It should be the happiest time of Sakurai Sho's life. He's finally found a partner he can completely be himself with; a partner he has shared laughter and tears with, good times and bad, someone who truly understands the lifestyle of a busy celebrity, because he is also a celebrity himself. Matsumotu Jun has proven himself to be a more perfect boyfriend than he ever could have imagined, both in and out of bed; it's hard to believe that he used to find him nothing more an irritation, now that Jun is practically his world. They've even moved in together, sharing a spacious apartment a short distance from one of the studios they regularly use, and for a while the arrangement has felt like a dream come true.
Lately though, things haven't been as happy as they should. Sho can't help but shake the feeling his boyfriend is hiding something from him, but he doesn't know what; something has been very wrong for several days now, but he can't quite put his finger on it. If there's one thing he hates it's secrets, unless he's the one keeping them.
It had all started a few weeks ago when Sho had walked in on Jun making what had seemed to be a private phone call. That in itself was unusual – never before had Jun gone off to make a call on his own, because anything he had to say he clearly felt he could say in front of Sho – but when Jun had appeared startled by Sho's sudden return and had quickly ended the call, he couldn't help but feel suspicious. That hadn't been the only time, either. Over the next few days the same thing had happened at least twice, with Sho – his suspicions already rising – having deliberately finished his showers more quickly than usual, or coming home earlier than he said he would in order to try and catch Jun unawares. Each time he'd found Jun in the process of saying a hurried goodbye and hanging up before he could hear what the conversation was about.
On top of that, there have been the secretive visits when Jun has gone out without giving a reason why and returned home without explaining where he has been or who he was with. When asked if they know, even Kazunari, Satoshi and Masaki claim to have no idea, although Sho sometimes gets the feeling that they're keeping something from him too. Masaki never was much good at lying; his face is too honest.
If he's leaving me for somebody else and I'm the last to know, I'm done. Done with Jun, done with the band, done with Johnny's Entertainment for good.
He's asked Jun about it too, of course. Sho is too fiery, too passionate, to allow something as blatantly out of the ordinary as this to just happen without questioning why, but each time, his partner has just shrugged it off and claimed the phone calls are to do with one of his work commitments. And how can Sho argue with that? He knows Jun has a new drama special coming up, and he's done enough shows of his own to understand that he needs to be on call and answer his phone whenever he can, just in case the filming schedule changes at the last minute. Even so, Sho has remained moody about the whole thing, and he remains unconvinced by Jun's explanation.
That's why Sho has decided today is the day that he discovers the truth. No more sneaking about, no more furtive phone calls, no more of Jun's elusive excuses. They've both had to go to meetings about their new dramas in different parts of the city today, but his boyfriend has asked if they can meet up at the studio near their apartment afterwards so they can head back home together. Sho has agreed, but he's already decided that he'll arrive at the studio early to try and find out if Jun is up to something. As he heads there on foot he can't help but wonder whether he'll actually find his partner there or not. What if Jun is there, just as he said he would be? What if he isn't?
However, Sho does not need to consider his options for much longer. As he enters the local park – a small grassy area bordered with trees, a useful shortcut – he stops in his tracks as he spots no-one other than Jun, and he's talking to a woman who is clearly some years younger. Feeling his heart pounding in his chest, Sho quickly ducks behind a tree as he watches the two of them, his stomach twisting into knots as he ponders what their meeting could mean.
Is he seeing her behind my back? Is she his lover? Is she the one he keeps calling on his phone?
As he continues to watch, he sees the woman take out a small box and hand it to Jun with a smile; he receives it gladly, slipping it inside one of the pockets of his jacket. If that weren't already bad enough, she then holds out a hand towards him, which he delicately takes within his own while he looks down at one of her fingers.
Is that a ring? Why is he looking at that? Did he buy it for her?
And then she withdraws her hand and gives another smile as she turns and walks away, leaving Jun standing there and grinning to himself like an idiot.
I swear, Matsumoto Jun, if you're playing around behind my back, you can kiss your entire musical career goodbye...
It's all too much for Sho to take. With a stormy expression and a barely-suppressed growl of anger he makes his way out from his hiding place behind the tree and marches towards Jun, determined to get some answers. Jun doesn't see him approaching until he's almost upon him and Sho reaches out to grab his arm forcefully, spinning him around to face him.
“Who is she, Jun?” He cuts right to the chase, the furious look on his face letting his boyfriend know that he refuses to be messed around any longer. “What were you doing with her? What are you playing at?”
“Sho-kun...” Jun gives a sigh of frustration, pulling a face as he rubs at his forehead. “I promise it will all make sense in time, okay? There's no need to make a fuss about this... especially not in public.”
“Oh, I think there is.” Sho lets go of his boyfriend and folds his arms across his chest, glaring at Jun, his bottom lip sticking out in what is practically a sullen pout. “If there's anything going on between you and that woman, I think I deserve to know about it.”
“It's not like that.”
“Then what is it like?”
“We'll discuss this back at home, okay?”
Jun, clearly exasperated, starts to walk back towards their apartment, only for Sho to follow after him and grab his arm again.
“No! You'll tell me now, otherwise there's not even any point me coming back with you at all.” Sho's voice wavers slightly with uncertainty and doubt. “I won't share a home with somebody who's betrayed me.”
“I haven't betrayed you, Sho-kun.” Jun speaks gently but sternly. “Please. Let's just go home and discuss this there. It won't do either of us any good if somebody catches us arguing like this and it gets onto the gossip websites.”
Sho stays as he is for a moment, considering his options. Jun is right, of course; if they have a very loud and very public argument, somebody is bound to notice and start taking pictures which might damage both of their reputations... although if Jun has wronged him, it will serve the man right. Still, Jun has only treated him with compassion and respect up until now – well, mostly – so perhaps he does at least owe him the chance to try and finally explain himself before he completely throws what they have away.
“Well... alright. But it had better be good.”
He's still not completely sure this is the wisest of ideas, but Sho lets go of Jun's arm again anyway, tagging along beside him in sullen silence as they walk the short distance back towards their apartment. They've been out for a few hours now and it's already starting to get dark as they return to the building, although... are the lights on up there? Sho is pretty sure he made sure they were turned off when he left...
They climb the stairs together, the sliver of doubt which has already worked its way into Sho's heart due to Jun's deceptions working even deeper as he starts to worry whether somebody has broken into their home. Jun sighs as he reaches for his keys, but Sho is already reaching for the door before him – and to his surprise, he finds that it isn't even locked. As if there weren't already enough things for him to get upset about, now he has to worry about having been burgled too? With a panicked glance back at Jun, he turns the handle and walks inside the apartment expecting to see a ransacked mess...
...only to find it instead decked out as if for a party. Balloons and banners adorn the walls, there's a table filled with food and drink – he even spots a plate of his favourite seafood pizza! - and a gathering of people all turn to look at him as he stands there, mouth hanging open in surprise. Amongst the many faces of friends and family he sees, of course, Ninomiya Kazunari, Ohno Satoshi and Aiba Masaki, but it's not only his band-mates who have been waiting for them. There's also Ikuta Toma, Oguri Shun and Ryunosuke Kamiki, all people they've worked with and befriended somehow. But why are they here? And why the decorations? His birthday isn't for another few months yet! Sho looks around, still bewildered and overwhelmed by it all, and suddenly it all starts to make sense; Jun's phone calls, the secretive trips alone, the woman he met in the park...
He turns to look questioningly at Jun only to find the man is no longer standing next to him - and then he looks down to see his boyfriend on one knee, grinning nervously up at him, holding out a small velvet box inside which is a single gold ring.
“Sakurai Sho... will you marry me?”