"--all because of you and your ridiculous obsessions."
"Hey, it's not my fault some of us have actual hobbies," Abe shoots back. After a pause, he adds, "And a life."
"I have a life," Hanai insists, so indignant at the accusation that he spins around to glare at Abe, and only succeeds in tripping over his own foot. "I would have one," he continues, after the world stops spinning enough that he no longer feels like throwing up, "if you hadn't gotten in the way."
"All I did was ask you a question," Abe protests, irritated. "It's not like I was stopping you from going over there and talking to him all night. You had all night. Admit it, you were just chicken."
"Chicken?" Hanai shrieks.
Abe huffs, and nods at the door of Hanai's apartment.
"I was not being chicken," Hanai says, walking up to the door, one hand in his jacket, looking for his keys. To his surprise, his fingers make contact with something firm and round and decidedly not key-shaped. Confused, he pulls it out of his pocket.
Abe falls silent.
It's an avocado.
When Hanai looks up, Abe's expression is set in a frown, looking decidedly unimpressed.
"Why," he barks.
"Don't look at me," Hanai protests.
"It came out of your jacket," he deadpans. "Who else am I supposed to be looking at?"
"But," Hanai sputters, glancing back at the fruit.
"Oh, for--move." Abe shoulders his way past Hanai to the door, using his set of keys to unlock it with the sort of vehemence Abe only demonstrates when he thinks the world around him is incompetent.
But it's too late, Abe is already disappearing around the corner.
Hanai looks down at the fruit in his hand again. Did he put fruit in his jacket? Instead of his keys? Maybe he was rushing out and didn't notice...no, no, he distinctly remembers locking the door before heading out for the party, so he must have had his keys. And, he's pretty sure he doesn't have this fruit in his fridge. Maybe it's from the party, and he grabbed it at some point and then forgot about it. That or...someone put fruit...in his jacket...by mistake.
By the time Hanai makes his way into the living area, Abe has already commandeered the couch, legs dangling off the arm rest as he flips through the tv channels, one hand nursing a glass of water. He looks up when Hanai comes in, points towards the kitchen, and says, "Water."
Hanai sighs, long-suffering, and goes.
On the kitchen counter, there's a second glass, and Hanai dutifully reaches for it, taking a few swallows as he puts the avocado in the refrigerator. He rummages through his coat pocket, heart racing briefly when he doesn't find what he's looking for, only to remember that his phone is in the back pocket of his pants. He pulls it out, and pauses, frowning at his wrist.
There's a neat line of stitches along the underside of the coat sleeve, the two sides held together by unassuming white thread.
Hanai heads back into the living area. "Abe."
"I don't think this is my coat."
Abe doesn't even bother to look his way, the entirety of his attention focused on the television screen. "That would explain the avocado."
Hanai glares at him, to no effect. He digs around in the coat for his phone, belatedly remembers that it's back on the kitchen counter, and backtracks with a sigh. He dials Mizutani's number, and gets sent to voice mail. Hanai heads toward his bedroom, phone pressed between his ear and his shoulder, as he digs out a spare blanket, grabbing a pillow from his bed. He tosses them at Abe, ignores the irritated "oof" and takes his glass of water to the bedroom with him. He throws himself face-first onto his bed, and dials again, his head feeling heavier with every unanswered beep of his phone. After the third unsuccessful attempt, Hanai leaves a voice message, and hangs up. He rolls over to stare up at the ceiling, the room tilting slowly out of balance. From outside, the sounds of the television wafts in.
Hanai wakes up with a mild pounding in the general vicinity between his eyes and the back of his head. By the time he drags himself to the kitchen, the headache is only slightly worse, so he's going to count it as a win.
He pours himself a bowl of cereal and sits opposite of Abe, who's chewing sullenly on a slice of toast, scrolling through the news on his phone.
When Hanai checks his own mobile, he finds one new unread message, from a name he doesn't recognise:
Are we still meeting today?
Hanai stares at the text. Then, blinking, he scrolls up to find a whole page of messages he doesn't remember reading, let alone typing out.
How about 1.30? Just in case I spend most of the morning throwing up.
Sure thing. See you then.
I suppose we could describe what we'll be wearing to help recognise each other, but since we'll both have the same coat, you'll probably be easy to spot.
I suppose you're right.
Hanai can feel his face heating as he scrolls further up.
I think you're right. Sorry about that. Could we meet up some time tomorrow to switch our coats back?
This is Suyama, by the way. I don't think we met at the party last night.
Well, when half the neighbourhood is packed into one place like sardines, that's kind of expected, isn't it? I'm surprised everyone even managed to fit into one place.
And at some point,
I can't believe you grabbed the wrong coat.
And then, at the very beginning, there is this:
To: Guy at Mizutani's party
Subject: you took my coat by mistake
We've got the same white coat. It looks like you accidentally took mine from the rack last night, and left yours. Mine had my keys, which i obviously need. Yours had an avocado in the pocket, which I'm assuming is equally important.
Hanai puts his phone down, and buries his face in his hands.
Abe makes a questioning noise.
When Hanai doesn't answer, he hears the clatter of his phone being picked up, and then the loud inelegant sound of Abe's snort.
"What happened to "I'll never text while drunk ever again'?" Abe asks.
"I don't even remember doing it," Hanai mutters, face so hot in his hands that it burns. He briefly contemplates canceling the meet up and just making himself a new set of keys when he hears the loud click of a camera phone shutter going off. Hanai looks up just in time to see Abe putting away his phone. "Hey!"
"You should start getting ready," Abe remarks instead, one corner of his mouth turning up in that godawful smirk he picked up some time during their high school years, and never got rid off, despite Hanai's best efforts. "Don't want to be late. His impression of you must be pretty terrible already."
Hanai grabs at his phone, and swears when he sees the time. He powers through the rest of his cereal and shoots off for the bathroom, typing a quick reply to the background of Abe's cackling.
By the time Hanai's ready to head out, he's really cutting it close for time. He gets Abe to promise he'll still be around until Hanai gets back, just in case this meet-up goes wrong and Hanai ends up with no keys after all. With Abe parked on his couch, and the coat carefully folded over his arm, Hanai is halfway out when he remembers the avocado. He dithers in the hallway for a moment, debating what to do--it's not like the avocado is all that heavy, and if it was in this Suyama guy's jacket, it was probably important enough that he had to get it right before attending the party. Probably. And if it turns out he doesn't need it afterall, he could always toss it out.
Hanai sighs, and doubles back for the kitchen. The fruit goes in his left pocket, his phone in his right, and Hanai sets off.
The train ride is long, and uneventful, which gives Hanai has plenty of time to ruminate.
His heart hasn't managed to settle at all since he first read the messages, the words circling in his mind in an eternal, torturous loop, his stomach curdling with dread. What's done is done, he tells himself, willing his nerves to settle, but the pinprick of anxiety won't leave him, doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon.
He can feel the lump of fruit pressing against his thigh. Casting a quick glance around the--unfortunately, not quite empty--train car, and reaches one hand into the pocket of his spare jacket to pull out the avocado, cradling it in his hands. Giving the avocado a tentative squeeze, Hanai winces when the firm green skin gives a little under his fingers; as far as he knows, avocados aren't meant to be squishy. It must be a little ripe then, which means Hanai could have probably just left the damned fruit in his fridge instead of carrying it all the way through this thirty-minute journey, looking like some kind of deranged man.
He leans back in his seat, and sighs.
It'll be alright, he tries again. Just apologise later.
It occurs to Hanai, as he's getting of the train, that the whole thing would have been absolutely, one hundred percent hilarious...if it had happened to someone else. Like Abe, for example. If Hanai had spent the morning watching his friend rush around trying to get ready in time to meet up with a complete stranger and give him back his coat and avocado in exchange for his coat and keys, well.
It would have been funny.
As it is, the situation is downright nerve-wrecking, and Hanai thinks he would do a lot for some way to turn back time.
He scans the crowd at the station, keeping an eye out for the familiar sight of his coat. He's hoping he's the first one here after all, because then he'd have some extra time to try and calm himself down.
Hanai jerks around, too fast to pull it off as anything other than startled. He takes a few steps back, gaze whipping up to meet a pair of grey eyes, fixed on a handsome face wearing a small, polite smile. Hanai's heart does something terrible and unnatural in his chest, and for a minute he can't seem to remember how to breathe--a memory rises to the surface of his mind: the same face split into a wide smile, eyes crinkled shut as he throws his head back and laughs, loud and genuine, shoulders shaking, and Hanai would have gladly stared in his direction all night, if Abe hadn't then whacked him on the shoulder to get his attention.
The other man--Suyama coughs, a stiff, polite sound, and Hanai jerks back into the present, cheeks heating when he realises he's been staring.
"Sorry," Hanai manages, and holds out the coat in his hand. "I think this is yours."
"It is," Suyama agrees, Hanai thinks, not a trace of that easy, relaxed smile Hanai remembers from the night before.
Hanai swallows, his stomach twisting. They make the exchange, Hanai's coat carefully folded and pressed into his hands, Suyama's own, thrown over his shoulder. Hanai hesitates, searching desperately for something to say as Suyama reaches into the pocket of his trousers.
"Your keys," he says, passing them over. "I hope you managed to get into your home last night?"
"Yeah, I did. A friend of mine had spare keys. Oh! And here's your..." Hanai trails off, holding out the avocado.
Suyama stares at him.
Not quiet grey, Hanai realises, noticing the hint of green in Suyama's irises even as he feels the the heat climbing in his cheeks. "I wasn't sure if you'd still want it, but I figured you must have had it for a reason, so I wanted to give it back to you."
"I see," Suyama murmurs, turning the avocado over in his hands. "Thank you."
"I'm sorry about the texts," Hanai blurts out, and winces when Suyama's gaze darts back up towards him, eyes wide. "They were...not my best. I was really drunk, and I honestly can't remember sending them at all, and some of them must have come off as pretty weird to you. I feel terrible about them, and I wanted to tell you that I'm really sorry."
Suyama says nothing.
Hanai waits, face flaming, as the silence between them stretches on and on.
Finally, when he's half a second away from jumping onto the next train with every intention of locking himself in his room for the next seven days--the corners of Suyama's mouth twitch into a smile, small and sincere.
"I thought they were a little funny," Suyama admits. "At first, anyway. After a while, it sounded like you were really irritated, so." He shrugs.
Hanai resists the urge to groan. "I can't remember a thing."
Suyama laughs, a breathtaking sound. "It's fine. It was a pretty lively party. Thank you for this, by the way."
Hanai nods, his mouth dry. "So," he ventures. "Why did you have it with you?"
"Oh, this?" Suyama asks. "It's kind of a long story, to be honest."
"Right," Hanai says, stomach dropping, and straightens, bracing.
"Did you have anything planned after this?" Suyama continues. "If you don't, I know a really great place just around the corner. We could grab something light, and I could tell you?"
Hanai feels his jaw drop, just a little. "I," he starts, and then the rest of his brain catches up. "Yeah, that sounds good."
"Great," Suyama says, still smiling, and then adds, "I still don't know your name."
"Right! Right. I'm Hanai," he says, inclining his head.
The corners of his mouth curls inwards as Suyama's expression softens. "Hanai," he echoes. "Nice to meet you."