In his twenty-four years of life, Saginuma Osamu had never felt as observed and analyzed as he did during that general meeting of the Fifth sector. What was supposed to be a routinary rundown of all the teams and SEEDS at the disposition of the organization now had shifted into a nervewracking scenario. While Toramaru was giving the introduction to the Holy Emperor, Saginuma couldn’t avoid noticing the piercing red eyes right across the exaggeratedly long and wide table. The lights were dimmed down and they were surrounded by the other coaches and trainers, even like that the one Afuro Terumi had to look at was him.
Saginuma’s hands were shaking by just being observed this way, it wouldn’t be like this if he was being looked at by any other person, he would even accept Ishido’s harsh glace when he was scolding some players than this one, only for the fact that he didn’t know why he was being inspected like something amusing. For sure, whatever Toramaru was talking about must have been really important since for once Gouenji looked interested in the screen and not in checking his phone under the table while he played his other persona role as the Holy Emperor, and Saginuma wouldn’t know about this since he was at the edge of his seat thanks to Aphrodi.
In a bold move, he looked at him as he checked some stats that were passed to him on the table. Something quick but still casual, he tried to ignore how anxious he was feeling. Aphrodi’s eyes, hidden under the perfectly long eyelashes drifted slowly to the front of the conference room where the screen showed all the team’s results as if nothing had happened, pretending he wasn’t really looking at Saginuma. For the rest of the meeting, Saginuma was able to breathe and concentrate, even participating more than once during the meeting and believing firmly that the smile in Aphrodi’s lips meant only that he agreed with him and with everything he said, not that there were any ulterior motives hidden behind the thin lips.
The meeting was over and, to Saginuma’s surprise, right after he went out of the conference room there stood Aphrodi, playing with the turquoise ends of his hair and a glint of emotion appeared in his eyes as he saw him.
“Well it is Saginuma-kun, just the one I was waiting for”
“... Can I help you with something?”
A wider smile was on Aphrodi’s face this time, warm and comforting and nothing like those furtive shining eyes from some hours ago. “There was something about what you said today, about your training regime advances that I found highly interesting. I wished you could expand about it more”
“Oh well, that’s flattering!” he said, smiling and red-faced.
“That’s why I thought we should get some coffee and talk a little, if you’re free we can do it now”
“Yes, we can… Coffee?”
“What? You don’t like coffee?”
Aphrodi walked closer, standing right in front of Saginuma and looking up at him since those 5 centimeters made a remarkable height difference between them. All this closeness made him think that the rumors were true, Aphrodi was beautiful, an ethereal kind of beauty that could make anyone run out of words, even someone like Saginuma, who never ran out of things to say. Someone like him wanted to have coffee with him.
“Caffeine’s amazing and I’m free too!” he shouted, making some of the guards passing by to give him funny looks. Aphrodi kept smiling.
“Is good to know coffee thrills you. Let’s go then”
It wasn’t until Aphrodi started walking that Saginuma processed everything that had happened and how he embarrassed himself, but he didn’t have much time to dwell on it, Aphrodi was still walking towards the elevator and Saginuma followed. The whole road to the coffee shop close to the 5th sector’s quarters was filled by Aphrodi’s jovial chatter and Saginuma’s answers that were improving the more comfortable he felt with this unusual and new situation. They were sitting with their drinks in front of them and, to Aphrodi’s surprise, Saginuma had asked for green tea.
“... This has caffeine too” Saginuma whispered and then cleared his throat to pretend to be composed “What did you want to ask me?”
“... About that, it was an excuse”
Aphrodi took a sip of his iced coffee at Saginuma’s blank gaze. That was unexpected, but ever since that meeting some hours earlier what hasn’t been unexpected on this day? Saginuma regained himself and sat straight on the chair, making Aphrodi unable to look away.
“But for what reason?”
“I like hearing you talk”
To such a declaration Saginuma only nodded and agreed before taking his cup of tea and stopping the moment it touched his lips and the hot steam crashed against his face.
“I’m still not understanding” he left the cup on the table and his tea was on the way of getting untasted and cold.
“I believe I’m being clear enough. I know you have the… fame of sometimes going off rails when talking, yet your voice is soothing and I believe what you have to say It’s lovely and interesting” Answered Aphrodi, resting his perfectly round face on the back of his hand.
Saginuma had felt it was a joke, then a dream, then a really big truck passed by the street and the sound of it made him snap. Aphrodi was still there, waiting patiently with a friendly expression after saying something no one ever said to him, not even out of courtesy.
“I’m... I mean, thanks, I guess” his hand went to his neck as he rubbed and laughed trying to pretend he wasn’t flustered “Honestly, It’s the first time someone says that to me”
“Though I was honestly interested in the propositions you made in the reunion and I would like to talk about it, maybe some other things too and don’t worry about going off rails today” he cut himself mid-sentence and turned his eyes from the window back to Saginuma “We could have dinner someday and continue this if you don’t mind”
“Is it like... a date?”
Something then changed in Aphrodi’s demeanor, Saginuma didn’t notice he was looking a little tense and now, it was as if both of them were nervous, only in two different levels. This had been the best way someone has asked me out Saginuma thought, seeing the flirty wink Aphrodi did before answering.
“Yeah, it’s a date”