"You know, Kame is really someone you'll take notice of."
Yamapi looked up from his magazine, and followed Jin's gaze towards where Kame was practising his dance moves in one corner of the room. He shrugged, looking away and turning back to his magazine. A while later, Jin spoke up again.
"I wonder what made Kame stop hanging out with us like in the past."
Yamapi stopped himself from rolling his eyes. Jin said that a lot --- even after about a year --- as if the more he made that comment, the more likely he would figure out the answer. Usually, Yamapi would just shrug, not wanting to show any sign of jealousy. It wasn't that he hated Kame. At least he liked Kame enough to hang out with him in the past. But somehow, they grew apart, at the same time that Kame and Jin grew apart. And Yamapi didn't feel much of a loss, because in a way he was happier that he had Jin to himself. Though he would never admit that to Jin. Because he knew Jin's head would grow big, and anyway, Jin was a very straight guy.
"Sometimes, friends grow apart."
"But you and I are still best buddies." Jin replied. "Hm, let's ask Kame to join us when we go get ice cream later."
Yamapi didn't reply. It was not like he could say 'no'. Jin had already made a decision, so there was no point objecting. Instead, he continued to read his magazine, though from the corner of his eye, he noticed Jin continuing to watch Kame practise. He tried not to scowl.
"So the fangirls were right? There's something going on between the two of you?" Yamapi retorted.
"Don't talk nonsense. I'm just concerned. Kame's my baka companion yo."
"Maybe he's become smarter and decided he didn't want to be your baka companion anymore."
"Doesn't that mean you aren't really smart if you are still hanging out with me?"
"I'm more like the smart friend who makes sure that his baka friend doesn't cause any trouble."
"I don't cause trouble!"
"Baka Pi." Jin glared at the other boy, before his attention was drawn away.
"Jin, I'm going home now. Ja ne." Kame said, waving as he left. "Bye Yamapi."
"Hey Kame! Wait!" Jin tried to stop the younger boy, but the latter had already disappeared. "Mou... When he's going home he's so not like 'kame' at all. Why is he always in such a hurry to leave? Ah! It must be because he doesn't want to see your face."
"Sou, sou, he doesn't want to see my face so he leaves in a hurry." Yamapi rolled his eyes, throwing his magazine aside and getting up from his seat. He pulled Jin up, dragging him towards the door. "It's time we leave too. Your treat, for making me wait. Heh, heh, I'm gonna eat lots of ice cream today."
"What do you mean it's my treat? Ah, never mind, you're just a greedy pig."
"Pot calling the kettle black."
* * * * *
When Yamapi was informed that he was going to do a drama with Kame, Kusano was probably happier than he was. He wasn't upset. What was there to be upset about? At least it wasn't Jin doing a drama with Kame again. It was more like, he didn't quite know how to react. True, they used to be good friends, but these days, they didn't even talk much to each other. Yamapi felt that it was a rather awkward situation.
He was proven wrong though. It was almost as if those years of growing apart had vanished and Kame was Kame again. He was reminded of how hyper Kame could get sometimes, and how, when Kame started talking, he almost never stopped. It was rather amusing, that Kame had changed so much and yet stayed the same. But it came as some sort of surprise when Kame told him in the interview about how he was in awe of Yamapi when he first saw him. And in every single interview they did, Kame never failed to compliment Yamapi about something.
Because of the drama, they started hanging out with each other more. They even went out for dinner after work, and during breaks, they were often together too. Once, when he saw Kame squatting while eating, his legs had moved on their own accord and he found himself squatting next to the other boy. Kame had even willingly fed him a spoonful of his meal, but then Yamapi started to wonder if Jin would get jealous.
The day he was supposed to meet Jin after work, Yamapi thought he might as well ask Kame along, and maybe that would make Jin happy. But Kame excused himself, saying he was tired, and Yamapi couldn't help but feel like Kame was avoiding hanging out with both him and Jin together. But later he decided he was thinking too much. Kame really looked tired after all, and he wouldn't want Kame to faint from exhaustion on the set the next day.
Months passed, and filming ended. And it was like a dream ended too.
Just like Shuji, who had different sides to him, it was like Kame had two sides to him too --- one who was just like how he used to be when the three of them were together, and the other one who took pains to avoid Yamapi and Jin and hang out with other people instead. It made Yamapi feel slow, for not really noticing this odd behaviour of Kame's until recently. After months of having the latter beside him for almost every minute of every day, Yamapi suddenly felt this strange emptiness that he never felt before.
"Hey, what are you doing there daydreaming?" Jin waved a hand in front of his face, before grabbing a slice of meat from Yamapi's plate. Yamapi didn't care. He wasn't really in the mood. Jin chewed on the meat, staring at Yamapi, waiting for a reply, but none came. He sighed melodramatically, which finally caught Yamapi's attention.
"What are you sighing for?"
"For your stupidity."
"You mean your own stupidity."
"Getting withdrawal symptoms?"
"Not having Kame around, gushing about how good you are..."
"What? Jealous that he doesn't say many good things about you?"
"Nah, he doesn't gush that much about me cos he doesn't like me in that way."
Jin sighed once more. "That's why I always tell other people that you really aren't that smart. Pity no one seems to believe me."
* * * * *
Yamapi lay in his futon, cellphone in one hand as he stared up into the ceiling. He thought about what Jin had said. He had acted like he didn't understand, but the truth was, he sort of understood what his best friend was trying to say to him, and he knew that Jin knew it too.
He found that he wasn't too surprised either by this 'hint' that Jin gave. Somehow, it was as if Yamapi knew all along that Kame had some sort of feelings for him. But he never really thought about it, and Kame never really did anything about it either. And it didn't help that Kame stopped going out with the two of them, making him think that maybe Kame didn't really like him in that way after all.
Yamapi stared at his cellphone, Kame's name across the screen. All he had to do was press the call button. It was only one ring before the call was picked up. He decided to jump straight to the point.
"Kame, can I ask you something?"
"Yamapi? Uh, yeah, sure."
"Why did you suddenly stop going out with me and Jin?"
There was a pause on the other end. Yamapi waited for what seemed like infinity. "Yamapi, you like Jin right?"
He was startled. He didn't expect Kame to ask him that, and he didn't know how to answer the question either. Did he like Jin? Yes, right? Or was it a 'used to' now? As Yamapi contemplated his answer, he thought about how these days, he actually wished he was out with Kame instead of Jin. Did that mean anything? Or was it just because he got so used to having Kame around during the time they were filming their drama that he was experiencing 'withdrawal symptoms' of some sort?
"Hello? Yamapi? Are you still there?"
"Gomen, you don't have to answer that question if you don't want to. Though I think I know the answer anyway."
Kame knew the answer? It was funny, cos right now, Yamapi didn't know his answer to that question anymore. "And what do you think the answer is?"
"You said that you know the answer to the question you asked me. So I was just wondering what you think the answer is."
"... Yamapi likes Jin."
Are you sure? Because I'm not sure anymore... "Even if that's the answer, you still haven't answered my question."
"That is the answer."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Yamapi pondered, trying to put two and two together. "You decided not to hang out with me and Jin... because you think I like Jin?"
"It's the truth isn't it?" Kame chuckled. "And you didn't really like the fact that Jin and I got to do a lot of things together. So I thought I should help Yamapi, and make myself not be so much of a lamp post." Kame laughed, though Yamapi felt that the laughter sounded forced.
"So anyway, I'm dead tired and I'm going to bed. Oyasumi."
The line went dead before Yamapi could stop the other boy. Yamapi pouted, before redialling.
"Ano... that's very rude of you to just hang up on me like that."
"Ah, gomen gomen. I thought there was nothing else to say anyway and I was going to sleep."
"Who says that there's nothing else to say? I haven't even finished what I was saying before you interrupted and hung up."
"Ah, gomen na. So eh, what else did you want to say?"
"I wanted to say, that you were right, that I did like Jin, and that I did get a bit jealous that you two got to do a lot of things together."
"Ah, that's it?"
"No... let me finish before interrupting."
"Anyway, what I wanted to say is, that was then. I don't like Jin in that way anymore, I think. So you can stop avoiding us and worrying about making me upset."
"And one more thing..."
"Actually, you not being around makes me upset."
"So from now on, I don't care whether you're tired or whatever, you better go out with me when I ask you to, with or without Jin, or I'll get mad at you. Okay, now I've finished what I wanted to say. You can go and sleep now. Oyasumi."
* * * * *