Cynthia came over and hugged her boyfriend from behind. She laid her chin on his shoulder, watching him make their morning coffee.
“Cream and sugar, I know” Makoto already knew what she was going to ask.
Cynthia giggled, pecking his cheek “thank you love”
She let go, heading towards the fridge. Makoto turned and watched his redheaded girlfriend. She looked flawless. She always looked flawless. Always looking like a model. Always sparkling. Makoto knew he had never seen her without makeup. Never seen her casual.
“Oh! I have an audition today, will you be ok without me helping you in the shop?” Cynthia asked
“Huh? Oh yeah sure, Abe is working today so I’ll have plenty of help” Makoto reassured her.
Cynthia always helped in the coffee shop, luckily for Makoto he didn’t have to teach her a thing since she used to work in one back in England.
Makoto wondered what Cynthia was like back in England. He knew she was a struggling actress with a full time job. No fancy get up, just Cythina. His mind wandered. Thomas. Thomas and Cynthia were together before she changed. He got to see, see a side of Cynthia Makoto has never seen.
Makoto thought about when he stood in Thomas’ studio. He caught a glimpse of a painting, it was covered, but he recognized that red hair anywhere. It made Makoto jealous, Thomas not only saw Cynthia natural, but probably had paintings to remember. But Makoto knew he kept that painting not in a lovers way, just in an artist way.
“Baby?” Her voice pulled him out of a trance.
He looked up to see her standing right in front of him. His eyes glanced up to meet her. Cynthia was just a tad bit taller than him. He stared into her brown eyes with his own. With a soft smile, he leaned in, placing soft pecks on her lips.
“Sorry. Just thinking”
Cynthia draped her arms across his shoulders, pressing her forehead against his. Makoto proceeded to wrap his arms around her waist and pull her closer. The couple stayed in each other’s hold for a while. Both just taking in the moment.
“I should start getting ready” Makoto broke the silence and pulled away “here’s your coffee” he handed her a mug.
“Thank you love” Cynthia took the mug, pecking at his cheek.
Turning away, Makoto headed to their bedroom to get changed for work. He opened their shared closet, of course Cynthia took up 70% of their closet. As he picked out his clothes for work, he noticed her shoes. She kept the ones she wore often on the ground, while ones she never wore, or only for special occasions, stayed boxed away on the top shelf. She used to wear heels daily, but now they were all packed away in their respected boxes. Makoto realizes she didn’t even wear them to any special occasions they’ve gone to together.
Never on dates, fancy dinners, a team confidence reunion, weddings, celebrations. Never since they had gotten together had Makoto seen her wear heels.
With a heavy sigh, Makoto closed the closet and started getting ready for work. He stared in the mirror while he buttoned his shirt. Maybe he was overthinking things. Cynthia had reasons for the things she did. But a nagging voice kept bothering Makoto, what if she doesn’t really trust him? What if she doesn’t love Makoto the way she loved Thomas?
“Aren't you supposed to be ready already?” Cythina’s voice once again pulled him out of a daze.
Makoto saw her in the mirror smiling. She shook her head walking towards him.
“How old are you?” She teased pointing to his shirt.
His buttons were very much uneven.
Looking away sheepishly “I was just lost in thought again”
She started to undo his buttons, proceeding to slowly fix them “I mean..do you really have to go now?” She met his eyes smirking “cause right now you just look too cute” she ran her hand through an opening in his shirt to touch his chest.
Makoto shivered at her touch. Her touch was always intoxicating.
“My handsome man..” she started placing kisses against his collarbone.
Makoto let out a soft moan, but ended up pushing her away “baby you know I really love too, but I seriously have to go.”
Cynthia pouted, as she went back and fixed his buttons properly “fine, but you owe me now”
Makoto chuckled and pecked her cheek “I know, I’ll make it up to you later tonight”
Makoto finished getting ready, giving her a kiss goodbye.
Still salty, Cynthia kept pulling him by his shirt collar for one more kiss goodbye.
“Ok seriously babe, I need to go”
“Ok fiiiiine” She gave him one last kiss goodbye for real this time, letting him go to work.
The morning rush went by fast. By the time rush started to die down, Makoto was preparing for a lunch rush.
He was in the process of clearing tables, when a certain blonde man walked in the front door with a smile.
“Sorry we don’t serve assholes” Makoto stuck his tongue out of him.
Laurent chuckled “and a hello to you too.”
“Abe can take your order, I need to finish clearing these tables.” Makoto went back to busting tables while Laurent went to place his order.
Laurent sat in his usual spot, a small table by the window, but close to the coffee counter. The spot was perfect, being able to see the outside, but also to talk to Makoto in passing if it was a busy time.
Makoto finished clearing tables, there was only Laurent and one other customer in the shop, so there was time to kill. He went and sat across from Laurent.
“So what brings you to Japan this time?”
“Work again. I have a major headache, word of advice, never try to out drink a scot on the night of a 5 am flight.”
Makoto laughed “oh poor you.”
“She had an audition today.”
“That’s wonderful news, and how are you two?”
“Us? Good....I think..”
“Trouble in paradise?” The blonde man titled his head slightly concerned
“I mean, no, but..it’s not like we fight or anything. Everything is good.”
“Are you trying to say your sex life-“
“LAURENT.” Makoto flicked him
Laurent laughed and rubbed the spot he flicked “Ok, ok”
Makoto rolled his eyes “I’ve just...been thinking about us...Cynthia and I..”
Laurent frowned a bit “are you planning on breaking up with her?”
“No...well..I just feel like she’s..not happy with me. And that she’s not telling me cause she’s sparing my feelings..”
Laurent hummed softly “I see, what makes you think that?”
“Well..we’ve been together for almost 2 years now. And I still yet to see her without makeup. Also, she’s stopped wearing heels, and you know how much she loves to wear her heels. It’s like, I’m dating...a performance Cynthia, nor the real Cynthia. I mean we live together. But still, she always manages to wake up before me, and go to sleep last.”
Laurent nodded listening to Makoto speak.
“Well...all I can say is just try talking to her. It’s not my place to say on where she stands.” Laurent ruffled the Japanese man’s hair “come on, lighten up, I’m sure you’re just over thinking. You know, I haven’t seen Cynthia truly smile this much before. So believe me when I say, you make her happy”
Makoto sighed, but nodded in appreciation of the Belgian man’s words.
The two chatted a while longer before Laurent had to leave. Makoto went to the back to smoke. He had started to try to cut back, but now and then he needed one to take the edge off.
Just as he took his first puff, his phone went off. He checked his messages, Cynthia had set a picture of her leaving a theater with a big smile.
Makoto chuckled, smiling at how cute she looked, leaving a heart reaction on the photo.
He stared at the picture, feeling his heart being to sink. Is he ever going to love the Cynthia behind the mask?
The day came to an end. Locking up, Makoto waved his employee off and headed home. He walked a bit slower than usual. Knowing they needed to have a talk, but scared of what the talk will cause. Unlocking the door, he headed into their shared apartment.
“MAKOTO!!” Cynthia covered her body and face with a blanket on the couch “why didn’t you text me?!” She rushed to the bathroom, using the blanket to hide herself from him.
“I’m sorry??” Makoto watched as the bathroom door slammed shut.
He sighed, he should start dinner, but mentally he could not bother to cook.
“I’m just going to order some ramen, what about you?”
“Yeah ramen is fine!” Cynthia called from the bathroom.
Makoto orders their food, heading to the living area to watch TV. He flopped on the couch, not even really watching what was playing.
Cynthia finally came out of the bathroom and joined him on the couch.
Makoto could tell her makeup was freshly done.
She laid on his chest smiling, wrapping her arms around him “I missed you”
“I missed you too” he kissed her head.
He ran his fingers through her red hair. As she stared happily at the TV, he stared sadly down. He could have seen her natural beauty if he tore the blanket away. What if he got a makeup wipe? No she probably hit him.
He didn’t even realize when she started pecking at his neck.
“Hey, you still owe me for earlier~” she pushed him fully down on the couch, pinning him down.
Makoto looked up at her. She looked so beautiful. But this wasn’t the Cynthia he wanted to love.
“I don’t feel like doing that right now..sorry..”
“Don't apologize baby” she let his arms go, and laid on his chest. “I’m sorry, is it something I did?”
“No..” Makoto wrapped his arms around her “just there’s a lot on my mind”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Yeah...I do actually”
“Talk to me baby.” She pecked his cheek.
“It’s actually pretty dumb”
“Dumb or not, I still want to know”
Makoto took a deep breathe in, and played with her hair “it’s just..I...I was thinking..of how I’ve never seen you without makeup”
Cynthia went quiet.
“And then I start to notice..since we got together, you’ve stopped wearing heels and I know you love to wear your heels”
The red head stays quiet, allowing him to speak.
“I don’t know..I just feel like..I’m not actually dating you. Well I am, I mean..I’m just saying, there’s a side of you you are changing, and a side of you I’ve never seen. I love you, and I want to love every side of you. And I don’t think it’s fair you have to change something about yourself because of me..” Makoto explained.
He looked down at her, waiting for an answer.
Cynthia quietly traced circles on his chest, deep in thought.
The two stayed quiet for a while. They laid in each other’s hold. Makoto was wondering what was running through her head. Cynthia kept her eyes glued down, not daring to look up at him. It was probably a good 10 minutes of silence, before Cynthia finally spoke.
“The last person I was with romantically, that saw me without makeup, said I looked a lot better with it on. I don’t know why I let it get to me so much. He was a dick. But his words stuck and followed me. I’m just afraid, you’re going to see me without it..and I don’t know, think I’m some freak or something”
“I’m not done..” she cut him off “as for the heels..I did wear them once, when we first got together. I heard side comments of others talking about how weird it was I was taller then you. That I was probably like your sugar mama. It was freaky for a guy like you to be with such a tall looking person like me. I just didn’t like people assuming that. And I thought by making myself taller, I was actually upsetting you, but you didn’t say anything cause you didn’t want to hurt my feelings..” she took a deep breath “Makoto...Thomas and I broke up cause our lives went different directions. Also because neither of us wanted to make sacrifices for our relationships. I don’t want that to happen again..I want to make sacrifices so you and I can work. I’m willing to give up my heels, and keep my makeup face in order to keep you here..”
Makoto stared in shocked at her. He didn’t expect the situation to be this serious. Cynthia still looked down, afraid to look at him. She was brought up to sitting, as Makoto got up, walking away. She felt her heart strings tug. Was he going to break up with her.
Makoto went into the bathroom, and returned with a wet rag.
“Cynthia..” he handed the rag to her “please. I want to see you.”
With slightly shaky hands, she took the rag. Cynthia rubbed away at the makeup caked on her face. She held the rag against her face, afraid to reveal herself. Makoto brought his hands to hers, slowly guiding her hands and rag down. He stared at the Cynthia in front of him. Blemish on her face. Lines in the middle of her eyebrows from years of squinting. Small lips. Eyebrows more brown then red.
Cynthia tried to look away, but he cupped her cheeks, making her look at him.
“Cynthia!!!!” He yelled “you’re so beautiful!!!”
Cynthia’s face turned as red as her hair. “You’re just saying that”
“No I’m not!!!” Makoto pushed them back down on the couch “you are beautiful ok?! You’re so beautiful and I will keep saying that until the day I die!” He started to kiss at each blemish. Acne scars from over the years. He kissed every inch of her face, reminding her with each kiss, that she was beautiful.
“You are the most beautiful person in the world to me. Don’t ever forget that.” He buries his face in the crook of her neck.
Cynthia felt herself smile wide, she could not stop smiling. It felt like her heart was going to burst. Wrapping her arms around Makoto, pulling him closer. She felt safe, safe in his company.
“Ah!” Cynthia jumped when she felt kisses starting to be placed on her neck. “Makoto”
Makoto trailed the kissed up her neck, to her jaw line, up to her ear “I want to love you”
She couldn’t help but chuckled “go nuts.”
“Promise me next time we go out yourself going to wear the biggest heels you have”
Makoto pulled back and smiled down at her, Cynthia smiling wide back at him.
A week later, the two meet up with Laurent and Abby for lunch. Abby snickered a bit seeing Makoto reaching to only her shoulders. Cynthia had a big smile, wearing her red heels that she hadn’t worn in two years.
“My my, don’t you two look adorable” Laurent chuckled
“Oh quiet blonde bastard.” Makoto flipped him off
“I bet the virgin enjoys it” Abby snickered.
“You bet I do!” Makoto held Cythina’s hand proudly. “I got the best girlfriend in the world! What else more can I ask for?”
Cynthia smiled wide, kissing his head “alright, come on, let’s get a table and eat”
The four for a table and spent time catching up.
“So be honest. How many times has he buried his face in your chest once you put those heels on?”
“Oh so many times.”
“CYNTHIA! Don’t tell them that!!”
“God you’re such a virgin”