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“Just talk to him.”

Sitting in the booth, Yuugi adamantly shook his head, staring resolutely at the menu in his shaking hands. It was a hot summer afternoon, and Yuugi was in Burger World for the fifth time that week. Across from Yuugi sat Katsuya Jounouchi and his boyfriend, Seto Kaiba. But where Katsuya was quietly harassing his best friend, Seto was completely indifferent to the situation. He was gazing out the window, one arm carelessly thrown behind his boyfriend and braced on the booth seat. He glanced to Yuugi only once and returned his gaze to the view outside.

“Yuugi, you're holding the menu upside down,” Seto said.

It was no wonder Yuugi could not read it.

“Thanks, Kaiba,” he mumbled. Quickly, Yuugi flipped it right side up and stared at it, his eyes focused intently on the crease in the middle. He had memorized the menu long ago, as it was his favorite restaurant, but he needed the cover.

“Why do we have to keep coming here?” Seto asked. “The food isn't good enough for the visits we've paid.”

“Babe,” Katsuya said, turning to Seto with a roll of his eyes, “I've told you this like ten times. Yuugi's got a crush on –”

“Hey, welcome to Burger World – oh, hey it's you guys again!”

Yuugi felt his stomach drop. He slowly looked up, and felt instantly blinded by the thousand-kilowatt smile currently gracing the handsome face of their redheaded waiter. He was short and ochre-skinned with golden bangs and highlights in his fluffy hair. His broad shoulders heartily filled out the white dress shirt, and even the bright green, gaudy vest did not take away anything from his scrumptious features.

His name tag read, “Atemu.”

He laughed, and it was deep and delicious.

Hold me, Yuugi swooned.

“Really a fan of those burgers, huh?” Atemu the Gorgeous said, and Yuugi blushed to the tips of his ears. On the other side of the booth, Katsuya scoffed.

“Oh, yeah,” he said with a grin, “Yuugi loves those buns.”

“Katsuya, shut up,” Yuugi hissed, and Atemu winked at him, making Yuugi's heart seize in his chest and taking at least six years off his life.

“Whatever you please,” Atemu said, and Yuugi swore he would die right there. “What will y'all like today?”

“Just a coke for me,” Katsuya said, waving a hand resolutely before him. “If I have another burger this week, I'm gonna barf. Make it small.”

“You got it,” Atemu, and he scribbled it down on his notepad.

“You want anything?” Katsuya asked Seto who tilted his head down to murmur in Katsuya's ear.

“I want to get the fuck out of here.”

Katsuya nodded and looked to Atemu.

“He'll have the vinaigrette salad and a strawberry milkshake,” Katsuya said, and Seto did not protest as Atemu wrote it down.

Atemu then turned to Yuugi, looking expectant and beautiful with his pen poised on the pad.

I'll take you to go, Yuugi thought, but he said nothing.

“What can I get you?” Atemu prompted, waiting patiently, and Yuugi's hands shook even more. “The usual?” he guessed.

“Sure,” Yuugi squeaked out, and Atemu smiled.

Yuugi's heart thumped in his chest, and another year was promptly taken off his life. He was sure he would develop heart problems at this rate.

“Great,” Atemu said, “same drink?”

Yuugi nodded, and Atemu jotted it down.

“A large cherry soda then, great,” he said. “I'll be back with your orders.” And he was gone.

Yuugi collapsed onto the table, groaning pitifully.

“You're so sad,” Katsuya remarked. “Just ask him out so we don't have to come here again.”

“What if he says no?” Yuugi choked out. “He's so cute – why would he like me back?”

“Then don't ask him,” Katsuya said, “but we're not coming here again tomorrow. I'm serious. I love burgers, but if I have to come here again, I will to throw up on you.”

“You're supposed to be my best friend,” Yuugi whined to the table.

“Yeah, well, you're supposed to have a backbone,” Katsuya replied.

“Ouch,” Yuugi mumbled.

They were silent as they waited, Yuugi drawing invisible heart-shaped figures on the table with the tip of his forefinger as he surreptitiously followed Atemu with his eyes. Their waiter was cheerful and friendly as he attended customers, and Yuugi knew it was part of his job to act as such. He ached to know what Atemu was like away from work.

Is he funny? Yuugi wondered. Does he still smile like that, dimples and everything? Does he like games? Partying? Making puns? He sighed. Does he like me even a little bit?

“I can't take the pining,” Seto muttered to Katsuya, who had the gall to nod along.

“Can't make him do something he doesn't want to do,” Katsuya replied in his own mumble.

“So you say,” Seto replied cryptically.

* * *

“Here you go, guys,” Atemu said as he laid their trays on the table. “Enjoy your food.” He turned to go when a strangled sound left Yuugi's mouth, and Atemu paused. He turned in curiosity to see Yuugi's flushed and mortified expression. “Yes?” he asked.

“Ketchup?” Yuugi croaked, and Atemu's pleasant expression did not change as he leaned over the table and took the ketchup bottle against the wall. He held it out to Yuugi who could only stare at it in embarrassment.

“Here you go,” Atemu said kindly, and Yuugi mutely took the bottle. “If you need anything else, let me know.” With a second wink, Atemu walked away, and Yuugi sunk miserably in his chair like a lump of goo, unable to feel his extremities.

“You okay, Yuug'?” Katsuya asked with a cringe.

“No,” Yuugi said, hiding his face behind the ketchup bottle. “I can't believe I did that. I just wanted to tell him my name.”

“Sorry, buddy,” Katsuya said feelingly. “Maybe it's best if you give this up.”

“Yeah,” Yuugi agreed morosely. “Maybe.” But something aching in Yuugi's chest refused with an adamant clench.

* * *

When their meals had been eaten and the time to pay came, Atemu arrived with a grand smile and three receipts. He placed them separately on the table and smiled at the three of them in turn.

“Here's your checks,” Atemu said, his smile lingering on Yuugi who would not look at him. At once, Atemu's smile faltered before he stuck it back on again. “When you're ready, I'll charge you at the register.”

He left, and Yuugi sighed, forlorn.

“I can't even talk to him,” Yuugi bemoaned. He reached for his receipt, but stilled when Seto took all three.

“I've got it,” Seto said. “You two meet me outside while I pay.”

“But –” Yuugi protested.

“Oh, let him,” Katsuya sighed as Seto silenced Yuugi with a glance. “He's not going to let you pay.”

Yuugi sat back and nodded, his violet eyes trailing to where Atemu was charging a couple at the register.

There goes my last chance to talk to him, Yuugi thought.

“Come on, Yuugi,” Katsuya said, waving at him, “the smell's starting to make me sick.” He slid out of the booth picking up their trash, and Seto followed suit. He subtly took Katsuya's hand as he passed, squeezing gently before letting go and moving on to call their waiter's attention. Yuugi joined Katsuya and together they walked to the door. Peeking behind him, Yuugi saw Atemu greet Seto and glance around. Their eyes met, and Atemu's perfect smile seemed frozen.

Yuugi quickly looked away.

* * *

“Did you guys find everything okay?” Atemu asked as he charged their bill.

“The short guy with the punk outfit,” Seto said as soon as Yuugi and Katsuya had gone out the door. “Do you know him?”

Atemu faltered, looking up from the register to blink at Seto. He turned his gaze to the door, looking past the glass to where Yuugi and Katsuya were waiting and talking.

“Yuugi?” Atemu said, and he cleared his throat abruptly. “Uh, no, not formally,” Atemu murmured. “I just started here last week, so all I know is that he comes in a lot.” He looked down at the screen again. “Your total is sixteen and twenty-seven cents.”

“Are you interested?” Seto asked bluntly as he pulled out his wallet and handed over his card.

Atemu dropped it.

“Uh –” he said as he picked it up, his fingers fumbling their grip. He looked at Seto, out to the door, and then back to Seto. “Was I being too obvious?” Atemu whispered. “Please don't tell my boss. I kind of really need this job. If I made him uncomfortable, I'll apologize. It won't happen again –”

“Please stop babbling,” Seto requested, and Atemu shut his mouth, frowning. He looked like he would say something, and Seto cleared his throat. “He's cute,” he said, “funny, and he honestly does not like burgers enough to eat them for five days straight.” He pointedly quirked an eyebrow.

“Then why –” Atemu began to ask when it dawned on him. “So he is into me?” Atemu said, confused. “I mean, I've been flirting and waiting for him to ask me out, but he hasn't really seemed very interested. He won't even talk to me – he is into me, right? That's why you're –”

Seto raised a hand for silence, and Atemu's frown deepened with obvious dislike.

“You must not be very good at flirting,” Seto said, and Atemu grimaced. “Here.” Reaching out, Seto took a post-it and a pen from beside the register, quickly writing down ten digits. “Ask him out,” Seto said. “And be obvious about it if you want to get anywhere.” He handed the sticky note over, plastering it to Atemu's hand.

With a visibly clenched jaw, Atemu peeled it off and peered at the number suspiciously.

“Thanks,” Atemu said, and even though he looked seconds away from giving Seto a very rude hand gesture, his gratitude sounded genuine. “You're sure he likes me and this isn't just a cruel joke?” he asked.

“Positive,” Seto said. “But since it seems like you don't trust me, there's only one way to find out.”

* * *

“I swear on my dad's grave,” Katsuya said, “I won't eat another burger for at least a month.”

Yuugi, Katsuya, and Seto were walking down the sidewalk, the sun had already set and the lamp lights were coming on.

“Katsuya, your dad's still alive,” Yuugi said, aghast.

“Is he, though?” Katsuya said with a shrug. “He hasn't been home in a week.” But despite his blasé attitude, the crease in Katsuya's expression said he was clearly worried.

“I'll make a call,” Seto calmly said, and Katsuya shook his head, grunting.

“Don't bother,” he said. “He's been gone longer. He'll stumble home eventually.” He looked at Yuugi. “I was serious about the burgers,” he said. “I'm not eating them again for at least a month.”

“Burgers are high in cholesterol,” Seto added. “Maybe lay off them completely. You've also gained three pounds in the past four days.”

“Over my dead body,” Katsuya snorted. “I'll eat a burger right now – let's go back.”

“Let's not,” Seto said as Katsuya turned around. He took his hand and seamlessly pulled him back.

“How do you even know how much I weigh?” Katsuya asked, disgruntled.

“An educated guess,” Seto said. “You've put on weight. I felt it last night when –”

“I don't want to hear about your sex life, guys,” Yuugi said, cringing. He had been largely silent until that moment, and he looked at them wearily. “Please.”

“Fair enough,” Seto replied. “We should go then.”

“What?” Katsuya said, baffled. “Why?” And when Seto raised an eyebrow at him, Katsuya grinned. “We'll see you later, Yuug'.”

“Yeah, fine, go,” Yuugi said sarcastically. “Go have sex and I'll just go home and watch porn or something.” But when he looked, his friends were already walking away. “Geez, bye, you traitors.”

“You'll thank me later,” Seto called back, and Yuugi stared after him, pouting.

“He's still such a jerk,” Yuugi grumbled as he turned and headed for home. He paused at the intersection when his phone vibrated in his pocket. Reaching in, he pulled it out with a sigh and clicked the screen on to check his notifications.

It was a message from an unknown number. Frowning, Yuugi tapped the message.

 

{{Thursday, June 15, 2017}}

{8:56pm} From 9865553423:

Is this Yuugi?

 

Yuugi stared at the message, lips pursed before he shrugged and texted back.

 

{8:57pm} To 9865553423:

Yep. Who this?

-

{8:57pm} From 9865553423:

It's Atemu. I was your waiter at
BW?

 

His heart skipped a beat, and Yuugi gasped.

“Oh, my god,” he breathed, and his eyes widened when a new text slid into view.

 

{8:58pm} From 9865553423:

Your friend, the tall one? He gave
me your number and said you
might be interested in a date?

{8:58pm} From 9865553423:

By the way, that was me
definitely asking you on a date.

 

Opening a different message thread, Yuugi shot off a text.

 

{8:59pm} To Kaiba-KUN:

I'm sorry for everything I've ever
said about you and I love you.

 

He returned to Atemu's thread, quickly saving the number to his phone.

 

{9:00pm} To Atemu:

What'd you have in mind?

 

Yuugi's hands were shaking as he waited for a reply. His phone buzzed in his hand, and he saw two new messages in his notifications. Checking them, he saw that there were from Seto and Katsuya respectively.

 

{9:00pm} From Kaiba-KUN:

Stop grossing me out. I'm taken.

-

{9:00pm} From BFFMF:

omfg seto made th most hilarius
face THANKU

 

Another message called for his attention, and Yuugi changed threads.

 

{9:01pm} From Atemu:

My cousin owns a bowling alley
and he's hosting a party. We can
midnight bowl. Tonight. You up
for it?

 

Grinning happily to himself, Yuugi looked and the darkening sky and sighed. Returning to the message, he replied, his chest filled with chaotic warmth.

 

{9:02pm} To Atemu:

Definitely :)