There were thorns on Tsukiyono Omi's computer chair.
Unfortunately, he discovered this a moment too late.
On further inspection, the youngest member of Weiss discovered that there was also a rose attached to those thorns. One of the roses he himself had tended and sold off the week before, actually.
"Ow…" Omi checked the seat over to make sure there were no more "surprises" left over. His search produced a small card, which he held up while gingerly easing himself back onto his chair. "Now I have to start looking before I sit down? Hmm, what's this?" His moment of pain was forgotten when he looked over the card.
Omi, (it read)
This probably seems a little silly, but the traditional ways are usually best, right?
And the rose doesn't look half as nice as you do.
Omi felt heat rising to his cheeks. Who…? What…? Is this a joke or something? He flipped the card over. No signature. So what does that mean? A secret admirer? And not only that, but someone who had access to their computer room.
So… it would have to be either Aya, Ken, or Yohji.
Yohji, his common sense told him. That was the only possibility that made sense, since it had to be a joke anyway. It was highly unlikely that any of the other three members of Weiss would seriously give Omi a rose. And that, then, meant Yohji. Ken wasn't the type for romantic gags, and Aya… Omi almost laughed out loud at the idea of Aya giving him a rose, as a joke or otherwise.
It couldn't be serious. Omi was only just eighteen; Ken was the youngest after him, and he was almost twenty. I'm a kid compared to them - they all just see me as a little brother. This can't be… can it?
So… a joke, then. Well, we'll see about that, Yohji! Omi stuffed the mangled flower away in his desk. I won't say a word. He'll crack and spill the beans before today's even over!
"Why do mornings have to st… star…" Yohji's sentence was interrupted by a huge yawn. "Have to start so damn early?" he muttered, letting his head fall back onto the table.
Beside him, Aya sipped his coffee, wide awake almost as a reprove. "If you'd stop staying out so late, maybe it wouldn't be such a problem."
Omi made it into the room before Yohji could reply. "Good morning!" he said, as cheerfully as possible. "Has anyone made breakfast yet?"
"It's on the stove," Aya replied, sipping his coffee again.
Yohji snatched up his mug and downed the whole thing in one guzzle. "What's got you so happy this morning?" he asked Omi. A little smirk was starting to spread across his face. "Meet a girl last night?"
Playing dumb, huh? Omi shrugged. "Nope. It's just a feeling."
"Mmm." He had to admit, Yohji really was good at sounding disinterested. "Fill your plate and move out of the way, Omi," he said, standing up and stretching. "I need food before I fall back asleep."
Huh. He really doesn't sound like he knows anything. Omi moved out of the way with his plate, feeling a bit uncertain. Maybe it wasn't him… He shook his head mentally. No, who else could've done it? Anyway, Yohji's done this before; he's probably gotten good at it.
He had to say something some time…
Yohji swallowed, sipped his coffee, and raised an eyebrow across the table at Omi. "What's the matter - do I have food on my face or something?"
Omi blinked. "Huh?"
"You're staring," the blond pointed out. "I know I'm good looking… but really."
Omi put down his fork, annoyed. "Aren't you going to ask me something?"
Yohji took another sip of his coffee. "Ask you what? Is there something you want to tell me?"
"No," Omi denied quickly. "But… aren't you going to ask if I happened to find something interesting this morning?"
"All right." Yohji shrugged. "Did you find something interesting this morning?"
Omi felt less sure of his conclusion. "No, I guess not," he sighed. If he didn't do it, who did?
A door opened behind him. "Morning," Ken's voice announced.
Don't turn, don't turn… Omi turned. "Morning." His voice cracked, and he fought back a wince. Ken already thought of him as young enough; as if he needed to be reminded that Omi was still just a teenager. Now smile and act normal, he told himself, pasting what was probably a dopey grin across his face. Close enough.
It wasn't like Ken was going to really look at him anyway.
Well, actually… Omi was a little shocked to discover that the older boy was looking right at him - looking, and smiling. "Hey, Omi," he said - simple and casual. But he was looking… and smiling…
Don't blush! Whatever you do… Ken was looking at him, he was looking… Repeat: I will not blush, I will not blush, I will not blush… From the heat rising on his cheeks, he suspected that the mantra was not doing its job.
Could he have…? Is it possible…? Maybe… maybe he left the rose.
It was a fleeting fantasy.
"Mmm…" Ken stretched languidly and moved past him. "What's for breakfast?" he asked, checking the stove.
Omi turned back to his food, disappointed. Nice to delude myself - now back to reality. He set down his fork. "I've got to get to school, or I'll be late," he announced, standing up and grabbing the bag he'd dropped by the table.
"Hmm… well, maybe you'll find something interesting at school," Yohji teased. "Since you didn't find anything here, hmm?"
Omi glanced back quickly. The blond was smirking at him.
Ha! I knew it.
"Hey!" Omi dropped his school bag and grabbed his apron. "Sorry I'm late! A girl I know wanted a ride, so…" He shrugged.
Yohji chuckled, setting down his watering can. "If the motorcycle makes you that popular with the ladies, maybe I should get one. Or borrow Ken's…"
"Don't even think it." The answer came before he could ask.
"Fine, fine." Yohji waved a hand. "Not like I need help when it comes to girls, anyway." He smirked. "That's my specialty."
"Whatever, Yohji," Ken answered, in a good-natured tone.
"Aya?" Omi ignored the other two in favor of the more quiet member of Weiss. "Did we manage to sell all of those roses that were out front yesterday?" He tried to make his tone casual, as if it weren't important.
"Yes. Why?" Aya turned slightly to give him a curious look.
"No reason, really." Omi shrugged. "I just thought Yohji might've tried to grab some for his girlfriend or something."
"He did," Aya confirmed, "but he paid for them."
Omi smiled to himself. "Good." Got him. "Oh, Yohji - "
"Hey, Omi!" Ken called across the store, interrupting him. "How about a little one-on-one a the park after we close up? I'll even spot you a few to make it fair. What do you say?"
"I have a lot of homework," Omi said absently, still fixing Yohji with an intense stare that he was hoping would force the blond to confess. "Maybe tomorrow?" He'll break down before tomorrow - there's no way he can keep it secret!
He was so busy concentrating on one team member that he didn't notice the other coming up behind him. "I'll help you with your homework," Ken's voice said suddenly, almost right into his ear. Omi jumped, eyes going wide and cheeks heating. All at once, Yohji was the last thing on his mind. K…Ken… "Come on, it'll be fun. Just you and me - only for an hour or so, anyway."
"Ah…" Omi tried to concentrate on getting his breathing under control. Just like a dream… This is when he'll slide his arms around me, and I'll turn around and look just slightly surprised - and pleased. He found his eyes slipping shut, face still hot, breathing slowed as the daydream took over. Then he'll lean forward, stop just a few inches away, breathlessly confess how much he's always wanted me… and then… and then…
"Omi? You going to answer me?"
The dream shattered. "Uh… yeah." Omi turned around with what he hoped was a normal smile. "I… sure. Sounds good." That didn't sound too stupid. Daydreaming where everyone can see! What kind of idiot am I?
"Great!" Ken smiled back and moved off. "It's a date, then."
"Yeah," Omi said weakly. "A date. Sure."
He shook his head to clear it. Don't get sidetracked! You've got to force Yohji into confessing, remember? His eyes narrowed as he glanced over to where the blond was watering flowers. He was whistling to himself, apparently unconcerned.
Sure, sure… that's his act!
Omi cleared his throat and tried again. "Yohji - "
"Omi." It was Aya who interrupted this time. The redhead held out a clipboard. "We have deliveries for you to make," he said.
Damn! "Sure thing!" Omi said out loud, taking the clipboard. "I'll get right on it!" He headed outside to get the store's delivery moped.
And if you think you've escaped, Yohji… well, just wait until I get back!
"Time to close up."
Finally. Omi smiled to himself. He hadn't been able to corner Yohji yet - but now that the shop was closing, he would finally have an opportunity. "Yohji, can you help me move this to the back?" he asked, gesturing toward one of their huge ceramic containers that had been emptied sometime during the day.
"No problem, kid!" The older man moved to take one side of the huge thing, while Omi took the other. Working together, it was easy to carry it into the back room.
Omi crossed his arms and faced his teammate. "Well?"
Yohji looked confused. "Well what?"
"Yohji!" This was getting frustrating. "I know you did it! Confess already!"
"I did?" The blond looked baffled. "Confess to what?"
"Quit playing dumb!"
"Who says I'm playing? What's going on?"
"You know perfectly well - stop trying to trick me!"
"Trick you into what?"
"You - "
The door opened.
"Hey, Omi!" It was Ken. Omi's head shot up involuntarily. "Aren't we going to go shoot a few baskets? Better get changed - I'm all ready to go." He tossed the basketball he'd had under one arm back and forth between his hands.
"As soon as I make him confess!" Omi pointed at Yohji accusingly.
"Confess to what?" The blond sounded exasperated.
"Don't play dumb!" Omi snapped, at the end of his patience. "Confess to pretending to be my secret admirer, that's what!"
Yohji's expression was priceless. "Huh?"
"A secret what?" Ken laughed. "That's a dumb joke even for Yohji! Are you sure it's not from a real girl, Omi? That fan gathering of yours is crazy enough to try anything."
"No, it had to be one of us." Omi shook his head. "It was on my computer chair."
Ken's smile faltered. "Computer chair?"
"That's why it has to be one of his jokes!" Omi directed his glare at Yohji again. "Who else would leave a rose and some kind of romantic note on my chair?" He scowled. "You probably knew I'd sit on it too, didn't you?"
Yohji held up his hands. "Look, I've got nothing to do with this, whatever it is. I wasn't the one who put a rose on your chair, all right? I've got better things to do with any roses I might have paid good money for. Leave me out of this."
Omi scowled. "Oh yeah? Well, if you didn't, who did?"
"Uh…" Ken spoke up, clearing his throat nervously. "That - that would be me." He smiled a little, sheepishly.
"You?" Omi felt the bottom drop out of his world. "Y… You?" he repeated, weakly. "B-But…"
Ken nodded. "Didn't you read the card?"
"Y-yeah…" It felt like the ground was spinning under his feet. "But… there wasn't any signature. The only name on there was mine. I didn't… what was I…?"
The sheepish grin was back on Ken's face. "Right… I thought I was forgetting something. I guess that explains why you never said anything, huh? I figured it was just because you didn't want to talk about it in front of the others."
"So…" Omi jumped to the first conclusion he could think of. "You were playing the trick on me?" He felt his cheeks burn. He must not feel the same - not if he did this. "Why? Did you think it was funny or something?"
"Trick?" Ken looked confused for a minute, then he frowned. "Now wait just a second! Who do you think I am - him?" He gestured toward Yohji.
"Me?" The blond's voice was injured. "Why would you - ?"
"Shut up, Yohji," Ken said irritably. "I don't play tricks like that."
"You don't?" Omi stared at him. "But then…" Everything clicked into place. "Oh." He swallowed. "Oh. Can I…? I need…" Yohji helpfully found him a chair, and he sat down, hard. "Oh."
"Want to leave us alone for a bit, Yohji?" Ken asked.
"Not really… but I suppose I can take pity on you." The taller man breezed past him, then leaned against the doorway. "Just remember this little mix-up the next time you want to unfairly accuse me of - "
Ken slammed the door in his face. "Idiot," he commented, listening to the swears from the next room. Then he turned back to face Omi, and his expression softened. "Are you okay, Omi? It's kind of a shock, I know… but a good one, am I right?" He grinned.
"How…?" Omi had to try a few times before he found his voice. "You… you knew?" he finally managed to get out. "Was - was I that obvious?" The thought of his teammates snickering behind their hands at his "silly crush" all that time was not a nice one.
"No, not really." Ken shrugged and smiled. "Still… I'm no Yohji, but I can usually tell when someone's interested in me. I saw you looking sometimes - didn't want to say anything in front of the others, though, because it'd embarrass you, right? But I still figured it'd be up to me to make the first move - and, well…" He shrugged again, looking a little embarrassed. "I wanted to do things right - I think you're something special … you know?"
Omi could hardly believe what he was hearing. "S-Special?" he repeated, feeling a bit dazed. Ken… sent me flowers. He knew all along, and he… and he… "You mean… me?"
"Yeah." Ken ran a hand through his hair and smiled, a little nervously this time. "So now you've got the chance - what do you say? D'you think you and I could - ?"
Omi was off his chair and in Ken's arms in less than half a second.
"I take it this means yes?"
"Are you kidding me?" Omi pulled back and stared at the older boy, hardly able to contain his emotions. Relief, excitement… joy? Definitely. "You think I might've said no? What are you, crazy?"
Ken grinned. "I must be. I like you."
"Shut up," Omi said, without any conviction, and leaned up for a kiss.
Worth sitting on the rose. Worth trying to burn holes into Yohji's head. Worth… everything. Omi felt almost alight, like he could float and only Ken's arms kept him grounded. The kiss was like nothing else.
For a moment after they broke apart, both of them could only smile.
Omi found his voice first. "So," he began, trying to keep a casual tone. "Would we really have been playing basketball today?"
Ken grinned. "You tell me," he said, stepping back. "We're still on for this afternoon." He retrieved the ball from where he'd set it down and passed it to Omi. "One-on-one - I'll spot you five. But I'll still win." He turned and left.
Omi watched him go, then smiled. We'll see about that! he thought. Assuming we play basketball at all…
With that thought in mind, he tucked the ball under his arm and followed the older boy out the door.