It starts, unexpectedly, with Ani’s curious remark: “Hey, hey, Bussan, why are you always picking on Bambi?”
They all stare at Ani.
Bussan blinks. “Eh?”
“Don’t just say eh!” Ani says, his voice dangerously close to a whine. “Master, Ucchie,” he addresses the only other two people beside them, “you two notice it too, right? That every time there’s a fight, somehow the one who always ends up storming off is Bambi, and none else!”
“Ah!” Master knocks his fists together, “now that I think about it, you’re right, Ani! And the one who starts the fight is always Bussan, too! Right, Ucchie?”
“Oi!” Bussan protests.
“B-bus-ssan…” Ucchie stutters, “…s-start-started…i-it …f-fi—”
“Not you too, Ucchie…” Bussan groans, slumping down further on his seat. “I’m not the only one! You all like to tease him too!” he pauses. “Except Ucchie, that is.”
Ucchie nods his head vigorously.
“We’re not!” Ani shouts.
“Are too!” Bussan shouts back.
“Then mention the instance we ever teased Bambi, without you having said something to rile him up first!”
Bussan opens his mouth. Blinks. Shuts his mouth. Looks to the ceilings. Looks down to the floor. Stares at Ani. Opens his mouth again. Blinks.
“See? You can’t, right?” Ani says triumphantly.
“That’s totally irrelevant!” Bussan protests.
“The point is,” Master says, “you like to tease him. A lot. About various things. But lately—”
“But lately you keep teasing him about his virgin status, and nothing else!” Ani shouts out so loudly Bussan is sure the whole Kisarazu Town has heard it.
“So we were wondering,” Master begins.
“Could it be,” Ani says, while Ucchie keeps nodding enthusiastically behind him, “that you actually *want* him?”
The air con blows.
Bussan stares at his so-called friends. “…you’re joking, right?”
“But that’s the only logical explanation!” Ani says.
“Buss-bussan i-is al-also the o-one w-who t-told me t-that,” Ucchie stutters, “t-that Bambi i-is still n-naïve, s-so I s-shouldn’t speak a-about g-girls in f-front of him.”
Bussan frowns. “I never said that.”
“You totally did!” Ani interrupts. “I was there!”
“So was I, actually.” Master says.
“B-bambi was n-not there, th-though.” Ucchie adds.
“I give up.” Bussan throws his hands up exasperatedly. “You guys are clearly delusional.”
“Oh my,” Master eyes him speculatively, “could it be—”
“—you’re still in denial?” Ani says. And then blinks. And then widens his eyes. “EHHH?!”
“I’m totally NOT in denial!” Bussan shouts.
“You totally are!” Ani shouts back.
“Then why do you feel the need to shout it?!”
Bussan instantly clams his mouth shut. And then adds in a nearly sulky tone, “I’m totally not.”
Master snorts. “Not ready to admit it, you mean?”
Bussan glares at him.
“No really.” Ani says with a near pout, “Bussan is the only one who ever bothers Bambi about his virginity.”
Bussan turns his glare to Ani’s direction.
“Fuck you all.” Bussan says, downing the remaining of his drink in one gulp. And then he wipes his lips with his hand, before setting his glass down on the table so hard it’s a miracle the glass doesn’t crack. “Obviously I’m the only sane one here. So!” he rises to his feet, dusting himself “Before I could catch your craziness, I’d let myself out. Night, everyone!”
…and he’s out the door before anyone could stop him. (Or foil his plan to have the last word.)
As he walks slowly down the road, he brings his jacket closer to himself. Really, he thinks, who they think he is? There’s no way he actually *wants* Bambi. No, really. He only teases Bambi about his virginity because that’s the quickest way to get a rise out of the other boy, and these days, the only way Bambi would look at him is when he’s angry with him. No, really, that’s all.
…though why he wants Bambi to look at him at all, he tries not to think too hard about.