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That Smile

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Sho grimaced as he looked up at the building in front of him and he couldn’t bring himself to understand why it was him and not Matsumoto in front of the books store when he was just next door at a café. Well, he was his boss’ secretary and running errands was part of his job description. Sho let out an audible groan as he pushed through the revolving doors.

Once inside, Sho hummed happily to find one of the store employees right away, the sooner he got his help the sooner he could get over his task. He gingerly made his way to the young man who was setting up the front display dotingly, but as he approached him the book or better yet, the art catalog caught his eye.

“Niji, by Ohno Satoshi.” He read out loud picking up the book from the display.

“Oh, do you know this artist?” the employee spoke, “He’s the artist that owns that gallery just two doors down”

“Eh? Ah, oh yeas. He is actually a good customer of the company I work for. Were responsible for all the interior design and the arrangements of the displays for every gallery opening he’s had.”

“So you were the ones responsible for this collection’s display too.” The employee recognized with a distant gaze. “This collection is my favorite so far.” The employee finally said.

“Really?” Sho couldn’t stop himself from asking, he was simply a fan of casual conversation, “It’s one of my favorites too, maybe because this collection felt more personal from the artist. I heard it was a gift to his lover and that he let her name it.”

“Oh?” the employee hummed but there was no tone of surprised at all.

“Ah, there was this painting I liked in particular, titled カズの虹*, it was an obscure portrait of a young man… You could clearly get the feeling that this person is really close and important to the artist. Do you have a favorite piece from him?” Sho asked looking up only to find an amused smile on the young man. Sho furrowed his brow, that smile…

“I liked that one too,” he said after a minute, “but my favorite one was 愛の虹*”

“Aa, oh, well, anyway…” Sho said after clearing his throat, remembering that he had entered the book store with a purpose, “actually,” he paused, searching for the man’s name tag, “Ninomiya-san , I came to pick up a book order for JUN MATSUMOTO. I was wondering if you could help me with that.”

“Aa, yes, follow me. I’ll look it up in the system.” Ninomiya said before placing the book on the display and leading Sho to the store’s info-station. Minutes later he was receiving the scary amount of books that his boss had ordered and thanking the employee for all his help. It was then, after watching the young man give a toothy grin, that something clicked in Sho’s head.

“Ah! You’re-?!” Sho half exclaimed almost dropping all the books.

The book store echoed with Ninomiya Kazunari’s amused laughter.