Nino sighed in relief after he clicked the 'save' button. He had finished his report on the latest software he developed. He felt so happy, knowing that he will be able to spend his weekend playing games without thinking about his work.
Nino turned around when he heard a soft voice calling him. It was the voice of the CEO of the company he currently worked at. His name is Ohno Satoshi. Ohno is only three years older than him. Yet, he had become a CEO at a young age, and Nino admired him for that. Granted, Ohno inherited the company from his father, but he was still doing a good job.
"Ohchan," said Nino, smiling softly at his boss.
The boss always had a soft spot for him. Yes, he was kind to everyone else, but only Nino was allowed to call him ‘Ohchan’. It was a funny story of how he ended up calling his boss with the nickname.
They met about two years ago. Their meeting happened during the first month of Nino’s employment at the company after he decided to change his job. On the day of their first meeting, he ended up going home late, trying to finish his work. As soon as he finished his work, he quickly packed his stuff. He was in a hurry, and it caused him to bump into a small guy, around his height with darker skin tone than him and chubby cheek.
"I'm sorry," he immediately apologised.
"It's okay. I was at fault too," said the guy. "Why are you still here? It's almost 10 pm,"
"I have work to do. How about you?" Asked Nino. He felt at ease talking with the other guy even though he didn't know him.
"Same," answered the guy, looking awkward.
"I'm Ninomiya Kazunari. You can call me Nino. What's your name?"
"Ohno Satoshi," answered the guy. Nino couldn't control himself from laughing, believing the guy was lying to him. This guy cannot be Ohno Satoshi. He knew Ohno was the CEO of the company, and he was pretty sure Ohno was a grumpy older man, unlike the young man standing in front of him.
"Why are you laughing?" Asked the man, looking bewildered with his sudden laugh.
"I never met our boss. But, I'm pretty sure he is an ojiichan. Not someone like you," he explained. Ohno was silent for a moment before he spoke again in a small voice.
"But I'm him,"
"Yeah, right. You don't get to be Ohno-sama. You're Ohchan,"
And that's what he had been calling Ohno each time they bumped into each other whenever he went home late. Nino was too ignorant to notice that he never see Ohno in the day even though he wondered which department he was working at. He knew the truth three months after their first encounter. He was requested by the department head to make a presentation for their new software to the CEO. The head department warned him not to screw up because the CEO personally requested him.
When he entered the seminar room on the day of the presentation, he was surprised to see Ohno was among the participants. Even worse, he was sitting in the middle of the first row. Nino suddenly remembered what Ohno said in their first meeting, and everything started to make sense. No wonder he never sees Ohno during the day. Ohno's office is on the top floor, and there's no way Ohno will have his lunch in the cafeteria with other workers. Thinking that he was screwed because of his ignorance, he really wished he could hide. How could he be so ignorant that he didn't know his boss?
But, he tried to get rid of his personal feeling and thankfully, managed to give an excellent presentation. Ohno looked impressed with his work and personally congratulated him when they met again a few days later. As always, it happened when he went home late. It was awkward because Nino started to act formally with Ohno, but Ohno didn't like that and asked him to call him Ohchan like always. Though he knew it wasn't appropriate, he complied to the request.
"Going home late again? It's Friday night," said Ohno.
Nino chuckled to hear what his boss said. He asked Nino what he was doing in the office on a Friday night. Yet, he also did the same thing.
"You are right. Let's go home," Nino said to his boss, who nodded his head. He still needed to revise his report but decided to do it on Monday.
"As we both are lonely guys on a Friday night, why don't we have dinner together? It's only 9 pm," suggested his boss.
Nino thought for a while. It seemed like a good idea to celebrate the completion of his work. Hopefully, nobody will see them because he knew everyone in the office loves to gossip about them. Ever since they heard him calling Ohno, Ohchan.
"Sure, where should we go?"
"So, what are you working on just now?" Asked Ohno as they waited for their order to arrive.
Before Nino could answer his boss, his phone rang. Without looking at the caller ID, he answered the call, thinking it will be his best friend, Aiba.
"Moshi Moshi," he greeted the caller.
"Brat," his expression immediately changed when he heard the voice. To listen to it once again brought out mixed emotion for him. He hadn’t talked to the guy on the other end for almost a year. Sure, Nino missed the caller, but he had been avoiding the caller for a reason.
"J, how are you?" He tried to sound like his usual self.
"Fine. Hey, brat, can I meet you today?" Asked the other guy.
"Ah, I'm sorry. I have something to do today,"
"A date?" Asked the other guy with a chuckle.
Nino always loves the way he chuckled. It was the best melody he ever heard.
"No. Just going out with a friend,"
"Okay. Anyway, I want to tell you something today. Can I tell you over the phone? I want you to be the first person to know.
To be honest, he didn't want to hear what the other guy was going to tell him. He had a hunch. His hunch whispered to him that he would be sad to hear the news.
"I'm getting married," announced the other guy happily. Nino's heart almost stopped to hear that. Though he knew this was going to happen, he can never be prepared to accept the news.
"Congratulations," he tried to sound happy.
"Thanks, brat. Let's meet soon. I haven't met you for a while. I miss you so much,"
"Sure. Let's schedule a meeting soon," Nino told the guy before he ended the call. He couldn't take it anymore. He was afraid that he was going to cry and the guy will know the secret that he had been keeping for so long.
"Nino..." another voice called him softly. He turned to look at Ohno and realised that his boss just watched how he handled the call. Crap! He might not know what is it about, but he knew something was wrong.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes. I just need to go to the toilet,"
He left immediately to the toilet, hiding in one of the stalls. He cannot stop tears from flowing. Why? Why did this happen to him? Why did he fall in love with his friend?
He came out a few minutes after. The waiter already served the food, but Ohno hasn't eaten yet. His boss looked worried, and it made Nino feel bad.
"Hi," he tried to appear cheerful as he sat in his place again. Ohno was relieved to see him.
"Are you okay?" Once again, Ohno asked the same question. Nino could only smile. He didn't know what to tell the other person.
"It's okay if you don't want to talk about it," said Ohno. "Just to let you know, I'm here if you need anybody,"
"I'm okay. I received a little bad news. Just need time to accept it," Nino explained. "Don't worry, okay,"
Ohno nodded his head and smiled at him. He didn't ask any further, and Nino was thankful for that. If someone else was with him when he received the news, they're probably going to push him to talk about it.
Nino woke up with a headache. Gosh! His head was spinning, trying to remember what happened to him. The last thing he remembered was telling Ohno he wanted to go to the bar to drink. He tried to forget his sorrow with drinks.
He opened his eyes widely when he noticed he was not sleeping in his room. It was different. Instead of his plain white wall, he was in a room with a blue wall and a few paintings on it. Oh, crap! Don't tell him… He went home with a stranger because he was drunk.
But, Nino didn't feel anything. He only had a headache because of his hangover. Nino was still wearing his clothes, minus the coat, which was on the chair. He slowly stood up, trying to see where he was.
"Ouch!" He heard a voice outside. It was oddly familiar. He quickly went out to see who it was.
He sighed in relief when he saw Ohno in the kitchen, putting the finger on his mouth. He approached the other guy and saw the reason for his little scream just now. He accidentally cut his finger while cutting apples.
"Ohchan, let me see your hand," he asked, taking Ohno's hand without waiting for a reply. He examined the cut and saw it wasn't that bad.
"Let's clean the cut first. Then I will put a band-aid on it, okay? Where do you put your medical kit?" He asked the other guy. Ohno pointed to a drawer, and he immediately went to take it.
"There… Done!" said Nino once he finished the treatment.
"Thanks," said Ohno as he inspected his wounded fingers. Nino took the time to stare at him. He didn't notice it before, but now, he realised the colour of Ohno's eyes is a beautiful shade of brown.
"Your eyes are beautiful," he blurted it out before he could stop himself. Ohno was momentarily frozen to hear that before his face turned red.
"Thanks, I guess," was Ohno's awkward response.
"So, this is your house," said Nino, trying to change the topic. He scanned the house. It looked simple and organised, just like Ohno himself. "How did I get here?"
"You were drunk, and I don't know where your house is. So, I brought you here," answered Ohno. It was just like his expectation.
"Did I do anything stupid?" He asked worriedly. He tended to do stupid things when he was drunk, so that's why he avoided drinking.
"Nothiiiing," Ohno's voice was a bit squeaky as he answered. Nino looked at him suspiciously, knowing Ohno was lying.
"Spill it out! What did I do?" He asked once again. Ohno looked a bit reluctant to answer, but when Nino looked at him intensely, he started talking about yesterday.
"You told me your personal story," answered Ohno in a soft voice. It was barely audible.
"What?" Nino asked once again, hoping that he heard wrongly.
"Personal story. I know why you are sad," answered Ohno. Nino started to be panic. What exactly did he tell his boss?
"What... Really? Damn!" He found it hard to form a sentence. He didn't know what he was going to say. He had been telling Ohno something that he will never tell anyone else. Not even to his best friend.
"Relax. I won't tell anyone else. You can trust me," Ohno said to him. He looked at the other guy. He didn't know much about Ohno, but something in his heart told him that he could trust his boss. Furthermore, it's already happened. There's nothing he can do to undo it.
"What did I tell you?" He asked his boss.
"Hmmm..." His boss began. "There is a guy. You called him J, sometimes you called him a diva. You know him in college and then fall in love with him. He called you yesterday to tell you he's getting married,"
"That's all?" Asked Nino, though it was pretty much everything.
"Well, you talked in detail about how you met him, what makes you fall in love with him,"
Nino smacked his face. Crap! He talked too much. Ohno must be bored to hear him talking about his love.
"Ne, Nino, there's nothing to be ashamed about that. I know how painful unrequited love is. I don't know how to comfort you, but I believe you will meet someone who will make you happy one day. Someone who will truly love you,"
"I have been trying to forget him for years," He didn't know what prompted him to suddenly talk about his love story again. Sober, this time. "Avoiding him doesn't seem to work. I still love him. I know I should try to meet new people. But, I doubt anyone will like me. I mean, I don't have anything to be proud of. I'm short; I don't have a nice figure like you. My belly is very round. People will not like me because I'm bratty and... Well... A lot of shortcomings. I guess I will be alone forever,"
He ended up telling Ohno things that he was worried about. Once he started to express himself, he found it hard to stop. Ohno, on the other hand, simply listened to him.
"Don't think of yourself that way. You might not notice it, but maybe there is someone who loves you,"
"Hahaha. That's impossible,"
"You may think that you have nothing that will make people love you. But, you're wrong. You're smart, always make people feel comfortable around you and.... The cutest man I've ever seen,"
"Cute is for a child. I want to be called handsome,"
"Okay, then. The most handsome guy,"
Nino found himself smiling to hear that. He sounded childish, but he was glad Ohno was willing to play along with his childishness.
"Okay enough about me. How about you? Are you dating anyone right now? Bet she is the luckiest person because she gets the sexiest man I've ever met,"
It was the first time Nino saw Ohno wearing something else other than his suits. He was simply wearing a t-shirt with sweatpants, but from the way the shirt clung to his body, he could see Ohno had quite a sexy figure.
"Sexy? That's the first time I heard someone said that about me,"
"Well, maybe because they never see you like this. So, about what I ask..."
Ohno smiled softly at him, but what he said next surprised Nino. Ohno said it with no hint of sadness at all.
"My love story ends before it could even start,"
It was weird to hear. So, Ohno also experienced a sad love story like him. Nino was curious to know about it but judging from Ohno's tone of voice; he didn't want to talk about it. Nino suppressed the need to ask for more, knowing that there was an invisible boundary between them.
"I guess I better go home now," he told his boss. But, honestly, he was too lazy to go out. He always spent his weekend indoors, but it seemed that he had to go out today.
"It's raining outside," said his boss. "Maybe you can eat first. I make you breakfast,"
Ohno pointed at a plate of toast on the table. Nino was reluctant to stay at another person's house, but he was even lazier to go out. Furthermore, Ohno's apartment looked comfortable, making him even more sluggish to move. So, he decided to stay for a while, at least until the rain stops.
"I'll cook lunch for you for taking care of me yesterday. I hope you don't mind if I stay here for a while,"
"Of course I don't mind,"
Nino ended up spending the whole day in Ohno's house. He borrowed one of Ohno's t-shirt and pants before cooking lunch for both of them. The rain still didn't stop after they had their lunch, so Ohno urged him to stay until it stopped. Nino gladly received the offer as he had his laptop with him so he could play games. Ohno, on the other hand, was doing some work on his computer.
They didn't notice when the rain stopped because both are too absorbed in their activity. When Nino realised it wasn't raining anymore, he reluctantly started to pack his stuff, but Ohno stopped him. He invited him to stay for the night as it was almost dinner time. Once again, Nino gladly accepted the offer. Yes, he missed his house, but Ohno's home was equally comfortable.
They were preparing dinner together when someone rang the bell. Seeing Ohno was busy cooking his stew, Nino offered to check the door for him. He opened the door only to be surprised that the person he tried to avoid was standing in front of him, equally surprised to see him.
"J," he called the name softly. The guy’s name was Jun. Surprised to see Nino there, Jun checked the surrounding.
"What are you doing here, Nino?" Asked Jun. "This is Ohno kun's house, right?"
Jun checked the house number repeatedly to make sure he was in the right place. Nino was saved from answering when Ohno stood next to him.
"Matsujun, why didn’t you tell me you’re coming?" asked Ohno. Nino scooted a bit from the door to allow Jun to enter the house.
"I call you many times. But you didn't answer. So, I decided to visit you as I was nearby," answered Jun once he was inside. He looked at both of them suspiciously.
"I was busy with work," was Ohno's short reply. Jun shrugged him off like he already used to the excuse.
"I'll bring a drink for you," said Nino, trying to get away from his current situation. As he left for the kitchen, he could hear Jun asked Ohno how they know each other, but he didn't listen to the answer from Ohno.
"Brat, you didn't tell me you work in Ohno Corporation. I thought you are still working at your old place,"
"I didn't?" Nino replied stupidly. Honestly, he was aware that Jun didn’t know about it. When Nino resigned from his old company, he decided to put everything behind, including Jun. He wanted to start a new life, without thinking so much about Jun. But, of course, he failed. Jun is still in his mind.
"So, why are you here?" Asked Ohno. Nino was thankful for that. It reminded Jun of the real reason he came here.
"Ah," Jun took out a card from his bag. Without looking at its content, Nino knew what it was. "I'm getting married, Ohno Kun,"
"Congratulations," said Ohno as he received the card from Jun. It sounded sincere, unlike the way Nino said it yesterday.
"Thank you. Your card is not with me, Nino. If I know you will be here; I will bring the card with me,"
"It's okay. You can give me another time,"
"Would you like to join us for dinner?" Invited Ohno. Jun shook his head as a response.
"Nope. I don't want to bother you on your date,"
Hearing that, both Nino and Ohno looked at each other in confusion while Jun laughed at them.
"Date? We're not dating," denied Nino.
"Oh, really?" Answered Jun. "You guys look like a sweet domestic couple, wearing a matching apron and preparing dinner together,"
"Eh... But, we're just..." Nino was at a loss for words. Because he also didn't know why he was staying at Ohno's house for too long.
"We're just doing our work," answered Ohno. His face was crimson red, and Nino guessed his face was similar. He wondered how Ohno felt to be the subject of gossip with him. In the office, Nino was the only one being teased by other workers because no one dared to say it to Ohno. So, he assumed Ohno wasn't aware of the gossip in the office.
"Okay, okay," said Jun, giving them a soft smile. The same smile that made Nino love him, even more, each day. "Sorry to jump into conclusion. But, I think you guys look cute together. Don't take it seriously, okay,"
Nino and Ohno stayed silent.
"But if you guys end up together, don't forget to thank me," said Jun teasingly. "Well, I better go now,"
After he left, both Nino and Ohno stared at each other in awkward silence. No one dared to say anything.
"Sorry," Nino said first, and Ohno shook his head.
"What are you sorry for?"
"I don't know. J thought of us as something we're not. Maybe it’s my fault," He let out the name before he could notice. But, when he looked at Ohno's face, maybe Ohno didn't think Jun was the person Nino was talking about when he was drunk yesterday.
"It's okay. It's not the first time people thought we're together," said Ohno. Nino's eyes were wide in surprise.
"Do you mean... You know about the gossip?"
"Of course. I overheard it sometimes. People said you are my favourite and maybe it's because we're together. But, I think your work and attitude shows why you are my favourite,"
Nino didn't know how to respond to that. Indirectly, Ohno had complimented his work.
"You're not mad at them?"
"Not really. Maybe because I hope it is true," said Ohno. He looked serious. Nino looked at him in disbelief. But, after a while, he started to laugh.
"You're so funny," he said. His boss must be joking. There's no way he was interested in Nino. Not after what he told Nino about his love story. He was proven correct when his boss laughed along.
"I better get back to my stew," said Ohno. "You're still staying tonight, right?"
"Yes. You promised to watch that horror movie with me. I've been dreading to watch it for a long time,"
"Who knows. Maybe you're the one who is uncomfortable with the gossip,"
Nino didn't say anything. To be honest, he wasn't sure how he felt about the gossip. But, he tried not to overthink about it.