seemed to make complete and utter fools out of the people involved. (Shin ignored the inebriated ramblings of the somewhat familiar man a couple of tables over.)
Deep in his thoughts, he failed to notice the person that had been perched on the chair beside him for several moments. Shin glanced at the foreign, blonde woman he thought he’d been introduced to earlier. (Though, in his rather numb state of late, he’d probably forgotten everyone he’d been introduced to.)
Julia smiled brightly at the gloomy man next to her at the table. Having already gotten her share of amusement from the drunken monkey lamenting the state of his broken heart (and somehow making it all Julia’s fault), she’d noticed the quiet figure of Mizuki’s new brother-in-law. Making her escape from the crying idiot, Julia had settled beside the unresponsive figure. As their eyes met, she decided to brave a conversation with him, despite not knowing just how much alcohol he’d already imbibed.
“So, what has you all gloomy at such a happy event,” she asked in her best Japanese (which was much better than it had been her first time in Japan). At his silence, she continued, “Recent breakup? Brother complex? Or are you just in love with the bride?”
Shin’s eyes widened at her last question. “Why would you ask something like that,” he sputtered helplessly.
“Heh.” Julia smirked at his reaction. “Could be, I’m just that damn good. Then again, it could be that you look like you’ve got your own personal rain cloud over your head.”
“Maybe I get depressed when I drink,” he countered testily.
Julia easily ignored the glare he shot her; at least he was finally showing some kind of emotion.
“Then I’d think you would avoid drinking at an event like this.” She nodded vaguely in the direction of the dancing guests.
Shin, unable to help himself, stared at Izumi and his new bride longingly, not caring just how much he was giving away to his strange companion.
Julia’s smile gentled at the man’s heartbroken expression.
“Y’know, Mizuki never would have had a clue. About your feelings, I mean.”
Long past denying anything to the seemingly psychic woman, Shin turned his resigned gaze back to her. “Really?”
“Yep. She’s never really been aware of other people’s romantic interest in her. She tends to stick everything into the ‘friends’ category. Unless they’re too persistent, then they’re potential perverts,” Julia frowned.
Confused, Shin looked at Mizuki then met the blonde’s eyes once more in shock. “How? I mean, look at her. Dressed as a boy, she was beautiful enough. As a woman…” He gestured helplessly in the direction of his sister-in-law.
“She’s never really thought of herself as beautiful in comparison to other people. Besides, the moment she caught sight of High Jump-san over there, she was hooked.”
“I never had a chance, did I?”
“Do you really want me to answer that.” Her words weren’t a question, but a statement.
“…no.” Shin stared at the champagne glass in his hand as though it could solve all of his problems. He shrugged, then knocked back the remainder as though it were cheap whiskey. With a thump, he rested his head upon the table.
“Feel better, Shin-kun?”
“Not a bit. I think I’ll need a lot more booze before this is through.”
Julia was silent for a moment, then stood resolutely. “Getting drunk…er will have to wait; I want to dance.” She waved a hand in the direction of a still-rambling, crying drunk. “My date is already sloshed and I want happy memories of my best friend’s wedding.”
“And I’m the one unlucky enough to have caught your attention?” Despite his words, Shin didn’t object as she drew him out of his chair and onto the dance floor.
“You bet,” she chirped.
The next afternoon, despite the expected hangover and continued heartache, Shin had to admit that it could have been worse. The blonde woman had managed to distract him right up until they’d left the reception.
…though he still couldn’t remember her name.