Yugi was actually going to die. Maybe he was being a little excessive, but he was certain he wasn’t too far from having a heart attack. And it wasn’t just because of the unbearable summer heat that was making him regret wearing pants, no.
Anzu had come back from America to visit her friends and catch up, taking a few days break from her successful career as a dancer in New York. As they met up to eat with Jounouchi, Honda and Atem at a cozy fast food restaurant in Domino City, she had a sudden illumination.
“Now that I think about it, Atem, not that I’m saying you’re not busy enough with your job at Kaiba’s company, but have you ever considered modeling?”
There was a pause as everyone processed the girl’s question and made a face. Jounouchi was the first to answer.
“What the hell are you saying, Anzu? Why would Atem need to do that? As you just said he already has a job and doesn’t need another one, you know. Seems like a waste of time to me.”
“Yeah okay, but hear me out. Every girl I know who has seen Atem at least once has asked me if he was a model. You know, foreign, good-looking, with a mysterious but elegant vibe? I’m just saying there’s potential there.”
Yugi wasn’t sure what to think. His friend was very handsome indeed, but he couldn’t picture him posing and being photographed for magazines or ads at all. It sounded very surreal.
Honda hummed before nodding to himself. “I see what you mean. He would definitely be popular.”
“Guys, maybe let Atem say something first before you decide for him?” Yugi interrupted, seeing as the man next to him had yet to speak.
“…Well, I’ve been asked if I was interested before and I didn’t really feel like doing it at the time so I refused. I wouldn’t really mind now, I think. Especially since I have more free time than I used to.”
“Right?” Anzu piped in. “It would be fun! I’m sure several agencies would love to have you. If you’re really up for it I mean.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Whoo, Yami is gonna be so famous! Aw man, what if we can’t go in public with him anymore because he gets swarmed by paparazzi!” Atem hit Jounouchi lightly on the arm with a fond smirk.
“Don’t be ridiculous, I didn’t even say I would do it yet.”
The group of friends laughed and switched the conversation subject quickly, before leaving the place.
On the group chat where Ryou and Malik were also present, Atem broke the news.
Atem: Hey guys, I was hired part-time.
Ryou: oh, is this what Yugi was talking about?
Anzu: OMG YES
Malik: someone care to explain things here please
Anzu: Atem is starting a career as a model!!!
Atem: That’s slightly exaggerated but yes basically
Yugi: oh wow, so soon
Malik: I am so confused
Yugi was therefore left to his internal struggles as he accompanied Atem to his first shooting, to his friend’s request. “I’d rather not be alone and I knew you were free today, but if you really don’t feel like it it’s fine, I won’t be upset about it.” Yugi shook his head frantically, putting his hands up in a reassuring manner. “No, no, it’s fine, really! It’s pretty warm today but I’ll make it. There’s shadow over there too so I’ll just sit there when it starts, don’t worry.”
“If you’re so sure, then thank you.”
Atem smiled fondly at his shorter friend and turned around when his name was called. “Ah, I need to go change apparently. See you later, Yugi. Feel free to do whatever you want in the meantime; you don’t have to watch over me or anything.”
Yugi chuckled and pushed the man towards the staff. “Don’t worry, I know. Now go!”
Feeling the heat on his skin, he went towards the patch of shadow cast by a small building nearby. They were on the beach, staff members staying under a tent with water bottles and material. Yugi didn’t feel like sitting in the middle of it all so he stayed away, but with a good view on the actual setting where Atem would be posing.
He knew they chose the beach to showcase a new collection of swimsuits, but he felt bad for his friend, hoping it wouldn’t be too long so he wouldn’t burn in the sun. It wasn’t hot enough for people to faint but compared to the beginning of the week it was a few degrees hotter, and Yugi’s body wasn’t agreeing with the change.
He heard voices coming from where Atem went to change and turned his head curiously. He couldn’t see the tan man’s outfit behind everyone moving around and opted to just wait as someone apparently applied makeup on his face.
Yugi felt giddy to see his crush looking exceptionally nice, even though he was smitten enough to find him beautiful all the time. Ever since he met the Egyptian who came to study in Japan with his cousins, he couldn’t deny the attraction he felt towards him. Not that he would tell anybody about it.
Anzu used to have a crush on Atem and she might feel the same now. And for Atem himself…well, who knew. The man seemed more interested in dueling and other challenges than romance. Yugi was already glad to be his close friend and be able to have interesting conversations with him, sometimes helping him find solutions when he was stuck in his thought process.
Yugi could have spent hours thinking about Atem and his victorious smirks, or the grateful smiles he often sent him, but he was reminded of his surroundings when crimson and blond hair flashed in his peripheral vision.
Anzu and Honda were right, being a model suited him more than he expected.
Atem took confident steps towards the set, dressed in simple but fitting black swimming trunks, with a short-sleeved jacket which was open to showcase his fit body. It was obvious he went to the gym more often than Yugi did.
He noticed that Atem had been allowed to keep his gold chain with its small pyramid pendant.
He caught his friend’s eyes, who stared at him while tilting his head to the side in question, and Yugi raised his hand to form a thumbs up. The man smiled slightly and replied with an okay sign before turning around.
Yugi sighed and prayed that his face didn’t reveal his emotions too much.
He pulled out his phone to chat with Ryou to avoid staring and being caught, but kept throwing glances towards the set anyway.
Yugi: Ryou I can’t
Yugi: this is too much
Ryou: urghhhh just confess already I swear
Ryou: if you can’t handle seeing your crush like this why did you even go with him
Ryou: you brought this upon yourself, yug
Yugi: I am looking for comfort not the harsh truth please
Ryou: then you came to the wrong door
Ryou: but seriously for the 300th time I’m pretty sure he likes you too
Yugi: for the 300th time there is no concrete evidence so no
Ryou: guess we’ll have to accidentally get him very drunk and find out
Yugi: you have the worst ideas
Yugi: oh shit he’s coming
Yugi put his phone back in his pocket as Atem approached, still in his outfit. He noticed that he there were droplets of sweat on the man’s neck and chest, slowly but surely going down…Okay, time to move his eyes back up.
“How is it going? It must feel terrible to stand in the sun for so long.”
Atem drunk from his small water bottle, nearly chugging the whole thing. He took a deep breath and swiped his hand across his mouth to remove the excess water before replying.
“It’s hell. Why did it start being hot today and not tomorrow? I feel like committing murder.” Yugi laughed.
Atem glared at him half-heartedly but couldn’t stop a smile from growing on his face.
“Jerk. Aren’t you supposed to support me? Maybe you actually came here to make fun of my suffering instead. I wouldn’t be surprised.”
“Sorry, that was very funny. But you look very nice, I’m sure people will love those photos more than you enjoyed posing for them.”
“They’d better. I’m not doing this kind of thing outside again while it’s this hot, that’s for sure. I will be done soon, by the way. Maybe we should get ice cream after this is over- I’ll treat you.”
Yugi agreed immediately, feeling warm himself, and also accepted the water bottle from Atem.
He tried his best to avoid thinking about the man’s lips that were in contact with it two minutes ago as he finished it.
“I’ll take strawberry and vanilla, please.”
Atem paid for the both of them as Yugi took his ice cream, and they walked away from the shop towards a park nearby. Neither of them were familiar with the city but they didn’t want to go back to the beach.
They walked in comfortable silence for a while, relishing in the ice cream’s freshness, until Atem’s phone buzzed. He read the message he had just received and chuckled. Yugi felt very curious all of a sudden.
“Who is it?”
“Hmm?” Atem started typing an answer without looking at him, after eating the last bite of his ice cream cone. “It’s Anzu, asking me how it went with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Yugi felt a pang in his chest, then felt guilty for his jealousy towards Anzu. He hated feeling this way, but the warmth in Atem’s voice when he spoke about her made him anxious.
“Yugi? Are you okay?”
Yugi just realized he had let some of his ice cream drip down from the cone to his hands and shirt and cursed, trying to wipe it away. Seeing that the mess was not going away so easily, he turned towards his concerned friend. “I’m-I was just thinking and I didn’t feel it melt, it’s nothing.”
Atem squinted at him, not convinced. “And what were you thinking about so hard? Is Kaiba being a pain to you again?”
“No! Nothing like that, it’s nothing bad. It’s pretty stupid.”
“Then tell me.”
Yugi sighed. He wouldn’t escape from this. “I was simply wondering if maybe…You liked Anzu? As in more than a friend?”
Atem gaped at him for a second before getting a hold of himself and closing his mouth.
“Anzu? No way. I mean, she’s very sweet but I’m…not interested in her that way. Besides, I think she likes you more.”
“What? No. She had a small crush on me in high school but she told me she was over it. It’s just…You looked so happy over her text that I thought…”
“Yugi. Are you perhaps jealous of me?” This time he was the one taken aback.
“No, as I said I was just thinking about it but-“
“-then are you jealous of her?”
Yugi froze, unable to produce a sound. He couldn’t just lie, he would feel terrible about it and wouldn’t be very convincing. But there was no way he could say yes neither. Therefore he looked away and mumbled: “I didn’t mean it like that…”
But Atem was no fool. “Look at me, Yugi, please.”
He waited for him to do so.
“Thank you. I’m not very good with words, so…If I’m wrong about this please stop me right away.”
He felt his cheeks burn as Atem brought his hand to cup his face, getting closer to him. He put his other hand to his hip as he leaned in and kissed him gently. Yugi melted into his touch and reciprocated this kiss, making it firmer.
Both of them pulled away smiling a few seconds later.
“Glad to see I was right.” The smaller of the two smiled even wider and brought their foreheads together.
Ryou was going to pull the ‘I told you so’ card everyday forever now, but it was worth it.
“Hmm…I think your ice cream is liquid now, hun.”
“Oh no…Guess you’ll have to buy me another one next time you have a shooting, then.”