It was the end of September, meaning that it was the beginning of autumn. The supposed to be a bright day, full of sunlight covering the city, faced an unexpected turn of events in the middle of the day. Unwelcomed dark clouds gather above the Tokyo city, obstructing the glaring light that the sun provided from reaching the ground. The beautiful combination of light blue sky and white clouds that covered Tokyo changed in a matter of minutes, turning the sky to multiple shades of grey, darkening the ground below.
The magnificent color of trees with vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow, which were supposed to be breathtakingly beautiful and supposed to make passerby craned their neck to look at them, were neglected. Droplets of water started coming down to earth. At first, nature just sprinkled the water to earth, but it seemed it wasn’t satisfied with the intensity and the amount of water it poured, the force of water spurt just suddenly stepped up until it felt like it turned into a cloudburst rain, pouring down with no mercy, wetting every surface it could land its water on.
Never liking rain on his entire 24 years of life, Meguro Ren could only let out low grumbles on how much he hated rain while his eyes were searching for something to look outside the window of the train that was blanketed with droplets of water. He wasn't capable to distinguish anything through the window except for the murky grey sky and the shower of rain, but he couldn’t help to focus his eyes on one particular droplet amongst many. The consciousness of what his mind was thinking started to drift apart until he jerked, startled by the sudden appearance of his forlorn face, reflected on the window once the train entered a dark tunnel. The voice announcing the name of the station they’ll arrive at was caught by Meme (how his friends kept calling him) ears as he successfully grasps back his awareness of the surrounding. He felt his phone vibrated inside his bag but he paid no attention to it. He hurriedly slung his backpack and went to the doors, readying himself for the upcoming cold and wetness that he would have to confront once he got out of the station.
He ran like crazy, praying his laptop could survive through this hell of rain inside his supposed-to-be-water-resistant backpack to the god that he knew must be watching from who-knows-where. He already had a full day filled with bad things and bad luck. His, he didn’t know if it’s appropriate to call Raul and Sakuma his friends or not at this point, tricked him to do their work when all they did was laughing and talking about whatever came to mind (even flirting with the waitress!) in the café when they were supposed to finish their project. He also had to pay for their lunch because he lost in rock-paper-scissor. To the god or goddess, whichever you are, if you decide that you need to hold this big event of rainfall to show sympathy towards my bad luck in living, I would rather you stop this rain cause this just makes it worse, thanks; he thought as he ran.
Too occupied in his ocean of thoughts, he failed to notice a man running, not as fast as he was, from his opposite direction. He bumped the man so hard that caused the man to fall back. He went into a daze for some seconds, just staring at the man with light brown hair as the man fell. Before he could react to say that he's sorry, the other man suddenly shouted “Ahh!” and that was when he realized the things inside the tote bag that the other man brought had spilled, revealing a bunch of plastic packages of photos, from portrait to landscape.
With lightning speed, the man went to gather the packages. Meme immediately helped the stranger that somehow captivated his attention effortlessly, making his heartbeat went a little faster-which he thought was impossible because his heart already reached its maximum level of heart rate by running. They did the work in silence, only the sound of rain slapping the ground and the engine sound of cars came to the hearing. After everything had come back to the place it should be, the stranger looked up to him and said “Are you in a rush? I hope not. Follow me.”
No warning nor anything, the stranger that seemed to be facing the same fate as him, that was to be soaked by rain, grabbed his wrist without any hesitation and pulled him. They ran in the opposite direction of where Meme was supposed to go. Still on his stupor from the shock by the other's action, he didn’t try to release his hand from the strong grip of the stranger and just followed where the other was heading. When he got his sense back, all he could muster was a short “Eh?”.
Not long after, they arrived in front of an apartment building. They went inside the apartment building and straight-up walked to the lift. I guess he doesn’t want to wet the lobby, he thought. His sane side of him knew he had to be more careful to a stranger, not just following a stranger that could be a serial killer toward his apartment. But somehow with this stranger, he didn’t feel the need to put on his alert active. He felt rather calm just by standing beside the shorter man, now that he took the time to observed the stranger. His brownish hair clung to his forehead, almost covering his whole eyes.
“Um…” Was all his brain could come up to say in this silence.
“Oh! I’m sorry for suddenly uh… dragging you. It’s just the rain seemed to get heavier and I saw you running without using an umbrella. You were so drenched when you help me so I thought as a thank you for helping me, maybe I could let you dried yourself first and then lend you my umbrella because my place is not that far. It was such an amazing idea in my head you see, but now that I think of it, I may just cause you more trouble. Are you in a hurry to go somewhere? Certainly, you’re in hurry. If not, then why would you choose to run rather than to wait for the rain to subside. Ahh, I’m really sorry!” The man finished his sentences in a breath and bowed almost 90 degrees with his eyes closed. So that was his reason. He seemed really sorry tho, cute, he mused. The thought of wanting to know this man came and stuck in his mind as if it was delivered through an arrow covered with glue that made him unable to pull it out.
“No, no, it’s me who should be sorry for bumping you instead and I’m not in a hurry or anything. I was just really wanted to go back home as fast as I could. You don’t have to feel sorry.” Looking at this kind man reminded him so much of his mother. Without realizing it, his mouth formed a small smile that decorated his drenched face.
“Really? Then I’m glad.” The stranger smiled softly, his relieved face showed as if his entire pressure had been lifted. Right at that moment, the lift stopped and the lift doors opened on the 7th floor. Once they arrived at the door of the stranger room, the shorter man unlocked and open the door with ease. The stranger stepped aside to let him enter his apartment room first while saying “Oh and I forgot, I’m Mukai Koji. Wait here as I take the towels in the bathroom okay.” He said again with a smile that seemed to be planted permanently now. He could only nod.
As Mukai-san closed the door behind us, set his tote bag on the genkan, and then tip-toed to the bathroom, he stood on the genkan awkwardly and silently, not knowing what to do. He realized he should say something more, like “You don’t need to do this” or “I can’t accept your offer, I don’t want to bother you and burden you.” But let’s be honest, he knew he wanted to be selfish.
He wanted to know this Mukai-san that seemed to make his insides flutter, producing butterflies in his inside out of nowhere the second he saw the man fell and he was so not going to waste this opportunity to get to know this man.
“So that’s how you met with Koji? That kid sure reads too many mangas but that’s so Koji for caring random people.” Iwamoto Hikaru, who Koji always called Teru-nii, laughed softly. His affection toward Koji was shown so clearly. Fukazawa Tatsuya – just call me Fukka, he said – joined Hikaru-kun laugh.
Meme was meeting with his boyfriend's best friends for the first time in a park located in Shibuya that at the time was full of happiness. Hikaru-kun and Fukka were in America for years, until last week they decided to take a short holiday and fly back to Japan. Shota was in Korea and just came back yesterday. That was why they could only meet after he and Koji became a couple for two years.
He, Hikaru-kun, and Fukka were sitting under the blooming sakura trees, called it luck for him and Koji to be able to save them a place to spread their picnic blanket. Koji and Shota were already gone after the first hour they met because Koji wanted Shota to become his model for his photo shoot (of course after they take group pictures) and he also wanted to take photos of the scenery. As the trio kept chatting, Meme couldn’t help but to stole a glance at his now-boyfriend happy face now and then.
They met at 8 a.m and it was noon when they decided to put the activity to an end. He and Koji decided to take the walk back home slowly because Koji’s apartment was not that far from the park, enjoying every bit of the company. They talked about useless things, he laughed at every jokes Koji come out with, and their intertwined fingers locked tightly. It felt like they were in their little world and he was content as to what he had now, this day couldn’t get better, he thought. The day couldn’t get better but it could get worse and it happened in the blink of an eye. He felt drops of water on his head, looking up, the drizzle stopped and continued as rain. His hand that was locked with Koji's, was pulled and they started running as if their life depended on it.
After 5 minutes of long, non-stop running, Koji looked at Meme’s face behind him. But, rather than a scowl that painted his face as to what he had expected, his face was plastered with a big joyful smile instead. When their eyes met, Meme’s smile just went wider and then he laughed, his eyes squinting, radiating happiness. Koji was too stunned by this. His heart flutters at the sight, throwing him back to the time when he felt like he was free from every problem in this world. How his love seemed like he was having the time of his life, jet black hair stuck to his face, portraiting a teenager. Not realizing he had stopped running, Meme took the lead of their running with carefree steps and a slower pace.
After they reached Koji’s apartment, they immediately went to the bathroom and took a warm shower. Later, when the couple had dried themselves and wear comfy clothes, they were cuddling on the sofa. Koji was snuggly sitting inside his embrace and his hands wrapped around the shorter man, a blanket was draped around his body, the TV showed a variety show guested by a famous idol group. Neither of them said anything, except for the sound of rain pounding the window and the low volume of people talking from the TV, they stayed inside this comfortable silence.
“Ne, Meme, didn’t you said you hate rain?” Suddenly Koji asked, breaking the silence that has enveloped the living room.
“Hmm, yeah I did.” He answered while tightening his hug.
“Then why did you look like you were so happy when we ran? I thought you would hate it if we didn’t hurry.”
“Is that why you started running right after when you felt the drizzle?”
“Un. So? What happened?” At this point, he put his head on Koji’s shoulder and start thinking while humming. Koji stayed silent, waiting for him to answer. TV being ignored.
“You know, you changed my life from the very first second I saw you. Ever since you came, the sunshine that you are, helped me to go through my everyday life that is full of work, work, and work. Loving you feels like opening a package of care and love. Your encouragement words when I have to do unreasonable work. The trust you always have in me, that I could do anything when I doubt myself. The listening ears you always lend when I complained, like how my senpai keep looking down at me. The way you pampered me when I feel burnt-out from everything and all I wanted was to escape.” He was no man who would say cheesy lines out loud, but maybe this one time, he could make an exception to show how much the older man inside his embrace meant to him.
Koji’s ear and face went one shade darker with every sentence that came out from his mouth. “With everything you said, I still don’t get the reason why you suddenly enjoy the rain.” Koji could only mumble, still too embarrassed from the sudden blatant confession.
“Do you remember the first time we met?”
“Huh? Of course, I do.”
“We met under the rain, so how can I still hate rain when it was the one thing that brought you to me, the man who made me feel loved, who keeps giving me the things I needed so much non-stop with so much love and doing it sincerely.”
“Why does this suddenly become a “let’s be honest” corner. Is it now my turn to confess my feelings?” Koji muttered under his breath.
He could only chuckle as he saw how beetroot red his boyfriend's face had become. With a swift movement, he pecked Koji’s cheek and put his focus on the tv, ignoring Koji “Hey!”