To err is human they say – a perfect excuse after being slapped with the reality that he's made the wrong decision in life. He's been too… proud maybe… that when he made the choice years ago, he thought he'd never be touched by regret.
But look at what he has become: A lone figure traversing through this seemingly endless road, plagued by 'what-ifs' and 'should-haves' that only brings an exponential ache in his ego.
Consequently, he falters in his steps – so unbefitting of Atobe Keigo. Always one to hold his head up high and promenade around with a confident gait. A team captain. A leader. A wealthy heir. A CEO at 26.
Is it all worth his sacrifice?
"You're just going to do whatever they tell you to," Tezuka uttered, not asked, a shadow falling upon his handsome face.
"Yeah." His fingers glided over Tezuka's naked torso, slicked with sweat and remnants of the results of a round of rough sex. "I have no choice."
"You always have a choice, Keigo." His deep sonorous voice reverberated through the stillness of the hotel room where they rendezvous every weekend.
"Not where my parents are involved." Deep inside, Keigo knew Tezuka had a point. But he also knew that making a stand would complicate things to an ugly degree. And Keigo, for one, hated complications.
"So this is it then?" The sadness radiating on those dark golden hues that were often filtered through a pair of glasses struck a nerve in Keigo's heart. "Is this some sort of farewell fuck before you go off to fucking marry a woman you hardly know?"
Tezuka rarely cursed or talked dirty and it definitely wasn't a common occurrence for him to show emotions beyond his usual mask of nonchalance. So Keigo knew he had to tiptoe around this Tezuka lest he risked losing the man he'd loved for four years.
"Nothing has to change," Keigo said in a swirl of sugary tone. "We can still meet up on weekends, maybe even on weekdays if our schedules allowed."
The only response he got was a grunt and a cold shoulder as Tezuka slid off the bed and padded towards the bathroom. The sound of the shower running felt like some indirect message of finality.
When Tezuka came out, he threw his clothes on without a word and only when he was at the door did he speak. "Good-bye Keigo."
Just like that, Keigo heard his heart shatter like fragile glass.
It was an unplanned business trip. Keigo had to go as proxy because his father had fallen ill.
England hadn't changed all these years.
Maybe it was a coincidence, because Keigo surely hadn't heard there was a tournament in London at this time of the year. But Tezuka Kunimitsu stood before him in the flesh, explaining that it wasn't an official game but rather for charity.
"So you want to grab some drinks?" Keigo tried for subtlety, tucking his left hand in his jacket pocket and sliding his wedding band off.
"I'm sorry, I have a game tomorrow," was Tezuka's immediate return.
"What about a cup of tea in my room?" Why Keigo was desperate to feel this man's bare skin underneath his fingers was beyond him. But Tezuka looked so….
They had sex that night, like two hungry animals that had craved each other for the past three years.
It wasn't for another two years when he saw Tezuka again. In Tokyo this time.
"I've moved back to Japan," Tezuka explained. He looked really good, shoulders broader than the last time Keigo had seen him.
"Oh that's great." His libido rapidly increased, the idea of Tezuka being closer and not a thousand miles away had sparked life back into him. "Maybe we can meet up sometime and—"
"I'm seeing someone, Keigo."
"Oh." The words felt like sharp knives thrust right through the center of his chest. He shouldn't be surprised. Tezuka was good-looking, one of the most eligible bachelor according to several tennis magazines. "Perhaps we can all go out to dinner some time so I could meet her. You haven't met my wife either, have you?"
Tezuka offered him one of his rarest smiles. "Sure. I'll call you so we can set up a date."
He never called.
Keigo did his best to stay off any news related to Tezuka.
He got divorced a year later. Apparently, she had been cheating on him.
Karma was a bitch.
It was Shishido's fault really. He shouldn't have kept in touch with him. He had gotten the call early in the night when he was relaxing in his study. Shishido insisted he watched the news.
"Tennis star, Tezuka Kunimitsu and his girlfriend for three years now had recently announced that they will be tying the knot next month," the anchorwoman had said.
A photo flashes on screen showing Tezuka with his arm over a pretty Japanese woman who didn't look a bit familiar at all – hardly an illustration of a perfect couple in Keigo's opinion. They didn't give off an air of a happy couple either.
Or was his opinion merely sour grapes?
The wedding's tomorrow, he muses as he stops underneath a street lamp.
He's not invited but Yuushi is, so on his behalf, Yuushi has offered Keigo's hotel as a venue for the reception.
Maybe Keigo can crash the party.
Maybe he can show up at the ceremony and raise his hand when the officiant asks if anyone objects to the wedding.
He can do that. But he won't.
The sudden vibration in his pant pocket startles him out of his reverie. Unmindful, he pulls his phone out and frowns at the unfamiliar number. Curious, he swipes his thumb on the screen to open the message and his heart nearly drops as soon as he reads it.
I can't go through with it, Keigo. I can't marry her. I want to see you. Kunimitsu.
Then again, maybe… maybe hope springs eternal.