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It was an American style bar with live music and an old man behind the bar polishing a glass. Okay, not an old man- Takashi was sure the man behind the bar was the same age as himself- he just exuded an air of maturity.

Takashi wasn’t a big drinker, but found himself being drawn to the bar. It was a nice place to relax and enjoy the music.

He walked up to the bar, whilst there were plenty of people milling around the room and the tables and chairs set out, the bar only had one other person at it. He was dressed, rather oddly, in full tennis gear, he even had a racquet leaning up against the bar at his feet. Takashi recognised him as the singer from last time he’d visited, although at the time, he’d been wearing a suit jacket and skinny jeans.

“I’m here to stop people hitting on you,” he was saying to the barman, who was giving him a steady, slightly amused look.

“You’re the only one who flirts with me,” the bartender replied, sounding exasperated. He turned to Takashi, “what would you like to order, sir?”

“Just a beer,” Takashi replied, “thanks”

Just as Takashi received his beer and hopped onto the barstool, that night’s singer walked out on the stage. She was slight and short with light brown hair and was wearing a sparkly red dress.

Takashi’s heart skipped a beat. She was so beautiful.

She caught Takashi’s eyes and winked. He looked away, blushing when he realised he’d been caught staring. She hadn’t seemed to mind though.

She introduced herself to the crowd as Fujiko and then, once the band was read, broke into the first song of the set, a slow ballad about lost love.

Her voice was a lot deeper than Takashi had been expecting, it threw him off slightly, but he soon recovered as she nailed him right to his seat with a piercing gaze.

Her singing filled the whole room, reverberating through Takashi’s chest. It was a song about longing for a lost love, probably. The words were very poetic and Takashi wasn’t very good at analysing poetry, but he could feel the meaning of the song, as if it was infused in every syllable Fujiko sung.

Takashi sat transfixed throughout the whole set, letting the music wash through him. Every now and then, the singer would catch his eye and smile and Takashi’s heart would beat so loudly he was surprised that the whole bar couldn’t hear it. 

The set ended and Takahsi joined in the scattered applause. It wasn’t enough, he thought, she deserved a standing ovation and people throwing roses at her feet.

Fujiko walked off the stage and, to Takashi’s surprise, right over to him.

“Hello,” She said, “did you enjoy my set?”

Takashi felt the blood rising in his cheeks and fought to stay calm. “Yeah, it was really good. You’re beautifu- I mean, you’re songs are beautiful! Not that you’re not beautiful, because you are.”

Fujiko giggled, “you’re sweet. Fancy a drink?”

“Y-Yeah, of course!” Takashi replied.

“The usual please, Tezuka,” Fujiko said to the bartender, who had appeared in front of them. “What are you having?”

“Oh, another beer please.”

Tezuka nodded and went to get their drinks.

“Do you sing here often?” Takashi asked, trying to stay calm. “I haven’t seen you before.”

“Occasionally,” Fujiko replied, “when the owner can’t find anyone else, I step in.”

“I’ll have to come here more often,” Takashi said, “and how the owner can’t find anyone else to sing.”

“Thank you, Tezuka,” Fujiko said as their drinks appeared and took a sip of her gin and tonic. She turned back to him, “so, what do you do when you’re not drinking here?”

“I’m training to be a sushi chef,” Takashi replied. “One day, I hope to take over my family’s restaurant. What about you?”

“I’m a freelance photographer in between my studies and I sing here for fun.”

They talked for what seemed like hours, every second Takashi was falling more and more in love with her. She was intelligent and pretty and had such a beautiful laugh and voice, he could listen to her talk all day.

“Do you want to get out of here?” Fujiko asked. “This dress is beautiful, but it’s not very comfortable. My place is nearby. It’s not much, but there’s coffee.”

Takashi was well aware he was being hit on and was completely up for it. “Sure, just let me pay for the drinks.”

“Thank you,” Fujiko said, stroking Takshi’s arm and sending lightning sparking through his blood.

He paid and they left together, Fujiko sliding his hand into Takashi’s. Takashi squeezed it, a warm glow filling his chest.

“If I said I was a guy and that my name was Fuji Shusuke, would you let go of my hand?”

“Never.”